Semantic Memory

Adirroc flipped out of the water, turned and re-entered with a vertical dive. He pulled his body in tight and instead of fleeing from the hunters he sped straight for them. Caught unprepared they tried to slow and turn but he was away, putting clear sea between himself and the pack.

As he fled he watched them accelerate towards him again. Some had taken wider arcs and were flanking him, others were directly at his back. There was no way he could outrun them. Ultimately their weapons would pierce his skin and he would be taken like those before him. All that he could do was try new ways to evade them and hope they would tire. The floating ice around the southern pole was close, there he might confuse them.

This time he had not expected the hunt to come for him. When the ripples of the human space craft appeared on the edge of the planet’s gravitational well Adirroc had been skimming the surface of the ocean, heading towards the warm feeding grounds around the equator. Calls had echoed out from all of his kind to warn of the arrival of the humans.

This was the third visit Adirroc had witnessed in his short lifetime, but he knew what he must do; stay near the surface to watch for the landing craft; if it came for him he had to swim, as fast as he could.

Of course running never worked, but then nor did diving. Over time all types of escape had been tried and still the humans came and killed. Adirroc could draw on the memories of his kind. At birth he had been aware of who the humans were.

They were a loud race; their movements in the globe spanning seas were as easy to follow as the shifting they did above the planet. All Adirroc had to do was open his senses and he could watch them moving.

Throughout the generations many had tried to contact the newcomers, some had even tried to fight back. All attempts had been futile. Either the humans could not hear the pleas to stop or they chose to ignore them.

Fire tore through the water close by his right flank. Adirroc had felt it coming; sensed the energy leave the device the human carried. One was easy to dodge, it was only when all the hunters reached out to strike him that he would struggle to predict a safe course.

The giant lumps of floating ice now loomed on either side of and Adirroc began to narrow his body and twist his course. There were times when the humans were confused as to which direction their quarry would take. This was his chance to keep them at bay.

Two more of his pursuers entered the ice field. That left four watching from the outskirts while three chased him. More fire burnt scolding paths through the cold sea. Adirroc swam faster, drawing on every bit of energy he could find. He flipped and span, picking a course through the shifting chunks of ice.

Hope spread out from him, touching the minds of his race who in turn urged him onwards. This time the outcome would be different. This time the hunters would not get the kill they desired.

It was at this peak of elation that Adirroc saw his end. The future was as clear as any moment in his life. Two of those outside of the ice field were diving deep. They would come up from the dark depths and use their fire to cut him off. Those behind would capitalise on this tactic and he would be caught in the crossfire.

Death was still in the future, but it was written as clear as Adirroc’s birth had been. He did not try to avoid it, there was no reason to. He only hoped that one day they would understand how to read the future actions of the humans in the way they could all the other creatures and objects that orbited their giant red star.

—————

30 July 2010
The Catalonia parliament voted to ban bull fighting in the region. The ritual sport that has happened for hundreds of years has waned in popularity in recent times but still has a resonance within the population.

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