The cottage was perched on the edge of the rocky cliff, a bare 50 feet above the high tide marks. It wasn’t all that unusual for it to take the brunt of a storm now and then. That’s what shutters were for. And the generator. Power this far out from the nearest town was iffy on occasion and if you wanted to read and work on a computer, well, power was a very good thing.
Infonet access was only available through satellite phone. What had once been the wild wild west of information had finally been organized in a way that humans could manage. University libraries were digitized, museums were online with virtual tours. No one had to argue over who stole what from where. What was not hidden away in private collections was returned to the source country and set up in virtual holo-deck tracks.
I had lived in this cottage for a decade. It was cozy, easy to take care of (except when one of those storms blew in) and it put me right on the doorstep of the Pacific Ocean and a beautiful, private, beach. When I’m wasn’t conducting research in the water or out, I was walking that beach and letting the rolling waves and gentle breeze help me think. I did a lot of that. The information that I was gathering kept me hungry for more.
Each day I would put on my gear, step into the water and swim out beyond the kelp beds. That’s where they would meet me, those playful, intelligent and sometimes rather cruel beasts we had always called dolphins. Yes, that’s right, I’m that one. The one that claims she can talk to dolphins. I retreated here a decade ago because people thought I was nuts. Even with piles of evidence, the arrogance of the human race could not look at a “fish” and think intelligence. Primates managed to garner some sympathy, but they could play like a human. Dolphins, though they would perform, were stubbornly their very own creature.
As a student I had come upon the work of Dr. Laurance Doyle who worked with SETI in the early 21st century. He devised a method to determine if a group of sounds conveyed information. The squeaks, whistles, clicks and bubble blowing of dolphins charted out in the same manner as any human language. He was convinced they were conveying information. Their food gathering plots were intricate and showed quite a bit of intelligence. Then, of course, they had fascinated mankind and pervaded myths and legends in one form or another for centuries. I could not resist the urge to find out just what it was they were so talkative about.
Well, I believe I know now. I will be meeting with the pod today. I’ll have to tell them it’s the last day. I really must put together all of the information I have documented. People need to know and I think I have enough evidence to show them what we should have known all along. I know without a doubt that I have accurately recorded their stories. As ancient as the species, and as broad as the ocean itself. These wise creatures know the health of the globe like no human can.
We’ve had discussions about my approach. They are really not that happy that I want to share. You see, they have a plan to change things. It’s not just theirs, of course, they would have help. But it would cause a lot of upheaval and I’d like to get the word out before something terrible has to happen. They are trying to convince me that the only thing I will accomplish is a mass murder of them and their kind. I really hope humanity is better than that! In any case, I’ll try to get them to work with me one more time.
Debris floated in the surf. A waterlogged computer lay half covered with drifting sand. The drifting bits appeared to be the remains of a small cottage. Perhaps a storm had come without much warning; perhaps not.