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 behind to consult with the passengers. He had begun his masterful job of caging large tips from them. The other staff crew all muttered in mild complaint, and envy, that Don was the acknowledged master of that sales technique.

I didn’t knock on Don’s cabin door when I got to it, keeping with the ship’s tradition. The Basque stood over the sink, as I entered. She wore no top and did not even turn from her ministrations. I went over to the foot of the only bunk that was made and then sat down to wait. My own physical presentation had become a matter of public display. I was fast losing my respect for that of others. The Basque threw a sweatshirt over her head. She ruffled her beautiful hair up and back with both hands, and then faced me.

“I need to talk to you,” she commenced in a very quiet, but distinct voice. Hers was a strange accent, but not too strange. My eyes registered surprise. “Don said you didn’t speak,” I began, but she cut me off.