The Hefty Mermaid: Part Four



An Adhara Space Station Story
by P. Candice Goddard

Start from the beginning here: Part One

La-Shar-Ra couldn’t believe what she was seeing when she finally laid eyes on her sister-in-law’s paramour. Prince Albert of Hapi wasn’t much more than a slim and scrawny boy in her opinion. Now that she saw him in person she was surprised that she hadn’t recognised the prince before. He was the splitting image of his older brother Prince William or Bill as he preferred to be called. Bill was one of her niece’s most annoying childhood friends whom La-Shar-Ra had been forced to put up with throughout his many visits to the Merkingdom.

Looking at the little prince whom she must have met once or twice at least, it simply didn’t make any sense that her sister-in-law Dove would prefer this pretty boy, tiny in age and physique to La-Shar-Ra’s hefty and handsome brother. Quinn had to be right, the person in the video could not possibly be Dove.

“I suppose you’ve come to demand that I break off my relationship with the Mer Queen,” Prince Albert sighed fluttering his long eye lashes as he looked at the Varunian women. His eyes lingered on La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do and she gave an involuntary shudder as she saw the way he was looking her up and down.

“You don’t have a relationship with the Mer Queen,” Quinn retorted forcefully.

Prince Albert dragged his eyes off of La-Shar-Ra turning towards Quinn as he smiled the same snake like smile that had often antagonised La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do whenever she had to deal with Bill. “You couldn’t possibly have seen the video.”

“She’s seen it,” Varianna replied with a haunted look in her eyes. “Believe me, she’s seen it.”

“Okay then,” Prince Albert said a little taken aback by the expression on Varianna’s face. “I’m sure you all want to protect King Bob from the embarrassment of the breakdown of his marriage but the fact is that the video proves that I do have a relationship with the Mer Queen.”

“Do you?” a voice asked causing everyone in cell to turn and look in the direction from whence the voice had spoken. La-Shar-Ra-Qwon-Do, Varianna, Quinn, Zircon and even Prince Albert all turned towards the door of the cell. Captain Roxzamora Thanyu was standing there but they had been so engrossed in their conversation that no one had heard her enter. La-Shar-Ra felt excitement building up inside of herself as she took in Captain Roxzamora’s dry expression. Although she didn’t trust the petite Bim woman, La-Shar-Ra knew enough about her to know that she didn’t often make jobs. If she was asking about the relationship it meant that she knew something.

“Yes, I do,” Prince Albert replied quickly. Even though he was wasn’t all that much younger than Roxzamora and had obviously been at school with her it seemed that he couldn’t tell that the Captain was testing him.

La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do saw the edges of Captain Roxzamora’s lips turn upwards into the tiniest of smiles. She raised her hand up to her collar and spoke a few words, “Bring the prisoners in.”

No sooner had Roxy spoken than Commander Computant, an android security officer entered the cell escorting two women. The first woman to pass through the door was a young Adletian with long red and blue hair that hung down almost to her feet. She was wearing the uniform of the staff at L’Hotel Rouge, Adhara’s most expensive hotel and only mental health facility. The Adletian woman held her head down as she was lead in making her embarrassment all the more clear and obscuring her face from the curious onlookers.

La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do clasped her hand to her mouth to stifle a gasp as a second woman was lead into Prince Albert's cell.

La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do clasped her hand to her mouth to stifle a gasp as a second woman was lead into Prince Albert’s cell. Unlike the embarrassed Adletian who have been brought in first, the second prisoner strolled in with her head held high. She was a Varunian mermaid who looked almost identical to Dove in her youth when she had first married into La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do’s family many years before, she was just as plump and just as beautiful as the current Mer Queen. The thought crossed La-Shar-Ra’s mind that the woman must be extremely wealthy to be able to visit Adhara Space Station but if she was a member of her race La-Shar-Ra had no recollection of ever seeing her before.

“What’s going on here?” Varianna demanded.

“That’s what I’d like to know,” La-Shar-Ra agreed, glad that her sister was just as surprised as she was.

“Do you care to explain?” Roxzamora asked, directing her question to the Dove look-a-like who merely glared back at her but didn’t speak.

“Go on Dove, tell your family about our affair,” Prince Albert encouraged as he swept past the others and took the woman’s hand.

