“I’m telling you, the seismic readings are fairly clear at this point. It’s down there.”

“I mean, I believe you, but how?”

“From what I understand, the outer surface of the inner core is reinforced with hexagonal plates that hold back the sea of molten rock. There’s no external path inside- its body is armored in all directions.”

“Where does the head go? Or the legs? Or any other part of its body, for that matter?”

“Whatever soft tissues it has are entirely stored within the shell. Everything that would normally face outward, faces inward instead. It has two sets of feet, which tread upon one another as they walk.”

“Well, that doesn’t sound much like a turtle at all, does it?”

“It’s an unusual creature, to say the least, though ‘turtle’ is better than any other nomenclature that’s been proposed. Someone could try to argue that it’s a pangolin, or a crustacean, or even a snail of some kind, but none of those descriptors quite work as well as the turtle comparison.”

“It just seems too poetic, mythological. The world resting on a turtle’s back? It’s as though we’re pandering to the past, trying to fit this thing into our own outdated ideas.”

“Well, what do you think?”

“To me, it sounds like it’s an egg waiting to hatch. Why else would the whole body be condensed into such a small space? Surely, it just hasn’t matured yet.”

“As far as we can tell, much like a turtle, its body is fused to the outer shell. If it were an egg, it would be designed to hatch, but the creature itself clearly could not survive this- sudden exposure to the heat and pressure of the inner Earth would mean certain death.”

“So it’s all alone in there?”

“Maybe, maybe not. There could be a whole ecosystem inside that shell- it’s hundreds of miles across, after all. There’s room for a lot more than just the turtle’s body, and probably even an atmosphere. We don’t have equipment precise enough to really know for sure.”

“Huh. What do you think he thinks about down there, all day? Do you think he dreams about what’s out there, beyond his shell?”

“Well, consider things from his perspective. What’s inside his shell is, technically, also outside his body. He likely doesn’t know anything beyond those boundaries, or understand what it is that he holds upon his back. As far as he can tell, he doesn’t even have a back, after all. His universe is that which his shell circumscribes: nothing more, and nothing less.”

“Hmm. There’s just one thing I can’t quite reconcile in this model.”

“And what’s that?”

“Are there others like it? And, if so, how do they mate?”

He laughed. “You’re not alone in wondering that. There are a number of hypotheses, but everyone in the field has a favorite. Mine goes like this: Buckminster Fuller once said that ‘love is metaphysical gravity,’ and, well, when it comes to these turtles, I think a variation on this statement is far more accurate. If we assume that there are more such turtles, and watch the way the planets and their moons dance, it all starts to make a bit more sense.”

This turtle has been discussed at length previously, in a different underground.

It is difficult to reconcile these findings with those of ymirographers.

As far as the turtle can tell, our world is surfaceless.