Denebian whale

Leonard Fitzmurdle’s personal log

March 31, 2113

Oddly enough, this week’s main adventure came about as a result of a mishap with our translators. While attempting to locate and purchase a more sophisticated trap for terrestrial mollusks than we currently possess, Briswald inquired about equipment for researching Denebian snails. The science officer in question led us to a back room and threw back a curtain, revealing a gleaming golden-bronze submersible that was clearly completely inappropriate for our task.

I realized that the interpreting device must have mistaken Briswald’s “snail” for “whale” and translated as such (these words sound nothing alike in Denebian). However, just as I was about to correct the mistake, a reverential, quivering little sigh escaped Briswald’s throat, and I knew that our research goals would soon be changed to whatever task would allow us to utilize this machine.

Octavio Briswald’s field notes

March 31, 2113

…and a 75-cylinder propulsion unit to supplement the gravimetric manifold. Oh, she is a beauty, to be sure, a glimmering ode to man’s inventiveness—a most ingenious engine!

I must confess, I was so absorbed by the challenge of navigating our delightful depthopod that I utterly failed to keep an eye on the aft-facing viewscreen. It was only Fitzmurdle’s fortuitous glance out of a porthole that alerted us to the fact that we were being followed by the very beast we were seeking—her long body stretching out like a ribbon beyond the light of our high beams and disappearing in the gloom.

Her presence would have become apparent either way, however, as suddenly the entire machine shook with the force of a terrifying impact. The lengthy leviathan was attacking us! Again and again the mighty creature slammed into us with her upper body, driving our vehicle down to the bed of the ocean. In between each collision she writhed around the machine, coiling and wriggling flirtatiously.


But we had no time to be charmed by these antics, as the force of her continued assaults was wreaking horrible damage on our ship. Alarms blared, steam blasted from valves, sparks flew left and right–a most calamitous catastrophe! I rushed from panel to panel trying to stabilize the machine, while Fitzmurdle, hanging onto a fixed ladder with one arm, furiously flipped through the pages of a book regarding the natural history of Denebian marine mammals.

Leonard Fitzmurdle’s personal log

March 31, 2113

Briswald shouted over the din, “Leave that wretched book alone and help me steer this thing, man!“

But I knew the key was in there somewhere. “Just hold her off a little longer!” I bellowed, trying desperately to stay still enough to read the words on the page. And sure enough, there was the answer I was looking for: Monotreme.

“Egg!” I shrieked. “She thinks we’re her egg!”

“Mammals don’t lay eggs!” he shouted back with exasperation.

“This one does! She thinks we’re ready to hatch, and she’s trying to help! What should we do?”

Amidst the chaos, Briswald gave me a sudden grin. “If it’s a hatching she wants, then a hatching she’ll get!” He grabbed my ladder. “Take a deep breath, old chap!” With one jab to a large button, the walls of the machine began to separate along the center line. Then in one final creaking pop, the entire top half of our depthopod lifted away from the bottom and shot toward the surface of the ocean.

We exploded into the air in a spray of water, and scrambled into the concave section of the hull. Everything was still. The sun shone brightly, and there was no noise aside from the gentle lapping of the waves. True, we were miles from land and significantly bruised, but we would deal with those issues later. Right then, in that first glorious instant, all we could do was lie on our backs in the copper shell and laugh until we could no longer breathe.





Other mentions: Denebian whales are noted for their structural similarities to the Argo sur-snake (TAS).