A Tail tale

By Shrike

Nerio Scaluzzi was a rat. Well, not really one, as in a MORFS survivor. But he was small, did everything for a buck and betrayed people and changed sides as easy as changing his clothes. He had an Italian name, but had left home and school at an early age, he did manage to finish high school though. He did all kinds of odd jobs for several criminal organizations, but didn't seem able to climb the social ladder very fast. 
 
At the moment he was smuggling MORFS people and drugs to Freeventure. The old electric submarine they were using came from an environmental group that had replaced it with a more modern one. Though Nerio didn't have more than a high school diploma, he had a knack for driving vehicles and navigation. In no time he had learned how to drive the submarine and navigate it so well that he managed to circumnavigate all the checkpoints of the floating city. At the moment the sub was still far from anything that posed a danger to the sub or the mission, so it was on autopilot.  
 
Nerio had been forced to clean up vomit and $&!% from one of his passengers. A little girl had started changing. She didn't change much fortunately, but still had been sick. With all the medications the organization had on board, the girl went through her MORFS changes very fast and had already lapsed into stage 3.  
 
. The sub had equipment that used to be part of the scientific equipment to get samples could catch fish while going. A signal on the console of the sub sounded, indicating that the netting had caught some fish. Now it was used for catching some food for the smugglers and their refugee cargos.

Nerio handled the equipment and brought the nets aboard. He separated out the caught fish and distributed them along the people. He was a bit hungry himself, but though he used to like fish, now he loathed it. Even being covered with fish scales made him feel dirty. 
 
Suddenly a shriek attracted Nerio's attention. He went over towards the sound and found the little girl that just had morphed clutching her hand. There were some drops of blood on the floor and the fish she had been given lay there as well. Nerio picked it up, but dropped it when he felt the spines of the fish pierce his hand. On closer scrutiny it turned out to be a fish with razor sharp and mildly poisonous spines. Nerio thought about leaving the girl like that, but he wasn't a total inhuman being. Roughly he took girl's hand and examined it. She didn't make a sound, but her tears were streaming soundlessly. 
 
The spines of the fish had pierced the palm of the girl's hand, so he wiped the blood with his inured hand. He put a bandage on her hand and then washed and looked at his own hand. He didn't think too much about it, since he had always been tough on himself. Besides this poison wasn't that potent, the most he would get from it was some inconvenience. After cleaning the wound, he put a bandage on it and went back to the cockpit. It wouldn't be long anymore before he had to focus on avoiding the checkpoints and patrols around the floating city. 
 
A while later he avoided the first patrols. Nerio was already well on his way to the secret docking point when he started to feel sick. He felt nauseous and had to get to a toilet urgently. Purely on willpower he managed to hold everything in, but got worried what was wrong. The poison from the fish shouldn't have such an effect. He focused with all his attention on getting to the docking point but suddenly doubled over from the pain and almost lost consciousness. Vaguely he saw the sub moving on, but lacked the power to do anything. 
 
The submarine slowly plowed on through the water and without being steered, was now headed straight for a collision with the large tube of the transatlantic tunnel. The automated collision alerts began to sound and a high speed submarine was dispatched to intercept the vehicle. Moments later the old electric submarine was hoisted out of the water and UN forces surrounded the submarine and opened it up. They found large quantities of the drug Inferno, and several MORFS people. The driver, a known felon by the name of Nerio Scaluzzi was found unconscious in the driver's seat and taken into custody. He was transported to the hospital as he appeared to be going through MORFS.

Doctor Forlain nodded to the guard at the door. She didn't like criminal patients but they were patients none the less. She had sworn an oath to treat them. She needed to check what MORFS would do to Nerio. The doctor and her colleagues were stumped as to why an adult had contracted the disease. He should've been too old to get it. As doctor Forlain looked at her unconscious patient, she noticed that he was shrinking and something strange was happening to his legs. Not only that, but his features seemed to soften. She understood that he might be going through a gender change with his MORFS.

