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12+ Violence

The Man Who Talked to Fish

by kingofwernogs


56-year-old Carson Overbrooks was widely known as "The Fisherman", although he would never dream of fishing. He was the only human ambassador to the fishlike race native to M-107 playfully called "guppies". The guppies communicated by releasing streams of bubbles from their mouths, which made it impossible to refer to them by their native name. Because of this, humans had to improvise a name for them and their planet (Their official designation was actually "Ichthyoid Sentient Extraterrestrial Species A", but nobody called them that).

Lately he had been negotiating the system of government for M-107 Colony C8, the first potential joint human-guppy colony to be seriously discussed. His tiny transfer ship drifted the short distance across space from his human ship, the USS Houston, to the waiting guppy ship. An airlock on the side opened, and the small craft floated to it. Carson was already in his diving suit, and after one last check of his oxygen, he fastened the mask and went through the airlock. As it flooded with water, he mentally reviewed his orders from the UN one last time. The UN was proposing to keep the humans and guppies in the colony separated unless communication was necessary. Officially, the reason for the separation was the risk of disease, but that was obviously not true, since it had already been established that humans' and guppies' physiologies varied enough for diseases from one to be innefective on the other. No, the real reason for the separation was the inherent distrust towards guppies that all but a few humans harbored

Swimming over to greet him was a group of eight guppies. As they filed into the conference room, Carson thought about how it was no wonder that he was the only one willing to do prolonged work with the guppies. They looked like the coelacanths of Earth, but had arms underneath their pectoral fins that unnerved most humans. Their wide, flounder-like eyes darted across the room constantly, which, paired with their constantly frowning mouths, gave the impression that they were in a state of extreme anxiety. But the quality that most disturbed humans was that they had no control over their bowels and defecated whenever the need arose. Encounters with guppies often gave humans a temporary paranoia of water and a pressing need to bathe, which, when combined, was very unpleasant. Carson Overbrooks was one of the only humans really willing to cope with their differences and the only one with any real diplomatic ability.

One of the guppies - from the south of M-107, Carson could tell - let out a stream of bubbles, which was Guppy Standard for, "Hello, Emissary. What is it that invites your visit?" Carson replied: "I come to continue discussions on colony C8." A device on his helmet picked up his voice and translated it into a stream of bubbles. The guppies watched intently as the flow of bubbles erupted from the device. One responded, "Of course. We are as eager as you humans are to begin building the colony. What are the suggestions of the United Nations? "The United Nations suggests that we keep the human and guppy sides of the colony separated and limit communication." Carson could tell that the guppies were upset about this decision by the way their gills quivered. Most guppies were enthusiastic about increasing communication with humans. Many had seen the colony as an opportunity to increase mutual understanding between the two species. To hear that humans wanted to avoid them was very disappointing indeed.

Carson felt guilty about the announcement. he said "However, I disagree with the UN. I think that human-guppy communication needs to be increased, and I am a huge advocate for-" Just then, the entire ship shook. A voice resonated in Carson's helmet. "Houston to Overbrooks. This is Captain Disher. A fuse blew or something in the anti-asteroid gun computer, and it mistook the guppy ship for an asteroid. Are you all right?"

Carson never got to answer. Furious at the humans' apparent ambush, the guppies converged on him, pushed him to the floor, tore off his breathing mask and oxygen tube, and held him down until he stopped thrashing around.

Carson Overbrooks was officially recorded just five hours later as the first casualty of the Guppy Wars.


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Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:36 am
Sheeparewooly wrote a review...



For your first story, this is great! I loved the story, but especially the part where "But the quality that most disturbed humans was that they had no control over their bowels and defecated whenever the need arose." Ha ha ha when I read that I laughed! Anyway, great job on making the humans and the guppies communicate via "bubble helmet device"! Also, I wonder how the humans ACCIDENTALLY fired missiles at the guppy ship...
Great story!




