Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #191
…”You really know how to comfort a girl!”
Harv’s condensed version of a coming epic is not entirely realistic, a story of nine months closer to hell than sane most people care to get…
Summer on the middle Atlantic is deceivingly pleasant, especially on the southern route that the S.S. Oscar II has taken, seemingly sneaking up on France. Days of warm sun lends an aire of a leisure cruise… and then to quite the opposite. Soon, lounge chairs and cold drinks, will be replaced by trenches and bacteria laced water.
Passing the Straits of Gibraltar, entrance to the Mediterranean, proves to be the most challenging. A large part of the war is being fought in the landlocked sea, the east lying Dardanelles being the only marine access to Russia, and there is much attention where Spain and Morocco put the squeeze on open water. German sharks circle the area, waiting for defenseless prey, but dare not show themselves, lest the Allied fleet watching this isthmus spy them and secure their place next to the crustaceans and mollusks.
The sailor in the crow’s nest is an expert in identifying ships, the first to know whether it is safe to steam on, with scores of bobbing boats of all sizes to choose from. If they time it just right, Oscar II will pass through unnoticed, the plumes of smoke from their stack the sole record of a northerly course. Once clear of the maritime congestion, the final 400 leagues of sea separating them form the port city of Brest, goes quickly. The Bay of Biscay is tranquil, its water disturbed only by a knifing bow at twenty knots.
“Is there any chance that we can forget this madness and stay with the ship?” asks Judith, flooded by second thoughts at first sighting of a periscope; an initial taste of the dangers of war.
“Don’t you think I can keep us safe? The real fighting is 600 miles to the east and we will not go past 500, at least not for more than a day – get a few pictures of the front, talk to a few soldiers and get out – head up to London, dodge bombs from a Zeppelin or two, talk to the Prime Minister, whoever that is at the time – and maybe we could cap things off by capturing a submarine in the English Channel, talk to the captain about what its like sinking a hospital ship.”
“You really know how to comfort a girl!” Harv’s condensed version of a coming epic is not entirely realistic, a story of nine months closer to hell than sane most people care to get, but he may not be too far off.
“If we don’t tell our readers what is really going on here, Wilson will sit on his hands and it will be too late. Europe will answer to Kaiser Wilhelm, thereby creating “North America Island”, with two huge bodies of water for a buffer zone, granted. Even castles can be breached, no matter how many alligators you put in the mote,” he relates. “I for one don’t want to find out.”
“That’s it! Time to go people,” he yells to the rest of the P-E J staff, taking Judith’s hand, turning to bid Captain Barnabas Silverio farewell. “Take care on the way back to America; you don’t want to keep Henry Ford waiting.”
“If you’re still in Europe in March, we would love to see you home.”
“You can have our business, any time, Captain,” he assures, adding, “but only if you can keep Oscar afloat!”
Good-bye to a friend of the P-E J, hello to months’ worth of tension filled material.