Published Issue 119, November 2023
ATILLA was an ORCA. ORCA are not from a place so much as a zone. As life moves in a fluid context that is billions of atoms pushing against each other at unfathomable variants of pressure and magnitude.
ATILLA was the spawn of CUJO and PHILOMENA. Both came from long and furious bloodlines. A colorful heritage in an unspoken brogue of click, ticks and flips.
They would summer near the FAWKLANDS and spend winter between GIBRALTAR. The currents changed with the seasons and they lived almost completely in a consciousness of impulse and sensation.
Each season the journey across the vast quiet brought challenges that they’ve learned from. Unlike DOLPHINS who are quiet, vain and egocentric, ORCA are a more communal folk who share and collaborate.
Each decade the great SCION would be crowned at the CAPE OF GOOD HOPE ritual. It’s not well-documented, but according to ancient lore passed down generationally regarding the decorum and conditions that will spark the commencement of the ritual, it would proceed as such:
The current and successor would drive a guyer of small fish into the break smashing a buffet of wriggling SARDINES and BABY MACKEREL crashing before thousands of hungry PENGUINS.
The SCION and successor would then allow the cadre of brethren who’d accompanied them to the dangerous and treacherous passage to push in and engage. This charge would create a torrent of motion and carnage.
While the feast commenced in perfect harmony as planned, the SCION and successor would turn from the shore and dive directly down until they both felt the hold and would clutch them almost to stasis.
At a moment of truth, the current SCION would take a final look back at the one who would return to the great POD and dictate the agenda and maxims that would be gospel for the next decade. With this perhaps momentary motion of tremendous respect, the SCION would turn invariably deeper to allow tremendous pressure to consume them into the silent embrace of the bottom briney deep.
Once the gaze of the SCION shifted below, the successor would rise and return. At this time the feast would continue unabated.
After three days and nights the brood would retreat back to the larger gathering just north of the FAWKLANDS.
This hadn’t always been where this occurred. In a time several centuries prior, the nasty men who smelled for miles away would invade the sacred space. They would harpoon the sacred grand folk who would hurd the tremendous schools of fish with precision. These men were quite determined, but made the mistake of underestimating the resolve of the ORCA to drive them from this place. After several seasons, the SCION of that era moved to wage war on the BOSTON WHALERS.
At first it was a ship here or there that would mysteriously disappear. But after the flagship of the NANTUCKET fleet was sunk the WHALERS moved away from the FAWKLANDS estuary.
ATILLA knew all of these stories as very brief riddles that were taught by beaching fish and guessing how many flops they would wiggle out. But he also knew it was his charge to sort the incursion of greedy and reckless treasure hunters run amok between PORT VERDE and GIBRALTAR.
The ORCA always considered GIBRALTAR as a dead space that should not be lingered in. The bounty on either side of the strait was too vast to effectively hold or command. But this was prior to ANTON and his brutal incursion.
It had been an uneventful fall leading into winter. But then it happened:
ANTON was a GREEK treasure hunter who’d found a foolish oligarch to fund his hair-brained hunt for the lost city of ATLANTIS.
ANTON’s plan had no bells or whistles. He was barely literate but spent every waking moment searching for money or information that could benefit his quest for glory. It was by pure accident that he met his benefactor. ANTON promised him untold riches at a very reasonable investment of 10 MILLION EUROS.
He didn’t even provide any details before accepting the massive injection of funds he’d clawed at so desperately.
Once he had his bankroll he set up “exploration” of the vast space between PORT VERDE and GIBRALTAR. This entailed extensive use of ultrasonic equipment and exploratory DEPTH CHARGES that resonated thousands of ultrasonic decibels, mapping the contours of the ocean floor. This would create a deafening roar that would be cataclysmic for any marine life in the vicinity.
It was on one particularly beautiful morning that ATILLA’s half-brother CLAUS approached him in a manner he had dreaded. He clicked out the news that his family had been found floating in a plume of KRILL and SARDINES — The DEPTH CHARGE had created a shockwave that killed them all instantly.
ATILLA dove deep without hesitation to summon the wisdom and courage of the elders — to feel the pressure envelop him whole and provide him the insight needed to bring vicious reciprocity upon the monsters who’d committed this unspeakable hubris.
When ATILLA arose from the depths he breached the surface of the bay and smacked his tail wildly to summon the call. Within hours he was surrounded in all directions by his great family.
ATILLA was an ORCA of action not words, so his clicks were brief and blunt.
The entire POD would descend upon the exploration fleet and see them all perish. His motion toward the strait from the bay was precisely planned. They would become a great crescent and squeeze them in.
