Trident

Captain Reed H. Millard slept a dreamless sleep in the captain's quarters. Ahab's wooden hull creaked and groaned. The sound was once distracting but now served as the perfect lullaby in tandem with the ocean waves. So it was for his father, his father's father, and his father before.   He heard the sound of knocking at the door. Donovan Gaskell, Reed's second in command, called from the other side, "Captain?"   Reed opened his eyes, his body kept still. Adrenaline burned in his blood, an instinctive reaction.   "Captain, we have a situation," Donovan said.   Reed jumped from the soft embrace of the feather mattress and slipped his boots on. He brushed the greasy brown hair from his face and approached the door. "What is it?"   "Its-" Donovan stumbled as he tried to find the right words. "I honestly don't know where to start. You should see for yourself."   Reed opened the door and stepped out onto the deck. Most of the crew stood in place with their eyes firmly fixed to the sky, a rare sight when at sea. "What do you mean you dont-" His words caught in his throat at the sight. Reed stared at the sky above, his eyes wide and filled with wonder. "The hell is that?"   They looked like like comets, each varying in size. They filled the grey and cloudy sky, falling by the hundreds. They whistled and screamed through the air with white tails trailing behind. They burned, breaking apart in the atmosphere. Small pieces of the whole broke off in vibrant hues of purple, green, and red.   The most peculiar thing occurred when they crashed against the waves. The comets landed, bombarding the ocean with a loud bang. They then let out a rapid series of pops and deep cracks reminding him of fireworks from back home. It didn't take long for the sound to echo around them, disrupting what would have otherwise been a quiet afternoon.   Reed stared with wide eyes. "I don't remember being warned about this."   Donovan nodded, turning away so he could admire the sight too. "We weren't. Someone would have seen this coming. It's strange, sir." He points to one of the comets floating just off the starboard beam. "The comets float. They don't sink."   Reed narrowed his eyes and cocked his head. "Maintain evasive maneuvers and if possible, try to salvage what you can out of the water. Anything else I should know?"   Donovan smiled. "Siegfried. We have two U.S cruisers inbound from Oahu, and approaching fast. I've yet to see a more glorious scene for a battle."   Reed nodded with a smirk of his own, speaking as if the thought never occurred to him, "How right you are. Only fire if fired upon, understood?"   Donovan nodded. "Yes, captain."   Reed noticed an eagerness in the young man's eyes. They both knew Siegfried would fire first, and longed to see the Ahab in action.   Donovan walked to a bell hanging off the wall. the moment it started ringing, Reed raised his voice loud enough to be heard by all, "General Quarters, General Quarters. All hands man your battle stations."
   
by Scott Webb


Seventy percent of the earth is covered in water. The ocean is vast, Deep, and brimming with mystery, even in this age of progress and prosperity. As of now, only twenty percent of earth's oceans have been mapped and explored. The vast majority of it hasn't even been seen with human eyes.
 
There are more than three hundred confirmed cases of Pseudo-Paranormal Phenomena each year, according to data collected by The University and that's just what we can verify. Nearly thirty-seven percent of them involve the ocean, and another five percent occur in freshwater. With so much ground to cover, Trident fills a niche in our Web Of Conspiracies.   Trident is more of an alliance than an organization, similar to The Chiron Group. It's an agreement between three concerned parties, organizations that each have their own strengths and weaknesses seeking to leverage each other to fill the gaps.



Fun Fact: Self Destruction

Many members of Trident operate on larger vessels, but some squadrons, usually made up of those less fortunate than others, have been known to operate entirely out of row boats and rafts. While this is never an ideal situation, some actually choose this option. In their mind, it makes The Hunt more personal.   Trident is filled with all kinds of people, but they all share a special kind of madness that makes them far more willing to take risks and endanger themselves. The same could be said about many in The Web, but with Trident... its special. Members of Trident are usually alone in the world. They often lack families and friends outside of their crew.   The Web comes with more than its fair share of loose cannons, and Trident exemplifies this more than anyone. The Candlelight is dangerous, especially for those who spend time at sea for so long. Nights are darker out there, and that's on top of the constant anxiety of what may lurk beneath the waves. On a long enough timeline, it just breaks you.

