Editor's Note: We are so thrilled to host parts of Dr. Marie Cartier's forthcoming novel Blue. In the following post, you'll get a brief glimpse into this amazing world and, like us, be washed up (pun intended) in its' beautiful prose and character development. We cannot wait to learn more about Blue!
The entirety of Blue would not have revolted, if it had not been for the slaughter of the dolphins, and other sea creatures. After that, there was just no reason to forgive Green, Tic-Toc had said. And for the most part Julie agreed. But that would be in the future-- after Julie and Tic-Toc had met. And like all stories we need to start at the beginning. And this story starts where everything started – deep, deep in the deep blue sea, or rather in Blue, the seventy one percent of Earth that is Blue (where most beings live), opposed to the twenty-nine percent that is Green (where Greens, or rather humans, live).
The Down with Green formed and organized around slogans such as, “Green SUCKS. They suck everything out of Blue. It’s called the Blue Planet for a reason.” That was before they wrote up the signs that said, “Down with Green.” And, “Does Blue Need Green? No!”
The deep-sea species—octopi, sharks, Big Jellies and the Illuminated Ones never talked about Greens or HUMANS one way or another in terms of their survival. Dependent species like turtles who also spent time on land talked about them all the time, about how they tortured Blues. Dependent species brought back stories of dolphin slaughter. And worse. Greens were slaughtering dolphins because dolphins ate the tuna that Greens wanted to catch/kill/put in a can/sell to other Greens. This made Tic-Toc so mad she and many other sea life creatures joined or began official DOWN WITH GREEN groups.
Tic-Toc’s father, ZigZag, has been informed that his daughter, Tic-Toc, is the mermaid chosen to go to Green (land/earth) and convince the last surviving human (Green) that she has mermaid lineage and must accept that lineage in order to preserve the Morgan Le Fay agreement that protects Green from being destroyed by Blue (ocean).
Most ocean inhabitants would like to see Green destroyed because Green is destroying Blue. But the magical agreement Morgan Le Fay cast a century ago is strong and means that Blue cannot destroy Green if there is a human mermaid who accepts her lineage and spends part of her time under water to maintain the peace. The human Tic-Toc will have to convince is named Julie; she lives in Cambria, CA currently with her single waitress mother. Julie has no knowledge of any mermaid lineage, nor does her mother, she hates the ocean, does not know how to swim and only wants to return to LA where her friend lives.
The Pacifica part of the Ocean is ruled by Deep Squared 2, an albino 1500’ octopus. The decree that Julie is the designated human, and Tic-Toc the designated mermaid is surprising and terrifying. Any message that has come from The Deep, from Deep Squared 2 herself, is revered by Pacifica inhabitants at the shallower levels of Blue, most of whom have never been to The Deep waters where Deep Square 2 resides.
We come into the story where Tic-Toc’s father, ZigZag has been informed at a Pacifica Council meeting that Tic-Toc is the emissary to Green. The head of ZigZag’s Pacifica Council, is the Honorable FlyLight, an unusual five-foot neon flying squid. When ZigZag faints from shock at the news, FlyLight directs ZigZag’s best friend, Splinter, a Japanese spider crab, to take ZigZag to the clinic.
Excerpt from Blue
“Please take ZigZag to the Vent Clinic,” she unraveled her arms and swam to the opening of the council cavern. “We will need more information before we reveal this information to his daughter, the young mermaid Tic-Toc.”
She added, “Can you manage Splinter?’ she asked the spider crab.
Splinter had managed to finally lift ZigZag up on his two front legs and he was able to lift him up and start to carry him out of the council room to the interior clinic reserved for government officials. “I’m good,” huffed Splinter as he exited the cavern and creeped forward, shifting ZigZag’s weight onto six of the legs now holding ZigZag.
He could see the dazzling chemicals that lit up the clinic’s entrance. Calcium, zinc, iron, copper, and other minerals powerfully intermingled here with gold and silver to from the salt encrusted door. Right inside were the tall, thin chimneys Splinter made his way to. The intake nurse shark looked up bored, her long snout bobbing up once, “What have we here?”
Splinter lowered ZigZag to the nurse shark’s ledge. “Fainting?” she looked closer, “ZigZag fainted?’
Splinter could almost already see her already sea mailing that juicy fact and having it go dispersion through this area of Quadrant 5 before they got out of the clinic. He locked his legs together in front of the nurse shark, “Well….”
She eyed him and cleaned his emotions right out, which nurse sharks being the bottom feeders that they were, could do in a fish tail. “Alright. I won’t say anything. Satisfied?”
She adjusted her snout over the intake shell. “So, fainting?”
Splinter shrugged a front leg, “If you say so.”
“We’ll get your friend over to the white smoker, Splinter.” She smiled showing a double row of sharp teeth. “Don’t worry. He’ll be fine.”
Splinter watched as the pilot fish orderlies transferred ZigZag to the remora fish who surrounded the vent. They sucked his tail close and held him upright over the white smoker vent. Splinter could smell the cool acidic chemicals wafting up with the white smoke.
