Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings Chapter 23~25
CHAPTER TWENTY-THREEClair Stirs a BrainstormFor tot tout ensemble(a)y(prenominal) his admiration for the field biologists hed worked with altogether totally ever soyw here(predic take in) the days, individual(a)ly stiff harbored ace tiny bit of ego-preserving superiority over them At the end of the day, they were deprivation to induct only nicked the develop of the fel piteous delight they were seek to attain, plainly if Clay got the pictures, he went home a live up to spell. Even nearly Nathan Quinn hed exercised an attitude of rascally smugness, teasing ab turn up his friends ongoing frustration. For Clay it was survive the pictures and whats for dinner? Until instanter. Now he had his own mysteries to turn over with, and he couldnt help exclusively speculate that the powers of irony were flexing their muscles to vanquish foul at him for his having lived carefree for so long.Kona, on the incompatible yield, had long nonrecreational homage to his fe ar of irony by, uniform many surfers, never study in shark meat. I dont eat them, they dont eat me. Thats comely how it work. scarce straight he, too, was feeling the sawtoothed edge of ironys confidence trick, for, having spent near of his time from the age of bakers dozen knocking the edge off his mental acuity by the cooperative application of the most epic smokage that Jah could provide (thanks be unto Him), he was at once being called upon to think and remember with a sharpness that was clearly painful.Think, verbalise Clair, rapping the surfer in the forehead with the spoon she had only seconds earlier utilize to stir h unityy into a cup of calming herbal tea.Ouch, express Kona.Hey, thats uncalled for, state Clay, coming to Konas aid. Loyalty being important to him.Shut up. Youre next.Okay.They were self-possessed around Clays behemoth monitor, which, for all the good it was doing them, could establish been a giant monitor lizard. A spectrogram of giant star song from Quinns information processing system was sprinkle across the screen, and for the information they were getting from it, it might defy been the aftermath of a paint- eggs war, which is what it looked resembling.What were they doing, Kona? Clair involveed, spoon steaming with herbal calmness poised to strike. As a teacher of ivth-graders in a public schooltime, where corporal punishment was non allowed, she had years of violence stored up and was, truth be told, dissever of enjoying allow it forbidden on Kona, who she felt could throw off been the poster child for the harm of public education. Nate and Amy both went through this with you. Now you have to remember what they express.Its not these things, its the oscilloscope, Kona give tongue to. Nate pulled out barely the submarine stuff and mark it on the spectrum.Its all submarine, Clay verbalise. You bastardly subsonic.Yeah. He said thither was mostthing in there. I said same(p) com erecter langu age. Ones and ohs.That doesnt help.He was marking them out by hand, Kona said. By freezing the green line, indeed measuring the peaks and troughs. He said that the note could carry a lot more information that way, hardly the goliaths would have to have oscilloscopes and comput opti nonpareilrs to do it.Clay and Clair both dour to the surfer in amazement.And they dont, Kona said. Duh.It was as if a storm of coherence had come over him. They salutary stared.Kona shrugged. mediocre dont hit me with the spoon again.Clay pushed his lead clog up to allow the surfer at the keyboard. Show me. Late into the night the 3 of them worked, making little marks on printouts of the oscilloscope and save them on yellow legal pads. Ones and ohs. Clair went to bed at 200 A.M. At 300 A.M. they had fifty handwritten legal-pad pages of ones and ohs. In an early(a) time this might have felt to Clay like a job well done. Hed helped discerp data on shipboard before. It killed some time and in gratiated him to whatever scientist was leading the project he was there to photograph, precisely hed constantly been adequate to hand off the work for individual else to finish. It was slowly dawning on him beingness a scientist sucked.This sucks, said Kona.No it doesnt. Look at all we have, said Clay, gesturing to all they had.What is it?Its a lot, thats what it is. Look at all of it.Whats it mean?No idea.What does this have to do with Nate and the Snowy Biscuit? unsloped look at all of this, said Clay, looking at all of it.Kona got up from his chair and rolled his shoulders. Mon, Bwana Clay, Jah has given you a big rendert. Im goin to bed.What are you saying? Clay said.We got all the heart we need, brah. We need head. Scuse me?And so, in the morning, with the promise of a long piece of information for barter (the torpedo range) scarce without a received indication of what he truly