Finding Silver in the Etherium

By Book Thief

Disclaimer: If I owned Disney, then Eric would have some character. Better yet, Jim would be in the picture!

x. italics mean thoughts

x. "italics" mean singing or translated words.

x. bold means... er... announcements?

x. bold italics mean a change of place

x. Did I forget anything?

x. Seriously people, ask me questions. I WANT TO FLAUNT KNOWLEDGE (and spoilers)!

Chapter Four

-Around the corner-

Present Time

Courtroom One
The Trial of Jim Hawkins

"We have come to a decision."

The Grand Councilwoman (1)stood serenely, fingers linked together, looking dignified. She stared straight into the defendant's eyes.

"Mr. Hawkins." She said softly. Jim looked up from the ground, where a gargantuan shark-like alien held him to the cold, metallic floor. "Captain Gantu, release him."

Gantu grudgingly released the spacer, standing back obediently. Jim stood up, rubbing his wrists. The Grand Councilwoman stepped forward, separating herself from her fellow council members. Members of the audience held their breaths, the suspense beginning to suffocate those inside the trial room.

Sarah Hawkins held her hands together in prayer, Delbert placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. B.E.N. covered his eyes, though he often peeked through his fingers. Amelia comforted her children, who began to cry from the tenseness of the situation. Alita struggled by the side, trying to elude the guards who kept her in place. Even Morph was present, circling around Gantu's head. A woman dressed in white hid in the shadows, watching grimly what would be the end of the Great Jim Hawkins.

The councilwoman looked at Jim apologetically. As she passed him, he saw her lips move.

I'm sorry.

"Captain James Pleiades Hawkins. For you crimes against the better ideals of our galaxy, you are hereby banished from the Intergalactic communities, and will be left stranded on a planet of our choice."

A few hours before...

In Atlantica...

A week has passed since the heir to the throne, Aquata was kidnapped from the palace.

The people were not at all happy with the news. Rumors began to fly around the city.

"Imagine! The princess, kidnapped in her own home!" An old mermaid gossiped quietly to her neighbor.

"I heard she was taken right in front of Triton!" A swordfish whispered. "How can the king not be able to keep her safe?"

"If Triton can't protect his own daughters, how can he protect his people?" A hiss-like voice added. The many gossipers nodded, not noticing the speaker slip away sneakily into the shadows.

"Quite right!"

"Those poor mermaids..."

"Oh dear, perhaps that is a valid concern..."

"Maybe it's time we get a new king, don't you think?" One murmured indigantly.

A passing young merman wearing a traveler's coat heard this, and angrily faced the speaker. "Treason! How dare you even think that!" The speaker backed down immediately, shamefaced. "I-I'm sorry, it was a joke! It wasn't very funny, was it? Ha-ha." the octopus stammered, quickly running off. The gossipers followed, shamefacedly silent.

Urchin huffed. King Triton treats me like a son! I won't allow anyone to badmouth him! He thought angrily, swimming past the busy square, suddenly remembering his childhood, spent on the streets of Atlantica, before Ariel and her father ceremoniously welcomed him into their home.

It's been two years since I came home... He sighed unhappily. I wish it were on better conditions though. I wonder how Ariel's holding up?Urchin saw an old mermaid having trouble bending down to pick her fallen groceries

"Why, thank you!" The elderly rasped when Urchin picked up various food items for her. She pinched his cheek, saying, "Your girlfriend is a lucky mermaid." The boy shook his head repeatedly, his face red.

"Oh, none? Then the mermaid you like must be blessed indeed." She said slyly.

Ariel's face swooped into his mind, and Urchin blushed further. The traveling merman shook his head. "I-I SHOULD GO NOW!" He shouted, embarrassed. The old mermaid chuckled , mumbling "Ah, youth..."

Urchin swam faster, heading straight for the palace, face flushed for the entire swim there.

Somewhere in the Etherium...

Jim rode in the back of the police cruiser, staring out a barred window. The cruiser was heading straight to the G.A. Headquarters. The human could see the metallic figures of the robot policemen in front, and Montressor from behind.

"Hey. Hey! HEY!" He called to his captors. They ignored him. Frustrated, Jim went back to looking out the window as he slumped in a chair, his hands bound together with a pair of handcuffs, jingling as it hit the metal bars.

