Saturday, April 3, 2021

The Sea Hag -Chapter Nine-



Aboard the superyacht, Cerulean

The tall, well-built man with a square jaw and twinkling eyes bent over at the waist, studying a large flat-screen monitor. He was looming over the shoulder of a nervous-looking young man in a headset who didn’t seem to know if he should get up and offer his boss his seat, or remain awkwardly silent until he was spoken to.

“Are we sure that’s her?” said Altus Venter, tech billionaire, in his melodious South African accent. He was squinting at the satellite image of a blurry grey figure standing on a beach of light brown sand and holding what appeared to be a bright yellow surfboard. 

The young tech nodded. “Her implant is still pinging, barely, but once the crypto-geeks posted sightings we knew where to point our eyes and ears.”

Venter smiled in satisfaction and placed a large hand on the tech’s shoulder. “Thank Zuck for social media, eh?” he said with a pat that sent the man’s ergonomic chair bouncing.

“Yes, sir,” he said with more conviction than he really felt.

Venter eyed the young man sourly and stood, folding his hands behind his back. “You should lighten up, Brad. The first Pacific Hab is nearly complete. Once I bring her back into the fold, we will have everything we need to ensure that humanity survives the coming cataclysms. Is this not worth at least a smile?”

“Of course, sir,” said the tech, who’s name was actually Brian. 

Working for brilliant innovator, and tech-giant, Altus Venter had been a dream come true for young Brian. And when his hero and role-model picked him for the top secret project code-named “Deep Blue”, he had been ecstatic. But now they had been chasing down rumors of a mythical Sea-Hag for six months, aboard a lavish five-hundred-foot superyacht whose crew quarters only seemed to get more cramped and smelly by the day. All information about the project was strictly need-to-know, so that no one but Venter knew exactly how all the moving parts connected. Brian had heard a rumor that these stringent measures were a direct result of a similar project being mothballed due to an act of corporate espionage and sabotage ten years ago.

 Brian smiled dutifully and, with a few mouse clicks, widened the view and he tapped through a few more sequential photos from that day. “This is the second day she’s come back to this beach, sir. And today she appears to have encountered a local.”

Altus’ eyes narrowed, flicking back and forth as he frowned at the images of their quarry appearing to rescue a blond-haired surfer, staying to chat with him, then changing her skin tone, and disappearing back into the surf just before another golden-haired man appeared.

“My my my,” Altus said, grinning and rubbing his chin like a Bond villain. “Has my little Sirena gone full Little Mermaid?”

Brian looked at him askance. Was Altus Venter, progressive genius, really intending to capture a sentient being and hold her against her will? The way he’d said her name, the fact that she had a name and he knew what it was, raised all sorts of uncomfortable questions that Brian was not ready to look at.

He bit his lip and stared at the screen. At the image of a bald woman, leaning over a surfboard and passionately kissing the shirtless surfer. He flinched at the pang of conscience but found that he didn’t have the words to object. Or was it his courage he couldn’t find?

“They grow up so fast,” Altus sighed, unaware of Brian’s internal moral dilemma. His eyes gazed hungrily at the strange, alien-looking woman on the screen. He waved a hand, dismissing his own sentimentality. “A shame to break up young love, but progress will not be delayed, eh?” He nodded to himself and slapped the young man on the back with one meaty paw while he pulled a walkie talkie out of his pocket with the other and spoke into it. “This is Posiedon. Tell Seal Team Blitz to surround the cove, eyes up. Wait for her to surface. I want her on this ship by lunchtime tomorrow, ja? Good work, Brad,” he called over his shoulder as he left the communications deck.

“It’s Brian,” Brian sighed quietly and muttered, “but I’ve only worked for you for three years, why would you know that?” He turned back to his screens and the incoming queries for location specs from Venter’s mercenary goons.

Seal Team Blitz was the stupid name that former Navy Seal, Chief Petty Officer Marco Reyes had come up with for his team on Project: Deep Blue. He and his boys, all former Navy and Marines, a couple of whom were even honorably discharged, had chosen the name when they were deep in their drinks the night before they had boarded this ridiculous floating testament to the necessity of guillotines.

As a high-priced mercenary, Reyes had worked for numerous rich assholes. Rich assholes were the only assholes who could afford his services, after all. He had money banked, no doubt about it, and a hefty trust fund for his kid, but he would never peacock his wealth the way some of these guys did. At least Venter was actually trying to do some good in the world, Reyes, thought. At least this one cares about people, and the oceans, and our future. Reyes admired that about Venter. He’d known far too many bastards who didn’t care about anything but their own pride and ambition. It was nice to work for someone with a conscience, someone with a plan to make the future better.

