Imagine yourself in a pitched naval battle with the forces of Good, with the waves crashing and the salt spray flying, when all of a sudden a gigantic form rises out of the midst of the opposing fleet and seizes their flagship with massive tentacles in an unbreakable grip, using suckers as big as dessert plates, and draws it in towards his or her nasty spiky maw. Pretty attractive, right? If you are able to control a gigantic nightmarish beast like this and get it to do the dirty work for you, you will probably find that even the most stalwart adversaries would be inclined to take a pass on whatever else you might have in mind that day. There are, without a doubt, quite a number of sticking points on the way to the desired result, but if you are able to cope with the details of this battlestopping effect, your bid to everlasting fame is virtually a lock.
- On the hunt. If there are no eggs to be had, you will need to come up with a wild kraken that you can call your own. Concentrate on searching for krakens in seas that actually have giant cephalopods in it (note: this rules out most freshwater bodies). If there are no marine monsters, you only going to waste time. Many newspapers and books of lore are good sources of reports describing exact locations and habits of aggressive krakens and may even tell you what will lure them into your snare. You can also ask around at seaside taverns, angling shops, marinas, and insane asylums in the general area. You can also check by throwing in large livestock or the like and waiting a few minutes for signs of predation. Once you have located one, you can attempt to net it, harpoon it, drug it, or enchant it. (Never use dynamite or any explosives to catch a kraken. You can kill yourself doing so and it will spoil the creature's fighting spirit.) If harpooning was successful, try to ease the barbs of the harpoon out inflicting as little trauma as possible to the animal — do not simply rip the hook from its side, gently BACK it out, so that it comes out the way it came in. There are special tools designed for de-harpooning a kraken, although these are often rather costly for something you will likely use only a few times.
- Preparing the monster. Difficult as may be, obtaining a kraken is the easy part in working with these creatures. The difficult part is inducing it somehow to reintroduce it to the open sea on your own terms, without getting crushed or bitten, having it turn against your own forces, and so forth. Wild beasts such as krakens can be quite a nuisance to work with, as it can be dangerous to make extensive physical contact with them. Bending them to your will as part of an evil scheme can be in some ways very easy and yet very difficult. Most who have tried it, however, rarely find it very boring. Simple operant conditioning techniques where you reward the desired behavior and provide negative reinforcement for undesired behavior are useful with those varieties of kraken which possess both higher brain functions and a reasonably predictable temperament. Do not taunt an intelligent animal or attempt to belittle it. This will only make matters worse for the trainer, and make it more likely to avoid people, which is the opposite of what you intend. When dealing with less docile types, massive adamantine chains and strong psychic wards are perhaps a better bet.
- The release. In most circumstances, it is not possible to rehearse the big moment ahead of time, as the kraken you went to so much trouble and expense to obtain will likely be lost to you, injured, or killed (or the same could be true of your henchmen). You can practice this maneuver with a stand-in for the animal or engineer the operation with enough failsafes to provide assurance that the real thing can be performed safely and successfully. In your detailed plans, break down the operation into its component parts: transport, remote control barrier removal, incitement to violence, and mop-up.
Strokes of genius
- Raising baby krakens. If you have obtained krakens from eggs, you may be able to bypass some of the trouble and expense of hunting and taming wild krakens. You will need to nurse the young until they are old enough to ensnare prey on their own. When they show some confidence as hunters, move them from the small squid farm to a larger expanse of open water, with an electric perimeter to keep them from straying. Here they learn how to find food, lurk in holes and crevices, swim, squirt ink and interact with other juvenile krakens. When they are ten to twenty years old you may begin training the by now fairly huge creatures to attack small boats and isolated swimmers, working them up to full-scale attack training
- Boy or girl? Sexing a kraken--determining whether it is male or female, not that other thing--may be difficult, depending on the exact variety you have. As in many squid species, females may be significantly larger than males and correspondingly more useful in a fight. The most sure-fire means of determining sex is to observe the production of actual eggs by the individual in question.
- She's all yours. In some cases, you wish to unleash your kraken on a very small number of opponents, potentially a single person who has incurred your displeasure. You can take advantage of this by introducing your captives into the kraken enclosure instead of needing to go the the trouble of releasing it. Be sure that the captives are indeed helpless to escape their own destruction, lest they come up with a way to escape or, worse yet, damage or kill an expensive sea monster.
- Dry ground. Certain types of krakens are capable of leaving the depths and of moving around more or less freely on land. These include such hybrids as were-giant-squid and giant sea stars. If you can come up with one of these, exciting new techniques of siege warfare become possible. Be sure to keep the land kraken adequately hydrated, avoiding such warning signs as sunken eyes or an emaciated, listless appearance.
Traps for mere fools
- Too close to home. Krakens can be troublesome neighbors when you have an underwater lair. When you are training your charge, try not to create a positive association between the food rewards and the environs of your compound if at all possible. Plan the release at a comfortable distance from your underwater base of operation in case it decides to stay around, and try your best to stay clear of its devastation while it is going on.
- Wrong-way Corrigan. Once the release has come off, withdraw all your own forces that you care about from the field (or waterway) of battle. If you rout the opposing fleet only at the cost of devastating your own, that is likely to be counterproductive. If henchmen of yours are bitten but not yet dead, do not forget to treat for venom if that is a feature of your kraken's arsenal.
- Foolish displays of affection. DO NOT pet the kraken. That is a VERY bad idea.
- Overfeeding. It is easier to induce a wild kraken to venture forth if it is not fully sated with a steady diet of victims you have provided.
Precious and needful
- Polarized sunglasses.
- Amphibious forces.
- Steampunk submarine.
- Cut bait.
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- Image credit Tentacle by nixter
- Image credit Beware the Space Kraken by Don Solo
- Image credit Jay by Flipsy
Created by: . Last Modification: Sunday 15 of August, 2010 06:48:13 EDT by .