Ben Archer and the World Beyond

ben and world beyondMesmo has been teaching Ben how to scuba dive in French Polynesia, although the Toreq technique is quite different from that of humans.  Ben frees a small manta ray tangled in fishing line, then meets two octopi who are leery of his wish to communicate with the citizens of the sea.  He’s understandably discouraged.

However,  Laura Archer is worried about her son’s endless focus on what he considers his mission, so she sends him to “camp” in the Pacific town of Tofino, where his mom has set up a rendezvous with Kimi and her family.  As he helps out and becomes part of the group, a pod of fifteen orcas beach themselves on the shore of the town.  Residents try everything they know to get the whales back into the water, but when they’re ready to give up, Ben asks for one more night. When town leaders agree, he’s unsure what he’ll do, but, he receives special help in the middle of the night, and by morning, the whales are back in the water.

The head of the orca pod, Kana’kwa, tells Ben they were pursuing salmon when the fish suddenly vanished and, as the senior orca phrases it, We were afraid, and we fled, but the land caught us. The villain is a Russian fishing ship, where Ben and Kimi come face-to-face with the grim reality of commercial fishing and capturing whales for ocean parks.  However, Jeremy Michaels, the pesky Provincial Times reporter who’s pursued Ben since the Cosmic Fall, comes to their unexpected aid and reveals himself as their ally.

Meanwhile, Mesmo meets with the Wise Ones, who are split on how to handle humanity.  Einar, the belligerent Norwegian, is especially furious.

Back in the ocean floating in the fishing ship’s dinghy, Ben is finally able to make his peace presentation to the ocean’s denizens. Will the sea’s residents accept his offer?

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