Elijah Bennett Betancourt
By the year 2250, things had gotten pretty grim for Mother Ocean and her children. The warming of the globe caused by man’s pollutants had sickened the Earth causing her waters to rise beyond science’s worst predictions. Cities and islands drowned, people became slaves to the OxyCorp issued oxygen lungs, and their Animachine king, Plastmatifa, changing the face of the planet to one in which a toxic ocean surface covered nearly a third of the waters. A precious few regions of the vast ocean were left suitable for ocean life.
From this man made pollution, emerged a twisted evolution of humans who thrive upon toxins - the Patrelmatons. Plastmatica, the Dark Xen Monk, and his evil horde, the Animachine Front, waged a full scale war against the Earth, together with the OxyCorp, the oligarchial government of the Evostaks - the numb, tax indentured human masses. CleanCor, a synthetic material made at Synth Labs for the refilling of Air Lungs, reduced the risk of peopof the Earth, suffocating the Evos, and putting the Earth into a toxic cycle which only an le asphyxiating in their sleep or during physical exertion, which was common in condensed urban areas or where residency in Clean Air domes could not be obtained. Mountain tops were scaled down to the ground and oil rigs made new forests, lining the ocean’s horizons. The labs also made ToxiCor, providing the Animachines a food source. While allied with EarthCorp, the Earth's planetary goberment prtectorate, the ultimate aim of Plastmatica was to sabotage the labs and provide the Animachine Front with a source of fuel that would trigger further toxicifcation ice age and space travel could solve, thus ensuring SpaceCorps ultimate ends.
The only thing in his way were the Nauherds - the New'ole Earthlings. Secreted from polyps in the depths or by decree of Mother Ocean herself, no one knows. Any change or new advantage in a species will invariably surprise the previous inhabitants. Perhaps they evolved simultaneously when the Petrolmaton was made. Such is the mystery of life. What was unexpected was the rise of a hybrid. A Serferfish. Jack Straw was his name and he heralded the way forward for humankind, as we do not yet know it.
A giant sea snail slugged along the sand between two rocks that overlooked an expansive underwater canyon just off the coast of Under California. The sun shone brightly through the blue waters and the snail, who was called Miles, made out an oblong shape on the surface . A small dot broke off and submerged into the canyon.
"That would be the Reefer Break," mused Miles. "And her captain."
The tiny figure descended and Miles saw the naked limbs of a human, tanned and lithe, in the reflective waters. The man fluttered and propelled towards Miles who saw a lion mane of hair, sharp face and piercing eyes of ice. Bubbles escaped through his ears and each spin and movement was more fish in calculation than human and jettisoned the lanky figure rapidly through the deep.
"Cousin." Two detached snail eyeballs nodded upwards in a friendly gesture.
"Miles," said Jack’s steady sonar voice.
Jack Straw floated over one of the rock cliffs beside the overhead sea snail and created a mysterious energy bubble with his voice, which burst into fantastic lights in front of Miles. In quick response, a similar phenomenon occurred from the eyes of the giant snail and two lights briefly intertwined and spun in unison before retracting to their sources.
"Always a show off" said Jack Straw in a wide smile.
Miles blinked and shrugged. "I grow bored in the deep. I do miss the land, even what’s left of it. Been surfing?"
"Those petrolmatons still after yourn?" asked Miles.
"Sailed over a few on the way here. They must be pretty thick here."
The snail sighed. "More than you would believe, Jackie. They attack the Nauherd settlements weekly and ambush the scouts and capture the Nauherdesses, keeping them as fish slaves to unnaturally inseminate their greasy blood with the Nauherds, birthing twisted and mutated, black-hearted animachines. New fodder for Plastmatica's army. And unlike petrolmatons, the animachines are life-forms and need no toxics to materialize. What's worse, these pitiful, lost Nauherd offspring can withstand Zobsphere attack as well as any full-grown Nauherd fighter fish. In their wake, the settlement waters are polluted and soiled."
The ancient sea snail appeared sullen and worn.
"The old man's had it," thought Jack...
After all, Miles was King of Heirnau and the responsibility for the future of Mother Ocean's survival must have laid heavily on the shell of the old warfisch.
"How 'bout you?", drawled the snail in a slow and deliberate slur of underwater vibration. Jack Straw was reminded that he always detected a Pacific accent in the old snail's sound bubbles. He wondered if the Nauherd had, like himself, once been human, saved perhaps by a lover from the sea.
"Plastmatica still got it out fer ya?" asked Miles.
Jack Straw paused and levitated momentarily before nodding. "It's coming to a head," said Jack. "Just had a run in with his thugs, some dieselers - heavy sized petrolmatons on the way here. Plastmatica, from a safe distance, watched twenty of his minions fall under a combined zobsphere pulse. They couldn't even get within striking distance to launch any toxicans. The currents were with us. Things could have turned out differently."
"Zounds! Twenty dieselers with one combined zobsphere!" ejaculated Miles. "Who's on the Reefer Break with you?"
"Stubbie, Eddie Spaghetti, Elton, some kook my sister brought along, used to be a Marine in the Man Wars. Katherine and Adolfo."
"All humans," pondered Miles. "Who was the additional Nauherd who provided the zobsphere join? "
Two leafy eyperatuses wirled in glee.
"Myeerah," said Jack Straw.
"Ah haha, Myeerah still after ya too then."
"By the kurrents strong she still is," said Jack. "I had no idea until we were attacked. Leaping out of the water, she got my attention and we made a zobsphere that sucked the diesel right out of those greasers' dirty veins. Filled 'em up with ocean water and zoblife. Who would have thought that mob had the makings of fish, but sure enough, they morphed into a school of big purple, jellyfish. Spineless as machines and spineless as fish. Maybe they deserved worse.” Jack chuckled to himself, then shuddered at the thought of bad things that had gone poorly for him and Myeerah. Had not he got involved.
“They swam towards the deep with quicks jets of water. From dieselers to little tentacles and brightly colored blooms. Plastmatica was so mad at my good luck that he nearly fell off that black surfboard he calls 'Deathwind' before speeding off on the darkkurrents."
"Luck?" retorted Miles, his giant shell heaving enormously over the fit, yet relatively puny human form of Jack Straw. "If it weren't for Myeerah, you'd be one dead serferfisch. She's been hopelessly in love with you ever since you drowned in that boating accident and she breathed zobsblood onto you making you the first. A Nauherd. And as beautiful as she is. Her mother a mermaid from the northern waters. Her father a shipwrecked sailor from New Zealand. Fair hair, eyes like blue tide pools of endless promise, a suple figure, and fugs so long and strong to make even a thousand year old snail like myself stir!"
"You sure got a way with words," said Jack in his easy tone. "Alone in my bunk at sea, I dream of those eyes, her womanly figure, and mystifying face. Knowing all along that she is likely not far, swimming the waters just below me."
"Then you love her too" declared Miles seriously, but not without a hint of relief.
"More than any man or fish has ever loved another," said Jack Straw. Eyes of ice stared at Miles and a thick halo of yellow hair swam towards vitamin D.
"So save yourself," said Miles, the giant sea snail. "And her. Or die ist he sklaven!"
Chapter 1: Indo dreaming…
Jack Straw sat at the helm and drying off in the sun, sang to himself. Katherine put a fishing line over the port side of the Reefer Break and sat next to Elton. They exchanged whispers and a sour faced Adolfo sat on the bow and tied knots and sipped tequila from a thermos. The tip of the rod yanked down to the sea and Katherine reeled in a plenty-for-everyone sized Yellowtail. Elton gaffed the fish at it’s side and lifted the pole, hand over hand, out of the water. The gawking tuna urgently opened and closed it’s mouth, perhaps trying to say something important about it’s current state. A feeble protest. A violent splash and Katherine screamed. A white wall of teeth, followed by a megolithic fury, tore the speechless orator down into a cavern of chaotic bloodshed.
“Owwwww! Owwwwww!” wrenched Katherine, her arm wrapped in the gaffing hook line. The huge tiger shark slam danced it’s meal beside the Reefer Break. The line, tangled around the bolus sushi, tightened and yanked Katherine’s skinny arm, cutting into her tanned flesh.
Jack Straw was there in a blur and sliced the line below her hand with a flash of his knife. Katherine was free.
“Motherfucker!” Elton grunted and from inside the bench beside him, grabbed the speargun and shot at the lurching hulk.
