Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #213

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #213

… “It would be a good idea to confine everyone to their deck, to keep mixing to a minimum,” Harv suggests…

Pandemic

Writer/director JOHN DRYDEN

The subject turns from boats sinking, to young men dying.

“What do you think about some medical experts’ assertion that troop and transport ships are to blame for the outbreak of Spanish influenza?”

American Troops Embarking, Southampton, 1918 by Sir John Lavery

“What do I think? As far as I can see, we are damned if we do or damned if we don’t. If we don’t have a million American troops at Argonne, we are not going home right now.” Admiral Sims speaks about an enemy more invisible than the submarine. “I would avoid interviewing the crew. Keep your distance if you do.”

“Good advice. I hear that it is killing one person a day onboard. That’s pretty scary.”

“We have twenty sailors in sick bay as we speak. I’m told they are bad off.” He takes off his cap, running his hands through his graying hair. “And we are only one day out to sea.”

“It would be a good idea to confine everyone to their deck, to keep mixing to a minimum,” Harv suggests.

     “Did you hear that crewman?” he speaks to the helmsman. “Make an announcement over the loudspeaker. Everyone is to be confined to their deck and avoid physical contact with each other. And tell them not to cough!

“We will figure what to do about the mess hall later. Do you have an idea on how to handle the mess hall, to feed 200 men, scattered all over this boat?” All suggestions would be welcomed.

  “Are there any crewmen who have successfully recovered from the influenza?”

“Two, I believe, but I don’t think they want to get sick again.”

“That is the idea. They can’t.” Rear Admiral Sims looks at Harv like he has lost his mind. “No really, we did an article on disease specialists and one of the things they were working on was figuring out, why once a parson has contracted an illness that they seem to be immune from getting sick from that same disease.”

“I see, so they can mingle with the crew!” He gets it. “You would make a great officer, Pearson.”

“I am a little too old to join the Navy.”

“That may be true, but I lost my First Officer to the sickness and I am hereby appointing you second in command.”

“I’m not very fond of uniforms… no offense intended.”

“Since we are going to spend the next eight days on the bridge, I am going to need your help, if you are wearing a uniform or not.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Influenza WWI

Episode #213


page 201

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #200

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #200

… I think the captain of the U-boat has had attack of conscience,” counters a repulsed Judith. She does not understand war, not even after a nine month dose…

U-Boat by fluidgeometry – Deviant Art

As the Pearson-Eastman Journal launch rounds peninsula Fife, passing the mouth of the Firth of Forth, they spot a terrifying sight, a crippled ship listing heavily to the starboard, with few prospects of staying afloat. Being faster than Ferrell’s ship, they double back to warn them. No more than a minute passes before they can blow a horn of warning, to cause the large boat to turn for the safety of the firth.

  A pair of bubbling streaks follows them into the outlet of the River Tay, one striking the stern, the other close behind, destroying the screws and igniting a fresh load of fuel. The resulting chain reaction explosion snaps the defenseless ship into two distinct sections, like a lengthwise banana. Each piece turns over, nosing under the surf in a blink of an eye.

Risking their own safety, the launch plows through a maze of bobbing crates and floatables, searching for survivors in the horrific chaos. But unlike the Titanic or Lusitania, this is a cargo vessel; humans are few, all except one, the crew. The way it goes down, swallowed nearly whole by a cold sea not 13 leagues from Dundee, does not bode well for the thirty, not having had a chance to don life jackets.

“Over there!” Judith points to a man clinging to a plank. They pray that it is John Ferrell, but as they slow to snatch him out of 40 degree chop, he turns out to be the first mate.

“Have you seen anyone else?” is the repeated question, each gaining a negative signal.

Fifty yards away, in the direction of the submerged missiles, huge air bubbles rise and the sea swells. The letters U-38 break the surface, followed by a 200 foot fuselage. The Pearson people freeze, not knowing what to expect. Of the five uniformed German sailors, none is manning the deck mounted machine gun and their hands are occupied by binoculars, not the issued Lugar side arms. One of them calls out in their language, guttural sympathy rather than confrontation.

The launch commander is skeptical. “They must be out of bullets.”

war-001

“No, I think the captain has had attack of conscience,” counters a repulsed Judith. She does not understand war, not even after a nine month dose.

“Let’s get out of here, before they change their mind,” urges the commander. “They won’t leave until they fish something of value out of the water.”

“We’ve got to go back to Perth, Barrie shouldn’t find out by reading a newspaper.” Harv tries to do the right thing, contrary to self-preservation. He apologizes to his people, for having exposed them to the ugliest side of humanity. “Filthy goddamned war!”

He never takes God’s name in vain. Almost never.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Firth of Forth in Scotland by Jose Luis Cezon Garcia

Episode #200


page 188 (end ch. 10)

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #188

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #188

…It will be our last great adventure, and then we’ll hand the lead reporting over to the young studs and fillies…

7 may 1915

“My God, Harv, the Germans have sunk the Lusitania!” The journalists at P-E J have been watching the goings on in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean ever since Germany declared war on Russia in August of 1914, the first sign that a great war was beginning. France and Britain are joined and join in protecting borders that have been in place for most of the millennium. It will not be long before observers of the near global conflict need a scorecard, much like the ones used to keep track of a baseball game, to understand who has declared war on whom and who is on who’s side.

       “We have heard the rumors, Judith that “she” may have been carrying relief supplies to Britain, munitions and such. There is no reason to think that the Germans were going to ignore her.” Harv has been sitting on the fence concerning this war, teetering from dove to hawk and back, depending on the level of atrocity and loss of life. “I think we should get to Europe, before oceangoing is banned altogether. If it truly is the “Great War”, as some are calling it, there is void to be filled. No one is seriously covering it. Sure, there are a few reporters over there, feeding the wire services with sketchy information, but there is not a single magazine with staff in place.

“What would you say to one last hoorah?” She stares back at him like he is crazy. “It will be our last great adventure, and then we’ll hand the lead reporting over to the young studs and fillies.”

   “You said that after we trailed Poncho Villa over three states, two territories and half of Mexico.” Judith reminds him of the possible danger they had narrowly escaped, several times.

          “Yes, but,” not a great comeback, “look at what Life Magazine is doing.”

          “They are wet behind the ears!”

          “That’s just it. They are going after the soft stuff. You won’t see their senior editors anywhere near a war zone and their reporters are too scared to volunteer.” His assessment is mostly true. They will stand back, for the time being, but should the United States be drawn into battle, they will find a way to muster up war correspondents.

          “Are you sure you want to do this, Harv, we are no spring chickens, you know,” Judith reasons.

          “That’s right: I am the savvy rooster and you are the wise old hen, queen of the henhouse, top-row laying…”

          “Stop, while you’re ahead! I get the message. Just remember, if we don’t die trying, I may kill you anyway. Blockades, U-Boats, dirigibles, poison gas… I don’t think I’ll get the chance.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #188


page 176

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