Sheila the Searider


First there was nothing but darkness. Silent, black, empty darkness. Then there was a small light before it got bigger and bigger until the bright light became so bright it was nearly blinding. Then there was sounds, the sound of objects clanking and clattering against a table or something hard. A pair of big eyes came into focus. First the vision was blurry but then the vision cleared enough to reveal a laboratory of some sorts with wires and gadgets and pictures all over the walls. All of sea animals. The eyes blinked before looking around as a voice said "Good, good... vision is crystal clear and very bright. Just a few more adjustments and... there."

The being that had just been born wasn't a newborn baby, or even a creature made out of flesh and blood. It was a special robotic fish with pink scales and purple stripes running across her body. It was the special project that Professor Pria Kellner had been working on since she first started working at the Marine Life Institute and today her life long work of exploring the depths of the sea and studying the behavior of fish has finally payed off. People also called her 'The Fish Lady' or the 'Marine Life Mermaid' due to how much she loved the sea and all creatures that dwelled within the ocean.

Pria smiled at herself before she said "Okay, everything is operational. But I still need to run a few more tests."

"Mom!" A Young voice called.

"Come in Cassie!" Pria called back.

As Pria wiped her brow, pushing strands of her black hair back behind her ear, her 15 year old daughter came down the stairs, dressed in pink clothing with her bright yellow hair in a pony tail. It was Pria's daughter Cassie, whom was Pria's pride and joy. Cassie's father had died before Cassie was even born but it didn't stop Pria from being the best mother she could be for her daughter.

"Is it ready?" Cassie asked

Pria nodded before she removed the pink fish from the examination table and held it in her hands "This is the Searider. This is how everything we know about the ocean will change forever."

"How so?" Cassie asked

"Searider is a special one of a kind piece of aquatic technology." Pria explained "Remember how you tried to get close to the fish in the Open Ocean tank with the other divers but they all swam away?"

Cassie nodded.

"The same with submersibles," Pria said "Even those designed to look like fish were terrifying. Because they were too big. To noisy, to... human like. But now we have a chance to study the marine life."

Pria turned on her computer and pointed the Searider at Cassie. Cassie smiled when she saw herself on the computer screen and made funny faces, making her mother smile.

"Searider is going to change all that." Pria explained to her daughter "While she explores the wonders of the sea, everyone will be able to see what she sees and everyone will see fish in ways no one has ever seen before. This could end so much problems like pollution and over hunting and so much more!"

"And she's my two favorite colors, purple and pink!" Cassie exclaimed happily

"Yes," Pria said as Cassie stroked her fingers across the smooth skin of the robotic fish "I kept that in mind when I made her."

"So it's like... your her mom and i'm her big sister." Cassie said "Sweet."

"Oh Cassie, you are so adorable." Pria said with a grin "What would I ever do without you?"

"Can I play with her?" Cassie asked "I promise to take very good care of her."

"Cassie, Searider is not a toy," Pria said "She's a highly-"

Pria stopped talking when she noticed someone else coming down the stairs and said "Who's there?"

"Your boss, that's who." said a voice that made her skin crawl.

Pria jumped to her feet as Cassie stepped back behind her mother. It was the director of the Marine Life Institute Franklin Benton and the man's sudden appearance in her lab made Cassie hide behind her mother. Cassie was always scared of Mr. Benton and Pria couldn't blame her. Mr. Benton had the power to make or break anyone's career hopes and dreams and he showed no mercy for anyone when he fires someone from his establishments. Pria got the job because the last engineer almost blew up the aquarium. And she's been working around the clock to keep her job and make her life's work a reality.

"Oh, hello Mr. Benton, I was just making the final adjustments to my Searider project." Pria said.

Mr. Benton looked at the robotic pink fish before he took it into his hands saying "This is your project? I was expecting a little more."

"But Mr. Benton, I worked around the clock creating her and I made her fish size so that other fish would accept her as her own and we can study fish from their perspective, even learn more about fish then we've previously believed they were capable of before."

Mr. Benson turned the Searider this way and that before he said "Hmm... I suppose this was worth the trouble and money spent to make your project. When will it be ready?"

"I was just running the diagnostics check." Pria said "It shouldn't take long."

"I see..." Mr. Benton said before he gave the fish back to Pria saying "I spread the word. On the first of March, I will launch this project to the public and we'll see for ourselves how the Searider handles the dangers and lifestyle of the unpredictable ocean."

"March... The first of March?" Pria asked "That's... that's in five days!"

"Yes, and that fish better be operational and fully functional by that time or I'll see to it that the only project you'll ever be in charge with is entertainment for children's birthday parties. Or something much worse."

"Like what?" Cassie asked

"Let's just say, you really don't want to know." the man told the girl before he walked off before he said "And make sure the fish never leaves the MLI! We don't want to risk losing something as important and crucial to your career, do you?"

The door closed and Pria sighed before she looked at her little creation and said "Don't pay any attention to him, once we finish a few more tests, it'll all be worth it."

Cassie hugged her mother and Pria hugged and kissed her daughter. She had come to far to give up now and she wasn't going to give up just because of a short deadline or a stone cold boss. Soon her dreams will come true and her beloved Searider will change the world.

Little did she know, that the birth of this special fish was the beginning of a strange and wonderful new chapter in everyone's lives. Even for the Searider.