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- Chapter 26: Contract between Cachalot and Squid -


"Jansen! You are Jansen, aren't you?"
  The cachalot whale male, who seems to be himself without fail, did not respond to Claire's call, acting like as a complete stranger. He ignored Claire and two whales quite and was progressing swiftly, but when he suddenly stopped swimming, he looked back and gazed at them fixedly. The intimacy of the companions as before has been lost from his eyes.
  Claire and Douglas soon noticed that Jansen staring at themselves in a silent state was not as usual. But Cherokee did not care about it at all, began to talk about the experience of participation to the "Furless Seal Watching" tour at ecstasy. He would became to boast a little that he have closely observed "Furless Seal" Jansen, who had no fear of the fierce huge shark, refused to approach.
"Yeah, Master. As the gray whales said, "Furless Seal" is the living thing not worth worrying about. Well, you will understand once you see it. Actually, they are not as a big deal. Such small and weak---"
  Jansen looked straight at Cherokee stolidly while he was speaking in fluent, so Cherokee finally realized the change in his attitude and held his tongue. Jansen's cold gaze was not anger or hatred, but there was feeling like to see somewhat heterogeneous similar to faint contempt.
  Jansen opened his mouth to flinch Cherokee.
"Kid, you have pestered me to talk a story. Let you hear it now."
  The tone of Jansen said so was unexpectedly calm. He asked while looking at the three whales.
"Do you know about the presence of Meta-Ceti seven thousands generations ago?"
"Hmm, that certainly was a thing related to you cachalot whale race."
  Douglas nodded.
"Yes. There is no one who does not know the major incident in history with our race. What I speak from now is the fact of that 'the great war between giant squid and cachalot whale'"   Claire waited for his words to continue with a tense face. The sun was swaying on the horizon and was trying to sink below it soon. At last the fire in the heaven disappeared completely, the twilight which had fluttered in the west like the rest of the fragrance also faded away, and veil of darkness covered all the sky and the sea. Jansen's jet black head protruding from the waves also melted into the darkness and went out of sight. It seems as if it would call for the three baleen whales to a far-reaching deep sea, where is an unknown territory full of awe and marvel they rarely visited, and is familiar and relaxing world for the cachalot whale race.

The tale of the great war between giant squid and cachalot whale "As you know, unlike you baleen whale who eat small fish or krill, a favorite food of us cachalot whale race is squid; in particular robust clubhook squid that is about 6 feet of full-length or giant squid that reach 100 feet sometimes. Of course, such huge prey does not enter the mouth all the time, and we eat not only squid. The bottom fish such as coral-rockfish and Okhotsk atka mackerel, octopus, crustaceans are also among our foods. But we are extremely fond of giant squid after all. It becomes one serving as long as we catch one. If we want to eat we might as well catch the bigger one which does not take the trouble of hunting and is more substantial.
"At that time of 'Assembly', it was the first agenda on how to get delicious and huge prey. As the world has not been dangerous just like now yet, but squids are quite shrewd fellows. They are the most clever in the races without bone. According to rumor, they use the emission signal to exchange information on us their natural enemies with each other. Besides, they have suckers and sharp beaks, so they are a little tough opponent for us cachalot. Therefore, The administrators repeatedly discussed how to easily obtain giant squid.
"Incidentally, since our females and children are usually living separately from males, we have 'Assembly' of 'District' only once a year. One who become 'Chief Governor' is a female definitely. Because male almost think only about defense.
"So, one 'Assistant Governor' proposed one year.
"'How about offering a prayer with a vow to Meta-Ceti?'
"To pray for fishing for Meta-Ceti every year was practiced in 'District' since before. Of course, squids did not always get caught, but fish are fertile in few years of squid, so we rarely get disabled for food. Some one said; 'it is too luxurious to wish for larger prey while food is enough'. However, 'Chief Governor' adopted that idea eventually.
The administrators recruited concrete contents wishing for Meta-Ceti from whole 'District' and decided as a result of consultation that they ask to give better hearing ability since they can perceive the movement of squid from afar. All the member of 'District' gave prayer in 'Assembly' of the year at once. The wish had not been immediately heard, but the newly born child began to have a more sensitive ear than the adult.
"Then, our ancestors who tasted this asked her 'Please improve our eyes to catch the squid even in the deep sea darkness'. This wish was also fulfilled at the next generation.
"In this way we should have become easier to capture big squids, but the number captured actually did not increase so much. Because squids who noticed that our ability were upgraded became more vigilant than before. So the elders of 'District' have begun to ask Meta-Ceti for various wishes. Requests that 'to lengthen our dive time' or 'to be able to swim faster' were challenged every time 'Assembly'. Meta-Ceti responded to those requests in most cases, and whales were given the new ability as desired after almost one generation.
