Turtledove
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Tashteg
Fictional Character
Chicxulub Asteroid Missed
POD: 66 million years ago
Appearance(s): "The Quest for the Great Gray Mossy"
Type of Appearance: Direct
Species: Brownskin
Cause of Death: Drowning
Occupation: Mossy hunter

Tashteg was a brownskin who served as a harpooner aboard the Queepahd before Milvil and Geekgeek joined the crew. When the first mate, Stabbak, informed Geekgeek of Tashteg, Geekgeek raised no objections.[1]

Tashteg was the harpooner aboard Frask's boat. He was one of the harpooners who believed Captain Baja's quest for the Great Gray Mossy was insane, an opinion he shared with Geekgeek. Another harpooner, Ootag was amused by their complaints, pointing out that the trip was already profitable, and so Baja could be crazy. When Geekgeek suggested that Baja's behavior might sink the Queepahd, Faidal angrily assured the others that the gods he worshipped had ordained that Baja could only be killed by a "hempen necklace."[2]

Two days later, the Queepahd encountered the Flowerbud under the command of Captain Kain. Kain informed Baja that the Great Gray Mossy had overturned a harpoon boat containing Kain's eldest hatchling. Kain asked for help in the search, but Baja simply asked where the encounter had taken place. Once Kain had done so, Baja ordered the Queepahd to the location. He informed an irate Kain that he was not going to help, but he did wish Kain luck.[3]

More days passed, though the search proved fruitless. When Stabbak once again tried to convince Baja to give up the hunt, but Baja refused.[4] And then one day, they finally found the Great Gray Mossy. Milvil and Geekgeek made their way to Shtup's boat. On his way, Milvil heard Stabbak informing Baja that he also wanted to go out.[5]

Shtup's boat arrived alongside the Great Gray Mossy. Geekgeek threw his harpoon and struck. While the Great Gray Mossy initially fled, it abruptly turned and ate both Geekgeek and a rower, narrowly missing Milvil. The boat capsized and the survivors fell into the ocean. Baja arrived, and personally threw his own harpoon into the Mossy. When the Mossy again fled, the hemp line wrapped around Baja's neck and pulled him into the ocean. The Mossy turned round again. Faidal cut the line that held Baja, and then began throwing harpoons himself, until the Great Gray Mossy ate him as well. Then the Great Gray Mossy came up under the boat commanded by Frask. Tashteg was also board. As Milvil watched, the Great Gray Mossy sent all aboard into the ocean, then used its tail to beat the water and flail the mariners.[6]

Literary comment[]

Tashteg is based on Tashtego, a Wampanoag harpooner in Moby-Dick.

References[]

  1. Analog, Vol. CXXXX, Nos 1 & 2, January/February, 2020, pgs. 54.
  2. Ibid, pgs. 66-67.
  3. Ibid., pgs. 67-68.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 68-69.
  5. Ibid., pg. 70.
  6. Ibid. pg. 70-71.
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