Hidden 29 days ago Post by Mistress Dizzy
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Beep
Beep
Beep

The submarine’s radar echoed though the metal can, evoking a lonely atmosphere as the crew stared at the expanse of the sea depths. This was their third week out, the first two being uneventful and full of sea squid. But they, and the team of scientists running the show, were hoping to find something new at this depth – the submarine had been made especially for safe capture and transport of new sea life, and the grant they had was nearly unlimited as long as they followed the guidelines.

Suddenly, a blip appeared on the radar. This was no squid, no – it was larger, but not whale large. (That had been week one.) As the sub approached, the crew watched eagerly out the window for the discovery.

“...no way. Is that a -”
“Nope, don’t say it. You’ll jinx it.”
“Will one of you dorks get the director on the phone? She’s gonna want to see this one.”

---

Kassandra woke up in a cage.

Or at least, that’s what it felt like. It was bright, so bright, and she was swimming in strange water. No plants – no fish – nothing else but her! Every time she tried to swim away, she bumped into something invisible. Nothing was working, and there were odd creatures in white coats in front of them.

“Please help! Let me out!” She banged on the glass, but they didn’t seem to hear her or understand her. Or maybe they just didn’t care. They simply scribbled on their odd-looking scrolls and continued to stare at her.

Her brilliant orange tailfin smacked the side of the invisible walls again and again, until her dark skin was covered with bruises. “Please. Let me out.” Momentarily defeated, she sank to the bottom and folded her arms over her head. “Let me out...”
Hidden 29 days ago Post by karamonnom
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Hiro was speechless.

The trips have been uneventful for the rookie marine biologist. He didn't expect to find anything that flashy and cool, and honestly, that was fine with him. He had been taking a lot of photographs of normal ocean life which he knew could be in some journals.

But never did he think that the crew would find something so... unbelievable. He couldn't believe his eyes. Naturally, they didn't want him to interfere with their findings. It was too big for a newbie like him to tackle on. Throughout the bustle of the day, they gave him a meaningless task of observing the plankton life of the waters here. "Maybe something in the plankton will tell us how this is possible" they said, even though he knew this was just busy work to keep him from it...her?

But as the day was ending and the other scientists were busy transferring their thoughts onto their "paper of the life time", they told him to watch her. "Don't touch it. Don't do anything. Just watch it," they said. ("Her", he corrected in his head.)

So he watched her. Quietly, as if he was scared that she would disappear in front of his eyes if he said anything. She was so beautiful... with her glistening orange tail fin. But she looked so sad and defeated, sitting at the bottom of the tank.

He slowly walked up to the tank, drawn to her beauty and melancholy. He placed a gentle hand on the tank where she was. From this distance, he could notice the bruises on her skin. His heart began to ache. "...I'm sorry..." he whispered.
Hidden 29 days ago Post by Mistress Dizzy
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Kassandra looked up, as one of the strange beings walked up and laid a hand on the invisible wall. At least this was close to a normal thing, though it lacked the proper webbing and claws. She laid her hand on the wall over his, staring plaintively at the male. His mouth moved as if speaking, but she couldn't understand a word.

Maybe there was another way of communicating? She reached her hand back slowly, and then with one claw, started to tap out a rhythm. Tap tap tap-tap. It was just a nonsense drumming, but she repeated it over and over, hoping that somehow he'd understand that she wasn't some fish to be eaten. She could speak, and she wanted to be out.

This smaller male seemed to be cowed by the other males and females in white clothing. Maybe he wasn't strong enough to beat them in combat? Kassandra had been there before. It was half the reason she was so far out from home in the first place. And now... this mess.

"Can you understand me?" She spoke to the rhythm of her fingertip claw tapping.
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Hiro was startled by the sudden tapping. It seemed like she was communicating with him somehow. Her mouth was also moving but he couldn’t hear it or maybe it was just his imagination. However, the tapping did not seem to be random, as he heard the same rhythm over and over again.

Hiro turned around for a second and looked left and right, making sure none of the other scientists were around. Once he felt like the coast was clear, he took a deep breath and pushed his glasses back up. He tapped back in the same pattern as she did. Tap tap tap-tap.

