The Mermaid Experience – Chapter 16

June 3

Katherine stood beside Allen in her wedding dress and heard the minister pronounce them man and wife. Renna, Lacy, Maria, and a young cousin named Katelyn stood by as her bridesmaids, and Kenneth, an old friend of Allen’s from college, was the best man. Allen’s sister Cherise was in the audience, sitting with the uncle and aunt who had taken them in after their parents died. On Katherine’s side of the room sat her mother, grandmother, and a few aunts, uncles, and cousins. Many of their friends from work filled out the audience, but it was a small wedding. Neither Allen nor Katherine had been blessed with a very large family, and both of them had suffered the loss of loved ones at an early age. It was good that they were developing a network of new friends to fill some of the gap created by the loss or distance of family members. Even Audra and John were in the audience. Even though they were Allen’s and Katherine’s employers, shared experiences were making them into friends as well.

Allen and Katherine kissed passionately, and the audience cheered them on. The day continued with all of the usual festivities until it was finally time for Allen and Katherine to drive their festively decorated car to San Antonio. Rather than put themselves into debt with a long, expensive honeymoon, the couple had decided to spend two nights in a nice hotel and see the Alamo. They would have a lifetime to spend together afterwards, and hopefully plenty of opportunities for more expensive vacations once they had settled down a little. As is true for many couples, more of their honeymoon was spent in the hotel than anywhere else, though they did have a nice tour of the Alamo. They swam in the hotel pool and Allen was a little surprised to see that Katherine kept her feet together and kicked mermaid-style even without her tail. One of the other hotel guests almost jumped in to “save” her when she stayed down at the bottom of the deep end for 3-1/2 minutes.

Before long the weekend was gone and it was time to head home and back to work. Since Allen’s apartment was larger, they had moved all of Katherine’s stuff into his place before the wedding. All they needed to do with Katherine’s apartment was some cleaning before they turned in the keys. They spent some of their time on Sunday evening opening wedding gifts and putting them away before retiring to the bedroom for the night. On Monday morning it was back to work for both of them.

“How was the honeymoon?” John asked as Allen entered the Orca plant in the morning.

“Very good.”

“I can tell you liked it by the goofy grin on your face. So was it worth waiting to get married?”

“I know that’s not very common nowadays.” Answered Allen. “But yes, I believe it was. Neither of us has been attending a church lately, but we both believe that sex outside of marriage is wrong. And we felt that if we could have the self-control to wait for intimacy until we were married, our union would be stronger and longer-lasting because of that commitment. Although I had to take a few cold showers, I think waiting shows that our love is based on mutual respect and admiration, not just the physical desires of our bodies.”

“I can certainly respect your decision. You two seem to be a wonderful couple, and I wish you all the best.”

“Thank you.”

“I have an assignment that I think you will like. Sub 12 is getting close to being completed. All it lacks is for Jeff to finish running some tests on the batteries and it will be ready to go. How would you like to help Phil take it out for some underwater testing?”

“I would love to! I’ve wanted to spend more time inside one of these subs since the day you hired me and gave me a ride.”

“I thought you might like it. There will be a checklist to follow, and Phil will be the main pilot, of course, but I imagine there will be a chance for you to man the controls for a while.”

“Great! Thanks!”

“I’ll let you know when Jeff is done, and then you and Phil can schedule the test. It will probably be near the end of the week.”

Allen went to his desk and began working, but he probably got less work done than usual as he daydreamed about the opportunity to actually travel in one of the subs. He spent some time on the internet looking for off-the-shelf motors and actuators for a manipulator arm, but he was having a hard time finding anything that met the requirements. He would probably have to work with a manufacturer to develop something custom, but if he could find an off-the-shelf motor that came close, the manufacturer might be able to make it without jacking the cost up too high. He made a spreadsheet to keep track of which motors met which requirements.

In the afternoon, Jeff came by.

“I hear you get to go out on the test run for sub 12.” He said.

“Yes, John told me this morning. I’m really looking forward to it.”

“You’re a lucky guy. Have fun. I’ll have it ready for you by the end of the day tomorrow, I think.”

Something seemed a little off about Jeff. He looked a little pale and sick. Maybe he was jealous that Allen got to go out in the sub and he didn’t. Allen returned to his work for the rest of the day. When he got home, he told Katherine the good news.

“That sounds exciting!” She told him. “Where will you take the sub?”

“I think we just go straight out into the Gulf of Mexico. One of the tests is a deep dive and the bay here isn’t deep enough. We have to go south quite a distance to get more than 50 feet deep.”

“How deep will you go?”

“This is just a quick test, so we aren’t planning to go real deep. Phil says he knows a place where we can get down to 100 feet.”

“When are you going?”

“We haven’t determined exactly when yet. Jeff said he would be done tomorrow, so sometime after that I suppose.”

Link to chapter 17

Link to chapter 15

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