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The Mysterious Fishies of Mars

AragmarDec 2, 2021, 6:10:59 PM
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Episode one

 

Water.

Alien visitors who came from afar and looked upon Mars from low orbit, they were smitten by its beauty. Many of them, after their eyes feasted upon the planet's splendor said that truly, it was a land of grass and trees. They wouldn't be wrong, yet oftentimes the green of what was once a very much red planet, yielded before the blue.

Crystal clear droplets pelted down on the channel's deep, blue waters. Gradually, they washed away whatever tiny specs of dirt had accumulated upon its reinforced with thick mega-concrete walls. Tiny brooks of mud dissolved into the channel, became part of its flow, and would someday soon enrich a farmer's field somewhere.

Enthralled by the drops many fishes swam up; their eyes alerting them to the possibility of bugs or other types of food, touching the surface of their watery castle. The big ones stirred by the littles, soon followed up suit and soon the wheel of life was rolling full speed. While the tiniest managed to avoid being chomped or swallowed whole, those of sufficient size ended in another fish's belly.

However dangerous the big fish were, they were not the largest predator around.

There was something else up there, casually floating on the channel's surface and it was many times larger than all the fishies. Yet, no matter how long they observed its elongated, and quite fishy shape, this apex predator moved not. It didn't even twitch or slap the water with its long tail. For all intents and purposes, the biggest fish in their watery home looked as if it was... sleeping.

Many aquatic denizens found refuge swimming around its grayish belly. Yet, strangely enough, even though the behemoth lay still, fish still found themselves out of the water. Whisked away by a force unfathomable, many of their number vanished without a trace.

What if there was a wise fish swimming somewhere in this channel, possessing keen investigative skill?

They'd warn all fishkin of their impending doom; that others exist, creatures not from their watery universe. These... aliens, they were not merely visiting their Water, but actually came to take them away. Something would gently splash in the water and then the unwitting fish who dared swim close, mysteriously vanish.

Those counted few who sometimes came back, these fishies told stories nobody in their right fishmind believed. Strange creatures with fins on their heads, eyes where there should be none, and teeth made of metal... They'd gone mad to tell tales such as these, because aliens did not exist and therefore things like that were impossible! Fish authorities would proclaim these stories the products of confused minds – too much time spent out of the water damaged fish brains, and caused hallucinations.

Many and other, much more fanciful thoughts flew inside the person's head, the one who sat atop that large “fish,” a long wooden rod in his paws. His ears stuck under the greenish hood of a old anorak, its reinforced with vacfoam fabric seen many years of use. Holo-light, coming from his idle PDA, shone upon his gray-spotted, black fur. A bucket, one half-full of water and the other, a handful of rigorously wriggling fishies, stood beside his folding chair.

The tiny deck of his mini submarine did not rock much, yet even if there were five feet tall waves dancing around, this submariner wouldn't notice. So many years spent swimming under and atop alien seas, planets where gravity differed greatly from Earth's, made his otherwise cuddly feet as steady as ancient rock.

He'd sent many an alien vessel, their hulls ripped and torn asunder by his weapon fire, to the bottom. The evil ones who dared disturb peaceful Terra; endangered the safety and even threatened to exterminate his kin, his Patrons. Before these invaders entered this space and fought with his Human friends, killed many of his neighbors, Hector was but a young fisherman.

Loyal to his Clan, the Shimazu, he and what was left of his fellow colonists were suddenly beset by a literal throng of invaders. The Empire of Japan however, had a mighty army, navy, and Spaceforce. His Majesty, the Emperor, disliked it very much when someone would kill, maim or otherwise threaten to enslave His children. The people whom His samurai warriors swore an oath to defend till death - they were all part of Him. It did not matter if their blood was Human or that of an uplifted bunny; by Imperial decree, all were bestowed with the same, unalienable rights and offered protection.

Then the Imperial Army came and crushed the invader!

No matter how many were the enemies, or how great and heroic their general was, none who stood against the Emperor ever fared well. Though the colony was devastated by the aliens, most of its inhabitants were saved. In order to protect others from this fate, the bunny volunteered.

From a peaceful fisherman, and through diligent training, Hector was transformed into a submariner. Japanese navy operated a large fleet of mini submarines; those were deployed in big squadrons, whenever aliens attempted to pull off one of their insidious sneak attacks.

For many years he fought and diligently, without ever faltering in his duty to Emperor and Clan. The number of enemies he felled was great, yet in time not only his body, but his mind too suffered many wounds. Now, in his golden years, Hector was living the pensioner's life; honorably discharged, he was given the best medical treatment available, and generous pay.

With a smirk on his covered with small scars snout, he released the fishy he'd just caught back into the canal. It was too small yet to be removed from the natural circle, and he stood up from his folding chair, one paw holding the fishing pole. The conning tower of his mini sub, the IJN Kage, suddenly looked a bit too tall for him to hop atop, and he left the fish catching rod behind it.

He'd invested most of his considerable savings to purchase this old, WW2 era, Japanese-designed sub, and refurbished it. Now it could not only travel across the watery surfaces of Mars, but with the addition of eight retractable wheels, the Kage or Shadow, could venture pretty much anywhere. Even the submarine's original armaments were replaced and if the need arose, he could launch two, two hundred megaton strong anti-spaceship torps. Those could reach and hit any would-be invader foolish enough to fly in low Martian orbit.

The bunny reached with one hand and placed first the fishing rod, then the bucked full-o-fish, on the rear auto-railgun platform. This one protruded from the aft of Kage's conning tower; exactly where the sub's original machine gun mount stood. He replaced the old, gunpowder weapon with a brand new Japanese railgun, all wrapped up by a protective vacfoam cover and reasonably safe from the elements.

He used the protruding metal ladder to climb up and once behind the auxiliary steering, pushed the engine activation control. With a silent hiss, the highly-advanced propeller soon pushed his submarine forward. One paw on the steering wheel, he reached for the gadget which never left the comfort of his snout these days. It didn't take long for his made by Zojirushi Co. goggles to bleep out yet another “no threat detected” message.

Earlier, his scanning goggles picked up movement on the south shore. An alien-looking young woman was strutting towards the cover of a road station, hurriedly and... tiredly. She had no spare gear to speak of and carried no backpack - which obviously meant no supplies. For what reason was she waving her sidearm around the bunny could not say, since every single scan he performed assured him no one chased after her.

Nothing, not even one of these pesky space pirate ghosties, who some of the farmers living nearby claimed to have recently witnessed floating around and on their properties. He raised the goggles, which most of his people called trunks, and examined the shore with his dark blue eyes. No, his gadget wasn't faulty; after patting the white spot around his lucky left eye three times, there was nothing else to be seen.

Intrigued, Hector, who now supported himself by selling his mystery investigator expertise, immediately halted his fishing spree.

There was more than enough fish in his bucket for the both of them, and being neighborly was an age old Japanese tradition. Since this lady looked nothing like any of the hostile aliens he'd killed in their dozens as a soldier, he was also curious where she came from. Because every day was good when one had a bit of a mystery to unravel, a fish to barbecue, and hopefully make a new friend.

Soon the sub was moored at the nearest concrete pier and he, hopping towards that road station, bucket-o-fish in paw.

***

I and @todolomejor have been planning and working for months. Mystery, spooky stuff Starshatter style, fishies, munchies, and, of course - aliens! This will be a series of stories following the adventures of two characters - the old submariner Hector and the Dzeta'rii, Lady Nistrie!

Episode two.

Episode three.

Episode four.

Episode five.

Episode six coming soon...