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- Chapter 24: Dolphin Rescue Mission -


  They were voices of dolphins of Rangi kau "co-op"; the mixed group of pantropical spotted dolphin and spinner dolphin who had just taught Joey's whereabouts earlier, heard from the back of Claire.
  Had the heinous killer whales also attacked their main troops at last? However, the killer whales have just entered their front vision. Besides, although the dolphins' shrieks were certainly frightened, it included puzzles and dismay when they faced an unprecedented situation unlike the earā€splitting scream of dusky dolphins Claire heard earlier.
  Claire stopped once and asked Douglas whilst paying attention backwards.
"Do you know what happened to those dolphins, Douglas?"
  The old blue whale also turns at 180 degrees as Claire, he stared at the ear with the area where they left two hours ago.
"Hmm... 'Floating Rock' was there."
  Claire was surprised and turned his face to Douglas.
"Come again!?"
"The number is one, it is close to the dolphins. They seem not to be able to escape from there. Perhaps..."
  Claire and Cherokee looked at each other. Surely It was the act of "Ghost". The appearance of the boy of southern bottlenose whale struggling at the surface of the water came across in Claire's mind. A lot of mothers and children should have been contained among the large flock of dolphins. She looked back on her company whales with a thoughtful look.
"We have to go to help them!"
"What did you say!? What will you do with Joey!? Finally we could just find him again!"
  Cherokee was surprised and asked back.
  Claire returned her eyes to the direction which Joey and orcas are there opposite to the dolphins. The distance between her son and herself just becomes greater while doing this. If she lose sight of him now, she also have to redo the labor-intensive search from scratch and there is no guarantee that she can find him next time. A deep agony came to the face of Claire.
  She thought; If I stop tracking the killer whales and turn back, I would never meet Joey again now this of all times. But...
  Claire, who was in a dilemma, looked around the face of the three fellows alternately, as asking for advice.
"You should not do something about those dolphins, Sister! They were not friendly even when we talked to them and they had said that they don't trust us. We should give priority to rescuing Joey!"
  Cherokee talked on and on so and tried to admit her.
"Keep one thing in mind, there may be little that we can do for the dolphins as we returned. Don't expect too much."
  Douglas advised her one thing after thinking seriously for a while.
"It's up to you to decide. Do whatever you want."
  Jansen answered brittly.
  Claire gazed at the direction which her son and the kidnappers were going away and then she declared with her eyes aborting as if to discontinue her mind.
"I can not abandon those dolphins. Whatever the reason, they taught me Joey whereabouts."
  She did not turn around in the direction of north and turn back the way she came.
"Sister!"
  Cherokee still raised a voice of protest, but when he saw that Claire's determination did not change, he shook his head and obeyed her after all.
  The four whales approached cautiously to the whereabouts of the dolphins close up near the "Floating Rock". The dolphins were crying all the time while going right and left. They were in a kind of frenzy, and they did not seem to notice that Claire had come. Claire asked Douglas with a lower voice.
"What do you think?"
"Well, it certainly seems like 'Ghost' act. Look. The dolphins are gathered to the side opposite the 'Floating Rock' in the invisible wall of 'Rock'."
"How dangerous is that 'Floating Rock'? Of course, there would be no 'Rock' that is not dangerous."
"As far as I saw that it is standing still at the same place, it is not the kind of 'Whale-eater' or 'Dolphin-eater'. Perhaps their aim is yellowfin tuna swimming under."
"Well then, the dolphins are okay anyway, aren't they?"
  Cherokee inquired while looking timidly at the dolphins in panic.
  It was Jansen who opened his mouth on behalf of Douglas.
"It's a big mistake if you think that it's safe as not be 'Whale-eater'. They kill us the same way whether they eat us or not. That 'Floating Rock' puts 'Ghost' around a group of dolphins who are always with fish to capture yellowfin tuna. The dolphins go out on the water surface and blow, so it is faster to find them. They have yellowfin tuna on 'Ghost' in a stomach, but leave the dolphins killing because they have no use."
  Jansen's bitter complaint showed he was hurt at "Floating Rock". Claire thought it would be by "rock" when she heard his speech, but to murder thousands of dolphins just for the purpose of finding tuna can only be said as crazy.