He stared out into the Etherium, identifying stars as the cruiser breezed past them. "Sirius. Procyon. Alpha Centarui..." He murmured. Jim closed his eyes, pained. He could remember his father's voice speaking the names of the stars. "Polaris. Cassiopeia . Spica(2)..." Jim closed his eyes. And he had fallen asleep.

Where am I? I looked around me. It was dark, and the stars were out. Is this a dream? There was a familiar man beside me. Oh. It's dad. I really must be dreaming.

"Spica. She's a special star. Back at the academy, we'd call her a Binary Star." An older man said, patting me on the head. I was three again, watching the stars on the roof of the old inn. I looked at the man curiously.

"When two stars spin together at great speeds – that's a binary star. From afar, she looks like one big star." He pointed at Spica, and it twinkled at that precise moment. I was awed. "They support each other to shine best they can." I looked at the man again, this time questioningly. "Just like you and mom?"

The man's face was shadowed, forgotten in Jim's young memories. "Yeah. Just like your mom and I." He stared out quietly into the sky. He seemed sad.

"Dad?" I remember my voice asking, two octaves higher before I hit puberty.

He yawned, climbing up the roof and into the window. "It's late. Time to sleep kid." I tried to follow, but my arms were too short to reach the window. "Dad?" I called. He didn't come back, and I called him again, panicking.


But he still didn't come back.

"DAD!" Jim shouted, suddenly upright in his cot. He looked around. White walls. Oh, I'm still in the cruiser. It was just a dream.

"Just a dream Hawkins, just one horrible..."

He thought, noticing that he had broken out into a cold sweat. More like a nightmare. He grunted, wiping off the sweat on his brow before trying to catch more shut eye.

Why can't I remember his face...? Jim couldn't fall asleep again, disturbed by his thoughts. Not like I want to. He can rot for all I care. He made a disgruntled face. The cruiser came to a halt, sending the spacer flying from the sudden braking.

Jim rubbed his head, scowling. The doors opened, and the Grand Councilwoman stared down at the human.

"Mr. Hawkins." She said, her voice authoritative. "Come with me."

This isn't going to end well.

In Atlantica...

Ariel's sisters gathered by the door, apprehensively sneaking looks at their depressed sister.

"It's been a week already." Alana said in a hushed voice. "I'm getting pretty worried now."

"All she does is look out the window." Adella murmured beside her. "She doesn't eat or sleep much anymore." Andrina sighed, shooting Arista a look. "And when she looks at you... her eyes... her smile... they seem so... empty..."

Arista bit her lip, fiddling with her blond hair. "I'm really really sorry... I didn't mean it... it just came out..." she said in a hushed voice. "I already apologized so many times, but Ariel just won't hear any of it."

A weary looking Attina embraced her older sister from behind. "It's okay. You didn't mean any of it." She looked at Ariel. "I just hope she'll snap out of it."

Alana snorted. "We've tried almost anything to snap her out of it. Threatening her, begging her... what haven't we tried?"

"Scolding her, for one." Andrina murmured.

Adella made a face. "It's hard to be angry with her when she stares at you. It feels so – so..."

"... so sad." Arista whispered, the guilt biting into her once more.

"Attina!" A sharp voice called. The said girl winced visibly. "Oh no."

"Young lady, you bedder have a good reason for skipping out on Mr. Orcus like dat!" Sebastian scolded. "You know you need dose magick lessons!"

Attina bowed her head shamefacedly. "I'm sorry Sebastian. I just wanted to check up on Ariel."

The red crab snuck a peek at the youngest princess. "She's still in dat funk of hers?" he asked rhetorically. "What dat girl needs is a good talking to." he muttered loudly, and the sisters turned to look at each other, then to the crab, and nodded their heads in agreement.

When Sebastian turned, the older mermaids smiled at him.

"Sebastian, you're so right!" Alana said flatteringly, circling close the crab.

The crab "I-I am? I mean, I am." He finished proudly.

"Her actions of late seem a little... over." Andrina muttered, turning a page on her book.

Adella nodded helpfully. "Daddy isn't stern with her – at all! Maybe she needs a strong, manly presence in her life to show her that she's being silly." She batted her eyes at the crab.

The crab threw his chest, looking proud. "I suppose I am very forceful." He chuckled.

