Zorick: Chapter 3

Zorick: The Galactic Fisherman

by thadd presley


Chapter 3


The flickering bioluminescent glow of Europa’s icy surface cast an ethereal dance of light across the viewport of Beta-3’s observation deck. Dr. Anya Petrova swirled the amber liquid in her glass, its earthy aroma a stark contrast to the alien vista outside.

“I still remember the first time I saw the ocean,” she mused. “I was four years old and my parents took me to the Black Sea.” Her gaze fixed on the swirling blues and greens of the Jovian moon and it’s hidden pockets of warmth.

Zorick chuckled, a deep rumble that resonated with the hum of the station’s life support systems. “I enjoy hearing a brilliant astro-biologist reminisce about Earth’s salty puddles? It’s my favorite subject and your my favorite…” He paused and looked at her.

Anya’s lips curved into a smile. “Even puddles hold wonder,” she quoted. “That’s what you told them when they tried to stop your private expedition into Mars.”

“I couldn’t understand what they were so hesitant about. I can see the beauty in a puddle of water. Especially…”

“When you haven’t seen one in years.”

“Yeah. That’s was their problem. They’d never left Earth.”

“Back then, only workers left.” She laughed, “I remember how you looked on that dusty Martian dune. God. Just you and your contraption of scrap metal…”

“The ‘Rusty Dripper’, you mean,” Zorick interjected, a nostalgic glint in his eyes.

“Yes, the Rusty Dripper,” Anya conceded with a laugh. “The miners called it, “The Rusty Zipper because you never came to town and you always worked alone.”

“Oh, yeah. I’d forgotten them about that.”

She looked him in the eye. “I’m sure you have. Because you did it. You convinced them there was more to Mars than just sand and rocks. You showed them that life was beneath the surface and they would need to be cautious and thoughtful with their drilling and mining.”

“I was a menace.”

“You were brilliant and beautiful. Your head was full of stories you’d heard as a child from underground CB transmissions that spoke of ancient rivers and the creatures that once ruled the Seas of Mars.”

Zorick took a swig of his own drink, a concoction of Martian moss and Europa algae brewed by the station’s botanist. “And you, Anya, are still brilliant and beautiful. Not only were you the only scientist who didn’t think I was chasing phantoms. You also believed in the whispers, too.”

Their eyes met, a shared silent memories bridging the gulf of space and time. About Earth and all the things they remembered of home. The crowds, the trains, the live concerts. They were all great memories, but the one thing Earth had was surface water. Lakes, oceans, seas, riverse, brooks, streams, and ponds. This was truly an Earthly manifestation.

The endless Martian plains were relentless, but then Zorick unleashed the first trickle of liquid water onto the surface. The cautious minded were afraid, but Zorick descended into the Styx River, a ribbon of life snaking through the frozen heart of a dead world and went fishing.

“The Crimson Caster,” Anya murmured, her voice tinged with admiration. “A marvel of ingenuity cobbled together from salvaged parts. Who would have thought you could turn a mining drill into a submersible fishing rig?”

Zorick grinned. “Necessity, madame Petrova, is the mother of invention. And the Styx eels, well, they were worth every bolt and rivet I had to loosen and straighten.”

He help up his finger then. “The Hydrolith, though.”

As he recounted the hunt, he told her about the dance of bioluminescent scales, the mournful song of the Eurydice, the delicate symphony of life playing out in the alien depths. Anya listened, wholly rapt, her eyes wide.

“And now,” she said, her voice filled with a different kind of excitement, “you’re on Beta-3.” She took his hand. “I’m hoping for a while.”

Her warm touch was shockingly hot. “I’m here for as long as I can enjoy diving into oceans older than Earth itself and searching for creatures born from stardust and ice quakes.”

“What about staying with me while you are here. There’s no need for you to be alone.”

Zorick nodded, a sense of awe settling over him. “Anya, you’re a canvas of like painted with with a million different shades. I was hoping you’d be here for a while so that we could get back some of the time we’ve lost over the years.”

Europa has its leviathans and lullabies, Mars has silent rivers and echoing caverns. But, Earth was were I had you and that was enough for me.”

“It’s seems as if we have it all now.” She said setting her drink on the coffee table.”

He started to speak but trailed off as she kissed him.

As their lips met, his gaze was drawn to the distant blue marble hanging like a teardrop against the cosmic canvas.

She pulled back. “Are you looking at Earth,” Anya questioned.


A comfortable silence settled between them, punctuated only by the soft hum of the station and the breathtaking bursting of Europa’s geysers. They sat holding hands and sipped their drinks, savoring the familiar taste of black tea from China. A small reminder of the home they both carried within them through the wonders of the cosmos.

“We may be chasing shadows, Zorick,” Anya finally said, her voice laced with a hint of doubt, “we’ve searched for proof from the dawn of telescopes to prove we’re not alone in this vast universe. But in the process, we’ve discovered something even more profound – even two human’s sitting together can be lonely.”

“I’m not lonely with you here,” Zorick answrered. “You are always with me in my head. I take you everywhere.”

“And you are with me as well. Always explaining to me how the resilience of life and its ability to adapt, to evolve, has never changed. From the cave paintings telling the stories of dragons and flying monsters to the genetic stories written in the genomes telling stories about creatures that once existed. And it is only us who can read the stories. We are the ones who get to see it and piece it all together and make sense of it.” She sat quietly for a moment. “You told the Space council of Earth: Life creates amazing things all over the canvas of existence and there’s no one to see it but us Earthlings. Don’t you think we should get out there and see some of it?”

Zorick raised his glass in a silent toast. “To the whispers, Anya,” he said, “the ones we hear in the night from radios hidden under our blankets, to the ones heard in the depths of alien oceans, and especially the ones that echo in our own heads. They may not be proof of sentience, but they’re a song worth listening to, nonetheless.”