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Friday, December 27, 2019

Deleted Scenes from Shark Station

Warning! This blog post will contain spoilers for anyone who hasn’t finished reading Shark Station yet. Skip this post if you haven’t finished reading the story.
Like with Allie’s Return, there were several chapter rewrites and extensions added on to different scenes to enhance the story in Shark Station. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing only one of them, but it is an entire chapter. I hope you enjoy!

Originally, chapter 14 was the first chapter to introduce Shark Station and it was much shorter than the one in the final version. I wanted the exploration of the station to be more gradual than it was, so I added several additional pages to chapter 14. Here was the original chapter 14:

Chapter 14
The stationed loomed ahead—all four floors of it. A mild light shone from the myriad of windows on each level. Circular, most of it jutted out from the trench wall. It appeared as if part of the wall of the trench had been carved into to anchor the station and the rest of it bulged out from it. It reminded me of a house on a hill, where some of the house resided inside the hill and the rest of it hung over it.
“Wow, that place looks amazing.”
“Let’s see how well it has stood up the pressure all this time. We won’t know what we’ll find when we get in there.”
I knew that voice. It was Dr. Avraham. Why was she here? Shouldn’t she be in the control room guiding the ship in?
As if to answer my question, she explained, “The ship will do the docking automatically from here. According to Mayor Cho, an access code is necessary to open the docking bay. I’ve entered it into the system, so we should be good to go.”
“Where is the docking bay?” wondered Samantha. Maybe she’d forgiven Dr. Avraham, but I hadn’t. I’m one to hold a grudge.
“On the bottom level of the station facing directly toward us. We should be docking in a matter of minutes.” Her voice diminished as I heard her walking away. “Best to get your stuff ready so we can go. I don’t think any of us want to be on this ship anymore.”
Or with her, I thought but didn’t say anything.
The crowd around the window broke up and the majority of us went to the sleeping quarters to gather the rest of our things.
Being eager for this day for a while, I had already packed most of my stuff earlier today. Only a few things remained outside my bag, so I quickly stuffed them inside and returned to the kitchen viewport.
By now, we’d arrived so close to the station that it took up the entire viewport. The doors of the docking bay started to slide aside. Compared to the docking bay doors of Oceania, these were tiny. I began to wonder if the Spirit of the Sea would even fit. Glad for the computer systems guiding the ship in instead of one of us, I watched as the interior of the docking bay became visible.
Just as in Oceania, a blue light lit the interior of the space. Five seacrafts already were inside. Two seamobiles, two exploration vessels that could seat two, and one mid-sized vessel. Still, there was plenty of room to dock the Spirit of the Sea on the right side of the bay where it was empty. 
A sound a whoosh pushed us forward as the docking bay doors closed. A blaringly loud sound erupted from somewhere and the blue lights began flashing red.
“Is something wrong?” I wondered aloud.
“I don’t know. It’s hard cause none of us have been here before.” Dylan came and stood beside me, his bag slung over his shoulder.
The two of us watched as the water was removed and then the lights stopped flashing and turned from red to white.
“I guess they designed things a little differently here than they did in Oceania.” Dylan shrugged and spun around. “Come on, let’s get off this ship.
Agreeing wholeheartedly, I grabbed my bag from the floor and went to the staircase. At the bottom, Dr. Gomez was already there pressing the button to open the hatch to the docking bay. With a hiss, the door released and a whirr emitted from the floor as a stairway came down from under the floor of the bottom deck.
Waiting until the stairs reached the bottom of the docking bay, we stood behind Dr. Gomez.
“I better go outside first. There’s no telling what condition the robots of the station are in. If they’ve malfunctioned, I want to be able to attend to them. You two stay behind me.” Dr. Gomez began descending down the steps.
Dylan and I followed, staying a few steps behind Dr. Gomez. When we reached the floor, I noticed it was still a little wet.
Odd, that was different than Oceania. Most of the water was always drained out. It could be described as a little damp, but wet—never.
“We should have been greeted by the robots upon entrance.” Dr. Gomez’s brown eyes searched the area, not moving a muscle. “This is weird.”
Another hiss emanated across the way to our right. All three of our heads spun towards it.
“Hello, welcome to Shark Station.”
I released the breath I hadn’t realized was stuck in my chest. An older style robot, gleaming metallic silver had come into the docking bay. He was a hover bot, meaning that he had no legs, only a torso, arms, and a head. His body appeared to be made of a bunch of different circles. His head, joints, torso, arms, and everything but his hands were made up of circular pieces of metal.
“How may I assist you? My name is Zoid.”
“Hello, Zoid. I’m Antoine, the chief engineer on this mission.”
“Hello, Antoine, nice to meet you. Who are your other mission mates.”
“This is Dylan Baker and Allie Baker. There are seven more in the ship. They could use some assistance unpacking all of our belongings. Are you the only functioning bot here?”
“Oh no, there are four of us in all. Myself, Xeta, Yeta, and Weta are all fully functional and capable of helping you along with your mission here. Should I call the others to come to help you unpack?”
“Yes, that would be helpful.”
“Very well. It is complete. They will be here momentarily.”
“Thank you, Zoid.”
“You are welcome.” Zoid headed up the stairs and inside to help.
“What should we do?” wondered Dylan.
“You two can help me check out the station and see what condition it's in.” Dr. Gomez slung his bag over his arm, holding it in place as he spoke.
“What about Max?”
“He can catch up later. If I find anything wrong, I’ll ask him to help me fix it. Now, come on.” Dr. Gomez took off in the direction from which the robot had appeared.
Following him, we jogged to keep pace. When we reached the door, it opened automatically for us and we found ourselves in a corridor wide enough for four people to stand abreast.