Nerio woke up to a constant beeping sound. For a moment he thought that it was the alarm of the submarine trying to get his attention, warning of an imminent collision. He was about to swear, thinking that he had fallen asleep and missed his chance to dock undetected at Freeventure. He thought, 'This may cost me my life. The boss won't be happy losing another cargo. Even worse, if I lose the sub, he may dump me into the deepest abyss that he can find.'

But then he realized that this beeping was different and it seemed to change. It was accelerating slightly. Then he became aware of other things, like his body felt different and wet. 'Did we spring a leak? But that alarm is quite different and more insistent. What is going on?'

But all those thoughts didn't account for the weird feelings he got from his body. So he opened his eyes and looked down at himself. As he did he screamed a high pitched sound. It was almost impossibly high, making the glass in the room resonate dangerously close to breaking. The sound made him shut up, and as he took in the view of his body, he fainted from what that he saw.

The hospital staff came running into the room and found the patient once again unconscious. Doctor Forlain examined her patient again and found that she had lost consciousness, but was otherwise in perfect health. Well, as perfect as she could ascertain. She had never witnessed such a radical MORFS case nor a hybridization of this magnitude. She decided to replay the surveillance video that had been setup in this room. She noticed that the patient had waked up, screamed an impossible high sound and lost consciousness again.

Nerio woke up again, but this time felt something restraining his mouth. He wondered what was going on, before remembering what he had seen earlier. He wanted to scream again, but couldn't utter more than a slight wheezing sound this time. As he opened his eyes again, he noticed that his arms were tied to the side and that he appeared to be lying in water. Looking down at his body the first thing he noticed were breasts. They looked nice enough, but they were on his chest. Or should that be her chest. As her eyes darted downwards she noticed her skin with some weird pattern on it, almost like a tattoo, until a little past the bellybutton. There the skin seemed to change into dark grey scales. The scaly skin went downwards and downwards, without dividing into legs. Instead it seemed to go on forever till it flattened out and became a fishtail, though it looked more like a tail of a porpoise or a whale. Nerio thought, 'This can't be happening? I must be hallucinating or something.'

The door opened and a female doctor entered. “Hello, I see you woke up again. Sorry for the gag, but when you screamed, you broke almost every glass in the whole hospital.” Nerio blinked, but was unable to utter any sound more than a wheezing “Huh”

“I'm going to take off your gag, but please don't try to speak yet,” said doctor Forlain. Nerio nodded a confirmation.

As the gag was taken off, Nerio felt a bit better and could breathe a whole lot better. The doctor said, “I'm doctor Forlain. I'm going to try to explain what has been happening. You were brought in from a captured submarine. Apparently you were the pilot and your name is, or was, Nerio Scaluzzi. Somehow you contracted MORFS and it changed you into a mermaid. You're now fully female with a fish-like body from the waist down. I would like you to try to talk softly to me.”

Nerio scraped her throat which sounded so very girly. Then she softly said with a soprano voice, “What do you want me to say?”

“Very good, I'm pleased that you can speak normally. I think you gained some extra vocal abilities to communicate under water. But without further testing and scanning I can't be certain.”

Nerio asked in what he hoped would be a intimidating way, but really came out as timid, “What is going to happen to me now? Are you going to keep me captive here or can I go, and where can I go, looking like this?”

A man's voice from the door answered, “Well, 'Miss' Scaluzzi. That is something we need to discuss.”

Nerio looked at the person entering the room. He looked like a cop but not an ordinary one. His demeanor said, FBI or Interpol or something. A woman came in right after him and introduced herself, “Hi, I'm Chelsea Winters. I'm the police commissioner from Freeventure. This,” she pointed at the man, “is Inspector Miles Waverly from Interpol. We're on a joint taskforce to stop the flow of Inferno coming and going to and from Freeventure.”

Nerio looked at the commissioner. His instincts had been correct once again. The man was from Interpol. “What do you want from me?” she asked in a soft soprano voice. 'Damn it,' she thought, 'this new voice of mine sucks.'

