Target Pokemon: Horsea
Characters Needed: (Hard) 20-30k
Character Count: 28,387
No Grave But the Sea
Captain Jonah Thalassa was a sailor by nature. His father was a man of the sea, and his father before him, so it was only natural that he carried the tradition on. He was born upon the tides in 1821, and seemed to stay atop them for the rest of his days. Brine swam through his veins, and he breathed the very air that danced above the sea.
Some called him an explorer, but others who didn’t care for the man, claimed that he was a pirate. To himself, Jonah was simply a sailor. He captained his vessel, Calypso’s Lapras, for pleasure alone. Jonah didn’t make a profit from his life on the ocean, but he wasn’t a poor man. His days in Johto’s Navy had earned him enough money that he could sail all he wanted without his fortune running dry. He was a decorated captain, who had won Johto a fair amount of sea battles during their conflict with Hoenn. Since he lived so simply, not a lot of money was required, so over the years his amount of money remained pretty much the same.
Though they knew that there was no money in it for them, several men sailed with Captain Thalassa. Some were probably fugitives and criminals seeking shelter from the law, but Jonah didn’t mind, nor did he ask. He knew that as long as he kept them fed and safe, they wouldn’t harm him. Others were simply lovers of the sea, like Jonah, who preferred a life on the sea instead of one on land. Sometimes, Jonah and the crew would go sailing and discover new islands. They would claim the land for Johto, which would gain them a bit more money. These exciting occasions weren’t numerous, but when they happened it was like Christmas for them.
One day, Captain Thalassa and his crew were returning from a voyage to the Sevii Islands, and docking at Olivine’s beautiful port. They came onto land, and planned to have a fun night at the local taverns, and then get some much needed rest. Storms had caused a lot of trouble for them, and the crew was weary.
After they had gotten the rest they needed, they met at a tavern the next day to talk, and have a drink together. Captain Thalassa had disappointing news for them. As they pulled chairs up to a table, Jonah stood up from his, looking at his crew.
“Men, I don’t know how to put this, so I’ll make it simple. I’m getting old,” he said. His crew just looked at him blankly, sometimes stealing glances at others to see their reactions. “The life on the high seas is proving to be too much for my old body, and this last trip proved it. My back is stiff, and my gut is getting round. I just can’t keep up anymore, and I’m afraid that I’m going to have to give it all up.”
“Captain!” cried Bart, one of the crew members. “You can’t just up and quit on us! What are we all going to do without you? You and the ship are our lives, and we’d have nowhere else to go without you!”
“Bart’s right, Captain, if you leave, we’ll have to find new jobs, and some of us can’t exactly stick around towns for too long,” said another man.
“Don’t worry boys, I’m leaving the ship in good hands. Ahab, I want you to have her. Ol’ Lappy couldn’t be prouder having an owner like yourself,” said Jonah, smiling at Ahab. Ahab was his first mate, and most trusted companion. He expected Ahab to be happy in assuming his position as captain of the ship and crew.
“No way, Captain,” he said, surprising everyone at the table.
“What?” asked Jonah.
“I said no. I’m honored that you would pick me as the new captain, but I just can’t do it. There’s no way that you’re to old to be our captain! Listen, what if we take one more voyage; a last hurrah! If you decide that you’re too old to be our captain anymore after that, then we’ll let you go on. If you don’t then that’s even better! Trust me Cap’, you need to stay with us,” said Ahab.
The other men at the table nodded and agreed with him, and Ahab took his seat. Jonah wasn’t sure what to do. He was 65 years old now! What business did an old man like him have sailing the seas? Besides, all he had to sail with was the old, wooden mess that was Calypso’s Lapras. Most ships were being made of iron and steel now, and the old wooden ships just couldn’t keep up. The new ships had coal and steam powered engines, but Jonah’s only ran by using sails. The times were changing, and their benefits fell to luckier men. Jonah took it all into account, but he looked at each of his crew members’ faces. They all had a similar feature, and that was hope. Each one had a look in his eye, saying that they’d rather die than have a new captain.
