Day Five Hundred Eighty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Though the port authorities signed off on our proposal, we did have one more hurdle to overcome. The commander of the warship, as the senior representative of the global government at this location, needed to grant his permission.

He kept us on tenterhooks all morning as he mulled over his decision. At last it came in the affirmative, with one proviso – we must carry some supplies for their ships at our next port.

The Captain agreed, and was happy to, as that meant taking on less ballast for the voyage.

Later, upon observing two containers being lashed to the deck rather than placed in the hold, I remarked to Elijah that it appeared we would be resupplying that robotic warship.

Day Five Hundred Sixty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We were a long time getting into the harbor. And even a longer time finding a berth. Debris packed the waters beside the docks, human bodies making up a good proportion of said debris.

And just like the ship master it took some convincing to change the minds of the remaining port authorities to allow us entry. Then it seemed like an eon for them to assemble some dock workers to help. (Many had fled to high ground).

Our crew set about clearing a way in, and by the time the shore crew was ready, we had already accomplished that task.

I helped Tomas and P identify containers with medical supplies and offloaded those first.

Even some listed for elsewhere.

Day Five Hundred Fifty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

All day the ship has been a veritable hive of activity. We took on a full complement of cargo, for there is a great backlog of containers that ships bearing the mark have refused.

It was also a long day for goodbyes.

Elijah and I each conducted three of our guests to the sign of the fish, and brought back a local to lead more groups. The Raj twin G accompanied the last group to leave after a tearful parting from his brother.

The Captain shared with Elijah the dilemma of the other ship’s captain. He has a pressing need for a first mate and is resisting those with the mark the local authorities are promoting.

Our Captain suggested me.

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 Twenty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We are sitting in port at the end of a long day. This city has proven a surprise to all, not the least of which is the fact that it is under local control. Not a hint of the world government anywhere.

I wonder how long that will last.

We have filled the holds and will top off tomorrow by securing a few containers on deck. The Captain is pleased.

Elijah and I bid goodbye and God speed to the Raj family, who will depart from here upon their journey and mission.

They in turn committed to hold us up in prayer before the One. And had a tender parting with the twins, whom they have surrendered to our care.

Day Five Hundred Twenty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The cargo was loaded back in the holds, with room to spare, no need to place any of the containers on deck. An official from the world government stood by watching everything. He even made a pitch to the Captain extolling the benefits of bearing the mark. The Captain declined politely without explanation.

We managed to take on a pilot without an accompanying government representative.

He missed the boat.

When beyond the harbor, Elijah met with the Captain to talk about the next port up the coast. The Captain wanted to skip this port and strike out eastward. But Elijah argued for the risk as he judges it the best port from which the Raj family can start their journey.

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 Seventy Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We should arrive at the next port of call sometime in the early morning. Plenty of time to prepare my lists. Or add to the one I had put together already.

In any case, I’ve been instructed to offload the containers due at the port we could not enter. The Captain reasons that someone who can claim them, may be at this “neighboring” port.

I’ve not seen Elijah all day. And Tomas repeated the same observation to me when he dropped in after dinner. He helped me plot a way to bring up the mystery container before making a search for our elusive friend.

Afterwards I swung by the special cabin. No Elijah.

I refreshed my soul before turning in.

Day Four Hundred Seventy Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas has relieved me from all watch duty. The danger from pirates has past. Though we still exert caution not to call undue attention to ourselves from the patrolling naval vessels which seem to be everywhere.

The Captain estimates that we are three days out from our next port of call. Therefore he asked me to prepare the list of containers that will be offloaded there.

In the process I discovered a listing for a container with no destination information on its original paper work. I queried Tomas about this. He told me he had discovered the same anomaly when he was filling in as purser, but hadn’t had any time to investigate.

I put it first on my list.

Day Four Hundred Fifty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A whirlwind of a day. At the crack of dawn the tug returned with our guests of yesterday. We were granted permission to enter the harbor.

The pilot took us in.

A berth had been cordoned off for our vessel, and as soon as we docked, Emil’s special container was offloaded. All the while the political officer kept Elijah and I under close observation.

If the three containers we were to take back had been ready we would have been out of there in no time. But they weren’t. Granted they had an excuse, they had not been expecting us.

So we had to wait.

Elijah asked permission to go ashore and was denied.

My request as purser was granted.