Fools Day - 2006
April 1, 2006
The water formed a visible shock wave in front of Kass as she poured every ounce of strength she had into her flight. She was two thousand feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean just north of Hawaii, and moving at more than nine-hundred kph, her wake filled with steam bubbles from the incredible friction with the deep water.
This was the fastest she'd ever water-flown, but given that her Rites were only three months away, she'd been growing stronger lately. She just wished the concept of Rites meant the same to her as it did to her friend from back home, Elsa. Elsa was Prima-1 and destined to have her Rites on Velor at the Hall of Protectors.
Kass knew she'd instead be sitting in the kitchen at their Waimea Bay house with her parents and a few friends, blowing out those sixteen candles on her cake but otherwise having another boring day. She wouldn't have a cadre of gorgeous Messengers waiting on her every need. She wouldn't have Aprho'dite enhancing her to make her a half dozen times stronger and able to dive through wormholes. She wouldn't be given a fancy uniform and a job that would challenge her for the rest of her life.
Instead, she'd go back to school the next day as an Velorian adult, but otherwise nobody would treat her differently. Her friends here were all Terrans and they didn't even know what the Rites were. And she couldn't tell them.
The whole science mission was classified. After the Galens had insisted that Velor leave Earth alone, and they'd frightened the Arions enough to drive them away, the only Velorians allowed on Earth were these science missions. Each of them had to be approved by Aphro'dite herself, and if anyone in the family messed up, the whole group got sent home in disgrace.
Messed up meant letting a local know who, or rather what, they were.
Fortunately, the Protector who'd been here for the last hundred years hadn't become a visible figure, nor had the Arions, so people weren't looking for blonde aliens. Most of them anyway.
She smiled as she slanted upward, following the rising seabed toward shore, slowing until she wasn't flying much faster than the local dolphins. The American Navy had a lot of ocean floor instruments here and they watched everything. It was amusing enough to think of them monitoring her 900 kph underwater flight... she'd eavesdropped on a monitoring station once, only to realize that those traces of her rapid underwater flight were among the most highly classified bits of information in the US Government. Apparently they knew something about the recalled Protector and they knew another Velorian was here. They were afraid of Arions. So everything was classified Top Secret.
Just as well it was classified or the Science Commission would find out and send their family home if they got wind of it. Fortunately, it was off-limits to eavesdrop on Terran communications or databases. Officially, anyway.
She caught a wave and body surfed toward shore, coming in along a section of beach that was deserted. Nude bodysurfing, bashing in the local vernacular, tended to disturb the tourists, especially when it was done by fifteen year old girls.
Not that she looked fifteen. Jim Davies, the legendary LongBoard Jim, had told her that her 5'9 height and Velorian figure made her look eighteen, although her age was clear enough in her face and eyes. He was the only other person besides those Navy types who knew a Velorian was on Earth. And he knew her name and where she lived. He considered the information classified too. And given he was in his early seventies, he knew how to keep a secret or two. He was one of the first non-Hawaiians to make surfing a lifestyle in Hawaii.
Today was April 1st, the one day of the year when Kass could do something completely ridiculous. A day she could play the silliest of jokes on her friends. A day when she had to think of something weird to do.
She'd debated some odd things. Like refloating the Arizona battleship over at Pearl Harbor. But Jim had told her that would really piss people off. It was a memorial, not something for her amusement. She could drill down through the core of Kilauea on the Big Island and make it really erupt for a few hours. Jim thought that would scare the hell out of the tourists.
He was sanding one of his long boards as she approached his shop. He was making some of those old 50's style boards as the North Shore was experiencing a bit of renaissance in long board surfing. Business was good. Fortunately, no one else was in the store when she breezed in the back door, still naked.
Part of his little game was to pretend he didn't notice when she showed up that way after her morning swim. Swimsuits didn't stay on at 900 kph.
She wasn't wearing her dulling contacts either.
Kass stood in the doorway of his workshop, dripping wet, watched him with her too-blue eyes as he finished one side of the board and then turned to work on the other. He glanced up to see her as he turned around, and smiled broadly as he turned off his sander, pulling his respirator and goggles off as well.
"So, my Supergirl returns. Dressed in all her glory."
"I've been swimming."
"As in, teasing those poor Navy guys again."
Kass put her hands on her hips and stood with her legs slightly spread, feeling so proud of her recently filled out figure. "So, if I'm Supergirl, where on my body do you think the 'S' belongs," she said, teasingly lifting one breast.
