Arsha and Elmar were called into Sick bay. Their confusion was clear on their faces until Marshii came in. “All right, you two,” she began, “good news first or bad news?”
“That depends on which relates to what,” replied Elmar.
“Well, the bad news relates to something in the deeper parts of the Kurontar sea,” answered Marshii. “The good news relates to the peculiarity you found in the virus.”
“Then I think the good news is best,” confirmed Elmar.
“I agree,” supplied Arsha.
“The peculiarity you found, Elmar,” reported Marshii, “was the result of genetic experimentation. The DNA of the virus was artificially created. And that came with better news, artificial viruses only adapt to the drugs doctors are currently using. Any resistance to previous drugs, their genes deem as unneeded and so it is gone, making it easier to use an older drug to completely eradicate it.”
“New strains forget how to fight the rest of the drugs!” simplified Arsha.
“Bingo!” confirmed Marshii. “And, thanks to the database of the Over-realm’s Vorkath Monastery, the finest medical database in all the Realms, I discovered that our virus was eradicated before we were born.”
“So make the cure!” urged Arsha.
“That’s where the bad news comes in,” winced Marshii. “I have all the necessary ingredients to synthesize the cure except one. I need the mucus of a clownfish in the Trelfan Trench.”
“Then let’s get some!” insisted Arsha.
“Ill-advised,” countered Elmar. “The Trelfan Trench is a Mega-shark breeding ground and it is Mega-shark Mating Season here.”
“If anyone is foolhardy enough to try and go there now,” supplied Marshii, “the female Mega-sharks will use them as presents to attract the males. Both will then use them as ingredients for food or to seek pleasures of the flesh.”
“…Charming,” moaned Arsha.
“Besides,” continued Elmar, “they don’t recognize the authority of Realmfleet. They are rather xenophobic.”
“We can’t let Laverda die!” insisted Arsha. “Will a fighter craft get through their territory?”
“If escorted, I believe so,” guessed Elmar.
“Then I need to talk to Marianes now,” declared Arsha. “She can loan me the best fighter pilot in her kingdom.” She headed out of Sick bay and practically jogged, not very effectively in her dress, to the Port Deck, a room with the floor covered with warp circles. “The Velnar Base, Central Stage,” she directed to the transporter chief, a female Elf from the Under-realm. She was directed to a blue circle and all of the underwater survivals spells were rewoven onto her. She was then surrounded by green light as she teleported to the Central Stage Entrance. Marianes and her troupe were performing another routine to make up for the one that was interrupted by the merman. They performed at twice their usual excellence. When the routine was finished, the crowd gave off cheers and applause, raising the roof like never before.
“Thank you everyone!” called Marianes. “We hope you’ve enjoyed the show and took advantage of the merch special to make up for the interruption earlier today! We’re The Flowing Tails, and we hope you remember to…!”
“GO WITH THE FLOW!” finished the crowd, giving off one final cheer.
“Goodbye, everyone, and travel safe!” cheered Marianes. The crowd dispersed, all except Arsha, who swam up to Marianes. “Arsha!” called Marianes. “How’s Laverda?”
“Doing bad, but we know how to cure him,” replied Arsha. “The only trouble is, we need Trelfan Trench clownfish mucus.”
“…Did I hear that right?!” quizzed Marianes. “During Mega-shark Mating Season?! You WERE told about that trench being a Mega-shark breeding ground, were you?!”
“I know the dangers,” answered Arsha, “but I can’t let my best diplomat die!” Marianes sighed.
“So, you need a Combat Shellcraft?” she asked.
“I’m using one of my own fighter craft,” replied Arsha, “but I need an escort. Do you know who’s the best pilot here?”
“You won’t get far with just one person piloting a Combat Shellcraft,” elaborated Marianes. “They seat two people, one to fly the thing and one to man the weapons. I’m the best pilot and Troga’s the best at handling the weapons. We need to talk to him.”
“Talk to who?” asked a voice. It was Troga.
“Troga, sweetie,” called Marianes, “we need to take a Combat Shellcraft to the Trelfan Trench.”
“To WHERE?!” yelped Troga. “Not when the Mega-sharks are breeding, we’re not!”
“We need to get the mucus of the clownfish that live there!” insisted Arsha. “It’s needed to make the cure that Laverda needs!”
“I can’t risk anyone, especially royalty,” answered Troga, “going off into that trench!”
“Even if your WIFE is a royal family member?!” asked Marianes.
“ESPECIALLY that!” replied Troga. “I’m sorry, but if you’re that hell-bent on getting to the trench, you need to convince Palmanar to authorize this!”
“…All right, we will!” declared Marianes.
“Where is she?” asked Arsha.
“Let’s find out,” replied Marianes. “Computer, locate Major Palmanar.”
“Major Palmanar,” answered a masculine voice, “is taking dinner at Rokanth’s Family Diner.”
“The Northern side of the base,” elaborated Marianes. “Come on!” She and Arsha them swam in that direction.
Palmanar was enjoying her Rakurian Crab Cake, finally catching a much-needed break after Thangred and Layto fixed the base’s problems. The main problem was Layto. His instructions weren’t written in layman’s terms, thus confusing the poor Engineering crew. Thangred helped simplify things and now then Engineering crew understood how Layto kept Under-realm tech functioning with Mid-realm magic, thus fixing any problem while Layto geeked out at the site. Marianes was about to take another bite when she heard the Diner’s doors ring. She saw Arsha and Marianes swim over to her table. “Your Highnesses!” she called. “Please, sit!” They did so. “What can I do for you?” asked Palmanar.
“I need Troga’s help to pilot a Combat Shellcraft,” explained Marianes. “He’s reluctant to assist.”
“Why do you need a Combat Shellcraft?” asked Palmanar.
“…You don’t want to ask that,” gulped Marianes.
“Too late,” replied Palmanar, “I just did.”
“You don’t want to know,” insisted Marianes.
“I can’t loan you a Combat Shellcraft,” answered Palmanar, “or order Troga to man its weapons unless I know where you plan on taking it.”
“She needs it to escort my fighter craft,” revealed Arsha, “to the Trelfan Trench so we can collect the mucus of the local clownfish.”
“…You’re right, I DIDN’T want to know,” sighed Palmanar.
“Laverda’s dying!” begged Arsha. “That fiend-ice was laced with an artificial virus that’s shutting down his organs. He’s got 5 hours left in medical stasis. Once that spell wears off, the virus will kill him in six hours flat!”
“That DOES change a thing or two,” mused Palmanar. “But I can’t loan you a Combat Shellcraft.” Arsha and Marianes couldn’t believe it. “At least, not without my help on this venture.”
“You’re coming with us?” asked Marianes.
“I believe I just said that,” confirmed Palmanar. “Laverda’s an old friend of mine. I’ll be damned if I let him die.”
“Major, you have no idea how much this means to me!” cheered Arsha.
“Let me order Troga to help and we’ll get started,” assured Palmanar.
“I’ll inform you when my fighter craft is ready!” called Arsha. As both Marianes and Arsha swam out of the Diner, Palmanar brought out her shell-shaped communicator and called someone.
“Troga, I need you for a mission,” she directed.