Many interesting ideas starting to pop up in ways that I think (I’m praying) I’ll be able to tie together and some semblance of a coherent story when I’m done. Time will tell.
I still need to adjust my schedule for this month and probably toss a couple of other priorities overboard if I’m going to have the raw hours at the keyboard to make this thing happen.
While I normally put in a lot of internal links to previous, related posts here, I won’t be doing that for what I hope will be this year’s thirty NaNoWriMo posts. If you have jumped into or stumbled onto this story in mid-adventure, there are plenty of other ways to navigate around the site to find previous installments. Actually doing so is left as an exercise to the student.
CHAPTER TWO (continued)
“Do whatever you can to speed things up. You know how time-critical this search is.”
“Yes, ma’am, but the local law enforcement agencies and municipal entities are more likely to question our credentials than Homolacrum or anyone in the private sector is. They will ask questions if we say anything that makes them suspicious. It will do us no good if we have to abandon our search in order to avoid their interference.”
“Wilson, who is the primary contact at Homolacrum to follow up with?” Winston asked. “I want to start putting some pressure on them immediately from this end. I’m not as convinced as you are that they’re being fully cooperative. Something isn’t right here.”
“We’re sending our files now, including all of the audio and video from when we were inside Homolacrum. The contact is Peter Llanda. He is the department head for their FLIR Group, where Ms. Aoki works.”
“Fine,” said Winston, “I’ll have someone from this end start working on him and going over the records to see if there’s anything that was missed. You concentrate on finding Aoki, we’ll figure out how she got away and who tipped her off later.”
“Remember, Mr. Lewis,” Stover interrupted, “it is essential that Ms. Aoki not be harmed or injured in any way. We need her, she’s critical to our project, and we want her to be receptive and cooperative if at all possible. Not to mention the problems we’ll have if the media ever catches wind of us.”
“I guarantee that Ms. Aoki will be treated with kid gloves at every opportunity, Leader. You know how grateful we all are to be entrusted by you with this task, and what an honor we all consider it to be. We will not let you down.”
“We will succeed because we must, Mr. Lewis,” Suni said. “Do not allow your faith to waiver.”
“End transmission,” said Winston.
“Transmission ended,” said the disembodied voice. “There is a large amount of data being received from Mr. Lewis’s team. I am storing it with Class Five security protocols as you have instructed.”
“Thank you, Tandy,” said Stover.
The large video display section of the window became a window again. Winston jumped when he saw what was floating in the water outside. Stover smiled at his reaction before walking over to that section of the wall and facing their visitors.
“I told you that I felt they were near,” he said. “And now here they are.”
Suni arose from her couch and walked gracefully over to Stover’s side. Barefoot, dressed in a dark, skin tight body suit, she leaned against Stover and put her arm around his waist. He responded by pulling her close to him.
Outside of the window, thirty or forty dolphins played and swam, darting from side to side, zooming out into the murky gloom of the ultramarine waters and then racing toward the window at high speed before breaking to the side at the last possible second.
Most went to the left or right as they approached the window, but a few went up toward the surface. Three fathoms above, they would break out into the air and fly briefly before diving back into the chaos of their dance.
Isolated from this spectacle, three dolphins hovered vertically in the water just outside of the glass. Each would in turn dart up to the surface for air and then resume their position, waiting for something.
“Sir, Pahi wishes to speak to you,” said the room’s female voice.
“Put him on,” said Stover.
The room filled with a series of whistles and clicks. Some climbed higher and higher toward the limit of human hearing, while others were guttural and low.
“Pahi says that they have come for news about Ms. Aoki. They wish to see her as soon as possible.”
“Tell them that there has been a delay,” Stover said. “Tell Pahi that we are humbled by his presence and that of his officers and troops and we regret that we can not at this moment reunite him with Ms. Aoki. However we continue to do everything in our power to contact her. When that happens we will be one step closer to our mutual goals and salvation.”
Another burst of sound came from one of the other dolphins with Pahi.
“Pohaku does not care for your turds of mysticism. He only wants to know why we have again failed to keep an agreement made in good faith.”
“Pohaku does not have experience in the world above and he does not fully understand the magnitude of the difficulties facing us. Pohaku must be patient, as his leader, Pahi, is.”
After a few seconds of noise, one of the dolphins swam angrily toward the glass wall and slapped it with his tail before swimming off at high speed. More high-pitched song followed.
“Pahi apologizes for Pohaku’s behavior, but understands that Pohaku has suffered many injuries from Kolohe.”
“We do not take offense with Pohaku’s words or actions,” said Stover. “We will work with him to attain our mutual goals.”
“We have brought an ally for you to meet, to show that we are not in this conflict alone. It is our desire that you and she shall meet and share thoughts.”
Stover was taken aback by this sudden news. The dolphins had never brought any other creatures to meet, but had at times hinted at ancient foes and timeless allies, an unknown history that predated the first ape men coming down out of the trees in the Serengeti.
Suni turned and turned Stover to face her. She captured his gaze and stared into his eyes for long seconds, exuding a calm strength, centering Stover back to his confident and self-assured self. Stover took a deep breath, smiled, and turned back to face Pahi.
“We are not worthy of this honor, but we accept your gracious gesture in the spirit of cooperation that it is given. We will of course meet with your guest and do all in our power to make her welcome, sharing our thoughts with her. When may we meet?”
“She is here,” said Pahi. “Let us call her.”
Pahi and the other dolphin with him turned away from the window and began to sing a completely different song than before. Where their natural song was sharp and crisp, filled with high notes and staccato bursts of noise, this new song was deep and slow, melodious, a stately symphony compared to the dolphin’s jazzy jitterbug.
The cloud of playing dolphins suddenly broke, diving away from the building and down into the depths. Only Pahi and his companion remained, waiting for a response to their call.
Slowly out of the cloudy haze of water, a shape appeared. Winston had a brief moment of near panic when he thought that it might be a submarine of some sort on a collision course with them, but that passed quickly to be replaced by equal parts of wonder and terror.
Stover and Suni stood up a bit straighter and held each other’s hands. From out of the gloom the unbelievably huge head of the sperm whale grew and grew, coming to within only feet of the window. The body of the creature slewed around to the left, allowing the left eye of the creature to come to bear on the two puny humans.
The room and glass vibrated with a noise barely in range of the lowest end of human hearing. It was not extremely loud, but the tone rattled straight to the spine. Stover briefly wondered if the engineer who had designed the plexiglass structure in front of him had ever considered this possibility when designing in a significant safety margin.
More high pitch squeals could be heard, although Pahi could not be seen with the entire length of the window being blocked by the whale.
“Pahi says that this is Mad’gwy, and envoy from Milb-ka, the ruler of the great whales. Mad’gwy is here to discuss how her people might be able to assist us in our war against the surface humans and Kolohe’s rebellious followers.”