Arista laughed coyly, sending Sebastian her patented 'I-am-a-damsel-in-distress-and-you're-a-big-strong-man-come-and-help-me' look. "Very... strong." she whispered, close enough for him to hear.

The crab puffed his chest even more. "Dat's right! And you can count on me if ever you ladies need help!"

"Then you'll talk to Ariel for us?" Attina breathed hopefully, eyes wide and innocent.

"Of course!" Sebastian replied happily, only realizing a moment later that the princesses, who were giving each other high fives, had tricked him. His face fell. "W-wait!"

"Thank you so much Sebastian!"

"You're the best!"

"So forceful!"

"So strong!"

"We're counting on you!"

And with that, they pushed him into the room, watching from the crack in the door, their faces serious.

"Ohh man." Sebastian groaned. He swam over to Ariel. The mermaid made no sign of noticing the crab, her gaze concentrated on the view of the balcony and the visible shapes of buildings and hills outlaying it. "Aryal?" he said gently, pulling on her fins.

The mermaid turned to look at him, her gaze scarily empty.

"Sebastian...?" She said softly, and her expression brightened. "Did you find Aquata? ("Aryal." The crab murmured.) Is she alright? ("Aryal." He said again, albeit louder.) I'm really sorry, it's all been my fault and ("ARYAL!" The crab shouted.) – "

He shook his head. "I'm sorry child." And the guilt pricked him, seeing Ariel's hope-filled face crumble like sandcastles by the beach.


Sebastian turned, hoping to get out of the room, but the elder princesses' looks forced him to turn around and try again. 'Be stern! STERN!' they mouthed.

The crab eeped and turned, steeling himself. He puffed up his chest, and made an austere face. "Aryal." He said authoritatively. He swam closer, and landed by her shoulder. "Look at me child."

"I know this is hard for you..." I know it is for me "... but moping around here won't do nobody any good. Dere are many, many things you could do, like..." Ariel wasn't really listening, but she nodded along, his words registering vaguely in her mind. Sebastian continued to drone on endlessly.

"... and magick! To be able to use magick, child, is a gift. With the right spells, one can do anything. Like turning invisible, or even finding a lost mermaid in the great salty divide, or even turn you into a crab..."

Wait a second. Ariel thought. Turning into a crab...? She whirled on the crab. "Sebastian, could you repeat that?" She could hear her sisters murmuring excitedly outside the door. Sebastian looked surprised.

"... magick can bring peace?" He said questioningly. Ariel sighed mentally. "No, before that."

"Magick can turn you invisible? Can turn you into anything? Even..."

"...A crab! That's it, Sebastian, that's it!" She twirled excitedly, sending the crab flying from her shoulder. She grabbed her bag, and without so much as a backward glance, she swam off quickly, not noticing her sisters' shocked faces.

They followed her as soon as the shock was gone.

"What happened there?" Arista asked breathlessly, passing over the corridor with a quick kick of her fins.

Attina shook her head. "I have no idea."

Adella plowed past a few guards, shouting a quick "Sorry!" as she passed. "But it's a good thing right?"

"I hope so. Either that or Ariel's finally gone over the deep end." Alana grunted, trying to keep her hair in place as they followed the red-headed mermaid.

Andrina sighed. She hadn't followed her sisters, instead swimming leisurely with Sebastian holding on to her fin. "Why aren't you following after them?" He asked curiously. "You worry over dat girl almost as much as da king does."

The mermaid paused mid-kick. "Because I already know where she's going." She turned to look at Sebastian, who clearly didn't believe her. "Where den, may I ask?"

"The library."

Galactic Alliance Headquarters

Grand Councilwoman's Office...

"Grand Councilwoman, what is the meaning of this?" Jim asked his superior warily, his tone respectful. "Why am I being arrested?" He followed the alien as she made her way to her office, waving away the guards with a hand.

"Mr. Hawkins, all will be explained as soon as we enter my office. What we must discuss is confidential, and must remain so. Have patience, captain." A large, shark-like alien guarded the door to her office.

"Grand Councilwoman!" He said, surprised. He bowed deferentially.

She nodded to him. "Mr. Gantu. I'm afraid your services are needed elsewhere today." A dismissal to her guard? This must really be important. Jim thought, watching Gantu slink away sulkily.

