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    Mark Arbour
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Odyssey - 16. Chapter 16

June 6, 1797

           

“See about hiring a shore boat to take us to the ship,” Granger told Kingsdale as he stood on the Plymouth waterfront. “I’m going to grab a pint in that tavern while I’m waiting.”

“Aye aye sir,” Kingsdale said, while he and Winkler set about getting a boat and stowing Granger’s trunk. Granger walked into the tavern, his mouth dry as a bone. It was a long drive from Amport House to Plymouth. He walked into the room and found a raucous crowd there, consisting mostly of naval officers. He was wearing his cloak over his uniform, as it was a bit brisk on the waterfront, even here in June.

“Well look what we have here. Ain’t you pretty?” a drunken lieutenant slurred. “Identify yourself!” The men with the lieutenant, another lieutenant and some warrant officers, laughed uproariously.

Granger pulled off his cloak, revealing his uniform, the uniform of a post-captain. “Captain Viscount Granger, of His Britannic Majesty’s Ship Bacchante,” Granger said evenly. “And you address me as ‘my lord’.”

The lieutenant stared at Granger for a moment, as if certain Granger were but a mirage from his drunken nightmare, but his addled mind soon processed that wasn’t the case. All of the men stood up abruptly. “I’m terribly sorry, my lord. I’m Lieutenant Chatterton, of the Minotaur.”

“I’m sure no harm was intended,” Granger said smoothly. “As you were.” He grabbed a table by himself and ordered a pint of ale, and a pint for each of the men whom he’d just terrified.

“My lord, may I join you?” a familiar voice asked.

“Mr. Gatling. By what chance are you in Plymouth?” Granger asked. “Have a seat.”

“I came looking for you, hoping you could offer me a berth on your ship, my lord.”

“When last I left you, you were chasing Mr. Roberts around, commanding captured Spanish battleships.”

“Yes, my lord,” Gatling said, but there was sadness in his voice. “Mr. Roberts was posted back to the fleet with Sir Horatio Nelson, but I wasn’t sent with him.”

“Why not?” Granger asked.

“They had a full complement, and there was no room for me. Mr. Roberts did not yet have his own vessel. I seemed to have ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, my lord.”

“Luck is something that deserted you. I am sorry,” Granger said.

“I took a boat out to Bacchante and met with Mr. Calvert. He said you had a full midshipman’s berth, but that I should talk to you when you got back from London. I didn’t know when you’d be back, my lord, and I was hoping I’d meet up with you before you sailed.”

“I sense there is more to your story than you are telling me, Mr. Gatling,” Granger said.

Gatling smiled, his cute smile, and then frowned. “Yes, my lord. Mr. Roberts and I had a falling out, not professionally, but personally.”

“You will pardon me for asking you how this happened.”

“There was another person, a marine lieutenant, who caught his fancy. At first, I thought it was just a fling, but it became deeper than that. I was hurt, and I didn’t behave in the best way.”

“What did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything publicly, my lord,” Gatling said emphatically. “We just had words, in private. I was rather pointed in telling him how I felt about a man who would profess his love one day, and take another lover the next.”

“I fear that is often the nature of men, especially when they are not thinking with their brains, but rather with their loins,” Granger said sympathetically. “So Mr. Roberts had you transferred?”

“He claims he did not, but when he left, I was not sent with him, and I am not naïve enough to think that happened without input from him, my lord.”

Granger nodded. “That is possibly true.” It would have been reasonable for Roberts to take an unattached midshipman with him, especially since he was presumably going off to a new posting, where he’d hopefully get his own ship. “I hope you have reconciled yourself to this, and that the pain is getting easier to handle.”

“I am trying, my lord,” Gatling said. “It has not been the easiest six months for me.”

“Nor for me. I am most anxious to return to sea.”

“My lord, I feel as if I deserted you before, but I would be forever in your debt if you would take me aboard your ship.”

“Mr. Gatling, you did not desert me, you were sent aboard the Captain under orders from the Commodore. You fought valiantly in that battle, to all accounts. The only problem I have at this point is that I am indeed already one midshipman over in the Bacchante’s gunroom.”

“I understand, my lord,” Gatling said. The poor boy was miserable.