Jack reached quickly at the speargun, but Elton sidestepped him and the spear flashed loose and lodged into the shark’s side. A thin red line careened along the metal shaft. The shark outbled the little tuna now.
“There better be a good reason for nearly fucking up my shot.” Elton fumed and leaned into Jack. “Like a fucking spectacular one!”
“You can’t get revenge on a shark” said Jack, shaking his head and smiling. “Unbelievable”.
“Wanna bet,” said Elton. “She bled, he bled. Simple.”
“Fucking G.I. Joe!” Adolfo laughed sloppily, a Mexican bull frog drinking tequila. “Fuck that pinche muddafucker up, shark! Ha-hah-Aaahyyyeee!”
“Better him than me,” said Elton and hummed satisfied and swayed on his feet like a happy dairy farmer.
“You are soooo my hero!” said Katherine and rubbed her arm and her tears and jumped and wrapped her legs around Elton. Elton chuckled and stiffened and squeezed her bikini-exposed ass and Katherine squeeked and squelched and hopped back down onto the deck. Her hand reached at Elton’s shorts. Eddie Spaghetti grumbled and coughed.
Jack shook his head.
Jack Straw brushed past Elton, stepped up onto the swim ladder and with a divers knife in his hand, jumped over the starboard side of the Reefer Break.
“Good time for a swim,” said Elton.
“What the fuck is my brother doing?” asked Katherine. “Fucking freak of nature! Oww!” Katherine rubbed her arm. “Jack!” she shouted. “Forget the stupid shark!”
The tiger shark, disinterested, but aware of the visitor, thrashed and drifted. The eaten tuna metabolized proteins to defend the mega-fish’s bleeding side. She hovered below the surface, partially floating. Blooded and calm, the water. The metal shaft indicated where the sharp, triple-edged arrow cut the shark’s bowells and organs. The spotted dorsal fin listed gainfully, like a capsizing boat, it’s mast sinking into the wild ocean.
Jack Straw surfaced near the shark, breathed deep, and dived back into the water. The body of the shark was a grey mass with lavender streamers, there was a brief thrashing, followed by a long, still silence. Jack resurfaced and hovered on the water.
"Well, I guess we know what's for dinner," said Claudia.
“You are simply crazy, Jack!” Katherine declared.
“Welcome back,” said Myeerah and exchanged a pained smile with Jack.
"You can’t really run that kind of mana,” mumbled Eddie Spaghetti. “Tiger shark, that’sumsa. Kai’lua way’stons! My own brada foun’sum…”
“Friendly fire,” said Elton and chortled and leaned into Adolfo. “These things happen.”
“Americanos are hungry for la guerra!” Adolfo puttered. “La violencia! Pero I know why you shot the pinche cabrone!” Adolfo smacked Katherine’s ass. “La Amarilla!” Adolfo laughed drunkenly.
"Why you dirty beaner, I'm gonna..." said Katherine.
Katherine smacked Adolfo’s face smartly. Adolfo contorted his reddened moon and rubbed his cheek and shook his head and laughed wildly.
“Uh!” Katherine pushed Adolfo and with the roll of the waves, he plopped down on the bench.
Adolfo flashed his tongue and loco eyes at Katherine and hopped back and forth. Katherine squinched her face and puckered, Marilyn style, and blew him a kiss and flipped him the bird. Katherine waved it in the air, Elton and Adolfo watched it. Katherine’s supple hand, the one they had each held all night, did a hula.
“I call that one ‘Freebird’! Katherine sang.
“Play some Skynard,” said Elton and did the farmer sway and chortled away.
The winds picked up and the Reefer Break heeled to port. Katherine exalted in the fresh air and squeezed Elton’s arm, like lovers do. Elton cracked a beer and flicked the bottle top expertly at the shark’s fin. A cool barroom trick. Katherine tittered. The fin submerged, together with the bottle top and the shark faded from the eyes of men and into the primal deep.
“Pinche puto,” slurred Adolfo and glared at Elton.
“Sounds like a stomach ache,” said Elton.
“Sometimes being overwhelmed,” said Jack, “really absorbed by a physical force stronger than ourselves helps us to have humility towards our environment.”
“We called that: ‘having your ass handed to you on a silver platter through a brief encounter with superior fire power,’” rambled Elton. “Wipeout!” He screeched through the maniacal and unrepeatable laughter of the surf anthem and followed the chorus with a fit of chortling, swaying, and grins, and was severely pleased with himself.
Katherine scolded Elton with her eyes and said: “You’re ridiculous. It’s you who was wiping out at Top’s! Kook!” Katherine grabbed Elton’s leg and rubbed it strongly and smiled seductively.
“A head dunk,” said Elton.
“Cuidado, amigo” said the drunken frog. “Pero you’ll get the BEEEG dink!”
“Dunk” said Elton.
“Como?” Adolfo asked.
“Oh look!” Katherine shouted and pointed to a large blue whale. The grey-blue giant breached, turned belly-up and splashed down into the royal blue, life-giving Pacific.
Katherine screamed: “A baby!”
The baby emerged and emulated the maneuver. The white caps peakabooed and glittered across the horizon. The sun was high and the sky was clear blue. A strange white bird, large and ugly, glided steadily overhead, somehow going faster than the Reefer Break, though they were all riding the same wind. Were they not?
Chapter 2: Kat
The winds picked up to ten knots, ending the five day streak of doldrums. The gusts prevailed from the Northeast, pushing the crew of castaways southerly towards Maui. After day twenty, Katherine returned to allowing Adolfo to stay in her stateroom, though she fooled around with Elton during their watch. No one really gave a shit. Katherine’s whims were as shifty as the winds and her mind as difficult to grasp.
[Time to surf.]
The trades picked up and blew steady twenty five knot winds. The seas swelled at fourteen feet and the Reefer Break surfed wave upon wave, for hours and parts of days.
She was a beautiful ship. Sleak from the bottom, wide at the stern. A ketch, a cruiser. She had a large aft cabin and a center cockpit; polished brass, teak wood; all the right electronics and spares; two staterooms, two heads, one with a five foot tub; tons of cold and non-perishable food storage, four burner electric stove; reverse osmosis water system, water heater; wind and solar power; electric outboard motor; bio-Willie powered Volvo 6000 inboard; autopilot, GPS, and a killer sound system that lived through generations of technologies and could play .mp3’s, cassettes and if someone felt like digging through moldy storage, 8-tracks. Record players don't do so hot at sea.
The Reefer was constantly tilted. For the lovers, the rocking seas added a variety of wonderment to the realm of adventure sex. Necessarily, they adjusted to the whims of mother ocean. None of them had any seasickness when it came to a roll in the hay, despite the rolls in the sea. The rhythms of the body, fucking at sea. Synching in time subconsciously to the expansive embrace of the sea. Descending and rising, a touch on the surface, revealing deeper undercurrents. The internal eye, fully open to the vast, transhuman ocean, for they were fully exposed to the sea. The light and the dark. At night, below deck, in the moonlit cabin, the living sea unmasked the lies and shortfalls of the day. She exposed words and unspoken intentions, like a skilled Japanese kabuki actor weaving the complexities of culture and politics with the undulating of a fan. Words returned from the frontline of the day, with humiliation or honor on it’s side and plainly echoed in the minds of their speakers. Lovers and aliens. All alike and each alone. No one but themselves to bear witness, to vouch for their dreams, hopes, nightmares. In the great expanse of the Pacifist ocean, they were embraced by the incalculable vastness of the Blue Mother. When the night lights glowed red, each hand was accountable to her alone. The lovers sweated and moaned and she caressed and rocked them in her supple bossom. At the end of the night, she always got the last kiss ‘good night’. She whispered day and night. Never was there silence. No false, forced quietude. Not an office or a small white room of an apartment. A living organism. She splashed and sprayed and the sails slapped. The ocean bathed and breathed on the crew of the Reefer Break, salting their pores to the bone, until each of them was hers completely. The only thing separating them from the bottomless depths of her immortal embrace was a few hundred square feet of fiberglass…named after a broken joint.
No day without a line. Who said this? Beethoven? Belushi?
