Zorick, the Galactic Fisherman
by thadd presley
Europa: Almost Blue
Zorick zipped his suit shut, the familiar hiss of pressure sealing a comforting melody. His cherry-apple red StarCraft Yacht designed for mechanized galactic fishing, glistened against the swirling blues and greens of Europa’s twilight geysers. “The Crimson Caster” was spelled in an ancient, glitter-infused letters. Two delicate, caramel molehair seats held the worn memories of countless cosmic fishing journeys around the moons of Saturn and Jupiter.
While the twin gravity-drive dump shifters thrummed with promise of big adventure and large paychecks, lights from the Chrono-Chain pulsed across the cockpit, ready to propel him through the fabric of space-time.
Tonight’s adventure had a specific target: the newest warm-water pocket mapped deep within Europa’s icy crust. Whispers of bio-luminescent leviathans and crystal-scaled behemoths danced in the static of his C.B. radio, tantalizing sightings from fellow “frequency trippers” bounced off the Jovian moon.
Zorick wasn’t just a space-based fisherman; he was a hunter, a galactic angler known for pulling fantasy and mythical lore out of the deep into the galactic light. Once he believes that the Frequency Trippers believe they are telling the truth, he enters the cosmic deep to plumb the depths for gigantic lifeforms.
His gear was a testament to his homegrown fusion of ingenuity and grit. The “Stellar Stinger,” his modified sonic rod, thrummed with anticipation. When combined with his trademarked and completely privately used bio-luminescent bait, the whispers begin to be about him and how he knows what the appetites of never before seen creatures might be. His helmet visor flickered to a holographic display, showing the spectral signatures of many aquatic lifeforms.
As far as targets: he pulled up the descriptions of the aquatic lifeform he had been tasked to locate. there were four aquatic lifeforms rumored to be somewhere within Europa. Their habits and habitats were unknown to 99.9% of the human civilization and if Zorick did his job correctly, he would only catch one of the four to study and use instruments to record the others for identification and long distance study.
The Bathycryptan: A serpentine creature woven from stardust and scales, its bio-luminescent patterns shifting like constellations.
The Hydrolith: A crystalline behemoth, its diamond-hide refracting starlight, dazzling it’s prey, its blood is filled with powdered rubies. Many creatures have been known to ingest gemstones.
The Cryo-Serpent: A creature that looks to be made from shards of living ice. Actually its scales shimmer like frozen rainbows and its body is filled with ethylenes and glycols, circulating propylene out into the surrounding water or onto the shore. The serpent is poisonous to every known lifeform.
The Eurydice: A gigantic, dark colored glob that lives deeper than any other known Aquatic. It is slothful by nature and never leaves the depths. It is blind. Its haunting wail song can be heard from anywhere on the ice moon.
His C.B. crackled to life, a gruff voice from a distant freighter ship cutting through the static. “Hey Zorick,” it rasped, “heard rumors about a Cryo-Serpent the size of the Stellar Trawler reclining near the fissure vents. Be careful down there. You know, its bite ain’t just gonna leave you cold, it’ll leave you lonely.”
Zorick chuckled, a deep rumble in his suit. The whisper of danger only sharpened his focus. The Crimson Cast was piloted into the inky blackness of the ice cavern, his forecastle lamps piercing the abyss. The water here teamed with alien life, bio-luminescent plankton painting the depths into sheets of underwater nebula. A short pulse was enough to keep the small creatures from completely covering his ship.
He cast his line, the North Pole singing its siren song of cosmic bait. Suddenly, a tremor shook the cavern. A titanic shadow loomed up from the depths, back lit by the Hydrolith’s diamond scales reflecting and amplifying the dim starlight.
The fight was on before he realized it. Every battle was unlike anything Zorick had ever experienced because he only went after the legends. He met them with a ballet of brute force and gravity manipulation. Twenty four tightly packed triple barbed stingers hummed against the creature’s hide, finally exploding into the crystallized flesh as the Hydrolith as it whipped it’s tail and thundered away, leaving behind a trail of glittering dust.
The next few hours were a mix of tension and triumphant failures. He glimpsed the famed Cryo-Serpent lying on the frozen shore of jagged di-hydrogen oxide. Its frosty breath a reminder of the harsh beauty and character of space.
The Eurydice was lured 20 miles from it’s lair with a faded trumpet sounds of Chet Baker blowing “Almost Blue.” It was times like these that Zorick’s heart aching for the home he hadn’t seen in more than 10 years years. Each mile the gargantuan Euryduce followed his relatively tiny ship was a marvel to witness. The speed at which it flitted, almost in step and with remarkable ease.
First the fisherman thought the StarCraft Yacht to be in danger, but short, intense magnetic pulses kept the alien at a distance. Zorick’s instruments captured every aspect of its magnificent movements. It’s deep warbling wonderfully wailed along with the soulful sounds of the trumpet, and the first ever recorded duet from the harshest environment yet visited by the galactic fisherman.
As dawn spread across the lined and cracked surface of the ice moon, Jupiter-shine penetrated deep into the ice, painting the walls of the ice caverns with waves of ethereal light. Zorick emerged from the deep pocket of warm water, his hold brimmed with alien bounties to be handed over to the science vessel on Europa Geo-Oribital Station Beta-3.
His C.B. crackled with congratulations and envy, his name rising louder than the usual whispers of the frequency trippers. But for Zorick, the true reward wasn’t the fame or the fortune. The thrill of fishing, the connection to the universe, and those brief moments when one has to wonder just how alien a creature is if it enjoys the sounds of Chet Baker’s sad trumpet.
This was Chapter One in Zorick’s galactic fishing odyssey. As he steered The Crimson Cast towards Beta-3 Geo-Orbital Station, his mind hummed with the possibilities of undiscovered oceans and unimaginable creatures. The universe was at the end of his fishing pole, and he would forever be casting his line into the cosmic deep.