The Hefty Mermaid: Part Two
An Adhara Space Station Story
by P. Candice Goddard
Start from the beginning here: Part One
The prison cell to which La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do was shown was not as comfortable as she had expected it to be. She had been to The Tower on several occasions to visit her niece, Ula Quintilica whilst she had been falsely imprisoned for one crime or the other and had come to believe that the prison was an extremely luxurious place but when La-Shar-Ra was shown into her cell it couldn’t have been more different to Quin’s if it had been in a different facility. The walls were bare and white and the furniture though comfortable was basic in comparison to the expensive and elaborate furnishings of Quin’s apartment sized cell.
“You’re free to move around inside the facility as much as you like,” Commander Zircon, the warden of The Tower informed her as he made his way back to the door of La-Shar-Ra’s cell. Zircon had come down specifically to take Princess La-Shar-Ra-Kwon-Do to her cell because her brother was king of the Mermaid Kingdom of Varuna. Even Captain Roxzamora had come to arrest her in person on the charges of the illegal distribution of pornographic materials over unsecured lines and airing of family business in public to the embarrassment of one’s monarch.
|Varianna had a thunderous expression on her face as she swept past Commander Zircon into La-Shar-Ra's cell and came to a halt toe to toe with her sister.|
“These guards will accompany you if you choose to go for a stroll or visit another prisoner,” he explained indicating a female Molewarpian and male Bubbliworlder who were standing at the entrance. Zircon opened his mouth to say something more but quickly closed it when the sound of footsteps told him that someone was approaching. A few seconds later La-Shar-Ra’s younger sister Varianna arrived with her daughter Ula Quintilica in tow. Varianna had a thunderous expression on her face as she swept past Commander Zircon into La-Shar-Ra’s cell and came to a halt toe to toe with her sister.
“I would be much obliged if you would leave us,” Quinn said politely to Commander Zircon as she followed her mother into the cell at a more sedate pace. The warden hadn’t budged an inch since Varianna had arrived. Like most people on the space station he had seen the video that La-Shar-Ra had released and was eager to see what would happen next. From the look on Varianna’s face as she had gone by there was about to be an argument and he wanted to see it.
Zircon sighed heavily, “I'm the warden here,” the small Gondorian reminded Quinn. “I'm not going anywhere when it seems that there's about to be an altercation on prison grounds.”
“There won't be a physical altercation I can assure you of that,” Quinn replied, “Now please leave.”
Zircon left casting a frustrated look at Quinn as he closed the door behind him and pressed his ear up against the door to listen. If Quinn hadn’t been a personal friend of Captain Roxy he would have been in the room getting a front row seat to the show down. He would have to satisfy himself with whatever he could hear through the door. Luckily the cell wasn’t sound proofed like Quinn’s had been.
Inside the cell La-Shar-Ra met her younger sister’s eyes with an equally angry expression as the two women faced off against each other. Varianna was two years younger than La-Shar-Ra but as the cursed child of Varuna’s Mermaid Kingdom she had been married off long before her older sister. Now Varianna was Queen consort of the Fish Kingdom with two adult children and an adopted grandchild whilst La-Shar-Ra only had her status as the daughter of the former Merking to fall back on. Her only son was still a pre-teen and her husband though very wealthy didn’t have much status. Varianna might be the younger sibling but she was the socially superior of the two. La-Shar-Ra assumed this was why her younger sister had the audacity to march into her cell in such a manner in front of the warden and guards.
“Ur-humm,” Quinn muttered seemingly clearing her throat when the door closed. “Mother, Aunt La-Shar-Ra please let’s sit and talk,” she suggested walking over to the nearest set of sofas and sitting down.
An uneasy silence filled the cell as the two sisters continued staring into each other’s eyes, neither woman willing to back down. They were of about equal height but La-Shar-Ra, even in her depleted state was much heftier than Varianna. In addition to her colourless skin and unusual blue hair colour, Varianna was also unable to gain significant weight like all of the other Merfolk. She was the slimmest mermaid in recorded Varunian history which dated back at least twelve thousand years. A good two thousand before the formation of the Alliance. In a physical fight Varianna wouldn’t stand a chance but still she stared into La-Shar-Ra’s eyes as if trying to intimidate her. It didn’t work.
Finally the Queen of the Fish Kingdom asked, “How could you do such a thing to our brother? Can you imagine how he feels to have this sort of unconfirmed trash spread to all and sundry? What were you thinking?”
For the first time since Varianna and Quinn had entered her cell La-Shar-Ra relaxed, allowing her shoulders to slump back to their normal position. “I was thinking that I needed to get some help to investigate the matter,” La-Shar-Ra explained still looking Varianna in the eyes. “I was thinking that I needed to find out the identity of the young man in the video and who recorded it.”
“Really?” Varianna asked incredulously also locking gazes with La-Shar-Ra. “So your idea of investigating was releasing the video to the public? Were you hoping that someone would call in tips?” She demanded angrily.
