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Aquarius: An Adventure Begins

Motorcycle, Parachute, Mermaid

By Jason Ray MortonPublished 7 days ago Updated 6 days ago 17 min read
Image created by author using DALL-E Openai

Prologue: 3000 B.C.

Off the coastal waters of Assyria, a fishing boat worked its way home through the choppiest of waters. Samael and his crew were bringing in the largest haul of the year and didn't heed the warnings of the skies or the sudden temperature shift. He worried he wouldn't get the haul into the market or his crew home to their families.

As the boat crashed the tops of white-capped seas, the sea captain encouraged his men to keep their faith. Their people needed the haul they were bringing back. The harvests were poor that year. The people of their village depended on them.

The sea would provide for them. Once they returned, they would make their tribute to Atrahasis for allowing them to survive the sea as he had the great flood.

Silently, Samael prayed to Adad, the god of storms and god of heaven. He prayed the gods would show mercy to his men if not Samael himself. Samael's young wife was beautiful enough to find another. She would be taken care of by the tribe. The others had sons, sons that needed their fathers.

As another wave swelled in front of them, Samael screamed over the crackle of the storm. He screamed louder at them to hold on tight, lashing himself to the mainsail.

Image created by author using DALL-E Openai

As the weight of the wave crashed down onto the small vessel, Samael felt the ship beginning to break apart, their mission lost. He struggled to untie himself, pulled downward by the craft. He promised the gods his fielty should they grant mercy upon him and his men; his last thought before being taken by the sea was of his wife.

Whales swam beneath the storm. They barely noticed the wreckage and bodies of the crew as Samael's ship sunk into the sea. Something shot upward from the white sandy bottom, shooting past the whales with such speed that it startled them. Bubbles whirled around as the creature's massive caudal fin propelled it upward toward the glimmering light of the surface.

Samael was unconscious. He didn't realize that something grabbed him by the arm and pulled him to the surface. When he began to cough up the salty sea water, confused that he was alive, Samael didn't know what he saw. All he knew was that it was unnatural, and he was alive.

Samael was on a beach a day after the accident. He was not far from home when one of the tribal leaders discovered his body. He was the only survivor.

Samael never told anyone what he saw in the ocean or how he survived the storm. Not for 1900 years would anyone describe what saved the old fisherman that day, but the creatures have lived among us for thousands of years.

The not-so-distant future.

Waylon Jones's motorcycle engine roared in his ears as he sped up on Bertha Street. Waylon didn't know who they were, but they tried to force him to pull over without authority. They weren't cops. After a ten-minute chase, there'd be more than two of them if they were. Waylon headed toward the causeway, reconsidering his plans for next year's vacation.

"Mr. Jones! Pull over please!" yelled the passenger of the lead vehicle.

Waylon flipped his middle finger at the young fellow in the cheap suit. Whatever these guys wanted, Waylon didn't want anything to do with it and wasn't going without a fight.

When he approached the onramp to the causeway, having more fun than he could remember, the sight of a helicopter and a barricade forced him to reconsider stopping. He rolled to a stop, put his hands in the air, and waited for one of the suits to do something. None of them did. They were awaiting something.

The chase cars parked behind Waylon. He looked back, and the kid half his age, in a suit, got out of the passenger's side and walked toward the motorcycle.

"Well, that was fun!" yelled Waylon. "Now, do you want to tell me who in the hell you are and why you're mucking up my vacation?"

The young-looking man in the suit smiled, walked the rest of the way to the bike, and answered.

"Orders, Mr. Jones. Orders," he grinned as he pulled out a Tazer and shot Waylon in the back.

"Take him boys."

Waylon woke up hours later. He rolled his eyes at the two polo-shirt-wearing men watching him. Judging by the hangover, Waylon thought he had slept more than a few hours. He looked at the two men, smiling coyly at them.

"You got the time?"

To his surprise, the one to his right answered his query. It was nine o'clock in the morning, and Waylon had slept for most of the past 24 hours.

"So, what's up with all the extraordinary rendition tactics?"

"Some dumb son-of-a-bitch wouldn't just pull over for my guys and hear them out. We needed a Plan-B."

Waylon turned toward the front of the compartment he was in, staring at the face of an old friend, Jonas Keller.

"Come on, guys. I told you to find him and bring him in for a conversation. Uncuff my friend," Keller ordered the two men.

