The Sea Horse: C.O.R.A.L.

Internet on the sea is hard. Satellite reception is choppy at best, so you can imagine what it would be like on the ocean floor. That’s why Aaron had realized that he needed his own satellites, sunken ones.

They sank man made coral reefs embedded with computers along the ocean from Oceania to his base underneath Machias Seal Island. The Sea Cove, his base of operations, had been designed by one of the finest engineering students Carlysle University had ever seen. That student, now known as Dr Aaron Matthews, set in front of four holographic displays.

The computer itself was known as Cloud Operational Routing Application LAN. It was technology that Aaron had worked with Professor Chambers on before his death. “I’ve been tracking his movements. He’s good.”
Carla sat down behind the son of her dearest friend. “How good?”

“Better than Webb in the championship game against the Tigers.” She laughed. “He called yesterday, he asked about you.” “Did you tell him I’m still practicing?” “He wasn’t concerned about your piano lessons. He was more interested in whether or not you were still alive.”

Aaron slowly swiveled around and held her hand. “I’ll be careful Aunt Carla. I promise I won’t take any unnecessary risks. That’s why I’m going so slow.” “I know, and I know it needs to happen. I just wish you didn’t have to do it.”

“I promised them I would, I can’t stand by. They killed Norm Silva, Professor Chambers, and …” His voice trailed off as he fought back the tears. She kissed him on the top of his head and went to find Henry.

Aaron returned to the screen, but his mind was back in time. She was gone, they were gone, almost everyone of them were, but he had to finish this. Suddenly he was jolted back to reality by what he saw. Staring him in the face on the screen.

It wasn’t High Society’s face, hovering above the bank’s customers that startled him. It was the face of a man he had thought long dead, Judge Carlysle.

The Sea Horse: High Society

High Society
High Society

Reilly Coogan was a felon, that was how he made his living.  His first job was actually getting into prison.  His nickname was Jailbird, although he wasn’t your typical career parolee.  He had been to college, graduated with a Master’s Degree by twenty one, and had two doctorates by thirty.  He had been put through college by his brother Oscar before his death, with the intention of succeeding him one day.

That day came sooner than later when someone blew up Oscar’s home.  Officially it had been ruled a gas fire, but the police knew that it had been covered up.  Reilly was locked away on a trumped up charge, one that his brother had arranged.  Reilly was supposed to oversee Oscar’s operations within the prison.

This would isolate him from any blame, and insure that things were run well.  After Reilly had eliminated his brother’s hit man, and taken over the empire, he made a decision.  He was content to stay in prison, albeit, a low security, high amenities one. When anyone tried to touch
him, he would respond, “How can I have done this?  I’m incarcerated on tax charges.”

Reilly was smart, smug, and comfortable.  This makes for a dangerous combination when you’re at the top of a shaky hill.  He was so arrogant that he had orchestrated a transfer to his home turf Oceania, as it was called now, had been home.  Now it was a big city, with big players.  As long as he stayed in prison, he was safe. That was the problem.

His lawyer arrived on a Tuesday afternoon.  “Hello Lou, how’s the day going?”  “Not good, I’m afraid.  Someone has switched tactics on you Reilly.  They’ve pushed through a pardon for you.  You leave prison tomorrow a free man.”  Those words stopped the very smart, very scared crook in his tracks.

It took him all afternoon to regain his composure, and then he formed a plan.  His alibi had always been his location.  “How could a known felon pull off something like this?”  The police would be watching him day and night, unless . . . unless someone else was running the empire. He would need a stooge, but a believable one.

Who was strong enough to topple him, but smart enough to become partners?  How could he control them?  No one fit the bill, until he came up with a very crazy idea.  “I’ll just have to stay alive long enough to pull it off.  Or do I?” It was then that he decided that Reilly Coogan wouldn’t make it out of prison alive.

The jailbird would fly the coup, but not the way someone had intended.  They wouldn’t pull his strings, even to free him.  He would have a corpse brought in by Lancaster, set a fire, and escape through his “private elevator” when he wanted a night on the town. Reilly Coogan would cease to exist.

Oceania was apparently inviting members of comic conventions to attack his organization now.  This Sea Horse was causing trouble for John Cater.  He could use that, but what would he call himself.  Gadgets weren’t the problem, those could be made.

He needed something that didn’t sound threatening, something that people would laugh at, not fear.  If the citizens feared him, they’d pressure the police to stop him. If they laughed, then no one would bat an eye while he locked down the city, and half the east coast for that matter.

It was then that he remembered a statement his Grandfather used to make.  Roger Crane was the boss in the region of what had been Oceania.  He used to say, “It’s time for the upper crust to move out of the way. Tell them that the Cranes are king know, we’re taking High Society by storm.”  Then he would laugh as he did exactly that, and so would his Grandson.

Lancaster filled the boss’ order, grabbed a body, lit the fuse, and the papers told the untimely death of jailbird Reilly Coogan.  The fake funeral wasn’t even over before Cater and all the factions were fighting for control.  It didn’t matter, Reilly had helped Oscar plan his rise to the top, and he would easily do the same under a new name.