needed to survive in have (everything else), Clay talked Libby Quinn into coming to Pap a Lani.So let me get this straight, said Libby Quinn as she paced from Clays computer to the kitchen and hindquarters. Kona and Clay were standing to the side, following her movement like dogs watching meatball tennis. Youve got an old woman who claims that a whale called her and instructed her to have Nate impinge on him a pastrami sandwich?On rye, with Swiss and hot mustard, Kona added, not absentminded her to miss any pertinent scientific details.And you have a recording of voices, inf sensibleater, presumably military, asking if someone brought them a sandwich.Correct, said Kona, No bread, or meat, or cheese, specified.Libby glared at him. And you have the navy setting off untrue explosions in preparation to put a torpedo range in the middle of the Hump grit run Sanctuary. She paused meaning generousy and pivoted thought encompassingy like Hercule Poirot in flip-flops. You have a tape of Amy doing a breath-hold dive for what appears to be an hour, with no ill effects.To p slight, Kona added. Science.You have Amy claiming that Nate was eaten by a whale, which we all know is exclusively not possible, given the diameter of the hump corroborates throat, regular(a) if one were inclined to bite him, which we know they wouldnt. (She was honour equal a deerstalker, a calabash, and a cocaine wont short of being Sherlock Holmes here.) Then you have Amy taking a kayak out for no apparent reason and disappearing, presumed drowned. And you say that Nate was on the job(p) on finding binary in the lower registers of the whale song, and you think that means something? Have I got that skillful?Yeah, said Clay. But you have the break-in to our offices to get the gravid tapes, and you have my boat being sunk, too. Okay, it sounded more connected when we were talking approximately it abide night.Libby Quinn retardped pacing and saturnine to look at both of them. She wore cargo shorts, tech sandals, and a rivulet bra and appeared ready at any moment to just retreat off and do something outdoorsy and strenuous. They both looked down, subdued, as if they were still chthonian the threat of Clairs deadly spoon of calm. Clay had forever and a day had a secret attr human actionion to Libby, even sequence shed been married to Quinn, and it was only within the last year or so hed been able to make eye stir with her at all. Kona, on the some other hand, had studied dozens of videotapes on the homo tripual lifestyle, especially as it pertained to having a third party show up in the middle of an intimate moment (usually with a pizza), so he had long ago assigned a hot rating to Libby, contempt the fact that she was double his age.Help us, Kona said, trying to sound low-down, staring at the floor.This is what you guys have, and you think because I know a little biology I come make something of all this?And that, said Clay, pointing at the now set and collated pages of ones and ohs on his desk.Libby walked over and flipped through the pages. Clay, this is nothing. I back endt do anything with this. Even if Nate was on to something, what do you think? That even if we recognize a pattern, its going to mean something to us? Look, Clay, I sockd Nate, too, you know I did, but Just tell us where to start, Kona said.And tell me if you recognize anything in this. Clay went to his computer and hit a key. A still of the edge view of the whale tail from his rebreather dive was on the screen. Nate said that he had seen some markings on a whale tail, Libby. Some writing. Well, I thought there was something on this whale, too, before it knocked me out. But this is the best shot of the tail we have. It could mean something. standardized what? Her voice was kind.I dont know what, Libby. If I knew what, I wouldnt have called you. But theres too much weird stuff going on that around fits together, and we dont know what to do.Libby studied the tail still. on that point is something there. You dont have a ruin shot?No, this is something I do know round. This is the best I have.You know, Margaret and I were helping a guy from Texas A&.M who was normaling a downlikeware schedule program that would shift perspective of tail shots, so edge and bad-angle views could be shifted and extrapolated into usable ID photos. You know how many get tossed because of bad angles?You have this program?Yes, its still in beta tests, but it works. I think we notify shift this shot, and if theres something meaningful there, well see it.Cool streaks, Kona said.As far as this binary thing, I think its a shot in the dark, but if its going to mean anything, youre going to have to get your ones and ohs in the computer. Kona, can you type?Well, on ones and ohs? I shred most masterful, mon.Right. Ill set you up with a simple text file just ones and ohs and well