The Reefer Break was three hundred miles east of Lahaina Harbor. The winds picked up and the crew found themselves in a strong gale with fifty knot gusts. The main was reefed and the jib was open wide to the wind. The Reefer heeled constantly to port and everyone got use to sitting, walking, sleeping on the portside. Katherine and Elton were on watch since 1500 and everyone else was down below. Jack and Myeerah meditated in the salon. Adolf napped in Katherine’s stateroom. Eddie Spaghetti lounged on the galley bench and, with headsphones plugged into his ears, stared at the screen of a laptop, watching fuck knows what crap and murmuring out loud. His murmurs kelidescoped with the zealous chanting and the calm was somehow unsettling.
Jack scrambled up the hatch. “Where?” Jack shouted over the wind and sea.
Elton unhinged the dinghy violently and worked the controls methodically.”A hundred seventy degrees!” Barked Elton.”Visual?” Elton balanced his legs stoutly on the deck and pointed.
Amid seven foot swells and choppy, dancing whitecaps, Jack could see nothing of Katherine. A swell lurched and briefly exposed her orange lifevest. She bobbed and waved and dissappeared descended down the face of another swell. Jack took the helm and brought her about. Elton lowered the RIB and drifted in the wake of the Reefer, unable to start the unused outboard. Eddie Spaghetti, awakened from his DVD daze, jumped over the port side and with the blessed autism of a water savant, swam trhough the waves and emerged behind the RIB. Elton rescued Eddie with a line and Eddie got to work on the engine.
“Fucking BEEG one!” Adolfo shouted and shot his freckled chin out at the uncompromising sea.
A burrowing ditch preceded a burley, sixteen foot wave. The hurler charged with all of its momentum of existence directly across the path of Katherine’s vestibule of air.
“I see her!” Claudia shook her pointed finger. “There!”
A hundred meters upwind, bobbed Katherine, a hapless tangerine lifevest, drifting away from the Reefer Break. Jack tacked to starboard and kept Kathinerine at their bow. The wind against them was strong.
“La verga!” growled Adolfo, the displaced lover.
A thin thread of white smiled at the top of the wave. The lip, the grin, the rolling, carefree laughter, revealing toothful fangs of ocean spray, hanging over Katherine’s feeble flame of life. The lip curled and waivered, like a toddler unsure of whether to laugh or to cry.
“Ahh!!” Claudia gasped.
The wave exuded it’s joy of being across the small path of Katherine’s air bubble of life, like the car on the country road beats over nature’s path in the course of it’s commute. Grasping at hope, Claudia saw the force of the wave shift it’s direction. The wave hesitated and moved outside of Katherine’s horizon. But that was only from the angle of the tossing boat. The goliath cracked itself up all over Katherine’s tiny morsel of life, swallowing her whole, like a maniacal beast's fatal desert.
“La verga,” prayed Adolfo.
“Take the helm,” said Jack. Jack scrambled down the hatch and dissappeared into the belly of the boat. Claudia sang herself into a trance and tried to reach Katherine’s ears.
“Breathe Kat!” Kat remained below the surface, toiling within the white wash, her body rolling, limbs yanked, coveted pockets of air insurged upon. The massive wave could have been restraining itself, but it made little difference to Kat. The wave, released of it’s energy, dissipated into white trails on the ocean’s transcendent skin. The storm momentarily subsided, as if in a vortex, an eery calm prevaded, but the dark clouds on the outside indicated that it would not be relinquishing it’s hold on the Reefer Break. Queitude laid it’s heavy body across the hearts of the crew. Seeing no sign of Kat’s emergence, Adolfo wept openly.
Jack Straw emerged from down below, leapt beyond the life lines of the Reefer Break, and flew into the sky, like a nimble, ocean bound mammal.
Adolfo kicked the engine into gear and fought against the wind that pushed the Reefer away from Katherine.
“Furl the sails! Get the life raft inflated! Drop the swim ladder!” Claudia called out. Claudia took the helm and Adolfo wandered around cluelessly and picked up life-jackets and useless pieces of rope.
“Bro!” Elton stood in front of Adolfo and pressed his chest firmly.
“Si, si, si!” Adolfo snapped out of his fearful daze. His face was pale and his eyes, hallow. Adolfo’s lips said something, but there were no words. A sea crossed the deck and drenched Claudia, Adolfo, and Elton. Adolfo’s face contorted and he looked pissed off, but got to work on securing the sails.
A swell rocked the Reefer and Claudia leaned into the wave and steadied the healm. The Reefer rose up towards the sky and the illuminating sunball shone through the old white gaurd of the clouds.
Jack dove off the side and darted like a racing dolphin towards the remants of the freak wave that took Kat. Between the vast winds of the sky and the momentus waltzing of the sea, Jack Straw found a path forward. And towards his drowned sister did Jack go.
Chapter 3: The Nauherds
There is no one adjective that describes Jack Straw;
Project Surferfish has no face,
He lives by a natural way.
The way that is tied in with the Mystic Ho
And though it may fall beyond this soothsayer,
To accurately depict this mystical
Manner and manera ’bout Jack Straw,
It is believed that one seed of desire
To transmit a single paint stroke
Of a wisp of the way,
Will reach the reader.
They will know, in one thousand years, that we too hurt.
We live and hope and fear and long to escape
We do escape - into other worlds.
Worlds of underwater post-human Earthers.
Into worlds of epic surf, we fall asleep.
Worlds and words, flowing with real love,
The kind we all deserve.
For fuck’s sake we do. The kind we all feel.
The kind of love that Kat
And Sammie, the White Dolphin, had.
The kind you and I have.
And so we become the adventure.
And the battle for literature is thus waged…
The struggle of the living imagination
Versus the stagnant drone of flashing
And sound and linear, one-sided exchanges.
This is the essence of the great conflict.
The Zobsphere-wielding Nauherds,
Fighting side by side, interspecially,
To defeat the perpetual lure of dull-mindedness,
And the greed of economy
And the anger of it’s unfufilled false promise.
At the heart of this wastefulness, dear honorable King,
Lies the Dark Xen Monkhood, Plasmatica,
Who together with the masses of Petrolmatons
Surfs the Ho from Her Holiness Mother Ocean
And leaves only it’s carcass,
filled with the three poisons.
They are the pollution
And erosion of material obsession,
Making toxic, the fertile soil of the offspring,
The youth, and the sincere.
By all means, Jack Straw thinks to himself,
How can these hurtful deeds be stopped?
Yes, alas, Jack Straw, said Sammie,
The cartooned White Dolphin. How?
By seeking to make all the creatures,
Throughout the ten directions
Of the Zobsphere’s corners,
To be equal in their ability to get sick surf.
But dear honorable lad, said the White Dolphin
The seas will be littered with Plasmatica’s broken drones.
The sea will be free, by my hand, said Jack Straw
And by your Flipper.
Sammie, the animated White Dolphin, winked.
And each will have to them their own.
We will get shacked in the sea
‘til heart’s redemption.
It is only in the barrel of the Mystic Ho
Where the essence of getting shacked can be found.
Oh most wonderful, jazzsensical cat, said Kat
What you say brings great joy
To the heart’s of the assembly.
And to the heart’s of all living beings.
So it is in the ten corners of all the Zobsphere.
Surf lies within the hearts of those who perceive it,
It is not the sea of this world,
on which we surf,
But the faces of the waves that have no beginning
And onto which there is a timeless,
and yes, endless summer.
And through the single minded vision,
To see oneself, skirting past
These legions of Petrolmatons,
Beyond the reach of their twisted, littered wake,
The water will be cleared of Plastmatica’s wretched cancer.
(Voice of Plastmatica): "I am the cancer. I âm the cancer!"
Each creature, continued the Wrecked Sailor Lord,
Without distiction of species,
Shall ride the wave,
which has since it’s timeless inception,
Drowned and tossed these beings
Into a cycle of an endless bummer.
But now, they shall ride until satisfied.
Now, oh varied gatherers of seaweed, they surf!
And, know this, said Jack Straw
To the King of the Nauherds,
This is not because of what I say,
Or by my own doing
Know King that this is the work
Of the wonderment of the vast,
Spaceless and Ageless sea of life
And due solely to the boundless joy that exists in the Ho itself.
Book of Nauherds 2112
Kat came to consciouness and relayed her story to the hapless crew of the Reefer Break, through swollen lips that seemed cosmetically altered. Her face was beyond pale or fair, it was transparent. Iridescent, like a shrimp.
