TEMPUS FUGIT

CREDITS:
Original Story Concept by Socks & Bandit
Fanfic written by Canem
Edited by Wolfy and Socks
Supported and Assisted by Wolfy, Liyoht and Socks


Fade in
ACT 1/ Scene 1:

Sharpeye: “First time sailing through the Lost Sea, Rev? Rev?”

Rev comes to at the sound of the ship’s vulpine navigator calling out to him through the wisps of fog surrounding him and the rest of the ship. He briefly spends another minute starring out into the dense fog before turning away from it. He looks at Sharpeye and then at Captain Yars, Ironbar and Silver who are standing some distance from them and conversing over a map.

Rev: “I am sorry, Sharpeye, did you say something?”

Sharpeye: (smiles) “I asked you if this is your first time sailing through the Lost Sea.”

Rev: (humbly smiles back): “Why yes it is. How’d you know?”

Rev walks away from the starboard bridge railing and over to his friend by the ship’s wheel.

Sharpeye: “You had that far away look to your eyes. Like you were trying to see something through all of that gray, endless vista.”

Rev: “Really? (he dips his ears out of embarrassment before lifting them again) Then I do hope, you don’t mind me asking you about the Lost Sea and all of the stories and rumors I’ve heard about it.”

Sharpeye looks briefly away from the wheel to look at his friend. He smiles and shakes his head with some light-hearted amusement at the curiosity he sees and smells from his friend.

Sharpeye: “No, I don’t mind at all, my friend. Go right ahead with your question.”

Rev: “Are all of the stories that I’ve heard about this place, this Lost Sea, really true? Stories about sailing vessels such as our own finding derelict ships adrift with none of their crews aboard and of ghost ships.  Eyewitness accounts from the crews of other sea-going vessels about them seeing strange sightings and hearing strange noises. Are they really true?”

Sharpeye: (nods his head and smiles) “Some of the stories you have heard about are probably true.” (his smile widens a bit more). “And then there are probably a few that you have heard about that are nothing more than tall tales created by some drunken fool in a pub somewhere.”

Rev: (looks inquisitively at his vulpine friend) “And have you in your sixty years on board the Maria seen, heard or experienced anything strange or out of place in your journeys through the Lost Sea?”

Sharpeye: (chuckles and smiles): “Oh yes I have seen quite a few oddities while sailing through this place in my time.”

Sharpeye looks from Rev toward his pupil and fellow crewmates behind him at the navigation table. He smiles at the sight of his mate before turning back to the wheel and Rev. He reaches over with one hand and places it firmly on Rev’s shoulder. He gives his friend a smile and light, playful nudge.

Sharpeye: “Perhaps after Silver takes over from me here, we could spend some time together and talk about all of the stories and legends that have been spawned from this place. Agreed?”

Rev: (smiles) “Sounds like a good idea to me. Your room or the Chapel?”

Captain Yars: (coming up behind the two and interrupting the two) “Or how about we have this talk in my quarters over some tea?” (he smiles slightly at their surprise)

Rev: “You’re willing to tell me about your own stories about the Lost Sea, Captain?”

Captain Yars: (nods his head before looking at Sharpeye) “Anything to report?”

Sharpeye: “No major problems thanks to Belfry’s ability to “see” through this fog, Captain. But...”

Captain Yars: “Another kind of problem, Sharpeye?”

Sharpeye: (frowns a bit): “Yes sir.” (He briefly looks up at the crow’s nest). “For the past couple of minutes, Belfry has been having problems “seeing” our way through some of the fog banks.”

Captain Yars: What kind of problem is he having? And does it have anything to do with where we are?”

Sharpeye: “Belfry told me that some of the fog banks around the ship have been giving him some weird images. One minute he claims to have “seen” a ship out there and in the next minute the ship just disappears. And then he told me that he thought he “saw” an island ahead of us.”

Silver: “There shouldn’t be one there according to our maps.”

Sharpeye: “I know and like the ship he had claimed to have seen earlier, it too disappeared .”

Captain Yars: (sighs) “I kind of expected this to eventually happen to us given what some of us have been through in previous trips through the Lost Sea. But I didn’t think that the strangeness of this place would get to Belfry this soon in our journey.” (He looks over to Ironbar). “Go find Red and have him take over from Belfry.”

Ironbar: “Aye sir.” (he leaves the group to find Red)

Captain Yars: (looks up to the crow’s nest) “Belfry!”

Belfry “looks” down from the crow’s nest.

Belfry: “Sir?”

Captain Yars: “Sharpeye just told me that you’re having problems “seeing” our way through the fog. I am sending Red up to take over from you. Once he relieves you, go get some much needed rest.”

Belfry:  “I'm not sure if he'll fare much better Captain.  But he's welcome to try”

Before he can fly down from the crow’s nest and allow Red to take his place, he “looks” up at the sight of something appearing out of nowhere on the ship’s port side. He “sees” that it is another ship, a real ship this time and not an illusion. But the ship isn’t anything like he or any of his crewmates have ever seen before. He “sees” that it is smaller than the Maria with just a single sail being flown at its midpoint. And he “sees” that it has two hulls instead of one and that the rest of the ship stretches out between those twin hulls. Belfry also “sees” that this mysterious ship is on a direct collision course with the Maria.

