Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 191

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #191

…Harv’s condensed version of a coming epic is not entirely realistic, a story of nine months closer to hell than most sane people care to get…

Summer on the middle Atlantic is deceivingly pleasant, especially on the southern routeAtlantic-001 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 SS OscarIIdangers 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 most sane 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.”

 “Never mind,” Judith bucks up, bolstered by Harv’s noble intentions. “Is that our launch?” she points to a sleek sloop speeding to meet up the S.S. Oscar II .

“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.

Alpha Omega M.D.

Brest Lighthouse photo by Alexander Riek

Episode #191

page 179

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #190

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #190

…Captain Silverio claims, “I have every issue of the Pearson-Eastman Journal filed away in my cabin.”

Theodore-Roosevelt-on-horse    “Welcome aboard, folks,” greets the captain, one Barnabas Silverio. “It’s a rare day when we have such famous passengers.” He points to a copy of the P-E J’s first issue, Teddy Roosevelt standing next to his favorite quarter horse, on the cover, as well as June’s arts issue featuring Pablo Picasso. “I have every issue filed away in my cabin.”


Harv rolls around some numbers in his head. “That would be nearly 65, sir. We are honored to be in the company of such an avid reader.”

“Why do you think we volunteered to give you safe passage? Your magazine has shortened my every voyage, showing me what is going on, on land. So, when word was out that you wanted to get to Europe, we moved some of our trips back, including Henry Ford and his crazy idea about making us a peace ship. We have to take advantage of these open seas. We must keep the bullets coming or there won’t be a Europe to save, at least as we know it.”

“I guess we won’t be doing another Ford article anytime soon,” Harv surmises.

   “Woodrow Wilson may be out as well,” comments Judith about the President, who has done everything he can to keep America out of the war. He must have something to do with allowing Henry Ford to try his hand at diplomacy.

“Don’t you worry now,” Silverio assures, with a hint of an Italian accent. “He didn’t make up his mind soon enough, plus we will have to repaint the Oscar, with the flags of the Allies and the Centrals no less.  I might just put her in dry dock ‘til the war is over, wait to see if the Swedish flag still exists.”

“We look forward to safe passage, regardless and the chance to capture the essence of a world at war.” Harv shares his vision of untainted coverage.

  “I believe you will.”

Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #190

page 178

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #189

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #189

…there are reports of a peeping probing periscope, piercing pulsing pre-European purity, possibly prompting premature perspiration…


Plans are made for a June crossing of the Atlantic. After the sinking of the Lusitania, the war seemed to gasp for air, wondering if they had awakened the sleeping giant. This was their opportunity for a safe crossing aboard the ship S.S. Oscar II, one of the few ships crazy enough to crisscross these iron infested waters; destination: Brest, France.

They dare not test the German blockade of the British Isles, even though the Oscar is a neutral ship, supposedly exempt from submerged attack. From Brest, they will take a speedier launch to Bologna, an excellent base of operation for covering France and Britain, the English Channel at it’s narrowest.

As they prepare to board the Oscar, along with five members of their staff and a disturbing amount of large military looking crates and such, there is that unique sense of excitement which accompanies the heat of pursuit of a story and the truth. True is their love for the story and each other and even though they meet late in life, are evenly yoked and like-minded. To spend as much time together as they have, working arm in arm isa true gift from God. Common values and goals are a formula for a marriage made in Alliteration Alert-001heaven.

But there is quite a distance between heaven and the deep blue sea. On more than one occasion, there are reports of a peeping probing periscope, piercing pulsing pre-European purity, possibly prompting premature perspiration. The ship’s crew has delivered their vessel safely, nearly non-stop, since the official beginnings of hostilities, perhaps lulling U-Boat captains into a false sense of familiarity; an old floating friend as seen through a five inch lens.

Or maybe the ship, of Swedish registry, has gone undetected by a stroke of pure dumb luck. It does fly the Swedish flag, a banner of the highest neutrality and stays out of the Channel at all costs. Hopefully the Germans do not find out Brest’s importance in unloading supplies for the Allied effort.

Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #189

page 177