The waves lapped gently against the wooden pillars supporting the pier. Grass Bay, a small fishing village, had roughly 100 people in around the town. Most were fishermen, as the hunting in the area wasn't as bountiful as it once was.
The fishermen patrolled the rich tropical waters and almost always came back with nets filled to the top with fish. No one ever went hungry and nobody lived in poverty. It was the perfect home. Naturally, other parts of the country wished to take this town, but it was surrounded by a range of mountains and it limited their ability to advance. Any ship that tried to cross the reef that formed a large ring outside the mouth of the bay would be destroyed. Only the villages fishermen could navigate the deadly waters.
Venom Sharks lurked in the waters outside the bay. Any shipwrecked sailor was doomed to die. Thus, this unreachable paradise has been left alone for hundreds of years in peace. Although some have left, and some have come, the town remains mostly unchanged.
"Len, hurry up, mother will scold us." Shouted Len's cousin, Korin, as he ran down the pier towards stable land. Len got up quickly, gathering his things and following closely behind.
Len stowed his bow in its sling on his back as he ran. The bow was a relic of the past, as the hunting had been mostly pointless for at least a hundred years. The bow was an heirloom that had been being handed down since his family's birth. Len's father had given it to him right before his death.
Len currently lived with his uncle and aunt, as both his parents had died in an accident at sea. Len and Korin were close, like brothers, but his aunt and uncle didn't look at him so fondly.
"Len, where have you been?" Snapped Linali, his aunt, as they returned. 'Sure, don't bother to ask Korin, since he made me go in the first place.' Thought Len.
"At the pier spear fishing, mistress." He said, bowing.
"Spear fishing, with what?" Len gestured to his bow that was hung up on a hook on the wall near the door.
"We tied a rope to one end of an arrow and then Len could pull any catches back in."
"Well, did you catch any?" She said happily to Korin, delighted by his (actually Len's) creativity. Len sighed.
Korin said, "No, Len couldn't hit any." Korin was a few years younger than Len. Len was 14 summers, but Korin was only 9. Korin had much less sense that Len, who saw that this was leading to something bad.
"Do not waste Korin's time like that Len." She scolded him, "And where did you get rope?"
"Jamesh gave it to us." Said Korin. At the sound of the old hermits name Linali sucked in a huge gulp of air. It would seem like a gasp to others, but to Len, it was a warm up.
"Len how could you even speak to that freak he is a poor role model on little Korin I cant believe you could be so dense you little punk look at me when I speak to you never even go near that hermit again he is bad business and it reflects poorly on our house which you shouldn't even be in you little freak!" She gulped in another gallon of air and sighed. Len just bowed his head. This is how it always was. Korin would persuade Len to do something and he would get in trouble instead of Korin. Len wasn't highly liked by Linali, or Gradus (his uncle) for that matter.
Just then Thomas walked in. Thomas was a Denizen, standard class, maybe as tall as Len's waist. Thomas had two hawk wings sprouting from his back and when in battle or on a hunt carried a large golden spear. Thomas wore white robes in public, but Denizens did not require clothing, so he remained naked at home. It was only to honor their masters that Denizens wore clothing, as they were not affected by the elements.
"Thomas!" Cried Korin. Thomas was like a pet to Korin. Len saw him as an enemy, as he would only obey Linali, Korin, and Gradus. Linali had Thomas think of Len as the enemy at almost all times. Korin ran to Thomas and hugged him. Thomas, as ordered by Linali when Korin was younger, hugged back.
"Welcome home young master." Said Thomas, pushing the over zealous Korin off lightly.
Linali, turning to Korin, "Korin, dear, you must prepare for dinner. Len," She said turning to him, "As punishment for taking Korin to that hermit you shall not be dining with us tonight." This happened more often than Len would like. He would typically mooch some food off the townspeople, but tonight was Greshna, the ceremonial day of ceremony and tradition. Meaning, everybody ate lots of fish. It was much like Kashna, the ceremonial day of things you do every winter on the same day and commence in ceremonial activities, aka, you eat fish. Len always wondered why all the holidays called for just eating fish.
In any case, everyone was eating fish. And that meant people weren't sharing fish. Not in the rules that you have to share fish on Greshna. Nor on Kashna, or Meshna, or even Bob day.
Len sighed, bowed, and headed for the door. He grabbed his bow as he walked out the door.
