Chapter One - The Drop-Down

by Mr Marley

Our bags were packed, our valuables were stowed away, the air was fresh and the food was ready - and so were we. Finally, the day was here. After two years of difficult preparation, we were ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

There were four of us who were lucky enough to be chosen to go on this vast quest. Captain Harry Smith was our leader, a famous veteran of the Royal Australian Navy and one of the astronauts on NASA's Shuttle. Dr Sarah O'Brien was second in command, a brilliant marine biologist. Lieutenant Jane Bailey was our navigator, a proven naval officer who fought in the war against terror. And there was me, Dr Stanley Zappa. I had been chosen for the trip after impressing the International Submarine Committee with my work on submarine trenches.

We also had a special passenger, our beloved dog Winston, who was a Maltese-Shihtzu. Winston was there to keep us company, and also to help us learn how other mammals can cope with underwater exploration.

"Ten seconds till drop-down," said Captain Harry.

Our submarine, the Bing & Bong (named after some famous space pioneers), was hanging from the bottom of a larger submarine. We were about to be dropped down into the world's deepest submarine trench, the Mariana, which was near the island of Guam in the northern Pacific.

We all took a deep breath of the fresh recycled air, and Winston yawned.

"Disengage," said Harry, and we felt a shudder from the top of the submarine as the cable separated from the other vessel. That was it. We were off.

Go to Chapter Two