"On your ass if you don't put some clothes on, young lady. I don't want to get arrested."
"I'm Velorian. I don't need clothes."
"Well, I do. Jail isn't good at my age. Nor is stroking out."
She smiled. "So, you do think I'm sexy?"
"Not sure. Starts getting a little confusing at my age. Mostly just exhausting trying to imagine the poor guy who's going to someday try to keep up with you."
"I'm saving myself for a Messenger."
"I didn't think Velorian girls saved themselves for anything."
"I'm a virgin," Kass said proudly.
"My, my," Jim smirked. "From everything you've told me this last year, I thought Velorians were born experienced. You wouldn't have been exaggerating just a little, now would you?"
She smiled girlishly and shrugged. "I've been away from Velor for three years and living outside a gold field. The boys here don't exactly do it."
"Bullshit. I've seen the way you look at Jason Richards." Jason was eighteen and one of the best young surfers on the North Shore.
"He doesn't know I exist."
"Good thing, considering your age and his reputation. But he looks half Velorian to me." Jason was a blonde, bronzed surfer type that all the local girls adored.
"Don't remind me," Kass frowned. "I already dream about him too much as it is."
"You're almost sixteen. Didn't you say Velorians had some kind of Rites then? A sexual coming of age. Some orgy or something. If so, you know who to invite."
"Hah. Waste of space."
"Not in my book."
"Too beautiful. Invite Jason. He'll give you a ride."
If Kass had been able to blush, she would have. "No way!" she squealed.
Jim smiled, enjoying his young visitor's presence. "So, to what do I owe this naked honor today?"
"It's April 1st. I need an April Fools joke."
"Good thing you planned ahead."
She sat down hard in one of his wicker chairs. "I forgot."
"Too blonde, huh?"
"My IQ is 150. I was busy."
"Touring Mars, Venus, Mercury and the bottom of the ocean. A little sun diving too. Not to mention being on the Honor Roll at school. I can imagine."
"So can you help me?"
"Fortunately, I didn't forget."
She breathed a sigh of relief. "How can I thank you?"
He tossed her a rolled up pair of shorts and a t-shirt that she'd left there on a previous visit. "By getting dressed before I go to jail."
Jim and Kass were standing inside a small boat house near the city dock a hour later. They were such a contrast; the bearded old man, skin baked into wrinkles from too much sun, and Kass looking so young, slender and tall, long, straight blonde hair and golden skin, a face beautiful enough to grace any magazine cover.
"Is it dead?" Kass asked of the motionless bottlenose dolphin that floated at their feet.
"Never been alive."
"I don't understand."
"It was developed by the Navy. An artificial dolphin. I suppose it was going to be used for infiltrations of enemy harbors."
"Okay..." Kass said slowly, not at all sure where this was going. "Why do you have it?"
"A buddy bought it at salvage. Unfortunately, the Navy's power source never worked. They needed the strength of fifty men and the flexibility of a gymnast to make this thing work. That and a power source that didn't need oxygen or give off bubbles and looked like a dolphin's body on sonar. Batteries and motors changed the entire sonic signature, both active and passive. Probably even tried a nuke in it."
"You want me to power it?"
"Ancient legend of the talking dolphin of Oahu. The old-time locals still believe. "
Her eyes sparkled. "Ohhh, that's totally cool."
Kass stripped off her clothes again and slipped into the cavity inside the machine, and was swimming inside her new skin a few minutes later, working her legs up and down to power the tail, her hands controlling the flippers, her mouth the snout. She quickly got the hang of it, and leaped out of the water a couple of times in front of Jim. She swam back to the dock and stuck her bottlenosed face out of the water. "How'd that look?"
Jim looked startled despite knowing she was inside. "Totally bitchin'. I think you'd fool a real dolphin. So real it's weird even now to hear you talk."
She gave off some chirps that sounded very dolphin like, thanks to the greater range of her vocal chords.
"The Navy made this thing look so completely authentic that I can hardly believe its not real."
"Cool. I'm going over to Pearl and mess with some Navy guys. A few tourists too."
"That's a long swim..."
Kass the talking dolphin rose out of the water to float in mid-air. "Who said anything about swimming?"
She soared up into the air, leaving Jim gawking at the outrageous sight of a flying dolphin. She flew low over the small town of Waimea Bay, causing a couple of minor car wrecks and more than a few dropped jaws.