“Who are you?” He said back, even though he wasn’t sure if this would work. If the others knew, he would be in trouble for sure. But he couldn’t help it. She didn’t belong here... it seemed so wrong.
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As soon as her rhythm was repeated, Kassandra's whole countenance brightened. She swam two loops in happiness, then went back to the invisible wall. He was saying something, and this time she pressed her ear against the wall to hear it. ...who... are you...

"Who are you?" She echoed softly, wondering just what he meant. "Who are you!" She said it again, louder, her pretty voice booming into the water. Maybe, maybe that was a name? Whoareyou. Definitely a strange name. Still, no sense in turning down the first proper greeting she'd gotten so far.

"WHOAREYOU! KASSANDRA!" She pressed her mouth as close to the wall as she could and yelled. Her gills flexed with the effort. But there, she smiled proudly and stared at the being, wondering what he would do next.
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Her name was Kassandra? That was an oddly human-like name. Or maybe it meant something else? He shouldn’t make baseless assumptions. Regardless, this meant that she could hear him and understand him to some degree. He could not help but be fascinated by her. What was she? The first thing that came to mind was a mermaid... but those were supposed to only be legends and fairy tales.

He was glad to see her mood improve. Seeing her smile so brightly made him blush. But now was not the time to be flustered.

He pressed his mouth closer to the glass and said, “Hiro.” Then he pointed to himself to try to say that it was what he was called. To make sure she understood, he pointed to her and said, “Kassandra.” then pointed back to himself and said, “Hiro.”

As he pulled back, he noticed that he left a fog on the glass. So he drew a smiley face and a very cartoonish fish.
Hidden 28 days ago Post by Mistress Dizzy
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Suddenly things were clearer. She repeated his name softly, 'Hiro' like a wish. Then she pressed herself against the glass, pointing at him excitedly. "Hiro! Hiro!" It was so good to have someone finally speak to her.

So, maybe this Hiro could get her out of here?

When he drew a silly little fish in the fog, like a guppy just learning to write, she placed her hand over it as if trying to scoop it up. Then she held a hand to her stomach. Hopefully it would be clear that she was hungry. Dinner had seemed forever ago. Maybe Hiro could get her some fish. Still swimming, hopefully.

"Hiro..." She said his name plaintively, then repeated the gesture. She snapped her sharp teeth one for good measure, hoping that would make the message loud and clear.

(Feed me Seymour)
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He smiled as she excitedly said his name. They seemed to be making some progress. Although he knew that if anyone saw him, he would be in big, big trouble for talking to their new "specimen". But Kassandra wasn't just some fish in the ocean. She was clearly intelligent and probably has her own language and culture. He could only imagine what he would do if he was in her position and trapped by some random creatures that were doing tests on him without his consent. Maybe if he talked to his higher ups, they would let her go and they could learn more about her kind in a more sensible way.

He watched with curiosity as she did some motions that seemed to indicate that she was hungry. It was interesting that both species had the same way to indicate hunger by rubbing on their stomachs. She seemed to want to eat fish, which isn't that hard to get because they were in the ocean, but he wondered what were the implications of doing such.

Would he get in trouble for this? They told him not to do anything but watch her. But it felt wrong to make her starve like this even if it was "in the name of science".

Watching her repeat the motion again, made him feel guilty and he knew that she was definitely starving. He gave her a nod to show that he understood and sneaked into the cafeteria. Luckily it was late and no body seemed to be there. He grabbed a handful of fish and tuck them into a towel. Then he managed to sneak back into the observation room without anyone noticing. He thought it was too easy, but he supposed they were used to ignoring him anyway.

He quietly opened the top and slipped a few of the fish in.
Hidden 27 days ago Post by Mistress Dizzy
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Kassandra tipped her head quizzically as Hiro disappeared. She wondered where he was off to, and after he didn't come back for a minute or two, she deflated again. She sank to the bottom of the pool, arms folded and chin resting on top. At least could they give her something to read?

But then, oh joy! Hiro was back and he had something in his arms. She craned her head as he disappeared from view, but then two fish came sailing down like some sort of miracle. They weren't alive, but she could really be picky about it, could she? She snatched one up and sank her sharp teeth into it immediately, tearing off a great chunk and gulping it down. The fish was gone in mere seconds. She tracked down the second one, and ate that more slowly, savoring every bite. Once she was finished, she put both hands on the wall and spoke close to it.

"Meus, gratias tibi, Hiro!" She did not expect to be understood, but Hiro deserved her thanks anyway.

