Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Story Excerpt Merry Xmas

I've been trying to post these excerpts in order, as they appear in the Stone Island Sea Stories, but today I'll skip ahead a bit and post the Christmas Celebration Scene from Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story.

Last year's Christmas lights! Today I put on the one along the roof-line.  Haven't done, not sure if we'll do the ones on the bushes this year.

             This was the third Christmas celebrated during Island Expedition’s voyage and the second since their arrival on the island.  For Pierce, it was his first here, having spent the previous year’s feast, amiably detained in Brunswick, New Guernsey.  While he understood perfectly well the effects of being in the Southern Hemisphere, it felt strange to mark the occasion of the Lord’s Birth on a warm and sunny summer’s day.  He held long cherished childhood memories of dampness and cold, perhaps even the fall of snow, and the warmth of family, a roaring fire, and a sumptuous meal inside.
            That Tuesday was given over entirely to the Festivities of the Season.  Religious celebrations occupied much of the morning, conducted by the same Vespican Reformed Episcopalian who had led the memorial services for those lost against Hawke.  Pierce attended, not so much out of any spiritual obligation, but out of a sensed social requirement.  Yet it was good to once again hear the familiar story of travelers, a lack of lodging, and the Birth in the Stable.  How remarkable he thought, that even here the story was so remarkably the same.  He noted that a few names, primarily of locations differed, but in all, it was the same story he had heard every year of his early life.
            In the afternoon, nearly all of the island’s residents gathered in a large meadow located south of the partially restored village.  It was relatively flat and the grass had been cropped close by the sheep that had recently grazed upon it.  A game of keggers was organized, reminding Pierce somewhat of rounders, that working class version of cricket.  Keggers was the Vespican version of whatever similar contest was played in Kentland.  He was not unfamiliar with the game, having witnessed a few matches while in Brunswick.
          Collapse )

Hope you liked it!
Dave
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Happy Thanksgiving!

Big Holiday for those of us here in the US.  Thanksgiving!  Traditionally a day for family gatherings, lots of food, football, and getting ready to start Christmas Holiday shopping on the morrow.  (Black Friday as it's generally known.)

Actually a fairly low-key day for us.  Just the two of us plus daughter if she decides to come by.  And as it turns out, Eva has to work.  Jessica is planning to come by later and she and I'll have dinner.  Opted not to have a Turkey this year as even a small one is too much for the two of us.  Jessica doesn't eat it, so...  Anyway we'll have a roasted chicken instead.  And as I think back, I think Mom did chicken instead of turkey on many a Thanksgiving when I and my sister were small.

I did so some baking last night... a pumpkin pie, an oatmeal pie, and a loaf of my version of Australian Damper Bread.  For the pies, took the easy way out and used store bought, premade pie crusts.  Not really that happy with them as I thought they could have been a bit larger.  There wasn't enough to make a true edge around the outside.  And with the pumpkin, the filling was easy.  A can of pumpkin pie filling, a couple eggs and a can of condensed/evaporated milk.  Filling for the oatmeal pie is a bit more complicated, but again not all that hard.  Then it's simply a matter of time in the oven until they're done.  If I had been a bit more ambitious I'd have made the crusts myself.  Then I could truly say I made the pies.  I've always felt that making the pie crust is the true test, and the thing that allows one to say it's a homemade pie.  And to be honest, I think I make a decent pie crust, with techniques learned from Mom many decades ago.

Loaf of Damper Bread made several years ago for Christmas.  Made a half batch, a single regular loaf this time.

Yesterday I finished up the December issue of SASP NEWS and have just e-mailed it out.  Later I'll print out the handful of copies needed to mail to the few members who do not have, or who have unreliable e-mail service.  Then I can put them in the mail tomorrow.

Web-site hosting for the SASP web-site is in a state of flux right now.  Our provider is changing hosting from one company to another and while they said it would be seamless, it is not.  Somehow the URL got changed and I've called to have it put back to what it was.  Otherwise it'll mean a lot of things need to be changed and I'd rather not have to do that.  Last I've heard, they are working on it.

Currently reading Jed's World by fellow SASP member Larry Danek.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  If you don't celebrate the day, I hope you have a great remainder of the week and a great weekend.
Dave
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Story Excerpt

Here's a passage from Chapter Fourteen, Destination Found, from Sailing Dangerous Waters: A Stone Island Sea Story.  This is the scene, the moment I tried to capture in the cover art for this book, in the painting called "Hotchkiss' Paradox.  It's where the Science Fiction aspect of the stories comes to the fore.

