PD/Wikimedia Commons

PD/Wikimedia Commons

The ocean is not a place for human beings.

It’s dark, cold, and oppressive, full of creatures who can see in the dark and hunt humans in silence. We don’t know they’ve found us until we hear a slight splash. Before we can react, we’re taken down to the depths.

This story is about a submarine that was lost in the nineties but later found as part of a research program. When researchers learn the reason it was lost, they can’t help but wish it was never discovered.

1. The Night Before

It was the night before the operation, and Kelsey Johnson couldn’t sleep. She was awake in her cabin in The Mariner, thinking about everything that could go wrong. As she stared above her, moonlight passed over the cabin ceiling, glimmering with a light that seemed ghostly.

In a few short hours, Kelsey and her team were going to travel down to the bottom of the Arctic Sea. There, they expected to find a submarine.

The Night Before ©Sergey Mironov/Shutterstock.comThe Night Before ©Sergey Mironov/Shutterstock.com

One that had been lost for decades, submerged and never resurfaced for reasons no one knew.

2. Theories

Of course, there were always theories that varied widely, depending on who you listened to.

Esteemed scholars and experts had their own explanations, from undersea vortexes to onboard explosions. If you went to the darker, stranger side of the Internet, you got to see wackier theories, including ones about the Kraken, Cthulhu, and all monsters in between.

Theories ©Marko Aliaksandr /shutterstock.comTheories ©Marko Aliaksandr /shutterstock.com

Some had merit; others did not. It would be Kelsey and her crew who would determine why The Patriot sank.

3. Fact-Finders

Kelsey and her team were to act as fact-finders, tasked with a mission of using extremely high-tech equipment to board the submarine underwater, find out what happened, and come back to the surface with their reports. After they returned, the sub would be brought up to dry land.

It sounded straightforward, but Kelsey was still concerned.

Fact-Finders ©wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.comFact-Finders ©wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com

Though it was her research that helped bring this mission to fruition, there was a piece, a note she’d found, that Kelsey had held back. She dismissed it at first, but, with insomnia playing on her emotions, she wasn’t so sure.

4. Scrap Piece

That piece of information was hidden in the back of log books and journals, and Kelsey figured that it was nothing. A scrap piece of paper containing mere hallucinations. Certainly, it wasn’t enough to sink a heavily-funded research mission such as this one.

Thirty years later, it was time to find out why The Patriot went down (and stayed down). Radio communications had died out before its demise, and the sub had been lost until technology was advanced enough to find it.

Scrap Piece ©fizkes/Shutterstock.comScrap Piece ©fizkes/Shutterstock.com

And find it, they did.

5. Ship-Shy

It was a victory at first, brought about by hard work, combing through book after book of pre-voyage notes. Kelsey had made it her pet project while employed by NASA, and she hadn’t stopped for years, searching diligently, always believing The Patriot was close.

Finding the ship was a combination of high-tech laser technology and sheer force of will.

Ship-Shy ©Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.comShip-Shy ©Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

Kelsey wasn’t going to let the paranoid note of one ship-shy sailor ruin her trip.

6. The Mystery Note

The mystery note had certainly given Kelsey pause, and perhaps she was so focused on the journey, she chose to minimize its impact. She definitely knew she didn’t want to show her crew the note, despite the solemn vow they’d made to each other not to keep secrets.

The note, covered in scribbles, portents of doom, and drawings of havoc, was nothing but a ghost story.

The Mystery Note ©Alexxndr /shutterstock.comThe Mystery Note ©Alexxndr /shutterstock.com

Just a ghost story.

7. The Patriot

Besides, said sailor had boarded that ship, leaving his ominous note behind. And yet…that was all the world had left of him. Paranoid ramblings.

Kelsey was determined to not let her anxiety dissuade her. She did some deep breathing, pushing her own worries out of her mind, and fell asleep.

The Patriot ©MIND AND I/Shutterstock.comThe Patriot ©MIND AND I/Shutterstock.com

Her alarm woke her at six A.M. sharp. It was time to find The Patriot. Kelsey dressed quickly before heading down to grab some breakfast.

8. 77

The Patriot was a massive submarine, a ship that had a crush depth of hundreds of feet and a passenger-carrying capacity of 80.

