“We have Aqua-Bear! We actually have Aqua-Bear!”
“There’s just one,” said Oliver Watsford, an Australian biologist and scuba instructor, in a statement to the scientific community. He is one of five marine biologists on the team that discovered Earth’s first known aquatic bear.
Watsford’s team was on an unrelated dive when they finally and accidentally discovered Aqua-Bear approximately two miles off the southern tip of South Africa. The find is unprecedented.
“When we first saw him, Aqua-Bear was about 30 feet away, on his hind legs, suspended limp and motionless about five feet above the sea-bed,” recalled Watsford. “Then came an echoing voice. ‘Congratulations! You have discovered Aqua-Bear!’ It was deep, loud, and professional. We have no idea where it came from.”
“Aqua-Bear shows no signs of life, except for a heartbeat and the slack-jawed, drugged-out stare he follows you with,” remarked Dr. Tayla Brassey, mimicking the blank stare of Aqua-Bear. Dr. Brassey is the University of Hawaii at Hilo researcher who will bravely head Aqua-Bear’s supervision and research despite numerous warnings from friends, colleagues, and industry professionals. “Otherwise, he…she…whatever it is, it hasn’t responded to any stimuli whatsoever. But he always maintains eye contact.”
Unfortunately, Aqua-Bear’s transport, conducted by its’ discovering biologists in an agreement with the Hawaii campus, has been plagued with misfortune. The problem arises largely because Watsford and his team cannot bring Aqua-Bear above water without a morbid warning.
“‘No… NO… NO!’ The ominous, echoing voice returns if we bring Aqua-Bear remotely close to the surface,” explained Watsford. The responsibility of Aqua-Bear’s safe transport to Hawaii has fallen to him. “I don’t understand it at all.” Watsford fell into contemplation, quietly adding, “…what are you?”
Watsford and his team—flabbergasted, options scarce, disturbed and humbled—decided in desperation to tow Aqua-Bear from South Africa to Hawaii via a weighted line, which drags Aqua-Bear, submerged and in a harness, behind a boat.
The process is slow, but Watsford and his team have few options. No one—no humanitarian group, government, or University—will step in to help on accounts of the mysterious, haunting, and supernatural aura surrounding the bear.
“I can’t take the night terrors for much longer,” whispered Watsford, eye twitching, tremoring hand raising a cigarette to his lips. “No one on the team can. I don’t think any of us will ever forget the chill… the chill down your spine the first time you see the Aqua-Bear. Two of our team vomited into their masks, almost drowned themselves.”
The Quadrangle asked the researchers how they draw the strength to stay and continue their grueling work. “I stay out of obligation, and a duty to the scientific community,” said Sara Stevenson, Watsford’s second in command. “Even in light of the rest of the world abandoning us. What about you, Watsford?”
“I think it’s the eyes that are the worst,” Watsford replied, staring blankly at his shoes. “Those hollow, vacant eyes I will never un-see.”