The message from the coast guard was urgent, demanding to speak to the captain immediately. The first mate did not enjoy waking his captain after only 2 hours of sleep following a 12 hour shift. The first mate nervously stood outside the captain's door. Taking in a deep breathe, he knocked. "Captain? Captain, we have an urgent message from the coast guard on line 2". A rustling and grumbling sound could be heard on the other side of the door.
"Line 2?" mumbled the captain.
"Yes sir." replied the first mate.
"I'll take it my cabin. You may return to the bridge." barked the captain.
"Aye sir." Instead of returning to the bridge, however, the first mate stayed by the door, his ears tuned into the conversation on the other side.
I see. Do you know what that could do to my vessel.(pause).Yes.(pause). What type of compensation.(pause). What assurances do I ha.(pause) The president.(pause)It will be done.
The first mate heard the phone returned to the wall mount. He dashed down the hall and up the stairs to the upper deck. Throwing open a door, he returned to the bridge.
"Everything okay?" asked Smitty the navigator at the wheel.
"Yes, um, of course it is."
The bridge phone began to ring. The officer of the deck answered. "Yes he is sir. Aye aye. Smitty. Capn's on the horn."
Smitty left the wheel and walked over to answer the phone. "This is Smitty.(pause)I'll have to pull up the chart sir. I'll call you back in 10 minutes.(pause). Aye sir."
Smitty hung up the phone and walked to the navigation station, which was an island just behind the wheel containing various nooks that held various charts that could then be taken out and laid flat on top. Smitty searched the nooks and upon finding his desired chart, removed it from the nook. He unrolled the paper contents laying it flat on the island. He flipped a switch to activate the back lighting. With pencil, guide, and other instruments, he began to chart a course. The first mate curiously walked over to see what smitty was plotting.
"The delta region. What could be in the Louisianna delta region." asked the first mate.
"Don't know sir, Captain gave me some coordinates and asked for an estimate. Didn't tell me why."
Smitty continued about his work at the island for several more minutes before the captain entered the bridge.
"Attention on deck." shouted the first mate as all the men in the room snapped to attention.
"As you were men. Smitty, do you have the estimate yet." the captain asked.
"Yes sir. Just finished it now. At 20 knots, we will be in the delta coordinates you provided in about 1 hour." Smitty responded.
"Very good. Plot a course 2113. Set the speed at 25 knots." The captain issued the orders to the bridge staff.
"Navigator plot a course 2113, speed, 25 knots." repeated the first mate.
Smitty replied, "course laid in, making speed 25 knots."
The vessel lurched forward, causing the bridge crew to brace themselves.
"Captain, may I ask where we are going?" Asked the first mate.
"No you may not. I'll take this watch. You go below and grab some shut eye."
"Captain, you've only gotten 2 hours of sleep. Let me take the watch." implored the first mate.
Sternly, the captain rebuked the junior officer. "You are relieved sir, get below deck."
Dejected, the first mate agreed. "Aye Captain."
Walking out the door, the first mate turned to see the captain take his place behind the wheel. The first mate, walked down the stairs and down the hall to his cabin. He opened the door and laid down on his bed. Some time passed as the first mate pondered the call to the captain.
Who could that have been. Why would the president of the company issue orders through the coast guard and what 'could' happen to the ship. The ship.
Roused by the sudden realization that the captain discussed some sort of damage to the vessel, The first mate leaped out of bed. He raised the top of the bed to get into his personal effects. Removing a large atlas, he began to attempt to plot the course the captain had set. "2113. Let's see. That should take us right off the coast in the delta region, but what's in the delta region?"
The atlas offered no answers as to what awaited the large barge. The first mate now sat at his desk and opened his laptop computer. He began to do searches on what might be found in that region.
"Manatee migration. Pelican nesting, Nope, that can't be it. Shrimping, No. Wait, Shell Oil coastal drilling. Just outside of the delta region is the nations largest site for shallow water drilling. Eco-friendly, shell oil is committed to preserving the delta region while providing vital energy resources. That can't be it." As much as the first mate tried to deny it, he realized that the captain had plotted a course that would take their ship directly into an oil field.
Slamming the door open, the first mate ran down the hallway and up the stairs, all the while working up the nerve to confront the captain. He slammed open the door to the bridge out of breath. "Smitty, you have to change course."
The captain was outraged. "Johnson, get a hold of yourself and return to your quarters."
Johnson ignored the captain "Smitty, we're heading straight for a field of shallow water drilling. The captain is going to sabotage the ship."
Smitty looked at the captain "Captain?"
"Maintain your course Smitty. You have your orders." The captain replied.
