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August 20 , 2007

Seed of the Artic Ice


Killer whales and seal-creatures tangle Ken Torrance in an amazing adventure under the ice-roofed arctic sea. Excerpt Sleepily the lookout stared at the scope-screen before him, wishing for something that would break the monotony of the scene it pictured: the schools of ghostly fish fleeting by, the occasional shafts of pale sunlight filtering down through breaks in the ice-floes above, the long snaky ropes of underwater growth. None of this was conducive to wakefulness; nor did the half-speed drone of the electric engines aft and the snores of some distant sleeper help him. The four other men on duty in the submarine – the helmsman; the second mate, whose watch it was; the quartermaster and the second engineer – might not have been present, so motionless and silent were they.The lookout man stifled another yawn and glanced at a clock to see how much more time remained of his trick. Then suddenly something on the screen brought him to alert attention. He blinked at it; stared hard – and thrilled.Far ahead, caught for an instant by the submarine Narwhal's light-beams, a number of sleek bodies moved through the foggy murk, with a flash of white bellies and an easy graceful thrust of flukes.The watcher's hands cupped his mouth; he turned and sang out:""K-i-i-ll-ers! I see killers!""The cry rang in every corner, and immediately there was a feverish response. Rubbing their eyes, men appeared as if from nowhere and jumped to posts; with a clang, the telegraph under the second mate's hand went over to full speed; Captain Streight rolled heavily out of his bunk, flipped his feet mechanically into sea-boots and came stamping forward. First Torpooner Kenneth Torrance, as he sat up and stretched, heard the usual crisp question:""Where away?""""Five points off sta'b'd bow, sir; quarter-mile away; swimming slow.""""How large a school?""""Couldn't say, sir. Looks around a dozen.""
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