How busy have I been today? Well, two cups of tea have gone cold. Two, I tell you!
Putting everything I’ve learned about typesetting has been fascinating — and very absorbing.
Here is this weeks chapter of ‘the Girl from a Thousand Fathoms’. It’s time for everyone to wake up and smell the… Just what is that burning smell?
I hope you enjoy this chapter, and my best wishes to you all for a peaceful and happy Christmas holiday.
Koponen burst back into the mess. ‘What the hell was that?’
‘Here we go again,’ Jarglebaum muttered under his breath.
‘Didn’t you feel it?’
‘I’m calling the bridge.’
‘You know best.’
Koponen pressed button after button. ‘It’s not working. I can’t get through.’
‘Let me try.’ Mellow from three large scotches Jarglebaum swayed over and studied the control panel. It looked simple enough, a series of domed white buttons set under a grill, each one labelled ‘Bridge’, ‘Galley’, and so on. Below the buttons was a dial labelled ‘Volume’, beside the dial a small electric bulb and a toggle switch labelled ‘On’ and ‘Off’. Managing to turn his laugh into a grunting cough, Troy flicked the switch up and the bulb glowed green.
‘Now try,’ Jarglebaum said.
Koponen pressed the button marked ‘Bridge’. ‘This is Markus Koponen. Is everything all right? Over.’ Koponen waited a moment. ‘Come in, bridge. Respond, please. This is Koponen.’ Turning to Jarglebaum he gestured helplessly. ‘Nothing.’
Jarglebaum reached over and pressed the Bridge button again. He cranked the volume over to Max. ‘Hello? Anyone at home? Pirates on the starboard bow. Wake up, guys.’
The speaker wasn’t silent. Not quite. Over the faint electric hiss was a sound like a flag snapping in a strong breeze. Below that, faintly, a distressing low sound like wind moaning, or –
Jarglebaum’s whisky-driven ebullience died in his chest. All at once he felt very, very sober. ‘We need to get up there. Now.’
Then they both felt it. The ship had slowed. She was still under way but speed was falling off.
‘Come on.’ Jarglebaum opened the door then lurched back. ‘Jesus Christ.’
The ship trailed a vast plume of roiling black smoke. Above them the bridge was furiously ablaze.
Koponen pushed past and stared up at the flames. He sagged against the bulkhead. ‘Jumalauta! This can’t be happening. Not to me, not now.’
The ship staggered like something had struck it and slowed even more.
Koponen rallied himself. ‘Come on. We have to help.’
‘It’s an inferno, we can’t do anything. Where’s the radio room?’
Overhead a window shattered. Jarglebaum pushed Koponen against a bulkhead and shielded their faces with his jacket.
‘My girls.’ Koponen stared, wild-eyed. ‘Where are my girls?’
Jarglebaum shook Koponen by his collar. ‘Where’s the God-damned radio?’
Koponen’s eyes came back into focus. ‘Up a level, beyond the canteen.’ He started away. ‘We must save the seeds.’
Jarglebaum hauled on his arm. ‘We’re sticking together. That means you’re coming with me.’
To be continued…