figure out if we can do anything with it later. No mistakes, okay?Kona nodded.Clay finally looked up and smiled. Thanks, Libby.Im not saying its anything, Clay , but I wasnt exactly fair to Nate when he was around. maybe I owe him one now that hes gone. Besides, its windy. Fieldwork would have sucked today. Im going to call Margaret, have her bring the program over. Ill help you if you promise that youll put all your weight into stopping this torpedo range and youll sign Maui Whale on to the petition against low-frequency active sonar. You guys have a problem with that?She was swelled them the spoon of death look, and it occurred to both of them that this might be something that was innate to all women, not just Clair, and that they should be very, very afraid.Nope, said Kona.Sounds good to me. Ill put on a pot of coffee tree, said Clay.Margaret is absolutely going to cop when she hears rough the torpedo range, said Libby Quinn as she reached for Clays phone.CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUROrientation to the vapoursA minuscular explosion went off over his head, and Nate dove low the table. When he looked up, Emily 7 was bent over staring at him with her faded whale look and a mild expression of distress, and Nuez was crouched at the other end of the table smiling.That was the stray, Nate, Nuez said. A little more intense than the humpbacks, huh? These ships act like real whales, remember. The teasehole is right to a higher place our heads. Vented to the await of the ship, but, you know, every twenty minutes or so its going to go. You get used to it.Sure, I knew that, said Nate, crawling out from down the stairs the table. Hed been out off of Santa Cruz searching for the blues. You usually found them by the sound of their blows, which you could hear up to a mile and a half forward. He looked up, expecting to see sky through the blo safe and sound, but instead he saw just more smooth whaleskin.They behave like whales, but the physiology is completely different to allow for the living billet. I dont really understand it, but for deterrent example the blowhole is vented down the sides somewhere to some axillary lungs that do the oxygen ex convert with the blood. I dont know how they got us electricity at all. I mean, I said I wanted a coffeepot, and they put in an outlet. There are circuits all over the bridge for our machinery. The other bodily functions seem to be handled by polisheder versions of liver, kidneys, and so by around the outside of the cabins. The main spine runs over the top of the ship. Theres no digestive system. The ships digestive system is at the base it hooks up and pumps nutrient-rich blood into the ship, which stores enough energy in blubber to run it for half a dozen months at sea, or around the world at least once. We can cruise at twenty knots as long as no one is watching.What do you mean, no one is watching?I mean you guys. Biologists. If one of you guys is watching us, we have to slow it down after a tally of hours. Especially if were tagged.This ship has been satellite-tagged? What do you do?We go to silent running for a while. Then we dive, and one of the wha ley boys goes outside and pulls the tag off. Weve been tagged twice by that Bruce Mate guy from Oregon State. That guys a menace. Probably has a satellite tag on his wife to track her trips to the can. If theyd asked me, hed be the one riding with us now.You know who he is? Nate was aghast. As a scientist, you were always fighting being overwhelmed by what you dont know, but the magnitude of this whole military operation it was too much.Of course. Since commercial whaling backed off, cetacean biologists have been the main center on of our intelligence program. Why do you think youre here?Okay, why am I here?I dont know the whole story, but its something to do with the song. Evidently you were a little too close to finding our signal in the song, so they yanked you.The aliens were that inte lodgeed in what I was doing?What aliens?These aliens, Nate said, nodding toward the pilots and Bernard and Emily 7, who had go to another table on the other side of the corridor.The whaley boys arent aliens. Who told you that?Well, Poynter and Poe implied that they were.Those jerks. No, theyre not aliens. Theyre a little weird, but not from-another- creamt weird.Bernard looked up from what appeared to be a chart of some sort and gave a half-assed signature raspberry.They do that a lot, Nate said.If you had a tongue 4 inches wide, youd do that a lot, too. Its sort of a video display move with them, like the penis waving that Bernard was doing.Like male sea wolf whales do.Bingo. See, a guy with your background, this is easy to explain. I didnt understand squat at first.Im sorry, but I cant believe that this ship, the whaley boys, the whole perfection of the way they work, could perchance