I feel we've spent enough time up on dry land with our past few entries in this series. While the beasts of the land may provide a certain familiarity and concomitant horror for it, everyone knows that the sea is a multi-strata stew of nightmares and madness, and if you really want to injure a human mind, it is visions of the ocean and all that swim, squirm, scuttle and spawn in those terrible depths that we must turn.
The giant squid, captured - in a delicious bit of irony - in the act of attempting to capture a less-giant-squid. How the tables have turned, Archeteuthis.
Squids are different. They're not like you and I. Unless you're a squid, or something else which is like a squid. Perhaps an Octopus, or even a Vampire Squid From Hell. And if you are and have somehow managed not only to pierce the barrier of the sun-lit world but master the language of man, then allow me to bid you a hearty IA, IA, CTHULHU FHTAGN!, and perhaps could you put in a good word for me with the big guy next time you swing by the sunken city of R'lyeh? Giant Squids are even more different, and not just in terms of their size - after all, they share their plus-sized dimensions with the similarly big but lesser-known Colossal Squid. They're different from their fellow squids in that their mating habits are particularly unpleasant, in ways which perhaps not surprise those ancient fishermen whose nightmares they haunted for the many centuries during which they were held in a deep and superstitious dread; specifically, they're apparently quite violent, though many of the specifics of the process still elude us today.
For context, let's have a look at one of the constants that remain true of the mating practices of all squids (and indeed even the horrifying and mysteriously-though-whimsically-mis-name
Squid spermatophores, in their "comin' at ya" sausage-state (left) and "all up in your business" unpackaged state (right)
Spermatophores are essentially packages of flesh-like wrapping containing vast numbers of sperm, as well as a sort of nutritious chemical "yolk" which serves to keep the sperm contained within the spermatophor alive and healthy for some considerable amount of time after the male squid shoots his load. Since squids don't exactly have penetrative sex in the way that we tetrapods tend to, but rather, sort of aim their dicks at their intended mate and then fire off a stream of spermatophores in a manner not dissimilar to one of those baseball pitching machines which unpopular and lonely rich kids who can't find a friend to pitch to them use. Only with sperm. At least it's my assumption that rich kids don't have machines to pitch sperm at them. I don't actually know. And like they say, "When you make an assumption, you make an ass out of you and motion". Anyways, the spermatophores keep the sperm on-target, instead of swimming off in random directions in the water, and have a few ancillary benefits as well, which vary somewhat from one type of squid to another.
Some of them have a sort of enzyme on their surface which - upon contact with flesh - will cause them to burn a hole through said flesh and then embed the spermatophor inside of the body, where the sperm can get to work. The Japanese - whose cultural infiltration some decades ago by Mind Flayers has dulled their instinctive loathing of the horrors of the ocean - provide us with a wince-worthy anecdote in this regard, as a Japanese man some years ago ate a quite-recently-deceased squid which still had active spermatophores in its systems, and ended up having one of these things attempt to impregnate the inside of his throat, burning through the flesh of his esophagus and deposit its rich load of swimmers into the soft tissues of his neck. Unsurprisingly, surgery was called-for here. If it has not already done so, I fully expect this to inspire in the twisted and only marginally human brains of the masters of Japanese culture the notion of zoophile guro bukkake (look these terms up for yourself, kids! Learning is fun! Make sure google's safe search feature is turned off while you do so, or you might miss the really interesting bits that grownups think you're "too stupid" to understand!). Nor are Japanese epicureans the only unexpecting and less-than-thrilled recipients of these little bundles of chemical joy: Certain fish and other aquatic life which are known to prey on squid have apparently been found with scars all over their faces which are evidently the results of them getting face-fulls of spermatophores voided from the bodies of squid as they were being devoured.
The Giant Squid is not known to produce these flesh-eating spermatophores, but nor are they known NOT to; their spermatophores, at the very least, CAN be said to be coated with a gelatinous sheath of ooze of unknown but presumably disgusting purpose. Moreover, their spermatophores HAVE been found, a number of times, sunk deep in the flesh both of females and males of the species. The latter in particular is a source of lurid speculation: Are these the result of deep-sea homosexual trysts, or are they the result of the males attempting to shoot their loads into the waiting flesh of a female and missing, hitting themselves by accident in the process? To this day, we cannot know. Certainly this latter scenario is leant a certain amount of strength by the fact that the Architeuthis is known to have long, muscular penises, sometimes up to THREE FEET IN LENGTH, and it seems that the process of controlling ten limbs, each of them several meters in length as well as coordinating the discharge of this penis during the evidently violent struggle between a male which is itself the size of a big rig and a female which is around 30% larger than themselves might be a bit much of a feat for a creature even with the large and well-developed brain of these kings of the deep.
A slightly mangled and fairly dead, but nevertheless demonstratably manly giant squid.
Possibly complicating this delicate dance of deep-sea desire even further is the fact that these spermatophores have been found in deep wounds along the tentacles of the females in question, suggesting that the males may actually need to slash open their mates' flesh before shooting these sausage-like bundles of love down the length of their firehose-like dongs AT the wounds that they have just produced, all the while thrashing about in the blackened depths of the ocean. How they make their way from these wounds up to the pouches of eggs which the female giant squid is as of yet any one's guess; the various squids of the world do so in any number of different ways, ranging from internal insemination to firing off a mucous-covered sack of eggs in the direction of an attached spermatophor and causing external fertilization, only then to attach the glob of fertilized eggs to the squid's own mantle until they're ready to hatch. There's no one consistent model that they seem to follow.
So, let's review in brief: A giant squid swims up to its corresponding and even-more-giant lady-type and begins to wrestle with her, slashing the shit out of her arms and legs in the process. He then aims his three-foot-long dong at her and fires a swarm of love sausages full of his jizz into the wounds he's creating, where they root themselves, maybe by burning and melting themselves into the ravaged and shredded flesh of her wounded limbs. He then takes off, swimming for his life, after which, the female does whatever mysterious-as-fuck thing she does with these horrible things to make more of herself.
Now I want some fucking calamari, and you do too.