The Wonder Worlock: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Part 1
Posted by: Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
May 10, 2012 14:55 | Updated: 1 year 1 week Ago
May 10, 2012 14:55 | Updated: 1 year 1 week Ago
(Editor's Note: Fen and her mer-baby Art, by Jason Heichel and Sash Scott)
The Neptunian ship Good Fellow continues its routine orbit around the little-known world of Oceanus. For more than a year, the unique starship has kept the same routine, becoming almost a man-made moon to the water planet below.
Unlike the internal atmospheres of most spacecrafts, gas is not the primary livable component here. The Neptunians are of an ancient underwater world, but being such has not hindered their innate curiousity about life among the stars. So generations ago, they left behind the waves and underwater wonders to explore those bright and shining lights above the waters’ surface, and in so doing crafted magnificent spaceships which carry metric tons and tons of water -- water like that of the planet Earth -- because that is the atmosphere in which Neptunians exist. They are water breathers, riding a highly sophisticated fish bowl through the heavens.
On the planet Oceanus, hundreds of light years away from their native seas, it is hoped will be found the secret for the continuation of the Neptunian species: namely, compatible beings capable of mating and proliferation.
The journey was an experiment, a roll of the dice made by the captain of the Good Fellow, Abram Gar. Thanks to a little help from the cosmic adventurer called the Wonder Worlock, it is a gamble that has paid off. Big time!
First, diplomatic channels were established between the roaming tribes of Neptunia, all soaring somewhere in the Milky Way aboard their fantastic ships, and she who is Arema, Queen Prime of the World Oceanus, Ruler of the Seas Eternal and all Lands touching same, Empress of the City-State of Oceana and Keeper of the Grotto of Gaspar. That done, the very willing queen of the low-populated world found a thrill in the promise of Gar’s people (and, never spoken, an even bigger thrill in Gar’s friend, the Wonder Worlock).
Nowadays, certain Oceanans of Arema’s elite guard are serving on those Neptunian starships as trusted seamen and officers. With the untimely death from the outlaw Vargas of trusted Skrill, Gar has (at the dark mage’s suggestion by way of example) employed Arema’s First Guard, Y’bom Kcid, as his Number One – a decision that still goes against the aged captain’s heart.
As the Wonder Worlock’s great experiment to assist two alien races continues on Oceanus, a natural coupling of sexes has indeed occurred. The once-expansionist race of Oceanus long got over their feelings of prejudice toward other races while Neptunia in its ancient day actually welcomed colonization from outworlders, better to quench that thirst for knowledge that has always been both the race’s strength and weakness.
But it is on the Good Fellow, high above the waters of Oceanus, in a soft cubicle on Deck 32 that is of interest to everyone today. Here, Captain Gar has gathered with the visiting dark mage, Queen Arema and Ship’s Physician M’Koi to welcome the newest thing in our universe: a bundle of gilled wonder now named Landry!
“Nef gave birth to her last night in the Oceana Care Clinic and Roman called me right away,” Arema says. “I thought it important to get the baby here to your ship’s superior medical equipment, Gar. We have waited almost ten months for this day, and by the Horned Trident I was going to make sure nothing went awry.”
“The woman Nef of your folk was brave, Your Majesty, volunteering for this first proof of -- well, proof,” Gar said. “And the babe, Doc, Roman’s daughter. How is she? Be she Neptunian? Oceanan? Water-breather? --”
“Healthy?” interrupted Nef, in bed next to the babe.
“Yes -- to all those queries,” M’Koi said with a smile. “I am happy to say our two species go together like clams and seaweed. Seems like, even across a galaxy, we were destined to be together. Landry here is the proof!”
“And where is the proud father today?” the Wonder Worlock asks.
“He is but doing his duty as a new member of Queen Arema’s First Guard, out on patrol,” Nef says, snuggling the feeding Landry.
“Patrol? Today?” Arema says, looking puzzled at her mystic paramour.
Alone among the undersea mountains does the lone figure swim --. down, down, down.
What I seek will take me to a place where few other water-breathers, of Neptunia or Oceanus, know exist, he thinks in his dark thoughts. Far deeper than most can physically withstand. There is a place far below the surface world, and even far below the shining city of Oceana. A place where light does not exist. A place where the waters are so pressurized that there is no difference between it and solid terrain. It is where I now make my long-promised quest!
Deeper and deeper, down and down --
When I was charged with this task months ago by he who is my benefactor, I knew that this place was as safe as anywhere on Oceanus. No one knows it is here. No one would know to look here. Even he who is trying to conquer two planets and cause the ruination of my race – that celestial sorcerer -- would not be able to pursue this course.
It would be impossible, the muscular swimmer thinks. For inside these murky waters lie horrors and dangers unseen by anyone!
A spark of light where there should be no light interrupts the figure’s descent, and suddenly a sharp-toothed mouth as big as that of a prehistoric kwash’sall fish opens in the gloom. And into the abyss is sucked the swimming aquaman.
A second, two and the undersea dragon turns its mammoth body toward the floor of this endless ocean to resume its months-long rest, when suddenly a fist penetrates its right eye. As the blood draws demon sharks into these deep waters, the swimmer climbs through the blind giant’s orb and suddenly blasts it with energies from an unknown hand weapon. The carcass sinks, sinks, pursued by the blood-hungry sharks.
The swimmer, his heart pounding, holsters his weapon and continues to a cavern in the undersea mountain’s foot. Almost impossibly, the sea-swimmer ignites an underwater flare and the cave door vanishes to reveal -- a wondrous laboratory with otherworldly sciences.
“Roman, thank you for keeping your word, my son,” a hulking figure in the gloom says. “I understand congratulations are in order. It is a girl?”
“Yes sir!” the Neptunian said. “In exchange for letting me fight by your side to destroy this world’s sheep, I bedded the scaled bitch. Yech! It sickens me to even think of it!”
“Ah, Roman, you remind me so much of myself in ages past,” the stranger says. “Young, full of muscles, cocky, not much upstairs except what the Lawgivers taught. Except you, Roman, you are delightfully -- what is the word? -- prejudice, untrusting. Most unlike our kind -- at least in the present age. Now in my day --”
“I have hidden you away, old man!” Roman strikes back. “I have taken care of your sicknesses, brought you the necessaries -- all because of your promises and your technology. ”˜Twas your luck -- your luck, not mine that I happened upon your curious Neptunian submariner vessel light years away from the Old World. How you came to be here --”
“Is none of your business, Roman. I thank you, and goodbye.”
The word is not even out of the treacherous Neptunian’s mouth before his body hits the floor. The laughter from the Old One fills the cave lab with a ringing most ominous, all the more chilling for its underwater venue.
“Now you have indeed given me the one weapon I needed for my latest idea, and I thank you for it, Roman!
“Vargas thanks you!! Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
TO BE CONTINUED --