Tip of The Iceberg

To fully understand Trident and its place in The Web, one must look to its origin and complex struggle with internal politics. They are not allies, instead preferring the term "business partners." Operatives work well together out of necessity, but there's always a difference of opinion here and a border dispute there.   The ocean can't be claimed by a nation or a governing body. Trident operates independently, and the organizations within equally so. Language barriers and the occasional vendetta between ship captains complicate operations regularly.   This is a major reason why Trident is considered a troubleshooting organization despite their size and capabilities. Their membership numbers in the hundreds, their field of influence spanning large swaths of the globe. Still, they lack cohesion and centralized command, operating on something akin to an honor system. Once the job is done, they may as well be complete strangers.
   

Origins

Many organization in The Web began during the world wars, and Trident is no exception. Some of the early steam powered frigates are still in use by members of Trident today, capitalizing on The Gift of Tall Tales to empower the vessel.   The first of the three organizations, Deepwatch, began in 1915 with British naval divers in search of mines along the African coast. The first of The Diluvian Leagues wouldn't appear till the battle of midway in 1942. Finally, Blackwater emerged in the late forties, a reaction to the increasing influence and logistical needs of the other organizations.   The three would enter an agreement in 1968, thus officially forming what we know as Trident. The ocean is big, and that's just the surface. To manage incursions on the ocean floor, and sufficiently keep the operation going is no easy feat. By coming together, they encouraged cooperation and exchange of information. It also clearly laid out jurisdictions for operatives to help ease the burden, combat linguistic challenges, and sooth ideological differences.

Tools of the trade

Trident has little in the way of unique equipment compared to other organizations. Most of the time, they can get by with what would be available to anyone. The only exception is irisite coating. Irisite can be conditioned and refined, resulting in a glossy liquid that will coat just about anything.   It adds durability and assists in diffusing energy in the case of trauma. This makes their clothing, vessels, and equipment hard to penetrate and thus hard to damage. By coating ammunition, they capitalize on another peculiar quality of irisite. Irisite has explosive qualities when heated and exposed to extreme trauma. A bullet coated in irisite penetrates up to 6 inches of steel, and detonates as the round passes through. This means annirisite round can be fired into the water without ricocheting and losing most of its momentum.   It varies from vessel to vessel, but Trident often employs military equipment as well, such as advanced radar, depth charges and torpedo launchers. While it makes their operations tedious and more strategic, it's arguably their greatest strength. It's rare for deep sea entities to work out where a torpedo is coming from when launched from a Deepwatch submarine half a mile away. Deepwatch is also known for using upgraded variants of the APS, a rifle designed for use underwater.
Captain Nathaniel Odom ignored the sky, peering out the glass window of the bridge. He saw the ship, a wooden vessel with sails unfurled. He laughed, "They should be running." A roar of laughter followed, after which he gave the order, "Fire a warning shot. We need to limit exposure. We don't know what's happening here. Civvies tend to flock to anything shiny."   Soon after, a loud bang and rumble reverberated off the hull. A massive shell burst from the ship's canons and pierced the air as it hurtled toward the enemy vessel, narrowly missing.   Nathanial expected the vessel to turn and flee, to seek safety. Instead, it turned against the wind, somehow gaining speed.   An officer called to him from the far side of the room. "Captain, the enemy is on a collision course."   Nathanial replied, "Alert the Janesville and sound general quarters. Mobilize Spectrum and board the ship."   "Why not just sink her, sir?" his first mate asked.   "They've harvested some of the debris," Nathaniel replied. "We dont know what it is. It could explode or further contaminate surrounding waters."   "Captain…" another voice called from Nathaniel's right hand side.   "Yes?"   "Identity confirmed. It's Mad Ahab, sir." A stunned silence fell on the room, only breaking with the occasional crack and pop of the comets outside.   5 soldiers appeared, their armor painted jet black. An insignia adorned their left shoulder, a rectangle filled with the entire spectrum of color.   Nathanial nodded and retrieved an envelope from the inner pocket of his uniform jacket. He opened it and read the words carefully.   Priming phrase: Baskerville
Empathy inhibitor: Molehill
Fear Inhibitor: Scarecrow
Adrenal surge: Einstein
  He turned to the soldiers. "Board that ship, neutralize its crew, and bring the captain to me."   "Yes, sir," the soldiers replied in unison.   Nathanial read the words out loud and clear, "Baskerville," the soldiers froze in place. "Molehill," he couldn't explain it, but something in the soldiers changed. They seemed more menacing, more dangerous. Their very presence made him uncomfortable. "Scarecrow, Einstein." The soldiers started breathing heavily, each letting out a contented sigh. "Dismissed."
   

