The Mermaid Joke

Murdock listened intently to Riz's description of the ocean floor, committing every detail to memory to record in his journal later. When his crewman was done reporting, he nodded his head.

"Very well, take what you need and bring back as much as you can. If you find anything too big, tie one of the hooks to it and give it a good tug and we'll haul it up for you. Most of the predators *should* be asleep by now, but you never can tell with an octopus. It may not bother you, or it may get board and decide that squeezing your brains out your gills is a fun way to pass the time," he said.

*****

Back below the waves, the colossal octopus had shifted it's position on the wreck. One of its tentacles rode up the length of the fuselage, revealing a previously hidden entrance.

Were anyone brave or foolish enough to venture inside, they would notice the sheer volume of cargo onboard. Row after row of once precious cargo ...all destroyed by the ravages of time and the salt water ocean.

Swimming deeper and deeper into the bowels of the aircraft, the tail section had actually managed to preserve an air bubble from centuries past. The air was stale but breathable and cargo in better shape.

*****

Murdock saw the way Rigs looked at Riz as he helped him gather equipment before jumping back overboard.

"...There was a time once when I'd have slit his throat, too. But we're both different people now; no longer the villains of our own stories," he said, knowingly patting the ex-Smoker on his shoulder.

As they all continued to work, dredging the the bottom for any useful scrap, Murdock's eyes drifted over to the remaining two crewmembers. The new guy... did he ever say what his name was? Eh, New-Guy was his name for now. In any case, he seemed to be catching on. ...Then again, he still might kill him later if he didn't learn to be a bit more talkative.

And then there was the female member of the crew, Miss Hawthorne. No one could deny that she was a creature to be desired by men. But it was the intense sadness in her eyes that caught his gaze.

"Jay will be missed, Miss Hawthorne. We all morn his loss," Murdock said soberly. Then, with a slight snicker, "As long as I live, I don't think I'll ever be able to forget that mermaid joke he told. It was without a doubt the worst joke I've ever heard."

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