It was on a research mission when it stopped suddenly, just off the coast of the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica. Communications cut out shortly thereafter.

77 @Google/Pinterest77 @Google/Pinterest

On it when it sank were the souls of seventy-seven crewmen.


Because of the strong likelihood of human remains (there was no way that the men on the ship had survived the sinking), everyone boarding—Kelsey and her crewmates Vanessa, John, and Luke—would be in HAZMATs.

Kelsey was worried about what would happen on the way down. She was also concerned about what finding those men would do to her psyche.

HAZMATs ©Virrage Images/Shutterstock.comHAZMATs ©Virrage Images/Shutterstock.com

But, it had to be done, both for research purposes and to put the crewmen to rest.

10. Good Morning

“Good morning,” her coworker, Luke, said brightly as Kelsey came into the mess hall of The Mariner. “Ready?”

The ship was full of workers, but only a select few were chosen to board The Patriot from a submersible dropped from The Mariner. 

Good Morning ©Africa Studio/Shutterstock.comGood Morning ©Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

Kelsey felt queasy, yet she stifled that by reminding herself that she was like a man on the moon, braving new depths for the purposes of academia and human advancement.

11. Eyes On Her

Walking into the mess hall, Kelsey felt all eyes on her. It was her time to shine, after all. They were all here partially because of her and her work.

Kelsey nodded and smiled at everyone she saw. Most people had encouraging looks, while others seemed more apprehensive. Of course, there were doubters who thought it was all a fool’s journey.

Eyes On Her ©CarlosBarquero /shutterstock.comEyes On Her ©CarlosBarquero /shutterstock.com

But who cared what they had to say, anyway?

12. Rehashing

Kelsey greeted Luke, Vanessa, and John, and the four of them began to talk about the mission ahead: what it meant, how it would be, and, of course, a rehashing of the game plan.

Kelsey felt people in the mess hall looking at her, and she knew what they were thinking.

Rehashing ©Altrendo Images/Shutterstock.comRehashing ©Altrendo Images/Shutterstock.com

They both wanted to be her and didn’t. This research mission was not for the faint of heart. As Kelsey ate her eggs and toast, she tried to quell the fear she was feeling.

13. It’s Time

Eventually, it was time.

Everyone retreated to their battle stations, while Kelsey and her crew got into their submersible. It was a tiny vessel, almost claustrophobic, and it felt so thin against the oppressive, cold, crushing darkness of the sea.

It’s Time ©Dolores M. Harvey/Shutterstock.comIt’s Time ©Dolores M. Harvey/Shutterstock.com

Kelsey had never felt so small in her life, and she could tell from her crew members that they were just as overwhelmed.

14. Trust The Equipment

Trust the equipment, Kelsey told herself.

It was time to trust the process, too. The equipment was sound and sturdy, built by Wave Exploration, one of the most famous building names in the world. Wave knew all about the deep sea, and it had constructed plenty of vessels such as this before.

Trust The Equipment ©Nicoleta Raftu /shutterstock.comTrust The Equipment ©Nicoleta Raftu /shutterstock.com

Its track record was pristine. Kelsey shook off her doubts about the sub; this high-tech gadget would do what it was meant to do. Wave’s engineers had promised.

15. Countdown

Everything was checked and double-checked, and a countdown commenced.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…and then Kelsey and her crew were dropped into the dark waters. Though fearful, Kelsey knew she was with the best of the best.

Countdown ©Dolores M. Harvey/Shutterstock.comCountdown ©Dolores M. Harvey/Shutterstock.com

All three had been with her at NASA for years, and they’d trained for this mission for a long time. Kelsey looked at Vanessa, Luke, and John and smiled, but, when she faced forward, the smile dropped from her face. An expression of unease replaced it.

16. Dark Water

The ocean wants to kill you.

That phrase had been uttered by Kelsey’s instructors time and again, and she believed them. The ocean was as inhabitable as outer space, and, as an added “bonus,” it was filled with creatures that viewed humans as a food source.

Dark Water ©Rich Carey/Shutterstock.comDark Water ©Rich Carey/Shutterstock.com

When it came to the Arctic Ocean, the dark water was a creature in and of itself. Swirling, black, and menacing, it swallowed the light from the submersible with ease.

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