By Hal Clement

Aquatic Enigma - The world’s power was once limited... and with overpopulation and a excessive point of know-how, the ability Board had almost turn into the true govt of the realm. strength was once rationed, it was once guarded, it used to be sacred. hence while 3 of the facility Board's brokers disappeared at sea, and there has been facts that whatever abnormal was once occurring to the strength quota in that zone, it was once reason for genuine alarm.

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Two thousand feet was less than halfway to the surface, though it was an unbelievable pressure change for my hitchhiker. It wasn’t very much comfort to me to know that I’d put that much water under me; even twice as much wouldn’t be much help. It wasn’t as though there’d be a police squadron standing by to pick me up, or even a single boat. The tank had only the normal automatic transmitters for calling help, and they wouldn’t even start to function until I reached the surface — which I was unlikely to do.

They just didn’t have anything to push against; the bottom was a little too far down. I tried rolling the thing by shifting my weight. This worked as far as turning the tank over was concerned, but didn’t get me noticeably closer to ‘shore’. It seemed that the only freedom of motion I had left was upward. This was a little annoying. I had planned to plant a small sonar transponder near the entrance when I found it, as a guide for the police boats. If I dropped it here, it would mean very little and furthermore would be seen lying on the tent fabric by the first person who happened to pass, either above or below.

He was no one I could remember ever having seen before in five years, of Board work, but I took good note of the line of his black hair, the set of his eyes, and the squarish outline of the rest of his face so as to be sure of knowing him again if the chance ever came up. Presumably he couldn’t see me; the view ports were small, my inside lights were out, and he showed no sign of the surprise I would have expected him to feel if he knew or guessed that the tank contained a living man. He came close enough to touch the equipment — so close that I could no longer see everything he was doing.

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