An idea started forming in La-Shar-Ra’s mind. The person in the video had been this imposter not her sister-in-law. That had to be it. Perhaps the woman had undergone cosmetic surgery to look like Dove. It wouldn’t be the first time that a cosmetic surgery scandal had rocked the upper echelons of Alliance Society, afterall hadn’t a princess of Hapi killed herself at this very location after undergoing an illegal cosmetic surgery just a year before?

“That’s not my aunt!” Quinn snapped stepping forward as if she would tear the couple’s hands apart.

“Yes she is!” Prince Albert insisted. “This is Queen Dove of the Varunian Merkingdom.

“She’s not!” La-Shar-Ra-Qwon-Do and Varianna stated in unison.

“Are you suggesting that you know a member of my family better than I know her myself?” Quinn asked. It was clear to her aunt that she was becoming outraged. Through all of her trials and tribulations La-Shar-Ra had never seen Quinn behave so aggressively before. “That woman isn’t my aunt!”

“I am! I’m Dove!” The woman screamed and with that she lunged towards Quinn with a high frequency screech.

Faster than anyone saw the crazed mermaid was unceremoniously dragged backwards kicking and screaming by Captain Roxzamora. If La-Shar-Ra hadn’t been aware of Roxzamora’s status as the strongest being in the Alliance she would have been awed by the ease with which the tiny security officer subdued the considerably larger prisoner.

“Later don’t let it be said that I didn’t give you a chance to explain yourself and apologise,” Roxzamora sighed as she flung the mermaid into a chair. Indicating to the infuriated woman Captain Roxzamora said, “This person is Lady Arista Sponge, cousin of Queen Dove.”

“Excuse me?” La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do interrupted. “Did you just say that the woman over there is Dove’s cousin? That’s impossible.” She looked at Varianna and Quinn but each seemed as perplexed as she was.

“It’s not impossible at all.” Captain Roxzamora replied taking out her security Com-D. “Who is this individual?” Roxzamora asked as she scanned the woman with the device.

“Lady Arista Sponge, daughter of Pontus, Count Sponge of the Merkingdom, Varuna and his wife Alexa, Countess Sponge.” The artificial voice of the Com-D replied.

“I-Am preserve us.” Varianna gasped. “Count Sponge is Dove’s uncle. That person really is related to her.”

“Noooo! I’m not Arista. I’m Dove!” the mermaid screeched jerking and rocking violently in her chair. Captain Roxzamora clamped her hand onto the woman’s shoulder, her talon like nails digging into the ample flesh.

“Pontus Sponge doesn’t have a daughter.” La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do snapped ignoring the ranting of the mermaid. Her idea that this could be a case of some outsider posing as Dove and purposely trying to cause problems for the Merkingdom was becoming more and more unlikely which was a shame because it would have been a great way to pull her own hefty body out of the fire and back into the relative safety of the frying pan of stupidity. “That woman must have altered her DNA just like that old fool Adhela did trying to catch a young boy. What the I-Am is wrong with women in the Alliance these days?”

“Look I’ve had enough of whatever game this is,” Prince Albert cut in glaring at Quinn. “You’re trying to get me to break off my relationship with the Mer Queen aren’t you? That’s why you’re using your security officer friend here to trick me into thinking my lover isn't Dove but it’s not going to work. I’ve always wondered how it is that you’re proven innocent every time you’re suspected and now I know. You had a friend fixing things for you all along.”

“Are you accusing the Captain of misconduct?” Commander Computant asked speaking for the first time since she had entered the room. Her voice and expression revealed no emotion but the air in the room suddenly felt tense.

“If that’s what it sounds like then that’s what I’m doing.” Prince Albert snapped.

Computant nodded her head and moved forward, “In that case I’ll be charging you with defamation of the character of an Alliance officer and Princess of an Alliance world,” she said. “You should have spent more time studying and investigating who you were carrying on with instead of disrespecting your elders. The files on how Princess Ula was proven to be innocent in each one of her cases were made public so that her reputation wouldn’t be ruined. The Alliance has had to pay out billions in Zodiacs of compensation for arresting her but apparently you were too busy trying to break down a marriage to bother to do any research into a subject you claim you were interested in.”

“Excuse me,” the Adletian woman who had been lead in at the same time as the mermaid said clearing her throat. “I can’t just stand here and listen to this any more, I must explain.”