Waylon stood up, launched one of the two across the compartment, and made a bee-line toward Jonas. As he did, Jonas backed away, his hands in the air, stuttering about how much Waylon might want to see what they brought him in for. When Waylon reached Jonas, he grabbed him by the collar and pushed him against the bulkhead.

"I've got two questions, and you better get both of them right!"

"Sh, sh, sure. Anything you want," Jonas continued to stutter.

"Number one, they have these things called phones! Ever heard of them?"

"Um, yeah. This couldn't be shared over an usecured line."

Waylon let go of Jonas's shirt, realizing the gravity of what situation. He straightened out Jonas's shirt, smiling at his old friend. It wasn't apologetic but more a recognition between the two that they'd been in this situation before.

"What's the second question?"

Waylon laughed and crossed his bulging arms in front of his six-foot-five-inch frame. He smiled widely, then hugged Jonas.

"When did you start stuttering like that?" laughed Waylon.

"Jesus, you big ape. What did you expect? You're still as imposing as ever. I do remember the Waylon Jones that tore off a guys ear once in a bar," Jonas reminded him.

"He had it coming."

Jonas smiled, "Of course he did. Now, do you want to see what I've brought you half way around the world for?"

Waylon nodded and followed Jonas up to the command center. Once there, Jonas offered him a seat. He brought bottled water around and sat beside his old friend.

"Before you get started, I'm not going to parachute into any hot, god forbidden, hellhole country you guys have been paid to pull some suits ass out of a fire in."

"Sure, no parachute, no pulling an ass out of a fire in hell. We've done that enough," Jonas promised, sliding a file across the table. "Open it, tell me what you see in the image."

Waylon opened the file, glancing first, then pulling it closer to him. He stared down close at the image. Occasionally, Waylon's eyes looked up to his friend, then back at the picture. He looked at the next one, then the next one, an energetic surge of excitement swelling inside his body.

Image created on Dall-e Openai

"Where was it taken?" he asked, referring to the image.

Jonas walked over to a large screen, pointing to an area beneath sea level. He explained that there was a science vessel, a retrofitted mega platform along the trench. They developed and tested deep sea exploration craft and were able to send one down, a drone, that took the image at 30,000 feet.

"Impressive," said Waylon.

"So, is the fact that we're still talking about this a sign you see the same thing we see?"

Waylon looked at Jonas, his hands pushing his long brown locks behind him. The tattooed and bearded surfer that sat there once dreamed of finding what Jonas teased him with but had given up on that child's fantasy. He had to admit the images were convincing.

"Say I do," said Waylon, "what then?"

"That, my friend, is where it gets fun," explained Jonas.

If Waylon was willing to go, there was an exploratory mission leaving tomorrow at six in the morning. Jonas pressed a clicker, switching to the screen behind them, the image of the newest class of deep-sea vehicles, the Scorpion class, appeared in full-color splendor.

"Holy shit!," Waylon exclaimed. "You finally did it."

Jonas described how the Scorpion DSV would make it to any depth faster and could withstand the harshest conditions. He pressed the clicker several times before stopping on a video. When the Scorpion launched, Waylon felt like a kid in a candy store. The Scorpion was their baby. It was years ago, and now Jonas had gone and done the impossible.

"What did you use for the hull?"

Jonas shrugged his shoulders, pointing at a piece of paper. "Sign the contract and I'll tell you everything."

Waylon didn't waste any time. He scribbled his name quickly and pushed the document back to his old friend. Standing there, tapping his fingers anxiously, he waited for Jonas to read it and then explain.

"It's an alloy, something the boys at NASA found on one of the missions to Mars. We systhesized it here, and it's stronger than the armor on an aircraft carrier but one thousand times lighter. It'll get us to the bottom."

Waylon knew what he would say before the words filtered through his lips. It was the chance to find out if the stories his grandfather passed down were true. Waylon looked half his life for proof that the creatures existed, traveling across the world with little more than a few old sea scrolls, some drunken sailor drawings, and legends for his trouble.

"Of course I'll go," sighed Waylon.

Jonas was elated by the news. He knew that Waylon was the best person for such a mission.

"Then, my friend, I feel like there's an even better chance of finding what the cameras caught and proving to the world that our unicorn is more than a legend," Jonas rambled longwindedly. "Now, I'll have my second in command show you to your quarters. I'll see you for final debrief at zero-four-thirty."