Still, when Venter’s Soufrican accent pronounced his team name over the walkie on his chest he rolled his eyes hard before going to rouse his men from their bunks. “Copy, Posiedon. We’ll be suited up and on the boats in ten. Over.”

“Brad up in comms has your mission specs,” Venter replied. “Tranq guns only. I want her unharmed. Her well-being is absolutely vital to the success of this project, understood?”

Reyes rolled his eyes again. The man could never learn to say “over” when he was finished speaking. “Understood, sir. Querying comms now. I’ll keep you updated on our progress. Over”

“Do not fail me, Reyes,” came the low, slightly menacing reply. “Over and out.”

Reyes looked at the walkie like it had sprouted tentacles. “Huh,” he said before turning and pounding on the narrow cabin doors behind which his team slumbered. “Alright ladies, get your faces on!” he shouted as he stalked down the hall, the force of the blows from his thick muscled arms rattling the doors in their flimsy housings. “This is a stealth mission!” he bellowed into the face of Rogers as she opened her cabin door. She flinched disagreeably and took a step back. “A snatch and grab, but, as you know, our quarry is amphibious; so be prepared for movement of both the aquatic and land-based variety!”

His team filed out smartly in identical black neoprene wetsuits, hair tightly bound when it wasn’t cropped close. There were five of them, four men and one woman, and they were all decently professional on an op. But they had all been idle and cooped up for weeks and this mission was critical with a capital C. He pulled a ruggedized tablet out of a pouch on his chest and perused the mission specifications as he turned and marched down to the boat launch at the stern of the ship. Five pairs of bare feet marched in time behind him.

On this deck, the stern of the ship had an open U shape. Ocean water filled the shallow pool it created, making a convenient landing zone for small craft to arrive and depart from.

He put the tablet away and nodded at the crewman readying the black rubber zodiac that floated in the pool.

Reyes pulled a wetsuit from a nearby rack and began stripping down as he spoke. “The target is in a small, isolated cove approximately two clicks west-south-west of our current location.” Naked, he began pulling on the wetsuit while five pairs of unimpressed eyes regarded him coolly. “While the target is asleep somewhere in said cove we will quietly set up a net at the entrance to the cove, thereby preventing oceanic egress.”

Rogers’ hand flew up, but Reyes could see a smartass comment coming from a hundred paces and ignored her. They were on a clock now.

He continued, giving Rogers a significant eye as he did, “Should the target attempt to flee by land, their progress will be impeded by dense vegetation to the east and high rocky outcroppings to the north and south.” Rogers' hand went back down with a little smirk. “Our biggest challenge will obviously be securing a net across the half mile wide mouth of the cove in complete silence and in total darkness. Fortunately, we have night vision goggles, so that should make it a bit easier.”

A crewman zipped him up in the back and he motioned for everyone to pile into the boat. He opened a box at the prow displaying the night vision masks, snorkels and fins for everyone to grab. Opening another revealed a stack of air-powered dart guns and six bandoliers full of marine tranquilizer darts. “As you know, the target is extremely high-value,” he said, hefting one of the guns and checking the sights. “This will be an ambush, wait until the target shows before you fire. If it takes until dawn, that’s how long it takes, got it? The target is to be taken alive and unharmed, or not at all, clear?”

A chorus of ‘Yes, sir’s sounded while his team got themselves situated and five pairs of eyes looked to him from the sides of the boat. “Alright, guys, let’s go fishin!’” he shouted and fired up the little two-stroke engine at the back. Cries of “Ooh-rah!” and other cheers rose up into the night as he revved the engine and steered them out of the port and out toward their prey.


  1. Ohhh things are about to blow up! I think it all goes well with our siren. And if course, that she andMichael get it on... Hahaha this story is so good, can't wait. Thank you for posting! Again, I wish it was longer, but that's just because I enjoy it so much!

  2. I like seeinf these new characters, things seem to be taking a turn for the wilddd!
    Big agree on bigger chapters, I just love your characters and wanna read all about their unusual romance! Michael is such a cutie, and I'm starved for blind heroes. Hahahaha

  3. Great story! Love your writing, and it's such a complex storybuilding you got us! I love it when authors incorporate disabled characters to different stories like that. If it were up to me, ALL male love interests in all the stories ever would be disabled lol but that's just me ;)