Or whatever day we’re on.
Not really sure where this one was going, but I kind of like the beginning. I was up late watching Whale Wars the other day. People that feel so strongly about issues that (ultimately) don’t affect them interest me, regardless of the cause. I have no idea what it’s like to be that passionate about anything, unless we’re talking about casting Summer Glau in a Scarlet Ranger television series.
At any rate, here’s what I’ve got.
Helen had never seen one of the steorra whales so close. She pressed her fingers against the observation deck window and imagined what their songs would sound like outside the depths of space. The beast drifted alongside the Bentham, seemingly oblivious to the human vessel that she dwarfed, though Helen suspected her considerable senses had explored the ship at least as much as Bentham’s own instruments had scanned the steorra. Her sleek black dorsal side faced them, reflecting the starship’s running lights. The whale warmed her belly with the heat of a nearby red star; occasionally the ship’s navigational shields flickered as she brushed too close to the star.
“Don’t get too attached,” said Lorens Hariman, captain of the Bentham. Nearly twice her age, he leaned heavily on a cane as he made his way across the observation deck. “We’ve got word of a Jenzatti whaler out near the third planet. They’ll be here in a few days, most like.”
“There’s nothing you can do?”
“Oh, we’ll try. But they usually win.”
As they watched, a small probe launched from the side of the Bentham to attach to one of the steorra’s fins. The creature cruised along blithely.
The intercom crackled. “Captain, Conn. The Henry Salt has contact, bearing plane side. Looks like an unmanned scout.”
Hariman nodded and keyed on the intercom. “Aye, Conn. Advise on ETA when you can. Tell Diederech to get the countermeasures ready.”
“Already?” Helen asked.
“They’ll have those scouts throughout the system, looking for our friends here. Once the scouts find one, they’ll send a signal to the whaler. Our best move is to intercept those scouts, maybe even capture them. Captain Everette on the Salt snagged one a few years ago and fed the mother ship false signals for months. It was one of our most successful seasons. And damned hilarious.”