Belfry: (shouting): “Sharpeye, hard to starboard, hard to starboard! We’re about to collide with another ship!”

Sharpeye and Silver grab a hold of the ship’s wheel and begin to hurriedly turn it to its starboard position. The Captain looks across the railing toward where Belfry “saw” the other ship. He sees it coming closer and closer to his ship.

Captain Yars: (grabbing a hold of the railing and grimacing): “Everyone brace for impact!”

He watches as his crew goes into action as they grab onto something or brace themselves against the ship’s deck. Something large and heavy then slams itself against their ship. And several crew members get knocked loose and get tumbled about as the ship shakes violently, as the air is filled by large bangs and booms from the impact. A minute later the sounds change to the sound of something being dragged along the side of their ship. Captain Yars, Rev and Silver shakily run down the bridge’s port steps to where some of the crew are on the port side of their ship. They watch in stupefaction as Belfry’s mystery ship has one of its twin hulls lifted partially out of the water by their own ship and then slammed hard down again into the water. Gasps and shouts come from some of the crew as they see the other ship’s crew get thrown violently about their own deck from the resulting action. And then the jarring impact between their vessel and the other boat ends as the other ship begins to drift away. Looking past some of his crewmates, Rev sees that the crew of the other ship have been knocked unconscious by the impact. He finds himself worrying about their condition. Without really thinking about it, he puts his right hand out beyond the ship’s railing. He blinks surprisingly at the absence of the ship’s protective barriers.

Rev: (turns to look at the Captain): “Maria’s dropped the protective barriers surrounding the ship.”

Nodding his feline head, he looks at the crew assembled around him and Rev and quickly spots Diver and Riverfoot, the ship’s two otters.

Captain Yars: “Diver, Riverfoot, I need you two to swim over to that other ship with some rope and secure it for us. Everyone else help them out!”

The Captain and Rev watch as their two otter crewmates are given two very long pieces of rope by their friends. And then they and the rest of the crew watch as first Diver and then Riverfoot dive off the side of the ship and into the ocean below them. Several minutes later, the crew watches as the two otters surface next to the mystery ship and board it. Rev sees Diver stand from where he secured his rope and signal them.

Captain Yars: (Shouting) “Okay everybody put your backs into it and pull!”

Minutes later, the crew gently pulls the other ship up against the side of their ship. And an equine and a bovine crewmate then lug a rope ladder over the side of the ship. The Captain and Rev walk over to the rope ladder where they are joined by Ironbar, Silver, Doc and Robert. They climb down the side of their ship and walk onto the deck of the other ship where they see their otter crewmates are already attending the other ship’s crew. Doc and Robert immediately go to join the two otters in helping out the crew of this ship. The Captain, Silver, Rev and Ironbar spend a few minutes just looking around at the ship that they are on. Without saying a thing, each of them takes note of the ship’s strange design from its twin hulls to its oddly positioned top deck. But their attention is soon drawn to the three members of this strange craft.  They look at the three young men before them and note the strange clothing that each of them wears. The Captain, Rev and Ironbar then look away from them and back to the rest of their strange craft. They all look around and wonder privately to themselves about the strangeness of this encounter.

Fade Out
Fade in
Act I/ Scene II:

Note: This scene takes place roughly at the same time as Scene I.

Sitting down on a deck chair next to his friend, Mike, on the Impulse’s top deck, Dave looks back and forth from the fog surrounding their ship to his other friend, Jeff. He privately notes to himself that his friend is doing a good job at the wheel despite his really bad case of seasickness.

Dave: (looking back to Mike): “Any idea as to where we are, Mike?”

Mike takes one last look at the map and compass in one of his hands and then he looks at another piece of paper resting in his lap. He frowns before turning his head to the side to answer Dave.

Mike: “I am afraid not, Dave. I have absolutely no clue as to how far that storm had set us off course. If one of the crew had stayed with us and not joined the others in abandoning us, we could find out from him about where we are now. But as for now, we could be anywhere.” (sighs)

Dave: (sighs with his friend and then looks over to Jeff) “So which of us should give Jeff a break from the wheel?”

Jeff: (overhearing his friends) “I am okay, Dave, really I am.”

Dave: “No you’re not, Jeff. You are green to the gills and should allow one of us to take over from you so you can recuperate below deck.”

Jeff: “And be intimate once more with the toilet? Thanks but no thanks, Dave. Steering this ship through this blasted fog is loads better than being below decks in my bunk or with the toilet. Not to mention that it keeps my mind off of my sickness.”

Dave and Mike look at each other and wordlessly wonder about their current predicament.

Dave: (speaking out loud to himself) “I can hardly believe at how shitty our trip to the Caribbean for some deep sea diving and sailing has become. First Jeff gets sick and then we have a run in with a tropical storm that is so bad that the crew just ups and leaves us with the only rubber raft on board. And now here we are alone at sea and in this blasted fog with no idea as to where we are.”

