Not That Fish Story

Recreation Commons
Second Deep
Anemone Deep-Aqua Lab
Isimír

“So,” Oswyn interrupted my brooding, “you saw something to go with your anomalous biologic?”

“You’ll be the fifteenth person to tell me that I didn’t see the flash-of-gold that I have a plain memory of, Oswyn Maric, and no more welcome than the first.”

“No challenge intended.” He pulled up a seat and poured himself another beer. “Just a welcome to the Isimír old-hands club. Sub drivers have been seeing Goldie out here since they retired the old Benthic Needle.”

“And you’ve come to tell me a literal fish story to pass the time until I get my privileges back?”

“Nothing but truth on sale here, my word on it.”

I spread my arms in invitation. “Spin me your tale, then.”

“It all started back in the first year, when GenTech were setting up their aquaculture labs. They’d brought a whole bunch of test organisms to see what they could get to grow in Isimír water: plankton, algae, seaweed, and most importantly, carp. Back then we had a bunch of temp bubbles set up around the shaft entrance, all lit, warmed, and conditioned with test environments. It was all going smoothly until a newbie sub-driver mistrimmed, came shallow too fast, and hit one at ten fips. Split the shell open and dumped the biologicals.” He flicked a finger and an incident report glimmered in my vision.

“Into an ocean that would kill them.”

“They only recovered 96.2% of the biomass. Check for yourself.”

“So it sank, or it drifted out of range.”

“Or…”

“Or nothing. You want to hear all the ways in which that’s impossible? They may have been salt-adapted, but not brine-adapted. There’s not enough dissolved oxygen in native water to support an Eliéran fish, and it’s cold enough to freeze them solid. And what are they going to eat? The only native life we’ve found out there is bacterial.”

“At the depths we’ve explored. For as long as we’ve been here, we’ve just been splashing in the shallows. It’s warmer down there, too, if the probes are accurate, and who knows what native life interactions there might be?”

“Speculation.”

“And yet there are the anomalous contacts.”

“Your pitch is bubbly, and I’ll tell you why. Firstly, because that contact couldn’t possibly be some lost carp, because it was damn near the size of a whale. And secondly because rules be damned, I left a wide trail of warm water and nutrients on the way back to dock in hope of native life, so if there were something out there -“

Oswyn’s voice was a hoarse whisper; his gaze fixed behind me.

“Do we have a lot more of that nutrient aboard?”

“Probably, why?”

“Look out the window. I think your friend wants more snacks.


“Where was-“

“I don’t know.”

“How did-?”

“I don’t know that either. On the other hand, being a world-ocean, Isimír has no waterfalls.

Notable Replies

  1. I liked it. Now if Goldie is as smart as a normal goldfish, there may be trouble.

  2. If Isimir has no waterfalls, then the carp can never become a dragon.

    Though as to growth levels, I was under the impression that carp basically grow to the limit of their environment to support them. Mekong carp get into the 3m length range, IIRC.

  3. Sorry, I seem to be missing the significance of waterfalls for carp - is it like a mythological thing or a ecological thing?

  4. In Chinese mythology, there was a specific high and challenging waterfall called the ‘Dragon Gate’. Many carp would swim up the river but be stopped at the waterfall. Any carp brave and skilled enough to jump the waterfall would be transformed into a dragon.

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