The Laser Fiction - The Intrinsic Measurement









In Memory
Sean Pettibone



The Intrinsic Measurement

Billowing resplendently as we drew near its narrow circumference, the temporal fissure attracted undiminished curiosity. Its thick layers of clouded air devised an impermeable defense, cloaking the impending destination lying beyond the pared bridge. Residual confidence inexorably built within its surface, but I maintained a cautious remove. Taking the opposite approach, my eyes observed from afar while she confidently traversed the transient opening ahead, unyielding in her determination. Unable to stand in place, watching impatiently from a distance, I forged carefully into the breach. Intuitively mirroring the outline of her route without inducement, my footsteps followed her lead. Her pacing largely bereft of the accompanying rectitude that the encounters with the malignant fears inherently brought to the fore, she maintained her defenses. Not wanting to squander the enrichment on offer, I overcame my longings for tranquility and bravely followed in her wake. The window seemed to widen as I drew towards its circumference; the radiant light quickly brightening as I entered the perimeter. I felt the surface beneath my feet start to waver and shake, becoming unstable before falling away. The previously solid ground became saturated, its surface breaking apart and collapsing beneath each strident step. I felt my feet begin to slosh and swerve as the liquid currents quickly overwhelmed my position. I couldn't see far ahead due to the blinding light of the portal, but the initial burst of energy and its accompanying interval of unsettled machinations eventually subsided.

The impervious surroundings gradually regained a natural light. I quickly located her distinctive outline ahead. Her body wasn't submerged underneath the raging floods. Fortuitously, she'd managed to find shelter above a narrow wooden platform and was standing on its surface above the waves. Ensconced without suffering a reduction in her inference, she surveyed the rapidly surging waters, her feet safely removed from the currents as they buffeted her. Standing mute, yet attentively, she observed her decidedly unfettered surroundings with a mixture of curiosity and trepidation. Their chaotic nature obscured their meaning and origin, making it unclear what might be lurking beneath the seas. I watched her carefully but wasn't entirely free from worry. I was still afraid unseen might pose danger, despite the significant distance, we'd managed to set ourselves apart from the surroundings, without arousing suspicion.

Eventually, it became apparent that it would be preferable standing alone. Instinctively navigating the currents meticulously, I mitigated my apprehension with complimentary fixation. I could wait for unproductive anxiety until I was in closer alignment, standing safely alongside her protected position. My maneuver didn't go as smoothly as anticipated. Before I realized what was happening, the shallow water rose until I was half-submerged in the water. This made moving to her side more challenging than expected. She maintained a distance from the environment but noticed I was struggling to close the last breach. Quickly turning towards me, she knelt down, took her hand and extended it into the breach and let me grasp it for support. Her force pulled me towards her effortlessly. This assistance resolved our impervious distance but I remained partially submerged. Holding her grasp firmly, I managed to climb up and settled a half-step towards her position.
Inherently nervous, her insistence persuasively swayed me. Kneeling downward with renewed enthusiasm and drive, I anticipated a forceful leap upward, bracing for a resurgence of upward pressure. She endeavored a vigorous thrust, clenched her hands and pulled me through the remaining interval without hesitation. Her hands worked efficiently before the churning ocean could reclaim my tenuous location completely. Just before jumping up, the sand underneath began to buckle. I couldn't feel a bottom as it slipped away. There was no recourse and I had to close my eyes, moving forward resolutely. Her confidence dissolved any lingering reluctance, I trusted her push me upward. She took unmistakable command, and thrust her arm upward without reluctance, bringing a residual strength I didn't possess. Surrendering command allowed her to take control. In a blink, my feet were firmly ensconced on the platform. I felt a bit disoriented but relieved to be out of immediate danger. However, there was an unsettling realization; something wasn't right.