Len eventually found himself trying to catch fish off the end of the pier using his bow and some rope. The rope was still sitting there from earlier.
Len looked out over the bay and watched the sun set between the two steep mountains that bordered either side of the bays mouth. He could see the gentle surf over the reef. He thought he saw something move amongst the waves at one point, but it was gone as soon as it was there.
"Boy!" Called the voice of an old man, lightly salted from years of exposure to the sea. Len turned around to see Jamesh standing on the nose of his boat. "Why ya not be eatin fish?"
"I don't have any fish."
"Ya want some?"
"Come on oer here, I gib ya some." Len got up and walked over to Jamesh and stood on the pier over the strange steel boat. Jamesh came from out of the bay. He was the only outsider ever to make it to the bay by sea. All others came from over the mountains, which was a month long trek through snow and rock.
"Well, come in den!" He hollored from below decks. His boat used some sort of strange burning substance to make a blade move, which supposedly in turn made the boat move. Len didn't believe it though. He was amazed that something as heavy as metal could float though.
Len jumped down on the deck and climbed down the ladder. He found himself in the galley. It was rusty and dark, but big. Jamesh was at the far end placing some steamed fish on two plates.
"It been a long time since I could celebrate Kashna with another."
"Same thing." He scoffed. Len chuckled. Nobody else seemed to realize that. People in Port Grass weren't that smart, and lacked the common sense that Len possessed.
"True." Said Len, sitting at a table with Jamesh, who gave him the plate of fish.
"So, why ya be alone tonight?" He asked between mouthfuls.
"My aunt has forbid me from eating with my adopted family tonight for asking you for rope."
"Rather harsh, aint it?"
"She is a harsh woman."
"I pitty you. Linali is it?" Len nodded.
"Gah, ne'er hae I seen such a beastie, and I hae faught off some briny bests in my day." Len chuckled in agreement, continuing ot eat. The fist was surprisingly good.
"Why are you here?"
"Why? This be my boat boy, not yers."
"No, I mean, why are you in Port Grass?"
"Ahh, now tha makes slightly more sense, it does. Well…ya really wanna know?"
"Yes, everyone thinks you are strange. But you seem just like a normal old man. Other than the boat."
"A'right, if ya really wanna know." He said, laying down his spoon, "I come from a town much like dis one called Port Bairns. Albeit the we did things a wee bit different from ye people. We use boats like dis one, steel and powered by fire. We can ge' up to fie times the speed of yer wood boats. We may hae had better boats, but our catches were poor. I wish for better catch, I hear of Port Grass, I come here, reach the reef, and mana'e to get past." Len soaked this up, then shook his head.
"But how did you navigate the reefs. Uncle says they go on nearly forever."
"Ah, yer uncle jests. It only be maybe se'en kilometers long in all directions."
"That still doesn't answer my question." Said Len stubbornly. Jamesh eyed him up.
"Aye…it don't, do it?" Then he suddenly stood up and placed his plate on the counter. "Come boy, I wanna show ya something." Len just sat there, slightly taken back by the suddenness of it. Jamesh started to go into another cabin, then poked his head back out. "Come on!" Len clued in and got to his feet. He rushed after Jamesh and left his plate of delicious fish behind.
Len walked into the cabin and Jamesh sealed the door behind them. He spun a strange wheel and there was a hiss. Then he pulled a lever and a section of the floor opened and the sea began to spill forth. Len started for the door, but Jamesh stopped him, pointing to the floor. The section of water had stopped rising and a shallow pool inside a ring on the floor had formed, making a portal to the water below the boat. Jamesh walked around the portal and took hold of a wheel and a tube. The tube was long and metallic, and went into the floor. He looked into it and gestured for Len to come. Len walked over and looked into the tube. What he saw was the bottom of the boat and the pier pillars. It was getting dark, so he couldn't see much.
"Ya see, I can look under the water for reef and a'oid it ahead o' time. No problems."
"Amazing…" Len hummed, circling the portal. Colorful fish swam beneath them happily. Len looked around the room. Three strange garments with big metal bubbles at the top were hung on the wall. They had tubes coming out of their backs that hooked up to a strange pump like contraption. "What are those?"
"Dose?" he chimed, looking up, "Those be me underwater suits."
"What are they fore?"
"For goin underwater, of course!" He laughed.
"But what about getting air?"
"That pump there do that, it send air down to me when I go under."