(My thanks to you, Hiro!")
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“Meus, gratias tibi, Hiro!” she had said.

Context clues said that she was thanking him for the fish. However, he was curious as to what language she was speaking. “Gratias” sounded a lot like “gracias” so maybe there was a Latin root in there or something. He made a mental note of it and hoped that he would remember it later when he could write it down.

Before he could say anything back, Hiro heard footsteps. Someone was coming

He went back to his seat and pretended that he wasn’t paying too much attention to their big catch of the day.

“Watanabe!” They had said loudly. It turned out to be one of his senior scientist, Jakob Turner. “Observe anything interesting?”

“Oh... um...” Hiro hesitated. He wasn’t sure it would be a good idea to let him know about Kassandra. Not only would he get in trouble, but he wasn’t sure if they were going to treat her better or worse with this new information. They all seemed to think about their grand achievement in science more so than their own morality.

Jakob raised an eyebrow. “Well?”

“Oh.. nothing unusual.” Hiro lies, avoiding eye contact.

If Jakob could tell he was lying, he didn’t show it. He simply shrugged and told Hiro to go to bed as he was going to watch it now.

“Oh.. it’s not a big deal, I can stay up longer and keep watch,” Hiro said, trying to be as convincing as he could.

“Go to bed, Watanabe.” He said more sternly.

Hiro hung his head, gave Kassandra one last solemn look before leaving for the night.
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Kassandra watched the conversation unfold. Even if she couldn't hear them, she could tell by the slump of his shoulders that Hiro was cowed, almost afraid of this other male. Maybe she should be afraid too?

Her eyes widened as he went away. It certainly didn't look like he was coming back, either. The new male, older and different looking, settled down near her and simply stared. Kassandra stared right back, for a while. It seemed this one didn't want to make any conversation. Oh well, he'd taken Hiro away, so she wasn't in the mood to be friendly. After a while, she curled up with her arms around her tailfin, and fell right asleep.

-
Meanwhile, the director was in her office, sipping at a glass of wine and watching the reports come in. This find was going to put their operation on the map. Everyone said that the deep-sea expedition was a waste of money, that the creatures were just strange squids and pale fish. Imagine the next conference when this lovely little beauty was unveiled.

"Doctor Helena Price, the world leading oceanographer. Imagine it." She said out loud, confident that no one could hear her. "Just... imagine it." She turned to one of the cameras overlooking Subject 0001-Ariel, stroked the screen with the sleeping creature, and smiled.
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Hiro had a very difficult time sleeping. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't stop thinking about Kassandra and how she was just... there, existing. He wondered if she was just a dream and that when he woke up, she would be gone. He wondered what kind of experiments they were running on her. He hoped they didn't do anything that would hurt her. Could he protect her if they tried anything? Maybe he should release her, even if it meant his job and career. Eventually, his thoughts began to drift off as his tiredness took over and he finally fell asleep.

-

The next morning, Hiro woke up with dark bags under his eyes. Luckily, his glasses did a good job of covering them, but he definitely needed some coffee. After his morning routine, he decided to go check in on Kassandra. He hid a fish in his backpack from the kitchen just in case they didn't feed her again.

When he got there, the Jakob was still sitting there, watching a sleeping Kassandra.

"Oh? You're back?" Jakob said, drowsily. It was apparent that he hadn't slept much either.

"Yeah, I can take over again," Hiro said in a firmer tone than he had last night.

"Yeah, whatever," Jakob yawned and got up to leave. He placed a cold hand on Hiro's shoulder. "It doesn't do much anyway."

"If only you knew." Hiro thought to himself.

Hiro watched carefully as Jakob staggered out of the room. He sighed with relief as soon as the older man was out of sight. He then turned to Kassandra and smiled. He was glad that she wasn't just a dream or a figment of his imagination. He sat down on one of the chairs, and found himself dozing off as he watched the sleeping creature.
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Kassandra slept, and dreamt of home.

While stone walls, carefully carved by their stonemasons. Larders full of fish and kelp for the taking. Beautiful woven tapestries depicting scenery or people from the past. And happiest of all, her parents, her wonderful parents. Her father, so strong and gentle. Her mother, warm and kind, and a little strange. She said there was something else, something beyond the beautiful sea, and that they should all watch out for it's arrival someday.

Somehow her mother had been right. If only she could know where her only daughter had ended up now.

