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The Story of Antarctica

by Benjamin Sheng

October 28th, 1001

I was looking at the horizon in the morning when a gust of wind from the starboard side made me turn. It was snowing the hardest since the start of the storm five days ago, making visibility terrible. Despite the storm it seemed to my eyes that a mass of land was ten miles away from our ship. Knowing that there were no islands in this region of the Southern Ocean, I believed it to be a mirage at first. However, I gave the order to sail for the land. We arrived an hour later. I discovered it to be a treacherous place, covered in ice, and extremely difficult to navigate. Our ship was almost stranded on an ice sheet. I have the coordinates charted here, in case any should want to return to this frozen world.

Icey I closed the faded oilskin log and looked up at his admiral, Jacob. He started speaking, his voice grim. “We can’t afford to lose any time. I want you to find this place immediately and report the conditions to me. What remains of the fleet is under your command.”

Jacob bowed. “I hope that when I return I shall find you safe and the war won.”

Icey smiled sadly. They both knew that there was little hope of that happening. “We’ll be waiting at the southernmost port for your return. I wish you a safe voyage and a speedy return.”

Jacob bowed again, and waddled as fast as he could to his ship the ICE Victory, the flagship of the Argentinian fleet. Sending an emergency message to the rest of the fleet’s ships, he boarded the ship and gave the order for the fleet to leave. With a war that had started in 1020 against the scalier denizens of South America that they, as penguins, could hardly hope to win, and 1,344 leagues to travel to reach their destination, it wasn’t easy to hope for the best. 

Two weeks passed without anything worthy of interest happening. Then, on the seventh of December, a terrible storm arrived. Flashes of lightning lit up the dark sky and the sea like the explosions that they had only left behind two weeks ago. Jacob had decided to bear against the storm and keep on sailing forward when one of the ships next to him started to sink. Concerned, he looked closer, saw what looked like a whirlpool forming in the ocean, and then saw a red tentacle looping around the bow. Now horrified, he immediately gave orders for all personnel to fight the monster. Before anyone could do anything, however, there was a tremendous splash and everyone saw a pale object rise out of the water with the Kraken in its mouth. With another splash, a pair of supernatural white flukes disappeared under the water. Silence ensued, and the storm ended as quickly as it had come.

On December 15th, the lookout sighted land. Everyone cheered for the first time in a month, as there had been little cause for celebration in the past. As the ships neared the mass of land, they passed two mountains of ice and what looked like a frozen pass. And then a mysterious phenomenon was seen – black fins were seen streaking through the water towards the lead ship. Within seconds, these fins started rising and showed themselves to be attached to a rather strange species of dolphin with a blend of black-and-white coloring across their bodies. The largest one, who was wearing a deerstalker hat and looked more like a whale, raised its head above the water and asked for the captain, signaling that they could not proceed until they filled out the necessary papers. Greeting Jacob, it asked for his passport and gave him a stack of papers to sign. Jacob sighed and duly filled them out. The dolphin saluted and swam away with the rest of its pod. Jacob looked back towards the land. It was now only an hour away. 

At last, the fleet docked at a tranquil iceberg and a search party, led by Jacob’s cousin Blubber, was sent out into the wilderness. As they traveled deeper into the terrain, they wandered into a cave littered with the ashes of campfires that was rather dismal. 

“Hello?” Blubber called. 

As the echo died out, the sound of footsteps and the clinking of pots and pans were heard. As the sound grew closer and closer, the search party turned around and found themselves facing an army of leopard seals and sea lions. Without waiting for a reaction, the seals roared and pounced on the unsuspecting penguins as the sea lions lit fires and heated up the pans. Great chaos ensued as penguins attempting escape were massacred and brave penguins fighting the seals with swords were brutally killed. Blubber, too, fell to a seal just as he was another. Only Jingles, Blubber’s cousin, made it out alive, and slid as fast as he could back to the fleet. 

Jacob pulled him on board. “What happened?” he demanded, shocked.

“Sea lions…” Blubber choked out as he collapsed. 

As soon as Blubber woke up, Jacob had him command their own army of a thousand able penguins, all armed to the beak with the newest Argentinian gadgets. When they finally reached the site of the massacre, what an awful sight awaited them! Grinning seals and sea lions were just finishing up the remains of what could only be described as a barbaric feast. They smiled, ready for more penguin au gratin and penguin stew. Slightly nauseated but determined to avenge their fallen friends, the penguins, with the clenched-teeth Blubber at their head, charged forward. The battle was short and was definitely not rated PG-13. Within minutes, the penguins had fought their way to the seal chief and demanded that he withdraw his forces from the land. Defeated and at the sharp end of twenty swords, he had no choice but to comply.

 The penguins spent the night keeping vigil for their fallen comrades before returning to Argentina. They would have good news for the emperor – another piece of land for his domain, as well as the chance to escape the dangers of the ongoing war. The land was as well a habitat for the penguins as they could have hoped – the geography and the landscape made it perfect for them. Jacob decided to call it “Antarctica”, meaning “opposite from the north”.

The emperor and the remaining citizens were waiting for them, as Icey had said, at the southernmost port. Little remained of the Argentina that the penguins had called home. The exodus was quick and organized. Within a month, all the former Argentinian penguin citizens were made Antarctican citizens. The Penguinice Empire was reestablished with its center in Antarctica. The penguins made sure that the sea lions and seals would cause no further trouble and made friends with the dolphins (they later found out that they were called orcas, and decided that they could do what they wanted with the sea lions). The emperor chose Mt. Erebus for his castle, and ensured that all of Antarctica was under his domain and free for all penguins. And what do you know? The Penguinice Empire still rules over Antarctica to this day.

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1 comment

Ryan Wang May 12, 2022 - 12:10 am

Amazing article! Very engaging and interesting storyline.


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