He gets up from his deck chair and walks behind Jeff.

Mike: (getting up to follow Dave) “Ease up on the ranting, Dave.”

Dave: (sighing again) “I wish I could just ease up here, Mike. I just hate being in this position.”

Mike: “What kind of position?” (He walks around to see his friend’s face)

Dave: “Being unable to immediately get myself...ourselves out of this predicament. Not being able to come up with a solution that I could...”

Jeff: (interrupting Dave) “..plan out?”

Dave: (looks over to Jeff and smirks) “Yes plan out. I like to have a sense as to where I am going to go and do next.”

Mike: (smiles) “We know, Dave, we know. But you have to realize that even the best made plans, tentative or otherwise, can’t foresee everything that could get in your way.”

Dave looks down at the ship’s deck and shakes his head before looking back to smile at Mike.

Dave: “I know and that’s what makes me hate situations like the one we are in now.”

Mike gives his friend a friendly, playful hug to reassure him. Dave smiles back at him.

Mike: “Well at least you got Jeff and me to help out with this situation by being here with you.”

Dave smiles again and then the two of them come up close behind their friend, Jeff, at the wheel and peer out across the bow of their ship at the endless gray vista before them. But before any one of them can say or do something to further lighten up their moods, something huge materializes directly in front of their ship from out of the fog. In one panic-filled second, they see that the thing that has materialized before them appears to be a ship straight out of the history books. And that they are on a head collision course with it. Jeff hurriedly grabs the steering wheel and tries to steer their ship away from the ship ahead of them.

Dave: (shouting) “Turn faster, Jeff. We’re going to hit!”

Mike: (shouting) “Turn left!”

Jeff:  (shouting back at his friends over the din) “Stopping shouting at me and brace yourselves, this is going to be a close one.”

Jeff manages to keep them from having a head-to-head collision with the other ship. But he is unable to prevent their ship from slamming its starboard side into the other ship. Dave and Mike are thrown down onto the deck of the ship while Jeff barely manages to hold onto the steering wheel with both hands. Dave tries to get back onto his feet as their ship shakes itself around them but fails. Mike is bounced backwards into one of the deck chairs. Jeff continues to try and steer their ship as the impact between the two sailing vessels continues. He shouts something unintelligible to his friends but his voice is drowned out by all of the noise around them. They wordlessly shout in fear and panic as their ship is suddenly lifted partially out of the water by the larger ship. Dave, Mike and Jeff are thrown against the deck chairs, the railing and walls of their ship’s tiny bridge. Their ship is lifted up into the air before being released by the other ship. And they are bounced and thrown about the deck again as the ship crashes back down into the sea beneath them. Mike and Jeff are knocked unconscious in the final crash while a few feet away from them, Dave tries to stay conscious. He looks past the battered and unconscious bodies of his friends to the ship that they had collided with. And for a moment, he wonders if the injuries that he just sustained in the collision are starting to make him see things. For as he begins to lose consciousness, he catches a glimpse of the other ship’s crew.  He then falls unconscious as two members of the other ship’s crew dive off their ship with ropes gripped in one furry, webbed hand.

Fade out.
Fade in
Act I/ Scene III:

Back to where Scene I left off.

After looking down at the three unconscious crew members of this strange looking ship and noting their equally strange garb, the Captain, Ironbar and Rev watch as Doc, Robert, Silver and their two otter crewmates check them out for injuries. After a minute or two of probing and prodding, Doc looks up from his work on one of the unconscious crew members at the Captain.

Captain Yars: (frowning and looking somewhat concerned) “Are they going to be alright, Doc?”

Doc: “They got pretty banged up during the collision, Captain. But so far they don’t appear to have suffered from any broken bones or serious cuts from just what happened to them.”

Rev: (sighing happily) “Thank goodness.”

Doc: (looking at Rev and the Captain) “Don’t count your blessings just yet, Rev. These three still need to be taken care of before they are going to be alright. And the only way they are going to be alright is if we bring them aboard our ship and give Maria a chance to heal them of their injuries.”

Captain: (frowns) “Anyway you and Robert can take care of them here on their ship? I’d rather not have brought on board and subject them to the ship’s curse if I have to.”

Doc looks at him and then at Diver.

Diver: “Captain, they can’t stay here and be treated. When Riverfoot and me were making our way over here, we got a very good look at the underside of this ship.” (He points at the ship’s starboard hull) “That hull is slowly taking on water from a yard long gash on its side from the collision. There is also some oily substance leaking into the water from several cracks on this ship’s underside. Face it Captain, this ship isn’t going to stay sea-worthy for long.”

Doc: (looking real concerned) “And Captain, it will take several weeks for these men to recuperate on their own, far longer than this ship would stay afloat. Once back on board the Maria and after the half-hour is up, Maria will be able to completely heal them within a day’s time.”

Doc then looks at both Rev and the Captain before continuing on with his talk.