"Fantastic…" Len ran his fingers along the suit. "Could I try it?"
"Perhaps another day, it be to late at night now to go under. Plus, nutin to see here." Len nodded. That was when he heard the clanging. He looked around and spotted a treasure chest bound in chains shaking back and forth.
"What is that?" He blurted. Jamesh ran to the box and sat on it.
"Ahh, it be nothing. I found it on the bottom a few years ago, ne'er could open the darn thing. Not a single blacksmith in town will go near it, so I got no key." Len walked to it and examined the keyhole. It was a diamond shape, and it indented at least a finger long. Len tapped the top and there was a grunt from whatever was inside. Len jumped back and nearly fell in the portal. Jamesh caught him. A chime went off as Jamesh steadied him.
"It be late, ya should get back to yer family. They aught to let ye back."
"Can I come back tomorrow?"
"I be at sea tomorrow, come back the next day."
"Thank you Jamesh."
"No problem." Jamesh kept saying that, Len wondered why. It was a strange saying.
Len thanked Jamesh then ran back to his Uncle's house. Two more days until he could walk the sea floor.
Len arrived late and Korin was already asleep. Gradus and Linali were in the common room. Len went in through the back so as to avoid them.
The next morning Len awoke to find Thomas standing over his face, Thomas's tiny package dangling over him. Len heard Korin erupt with laughter Len sat bolt upright in shock, giving him a face full of Denizen bits. Korin laughed harder. Len shoved Thomas off, who glided to the floor. Denizens rarely laugh, but Thomas was laughing. Len scowled at Korin and threw his pillow at him. Korin dodged and threw his, which hit Len square in the face. Len was always slow in the mornings, but he knew what would stop Korin. Len reached for his bow and drew the string, then pressed the upper of five nubs on the wood. An arrow with a stuffed ball instead of an arrowhead appeared in his fingers and, rocketed by the string, shot at Korin. It hit him on the but as he ran away. It wouldn't hurt much, Len had hardly pulled back the string. Korin yelped like a slapped dog and scurried off, followed by Thomas, who was grinning. Len would have shot him if he wasn't sure Thomas would respond by killing him.
Len heaved himself out of bed and pulled on his clothes, then went down into the common room. He was still full from the night before, and didn't really want any food. Plus, to ask for food so soon after being banned from dinner was stretching his freedom, not that he had much freedom in the first place.
"Uncle, I am going into town to fish." Called Len. This pretty much meant he was going to go and get out of their hair. Gradus, who was sitting on his chair, nodded and continued to carve a new spear. Len started for the door as he saw Linali.
"Len…" She started, looking at him. Len ran out the door before she could find something to scold him for.
Port Grass, on a post celebration day, could be a bustling place. The markets were packed, the fishermen were all celebrating a bountiful celebration, and there was almost as much fish as on the day of the celebration.
That's why something didn't seem right when Len reached the center of town.
"Ok, markets bustling…packed…fishermen slightly gloomy…no, that isn't it…wait…" Then he realized, "No fish?" He cried. A woman nearby, hearing his call, turned to him. A female Denizen wearing a golden toga stood by her side.
"You haven't heard?"
"No, why are there no fish?"
"The outer parts of the reef have been destroyed by the outsiders."
"What? How can that be?"
"They use some sort of whitchcraft to destroy the homes of the fish." Said another woman who was with her, "Then they steal up the fish."
"All our boats have had to come back, so as not to reveal the path through the reefs." Said a fisherman sitting in a small restaurant by the edge of the pier. Len went to him.
"How can they do this?"
"They come in strange ships, with enormous power. Like Neptune himself they rise up the sea before them and crash it back down. With such power, they do as they like."
"Massive galleons of steel fit for the empires fleet." The empire, or the Empire of Asia, was the country that surrounded Port Grass. There wasn't much news that came into Port Grass, so they knew little of the empire, other than its massive fleet and huge armies. It was a militant nation, but Port Grass was very different from the outside nation.
"This is horrible…" Mumbled Len. Everything was going to end. The peace, the happiness, everything would be ruined if the outsiders got past the reefs. Then Len realized something. Jamesh. His boat was metal, like the giant outsider ships, maybe he knew something. "Has anyone talked to Jamesh?"
"I heard he shall be arrested for questioning." Port Grass had a police force, but it was only five men strong and was really just there to settle petty disputes. This was a big step for them. They were actually asking questions.
