This is set in the 20,000 leagues under the sea, with Michael Caine.

A New Father.

Captain Nemo frowned at Pierre Arronax as the young scientist told him about the disturbing dream he'd had since childhood.

Oh, Arronax, he thought, feeling contempt for the senior Professor Arronax.

Nemo was struck with inspiration and walked over the nearest bookshelves, selected a volume and handed it over to Pierre.

" Do you recognise this ?"

Pierre took the book, stiffening when he saw the volume. It was one of his fathers monographs on oceanography, Pierre had read it and found it wrong.

He nodded grimly at the waiting Nemo, his short orange gold hair glinting in the electric light, " Yes, it's one of his father's monographs. It was published 4 years ago."

Nemo nodded, " I am a completist, I have one of your fathers books," he walked over to another part of the shelves and selected more books, Pierre winced at the number, it seemed as though every single oceanography book was being taken off the shelves. " but what I have in far greater quantities are works," more volumes, " which refute his theories."

Pierre had read some of the books described, it was for that reason that he was a careful researcher and never published anything until he had plenty of proof. It was a fundamental truth of science, one his father ignored.

Nemo carried on, " He is well known in the field," he was saying this as he took down more books, " as a pompous gasbag, who cares more for fame than for scientific accuracy." Pierre smirked at the description, how might he was. He wondered if Nemo had had the misfortune of meeting the man who called himself father. All he was to Pierre was the sperm donor.

Now, Nemo gave the young scientist his full, undivided attention, " You, however, are a young intellect poised to make major contributions to the study of ocean life."

Arronax cocked his head; that was the first time Nemo had ever complimented him.

" Sit down, please," Nemo instructed gently, gesturing to a chair.

When they both sat down. Nemo stared at Pierre for a moment before speaking, gathering his thoughts, " Did your father belittle and mock you ?"

Pierre nodded, remembering the humiliations, the scorn and criticisms without a shred of difficulty and answered readily, " Yes."

Nemo nodded, he was making his point, " What else could he do, threatened by you as he is ?"

Pierre was starting to understand, " You think he's the menacing figure in my dream ?"

If he was expecting a simple answer, he was disappointed. Nemo leant back in his chair, " In the time you've known Mara, you've seen our interactions." Pierre nodded, and Nemo carried on, " Have you ever seen me mock her ? Belittle her ? Criticise her ?"

Pierre looked uneasy, but Nemo reassured him, " It's alright, speak your thoughts."

" I've seen you argue, debate over courses of action, but I've never seen you have the level of arguments that I have with my father."

Nemo nodded, " That's my point. Pierre, I raised Mara, before that I'd known for a long time that she had an intellect comparable to my own. I helped her attain it, yes, I admit I was a hard taskmaster, but it was for the best. She rose to the challenges I presented her, and more." Nemo gestured around the salon, " She helped me, Pierre, design the Nautilus and her technology." Pierre gaped. Nemo smiled.

" I would never criticise her if I needed to, if I did then I did, but it was for a purpose, not for petty things your father finds acceptable."

Pierre still didn't understand one point, " So, my father treats me the way he does, because he's jealous of me ?"

Nemo nodded, " That's how I read him," he held up a book Pierre Arronax had no trouble recognising; it was his book. The one he'd written about ocean life. Nemo opened the book, then glanced back up at the younger man.

" Compared to you, your father is a blundering elephant in a china shop. He doesn't take the time to think his theories through, you do. He doesn't list any experiment in his studies, you do. Your book is superb, but it lacks scope. You, along with other scientists, take terrestrial science to the limits. That isn't your fault, you don't think of decent ways to explore the underwater world, for which I am eternally grateful."

Nemo leant back in his chair, " Your father, as I've said, is threatened by you. How lucky for you, to have lost one father only to gain another."

Nemo smiled and Pierre smiled back.


What do you think ?