Disclaimer: if it was on TV, it isn't mine. In this story, if it wasn't on TV, it may not be mine, either. Soundtrack for the tale: Inception score by Hans Zimmer, Skyforger by Amorphis.
He scrambled down the slimy, seaweed-laden rocks, clutching the black box beneath one arm, despite its cumbersomeness. Another fish creature reared up in front of him, bearing a gigantic golden trident, barking out some guttural croaks that he assumed were fish creature for "Stop and surrender."
He had no intention of doing either.
Just beyond the monstrosity he could see his old fishing boat, caught between two black stones. By this time the morning's catch was spoiled and ruined. The box, he hoped, would compensate for that. Whatever it contained, it was important to these scaly creeps. Must be worth something.
No one ruined Captain Louis's day with impunity, not even eldritch fishmen from the ocean depths.
The day had begun so well, too. He'd awakened early in the morning, as was his wont, stealthily showered and dressed so as not to awaken Mari. She most definitely wasn't a morning person. He'd met her in the Hebrides, on Jura, quite a few years ago. After a whirlwind three weeks of courting, they'd tied the knot. Of course doomsayers on both sides said it would never last.
Louis smiled. The doomsayers couldn't have been more wrong.
By sunrise Louis was on the high seas, putt-putting its way to the place he'd set his crab pots. Someday, maybe, he'd buy a new boat. If he had to. Louis was a frugal man; as long as he could keep the old tub afloat, he'd hang on to it. He'd just retrieved the first string of pots when the ocean erupted around him. He saw something fly up from the waves, right at his face.
Then he saw nothing until he awakened, surrounded by the hostile fishmen. They had dragged him from his craft, were prodding him with their tridents, none too lightly. Most people would have been terrified; Louis took it in stride. He'd seen a lot of strange things on the open seas; these monsters were just one more.
"Hey," he bellowed, grabbing the nearest trident and yanking it from its surprised wielder's webbed claws. "Point that somewhere else!" He got to his feet, still bearing the trident, but a dozen armed and armored fishmen gathered around him, and he realized this was not the time for a fight. He set the weapon down; the creatures advanced, bound him with seaweed rope, and led him toward a black, forbidding structure. Dying fish and squid floundered and flopped on the rocks beneath his feet; it was obvious that the whole island had been just been disgorged from the ocean floor.
Not unexpectedly, he found himself standing before a particularly ugly example of the fish creatures. It glared down at him from its onyx throne, a strange crown perched on its misshapen head. "OK, so I guess you're the boss around here," he growled. "Probably can't understand me, either. Right?"
"I understand you very well," it said. "My name was once Gilbert Moss. An accident mutated me into this form. Unable to coexist with you mammals, I fled the land and sought refuge in the ocean, only to find I was not the only one who had returned to the sea. Now I am Gill. Emperor Gill."
"Really. Well, isn't that peachy. I'm Louis. Captain Louis. We all like our titles."
Gill grimaced, pointed its scepter at the stubborn fisherman; guards stepped forward, tridents at the ready. "Don't mock me, little man. In only a few more years the stars will be right."
"What stars?" Louis interrupted. "Right for what?"
Emperor Gill ignored him. "A new power will enter this world; my followers and I are prepared to offer ourselves to its service. We will be exalted as high priests to the new gods of this cosmos."
Louis shook his head in annoyed disbelief; apparently there were religious nuts everywhere, even on the bottom of the sea. "Yeah. I've heard that Armageddon stuff all my life. None of it ever happens."
"It will this time." Emperor Gill grinned a terrible, sharptoothed grin. "The one chosen to summon them still has no idea of her true destiny. But we do. Creatures like ourselves have been their minions in a million parallel universes. They have spoken to some of us in dreams."
"I dreamed I had a million bucks once. It didn't put a dime in my piggybank. Why don't you let me go back to my boat, and you can get back to whatever it is you freaks like doing."
"Our fortress has risen for a purpose. The powers that be do nothing without a cause." It squinted demonically at Louis.
He returned the squint. "Aim yer evil eye somewhere else, Shamu."
Gill blinked first. Angrily, the emperor snarled "You must be the catch they desired to retrieve." It said something in an unknown, barbaric tongue to the guards; one of them hastened from the throne room, obviously on a mission.
"That guy," Louis said, "is he headin' for the john? Cause he ain't the only one who could use it."
"The priest will decide what great –" and the fishman king spoke a alien name in its inhuman tongue, " – wants with you."
"I couldn't care less about'cher great Clubalubalub." The creature frowned at Louis's deliberate mangling of the name. "Every minute I spend here is costin' me."
The guard returned with another fishman, this one clad in silver, wearing a massive, squid-shaped cowl, and bearing a peculiarly carven black box, an object treated with both respect and fear by the surrounding creatures.
"What's in the box, pal? Fan mail from some flounder?"
"No," snapped the emperor of the fishmen. "Our greatest treasure. An eidolon from another world, another dimension." Louis was rudely shoved toward the priest as the Emperor laughed gurglingly. "And now it shall decide your fate, land crawler."
"Land crawler?" That time Emperor Gill had hit a nerve. "Land crawler? Listen, you overgrown mudpuppy, I've sailed the Seven Seas all my life. I guarantee I know more about the ocean than any of you tadpoles. I don't care if you were born in it." And with that, Louis suddenly, unexpectedly was free of his bonds. "Ever heard of Houdini? My grandpappy taught him everything he knew." He spun around, punched one of the guards, flung another across the room, seized the black box from the claws of the dumbfounded priest and high-tailed it toward his boat. "You guys owe me this," he sneered, as he bolted.