The next day another masked character hit Oceania’s smallest bank.  He used an experimental antigravity generator, and high powered laser weapons.  The bank robber was dressed in an outfit that looked like it was a mixture of the nineteen thirties and a science fiction novel.  He smiled at the security cameras and introduced himself by burning his nom de plume into the vault door.  It read, “High Society was here!”

The Sea Horse: Up In Smoke

John Cater set at his desk, trying to stay calm. He was known for his quiet reactions, in the world that he traveled in, you had to be feared. Cater had learned that if you lose it every time, they call you a hot head. Loose it too few, and they call you a wimp. His response was to react with a quiet, but dramatic flair.

He pulled out his best knife, and thrust it at the the door. He looked at his lieutenants and said, “100,000 to the one that delivers this to the Sea Horse and brings him to me bleeding.” This was his way of telling them that he wasn’t happy and they needed to do something quickly.

John Cater was important in this city, he made things happen. His nickname reflected it. “The Caterer” saw to it that the big boys got what they wanted, whether in politics or in the less smiled upon circles outside the law.

The fact that he loved knives, swords, and blades of any kind helped. He was tall, average looking, brown hair, brown eyes, cheap suit. He could afford more, but that wasn’t something you advertised in his profession. That is, if you wanted to live to enjoy it.

His one luxury was his car, a silver Mercedes with special features. No one touched his car. The only person allowed to drive it was Nelson Cater, his brother. People would sooner break their leg than dent his vehicle, they had learned from experience.

That’s why the next thing that happened was so disturbing to the Caterer. An explosion went off just as he pulled the knife from the door. Sitting among the charred remains, in the middle of the parking spot, was a knife. The knife wasn’t much to see, but it was memorable nonetheless. Cater recognized it, it was the knife that had killed Norm Silva.

Wrapped around the blade was a note that read. “It’s your knife Cater, even though you didn’t kill him. I’m getting closer to proving who did, and I intend to take you to jail with her.” The note was a print out with The Sea Horse’s symbol as a signature.

They drug the incensed man kicking and screaming back into his office. The Caterer had lost his cool. The Sea Horse smiled from his hiding place. Now they would start to make mistakes, and he would take them down one at a time.

The Sea Horse: Who Is Doctor Aaron Matthews

The journey ended, the Senator turned to leave, and then stopped.  “You took a huge risk revealing yourself to me.  Why?  Isn’t your secrecy your best weapon?”  The Sea Horse smiled.  “Would you have listened to a doctor or a vigilante?”  The Senator laughed.  “Neither, but that’s why you sent Henry. I respect him.  His leadership has transcended politics, race, and national boundaries.  If you ask me, he should have run for the Senate instead of me.”

Henry spoke up.  “Do you know why I didn’t? Because I had a hospital to run.  My work may reach outside of this area, but my heart never leaves that hospital.”  The Senator sighed.  “I should have kept walking, but I ask too many questions.  If I can help, in any legal way, I will.”  He shook hands with them both, and Henry returned him to his hotel.

That night, Dr. Aaron Matthews rendezvoused with the Chief Of Surgery in Henry’s office.  “Craig was right, you did take a huge risk.”  Aaron laughed.  “In this day and age, it’s not a question of will someone discover who The Sea Horse is.  The question is, can we keep the secret until we no longer need to keep it?”

This time Henry smiled.  “Oh I thank so. How are your new living quarters?”  “Nicer than I deserve.  Thank you Henry, one day I’ll pay you back for all that you’ve …” Henry held up a hand.  “You pay me back ever time you go out on patrol. Your Dad would have done the same, if he were still here.”

Aaron winced.  “He would have thought I was crazy.”  “At first, but then he would have done the same thing that I’m doing.  The only thing that he couldn’t do, was get used to the new name.”  “It is legally my name.”  “Yes, but it’s not the name you’ve been called since I delivered you on that boat that night.”

“That’s what I’m counting on.  One day, they will discover that The Sea Horse is Dr. Aaron Matthews.  My plan is for them to never find out who Dr. Aaron Matthews is.”  Henry and Aaron left the hospital with the excuse of meeting Henry’s wife Carla for supper.  In reality, they were to rendezvous with her at the Sea Horse’ base on the sea floor, directly on the underside of Machias Seal Island.

The Sea Horse: Welcome To Oceania

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The Sea Horse On The Docks

The news coverage was intent, a hooded man sprang from the sea onto Oceania’s Calloway docks. Five men, known to work for John Cater were unloading a boat. The caped figure attacked them. One of Cater’s men, aware that the security cameras were on grabbed his taser.

He could explain it much easier than the glock in his coat. The taser seemed to have no effect on this brightly colored figure. His response was to pick the largest of Cater’s men up and toss him against the side of the boat.

Another of Cater’s men sliced at the figure’s arm. The stranger responded by flipping over the man’s head, landing on his knees, and knocking the man’s legs out from under him.

As the figure left, the camera caught one good view of this stranger. He seemed to pause just for a millisecond, blood pouring from his lower lip.

