Kai is pronounced like 'hi' but with a k instead of an h.
Chapter 1: Lights
"Please, calm down! Please!" Joanne called out from her safe position on the second story balcony. The reason she was there and not on the ground floor below was the three horny centaurs that weren't picky about what race the female they mounted came from.
"Why don't you come down?" a rather handsom roan beckoned her with a rougish smile on this face.
"Pah-lease." Joe rolled her eyes. "I'm not stupid. Just be patient a little longer. We're locating some females as we speak. Hey! No fighting!" she yelled at the other two, a black and a spotted gray.
They glared at each other, their hormones in a frenzy.
Centaur mating season always sucked. There was always those few centaurs that, for one reason or another, couldn't locate a female and ended up going a little crazy with the need to mate.
But Joe had it lucky. She was only in charge of these three. Her friend Lily was down the hall trying to calm down five others.
"I'll be very gentle, dear." the roan continued. "You'll enjoy it. I promise."
"No, thank you." Joe smiled. "Where is Ray?" she looked at her watch. He had said he was going to find some uncoupled females over an hour ago. What was taking him so long?
"How about you come keep us company?" the black one called up, joining the roan.
"She's mine!" the roan turned on him.
"No fighting! Please!" Joe called out. "Just be patient a little longer."
At the end of centaur mating season, the MCRC had a hell of a time trying to keep the centaurs from attacking and raping any other females than their own. The problem with centaurs was that they were fast and, once they got on top of you, you were fucked.
The courts went easy on them because they weren't in their right mind but it still left a hell of a mess for the Mythical Creatures Relations Committee to clean up.
She turned in relief as Ray came running in. Out of breath, only slightly out of shape, and out of hair, he was positively the nicest guy she had ever met. "Sorry, sorry." he appologized. "I got here as fast as I could."
"Thanks, Ray." Joe smiled at him thankfully. "Did you get them?"
As if to answer her question, the metal doors to the holden pen opened and three pretty centaur girls ran inside. Immediately, the males turned their attention to them as they started chasing each other.
"Thank. God." Joe breathed a sigh of releif as she left the room. "I hate centaur duty this time of year."
Ray nodded as he followed her. "I'm sorry for taking so long."
"It's alright." Joe hugged him. "You're a life saver and you're not even my partner."
Ray laughed as he blushed a bit. "Yeah? Well, forget it. Dana always tells me to help out more."
"How is Dana?" Joe asked as they kept walking.
"Loving life as a mother of three." Ray beamed, happy himself as the father of three.
"Tell her I said hi." Joe sighed unhappily.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"I hate centaur duty." Joe repeated. "It's boring, nothing ever happens. I want to go back to criminal."
"You can't go back, not until you get a partner." Ray reminded her. "That's the rule. No partner, no criminal duty."
Joe sighed. "Well, Jack wont assign me a partner." Jack was head of the criminal division of MCRC. Joe wasn't much of a fighter and she wasn't a very good shot. But she was clever, resourceful, and great at detecting. But because she could hit the broad side of a barn in broad daylight and because she had all the fighting ability of an elf, she wasn't aloud to work criminal without a patner who could do those things. "He's being a real dick about it." She crossed her arms a bit childishly. "I started working for MCRC to work for criminal not play matchmaker to a hoard of horny centaurs."
"Oh?" Ray said looking a bit pleased but Joe was so deep in self pity she didn't notice. "So you're saying this is all Jack's fault, huh?"
"Absolutely!" Joe nodded once. "Jack is being a big, dirty, ugly, underhanded, cowardly-"
Joe yelped and jumped and turned around to look Jack in the face.
"Jack!" Joe flushed a bit in embaressement. "Hey, buddy! Look at you! You...you look great, doesn't he Ray? Wow, Jack did you cut your hair or something? It looks good. Have you been working out?"
Jack rolled his eyes. He was a very handsom, single man. A fact which was only surprising until you realized that he was married to his work. MCRC was his life and he didn't want that to change.
"Nice try, Joe." he said not really offended at all. "I actually was coming to introduce you to your new partner and tell you that you're off centaur duty."
"Oh, Jack!" Joe ran forward and hugged him. "You're such a good guy. Ray, isn't he a good guy?"
"Joe." Jack rolled his eyes again as she backed off, grinning sheepishly.
Joe was a pretty woman. Nothing outstanding, but pretty enough. It was a running joke among the males at MCRC that Joe wasn't human at all, that she was, in fact, an elf. She had most of the markers. She body was delicate and pale. Her face had a slightly feline cast to it. Her hair was bright red making her blend in with the elves who all had variously colored hair in all kinds of shades and colors. Her eyes were a tawny brown and so big they dominated her face and threatened to swollow you whole.