When she awoke, Hiro was there. He seemed to be asleep, or looked like it. Looking around before speaking, she opened her mouth. But before she could get the word out, more men and women in white coats came with an odd machine and picked up her home. Water sloshed as she was taken away, and all she could do was bang furiously on the glass and hope that Hiro could come after her somehow.

-

To say she was angry was beyond the word. The strange people in white coats poked and prodded out her. They took away some of her blood, they clipped her hair - at one point they stripped away a bit of her tailfin, scales and all. She howled in pain, and at the treatment. Part of her didn't want to do this, but she had to make it stop.

With all the force she could muster, she spoke.

"Et non nocuerunt mihi placet!"

Everything stopped.

One of the people stared at her. "Holy shit. It talks?"

Another one spoke. "Hey, if it talks, that means it's intelligent. Get this on recording."

Kassandra spoke again. "Vellem autem vade in domum tuam!"

None of the people said anything, and she realized that they didn't understand her at all. How could that be? Tear sprung to her eyes as she repeated the phrase again and again. Eventually, they took away their strange and painful instruments, and wheeled her back to the room she had been in. But this time, there was plenty of fish with her. Kassandra ate greedily, and waited for something to occur. Maybe she'd made a mistake by speaking? But they had stopped prodding at her, and gave her food, so perhaps it had paid off.

Now, where was her Hiro?

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Hiro woke up abruptly to the sounds of something repeatedly hitting a ... wall? He blinked a few times and pushed up his glasses. It took him a moment to realize what was going on, but his eyes widened as he saw them carting away Kassandra. He stumbled out of his seat and went to talk to one of the scientists. "Where are you taking her?" he asked.

"Just going to run some tests. You know, figure out what the heck she is," the scientist replied nonchalantly.

Hiro rushed over to the experimentation room, but was stopped by another scientist, who was struggling to carry a very large box. "Hey Hiro!" she exclaimed. "Can you help me out with this?"

Hiro hesitated for a moment, glancing over her shoulders to look at the door. After a moment, he sighed and helped her lift the box. To be fair, it was a very heavy box.

The two of them struggled (though less so because of their combined strength) to carry the box and a few more boxes of that size into another room.

"Thanks Hiro," she said with a smile, but Hiro was already running back to go check on Kassandra.

Once he got back, she was already in the observation room again. And everyone else seemed to have left to do something else. He approached the tank, and got a closer look at her. He noticed that part of her hair was cut short and messily, and was part of her tail fin missing? He placed his hand on the tank, filled with anger and sadness. He bit his lip and looked down for a moment. "What did they do to you?" he asked.
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Kassandra pressed herself up against the side of the tank, as if she was trying to press her way through the wall. "Hiro! Hiro!" There were tears in her eyes, and they loosened and drifted upward in the water. Then she started to speak in her own language, knowing he couldn't understand but speaking anyway. "Hiro, they took away my blood! And - and they sliced me!" She indicated the piece of her tailfin - that didn't grow back easily! "And they cut my beautiful hair, Hiro!" She rubbed at her curls, desperate for a knife to even the job out. "I feel so humiliated." She buried her face in her hands. "But I had to speak to them, to make it stop, and they did. I told them I wanted to go home."

She sighed very softly, a stream of bubbles escaping her lips as she ended her rant. Then she looked toward him, and spoke slowly so he could maybe understand. "Úbi sum? Et ego homo sum! Ego sum pisces Non autem bruta." Somehow, she had to make him understand.

(Where am I? I am a person. I am not a dumb fish.)
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Hiro felt sick to his stomach and his head was spinning from anger as Kassandra demonstrated what his fellow scientists have done to her. He didn't understand the words that were coming out of her mouth, but it was apparent that they had hurt her and that she was not okay. It was obvious that she was some sort of intelligent, human-like (perhaps even more advanced) creature. Why would they do this? Weren't they breaking so many ethical biological practices? Did they even care?

When she spoke slower, the language she was speaking began to sound familiar. It sounded like.. maybe Latin? Not that he was very familiar with Latin, which was now becoming one of his many life's regrets. He wished there was some way that he could understand her and that she could understand him. He could try to look for an English to Latin Dictionary, but he didn't think he would be able to find one on board. Then he remembered something.