“Well,” said Waverly, “we do have you dead to rights on transporting illegal immigrants and a lot of Inferno. You'd be looking at a long prison sentence. However, we've never had someone with a body like yours in custody. So, we don't know what to do with you. I'm sure that you have a problem thinking about a future with this body as well.”

'You got that right,' thought Nerio. 'What am I going to do with a mermaid's body? Be in a freak show? I hardly think that would be a living. Maybe I could be an actor, no make that actress, and do roles where they need a real mermaid. But do they still make movies like that? Even so the CGI's are so advanced nowadays, that they don't even need real people for that.'

“What do you have in mind then, Inspector Waverly?”

“Well,” started Waverly, “Since nobody but us here knows about your change, we could keep it a secret. We'd set you up with a job, a life and such. In turn you tell us all, that you know about the operation.”

Nerio thought about it, 'It sounds tempting.' “What kind of job can I do? Look at me, I'm a frigging Mermaid.”

Chelsea Winters answered, “Well, you could be a courier between us and the deep sea operations. Or you could be a patrol guard under water. Maybe you can be both, I mean that would be up to you. Whatever you want. You could rent a place here on Freeventure. I think you'd need a special place though. What I understand is that you need water around you constantly.”

Doctor Forlain stepped in, “That is correct, those gills on the side just below your arms need to be kept wet. You can be out of water for some time, but the longer they dry out, the more it would hurt for you I guess.”

'I have gills now?' thought an astonished Nerio. “I think I need to relearn a lot about my anatomy. So, my future is in your hands now? I mean, I do as you say or I'm hung out to dry like a caught fish?”

Waverly shrugged, “Not quite a good analogy, but close enough.”

“Fine, you win. How do we start? And could you please untie my arms?”

Waverly motioned to Doctor Forlain, who unbuckled the restraints. Waverly in the mean time said, “First I'd like you to come up with a new name for yourself. If you can't find any, I'm sure I can find one. But I'm giving you first choice. Then you need to be tested at a MORFS center here. After that we will sit down, or rather in your case lay down, for you to tell us everything that you know.”

Nerio thought for a while, until Waverly said, “Did you understand what I said?”

“Yes, I did. I'd like my new name to be Nerissa Laymer.”

“Nice, why that one, does it have a meaning?”

“My old name Nerio means water. My new name means Nymph or Sea-sprite. Some say it means Sea goddess. I picked the last name from my best friend way back in the past.”

Waverly smiled, “Okay, Nerissa. Now, how are we getting you out of here and to the MORFS center?”

Doctor Forlain answered, “We can accommodate that. Just put Nerissa into a transport chair with Synergy Thrusters. We use them to transport paralyzed patients to the therapy pool. I advise using some wet towels on her back and side and cover up that nice tail of hers.”

Soon Nerissa, as she was now called, was on her way to the Freeventure MORFS center. Both Waverly and Winters accompanied her and she was mostly under wraps to obscure her from any unwanted views. Inside the MORFS center a woman was waiting for them. “Hello, I'm Doctor Selma Butowski. Call me Selma. I'm going to ascertain your changes and if you have powers or not.”

Nerissa was put into a sling above a pool, naked. She felt a little self-conscious about that. Then she remembered that Waverly had already seen her naked at the hospital. Strangely enough it didn't even bother her that much. 'Did I change into some kind of exhibitionist?' she thought.

Waverly and Winters left the room after Selma started her examination. Nerissa found out all kinds of things about her new  body. She had webbing between her fingers, it would probably help her with swimming. Then, there were some kind of flimsy but sturdy fins on her elbows and on the sides of her scaly lower body. Her ears were strange looking, with extra cartilage and flesh. They didn't resemble any ears she had ever seen, not even on TV shows. Her hair was still black, but was now long enough to reach just below her shoulders. After the physical examination was done, Selma started with questions. Nerissa answered them as best she could, but was uncertain about how she felt as a girl now, let alone part fish. As the question session dragged on, Nerissa's sides started to feel itchy. She told Selma, who answered that it was intentional. She wanted to know how long Nerissa could stay out of the water. Nerissa was upset about it, but was quite stuck in the sling. After some time her sides started to feel like burning and she asked, “Please can I have my gills wet now? It is starting to burn, I don't want my gills to be damaged.”