He was clothed in dark blue, with a yellow cape, and a yellow and blue striped mask. On the side of his chest was a symbol made up of a seashell and a seahorse.

He ripped the boxes, marked restaurant supplies open, exposing the drugs inside. Then leaping over the side of the boat, disappearing into the sea.

Dr. Henry Mills looked across the desk at Senator Craig Fine as he read the article. “Dr. Aaron Matthews is a surgeon here at Highlands Hospital. He is a talented, and skilled doctor with an interesting history. Among his many degrees is that of a marine biologist. He could be Chief Of Surgery, if he wanted.” “Who wouldn’t want to be Chief Of Surgery?” The Senator asked, not sure why he was involved. “Someone who already has an equally taxing second job.”

Henry had known Craig for a long time.  He had supported the young, former councilman from a distance, two cities away.  Together, they stood against corruption that had attacked their state.  Henry had a reputation for backing solidly, but quietly.  He was a force of a man, mentally as well as physically.  Craig admired him for a number of reasons.

Henry was a muscular, six foot two, businessman who had forged this hospital through skill and sweat.  His voice was soft, but powerful, his hands were skilled, and calloused. Henry’s hair was white now, but his green eyes were still keen, and his ears were always opened.    He had built this hospital from nothing, having fought hatred, fear, and greed to make the hospital a reality for all cultures in their community.

They left the conference room and headed for Henry’s Lexus. It was around midnight. Neither said anymore until they were pulling out. “Why are you telling me this Henry?” “You need to know. You’re only the second one to know.” “How will he feel about it?” Henry smiled. “Who do you think asked me to tell you?”

Internally, Henry wasn’t as sure as Aaron had been about this.  Craig was a fine man, even an honest man, but he was a politician.  He glimpsed at the man beside him.  Craig was barely forty, no sign of gray yet, except his eyes.  While he hadn’t fought the racism that Henry had, Craig knew hardship.  Sadly, in this business, that was a asset.  His hair was black, his skin pale.  It had once been very tan, but Washington wasn’t known for catching waves, just making them.

Henry continued his tale. “It started, not on land, but on the sea. He was born on a boat, just outside of U.S. Waters. Elaine went into labor before they could make it back home.  She was an Ambassador, but they had to leave the country abruptly.”

“He doesn’t talk much about his family.” “No, he says very little most of the time. His life was fairly quiet, until he was 18. A girl broke his heart, her name was Wanda. They were to be married, she ended it the night before the wedding. He didn’t know why.”

Craig looked out the window. “Not knowing is tough, similar thing happened to me. I never learned why she left.” Henry frowned. “Sometimes learning why is even worse. It was in his case. Her family went into the witness protection program. Her father saw something he wasn’t supposed to, something that would force their family into hiding for the rest of their lives.”

Henry stopped. Craig looked at him. “What was it?” “Sorry, for your own safety, you don’t need to know. I will tell you this, he never stopped loving her. That was event number one. Event number two came when he was 19. A very bad man shut down the harbor. He put several families of fishermen out of a job.”

Craig knew Henry. He was leading to something. Suddenly, Henry took a side road. They had reached a little area overlooking the water. He stopped the car. As they got out, Craig asked, “What was number three?” Henry’s voice was thick with anger. “Number three was when they killed Norm Silva. That is, I feel, the moment The Sea Horse was created.

A moment later it surfaced. Craig knew from reports that it was called The Sea Swallow. It was the strangest craft Craig had ever seen. It was an almost blue black, with yellow LEDs. A hatch opened, and out climbed a hooded figure. Other than that he was Caucasian, with deep blue eyes, Craig couldn’t make out much.  He had a firm handshake, and a strong voice. “Thank you for seeing me Senator. Welcome to Oceania.”

A New Season

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I love the line in the old song, “It’s a new season, it’s a new day… .” It came to mind this morning concerning this post. Yesterday, when The Lord blessed me with the new iPainting, “Autumn”, I didn’t realize it was for this post. We are in a new season at PruittWrites.com.

This month, on Saturdays, we will begin “The Adventures Of The Sea Horse.” Over the last year, we have ran four ongoing serials, and it has been exciting and fun. For now though, we want to focus our full fictional attention to a series that we hope, will be for young and old alike. It will run every Saturday starting October 18.

Last month we began something that is very exciting for us at PruittWrites. The S.T.A.R.T. Workshop gives us an opportunity to give back. To help turn readers into writers. Have you always wanted to write a novel, or start a blog? Let us help. Yes, there are numerous voices out there, but that doesn’t mean that they are saying what God wants you to say.

Our most important posts are, and have always been, our Inspirational posts. That will only intensify over the next few months. Along with our weekly Inspirational posts, we will continue our Bible Study “The Native” through at least the Christmas season.

Going forward, our Saturday Art Posts will become our Sunday Art Posts. Although we will still feature Collage Friday’s on Instagram. We hope that you enjoy all of the changes at PruittWrites. “It’s a new season, it’s a new day… .”

Profile: Armor

Neither The Sea Horse nor his arch nemesis, High Society know what to make of the mysterious Armor. Meet him in the adventures of The Sea Horse this fall.

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