[This post written 6/21/08; position: lat -58'09", long -42'36"; temp -6.3C; wind chill -29.9C]
We had a lot of exciting stuff planned for today. But this huge storm came, and it has changed everybody’s schedule. It is hard to safely put expensive equipment over the side of the boat when the waves are 15 feet high, not to mention the fact that somebody might fall overboard. Dude. Up on the bridge today, they measured the wind at 50 miles per hour. The spookiest thing is that the wind made the pack ice start hurtling toward us incredibly fast. When I looked out the porthole this morning, I thought I saw a thin white line of ice far in the distance. I thought maybe it was our iceberg, because I wasn’t sure where we might have traveled to in the night. But when I asked about it, Rob said, “That’s not the iceberg. That’s the pack ice. It’s coming toward us fast.” A couple of hours later, we were practically in the ice. It was moving that fast!
At the science meeting today, Dr. Smith said he was pretty worried about it. If the pack ice catches up with our iceberg, we won’t be able to study it anymore, because the other ice will throw off all the readings. Not to mention it would not be so great to get caught in the ice ourselves. I mean, sure, we are an icebreaker. But even icebreakers have to be careful. The big waves and the wind are pretty cool, though. I took these pictures this morning. Some people got seasick, including Ash, but I have my sea legs very firmly now, I guess, because I am fine. The wind makes howling sounds all around the ship. It is spooky and fun.
To continue with the strange revelations of Strike the Penguin, alias Strike the Avatar, my last post ended with me saying to Strike, “Dude. You’re Old Gib, aren’t you?”
“Well…not precisely,” said Strike, sounding exactly like a scientist. “But I suppose you could say, for practical purposes, yes. To answer the other part of your question, I am here because this is a dangerous moment in time. There is a major decision tree in your immediate future. The branches are huge. If you make the wrong decision…” Here he paused for so long that I began to think he had turned back into an ordinary stuffed penguin again.
“What? What wrong decision?” I practically shouted it.
He sighed again. “This is so dangerous,” he said. “It’s so hard to predict how much you need to know. If you know too much…” Another long pause.
“Oh fer cryin’ out loud,” I said, exasperated. “You’ve already decided I need to know more than I do, right? Otherwise you wouldn’t be here, messing with time like this!”
“True,” he replied.
“Okay, so what do I need to know in order to make the right decision?”
“That’s the trouble,” said Strike. “It’s hard to know what the right decision is.”
“Oh, great,” I said. “Just beautiful.” I thought it over for a few seconds. “Can you at least tell me what it is you want to make sure happens or doesn’t happen? I mean, is it life or death again?”
“Oh, yes, yes, it’s definitely life or death,” said Strike. “Massive life or death, you might say. You see, if Roxy does not become the first President of the World, millions of people will die.”
It was a long, bottomless moment before I managed to squeak out, “What the…?”
“It’s true,” said Strike, and sighed again.
I could see why. I mean, dude. My little sister, President of the World? What would this mean? Bzillions of people forced to play doggy every night before dinner? I cleared my throat. “Uh…please tell me this doesn’t happen until she’s grown up.”
“Of course, of course. She’s a wonderful grown-up woman by the time all this happens, or should happen.”
“Okay. But what does this have to do with what happens to me, right now, on the icebreaker?”
“You know how time is, my friend. I know you know. Everything’s connected. It’s the cosmic spiderweb. What happens in one little corner of time can jiggle all the other parts of it and change everything.”
At that moment, I felt as if I didn’t know anything — in fact, as if I had never known anything in my life, and never would. But that was wrong. I did know one thing. It was time to call a meeting of the Three Musketeers, and without delay.
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