Writing, v. 2014
A place to post things you’ve written and to talk about writing in general.
Continued from v. 2013.
Date: March 4, 2014
Categories: Fiction, poetry, and fanfiction
Friday, 19 December 2014
Life, the universe, pies, hot-pink bunnies, world domination, and everything
A place to post things you’ve written and to talk about writing in general.
Continued from v. 2013.
Date: March 4, 2014
Categories: Fiction, poetry, and fanfiction
((Why do I feel so awkward writing in here? I just do.
This is a direct copy and paste from a file I have where I write these things down whenever I remember to. The !NTR0 NOT3s are just explaining what it’s inspired by…. and how I got the ideas…. It’s kinda long, hopefully nobody minds that….))
[Ah, this. I was laying in my bed, like I almost always do while trying to imagine epic things, and was re-imagining another story with me, (Katherine) and Link, and thinking “I need new adventures… but what?” Then I came to the conclusion that, if I wanted new things, I’d need new characters. And since I was such a big Four Swords fangirl at the time (And still kinda am) I decided to add Shadow, since he was my favorite Link besides, of course, the origonal, and Green. (Green’s just so underrated, seriously) I had various ideas of how we would meet, but I finally set on this one. The other ideas were like, Shadow was origonally evil and he captured me or Link (Most often me for two reasons, I am not Link and I didn’t want them to meet each-other for a while just because I didn’t. And, I am the Triforce of Wisdom, and in the manga – it never mentions it, but – Princess Zelda is the Triforce of Wisdom, and she was the only one to show Shadow who he really was. Also, she was the only one to slap Shadow in the face, being I slapped him once, which I might explain later how) and showed him who he really was, and then him, always ending up saving one of us in the end, then becomming one of us, aiding in our battles, fighting alongside us, ETC.
This might be a crappy one, because I am currently suffering from a cold, and my energy being zapped won’t help my brain. Joy]
[Told from my POV (Point Of View) because I felt like it]
Tower. It’s a very tall tower, reaching all the way above the clouds. I had no idea why nobody ever got lightheaded and fainted from lack of oxygen here. Oh well, it’s a good thing WE didn’t – me and my brother – becasue there were things we had to do here. We were summoned here by the spirit of the Great Fairy. We were told that we would meet someone here who needed our help, and that someone would become another hero. We had no idea who, though.
“If it’s the Four Sword we’re getting, I will probably laugh.” I said out loud while me and Link were climbing the long stairs up to the tower’s peak.
“Haha, no,” Link smiled, “the Great Fairy told us it was just one person.”
“Then if it’s someone from Four Swords, I will probably laugh anyway. Maybe.” I replied.
“You didn’t laugh when I showed up.” Link reminded me of when we first met. It was before we knew we were brother and sister, and I was a huge fan of Legend of Zelda way before we met each other.
“I know, because before then I didn’t know you really existed.” I said. [The story of the world knowing of Hyrule before knowing it’s true existence is, they always say the Zelda series was inspired by Miyomoto’s adventures as a kid, when he explored an old cave around where he lived with the aid of a torch. But I always wondered what he’d found inside the cave. I always figured it was some old Hylian scripts that somehow found themselves to that dimension. They probably used the portal near the sacred Panther mountain where I live that we use to get to Hyrule and back]
“Hm,” Link shrugged, “what if it is someone else from the series?”
“Just be glad it won’t be Tingle.” Tingle, usually a fan-hated character in the American version of the series, loved in other countries.
I made my brother laugh a little, as we continued up the long flight of stairs.
After a few long minutes, we finally reach the top. In front of us was a huge locked door, [At first it was a trapdoor leading up through the ceiling, on up to the next floor. But that wouldn’t work, for what’s coming up next. No spoilers allowed] Link reached into his pocket and took out the key we found on the first floor, and unlocked the surprisingly small door.
“Well…” I looked at my brother, “I think this leads to the top floor.”
“It should,” He replied, “whoever’s up here, we’ve gotta meet soon.” Link then slowly pushed the door open. But when he did, we could hear a deep voice. It sounded like it was laughing! That could’nt have been the new Hero we were suppoused to meet, it sounded too evil. We peeked around the door frame to see-
“Holy….” I whispered, then, “I called it…”
“Sh.” Link touched a finger to his lips. In front of us, was indeed someone else from the series. It was Shadow Link! One of my favorite characters – who wasn’t much of a character anymore, he was real – from Four Swords.