“Which way now?” I wondered, wishing we had the blueprints or at least a map of the station downloaded on our c-coms.
“Let’s try every door on the corridor and see where it leads.” Starting with the door across from the docking bay, Dr. Gomez peeked his head inside. “That’s the moon pool room. Let’s go inside.”
This moon pool room made the one on the Spirit of the Sea look like a child’s playroom. This one was massive. A hole probably the size of half an Olympic-sized swimming pool took up the center. The cover was on it, so there was no telling what was underneath. Hanging from the ceiling were cranes and other equipment I didn’t recognize. On the right-hand side was a set of closets, hooks, and what I assumed was a changing area. A pod that resembled a submersible was off to the side of the pool. Clad in all yellow, it was hard to miss. Two ROVs rested against the wall.
“This room looks fine, let’s check the next one.”
Dr. Gomez led the way out and we followed him around the corner to a dead end with one door to the left. It led to a storage room, so we moved on from there, deciding to check it out at another time. Turning around, we weaved back to find a wet lab and the maintenance room before finding the stairs and going up them.
The second level reminded me of a space ship. It was cool. There was one corridor that appeared to wrap around the entire station. Large viewports were cut into the outside wall giving us a big black view of nothing. Still, if there was something to look at, we’d see it.
Not far from the stairs was a doorway that led into a room that took up the entire rest of the level. At the moment, it was mostly empty except for a few plants growing in small trays near the center of the room.
“This must be the Hydroponics Room,” surmised Dylan.
“Yeah, I think you’re right,” assured Dr. Gomez, walking inside and inspecting the trays. “We’ll leave the assessment of this room up to Dr. Avraham. It looks like we need to get this up and running soon so we can support ourselves.”
Dylan walked around the room and I did too, but it wasn’t long before Dr. Gomez beckoned us up to the next level. It was similar to the second level, except the central area was split into rooms. There was still a wraparound corridor that had viewports all along the corridor walls. We found the Med Bay, Kitchen, Exercise Room, Sleeping Quarters, and even an Entertainment Room on this level.
Finally, we made our way to the top level—level 4. This level reminded me of the Spirit of the Sea.  At the top, there was one large area with a wraparound window so that they could see into the corridor and the ocean through the various viewports beyond. It was mostly empty, but there were a few chairs scattered about. On the opposite side of that was the Engineering Lab and robot charging stations.
Dr. Gomez swung his bag off his arm onto the floor and stretched. “Well, I guess that’s it.”
“This place is amazing!” I said, walking forward to touch the durapane or glass or whatever the windows were made of.
“I know. It’s huge. We won’t get so sick of each other here, that’s for sure,” said Dylan, admiring the place.
“True, but we should probably get back down below. The rest are probably wondering where we went off to.”
“Do not worry about that, Zoid has told your team members of your intention to search the station,” came a voice from behind me.
This time I did squeal and spun around to see where the voice had come from.
“Hi, I’m Xeta. I’m the main cleaning robot around here. I was charging when you arrived and just finished, so I got Zoid’s message.”
“Good, thank you, Xeta. If you could send a message to Zoid to tell him to let the others know we’re coming back down, that’d be great.” Dr. Gomez picked up his bag off the floor.
“I will certainly do that. I will see you all later.”
Returning to the docking bay, we found the others were already gone. Zoid told us that they had taken their belongings to find room in the Sleeping Quarters. So the three of us ascended the stairs again, still lugging our bags with us.
Before, we’d just peaked into the sleeping quarters and not really examined it. This time, when we walked inside, I realized just how large it was. It was spread out with a corridor wrapping around, but unlike the outer corridor, it divided and branched off into two smaller ones. The bathrooms were in the center of the area with additional rooms flanking either side. Men and women had separate bathrooms unlike on the Spirit of the Sea, but at each corner was another smaller bathroom.
“Hey, Allie! Over here, you can have the bedroom next to mine.” Samantha beckoned be to her from the other side of the corridor. We took a right and went down to the rooms only a door away from the bathroom.
“The one next to the bathroom smells funny, so I chose the next one. I’m in room 17, you can be in room 16.”
“We can each have our own room?”
“Yeah, there’s plenty enough room so we don’t have to share. They’re tiny rooms, but still. It’s better than sharing bunks with nine other people.
Samantha did have a point there.
Opening the door to room 16, I noticed a twin-size bed to the left and only about one pace to the right was a small desk and chair. A shelf on the top held space for some belongings and a closest a tad larger than me was in the corner behind the door.
“I know they’re small, but you could just call it cozy.”
“True, but to have our own space to get away.”
“Yeah, it’s nice isn’t it.”
“You bet.”
“All crew members, please find your way to the corridor outside the sleeping quarters. A meeting is necessary.”
Oh, just great. Here we go again.
I threw my stuff onto the bed and left the room, not bothering to lock it. It’s not like anyone was going to steal my stuff or anything.
Samantha and I weaved our way through the corridors and out to the outer corridor by the viewport. Almost everyone else was already there.
“Hello everyone. Now that we are in Shark Station, I will be in command here. Things are going to be very different from the way that they were on the Spirit of the Sea. Now, I understand that everyone is tired and they just want to get settled in so we’ll eat some of the food from off the ship and we’ll decide what to do from there,” explained Mrs. Baker. “Now, we’ve been lucky that one of the robots has prepared a meal for us out of the remaining food, so let's go eat now and then we can talk.”
My grumbling stomach could agree with that.

