The North Atlantic
Ulf Swenson maneuvered the Arctic Wind through sleet and rolling ocean swells as he followed a large finback whale. Finally, he was in position for the kill when his first mate interrupted him. “You must take this call, Captain.”
“Damn it! Can’t you see I’m busy?”
“I’m sorry Captain but it’s urgent, from the capitol.”
“Give me the goddamn phone,” he snarled, grabbing the receiver from the mate. “Swenson here!” He listened for a minute, while watching the harpooner aiming for a shot. “Fire the cannon! What the hell’s wrong with you?” he shouted to the gunner, while listening to the angry tirade coming through the phone. “So, what the hell do I care if Andresson got his ass reamed at a meeting?” he said to the caller. After listening for a few more minutes he slammed the receiver down in disgust. “Political ass holes,” he hissed. “Gudmund, I have the ship in perfect position! What’s the problem out there?”
“I can’t shoot, Captain,” replied his harpooner “A Zodiac is in the way,”. Swenson looked ahead and saw Lara Schalken’s long blonde hair blowing in the salt spray. She was expertly piloting the Zodiac, keeping herself and two fellow crew members between the deadly harpoon gun and the whale, essentially acting as human shields. On the back of her orange slicker, Swenson recognized a familiar emblem he hated: an angel holding a shield riding on a whale’s back. After weaving between the Arctic Wind and the targeted whale for twenty minutes, Lara and the crew aboard the Zodiac wondered if the harpooner would recklessly fire his weapon in frustration. Finally, they watched, relieved, as the Arctic Wind broke off the chase. Swenson turned the rudder sharply to port, glaring at the Zodiac’s crew as they whooped and cheered. Lara looked back over her shoulder. She saw Swenson watching her. She smiled, defiantly thrusting her fist high in triumph. No whale would be killed this day. Watching the action through his binoculars from a mile away, Jan Shalken slammed his fist on the helm in a burst of emotion. “Way to go, Lara!” he shouted.
“We’ll see what happens next time we meet,” muttered Swenson.