He knew someone who knew Latin. At least, she would probably know enough to be able to act as a translator... But could he trust her? He couldn't imagine things going that much worse from here though, even if he asked her for her help. She also seemed like a nice enough person... Maybe she would be sympathetic too.

Hiro held up a finger, to try to indicate he was going to be gone for one moment. And then he made a dash for it. Well, as fast as he could while being safe in a submarine. He found who he was looking for in the cafeteria.

"Kathy!" he exclaimed, panting. "Do... you... know... Latin?"

She raised an eyebrow and answered, "Yeah...why?"

"Just come with me!" he said, after taking a moment to catch his breath. He grabbed her by the wrist and dragged her to the observation deck.

He spoke into the glass. "Hiro." He pointed to himself. Then he pointed to Kathy and said, "Kathy."

Meanwhile, Kathy watched curiously at the two of them.
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(I'm sorry this is so short.)

Kassandra frowned as Hiro ran away. She wondered just where he was going, and when he'd be back. She nibbled at the fish she was given, trying to make it last since she wasn't sure when they'd be more. Without much waiting, Hiro was back, his breath heaving and his face wet. She wondered if he had been swimming. But there was a female with him, one she hadn't seen before. She tipped her head and swam closer, until the wall was the only thing between them.

"Hiro." She heard. Then: "Kathy."

A new ally, perhaps? That would be good. Kassandra smiled, doing her best not to seem afraid, and spoke loud. "Kassandra!" And she indicated herself. "Hiro - is this a friend?" She spoke again in her own language, slowly. She wondered what this new person was going to think. Would she become curious, like Hiro? Or run away like the others?
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Kathy placed her hand over her mouth as she gasped while Hiro beamed proudly. "She's speaking Latin? But it's supposed to be a dead language... No one has spoken it in centuries! Wait! How? Do you think we had ancestors that communicated with her kind in the past?" Kathy was speaking at a thousand words a minute from sheer excitement.

"Uh... Yes, yes and maybe?" Hiro answered as best as he could, hopefully in the right order.

Kathy, remembering that Kassandra was still there, placed her mouth over the glass and said back in Latin, "Yes. I am a friend. Nice to meet you."

Hiro would watch as the two conversed, feeling rather left out and trying his best to pick up a few words here and there. "Um... not to interrupt, but could you teach me some Latin some times, Kathy?"

Kathy smiled, "Of course, Hiro." But then as if she just thought of something, Kathy frowned. "Wait... this is clearly an intelligent, sentient life form.... Why would they be doing those kinds of experiments on her?"

"...That's why I was hoping you would help me with..." He didn't need to finish his sentence for her to understand where they were going with this.

"Ah..." Kathy nodded, then turned back to Kassandra and said in Latin. "We would like to help you in any way we can. Where is your home?"
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Kassandra reeled back as the woman spoke in her tongue. Hiro was a genius - imagine someone who spoke Atlantean here, in this place. Kassandra couldn't help herself, she started talking. "Nice to meet you! I'm so happy that you're here. I've been stuck in this place so long, and no one to talk to. Hiro is so wonderful but he doesn't understand me, and now you're here and YOU understand me and thank you, thank you so much Hiro!" Tears started to flow, then float upward.

"My home is..." She paused, looking down sadly. "Well I don't have much of one. But the city is... maybe twenty to thirty leagues from here? Are you taking me out of here? Please say you are." She wasn't sure how many days she'd been in this place, but she was eager to be out of it. Hiro was nice, and so was this Kathy, but she didn't belong here and wanted to be out.
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"We will do our best to get you home," Kathy said, motioning toward herself and Hiro. Then she took the time to explain to Hiro what she and Kassandra talked about.

"But how are we going to do that?" Hiro muttered to himself. Not only would they have to get her out of the tank, they would have to do that undetected by all of the other scientists and security team while keeping her in water so she could breath. At least, he assumed he needed water to breath. There was still so much he didn't know about her, but unlike the other scientists, he didn't want to run tests... He wanted to get to know her like a normal person. By talking, even if they didn't speak the same language.

Kathy placed a reassuring hand on Hiro's shoulder. "We'll figure it out. For now, we should make sure she is well enough and has enough strength to escape when the time is right."

Hiro took a deep breath. "You're right... Oh that reminds me." He pulled out some fish from his backpack and slipped it into the tank. "These were really stinking up my backpack," he joked.
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