I hope you enjoyed the final blog post for Shark Station. In the Oceania: The Underwater Series Boxset, there is an additional deleted scene for Shark Station you can only read there. So, if you haven’t picked up a copy and would like to, just visit my website elizataye.com. If you ever want to reach out to me, you can email me at elizataye@gmail.com. I love hearing from my readers, even if it is just casual conversation. 😊

The next blog posts will be for the next novel in the Oceania: The Underwater City series. If you want to stay updated on the book's release, cover reveals, and the title reveal, visit my website at  https://elizataye.com/news/ and subscribe to the news blog to be the first to hear about it.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Reality vs. Fiction: Animals at Depth

It is often said that we know more about space than we do our own oceans. I find that statement to be so true every time I do research for the Oceania novels. The gaps in current knowledge of marine science are vast but are being filled with every new dive to the deep. In Shark Station, I took more liberties than I had with the previous Oceania novels due to these gaps in knowledge. I’ve discussed some of the reasons before in the author’s note of the novel and in previous blog posts. However, I want to highlight the differences between reality and fiction in Shark Station for animals at depth in this post.

For Shark Station, it is true that I wanted to feature more sharks than in previous novels and to do that, I took advantage of the lack of knowledge of the sea creatures in the Sirena Deep. Unlike Challenger Deep, there’s less known about the Sirena Deep and if you want, you can read more about it from my research blog post for this novel (click here to read it). In Shark Station, you read about shortfin makos, blue sharks, great white sharks, goblin sharks, and frilled sharks. Only the shortfin mako, blue sharks, and great white sharks are featured at depths already documented by science in the book. The goblin shark and frilled shark that Allie encounters are both featured at depths far deeper than they have so far been documented. Frilled sharks only dive to 1,570m (5,150.9ft), which is almost half the depth they are featured at in Shark Station. The goblin shark has been found as deep as 1,300m (4,265.1ft), which is nearly a fourth of the depth I placed them at. Both of these sharks are still mostly a mystery to science and it is possible that in the future they may be observed at lower depths than once thought possible.

Physeter macrocephalus, or more commonly known as the sperm whale, was encountered by Allie and her station mates at a much lower depth than they have ever been recorded. If you reference my earlier blog post—SeaCreatures Part 1 – Sunlit Marine Life—from Allie’s Return, you’ll know that sperm whales typically dive down about 1,000m (3,280ft). In Shark Station, they observe it at almost twice that depth.

Allie and her friends see a Dumbo octopus when on the seafloor of the Sirena Deep. However, Dumbo octopuses have been known to only dive to 7,000m (22,965.9 ft). Snailfish, too, have not been observed lower than 8,000m (26,246.7ft). Each of these animals were described at over 2,800m (9,186ft) their currently known depth.

Deep-sea coral has not been found as deep as the Sirena Deep before, but with an area as vast as the Mariana Trench is, who knows what could be down there. Typically, deep-sea coral live in depths of up to 6,000m (20,000ft)(1). In Shark Station, the deep-sea coral they find at the bottom of the Sirena Deep were at over 10,800m (35,400ft).

Overall, my reasons for using the gaps in knowledge was to provide the reader with an awe-inspiring experience of Allie and her friends’ time in Shark Station. I considered whether or not it could even be a possibility that these animals could live in the Sirena Deep. To answer my own question, I would say yes. All of the creatures I featured at depths lower than they typically dive have the physiological adaptations to live at lower depths. The only limiting factors would be the difference in pressure exerted on the body for each species and food availability. As far as location, each of the species described in the trench have been known to inhabit those waters, so with that, I did not take any liberties.