When I examined her disposition, it was perplexing that she didn't look worried. There wasn't a drop of water visible on her person. She'd inexplicably managed to traverse the innumerable currents untouched by their residue. I couldn't rationalize how this might have happened. I tentatively decided to brush it off, crediting her effective techniques or perhaps my over-active imagination. It took only a minor blink of time to recover from the rough landing. She let me dry off and acclimate before moving back to her previous location at the other side of the slip. I shook it off effortlessly. The residual water wasn't particularly heavy or wet and evaporated quickly under the unrelenting sunlight. My shoes remained water-logged for several minutes, but the liquid gradually soaked through and left my sneakers, not even leaving a puddle behind. I walked toward her but decided to hold back. I didn't want to breach her circumference, instead keeping a remove several paces on the boat's opposing side, allowing her ample leeway for the task at hand.

Her patience was running low, and she impatiently ordered me to finish drying myself quickly in order to approach an approximation of stability. She indicated that the mission needed to commence without further delay. Changing focus and reorienting my gaze, I looked outside the immediate area. and start scanning upward. To gain direction, I closely followed her directives but faced difficulty following a skyline unlike any I'd encountered previously. The clouds seemed to flow like water, extended out much further than I was accustomed. The billowing air exuded a mass and density I hadn't anticipated and looked to extend into the distance. I faced an incomprehensible array of vividly illuminated stars in elaborate constellations containing resplendent, singular flares of energy. These formed into mass conglomerations of cutting, sharp-edged spikes that were unexpectedly omnipotent, their pronounced threat immediate and unavoidable.

Their spires shone ominously, piercing the deceptively quiet serenity in the middle of tranquil seas, calm winds and abundant daylight. Sharp edges became increasingly visible as we moved closer towards their fortified position. Their form grew increasingly intimidating despite the bright sun, calm seas, and docile skies surrounding them. Examining the sun, it emanated an intrinsically wavering sensory appearance. Its radius was deceptively orange and red rather than the expected yellow. I wasn't able to view it directly for any significant time, but it looked surprisingly familiar in some aspects. The distinctive object conversely entailed otherwise, with strangely altered features simultaneously present. It was flatter and longer than expected, yet also smaller and more obtuse. Unlike the tranquil object I'd anticipated discovering, it appeared strikingly unsettled, contradicting its own momentum, disrupting its own rhythm. The inherently hot surface closely resembled an intense conflict, with opposing sides jockeying for supremacy on its burning face. Her eyes squinted and she managed an expeditious, indirect assessment, as she took provisional measure of the turbulent events occurring distantly on its tempestuous surface.
Preforming her inscrutable examination intently, the fiery forces responded unequivocally, if marginally to her elaborate observations and impeccable reasoning. This provided motivation to continue defraying her frustration while rejuvenating her energy. She waved her arms purposefully in front of her determinedly, creating shadow and protection. Simultaneously, I was only gathering taking only transient, partial understanding of the situation; a forlorn solution was becoming increasingly frustrating on my part. Attempting to ascertain the details burning beneath the sun's glare was too bright. I couldn't examine its surface directly with enough insight sustained to measure its numerous fluctuations with any degree of accuracy. Any visual demarcations on the incandescent sun's intemperate surface were indecisive, only fortifying its searing deterrence. This enigmatic cast was disquieting, offering intransigent reluctance in response to my approach. She was able to compel a solution, through different means. Taking a contrasting approach to the one I was planning, she proposed a completely unanticipated explanation.

Advising me to utilize a converse perspective, she surmised that it was likely that we weren't standing beneath the same sun I was accustomed to. Her reflexive approach to the solar conflagration didn't appear to make sense. This fell far outside the boundaries of my expectations. There was no way we could have traversed such a distance. This theory seemed improbable and caught me unprepared. Encountering a distinctly different sun didn't make much sense to me. Despite this, I decided to give the benefit of the doubt and pondered her seemingly far-fetched rationale, enumerating the implications. When I thought back through the preceding occurrences, things clarified. I couldn't reconcile the strangely dry water without recalling that we'd converged at that point expeditiously without impediment. Certain elements in the atmosphere reacted precipitously, unexpectedly dispersing beneath the overrunning waves. Rationalizing our unencumbered pathway was nearly impossible. I resolved this contradiction with a realization that I was likely residing alongside her in a non-conforming space, exploring unfamiliar landscapes that could potentially reconcile our unmitigated oceanic quandary. The remaining counter-intuitive aspects began to make sense after I resolved its inherent instability. Billowing clouds streaked overhead, their impermeable waves blending into each other, permeating the skies in saturated colors that defied categorization.

