Read this question first. What follows is a story I wrote in response (which kinda technically broke the site guidelines so it got deleted).
June 12th, 2067.
We're hovering down the windy, decrepit old road that used to be CA Highway 50, en route to South Lake Tahoe. Its so freaking hot, even at this elevation. There wasn't much snow this winter, and unlike when I was a kid, the snow doesn't last as long into the early summer as it sometimes used to. I remember skiing under the July 4th fireworks at Squaw Valley, when I was a teenager. Those were the days.
The lake used to be so blue. But with the climate shift and the slow but steady temperature rise, more and more algae were able to find it a hospitable environment. Despite its massive size, its always been a mostly motionless lake, feeding no rivers and being fed by none. And so nature took its course, changing what was once blue into what is now green. And carnivorous.
The cattle grow restless as in the back as we near the water's edge. Somehow they can always tell the difference when we're moving over water and not land, and they do *not* like it.
There used to be gambling in South Lake Tahoe. I remember spending birthdays in my early 20's there, pumping quarters into the slot machines. Once I nearly won a Corvette - if I had only put in 3 quarters instead of one. We'd regularly get drunk at night on booze bought with bucketfuls of coins. That was back when we still used coins. The strip is an overgrown ghost-town now - no one's lived in Tahoe since '58, when the last remaining locals either moved out or were...well...consumed.
The first whisperings in the early 50's came with a missing fisherman here and there. Then a family out waterskiing for the day. For almost a year, foul play was suspected. It was foul alright, but play had nothing to do with it: rumors started to run rampant of some kind of freshwater shark, or perhaps even a re-awoken dino, ala-Nessie. And then one day a kid with a webcam saw one of the first one to be seen on camera - a massive land-mobile creature, resembling probably most closely a squid, but with hundreds of small, muscular, leg-like appendages on the bottom of its torso (for lack of a better word). Its beak, rather than the upper and lower joints found in most of nature, was more like an octagon. The mouth alone was the size of a Volkswagon.
The rear hull creaked to life as the first cow was hoisted out and slowly moved back over the aft of the ship, lowered to just a meter or so over the water rushing beneath it. We were cruising at roughly 70 knots, which had proved to be a speed slow enough for the gunners to work efficiently at, and still fast enough to tempt the beasts to the surface for an easy meal. They would come from beneath, and behind - so while we could see the dark mass begin to appear in the water behind the bait, the cow never saw it coming.
Tourism essentially fell off completely in '52 when the first video went live. Scientists from across the planet descended upon the town, however, and for a brief while gave some semblance of life to it. But as there continued to be less and less sustenance in the lake, the beasts began to roam further and further ashore, and it seemed as though anything larger than a small cat was likely to be considered edible. When a whole research team went missing near Zephyr Cove in November of that year, the government finally stepped in. The lake and the banks surrounding it for 20 miles in any direction were declared emergency government property, and anyone still stupid enough to be living within that radius was evacuated.
6 years later, they called us. The creatures had now been spotted within a mile of the safety zone border, and it was estimated they had decimated most of the ecosystem between the lake and mile 20. They'd soon need to roam even further, and that would mean they'd soon find new bodies of water.
Target acquired. On my mark...fire, fire, fire - my spotter called flatly into the PA system.
Man-eating fresh-water squid sold at almost $2000 an ounce in many parts of Asia.
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