Doc: “Besides Captain, leaving them here just isn’t the right and moral thing to do. Not when we can do something about helping them live to see another day.”

A minute goes by in silence as the Captain ruminates about what his crew has just told him about this ship and its crew.

Captain Yars: (frowning still before sighing) “You’ve have my permission to bring them on board.”

Doc: “Thanks, Captain.”

Captain Yars: “I only hope they forgive us.”

Doc leaves them and heads back over to the rope ladder where he begins asking his crewmates for help with the wounded. Several more crew members being to either swing or climb down by rope to the deck of the strange ship. Rev walks over to the Captain.

Rev: “You did the right thing by allowing Doc to bring these three on board, Captain.”

Captain Yars: “But was it a good thing to bring them on board my ship and not give them a say-so as to whether or not they wanted to be subjected to the same fate we all have?”

Rev: “Captain, sometimes the right thing to do is not always a good thing to do. Yes, these three will be subjected to the same curse.. or blessing that befell us whether or not they like it.  But the thing is Captain, we won’t know if what we did just right now is the right thing or good thing to do. Only time will tell like it always does.”

The Captain nods his head but still looks unhappy about what they have done for the three young men. Ironbar comes up to him and gives him a playful and reassuring pat on the back.

Ironbar: (looking playful) “Well while Doc and Robert take care of these guys, how about we check out the rest of this strange looking craft before it sinks or gets assimilated by Maria?”

The Captain, Ironbar, Rev and Silver walk away from Robert and Doc and look over the ship’s tiny bridge. Behind them, the crew hoists up the first of the unconscious crew members of the ship that they are on. Aside from the ship’s rather small steering wheel and what appears to be a strange looking ship’s compass, the rest of the ship’s controls both fascinate them and puzzle them. They then go below decks and wander around for the next several minutes in the ship’s interior. Some of the rooms below decks such as the ship’s sleeping quarters with its beds and pieces of furniture strike a familiar cord with them despite their strange appearances. While other rooms such as the ship’s now silent engine room leave them curious and baffled by their function and appearance. They are later joined by some of the crew in the main living area of the ship. Rev shakes his head from mirth, awe and confusion before returning his gaze to the Captain who is crouched before a strange-looking glass-fronted box with two thin metal rods at its back.

Rev: “Yet another strange object for us to wonder about. Any  idea as to what it does, Captain?”

Captain Yars: “Not a clue.”

Rev: (looking thoughtful) “Well I guess then we’ll have to ask our guests about these things when they come to. But in the meantime, Captain, might I suggest that we gather up some of the more familiar items on board this ship so that our new guests could fit in to their new home?”

Captain Yars: (frowns a bit before nodding his head) “Agreed.” (he turns his men scattered about the room) “Gather any item you can and bring it aboard.  Our guests may be able to help us figure out if we can use them later.  Maria will assimilate the craft if she can, but I'm not sure what this craft is made of.  As a precaution, try to get everything before the sea claims her. Understand?”

The crew nod and shake their heads before getting to the task at hand. Some of them drift off and leave the main living area of the ship for the other rooms that they saw. While others begin to collect some of the more familiar looking stuff in the room that they are standing in. Pieces of furniture begin to be picked up by the crew as the Captain and his officers go back up to the main deck of this strange ship. They watch as the last of the unconscious men is hoisted onto the Maria. Doc walks back up to the Captain.

Doc: “Captain with your permission, I would like to have these people taken below decks where I can keep an eye on them.”

Captain Yars: “Okay.” (he turns away from Doc to look at Ironbar) “Have our men take the stuff that belongs to these people to the room where Doc is currently keeping watch over them.”

Ironbar nods his head and then walks back down into the bowels of the ship.

Captain Yars: (looking at Rev and Silver) “Okay you two, let’s get back to business on board Maria and set sail out of this fog.”

All three of them walk back to the rope ladder and begin to climb back up it. Rev is the last one to climb back up to the Maria and as he is climbing back up he can’t stop wondering about this strange looking ship and its equally strange looking crew. He then smiles as he realizes that he and his crewmates played witness to another of the Lost Sea’s strange happenings.

Rev: (muttering to himself) “I definitely got to stop by my room and write down this whole incident in my journal when I get the chance.”

Fade out
Fade in

Jeff slowly begins to regain consciousness and groggily realize that something has happened to him and his friends after they had that accident with that other ship. His confusion for a brief moment is replaced by happiness at the fact that he is still alive. But it soon returns along with some curiosity as he finds himself hearing what sounds to be a dog panting contentedly next to him. He slowly opens up his eyes, but what he sees snaps him wide awake. Standing over him and looking down at him with some concern and amusement in its eyes, Jeff finds himself looking up at a huge, black Great Dane. He sees that the dog is panting contentedly at seeing him awake and for a brief moment he wonders if he is going to get a licking. But then he sees that this dog is no ordinary dog for it is wearing human clothing and standing firmly on its two hind legs. Jeff grips the table with his hands until his knuckles flush white and his breath begins to quicken. He silently wonders to himself if he is seeing things because of his sea-sickness or because of his injuries. But a part deep down inside of him can’t help, but make him stare intently at the dog’s facial features and the look of intelligence in its eyes. To see if he isn’t imagining things, he tries treating the dog before him as if it were an ordinary dog.