“I followed the White Dolphin down into the sea. It was mentally terrifying at first, but I could easily breathe and swimming was just a matter of willing a direction and velocity. Nor was I cold.” Kat spoke and her neck pulsed and Elton noticed she had slits behind her ears.
Gils, thought Elton, but the slits were so thin and naturally hidden in the shape of her ears that he also thought he wasn’t seeing clearly, with the waves and sea spray and all.
“The giant White Dolphin cocked it’s head back from time to time to check on me. Sammie’s face was extremely animated and a toothful, wide smile, with warm and wise eyes, like that of an old yogi, was his most common expression. Though he had many others. Just like a man. At first, I understood most of what he said - another welcome mystery - but his words and explanations would sometimes get past me and I would be focused on swimming and I would get lost. With the dotting patient look of a teacher, he would rephrase his concepts, slowly, so that they were more easily comprehensible to the remants of my Kloon’s consciousness.”
“Clowns?” said Adolfo.
“Kloons are what the Nauherds call those who, still tied to the ichcant…”
“Itch my what?” said Elton.
Adolfo laughed like a drunken frog and said, “La verga”.
“Ichcant is the delusion that there is separation from the Ho — the life law. Thus Kloons work against the natural rythym of the universe. ‘You are one with all, all within you,’ said Sammie and swam a giant whirlpool around me and a hearty, otherwordly laughter that resonnated ebracing, stacatto overtones, tickled flourescent spectrums through the Seather around us! Oh, he was amazing!,” concluded Kat, dazing off.
“Who the fuck are these Nauherd kooks and how come we’re not blowing their asses out of the water!”, ejaculated Elton and snuffed through his nose and ribbed Adolfo, who glared and said, “pinche huedo Americano! Todo del tiempo piensariais sobre capitalistica bullshit, imperialista weapons de panochas!”
“An egg was born,” said Kat, “from the greed and anger and dull-mindedness of the world. Cracked and ready to hatch, an insect of a man crawled out of the egg and onto the Earth. It’s name is Plasmatica. Equally, we are here. The more the Petrolmatrons grow in number, the more Nauherds are born. We are the balancing factor.”
“Fucking supernatural fish cleaning the latrines,” said Elton. “Earth’s janitors on head duty.”
Jack Straw sat at the helm and the wind blew through his notted and sun racked, platina hair and the cool of the morning was burning off and his brow furrowed as he listened to Elton’s homogeneous flurry of hegemony.
“PT and an atomic number of seventy-eight,” said Adolfo the drunken frog.
“The significance of the Nauherd’s appearance in the underwater world of Here Nau lies in their behavior as fish,” said Kat. “Protecting Gaia is a natural extension of their existance.”
“World domination”, said Elton.
“Evolution, Cappie” said Claudia.
“Sounds like a terrorist plot to undermine capitlaism,” sounded Elton.
“It’s the Americano militar mafia”, said Adolfo.
Elton grinned and said, “I can neither confirm nor deny those charges, sir”.
“You are the pinche fascist regime in this equacion, amigo,” said Adolfo and pressed his finger hard into Elton’s chest. Elton grabbed Adoflo’s finger and twisted his wrist behind him and held him with Adolfo’s arm up and his face down.
“So you’re one of these evolved mutant creature’s now?”, said Elton casually to Kat.
“Pinche puto,” said Adolfo, his face writhing like a squid on the deck.
Elton pressed his wrist and elicited an angry, helpless grunt from Adolfo.
“Cappie, you stop that now,” said Claudia in her windy stocatto Kauai’ian dialect.
Elton moved Adolfo’s wrist with a shove and timed with the roll of the sea, Adolfo had to sit and grab the lifeline to keep from going overboard.
“Yes,” said Kat. “I am a Nauherd. And so are you.”
“Are you accusing me of being a fucking squid? That’s those Navy boys” said Elton and grinned like a dairy farmer. “I may be a jar head, scout sniper and a dirty fighter, but one thing I am not, young lady, is a goddam fishhead.”
“Fish heads, fish heads,” sang Eddie spaghetti, the whinnie pooh, “rolly polly, fish heads,” and he shook silently.
“I think what she means,” said Jack Straw, his eyes obscured beneath his hair, “is that the way to a higher way of being is before us all.”
“Deep,” said Stubbie stonily and pursed his lips in seriousness.
The sun broke through all of the remnants of the clouds. The sky was tropical blue and calmly warm. The ocean was fathomlessly deep and there was an entire race of higher evolved earthlings living in the canyons and valleys far below the hapless crew of the Reefer Break. On the horizon they could make out a plume over Under Tahiti.
For the next thirty hours that it took to sail to Under Tahiti, Kat talked more about her experience with the Nauherds, the evolutionary advanced version of Earthlings, here, now, to fight the evil scourge of Plastmatica, the Dark Xen Monk, who along with it’s legions of Petrolamatrons, devour the nutrients of Gaia and leave only poison in it’s toxic wake. In the eyes of the hapless crew of the Reeefer Break, Kat had been gone no more than an hour, although due to their pitiful sadness at having thought her drowned, it was an eternity. Still the change which overcame her was severe. Either she became a madwoman, a side affect of the violent drowning, perhaps — “Dain Brammage”, wondered Eddie Spaghetti and shook silently in glee — or perhaps it was all true.
Elton was skeptical.
“I followed Sammie into a valley and then to the Namstay where the Nauherds were gathered,” said Kat.
“What is that,” asked Elton, like a man collecting intelligence for a reconnaissance mission. “Somekind of Def Con Central?”
“It’s a spiritual hub where Newherds are evolved, important decisions affecting Here Nau are discussed, and it’s where Zobspheres are generated.”
“Hobgears?” said Adolfo. “Puto hobnobs from Plato! Que es esto?” And Adolfo shoved his chin out to the sea.
“Vibrational strings,” said Kat flatly. “Bio-rhthym waves, created by intra-specie communities and stored or released as needed. And projected in energy bursts, as needed.”
“Goddam doomsday device,” said Elton patriotically.
“We are a different species, existing together and as one,” said Kat. “Not just a population of the concrete-jungle dwelling, human race. A true community coexists with other beasts. The Nauherds have reestablished this type of boundryless Earth citizen and the Zobspheres are the kenetic manifestation of a biosphere that is vibrationally in rhthym with the Ho. This power is within our ability to wield.”
“See, now we’re talking,” said Adolfo. “Tell us more about the ho’s.”
Elton grinned and chortled like a dairy farmer. “Fucking Jedi mind trick!” said Elton, but then shuddered at the thought of Katherine drowning and gasping for breath and sucking in water and her becoming a different evolution that could breath under water and wield the Force©.
A ghastly, white face, devoid of life. Hollow, empty eyes. Straggled hair. A flash, a ghastly, white face.
Kat’s eyes were crystal, but transparent, her skin fleshier, for colder depths, and her body more disireable, brave and bold, exposed from beneath her nylon onepiece suit. Meatier.
"I bet she fucks like a horse now", thought Elton and smiled wily at Kat, who looked at him blandly with her strange eyes and Elton had another vision.
“A lot of interbreeding going on in this community of beasts?”, said Elton, jealously.
Kat blushed in a way that turned her near transparent skin a deep hue of violet, pink, passionate and visible, her blood pumped, though he thought it to be so, it was not the type of rise Elton was hoping for.
Elton’s imagination twisted and he saw the White Dolphin, What was his name? Sammie. Finning Kat around in the deep, blue cold water a place he could not go, unless…Fuck that. He saw Sammie’s ridiculous, yogi smile and Japanimated wink.
Kat’s colored flesh returned to it’s suntansculecent opaque and her stare into the horizon landed softly back on her brother, Jack Straw, who laughed shrilly and his eyes went wild and Elton winced and thought about Sammie again and was sea sick for the first time on the thirty seven day trip and barfed his guts over the side and Adolfo, the drunken frog, laughed and Eddie Spaghetti shook silently and Kat stared like a fish. Claudia said “You okay Cappie?, and Stubbie said “Gnar!”. Elton chucked again and the Reefer Break bobbed up and down in the windy, blue Polynesian seas. Five humans and two Nauherds cruised towards killer surf, and the raw natural danger of the Under Tahitian Islands. Iorana.