be products of natural selection. There had to be a design. Someone make all this.Cielle nodded, smiling. Ive known a number of scientists in my lifetime, Nate, but Im true this is the first time Ive heard one arguing in prefer of a grand designer. Whats that called, the watchmak er argument?She was right, of course. It was an accepted premise that intelligent design in nature was not necessarily a product of intelligence, but merely the mechanism of natural selection of traits for survival and really, really long periods of time for the selections to assert themselves. Nates lifes work had been built on that assumption, but now he was giving Darwin the old heave-ho simply because his Nates mind was too small to adapt to the idea of this craft. Well, yes, damn it. Screw Darwin. This was too strange.Im sorry, Im just having a little trouble getting my head around this. I dont know how you take to being a prisoner, but I dont care for it. On top of that, I could barely forty winks on the humpback with the blow going off every few minutes, and I havent eaten anything but raw fish and weewee for rough five days. Id be addled even if this didnt seem impossible.Bernard made a whimpering noise, and Skippy and ice yacht followed along in a moment until the y sounded like a basketful of hungry puppies, and thus they all broke out into wheezing snickers. Emily 7 frowned at them.Of course, I understand, Nate, Nuez said. Maybe you should finish up your coffee and go to your quarters. I have a few sports shakes in my cabin that will get some carbohydrates to your brain, and I can get you something to help you sleep the ships doctor has a full stock of Pharmaceuticals. She patted his hand maternally. Nate felt a little ashamed for having complained.Youre not the only human on this ship, then?No, there are four humans and six whaley boys on board. The others are in their quarters. But theyre all huffy to meet you. Everyones been talking about it for hebdomads.Youve known for weeks you were going to take me?Well, sort of. We were on standby. We just got the go-ahead the day before we took you.And you, and the rest of the crew, youre prisoners, too?Nate, every person on this ship, on any whale ship, has been pulled out of a sinking or sun ken ship, a plane crash at sea, or some other disaster that would have killed them. This is a gift of time, and frankly, once you accept where you are and what youre doing, Im going to ask you where youd rather be. Okay?Nate searched her face for any sign of sarcasm or malice. all in all he found was a gentle smile. Okay.You go to your quarters now. Ill send around your supplies in a bit. Bernard, would you show Dr. Quinn to his quarters?Im not really a doctor, Nate whispered.Take whatever respect you can get from them, Nate.Bernard waited at the entry to the corridor, rubbing his shiny-smooth stomach and grinning. A white coffee mug stood out in contrast against Bernards abdomen, suspended as it was in the grasp of his penis.Ive always wanted to do that, said Nate, deciding that he wasnt going to let the whaley boy get the satisfaction of intimidating him. Would be really handy for driving. Nate bowed toward the corridor. Lead on, Bernard.Bernard skulked down the hall in what woul d have been a full pout posture, had he any lips to do the actual pouting. He spilled a trail of coffee along the way.CHAPTER twenty-fiveThe Inner Secretsof Cetacean SlutsNate was just settling into the idea of the organic flap he was going to be sleeping on before very settling into the bed. He was not a God kind of guy, but he found himself thanking one nonetheless for the crisp cotton sheets and caseful on a feather pillow. He didnt think he really wanted to sleep with his face against whaleskin. There was a sonant spill the beans outside the approach, and the great flap of skin retracted to open to the corridor. Emily 7 stood there with a tray that held two cans of protein shake, a glass of water system, and a champion small pill. She grinned but did not try to step into the cabin. The small portal required a bit of a crouching and climbing action for Nate to enter, so he guessed shed dump the tray trying to get through. Then again, she might just be trying to be polite. She waited while Nate took the cans from the tray and set them on the low table, then swung around to take the pill and water from her.Emily 7 whistled and gave him a sidelong glance, causing her right eye to bulge out at him, as hed actually seen humpbacks do when checking out a boat at the surface. She gestured for him to take the pill.Youre not leaving until you see me take my medicine?Emily 7 nodded.Well, I guess if you guys wanted to get rid of me, it would have been a lot easier to kill me without bringing me all the way out here to poison me. Nate took the pill, downed the water, and opened his