Unnamed Journal Volume 2, Issue 4 - Page 21

She noticed Lang in his skin and said "watch out." Presently a lizard head the size of a small chair breached out of the waves. It howled an unholy sound and Lang dropped to the floor of his skiff, clutching his ears, his heart pounding. He'd heard a few of the native Almaeonians mention sea dragons, but he'd dismissed it as local legend of the Loch Ness Monster variety back on earth. He did not know they were real. A few seconds later he looked up again, and it was gone. "Sea dragon?" Lang said. "Yeah," said the diver. "They live deep under. They don't usually breach because the air hurts them." "So..." "Well," said the diver, with an insouciant grin "If you provoke them..." and she held aloft a harpoon on which a serpent was skewered, wriggling and making a thick clicking sound. The diver drew a knife and cut one end of it off, and it shuddered and was still. "Believe it or not, they're delicious," she said. "I believe it. My name's Arturus. I live on the atoll about ten clicks west." "I'm Thea. I know the one you mean. Gorf's Atoll." "Who's Gorf?" "Last guy to live there." "I see. So when does it become Arturus Atoll? That sounds better." "As soon as you die there." Lang nodded. "So what you're saying is, I need to go harpooning with you." She gave a light, lilting laugh. "I admit, it seems stupid. It's about the only real danger around here. But when you taste it..." "So you're coming over?" "Am I?" They went on like that, a man and a woman on the sea of a distant moon covered with water in a star system thousands of light years from the place of Arturus Lang's birth, feeling out the rhythms intrinsic to their nature. It felt nothing like shaking hands and everything like home.