  While they were watching, a change in the situation came. The dolphins gradually started moving. Rather, in reality, the creatures confined have been brought to the "Floating Rock" with "Ghost". The voices of dolphins losing their bearings quickly strengthened the degree of fear. Claire cautiously went close to the dolphins and tried to talk to them who were crying.
"Listen, Dolphins!"
  Claire cried out loudly without worrying about the fear of being perceived as "Floating Rock", but the dolphins' noises did not seem to fit at all.
"Hey, hey! We came to save you all the way, so please reply!"
  Cherokee shouted, but they did not listen yet. Claire thought fixedly about how to rescue this dolphin. When she hit the "Giant Ghost" at the Tasman Sea, she learned that it is made of fibrous substances that are too small to distinguish even by echo. However, even though it is standing in the sea, it is not thought that it extends to the air. If so, it would be possible to fly out by jumping over the edge of this trap and to escape outside by the skill of dolphins.
"Jump on 'Ghost', Dolphin! Hurry!"
  Claire hardly raised her voice, but the dolphins are still swimming like crazy. After a while, finally one of them noticed their existence. He was the pantropical spotted dolphin who had a dialogue with them as a foreign affair when they first met.
"Oh, big races, why did you come back? It is all over with us. We heard rumors of the horrible 'Circular Moored Ghost' that will annihilate the herd one after another, but at last we have also gotten into that trap. Oh, it was the same thing even if eaten by the killer whales."
  The pantropical spotted dolphin lamented so, and then he went back while swinging his beak.
"Wait, Dolphin! Please listen to me! There is still a way to be saved, do not give up!"
  Since then, every dolphin did not respond to Claire's call. It seems like they can easily jump over the waves to them, but the dolphins who were fainted were just upsetting, and no one came up with that idea. Clever dolphin usually devises various games and finds interests in the monotonous life in the sea, but it seems that there is no room to demonstrate the talent of those inventions even in a crisis situation.
"We cannot watch it! We cannot watch it!"
"I'm scared!"
"Help me!"
  The dolphins were blowing frequently and going round about the same place while hitting each other as if they were blind. While doing so, the prison of "Ghost" gradually narrows.
"Please, please listen to what I say!!"
  Claire was irritated that there was no choice but to stare at their fear despite the prospect of saving them if the dolphins even listen.
  At that time, Jansen, who was vexed at them, roared at the mad crawling runt tooth whales.
"Don't be noisy! Do as I say if you don't want to die! Jump to here!!"
  A hush fell over the dolphins to his deep threatening whistle call. Their line of sight were pouring into the rough, massive tooth relative at once.
"Trust me for Meta-Ceti's sake. Please do as he said."; Claire asked again.
  The dolphins were looking at each other's face for a while, they began to jump silently following the instructions of the whales outside.
Fortunately, since the visible objects floated in rows where "Ghost" touched the surface of the water, it was easy to jump over it as they grasp the point. Every dolphin jumped out of the trap neatly and soon all the active adults succeeded in escaping.
  However, Claire, who looked into "Circular Moored Ghost" when most of them finished taking off, murmured with a impatient voice.
"No good. We can not help children and mothers with this."
  Some of the caught dolphins can not stir since they were clung by "Ghost" or stunned by fear. And it was impossible for calf dolphins, who cried with scared completely and cried, and their mothers to escape from inside themselves.
  Claire desperately thought about the idea to help those who remained again. "Ghost" which "Floating Rock" spewed out surrounded dolphin and tuna in a cylindrical shape and seemed to be closed downward. It means that there is no place to escape in the water. But it is too dangerous to try to break "Ghost" by pushing from the head just like in the Tasman Sea.
  How can I open the escape path underwater?; Claire thought.
  Suddenly a certain idea came up to Claire's mind at that time. She turned to Douglas and Cherokee.
"I thought of a good idea, can you help me?"
"Oops, give me a break! I have had enough to assault like before."
"This time it's easier. As I thought, that 'Ghost' has not extended on the water surface. A part like a queer of jellyfish floating on the wave is the upper edge of the wall. So, if we can sink it and push it down, they may be able to get through the water without 'Ghost'. I want you two to ride above the float and open the escape route. Then, I will go inside and guide the calf and parent dolphins outside during that time."
"Somehow I feel like not change much from what it was before."
  Cherokee recoiled when he heard it.
"Please show me your wittiness again, Cherokee."
"OK, I understand, Boss Sister."