Seeing this, Jonah decided that perhaps they were right. How much could taking one more journey hurt? “Men, I guess you could have a point. I’ll take one more trip with you boys, and then I’m done. This will be my last trip, so let’s make it a good one!”
They cheered and patted their Captain on the back as he sat back down at the table. Jonah was glad that his crew was happy again, but he wasn’t sure if he had made the right decision. It was true, he was getting too old. His hair was now completely grey, and he was putting on weight. He wore a hat now to hide his grey hair, and a large pea coat in an attempt to hide his bulging stomach. To him, a ship’s captain should be lean and strong, and youthful enough that he wouldn’t grow weary on a long trip. Jonah didn’t fit any of this description.
The crew got drunk that night, and had a great time celebrating their leader’s decision. Jonah had too much to think about to have fun, and spent most of the night thinking. He and his men rented rooms in the upstairs portion of the tavern for the night, and they all passed out in their cots. Jonah sat in his bed, awake all night. He wondered about the trip they would take, where they would go, and what they would encounter. It all worried him, and he had a bad feeling about it.
They didn’t set sail for a week. The storms had moved closer to the shore now, and they were still a bit tired from the last voyage. Instead, the crew spent their off-week preparing for the next journey. They bought food and supplies, and plenty of other things they might need for the trip. They even bought back up sails, just in case something happened to the ship. The crew knew that this was probably the last time they would sail alongside their beloved captain, so they wanted the trip to be enjoyable.
When the storms passed, they set sail. There was a route around the western coast of Johto that they hadn’t tried yet, and it led to the chilly waters north of their region. Walrein and Wailord were supposed to be numerous there at this time of the year, and the crew decided that watching them would be an enjoyable experience. They would sail around their coast, and then continue north until they reached the icy waters where those pokemon lived.
“Alright boys, are we set?” asked Captain Thalassa. He was standing on the deck of his ship, looking at all of his men. 12 of them were required to keep the ship afloat, and they all stood on deck, each doing a certain job to prep for the voyage.
A few of the men nodded, and others shouted, but it was clear that they were all excited to be going on this journey. Jonah turned around and walked back into his captain’s quarters. Inside the luxurious room were maps, a cozy bed, and a small furnace. His wardrobe, which only consisted of a few coats and some pants, hung in this room as well, and there was a desk in the corner. He kept a bottle of whiskey under his bed for the extra long trips, or those increasingly numerous nights that he couldn’t get to sleep.
Jonah sat down at the desk and took a look at the map. He had marked the route they would be taking, and he double checked the coordinates. Once he decided that everything was in order, he took the map to his navigation expert, Dutch.
“Here you are, Dutch,” he told the man. Dutch just nodded and took the map from Jonah. He never spoke, because it didn’t get him anywhere. Nobody could understand poor Dutch through his speech impediment, so he spent most of his time in silence. What he lacked in speaking skills, he more than made up for in sailing. He was also the one who steered the ship, so it was completely up to him to get the ship where it needed to go.
The ship undocked, and began driving to the west. The day was perfect for setting sail, and the sun was blasting down on them from the sky. Wingull were flying around in the sky above them, squawking loudly. Some of the men on deck would throw little chunks of bread into the air, and the birds would swoop down and catch them, happy to be fed.
As they sailed, the passed the last places in Johto. First they sailed through the marvelous Whirl Islands, then past Cianwood City. Finally, they had reached the edge of civilization, and were out on the open waters. This was where Captain Thalassa and his men were the most comfortable and at home. If they could’ve chosen, they would’ve stayed at sea all the time.
The ship swam through the swells of the ocean, and the men watched the water beside the boat as a school of Remoraid swam alongside it. A Vaporeon also swam with them, jumping in and out of the water effortlessly, dazzling the sailors. Now they saw more than just Wingull in the air around them. The larger Pelipper were flying low to the ocean, using their huge beaks to catch unsuspecting fish. They would dive down and skim the water, and then take their catch back to the coast to feed their families. The crew watched the majesty of the aquatic natives and relaxed on the deck of the ship.
