Nemo: The Power of the Coming Race. Part 2, The Legend of Atlantis.

Victor thought of his grandfather, who like Nemo, was a lover of the sea, and of his father, a lover of science. They both would have been so proud to know that Victor was walking the floor of the Atlantic Ocean observing the greatest mystery of the ancient world. The experience was indescribable to Victor, to be completely surrounded by water, yet able to walk and breath freely. It was like exploring an ethereal dimension unknown to man. There was a faint red glow from the volcano ahead, as well as phosphorescent glow from below, this was from microscopic crustaceans at their feet. At first the sea bed was slightly muddy, Victor feared he would sink, but soon the surface became rockier as they neared the city.

Nemo moved as swiftly as he could in his suit through the ocean floor. Amongst the rocky terrain he never missed a step. Victor pondered that his Captain must have made this journey enough times to practically have his steps memorized. As many times as Nemo had been here it was the one place on the planet that still held his wonderment. His eyes soaked in the watery sights about him. During his life he witnessed things most men only dream of. Knowing in his bones he was growing older, he wondered how many more voyages he would take to Atlantis.

As amazing as the ruins ahead were, Victor was just as surprised to find himself walking through an underwater forest. Just at the edge of the city Nemo and Victor walked through a small area of petrified trees. Under the ocean they had no leaves or sap, but were still embedded in their antediluvian roots. Victor looked up to see not birds but schools of fish darting through the leafless branches in the watery sky. "I presumed this would be a curious site for you as well. “said Nemo. "We are most likely walking through the world’s oldest forest."

Suddenly a giant claw emerged from their path. "Captain, look out!" Victor jumped back as quickly as he could in his large steel suit. As his metal feet sank back into the ocean floor, he could see two large antenna springing out from behind a tree. Victor raised his stick in a defensive position as two beady eyes seized upon him. Before Victor crawled a giant crab, maybe 4 feet in height.

Rarely had Victor hear his Captain laugh, but the Nemo let out a fierce laugh as he looked back at Victor, who looked ready to impale this giant crustacean with his walking stick. "Don't worry Walton, with any luck, that creature will make a fearsome dinner later tonight!" Another crab walked by Nemo, who patted it on the head as if it were a pet dog. "Besides, I've encountered much more fearsome creatures in the ocean than these."

They trotted on; coming into the sunken city they could see stone buildings and pillars ahead. Many of them were covered in zoophytes and seaweed. Victor wondered what life must have been like for the Atlanteans. He thought back to the tales he had heard about Atlantis. The stories went that when the world was created, it was split between three of the head gods. Zeus ruled over the sky, Hades had the underworld, and Poseidon was given rule over the oceans. Poseidon mated with a mortal named Cleito, daughter of Evenor and Leucippe. To protect his love, Poseidon created seas surrounding the hill Cleito dwelt in. He also made springs of warm and cold water for Cleito's island, and its soils brought forth every type of food imaginable. Together, Poseidon and Cleito had 5 sets of twin boys. Their new island was named Atlantis, after Poseidon's eldest son Atlas. Even to this modern day, the first son of Poseidon is honored with the ocean between Europe and the Americas named after the first king of Atlantis.

As Nemo and Victor walked through the submerged streets, they passed many small temples. The Atlanteans built temples for each of Poseidon's children, where they gave offerings and sought help through prayer. Ahead of them lie a great temple, it was the size of a stadium, and barbaric in appearance. Through the dim volcanic light Victor realized it was encased in gold. He wondered what treasures might lie inside.

Nemo explained, "If Plato's account was correct, I believe that temple was dedicated to Poseidon. Unfortunately it seems inaccessible. I've never been able to find a way inside."

"It's a tragedy." Victor's mind drifted back to what he could remember of Atlantean lore. Legends held that Atlantis was like a paradise, with abundant natural resources, lush mountains, plains, mighty rivers, thick swamps and marshes, hot and cold springs. Atlanteans had two harvests, one using waters from summer irrigation, the other from rains that fell in winter. The mythical metal Orichalc was also found in great abundance. In ancient times it was second in value only to gold. Of the Atlanteans themselves, Plato's account read;

"For many generations, as long as the divine nature lasted in them, they were obedient to the laws, and well-affectioned towards the gods, whose seed they were; for they possessed true and in every way great spirits, uniting gentleness with wisdom in the various chances of life, and in their intercourse with one another. They despised everything but virtue, caring little for their present state of life, and thinking lightly of the possession of gold and other property, which seemed only a burden to them; neither were they intoxicated by luxury; nor did wealth deprive them of their self-control; but they were sober, and saw clearly that all these goods are increased by virtue and friendship with one another, whereas by too great regard and respect for them, they are lost and friendship with them."

"Such a tragedy that these ruins are lost to the world above. How could this have happened?"

Nemo answered. "According to Plato’s legend, the descendants of Atlantis became less godlike over time, became more like the rest of the surface world, decadent and insolent, greedy with power. They already held a vast empire that went as far as the parts of Libya, within the columns of Heracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia. Still, they hungered for more."

Victor observed, "Sounds like some things don't change, no matter how much history passes.".

“Indeed. The kingdom of Atlantis attacked Athens, in the hopes of expanding its already awesome power base. The Athenians held them back, then the war came to an abrupt end."

"What happened?"

"The legends say that Zeus, who reigned over all of the gods, looked down on the people of Atlantis with contempt. He wanted to punish them, and at the center of the universe called the gods together to determine their fate."

"Zeus sank Atlantis?"

“Plato’s account ends here, with Zeus about to speak. It is not known if Plato simply stopped writing or if the rest of the tale is lost. Either way, Atlantis has rested beneath the sea since before recorded history. It is said that the entire continent sank in a single day."

"It is an amazing story, but it couldn’t have sunk in a single day. Geological changes don’t happen that swiftly. Think of your own nation of India, it took thousands of years to drift from southern Africa into mainland Asia.”

Nemo paused in a moment of reflection. “My good man Victor, you truly are your father’s son, ever alert and astute. A very keen observation, but I know little more than you of Atlantis’ fate. Our only sources of information are ancient.”

Among the ruins of this mythical underwater city, Victor asked “But you speak of tales of the gods, of Zeus and Poseidon, surely these are just legends?

Then the gods roared and the oceans trembled. Before them one of the ancient stone pillars cracked and fell. “Earthquake!!” shouted Nemo. "Quickly, back to the Nataulis!" Clumsily they tried to turn around and move as swiftly as their cumbersome steel bodies would allow. Nemo shouted orders on his transmitter “Open the hatch, we’re coming back. Cross over the submerged forest so we can come aboard!"

The sea water roared around them as they struggled to make their way back. Their visibility was diminishing, as debris from the ocean floor flew upwards like a thick desert sandstorm. Nemo's large mechanical foot tripped over a crack in the ground. The metal frame of his suit stumbled in a slow fall to the ocean floor. He saw Victor ahead of him just for a moment before a dusty wet cloud covered hid him from sight. A small slab of stone slowly fell on top of his ankle, pinning him at the edge of the mythical city.

Read Part 3 here.

Part 1