Deepwatch

Now, let us discuss each of the three organizations in detail. Deepwatch is an organization specializing in underwater operation. Many of its members are former divers, naval engineers, and marines. Vessels operated by Deepwatch are always submersible, attaching themselves to a squadron in one of the seven Diluvian Leagues.   Those who do not operate a vessel will join the crew of a league vessel, offering assistance in the one place such vessels cannot go. While their skills vary, they are predominantly focused on underwater combat, as many incursions involve a hostile entity beneath the surface. That being said, they rarely see action.   It's better to lure deep sea entities to the surface where Trident has an arguable advantage. Most of their operations occur in freshwater environments such as lakes and wetlands. It's also important to note that deep sea incursions seldom affect anything above them.

Blackwater

The name is derived from the term "Blackwater Port," a term coined by the earliest members to signify a port aware of Trident's existence. Dockworkers and shipwrights who happen to possess candlelight were invaluable and offered the early members repairs, room, board, and even information.   Over time, Blackwater grew into an organization itself, one that maintains a sophisticated research and development team to assist in Trident's operations. It was they who invented many tools of the trade used by Trident Members, and they who managed to crack the secret of irisite, Trident's main advantage.   Agents of Blackwater seldom see action outside of its engineering corps. Blackwatch engineers are among the best in the field, and keep ships operating long after their life expectancy.
 
 

The Diluvian Leagues

The bulk of Trident's membership lies in The Diluvian Leagues, but they are by far the least organized of the three. The leagues are more about establishing jurisdiction, each member assigned to one of seven leagues and each league given responsibility over a particular marine territory.   These members will usually seek out other members of their league and form squadrons, as strength in numbers tends to play a major role in operations. Squadrons have been known to group up into fleets for particularly dangerous incursions, as well.   The leagues are where much of the infighting takes place. Territorial disputes are always an issue when it comes to incursions near the border of jurisdictions. Moreover, captains tend to get competitive, and the loser often holds a grudge. Vendettas have come to blows more than once, though it rarely ends in death.

  • The Arctic league: The Arctic league is not a league in the same way the other leagues are. Members are volunteer only, and rotate time in service. The extreme environment on top of handling incursions can be taxing on the mind. They are considered eccentric at best, many among the other leagues avoiding any potential interaction.
  • The North Pacific League: The NPL operates the northern half of the Pacific Ocean, a hotbed of pseudo-paranormal activity. The North Pacific has the most incursions compared to any other jurisdiction. This makes its membership the most experienced and often the most arrogant.
  • The South Pacific League:The SPL is an active jurisdiction, second only to the Northern Pacific. It is also one of the smallest regions, the only jurisdiction smaller being that of the Oceanic League. Its members tend to be far greener than that of the other leagues, its unique size and frequent activity used to train new members of Trident.
  • North Atlantic League: The north Atlantic has fewer incursions than the Pacific. That being said, it still manages to have the most severe incursions. Massive entities have appeared and threatened civilian travel throughout the years leading to well trained and well armed membership.
  • The Oceanic League: The smallest jurisdiction, The Oceanic league, operates strictly around the Philippines, Australia, and a small fraction of the Antarctic. Its primary focus is maintaining surveillance and control of a single entity. This creature, dubbed Leviathan A, could cause worldwide destruction if provoked. Levi, as the members of the league call it withhold information on the subject, labeling it as strictly need to know.
  • The South Atlantic league: Arguably the friendliest and most cooperative group, assisting other leagues as best they can. The South Atlantic has the least amount of incursions compared to other jurisdictions. This could be to the size of its jurisdiction, as some believe the incursions simply slip by unnoticed.
  • Indian League: The Indian League operate the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranea. They are the only league that can claim they deal with humans more than anything else. Pirates and the rise in cult activity near the region cause most incursions for the league. Despite this, they still have their fair share of hostile entities ranging from massive beasts to pseudo-paranormal pathogens, making them close friends of Crucible.
 