Near the start of the voyage, the weather had been nice. It was warm and sunny, and he men could lay shirtless on the deck if they wanted, but now, as they climbed further north, the wind was whipping up and the temperature was dropping. It was probably around sixty degrees now, so the men began putting their clothes back on. After a few more hours, night began to fall and it became even colder. The men retreated beneath the deck to their quarters, and they bundled up in their warmest clothes. They slept well that night.
The next morning when they woke up, they saw that they were getting much closer to their destination. Chunks of ice were floating in the water beside them now, and occasionally you could see a Spheal or two sitting on them. Wailmer were spouting out huge pillars of water in the distance, and Dewgong were swimming alongside their boat. The Dewgong would pull off breathtaking aquatic acrobatics, jumping into the air and then using Ice Beam on the water in front of them, then landing on the ice flawlessly.
“Alright men,” said Captain Thalassa as he stepped out of his quarters. “It looks like we’ll be at our coordinates by this afternoon!”
The men cheered and clapped. Dutch was taking it easy now, and they coasted through the maze of ice, taking everything in. Some of the men were climbing to the top of the crow’s nest to get a better view of the scenery and pokemon, and others were leaning over the rails of the ship, gazing at the pokemon beneath the waves.
The air was frigid now, and the men seemed to be wearing every article of clothing they owned. Birds weren’t flying with them any longer, and the schools of fish beside the boat were becoming rarer. The water seemed to be too cold for most kinds of fish, because now they were only seeing Seel and Dewgong, and the occasional Vaporeon.
“Hey, look!” shouted Ahab. He pointed frantically out into the distance while he looked through a telescope. “A Lapras!”
Another man snatched the telescope from him and looked through it. Sure enough, the majestic beauty that provided their ship’s namesake was floating atop the water in the distance. Lapras was often used for transporting people across water, as they were large, and could skim across the water quickly. The deep blue pokemon leapt from the water and onto an iceberg. The men watched the pokemon in awe until they finally were too far away to see it. It was becoming more and more popular to hunt the majestic Lapras, and the men on board couldn’t believe that people could kill such a magical beast.
As the ship closed in on the desired coordinates, it became more and more foggy. Eventually, the men couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of them. Dutch had to bring the ship’s speed down to nearly a halt.
“Captain, I don’t know if we ought to go any further. We can’t see a damn thing, and we might hit an iceberg at any time!” said Ahab nervously.
Jonah knew that it was dangerous, but he was already out here and he had no intention of going back. This was his final voyage, and he wanted to make the most of it. Nothing had happened to them before at sea, and they had been in worse predicaments than this.
“Relax, Ahab. It’s probably just a few pokemon making a mist or something. I’m sure it’ll be cleared up in a little while,” said the captain. He now turned to Dutch. “Dutch, speed her back up!”
Dutch obeyed and increased the ship’s speed again. Ahab looked worried, but he trusted Jonah, and decided that what he said was probably best.
About an hour after the fog had started, something strange began to happen. The fog was still impenetrable, and it seemed as if you could make a snowball out of it. In addition to the blinding fog, the crew began to hear what sounded like singing. It was a beautiful noise, and came from in front of them.
“Say, what do you think it is, Captain?” asked Ahab.
“I’m not sure, but it’s beautiful isn’t it? Sounds like an angel is singing to us,” replied Jonah. The men seemed to be in a trance, and all of them stood at the front of the ship now.
The singing continued, and got louder as the ship progressed. The men could think of nothing but the enchanting music that surrounded them.
“Is it a pokemon?” one man asked.
“Are they ghosts?” asked another.
No answers were provided though, and they men kept a vigilant eye out, hoping to find the source of the music. It was so loud now, and they believed that they were right on top whatever was producing the fantastic melody. Finally, the fog seemed to get clearer, and a small, rocky island presented itself in front of them. Three beautiful women were displaying their naked bodies on the rocks, singing to the sailors. They were the most perfect women that the men had ever seen, and their eyes could focus on nothing else. Even Dutch, who was supposed to be piloting the ship had come to the front for a better view.