Selma sighed, but released Nerissa into the pool. She got free from the sling and for the first time felt exhilarated to be swimming as a mermaid in the water. She swam under water for some time and her sides stopped feeling sore. Then she realized that she didn't need to breathe. She just stayed under water and kept on going. 'Must be the gills that I'm using to get oxygen into my blood.'

A speaker under water started bleating. Selma asked, “Can you please come to the surface again? I want to do some more tests, please.”

Nerissa didn't want to, but complied for now. She was so exhilarated to swim freely under water even in a pool that small. As she popped her head out of the water she asked Selma, “What do you want now?”

“I heard that you had a very high scream, when you first woke up at the hospital. I would like you to scream like that again, but intentionally this time. So, please scream as high and loud as you can, after I put on this protective headset.”

Selma put on some weird looking headgear, and motioned to Nerissa. She tried to recall how she had screamed the first time she woke up but decided that she just would try it. She screamed as high as she could and a mirror on the wall, as well as a window to another room exploded into pieces moments after she started. Fearing she had done something wrong, Nerissa stopped screaming. She looked shocked at the destruction she had done.

Selma took her headgear off. “Just as I thought. Your scream had components raging at 20 kHz up to 160 kHz with a level of 155 Decibel. You're quite lethal with that throat of yours. I would like you to do that again, but this time under water, please.”

Nerissa was only too happy to comply this time. She liked it a lot better under water. She screamed again as before, but this time it sounded a lot different. More like a beautiful note of music.

Moments later she popped up from the water again, “Why did it sound different now,” she asked Selma.

“The speed of sound is different in water. I think you can sing or 'speak' with under water mammals like dolphins and whales. It may be related to some sound elemental powers, but to know that for sure we would have to check with an expert on that. I don't think we should let your existence out into the open yet though.”

Nerissa shuddered, thinking that she might have to deal with her former employers if the news of her change got out. “I prefer that, yes.”

Selma changed the subject. “How's the water? Not too cold or too warm?”

“It's fine, why do you ask?”

Selma said looking at her monitor, “Well, the temperature reading is 10 degrees Centigrade. You should be freezing cold. I guess you don't feel the cold as we do. I have some other tests that I want to do, but I can't do them here. For the pressure tests I need deeper water than this pool has. How about something to eat first? I guess you must be hungry after all these tests. How do you feel about fish?”

Nerissa started saying, “I used to like fish, but then I started to loath it. Shoot, I'm part fish now. Do you think that me eating fish would be considered as cannibalism?”

Selma laughed, “I don't think so, lots of fish eat other fish. Here, try this smoked salmon.” She gave a piece to Nerissa. She tried it but spat it out. “Yuck, that's burned. I definitely don't like that.”

Selma thought for a moment and then tapped something on her pad. A hatch opened in the pool and a few fish swam into the pool. “Try to catch those, if you please, Nerissa.”

Nerissa dove under and after a short chase caught the biggest fish. She didn't hesitate and tore into it. Soon it was all gone. She went after the second fish and devoured it as fast as the first. The third went the same way soon after. Then Nerissa realized what she had done. She popped her head out of the water again, “I just ate live fish under water. What has happened to me? Am I some kind of freak?”

Selma tried to calm me down, “Not at all, you're just listening to your new instincts. I think it is completely natural for a mermaid to eat live fish under water. I think your taste buds have been changed. You seem to find cooked foods inedible now.”

Nerissa shuddered, 'I've changed so much, I'm part girl, part fish, I breathe under water, I eat live fish and have a killer voice.' “I'm afraid about what I am now. Maybe it's best that I die here and now.”