"Ancestral whales had energized to hunting for giant squid in high spirits, but fishery did not go much better than they expected. They gradually became unsatisfied with the amount captured at that time, and so escalated the request to Meta-Ceti. 'To strengthen the power of chin and sharpen teeth so as not to miss squid got once', 'to make our skin sturdy so as not to be caught by a beak' and so on, the requests were confronted to the almighty god of whale. Still, she continued to give various powers according to the wishes of those who worship. The whales had got ability to shine their body to lure a squid and sharply pointed fangs of both upper and lower jaws to tear soft squid's body. They gained ultrasound beams that could kill a squid from a distance over three generations.
"However, the squids were not just killed. They had got more cunning and more ferocious, and they had given whales a lot of trouble even with the numerous abilities which whales gained by Meta-Ceti. They just seemed to add new power to fit with us. Squids also challenged whales with weapons such as longer and strong tentacles, suckers that never leave once they inhale, and a beak which chews bone. We cachalot whale who was on the eating side still had the advantage in one-on-one competition, but squids competed with vigorous reproductive power.
"Our ancestors had killed giant squid who advance in rapid succession. It was no longer for getting food but just for killing. Victims of the whale side also had increased. Those who tightened by the squid's long tentacles and drowned had appeared one after another. Our population had gradually been declined. The opponent side had also been reduced the number with numerous sacrifices.
"Bloody conflict between giant squid and cachalot whale had inevitably damaged the surroundings. Many living creatures who had involved in an affair avoided approaching of both races with fear. There had been brutal water in the ocean, the shine of rich life had lost, and anxiety and devastation had dominated from the sea surface to the ocean floor.
"Our race who have been beside the slaughter are severely devastated in our minds and lives. We had been hungry all day long as we killed too much and squid decreased. In order to get food, we had to challenge risking our life to warriors of giant squid armed with beaks and suckers. Our ancestors' nerves had always stretched, and they had become angry, fight had continued even among groups. We had wasted all energy in battle, so we could not afford to recite poems and songs. Not even childcare, it contributed to reducing population with battle sacrifice and food shortage. We could not settled to even child rearing, it contributed to reducing the population with battle sacrifices and food shortages. Born children had also spent childhood days crying and frightened by the expressions of excited adults. Both males and females were mobilized for war, and noncombatants such as children and elderly were despised. The leaders force squid to take responsibility of all those social unrest factors, and spurred hatred of whales in 'Districts' against squids more and more.
"Both races tried to annihilate the enemy at the same time. And at the moment when the all-out war between both races to have a showdown finally began, the intense shining piercing through to the depth of one mile sparkled brilliantly over the whole ocean. Giant squid and cachalot whale, who engaged in a life‐and‐death struggle with each other, closed their eyes with dazzling and prostrate themselves before the light in fear and trembling.
"Meta-Ceti who pained by looking at our behavior finally came down to the sea from heaven.
"'Listen, my pretty grandchildren. Cannot you hear the cry of this planet, who is my daughter and your creator? Cannot you see the tears that wet her cheeks? Cannot you notice the pain in her chest? You are both swimming in the sea route to destruction. You have mistaken steering. You must learn together.
"'Listen, my dear grandchildren. The relationship between those who eat and those who be eaten is only a view of surface. You are both in a position to give life and to be given life. When squids perished, whales will cease to exist. When whales went to ruin, squids will be wiped out, too. When you became extinct together, my daughter will be deeply hurt, and the sea water will become bitter tears covering one planet. I created this world so that everyone lives supporting each other. Even if you step over lives of the other races and then only you are intent to flourish, prosperity that has lost support has never last long.
"'Listen, my beloved grandchildren. You should not perish till the day when you own feel that you have fulfilled the duty has come. It is foolish to extinguish descendants by entrusting myself to hesitation to pretend yourself. Consider all the lives, when you wish to live. Take care of your own life, when you feel for other lives.
"'Now, my grandchildren, join your pectoral fin and tentacles and make a reconciliation. As ever, whales eat squid. Squids are eaten by whales. But you sure never to be enemies who kill each other. The whale races, think about those who alive yourselves When you eat squids. The squid races, remember those who are connecting their lives by you when you are eaten by whales. Because you are both the same living on this planet.'
"The elders of the cachalot whale race had listened to the sermon of the great Meta-Ceti meekly. When one of them suddenly looked next to her, surprisingly, giant squids similarly prostrated shrugging their long tentacles. The whale crossed her mind. Meta-Ceti is reflected in squid but not whale in their eyes.
"In this way the giant squid race and the cachalot whale race ceased fighting and made a pact with opponent's race. We cachalot whale swore never to take squid's life recklessly and never to kill for luxury. Squids also agreed that they might be eaten obediently unless their species survival was threatened. Meta-Ceti pulled out the upper teeth from our race as not to forget this lesson. In order not to lose fairness, she got half of the muscle power of the tentacles from the giant squid race. Ever since we both have never broke the pledge. That's why we survive without perish."

"This is the story of our only war."