She also couldn't kill a bug if it was bighting her. She was just about as peace loving as the elves. She worked for criminal to maintain that peace and her mind worked faster than the average person's just like an elf.
The only differences between her and an elf was her obviously human ears, her inability to sing or play any musical instrument at all, and the fact that, unlike elves who tended to dress in bright colors and costumes, Joe liked things simple. Jeans, tennis shoes, and a shirt was all she needed.
"Anyway." Jack moved to the side and revealed a man that had ben standing behind him that Joe hadn't noticed before. "I wanted to introduce you. Joe, this is Kai Wunders. Kai, this is Joanne Hudder. She preferes 'Joe'."
Joe blinked in surprise as Kai walked forward.
It had long been established in MCRC that humans paired with humans, ogres paired with ogres, changers with changers. No one had ever really questioned it before especially since one species wasn't so quick to trust another.
However, Kai wasn't human.
"I have a special mission needing special attention." Jack said with a pointed look at Ray. Ray nodded and walked away, knowing when he wasn't aloud to listen. "Joe is extremely analitical, we need her for this. Kai is the best at what he does and we need one of his kind for this."
"Wow." Joe blinked. "I've never seen a landed merman before."
Kai smirked a bit. "I try not to come up very often. Your land is so...boring."
MCRC scientists had worked long and hard to help the mythical society and human society blend together without too much difficultly since The Rise. The Rise being the day when non-human society had had enough of living in secrecy and wanted their chance to live in the open.
One of the many inventions since that time was an injection made from the blood of changers. It enabled those without the ability to walk amongst humans, such as merfolk, to walk among humans. Kai was clearly on the injection judging from the two legs he had and, from the way he walked without hesitation or misstep, he had been on them a while.
Merfolk were extremely clumsy on two legs, especially when they had never used two legs before.
He was very handsom, at least by Joe's standards. He had snow white hair, a rather common trait amongst merfolk, and black eyes, another common trait. His features were strong and his body was well toned from his lifetime of swimming.
His jeans were baggy, because merfolk in general didn't like anything to be too tight on their skin. His black shirt was covered by a black leather jacket.
"Kai has worked with our oceanic division for years." Jack explained. "He's the best, just like you, Joe."
"Great." Joe smiled. "So I can go back to criminal?"
"We're transfering you to the oceanic criminal division with Kai." Jack explained as he started walking back down the hall, Joe and Kai following. "We've been getting some reports lately that scare me a bit, I want you on it Joe. You have scuba training, right?"
"Yeah." Joe shrugged. "But I haven't actually been in water deeper than a pool in years."
"Well, Kai can help you with anything you need." Jack said. "Besides, you're smart. I'm sure you'll remember in a flash."
"So, what's going on, Jack?" Joe asked.
Jack shook his head but didn't say another word until they reached his office and he had the door securely shut behind them.
"Alright." he said taking a seat behind his desk. Joe took one of the chairs in front of it but Kai remained standing. It wasn't unusual, merfolk tended to stand more often than not. It came from a lifetime of always swimming. "Kai, why don't you fill Joe in."
Kai nodded. "I've been assigned to the mid-Atlantic for the last few months." he said as Joe turned in her chair to watch him. "It's a very vast territory and, even for those of us who swim it, the ocean is too big to cover completely. A man of mine was a rountine scouting mission when he found lights on the ocean floor."
"Lights?" Joe repeated.
"He took a picture." Kai pulled it from his jacket and handed it to her.
Joe took it from him and looked it over. It was a series of plain white lights on a black background. The lights barely lit up the surrounding water and the picture was slightly distorted.
"Is this all he got?" she asked trying to make sense of it.
"Unfortunately, he couldn't get any closer." Kai said. "There's a point were even merfolk can't swim any further down. The pressure was already enough to hurt him from where he took that one and the photo itself has been magnified. I've had men watching those lights since he found it. But, like I said, we can't get any closer. Not without proper equipment."
"Recently," Jack took over, "his men have noticed deep sea subs coming and going, not American. I've checked with the government, they don't know anything about it on or off the record. And they don't know of any government who would have something down there. I want you and Kai to go there Joe and check it out."
"What is it supposed to be?" Joe asked tilted the photo all kinds of ways but none of them made the lights make any more sense.
"I don't know." Jack admitted. "It could be anything. Bioluminescence from a big ass fish or a bunch of little fish or some kind of underwater operations base. I don't know and I don't like not knowing. I want you to check this place out, find out everything you can about it. And, if Kai determines it to be a threat, take it out."
"Yes, sir." Joe said, pocketing the photo.
"You'll be shipping off on an MCRC Observer." he said. "To the rest of the world, you're on just another friendly human-merfolk relations mission to study undersea life. But I want to know what those lights are and why someone keeps sending subs down to them."