Watching them swirling above fearlessly, we observed their stratified circular motions clashing far overhead. The sun drew its energy from an unknown source, demanding subservience from nearby surroundings. Its over-powering glare created an inescapable, manifestly bright glow. I caught of glimpse of its accompanying inherent energy; burning brightly, without causing excessive burning and residual heat. The shadows it left behind didn't appear as they could have under ordinary circumstances. Underlying forces allowed me to visualize movement beneath its focused light, but didn't overwhelm the surrounding area. Observing the waves, flowing over each other without aggression, they appeared to slip and curl between one another. Each one flowing into the other, protecting themselves from sublimation despite the relentless onslaught, they frantically endured.

The paradoxically dry, impotent water didn't produce the expected impact on her persistent pace despite pronounced adversarial elements. It might have emanated from within the fabric, or possibly an intrinsically defensive barrier. Maintaining her distance, while not allowing a single drop to disperse on her, she repelled it effortlessly and expeditiously. The waves unleashed endless currents of water to insubstantial effect. Its liquid confrontation wasn't particularly aggressive, her persona appearing impervious to the assault. Perplexingly, the narrow slip of wood that we stood. It provided inordinate stability and protection, no swinging or excessive budging despite the relentless aquatic forces massed against its tenuous position for sustained periods. Given the confusingly delineated circumstances, her explanation sounded plausible, remarkably straightforward from her perspective. This became intractable and complicated when I attempted to understand what was occurring. I faced the multitude of intangibles on my own, without requesting assistance. I wasn't seeking further elaboration and required little reinforcement. I knew it was likely she was correct. She decided to leave sorting out the details to me. I needed to arrive at my own theories and draw my conclusions. It would be counter-productive for her to explain excessively. Her approach allowed me to discover the answers using my inherent abilities and occasional serendipity.

Lacking explanation of its parameters couldn't deter me from pursuing the mission. Her steady pace and measured consideration was all that was required. She neglected to mention the outlines that enabled the apparatus behind her, causing oceanic aversion. Her muted response lacked the erudite coordination expected, but allowed me unrestrained exploration. Left to my own devices, I didn't request enumerations for each diminutive problem. She was usually circumspect, her responses alternating between staggering and mystifying. Expecting further detail surrounding her densely abstract, hypothetical theories would be counter-productive. I couldn't expect her to elaborate regarding the origins of the hibernating light-distributive machine. Accessing the relationship with our currently implacable situation to previous encounters would be akin to extracting a symphony from silence. She had a sensible rationale; helping sporadically with intractable solutions, while observing my actions circumspectly for the most part, allowing me to unravel other sectors in due course at most points. This could have been frustrating, but at certain points was actually engaging and unexpectedly invigorating.

Raging currents churned ever-faster; their sharp, clashing waves and uneven patterns becoming increasingly unpredictable. Misaligned winds blew in contrasting directions, adding uncertainty with each gust. Standing our ground on the narrow wooden platform became increasingly unnerving as the ocean's supernatural forces became restless. They reconnected unfocused energy until they coalesced and began clashing, their internal battles within emanating from countless different angles. She kept her balance, only kneeling a half-step in occasional adjustment. I didn't share her inherent confidence. It took substantial effort on my part to find the correct position and angle. I slipped around before I found a secure area where I held myself and held my position for an extensive duration. She didn't look unsettled by the storm's onset, adjusting her stance moldy to endure its most severe aspects until the maelstrom subsided The wind sustained its assault for an extended period. It was difficult to stay grounded, and I had to squint continually beneath its assault from the sides while shielding my head.