I looked to our right. It was the Dark Cloud, or something like it. It was a huge black mass. A dark voice was emitting from it, it was taunting Shadow, who was cowering away from it like a frightened kitten.
“Haha, yes… yes, cower, slink away like the miserable shadow you are!” The Dark Cloud laughed, as Shadow timidly backed up againsed the wall, for whatever reason trying to get as far away from the cloud as possable. Anger flowed inside of me, but there was nothing I could do at the moment. If we went out there, there’d be no way to defeat the Dark Cloud, it wasn’t even solid.
The cloud lauged menacingly, then it flew away into the distance, until it was gone.
We both looked at Shadow, to see exactly what he would do. Shadow just watched the cloud until it was out of his view. Then, he sat up with his back to the wall, and started to cry. After a few seconds, we could hear him saying something, it was in a voice surprisingly unlike I’d imagined it to be, he sounded like a seventeen year-old. Although he didn’t look it.
“..H-help me…” He cried, “Why won’t someone please, help me…”
Shadow buried his face in his hands, then rested on his knees, sobbing. I could feel someting cold pierce my heart. Then I realized this was the new Hero, and we had to tell him somehow. I looked up at my brother, who nodded. So, I slowly approached the small, trembling boy at almost the opposite side of the room. I got more than halfway to him, when he heard me. He opened his eyes, and looked up at me. He froze for a few seconds. I took a few steps closer before his expression turned from surprise to fear, so I stopped. We looked at each other a moment, before he spoke.
“W-who are you?” he asked.
I blinked, and replied, “I am Katherine o-” I stopped myself for no reason, I just didn’t feel like telling him every little bit of information about me from one question. I wanted to spend some little time with him, for him to know I wasn’t an enemy.
“Y-you’re, one of the Heroes, aren’t you?” He looked back up at me, most of the fear in his eyes vanishing. He already knew who I was, okay.
“Yes, I am…” I nodded.
All the fear left his expression, before he asked, “Why are… you here?” he wondered.
I paused, looking for what to tell him. “We came looking for… you.” I answered. It was the truth, really. We came looking for another Hero, and we’d found him. We didn’t know who to expect, but really we were looking for him.
Shadow’s eyes widened slightly, starting a seemingly-long pause, before he asked, “And… m-my light counterpart?” He wondered. I understood. I mean, I’d want to see my counterpart if I had one.
“He’s here too.” I replied.
Shadow hung his head for a second, then asked, “….C-can I see him? I’ve wanted to meet… him…”
I nodded, then turned back to the door where Link was still waiting, looking out at me and Shadow. I motioned him to come. He slowly walked forward. Him and Shadow looked at each other for a long moment, before Shadow hung his head.
Another long pause followed, broken by me, “So… are you coming with us?” I asked.
Shadow quickly looked up at me, “Y-you mean… I have a choice?” he asked, hopefully.
“You do now…” Link spoke this time.
Shadow hesiated, then shook his head in his thoughts, “Then yes, yes I will come with you. More than anything I just want to get away from this place!”
We both smiled, then I held out a hand towards Shadow. He looked at it a moment, before slowly extending his own hand, and placed it in mine. I helped him up, man he was a lot taller than he looked! He was even slightly taller than Link, surprisingly, since they were counterparts. Shadow looked at both of us, and smiled, before we all walked back to the doorway.
Aww, sweet ending :3 Yes, that is how we met Shadow Link. Yes, origonally the big door was going to be a trapdoor, or no door, and just a stairway leading up. But, because Shadow wanted to leave that place so badly, he would have no reason not to use the trapdoor to escape. So, I changed it to a locked door, becasue I’m sure the evils have a better security system than that.
((Yeah, that’s one of them. Actually the first one from my second-world that I have written down…. If nobody knows what I look like, I can tell you. If anyone wants a description of anyone else who is mentioned here, you can Google it….))
Erm…. what does anyone think?
I keep intending to read this, and then I say “nah, it’ll take too long”. I promise I’ll get around to reading it eventually.
On the plus side, you’re still ahead of my father. He’s now written two NaNos, and I haven’t gotten around to reading either of them.
Getting meaninful feedback is the hardest part of writing, in my experience.