“Then again, if I am already one midshipman over complement, I can’t imagine that one more would make a difference,” Granger said airily. He watched Gatling process that, and saw him smile, a big smile.

“So I can join you, my lord?” he asked.

“I would be happy to have you on board,” Granger said. “Where is your dunnage?”

“In the backroom, here. I’ve been staying here, my lord. I have it all ready, just in case I got this lucky, and you’d let me come aboard.”

“Get your things and meet me at the dock. I am transferring aboard at once, and we sail on the morning tide.”

“Aye aye, my lord,” Gatling said, and scurried off to get his things. Granger finished his ale, and wondered where they’d cram an extra body on board his crowded frigate. He decided that regardless of the constraints, Gatling would be well worth having along. He was a good officer.

Granger went out to the dock to find a shore boat waiting for him. Winkler was just supervising the loading of his last trunk, when Gatling came up to add his trunk to the load as well. “You said three people, that’s four with an extra trunk,” the boatman growled at Winkler.

“And you can expect to be compensated for your extra effort,” Granger said calmly.

“Certainly, my lord,” the boatman said, in a considerably more polite tone. They climbed in and took their seats in the stern.

“Mr. Kingsdale, this is Mr. Gatling. He will be joining the ship as well.”

“Welcome aboard,” Kingsdale said in a friendly way. Gatling smiled back at him.

“It will be nice to have you with us again, Mr. Gatling,” Winkler said.

“Thank you, Winkler. I heard a rumor that you had contemplated staying ashore to spend all your prize money,” Gatling said.

“That kind of relaxation is not my lot in life. I am destined to work my fingers to the bone, sir,” Winkler groused.

“Then I will do my best to make sure you meet your destiny,” Granger joked.

“Boat ahoy!” came a shout from Bacchante. It was dark now, so it would be difficult for the men on board Bacchante to see who was in the boat.

Bacchante!” the boatman shouted back, telling them that the boat carried their captain. Granger smiled as he heard the commotion as the ship prepared to receive her captain with the proper honors. The boat hooked on, and Granger stood up, pausing to hand the boatman his fare plus a massive tip, as one would expect from a peer and a successful frigate captain. He leapt for the chains and pulled himself up the sides, until he reached the entry port.

“Welcome back, my lord,” Calvert said. The lanterns on deck illuminated everyone well enough. Granger took in Calvert’s handsome face, his long neck, and his broad grin, and realized then just how much he’d missed him in the short time he’d been in London.

“Thank you, Mr. Calvert. Mr. Gatling will be joining the ship. I am unsure as to whether he is senior to Mr. Eastwyck or Mr. Stamford, but in any event, they will have to find room for him in the midshipmen’s berth.”

“Aye aye, my lord,” Calvert said automatically.

“Let me know the result of that when you have it sorted out. We will be sailing on the morning tide.”

“Aye aye my lord. The ship is ready for sea.”

“With you as her first lieutenant, the alternative never even crossed my mind,” Granger said pleasantly, and saw Calvert’s huge grin, so pleased was he at that public compliment. “I will see you in my quarters when you have finished stowing our gear.”

“Aye aye my lord,” Calvert said. Granger went below to his cabin and pondered how nice it would be to have it to himself. He hadn’t fancied sharing it with someone else for months on end, so at least for the outward voyage, he would be able to enjoy the extra room.

“Winkler,” Granger called.

“My lord?” Winkler asked, his voice harried.

“I’ll have my supper as soon as you can rustle something up. Mr. Calvert will join me.”

“Aye aye my lord,” he said, and snapped orders at the other servants to get that in process.

“And Winkler, please alert Lefavre that I’ll be entertaining my officers at dinner tomorrow.”

“Aye aye my lord,” Winkler said.

Calvert arrived, entering the cabin which was convulsed in activity, what with stowing and sorting the gear Granger had brought with him, plus getting supper ready. “I have asked Winkler to pull something together for us for supper. While he is doing that, show me around the ship.”

“Certainly, my lord,” Calvert said. They strode up to the quarterdeck, then up to the focs’l, where two smashers were mounted next to the 9-pounders.

“I see you acquired the smashers,” Granger said, grinning. “Dare I ask what you had to do to get them?”

“It seems that despite my efforts to use my charm, my lord, my purse is lighter by ten guineas.”

