A Shipwreck Date in the Kelp Forest?

I’ve already shared some thoughts on my concept for a follow-up on a plot thread in “Orphans of Opry Tower” (a story I’ve completed but not published): a character named Fia and her impending big makeover, along with her desire for hot sex and, above all, hot sex with someone she passionately and romantically loves.

Well, I’ve fleshed it out some more. Already I had the idea that her date has a passion for submarines, diving, and underwater adventurism (if it sounds like it was inspired by the recent implosion of the Titan…uh, yeah, it is; sorry, but inspiration doesn’t always come from the most politically or emotionally correct places…), and that she gets swept up in his underwater world.

Her makeover is supposed to take place on the coast of southern California, which is where her (soon-to-be) sister-in-law lives, along with her nephew, who moved to the Santa Barbara/Ventura area to try his hand at becoming a bigshot in video games. Fia assumes this nephew is some sort of a dweeb, but she finds out different real fast: not only is he no dweeb, he’s the only man she’s ever seen who she falls for and lusts after at first sight!

Anyway, I’ve been thinking her date, who I’ve decided to name Kolya (short for Nikolai; his aunt is Katerina, nicknamed Katenka, so I picked out Kolya to go with that, as well as his date Fia’s name), will take her on his submersible to a shipwreck off the southern California coast, which is ensconced in a thick kelp forest. I thought of these two ideas (SoCal and kelp) in isolation, but it turns out kelp forests are found in abundance in Californian waters! How delightfully convenient.

As for the shipwreck, I’m thinking it was scuttled deliberately decades earlier in order to create an artificial reef, serving as environmental mitigation for the then-rapidly-proliferating nuclear desalination plants, which at the time discharged copious quantities of warm briny water into the coastal waters.

In this universe this was before nuclear tunnel-boring technology (which literally melts rock using reactor heat; see the nuclear subterrene concept from real life) was available, and very long tunnels were dug under the seafloor, enabling the brine to be released in only small quantities across widely dispersed sites, rendering the artificial reef solution less necessary, though new creations of artificial reefs are still abundant enough in this universe even now for artistic and scientific research purposes.

This particular shipwreck is a vessel that had a shallow draft and was mostly made up of a big ballroom, which served as a party venue (in the mid to late 20th century?), as well as perhaps a floating dance studio. Maybe this latter aspect made it famous in the earlier days of the Web, when its owner became famous as a result of her videos combining dancing with yacht life, including teaching lessons, showing off her moves, and throwing parties. The boat served her well, but may have been donated by the original owner for use as an artificial reef once she had no more use for it (perhaps she built a new and improved vessel?). I’m thinking she might have been a big-time conservationist tree-hugger type.

Anyway, as for Fia and Kolya, I’m thinking they’ll don scuba suits and go from the submersible into the grand ballroom, decayed but still remarkably well-preserved, and under the sunlight (moonlight?), filtered through the waves of the surface and the swaying of kelp branches, they’ll dance and have fun in this evocative underwater setting.

Additional Gothic vibes (following on from “Orphans of Opry Tower”) might be provided by the original owner of the ship being someone Kolya always had the hots for, and always was crazy about, his first and only celebrity crush, only she was long dead so he couldn’t have her…until now. Fia is remarkably like her, only Fia’s so much better (a reference, of course, to her pneumatic body, made possible by modern cosmetics technology). Kolya makes no secret of how Fia is his dream girl come to life, and how he wanted to take Fia there because she reminded him so much of her.

For more creepy parallels this departed celebrity might be named Tessa Morrigan (a stage name most likely, since Morrigan just denotes a goddess, but still!), a name that (eerily) flows pretty similarly to Fia McThurston, his new date’s name. Said celebrity was also a skilled dancer, and also always wore very revealing clothes. Reincarnation might be suggested?

An extra touch might be if the ship itself was named “Fia” or “Fiadh”, which believe it or not is not implausible if Tessa was into Gaelic mythology and the like (which she undoubtedly was), considering Fia (Gaelic form Fiadh, pronounced “Fee-a”) means “wild” in Irish. A good name for a party ship where you have few clothes on, which is the same vibe Fia is going for with her (at first hypothetical but then very real) dream guy.

Additional aspects that might be fun include Fia losing her virginity underwater; yes, the mechanics of it (especially doing it in a pleasurable way) are challenging, but so help me I just love the sheer romance of the idea too much to resist depicting them doing it and having a great time! The waters, though cool, are warm enough to swim in in the nude, an act which she feels comfortable doing with her date, which might serve as an early sign that he’s the One for her. After they come into the submarine they’ll be dried off and get moisturizer, since the seawater tends to dry out the skin. Perhaps this is a sensuous massage on the part of her male date, and they go for another round, and this sets the pattern for their lives from then on?

It might set a new record for whirlwind romances; from virgin maiden to taken woman in just one date, but meh, when you know you know, right?

I also have some brainstorming about the Ventura/Santa Barbara area; maybe some of these video game headquarters are edge-city type places, filled with Futurist buildings, architecture shaped like computer chips, clad in vivid colors, almost a Brutalist vibe? Maybe with the development being less characterized by subdivisions and being more along the lines of master-planned communities, even to the point of being almost arcological? Hmm…that aspect might take some more digging.

Anyway, the point is, as an author, the creative juices are still flowing in this saga, and it’s been a fun time, exploring it and seeing if these stray thoughts might congeal into a story, as those that led into “Orphans of Opry Tower” did before them. Heady stuff.

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