DEPARTMENTS

Monday, December 29, 2008

Terrible News From the Pacific

From the Log of Captain Johan Coope, USS Crawford

Three days ago my lookout spied a wreck off the port bow. We had been steaming across the pacific, bound for trade in the Orient but I felt it was our duty as seamen to look into it and make ourselves available to any survivors we might find at the site of the wreck. What we found at the wreck was disturbing to say the least.

When we arrived we found wreckage that must have been, but was barely recognizable as, and old whaler. She had been reduced to splinters and pieces of her hull and masts bobbed about far and wide. I was struck by how absolute the destruction of this vessel had been and my first thought was that their rendering facilities must have caught fire and set off the powder and oils in their holds causing the ship to explode. We made a cursory inspection of the area, lowering a pair of our longboats into the water to search for survivors.

Of what I later learned to be a ship’s compliment of some two-hundred men, we found only a mere dozen lashed to planks or clinging on for dear life to whatever destroyed fragments of the vessel they could grab onto. They were in a sorry state of affairs, having already been in the water for several days an all suffered from sicknesses of both mind and body. Only one among them was in any condition to relate what had happened to them. I brought in my first mate and boson as witnesses to take the following testimony.

“It was three days ago and we had a full cargo and had turned to make our way back to port. Spirits were high and the crew seemed primed for landfall and the money they would fill their pockets with once our load went to market. I had just retired to my quarters below decks when the captain rang the alarm.

Scampering to the deck to see what was the matter I found the crew in a state of panic, all eyes turned skyward. I looked up myself to see what could be causing such panic and could only gape as the clouds parted and I saw what I could only describe as an island, floating in the sky. It was all I could do to not sink to my knees and prey to the heavens. Surely such a wonder must be godly. But this elation was not to last.

As we passed beneath the island, it’s immensity leaving us little other choice we could hear the faint sounds of rumbling from above. Looking up into the dark expanse of the mass floating above us, I could make out little detail and could not see what had caused the rumbling and thought it to be thunder or some other heavenly manifestation. I could not have been more wrong for as we all stood agape on the deck of our beloved Rosalinda, boulders the size of buffalo slammed into the water around us. First one, then another and then innumerably in every direction until finally the first of them struck our deck and cracked us open wide.

The hails from above continued, but only long enough for the Rosalinda to be laid truly to waste. As she lie listing, breaking into pieces, my shipmates and I scrambled to get boat into the water and save what provisions we could. The island loomed above us, making the dim evening into pitched black and we could all feel certain strange electricity in the air.

Our hairs stood on end and the metal fittings of the Rosalinda as well as the jewels and trinkets of my mates all seem to tingle and snap with sparks of bluish lightning. As strange as it was, we did not shake from our race for survival and managed to get the last two undamaged boats into the water. The boats were stuffed as full as they could be and I was left to plunge into the sea with but a plank to keep me afloat.

As I bobbed away, carried on the waves and ripples of our ships demise, I watched the overloaded boat struggle and flounder as they tried to pull away from the wreck. It was then that the heaven lit up with brilliance unmatched by any earthly illumination. There was a thunder cracks and then the wreck of the Rosalinda was bathed in the same brilliance, streaking down from the island above in a brilliant bolt of god’s fire. The sea turned instant to a boiling froth and the wooden hull of our ship was rent to splinters. The boats and the crew aboard them as well as those that still clung close to the wreckage were laid waste too and disappeared as if erased from existence. Then all went dark, my eyes made blind by the display.

When my sight returned, the sky was natural again. The island in the sky had vanished but so too had my ship and most of its compliment. I bobbed in the water, hoping that the smoke from the burning whale oil would bring us rescue. I had almost given up hope when your mast appeared on the horizon."

So ends the accounting of the destruction of the whaler Rosalina. The man who recounted the tale to me and my crew passed to the God’s company the next morning. The ship’s surgeon could find nothing that should have caused his demise, but I have my suspicions that he could not continue with the knowledge of such oddities.

At the time of this writing there has been no sign of a floating island or even anything that could be confused for such. It is my thought that the Rosalinda may have been undone by a freak hail storm, her oil stores set to light by the spark of some unfortuitous strike of lightning. I cannot, however, deny the sincerity of the accounting of the sailor known only as Jim. He seemed so believing, so absolutely sure of what had transpired.

[ Note: This is the first in a series of narrative pieces I will be using to build up the mystique and imagery of my Laputa project. I will be using a combination of first person accounts, news reports and other narrative styles to convey the build-up to the reemergence of the floating city of Laputa. Where necessary, I will include notes such as this to convey out of character notes, design commentary and other behind the scenes bits and pieces. I hope these will be as fun for you to read as it is for me to write. ]

2 comments:

  1. Oi! Good stuff, that! Sorry I haven't been along in a few weeks to see it. Haven't hardly peeked into my own blog, much less anyone else's!

    Look forward to further installments!

    ReplyDelete
  2. No worries. We all have been slow and scarce.

    ReplyDelete

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