I found myself instinctively covering my head, protecting it with my hands from the unrelenting heat and instability emanating from the sun. Growling beneath us, the clashing currents grew until they produced an angry roar, becoming inexorably louder, until its incessant screeching and scratching against the wooden planks became unavoidable. It almost began to sound like someone screeching and yelling, making relentless squalling noise. None of this appeared to bother her to any significant degree. She remained detached from the situation, balancing defensiveness and alertness as she stood in place, her remove allowing her to objectively decipher the assault. While she didn't anticipate the diminishing of its fiery winds or the gradual calming of its churning waters. She knew from experience that the confrontation would eventually resolve on its own, eventually diminishing beneath a natural expiration of its energies. We'd need to show patience and wait for the agitated surface to reconnect to its tranquil past.

Watching the unapologetic winds and rain rage unflinchingly, her instinctively patient approach was proven correct. The massive storm diminished gradually until it shrank into a minor squall. It couldn't be measured by any standard method. The winds began to subside and while its waters calmed into a residual breeze. Incremental at first, the storm began to dissolve on its own, without prompting. Unexpected bursts appeared, as it attempted to re-energize itself. but those surges didn't last. Anticipating these events, she consoled me to remain calm. I could commence without worry, regaining my primary focus on our pending explorations. Eventually, tranquility and peacefulness gained prominence and substantially calmed, allowing us space to venture ahead fearlessly. As the strong winds diminished to a serene gusts, it quickly became obvious that it had thrown us a little bit off-course. It wasn't immediately clear how far we drifted. Drifting further into the ocean, our vessel ended up inexorably stranded, marooned in the vast expanse of water.

It wasn't obvious how we'd manage to navigate the terrain. A narrow wooden slip supported us, but revealed nothing of its origin or motivation. I repeatedly searched, paying close attention for the smallest cues, searching for any indicator blinking or bleeping. Looking closely revealed manifestly empty planks. Attempting to locate even a small button or tiny lever of any sort, there was nothing. She stood up straight and resumed scanning the distant horizons for any discordant signals, but there didn't appear to be anything waiting for us out there. I looked around and saw a vast empty sea, slowly calming down, but offering little reassurance on any front. Deciding against straying too close to her position, I waited for some signal on her part but she didn't say a word, any impending indications residing within her silently, any solutions resolutely unarticulated.

Maintaining my position beside her, I stood nearly parallel to her position. At this point, the storm withdrew its remaining assaults. An unexpected calm balance began to emerge, allowing us to concentrate our focus. Broadening her horizons seemed to add little. She needed to wait a little longer, and warned me not indulge excessively with eagerness. This passive approach appeared ineffective initially but she sustained focus and stamina significantly longer. My mind began to wander but her focus didn't waver. Her inherent convergence was remarkable. She was able to locate a large object heading in our direction from an extended distance, long before I would have noticed anything amiss. Unable to extract what it might be from that angle, I decided not to guess at its purpose or function. I waited as it slowly emerged from beneath the waves, not rushing to hasten its ponderous journey or reveal pertinent details.

Despite traversing unknown territory, we weren't stranded on the water. She managed a tangible understanding of our whereabouts, even though I couldn't locate a discernable navigation point to use. I wanted to ask for guidance but realized she was preoccupied. She seemed familiar with the surroundings to a degree I hadn't anticipated. She seemed to know where the short-cuts and hidden paths were, while avoiding detours and traps lurking beneath the surface. Some of these were only minor impediments. I could only surmise that she might have been there previously, given her extensive, intuitive understanding of the terrain.

From of the corner of my eye, I noticed an indistinct object incoherently moving across the water. It was lackadaisically moving in our direction. When the vessel inevitably drew towards our location, it became apparent that it was a larger, more elaborate type of ship. It was unclear whether the vessel had been sent purposefully or appeared randomly or some combination. Nobody appeared to have command of the vessel, at that distance, there was no one controlling its movements. There wasn't anything directing it aside from the strong currents which kept it on a relatively narrow path, heading directly towards our direction. It was made out light wood, smooth and polished, but it lacked tangible instruments we could implement.

