Day Five Hundred Seventy Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Container after container have been lifted out of the hold. They were transported away as soon as they hit the dock.

By day’s end only the cargo meant for the port we skipped, remained below.

The Captain spent the day ashore chasing down leads for possible buyers for his ship. In so doing he learned that all the other ships at this port had been purchased by the transport service of the global authority, and are awaiting the arrival of their new owners.

This fact laid to rest everyone’s fear of an attack on the port.

Elijah kept out of sight in our special cabin in the daylight hours.

I entered after he emerged, in response to a growing dread.

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Day Five Hundred Sixty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The medical supplies were accepted with hardly a word of thanks. I did not consider this an indication of bad manners but rather the extent of the shock they had suffered, and by which they were still affected.

The fact that most of the supplies were machines and not immediately of use due to the lack of power to run them, may have colored their reaction. But there was no corresponding change in attitude when we handed over two container loads of generators.

Elijah and I did get ashore and did our best to walk the clogged streets.

It was on this outing that we came across an ancient temple, now repurposed and plastered inside with giant posters of Stan.

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 Four Hundred Eighty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The light of the sun now shines into the depths of the ship’s hold. All to reveal a hollow space in the midst of the other containers. Was there ever a container there at all?

Tomas surmises that someone or “someones” on the crew arranged it in order to have a private spot for illicit activity. I’m not so sure. There are no signs that the space was ever occupied. And if ever there was a container to go with the paper work it must have been removed long ago. All that remains is the mystery.

I left Tomas to supervise the reloading and sought Elijah.

I found him only to learn we will not be allowed to stay ashore.

Day Four Hundred Forty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Another day ashore, fulfilling my duties as purser plus any other role you could think of. Scheduler, bean counter, nursemaid. Anything to grease the skids.

This was the last day for unloading. Tomorrow we will begin to load outgoing cargo.

The Captain took Elijah with him to review together what cargo that might be. Ever since the incident with that container for that robotic warship he has been wary as to what he will accept.

My day with Emil passed quickly. He will talk about anything to do with our jobs, but turns aside any questions about him personally or what life is like in the city.

I thought I caught him tear up when I mentioned Hamashiach in passing.

Day Three Hundred Seventy Nine late morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah writes:

The crew is happy to be back on normal shifts. The Captain tells me we are a day away from our next port, barring any unforeseen difficulties. The Purser, in hope, cherishes the thought of being reunited with his family there.

In my wanderings about the ship I chanced across the government guard and spoke to him about the warship. He confirms that the container did indeed contain ammunition.

Day Three Hundred Seventy Seven late morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah writes:

The Captain got us to sea with only a short delay. His plan had been to take aboard as many containers as possible, but curtailed that notion in favor of a few select ones with foodstuffs.

Once underway and with our course set southward, Tomas and I brought the government guard up for questioning.

Tomas doubts his truthfulness, but I thought him quite forthcoming. He had held up all alone at a barracks outside the city. There he found the communications that pulled him back to the ship. That marks the limit of his knowledge.

I know more. The container transferred to the warship was a weapon resupply.

Day Three Hundred Sixty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Soon we will be released to be on our way.

In no way were we assured of this outcome at the beginning of our ordeal.

Some time in the night our shadow had slipped around to our front and by morning lay athwart our course. To the Captain it was clear that they would have us halt. Tomas concurred, identifying for the Captain its lone weapon trained on us. A rail-gun.

The guard burst in. The ship had contacted him, following expected protocols. Its recitation of the password removed all of his doubts. His orders required him to transfer his container to its deck.

At that moment Elijah came in to advise the Captain it was safe to accede.