Mak wrote:Artie waits for Lars' response and then returns to the A deck. He searches out Will and tells him what Lars had said.
Artie found Will in the A deck aft passageway, apparently looking for him.
Mak wrote:He then checks in on Lily to see how she is. "Good morning! Did you sleep alright? Y'know, this whole situation is rapidly turning into the top candidate for the strangest gig of my life."
"Oh, Artie," she replied, trying to smile. "This isn't anything like I expected."
At seven o'clock sharp, Captain Pelton and Leftenant Mansel entered the passenger corridor; everyone present fell suddenly silent. "Ladies and gentlemen! I know you all have questions. Please, follow me into the lounge. Mister Bishop and Mister Greaves have worked all night to clean it up."
Captain Pelton and Tommy Mansel worked their way down the crowded passageway, and Bishop opened the door for them. The passengers followed in a veritable flood.
Artie and Will saw that the center table, the one Artie had broken with the Totem, had been removed. The bloodstains had been removed, though there were still slightly darker patches in the cream-colored carpet where Neville and Brandon had been.
But it was the view out the windows that brought about a stunned silence among the passengers. Artie was perhaps a bit more stunned than the others, because he recognized the scene... it was the land of his dream, grassy valleys and stony mountains, trees huddled around the foothills, and a river running through it.
Dr. Burton was the first to speak: "What country is that?"
"Honestly, Doctor, we don't know," replied Captain Pelton, standing in the bow of the ship. "Let me start by explaining why we are still westbound, despite my orders of last night. The lightning storm damaged our compass, you see, and so when I ordered the helmsman to proceed eastward, he had no way of knowing he was actually going west. I take full responsibility. I should have ordered Leftenant Scott, our navigator, to check the course. We didn't know until we saw the sun rise that we were going the wrong way."
"So where are we?" asked Reginald Monday, frowning.
"As I said, we don't know. With the sunrise, we saw the land ahead of us. As far as we can figure out, it shouldn't be there. Leftenant Scott and I have been in conference for the last half hour, trying to figure out where we might have gone, but without full engine power we can't have gone far enough to have reached any known land overnight."
"Captain, surely you've radioed for help?" asked Jean-Paul Stauffacher.
"We've tried," replied the Captain, "but Mister Markwell has yet to contact anyone. He has torn the radio down twice now, looking for some fault, but he can't find anything wrong with it."
Several people tried to talk at once then, and for a few moments chaos reigned. Then the Captain raised his voice. "Quiet, all of you! Let's not behave like children! Everyone, please sit down."
The passengers began taking seats, a few at a time, and the talking largely subsided. The Captain continued. "Now, obviously, we can't cruise forever. We need to discover where we are, and come up with some plan to return to England, or to some civilized country. We have fuel for about two weeks of cruising, and enough water for perhaps a month if we curtail showers; but given that we can see a river down there, I don't think the latter extreme will be necessary, as we can take on more as needed. As for food, we have about three weeks worth on board, though after the first week there will be virtually no meat. We have to use it while it's still good, you know. So we must make a plan, as I've said, and before we can plan we need more information. If anyone present has any idea where we might be, let him speak now."
No one spoke. Will looked around, and saw the perplexity and fear on all the faces present.