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She remain in Rio this trip?

You talk like a crazy man. Go to your cabin, mister. I don't want to see your face until we reach port.

Worley stared at him.So what?

Thank you, said Gottschalk.I need something from one of my trunks.

Suddenly, before Worley could reply, the Cyclops lurched downward into a deep trough between the swells. From instinct, honed by years at sea, everyone in the wheelhouse automatically grabbed at the nearest secure object to keep his footing. The hull plates groaned under the stress and they could hear several cracking noises.

Gottschalk turned and noticed Church standing in the passageway. He stepped from the cabin and closed the door behind him, his eyes narrowed with suspicion.Something I can help you with, Lieutenant. . .

Thank you, said Gottschalk.I need something from one of my trunks.

He gazed anxiously as a large oblong crate was hoisted in the air by one of the ship's loading booms and swung into the forward cargo compartment. As if on cue, Worley appeared and personally supervised the battening down of the hatch. Then he greeted Gottschalk and escorted him to his quarters. Almost immediately, the mooring lines were cast off and the ship got under way and was heading out to sea through the harbor entrance.

You talk like a crazy man. Go to your cabin, mister. I don't want to see your face until we reach port.

Mother of God, muttered the helmsman, his voice edged with panic.

Shut up Worley growled as the Cyclops righted herself.She's seen worse seas than this.

Don't you see, she must have been struck by a giant, rogue wave.

Still, he felt uneasy, and he was tired. It took all his willpower to keep from heading to the snug confines of his bunk and gratefully closing his eyes to the grim set of problems surrounding the ship. One more inspection tour down to the engine room to see if any water was reported rising in the bilges. A trip that proved negative, seeming to confirm Worley's faith in the Cyclops.

The second vehicle in the caravan was an ambulance. Church watched as a figure on a stretcher was lifted out and carried on board, but he failed to discern any features because of heavy mosquito netting that covered the face. Though the person on the stretcher was obviously part of his entourage, Gottschalk took little notice, turning his attention instead to the chain-drive Mack truck that brought up the rear.

Then Church went below and checked two of the ore holds, probing his flashlight at the heavy shorings and stanchions installed to keep the manganese cargo from shifting. They groaned and creaked under the stress, but they seemed firm and secure. He could not see any sign of trickling grit from the ship's motion.

As he was walking down a passageway toward the wardroom for a cup of coffee a cabin door opened and the American consul general to Brazil, Alfred Gottschalk, hesitated on the threshold, talking to someone inside. Church peered over Gottschalk's shoulder and saw the ship's doctor bent over a man lying in a bunk. The patient's face looked tired and yellow-skinned, a youngish face that belied the thick forest of white hair above. The eyes were open and reflected fear mingled with suffering and hardship, eyes that had seen too much. The scene was only one more strange element to be added to the voyage of the Cyclops.

Before we have coffee, would you be so kind, Lieutenant, as to escort me to the baggage cargo hold?

Church hesitated, his fists clenched. Then slowly his hands relaxed as he realized any further argument with Worley was a waste of breath. He turned without a word and left the wheelhouse.

Still, he felt uneasy, and he was tired. It took all his willpower to keep from heading to the snug confines of his bunk and gratefully closing his eyes to the grim set of problems surrounding the ship. One more inspection tour down to the engine room to see if any water was reported rising in the bilges. A trip that proved negative, seeming to confirm Worley's faith in the Cyclops.

Gottschalk turned and noticed Church standing in the passageway. He stepped from the cabin and closed the door behind him, his eyes narrowed with suspicion.Something I can help you with, Lieutenant. . .

Thank you, said Gottschalk.I need something from one of my trunks.

If Church thought the request unusual, he said nothing, simply nodded and started off toward the forward part of the ship with the fat little consul general huffing in his wake. They made their way topside and walked along the runway leading from the aft deckhouses toward the forecastle, passing under the bridge superstructure awkwardly suspended on steel stiltlike stanchions. The steaming light, suspended between the two forward masts that formed a support for the skeletal grid connecting the coaling derricks, cast a weird glow that was reflected by the eerie radiance of the approaching swells.

Thank you, said Gottschalk.I need something from one of my trunks.

Gottschalk turned and noticed Church standing in the passageway. He stepped from the cabin and closed the door behind him, his eyes narrowed with suspicion.Something I can help you with, Lieutenant. . .

A sickening realization struck Church.The Crogan Castle, the ship that sent the distress signal, said her prow was stove in and her superstructure damaged.

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