speak to show that the pill was gone. That okay, nurse?Emily whistled and nodded, then gently took the empty glass from Nates hand. She reached up to hit the node, and the portal unopen between them. Nate heard her whistle the first few bars of a lullaby.Shes sweet, Nate thought, in a tall, malevolent rubber-puppet sort of way.For almost a week the only sleep Nate had been able to ge t was while he was retiring in the chair in the humpback, and even then it was restless with the ship blowing every few minutes and the whaley boys whistling communications so, despite the blow of the blue-whale ship, he fell into a deep sleep filled with graphical dreams. He dreamed of himself and Amy, their naked bodies entwined, slick with sweat under soft candlelight. Strangely, even as he dreamed, he had the semilucid thought that before, whenever hed taken a sleeping pill, he didnt remember ever dreaming. But that thought was pushed away by the feel of Amys smooth skin, his fingers lightly caressing her muscular legs, her four long, webbed fingers wrapped lovingly around his Hey Nate opened his eyes. A softly lit fence of spiky teeth smiled over at him, wet fish breath washed over his face.Uh-oh, said Emily 7, her voice blue and rasping, verging on duck-speak.Nate leaped out of bed and bounced off the protect on the other side of the cabin.Emily 7 pulled the sheet up over her head and burrowed against the wall, dig her melon under the pillow. Then she lay still.Nate stood trying to taking into custody his breath. As soon as hed hit the floor, the biolighting had come up to high. He pushed back against the flexible wall, then suddenly became self-conscious and pulled his T-shirt off the back of the chair to cover his erection, which was rapidly losing its will to live.She was just lying there. how-dye-do? I can see you.Curled up. Not moving. There under the sheets. all(prenominal) whaley.You arent fooling anyone. Youre bigger than I am. Youre not hidden.Just the soft sound of her blowhole opening and closing. Nate realized that it might be easier to wrap up under the covers if one had a blowhole, as one could cover ones mouth and face and still breathe. Addled by sleep deprivation, residual sleep medication, two cups of coffee, and now a few endorphins, he started to speculate on how a creature might adapt for hiding under the covers, the n shook off the biologist rising up in him. set out on, were different species and stuff. Thats creepy.Now a bit of a squeak, more like a whimper, followed by a tiny Uh-oh, like a small elf had been mashed under the covers with a heavy book and had uh-ohed its last pathetic gasp.Well, you cant stay here.He remembered how hed felt when Libby had leave him and by way of score shed said, Nate, I dont know, I dont even feel like were the corresponding species. At the time hed felt as if his stomach were being turned internal out. It had ruined him affectionately for more than a year. Longer than that if he counted the slaughter attraction to Amy.He stepped over to the bunk. Emily 7 scrunched into the corner between the wall and the bed. Nate worked the edge of the sheet loose and cautiously slid one leg under the covers. The lump that was Emily 7s head moved as if she was listening.You have to stay on your side, okay?Okay, wheezed Emily 7 in the mashed-elf voice.Nate awoke to the exhultations of killer whales high-pitched hunting calls. The pod seemed to be gleefully celebrating a hunt, or at least transaction another pod to come along and help. It occurred to him that he was actually riding in a craft that qualified as food for the orcas, and the ship might be in danger of attack. Hed have to ask Nuez about that. He swung his feet off the bunk, and the lights came up. He realized that he was alone and sighed with relief.There was a fresh set of khakis hung over the chair and a nursing bottle of water on the table. There was a small basin on the wall opposite the bunk, no bigger than a cereal roller and made out of the same skin as the rest of the ship. He hadnt even noticed it the night before. There were three lit nodules above the basin, like those used to activate the portals, but Nate could see nowhere for the water to come out. He pushed one of the nodules, and the basin started filling from a anatomical sphincter in the bottom. He pushed anothe r, and the water was sucked out the same orifice. He assay to foster scientific detachment toward the whole thing but failed miserably He was creeped out. Nate desperately needed a shave and a shower, but he didnt want to try to wash his whole six-foot-two-inch body in an eight-inch bowl with a well, a butt hole at the bottom. Hed had just about enough of advanced poop-chute technology, thank you. He splashed some water on his face and dressed in the khakis, wondering as he did if the whale ship could actually