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Nebula Yorker (“Neb” to his friends) finds himself on the water planet of Marine in a race to recover a long lost Triopelian Star Chart he previously never knew existed.
Along the way Neb encounters new friends and a villainous brother and sister team bent on doing whatever they must to get their hands on the star chart first – including mayhem and murder.
One cocky android, one imbibed professor, one universal(ly) renowned scientist and one ice breathing sassy Water Dragon make Neb wonder whether the past 3 years travelling with Halley’s Casino was just a peaceful lull?
Who will find the star chart first?
What are the implications if Neb doesn’t?
And what does a Water Moon have to do with all of this?
John Lennon seems to know….

Halley’s Casino will continue with “Return Trip” Halley’s Casino III

Chapter 1

Here we go again!

Marine – Halley’s Casino II
The blue crystal clear watery planet of Marine shone like an azure sun in deep space. 90.5 percent of its surface was water, with only 9.5 covered in land mass. One would think that its inhabitants were, as some liked to call them, fish people, but that was far from the truth.

Indeed, natural born Marinians had webbed feet and hands and could hold their breath under water for long durations of time – most up to sixty minutes – although unlike fish they did not have gills – their pores acted as such in this unique world. Marinians were also humanoid in appearance.

The two capital cities reflected the populous: Parafin deep beneath the Argyleous Ocean and Terramin high in the Veslope mountains.

It was somewhat of a contradiction that they thrived both underwater as they did topside.

Marine was a wonderful vacation destination, only 465th to Halley’s Casino number one ranking. The underwater city of Parafin boasted a host of interconnecting sub-cities that stretched out halfway around the globe.

One quarter of Marine’s deep waters was still uncharted, and it seemed that something new was always being discovered – from three square dimensional aqua species to lost ruins and caves dating back countless years into Marine’s past.

It would seem that many worlds, including that other little blue world known as Earth, have had their frequent sightings and tales of mythical sea creatures. However, on Marine these sightings were not of sea creatures but of real monsters!

Tourists visiting Marine have sworn that they have spotted Airhert, as it has become known. Others who, without a doubt, had positively come in contact with Airhert were no longer alive to verify these accounts.

One distorted video feed found floating from a lost and presumed drowned tourist was too grainy to identify anything tangible, although the audio picked up a very clear, loud burp.
Parafin’s naval authorities were soon put on high alert for wayward tourist adventurers who often strayed into waters they should have never ventured to in the first place. These thrill seekers would most often meet their certain death chasing a legend.

There were three continents on Marine: a northern continent where Terramin was situated and two southern land masses. The latter each boasted white sandy beaches and endless cool breezes, where the drinks were so ice cold the ice cubes would never melt, thanks to Professor Gabriel Pheet who, while trying to fuse a serein with a lunar solar wind, invented the ‘endless iceberg cube.
The royalties from the patent alone bought him his very own island and lavish hillside mansion high in the Amasop foothills adjacent to the Veslope mountain range. His famous stratosphere hanging gardens were an engineering marvel that eventually became one of the North’s most popular attractions.
His death was a huge surprise. At the age of 202 he just fell over one day while sucking on one of his new flavoured ice cubes: impel berry. It was soon found out that he wasn’t sucking on an ice cube but rather an ionic polar radiation battery. In fairness to the Professor, they both did appear near identical, except in taste and everything else that an ice cube was not.

“You win a few, you lose a few,” said his only living relative – who had inherited all of the Professor’s wealth – at his memorial service. “You’ll never catch me sucking on one of those.”
Oddly enough, no one ever really knew if he was talking about the real iceberg cubes or the ionic polar radiation batteries.
To be completely honest, the relative didn’t care; he was now rich. His thoughts on the matter were simple: Well, if I die I now have enough money to bring myself back. He did eventually die just a short few months later, or is have thought to.
They found pieces of his houseboat with bits of floating impel berry flavoured iceberg cubes and a note which read “Cancel the impel berry iceberg cubes” and funny enough or funny to some, a grainy video recording with a clear loud burp was found.
It was later reported as a tourist accident to avoid bad publicity.
You win a few, you lose a few.

