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Karmon Kuhn

Sea the Depths Trilogy and The Penny Drops

Copyright © 2021 KuhnWorks Publishing

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations (four sentences or less) in a book review.

For more information, contact

KuhnWorks Publishing


ISBN: 978-1-7365722-0-7

First Printing, 2021

To my incredible 6th graders: past and present. Your enthusiasm about my dream has kept me going! I couldn’t have done it without you!

Chapter 1


he said she’d never leave me, and now she’s gone, I believe she meant it. I first saw Penny from a hospital bed. Not that I knew what a hospital was at the time, or how I’d come to be in one.

Surrounding me were rudimentary technologies. Bulky metal instruments scattered the floor around the platform on which I laid, and large, square storage solutions lined the walls. I adjusted my position a bit. That made my arm sting. I was hooked up to a bag of clear fluid via a tube and small needle.

Shocked, I jerked on the tube to remove it from my limb, and in the process, I managed to topple over the bag and metal branches that held it up. The clattering noises echoed out of the room, and soon after quick click-clacks approached.

Two humans charged in. Females, I presumed. A small one with loose-fitting, monotone clothing and dark, delicately woven tendrils around her face; and a young, slightly larger one with a silver mane. The last, like a beautiful creature that I’d seen in an ancient human text from my study. A badge clipped to the breast of her shirt read “Penny.”

As soon as I saw them, the morning rushed back to me. It began to make sense how I’d ended up unconscious. My eyes lost their focus on the humans in front of me as I recalled.


I’d begun this day at the tsez̈ø (educational center) where I’d received my rushed, mandatory training. It was tucked deep into the crust of the Pacific floor many leagues from the southern California coast, so I was urged to leave early in order to arrive landside before the daylight hours. I reviewed details about human life as I rode the waves up-ocean in my juz̈uṣùs̈, the spherical underwater vehicle of the Oɦiṣod, my people.

When I arrived near the shore, I pressed hard on the navigation tools and halted. I puffed air through my cropped nostril slits with hesitation. Leaving the juz̈uṣùs̈ was dangerous, and the world beyond a mystery that I had not yet experienced. My clawed fingers grasped the navigational panel, and my eyes wandered around the surfaces of my transport. They bounced from my collection of retrieval supplies of suits and bindings to the algaeal fuel adaptor in the back, to the oxygen absorption channels above. Lastly, my eyes sank down to the escape hatch and lingered. Was the challenge worth the danger? Would reprogramming back home truly be worse than my fate among the humans, unprepared?

I let another long puff of air leave my nose. A sigh of longing. I’d miss the freedom of my juz̈uṣùs̈ and the routine of the tsez̈ø, where I reported daily to train or work. It was the essential hub of all academic and professional life in my colony. I’d ache for the certainty of language study and words and the human books, the underwater cave where I resided, and the freshwater pool where I lounged. I feared that I’d miss them indefinitely, or worse, go without them for a shortened lifespan. Few tsuṣuṣe were lost in the land trials in this day and age, but with months rather than years of specialized training, the risks to my life were magnified.

As much as this state of limbo in the vehicle appealed to me, I gathered my satchel of supplies and set the juz̈uṣùs̈’ controls to camouflage, rendering it invisible in a tall drift of ocean sand. From there, I swam toward shore and scanned the waves carefully as I paddled closer to the beach with my tail. When I reached the shallows, I bobbed, barely raising my eyes above the water. The moon and sun fought for the sky above as I rode a shallow wave into the sand.

Flat on my stomach, I raised only my head to sniff the air and listen. There was no detectable movement beyond sea birds and some crustaceans, so I began the slow journey to the closest outcropping of rocks. It took longer than expected to wriggle to the shelter as the sand did not create much grip against the yellow and black scales of my skin.

Hidden in the rocks, I lay still for a moment and focused on my body, the breath in my nostril slits, the sand beneath my claws. I had to calm myself and prepare for the challenge ahead. My entire life led to this moment when I would walk among the humans, but it should never have come so soon. My training was so unduly rushed, and my anxiety on shore that morning matched the severity of the circumstances.

Regardless, it was time for my modification process to begin. I’d modified before during training simulations but never on land. In that very first moment of change, I knew that the simulations had not prepared me for this agony. A new torture overtook my whole being.

Despite knowing how the changes occurred anatomically, there was something mysterious and new about how my spinal column retracted and my muscles and skin tore. The way the sandy air whipped against my bare tissues as they sewed themselves back together was harsh and horrific compared to the soothing comfort of the ocean’s deep pressure and light currents over wounds from my past modifications.

I’m still unsure how I remained conscious through the popping, oozing, cracking, and ripping that lasted for ages. When my body had finished the greater part of its

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