Sorry for the small bits and pieces, but I would like to keep posting whatever progress I make when and as time permits.
“What this is?” Anton Peskov asked, pointing at the weather display on the chart-plotter.
“Weather, from a satellite over the Atlantic,” Rolf said, clearly proud of Time Bandits – and in his growing understanding of her systems.
But one of the colonel’s bushy gray eyebrows arched up on hearing that. “This is live, not recorded?”
“Yes, live. Actually, it’s a service of the SiriusXM radio network, it just feeds into the chart and radar networks as an overlay.”
“Very cool,” Peskov growled. “And this?” he asked, pointing at the hurricane still growing in the eastern Atlantic.
“That’s Epsilon, the hurricane,” Rolf said, centering the display over the eye and calling up the Overlays panel. “We can display the current wind speeds, like this,” Rolf said, toggling the layer, “and we can add even more information, too, like sea surface temperatures” – click – “and barometric pressures…” – click – “like this.”
“Very, very cool. And you knows how to use dees system?”
The display blinked and an alert popped in the center of the screen; Rolf silenced the alarm and pulled up the linked data-feed and quickly read through alert, shaking his head as the enormity of the information sank in. “Mike? Is Henry still up?”
Mike shook his head. “No way, man. Dina popped him with a syringe full of instant sleep. He won’t wake up ’til sometime tomorrow.”
“Well, you better come and take a look at this, because I think we’ve got trouble.”
Mike stood – and cried out in pain as his back arched in an involuntary stretch – then he walked over to the helm and took a look at the display: “What’s up? Epsilon again?”
“Yeah, but take a look…”
Mike looked at the display and scowled. “That can’t be right. 280 knots in the eye-wall?”
“I double checked the feed. It’s a valid alert, and for all shipping heading into or out of the Channel.”
“What are the surface temps now?”
Rolf went back to the main display window and zoomed out to show the entire storm. “Look up there, just to the north of the eye…”
Mike bent over and peered into the image, then he shook his head and scoffed. “No way, man. No way it’s a hundred and five up there!” – yet while he was watching all the temperatures updated, most increasing by a degree or two as he stood there, and two more alerts popped. “Open ‘em up, man…” Mike sighed.
Rolf hit the appropriate buttons and the display shifted to grayscale and a long text message filled the screen.
“Notice to Mariners,” the text read, “Imminent danger to life at sea northeast Atlantic basin from the Azores to the Irish Sea and points east. Hurricane Epsilon continues to intensify as conditions deteriorate further…”
“Well, fuck-a-doodle-do,” Mike whispered as he read. “What are the temps up here, in the Channel?”
Rolf flipped through the pages of data and pulled up the central region of the English Channel and hit enter, then he overlaid all the data he could find for their current position. “Okay, here it is.”
Mike sat next to Rolf and peered into the image again. “That Multi-display can pull up a real time sea-temp, right? Can we cross check these numbers with real time data?”
“Sure…easy… So, Sirius is showing 84 degrees F right here, and…” Rolf said, leaning over to pull up the real time data on one of the smaller secondary displays, “our sensor is showing…uh, that can’t be right…” he said as 91 degrees registered.
“One good way to find out,” Mike said as he walked back to the swim platform, where he stepped down and stuck his hand into the sea. “Well, Hell, I wouldn’t want to take a bath in it, but it feels pretty damn warm to me.”
Anton had followed him down to the water and stuck his own hand in the water. “Da, is not good.”
“Okay, so it looks like some kind of super-tropical cyclone is coming up the Channel. The question for us,” Mike posed, “is what do we do about it today – right now, while Henry is down and out…?”
“How far we go in Channel? And how big is storm? Do these two areas, how do you say? Overlap?”
Mike nodded and looked ahead, then up at the sky. Strange, mottled-coppery cirrus clouds were already streaming in, and he wondered if global background radiation figures were changing already… He watched Rolf pull up more charts and data and walked back to the helm.
“Okay,” Rolf said, “we are almost to Bruges so call it 170 n-m-i to LeHavre, while the center of Epsilon is still about 360 miles out from LeHavre. What about London? Could we put in there?”
“I was just thinking about that,” Mike sighed, “but I keep thinking of the Thames Barrier.”
“Da, is not good,” Anton said in his deep baritone voice.
“What’s that?” Rolf asked.
“A tidal flood control barrier. If it gets taken out everything in London could be wiped out by storm surge.”
“What about the Seine? Couldn’t the same thing happen to Paris?”
Mike shrugged. “Southern shores should see less surge, but wind damage could be savage along rivers and coastlines, yet it looks like if we proceed direct to LeHavre from here we’ll get there about the same time the storm does.”
“What about Bruges?” Anton asked. “We here now, we need medic supplies for you and Mr. Genry, no? And it give us time to get ready, which we need. Correct?”
“Impeccable logic, my friend. Rolf, pull up the harbor chart and let’s make for the entrance…”
© 2020 adrian leverkühn | abw | this is a work of fiction, pure and simple; the next installment will drop when and as circumstances allow.