The Reefer Break continued its sail to more Tahitian islands, minus Kat, who chose to swim the rest of the way with Sammie, the Giant White Dolphin. Their love had grown exponentially as Kat and the dolphin explored the underwater Zobspheres, the habitat of the New Earthlings, the Nauherds.
There were fantastic sites to see along the way and Kat, somewhat reminiscent of her former self, absorbed it all with the naivete and gullibility of a Midwestern tourist on their first trip to a tropical island.
“Look, see the glowing lights. The Alchemists of Neon Seaweed, they are mostly deep dwellers, giant squids, whales, and Megators and Manitords.
“Megatards and Manitrons?” exclaimed Kat.
Sammie guffawed a burst of air bubbles. “Very old and prehistoric underwater creatures. Giants!”
“Bigger than whales?”
“Way bigger! Sharks the size of blue whales and whales bigger than those floating deaths nests for the fire birds.”
“Whales as big as aircraft carriers! No way!”
“Yeah,” said Sammie incredulously, with a dolphin click. “Waaaay bigger! Ohhohoho, at least ten times bigger! Like cities! And turtles too!”
“Turtles as big as cities,” said Kat in awe, but her Nauherd insticnts told her that it was only as unreal as the metamorphosis that had changed her from a human compulsive shopper and wine snob from the Santa Ynez Valley into a sea mutant. yet her greatest awe lie in the fact that she was a part of this advanced race, on the edge of evolution, or de-evolution, and fated to save Mother Ocean from the evil scourge of the Petrolmatons and Plastmatica, the Dark Xen Monk.
“So strange,” said Kat.
“It’s completely natural,” said Sammie telepathically. “It’s not so strange.”
“Oh no, no, no! It’s just that there’s this whole change in the earth,” explained Kat, “and the humans had no idea. They’ve just assured that they would take care of the Earth’s ills in their time, but nature has taken matters into her own hands. The human is no longer the apex of billions of years of evolution.”
“Ishmael’s cage has been broken,” said Sammie with a smile.
“Who?” said Kat.
“The talking ape,” said Sammie, the talking dolphin.
“Oh that,” said Kat, who had never been very well versed in literature.
“Yes, as he said,” continued Sammie, “humankind has believed that they were the pinnacle, the reason for the existence of the earth. This story has been handed down to the Takers for Ten Thousand years. They never guessed that Mother Ocean would unleash her righteous anger upon her children for injuring her.”
“Wow,” said Kat, not able to contain her shock at her own anger and disgust at the way she used to believe the myth of special privilege for the human race. So many disasters had occurred leading to the great meltdown of 2250, ones that made the BP Gulf spill of 2010 like a cup of spilled milk. It would never occurred to Kat that the Earth would take matters into her own hands and create an evolutionary leap, at the height of humanity’s power as a species. Just like the flourishing and diminishing of the dinosaurs. Kat swam in silence for sometime then said: “If humans have essentially become a virus, a plague to Mother Ocean, and are no longer safe to the Earth, then what will happen to mankind?”
“It will come to an end,” said Sammie factually. “Or at least an end as we know it.”
“An end?” inquired Kat.
“Man must be eliminated,” said the Giant White Dolphin.
“Eliminated!”, exclaimed Kat, crestfallen. “But how?”
Sammie paused in his swim and turned and looked sternly at Kat and let out a slow, bubbling from his blow hole, which vibrated the water around them, his eyes, white and pink except for the pupils, took on an ominous hue.
“By whatever means necessary,” said Sammie.
Chapter 4: Stubbie. Under Santa Barbuyer
Jack Straw reclined on the deck of the Reefer Break and drying in the sun and smoking, gazed over the sea. Sunbeams danced on the waves. A speed boat passed by and the Tahitian flag - red and white - flapped over the pier. Waves crashed on the manmade breakwater, where Claudia, Elton, and Adolfo were surfing. The dinghy, tied to a stern cleat, splashed perpetually.
Jack returned his attention to the spliff and relit it. Smoke wafted across his view and he contemplated the other boats in the small anchorage. Tall jagged green rainforested mountains ruled majestically over the tiny bay and its inhabitants.
The Reefer Break, in the tropical harbor, with the sea rolling beneath her, was a palace of safety and comfort in the open ocean. Still there was always an edge of danger at sea these days, thought Jack Straw. Especially when the threat of a surprise attack from Plastmatica, the Dark Xen Monk and his twisted scourge of pollution feeding Petrolmatons, loomed. There was no true hiding place from Plastmatica’s wicked eye.
Eddie Spaghetti, short, barechested and potbellied with wild hair and a bushy mustache, leapt from the spreaders, twenty feet up the mast, and cannonballed into the aqua blue waters, clear and clean, so much so that the reef and sand were visible and it appeared he would hit bottom, though it was forty feet below.
“Nice one, uncle!” ejaculated Stubbie, who paddle boarded around the Reefer Break. Fair haired with dark, Indonesian skin, protected beneath the hot, Tahitian sun, Stubbie Raiz’s tall, lanky frame arched into each stroke of the long koa wood paddle, projecting him towards the old Hawaiian. With the island mountains, sharp and green in the background, Jack Straw fathomed an air of ancientness about the boy and pondered it through a cloud of smoke. Eddie Spaghetti laughed and mumbled gleefully through a soggy mustache.
“Hahaha! Dat was sumsa,” he said, snorting water. “Beeg dunk, haha! Snort! But notink like dat giant cliff at Napali, snort! Cuzin Benny make dat kine beeeeg cannonball in da wada! Oh sumsa, cuzin’, I tell you how, amaaazin blues of allll ponahone is gearin’ sun in da wada! Snoooort! Haha!” And Eddie Spaghetti rolled and disappeared under the water like a seal.
Jack Straw felt a strange tingle behind his ears and stood up quickly. Looking at the pier’s pylons, he could see the water line receding suddenly and drastically.
“All haole outta water!” he yelled senatorially. “Waster!”
A wall of whitewash, dirty brown and toxic, not well shaped, but crumbled, massive and solid, an anomalous line of corrupted ocean, pounded the outside reef on it’s way towards the harbor. Jack Straw looked over to where the breakwater was being surfed by his friends, but could not make them out in the distance. Plastic bottles, bags and debris swirled in the murky mess and from it’s midst, Jack saw a Petrolmaton’s droned face metabolize from a two liter bottle of coca-cola and the last glints of the sun reflected on a shiny, red Ronald McDonald mask, which another Petrolmaton had materialized a face from, before the hazy mist of the wave covered the sky. The evil clown’s arm formed from a long stretch of marine toilet hose and gushed it’s sickly fluids, polluting the waters around.
Jack could see the sinister wave making it’s approach. An old fisherman stood up in his small row boat and with rod in hand, raised his arms to the heavens and bravely faced the petrolmatons. The old man was submerged violently beneath the massive wall of white wash, which Jack imagined the local would fight all the way.
Three petrolmatons emerged from the spot where the dinghy was crushed. One of the gassy brutes had a head made from the fisherman’s outboard and his ghastly voice wined rapid sputters like a stock broker trapped in a Tohatsu 6 horsepower.
Jack knew he must act quickly. The Reefer Break and all the boats in the harbor were doomed to pop their anchors and crash to the beach once the venomous tidal wave ripped through the tranquil, tropical bay. Jack Straw grabbed a small hand paddle and launched himself into the water. From underwater, he made the Nauherd distress call, his voice not garbled like a human’s, but bellowing and distinct, a far-reaching, pure sound, sending ghostly vibrations into the ancient deep.
In response, two nearby whale centurions belched and pinged their diligent response and turned instinctively toward the lucent call. Upon arriving, the two mammoths of de-evolution approached the Reefer Break and charging, put the full brunts of their mass in the path of the dark wash. Spinning, finning and rolling, the behemoth megamammals covered the breadth of the rolling waste and created a breakwater. Jack figured they intended to collapse the speed and force of the tidal wave with their bodies, a bold and honorable act, but one which seemed impossible.
The whales continued to be rolled, but always returned and charged to resist the force of the wave. Petrolmatons angrily rose to the surface of the wave to hurl objects at the centurions. One fell swoop of a massive tail crushed three of them at once. After the third charge against the wave, the smaller centurion let out a cry of pain, deep and harrowing and eerily urgent and appearing to be injured, first rolled with the wave, then broke free and limped back to her mate to make another charge against the wave.