Selma yelled, “Don't say that! You're just a exotic hybrid. I think you've made a change for the best. I mean, I know you were a lowlife and bad guy. Now, you've got a chance at a whole new life ahead of you. Try to make it a good one. “

Nerissa backed down, “Okay, I'm sorry. I'm just so afraid of my future. What should I do if I can't make it?”

“Oh, I have no doubt that you can make 'it'. You have a survivor's mindset. I just know you do. So, suck it up as they say, and get on with your life.”

Nerissa felt a bit better about herself, but still had a lot of self doubt. Fortunately for her, their session was interrupted by the entry of Waverly and Winters. After dismissing Selma, they put up some equipment and started interrogating Nerissa about the criminal organization she had worked for in her previous life. Nerissa told them all she knew about loading places, check points, all the passwords and phrases she knew and more.

Waverly was quite pleased with the information. At the end of the interrogation, he conferred in private with Winters. Then she came up to Nerissa, “We have to check out the information, but it already confirms some of the things we know. So, I'm releasing you from here to the ocean. We've converted a resort diving room to a place of residence for you. It has a minor airlock system for visitors and a chamber under a constant pressure for you to talk to visitors. It has been converted to a bedroom annex living room for you. There is a second chamber under water that was used for divers to group before setting out.”

Nerissa perked up hearing that news. She'd be getting out into the open. There she could really try out this new body in the water. And she'd get her own space to live in. “How do I find my place?”

Winters smiled, “Selma is waiting outside for you in a submarine. She wants to do some additional tests in the open water. She'll also guide you to your new place.”

Winters used the sling to get Nerissa to different pool that was a lot smaller, but could be closed up. As Winters closed the pool, Nerissa felt claustrophobic, but the feeling soon disappeared as the pool opened a bottom door to the free water of the ocean. Nerissa shot out of the enclosure to the free waters with great speed and almost bumped into a small waiting sub. She quickly circled the sub and saw Selma inside the sub, trying to see where Nerissa was.

“Slow down a bit will you, Nerissa?” bleared a underwater speaker from the sub.

'How am I to talk back to Selma?' Nerissa thought.

Then she tried to talk, it sounded a bit low and too soft. However, Selma must have heard her, as she said, “Okay, Nerissa. Let's try to see how deep you can go, shall we?”

The sub started to dive deeper, plunging head first, and Nerissa followed. She felt she could swim circles around the sub at the speed they were going, but she just went a little ahead of the sub. They went deeper and deeper. Nerissa felt the pressure get higher, but didn't feel any discomfort. She did feel the temperature drop though. It wasn't getting really cold to her, but it wasn't too pleasant as well. Suddenly the sub halted. Selma said through the speaker, “I can't go any further, I'm already past the legal limit of this sub. We should go back up now. “

Nerissa sort of sighed, she would have rather gone on deeper. She hadn't felt much discomfort. Just a little increase of pressure and lower temperature. She didn't want to push herself too much though, and she still had a lot to learn. For now she needed Selma to show her to her 'apartment', so she changed her direction upwards and slowly ascended alongside the sub towards Freeventure.

Nerissa started to feel bored going this slow, but she understood that the sub could not go any faster. She just had to endure it for now. Finally they reached the underside of Freeventure which Nerissa knew quite well from her old smuggling days. Selma set a course towards the 'moon pools' where some hotels were located. Nerissa had always stayed clear of them as recreational divers would periodically emerge from there. However it seemed that her new home was located around there.

Selma halted the sub near a opening to a large tube and spoke to Nerissa through the speaker, “Nerissa, if you go inside this tube, the first underwater door to your right opens to your own wet porch. The door opens only to your handprint, so just press a hand to the scanning-plate to open the door. Have fun exploring your new home. I'll stop by later from the other side to see how you're doing.”

Nerissa nodded to Selma before quickly disappearing into the tube. The tube was lighted by soft yellow - white lights set into the walls and soon she found the first door on her left. She continued onward till she saw a similar door on her right. It had a picture of a mermaid on it. Nerissa smiled a little. 'They shouldn't have done that.'