I expected to encounter sails, an engine or, at the very least, a steering wheel, but its deck was unadorned. There was nothing on the surface. No levers, switches or dials were visible within its attachments that would aid navigation, propulsion or investigation. There were no seats or chairs evident throughout the single-level ship. I hoped for something, but there wasn't anything to grasp or hold onto. Nothing visible would emerge from its surface as the vessel glided closer to our location. Its flat, blank surface gave little indication as to its inherent functionality or a clue to its underlying purpose. I waited as it slid in our direction, its momentum slowed significantly by the hibernating ocean. She remained calm as it drew closer on its path. This provisional approach took significantly longer than anticipated, but waiting for an extended period didn't appear to impede or disrupt her distinctively unattached demeanor in the slightest.

After several ambiguous minutes floating at a precautionary remove, the wooden slip suspended its reluctant distance, commencing an elaborate alignment procedure. It took position until it came into a nearby port where she could respond in kind. releasing it from its mild-mannered furlough. She scanned the vessel before taking a cautious step towards the empty ship. She retrieved one of its stray ropes, pulled on its and began the process of reeling the boat towards our position. The rope put up a surprising fight against her commands, waving and kicking the surface. She fought with the fastenings with surprising vigor; this made for an unexpectedly intense struggle. Relenting from struggling with its unforeseen agility, she let the cord slip from her grasp and waved her arms in worrisome motions, indicating a pressing need for assistance. Sprinting ahead, I felt a quick burst of involuntary protective energy, as I enjoined the tenuous struggle. I jumped over the moorings stood alongside her position then quickly took a strong grip on the tethers. We worked quickly before its resistance subsided enough that we could neutralize and secured it to the periphery. It required some effort but eventually, we were able to stabilize and command the straying vessel's lines before steering the remaining rope into a non-threatening position, far removed from the uncontrolled, distracting ocean surrounding it.

Securing the boat in its marring, she reached down forcefully and finally took unswerving control of the ship. It was an unexpected, yet welcome change in tactics. I acceded my control and watched her effortlessly guide it until it was nearly parallel to the docks, sitting almost directly beside the narrow platform. Following this, she released the main rope. Gently pushing using only her hand, she carefully steered it through the last gap. She waited until it was fully docked; flush with our narrow platform. Standing back a step, she examined its strangely uncluttered surface, and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. Despite the unflinching closeness it achieved, there still weren't any visible switches, levers, ropes, buttons, or sails that could be implemented to aid our embankment. This was unexpected, but it offered unparalleled resilience, buoyancy and stability; balancing its lack of mechanical devices, physical comforts and navigational features with practicality. I looked in her direction and she seemed taken aback by its comparative sparseness. Her reaction belied dashed expectations of a more substantial transport.
Disconnected from her anticipation, the slender wooden slip maneuvered safely in the water. Its lack of definition posed an unwelcome obstacle. Surveying the smooth surface, there were no markings to indicate its suitability for our purpose. She looked it over for an extended time, attempting to make sense of the blank slip of wood floating in our path. She walked towards the boat but it didn't respond to her initial prompts, instead sitting passively awaiting a more pronounced signal on her part. She instructed me to walk onto its eastern side and stand in place, she followed suit on the western edge and we balanced each other's weight instinctively. I looked in her direction and noticed that she'd maintained her position effortlessly without shifting in direction.

Tentatively gazing past the impediments and thinking beyond the present gales and gusts, I couldn't comprehend how what was occurring to us contemporaneously might have been part of a larger purpose. She appeared to have acquired a renewed commitment to the task, without articulating what it might have entailed. Without saying a word, she expeditiously pushed the vessel from its moorings until it was drifting aimlessly on the waves. Moving ahead without enumeration, its direction appeared incoherent.

Zigzagging across the surface incoherently, its piecemeal navigation was unsettling and confusing. There was no sense of momentum, while an unconstrained expanse of ocean made it difficult to track our progress. It felt like we were moving ahead, but the distance we'd traversed and our goal remained unclear. She wasn't concerned by the lack of delineation inherent in its automated directives and paradoxically focused on subjective elements, maintaining her focus on what might have been lurking underneath, overlooking the sea's declarative choppiness and uneven waves, ignoring the atmosphere's impervious, unrestrained presence.