He'd finally had a chance to use the jiu-jitsu that Bannon guy had taught him, years ago.
A yammering mob of furious fishmen poured out of the temple in pursuit. Several hurled their tridents at the fleeing figure; he nimbly dodged them, continuing to run. A final behemoth rose up before him, thrust its trident out; he seized the weapon, catapulted himself over the creature's head, and ran the final yards to his boat, threw the box in, and put his shoulder to the old tub, shoving with all his might.
It was solidly wedged between the stones. All of his strength didn't budge it.
The mob was bearing down on him, no more than thirty feet away, when the island shook, shuddered, began to plummet beneath the waves. The fishmen were thrown off their feet by the tremors; Louis leaped into the boat and hung on. There was a deafening roar, a ferocious lashing of waves and wind, and with a mighty crackling and creaking the boat pulled free of the sinking rocks, spun crazily in the hellish maelstrom.
He made his way to the radio, triggered the automatic SOS. There was no fear; he'd been in hurricanes worse than this. Skill and experience would see him through. And if any fishmen had somehow evaded the whirlpool, he'd deal with them when they showed themselves.
Nearly an hour passed before the ravaging waves began to wind down. The boat was quickly filling with water from a dozen different leaks; the stress and strain of the whirlpool had been too much for its antique timbers. "Stinkin' stupid island, anyway," Louis muttered. No lifejackets. They'd dryrotted and he'd never replaced them. Why should he? He was Captain Louis, whose good luck never ran out. He was on a first name basis with the ocean waves.
Except now he was quickly going down, far from land, with no lifejacket and no help in sight. In hostile waters. Briefly he wondered if it would be better to drown or wait for the fishmen to find him. Drowning was probably his best bet. He sure wished he'd told Mari goodbye, even if it had annoyed her. Oh well. A man does his best with life, makes his decisions, and reaps whatever they bring. He'd made some pretty good ones, down through the years, and really couldn't complain about anything.
And if these last few had been disastrous, well, sooner or later the best run of luck dries up.
A shadow swept over him; a cloud, he thought, but it was no cloud. He looked up, astonished. Two people on parawings, silhouetted harshly against the sun. Where had they come from? What were they doing out here? A girl, a redhead, not more than 16. And a blonde boy, same age, goofy-looking.
"We got your signal," the girl said, unbuckling her parawing as she landed, surefooted, in the boat. "Ron and I were on our way to a sitch in Japan, but you were in trouble."
The boy clumsily unbuckled his own parawing, stumbled, staggered and lurched across the deck, finally falling squarely into the radio. It buzzed, crackled and fell silent. "Whoa! Good thing that was there! Coulda gone right into the drink! "
For a moment Louis's rage swept aside the pressing threat. "Ya busted my radio! I've had that for years!"
"Ron," said the girl, "sit down and don't touch anything." She took out a small aerosol, pointed it at the leaky deck. "Looks like hair gel, but it's a self-sealing adhesive." With a single spritz the leak was sealed; she methodically sprayed each one, still talking. "Wade has a sixth sense about these things. He knows what will come in handy."
"Ah, look, girl," Louis began, "who are you, anyway?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Kim. Kim Possible. And he's Ron Stoppable."
"Yeah, well, I really don't care who he is." He eyed the boy with the same fierce disdain he'd shown the Emperor of the fishmen, then turned with a smile to Kim. "But you, you've saved my old tub, and my hide besides."
"It's no big, really."
"Yeah it is. You ever need anything, Kim Possible, you let Captain Louis know, understand?"
The boy was meddling around with the black box; without warning it popped open. He reached in, withdrew its contents, a look somewhere between terror and nausea on his face. "W-what is this?"
He held an eerie green and black idol, its head a mass of octopoid feelers, webbed wings on its scaly back, crouching on its base as if about to arise.
Somewhere across the world, a woman who called herself Shego stirred in sleep. The idol's curse had done its work. This was the reason the island had risen. Somewhere else, in a timeless, lifeless void, inhuman minds began the work of manipulation. It might take years, but they had time. All the time in the world.
For Kim and Ron, it brought a sense of dread, a darkness cast, if only for a moment, across their souls. A silent voice of future catastrophe, a lurking threat carved in stone.
For Captain Louis, it was nothing more than a dumb-looking statue, not the gems or gold he had hoped for. "Some treasure," he muttered. "Put it back in the box, son; maybe I can get something for it on eBay."
The boy hastily obeyed, grabbed some papers to wipe his hands of the strangely slimy thing.
"My navigational charts!" shouted the captain. "I oughta throw you to the sharks."
Kim hastily intervened. "Please, Captain, he's – uh – he's just a little clumsy. He's – er – a landlubber."
"Landlubber?" The word was so alien in the girl's mouth that Louis had to laugh. "OK. I'll spare your landlubber. If he sits down and leaves everything else alone!"
Ron quickly complied.
"Now where do you kids need to go?"
Two years later Captain Louis sold the mysterious idol to a man named Egbert Waite, for an astronomical sum. Waite paid the captain in ancient gold doubloons.
Louis often wondered why the strange old man had wanted it so desperately. But that, as they say, was another story.