Author : Laila Amado

Marjorie began freaking out when we lost contact with Earth. I gather she thought she would still get to go home one day, though I can’t imagine the corporation ever paying for this trip. If you ask me, I think the bastards finally blasted themselves into oblivion and I am not terribly sorry about that.

They used to say in my school that Earth is a blue planet, but there it was just a phrase from a textbook one rarely opened. Here, on this world, the ocean is a tangible thing. Indigo, periwinkle, viridian, and all shades of azure, it enters your house without permission and permeates your skin. Day in, day out, lapping quietly beneath the floorboards, it listens to your words and movements, whistles when you fly the scooter over its languid waves, roars in the dark of the night when heavy clouds roll over the invisible horizon. If you choose so, you may never leave the water here at all, merging with its changeful body in perfect harmony. Wading into my laboratory knee deep in the swash, I contemplate the tidal range and the variations of aquatic flow.

Marjorie says no signal means no more ships. No more ships means no more music, no new books and no real chocolate. I think – no more inspections.

I remember when the last ship came, its heavy white bulk an alien intrusion in our world of ever shifting shapes. How they marched down the ramp, so competent, so fully in control, dressed in standard issue overalls and sturdy waterproof boots. Sure, they brought all of that stuff Marjorie pines for but they made such a fuss when they saw the babies. Neither my gills nor Marjorie’s budding wings have drawn their attention, but the young ones are unable to hide. Newborns are so trusting.

They said, “They are growing fins, how could you allow this? You did what? You introduced local DNA?”

They started talking of protocol breach and quarantine, and the doctor, the one with broad glassy nails on carefully tanned hands said they would have to be exterminated, the whole corrupt batch.

No, loss of contact is good. Loss of contact means no new ships and no need to explain to Marjorie what happened to the last one. What I did to that last ship. There are a lot of deep lagoons on this planet and, hopefully, she would never find the one where the good doctor’s white bones rest beneath the floating lilies.