Granger laughed, then took out his own purse and paid Calvert back his bribe. “And now your purse and your charm are both intact.”

They went down to the main deck, where the men were enjoying their own supper. The mess was rowdy, and Granger stood in the background, just observing. They seemed happy and excited, which was all Granger could hope for. He stepped out of the shadows, and as soon as the first man saw him, he shut up and stood at attention. His actions prompted the others to look, and it was as if in a wave, Bacchante’s men ceased talking and stood, awaiting their captain’s pleasure. “As you were, men,” Granger said. They relaxed, but only slightly. “What’s for supper?” Granger asked one of the seamen.

“Pea soup and a bit of fresh pork, my lord,” he responded nervously.

“We sail on the morning tide, so after that, fresh food may become a rarity.”

“I’m sure you’ll drum some up for us, in any event, my lord,” one of the men said jovially.

“I usually do,” Granger said with a smile. He moved aft, working his way down the deck, and stopping to chat with the crew as he did. It was a good thing to do, and a good way to gauge the mood.

One of the young boys he’d brought along as a cabin servant pushed toward Granger. “My lord, supper is ready.”

“I will have to see if Lefavre did as well as the cook did for you,” Granger joked to the man nearest him. Lefavre was well-known as being the best chef, or at least one of the best, in the Navy. He ushered Calvert back to his cabin to find that calm had been restored, and a wonderful dinner of roast pork was waiting for him, complete with some sort of red sauce that tasted of raspberries.

“This pork is fabulous, my lord,” Calvert said, as he ate.

“Lefavre continues to amaze me,” Granger agreed. “We sail on the morning tide, and then I will have dinner with the officers to brief them on our orders.”

“We are still going to the Indies, my lord?” Calvert asked.

“We are, Francis,” Granger said, using his Christian name to indicate they could be relaxed and casual. “We were to have a passenger with us, the new governor.”

“Will he join us before we sail?”

“He has already sailed, on a company ship. Sir Tobias Maidstone is to be the governor.” Calvert’s mouth fell open in shock.

“Surely not!”

“So it would seem. We appear to have a lot on our plate.”

“What will happen to the doctor?”

Granger cursed himself for forgetting all about Jackson. “He will be safe now. I have acquired a pardon of sorts for him.”

“That is excellent!” As they ate, Granger felt his desire for Calvert growing with each bite. He found he was eating at an indecent speed, and Calvert was matching his pace. When they finished, Granger stood up and led Calvert to his sleeping quarters without a word. There, they reunited physically, in a way so complete that Granger put behind him all the turmoil, all the anticipation of sailing the next day, and he slept peacefully, his body wrapped around Calvert’s.

 

June 7, 1797

 

“Mr. Weston, I’ll have the anchor raised,” Granger called forward. The entire crew was at stations, ready to obey his orders. The guard boat came aside and took off their last dispatches, including Granger’s letter to the Admiralty informing them that Gatling was aboard. “Captain Somers, some music from our band, if you please.”

“Aye aye, my lord,” Somers said, with his impish grin. The band struck up, and gave the men some rhythm to heave to as they labored with Bacchante’s anchor.

“Anchor’s hove short, my lord!” Weston called.

“Topsails, if you please, Mr. Calvert,” Granger ordered.

“Aye aye, my lord,” he said dutifully. Granger watched with satisfaction as the men swarmed out onto the yards. This was an experienced crew, and they knew their business. All that remained was to weld the new men and his prior crew together into a solid fighting machine.

“Anchor’s aweigh!” Weston called. Granger had known that before he called that out, as he’d felt Bacchante start to move.

“Helm, a point to larboard,” Granger ordered, as he gauged the leeway their ship would make. It was a beautiful day, with a steady breeze and clear skies; a glorious day to be sailing. There was a hail from a boat that was rowing urgently, trying to catch up with them. Granger thought about backing the sails to let the boat catch up with them, but decided that whoever wanted to see him could work harder at it. Bacchante would wait for no man.

“Boat ahoy!” the lookout called.

“Guard boat! Coming aboard!” Granger was focused on his ship, so he barely paid attention as a pair of naval officers came aboard.

“Good morning, gentlemen,” he said politely. “I fear you had best be about your business, or you will be sailing with us.”

