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To the right of me, I saw Sabrina slice through another searching tentacle. Her body was almost obscured in the clouds of black ink and blue blood, but a quick echo-pulse told me where she was more precisely anyway.

Another rapid call, and I spotted Ondine swimming hard sunwards, ink trailing from her sides. She was escaping the cloud and the tentacles, and I hoped she was not injured.

Lorelei,” Sabrina cried, “get to the Hydra!” In the way of elder sisters she was always reminding me of the blindingly obvious. It was apparent that we had achieved our mission, and that we’d provoked the kraken quite enough to lure it from its deep lair. It was time for the kind of speed that even our powerful tails could not provide.

Still, I waited until I could ascertain that Sabrina was coming too, and then I swam swiftly in the direction of the machine. This deep down the beautiful colors of my tail were dulled to greys and shadows, but as we angled sunwards the shimmering blues and greens became visible. I admit I was always vain about my tail. What mermaid isn’t though?

With Sabrina close behind me, I saw the Hydra loom up pretty fast. The sleek, brass and steel machine resembled nothing so much a sharp–edged fish. Already four of my remaining elder sisters Tethys, Ondine, Nerissa and Ianthe were at their stations, clinging to four of the six control positions. They looked remarkably calm considering what was about to launch itself after us.

I quickly took my place, tucking my tail in tight against the Hydra, and locking my arms into the control glove.

Sabrina was in a similar position within heartbeats. Six sisters, six controls and six heads. My father was not without his little quirks, but family was everything to him, and he had made this machine for his girls.

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