She saw the scanning-plate next to the door and pressed her right hand on it. The scanning light quickly flashed and the door opened abruptly, making very little noise. Nerissa swam through and pressed a button on the other side to close the door. As the door closed quickly, she looked around in the quite spacious round chamber. There was a circular bench almost all around the side. It was only interrupted by the doorway. There was little else in this chamber, except some light coming from above. The chamber had an opening in the ceiling. Nerissa went through it and emerged into a brightly lit room with a moon pool in the middle to the chamber below. To her left was a half open bathtub that she clambered into. It was roomy enough for her body with the tail. It left half her body underwater, keeping her gills and her tail wet.

As Nerissa settled down into this tub, she looked around. There was a TV screen in front of the tub and some controls to her right embedded into the wall, all water proofed, of course. To her left the room had raised seating with cushions covered with some kind of plastic to protected them from water.

Further investigation of the room revealed a small kitchen, a fridge and some closets. Nerissa tried the controls and managed to start the TV screen showing some kind of news item on Freeventure. Flipping through the channel, she watched CNN, ABC, NBC, SyFy, 13th Street, HBO, BBC, News of China and some other channels. A bit disappointed with the selections she switched off the TV screen and looked a bit more closely to a small closet in the back. There she found some blu ray discs with movies and books on it. She looked around and found a hidden player high enough to be protected from the water. She could just reach it if she sat on a cushion. She was about to select a disc, when a chime sounded.

For a moment Nerissa was startled and wanted to hide. Then she chided herself. 'This is your home now, someone is at the door, probably Selma.'

She didn't know that she could see on a monitor who her visitor was, nor did she care at that moment. She was so sure that it was Selma at her door. So, Nerissa pressed the door release button. A guy dressed in black neolastane burst through the door and took out a mean looking gun.

Nerissa froze for a second, but before the guy could pull the trigger she dove into her pool and hastily went for her underwater door. As it opened, she shot out and saw two more figures coming at her in the corridor wearing scuba gear with communication masks. Though it was distorted, she heard one of them say, “Damn it, Cullen jumped the gun. She got out before we were in position.”

Without hesitation, Nerissa raced out of the tube into the open water. She shot past a fast scout submersible which turned as fast as it could to give chase to her. Going at top speed Nerissa swam out into the ocean going deeper and deeper, but then a spear fired from the submersible forced her to go upwards again. As she banked sharply to avoid getting shot, she encountered her next fearsome surprise. A big shark was swimming straight towards her and was so close that all she could see was the many rows of teeth in its huge mouth.

Banking and weaving like crazy, Nerissa shot past the side of the shark, and started swimming for her life. The submersible avoided the shark and was still hot on her trail. Now she had two pursuers, one wanted to shoot her with a spear and the other wanting to eat her.

Nerissa began to panic as the adrenaline started to wear off and she began to feel tired. She was still banking and changing course at random, managing to stay alive and in front of her pursuers. Then she heard sounds from a group of killer whales out hunting. At least that is how she interpreted the sounds. 'How do I know what the sounds mean? Can I suddenly understand whales and dolphins?'

It gave her an idea. She started calling out what she thought was a distress call. Apparently it was correct, she heard the ranging sounds from the killer whales getting closer. It wasn't long before she could see first one and then more of them. The mammals must have been confused as to who called distress. There wasn't a killer whale, only a submersible, a shark and a something unidentifiable being chased. Nerissa sensed their confusion and emitted the distress call again. Hearing it, the killer whales didn't hesitate. Three of them attacked the great white shark ferociously, effectively killing it soon. The other killer whales started bumping into the submersible with enough force to start a hairline fracture in the hull. That was enough to collapse the skin and moments later the craft imploded under the pressure, killing the two inhabitants.

Nerissa relaxed a bit, now that her pursuers were dead. The killer whales joined her side and made questioning sounds. Nerissa tried to inform them as best she could and somehow managed to relay to them what she was and that she was grateful for the rescue. The mammals gave her a sort of 'you're welcome' and 'goodbye' sounds before disappearing into the vast ocean again.