Not dwelling on insignificant tasks made me nervous. She wasn't managing the navigation of the temporary squall. Her detachment fell short of my expectations. Allowing the vessel to automate basic functions meant she didn't need to distract from her main objective. Unhesitatingly, her attention was elsewhere as she dispensed tracking our progress in any determinative or measurable method. There were no indications of distance travelled, subsequent adjustments or accumulated pace at her disposal. She kept a resolute confidence that the vessel's intrinsic, yet unseen abilities would carry us to our destination securely, regardless of the preliminary encumberments and unexpected circumstances it might face.

Eschewing a direct steering method wasn't obvious tactic, but she waited patiently for it's inherent intuition and silent navigation to work its course. She kept a distinct remove from the situation, apparently impervious to the seemingly minor disruptions within its erratic waves. Anticipating the unknown, I constantly surveyed the surroundings, my eyes jumping direction and shifting focus constantly. The surface waters seemed calm upon initial inspection, but I wasn't entirely confident. There appeared to be nothing on the sea's surface that I could visualize, but I couldn't bring my defenses to relent. Maintaining a constant vigilance was difficult on my end for an extended period. She turned to me and looked puzzled by what she considered an excessively defensive disposition.

Initially, she couldn't understand why I remained fixated on a seemingly invisible, incoherent threat. The seas were a little choppy, she conceded, waving her hands up and down briefly, but these insignificant distresses shouldn't have arrived unexpectedly. The ocean contained nothing that the boat wouldn't be able to counter, we'd persevere without expending our energy on them. We'd successfully dispatched the previous encounters with relative ease. Furthermore, there was nothing excessively dangerous that she could locate causing impending stratification in our immediate area. She remained perplexed by my determined approach and consistent defensiveness. After a short period deciding how to reassure any residual fears, she decided that measured detachment wasn't going to be effective in resolving our current entanglements.

She walked forward directly until her gaze hit me directly, filling my vulnerable easement with unmistakable confidence. Her movement to the other side had an unintended effect. It roiled the uneasy balance we'd achieved, and the vessel listed slightly but noticeably. Some of the stronger waves washed over the surface, adding to my sense of unease; however, her purpose was effective and laudable. Extending her hand, she awaited my response and I acquiesced, grasping her firmly. Once we locked arms, it reminded me that I remained under her steadfast protection and our unbreakable bond wouldn't be dislodged. Reconnection and reassurance only took her a few seconds to achieve, but I felt significant relief from pensiveness immediately. There wasn't much more for us to say to each other, and we stood together while holding hands; our mutually secure attachment was firm and strengthened instantaneously.

My sensibility and perception found an equilibrium expeditiously, taking surprisingly little effort on my part. She knew what she was doing and withdrew her hand gradually and unstintingly. She turned and sprinted back, retaking her previous location on side of the boat's eastern flank. This quickly reduced the tilting boat's angle, stabilizing its position allowing to stand straight up at ease with a stronger sense of security. I no longer felt endangered, instead reassured by her in an unarticulated yet tangible manner. The lingering threat eased quickly and this allowed me to refocus my attention on the task at hand. Looking over my shoulder for guidance, I noticed something unexpected occur on her side. She didn't dwell on the temporary lack of confidence and quickly resumed her previous task. I immediately noticed that she resumed her mission effortlessly.

Fully immersed in exploring the blistering yet calm atmosphere without missing anything; concurrently deepening our exploration of the impermeable aquatic surroundings. Looking around our position, I came to the realization that it was unlikely that I'd be able to accurately define the objects lacking any additional assistance on the boat's part. It wasn't taking unnecessary risks. Relying on my instincts meant allowing the unstable atmosphere to filter down without letting the instability it caused permeate enough to affect me negatively. This wasn't as easy as it appeared, but I was able achieve an appropriate balance by allowing only tangential elements past my defenses. An increasingly distant encounter and subsequent disengagement had convincingly settled into the past. The accompanying calmness allowed a welcome respite. The diminished storm had calmed so that we could explore the tranquil surroundings unobtrusively. I looked into the horizon, relieved to visualize the worst but locating nothing impeding our progress.
The waves settled into a predictable rhythm that was unexpectedly reassuring, rolling the narrow boat forward, pushing ahead without undue aggression. Gazing above the skies restrained themselves and ceased battling one another, arriving at an unexpected truce. Their hues took on a calmer appearance as they quietly restrained themselves, the previously unresolvable conflict apparently transformed by exhaustion on both sides into dispassionate cooperation. A lack of untoward occurrence for an extended period created a transitory lull. I waited patiently as the boat drifted alongside the surface. There was no sense attempting to control it's maneuvering on my part. She appeared to understand where we were headed which I found reassuring, though our objective remained elusive.