Seeing this, Jonah snapped out of the trance he was in. He raced to the steering wheel of the ship, and tried to maneuver the boat around the rocky isle. He pulled as hard as he could on the wheel, spinning it rapidly, but to no avail. His ship smashed into the rocky coast of the island, tearing it to shreds. The men, who all stood at the front of the ship, were flung as if they weighed nothing. Their tortured screams filled the air instead of the gorgeous music. Seeing that the ship was doomed, Jonah plunged into the freezing water below. When he returned to the surface, the ship was all but obliterated. Wood was floating in the sea around the men, as were torn sails. Jonah looked at a few dead bodies that were floating just like the wood, unmoving.
Captain Thalassa swam towards the rocky island, and finally made it onto the shore. Ahab and Dutch were already there, and a few more men were swimming towards them. They were coated in the icy water from head to toe, and they shivered uncontrollably. Jonah stood up and looked around the tiny island. It couldn’t have been more than two hundred square feet, but it was large enough to destroy his ship.
Jonah looked over at Dutch who was wailing. He cried and cried, holding his head in his hands, feeling the guilt over what he had caused coming over him. Jonah had to admit, he was angry with Dutch, but he knew that he couldn’t help it.
“Don’t blame yourself, Dutch. It wasn’t your fault,” said the captain. The other men looked at him, surprised with what he was saying. They all blamed Dutch for abandoning his post, and letting the ship crash into the island. “It was the Sirens that did this.”
“S-sirens?” asked Ahab, shivering.
“I’m afraid so. You see, they’re awful beasts who lure sailors like us to their deaths with their beautiful music and bodies. Some say that they’re water spirits, and others say that they’re monsters,” said Jonah.
“Well, where did they go?” shouted Ahab, standing up. He looked around the tiny island, searching for the Sirens.
“They’re gone. There’s nothing we can do, Ahab,” said the captain. He lowered his head now. It was his turn to be guilty. If it wasn’t for him, they wouldn’t be in this situation. He told them to keep going through the fog when they should’ve turned back and gone home.
The men were hopeless. They would be frozen solid in a few hours’ time, and even if they managed to live longer than that, nobody would know where to come looking for them. They were stranded in the middle of a frozen ocean.
Jonah looked at the men he had left now. He, Ahab, and Dutch all sat on the island, accompanied by four others who looked just as miserable. Jonah stood up and rushed over to where the ship had smashed into the island. Surprisingly, there were a few things that weren’t destroyed, or even wet. A wooden box was lying on the shore, next to the shattered mast of the ship.
“Ahab, get over here and help me with this!” shouted Jonah. Ahab quickly got up and ran to aid the captain. They pried on side of the box off, and revealed the treasure inside. The extra sails they had brought in case of an emergency were sitting inside, completely untouched and dry.
“Well, at least these can keep us a little warmer for a bit longer. We could start a fire with them, but I’m not sure if we have anything to get one started with. This island is pretty desolate,” said Ahab.
They brought the huge pieces of cloth back to where the other men sat at the center of the island, and sat them on the ground. The men spread the sails out, and began cutting out pieces to use as blankets. They all wrapped themselves in the dry cloth, and it seemed to warm them up a little bit. Jonah and Ahab went looking around the tiny piece of land for something to make a spark with. Ahab searched through the wreckage, and Jonah looked around the island.
Jonah came back empty-handed, but Ahab returned with something that was sure to aid them; a piece of burning wood!
“Where on Earth did you find that?” Jonah cried, not believing his eyes.
“The back of the ship is almost untouched, Captain! Your quarters are still intact, and your wood furnace was still burning! I pulled this out of it,” said Ahab, excitedly.
The two men rushed back to the makeshift camp, bringing some of the dryer wood, and the burning piece of timber from the fire. They piled the kindling together and put some strips of the sails on it, and then Ahab lit it ablaze with the wood he held. The fire grew until it was big enough that all the men could sit around it and get warm again. They let the flames dry their clothes, and some of the color returned to their faces.