One of a school of many giant jellyfish, responding to the Nauherd call, leapt out and struck the tentacled fiberoptic cables of a petrolmaton bwith it’s whispy tinger. A rainbow of colors from the myriad of brightly lit and massive mutant blobs of nerves fluttered and swirled, bespeckling the dark mass of polluted and toxic water. A cold gust of stormy wind lifted from the south and the rigging from the tiny boats clanked and sang out a sad and plaintiff alarm.
Undaunted, a petrolmaton stretched out of the tsunami wielding a mooring boyu and with black plastic lungs, belched out a violent and hateful digiscream, the war cry of the Xen monkhood. A horde of emboldened petrolmatons surfaced from the wave and with the wind howling the sound of the false voices carried and echoed in the bay, disturbing the Tahitian island spirits and it’s inhabitants with dread.
The tsunami, slowly but surely approached the Reefer Break. Jack Straw watched an imposing, tentacled petrolmaton leap on deck and slither towards the mast and he sped through the water to return to his ship just as the waste wave was approaching her. The wave engulfed the Reefer Break and the petrolmaton clung to the mast with it’s eight arms. Barely making it back, Jack Straw clung to anchor chain with superhuman strength and was engulfed together with his ship by the black swirling mass.
Before the impact, Stubbie who was down below in the cabin, charged at the petrolmaton who had found it’s way to the engine room, where the Zobthruster was housed, and was tearing it apart plank by plank. With an ax in hand, Stubbie drove the beast to the deck and upon getting hit by the wave, was knocked overboard and left wresting for air and life entangled with the slick skinned monster beneath the surface where they disappeared.
An animachine with a propellor head and a crane hook for a body had been ordered to free the Reefer Break of her anchor and began descending just below her. When he reached the depths, he found Jack Straw who sat crossed legged above the ground tackle, a white mane flowing around his head, massive underwater eyes staring at the black souled mutunt. The petrolmaton let out a horrendous digiscream and throttled it’s propellor in anger. Jack Straw opened his mouth, wider than any human and a forceful air bubble, full of zpbsphere, launched into the petrolbeast’s head. The monster imploded into a glob of waste, plastic pieces, and a bright green chemical fire, contained in a ball and burning underwater - the Toxicor - the essential element for a petrolmaton’s existence, briefly raged. Without the petrol shell to protect it, the fiend was crushed and collapsed into a rainbow of oil-slicked bubbles and floated harmlessly to the turmoiled surface. Lifelessly it expelled it’s carbon soul into the stratosphere, to joint the billions of tons of gasses caused by the humans. Metaphysically, the whole question of a purpose in life surely took on new meaning for the expired petrolmaton.
Jack Straw pushed off the ocean floor and propelled upwards. The scene from beneath the tidal wave was eerily tranquil, blue and white light splattered the canvased sky and swirling syphons and whirlpools created a kaleidoscopic view. Drifting boats and debris rotated galactically in the whirlpools midst. If not for the black masses of octritrons, large squid like petrolbeasts, pillaging and demolishing the wrecks for fuel and petrolmass, the scene would have been beautiful and peaceful. However, the more wreckage they absorbed, the larger the Toxicor entitites grew, taking on additional parts who swapping existing appendages for larger, more deadly ones.
How did it all come to this? Jack Straw thought to himself. He broke through the surf. Like a leaping dolphin he charged into an attacking rubber ninja attempting to board the Reefer Break and with a single blow expelled the life from the wiry animachine. He boarded. A petrolmaton was burrowing his tentacles around the mast of the Reefer Break, to snap the kona spar. The mechanical arms of a huge octitron with a diesel running in it’s torso were reaching around from beneath the hull and trying to capsize the vessel, violently rocking her from port to starboard side. The buoyancy and the strength of the balsa wood hull offered protection against the fiberglass and metal feeding petrolmatons. There was no petrol base from which the beasts could feed their voracious appetite for fuel and shortly they would expire. The rapid, machine precision the petrolmaton wielded proved it’s diesel heart pumped steadily, synthetically.
Jack Straw leapt onto the Reefer Break. With the broken remains of a forestay cable he deftly lashed at and amputated four of the octitron’s slimey, plastic tenticles and heard the diesel roar, blow in agony, and the azure water, already littered with debris and toxics, bled purple diesel around the white hull of the Reefer Break, creating a cosmic color scape of chaos and catastrophe. Primitive soups of opposing forces battling for a resolution.
The petrolmaton from the mast leapt down onto Jack Straw like an angered cat. Jack Straw fell to the deck with a thud, smacking his cheekbone painfully onto the teak deck. The petrolborg slithered his tentacled, suction cup hands onto Jack, clinging desperately, violently, instinctively realizing with his small neural net that if he destroyed Jack Straw, the Xen Monkhood would flourish and sing his name. Jack Straw rolled out from under the oiled beast and reaching behind its arm pulled up and yanked the petrolmaton up by it’s throat, bringing its head only an inch away. A massive jolt of zobsphere sent the petrolmaton’s head and tentacles into spasms and bubbling and anxious respiratoins. The collapsing toxicore made the sound of sinking, twisting metal, like a damned oil rig. Damned.
Jack Straw coolly surveyed the damage that the petrolmatons and the waster had wrought on the quiet Under Tahitian harbor. All manner of vessels, docks and moorings were beached or wrecked on the reefs, beaches, and roads. Houses and shacks, gone. Cars, trucks, and drained petrolmatons littered the terrain giving it the battleground scene that the war the Animachines had finally begun, the War for the Ocean.
“Now is the time,” said Jack Straw.
The pier, already a reconstruction after the Big Sink, was a third it’s length, a sad version of it’s former self. The once postcard perfect white sandy beaches were black and polluted and the crystal blue waters were brown and littered with plastic, oil, waste, sdead fish, all kinds of shit. Straw felt his heart pang when he looked to see a massive structure of corpse, the centurian whale, sprawled across the bay. Her mate breached often, getting in as shallow as he could, sending deep vibrations of whale cries, a primitive, true sound, through the towering temples of the green island outpost.
Jack ached to see any sign of his shipmates, but saw only displaced sailors and fishermen in life rafts, vests, and any debris that was buoyant to prevent sinking from exhaustion. An exhausted Tahitian boy of about fifteen was holding half a surfboard and smiled when he saw Jack and gave him a shaka.
“Iaorana!” Jack Straw called, returning the gesture and asking him if he needed to rest, but the boy shook his head and pointed excitedly at washed out village.
“Ya, go check on your family!” Jack gave a thumbs up. He had to check on his family too. Waving to the boy he noticed he still had a surfleash attached to his ankle.
Jack mused. “Wonder what that drop was like?”
The tsunami’s destructive and wicked force was deflected by the cenutruians who swirled and dwindled in the bay, speaking whale to eachother. Most of the boats had been washed to the shore. The Reefer Break remained only because of the efforts of Jack Straw. The Selena Rae was still in place. Furthest out on the anchorage was the Selena Rae, a Bonteau 42 foot sloop that belonged to a retired urchin diver from Under Santa Barbara and his wife Debbie. Jack and the crew had met them getting supplies at Nemos. When Jack asked Harv Wall why he preferred to anchor so far out, Harv smiled widely and looked at his bubbly blonde first mate. “More privacy.” Debbie also smiled. They were just a stoked couple, surviving in the After Sink (A.S.) years. Jack was to relieved see their boat still bobbing. He vowed to check on their safety as soon as his crew was accounted for.
The tide rode down and the few boats that hadn’t run aground bobbed like tossed wine corks. Some with crews making repairs, most were unmanned local fishing vessels or scrappy and haggard sailboats. Hordes of humans flocked to the sea after the Sink. Many were unprepared for sea life and fell like lemmings into Mother Ocean’s womb, to become carbon, photoplankton, fish food. Jack’s rescue by the hands of a mermaid were unheard of except in folklore. Times had become strange. Just like the old days, something out of The Land of the Lost, but worse. Sleestaks never were fast enough to catch you. Petrolmatons were. Man was in peril again. So it is when man is no longer at the top of the food chain.