“Yes, my lord. I brought you some final letters that just arrived,” a lieutenant said, handing Granger a packet. “And as soon as we haul the trunk aboard, we’ll be off.”

“The trunk would be mine, my lord,” the other man said. “I’m Elliot Conway, and I’ve been assigned to Bacchante as her master.”

“Welcome aboard, Mr. Conway. This is Mr. Calvert, the first lieutenant. You will meet the others at dinner this afternoon. Mr. Calvert, please see to bringing Mr. Conway’s trunk aboard.”

“Aye aye, my lord,” Calvert said. The lieutenant took his leave and scurried back into his boat, while Granger and Conway focused on conning Bacchante out to sea.

Granger watched Conway carefully. Granger had expected them to send him an old, wizened master, one who was so advanced in years that he would be constantly plagued by rheumatism or gout. This man was probably in his 40s, and his leathery skin suggested he’d spent a good many of those years at sea. He had brown hair, and brown eyes, and was just a little portly. “Tell me of your service, Mr. Conway.”

“I spent most of my time in the Pacific, mostly the South Seas, and in the Indies, my lord. I think that’s why they sent me to sea with you, hoping I might be of assistance.”

“I am confident that you will be. It is customary for me to have dinner with my officers on the first day at sea to familiarize them with my orders. After that, we will have much time to figure out how to implement them.”

“Aye aye, my lord.” Granger left him alone after that, as the man was clearly absorbed in the workings of the ship. He was responsible for navigating Bacchante safely, and for managing such important details as her trim, so he would want to get a feel for her.

“Pass the word for Dr. Jackson,” Granger ordered. “Mr. Calvert, take us out of Plymouth then set us on a course to weather Ushant.”

“Aye aye, my lord,” Calvert said, and took control of the ship from Granger.

Jackson was an idler, which meant he kept no watch and had no station on deck when they were making sail. Still, he was prompt enough in responding. “You sent for me, my lord.”

“Yes, but not because I am unwell,” Granger said with a smile. “Walk with me.”

As Bacchante sailed out of Plymouth harbor, Calvert and Conway kept an eagle eye out for any hazards, while Granger left those details to his subconscious as he began to pace the deck with Jackson. “How was London, my lord?”

“Interesting. When I first arrived, I was directed to transfer you to another vessel, as the new governor we were to convoy is not one of your fans.”

“Who is the new governor, my lord? I am universally popular, so I find it hard to picture who this could be,” Jackson said playfully. He was a pleasant man, with a good sense of humor.

Granger chuckled. “Sir Tobias Maidstone is to replace my brother as governor of Amboyna.” That was so shocking that Jackson froze in his tracks.

“Surely not? Is he aboard?”

“Relax, Doctor. He has opted to sail aboard a company ship, a fast, well-armed sloop. He departed, ironically enough, the day you were arrested.”

“He had planned his trip before I was arrested, my lord? Did you know of his appointment at that time?”

“I did not, and it seemed to come as a surprise to many people, including His Majesty.”

“That can’t be good, my lord,” Jackson said. “I will have to ruminate on this.”

“You do that. I met with His Majesty on your behalf. He asked me why I was pleading the case of a man who frequented molly houses.”

“His Majesty thinks I’m a regular customer at molly houses?” Jackson asked, horrified.

“I think that was his initial impression,” Granger said, and tried not to laugh. It really would have been funny, but for Jackson’s reaction, which was quite a change from what one encountered from the normally composed doctor. “I attempted to convince him that you only let men bugger you in the privacy of your own home.”

It only took Jackson a few seconds to realize Granger was joking. “I must thank you, my lord, for setting the record straight with His Majesty.” They both chuckled at that.

“I was able to secure for you a conditional pardon.”

“Conditional, my lord?”

“It pardons you for your sins prior to this, but it is only good so long as you are employed by either the Crown, or in my personal service, or that of my heirs, for fifteen years. I fear that all I have done is bartered you into indentured servitude.”

Jackson digested that for a few paces. “Thank you, my lord. I am more than happy to serve His Majesty, or you. I would hope to do that for more than fifteen years, but we will first have to see how many years the good Lord gives me on this earth.”

“You’re welcome. My own thinking on the subject is that it is better to have such an imperfect pardon and be allowed to keep one’s neck at its current length.”

“I couldn’t agree more, my lord,” Jackson said with a chuckle.