  *As I was doing research for this post, I discovered that the Sirena Deep is NOT the second deepest part of the ocean, the Horizon Deep is. This was confirmed almost seven months after the publication of Shark Station. But the Sirena Deep is still the second deepest part of the Mariana Trench (that we know of). This is a perfect example of how we’re still learning about the ocean every dive and new knowledge is obtained all the time. If you want to read about the first manned dive to the Horizon Deep, you can click here.

I hope you have a greater understanding of the differences between reality and fiction in Shark Station. Perhaps, one day, with further knowledge of the undersea world, we’ll discover that the animal behaviors in Shark Station are in fact, more reality than fiction.

You’ve reached the end of the blog post for this week. In two weeks will be the last blog post for Shark Station and no more blog posts will be posted until after the next novel is released. Be sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified when the blog posts for the next book begin. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at elizataye@gmail.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers.


Friday, November 22, 2019

A Tour of the Depths

In my acknowledgments in Shark Station, I mentioned a VR game called Ocean Rift and how my playing of the game greatly increased my understanding of the emotions and feelings Allie and the other characters could have under the sea. Well, today I’m sharing with you some of the video footage I took while in-game. I purposely chose ones that relate to specific scenes in Shark Station like the Mola mola swim, the deep sea, and Allie and her friends’ swim with Jagger. Ocean Rift VR is still my favorite VR game and I play it whenever I have time. If you’re into gaming and have an Oculus Rift headset or Samsung Gear VR, I highly recommend trying it. One of the best and most unique things about the game is that the animals behave differently for every habitat you enter. I like it because you never know when you’ll discover a new creature or one may come up to surprise you. Anyway, below you’ll find the video compilation of scene reenactments from Shark Station. I hope you enjoy!

You’ve reached the end of the blog post for this week. Subscribe to be notified of the next blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at elizataye@gmail.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Shark Station Dining Menu

Unlike Oceania, Shark Station wasn’t built with all the comforts of a land-dwelling life. Shark Station is more rustic in origin and food is limited to what can be stored for long periods of time or what can be obtained from the sea. So, to give you a taste (pun not intended) of what Dylan, Allie, and their friends had for choices to eat while on the station, see a sample of the Shark Station Dining Menu below.

Friday, October 11, 2019

How to Survive-Research Station Living Under the Sea

How to Survive-Research Station Living Under the Sea

In Shark Station, the actual station isn’t discussed to the level that Oceania was in Oceania: The Underwater City. So, to compensate for that, I will be sharing with you the literal guide to surviving a stay at Shark Station Research Base. This is the guide given to all research personnel choosing to stay at Shark Station to conduct research. It is read to them while they are docking in the docking bay of the station and will give you insight into what the station offers and how living on it is different than living in Oceania. I hope you enjoy!

Basic Introduction
Welcome to Shark Station, this guide will prepare you for deep-sea station living. In our spacious 222,000 square-foot research facility, you will find a hydroponic lab large enough to feed the entire station, a full kitchen-cafeteria, an exercise room, science labs, moon pools, and an adequate and functional sleeping quarters. A fully sustainable system, Shark Station can support up to 50 scientists for over half a decade without outside aid. Living on Shark Station will be different than the life you’re used to in Oceania. Allow me to highlight some of the differences and how you will have to adapt to life on the station.

*Since Oceania uses the metric system, scroll to the bottom to see US units of measurement conversions for each metric one with a superscript next to it.

Shark Station lies 4,420m(1) below the earth’s surface. The pressure outside the station is 44,530.4 kPa(2). The internal pressure of the station is maintained at 1 atm. The interior temperature of the station is kept at a comfortable 21.1°C(3), while the outside is a frigid 3.9°C(4). Only the hydroponic chamber has an adjustable thermometer to allow for the adjustment of temperature suitable for the plants growing inside.

Duties on the Station
While aboard Shark Station, you will be required to perform a duty relative to your field of expertise in addition to your personal research. For example, if your specialty is marine biology or biochemistry, you may be appointed a food inspector to assess the quality of the fish caught to be eaten by the crew. If botany is your specialty, you will be in charge of maintaining the plants for food on the station. The station can only run properly if everyone is involved in its operation. The robotic staff is only for basic support, cleaning, and minor cooking of meals. They are solely not enough to run the station when humans are present.

Food Safety Protocol
All food on Shark Station is grown on the station itself in the hydroponic chambers, caught from outside the station, or brought from Oceania either dried or frozen until consumption. It is your duty and the duty of the onboard food inspector to assure that any and all fish caught outside of the station is safe for human consumption. No endangered species are permitted to be consumed and neither are any animals high in mercury or other toxic poisons to the human body. If no food inspector has been assigned due to no present staff being qualified to be the food inspector, one of the robotic staff will be appointed the food inspector.

