SW10, HCC: September 2010 #1: The Sinking, Part 1
seiler at eilertech.com
Sat Oct 16 16:38:16 PDT 2010
Author's Note: I'm presenting this story in two parts. The first
part is my entry to the current High Concept Challenge about the
awesomeness of animal powers. The full story is available at
WORLD JOURNAL MONTHLY
September 30, 2010
Return of The Waitress From Beyond - As A Rescuer!
Commentator: Nell Osborn with Joyce Darcy.
I came to this world as an immigrant. I'm still learning. But I've got
sponsors. One of those wrestling tournaments I was in, turned into a
reality show with superpowers. I got salmon powers from that. It
helped me win an uphill swimming contest. But the producers made me
promise not to tell how. Really, I don't understand how either.
After I got salmon powers, I got invited to Alaska for a salmon
festival. Alaska's really proud of how they have enough food for
everyone now, even when the rest of the US is running out because of a
bad harvest. Alaska's started shipping more salmon to the Lower 48,
and some caribou too.
The festival was in Ketchikan, way southeast. It's closer to Seattle
than Anchorage. But all the cruise ships and freighters go past there,
down the Alaska Inside Passage.
The festival was going to start on Friday, October 1. I got in town on
Wednesday, so I could meet with people on Thursday. They couldn't find
me a room at the best hotel in town. But I said the dorm-style hotel
was fine, as long as they paid me the difference. :)
On Thursday in the meeting, we got interrupted. There was a ship
sinking in the strait!
Everyone else went to phone people. I asked, "Um, shouldn't someone go
help?" They said, well, yeah, that's why they were all going to
phones. So I went to help. Hey, I can swim like a salmon. Salmon don't
care how cold the water is, and they don't need to put on life
preservers. So I don't need that stuff either.
By the time I got to the strait, there was only one lifeboat out, and
sailors were jumping. Hey, shouldn't there be more lifeboats?
I jumped in and started towing people toward the lifeboat. It wasn't
near full. But when I got my second guy there, the first one was
already fighting with two other guys on board! One of the others had a
pistol! I wondered how to reach him. But before I knew it, I jumped
out of the water across the raft, and knocked the guy in the water
He still had a pistol and I didn't. But that's just like being a
waitress always is, when some crazy comes in your diner. I just got
away from him. It was easy, because I swam like a salmon.
But then some other woman swam up, just like I was! I heard her even
under water. She was saying, "What the hell are you?"
"Me? What about you?"
"You're not supposed to be here!"
"You want to stop me?" I rammed her, like I did the other guy. But I
"You don't get it. I bounce fish like you off me!" She grappled me and
squeezed hard. I should have been able to dodge, but she was grabbing
where she wasn't big enough to reach. It hurt! But like a salmon, I
This woman was bigger than she looked. Maybe she was even big enough
to ram that ship and sink it. There wasn't much I could do about that.
But I remembered, I wasn't out there to win a fight. So I swam away,
and started towing sailors toward shore.
I looked behind me to see if she was chasing me. Salmon can do that,
with just a little twist of the head! I don't know how I did it too,
since my eyes hadn't been moved, but I did. I don't know if she was
still by the boat, but I couldn't see her anywhere near me.
As I arrived at the shore and turned back, I saw lots of sailors being
pushed in! I couldn't see what was pushing them. Something invisible
the size of a whale must be out there rescuing people. Hey, I'd just
bounced off something invisible.
So, after all the sailors were safe, I caught up with the invisible
whale-sized shape. I said, "Can we talk?"
So we talked. Yeah, it was one of those Fight And Then Team Up things.
My friend Jimmy Flamer tells me about those all the time. I guess it's
She didn't give me her name, but she's kind of a whale woman. She has
whale powers, like I have salmon powers. She got her powers a lot like
I did, with the same kind of sponsor. She's a lot stronger than I am,
but she can't jump so well. She was watching this lifeboat, but whale
powers couldn't get to just one person on it. Only salmon powers
The Whale Woman says she didn't sink the ship. She came from the
future to watch other people sink it! She was trying to prevent it,
but she was looking around the starboard hull for dynamite. Instead a
small boat slammed from port... It must suck to be from the future if
you want to keep track of the past. We can't even do that here.
Doesn't everyone argue about what the past was?
The ship was sabotaged, even before the boat impact. That one guy with
the pistol was defending the only floating lifeboat. He must have been
in on it.
The Whale Woman thinks this is the Sign Of The Apocalypse or
something. Aw, come on. Lots of people say that, but mankind's still
After the Whale Woman and I talked, she went to wherever. Women with
whale powers can go anywhere, away from people who want to talk to
I stayed in Ketchikan. I did interviews. The sinking was a national
incident. But we saved everyone. Us doing that made the world news.
Some locals sank the ship. They crashed the local ferry boat into it.
They wanted Alaska not to ship food out. Oh, waah. Doesn't Alaska
usually import food?
The government's asked me to stay in Ketchikan until a trial. While
I'm here, I drink with the locals. They don't want to sink ships.
Alaska is all about ships. But lots of Alaskans came from "below".
They say they'd blow up skyscrapers if they could. I hope they're just
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