"Thank you." Len shot, then he started to run down the pier towards Jamesh's boat. Len was in luck, it was still there.
"I hope he hasn't been arrested yet." Len muttered. He knew Jamesh could answer some questions, but the police were useless. What could they do to stop the outsiders. Len didn't know why, but he just had to see Jamesh.
"Jamesh!" He called, leaping onto the deck of his boat. Jamesh emerged from his cabin at the back of the boat.
"Ah, Len, ya will hae to return tomorrow, I'm about to cast off."
"Metal ships are destroying the reef and you are going to be arrested for questioning."
"Huh, arrested by who?"
"We hae police ere?"
"Yes, and they want to arrest you." Jamesh stood there for a moment, then righted his stance and puffed up his withered old chest.
"Cast off all lines, lets get this ship moving!" he said with more power than Len thought possible. Just then they heard footsteps accompanied by the groan of the pier rushing towards them. It was three policemen. The police all wore black garments with a deep blue cloak. Len, without thinking, drew his bow, pressed the bottom nub three times, and shot all three arrows at once. Each one caught each of the men's cloaks, pinning them to the docks. It bought the two just enough time to cast off and get moving.
"It's no use, we don't have any wind!" Called Len to Jamesh up in the forward cabin. Jamesh laughed.
"We aint need no wind!" He laughed, then a massive black cloud appeared out of a large tube at the top of the boat and it started to move. The boat picked up speed, leaving a bubling wake behind them. Len laughed to himself. It was amazing. Movement without wind. No wonder the outsiders could destroy the reefs.
"Now, what's all dis about outsiders and reefs?" Asked Jamesh, appearing behind Len. Len spun around.
"The wheel…" He started.
"It can handle itself, now, esplain." Len told him what he had heard. After he finished Jamesh sat on a crate and rubbed his chin.
"Sounds like de empire all right." He mumbled, "Always destroying and not sabing."
"What do we do?"
"Nothing." Len stood there in silence for a few minutes, staring at Jamesh.
"Aint nothing we can do now. If de empire wants in, they come in."
"So I just got myself arrested to save you for no reason?"
"Well, I hae no idea why ya wanna sabe me in da first place. I aint no use to ya."
"I don't really know why. I think…"
"You remind me of my dad."
"Is dat so?"
"My mom was from Port Grass, but dad was an outsider. I only knew him a little, but he was allot like you."
"Old and daft?" Chuckled Jamesh.
"Smart and kind." Muttered Len. Jamesh's grin disapeared. He got up and walked over to Len.
"Listen boy, ye be a good person. Don't let sabing me ruin yer life."
"But if you get arrested our only defense against the empire goes to jail."
"Boy, aint nothing I can do to sabe this place now." They heard a thump and spun around. A boat was approaching, with the police on it. They were throwing hooks on board and towing themselves closer. Jamesh acted quickly.
"They can't arrest ya boy, yer to young to go to jail. Follow me." He ran down into the boat, climbing down the ladder and into the galley. Len followed.
Jamesh ran into the other cabin with the portal and sealed the door once Len was through.
"Alright, boy, I go up top and say you jumped ship. You stay down here, and once I'm through that door, seal it tight. They wont get through. Once you think its safe, swim out the portal. They should bring the boat back to the pier soon, if they can figure out how to work it." Jamesh had lost his old sailor accent and was speaking more coherently with every word. Len just stood there nodding.
"Trust me, you are going to make it out of this." He patted Len on the shoulder and looked him in the eye. Then he smiled and Len felt like everything was going to be alright. Len nodded and smiled back. They heard a crashing up on the deck and Jamesh ran out, but right before he left he poked his head back in and pointed to the chest. "And whatever you do, dun lose that!" Then he ran out. Len sealed the door as he was told, doing what Jamesh had done the night before. Then he waited.
He couldn't hear a thing in the dark rusty cabin. The only light came from the portal. Len waited, curled up in a ball in the corner, for the boat to start to move.
"Why did I do this?" He muttered to himself. It was like someone was guiding him to Jamesh. Len had always felt something strange whenever he saw Jamesh in the past. It was rare, and before he had reached 15 summers he had only seen the hermit maybe 4 times, and even then, from a distance. Every time he saw him he got a strange feeling, but he dismissed it as the evil sorcery of the wizard hermit. That was when he was younger though, now he knew better. But he still didn't understand why he had done what he had done.