After about an hour, they were feeling a bit better, but still weren’t in good shape. They were slightly warmer now, but they still had no food or fresh water. They wouldn’t last more than a few days without that, and besides, the fire would most likely go out before then.
“Captain, what are we supposed to do about food?” asked Ahab.
“I don’t know, Ahab. I’ll go look around the shore, maybe there’s some kind of plant in the water that we could eat,” he replied. He knew that it didn’t matter if he found anything or not. Finding a little bit of food would only prolong their suffering.
He searched the shallow waters near the shore, careful not to get too wet again. He walked along the entire shoreline, but couldn’t find a thing. Suddenly, just when he was about to walk back to the fire, he saw something in the water looking up at him. A tiny Horsea was hiding beneath the water, gazing at him. It had probably never seen a person before, so he was a new sight to the pokemon. Slowly, Jonah extended his arms into the water. At first the Horsea moved back, scared by the man’s sudden movement, but he didn’t think that he was a threat, so he swam into his hands.
Jonah picked the tiny blue pokemon up out of the water and held it. He wasn’t planning on eating it, but it was quite a find out here in the middle of nowhere. He stroked the pokemon’s head gently, and it made an affectionate noise. He wouldn’t bring the pokemon back to the others, because he knew they might try to eat it, which Jonah found disgusting. He knew that some people didn’t mind eating pokemon, but he was against it. Suddenly, an idea hit him. What if the pokemon could bring up food from the bottom of the ocean for his men? Surely the Horsea could find some kind of underwater vegetation for them.
“Horsea, can you understand me?” he asked the little pokemon, placing it back into the water. The Horsea looked back up at him blankly. “Can you please find us some food?”
Seeing that it couldn’t understand him, he began using his hands to talk. He pointed at the Horsea, and then used his hands to make it look like they were swimming down. He then pointed at himself, and pretended to eat something.
The Horsea didn’t move for a second, but then, to Jonah’s surprise, it swam back beneath the water. Jonah thought that he had scared it away, and sat there miserably. He angrily threw a rock as far into the ocean as he could. A few minutes passed, and then the Horsea returned to the surface. Jonah was overjoyed to see the pokemon, and noticed something funny about it. It had what looked like seaweed hanging from its long nose. Jonah understood what it was doing now, and quickly pulled it off of the pokemon.
“Thank you! Please, stay there!” said Jonah, making a motion for the pokemon to remain where it was.
He rushed back to where what was left of his crew was sitting, and showed them the seaweed. “Look, men, we can eat this!”
The men didn’t seem too enthused by the idea, but they slowly got up and each took a strip of the green plant. The held it over the fire, drying it out and hopefully cooking it a bit, and one by one began to take bites of it. The seaweed tasted like a much stronger type of Spinach, and had an overwhelmingly salty flavor. The men wouldn’t eat by choice, but they continued to dine on it since they had nothing better. They finished their meal, and looked at each other.
“Well, I can tell you one thing. I’m not living off of seaweed for the rest of my life!” shouted Ahab, kicking the ground beneath him. “We’re going to die on this island, why not just do it now? Why don’t we just give up now, instead of dragging it out?”
The men were silent, and looked at the ground beneath them. To tell the truth, the idea of a sooner death sounded nice to them. They could die here, while the fire was still going, instead of freezing or starving to death once it goes out. The men pondered this for several minutes.
Finally, one of the crew members stood up. “Captain, he’s got a point. What’s the point in making this suffering last longer? We could just die on our own terms. It could be quick and painless…” he said, pulling something out of his pocket. They all looked to see what it was, and saw that he held a small revolver. They were a new invention, and he had purchases the treasure on the last trip they had taken.
The sailors all looked at the gun, not wanting to think about what was about to happen. None of them wanted death, but they knew it was coming one way or another, and if it had to happen, this was how they wanted it. One by one, the men stood up, agreeing with Ahab and the other sailor. Dutch stood up, looking at the man holding the revolver, and slowly nodded.
“Well, I guess it’s settled then,” said Captain Thalassa. “One can shoot the rest, and then finish himself last.”
