If, as a child, you ever glanced up at the spheroid of helium-filled latex attached to a string you were holding in your hand and wondered, “What’s so much fun about a balloon?”, the startling creatures floating above Cornelius and Oliver Octavio might have you reconsider the question. Capt. Lucien Octavio (see “Adventures of Capt. Octavio”) could not help but notice his sons’ rather somber nature on the rare occasions he returned home from his marine explorations. Despite having the run of their father’s expansive (if a bit gloomy) manse and having the wreck of both an ancient pirate ship AND a submarine to explore in the back yard, the demeanor of the two boys was decidedly dour. Perhaps if they had something to interact with, he reasoned. Something truly exotic that no other boy had…Hmmm. After one of his more elaborate and daring undersea expeditions, the good Capt. disappeared into his remote laboratory for quite some time. He emerged with two of the most astonishing creatures glowing, tethered, above his head. Lucien Octavio had biogenetically engineered an abyssal anglerfish and a humpback anglerfish (species melanocetus johnsonii) to thrive, not only in the photic zone, several atmospheres out of their habitats, but in air rather than water! Bioluminescent in their deepest sea home, the fearsome fish glowed gently as they hovered above the boys, wheezing softly with their newfound lungs. And released from many megapascals of undersea pressure, they defied gravity, floating in air. Well, this certainly got Oliver and Cornelius’s attention! They named their new companions Mefisto and Necrosis and are shown here having the time of their lives (This is them having fun. Really.) in front of one of their father’s numerous specimen bowls. Capt. Octavio’s beloved octopus companion has slithered in to proffer greetings to you as well.
This original artwork and story are copyright Ramona Szczerba 2008. Neither image nor story can be reproduced without my express written permission. Thanks!