The Place of Hope

Af­ter the de­ci­sion was made to re­lo­cate the school to “The Place of Hope” the jour­ney was un­der way. Some fam­i­lies had to stay be­hind to en­sure the breed­ing is still main­tained in a dif­fer­ent area. The fu­ture of the species re­lies on it.

SA Bass - - Rod Bender -

The jour­ney has now been un­der­way for seven light cy­cles and the end is al­most in sight. No real prob­lems have been re­ported to Rod and they should reach their des­ti­na­tion in the next two sun cy­cles.

Rod wants to go ahead of the school to en­sure safe en­try into their new home. He calls Davy, his new side­kick, aside and says, “I am leav­ing at first light”.

“You can­not leave us”, Davy replies with a wor­ried tone to his voice. “At first light to; you will be to­tally ex­posed!”

Rod looks at him with a sur­prised look on his face. Sur­prised with the fact that Davy doubts his abil­ity and his track record.

Rod turns to Davy and says: “Do you know who I am and what I have done in my life? I have lived through and over­come every ob­sta­cle ever placed in front of me.”

“My apolo­gies, I did not try and ques­tion your abil­i­ties, but please re­al­ize that with­out you we are lost as a school”, Davy replies in a sin­cere man­ner.

“I am aware of the re­spon­si­bil­ity”, Rod says ac­cept­ing the apol­ogy.

As the first light touches the stump where Rod wants to spend the night, he turns to Davy and says; “See you in two cy­cles”. “Be save”, Davy replies watch­ing him swim away. Rod swims tight to the shad­ows and out of sight. He is try­ing to cover as much ground as pos­si­ble be­cause he wants to have enough time to re­con the area that they will be en­ter­ing. He does not want any sur­prises and a safe en­try is their only op­tion. Af­ter trav­el­ling such a long way they will be hun­gry, tired and vul­ner­a­ble to any sort of dan­ger.

As he ap­proaches the last turn ac­cord­ing his map di­rec­tions he can feel the pres­sure ris­ing around him. It means there is a great body of wa­ter close by. He now swims a lot slower, look­ing for a point of en­try; a place where the younglings and the old ladies can en­ter to­gether with­out any trou­ble. In the dis­tance he sees wa­ter fall­ing out of the sky and swims closer to have good look. “Sky wa­ter”, he thinks to him­self. “I have not seen this for ages; the per­fect en­try point”.

Every time there is sky wa­ter, there is a point of dis­tur­bance in the wa­ter cre­ated by a side stream bring­ing in new wa­ter and snacks.

Rod found the side stream and it looks deep enough to cross into the main body of wa­ter. He drops in and swims into the open. He waits for any sort of move­ment in front of him. Out of the dark he sees a big shadow com­ing straight in his di­rec­tion… at speed. Fo­cused on the shadow he waits till the last sec­ond and moves left, grab­bing the fin of the fish storm­ing down on him, flip­ping him up­side down and be­fore he could turn him­self upright, Rod was on top of him. “Why do you think you can storm ME?”, Rod asks while hold­ing him up­side down.

“This is my wa­ter and you are in­trud­ing”, the up­side down fish replies. “ARE YOU…?”, he gasps. “Yes I am”, Rod replies. All re­sis­tance from the up­side down fish stops and Rod lets him go.

“Maxx said you will be com­ing. I just did not ex­pect you so soon” he ex­plains. “Who are you?” Rod en­quires firmly. “I am Clay Banks, pro­tec­tor of this place” he replies still a lit­tle out of breath. “Clay…” Rod says. “Do you know why I am here?”. “Yes mis­ter Ben­der. Maxx ex­plained the re­lo­ca­tion of a school” Clay re­sponded. He car­ries on by say­ing that a spe­cific area has been al­lo­cated for the school and food has been tied to nets for them as they ar­rive.

Rod thanks Clay and tells him to be ready for them in one sun cy­cle.

“I will have a group wait­ing for you, to guide you to the area” Clay says. “Thank you Clay”, Rod says as he swims away. Rod swims back to the group and feels quite re­lieved that this will be a sim­ple en­try and re­lo­ca­tion. He doesn’t stop through the dark wa­ters and reaches the school at first light. Davy is wait­ing for him as he re­turns. “And...?” he asks anx­iously. “It looks easy” Rod replies.

One sun cy­cle later:

Every­body made it safely into the Place of Hope. They were wel­comed by the group that Clay ar­ranged and were taken to the area promised. The ex­cite­ment could be felt amongst ev­ery­one. They set­tled into their new home and found sleep­ing place for the night.

Rod swims away to be alone af­ter every­body got set­tled in. A youngling swims up to him and says; “Thank you mis­ter Rod Ben­der sir… for ev­ery­thing. At least we have a fu­ture now”. Rod al­most smiled at him… Rod leans against a rock, think­ing about what his next mis­sion may be when he sees a shadow in the dis­tance.

“This can­not be…” Rod says as he swims of to go and in­ves­ti­gate.

*In this se­ries of ar­ti­cles Rod Ben­der, the di­rec­tor - Un­der Wa­ter USO (Uniden­ti­fied Shadow Ob­ject) is called to help un­solve mys­ter­ies ap­pear­ances, in and around Lake Eerie.

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