Health Safety Protocol
Each stay at Shark Station requires a crewmember with medical experience and knowledge. They will be the head medical personnel and responsible for the health of the entire crew. They have the authority to name anyone their proxy in case they fall ill. It will be their job to see to any injuries sustained while on the station or outside it. They are also in charge of testing the water quality and air quality of the station. All water is recycled throughout the station similar to Oceania and the air must be purified and tested daily. If you notice any abnormalities, you are to notify the head medical personnel immediately.

Rules of the Station
Rules of the station are as follows:
All crew members are to be treated with respect; no inappropriate behavior allowed.
No stealing of food or storage equipment is allowed.
All lab equipment must be cleaned and maintained after each use.
No personal belongings are allowed to be left on the station after the departure of a crewmember.
All common areas are to be kept clean at all times and every crew member is expected to clean up behind themselves in these areas.
Sleeping quarter rooms are the personal space of the occupant, no one is allowed to enter any of the rooms without the permission of the occupant.
Moon pool doors are only to be operated and used for scientific purposes only. The moon pools are not to be used as swimming pools.
All hydroponics must be overseen by a qualified crewmember.
Maintenance and support systems rooms are off-limits to non-essential personnel
Only personnel with appropriate skills in robotic engineering are allowed to tamper with robotic staff.
For a complete list of rules, please review the file that was just sent to your communication device.

Enjoy your stay at Shark Station, may your research go as intended and many new discoveries be made. Remember to disembark with caution.

Conversions to US Units of Measurements
(1) 14,500 feet
(2) 6,458.6 psi
(3) 70°F
(4) 39°F

You’ve reached the end of the blog post for this week. Subscribe to be notified of the next blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at elizataye@gmail.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Special Inventions in Shark Station

With two novels already written in the series, there was little left to invent for this one. Although the majority of the novel takes place away from Oceania, much of the technology and inventions in Oceania are present in Shark Station as well. However, due to the new location for the novel, three new inventions were needed.

Digital Hull Integrity Monitor (DHIM)
Much of the story revolved around excursions to the deep. Shark Station was built as a hub of deep-sea exploration, specifically in the deepest trench in the sea. To facilitate this research, submersibles are used in an excessive amount compared to normal. They spend more time in the sea than in the docking bay, which meant that the hull integrity of the submersibles needed to be constantly checked for any abnormalities. At the depth of the Sirena Deep, any tiny imperfection could cause a fatal implosion. The Digital Hull Integrity Monitor (DHIM), was created to make the inspection process faster and more accurate. It works by scanning the complete hull of the submersible and then creating a 3D image to show the user where any imperfections may be. A human could then inspect it visually to decide how it needs to be fixed. The DHIM also has the capability to analyze the severity of any imperfections to allow the user to make the best decision on whether or not an immediate fix is necessary.

Another Dr. Wilcox invention! The com-stone is meant to work as an extension of the c-com and act as a conduit between it and the omniphones used on land. Using powerful wave technology, it can send signals from the depths of the sea to the highest peaks on land. Interfacing between Oceanian systems and land systems, it can flawlessly connect anyone on the planet to one-another and allow conversations as clear as if the person was speaking beside you.
Shaped like a smooth, round rock, it has simple ways of controlling it. To turn it on, you merely have to sweep your hand over it. Using the lines on a human hand to activate it, it can be programmed to activate to only your unique handprint. Once the holographic projection begins, a menu can be used to access all other features. A simple double-tap on the stone will bring up the menu after the stone glows twice. Turning off the com-stone is as simple as waving your hand over it twice or choosing “off” from the menu.

*Of course, all of this is the dream of Dr. Wilcox and the system hasn’t been quite perfected yet and is still in development. Only part of the features are currently available.

Living in the deep sea has its challenges and being away from Oceania makes Shark Station a particularly difficult place to live due to the lack of resources. Thus, the Fisherbox was invented. Food in the deep is scarce and so placing any bate out into the water is an almost guarantee of catching something. To help supplement the diets of those on Shark Station and learn about new species, the Fisherbox was invented. Shaped like—well you guessed it—a box, the Fisherbox has the capability to catch many creatures of the deep. The largest Fisherbox on Shark Station measures 3m (9.84ft) by 3m (9.84ft) by 3m (9.84ft), but most boxes are around 0.5m (1.64ft) by 0.5m (1.64ft) by 0.5m (1.64ft). They are attached by a cable and dropped through a moon pool and sent below the reach of the station’s lights. There it sits until an organism larger than 20.32 cm (8 inches) is caught, it automatically closes the trap and ascends back to the station and floats at the top of the moon pool until its retrieved. It is more high-tech than any mere fishing rod ever was, but functions in the same way—catch a fish one by one.