“I am hopeful that if we return from this voyage successfully, that I may be able to parlay that pardon into one that is without conditions. I will certainly pledge to you that I will try.”

“My lord, I think that is far distant, and as I said, I am pleased with things as they are.” They walked along for a bit, neither saying anything. “I feel as if my life started anew when I joined Intrepid. I had been so devastated, so despondent over my loss, over seeing her die and being able to do nothing to save her that I didn’t know if I even wanted a future. I have found a new purpose, and a new joy in being in your service.”

“I am so glad to hear that, doctor,” Granger said. He broke off their conversation when he felt Bacchante take the first big wave from the Atlantic. The seas were only moderate, but Bacchante was leaving Plymouth, and leaving England. Granger looked back at the lush green landscape, and pondered briefly that he’d be lucky to see her again in two years, if at all.

“Mr. Calvert!”

“My lord?”

“Which of our midshipmen is the senior?”

“Mr. Gatling is the senior, my lord.”

“I had intended that Mr. Eastwyck would have charge of the signals. I would prefer that Mr. Gatling handle them, as he has experience, and he is the senior. Mr. Eastwyck can assist him when practical,” Granger said.

“Aye aye, my lord,” Calvert said.

“Let’s get the mains on her,” Granger ordered. He was anxious to get the land behind them, to eradicate the sight of the green hills of England, lest he become homesick. The men were summoned and the sails flapped loudly in the wind as they were loosed and sheeted home.

“She does fly, my lord,” Calvert said, grinning.

“I think that with this wind, she can handle the topgallants as well,” Granger said thoughtfully. That was pushing it, but he wanted to see what she would do, and how she handled in moderate seas with all reasonable sail set. The looks from Calvert and Conway told him what they thought of such a risk.

The hands were ordered higher aloft, and the topgallants were released. Granger felt Bacchante heel over with the press of the additional canvas. Granger watched, or felt, her progress for nigh on an hour when he decided they weren’t doing any better with the additional canvas. “I think, gentlemen, that the extra sails, in this wind, give us more leeway than is offset by our forward progress,” Granger said slowly.

“I am fairly sure you are right, my lord,” Conway said, anxious to reduce sail.

“Very well. Mr. Calvert, please have the topgallants taken in.”

“Aye aye, my lord.”

“My lord, what are those?” Conway asked, pointing at the large wooden structures protruding from Bacchante’s side and stern.

“Those, Mr. Conway, are boat davits. Once we are clear of land, and have a calm sea, we will attach the cutter, my gig, and the jolly boat to them. We will leave the launch in the waist, as she is now.”

“How will that effect the ship’s fabric, my lord?” Conway asked.

“That is why they have not been introduced throughout the fleet. There is a fear that hanging boats from the ends of the ship will increase the stress on her. We experimented with them on Belvidera and found no adverse effects. As this ship is newer, and English, I suspect she will handle it with no problem.”

“Fascinating, my lord,” Conway said. “I did not realize you were so willing to embrace innovation.”

“I think you will find the biggest innovation to be below, in the hold.”

“Indeed, my lord?”

“Allow me to show you,” Granger said. He led Conway below, to the bowels of the ship, someplace the captain did not often frequent. He brought a couple of hands with them, carrying lanterns, and showed him the iron water tanks, as well as the pumps Granger had brought with him. There was the general pump, for the bilges, and another one, much smoother, for pumping water out of the tanks.

“This is a marvelous system, my lord,” Conway said enthusiastically. “I think this will serve us well in the tropics, where water becomes rancid much faster, and the ill humors from the bilges add yet another health hazard.”

“Even though the ship is new, by now the smells would already be noxious. In Bacchante we can stand below and not be too discomfited by the odor. That is due to the removal of the iron shingles for ballast. We found that the water tanks were superb in Belvidera, but this configuration, where we can stow stores on top of them, adds an entirely new dimension of comfort to the ship.”

“I am wondering if you are open to other new ideas, my lord.” Conway asked.

“I am open to anything that will improve Bacchante as a fighting vessel,” Granger said sincerely. They walked back up to the quarterdeck and began to walk together. “I was almost forced to sail without a master. What delayed you?”