Jeff: (confused and curious) “Umm... nice doggy?”

The black Great Dane smiles at him with a toothy smile and then surprises him with all too human chuckle.

Doc: (sounding a bit exasperated to Jeff’s ears): Ironbar, would please leave the poor man alone? You aren’t helping him recover if you’re standing there and looking down at him like you want to give him a licking.”

Ironbar: (Smiles and looks beyond Jeff  at someone else) “Sorry about that Doc, I didn’t mean to scare him by being so friendly looking.” (He turns his gaze back to Jeff) “The name’s Ironbar.”

Jeff: (shaky and nervous) “My name is... Jeff.”

Ironbar: (smiles) Please to meet you, Jeff, I do hope that I didn’t shock you too...”

Jeff and Ironbar hear one of Jeff’s friends waking up suddenly with a surprised shout.

Dave: “What the...!”

Ironbar moves away from Jeff so that he can sit up and see to his friend. As he does so, Jeff quickly sees that Ironbar isn’t the only unusual sight in the room. He looks back at Ironbar and then at the motley collection of animals standing between the cot he is on and the cot where he sees his friend Dave lying down on. A motley collection of animals who like the large, black Great Dane beside him are wearing human clothing and standing on their hind legs. His gaze wanders over each and everyone of them with the dogs receiving most of his attentive stares. He then looks at his friend Dave and the deer who is standing next to his cot and trying to calm him down. He shakes his head and turns back to Ironbar.

Jeff: (staring intently and nervously at Ironbar) “You just aren’t a figment of my overactive imagination, are you now? You’re the real thing?”

Ironbar just smiles at him while Jeff just frowns and goes back to being silent at the sight of all of these animals in the room with him and his friends. He then hears something and turns back to where Dave was and smiles as Dave unsteadily gets up from his cot and waves off the deer by his side. He walks over to Jeff with the deer walking behind him and stops to look beyond his friend. Jeff turns around on his cot and smiles even more as he catches the sight of his other friend, Mike, being up and about. Mike gets up from his cot and walks over to join Dave and Jeff as Ironbar moves away from the threesome.

Jeff: (looking at Dave and Mike with concern) “Are you two okay?” (glances around the room again) “And are you guys seeing what I think I am seeing?”

Dave: (follows Jeff’s gaze around the room) “I am fine, Jeff, and if you are seeing a bunch of anthropomorphic animals in the room with us, then we aren’t apparently imagining things here.”

Jeff: “You’re sure about that?”

Dave: (frowns) “Very much so, I am afraid.”

Mike: (looks around, smiles and shakes his head) “I don’t think I need to tell you guys on just how weird our lives have become at this very moment.”

Jeff: “No kidding, Mike. I don’t think any of us after the storm and the collision expected to find ourselves on board a ship crewed by real-live anthros. I mean, what are the odds of all that weirdness happening to us to begin with?”

Ironbar: (whispers to himself) “Anthros?” (He looks at his crewmates to see and smell their confusion over the word)

Dave: “I have no idea.”

Mike: “Ditto on that, Dave.”

They nod their heads in agreement as the anthros around them continue to be amazed and baffled by their actions and words.

Ironbar: (looking at the trio and then at his friend, Doc) “Are these three okay enough to see the Captain, Doc?”

Doc: (looking over the three) “Well judging by their looks, I would say that thanks to Maria’s healing, the worst of their injuries that they should be fine in a day or two.

Doc’s comment confuses them and makes Ironbar smile again.

Ironbar: (smiling) “Good then if you three are ready, my Captain and the rest of my ship’s senior staff would like to have some words with you.”

Dave: (looking nervous) “Umm...sir?”

Ironbar: “Yes?”

Dave: “Is all of this real... you, your fellow crewmates and this ship we’re in?”

Ironbar: (smiling softly) “As real as you and your friends are.”

Dave looks at his friends to see their reactions as Ironbar walks over to a nearby door and opens it. Dave, Mike and Jeff look at each other and at him with a wide range of emotions on their faces. They act unsure what to do next.

Doc: (walking up behind the trio) “There’s nothing for you three to worry about here, my friends. Ironbar and our Captain, Captain Yars, just want to help you guys get a better understanding of who we are and where you stand, that’s all.”

Mike looks around the room one more time before tapping his friends on their shoulders to get them going. They then follow Ironbar out of the room and down a hallway.

Fade Out.
Fade In.

Act I/ Scene IV:

Dave, Mike, Jeff and Ironbar end up outside of the door to Captain Yars’ personal quarters where they meet up with a squirrel.

Ironbar: (looking at the squirrel before them) “Hi Kyle, are the Captain and the others already inside for the meeting?”