By sundown Claudia, Elton, Adolfo and Eddie Spaghetti had made their way back to the Reefer Break, all with varying stories of survival over the waster and petrolmatons. There was no sign of Stubbie. The most comical saga of course was that of Eddie Spaghetti who had to remove the fuel filter from the outboard motorhead of a petrolmaton while keeping the propellor from chopping poor Eddie into a pile of leftover spaghetti and meatball mush, all covered in grease. He said he kept dropping his wrench and had to keep pulling it’s spark plugs out so it would stall. The resulting spasmodic toxiscream, imitated by Eddie, on and off, stalling and starting had everyone laughing. You could see the anibeast struggling to grab the spark plugs while losing power, holding its fuel filter on, spurting petrol all over itself. And Eddie, not a baffoon, but a angered Hawaiian warrior, fighting for life against a soulless machine, battering his thick forearms against its neck and gripping savagely at the plugs, fuel lines, fighting off the tentacles, until finally it was ripped apart piecemeal by a will more intent than it’s own.
Elton, Claudia, and Adolfo had all been surfing on the leeward side and completely avoided the destruction of the water. They reported the surf to be significant in size and was good fun until the lineup drained to the reefs and they all ran to the hills, following the example of the locals. There had been enough tsunamis since the Sink to make humans long for gils. In the meantime, they just ran to the highlands when the shift came. The three had spotted a few amphibmatons on the beach and were close enough to hear their wretched barks from broken and reworked rigs. Junkyard elephant seals. By sticking to the cliffs they moved upcountry, where they stayed higher than the tide.
Well after midnight, after the crew had gone below, Elton took the first watch. He thumbed his automatic rifle and sitting on the broken teak deck, whistled the Marine Corps hymn.
Elton had bought the M-14 from some visiting pirates Jack knew on an archipelago down south. Jack Straw explained that bullets didn’t stop petrols, but added to their armor, perhaps only briefly distracting them while they assimilated the lead.
“That’s good enough for me,” retorted Elton. “Plus, this is most reliable rifle ever made!”
Jack Straw could see things Elton’s way. He had seen the near future of man. Before morphing, Jack Straw had sought to escape the fate of the masses. He and his friends were still young and took to the sea and chased surf. They had not been trapped by the Industry Police, who were the last stronghold against anarchy in the Under World, rounding up debt and labor fugitives and throwing them into prisons where they were given an aqualung, snowlung, or citilung, depending upon which labor factory they were sent to. New and undiscovered geography caused by colossal sea shifts, or shifts, made all charts useless and satellites were corrupted by other symptoms of climate infection. For the first time in millennium, the sun, word of mouth, and true currents were all that guided the world’s sailors. To sail the Underseas was taking your life into your own hands. For most of the masses, the evostaks, the thought of losing creature features and simple luxuries, even while needing a rechargeable unit to breath with, even while being a slave in a maledict dynasty, was too much consideration for freedom.
The last adventure to Under Indo had cost Jack Straw all three of his companions and nearly his own life. Invading petrolmatons attacked the Reefer Break, the first time he encountered the animachines. Hideous. Terrifying. Violent and militaristic. His rescue by Myeerah had given him an evolutionary leap over his species. Homo aquaticus. Would this happen for others? Would the assimilation of man be universal? What about Elton? What were his chances? What else could he use to protect himself, but the most reliable rifle known to man? Man was not physically equipped to fight the animachines. EarthCorp had amassed arsenal of war toys, which only showed the petrols how to assimilate more advanced weaponry that could in turn be used on man. Without the zobspheres of the Nauherds humanity would become extinct. There chances of retaining their current form was already slim. The food sources on land had dwindled to worldwide famine. 15 billion people crowding the hills of the continents or taking to the sea to avoid flood. Cropping hillsides for genetically modified crops with steroid enhanced soil to encourage even the slightest growth. Asphyxiation. Small children, sick and old people with lungs unable to adapt. Only the wealthy were given aqualungs. Man was a dying species. Elton was apex of that culture, but young and still hopeful. The curve returning to a healthy balance, however, was not turning in Elton’s favor. Jack Straw wished there were some way to help the boy.
A bumping noise alerted Elton.
“Who the fuck goes there?” Elton warned, true to his Marine Corps form, and raised his gun.
It was Stubbie, now the giant sea turtle.
Plastmatica sat on a cushy black couch aboard the oil rig Ocean’s End and viewed a psychic conjure of the Nauherd strongholds in Under California derived from the mind of Myeerah who was his captive. He drove her mind into a weakened state of frenzy when his largest octomachine Ford, hefted the mermaid from the water and placed her in a dry space in the metal fortress out of sight of the ocean or sun and without water - salt or fresh - for three days. The poor Nauherdess fretted not so much for her own life, but for worry that should she escape alive she would be so terribly dried and robbed of Zoblife that her dear Jack Straw would no longer find her pretty. Though in her hours of illumination she knew this could never be, she understood it was only a matter of time before the effects were permanent. The longest a Nauherd had been known to survive clear of the ocean was seven days. Myeerah resolved to die before allowing Plastmatica to derive any information about the Nauherd’s main fortress Nau Pyrobi, which meant “guardian of the sea”. Only when Plastmatica had Ford place Myeerah back into a giant fishbowl with three especially lusty octomachines amidst taunts that he was going to keep her for breeding animachines, did the brave mermaid truly begin to despair for her hopes to ever be mated with Jack Straw. When she returned to her dry cell that night Myeerah cried precious tears of Zoblife onto her rosy cheeks.
By day five of her captivity, Myeerah’s physical needs to survive outweighed her psychic powers to resist Plastmatica’s relentless mind probes and the Dark Xen Monk twisted his dark, braided locs and coveted plans of destruction for the Nauherd settlements, particularly the Zobcenters in the volcanoes of Under Indo.
Jack Straw watched Ocean's End for any signs of Myeerah through toxic rains and low-stratosphere lightning clouds that hung over Platmatica's dark lair. He saw the outer guard of petrolmatons rushing to meet the Reefer Break and her two following Nauherds, Sammie the giant white dolphin and Kat, the amazonian water nymph. There were a variety of bpetrol beasts; some like giant octopi; others on the surface like speeding zodiac's with dark Spec Op Navy SEALS riding their hull. All with beating diesel toxicore hearts, powering their sinister intent to destroy Jack Straw the Merheim.
Though Jack could have taken the time to face each of the animachines with all the rage he had in his heart for these evil minions of Myeerah's captor, he had not another second to waste. He had been receiving messages from the mermaid through their unique telepathic connection. She was drowning, drying out in the air, being held in a shallow tank by the Dark Xen monk.
Jack Straw summoned all the indignate anger and strength of love he held for Myeerah. What if she should die before he reached Myeerah and was able to declare his true love for her once and for all? How he wished now he had not waited to bond with her in Nauherd ritual before it came to this. With this sense of life and death ha
te and urgency he called forth a tremendous Zobsphere and with a single, prolonged sound sent a massive ball of cosmic energy into the mass of dark attackers.
The sea flattened as the swirling ball of light emanated from Jack Straw's core and quick as lightning shocked above and below the surface, rocking each beast at it's toxicore and destroyed the horde. A collective howl of demise issued forth from the dark regiment, a curdling scream sound of pain and failure of purpose.
In an instant of reincarnation hundreds more of the dark petrolmatons leapt off the oil rig like ants falling off a sinking mound of soil, splashing into the waters. Jack Straw was pissed. He prepared to unleash another zobsphere and inhaled deeply in preparation, but was stoppped by a deep, booming voice.
"We've got this here bunch," said Sammie, the great white dolphin, with a breeching leap.
"Save Myeerah, said Kat, his sister. "She needs you."
Jack Straw watches as he sailed away with no small amount of trepidation in his pounding heart as Sammie sped beneath and above the surface sending deadly spurts of zobsphere with each dolphin call.
"Eh eh eh eh eh."
Twenty odd petrolmatons ceased. And scores more with each leap and dive He was a machine gun of nature, hurling mystical balls of Mother Ocean's revenge.
Kat sped towards a massive octipaton and quickly found herself entangled in it's tentacles. She called forth the focused strength of both a woman and a sea creature and with unreal brawn, ripped one robotic limb after another off the petrolmaton, her transparent skin showing great, pulsing muscles. The scream of the synthetic beast carried a warming to thos nearby and stirred fear into their toxic, artificial souls.
Mercilessly, a gang of petrol beasts flung themselves at Kat with each twist and turn, each kick and flying arm, she unleashed destructilon upon the crusty metal heads. A black zodiac of animachines jumped into the water and attempted to restrain her legs, clawing at her flesh with diver's knives and diesel powered jabs of matallic martial arts.
