Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer
The shrimp trawler ”Treadin’ Water” plowed through the calm gulf seas on its way to Baratana Bay. Clasping the wheel in his massive hands, Captain Noyent eyed his son skeptically. “So, your mother and me spend half our life’s savin’s putting you through Hopkins, and instead of becoming a doctor, you built that contraption.”
“I told you, Pop, it’s an ultrahigh frequency subliminal neurostimulator. If it works like it did during the lab trials, we’ll have enough money to buy a fleet of trawlers.”
Still doubtful, the senior Noyent prodded his son, “How so?”
“You know how the size of your catches has been declining every year. That’s because the shrimp are diving deeper into the gulf because the surface water is so much warmer than it was a decade ago. And you can’t put your nets down that deep because of the risk of snagging them. However, when I lower my neurostimulator into the water, I can transmit a signal that will make the shrimp want to swim to the surface. For a radius of about a tenth of a mile, we’ll have so many shrimp at the surface you’ll be able to scoop up a pound by dippin’ your ball cap over the side.”
“Sounds like science fiction to me. I won’t believe it until I see it.”
“Well, you’re about to, Pop. Drop your nets right here, and I’ll deploy the neurostimulator.”
Thirty minutes later, millions of shrimp could be seen disturbing the calm, mirror-like surface surrounding the ship. Captain Noyent nudged the throttle forward and began trawling at 2.7 knots. To his amazement, the shrimp boat filled her nets in less than a hundred yards. Within two hours, the hold was filled to capacity, and Captain Noyent was smiling from ear to ear. That’s when all hell broke loose.
From out of nowhere, thousands of fish suddenly converged on the shrimpfest surrounding the idle trawler. As the schools of fish started their feeding frenzy, the shrimp’s instinct to flee to deeper water was being countermanded by the still transmitting neurostimulator. As a consequence, the crusteans, and the pursuing fish, whipped the sea into a caldron or foaming, bubbling, froth. Father and son watched in stunned silence as the water surrounding the ship turned from blue to white. Only then did they both realize that the ship was losing buoyancy due to the incessant churning of the aerated sea. Water started pouring over the gunwale, and into the open hold. The ship went to the bottom is less than a minute.
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