La-Shar-Ra’s posture became hard, “Don’t be ridiculous. I didn’t release the video to the public. I contacted President Thanthee herself.”
Varianna nodded her head, “So you’re saying that the president is the one who leaked the video to the public?” she asked mockingly.
“No,” La-Shar-Ra replied dropping her eyes for the first time. “That was my fault. I didn’t contact the President over a secured line and...” she shrugged as if this should be explanation enough.
Varianna sucked her breath through her teeth and giving her older sister one last contemptuous look she walked over to the sofas where Quinn had been sitting watching the entire spectacle and sat down angrily. “If you wanted to investigate, why didn’t you contact Quinn’s friend Little Roxzamora? She’s the head of station security,” she said as if she found the entire fiasco deeply tiring.
“Because I don’t trust her,” La-Shar-Ra explained. “She’s too thin. I simply can’t trust a woman of her girth. Tiny people like her can slip in and out of cracks and move too quickly. It creeps me out.” La-Shar-Ra tried to get her point across but as she finished speaking she noticed a look pass between her slender sister and niece, “I wasn’t talking about you,” she said hastily. “You’re both cursed, no one can blame you for being thin but that lil Roxzamora girl doesn’t have your excuse. She looks terrible and I knew that I could never trust a secret of this magnitude to her. I agonised over the decision for weeks before I went to President Thanthee.”
Varianna’s eyes opened wide with astonishment, “You had that video for weeks and you didn’t even think to tell me?” she gasped looking at her sister harshly.
|La-Shar-Ra sat down heavily on one of the sofas beside her sister and niece.|
“How did you get that video?” Quinn interrupted before her aunt La-Shar-Ra could reply. “Was there blackmail involved?” she offered, apparently trying to give her aunt some excuse for why she hadn’t told anyone about it before it was leaked.
La-Shar-Ra sat down heavily on one of the sofas beside her sister and niece, “As you know I’ve been supervising the clean-up at Coral Castle but I decided to tidy our brother’s desk and study myself since he doesn’t like the staff to do it,” she explained. “Somehow during tidying I misplaced my Com-D and when I went back to brother’s study to find it I noticed that something didn’t look right. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was that was out of place until I saw that one of the drawers was open slightly. When I looked inside there was a device with a note attached to it. The note read, “Watch this” so I did. That was when I saw…” La-Shar-Ra paused and looked down at her beautifully manicured hands. She was embarrassed to say what she had seen even though she was sure that by now half of the Alliance had seen it too.
After a few moments of awkward silence, Quinn cleared her throat and said, “So someone, probably whoever it was that filmed it left the video there for Uncle Bob to find.”
“What?” Varianna asked looking at her daughter in surprise. “Whoever filmed it? Are you saying that there was someone else there whilst Arista and that, um, young man were um, carrying on.” she mumbled getting quieter as she spoke.
“Yes,” Quinn confirmed pulling out her Com-D and starting the video. She held the video up for her mother and aunt to watch. “The first time I watched it I noticed that there was something strange about the camera but it was only on the second watching that I realised that the camera moved. Someone else was definitely in the room.”
“What do you mean the second time you watched it?” Varianna asked holding up her hands in front of her eyes so as to avoid seeing the video. “Why were you watching it at all let alone twice?”
“I watched it more than twice.” Quinn shrugged, nonchalantly looking from her mother to her aunt and back again. Both were looking at her with bemused expressions on their faces. “As for the reason I watched it in the first place, obviously that was only because Gatsby showed it to me.”
“Gatsby?” Both La-Shar-Ra and Varianna asked at the same moment. La-Shar-Ra was about to question how Gatsby had seen the video when she saw the dangerous expression on your younger sister’s face and decided against saying anything. “Why was Gatsby watching that filth?” Varianna questioned. She was speaking to Quinn but looking at La-Shar-Ra.
Quinn lowered the Com-D but left the video running as she placed it on the table. “Apparently the video was sent to the devices of all of the children at the Academy,” she explained. “Gatsby called me afraid and crying. He said that he had seen one of the seniors at his school fighting with his great aunt and making her cry.”
“Oh my I-Am,” La-Shar-Ra gasped. “How did children get the video.”
Varianna gave her older sister a withering gaze before turning back to her daughter, “Did you say one of the seniors at his school?”
“Yes,” Quinn confirmed. “The young man in the video is Albert, Prince of Hapi. He’s one of Serpentine’s younger maternal cousins. I’m surprised you didn’t recognise him Mother. I know that you take an active interest in all of the young people.”
“I had no opportunity to recognise him since I didn’t watch the video as closely as you apparently did,” Varianna replied cuttingly.
“That’s a shame,” Quinn shrugged. “Perhaps if you’d been watching more closely you would have noted that the woman in the video isn’t your sister-in-law of more than two decades.”
“That wasn’t Arista?” La-Shar-Ra cut in before Varianna could respond to her daughter’s cheekiness. “Then who was it?” she asked picking up Quinn’s Com-D from the table and studying the video more closely. “It looks just like her.”
Continued here: Part Three