Chapter Fifty-Six, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Fifty-Six, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER FIFTY-SIX See You Real Soon   I felt Don’s huge presence nearby, before he hunkered down, forearms atop the rail next to me. “Sitka,” he said, his gaze following mine across the extended docks, and beyond, sweeping up into the green mountains. “It’s a cold but...
Chapter Fifty-Two, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Fifty-Two, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO “Dust-off”   “Perhaps you’d like to see a bit of the ship?” I presumed on the Captain, to change the subject. I needed time in spades. Time with Maxwell. Time with the radio on board the Coast Guard helicopter. Time to get myself together. The...
Chapter Fifty: Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Fifty: Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER FIFTY      Crossing the Rubicon The ship’s fantail had been abandoned, in the Lindy’s pell-mell run for the open sea. After a while, heads reappeared over the high lip of its solid steel railing. “Indy, how are you doin’ down there?” I heard Don yell into his...
Chapter Forty-Two, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Forty-Two, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER FORTY-TWO       The Rotting Deck   My Breguet told me that we were twenty minutes late for our meeting with the Russian Jeep, which was supposed to be all the way down at the dock, near the ship. Moreover, we did not have Hathoot’s passport. I was not sure...
Chapter Forty, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Forty, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER FORTY Wet Work   On the way to the Lido deck, I stopped at Don’s room, and assured myself that the Basque was going to be on the radio while the rest of us were ashore. I opened Don’s door, unannounced, then greeted his bedmate. She held up her radio. I pulled...
Chapter Thirty, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Thirty, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

  CHAPTER THIRTY Reconnaissance in Force   My mission statement had been short. I concluded the situation report and then waited for my team to begin the questions and cross-examination. I expected the silence to be brief, and I wasn’t disappointed. “This whole thing...
Chapter Twenty, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Twenty, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER TWENTY The Eigenfunction We climbed back aboard the World Discoverer (aka ‘Lindy’). Benito was nowhere around, which provided some much-needed relief. I hesitated for a brief instant. The supervisor’s throw had caused me bruises I had only begun to...
Chapter Nineteen, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Nineteen, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER NINETEEN THE REINDEER Our Zodiac rounded the end of a long gravel spit. I was relieved. I had not wanted to trudge through another interminable stretch of deep sucking stones. Not with our frail doctor in tow. The bay we entered was flat, round and large. The...
Chapter Eighteen, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Eighteen, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN St. Paul Island     Günter spent the next ten minutes getting his routine down. He would be the point man with Immigration, and he had to be totally convincing, whoever the immigration official was. I prepared him in case more than one boarded, the...
Chapter Sixteen, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Sixteen, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER SIXTEEN NOT UNMINDFUL OF THE FUTURE Dutch smoked his Lucky Strike and then started another. I allowed him some time alone, to think about his situation, as well as what we might do about it. I climbed back toward the cleft, to examine the vein of copper and...
Chapter Fourteen, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Fourteen, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER FOURTEEN THE AGUIAK The Basque finished her rendition of the Mouseketeer song. Don plopped down on his bunk with a very pleased look on his face. “Like we don’t have enough trouble?” I asked him, shaking my head into the silence. “What the hell do you think...
Chapter Thirteen, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Thirteen, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER THIRTEEN MAKING WAY TO THE PRIBILOFS Filipe brought the Zodiac close into the steel hull. Three adventurers—dirty, disheveled and nearly naked—in the bottom of the craft. My watch, the canvas bag, `and my jockey shorts were all I had saved from the island. Don...
Chapter Twelve, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Twelve, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER TWELVE Down to the Sea I awoke to find the fire burned out. Not even a plume of smoke came from the pile of ash. I sat up and rubbed my eyes and face. We had the Bic and my Stryker flint if re-ignition were necessary. If we remained atop the island plateau for...
Chapter Eleven, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Eleven, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER ELEVEN The High Cliffs of Russia Dutch moved the bottle of Bacardi back to his lips, runnels of tears falling from his cheeks. I pried the half-empty bottle out of his clenched hand. I propped it back into a cleft between two nearby rocks. “Stop blubbering and...
Chapter Ten, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Ten, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER TEN The Isle of the Tsar of Russia The slow stuttering trip out of the current and into the island’s lee took less time than it seemed it should because of the back current. Dutch had held to a dogged steady pace, stroke after slow stroke, swimming out in...
Chapter Nine, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Nine, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER NINE Down to the Bottom of the Bering Sea I moved down the corridor with a purpose. Don stopped at his cabin door. I turned back to him with a snap. “Where are you going?” I demanded the things I had unloaded from my ditty bag almost scattering. “What do you...
Chapter Eight, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Eight, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER EIGHT The Pass of the Isle of the Tsar of Russia Instead of going to my own cabin, I headed directly down to Botany Bay’s number 36. There was something about the way in which the Basque woman had looked at me earlier, which was drawing me back. Don had stayed...
Chapter Seven, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Seven, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER SEVEN Hull Down in a Following Sea I moved through the throngs of passengers now populating the corridors of the ship. Murmurs of “doctor” came from some of them, as they reacted to my surgical scrubs. I had removed my coat. The temperature maintained inside...
Chapter Six, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Six, Arch Patton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER SIX The Island The washroom door swung open. Felipe stepped through the entrance, dropped a pile of dry clothes on the floor, and then looked at my nakedness. I had nothing cover myself with. He stared for a few seconds, looking openly at the roadmap of my...
Chapter Five, Arch Paton: The Bering Sea

Chapter Five, Arch Paton: The Bering Sea

CHAPTER FIVE The Landing at Little Diomede Island The cushions were pulled from me in the middle of the night. A night that was not a night, aboard a cruise ship that wasn’t a cruise ship. I reacted badly. As the cushions were being jerked from me, I slipped under...