"Smitty, you have to stop the ship. We are going to cause another oil spill and we are going to be responsible." Johnson the first mate implored.
"I don't know. The captain.." Smitty was cut off by the captain.
"Yes, the captain gave you orders and you are to follow them" The captain addressed the whole bridge ". Listen, I was trying to keep you all from having to make the decision yourselves. I received a call with instructions to head to coordinates 2113 and to continue on until we ram an exposed oil cap. I have assurances that everyone on the ship will receive a large compensation for their cooperation."
"How large?" Smitty asked, Johnson looked to him in astonishment.
"You can't be considering cooperating with this plan." Johnson said.
Smitty repeated his question to the captain "How large sir.?"
"The ship is to receive 50 million dollars, which will be split up based on each crewman's equity." The captain answered.
Smitty stood silent for a moment and then replied. "Maintaining course 2113 at 25 knots. Estimated time, 5 minutes."
Johnson was aghast. He didn't know what do or say. He stood on the bridge staring out the forward window not knowing what to anticipate. Dawn began to approach, casting its light across the waters. The coast could still not be seen. The bridge remained silent.
Smitty spoke, "Sir we are now at coordinates 2113."
The captain looked at Smitty and spoke softly. "Hold course steady. Decrease speed to 5 knots."
Smitty began to work the controls to the propulsion, "decreasing speed and maintaining course aye sir."
The ships engines began to throttle down, Johnson could feel the decrease in momentum and the increase in tension. A buoy could be heard in the distance, warning vessels to slow down. Waves from the wake of the ship brushed along the sides causing the bridge crew to brace themselves. It was silent once again. Johnson gazed forward with the vision of a night owl, trying to make out any outlines in the horizon, but none could be seen.
"Object port" called out the stern watch. All eyes on the bridge looked port. Light beams pierced the horizon and shone on the eastern face of the object. "It's a rig cap."
The Captain swallowed hard before speaking. "Smitty, head to port, maintain 5 knots. Let our bow strike the starboard side of the cap."
Smitty acknowledged the order, "Aye sir."
"Captain this is madness. You have to stop. This makes no sense." Johnson pleaded again.
"Get off my bridge man. Officer of the deck, escort Mr. Johnson to his quarters." The captain said, dismissing Johnson's pleas. The office of the deck approached Johnson. Johnson knocked the officer deck over and dashed over to the wheel. Shoving Smitty out of the way, Johnson spun the wheel hard to starboard and throttled he engines down. The whole bridge crew were thrown against the bulkheads, while Johnson clung to the wheel. He straightened the wheel out and throttled the engine to full speed, again throwing the crew off balance.
The phone from the engine room began to ring. If I can tell the engineer, he'll shut down the engines. Johnson picked up the receiver and began to speak frantically. "Listen, this is Johnson. The captain is trying to ra..." Johnson was interrupted as a bullet pierced his chest, knocking the wind out of him. He dropped the phone and fell to the floor, bleeding out his life.
Gun still in hand, the captain calmly walked over to the wheel. He throttled the engine back slowly to 5 knots and brought the ship back to port. A voice could be heard uttering Johnson's name over and over again over the phone. "Johnson, Johnson. What's happening up there?"
The captain spoke into the phone. "Johnson has gone mad. He has shot the officer of the deck and ordered us to proceed on our present course. He is armed and has instructed me to inform the crew to obey. Now, he is saying to stay in engineering and not to make a move or he will kill us all."
"Understood captain." the engineer replied. The captain returned the phone to the wall.
Smitty called out, "captain, we're coming up on the cap."
"Sound the collision alarm." the captain ordered. A shrieking alarm began to sound throughout the ship. As the cap left their vision, obscured by the front of the ship, the bridge crew braced themselves. There was a moment of silence followed by a violent crash. Smitty fell on top of Johnson's lifeless body. Upon realizing his location, he flung himself off and onto the bare floor. The front of the ship struck the cap, sending the ship off in the ricochet. Oil began to spurt out of the the cap like a geyser.
The captain picked up the ships PA, "All stations, damage report."
As damage reports began to come in, the bridge crew regained their composure. The officer of the deck was perplexed, "Capn, Can I ask a question? What do you mean Johnson shot me?"
"Don't you worry Andrews." The captain answered as he squeezed off a round into the officer of the deck's head. "Now we have our alibi and a larger cut of the money, right Smitty."
"Yes sir, but where are we getting the money from?"
"From our President" the captain answered. "He didn't get what he wanted with the deep water spill, so he asked for some help. Now, you better call the coast guard."
Far fetched isn't it. Or is it.