The quarters on the super rig were more comfortable than most hotels Waylon had been in. Strangely, considering his suite was below sea level, it was also roomier than a Holiday Inn. The wet bar was compliments of Jonas or at least his foundation. Workwise, Jonas took a play out of Oppenheimer's book and spared no expense. He wanted to keep those that followed him down the rabbit hole happy because happy workers were most productive.

Sitting there, Waylon stared at the image from the file. He questioned whether it was possible. As he stared at the photo, he wondered aloud, 'What else could you be?'

Waylon couldn't sleep. He went to the supply deck and got a pair of running shoes and sweats. There was a service platform three levels down from the super rig's main deck. A run might clear his head, or at least he hoped as he tied his hair into a ponytail and headed to the deck area.

The sound of metal echoing as it moved beneath his feet was comforting. It reminded him of being back in the Navy. Waylon considered his time at sea to be the best in his life. Now, as he was about to dive deeper than ever before, he realized how much he missed ocean life.

Stopping at one of the launch stations, Waylon looked out to the ocean, watching the moonlight cascading over the dark blue waters of the night. He breathed in the salty air, letting it wash over him in the slight breeze. As he was wondering why he ever gave up that life, a splash in the not-so-distant waters caught his attention.

Image created by author using DALL-E openai

Waylon watched as one of the crew members enjoyed a dip in the refreshing waters. She was only twenty or thirty feet from the rig when he saw her in all her glory. Waylon smiled to himself, looking around to see if anyone else noticed the skinny dipper off the south side of the rig.

He watched the show for probably ten minutes as the sea nymph played carelessly under the moonlit skies and beneath more stars than he had ever seen. Until he got careless, they were oblivious to one another. When he walked down the launch dock, he missed a tool that clanged against the metal when his foot made contact.

She turned sharply, staring at him, frozen in fear, as he looked back at her. Nobody knew she swam there at night. It was her favorite place in the whole world to come up and see the stars, and marvel at how the moonlight danced off the water.

"Hey, it's alright," Waylon assured her. "I won't tell if you don't."

Finally, she swam closer, looking at the stranger before her. His kind eyes gave her comfort. He was stunning, like one of the gods, but there in the moment. She swam up to the edge of the dock, where he knelt down.

"I'm Waylon," he told her. "I came aboard earlier with Jonas Keller."

The exotic beauty pushed away from the dock when he offered her his hand. She trod water, staring at him curiously. She had never spent this much time in the presence of someone like Waylon.

"So, do you have a name?"

As Waylon moved toward the water, the skinny-dipping beauty fled from beside the rig, diving beneath the surface. Waylon stood up, considering jumping in after her. That was until he saw the impossible.

"Son of a..." he stood there, speechless.

"Hey, wait!" he yelled. "Come on, nobody's going to believe this, well...except for Keller and the rest of the science team."

He stood there, watching the waters calm where she disappeared. Waylon was ready now, if not before. Suddenly, his childhood fixation with marine biology was not for nothing. Suddenly, he was ready to tackle finishing the mission he planned when he was fifteen.

Waylon packed his bag and headed to the launch area for the morning briefing. When Jonas arrived in his typical Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts, he was shocked to find Waylon already in his wet suit and anxious to go.

"You're early," admitted Jonas. "That's not like you. Did you sleep alright?"

Waylon smiled and shook his head. He was too jacked up to sleep. His adrenaline was pumping as he walked up to Jonas and whispered in his ear.

"I saw one."

Waylon stood there at Jonas's side, waiting for him to grasp what he just shared. When he did, Jonas looked at his friend, hesitatingly believing what he said was true.

"Say it," Jonas ordered. "Say what you saw."

"I saw one, a real-life mermaid," Waylon told him. "Just like we always talked."

Jonas was nearly as surprised as Waylon. If one of them came to the surface, making their presence felt by people, it was the first time in between three and five thousand years.

"What do you want to do?" he asked Waylon.

Waylon grabbed his gear bag and hoisted it over his shoulder. Excitedly, he told Jonas, "I don't know about you, but I kind of want to see the mermaids."

Image created by author using DALL-E Openai

"Yeehaw!" yelled Waylon as the DSV hit the water.

Jonas was not so enthusiastic about deep sea dives and the high-impact drops from the launches. Now that they were down, he had faith in Waylon's piloting skills. Their descent started, they only had about fifteen minutes to reach the first monitoring post. That was where the first legible image of the creatures was taken.

