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Threat Level: Dolphin

By J. L. Ender

The jungle island loomed ahead, a silhouette against the rising sun. I hurtled across the tips of the waves in my best tuxedo. Six of the most accomplished and highly trained Navy SEALs to ever swim for Uncle Sam followed close behind.

We made for a cave hidden at the back of a narrow cove, so slim the nuclear submarines docked here could barely fit. Ocho had chosen his island lair well, but he hadn’t counted on Adolphus Godolphin being sent on loan from the British Government. I had my pistol, I had my license to kill in my wallet, and I was ready to make waves.

Three submarines were docked inside, no doubt stocked with enough nuclear armament to destroy the Earth three times over and still have the juice left to nuke my Grandma’s rock-hard tuna noodle casserole. Barely.

Octopus and squid armed with machine guns and katanas strolled the catwalks. This would be no walk in the coral reef.

“Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah!” I said quietly to the seal sergeant, speaking in my native tongue.

“Arf-arf,” he agreed. He waved his flipper at his team, and they dispersed to set the charges. C4. Our backup plan? Blow the whole island to Poseidon’s commode if things went south.

I leapt onto the nearest catwalk. I would use stealth and cunning to slip into Ocho’s office and steal the nuclear launch codes.

“Is that a dolphin?” someone shouted. A haze of bullets filled the air.

I ducked behind a crate, drawing my trusty pistol. “So much for stealth and cunning.” I waited for a break in the blistering attack, then leaned out and emptied the clip. Nine shots, nine henchmen going home on sushi platters.

After a moment of silence, I stepped out of hiding. Maybe I could still flipper up to Ocho’s office. A blade swiped at me, followed by another. An octopus wielding eight swords lunged at me. I dodged left and right, avoiding attacks. On reflex I fired my pistol. Nothing but a click drier than my favorite martini.

One of the swords sliced through the sleeve of my suit.

“Now you’ve gone and done it.” I backed up and threw myself forward, bopping his squishy face with my snout. A few more tentacles swung to cut me, but the effort was futile. The octopus collapsed.

I adjusted my cuff links carefully, then reloaded my pistol. This was my chance.

A shot narrowly missed sending me to early retirement. I ducked to the side behind another crate and glanced out to see an orca in a cowboy hat standing in the middle of the loading platform, wielding a revolver in either fin. Spotting me, he fired wildly. Shots ricochet like tuna scattering before a shark.

“You just gonna hide behind that crate, ya lily-livered sea cuke? Come out and fight!” He tipped his Stetson back on his fluke and drew another clip from his camo vest. I could tell the whale wouldn’t go down without a big splash.

The whale charged forward and kicked the crate with a crack of his mighty tail. I dove to the side, firing as I leapt away from the dock. I flopped into the water. The crate landed a second behind me, sending up a spray to join the pall of gun smoke in the air.

When the smoke cleared, the whale was still standing.

“Blubber,” he said, grinning.

I raised the detonator for the little grenade I’d tossed at his feet. “Whale be seeing you.” I clicked the button, blowing the cowboy orca away.

“Arf-arf!” I turned and spotted a seal with its nose out of the water. It saluted me. The charges were set.

“Ah-ah-ah-ah!” I replied, which meant “Get out of here!”

“Ever stepped on a shell at the beach, Agent Godolphin?” An accented voice rang across the catwalks. Ocho McOcto stepped from the shadows, placing a monocle over one eye. “That’s you to me. A pain in my tentacles.”

“Well, you are trying to blow up the free world. I canceled my afternoon plans.”

“You should have canceled all your plans.” Ocho pulled out a laser gun and fired, almost turning me into next Sunday’s fish fry. The nearby water grew superheated. I leapt back onto the docks.

One shot left. If I missed now, I was a goner.

“Once I vaporize a few cities, the world will have no choice but to bow to me. A new nuclear age will dawn!”

“I love Grandma, but that doesn’t mean I want to eat her tuna noodle casserole.”


“Prepare to die, Ocho.”

We fired at the same time. My bullet hits its mark—right into his laser, and the light backfired into the barrel. Ocho grunted and threw the weapon away.

I pulled out the detonator for the C4. Ocho leapt at me, his many tentacles grasping. I pressed the button.

The first explosion rocked the catwalks and knocked us into the water. Ocho banged his head on the way down. Seeing the octopus was unconscious, I wrapped a fin around his squishy body and propelled myself away from the island as it blew.

Out on the ocean, we met with the SEAL team at the rendezvous point. Ocho began to stir.

I grinned at the octopus, but not to rub in my victory. It’s the only expression my face can make. “I hope you had insurance.”

Ocho sighed. “The policy started tomorrow.”

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J.L. Ender‘s first published novel, Portal World, is available now. He has also released several short stories, including The Rocket Game and The Meek Shall Inherit. His new superhero series, Steel Fox Investigations, will begin January 2020. Ender has worked as a dishwasher, a beef jerky labeler, a warehouse worker, a shelf stocker, a greeter, a traveling technician, a laser engraver, a package handler, a copywriter, a graphic designer, a librarian, an editor, a dispatcher, and a phone operator. He lives in Ohio with his dog Bear.

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