Fun Fact: No Entry

The HMS Erudition is a light cruiser, arelic from the British navy and one of the more famous ships operating in The Diluvian Leages. peculiar trait of The HMS Erudition, among others, proved to be a major factor in establishing jurisdictions for The Diluvian Leagues. Before its time with Trident, the vessel served in the British navy during World War II, and played a role in the Normandy invasion by allied forces. Before Normandy, the ship developed unusual quirks, even showing signs of sentience.   We now associate these quirks with vehicles of The Midnight Riders and Joseph Cochrane would soon join their ranks. Midnight riders who manage to bond with a vehicle meant for water usually end up joining The Diluvian Leagues. After Normandy, and even to this day, The Erudition refuses to allow anyone aboard the vessel if they are nationals of a nation associated with the axis powers during the war. Even being a descendant qualifies.   Those who managed to make it aboard claimed non stop harassment in the form of freak accidents. With jurisdictions now in place, the ship and its captain were transferred from The North Atlantic League to the Oceanic League, its crew now largely composed of British and Australian operatives.
 
The colors lit up the sky as the comets fell. Reed watched as the enemy grew closer. He noticed two smaller craft breaking away from the cruiser, a boarding party.   Donovan spoke, "should we fire on the boarders?"   "No, maintain course. Ahab can manage the boarders."   The ship began to increase its speed even more, the second cruiser within ramming range. Reed could see the name of vessel clearly, The USS Janesville.   The Janesville fired, and missed. Massive bursts of water erupted into the air above and down onto the deck. As the ship neared the moment of impact, Reed screamed, "Brace."   Ahab collided with the cruiser. The force sent half the crew to the ground. The cruiser tilted, the metal bending and breaking from the force. As The Janesville slowly drifted away from the Ahab's bow, Reed took note of the damage. A massive gash in the enemy hull filled with water.   As for Ahab, the damage was nearly nonexistent. The figurehead carved at the front of the ship depicting a whale barely had a scratch.   Reed turned his attention to the second cruiser, The USS Tuttle. "Fire!"   The nearly two hundred year old canons obeyed. Each firing on cure despite being unmanned. Large chunks of metal hurtled toward the enemy ship, colliding and bouncing off the hull.   Reed shook his head and knocked on the wooden railing. "That's a modern ship, old man. We need to hit harder." Within moments, another volley fired, adding to the symphony of noise around them. He didn't know how, but this time it did the trick. Large holes appeared throughout the port side of The Tuttle.   The sea was getting choppy, the meteors disrupting the natural flow of the waves. The waves were bigger, more frequent than before.   Reed laughed when he noticed just how low some of the damage was. Some were low enough to flood interior compartments.   "That's better." Reed lightly tapped the wooden wall of his cabin, "Well done."
Ghost Ship
The soldiers slowly climbed the side of the wooden vessel. They aimed to enter through a window on the back of the ship. The squad leader, Beta 3, studied the room within. Empty.   The butt of his weapon broke through the glass easily. They piled in, one after another. The room housed ammunition, several guns littered the room, stacked in rows along the walls and on tables.   Two fifty caliber turrets sat in the corner. Beta 3 froze. The barrels were aimed at the window, but seeing as how they were unmanned, he let out a sigh of relief. "Move," he commanded. The others obeyed, stacking on the door leading out of the room.   Beta 3 looked back at the turrets. "Wait." He said. The barrels were aimed at him. Why? How?   He realized far too late. He let out a scream, a final order. "Move."   The turrets fired, and they tore his body apart, yet never managed to penetrate the wooden wall behind him. The second fired, tearing into two other soldiers.   The soldiers remaining reacted quickly, both seeking safety through the window they entered through. When they turned to make their escape, the window was gone, replaced with the same old wooden plank as the rest of the ship.   The first of the two, Zeta 5, shouted, "Shit. break through the walls." The first turret fired once more, killing her quickly.   Theta 1 remained. He fired at the wooden wall, barely breaking through the wood. When the clip ran dry, he switched to the butt of his gun. He drove it into the wood, and with every blow, red sap spilled out.   Theta 1 heard the sound of whirring from the far side of the room. The turret lined its shot, and soon after, it fired.

