A post-adventure one-shot about how much being a shark actually affected one's life long after all was said and done.
- b - e - g - i - n - s -
My People; My Home; My World
It's been seven years since our adventures as human-sharks began. It's been three or four since they ended. Paradigm was locked away in a high security facility, finally exposed as the monster he truly was. Dad was found and cured (after several months of trying everything), the unstable DNA erased from his body. As for my brothers, our friends, and myself, we were purged of our sea-faring DNA streams as well. The Street Sharks were no more.
We all had went back to being normal people. Clint and Coop went back to highschool to finish the grades they were pulled out of. Dad was allowed to pick up where he left off. John and Lena became joint scientists in genetics, working with Dad on all the data Paradigm had acquired. The two were going to get married next July.
Terry returned to the government program he'd initially been in and, very surprisingly, Melvin was still a hit and sold millions of his four albums. He did, though, ask if I wanted to guest star as a drummer. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't do it all the time.
Jets stayed down in Florida, tagging panthers and other endangered animals for the government. His main base was located in the Everglades, but he was also moved around in all places from India, to Africa, to the South American rainforest.
I had gone back to the university and changed my choice profession drastically. After being one heck of a creature, what better to do than study them? I set my heart on Marine Biology.
And you'd think you'd seen it all.... until the brash, womanizing, very handsome son with an ego five times too big, tells his father and brothers just what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Eyes nearly fell out of their sockets... and Clint accused me of not being able to pull it off. The funny thing is, he might just be right. But hey, I personally have enough money saved up from winning pro-skating competitions before and during the Shark era and from working with Melvin. And if I don't make it as a scientist, I can always try being an actor. The next Leonardo DiCaprio, oh baby.
Complete with the bisexual tendencies. It's that 'flow of nature' thing, but if I really had to choose, women suit me juuuust fine. ... But this is definitely not about that.
I may be determined to become something that would bring me closer to what I've grown attached to and yearned for again, but I have a fear. A fear that the ocean will reject me, now that I've traded my stolen fins for feet. On quiet days, as Streex, I use to go swimming in the sea. It was a wondrous feeling, because I felt like I belonged. The world of Man was much less forgiving for the odd and bizarre than the world of the Sea is.
Strange oddities, like the disfigured, the autistic, the altered, the different, are laughed at and shunned by humans, as were my friends and family. We were hated, but surprising well-liked too. They were the young enthusiasts though, people who hadn't really learn the harsh reality adults are forcing onto humanity.
But the sea was so much different. I was a freak, caught between two worlds, but She welcomed me with open arms. She held me when I cried, smiled when I was happy, loved me for who I was, not my exterior. But She can't speak to me anymore, for I've lost the ability to hear Her. It's depressing, really. I don't know what kind of feeling the others got from the salty waters, but I knew what I felt... But there was one I would pity: Terry Morton, our manta hybrid. The alien DNA in him was a stronger pull than the sea, because the infinity of space was much bigger than the oceans of one planet. And space seemed cold and alone, more burdened then joyous of its creatures.
And when we were normal again, it was sickening. I felt disgust when Mayor Marino gave us her deepest sincerity, but she was probably just trying to make herself look good in front of Dave-- er, President Horne. Hey, when you have the President backing you up, it's kind of hard to not get on your knees and beg for forgiveness.
And, years after I lost my way, I was finally ready to face my fear like no one else ever has.
I found myself stepping into the Fission City aquarium.
They knew me. Most of the veterinarians, doctors, and scientists were ones I've met before in my classes. Lucky for me, they see me as an aspiring little biologist and took me around behind the scenes. And once it's over, they allowed me to roam a bit on my own.. which is what I was hoping for.
I made my way to the catwalks above the tanks. Thankfully, they're labeled with the creatures that were inside and one had caught my ultimate attention... I looked around as I toed my shoes off, making sure no one was around. Well, I was in luck, since normally, there was always someone around this area. My shoes and my socks were tucked up against the small console's stand and my shirt is soon to follow. Yes, I was insane.
Right next to the ladder was a small tank-less oxygen mask. ... Screw it. Either way, I won't be under for very long. Still no one was around.. I bet they were all in a surveillance area, laughing at me. It was unlikely, but it could happen. Besides, who'd want to risk a lawsuit if something happened to me?
I looked over the railing. I could see the large bodies moving smoothly through the rippling pool. They were caught off of our very own California shores. One, according to the small guide on the plaque, was caught off in the area of the French Frigate Shoals, somewhere northwest of the Hawaiian Islands. A large male... Well, he was no longer the top fish in this tank.