With Professor Gabriel Pheet dead and his sole living relative perhaps still digesting in the belly of Airhert, a missing footnote in the Professor’s will was found; it was such a small footnote that it was almost mistakenly thought to be a smear of impel berry juice. It seems he had bequeathed his island retreat to an old academy chum and former colleague named LeBeau.

High in space and now orbiting Marine, the Dregonion transport freighter Onion Two was preparing to disembark its one lone passenger. LeBeau sat waiting for the Transport Transfiguror Officer to finish inputting the coordinates for his destination below on Marine.

It had been quite some time since he last was on Marine – twenty five years, to be exact. LeBeau had then invited his cousin, the Prime Minister of Telvon 3, TeeceeFore, for a 10 day excursion at the expense of his friend, Professor Gabriel Pheet. TeeceeFore had accepted her cousin’s gracious offer but could only stay for five of the ten days. She ended up staying for only three.
LeBeau was a little younger than his friend the Professor, at 198 years of age. LeBeau had shoulder length light brown hair with a streak of white at both temples and also on the fringes of his hair at its tips.

He wasn’t what you would call a muscular man, though he carried himself well at five feet ten inches tall. He wore not quite round, luminous spectacles even though he didn’t feel he needed them; he did need them for reading and liked the way they rested on his face. “The girls will go wild for them, his optometrist had boasted.
He was wearing his usual ultra-light linen green kurta and blue jeans; on his feet he wore the latest fashion in shoes called Galaxy Hoppers, a type of white athletic running shoe with a low hover ride, which was all the hype on Marine. Oddly enough LeBeau’s optometrist had also sold him the pair of shoes, though the man himself was not wearing a pair of Galaxy Hoppers nor glasses.

The shoes would allow one to hop or hover over short distances, which was especially useful if you were always late and running to catch the transport that you were missing again for the 1000th time.

While LeBeau rarely missed anything like a transport hitch, he thought it would be best to fit in, disguised as it were, as a tourist and not a land owner. LeBeau had an odd heritage and lineage – he claimed eight different species as part of his ancestry, all of which he fluently spoke the native tongue of, one being Telvonian.

He claimed to be born on Telvon 3, which was impossible to refute as his cousin TeeceeFore backed his claim. Blood tests confirmed he had Telvonian DNA running through his veins which was hard to believe considering he was humanoid.
It all may have stemmed from the fact that he was actually created in a Petri dish.

It was difficult to keep up with the known and unknown facts pertaining to LeBeau. One thing that LeBeau was however was very astute given all the DNA strains making him a highly evolved empathetic being.

LeBeau had taught at all the great academies from Bitmartion Prime to Telvon 3 along with his friend Professor Gabriel Pheet at his side. Indeed, LeBeau was a Professor too, although he never did like titles. “LeBeau is just fine. Thank you,” he would say.
Some would say that he was a wizard, which he laughed off. At a few parties that LeBeau had attended in his past, it was claimed he performed feats of magic or something akin to it. Wasn’t magic and science all the same, he would argue.

Ask him a question on anything and LeBeau would have an answer.
Whether it was the correct answer depended on one’s own or his interpretation; LeBeau was seldom wrong on any subject he was quizzed on. Mostly, he lived a quiet enough life, popping up only every now and then. When he did pop up however, it was soon known either by hearing about him or reading about him.

This visit of LeBeau’s to Marine was not due to the Professor’s will. Not at all, far from it in fact. It provided an unexpected welcomed cover though – to say the least. No one would ever suspect him of doing anything but turning up to view his inheritance, except TeeceeFore of course, she could read and see through her cousin in a moment’s glance. Another welcomed blessing then that TeeceeFore was around to question him.

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Mark Fahey

Gatineau, canada

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