The Scuborg

Summary: It floats amongst the benthic depths, simultaneously beneath and beyond human.

The entity floated amongst the benthic depths, simultaneously beneath and beyond human. It was only discernable from the abyssal blackness around it by the scintillating fabrics that comprised its technological second skin. The colors shifted between blue, red, purple, white, yellow, and green based upon its own moods, as its mind drifted in a narcotic-induced somnolence. Its silhouette was vaguely humanoid, save for bulbous protrusions not provided by nature. A school of anglerfish gathered around it, drawn by the microorganisms and small prey drawn to its illuminated body. Within its shattered mind, it swam through half-remembered memories.

In an earlier life above the waves, it was a person of power. It remembered the name Walt Peterson, an affluent manager and influential executive for a petrochemical company. Naught remained of that era, save for faded images of that decadent, duplicitous life. He once consorted with prostitutes and a mistress while lying to his wife and children. He once conspired with politicians and lobbyists to destroy the environmental laws that prevented him from drilling. He made company with public relations hacks to attack critics and the victims of oil spills and rising sea levels. Like shards of broken glass, Peterson was shattered into a thousand half-wistful thoughts.

The entity was half-ignorant of such things, as it floated half-consciously like a wraith through oblivion. The artificial gills that plied its veins with oxygen carrying molecules also injected a pharmaceutical cocktail of psychedelic substances. It devoured microplastics, heavy metals, and other pollutants through microscopic pores, recycling them into the nutrients necessary for its continued survival. Despite the continuous nootropic injection, the isolation and absence of terrestrial senses was enough to drive the former mogul to madness. The mind that once raged and uttered ribald blasphemies was long replaced by a wistful longing for sustenance.

The scuborg's isolation was rarely broken by machines, humans, or others of its kind. The geo-engineering robots and watercraft dominated the upper reaches of the ocean, while humans had few reasons to venture into the deepest portions of the garbage patches in the ocean. It once encountered a fellow scuborg, but their conversation was not one of intelligent individuals. Non-sapient chatbots, signaling to like ships at night, flashed patterns in ancient Morse code. It would never realize the other scuborg was a lawyer that prosecuted for the excessively unusual punishment of the polluters, having succumbed to the same fate to which she once consigned others. They passed without grasping the greater significance of their meeting, for they both succumbed long ago to the same erosion of sanity. In that terrible vastness of swirling human detritus, they continued their blissful existence as artificial bottom-feeders.