Thanks go to Megan Freeman and Shaun Owen Hately for beta reading this sucker. And to Wendy Kelley who I confused royally with it, just for trying. (Hey, you've taught me grammar!:)
A Dolphin's Guide to Hitchhikers
by Beth Epstein
"Lieutenant Krieg, what do you think you are doing?" Captain Bridger scolded his morale and supply officer.
"Come on, Captain, I thought it would be great entertainment for the crew to teach Darwin a few tricks," Krieg replied, tightening the nuts on the hoop that now hung over the moon pool on Seadeck.
Bridger shook his head. It was more likely Krieg was planning to sell tickets when SeaQuest next docked. "Darwin isn't a circus act, Lieutenant."
It was at that moment that Lucas Wolenczak decided to enter Seadeck. "Did either of you think to ask Darwin what he wants?"
"Thank you, Lucas, I can handle this," Bridger replied.
Lucas took the yellow vocodor handset down to call the dolphin for his opinion, but before Lucas could push any buttons, Darwin zipped into the moon pool and surfaced near its edge.
The vocodor's "voice" didn't underscore the dolphin's urgency. Darwin was twisting back and forth, splashing water out of the moon pool, his whistles and clicks urgent.
"What is it?" Lucas asked into the vocodor.
Bridger left bawling out Kreig and ran to the moon pool and started rubbing Darwin's rostrum.
"Bridger, Lucas, go."
"Go? Where should we go?" Bridger asked.
"Why?" Lucas's voice cracked in surprise.
"Danger.... yellow fleet... boom."
Lucas hit the vocodor. "Speak English."
Darwin cocked his head, as if listening to something far away.
"He doesn't speak English, Lucas, he speaks dolphin, and apparently that little gizmo of yours doesn't speak dolphin too well," Bridger replied.
"Usually it's symbolic, but that was pretty concrete," Kreig said, coming down from the platform in the back to the edge where Bridger and Lucas stood.
The three of them were so busy discussing the quirks of the vocodor that none of them had noticed Darwin building up speed until suddenly burst through the water doing a double backwards somersault through the hoop and whistling "The Star Spangled Banner".
This left the humans in the room speechless. The real shock, however was that the vocodor was somehow able to translate this.
"So long, and thanks for all the fish."
And with that, more sulking than swimming, Darwin left, and was never seen again.
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