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Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:59 pm
Izzielocks wrote a review...



kingofwernogs,

I never would have expected to like a story about guppies but I have to admit that this was actually pretty interesting. It was different and I liked that. As aformentioned by the previous reviewers, the only thing I see that may need a little polishing is the detail. This fascinating new world came out out of your creative little head and the rest of us can only see as much as you give us. While we certainly can fill in a lot of blanks with our own minds, there's still a couple of things that the writer has to draw for us. For instance, a little history of the guppies would have added a little flavor.

Other than that I overall really did enjoy reading this! A little umph here and there can definitely enhance it but I have nothing to pick at. Great work! =]

~Izzielocks






Thanks Izzie! I know I have a recurring problem with lack of detail, but untill recently I couldn't figure out how to edit a published work. I will fix it soon!



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Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:37 pm
Excalibur says...



I find it really interesting, it shows how quick loyalties switch and differences in species.




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Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:28 pm
whitepencil wrote a review...



Interesting! You have some good ideas and this piece reminds me of Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), who happens to be one of my favourite authors! Were you inspired by him at all?

First, a question: How the hell do you accidentally shoot a huge ship? If this is meant to be a comedy (like Hitchhiker's Guide) then this is perfect. However, if it's meant to be serious, this is not perfect. It's a very silly way for a war to begin, and an even sillier way to kill off the first character you've introduced.

I would have liked for you to go more in-depth about the "guppies". I want to know more about them than just what they look like. If humanity is trying to start a joint colony with them, I'm assuming they know more about them then just what they look like. I want to know what they know. How intelligent are they? What do they call their planet? Is their race really called the "guppies", or is that a nickname the humans gave them? How advanced is their technology? What is their culture like? You could have explained so much more. They're an alien race YOU get to create! have some fun with it!

I would be interested in a re-write/sequel, depending on what you're going for. Keep writing!






Thanks! I like Douglas Adams to, although I wasn't particularly inspired by him. I am also open to suggestions for my upcoming sequel.

P.S. I read some of your stuff and really liked it.



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Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:30 am
EverythingsFine wrote a review...



Personally found this introduction rather interesting + fascinating, II don't really have anything negative to say, the only thing I could think of at the start was that this character wasn't described to my hearts extent as when reading I just prefer to have specific traits told about the main (s), so I can sort of imagine them, but not too much so my imagination can play a factor... But then I realised that he wasn't the main, with the rather brutal killing of him. I say brutal as I myself have always been scared of someone drowning me, so that part came as a shock to me, and had me scared for a few seconds... So if you're wanting to reach out and make your audience feel then you have just done with me.

I do have one question (Though it not serious), how does one accidentally shoot a missile at another ship? xD aha Humorous part to the story.

Anyway I'm essaaying now so I shall shut up... Sorry :') But anyway keep up the great work, I would like to read more.




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Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:07 pm
Rurouni wrote a review...



Okay...

This was good, though I have a few things..

Guppy doesn't sound very threatening, maybe make up a name?

We could use some back story to this, etc...

When I saw this I was like, "Oh no, one huge blob..." It needs some more formatting, which may help the eye in reading it.

It's interesting, and I think it needs more detail, I don't understand how they communicate exactly, and you should look into it.

It is somewhat confusing, and needs a back story.

Thanks,

pegasusgirl2




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Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:31 pm
happyslappy13 wrote a review...



Splendid work! I love the way you reveal the futuristic aspects of the world directly and smoothly. The idea of the "Guppy race" is actually really fascinating. Your tone was equally well done, and your choice of words were excellent and clear.

It is hard to find anything wrong with this piece. I might as well point out that you should check your grammer. Nothing I can be too fussy about, just a couple incorrect capitalizations and some commas needed. Grammer is not the most important thing, of coarse, just make sure you double-check the work when you finish. Also, you should space out the way it opens in my opinion. It could be left as it is, but I felt that you explained the character a bit too quickly.

I have to say that what really makes this story incredible is your ending. My jaw practically dropped to the floor after reading the last line. You have really captured my attention with this. I do not know if there are going to be more works in this series, (you could have labeled it as prologue, chapter 1, or part 1) but I really encourage you to keep writing! Bravo!





You are going to love some of your characters because they are you, or some facet of you, and you are going to hate some characters for the same reason.
— Anne Lamott