Kyle: (smiling and nodding his head) “The Cat-tain has been in his quarters for about the last ten minutes. Rev and Silver showed up and went inside about two minutes ago.” (He looks over at the trio) “I take it that these three are the ones the Cat-tain and the others want to have a chat with?”

Ironbar: (smiles at Kyle before looking back at the trio and nodding) “That they are, Kyle. Guys, this is Kyle, our ship’s first mate. Kyle meet our guests, Jeff and...” (he looks inquiringly at Mike and Dave)

Dave: (looking nervous and hesitant) “I am Dave.”

Mike: (smiling nervously): “I am Mike.”

Ironbar: (smiling before resuming his talk with Kyle) “Now where was I? Oh yeah, Kyle meet our guests, Jeff, Dave and Mike.”

Kyle: (dipping his tail in acknowledgement) “Please to meet you three. Now if you guys will please step inside; the Cat-tain, Rev and Silver would like to see and talk with you.”

Kyle opens up the door to the Captain’s quarters and ushers them inside. He closes it behind them as the trio find themselves greeted by the sight of a tiger, a rabbit and a silver fox waiting for them inside the room. Ironbar walks ahead of them. The tiger and the rabbit get up from where they are sitting and walk up to them and Ironbar. He looks back and forth between his crewmates and the trio and smiles.

Ironbar: (settling his gaze on Captain Yars first) “Dave, Jeff and Mike, this is Captain Yars, the Captain of the Maria. Captain, our newest guests to the ship; Dave, Jeff and Mike.” (He looks at each of them in turn as he introduces them.)

The Captain tries to greet each of them with a handshake and with a solemn smile. They smile back at him uncertainly and look down at their hands as they are grasped by the furry hand of the Captain’s in a handshake. He looks down to follow their gaze as they shake hands and then looks back at them with a frown. Ironbar, Rev and Silver watch them greet each other before Ironbar moves them along to greet his friend Rev.

Ironbar: (smiling solemnly in return before gazing at Rev). “You three this is Rev, our ship’s spiritual advisor. Rev, our guests.”

Making up for his captain’s uncertainty, Rev gives the trio a more enthusiastic handshake. He shakes each of their hands and tries his best to make them smile. Each of them try to put aside their hesitation and smile back at him with almost the same amount of enthusiasm that he gave him.

Rev: “Pleased to meet you gentlemen.”

Ironbar: (Directing their attention toward Silver) “And lastly but certainly not the least amongst us is Silver, our ship’s junior navigator who is sitting in for his mentor, Sharpeye.”

Silver: (nods his head and greets them from where he is sitting) “Pleased to meet you three.”

Captain Yars: (sighing) “May I offer you three some seats to sit down on?” (He directs their attention to the other end of the room.)

They silently walk over to the other end of the room and sit down. The Captain sits back down and is joined by Ironbar while Rev continues standing before them all. No one talks for a minute or two as the tension in the room becomes thick with each side being reluctant to speak up first.

Rev: (giving his best reassuring smile) “I can see and smell how nervous you three are at the way we look. And I am quite sure that you guys don’t know what to make of us and this ship.  I am also quite sure that you three also have a lot of questions that need answering. But let me tell you this first, you have nothing to fear from us. We are here to help you guys out in the days to come.”

Rev, Ironbar and Silver smile as they see and smell the trio relaxing a bit and looking at them with a bit more curiosity than puzzlement.

Rev: (smiling) “So, Mike, can you and your friends here tell us something about yourselves and that ship of yours?”

Mike looks uncertainly at them about that question.  He turns to his friends and sees that they are just as uncertain as he is about answering Rev’s question.

Mike: Umm... can my friends and I have just a moment by ourselves to talk about that question of yours, Rev?”

Captain Yars: (frowning and looking puzzled) “Do you guys have a problem with answering his question?”

Dave: (Looking  unsteadily from his friends to Captain Yars) “Well, Captain, it’s just that we wouldn’t know where to start talking about ourselves. Not to mention that we are still reeling from everything that has just happened to us up this point in time.”

Captain Yars looks at Ironbar and frowns.

Rev: “Its okay Dave, we understand.” (looking at his crewmates before looking back at them). “You three don’t have to open up right away about who you guys are in front of us. There will be time for that kind of discussion later. So how about you tell us how you came to be in the Lost Sea on that ship of yours?”

Dave: (looking puzzled) “The Lost Sea?”

Mike: “I think he’s talking about the Bermuda Triangle, Dave.”

Rev: “The Bermuda Triangle?”

Mike: “Where we come from, this area of the ocean is known as the Bermuda Triangle or the Devil’s Triangle.”

Ironbar:  (looking at Silver and then back to Mike) “Really, hmm...”

Captain Yars: (Looking somewhat impatient) “So how did your ship end up in the Lost Sea anyway?”

Dave: “Well it started innocently enough with us renting a ship and its crew for a day of deep sea diving and fishing.

Captain Yars: “So you three weren’t actual members of your ship’s crew.”

Dave: (nodding his head) “No sir, we were just simple passengers out for a day of fun on the open water. Well at least we were having fun until our ship entered the Bermuda Triangle um... I mean the Lost Sea.”

