“That might be true but it will probably just make him annoyed or angry. He will think that you aren’t taking him seriously. Which, even if true, isn’t something you should do.”
“Fine, I’ll go then. I can finish telling you about the pillars once I get back.” Then in almost no time she was gone. As the speed Sarita was swimming it was completely clear that she had slowed down to stay with Clemens and Marius one the way over.
She was faster than almost all of the other fish in the ocean. Moving with deliberate movements toward one of the smaller miniature whales in the opposite direction from Marius.
At some point during the journey she had pulled out the knife that she had at her waist. The miniature whale hadn’t even noticed her by the time she had arrived at its position.
With silent ease she had grabbed it around the neck and slide the tip of the knife deep in to the fish’s neck. The creature tried to bat at her for just a few seconds but she held on firmly. With that final reserve of energy gone the miniature whale slowed and then stopped.
The creature was about five feet long. Not the smallest one around her be definitely not the largest. She pulled a coil of rope out of the pouch at her waste and wrapped it around the neck of the creature. Then she began to swim back to the Clemens with the creature in tow.
The entire experience took no more than five minutes. In that time Marius had barely pulled out his fishing pole and was casting it toward a group of the whales. He had positioned himself near a large rock to give himself leverage against the creatures when they started biting.
When Sarita arrived back at Clemens she said, “Well, it has been done.”
“I was wondering.” Ask Clemens, “Why are the called whales? There isn’t any air for them to get so they would need to absorb the oxygen from the water. Wouldn’t that make them fish instead of whales?”
Sarita looked at him, her visage was plainly visible since she wasn’t wearing any diving gear like Clemens was. “They are named like that for a couple reasons. They are filter feeders which eat very small creatures in the water. Also unlike normal fish they filter out the oxygen from the water using the same membrane they use to filter the water.”
“So no gills?”
“That is correct, but one side effect of their breathing strategy is they need a constant flex of water. They can’t just is still and must either continue to move or rest in areas with high currents. While they use the light reef for feeding they also travel a bit away to rest where the currents are higher. The towers also function to keep the currents from outside them from influencing the inside so they generate artificial currents within this zone.”
“Fascinating, they sound like interesting creatures. Are all the creatures down here like that?”
“They are all interesting but if you want to know if they all breath in the same way then no, there are many different forms. There are three different species of whale down here which as far as I can tell are all descended from the same original species that was imported here. The miniature whale is the smallest of them but the most numerous.”
“And you are documenting all these creatures? Isn’t that right?’
She nodded, “Yes, there are so many species down here that are unique to just here but the last time they were documented was ages ago. Some much has changed since then, even that record doesn’t mention these creatures I call the miniature whales, there is a similar species which I believe to be the ancestor of the miniature whale. They were larger back then.”
“How is the process of documenting them?”
“Good enough, I’ve been trying to catalog as many species as I can but there are so many that I’m not certain I even have found all of them. Last year I found a new cave network that I didn’t know existed which contains even more species. Honestly I might never managed to fully catalog all the different species but I’m going to continue to do it.”
Clemens and Sarita continued to talk about the underwater ecosystem while Marius fought against the might of one of the miniature whales. He had cast out into the herd but initially didn’t get any nibbles. Considering the whales were filter feeders they weren’t that interested in a lure.
Instead he had to cast the lure out into the path of one of the whales where the lure got caught in the mouth as the creature passed by it. Once it had caught Marius yanked the rod and pulled back ensuring the hook was firmly caught in the whale’s mouth.
Then he began to reel in the whale. It took him several minutes of reeling to the whale up close to him. The whale had struggled magnificently and the fact that it had been reeled in so close was a testament to the strength and durability of the fishing pole that Marius was using.
With the fish up close to him he lodged the pole into the rocks and pulled out a rope that was tied much like a lasso. With a trained throw the rope moved through the water and then with a pull he looped it around the whale’s tale. Then he tightened it. Then with one hand he grabbed the pole and the rope with his other.
With some kind of special fishing rope trip he send a loop of the rope going down the line of his fishing pole and the miniature whale had became bound completely by the rope. It struggled but with each move the rope only seemed to bind it tighter.
The whale continued to struggle vainly until it couldn’t move at all. Marius was then able to pull it closer without any risk to himself. Once it was within arm’s reach he too pulled out a knife and jabbed it into the whale.