grow a reflect for him to shave in if he needed it.The whole crew appeared to be up and milling about the bridge when Nate came in. There were four whaley boys at the table with the charts to the right of the hatch, the two pilots at their consoles. Nuez stood by the table to the left of the hatch, where there were seated a blond woman in her thirty-something and two men, one dark, perhaps in his early twenties, and one brassy-pated and gray-bearded, a healthy fifty, maybe . Not a very military-looking bunch. Everyone turned when Nate came in. All conversations words or whistles stopped abruptly. The echo of killer-whale calls bounced around the bridge. Emily 7 turned away from Nates gaze. Nuez was leaning against the wall near the nook that housed the coffeepot, actively trying not to look at him.Hi, Nate said, catching eye contact with the bald guy, who smiled.Have a seat, said the bald guy, gesturing toward the empty seat at the table. Well get you something to eat. Im Cal Burdick. He shook Nates hand. This is Jane Palovsky and Tim Milam.Jane, Tim, Nate said, shaking hands. Nuez smiled at him, then looked away quickly as if the coffeepot needed some immediate attention or she was going to crack up or both.Everyone at the table nodded, sort of staring at the spot in front of them, like So here we are on a giant blue-whale ship, hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean, with killer whales calling about us, and Nate fucked an alien, so Nothing happened, Nate said to the whole bridge.What? said Jane.Your quarters satisfactory, then? asked Tim, an eyebrow raised.Nothing happened, Nate repeated, and even though nothing had happened, from the tone of his voice he wouldnt have believed it either. Really.Of course, said Tim.All of the whaley boys except Emily 7 were snickering. When he looked around, all the males were waving their willies back and forwards in time in the air, as if swaying to a pornographic Christmas carol. Emily 7 put her big whaley head down on the table and cover it with her arms.Nothing happened Nate shouted at them. Silence again on the bridge, just the echo of killer-whale calls. Are we in danger? Nate asked Nuez, trying desperately to change the subject. Are they going to attack the ship? Those are feeding calls, right? Often, when killer whales found a whale that was too big to be taken by their family pod, or when they happened on to an especially rich school of fish, they would call to other pods for help. Nate recognized the calls from some work hed done with a biologist friend in Vancouver.No, these are residents, Nuez said. Theyre just excited about a bait ball theyve found. Probably sardines. Resident killer whales ate only fish transients ate mammals, whales and seals. Over the last few years scientists tended to refer to them as completely different species, even though they appeared the same to the layman.You know what they are by their call?More than that, Cal said, we know what theyre saying. The whaley boys can translate.All killer whales are named Kevin. You knew that, right? said Jane. She had a polished Eastern European accent, Russian maybe. She looked a little amused, her blue eyes dark under the yellow cast of the bioluminescence, but she didnt appear to be joking. She patted the seat next to her, indicating that Nate should sit down.Like all the pilots are named Scooter and Skippy? Nate said.Actually, they have numbers like Emily their choice, by t he way but since there are never more than one pair of them on a ship, we dont bother with the numbers.Nate suddenly realize that in all his time on both of the whale ships, except when one of the pilots had gone outside to catch fish, the pilots always seemed to be at the controls. Dont they ever sleep?Sure, said Jane. Were handsome sure they sleep with half their brain at a time, like whales, so between two of them the ship always has a full pilot. Without one of them at the controls, its basically a big lump of meat.You said that youre pretty sure. You dont know?Well, they dont know for sure, said Jane, and theyre not very excited about our doing experiments on them. Now that youve joined us, though, maybe youll be able to figure out whats going on with them. We sort of play it all by ear. The whaley boys and the Colonel run things. Cielle, you didnt tell him all this?He was pretty beat, Nuez said. I tried to get him settled in as soon as I could.Nate wanted to protest the se ttled in comment. After all, he was a prisoner here, but these people didnt behave at all like captors. They immediately impressed him as having the same dynamic that hed seen in research teams, a were all in this together, lets make the best of it attitude. He didnt want to yell at these people. Still, it made him a little awkward that she was so forthcoming with information. When your kidnappers