Rev: “What happened to your ship when it entered the Lost Sea?”

Jeff: “Nothing initially happened to our ship when it entered this place. But an hour after our ship entered the Lost Sea, the crew started reporting a number of strange stuff happening in and around the ship. Equipment started acting sporadically, turning themselves on or off or just shutting down completely.”

Mike: (picking up the story from Jeff) “After the ship’s equipment began acting weird, both ourselves and the ship’s crew began hearing strange noises coming from all around us. And some of the ship’s crew began seeing things that weren’t there.”

Rev: (Looking curious and eager) “So how did you three and the crew take what was happening to you in the Lost Sea?”

Dave: “Well, my friends and I took the equipment failures and the strange sounds and sights fairly well. I mean we didn’t freak out as badly as the crew did. They were a rather superstitious lot and took what was happening to them and their ship as a sign that the devil was coming for them.”

Rev: “And your ship’s captain?”

Dave: “He was just as superstitious as the crew was, but he controlled himself quite well through all of the strange happenings that had begun to plague our ship. And if it wasn’t for him leaning hard on his crew, they would have abandoned us and the ship sooner.”

Captain Yars: “So what made the captain and crew of your ship finally abandoned you three and the ship?”

Mike: “About two hours into our ordeal in the Lost Sea, our ship ran into a fierce tropical storm.” (He watches the Captain nod his head at his comment before continuing.) “When the storm hit us, the Captain ordered us to go below decks while he and his crew fought to keep the ship afloat.” (He looks at his friends before speaking up again) “We don’t know what happened to the captain and crew after we went below decks.”

Rev: “So what happened after the storm had come and gone?”

Mike: “Well after the storm had passed, we waited for either the Captain or one of his crew members to come below decks and tell us that it was safe to go up top. But no one came and eventually we made our way up top and discovered that the entire crew was missing along with our ship’s only raft.”

Silver: “So sometime during the storm, your ship’s crew abandoned ship and left you three to your own fates.”

Mike: “That’s what we managed to piece together upon discovering their disappearance after the storm. After we had noted their disappearance, we learned that the storm had sent the ship way off course from its intended destination. We took turns trying to sail the ship back on course before we found ourselves enshrouded by a very dense fog bank.”

Dave: “We must have been in that fog bank for what must have been a half-hour before we had that collision with your ship.”

Silence between the trio and the crew soon follows as the crew takes in what Dave and his friends just told them. After another minute of silence..

Captain Yars: (frowns and looks at each of member of the trio in turn) “The collision... yes that was an unfortunate event to happen between both of our ships.” (He looks down at the deck of his ship and then back up again) “For if it wasn’t for your ship getting damaged in the collision and you three being injured, I would never have ordered my men to bring you aboard in the first place.”

Dave and Jeff look at him in puzzlement.

Mike: (looks at his friends first and then at the Captain) “Why wouldn’t you have brought us on board your ship if it hadn’t been for the collision and our injuries?”

Captain Yars: (Frowning still) “I wouldn’t have brought you and your friends on board my ship, Mike, because you see this ship we are all on is cursed. But we did bring you three on board to heal you of your injuries. And by doing so, we have subjected  you three to the curse as well.”

The trio look at each other with some shock, puzzlement and disbelief.

Dave: (frowns) “Umm... can you, um..” (He looks to Mike for help)

Mike: (looks at Dave and then at the Captain) “Can you tell us what is the nature of this curse, captain?”

Captain Yars: (sighs) “You three are probably not going to believe what I am about to tell you as readily as you are starting to believe what your eyes are trying to tell you about us. But I’ll try. This ship, the Maria, is alive just like you, me and the rest of my crew. And not only is Maria alive, but she is also aware and cognizant of what happens inside her and around her.”

Jeff: (looking at the Captain in disbelief) “You’re kidding right?”

Ironbar: “He’s not kidding here, Jeff.”

Captain Yars: “As for the curse itself, it is like this, anybody who comes aboard this ship and stays on it for more than thirty minutes will find themselves unable to leave it. And what’s more is that the ship for reasons only known to her will transform those subjected to the curse into something like us, neither man nor beast but a little bit of both.”

Dave, Mike and Jeff look at him incredulously.

Dave: “Are you kidding with us right now about that, captain?”

Rev: “He’s not kidding on this, Dave, the transformations are very much true. Everyone that you three have seen since you woke up on our ship use to be very much human like yourselves.”

Mike: (shaking his head in disbelief before speaking up) “And now that Dave, myself and Jeff are on board your ship, we are going to end being transformed into something like you guys?”

Rev: (trying to look reassuring) “I am afraid so.”

The Captain looks at his crew and then at the trio. He sees them trying to put on a brave face even though he can smell their fear and despair. He frowns and then grimaces before continuing his talk.

Captain Yars: “Your transformations into beings like us can happen in a few different ways. The first way and perhaps the most difficult way for you to emotionally take with regards to your eventual transformations is to simply let it take its course in the months to come. And watch yourselves as you grow more animalistic in appearance.”