  Jansen blew once and concluded the story.
"May I see your teeth, Master?"
illustration   When Cherokee asked, Jansen opened the slender jaw pleasantly. Cherokee and Claire fearfully looked into his mouth. Indeed, about twenty conical teeth are arranged in left and right two rows on the lower jaw, but nothing grows but looks like a pocket where teeth just fit on the upper jaw.
"In fact, our upper teeth are buried in the gums. Some one grow a bit, but in any case it will be useless."
  He himself added explanation.
"It's just the opposite of our baleen."
"You can catch a squid well with such half teeth, Master."
"Anyway, it doesn't matter if we carried in mouth. Our teeth are rather used for fighting among males."
  Then Jansen closed his jaw and sounded a rattle. He grinned at Cherokee who was surprised and jumped.
"Hey, how do you get prey usually?"
  Claire and Cherokee were intrigued by the cachalot whale meal scenery in the deep sea covered by the veil of the dark. Jansen was grinning to tantalize the two whales who waited for his reply, but then opened his mouth.
"Our diving time is roughly 40 minutes to 80 minutes. If it is assumed to be one hour, 15 minutes for the round trip and the remaining 45 minutes will slowly advance and wait for the prey to pass."
"Eh, are you not chasing to catch up?"
"We just get exhausted even if we pursue the ten tentacles who change direction frequently. The continental slope with the upward flow and under the water current where we use as feeding area are also the spawning ground for squids and they are abounding there. So, while opening the mouth swiftly like this, they jump in themselves. A certain 'Bio-observer' says that squids may be attracted to teeth or white spots around our mouth. Well, when a big game appears, we will catch it with a dash."
"Don't you use the ultrasonic beam that appeared in the previous story?"
"We tooth whale races can made fainted squids and fish a little aggregating the ultrasonic waves from the forehead. It's a diversion of the echo-sound. However, if we spend all our time to use such a thing unnecessarily, it might be a breach of contract."
"What do you do when squid do not come?"; Claire asked him.
"At that time there is no choice but to just rise up to the sea surface with hungry."
"Oh... I had thought that you cachalot whale are playing a big fight with the huge squid in the deep sea."
  Claire said as she was impressed.
"Squids are eaten readily without much bothering us as the contract. Occasionally we are sucked by a sucker and bitten by a beak, but are to that extent. Many of injuries on our body are due to fellows' fight."
  The three baleen whales have completely redesigned the image of the marine ruffian against the cachalot whale. However, they had once caused to war. Claire ruminated Jansen's story again and tried to understand the implications contained in it. Then she had one doubts.
"Hmm... Hey, Jansen. Why Meta-Ceti had left you until in such a state to enter a war? Besides that, she took care of your wishes at ease until then, didn't she? If she first warned when you asked for superior ability, she would not have brought so much sacrifice."
"That question really seems you have. Well, the answer is Meta-Ceti only knows, but there is a temporary interpretation. For one thing, both our race and the squid race had become arrogant in the ocean, so it seems that we were assigned the role of negative example. And, if our request was rejected from the beginning, we would simply be dissatisfied with her. Of course, she was able to take measures before inviting the irreparable situation, but that does not make sense. We had to be able to control our own desires without relying on Meta-Ceti. Since this great war, even though a certain race hoped Meta-Ceti to give something modest abilities, it took several dozen generations until fulfilled and requests of races corresponding to prey and predator were complied equally. It mean that forestalling is not allowed. All in all, the world goes well.
"Anyway, the record of the fine details does not remain now, but the ancestors' life at the war era was considerably miserable and sanguinary. Its emptiness and misery have been passed down to the descendants of the cachalot whale race for a long time and firmly carved into the bone of each whale. All of us live in modern times do not have war experiences, but everyone thinks that we are sorry for just the war. Even if we can be occupied by occasional big prey, there are no foolish whale who tell that let's destroy the contract. And the giant squid race, too. Even now after seven thousand generations, the contract has been effective securely."
"Yes. Certainly, the relationship between your race and the squid race is often treated as an example model that a good relationship between predators and preys promises each other's prosperity. In other words, it is a model of a contract that all living things interact with each other."
  Douglas nodded.
"That is our pride. However, a certain creature seem not to understand the meaning of signing a contract and protecting it."
  When he heard Jansen's words, Douglas fell on his eyes as if something comes to his mind about that.
"Does your story have a connection with 'Furless Seal'?"
  Cherokee asked as remembered. Jansen gazed at his eyes again, silently for a few seconds, and calmly answered.
"Think about it yourself."
  Leaving one remarkable line, he tried to get off the three whales by returning caudal fin.
"Where are you going!?"
  Claire hurriedly called him since was worried that the fickle bouncers would go somewhere again and not coming back. But Jansen looked back and just said a word.
"I'm hungry. To dine."
  His figure disappeared to the bottom of the sea near darkness than night where Claire can only know in the story after all.


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