Looking back at this, I’m noticing a lot of spelling and grammatical errors. I can write better than this, I swear I can….
They aren’t too noticeable, don’t worry.
I’m not very familiar with Zelda, so I don’t know how much I can say, but I think you write very well. You manage to describe settings and people’s reactions pretty well, something I didn’t learn to do until I was much older than you are now, so that impresses me. I’d be interested in seeing the rest of the story.
Thank you, Kai. I was kind of in a rush when I was writing this, and furthermore have not found the time to edit anything.
Unfortunately, my mind is scattered and unorganized. So, I have no continuation of this, other that basically the history of all of this. Which I could post… maybe? Could I?
If you want to.
A friend of mine told me that a few writing sites (Like FictionPress, and others) are going to close down soon. I don’t know if that’s exactly true, or not. Does someone out there know something about this?
I’ve been gathering information on the subject. It’s apparently started by this thing called ‘SOPA’, and they want to close Youtube, WordPress, and DeviantART. Permanently. I’m not sure why, I guess they just want to stop people from making fan fictions/art. They claim it’s touching close to copyright infringements. Even if you’re not making any money off of the works.
The top Google results for SOPA were all for the Stop Online Piracy Act, which I think was partly about copyright infringements, but it was two years ago, and I thought it was shut down after the entire Internet banded together in protest.
I stopped and stared at what remained of my home. It’s boards crackled with the flames that swallowed them up, leaving them no more than black charcoal when the flame was finished with it.
All of my stuff, too, that was gone. Along with my wolves. My wolves had been trapped inside of the house: Endna, Enchantra, and Estabon. They were gone. All that remained of where I had lived on my floating island were some remains of the vines I used to climb to the door with, the furnace (Like I needed that right now!), and some pieces of wood that miraculously didn’t seem to catch on fire.
My storage chests were burned, along with everything inside of them. My bed was destroyed. No sleeping or respawning for me tonight. All that was saved was what I had took exploring with me earlier, my enchanted sword, enchanted bow, and a few pieces of cooked – but not still warm – beef.
My gaze lowered from the remains of smoldering flames to the little gravestone and flower. Ex-flower. The heat was too much for the poor thing. I approached the simple grave for Vagabond, my horse. He had been a gorgeous black stallion and my only friend since I had found myself in the middle of nowhere. I had buried him and his saddle here, leaving a rose to keep him company when I couldn’t be nearby. He had liked flowers.
After climbing toward my floating island using the rickety ladder system I had made, and scavenging around to see if anything could be saved, I buried my wolves’ bodies and looked to the setting sun. If I was going to find a new place to stay before the monsters came out, I knew I needed to start very soon. Taking a longing look over my shoulder to my floating island and debris, I took off jogging in the direction of the beach.
The beach sand glowed golden as the evening’s departing light hit it, making me stop and wince. I didn’t like the light very much. Oh, yes, it was helpful, and I did need some amount of light to see things. Also to keep danger from spawning, but…. I had to remember that I was only half Player.
I was a half-breed.
Yes, my secret’s out. I am not really a Player. Nor am I the specie of my mother. I am an EnderHuman. I was hatched from the egg of a great and ominous dragon – that Players refer to as ‘Enderdragon’. I have no Idea how, but my father was Human. I am treated as a Player from the Enders, and as an Ender from the Players. I am kind of a Player with Ender traits, I suppose. Enders see all colors as inverted (Black is white to them, white is black, ETC), and I am colorblind as a result. All Enders are incredibly tall, so I am at least one fourth of a block taller than normal Players.
Even so, I can not teleport. Not the way a normal Ender would. I can fly short distances, that’s about it. My flying is limited to only about 50 blocks at a time.
The sun had set fully, and I could see the moon rising from behind some distant mountains. The mobs would be coming for my flesh soon. Ugh, I was just enough of both to be hated by both!
The sand made soft swishing noises as I walked over it. I looked up at the mountain, contemplating whether I should climb it. I decided against it after witnessing some zombies fumbling about up there, trying to get down to me. I didn’t need to climb up and welcome them.
I took out my bow, aimed, and knocked one of them off of the edge. I quickly dodged to the side before it fell on me. The glittering green-and-yellow orbs of experience felt my warmth, and dove at me before sparking away. For some reason, the more a person (even a half-person) had of these things, the higher the enchant power on their gear was.