A strange feeling passed through La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do’s mind as the Adletian woman spoke. There was something familiar about her and the fact that she hadn’t introduced herself meant that she expected her identity to be known by sight. La-Shar-Ra took a deeper look and realised that she did know the woman. Her name was Echo and she was a member of the ruling family of Adlet, a third tier planet not too far from Panhu. La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do had been introduced to her at some social function or another a few years ago. “This woman is Lady Arista Sponge, a patient at L’Hotel Rouge. She’s the younger paternal cousin of Queen Dove of Varuna. Her parents really are the Count and Countess of Sponge.”

“Then why don’t we know anything about her?” La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do asked interrupting Echo. She looked to her sister and niece for back up. Both women nodded their agreement, neither was aware of this supposed relative of their in law. “Dove has been married into our family for years but none of us has ever heard of this cousin and we all know the Count and Countess of Sponge. What you’re saying simply can’t be true.”

“It is true,” Echo insisted looking beseechingly at Captain Roxzamora and Commander Computant for assistance. The two security officers returned her gaze with indifference, this fiasco was wasting precious time when they could have been investigating other illegal activity. “The Sponges decided that they would hide their daughter’s existence when they discovered that she was a little... different,” Echo continued when she realised that she wasn’t going to get any help.

All eyes turned to look at Lady Sponge. She was grinding her teeth and glaring angrily whilst Captain Roxzamora kept her pinned to her chair.

“Oh come on!” Prince Albert exclaimed. “You can’t expect me to just take your word for it. How could nobles hide their daughter? It would have been better if you had claimed that she was some commoner’s daughter. I can’t believe that you’re making up this ridiculous story just to cover up that Dove had an affair. Just let her go.”

“Silence!” Captain Roxzamora snapped. “I’m tired of the interruptions. I just want to go home and sleep but that’s never going to happen if you don’t stop interrupting so I’ll explain myself. The Count and Countess of Sponge didn’t hide the existence of their daughter but they did have Lady Arista treated at L’Hotel Rouge from the time that she was a child which is why most people were unaware of her existence. I was informed of her presence on Adhara when I took over as the chief of security but I knew nothing of her until then even though she’s a few years younger than me and should have been at school with Quinn and I.

Lady Arista’s condition centres around a delusion that she is her older cousin Dove, the Queen consort of the Varunian Merkingdom. Her condition is exacerbated by the fact that she really does bare a striking resemblance to the Queen as I’m sure you’ve all noticed. As Lady Arista has grown older she has come to believe that Queen Dove is an imposter who has stolen her rightful place and that unfortunately is where this fiasco started.

As part of a new treatment put in place by her recently qualified Doctor, Princess Echo, here,” Captain Roxzamora said indicating the Adletian woman who shuffled backwards uncomfortably. “Lady Arista was allowed to spend time outside of the facility and make friends as herself whilst care staff monitored her from a discreet distance.

It was during one of her outings that Lady Arista became acquainted with Prince Albert. They met in the Electric Gardens about three months ago. The care staff who were supposed to be monitoring Lady Arista believed that the treatment method was successful and that by beginning a relationship with a young man of a similar age to herself, she was finally accepting her true identity but what they didn’t know was that Prince Albert actually believed that he was in a relationship with the real Queen Dove.”

“It never crossed our minds that Lady Arista had shared her delusion with the prince, much less that he or anyone else would believe her. Queen Dove is more than 30 years older than Lady Arista afterall and Lady Arista had only been allowed to undergo my treatment because she professed a certain level of acceptance of her true identity. We all thought she was getting better.” Doctor Echo cut in trying to justify her choice of treatment method.

La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do rubbed her arms and hugged herself as she felt the temperature in the room plummet. Captain Roxzamora’s piercing grey eyes were focused on Doctor Echo in a way not too dissimilar to how a bird of prey looked at a prey animal before swooped in for the kill. Doctor Echo must have realised her mistake too because she lowered her head and mumbled an almost incoherent apology.

“As I was saying before I was so foolishly interrupted,” Captain Roxzamora continued, slowly sliding her gaze away from Doctor Echo. “Lady Arista convinced Prince Albert that she was in fact Queen Dove and despite the more than 30 year age gap, Queen Dove is in her 50s and Lady Arista has only just turned 20, it seems that the prince was completely taken in. As far as our investigation was able to ascertain, Prince Albert had no idea that he was just a pawn in an elaborate plan for Lady Arista to bring down her cousin whom she saw as an identity thief and imposter.”

