A Rare Encounter, pt. 2

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(Read Part 1 first, if you haven't.)

For two days, they followed the creature. The crew had taken to calling her Petra, Bragsley had heard it reminded them of some TV character. He didn't get the reference, but he liked the name well enough. What curiosity she had in the vessel quickly faded, and it was clear she knew she was being chased. Bragsley's tracking experience was put to the test, but her bright neon glow made it hard for her to get out of sight. How could he be the first to see such a creature? If she were this luminous all the time, surely she would've been spotted before. If she could turn it off, why hasn't she? He tried not to let his mind worry too much about those answers, but the overwhelming curiosity sparked every fiber of his being. This was the chase that he was meant to have, the kraken was nothing but a distraction all these years!

It was early into the third evening that Petra's motivation came swimming into view. "There's another one, captain!" Jun Pak reported from the scanner station. Sure enough, through the lens Bragsley saw Petra swimming full tilt towards another glowing creature. Its colors were different, but still brilliant. For the first time ever, the microphones picked up sounds. "Hold back, give them a little space" Bragsley commanded, "No need to walk into a trap." The two creatures met, entangled tentacles, and shared in a duet of haunting moans like a alto choir of orcas. Their colors shone with even more intensity as they twirled around each other. The crew was enraptured watching this reunion, none daring to speak up to ask for directions.

Slowly it dawned on Bragsley, this was why Petra was always glowing. She was looking for.. whoever this other one was. Partner? Parent? Who knew. Petra had been searching, much like Bragsley, and now both had found the treasure they sought. The creatures paused their embrace to turn towards the ship. Their inky black eyes locked on, and crew members shifted nervously in their seats. Then, without sound or warning, Petra and her companion went dark. The night sea returned to murky darkness, the serenade of the creatures ended, and within minutes they'd both slipped every sensor on board.

While the crew celebrated a successful journey and made way back to port, Bragsley began to ponder the real value of the discovery. Sure, his footage would bring him some fame and some money, and probably secure any future voyage he wants to go on. But he couldn't escape the thought that Petra wouldn't be found on accident again. The pair had vanished so quickly, the captain wondered if Petra had been running after all. Had she wanted him to give chase, were her sloppy attempts to hide just bait? But why? And after all that, why just disappear? Did she feel she'd shared whatever she was trying to share with Bragsley and his crew? Did she even recognize them as passengers on the ship? Or was she luring a strange metal whale to show her friend before skittering off to play? For all he had seen, he was no closer to understanding the mystery of the deep. But for the first time in a long, long time, that was the most exciting feeling he could imagine.

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