I kept jogging ahead of the mobs that were collecting behind me. A few badly-aimed arrows flew past, but none of them came close enough to actually hinder my progress in any way.
For someone whose home, pets, and life had just burned down, I was in a very good mood. The sleepiness would probably hit me at some point. I just hoped it wasn’t while I was in a desperate battle or anything.
I heard a silent hiss just beside me. I swore in sudden fear, and turned to the side, skittering backwards and falling on my ass. The creeper that hissed at me exploded, of course, sending some of the mob horde that was behind me into the air. Which I was rather thankful for, thank you Mr. Creeper…. The bad thing was, the explosion had alerted even more mobs to chase after me. Thank you, Mr. Creeper!
I jumped up as fast as I could, sprinting forward as much as I could. I could probably destroy a multitude of the night watch with what I had on me. My sword had a ‘Fire Aspect’ enchant in it, that would really help.
I turned around, swinging like a madwoman. It was so fun that way. A skeleton caught on fire from the sparks that came from my sword, and in turn, it caught others on fire.
Suddenly, I felt something gush down my arm. I realized it was blood. Mine. Something had cut me! I swung my sword around to break the arm of a skeleton that was raising it to strike again. Eee, that had hurt. It stung the whole night, too. Damn skeletons and their sharp finger bones.
I had been running and swinging and shooting all night. When the sun finally rose high enough to send the zombies and skeletons running for cover, I was getting tired and hungry.
I chewed on one of the pieces of beef that I had been smart enough to take with me before it turned into ash.
My hopes had come true, the sleepiness hadn’t hit me during a battle. Thank goodness, no. I had to stop and lean up against a small spruce tree in the middle of a gigantic Taiga area. I stared up into the branches, letting my knees bend and my body slide to the ground. I waved my purple hair out of my eyes, and looked into the distance. Nothing but mountains, really.
I groaned as I started up again, my legs stiff from all the walking. I wasn’t sure where I was going, but, I was going to find another place to live. I didn’t know why, but I felt like I needed to leave the past behind me.
I looked straight upwards as I walked. My black hood almost falling off of my head. I quickly straightened it, feeling the glassy Ender eye buttons on the top of it. There were similar ones on my back, too. They were just… eyes. Eyes that very much resembled those of an Ender. I have no idea where I got those buttons. Or even where I got these clothes. Was I born with them? Or did I buy them fro-
My attention was immediately jerked from my clothes to the fact that I was falling. I looked down just in time to see a 2×1 hole in the ground. I had tripped over it. My God… I… I couldn’t see the bottom!
Panic began rushing to my brain, and I tried to get a good grip on something, anything to keep from falling, but failing to see anything in sight, I gave up. After that long moment, I felt my chin bang against the dirt, and then the upper part of me was, too, underground.
My eyelids quivered apart, revealing a stone ceiling above and an almost blinding beam of light from the same direction. I believe that there was one small spot on my lower lip that wasn’t sore, but that was it. I shook my head, immediately realizing that that was a bad idea afterwards. I slowly pushed myself upwards, and propped myself against the wall to keep my body from smashing my face into that wall. Wait… wall?
I was at last aware of what was around me. It looked to me like some corridor… hallway…. What was it doing underground?
I forced my legs to cooperate and stood up, shading my eyes from the light. I looked up through it. Nope, not going out that way any time soon. I looked to the left of me, and saw darkness. I thought I heard some eerie monster sounds coming from that direction as well. I looked to the right, and saw a faint light and heard… clattering.
I was not sure about the clattering, but it sounded a bit more inviting than the gurgles and moans of that zombie. So, I went the obvious way.
I peeked around the corner, and quickly stepped backwards in slight shock. That was… a Player! It was rummaging through a chest that was apparently carelessly left in the center of the hall. I saw it… him… pull out a book, and some iron. I couldn’t really see what else. He had a torch in his hand, and that was where the light was coming from.
I took in his appearance. He was dressed in a black t-shirt and light gray jeans. His hair was brown, and his eyes looked an electric green. I already knew from the blazing enchanted diamond sword at his hip that he knew what he was doing. And would know what he was doing if we should fight.
