Dr. Maland slowly came to consciousness. He did not know how long he had been out, but to him he felt he was out for days. In fact, he was not out for more than a couple of minutes. The building excitement and the sudden and unexpected site of the giant monster overwhelmed his senses.
After coming aware of his surroundings, he began to take in the giant beast. Iapetus was lying on his stomach next to a fire the natives built in the pit. The aquatic creature tucked his hands back, and they rested besides his waist. A young native was relaxing in the palm of one hand and she was leaning back upon the webbing between his fingers.
Many of the members of the Iapetian community were patting the enormous creature on the head, and he looked quite at peace. He had his eyes closed, and he had fully retracted the spines upon his back.
Dr. Maland estimated that Iapetus was at least 200 meters long. However, he noted that a good percentage of that was tail. While on his hind legs, the giant beast was probably between 75 and 100 meters tall. He was somewhat reminiscent of a green iguana, but Dr. Maland did not believe he was a reptile. His legs pulled up under him more like a bird while reptile legs stick straight out from the hips.
Thus, when Iapetus stood, he balanced himself upon the seesaw of his hips. He would use his tail as a balance. His spines were retractable and there was a membrane between each spine. The spines would aid in swimming and make him look more menacing. "With his spines retracted and him resting upon the beach," noted Dr. Maland. "The giant monster is almost cute."
"While Iapetus was mostly a dark forest green," wrote in his journal. "He does have stripes of various colors."
Upon close review, Dr. Maland noticed several colors. He noticed red, blue, and orange in some of the stripes. These markings -- Dr. Maland guessed -- allowed the creature to hide from predators. Perhaps they were to attract females. The thought of more creatures like Iapetus or predators of him almost made Dr. Maland faint again.
Dr. Maland continued to observe the giant beast and even got the nerve to put his hand upon him. The creature was cold to his touch. "He's cold blooded," he noted.
The more he observed the beast, the more he became curious about how he came about. Who were his ancestors? Is he the last of his kind? How old was he? These questions he could not answer. "This kind of stuff is more suited for Dr. LeFleur..." Dr. Maland mumbled to himself. "Dr. LeFleur!"
He shook himself as if he had just awakened from some strange dream. He scrambled to find the priestess. She was lying upon a bed upon the beach. She was fast asleep. All of his efforts to wake her failed. His mind then turned to some of the tribe elders. He found them telling stories around the fire.
"What do we do from here?" the professor asked them.
"Nothing will happen until morning," replied one of the elders. "We rest and revel."
"Rest? How can we rest?"
"Iapetus will not be moved until the sunrise. There is no need for anything but rest."
"Sit. Listen to our stories. He has done us -- and you -- a great favor. Take heart in that. The sun will renew your worries soon enough."
Dr. Maland sat and listened to the elders speak. It all hit him in a huge wave and he did not take notes. He heard the tribal stories and the gratefulness they felt towards the giant beast that now sat upon their beach. The concern for what was happening in the north began to fade. He relaxed.
The waves washing against the shore was a soothing sound to John. He was swaying to the waves. Back and forth he rocked. He was at peace. He was calm. He heard a soft voice calling his name. His mind struggled against the scene. Up he jumped in a start. "What? What is it?" John grunted as he awoke.
It was the priestess, and she said, "It is time."
"Time for what?" John asked trying to clear his head.
"The generous Iapetus cannot read your maps," explained the priestess.
"You must take him to your need."
"Right! Right! The ultra-yeti."
The sun was just beginning to rise. Dr. Maland's boat had been loaded with supplies and was resting upon the beach next to Iapetus. The priestess took Dr. Maland over to Iapetus's head so he could see John when he awoke. After the priestess said a few words, the giant eye of the beast opened.
Dr. Maland felt he could fall into the deep pupil of monster. The pupil dilated and focused upon John. He suddenly felt like he was going to be breakfast, but as his knees were about to fail, the monster gave a snort. John almost felt insulted. "Wasn't I good enough to eat?" he thought to himself.
