Day Five Hundred Thirty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Captain has ordered the ship to full speed, day and night. The engineer has been up a couple of times to express his concern about the impact on the engines. Only the most crucial repairs had been undertaken at the time the ship was in the dry dock. There were some minor issues that were glossed over due to their haste back then. The engineer is fearful that pressing them to the limits of their endurance may eventuate in more serious problems.

The Captain listened politely, asked if there was any more speed to be had, and when the engineer replied in the negative, dismissed him back to the engine room.

Elijah keeps himself occupied in the special cabin.

Day Five Hundred Thirty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

By Elijah’s estimation we have passed the three quarters mark on our way around the world. I have noticed that judging by these last two encounters, the region we are now entering is in every way rebellious. And are targets of the global authority to add them to their sphere of influence.

To my mind the challenge is not only to get out ahead of Stan and his minions, but also to avoid being used by them in their plans for subjugation.

Elijah, however, on the second point sees this region as too far gone to be concerned about their independence. He feels they are enslaved already and are just coming to their true master.

The Captain just wants to go.

Day Five Hundred Thirty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A robotic warship lay off the port. Beyond it fortifications at the harbor mouth were smoking ruins.

A message came over the satellite radio from the warship – an order for us to come alongside. At its direction we delivered the second container over the side to them.

Thus our surmisal proved correct.

We were cleared to enter the harbor to drop off the first container, which we did in the quickest manner possible.

It was eerie being the only ship at the port. The local authorities were very differential.

I guess they wanted us gone as soon as possible.

When we returned to the ocean the warship disappeared in the direction towards the port we had quitted four days ago.

Day Five Hundred Thirty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

In the end it was G’s team that uncovered what we were looking for. We had emptied the container completely, discovering only a poster depicting a triumphant Stan pasted on the back wall.

G’s team had been charged today with putting everything back into place. They brought their discovery to Tomas who identified it as a transponder carried on naval vessels. (We assume that Tomas was absent when it first was taken out of the container).

Tomas said the device is in contact with a warship that is also on course to the same port to which we are headed.

We are all certain – the Captain, Elijah and myself – that the second container holds a weapon resupply for that vessel.

Day Five Hundred Thirty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I had a dream in the early morning. I was jolted out of a deep sleep by a rhythmic pounding reverberating throughout the ship.

I left our cabin. There the pounding became muffled, but I could see a globe of light glowing as though through the bulkheads, emanating from somewhere below.

My footsteps took me to its source – the first container strapped to the deck.

The minute I touched its door, I awoke for real.

I looked to Elijah’s bunk. He was not there.

I encountered Tomas in the passageway. He had been on watch and saw a light down on the deck.

We found Elijah peering in through its open door.

We passed the day combing through its contents.

Day Five Hundred Thirty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Timing is everything. Especially it seems from our limited perspective. Our desire or expectation for something can run ahead of perfection. It can be a hard lesson to learn for anyone, and harder still for one who needs it the most.

So it has proven for G in his problems with the crew members in his charge. Elijah saw right through his complaint. G thought his success in the shipyard would translate without effort into a similar success in his department aboard ship.  Elijah has advised him to seek out his men, make amends and ask to start over.

I already know from conversations with a few of the men that they would indeed be open to such an overture.

Day Five Hundred Thirty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our time of departure was a busy one. It was another long wait in line.

We were riding a little higher than before, due to offloading a full third of the containers we had been carrying. What we took on from this port was not even half that difference.

Tomas is pleased with the progress P is making in the Purser’s position. He didn’t even have to recommend that the two containers destined for our next port be placed on deck. P made that decision without anyone’s tutelage.

However, his brother G is having a struggle in his position. He has not been accepted by the men assigned to serve under him.

Elijah and I will meet with him tomorrow.

Day Five Hundred Thirty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

After Tomas and P reported to the Captain, they came to Elijah and me. Both were shaken, nervous and on edge. We had expected their reaction despite their attestations beforehand that they could handle going ashore in that dark place.

We spoke in turn to encourage them. I pointed out that their reaction was a sign of maturity. P wanted to know if we ourselves were fearful of going ashore. To this Elijah gave the reason that it was not required since it did not fall within our call. There being no Hamashiachites for him to collect in this city – indeed the entire country – he feels free to bypass it.

Elijah did drop a hint about a return one day.

Day Five Hundred Thirty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There were no overt signs, no indication on any level that this place was given over to the enemy. Not even any posters of Stan’s image staring down from the walls.

But a brooding sense of malignancy made its presence felt at the edge of our senses.

Elijah and I remained in the ship. One look over the ship’s railing was enough for us.

Tomas took P ashore to school him in the purser’s responsibilities with the dispatcher. The other Raj twin G wanted to accompany them, but was told his charge was to remain with the ship.

Tomas brought back surprising news – we will be allowed to load several containers whose owners don’t bear the mark either.

Astonishing indeed.

Day Five Hundred Thirty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

As predicted we arrived just off our destination in the early afternoon. There was a lot of traffic – more coming out than going in. We took our place in line, and waited our turn.

The Captain came to me to ask after Elijah. The last I knew he was going to the special cabin, so I replied that he was more than likely still there. The Captain then inquired if Elijah had any plans to go ashore.

I had to plead ignorance.

Not wanting to disturb him, we waited.

Elijah emerged around the time our turn to enter port came up. Unbidden he declared we were not going ashore, saying this city is completely given over to the dark one.