The Player, apparently satisfied at what he’d hauled from the chest, started walking my way. I felt my heart jump through my throat as I’d thought he’d seen me, but he didn’t. I slowly backed up into the shadows that were shrinking from his torchlight. He walked up close to me before I dove past him and ran the way he apparently just came from. I heard his footsteps behind me. My hood now fell to my shoulders, letting my deep purple hair flutter behind me. I heard the sound of an arrow hit the door frame as I slammed the door shut behind me.
I had passed a fountain, a library, a dried well, and another hallway before I stopped at another door. This door was made of iron, and it was locked tight. It wouldn’t move for me. I peeked through the door’s window, only to jump back as something small, gray, and ugly jumped at me from behind it. It looked like a… giant bug! I wasn’t scared of bugs or anything, but that thing was…. A large bug!
I noticed a button near the door. I pushed it, and the door swung open. I was about to enter, when five or six rat-sized gray bugs slithered out. I yelped as one jumped for my face. I blocked it with my sword, which set it on fire. I heard it’s horrifying squeal as it’s life faded.
I looked around for any sign of the rest of them, but they were gone! It was like they had dissolved into the stone or something. I sighed, continuing into the room after hitting the button once again. The door had closed after I killed that one bug.
Inside, I saw a large stairway leading to a 3×3 ring of yellow stone and some other greenish-black materials that I didn’t know of. They appeared to be like a colored iron or steel. I climbed the stairs, only to find the ring was encircling a pool of lava. No wonder it was warm in this room.
Around the ring, in various pedestals on the stone, I noticed what looked like large, green, catlike eyes. I inspected one closer, and I found out it really was an eye. Slightly disgusted, and wondering why they were keeping people’s eyes on pedestals, I backed up, almost falling into another pool of lava. I caught myself as a spark flew past my shoulder and burned out on the floor.
I had no idea where that Player was, but I knew that he didn’t want me here, and I wasn’t so exited to meet with him again, either.
I hope you guys don’t mind the occasional grammar mistake, I wrote this at like, two in the morning.
It’s good, even though it’s set in a video game, it reads like a real person’s experiences rather than a transcript of game events. Well done.
The following is part of my idea of a loosely-connected set of stories about personified exploratory submersibles. It’s inspired by a discussion about personified ships in general on another site where I lurk, but the rules established there only gave personifications to ships with enough room to walk around inside of. As I have already created personifications of space stations, particle accelerators, and robotic space probes on previous occasions, I decided to disregard this. After all, there are stories to be told!
Anyhow, enjoy the story and tell me if anything needs explaining! Oh, and by the way, “Trieste” is pronounced “tree-est” rather than like the Spanish word for “sad”, which is how I was mentally pronouncing it until last week…
Tales of the Deep Ships: First Impressions
March 1965, Andros Island, Bahamas
Therese Piccard followed the officers through the corridors of the ship, enjoying the warm sea air that wafted through them even this far into the interior. A mere one atmosphere of pressure would always feel like flying to her. In her khaki suit, Therese stood out from the uniformed crowd around her, a scenario she’d come to be used to. It was hard to imagine a ship type less suited for combat than a bathyscaphe, and thus, while she was technically in the service of the Navy, the personification of the Trieste was resolutely a civilian. Like the human “brother” and pilot Jacques she so resembled with her dark hair and angular face (she was Auguste Piccard’s brainchild, her brother, his biological one), she remained a Swiss among Americans and a scientist in the company of warriors.
This sense of being an outsider was common among research ships in the employ of the world’s navies—although they were usually lucky enough to be left alone to scientific work, the possibility always remained that they might become embroiled in violence, something that their kind, with their general lack of weapons and armor, had no stomach for on the whole. The very lucky ones were navy-owned but operated by civil or private scientific organizations, and if today’s presentation and the demonstrations to follow went well, the vehicle that was the reason for Therese’s visit would enjoy just such a status.
It was something Therese secretly wished she could enjoy herself. But as the world’s deepest-diving vehicle, she represented a crucial “strategic asset” and propaganda star, and, as such, found herself directly under the Navy’s direct command as its only Deep Submergence Vehicle.
However, that same reputation was the reason she was part of this delegation. Five years before, with her brother and Lieutenant Don Walsh, she had made headlines by exploring the Challenger Deep off Guam, the deepest known place in all of Earth’s oceans. As the conqueror of the Marianas Trench, her opinion of the new submersible and its personification would carry great weight. And it would be her duty as the new sub’s predecessor to serve as its mentor and prepare it for its future.