“I was not sure that I wanted to return to sea, my lord,” Conway said honestly. “I received my orders, and requested leave from the Admiralty to recover. I contracted the fever on my last voyage, and I was not willing to tackle a trip to the Indies so soon.”

“Yet you are here, with us now. Someone must have persuaded you to leave.”

“There were three things that impacted my decision, my lord. The first was a personal plea from Lord Spencer, which he summoned me to the Admiralty to receive. He said that with the nature of your mission changing, I would be of even more assistance than before.”

“Did he explain how our mission had changed?” Granger asked.

“He did not, my lord.”

“Then I will fill you in, probably within the next hour or so, if dinner is ever ready,” Granger said with a smile. “What were the other two reasons?”

“I gambled a bit while I was home, and found myself embarrassed for funds.” Granger wasn’t surprised. Gambling was practically the English national pastime. “You have a reputation for making money, and I needed money, my lord, so it seemed a good match.”

“We will hope that my luck continues,” Granger said.

“And finally, I was so disgusted with the mutinies, that I felt it was best to get away from them. I had no desire to end up in one of those stolid battleships that spend most of their time in port and to put up with the kind of insolence my fellow officers had to endure.”

“Well I hope you will look back on this decision and count it as one of your better ones,” Granger said. “Now, if you will excuse me, I must go and be a good host, and make sure my table is ready.”

“Of course, my lord,” Conway said.

Copyright © 2014 Mark Arbour; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

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Chapter Comments

On 08/05/2012 06:39 AM, JimCarter said:
Damn that chapter seemed short.aleric-cry.gif I know it was about normal, but I just can't get enough Granger.
You know, it actually was a little shorter than some of the others. I'll try to make up for that next time.
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It sounds like Mr Conway is going to be a real asset. And having Gatlin on board should help keep the rats in the chart-room in check. One can only hope. ;) And they are underway!

Glad to see them over compliment. Now he has more people to deliver prizes. And we have to see what she can do in action don't we? I suspect that wont take long. But first he'll have to put her through some maneuvers to see how she does. A bit of sailing foreplay so to speak. Test her limitations.

 

Well done as always Lord Arbour.

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Yes the crew is complete. The ship is strong and ready. The mission is set. The adventure begins. Nothing yes nothing is as exciting. George is in his element. Things are so much simpler here. Life and death, good and bad. victory or defeat. We as readers can feel it too. Freedom. A place were the captain is king and a brave and dedicated officer can do great things. They will sail around the world. Gone from home for a long time. But still, it has begun, and we are taken along for the ride. An Odyssey worthy of myth and heroes? Is George up for it? I'm betting he is.

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On 08/05/2012 11:00 AM, ricky said:
It sounds like Mr Conway is going to be a real asset. And having Gatlin on board should help keep the rats in the chart-room in check. One can only hope. ;) And they are underway!

Glad to see them over compliment. Now he has more people to deliver prizes. And we have to see what she can do in action don't we? I suspect that wont take long. But first he'll have to put her through some maneuvers to see how she does. A bit of sailing foreplay so to speak. Test her limitations.

 

Well done as always Lord Arbour.

I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter. I thought having Gatling back would be good, and a full crew for a voyage to the Indies is not a bad idea.
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On 08/05/2012 02:44 PM, rjo said:
Yes the crew is complete. The ship is strong and ready. The mission is set. The adventure begins. Nothing yes nothing is as exciting. George is in his element. Things are so much simpler here. Life and death, good and bad. victory or defeat. We as readers can feel it too. Freedom. A place were the captain is king and a brave and dedicated officer can do great things. They will sail around the world. Gone from home for a long time. But still, it has begun, and we are taken along for the ride. An Odyssey worthy of myth and heroes? Is George up for it? I'm betting he is.
I'm sure George will be fine, but it is certainly a long voyage!
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It's great to have Gatling back, a known quantity, it will help get the other midshipmen up to speed. The new Master seems almost heaven sent, just what Granger needed. And they're off (finally). Let the Odyssey begin. Great chapter, thank you.

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Granger is going to have his hands full with everyone on his ship. I find it sort of strange that

Conway just shows up. Maidstone seems to have a long reach, I have to wonder if he would try to place someone on board.

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It is great to see Gatling back.  The new master, Conway, is much like Maurice with potential to add further innovations to the new ship.

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