Mad Ahab

Mad Ahab is the name of an american frigate originally built in 1765. Another case of midnight riders joining Trident, the captain of the vessel passed the ship down to later generations, each sharing their own special bond with the ship. It experienced few changes over time, still utilizing sails and made of wood save for metal plates fastened to its hull. Ahab is the only ship that operates solo, mainly because others in The NPL consider it bad luck.   The vessel's original name is lost to time, having chosen a new one itself when its captain spent a late night reading a copy of Moby Dick. The ship is drawn to pseudo-paranormal activity and always tends to be first on the scene. Its crew members are only allowed to serve a single year aboard, after which they receive a very large sum of money. Why? Because most crewmen aboard last the first month.   The ship possesses unique telekinetic properties, able to manifest invisible "oars" to quickly maneuver, slow down, or radically increase speed. It is known to ram targets, and does so with impossible force.




by Adobe Stock

   

Operation: Star Fall

In the late 90s, a massive pseudo-paranormal event occurred along the border of the North and South Pacific. Operatives reported sightings of meteorological activity. In the skies above the Pacific Ocean, comets ranging from the size of pebbles to the size of small cars began crashing into the waves below.   The comets "squealed" and "whistled" as they fell. They emited violet, evergreen, and scarlet light, and the sound of their collision with the waved or even an operatives vessel were comparable to that of fireworks; repeated pops and loud cracks.   The problem here is less the comets themselves and more the fact that no such meteorological event could have occurred. There were no signs of such projectiles heading toward Earth from space, and therefore no way to predict such an event would occur. Later examination revealed evidence of an interdimensional incursion, later confirmed by our associates at Oxenfree.
 

Irisite

The comets attracted the attention of more than Trident operatives. Siegfried mobilized its naval branch and opened fire on Trident agents attempting to escape with the peculiar comets on board resulting in a naval battle that by all accounts, must have been spectacular to witness.   Examination of the comets revealed a new exotic mineral we dubbed Irisite. Irisite is brittle unless exposed to trauma exceeding By hitting it, the chemical bonds somehow strengthen, and retain that strength after the fact. With every blow, the material gets stronger.
 
This led to Trident's signature aesthetic, their clothing, ships, and ammunition are all coated with trace amounts of Irisite, embedding the material In the fibers and pain. The most obvious sign of irisite enhancement is in their ammunition. When fired, rounds tend to flash an assortment of colors depending on how the light hits it as it travels, some rounds flashing green, while others flash magenta, indigo. And vermillion hues. The biggest issue then is maintaining a sufficient supply of the material, or so we thought.
 

