Monday, July 12, 2021

Microstory 1666: Guardian Dolphins

There was a pod of dolphins. They lived in the sea. They understood that the humans who came in their boats came to see them. So they would always put on a show. They breached the surface often, even when they didn’t need air, and they would occasionally perform flips. They could hear the cheers and applause that came from the boats, and they enjoyed it. One day, the tourists stopped coming with their boats. The seas calmed, and the quiet took over. There was no more cheering, no more applause. The dolphins just slept, and looked for food, and played amongst themselves. Two of the dolphins were curious and concerned. What had happened to the humans? Surely they would still want to see the creatures. They could not have all simply decided to stop all at once. The humans and the dolphins had long enjoyed a special relationship, with the latter always being around to lend a flipper when the former was in need. Something terrible could have happened to them, and if that was the case, they needed to know about it. The two friends went on a journey to find answers. They swam up the coast, trying to find humans who could explain their absence. The journey was proving to be longer than they thought, but they did not give up. They had to know if something was wrong. Perhaps they could help. Finally they found some people on the cliffs, but they seemed unable to communicate with them. Some humans can understand dolphin language, but most cannot. That would prove to be the most difficult challenge. They continued their pursuit of their truth, eventually coming across a lone fisherman in a small boat, who appeared to only catch enough for himself to eat. He could understand them, and he explained that a great disease was spreading through the world, killing some, and making the rest sick. The dolphins were saddened. They could not fix this problem. They did not have scientists of their own. Heck, while they could understand it conceptually, they couldn’t even make fire. Yet they still wanted to help in some way. They kept swimming around, meeting other people, and asking whether there was anything they could do, but there was nothing. They had always considered it there purpose to help the humans. After all, they were known as a guardian race. They had helped vessels find their way in the darkness, and even signalled to civilization when a traveler from a wreck was trapped on a remote island. This was something they were ill-equipped to handle, though. People started joking that they were out of their depth. They laughed quite a bit, actually, at the possibility that there was anything the water-dwellers could do. In the end, the humans had no choice but to deal with the issue themselves. Frustrated by this, the two dolphins switched missions, and began to commune with other dolphin pods, spreading the word that the humans no longer needed their help at all. It was then that the dolphins of all species began to discuss their future in the global collective. They ultimately decided to stop being a guardian race, so they could focus on their own prosperity. The humans, meanwhile, lost out on their opportunities to enjoy watching the dolphins play.

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