Tough as her skin was, able to withstand phathoms of pressure, Kat began to suffer damage from the slices of the petrol forces and her physical strength waned, though her determined will only gained more courage with each attack. She withstood the onslaught, though she seemed a black mass of ill intentioned metal thrusts. From deep within, she called forth the power of the zobsphere.
"Let me stop these beasts so that Jack can free Myeerah," she prayed to the sea gods.
And with that intention, she unleashed her strength of spirit for the first time in a great vibration.
Not only was the immediate horde of petrolmatons repelled, but all the sea around her shook in a field of her essential being. Scores of the beasts cried out in demise like a screeching train halting the rails of destruction.
Only silence remained and even the petrolmatons from the oil rig froze in inaction. A forboding fear struck their hearts and the will to attack was briefly stopped.
Sammie swam to her and they swirled in an embrace.
"My love," he said.
Jack Straw sailed the Reefer Break single handed with an intel soul to rescue Myeerah Plastmatica’s oil rig lair. Sammie, the Great White dolphin, and Kat, the princess Nauherd, swam gracefully and surely in her wake towards ocean’s End.
The moon was full and brown in the day, the seas grew desolate, dark and toxic, with asphxiated wastes of the human corpses that were drained of their lifeforce by the toxicore hungry protonfurnaces.
Ripples of tainted ocean floated shastfully along the slick surface of the Dark One’s zone. no fish. No seaweed, seals sea bass, octipus, starfish, crabs, mussels, molasks, urchins, lobsters, sand shark’s, dolphins, white sharks, orkas, merwaifs, wolfsharks, or nauherds. The hunger of the furnaces never ended as deep as darkness can reach the bottom of the sea so Plastmatica’s lighted oil rig shone grey and brown and violet in the false sunset and the furnaces burned high and hot and were ready for the greatest fuel it’s ever had, a Mermaid nauherd princess. Already her life was slowly draining from Myeerah and when Jack cracked against the pier and climbed up the rig pylons to rescue her, it was all that any one could do to prevent the breeding morphisim of peternaturalism.
Jack Straw caught his first glimpse of Myeerah, the beautiful mermaid through the setting smoke and smoot and quirting oil veins of the horde of wounded and dying and dead Petrolmatons. She stared brightly, yet oh so helplessly at him, through teary, bloodshot water eyes. Jack nearly leapt out to her when her saw her dried, parched skin, her naked form suffocating and exposed in the toxic air for all the world to see, so very vulnerable and broken down. But Plastmatica saw his piteous stare at the moment when had been waitinf for to blast Jack Straw’s mutant ass into fish food for Neptune and Mars to feast on for millenium of ocean bio cycles.
Jack Straw’s zobsphere was a split second behind Plastmatica’s guttural “Nammasstay....”, but likened to an old show down or a cosmic martial arts duel, the slightest hesitation was critical and deadly. A horrendous black wave of dark art magic rolled destruction towards Jack, while his zobsphere only defelected and struck a massive squad of heavy dieselmatons on the guard risers, send them curdling and burning into the magnesium core furnace engine. Jack Straw was knocked down, stunned and windspent, if only for a second, but timing was everything in this deathly duel. The second attack was formed from the “Gooooaaah” of Plastmatica’s giant head on his lithe neon black nexosupremeskin covered frame and threw Jack against the furnace bulkhead and hatch.
Plastmatica was calling upon a death blow ritual magik with the sound “Aaarrghuuuwaahhooohhh”, tiny hands up in the air, dark laughter from petrolmaton thugs watching on like an gladiatorial audience. Jack lay helpless and stunned.
“Nooo!” screamed Myeerah in a heart wrenching parched cry.
As the swirling dark toxikloud around Plastmatica began to blurr the surrounding molocules, Jack briefly came to, open a battered eye and saw the emenation of the death cloud about to depart from the Monk’s core. Knowing summoning a zobsphere would be difficult in his weakended state, Jack used all of his remaining strength to launch himself over a small opening only large enough for Jack to plunge over the side of the rig and into the toxic waters below. The deathsphere that Plastmatica hurled collided with the furnacer where he lay and caused the great oven to combust, explode and leave the surrounding animachines to melt to the deck or to follow suit and dive into the waters to put out their black burning hearts.
“Wahhaaahaaa” followed Plastmatica’s dark, oddly mechanical and meniacal bellowing laugh.
“Prepare Toxifurnace Two for zobsmelting of the wiffish,” rang the robotic voice of one of the chancellor drones beside the Dark Monk. Sobs from Myeerah. Followed by a tremndous rumbling and shaking of the entire rig platform.
“What is it?” barked Plastmatica.
“My lard,” replied the chancellor drone. “Centurian whales on the sonar. They are striking the rig.”
“Impossible,” rang the Monk. “They cannot breathe here.”
“My Dark Lard, there are additional ones coming in, along with movement on the sea floor. They must have been holding their breath since arriving in the dead xone.”
“Dielsers, attack,” said the Monk.
And with that three hordes of heavies plunged and jettisoned themselves down into the depths. A tremendous light, an underwater percussion, followed by huge bubbles and then silence. A single heavy jettisoned out of the water, whaling a high rpm pitch, torn to pieces were it’s limbs and leaking oil as it propelled in a random circular patern before catching fire and the last sound was gurgling motor before the anibeast sank to it’s brothers. Then the shaking and rumbling continued, intenser than before. The whole platform was like an earthquake at sea or a tiny craft rocking in a huge midocean storm.
“Take the mermaid and put her in the furnace,” said Plastmatica.
“But my lard...”
But as the robots moved to move Myeerah’s and figure blurred onto the platform delivering great waves of zobshpere towards the animachines. Platmatica perpared another dark incantation to hurl at Jack Straw, but he was already throwing huge balls of white zobsphere towards the monk and the body of Plastmatica was struck hard, flinging him into the open door of the second furnace. Jack pulsed a vibration from his hand in a closing motion and the door slammed shut.
“Let’s get outta this shit hole,” said Jack Straw and carefully lifted a emaciated and puckered Myeerah over his shoulder, flinging shots of white light at the encroaching, commanderless animob.
“Hold your breath,” shouted Jack and Into the water they fell. As Myeerah entered the water she saw a most amazing and unreal site. At least a dozen centurian whales, bigger than any she had ever scence, like great underwater submarines, white and fierce, swirling round the entire rig, with shadows of others in the deep, hurling themselves into the great pylons. From all directions at once, the huge leviathans had converged and were making piecemeal of the dark rig. The young Nauherds raced to board the Reefer Break to where she had drifted without her captain or crew and where they saw Sammie and Kat swimming towards them, looking battered and beat, but in good spirits considering. Myeerah quickly plunged into the saltwater jacuzzi and immediately her beauty, health and strength were restored. Then, the crew of the Reefer Break saw a most unusual site. Deigned only to be legends, a great millenium whale, bigger than any aircraft ever made by man, pushing it’s way just above the surface from the distant end of their portside. The trough it created was a towering wall of whitewash. There were engines whining all over the rig and the fires started by the Dark Monks toxic magik were now engulfing a third of the rig causing the animachines to fling themselves off the rig like lemmings. A most phenomenal event then happened. The giantic mellenial whale launched itself into the air, breaching the surface and landing it’s side into the flat portion of the rig closest to them, sang a deep, whalesong, like an ancient war call from the sea. The destruction was instant. The entire half of the massive rig was curshed beneath the leviathans weight and plundered into the dark waters, leaving the tiny whales below to scatter and then return to finish off the rig, which they did, and Plastmatica’s dark lair, the machine for draining the zobslife from the Nauherds, the Ocean’s End, slipped into the water like a breaking iceberg, until there was nothing left.
The massive waves around the impact zone turned moving away from the starboard side of the retreating Reefer Break were oddly perfectly shaped. Suddenly, a small rubbing sound beside the boat and the emergence of a head. A turtle’s head.
“Surf’s up,” said the giant turtle.
“Stubbie,” came the cries from all.
“What do you say Jack?”
“Let’s do this,” said Jack Straw. And with that the boys went surfing on the great wave while the girls cleaned up and laughed and cried and all were happy.
And in the distance, far below the dark waters, a furnace burned and bubbles arose to the surface, sounding something like a gurgling and muted: “Naammaassstay.....”
The End of Serferfish