Fragment # 221: The Three Endings of the Dolphins

A Terran leader, Primary Allaina Alphaniedes Lajpana, once lived in an archipelago of islands in the southern oceans, called the Melvief Isles. She ruled a vast oceanic empire, the Melian Empire, from the subcontinental seas to the coasts of ancient Africk and around the disentangled shores of Indonia and Oz. Her peoples’ power came from the nutrition of the red seaweed farms that floated upon these rich waters, and the ruthless drone pirates that protected them. The most exotic fish that graduates from her famous School of Water could breed swam in the artificial reefs, and lived among the fronds of the seaweed. And she herself was famous for her skills in breeding fish, and in diving the reefs and in racing her school of swordfish pets. But none were to know that she was about to commit the worst atrocity of all Terra.

Allaina was the great-granddaughter of the master reef-builder Primary Kaey Lajpana, who built up his Empire over the course of his lifetime, setting off hundreds of farming platforms onto the turquoise seas, to ride the monsoons and to return to his archipelago, swimming under their own command, when they were fully grown. But his son, Alphaneides Hutti Lajpana, was slothful and lazy, taking on the throne late in life, and letting their enemies steal the seaweed platforms, letting their wealth slip away. His fell into his dotage and the power of his people waned, until his daughter suggested calling upon the protective arm of the pirate enclaves up the shores of Oz and the tip of Africk. After much querulous argument, the old man finally agreed to these plans and they sent out ambassadors to the pirate enclaves. Most were returned to the Primary as rough parcels of meat. Of those that returned unharmed, they spoke only of indifference from the pirates. So Secondary Allaina, as she was known at that time, set out herself on her war catamaran to visit all the pirate enclaves. Over the course of two years, she spoke with eachl of them, travelling every coast and aquainting herself with the coves and lagoons of her future empire. As she travelled, her father expired, drowning in his private sea, to be picked at by frigate birds, and she inherited his crown. So strong were her words and so powerful was her will, that the pirate chiefs agreed to her conditions and they formed a bond and an alliance. They were augmented by the autoyachts of the Ol-Bondan people, bought at great expense, which arrived to usher her back to her island palace in Melvief.

And though the people of the Melvief were wary of Allaina’s plans, though they did nothing for they saw that her father had been slothful and useless and they hoped that she might carry something of her grandfather’s greatness. And they were rewarded, for the credit repaid itself a hundred times over, and the pirate enclaves and the seaweed farmers together formed the most powerful empire the southern oceans had seen, keeping their turquoise Terran paradise safe and letting their people educate and civilise themselves. And the coasts of Oz and the tip of Africk were no longer wilderlands. And they grew great observatory towers and sank deep aquariums. And the decaying Jicktan settlements on the subcontinent once more rang with the credit of their magnificent days.

But one day, Allaina heard tales that there had come into her realm a new species of sea mammal, one that had not been seen before. It was a breed of dolphin, a black creature with a blue wave upon its beak. And these dolphins spoke and sang to one another, and they could learn to understand the speech of humans. Tales were told that these were a new species, intelligent like humanity, but still growing and seeking to understand how to live in the world. None could say whether they had been engineered to this path by other intelligences or whether they had been born of nature, evolving naturally to exist in the new playgrounds of the oceans.

But though they were intelligent like humanity, they were also crude and wild and misbehaved, and they enjoyed nothing more than to play in her reefs and to steal her beautiful new breeds of fish. And she grew tired of their play and demanded answers and that they were to be brought before her. So the pod of these speaking dolphins were called to her palace in the Melvief isles and she brought interpreters and held counsel with them, demanding that they desist from their actions. But they were wayward and comical and made jokes at her expense and sprayed her and her retinue with water. She dismissed them from her sight but, a day later, she heard word that they had entered her imperial lagoon and taken all of her swordfish pets, leaving their mangled remains. And all her thoughts were bent towards revenge, for Primary Allaina, though clever like her grand-father, had also taken on his pride, and she was wroth with the dolphins and wanted them dead.

So first she sent out word to all her pirates that they were to slaughter all dolphins they came across. They asked her if she wanted these dolphins, the black dolphins with the blue wave on their beak, to be eliminated only? And she told them, no, eliminate all dolphins they could see with their eyes. But this was not enough. So she sent word that they were to chase and hunt down all dolphins they could identify on their sensors. And this came to pass and the seas of the southern oceans ran red with the blood of the mammals and their carcasses floated, rotting in the sun, until they sank beneath the waves and the crabs of the sand and the worms of the deep feasted for long weeks on fresh flesh. And this was the First Ending of the Dolphins.

But still the dolphins were there. And her people told Allaina that she had ended the life of the intelligent strain, that all that were left were the dumb creatures of before their coming. But still she wasn’t content. She was afraid that they were waiting to emerge from their hiding places, that they would evolve again, that whoever had released them upon the world was going to do the same. So she bred sharks of such savagery that they would rip the dolphins to shreds and she sent them, in secret, out to all the oceans and rivers of the world, to do her dark work for her here. And the oceans of all the world ran red with the blood of all dolphins. And this was the Second Ending of the Dolphins.

And by these deeds, she raised the ire of the Ol-Bandons and the quiet folk of WesterIsle and even the fury of their trading companions the Jicktans, who loved the sea and loved the dolphins most of all, and they sent their navies to patrol their waters and her waters. But the damage was done, for the seas of all the world fell foul of the rotting corpses of dolphinkind.

But, though she had destroyed so much, she knew all the seas and even some of the rivers of Terra still held her enemy. So, though the navies patrolled her empire and watched every act of her people, cautious of her hatred, still she pursued her wicked end. And, in secret, she used her knowledge and the knowledge of the sages in her School of Water, to breed a virus that would only pass between dolphins but that would lie dormant across all the reefs and wrecks of the world. And, on one night of full moon and raging waves, she swam out to the reef around her island palace and herself released the disease into the waters in the form of a small black, poison fish.

It took weeks, months, years before the full truth became known, but by that time the horrible deed was complete. There were no more dolphins swimming in any waters of any oceans, any seas, lakes or rivers of Terra. And none could breed more from their secret archives of code, for fear of the dormant virus re-emerging and destroying them once more. And this was the Third Ending of the Dolphins.

And the whole of Terra, never commonly united, in this age rose as one and fell upon the small empire of Primary Allaina Alphaniedes Lajpana, taking her red seaweed farms and disarming their pirates, and destroying all the poison fish from her breeder aquariums.

But they were too late, for the dolphins had perished, and could not return for the disease lived on forever in the corals, and they were saddest of all, for they were the only other animal from Terra with whom they were close to conversing with of the complexity of existence and of the beauty of abstract thought.

And the people of Terra never forgave themselves for letting this come to pass, and the three endings of the dolphins will remain forever as a warning to those who were to come after.

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