On Repeat

Operation: Star Fall was a resounding success. No pseudo paranormal entities were reported save for the irisite comets. Two months later, while research was still being done on the material, another round of comets began falling in the Atlantic.   More irisite was collected, and in the months after, a third event was confirmed above the Indian Ocean. As of the time of writing, nearly 138 events have been confirmed. Members of Trident refer to these events as "Star Falls" and usually receive a small fortune for what they manage to salvage. Irisite rounds produced by Blackwater are highly sought after by other organizations in the Web.   Now that most ships are protected with the irisite, ships can enter the area of incursion with reckless abandon, though the crew on deck will still be at risk. They must maintain constant vigilance when collecting the irisite from the ocean. Irisite rounds provide a significant boost to firepower as well.
   
Sinking The USS Tuttle
Nathanial watched the impossible. This was a wooden vessel with no place in modern warfare. "Damage report?"   His first mate replied, "Three compartments flooded. We can't handle another hit like that."   Nathanial shouted, "How is this possible? How are we we getting our asses handed to us by the Jolly fucking Rodger?"   "Captain," a voice called.   Nathanial looked out the window and saw a larger comet screeching through the sky and crashing into The Janesville. It tears the ship in two, both halves steadily sinking below the waves.   The ship tilts, the resulting wave forcing the crew to hold on tight or risk a nasty fall. "What's the status on spectrum?" Nathaniel asked.   "They just entered the ship. Moving to- wait." Moments passed and the first mate continued. "All agents down, confirmed flatline across the board."   "What?" Nathaniel tried to wrap his mind around it.   "Get down!"   Nathaniel cocked his head at the sound of his first mate's command. He stared out the window to see.   The Ahab was quick. It managed to gain distance, turn, and angle itself for a full volley on the bow of The Tuttle. What's more is how it managed to use the incoming waves to its advantage. The Ahab tilted ever so slightly, the canons now lined up with the Tuttle's bridge.   The cannons fire, and Nathaniel barely registers the image of a cannon ball before it crashes through the window.
Reed could spend days out here. While the number of comets falling from the sky grew smaller with each passing moment, he couldnt help but admire the beauty.   Once it was determined to be safe, his crew threw nets into the ocean. They carefully fished for chunks of the mysterious rock. A few more hauls, and the ship would be full. It was then that he was reminded of the boarding party. He assumed they were dead, but that's not what concerned him.   He entered the armory, guided by the occasional knock and self opening door. When he came upon the grisly scene, he shook his head. He looked to the wall and saw a hole in the wood, the broken edges bleeding with red sap.   Reed reached into his jacket for a small hand towel and began wiping the sap away. "Sorry, Ahab. We'll get you patched up." A cheerful knock echoed through the room. "You really did a number on them." Reed looked to the ground and the pool of blood settled around his boots. "Good show, old man."
by adobe stock


Cover image: by Andrew Neel

Comments

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27 May, 2022 15:09

I'm so glad to see new content on The Web! This is a big, complex world, though, and I need to reorient myself with some of the background and history. Hope you are doing well!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
27 May, 2022 17:46

Lifes been crazy but otherwise I'm doing well. Hope you are too. It is definitely a big and complex world. I got some plans to make it easier to navigate as well. Sooon... thanks so much!

27 May, 2022 16:25

I love the story you wrote into this one!   I almost feel sorry for Siegfried. Almost.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
27 May, 2022 17:48

Wooot thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm glad at least a little sympathetic. I really. Need to delve into them more cause sometimes they're presented as almost cartoonishly evil. XD

Starfarertheta
Starfarer Theta
28 May, 2022 13:41

Sounds like other dimensions could be involved with they way the comets just appeared. Trident seems to have (mostly?) benefited from the strangeness since they got Irisite! Great article :)

Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
5 Jun, 2022 08:46

Sentient ghost ships, meteor metal, and new tech— always nice to see more from The Web!

23 Jun, 2022 00:03

I am so excited to see the Web again, I love the Void Between but one of the earliest articles I read was your on the Web. Love this Baskerville, Molehill, Scarecrow, and Einstein.


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Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
23 Jun, 2022 16:04

Ooo I have big plans I'm cooking up for the web. I'm so excited to be writing in it again. I love the void between but I missed it here. Thanks so much!

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