The Grand Councilwoman opened the door quietly. "If you please."

Jim entered the room, noting that the curtains had been closed, and there was someone standing before him. It had a feminine shape, though it's face was covered in a white veil with an insignia of a seven pointed star enclosed by galactic rings. That insignia... it couldn't be...!

The alien behind him entered, and closed the door just as silently as it was opened. She locked the door, and waited by the door, hands behind her back.

"I have brought you Captain Hawkins as you had instructed, your highness."

The human's eyes widened. Highness!

"You have my thanks, Grand Councilwoman." The voice was unmistakably feminine. "Captain James Hawkins?" she addressed him, moving closer into the light. Jim took a good look at the insignia. That's the insignia of the royal family!

He kneeled down before the princess of the Etherium. "Your highness." (3)

The princess tapped his shoulder gently, her long silver hair brushing his cheek. "Oh no, none of that, Captain Hawkins. Please, stand and feel free to speak." Jim did so, noticing he was a good foot taller than the royal. He stepped back. There was an awkward silence.

The spacer cleared his throat. "Your highness, if I may ask, why am I here?"

"Oh, yes, of course. I'm very sorry." She said sheepishly. "Grand Councilwoman?"

The alien nodded. "Mr. Hawkins, what you will hear in this room shall stay in this room forevermore. If you can not agree to this condition, I'm afraid that your coming here would be all for naught."

He gave the Grand Councilwoman a look. Cunning woman! "You know I can never say no to a mystery, councilwoman." She smiled at him fondly. "Of course. Otherwise I wouldn't have chosen you for this mission."

"Is me getting arrested for no reason a part of this mission?" He asked glibly, a little irritated at being taken away from his godchildren.

"Yes. In fact, the entire plan hinges on your arrest." She clapped her hands, and a hologram projector began to project an image. "Please watch this transmission the princess received."

"Princess Etheldreda." A half human, half fish woman said, her body projected into the room.

Jim's eyes widened. A mermaid?

"I am Princess Attina, sister to the heir of Atlantica, Aquata. Your highness, my sister has gone missing. She was kidnapped from the castle, and the underwater nation is in grave peril. My father, the stubborn man that he is, refuses to ask for help. But no matter what we do, we can not find her. It is as if she were spirited away. It can only be the work of an overlander. Please, my sister is in grave peril!

The transmission ended, and the hologram faded away. Princess Etheldreda turned to the spacer. "Captain Hawkins, what do you know of mermaids?" she asked nonchalantly.

"Mermaids. Half human, half fish. They have hypnotically beautiful voices, and are an extinct species, due to illegal hunting of their kind in the year 4290, after the the rumors of their flesh granting immortality hit the black market."

"That is mostly correct." Ethel said. "What you don't know is that there are still mermaids living in the Etherium. After the mermaid hunt, they hid away to a single planet."

"The mermaid you just saw is the sister of one of my dearest friends," She paused here, and her tone was laced with pain. "Who has indeed gone missing." Jim nor the Grand Councilwoman made no attempt to interrupt.

"I received this transmission only recently. Her father is the king of Atlantica, an underwater kingdom of mermaids, and he has not found his missing daughter yet. I confess I became suspicious, and checked the air records of their planet. It seems that an airship recently landed in their area."

She turned around. "After the 4290 mermaid hunting, mermaids have always been protected by the Galactic Alliance and the Royal Family. The recent airship landing and the rash of mermaid kidnappings are too... coincidental."

"So you want me to find the princess?" Jim clarified. "But why do I need to be arrested in order to do that?"

"It is because you are the darling of the media, Captain. For you, even simply walking in the streets is headline worthy." The Grand Councilwoman said calmly, a smile on her face. The human turned red. "It's not that bad!"

"The mission may take months to complete. The media will notice your disappearance right away, and it may alert the culprit. If you were arrested for, let us say... attempting to assault the princess? You would be banished to an undisclosed planet. After you find the mermaid princess, we will clear you of all your crimes right away."

The spacer's head began to spin. "You want me to risk my life, the honor of my family, and break my mother's heart just to find the missing mermaid?"

"It may seem... a bit much, but yes, essentially,"

"Then why me? There are other officers out there who are just as capable."