Twenty minutes later, she was swimming near the Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor. She swam up to the dock and poked her dolphin head out in front of a five year old girl who was staring down into the water. She wanted to start on someone who wouldn't freak out.
"Hi," she said to the girl.
"Hello," the girl said back. "Dolphins can talk?"
"Of course we can." She squirted water at the girl.
"Mommy!" the girl called as she turned and ran away.
She returned a few minutes later, tugging her parents behind her. "See, he's still there. And he talks real good."
The parents gave each other knowing winks. "I'm sure he can, honey," her mother said. "What did he say?"
"How are you enjoying your visit?" Kass said, animating her bottlenose jaw as she squeaked and chirped her words out, shaking her head.
The mother's eyes opened wide, then narrowed as she looked around. "What kind of trick..."
"No trick," Kass said. "All dolphins can talk. We just don't like to. Especially when you slice us up into Mahi-Mahi and grill us on your BBQ when we get too nosy."
"Bullshit," the father added. "What kind of trick...?" he said as well.
"Ask me to do something. I'll prove I understand you."
"OK. Go out and make six circles to the left, four to the right, then jump to the left, then twice to the right."
"Gotcha." Kass flipped herself backward and raced away from the pier to do exactly as he asked. She swam back to stick her head back out of the water a minute later. "Any more tricks you want me to do?"
"This is... impossible," both parents said slowly, eyes wide.
The little girl sat down on the edge of the dock and started petting Kass's nose. "Do you want to be my dolphin? We could put you in the bathtub."
Kass gave off a chattering, squeaking laugh. "My husband and kids wouldn't like that."
"You're a mommy?" the girl asked, eyes wide.
Kass saw the girl's father dialing on his phone. The mother was aiming her cellphone camera at her, recording picture and words. People from the other side of the dock started to come closer. "Gotta go." She spun around in a powerful swish of water, soaking everyone on the dock as she raced off to leap through the wake of a passing speed boat.
Minutes later she swam up under a Navy workboat with a dropped wrench in her jaws. "You drop this, sailor?" she said in her squeaky voice. The sailor backed away from the gunwales and fainted dead away.
A dozen similar encounters from one side of the harbor to the other shocked and excited people. She swam behind a tourist boat loudly singing one of her favorite Christina Aquilera songs, "Beautiful." The tourists rushed to the back of the boat so fast it nearly sank. She'd always had a good singing voice.
Strange calls started coming into the newspaper office and police departments.
She swam into a netted area where the Navy kept captured dolphins, and pushed powerfully against the net, thrashing with her legs/tail until the net tore open. She then screamed insults at the Navy seaman in English and Spanish as they mobilized to recapture them. The sailors stopped and just stared at her as she shouted. She finally led the dolphins to sea while singing portions of a Wagnerian opera at 120 decibels.
She finished her romp by poking her head out of the water next to a Greenpeace boat and trying to engage one of their volunteer's in a discussion about ocean ecology. Surprisingly, the tripped out Greenpeacer from New Hampshire, stoned out of his mind, took her discussion in stride. They had a great talk.
Kass was smiling broadly when she dropped back into Longboard Jim's the next morning. A large pile of newspapers were spread across the boards, and a dozen local surfers were congregating to talk surf and talking dolphins. While most people blew yesterday off as an April Fools stunt, some of them had heard from friends who'd heard that it was absolutely real. They knew someone who knew someone who'd actually talked to the creature.
Jim gave Kass a thumbs up, glad that she was at least dressed this time; a t-shirt over a bikini bottom, long-legged and barefoot. She beamed as she saw all the newspapers and listened to the talk.
Jim turned to face the rest of the old-time North Shore surfers. "Unless you dudes are bangbroek about the pipe today, who's going to take my girl to backdoor? Alchemy hour is coming up and she's no sheila."
"Aikona..." one of the younger guys said with a shake of their heads. "Got bent there yesterday. Broke my board."
"Been blowing chunks since dawn," another guy said, still looking green from too much partying.
"She's a basher. Need a long board to lay pipe today."
"Be surprised," Jim smiled. "I been working on her. Got her a board too."
"I seen you with her at Backdoor. I'm in," one of the guys in his 40's said as he smiled at Kass.
Jim took down one of his favorite long boards and handed it to Kass, then leaned down to whisper, "Bring him back in one piece, my dear."
The end of a little fantasy... Happy April Fools Day
And happy surfing... water or otherwise.