Deciding to follow her example, I resumed maintaining guardianship, though without the fear that clouded my previous inspections. Reflecting a passive approach, I watched as the currents swirled around and pushed us gently towards the next waypoint without attempting to steer them a particular direction. This technique meant speed wasn't imperative and their languid pace became inherently repetitive. The endless waves lapped by without variance; they lacked impetus for acceleration, unfolding beneath us incrementally. I gathered that traversing the ocean in this manner would take awhile and felt my mind drift. Eventually, my eyes closed and I fell into a partial slumber despite the bright, hot sunlight. It wasn't clear how long the interval was, but when I awoke, someone was pushing against my shoulder. It didn't take long for me to realize who it was. She told me to join her immediately. I looked around and couldn't quite ascertain what she spotted.

Once my bleary eyes focused, indistinct forms began appearing, arising from the swirling currents unannounced. Initially nearly invisible, their peaks appeared sporadically, partially submerged beneath the incoming waves. Their structure and purpose strangely elusive, remaining obscured by the crashing ocean as we drew closer towards their indistinct radius. I wanted to maneuver closer to access a more practical viewing angle but had no tangible method of conveyance. At this point, the ship came to a sudden halt and remained at a cautious remove, unwilling to subject us to their unrelenting danger. Impatience got the best of me and I insisted on a better viewpoint until the ship reluctantly complied. It carefully maneuvered tangentially, edging slightly closer to them while maintaining a respectful remove.

After implementing minor adjustments, I was finally able to get a better look and could make out an indistinct, sharply-angled, triangular shape peeking above the water. It didn't reveal that much about it's functionality; it wasn't clear if it functioned as a guard tower, surveillance post or even just a simple buoy. At this point, the boat would concede no further ground and refused to move forward despite my protestations. Struggling to decipher its purpose was nearly impossible; its passive, mute disposition offered scant insight. There were no visible markings on the object as it floated benignly on the water. She adjusted her stance slightly and knelt down for a better look, but couldn't figure out its origins or purpose. The boat turned away from the object and it seemed to vanish just as quickly as it appeared. It withheld its mysteries from us before vanishing into the distance.

It didn't require much patience before another three-sided object appeared; this one maintained a similar triangle shape, diminutive style and construction but was slightly taller and slimmer than the first structure we encountered. The vessel floated past the second enigmatic structure pliantly, and like its predecessor, the second object kept its ownership and accompanying tasks hidden from scrutiny. Subsequently, additional objects stood and jutted over the sea, impeding forward momentum completely. Steering around them added difficulty and slowed us down. Eventually, we constructed an effective and suitable response. This approach allowed the ship to anticipate their arrival in advance, and after several encounters, we sailed past each of them effortlessly, until its automatic navigational functions became almost became second nature. The vessel's maneuvers made it clear that it would sustain an uneven path in order to keep itself at a safe remove from their sharp edges and uneven exteriors. Additional similar objects appeared at shorter intervals.

These mysterious objects were inherently frightening yet simultaneously intriguing. Our initial motivation was to explore and understand their purpose. Taking this distracting, investigatory approach would cause delays, undermine the larger mission, while not keeping us safe. The inscrutable, inarguable approach inherent to vessel's automatic, overriding functional technique helped us transcend any potentially destructive curiosity in a hurry. Even looking at the arrayed sharp-points and conflagrations of pending threat was frightening from a visual standpoint. They appeared to be glaring at us, girding for a fight, despite deceptively floating silently over the water. Attempting to take the cutting, unreachable floating barriers on, even indirectly, would have in all probability, unleashed a cascade of disastrous consequences