Entering the conference room, Therese could already see a few highly-placed representatives of the General Mills corporation that had built the submersible* and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who hoped to operate it seated near the front. They all seemed to be fussing over a bespectacled boy of about eight or nine who was seated next to a frazzled-looking woman in a yellow sundress. The boy, as boys of his age often do, seemed rather uncomfortable with the suit or fancy shoes he was wearing and the jelling and combing of his dark brown hair that the woman in yellow kept retouching. He seemed to be looking at the ceiling in bored anticipation, as if waiting for something to happen.
But as the crowd entered and the boy scanned their faces, something seemed to light up the eyes behind the lenses of his brow-line glasses. The boy hurried to his feet, knocking over the chair in which he had been seated, in spite of the best efforts of the woman in yellow hold him still. He rushed towards the entrance, clutching a manilla file folder in his right hand. The look on his face reminded Therese of newsreels she’d seen of female teen-agers in New York greeting that new British band from Liverpool who had arrived the previous winter.
“Ahnt Trieste! Ahnt Trieste!” The boy exclaimed, causing the officers to give him space as he ran up to Therese and eagerly extended his hand to shake. His voice was loud and high-pitched.
Somewhat taken aback by the breach of protocol, Therese tried to laugh politely and shook the boy’s hand with a smile. “I see my reputation precedes me. And you must be the young Mr. Vine about whom we have all heard so much.” She replied, in her soft Swiss-French accent.
“Uh, yes, ma’am.” One of the embarrassed General Mills representatives explained, having finally caught up to the boy. The man seemed flustered and slightly red-faced. He tugged at his collar for air as he explained. “Little Alvin here is the personification of the Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin out there on the tender, the culmination of all our hard work. He’s named for Dr. Allyn Vine, one of the motive forces of his creation, so his physical appearance resembles Dr.–”
The official was cut off by his creation. “Didya evva see the untouchable bathyspheyer fish when you weyer down in the Challengah Deep? The one Professah Beebe said he saw right heeyah that was awl lawng ‘nd dahk ‘nd wid wicked big teeth? Lulu said it’s just a story cauhse even Betty Bawhton herself didn’t see it, but I think it’s really owt theyah ‘nd…” Alvin said, nearly shouting and talking so fast that one word seemed to run into the next. The Naval officers in the delegation had all burst into loud chuckles for some reason.
Therese paused, attempting to parse what the young personification had just asked her. Although she had made great strides in improving her English since arriving in the United States seven years before, she wasn’t entirely sure that what the young man had spoken was indeed English, although it certainly sounded more like English than French or German.
“I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I don’t understand what it is you’re saying…” She said, frowning slightly in confusion.
“The bathysphaerer intacter, the fish that’s like 9 feet lawng wid the glowin’ antennae things. The one Professah Beebe saw when he was heeyah wid the bathyspheyer thirty yeeahs ago.” Alvin explained, more slowly but no less impenetrably, prompting more laughter. The boy quickly drew several pieces of paper from the file folder at his side and handed them to Therese. “This one, right heeyah.”
“Thirty yee-ahs?” Therese repeated, trying to decipher his meaning. “Thirty… ye… years ago?” She glanced down at the papers. They were sketches in colored pencil, a bit on the crude side, and perhaps dashed off a bit quickly, but showing definite artistic promise. Research ships, as a rule, tended to be gifted at documentation, be it in the form of naturalists’ drawings, photography, or writing. And these sketches were clearly recognizable renderings of deep-sea fish, copied from illustrations in books, some verified by science, and some the infamously unrecognized–
Her face suddenly lit up with the realization “Oh! You mean the dives Doctor William Beebe made here in the nineteen-thirties!” She smiled “The untouchable bathysphere fish, the fabled three-meter dragon of the depths. No, I cannot say that I have ever seen one, although when I was small in Italy I always dreamed that I would. Of course, I have never had the privilege to dive in these waters as Doctor Beebe did. Perhaps you will discover that it exists after all.” She smiled at the memories of her own childhood within the shipyards of her namesake city, reading and re-reading the old National Geographic articles that had been written about those first voyages into the ocean’s dark lower reaches, so absorbed that she ignored the flying sparks as her shell’s hull was welded together.