“I suppose that’s how it’ll have to be,” said the man holding the gun. “But there’s one problem. There’re seven of us here. The gun only holds six bullets.”
The men were silent. They knew that one man would have to stay alive on the island, and live knowing that his friends were all dead. One man would have to stay on the island and suffer, while the rest were killed quickly and simply. Nobody said a word, until finally the captain spoke.
“It needs to be me. I’m the one who got you in this mess, and it needs to be me who gets you out of it. I’m your captain, so it’s only right that I’m the last one left. I can shoot you all, I’ll make it painless, and then it’ll just be me on this godforsaken island,” he said.
“Captain, you don’t have to-“ said Ahab, but the Captain stopped him.
“I do, Ahab. It’s my duty as a Captain. Now, if you’re all ready, I suppose we might as well get it over with,” said Jonah. The men looked down, accepting their fate, and they all sat back down on the ground.
They lined up in a row, sitting cross-legged. The bowed their heads, some praying, and closed their eyes.
“You’ve been a good crew, and I’m sorry for the mess I got you in. May god have mercy on you all,” he said.
The pistol’s crack shattered the silence that surrounded the island. Ahab fell. Another shot brought Dutch to the dirt. Jonah went down the row, finishing the last of his men. By the time he reached the last one, he was crying so much that he could hardly aim. Once it was done, he screamed in agony. He longed so much to be dead with them, but knew he couldn’t be granted his wish. He stuck the barrel of the gun into his mouth, clicking the trigger, but death wouldn’t greet him. He fell to his knees, pulling his hair.
Finally, he went back to where he had found the Horsea. The little blue pokemon was still sitting there, to Jonah’s surprise. It looked worried as it watched Jonah cry. Jonah reached into the water and pulled the pokemon into his chest, cradling it. He hoped that it would keep him company until he wasted away on this hellish island. They sat on the shore for several hours, Jonah wailing the entire time. The Horsea didn’t do anything but sit there, trying to comfort the man.
Suddenly Jonah heard something in the distance. He looked out onto the water and saw a vague light shining in the distance, cutting through the fog. It was a splashing sound, and it followed a regular beat. Every few seconds, another splash was heard, and each time it got closer along with the light. Jonah could now make out the silhouette of a small rowboat with two people in it. He thought he was hallucinating at first. He assumed that hypothermia had set in, and that he was just seeing things, but then the boat pulled ashore. A lantern was hanging from a rod at the front of it, and a man was getting out. A woman sat in the back of the boat looking on.
“Hello? What in the hell happened here?” the old man said. He and the lady were obviously an elderly couple. “Hurry, Susan, throw me the blanket!”
The old woman tossed the man a quilt, which he wrapped around Jonah and Horsea. Although he was being rescued, the thought didn’t comfort him. He screamed again, knowing that what he had just done, the sin he had committed, was a waste. He could’ve let his crew live! They would’ve been rescued if they had only waited a bit longer. Instead, Jonah had killed them all, thinking that he was putting them out of their misery. Instead, he was stealing their lives away, taking away any hope they had.
“Settle down, mister, we’re taking you back to town, you’ll be alright there,” said the man.
“Back to town? In a rowboat? How did you even manage to get a rowboat this far into the ocean anyway?” asked Jonah, still weeping, and horrified at what he had done.
“Well, we’re only about half a mile away from the town’s coast. Don’t you know where you’re at?” the man replied. “We heard some gunshots out here and decided to see what the commotion was. When we saw the wreckage from that ship, we realized that you were in trouble, so we came out to get you.”
A mile away from safety the entire time, and he had killed them. The realization of what had happened was settling in Jonah’s mind, and he became even more depressed. As he wept quietly now, holding the Horsea against his chest, the old couple rowed back towards the town they had come from. The fog had been too thick to see through, hiding the town from the sailors’ view. His actions haunted him for the rest of his life, and he never forgave himself. He lived at the tiny island town where the elderly couple brought him for the rest of his days, living in solitude and great depression.