As Len spoke the chest shook, as if aggravated by his speaking. Len moved his attention to the chest. What was inside it? Jamesh had found it on the sea floor, in the reef, yet something was somehow managing to survive inside. How long had it been in there before Jamesh found it? After an hour the boat began to move.
Len passed away the following hours, each one signaled by a chime, by thinking about the chest and its contents. The boat never moved.
After three hours he gathered up his courage and crawled over to the chest. The chest shook violently as he examined it, but it eventually calmed.
The keyhole was shaped familiarly, but Len couldn't remember what it reminded him of. He thought for what seemed like ages until it hit him. It was an arrowhead. Len pressed four out of the five nubs on the bow, creating four more different arrows. Even the practice one made of cotton and cloth. One fit, but it didn't work. The fifth nub never worked, so he didn't even bother trying. He had gotten used to not even thinking about it, since it never did anything.
Suddenly the boat shuddered to a stop. It had been being pulled by other boats, because the machines that can it weren't roaring like usual, so the progress was slow going. They had been a good distance out when they were caught, they couldn't have pulled him back all they way by then. Then he saw a huge shadow in the portal. He stuck his head in the water, fighting the current, and looked at the source. It was the bottom of a massive metal ship. Len yanked his head back out and heaved in a gasp.
"Oh no…" He choked. The boat shuddered to a stop and he heard footsteps above him. They were on board, the outsiders were on board. They would open the door and he would be caught. Not by the police, but by outsiders! Len shot to his feet. The underwater suits, he could escape in them. Len quickly pulled himself into one and did up all the clips. The bubble was heavy, but not too heavy. It was made of glass, but its size contributed to its weight. Len was about to jump into the portal when he hesitated. The chest. He couldn't let the outsiders get it. Len unraveled the chains, which were just clipped together with thick clasps, and jumped into the portal with the chest under his arm.
Len shot to the bottom quickly. He floundered with his legs and left arm, his bow in his left hand. Len wouldn't leave the bow behind.
Len crashed to the bottom and managed to stand up. The water was crystal clear in all directions. He looked right, it looked like shore. He started walking.
For ages he walked on and on. He left the boat and the ship far behind, only their shadows visible. The water grew murky after a while, a sure sign that he was getting close to shore. He could hardly see what was ahead of him. That's when he knew something was wrong. The shore wasn't this murky in the spring, only in the fall.
Suddenly the thin tube trailing behind Len that delivered him air went tight. He slowly turned, struggling in the oversized suit. The line had run out. Len cursed and dropped the chest. It was heavy on the boat, and light underwater, but even so, his arm was tired. He sat on the sea floor and heaved in a breath. He looked about. The sand that fluttered through the water seemed to be settling. He squinted and looked through the spherical bubble that encapsulated his head. It warped his surroundings slightly. He did manage to see something. A shadow coming towards him. He stood up. Maybe it was the shadow of a boat. It was large enough. Len tried to swim to the surface, but he couldn't lift off the ground, not without abandoning the chest, and he couldn't do that.
The shadow grew closer and another joined it, then another. As the shapes grew more solid he began to sweat. He suddenly realized what was coming at him. Venom Sharks. Mouths as wide as Len was tall, and as long as a typical fishing boat; Venom Sharks would kill on sight of any human in the water. Only humans. So few still survived, but those who did only lived at the reef, as the outsiders trying to come in regularly crashed there. Len drew his bow and tried to fire an arrow, but it only went a few feet and then stopped and sank down. He was doomed. Len grabbed the chest and started to run. If one of the sharks tried to attack he could shove it down its throat. Not that it would help, considering how they had 52 rows of shivering, razor sharp, venomous teeth.
Len ran as fast as he could but the sharks had spotted him and were almost on top of him in seconds. As the first reached him Len swung the chest hard and hit the shark on the nose. It shot past Len, slightly dazed, and then began to circle him. The other two joined in, circling him by a ten foot radius. Len nervously watched each of them.
Another swerved and shot at him. The other two followed closely behind the first. Len grabbed the chest which had settled near him and swung it again. The shark opened its mouth wide and swallowed the chest whole, followed by Len.