The charge was so fierce that ATILLA called a brief pause allowing the waves of ORCA to stack up tighter for the assault. He dove all the way below the fleet and circled back. His designs were sound so he clicked the signal motioning the first brave wave of ORCA to engage the fleet.
The first wave went between the half-dozen vessels of the ARKORPOLIS expedition. They started to create a current bringing the vessels inward like a hand closing. The next wave began by punching the ships’ sterns head-on.
This instantly sounded the alarm. Harpoons and long guns sounded, but by this time ATILLA had brought his COUP DE GRÂCE down upon them. Unbeknownst to ANTON, the fleet sat adjacent to a deadly UNCHARTED REEF. The reef was shaped like a sickle. The armada would invariably throttle up in desperation to escape the onslaught of ORCAS slamming into their vessels.
ANTON let out a bellowing cry over his megaphone on the POTEMKIN’s bridge. The ships scurried like scared mice in a vast field as the ominous shadows descended from above, plucking them off one by one. The first two mid-size frigates were at full speed when they crashed into the stone like maze just inches below the breaking water. The ORCAS splashed angrily around the wreck showing NO QUARTER.
All the rats rushed out of the decimated and now burning vessels. The adolescent ORCAS poured under the wreckage to breach feed on the fleeing enemies just as their WHITE SHARK brethren had taught them.
ORCA or ORCINUS ORCA; or the “toothed whale” are APEX oceanic predators. Much like other APEX predators, the assumption and hence name “KILLER WHALE” is not a name that the ORCA themselves accept or appreciate.
As APEX creatures, all things in the kingdom they command swim before them in submission. It must be noted that the GREAT LIE of human and ORCA interaction is not a thing the ORCA, unlike humans, can ever forgive.
The first mighty ORCA who lived and died in captivity in the Northern Pacific region were of HIGH BLOOD to the current ORCA SCION. When the monsters who captured, enslaved, abused, tortured and ultimately held them in bondage until they simply expired from extreme physical distress, a powerful message spread across the ocean.
Humans, being APEX creatures as well with a far higher level of intellect, yet a minuscule measure of empathy, wouldn’t see these actions as anything more than a failed attempt at “science.”
This act of WAR by mankind against the ORCA was not something the SCION, ORCA or energetic genome consciousness of the ocean could or would ever forget.
The first of many ORCA, who humans would brutalize and monetize, condemning them to die in extreme pain, let out a bellowing and desperate message in clicks stating what had been done to them. This message was cast in the common tone known to all creatures of the deep — a powerful and secret tool the ORCA were given by the great-grandparents who once lived beneath the MIGHTY SHARKS of old.
SHARKS and ORCA, despite the perception and observations of humans, are not enemies. They have both taken turns as SCION of the oceans again and again throughout time. The adversary perception is created by humans and is not based in any true OCEANIC TRUTH.
The youngsters were led in to devour and tear apart every survivor who tried to escape. ATILLA would corner the POTEMKIN and single-handedly smash the stern into the reef. ANTON fired a deck gun wildly into the crimson stew of bodies and ORCAS. Cursing and spitting as his ship exposed and engulfed him.
Ultimately only one deckhand would survive and live to tell this tale back to me through bars of a CALCUTTA JAIL. But that is all another story for another time …
ATILLA and his chosen few would linger for days making passes at the reef. It would be weeks before the wreckage was discovered and any inquiry was opened. The vessels that came looking were mostly local fish who they knew well and had a great mutual respect for. They too were hardened by this incursion of greed. The fishing grounds these salt of the earth humans shared with the ORCA had all but collapsed in the process of this FAUX SCIENTIFIC failure.
ORCA, unlike humans, can forgive and find harmony even amongst their most bitter foe. The LION who stands tall over the Great Plains as ruler does not volley opinion or hold grudges against its subjects. When creatures move from the order, justice is swift, but always with RESPECT and COMPASSION. For this reason, ORCAS see humans as other lesser vassals in their kingdom who are due respect based upon ACTIONS not ASSUMPTIONS. Thus, the humble humans who do interact with ORCA in a state of respect are always treated with the same by the kingdom of ORCA.
After ATILLA was certain none had survived, he returned to his POD and chose a new mate to start again. He had a little more than half of his tenure as SCION ahead of him. He knew he’d already more than cemented his legacy. But as with all things his book was yet to be written, and he’d sworn a BLOOD OATH against any vessel of men who treated them with disrespect through the waters that he and he alone was sworn to protect.