Posted by Alex CF on August 23rd, 2012
“The collected research of the Never Isles by naturalist James Hook.”
James Hook was a young man when he began a life as a crew member on trade ships bound for the Orient. He had been destined for a life at Eton, with many career opportunities laid out before him by his family, yet his fascination with the writings of Darwin had painted a much more romantic life goal, to set sail and seek new lands, and new life, to contribute to the growing public fascination with biology and natural history.
Although his father had issued rewards for his safe return and a large police presence at london dock yards, James was never caught and he would spend the next 15 years at sea. He went to the Galapagos, traveled to Australia and much of China and Japan, yet his exploits did not garner much evidence of new and exciting species. It was only when his ship was attacked and boarded by pirates that his luck would change.
Aboard the ship “Old Roger”, James was introduced to Bartholomew Quigley Smeethington, or Smee, a disheveled boatswain with somewhat grandfatherly sensibilities. Of the original crew of James’s ship, not many survived, most attempted to defend themselves, but were hopelessly out gunned. James survived because he was useful. The Captain of the pirate vessel never showed his face, and all authority seemed to fall to Smee, who allowed James to bring his books and belongings aboard. After a few weeks, Smee became intrigued by Hook’s collection and they spoke of the many strange and fascinating facts gleaned from Hooks scientific texts. When Hook told Smee of Darwins theory, of islands that held species that appeared shaped by their unique surroundings over many years, Smee’s attention was further grabbed, and he soon shared the story of a group of islands the Old Roger had once encountered. An island chain, populated by species of legend, ruled by a tribe of natives who appeared to be ageless. Hook became captivated by these tales and pleaded for its location so he might one day visit it. Smee said that the unique quality of the island was its magnetic influence, and that within 400 miles of its location, a compass would begin to pull towards it. The north star was the guide, choosing the second star to the right, and within one day, the ship would find this enigmatic location.
It soon became apparent that something was very wrong with the ship. The crew were anarchic and paid little attention to any authority figure, and the captain was never seen. Smee divulged that the captain had died of Syphilis a month before and that his fear of the crew killing him and taking the ship had driven him to construct an elaborate plan to find dry land and another ship. To him the Never Isles were as good a destination as any and soon the course was set.
They arrived at the island the next morning, a peculiar crescent land mass, its center a silent volcano. Smaller islands broke the water here and there, yet they dropped anchor within the bay, and rowed to shore. The crew were sent to find provisions, whilst Hook began his explorations. He was soon lost deep in the forests with Smee at his side.
He was not old, yet his face was heavily weathered and scarred from scuffles and fights with crew men. He was old before his time, yet island air and the stillness of the ground he walked upon appeared to refresh him. They made their way to the summit of the volcano, to seek out the source of the magnetic qualities of the island. Within the mouth of the sleeping giant they found a series of huge impact craters. In some were pulverized crystalline shards, thousands of them, black as night and hard as glass. They emitted a strong attracting force and with samples in hand they traveled west, towards a settlement. The village was populated by the Piccanniny, a group of native islanders, who appeared to be descended from native Americans. He concluded that they had traveled to the island by raft or canoe, having visited similar islands where communities of nomadic humans had settled new colonies. The tribe were indeed blessed by incredible youthfulness and after many hours of patience, communicated that the meteorite shards were responsible for this. He began to take samples of blood to examine, the cells displaying a bizarre “armored” quality. He theorized that the rocks emitted a radioactive aura that might hold the key. He soon noticed that he was effected by this, his skin becoming less visibly marked.
Much of the Old roger crew began to raid the villages, which ended in their deaths, the Piccaninny knew their land well, and had fought off many pillagers of their beautiful island. Left with a skeleton crew, the ship was renamed the “Jolly Roger” by Smee, who, along with Hook, constructed a working laboratory on board, with delusions of huge wealth being gained from their “fountain of youth” crystals.
Amongst the islands inhabitants were other species of hominid. Faun like creatures whose fleshy protuberances resembled leaves, were particularly fascinating. They were a sub group of Homo Vespertilius Chiropterus, standing about a foot tall, with the ability to glide using these skin sheaths. Hook found the species to be inquisitive and somewhat annoying, plaguing the crew as they scavenged for food and often stole anything shiny. One particular individual would often follow Hook on his expeditions into the forest, which he named Pan, or Loki, the mischievous spirit. On one such journey, the creature hounded him, leading him to fall helplessly into a lake of crocodiles. His terrified calls were heard only by the hovering sprite whose confusion at his play thing, writhing amongst the bodies of the ancient reptiles seemed almost amusing.
Hooks body sunk to the bottom, yet with one last attempt he tore of his jacket, the crocodile rolling on itself, tearing at the cloth. With maniacal glee Hook swam to the surface, only for another crocodile to take hold of his wrist. With searing pain, Hook tore his hand away, and with his last breath climbed out of the lake. His hand was useless, with every tendon cut, and loosing blood rapidly, he cut away the flesh and cauterized the wound with fire. Fever soon set in, and death was imminent, yet a week passed, and he did not die. Smee ground the meteorite shards into a fine powder, which he called “fairy dust” and applied it to the wound. Soon it healed, and Hook was back on his feet. He fashioned a prosthetic, aptly a hook, and became his namesake. He was inured with a vigor like no other and the ship was soon a factory for the harvesting and storage of the meteorite crystals.
A month ebbed by and Hooks prosthetic caused a great deal of pain. He eventually unbound it from his stump, to find that the flesh had bound to the metal cup that held the hook in place. as he tore away the seemingly gangrenous skin, he found soft, healthy pink flesh beneath, and what appeared to be rudimentary growths that seems almost like fingers. He kept the hook and stump as a scientific curiosity fit for further examination, believing that the fairy dust had caused cellular regrowth and the shed skin was like that of a snake. His hand soon regrew to an almost healthy appendage, yet lacked some dexterity. Despite his new hand and new zeal, he never stopped hunting for the Homunculi, Pan, who had almost sentenced him to death. He eventually caught and killed it, displaying it in his cabin. He also found his coat, and heavily damaged pocket watch, which still ticked, yet a number of crocodile teeth were now embedded in it.
Hook maintained a healthy relationship with the Piccanniny tribe, yet when they planned to set sail back to England, the islanders descended upon the ship en mass, and demanded the entire shipment of crystal back. Out manned ten to one, Hook could do nothing but agree. He sailed back to England with two crates that had been hidden in the ships hold and divulged his tales to the scientific community, who found the many specimens, including a specimen of fairy like creature, whose body was covered in white down like that of a moth, and who appeared decorated with leaves festooned with primitive runes, became something of a laughing stock. “Only humans have the capacity for language and writing!” said eminent scholars. Hook was soon accused of trickery, and he disappeared from public scrutiny. It is believed he returned to the island where he continued his research and lived for a very long time.
Merrylin bought the two crates of the crystalline material and all of Hooks biological specimens at the tail end of Hooks brief public lecture tour on the “riddle of the Never isles”. Merrylin had by this point lived far longer than any human, and so many have suggested that the extra terrestrial crystal that appeared to halt aging, and indeed death on the islands were also responsible for Merrylins long life. Yet Merrylins Longevity started long before the discovery of the Never Isles and no mention of this place exists in his earlier journals. However, examination of the crystal held within this study case, and analysis of the “Henrich Emille” cuboids, shows a degree of similarity. Both emit unique cell altering radiation. Further studies are planned.