You’ve reached the end of the blog post for this week. Check back next Friday for a new blog post or subscribe to be immediately notified. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at elizataye@gmail.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Character Profile and Interview: Dr. Amaya Avraham

***Spoiler Alert***
 If you have not read Shark Station yet, reading the character interview questions and answers below will spoil it for you. This is meant to be read after you’ve finished reading the book.

Character Profile
Name: Dr. Amaya Avraham
Age: 40
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown
Favorite Color: Crimson
Official Job on Shark Station: Chief Hydroculturalist and Nutritionist

Personality Description:
Dr. Amaya Avraham is a curious, driven plant biologist who lacks a sense of adventure outside the laboratory. She has a practical approach to life and believes that every decision should be well-thought-out before executing it. If a decision is made out of emotion rather than logic, she considers it irrational. Willing to do whatever it takes to improve the science of hydroponics, she’s dedicated her life to studying gene expression and how to utilize it to grow the most nutritional plants for the people of Oceania.

Dr. Avraham has the ESTJ-A or Executive personality type. If you want to read more about this personality type, you can visit https://www.16personalities.com/estj-personality.

***Spoiler Content Below This Point***
Character Interviews

Question 1: Why did you volunteer to go to Shark Station?

Answer: I didn’t volunteer, perse. Mayor Cho personally asked me to go. He informed me of the situation at hand and that the individuals on the station would need someone with my expertise in order to keep everyone alive. They would need food to be grown and in an environment like Shark Station, a rookie wouldn’t have been able to keep the plants alive long enough at a healthy state for human consumption. He also told me he chose me for my distance from the situation and ability to keep my resolve under pressure.

Question 2: How did you feel about Allie and her friends after spending a couple of days with them?

Answer: Mayor Cho had told me about some of their misadventures and why they were being sent to Shark Station in the first place. I quickly discovered for myself why they were being dealt such a punishment. They have a clear lack of respect for authority, take unnecessary risks, and repeatedly put themselves and other’s lives in danger. They refuse to listen to anyone they disagree with and act cavalier about getting out of their predicament without a scratch. I detested having to be in charge of them, but at the least, it gave me dedicated time to work on my gene expression research while having free helpers.

Question 3: How did you feel when the teenagers' attitudes changed towards you after the earthquake?

Answer: Honestly, I was shocked. I did not expect that from them, especially Allie, who had clearly held animosity for me the entire stay at the station. Devon was the one I was least shocked about. He acted with an air of professionalism and did his best despite the dismal circumstances. I am most grateful to him for what he did.

Question 4: What did you do while waiting for rescue in the hydroponic room?

Answer: At first, once I was able to stand again, I attempted to make my way to the stairwell to reach the upper floors. The aftershocks blocked the way both up and down, so I was trapped. I didn’t know how long it would take to be rescued, so I used what I could to make a makeshift bed to sleep on. I had plenty of food and water thanks to the hydroponics chamber, but every time I tried to use the communication system to alert Oceania, I heard nothing. It was disheartening, but I had hope due to the hydroponics chamber. I worried about the others since they were in much worse shape than me.

Random Question: What was the most difficult plant for you to maintain the hydroponic chambers?

Answer: Potatoes. They were difficult for a variety of reasons. One was because of their size, but also because somehow, they kept growing a fungus that I couldn’t place. The potatoes that I was using were genetically altered for a shorter growing period and I hypothesize that could have been why they weren’t growing well. They were certainly the ones that gave me the most headaches.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Character Profile and Interview: Dr. Jay Kwon

***Spoiler Alert***
 If you have not read Shark Station yet, reading the character interview questions and answers below will spoil it for you. This is meant to be read after you’ve finished reading the book.

Character Profile
Name: Dr. Jay Kwon
Age: 51
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown
Favorite Color: Blue Abyss (aka Navy Blue)
Official Job on Shark Station: Ecological Specialist

Personality Description:
Dr. Jay Kwon is a reserved, yet passionate abyssal ecologist. Observant of others, his quiet nature is often mistaken for introvertedness, when in reality he is more of an ambivert. Scientific research sparks an internal fire in him that lights up his persona. Otherwise, Jay Kwon is an even-tempered individual. A muted sense of adventure drives him to want to discover all he can about the mysterious abyss. Although dedicated to abyssal ecology, Dr. Kwon also dabbles in other fields such as the culinary arts, computer programming, and even the art style of pointillism in his spare time.

Dr. Kwon has the INFJ-A or Advocate personality type. If you want to read more about this personality type, you can visit https://www.16personalities.com/infj-personality.

***Spoiler Content Below This Point***
Character Interviews

Question 1: Why did you volunteer to go to Shark Station?

