Day Four Hundred Sixty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our apprehensions for Elijah and Tomas were laid to rest upon their return in the dog watch before eight bells. Tomas brought back some information that went a long way to assuage the Captain’s anger.

They had climbed to the top of the tallest building in the city. From that vantage point they could see the robotic warship. Two other vessels were in its company. They appear to be blocking our exit.

At the other end of spectrum Elijah is pleased to report that Emil has safely set up camp in the interior, which he confessed was according to his plan.

Two vessels entered the harbor today. Tomas confirms they are the ones he saw.

We left before they docked.

Day Four Hundred Sixty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Questions abound. Should we go after Emil? And his people? Should we destroy the three cargo containers? Many think we should reload them and drop them in the sea.

I guess, to state it simply, the question is what do we do next?

The Captain had made his decision to depart when word passed up from below deck that Elijah and Tomas had slipped ashore earlier.  The Captain was furious. And he proceeded to take it out on me.

I had come to a decision myself.

While we awaited their return I thought we should reload the containers. I argued that they just might prove useful, and we could always jettison them if necessary.

So we did, and then waited.

Day Four Hundred Fifty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah convinced me to accompany him ashore in search of Emil. This despite the Captain’s first inclination to leave post haste. Elijah persuaded him that it should prove fruitful to see to the provisioning of the ship.

In this he acquiesced, but unstated I knew his overarching concern was the potential return of the robotic warship.

Elijah led us to Emil’s residence. Along the way, I noticed an unfamiliar phenomenon – the shadows of people etched into the hard surface of the pavement. Unnerving.

The entrance to Emil’s home was on the ground floor of a building. We descended several levels from there. Elijah explained that the entire population though small, lived underground.

Emil and all his belongings were gone.

Day Four Hundred Fifty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We held our station until the robotic warship was out of sight. It was obvious to us that it was patrolling the route between the port cities. Perhaps on the lookout for us.

Then we immediately entered into the island’s port city. No other vessel was currently tied up at the docks. We had our pick of  berths and chose the one closest to Emil’s office. He wasn’t in, so we settled in for the night.

Elijah and the Captain went ashore this morning only to return almost immediately. Not only could they not find Emil, the dock was deserted.

There was a short debate as to what to do.

We decided to unload the three containers ourselves and wait.

Day Four Hundred Forty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Captain has signed off on transporting Emil’s special container. It has been maneuvered out to the dockside.

There it is undergoing its last review. Emil himself is running through the checklist prior to its placement atop the pyramid of containers secured to the deck. After all, last on, first off.

Elijah looks on. Approving and very satisfied with himself.

As part of the deal, we will be returning to this port with two or three containers in an agreed upon trade.

The Captain watches our endeavors from his perch on the bridge high above us. He is too distant to make out his feelings at this moment.

I look forward to the end of this day. And time alone.

Day Four Hundred Forty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I never thought I’d see disagreement between the Captain and Elijah. They argued upon Elijah’s return from the city last night and they took it up again this morning.

They were still at it when I went ashore. Emil wasn’t in yet, but I felt that was no excuse not to begin. When he did arrive he immediately asked me if a decision had been reached about his special container.

I told him that the main issue was still unresolved. As he suspected it would be.

The Captain is unwilling to go to their sister port for any reason especially with anything that could cause a forfeiture of his vessel.

I’m for the risk but no one is asking me.

Day Four Hundred Forty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Loading the ship ran smoothly throughout the day. It was gratifying to have drawn up a plan that was servicing our needs so completely. That is, until a hitch cropped up. A crewman, with intimate knowledge of every nook and cranny of the vessel, brought it to my attention before it could blossom into a catastrophe.

It did slow us down a bit, so much so that by day’s end we only succeeded in filling the holds. We shall leave off securing our deck cargo until tomorrow.

There was another factor that impeded our progress. Elijah paid a call on Emil, and after a brief conversation they went off into the city.

I sensed a significant change upon their return.

Day Four Hundred Forty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A lot of prep today to receive the new containers for shipment. I dealt with the challenging puzzle of arranging the stowage so that those shipments last off will go under those off first.

Emil was very helpful in this matter. He has everything arranged on shore to that end. What may hold up things is waiting on the Captain’s final approvals as to what will go.

By end of day we had the ship ready to receive the new cargo. In our cabin after dinner, Elijah and I talked over our days. He had wandered off into the city to look around. He senses a great loneliness and dispiritedness in all whose path he crossed.

I shared about Emil.

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 Four Hundred Forty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We followed the Captain back around to the main gate. And were admitted without ceremony.

I could not help but think that had we shown up unaccompanied our reception would have been much less friendly.

Inside the city was as silent and eerie as it seemed from outside. Elijah shared this observation with the Captain, who waited until we were back aboard ship to explain. The city for the most part is empty, very few inhabitants.

I saw this for myself when I accompanied the Captain ashore today. The members of our crew helping to unload outnumbered by far those from the port. And in my new capacity I was limited to one of their counterparts. His name is Emil.