The boat responded by purposely avoiding contact, which quickly resolved our unspoken yet insistent inquiry. Its actions clearly and emphatically demonstrated that we'd to remain far outside their path without exception. There was no need to intervene and examine those inherently threatening spikes, they'd only cause needless trouble. It wasn't precisely clear who had placed these remote barriers throughout the ocean, or what the fearsome port-structures indicated, but their presence consistently reminded us of our vulnerability. She seemed assured that we were headed in a promising direction, apparently deciding to focus her energy on that aspect, and not be drawn into fear. The vessel's intuition was strong enough to counter these stagnant buoys and avoid getting caught within their intractable entanglements. It would be vastly more efficient, and a much more useful expenditure of her energy to keep the work ahead prominent. She began to turn her attention in another direction, quickly focusing her attention toward the next point in our impending journey.

Passing innumerable floating sharply-angled objects, while watching them carefully from far away, I attempted to examine their surface but found nothing visible. At that angle, it was impossible to decipher anything written or printed on their sides. There was nothing inherent from that far away, and as we drew farther, pulled deeply into the ocean's pull, the v-shaped objects sat quietly on the waves.  Recoiling from their threat, my protestations and inquiries drew no response; not a beep or blip could be heard from their end. They maintained a hibernative, coiled posture, ready to strike if we dared navigate any closer to their position. After consistently appearing at regular intervals, their intransient formations began to thankfully scatter. I felt the pressure subside as their positions shifted further apart, while she remained unfazed by their unapologetic intimidation. The threat diminished significantly scattering their intentional maliciousness until their collective threat appeared to sink beneath the waves, nearly vanishing. They continued to increase in distance, and we navigated past them until their near-ubiquitous positioning and contiguous placement became less prevalent.

Inherently cautious, the buoyant craft resumed sailing confidentially; gliding over the waves as the massive gaps separating the sharp-edged buoys increased quickly. This opened the sea's impermeable barriers while our narrow boat resumed moving forward at a consistent speed, forging ahead at a noticeably pronounced clip. This freed us to move ahead expeditiously until we'd regained a heightened momentum. We rushed ahead for an extensive period, covering a lot of ground in the process. The expansive sea unfolded for an extended period giving temporary glimpses of what lurked from within its depths, the thickly-layered water obscuring clandestine facets it contained.

The temporal vessel's forward momentum and resolute pace came to an unexpected halt just before confronting the intimidating barrier. It wasn't immediately obvious what specifically was blocking our progress. The retributive obstruction vengefully materialized in our path;  angrily taking physical form as a reinforced steel wall laden with metallic spikes, extending outward at tall height and extensive length looming over the waves. We weren't navigating directly ahead into additional entanglements, that was readily apparent. The boat sustained its position for a brief period as it contemplated and delineated, attempting to navigate towards another approach. After several minutes, the vessel navigated eastward, running across it in parallel motion while avoiding contact with its steep, impassable barrier. This defiantly counter-intuitive approach allowed us to move precipitously allowing the boat to maneuver around the blockage effortlessly. It was apparent that the structure's intimidating presence no longer represented a permanent blockage, merely what seemed in hindsight, to resemble an inconsequential diversion.

Taking adequate time to weigh its options before arriving at an effective yet passive strategy, our resilient boat eventually decided to move in parallel, directly across from the structure, passing above the imposing fortitude's defensive layers quickly and safely. The accumulated pressure on our shoulders dissolved as the automated vessel's controls effortlessly sailed past the massive wall's northern perimeter unencumbered. Without rousing undue alarm, we traversed the remaining length without encountering further delay or stirring trouble. This infused her detached approach noticeably with striking vindication. She'd grown frustrated by the constant impediments and uneven results, but the long struggle had proven worthwhile. Looking westward, my attention was quickly drawn toward a significant feature that gradually came into view on the horizon. The outline of an enigmatic island emerged as we drew closer, revealing esoteric inlets within an uneven shoreline. Myriad details and paths gradually became visible; it brought significant relief to realize we'd nearly arrived after our extended, challenging sojourn. The elusive and reluctant objective had finally, yet fitfully appeared within sight.

- Michael Palisano