"It didn't even have to chew." He moaned as he spilled into the stomach of the shark. Bubbling stomach acids swirled around him, but he was not injured through his suit. Then something hit him, his air tube. He fumbled around his back and pulled forth the torn air tube.
"Oh good, now I die a long and slow death." He sighed. He looked about. The creatures stomach was just big enough to fit him and the chest. Some sort of luminous slime coated the stomach, glowing yellow. His bow sat next to him. the string had snapped. Len collapsed against the stomach wall and started to cry. He didn't care that he was going to die, but that the only remaining piece of his father and mother was gone, eroding in the stomach of a freakish monster.
Len sat and cried as his suit slowly started to sizzle away. He didn't care anymore, there was no real point in trying to save himself. Half submerged in acid and slowly quickly running out of air, he had given up. Then the chest shook and a grunting came from inside of it. Len kicked it hard.
"This is all your fault!" He cried. He started kicking it over and over again, as hard as he could. With one final hard kick, all that was left of his strength, he kicked the chest. He hit it square in the lock and heard a click, then there was darkness.
Len awoke to find himself lying on a soft surface. He touched the ground with his fingertips and soft linen. His underwater suit was removed, and he was wearing something different as well. Actually, he wasn't wearing anything at all. He was covered by a blanket though. He opened his eyes and looked about. He was in a cabin of some sort, on a boat. The walls, ceiling, and floor were all metal, and the room had a rinsing bowl with a tube coming out of it, a table, and chairs. Len suddenly realized as water splashed by the porthole next to him that he was on a ship, an outsider ship.
Len jumped to his feet, then, remembering he was naked, began searching for clothes. Len looked everywhere with no luck, and as he was about to open the hatch to escape, he looked back to see that his pillow had been a stack of clothes.
Len sighed, realizing how close he was to making a big mistake, and grabbed the clothes. They were adult size and Len could barely keep them on. The outfit consisted of a white pair of pants, a black shirt that was cut short and ended by his biceps, and a white overcoat that would fall to a mans thigh, but on Len, dragged on the floor a bit. Len, now slightly less drowsy, collected himself and turned the latch to open the door, ready to go out blazing. But as he turned the latch, it began to turn itself, and the door opened before him. On the other side stood a metal man. Now, Len found this strangely amusing, as the metal man was completely pink, but looked like it had the power to crush him if he even giggled a bit. On that last observation Len stopped smiling. Then the realization hit him that he was staring at a metal man and he fell flat on his but.
"Ahhhh, metal man!" He cried. Linali had always bothered him for stating the obvious too much.
"You always state the obvious like that?" Asked a girls voice. Len looked around the machine man and saw a girl, maybe a summer older than him, standing behind it.
"What is that thing?" Len stammered, slowly backing away. The girl gave him a confused look.
"Did you hit your head when you were on the Da-Kuia or something?" Len had no idea what that meant, but his survival instincts built up from avoiding Linali in bad moods kicked in.
"I, guess I must have. Where am I?" He had heard of an explorer doing this once from the storyteller in the village when he was young. The explorer had to lie to the evil harpies to get them to spare his life by acting as if he was a woman, so they wouldn't kill him for being a man. Len realized the situation was different, but it still applied. It sounded like the "Da-Kooi" or whatever was an outsider ship. It must have been destroyed, or possibly it crashed on reef. They probably thought he was a survivor.
The girl was tall, with short black hair and small eyes. She wore a similar outfit, but with a skirt instead of pants, and without the overcoat. Instead she just had a white jacket.
"I'm Xiao Mei, this big guy is Gerald."
"Hello sir." It droned, buzzing out every syllable. The metal man did not move as it spoke, as it had only one glowing ring that must have acted as an eye, but no other facial features. Len, despite his encounters with far larger enemies, was terrified of the metal man. Too much…metal.
"The captain will wish to see you." Gerald turned and began to walk away, with Xiao Mei tailing close behind. Despite the girlish atmosphere that loomed over her like a bad cold, she had a very formal walk. Len noticed she had a thin black stripe running down the left side of her jacket. Len, uneasy about following a strange girl and a metal man named Gerald that was walking away but whose head was still watching him, hesitated before following. He just knew that this was bad, and that it wasn't going to get any better any time soon. But, if Linali had taught him anything, and he is amazed that she has, its that when you act, never drop out of character. Luckily, the nervousness and air of stupidity that was often apparent in Len when in bad situations could fit the character, otherwise, he was screwed.