The princess answered his question this time. "Because I believe that you are the only one capable of finding her." Jim stared at her in surprise. "Do not seem so surprised, Captain. Yes, there are other officers who might be willing to take up this task, but none of them are exactly human."

Ah. It's a human planet. "What if I can't find her?"

"You will." Ethel said, and Jim could just imagine her smiling. "Do you agree to take on the mission?"

The human thought. "May I have some time to think it over?"

"Take all the time you need." The Princess said. She and the Grand Councilwoman shared a look. "Mr. Hawkins?" The councilwoman called softly.

"Yes, councilwoman?"

"The council members are planning on taking revenge on you." She said simply, as if commenting on the weather.

"They do that often." Jim replied in turn. "And they usually fail." He smirked at that.

"I'm afraid it's different this time around. They plan to take revenge differently – they will put Miss Alita on trial for insubordination."


The Grand Councilwoman rubbed her forehead tiredly. "She indirectly disobeyed an order when she waited for you. The council plans to get rid of any ally of yours."

Jim scowled.

"You're far too loved by the masses for them to attack you directly. So they will attack your family and friends until you hide away. You are endangering their positions as council members. Your mother's inn may face a territorial dispute soon. Captain – I mean Mrs. Amelia's ship may get into an accident."

Jim closed his eyes. "You aren't giving me much of a choice. It's either stay and endanger my family or leave and possibly never return."

"I'm sorry." Ethel apologized uncomfortably.

The human sighed, before looking straight at the princess. "I will accept your mission.." Her hands clasped together happily. "...on two conditions."

"Captain! You are in no position to-" The Grand Councilwoman began, before Jim raised a hand in front of her. "Madame, I am risking not only my life, but I will leave my family and friends not only in grief, but in danger as well!"

"...very well then." The alien woman said, turning to the royal. "Will you listen to him, your highness?"

She nodded. "I believe I owe him at least this much. Speak freely, captain."

Jim raised a finger. "The first condition is that you will care for my mother and the Delberts if the mission goes wrong, and explain to them what really happened." Ethel nodded again. Jim raised a second finger. "The second is that I wish to see your face before I decide. I can not trust someone whose face I can not see."

"Mr. Hawkins!" The councilwoman shouted angrily. Ethel raised a hand.

"No, he is right, councilwoman." She gingerly lifted the white veil. Her white hair cascaded down her back, and her ears were pointed at the edges. The royal insignia was tattooed to her forehead, contrasting with her ashen skin. Her eyes were shimmering silver.

She looks human... and not human at the same time. Jim thought. He repeated the first condition. "Do you promise to uphold the first condition?"

Etheldreda stared straight into his eyes. "I promise." ...I believe her.

"I accept the mission, your highness." He said, relaxing a little. At least mom and the kids will be fine. The princess smiled, and for a moment, Jim swore that he saw a light shine upon her.

"Thank you, Captain."

In Atlantica...

Urchin entered the palace, and the guards saluted him and called him "Master Urchin" as he passed. As he was about to enter the Throne Room, noises down the hallway caught his attention.

Blurs of red haired and green finned mermaid torpedoed past him, and she was already turning the corner when the merboy realized who it was.

"Ariel!" He called, swimming after her. He was joined by four familiar looking mermaids. "Urchin!" Arista said, surprise evident in her tone. "You're back!" Urchin grinned in reply. Right after Ariel, he liked Arista best from the royal sisters, even though he found it uncomfortable being alone with her.

"Save the pleasantries for later, we've got to catch her!" Alana gasped, out of breath. Urchin, being the fittest, was in front, while Arista followed after. She would sometimes join Ariel's little misadventures - Neptune knows how fit you have to be to keep doing it. Adella, Attina, and Alana were not as lucky.

"What's up with Ariel?" Urchin called to Arista.

Arista flushed a bit, something the merboy noted and stored in his memory. "She's been a bit... depressed after Aquata was taken." Attina, who was close enough to hear their conversation noticed her sister kept her part in the event quiet. "But she just decided to get up today. We don't know why, so we're follwing her."

"You're good sisters."

Arista flushed further. Please, don't say that. You don't know what I said to her Urchin. I don't deserve your praise.

The conversation ended, and they followed the red-headed mermaid in silence.

Present Time

Embarkation Deck

Galactic Alliance Headquarters

Jim hugged and kissed his godkids goodbye.