  Cherokee accepted unwillingly. He and Douglas signaled with eyes and nodded, then they protruded the upper body from the water surface side by side, and leaned on the float. A waterway with a width that allows a dozen dolphins to pass easily was opened between two whales.
  Claire passed through a little while and invaded the inside of "Ghost". She shouted to the dolphins in prison who still keeps running.
"Come on, all right now. If you swim between those two whales close to the water surface, you can get out."
  Mother dolphins with young calf were still hesitated. One of them asked Claire with a doubtful tone.
"Can you really say that there is absolutely no 'Ghost' there? I can watch by ear just the same anywhere."
"No, there is not. I just came through."
"But, it may have spread soon again and blocked."
"please believe what I say. If you don't hurry it will be too late!"
  Even the jailbreak plan that she thought carefully would not work unless the dolphins move according to the instructions.
  She worried; "How do I say to persuade her? Although I don't have time anymore..."
  Claire became annoying once again, but raising a temper here does not solve the situation. The dolphin stared at the female minke whale bothering herself into "Ghost", then watched at the large cachalot whale waiting outside, and gazed back to her. An expression like to entreat was seen on the face of the mother dolphin.
  "Aha, she is frightened by Jansen."; she thought.
illustration   Claire whispered the dolphin quietly whilst stealing a glance at Jansen with a delicate glimpse.
"That cachalot male is famous because he strike a female who does not listen to what he says."
  The mother dolphin looked up at Claire with her eyes opened widely for a moment, but she sighed as giving up and then headed for escape with a child as instructed. Other dolphin parents and children follow one after another.
"Claire, 'Ghost' is steadily drawing in 'Rock'!"
"You had also better get out soon!"
  After she saw that all the mother and calf dolphins had escaped, Claire also went out of the invisible prison. Several dolphins caught in 'Ghost' were completely unconscious, so she had no way to give fins.
  Unfortunately, she could not rescue until yellowfin tuna who does not understand "Interlanguage for Blowers". Even if the dolphins who are usually communicating with them in a different way was not in a panic, tuna would not have become prey of "Floating Rock" helplessly. It was regretful for Claire to leave them behind even though they are the fish race. The dolphins will surely mourn for knowing that they lost a lot of companies of "co-op" when they returned to their senses later.
"Good job, both two."
"Well, I was upset to get bitten by 'Ghost Jellyfish'."
  Claire put words to Douglas and Cherokee securing escape path of the prisons, and then they hurried to Jansen and the dolphins together.
"Hey, I have never used violence against a female and a child at all."
  Jansen looked at Claire with the eye of accusation, but she replied with a silly voice.
"Ah, did you hear me?"
"Shit! I'm no match for you."
"Hehe."
  She smiled teasingly at Jansen who swayed his big head as giving a sigh.
  They all went away from the side of "Circular Moored Ghost". They do not know whether "Floating Rock" was witnessing the dolphins' escapism with taking aback or did not notice at all, but in any case it tried nothing further for them and was dedicated to pull in "Ghost".
  All the dolphins of Rangi kau "co-op" were thanked with regret to four beneficiaries of their life.
"I don't know how to express my thanks."
"You don't have to say thanks particularly. But we have lost sight of Sister's important son by your cause."
  Cherokee complained with an indignant tone, but Claire said with a refreshing smile with awareness of the dolphins.
"I don't worry anymore, it is already over. We may search for Joey again. Besides, the dolphins are not bad."
"Oh, you are too good-natured, Sister."
"Some victims have failed to escape, but probably it was the first time most of the herds could survive. I will surely tell the escape method from 'Circular Moored Ghost' taught from you to other 'co-op' as well. Although it is impossible to rescue those who can not escape by jumping over 'Ghost' with only us dolphins.
  The spinner dolphins and pantropical spotted dolphins bid farewell to the four whales and swam to the ocean in search of new tuna partners.
  After seeing off the herd of dolphins, Claire looked back over "Floating Rock" which started to move looking for the next prey.
  Cherokee inquired of her looking "rock" starkly.
"What's wrong?"
"I felt like I saw a creatures in 'Ghost' that I have never met."
  The three males looked at each other dubiously. It was only Claire who entered into and they were all absorbed in rescuing dolphins so they did not care about other things.
"What was it like? Big or small?"
"Hmm... I didn't quite know it, but it looks like smaller than a dolphin. Perhaps it may be due to mind."
  Claire tweeted with a pale face.
"I feel cold somehow..."


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