"So, this girl, or fish, did she say anything?" asked Jonas as they descended.

Waylon fiddled with the instruments, taking them deeper into the abyss. There was a shark swimming not far from them, keeping its distance from the larger craft. Waylon was distracted by the shark. He lived by the rule, where there's one, there are likely others.

"Come on, Waylon, did it speak?"

"No, not a word. She just looked at me, curiously," he explained. "And she smiled."

"What do you mean, smiled?"

Waylon didn't know how to explain it. It was just a smile. She had a pretty smile, crystal blue eyes, and black with a sheen so vibrant it reflected the moonlight even wet.

"So much for the belief that they're all sirens, all meant to lure innocent sea-going men to their deaths," sighed Jonas.

As the DSV tore through the ocean, making its way through a thermal barrier between the depths and the rest of the seas, Jonas's mouth rested agape. He dreamed of seeing the bottom of the ocean, of making it to these depths, but he had never imagined it would be so active.

"So, it's true, there's an entirely different world down here."

As Waylon steered, making sure they didn't crash into foreign rocks or get coil jammed up in their propellers, Jonas recorded the images from the nose cone, aft and port sides, and rear. There was enough to film hundreds of hours and still not get it all.

Suddenly, the alarms on the craft alerted the two adventurers they weren't alone. Something was approaching, and coming in at incredible speed.

"Waylon? What the hell is that?"

They both looked on as a whirl of bubbles shot up from beneath their craft. The brilliantly scaled blue of the creature was barely visible. It was, if Waylon was correct, the mermaid from above.

Waylon pulled to a stop. His mermaid came back to the cockpit and pointed to a cave.

Image created using DALL-E Open Ai

'Go to the cave and I'll meet you there.'

Waylon heard the command in his head. Her soft, whispy voice sounded attractive. He looked at Jonas, who sat there with a what the hell look on his face. The two of them were both hiding their apprehension. Jonas shook his head, afraid to ask.

"Jonas, did you hear?" Waylon started.

Jonas chuckled, "You mean that voice in my head. I sure did. Now I know you did as well."

Waylon piloted the DSV into a cave system. He carefully followed the sonar readings, knowing that one false move down there and the caves would be an unforgiving tomb. When he found the opening, Jonas breathed a hard sigh of relief while Waylon brought the craft up to water level.

Opening the hatch, the two hopped out of the craft and onto the hull. Then, like it was on cue, the same mermaid that Waylon watched swimming on the surface jumped out of the water, splashing down like a trained dolphin. When she swam up to the craft, hoisting herself up on the edge, she smiled at the two humans.

"H, h, hello," stuttered Jonas.

"Smooth," said Waylon, "Real smooth."

"I am Kiala," she told them. "You are Waylon and Jonas."

"You read minds?" asked Jonas.

Kiala laughed, "No, it's like your sonar. Even inside those things, we can hear your words echoing through the seas."

Image by Miroslava Grabez from Pixabay

"We have so many questions," Waylon admitted.

Kiala smiled. They were peaceful enough, and unlike any she had met before. This was only her third interaction with surface dwellers in two-hundred years.

"No, we are not human, and we are not of your world," Kiala announced, reading their thoughts.

We were, thousands of years ago, from the fourth planet in your system. Millions of years ago, we came to your world to start over. Our world had gone through a great deal of upheaval. Our water was drying up, and our people were dying. This world was filled with water, even though humans don't care for this planet the way they should.

"We would like to know more," admitted Waylon, Jonas nudging him.

Perhaps, I will visit your launch again, late at night. This time, maybe you and I can become friends. For now, you must go, before you anger Arntaris.

Who's that, wondered Waylon.

"If you go now, I promise I will see you again, and answer your questions," she said.

That was fifteen years ago, and Waylon hasn't left the rig since. The Aquarian became his home and the fish lady, Kiala, his wife. Jonas eventually went back to the US, finally at peace.

As for Kiala, she was teaching the children the way life works down below, as much as she taught them how life worked up above. Most of all, she taught her daughter to carry clothing with her if she was going ashore.

LoveYoung AdultFantasyAdventure

About the Creator

Jason Ray Morton

I have always enjoyed writing and exploring new ideas, new beliefs, and the dreams that rattle around inside my head. I have enjoyed the current state of science, human progress, fantasy and existence and write about them when I can.

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock7 days ago

    Beautiful story!

  • Great Read 📖 ❤️❗

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