Compared to the feats of the present, or even what Therese herself had achieved in the Mediterranean in her adolescence, those voyages had been modest indeed, only a half-mile below the surface in a hollowed-out sphere that hung at the end of a cable. But Betty Barton, the bathysphere’s spirit, had been the first ship-personification in mankind’s history to glimpse the world that lay beyond the reach of the sun’s rays and then return with both her and her crew alive to tell the tale.
The public had eaten up the stories Beebe and the other bathysphere passengers had told about the strange fish they’d seen in the depths, although the fact that no one besides the professor, not even the other observers or the bathysphere herself, had ever reported seeing some of them had left their existence a matter of mystery and debate. Regardless of what she had or hadn’t seen, though, Betty had been a true pioneer and Therese’s ancestor, the first of their breed, the deep ships.
But as for the present, and the next generation…
“What about the five-lined constellatiawn fish? Did you find them in the Challengah Deep?” Alvin asked, his enthusiasm not diminished a bit.
“Alvin, please forgive me, but I’m afraid I am having some trouble understanding your accent.” Therese sighed, “My English is not the best, and I don’t believe I’m familiar with this habit of pronouncing ‘r’s as if they are ‘a’s. I don’t suppose you speak French?” There was further laughter from the crowd.
“Ooh, ooh!” Alvin shouted eagerly, before trying to clear his throat in an awkward way that only added to the comedy of the scene. “Zhay– zhay swee d-deh-solyeh mee-lay. Cawhment awhlay-voooz o-zhawhdwi?”**
Therese’s right eye twitched involuntarily at the sound of her native language filtered through Alvin’s accent. However, it was clear he was doing his best and she did have to respect the young man for trying. Taking a deep breath, she tried to regain composure. “That’s… *fine*, I think we should speak in English after all.” Another round of laughs.
The General Mills representative swallowed hard, now looking beet-red. “I, uh, admit it may sound a bit, err, *comic*, sirs and ma’am, but it couldn’t be helped. Woods Hole is located on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Alvin has absorbed the local dialect. However, as he grows older and has the chance to travel around…”
“Ah, I see.” Therese smiled, hoping she had not hurt the young sub’s feeling’s. But Alvin’s eager smile remained. He was hanging on every word she said. “There is no harm in remembering where it is you come from. I would be glad tell you some stories after this presentation is over, but for the present, I think you should return to your seat and allow your handlers to give the speeches they have been rehearsing.”
“Aw, okay.” Alvin muttered, somewhat disappointed, turning back to the company representative and trudging back to his chair, which had been set upright again. The woman in yellow was glaring sternly at Alvin.
Therese found her own seat, beside a sour-faced delegate from the Office of Naval Research. Clearly, this man had not been impressed by Alvin’s breach of protocol. Alvin certainly was quite a bit brasher than she had at his age, but then, he was a boy, and a different model besides, one never tried before. Even someone as concerned with proper order as she was knew that nothing could really be predicted when you were doing something never before attempted.
Alvin knew his genealogy and his scientific names, and seemed to have read his “Half-Mile Down” quite carefully. He’d even worked out research questions of a kind before embarking on his dives—he wanted to know if Beebe’s bathysphere fish were real animals. As for his French… Therese suppressed the urge to shudder, but he’d certainly made the effort. And if he was a bit excited to meet her, how was that any different from her own youthful lionization of Betty Barton? She looked at the sketches again. Alvin certainly had a natural talent in that regard. His grasp of perspective was remarkable for his age.
Undeniably, he needed to slow down a bit, or else the boy was in for some hard knocks. But she hadn’t seen him in action while his shell was in operation yet. And besides, personifications grew up quickly. As for the accent, well, if most of his operators also made their homes in Woods Hole, they’d doubtless be more familiar with the dialect than she was.
“What do you think of him, Miss Piccard?” The officer asked in a low voice, as the rest of the delegation found their way to their seats.
“As long as he learns to contain himself, I think Alvin Vine may have a long and excellent career ahead of him, sir.”
*Yes, the cereal company really did build Alvin. Nobody believes that the first time they hear it.
**That is, “Je suis désolé, Mlle. Comment allez-vous aujourd’hui?”, or, “I’m sorry, Miss. How are you today?” (I’ve been told that the latter phrase is commonly one of the very first sentences to be learned in French by beginners, but I haven’t taken French myself, so I wouldn’t know.)