It’s time to meet the 27th featured author of the SSS! Introducing…Emily Skrutskie!
For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.
There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.
But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she’s not about to stop.
An Introduction to Reckoner Typology
By Emily Skrutskie
Hi everyone! I’m Emily Skrutskie, author of THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US. My book is a sci-fi adventure set on the oceans of future Earth. The swollen waters are infested with pirates—if you want to cross them, you’ll need a monster on your side. This has lead to the rise of genetically-engineered beasts known as Reckoners, who escort ships and crush anyone who dares attack them. Reckoners come in several varieties, and today I’ve prepared a nifty field guide to the different types of beasts you’ll encounter in the world of TASU!
Description: These Reckoners are the tanks of the sea. Their primary genes come from snapping turtles, which give them their immense biting power and their armored shell. Their genetic makeup also includes contributions from other sea reptiles, such as marine iguanas and sea turtles. Terrapoids that reach old age can grow to the size of a football field.
Temperament: Terrapoids are fiercely defensive of their ships. They’re deeply emotional, sometimes sweet, and occasionally needy.
Attack Pattern: Claws and jaws. Their forelegs have the force to slash through a ship’s hull, and the crushing power of their beaks is unparalleled. Terrapoids brute-force their attacks, often using their muscle to rip ships in half.
Description: While their primary genetic makeup comes from killer whales, these Reckoners have several modifications that set them apart from their cetacean forbearers. Many in this category are plated, protected by layers of keratin on their heads and backs.
Temperament: With their mammalian brains, cetoids are highly intelligent for Reckoners. They learn fast, but they also have a tendency to push back against their trainers and act sassy, so it takes a strong hand to control them.
Attack Pattern: Ramming. Cetoids, much like their orca counterparts, will build up speed and hit their targets with their plated snouts until the ship capsizes.
Description: The term “cephalopoid” actually encompasses two closely-related varieties of Reckoners—those based on octopus genetics, and those based on squid. They have massive tentacles, as well as pigments in their skin that shift depending on their mood and environment. Their flesh is extremely soft and somewhat vulnerable, as it lacks plating, but it absorbs explosive forces well.
Temperament: Cephalopoids are very smart, and have a knack for solving problems. They’re somewhat flighty and tend to be the shyest of the Reckoner types.
Attack Pattern: Cephalopoids use the crushing power of their arms to attack ships. They’ll wrap themselves around a ship’s hull and use both their beak and their arms to crack the hull open.
Description: These Reckoners combine the elegance of the sea snake with the crushing power of a boa constrictor. They’re some of the fastest things in the sea, and their rows of needle-sharp teeth make them a nightmare to deal with.
Temperament: Serpentoids are the most emotionally detached of the Reckoner types, though they do enjoy curling up against the hull of their companion ship.
Attack Pattern: Wrap and crush. Serpentoids’ instinct to constrict carries over to their method of taking down ships. They wrap themselves around the hull and collapse it like a soda can.
Description: Built from the genes of great white sharks, these beasts take after their ancient relative, the megalodon. They’re by far the most fearsome-looking of the Reckoner types, with rows of dagger-like teeth and an ability to breach clean over a warship’s prow.
Temperament: Ichthyoids are curious animals, but their ability to follow orders is weak. It takes constant attention to maintain control over them, and they need their training reinforced often. They’re sensitive to touch and enjoy being petted by their trainers.
Attack Pattern: Ichthyoids ram from below, diving deep before coming up fast on their prey. They capsize ships in a similar manner to their cetoid counterparts.
Description: The most rare and controversial Reckoner type, these massive sea apes are constructed from the genes of gorillas and snow monkeys. Their nails are razor sharp, and their arms are strong enough to tear through metal doors.
Temperament: Vicious. These are the most intelligent Reckoners the world has ever seen, so much so that there’s a debate over whether we’ve engineered a new intelligent species. They’re extremely social animals and become unstable when isolated from their own kind.
Attack Pattern: Swarm. The only Reckoners to hunt in packs, simioids are unleashed in a group on a target ship. They board the ship and work methodically to wipe out the crew.
That’s the long and short of it, a summary of all the Reckoners that swim the seas! I can’t wait for you all to meet these wonderful beasts on February 8th, 2016 when THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US releases!
Emily Skrutskie is six feet tall. She was born in Massachusetts, raised in Virginia, and forged in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado. She holds a B.A. in Performing and Media Arts from Cornell University, where she studied an outrageous and demanding combination of film, computer science, and game design. Her short fiction has been published by HarperTeen, and her debut novel, THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US, will be published by Flux in Winter 2016.Social Media Links: Goodreads ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest ~ Tumblr ~ Twitter
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