Nurse Shark warned, “He needs at least a five-minute treatment.”
Splinter tapped his legs around and around, all eight of them, in a clockwise circle. He wanted to get back to the council meeting and find out what else his squid leader FlyLight, had found out about the clam message from Deep Squared 2. He still couldn’t believe it—the emissary from Green was to be approached by a being from Quadrant 5!
But he couldn’t just leave his pal over a smoker vent with no one to help him back. He tapped his legs around again once, twice…eight legs twice around and he was just starting the third time…and there. He could see ZigZag’s head start to lift. The merman’s long green braid whipped around, his eyes dancing with flames.
“Alright, there big boy,” said one of the remoras, who looked like he was leading the team.
“Let’s hold him folks,” the remora added to the other sucker fish holding ZigZag upright. “We got you. Now just keep breathing. You got another minute.”
ZigZag’s eyes settled down and he rested against the suckers. Splinter called over his front legs, “You fainted buddy.”
“I fainted?” ZigZag murmured, then louder. “I fainted because…?”
“Yup,” interrupted Splinter, and then added delicately, “while we were in the Council meeting, having a secret…vote,” he added hurriedly before ZigZg could say more, “A super-secret vote which we can’t possibly discuss here.”
ZigZag turned his great head and glared balefully at his pal, “Got it.” He shook the long braid of hair back and forth, “I remember.” He said ruefully.
One of the zamoras released his sucker long enough from ZigZag’s tail and looked up quizzically.
“Hey,” said the head sucker fish who had spoken earlier, “Squeaky, we still need you down there; what are you doing letting go?” and the chastened “Squeaky” arched herself back to ZigZag’s tail.
Splinter raised a leg and passed it across his lips the next time Zig Zag turned to look at him in the universal “hushing” gesture.
Splinter didn’t understand all that the official clam message from DS 2 entailed—but he for sure understood one thing. A barnacle security message from The Deep was not meant to go outside council walls.
ZigZag just shook his head and turned back to the smoker and inhaled the white healing smoke in and out until the nurse shark popped the last seaweed bead.
“You’re good to go, ZigZag,” she smiled with both rows of her teeth showing. “Take care, Councilman.”
He raised his eyebrows at Splinter and they started to leave the clinic, “Thank you,” he said to the suckers and pilot fish and then to the nurse shark, “And thank you, for throwing this uhhh… fainting incident into the smoker vent as soon as I leave…?”
She gnashed her teeth together once, then huffed, “Oh, alright…what happens in the vent clinic, stays in the vent clinic. But, you know ZigZag there’s a few of the nurses here who would love a detailed description of you being here in the clinic...?”
“Thank you again,” ZigZag bowed to her, his braid swishing the water in front of her , obviously flirting, until she changed color from blue to flashing green.
She huffed again and laughed and then moved the water in front of her until she slowly returned to her natural bright blue. “Ok, out with you.”
Splinter tapped slowly along sideways by his friend who moved his tail back and forth, rubbing his forehead. ZigZag looked at Splinter finally and said one word, “Tic-Toc? Just answer me one thing—did I really hear that clearly before I went down?”
Splinter just raised his tentacled eyebrows and lifted all eight legs up and then settled back down, “I know,” he replied.
“It doesn’t make any sense at all,” whispered ZigZag.
FlyLight was at the Council opening when they returned.
“We are extending the meeting this evening, ZigZag,” she spread her arms in a slight greeting of acknowledgement, and then to Splinter, “Splinter, thank you for taking care of ZigZag.
“And now, my friends, we will continue our meeting. It is not really a matter of choice whether you stay this evening, in case you have not figured that out yet. Please make your sea mail connections if need be; I have no idea what time we will be ending the meeting.”
She gestured, and spoke to her assistant, Flit, a smaller version of FlyLight who was herself also a neon squid, “Flit, please ask the council bloom of jellyfish to enter, we need immediate communiques for the members.”
Flit exited the room in a small burst of light. Then she parted the cavern’s shell enclosure and ushered in a group of illuminated jellyfish who entered in a swarm. They then split up, each going to a different council member, and waving their fronds beginning to emit electricity. As they readied themselves for transmissions to parts of Quadrant 5, the council members settled down for the rest of what looked to be along meeting.
All communications in Quadrant 5 were usually be sea mail or jellyfish bioluminescent travel. It was the fastest and most secure communication in Blue, save for whale sonar.
Unless of course, ZigZag reminded himself, you received a message from The Deep, in which case it was hidden inside an Official Clam and barnacle security guarded.
He shook his head again and let his eyes dance. What had Tic-Toc possibly done to deserve this?? He couldn’t think of anything. It all smelled enormously of trouble, however.
ZigZag looked at Splinter, “So much for me returning to the dating scene this evening,” he said as he turned to face the jellyfish fronds waving in front of his face. He contacted the Blue Moon and cancelled his reservations. He reached the mermaid he was supposed to be having drinks with and said he was detained at an emergency meeting. At least she was an official in another quadrant and would understand the necessity for canceling.