With a sudden move, I dived into the water. The water was frigid, but it was nothing I couldn't handle...or that's what I tried to tell myself. The noise of the splash had alerted them and all five stopped their daily ring-around-the-tank and started swimming towards me. Very beautiful predators, deadly, acute, and my people.
/Galeocerdo cuvier/. The tiger shark.
I just watched as they approach, their stealth a mastered art. But they weren't going in for the kill. Not yet. They'd wait until I surfaced to do that.. Coming up from underneath was an acquired technique. But it's no longer about food.. They probably weren't hungry anyway.
No. The smallest one, the one whose stripes were darkest, bumped into my chest, which thankfully didn't cut. Sharks weren't affectionate-- they're too cold and instinctive for that, their minds knew only hunting and eating-- but.. they could feel something was wrong with me and this young pup was brave enough to inspect it.
I was human to them, but something else too. And here, I could hear Her, but only faintly. Her crystal chimes and melodious whispers were incoherent, but I heard them.. And they know I was one of them.
I have no doubt in my mind that the people could see me from the other side of the glass panel; screams rattled and vibrated in the water's echo and I could just make out the colorful silhouette of people's clothing in the grungy distance. My lungs began the tingle as the sharks swam away. All but one.
The Shoals' male hung back, circling around me. Maybe he was threatened. Well, good. He was four times my size, but I had more knowledge. I've travelled, seen more, know the best and worst of both worlds. She favored me and he didn't like it. I was awkward looking, not a swimmer, and too bright in skin color. My teeth were too small and flat and, heck, I didn't even have a tail.
But I survived where no aquatic animal had. In captivity, surround by things that travelled on strange limbs called legs. He respected me for that...and through him, he spoke Her words.
I couldn't repeat what she told me, but the honor bestowed upon my person was the greatest gift anyone could ever receive.
My chest burned and I spared one last look at the large male before swimming back up to the top. With a refreshing gulp of air, I suddenly realize the commotion that was being made on the catwalks. Emergency divers were getting on the last of their gear, white-coat lab technicians ran around like headless chickens... And they all stopped to stare at me, with bafflement and wildness. So what do I do?
I threw them a winning smile and swam back to the ladder, but before I can climb, the Shoals' male surfaced, his dorsal fin cutting through the water. I didn't move as it swam along side.. and then passed me, brushing up hard against my leg.
I grimaced as the sharkskin tore my own, the tiny hooks stealing bits of my flesh. Droplets of blood spilt into the water and dyed it light pink, but with an eerie calmness, I climbed the ladder, allowing groping hands haul me out of the shark tank.
Yes, I'm fine.
No, I'm not crazy.
Yes, I knew what I was doing.
They toweled me down, and then hurried to bandage my leg. Medical officials weren't sure it would heal, but I knew it wouldn't. It's Her way of showing her pride and she gave the task to the one who deserved it in mutual respect.
What I learned later was I had only been under the water for three minutes; it had seemed like an instant and a lifetime rolled into the thread of the Fates.
I was fine, but they all looked skeptical. They'd never believe that an ex-alter would want to return to the life it once led. I didn't want to be a Street Shark; that was tiring enough, but I did want the freedom the body had provided.
Security was bustling about, helping the staff and trying to calm down the witnesses of the plunge from the ground. I didn't see what the fuss was, but I was able to get out without much trouble. Of course, I had to smile at the irony. They banned me from the backrooms for six months, unless supervised and with a scholastic reason.
It was not even ten minutes later when I saunter out of the doors...I groaned. The press were always so noisy and it's exhausting when they get in your face. It was almost frightening, how word got out so quickly of some poor boy-- child did they just say?!-- falling into a shark tank. They were probably looking for a victim to exploit. I pushed by them without a word (I'm just glad they didn't know it was /me/), got on my motorcycle, and sped away.
And when I got home (), you should've seen the looks I got. Cooper had gotten home about half an hour ago...and Dad got home once he heard the about the incident, probably from a random staff member from the aquarium. And they all stood in the doorway, two expressions of mischief, and one of stern discipline, foretelling bad luck on my part.
"Robert Bolton Jr."
Yep. That's my full name. Guess who's in trouble?
It was a small price to pay for the waters of freedom beneath my fins...
- e - n - d - i - n - g -
Author's Note of the Future!: Okay, so this was written a looooong while ago, and it is very unrealistic. Hey, can't blame a girl for trying. I write better than this now. Much better. .... Yeah, yeah you keep laughing. =P I got ears, you know!