Answer: Oh, that is an easy one. I volunteered to go to Shark Station for the opportunity to research the abyssal and bathypelagic. It is an entirely new area of the ocean than where I’ve conducted previous research and I wanted to make comparisons between the two. In addition, having Shark Station already in the abyssal pelagic zone, I was literally where I needed to study. I could leave the station and conduct research with greater ease and frequency than I could in Oceania. This was the opportunity of a lifetime that I couldn’t pass up.

Question 2: What was it like to research the hadalpelagic in contrast to the abyssal pelagic?

Answer: The hadalpelagic and the abyssal pelagic differed only slightly, to be honest. In both environments, the fauna is minimal. In that way, they didn’t differ much at all. However, the amount of pressure and lack of resources differ. Whether on land or in Oceania, the lack of research on the Sirena Deep is immense and any new knowledge that can be obtained is extremely valuable. I was surprised to find coral at the bottom of the sea—literally. The Mariana Trench is the deepest trench in the world, and it is the closest you can get to the Earth’s core without penetrating the crust. I found it to be unique, as I had not found deep-sea coral, well, quite that deep before.

Question 3: When you were at the bottom of the Sirena Deep and you started to feel unwell, what was your first thought?

Answer: [After a long pause to think, Dr. Kwon answers] The pain was all-consuming, so it is hard to think what my first thought was beyond, “this really hurts.” I think I thought that I was going to die and how far away we were from help. Even though we had Dr. Jones, who I have a lot of faith in, Shark Station pales in comparison to the medical technologies we have in Oceania. I began to wonder if I would die on the ocean floor and never be able to finish my research.

Question 4: What did you think about Allie being your designated mentee?

Answer: Allie is a gifted scientist who seems to either doubt herself or be overconfident. She needs to learn a balance between the two. Her sense of discovery is well-developed and she should continue to explore the deep. I have to say that the way she is comfortable in the blackness of the sea is awe-inspiring. It took me a long time to get comfortable being alone in a submersible, let alone something as indefensible as the SCUBAPS. For that, I admire her.

Random Question: What was your favorite food aboard Shark Station?

Answer: My favorite food item had to be the eel-fish wrap. I discovered a new species of eel that grew to at least five feet long based on the specimen I caught. After catching the first specimen, researching it and then releasing it, I caught several others. I began to assume they were populous in the deep and decided to make a meal out of one. I baked it, cut it into strips, and then placed it on pita bread, added lettuce, rolled it up and it was delicious! I even tried it as sushi and it was even better!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Character Profile and Interview: Dr. Antoine Gomez

***Spoiler Alert***
 If you have not read Shark Station yet, reading the character interview questions and answers below will spoil it for you. This is meant to be read after you’ve finished reading the book.

Character Profile
Name: Dr. Antoine Gomez
Age: 24
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Hazel
Favorite Color: Purple
Official Job on Shark Station: Head Marine Engineer and Maintenance Specialist

Personality Description:
Dr. Antoine Gomez is a young, enthusiastic scientist who helps balance the divide between the teenagers and adults on Shark Station. Determined, passionate, and understanding, Antoine’s personality is a blend of a scientific and creative mind. Fairly adaptable, he can be comfortable alone or in a crowd. Both socially and intellectually adept, he does well bridging the gap between the scientific and non-scientific world. He easily finds himself lost in his work and can talk about it for hours on end. A bit of a daydreamer, he is constantly thinking of ways to improve structural integrity underwater.

Dr. Gomez has the INFJ-T or Advocate personality type. If you want to read more about this personality type, you can visit https://www.16personalities.com/infj-personality.

***Spoiler Content Below This Point***
Character Interviews

Question 1: What inspired you to become a marine engineer?

Answer:  When I was a kid, I was mesmerized by the construction of the protective dome surrounding the city of Oceania. I wanted to know how it worked and kept us all safe from the crushing pressure of the abyss. I asked my mother what kind of person studied those things and she told me structural marine engineers do. That was it. I wanted to become one of those when I grew up. I dreamed of designing a material that could withstand fluctuations of both heat and cold, allowing a city to thrive near hydrothermal vents.  At the age of fourteen, I built a model of such a building and tested it small-scale. It failed when I tried to present it at a science convention. However, a gained a mentorship from one of the top marine engineers in the city. She helped me get where I am today and I’m extremely grateful for her help.

Question 2: Why did you volunteer to go to Shark Station?

Answer: In Oceania, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to build a pressure-sensitive system. Of course, you can research and study the ones that are already completed and have been for decades but going to Shark Station gave me the opportunity to examine a station that was built recently (at least compared to the city). It also gave me a chance to think of and begin developing improvements for substation anti-pressure buildings.

Question 3: What was it like for you living on Shark Station?

Answer: I really enjoyed it. I’ve never been in a place as remote as the station before. Unlike a lot of the other residents in Shark Station, I’d never been on a submersible with only a few other people. I’m used to living in a city with millions of people. Living in an environment with only nine other people was definitely a change and I found myself truly getting to know my station-mates. I enjoyed it and spending time with Max. He’s a brilliant mind when it comes to engineering and I see him going far in the field of robotics.