"Unca Jim, you'll be back, right?" Jib asked quietly, eyes red and puffy. He ruffled her blond head. "I'll be back kiddo. So don't cry anymore, alright?"

The kitten tried to look brave. "O-only if you promise me you'll come back."

"I promise." Jim said solemnly, bending down.

Jib held out her pinky stubbornly. "Pinky Promise?" Jim took the offered finger with his own. "Pinky promise." He smiled. The kitten sniffed again, and smiled. "You promised. Now you hafta come back."

The ex-officer grinned and stood. He went over to Delbert and Amelia. "Del..." He began, rubbing his neck nervously. Delbert made a sound similar to a choked sob and hugged the boy. Amelia rolled her eyes. After an awkward moment, The good doctor coughed and released Jim. "Stay safe." He said with dignity.

Amelia placed a hand on the human's shoulder. "We'll take care of your mother until you return."

"Thanks, Captain." Jim smiled. B.E.N. sobbed oil, dropping the black liquid on Jim's jacket when he came over to say goodbye. Alita went to him. "You're an idiot, you know?" Jim raised his arms in mock surrender. "Yes, yes I am." Alita punched his shoulder lightly. "Thanks Hawkins." She muttered, embarrassed. She ran off quickly.

Finally, Jim saw his mother, waiting by the door to ship that would take him away.

"Mom." He said.

Sarah Hawkins hugged her son tightly.

"Take care of yourself, alright Jim?" She whispered into his ear.

Her little boy (who was no longer little by any standard) hugged her back.

"I'm sorry Ma." He whispered. "I didn't do it."

Her tears began to pool in the corner of her eye. "I know you didn't Jim. I believe you."

A robot officer tapped Jim on the shoulder. "Mr. Hawkins? The ship is departing soon." Jim nodded and broke out of his mother's embrace. She gave him a kiss on the forehead. "I love you Jim."

He blushed. "Ma!" Sarah laughed. Her son grinned. "Kidding, kidding. I love you too Mom."

The Grand Councilwoman waited beside the doors. "You're quite the actor, Captain." She said quietly.

He sent her a sarcastic smile. "It wasn't an act, I'm afraid."

She nodded. "Here." There was a quick witch of hands, and Jim received a small bauble. "What's this?" He asked, hiding it inside his jacket. "It's from the princess. She says it will help you." The councilwoman nodded again. "She sends her regards. We both hope to see you again soon." She went away. Jim turned around.

"I'll see you soon." He called to his friends and family, before getting on the ship, the doors behind him closing with finality.

He sighed. "Well, another adventure begins."


Jim's surprised face was mirrored by Morph, who had decided to copy his owner's face. It squealed delightedly before rubbing against Jim's cheek.

"Morph, you scamp! You followed me!" He said laughingly. He petted it thankfully.

"Another adventure... I wonder If we'll see that old scallywag..." The human mused.


In Atlantica's Royal Library...

Ariel knew what she was doing.

I'll need to know how to use my Magick If I want to find Aquata. She thought. She pulled out book after book on Magick. Another book, one given to her by Urchin, was in her bag. She had gone through the book a few days earlier, only to realize that the "Find Me" Spell she had found would work only on land.

"But it will work." She whispered. "Now, the biggest problem right now is how do I become human...?"

She poured over all the books.

I'll find you Aquata. I promise!

Numbered Stuff:

1. Grand Councilwoman is her title and name. She has to be impartial always, needing to abide by the laws. So she has to let go of her name and race, and just simply become the "Grand Council/woman". She is elected by her fellow council members, who are in turn elected by the people.

2. Spica is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo. It's actually two stars that circle one another, but from afar it looks like one star. I learned about it from a manga called Twin Spica. Try it?

3. The Etherium is ruled by a monarchy. The Princess is acting alone. The Royal family isn't human. They just seem human. Elves? Hehe.

Author's Note:

I am very VERY sorry -bows head in shame- I got caught up with college...

Good news though, I know how Eric adds to this equation... at last... :D


On another note, It's nice to see you, Urchin! My memories of the little orphaned merman are a little fuzzy, but he reminds me of a more earnest (is that the right word?) Jim. Which is probably why I liked him much more than I liked Eric... URCHIN IS SO FREAKIN' ADORABLE. GAWD.