Nerissa saw them go with mixed feelings. She would have liked to stay with them, but knew that she couldn't. She wasn't a killer whale, although she felt a kindred feeling with them. With her attackers gone, she didn't know what to do. There were still others after her. Probably from the organization she had been working for. 'Should I run now and go somewhere where no one knows me? But how am I going to provide for myself? The only people I can trust are in Freeventure, and they agreed to give me a life again.'

She worried about going there, since other people were probably still waiting for her. She didn't have enough visibility to spot them in time, and with their weapons, they had the advantage. Suddenly Nerissa got an idea, she remembered hearing the ranging sounds from the killer whales. 'Can I make those sounds and hear them well enough to interpret them to use them as my personal sonar?' She started making the clicking sounds and upon hearing the return signals could make determine what was around her in the ocean.

Nerissa swam slowly back towards Freeventure and used her sonar to peer ahead for any obstacles or people waiting for her. She already determined the form of the city and some submarines around it. She was still too far to identify divers though. Before she could get close enough, she detected a submarine closing in on her. She looked for a place to hide from them, but realized that she was in the middle of open water. There wasn't a thing in sight to hide behind.

Frantically Nerissa looked around, then remembered that she could go deeper than any submarine around. Thought sprang into action and she dove down deeper and deeper. The submarine tried to follow her down, but fell behind quickly. Nerissa smiled and prepared to go even deeper, but heard a sound from the submarine. Faintly she could make out, “Nerissa, please …….. it is ………ters.”

Nerissa slowed down and saw that the submarine had stopped. It wasn't threatening her it seemed. It wasn't pointing at her and she didn't see any armament. But the arms could be in a internal bay of course. She decided to give the occupants the benefit of the doubt and slowly went towards the sub, ready to bolt if they started threatening her.

When she got closer, Nerissa could make out the words from the sub better, a woman said, “Nerissa, it is all right. It is us, Waverly and Winters. We caught all the bad guys except for the submarine that was chasing you. Nerissa recognized Chelsea's voice and swam up to the submarine. In as high a voice as she could she said, “The submarine was destroyed when the killer whales came to my rescue. They also killed the shark that was trying to have me as dinner.”

With the submarine as an escort, Nerissa arrived safely at the tube to her apartment and Chelsea got out in scuba-gear to escort her into her apartment. Without her, Nerissa didn't dare to go in. Back in her 'living-room' Nerissa finally relaxed and settled down in her tub. Chelsea removed her scuba gear and sat on a cushion. “I'm sorry for the problems you had to endure. We found Selma on the streets battered half to death. We arrived here just too late to warn you. We did catch Cullen Trench, a known gunman. We got from him all the information on the other members of the hit squad. The divers we got hanging around in the tunnels and the submarine, well you told us that they bought it. How did they die?”

“The killer whales rammed the sub and it imploded,” said Nerissa dryly. “Are you sure that you got them all? I don't want to look behind me all the time. How did they find out about me and what I am?”

“They pumped Selma for every bit of information she had. But we took care of that. Selma has been admitted in our Witsec program. I'm sorry, but you're going to have to find a new MORFS center trustee and a new doctor. We also had doctor Forlain replaced. We want to keep you alive and a secret. I do hope that you can help us more to take down the organization.”

Nerissa looked away for a moment, “I'll try my best. I already did tell you all I know. But I do have good instincts on which routes smugglers would take. I could patrol those and alert you when I spot them. But I would also like to do some courier work. I like the freedom of swimming in open water  and going deep. I haven't even tried to find out how deep I can go, yet. I think I can go as deep as the bottom, but I still need to try it later.”

“Don't overdo it. You might get too cold or too compressed. But I think we can accommodate you. So, I can say that you're on board with us?”

Nerissa smiled, “Well, yes. I guess I am 'on board' with you. So, how do I start with my new life?”

Chelsea smiled as well, “Well, this is how it's going to be,” as she grabbed her eCom.

 

The end for now.

 

The entire MORFS  Universe can be found at http://morfs.nowhere2go.org/

 


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