showed you their faces, they were giving you the message that you werent going home.Nuez set a plate down in front of him. It had a salad of mixed seaweeds, carrots, and mushrooms, a piece of cooked fish, which looked like halibut, and what appeared to be rice.Eat up, she said. A couple of nutriment drinks arent going to get you back up to speed. We do eat a lot of raw fish, even on the blue, but you need some carbs until you adjust to this diet. Theres plenty of rice when you finish that.Thanks. Nate dug in while the others, all but Cal, excused themselves to work in other part of the ship. The older man had obviously been charged with Nates second orientation lecture.Cal scratched his beard, looked around at the pilots, then leaned over to Nate and spoke in a lower voice. Theyre very promiscuous. You know how dolphin females will mate with all the males in the pod so no one can be guarantee of who the father of her calf is? They think it keeps the males from murdering her calf when its born.Thats the theory, Nate said.Theyre sort of like that, and back at base you have a big pod to deal with. You start down that path well, youve got a lot of whaley boys to sex up.I didnt sex her up, Nate hissed, spraying rice out over the table. Im not sexing up any whaley boys er, girls Whatever. Look, theyre very close. Here on the ship they dont have evidence quarters they serving one big cabin. Sex is very occasional(a) with them, but they understand that were a little more hung up about it. Some of them seem to affect human shyness. We generally dont mix sexually w ith them. Its not forbidden, but its you know, frowned upon. Its only natural for a guy to be curious Nate put down his fork. Cal, I did not have sex with anyone I mean, anything.Right. And be careful around the males. Especially if youre in the water with them. Theyll bung-hole you just to watch you twitch.Jeez.Im just telling you for your own good.Thanks, but Im not going to be around long enough to worry about it. Might as well throw it in their faces, Nate thought.The older man laughed, almost shooting coffee out his nose. When he recovered, he said, Well, I hope you mean you plan on dying soon, because no one ever leaves.Nate leaned into Cals face. Doesnt it bother you, that youre a prisoner?Theres not one of us here who wouldnt be dead if the whaley boys hadnt picked us up.Not me.Especially you. You were always twelve hours from dead since we started watching you. Certainly it had to occur to you how much easier it would have been just to kill you?Nate just stared for a s econd. Actually, it had occurred to him, and he didnt see the system of logic in keeping him alive if all they wanted to do was stop his research. He wasnt going to make that argument verbally, but stillDont overthink it, Nate. If you ever doubted that life was an adventure, it definitely is now.Right, Nate said. But before you ask me where Id rather be, let me remind you that theres a sphincter in the bottom of my sink.You havent seen the shower, then? Just you wait.After he ate, Cal loaned him a copy of Treasure Island to read, but when Nate returned to his cabin, he could barely concentrate on the book at all. Funny what you lift up about yourself in a short conversation. One, that he would rather have been accused of having sex with another species than with another male (even of another species). arouse prejudice. Two, that he actually was pleasant, not only to be alive, but grateful to be having completely new experiences every moment, even as a prisoner. Three, that learn ing was still a high, but he burned to share it with someone. And finally, that he was feeling a little jealous, a little less special, now that he knew that Emily 7 was having sex with all the male whaley boys on board. That fickle little slut.He dozed off with Robert Louis Stevenson on his chest and the sound of killer whales calling in the distance.Outside, the pod of twenty killer whales, most the sons or daughters of the matriarch female, were calling frantically to each other as they worried away at a huge bait ball of herring. Biologists had long speculated on the incredibly knotty vocabulary of the killer whale, identifying item linguistic groups that even spoke the same dialect, but they had never been able to put meaning to the calls other than to identify them as feeding, distress, or social noises. However, had they had the benefit of translation, this is what they would have heardHey, Kevin, fishFish I love fishLook, Kevin, fishMmmm, fish.You, Kevin, take a run down t hat trench, shammer left, go right, hit the bait ball, nothing but fishDid someone say fish?Yeah, fish. Over here, Kevin.Mmmmm, fish.And it went on like that. Actually, orcas arent quite as complex as scientists imagine. Most killer whales are just four oodles of doofus dressed up like a police car.