The captain allows them a minute or two of silence before continuing on.

Captain Yars: “However, the next two ways that you three can undergo your transformations are a whole lot faster.”

Jeff: (reluctantly) “And those methods entail....?”

The Captain looks at Rev and then at Ironbar before answering Jeff’s question.

Captain Yars: The first way you can speed up your transformations is to have consensual sex with one of my crew.”

Dave: “You mean we would have to have sex with one of your women in order to speed up our transformations into anthros like you?”

Captain Yars: “Not exactly.”

Dave: “Umm.. what do you mean by ‘not exactly’? You guys do have women folk on board, don’t you?”

The captain hesitates at answering his question.

Dave: (pushing out of his seat in mild disgust) “You mean to tell us that in order for us to speed up our transformations into anthros, we would... would have to have sex with another male???? That we would have to allow someone’s dick up our butt holes to become a furry? Thanks but no thanks.”

Mike: (Reaching up to pull Dave back into his seat) “Agreed. And even if you guys had women on board, I wouldn’t even think of jumping into bed with one of them to become a furry.

Jeff: “Ditto on both accounts.”

Rev: (raising both hands in a reassuring gesture and speaking softly) “Gentlemen, please. The captain was just offering you guys an option, an alternate way, to become more like us without going through the rigors of the first method. You are under no pressure from us whatsoever to take this path.”

Rev smiles as his words of reassurance sink into the three young men before him.

Mike: (looking at both of his friends and then at Rev and the captain) “Don’t get us wrong you two and assume that we are against the idea of having sex with one of your fellow crewmates. We aren’t homophobic, we’re just not sexually attracted to other males.”

Dave: (following up on Mike’s comment) “We’re just physically attracted to women and other men.”

Rev: (smiles solemnly and nods his head) “Its okay you three, (looks at his crewmates and back again) we understand and won’t hold it against you if you refuse to have sex with one of us. As the captain said a moment ago, any sex that you would do with one of us will strictly be consensual. You have every right to refuse such an offer.”

Ironbar: (interrupts Rev) “As long as it is an offer and nothing more.” (He looks at his crewmates) “I am sure glad that Vermin and his Jackrats were below decks during the collision and recovery operation.” (He looks back at the trio.) “There is nothing sexually consensual about those guys.”

Jeff: “Umm.. why is that?”

Ironbar: “Vermin and his men like raping newcomers to make more Jackrats.”

Mike: (trying to keep calm) “So there is a chance of being raped by these guys during our stay here?”

Captain Yars: “Don’t worry about being raped by him or his men, you three.” (He looks at Ironbar) “We’ll ensure your safety as you begin to adjust to living here with us.”

Jeff: “Captain?”

Captain Yars: “Yes, Jeff?”

Jeff: “You said that there are three methods of transformation on this ship, what’s the third method?”

Captain Yars: (frowns) “The third way to transform is through intense emotion such as fear or anger...”

Rev: (interrupting the captain) “Or through faith. Captain, I forgotten to mention to you that some of the crew had discovered a new way to transform other people into animals like us.”

Captain Yars: (raising his eyebrows up in surprise) “A new method of transformation? What is it and how come I hadn’t heard of it by now.”

Rev: (smiling) “Yes, captain. You see a little while back when we were rescuing the crew of the Rena, Darel discovered that he could “sculpt” someone  into their animal form. He “sculpted” Riverfoot into his new form while giving him a simple massage.”

Ironbar: (smiling) “Oh, really?”

Rev: “It came as quite a surprise for him and Riverfoot when it happened.” (looks at the captain with a smile) “I am surprised you hadn’t gotten wind of it until now.”

Captain Yars: “I am most certainly surprised now by this little bit of news. I guess I am going to have pay a visit to those two sometime and ask about this new method.” (Looks at the trio) “But for now my crew and I have to concern ourselves with you three.”

Silver: “Perhaps myself and one another can start helping them adjust to their new lives aboard the Maria by giving them a tour of the ship tomorrow.”

Rev: (smiling) “That sounds like a good idea, Silver, but for now how about you and me escort them back to their nearly prepared quarters. It is getting rather late.” (he looks at the trio) “And you three look like some time to recuperate.”

Captain Yars: (looking at Rev and Silver) “Looks like we have reached an agreement on what to do with you three for now. Silver and another member of my crew will take you three on a tour of the ship. And then we will resume this discussion sometime tomorrow. Agreed?” (Looks at the trio)

One by one Jeff, Dave and Mike nod their heads while looking at the crew and at themselves.

Captain Yars: (smiling softly) “Rev, if you and Silver will escort them to their quarters.”

The crew and the trio get up from where they are sitting and begin to move out of the room. As Dave, Mike and Jeff pass by the captain, Yars can still see and smell their own fear and uncertainty hanging about them. He frowns and is seen frowning by Ironbar as the door closes behind Rev, Silver and the Trio.

Fade out.
Fade in.
 
 
 


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