After a few more words from the priestess, John boarded his vessel. With a nudge from Iapetus's nose, he was launched. He unfurled his sails and headed north. "Where am I going to go?" he mumbled to himself. "The last I knew the ultra-yeti had disappeared."
Dr. Maland decided that when he got in range of North America, he could use his cell phone to call Dr. LeFleur. That should take care of that problem. The only other problem was speed. At his current rate of travel, it would take several days just to reach Florida. It was the calmest John had ever experienced sailing around the Caribbean.
Suddenly, that became a moot point. Iapetus nudged John northward. He almost fell out of the boat as it suddenly accelerated. John had gone from slow going to the fastest he had ever sailed in a manner of moments.
Iapetus pushed him farther north. He used the sail as a rudder to steer the boat. He would move the sail a little towards the starboard or port to change directions. Otherwise, the sail was straight back as it flapped in the breeze as they sped along.
John had to make sure they got close enough to the shore to get a cell phone signal or they would end up in the Arctic Ocean before he could determine where he needed to go. After a few hours of sailing, John found himself coming quickly upon the coast of North Carolina. "How fast are we going?" John asked himself. "And how do I stop?"
John got a signal and quickly called his colleague Dr. LeFleur.
"Hello John. How are you doing?" Dr. LeFleur said as he answered his phone.
"Well -- we're on our way..."
"What? Who's we?"
"I'm on my boat -- being pushed by Iapetus.."
"It was a shock to me to -- but we need to know where to go..."
"Snap out of it Claude! I don't know how long I'll have a signal. Where is -- Bob -- er -- the young ultra-yeti?"
"He is almost to Albany... John??? Hello?"
John lost his signal, but he knew enough. He would try to steer Iapetus into the Hudson River. However, before that, he needed to go hard to starboard or, they were about to crash right into the North Carolina shore. He could not push hard enough against the sail to make any headway. He could not budge the rudder either. They were simply moving to fast.
John began waving frantically at his impromptu motor. He caught the attention of the beast and the propulsion halted, but he was still traveling very quickly. The monster stuck his head out of the water, and observed the obstacle ahead. He nudged the boat and it made a wide right turn. The two barely missed some rocks in the shallows and headed farther out to sea.
John checked his GPS and mapped out a course. After the narrow escape, they returned to their previous speed. "This guy can really go," John noted. "I wonder how long it would take for him to swim around the world."
John snapped out of his curiosity. He needed to concentrate on sailing. He did not want to smash into some rocks or the shore again. It took the pair another couple of hours to reach the mouth of the Hudson River. John had learned that Iapetus was quite responsive to his hand signals. Therefore, they managed to go along the coast swiftly and safely.
The area around Manhattan Island was quite busy. There were ships and traffic of all sorts. Without any prompting from John, the pair navigated the congested water with quite a bit of ease. He managed to communicate to Iapetus that they needed to go up stream on the Hudson River. The two entered the river and headed upstream. Their speed had dropped off considerably.
It took the two a scant amount of time to go from the Caribbean to New York City, but it took them almost the same amount of time to go from New York City to Albany. It was much harder for them to go against the current of the river and avoid the obstacles. Thus, Iapetus was quite cautious.
The closer they got to the Capital of New York State, the more debris they encountered in the water. There were boat fragments, and even a few docks were floating down the river. All manner of floating objects were coming down the river.
The going became so hazardous that Dr. Maland signaled for Iapetus to stop. They could no longer safely make their way upriver. The debris coming down the river was just getting too thick.
Dr. Maland beached his boat along the shore and wondered what to do next. That is when a large white fuzzy ball caught his eye. The rampaging ultra-yeti was responsible for the debris in the river. John pointed at the white bear-like creature. Iapetus understood the hand signal and walked along the riverbank towards the giant monster. John just sat on the bank and watched him go.Posted by deg at December 18, 2005 12:07 PM