He stowed his pole on his back and then with the tied up whale in tow began to swim back toward Clemens and Sarita. He eyes darted to the dead whale that was floating next to them.
As he got closer he said, “Mine is bigger.”
Sarita looked over his whale which was closer to six feet and said, “Yes it is but that wasn’t party of the scoring. How did he do Clemens?”
“He managed to make it back with six minutes remaining. Both of you managed to complete the catch within the determined time so I think you both get to on to the next challenge.”
“Well, I guess that was good enough for one say.” Said Marius who seemed to be in a better mood than he had been yesterday. “We need to bring these catches back, it looks like we will be eating like kings today.”
Clemens was a little surprised and said, “And here I though you were going to demand that the next competition would be held now.”
“No way, and waste this fish? That were be a terrible waste. Catching fish and refusing to eat them is the biggest insult you could give to a fish.”
It was a kind of strange approval as Sarita nodded along with Marius’ statements. Clemens didn’t really share their same affinity but said, “That makes sense I guess, wasting perfectly good food would be terrible.”
“While we could bring these through the main entrance to the resort it will be easier to take these through the service airlock. That entrance is significantly bigger and will have an easier time accepting these fish. Also you have then easily deliver it to the robots, unless of course you want to cook the fish yourself.”
Because the light reef was close to the resort the swim back was also rather quick. The service entrance was hidden from view which made finding it if you did not know where it was tricker. However both Clemens and Sarita had used it before so entering the resort that way was simple.
Once the water had drained from the airlock Sarita and Marius both lifted their respective fishes. Marius didn’t look that weird because his muscle was clearly obvious. Sarita however looked like she was defying normal human physics by lifting the fish despite her lithe appearance.
Clemens remember her boast that should would be able to easily lift Nitzan and how that was clearly true. The two of them carried the whales over to a service entrance of some kind where they were able to turn the fish over to the robots who would prepare the fish for the evening meals.
“Is is normal for robots to accept guest acquired food this way?” Asked Clemens.
“It is here.” Said Sarita, “Fishing is one of the attractions to this resort so when everything was setup the robots were programmed with the ability to accept fish from the guests. Although when I first arrived here there was a bunch of things that were malfunctioning and that was once of them. I had to call in an engineer to get some many things fixed.”
“How long does it take them to prepare the fish?” Asked Marius.
“With miniature whales it take a couple of hours for them to be butchered.”
Clemens said, “So many we should meet up at Diver’s Delight at dinner time? That will give the robots plenty of time and we have some time to relax before dinner. I for one need to wash the salt out of me.”
“The salt is fine, you get used to it after a while.” Said Sarita.
“Unfortunately I think my skin is itching.” Said Clemens “Maybe I’m just not used to it but I think that shower is really calling to me.”
“Suit yourself.” She said.
“Are you going to join us for dinner?” Clemens asked.
“I might as well. Somebody has to eat all the fish and I doubt you or Suzuna are capable of eating enough.”
Marius had already left, off to tell Suzuna about the story of fishing no doubt. Clemens headed back to his room. While the diving suit did a good job of keeping him mostly clean he still hadn’t felt right until after a shower. He wasn’t as used to the see as Sarita was after all.
Once that was done it was still a while until dinner time so he returned to the picture that he had been drawing before. There was some more hesitation before he drew a few sketch lines. The center of the picture transformed into a battle between Sarita and a Miniature whale with Sarita the inevitable victory.
He didn’t have time to finish before it was time to head down to Diver’s Delight. Marius and Suzuna had already arrived by the time Clemens got down there.
Marius waved and called out, “I’ve saved us a seat. Over here.” He seemed to be in a jovial mood.
Clemens joined them. Suzuna had left her computer behind this time and was sitting next to Marius. She still wore a variation on the boring business suit that she had worn before.
“It looks like your first fishing trip went well.” She said as Clemens sat down across from her.”
“Yes, it did.”
With Clemens there Marius stood up and said, “I’m going to go make sure we get drinks early. Back soon.”
With Marius gone Clemens said, “He seems to be in a better mood. Before the trip he seemed more grumpy.”
“He is basically simple. He likes the things that he likes and gets grumpy when he is away from them for too long. Getting to let loose fishing did a great deal to improve his mood.”
“Have you had trouble with that while living with him.”
“Not really. He basically bottles up his frustrations but he never does anything else other than turn a lot more crass. I mainly notice it in the way he speaks.”