There was silence in the room when Captain Roxzamora finished speaking. No one was quite sure if she was taking a breath or if she had said all that she intended to on the matter and no one wanted to be the next to interrupt her. Finally Quinn asked, “But what about the video? Who filmed that and why? It can’t have been Lady Arista, I noticed the camera move.”

Captain Roxzamora nodded, “I’m impressed that you noticed that. The movement was only slight but it did indicate the presence of a third person at that particular rendezvous. The person who filmed the scene was none other than Doctor Echo.”

“Pardon me?” Quinn asked blinking her eyes as she turned from Captain Roxzamora to look at Doctor Echo. The three young women had been at school together and all knew each other. “Why on Varuna would you do that?”

Doctor Echo raised her head nervously, “I thought that it would help the treatment?” she said with a questioning lilt as if she herself wasn’t certain of the explanation.

“How would violating my privacy help your nasty treatment?” Prince Albert screeched, a crazed look in his big green eyes. La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do felt a surge of pity for the young man. He was some sort of perverted, home wrecking imbecile but he was the victim in all of this. Not only had he been tricked by the unbelievable and delusional lies of the eccentric Lady Arista but his private rendezvous had been divulged to everyone who was anyone in the Alliance.

“Well it was my theory that being exposed to video evidence of herself with another man who wasn’t King Bobbertius would help to reinforce the fact that Lady Arista is not Queen Dove,” Doctor Echo explained.

“Theory?” Quinn asked quickly picking up on the word.

Doctor Arista seemed not to have heard the question and was instead peering with great interest at something in the opposite corner of the room from where Quinn was seated.

“The treatment was experimental,” Captain Roxzamore explained with a sigh. “The doctor was attempting to prove a theory she had come up with and was using Lady Arista in her experiments. That’s one of the reasons she’s under arrest.”

Upon hearing that a weight slipped off of La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do’s mind and she puffed out her ample bosom. “Well, I’m glad the matter has been cleared up at long last.” she said walking past Captain Roxzamora and Commanders Computant and Zircon towards the door of the cell. “Now that the guilty parties have been apprehended I’ll be on my way back to Coral Castle. This matter has been an incredible strain on me, I’m sure only Quinn can appreciate all that I’ve gone through having been falsely arrested and imprisoned.” With that La-Shar-Ra opened the door and started to make her way into the corridor where the two guards were waiting.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Commander Zircon asked following La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do out of the room.

La-Shar-Ra threw back her head and laughed, “Whatever do you mean?” she asked coquettishly. “As I just said, I’m going back to Coral Castle.”

“Why?” the warden asked with a blank humourless expression on his face that was completely the opposite of the excited look he had displayed whilst gossiping earlier.

“What do you mean?” La-Shar-Ra asked perplexed, “The real culprits have been found so I’m free to go.”

“You were arrested for the illegal distribution of pornographic materials over unsecured lines and airing of family business in public to the embarrassment of one’s monarch,” Captain Roxzamora explained in a voice that sounded so exhausted it was a wonder she could even breathe.

La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do nodded, “That’s right and now it turns out that this had nothing to do with my brother the King so I haven’t, in fact, embarrassed my monarch,” she said with a smug smile.

This time it was Varianna’s turn to sigh, “You don’t think that our brother and sister in law will be embarrassed by this turn of events?” she asked rhetorically.

La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do opened and closed her mouth but no sound came out. She wanted to say that she didn’t think the incident would embarrass her family but she knew that would be an obvious, self serving lie. She tried to think of some excuse she could make that would see her charges reduced but before she could come up with anything Captain Roxzamora said, “Anyway, you seem to be glossing over the fact that both Prince Albert and Lady Arista are under the age of 21. As you know that makes them minors according to Alliance Law. The charge of illegal distribution of pornography has been updated to take their ages into consideration, so I’m afraid that your crimes are even more serious than when you were first arrested. Guards, take the prisoner back to her cell.”

As the two guards stepped forward to take her, La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do grabbed hold of the door frame and refused to budge. It took all of the combined might of the Molewarpian and Bubbliworlder to prise her fingers off and drag her away, “Wait!” La-Shar-Ra screamed, “No one has explained how the video ended up in my brother’s desk drawer. Whoever put it there caused this to happen,” her voice trailed off into the distance and in her chair still clamped down by Captain Roxzamora’s hand Lady Arista chuckled and mumbled to herself. “One down.”

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