Question 4: What was it like knowing the teenagers were your only hope and the surmounting odds they faced?

Answer: Honestly, I know most adults would be terrified to know their fate rested in the hands of a group of teenagers, but I didn’t. Dylan, Allie, Max, Devon, and Samantha impressed me with their capabilities that they displayed several times throughout the trip to Shark Station and while we were there. I knew they’d do whatever they could do to save all of us, regardless of any personal differences. They’re good people and the determination I saw within each of them let me know we’d survive.

Random Question: Would you have used the SCUBAPS to escape Shark Station?
Answer: Although I am a marine engineer, I would say I’d emphasize on the engineer part versus the marine part. Don’t misunderstand me, I do love the ocean, but as far as swimming long distances in it at depth, that I do not enjoy. In fact, I’ve never swum in the ocean before if you can believe it. I’ve only swum in pools inside Oceania and I’ve rarely been outside the city. I think I would be paralyzed with fear if I had to use the SCUBAPS to swim from Shark Station to the surface. I honestly don’t think I would have made it.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Character Profile and Interview: Devon

***Spoiler Alert***
 If you have not read Allie’s Return and Shark Station yet, reading the character interview questions and answers below will spoil it for you. This is meant to be read after you’ve finished reading the book.

Character Profile
Name: Devon Jones
Age: 17
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown
Favorite Color: Red
Official Job on Shark Station: Medical Assistant
Onboard Mentor: Dr. Amanda Jones

Personality Description:
Devon Jones is a loyal and true friend. Out of all Dylan’s friend’s, he’s the most level-headed and even-tempered. In his home life, Devon has always been pressured to do well. As a child, he had a boundless level of energy that drove his parents crazy. To help him contain it, he was trained in martial arts from the time he was able to walk, beginning with tai chi. Attracted to the sport of martial arts, he chose to spend a lot of his time honing his skills until he’d learned every style of martial arts. At the same time, he began to learn how the body moved and worked. He became passionate about how to improve the lives of athletes with sports injuries and how robotic joints functioned, which led him to his academic focus. Most of the time, he’s consumed with his studies, but he always has time for his best friends.  

Devon has the INFJ-A or Advocate personality type. If you want to read more about this personality type, you can visit https://www.16personalities.com/infj-personality.

***Spoiler Content Below This Point***
Character Interviews

Question 1: How did you feel about being banished to Shark Station along with your other friends when (let’s be honest here), you were the most blameless in the entire situation?
Answer: At first, I was kind of upset. The reason Mayor Cho gave for me being banished as well felt a lot less steep than everyone else’s reason. I thought maybe it had to do with my mother being sent too. Perhaps he knew she’d need a medical assistant. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized Mayor Cho was right. What I did when I fought Mayor Aldridge’s guards was a direct violation of Oceanian conduct. I shouldn’t have been challenging authority like that even if it was for the right reason. [Devon reflects for a few moments, smiling proudly] I did take down quite a few security guards that day.

Question 2: It seems like you’re often dragged along on your friend’s adventures. What does it feel like being one of the more cautious members of the group?

Answer: I don’t know if I’d say I’m necessarily one of the more cautious members of the group, but I do tend to think things out before I do them. I try to think about the positive and negative consequences of my actions. However, I’ll drop anything and rush to the aid of a friend, so in that way, I’d say I’m not as cautious as I might appear to be. I will say that I’m probably the most patient out of all my friends. Waiting for something doesn’t bother me as much as it does most people.

Question 3: What was it like getting to work with your mother onboard Shark Station?

Answer: It was different and odd at first, but as we worked alongside each other, I learned a lot. At home, your mom is your Mom, you know? And working with her and seeing her as a professional in her element was different. She didn’t treat me as a son, she treated me as a colleague. She pushed me to think more critically and to focus on the slight details that can make all the difference. To be honest, I enjoyed our time working together.

Question 4: What was your first thought when Allie suggested using the SCUBAPS to escape Shark Station?

Answer: My first thought was to consider what could go wrong. I knew that it sounded like a viable option, whereas everything else sounded like it wasn’t going to work. Still, the thought of swimming 4,300 meters to the surface of the ocean sounded outrageous and panic-inducing. I still can’t believe we pulled it off. It was the most dangerous time of my life and unlike Allie, Dylan, and Samantha, I’d never had close calls like that before. I had to rely on everything I’d learned in my martial arts training to stay calm and collected in order to do what needed to be done to survive.

Random Question: What is your greatest fear?
Answer: My greatest fear? Hmm, that’s kind of hard for me to answer. I guess my greatest fear would be losing the ones I love. My family and friends mean everything to me, and I’d hate to lose them.

*Devon’s age is based on his age in Shark Station, not the prior two novels.