Darkness was nearly complete.  The wind slackened; the sky was clear and filled with stars.  A quarter moon hung low and reflected enough light that it was not difficult to see.  Island Expedition buried her bow in a large sea, and spray flew aft.  Pierce checked his watch in the binnacle’s light.  Nearly time to come about again.  He was altering course every fifteen minutes, so fine was he determined to be as they crossed that particular location.
            As he dropped his watch into his pocket, Pierce had the oddest feeling.  He had been on deck since the forenoon watch with only a few short breaks.  He had done that many times, and never had he felt as if he had been there forever.  He seemed as old as Creation, and yet with every heartbeat he was a newborn.  He discovered things, ordinary things, for the first time, and marveled at them.  Often near the end of a long day, he would feel as if it had lasted a very long time, but that sensation always passed. This time it was more pronounced and would not depart.  It grew stronger.
            Below, a baby cried.  That Hennessey lad, he thought, calling to mind the one birth that had occurred on the voyage.  No one, not even Maggie Hennessey, had known she was with child, although Pierce found it hard to believe that a woman would not know.  But she was, in his mind -- and he hated to think that way -- an ignorant, stupid woman, married to an equally ignorant and inconsequential little man.  The child had been born between St. Helena and the Cape Colony.
            Little Isaac bawled again. He was named after Pierce’s friend, the first lieutenant, who had been the duty command officer when the baby had arrived.
            The remaining calf bellowed as if panicked, and the helmsman muttered a low profanity.
            “Beg pardon, sir!” Hopkins said.  “Ne’er seen nothin’ like it, sir!”
            “How’s that?” Pierce asked.  His own voice sounded distant to his ear.
            “Compass spun completely, like we was boxin’ it, sir.  But she’s been steady as can be on course.”
            “Now?”
            “Right as rain!  Beg pardon again.  Them kinda words on the quarterdeck, sir.”
            “Perhaps you had cause.”
            “Aye, sir.”
            “My God!”  Hotchkiss exclaimed.  His eyes were wide and a hint of terror flicked about in them.  “What in God’s Name was that?”
            “A momentarily confusion of the compass, or perhaps the helmsman,” replied Pierce.  “I hope it isn’t a sign….”
            “No, sir!  Not that, sir!”  Hotchkiss was nearly beside himself in his fright, and it fast approached a full panic.  Odd, that such a slight distraction could affect Pierce’s friend that way.  Isaac had always been the cooler of them.
            Hotchkiss continued on.  “Ed! You didn’t see it?”  The use of his captain’s first name on deck attested to the first lieutenant’s growing apprehension and maddening confusion.
            “See what, Isaac, my old friend?”  Pierce recognized his shipmate’s state of mind and did not correct his lapse of quarterdeck etiquette.  Clearly, a more personal and comfortable approach was needed.
            “The stars!  The stars, Ed!  We weren’t just looking up at ’em.  We were amongst them.  There was the sea, and then there wasn’t.  An’ the stars were below us as well!  And we were there, right among them, like we were the stars themselves, or the moon, or….”
            “I’m sure you saw what you’ve described.  Unfortunately, I chanced not to see it, although I have had a strange feeling of timelessness.”

"Hotchkiss' Paradox" Cover art for Beyond the Ocean's Edge

A portion of the above excerpt appears in the back cover blurb.
Enjoy!
Dave
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Things That Irk Me 3

Somewhere along the line I'm sure I've mentioned that I enjoy doing crossword puzzles.  For the most part, I work the ones that regularly appear in our local newspaper.  I don't see myself as a fanatic, but enjoy doing them while having my morning coffee and generally and sometimes gingerly adapting to the new day.  One of the two puzzles seems to be consistent in its level of difficulty and I can nearly always complete it.  The other, from a well known, back East newspaper varys tremendously in how hard it is to complete.  Early in the week it seems fairly easy and I can usually finish or come close to finishing it.  As we get further into the week it becomes more and more difficult to where sometimes I have just a few clues answered by the time I give up.

Now it doesn't bother me not to finish or to be able to decipher only a few of the clues given.  What does bother me is looking at the solution the next day and discovering that I could have disregarded what I have always thought to be crossword puzzle rules in order to solve the previous day's puzzle.  I've always understood that the answers should fit into the squares provided, one letter to a square.  But every now and then the solution as shown two or more letters in a single square.  A recent puzzle had several instances of "ring" showing in a single square.  And yes, "ring" figured in many of the answers I was contemplating, but it never occurred that I could fit it in one square.  I've also seen answers start or end outside the provided squares, with maybe the first couple or the last few letters being outside the provided diagram.  If the correct answer/solution to the clue is "Goodnight Irene,"  there should be sufficient squares to write that into the diagram.  I shouldn't look the next day and see "GO" printed outside the diagram.  And don't get me started on discovering that I could have substituted numerals for letters...

So I always thought there were rules to how crossword puzzles were constructed; rules that those solving the puzzles follow.  It irks me to discover that the creators of these mental exercises choose to step outside the normal boundaries.  If they do, there should be some sort of notification provided.

Wishing all who served a meaningful VETERANS' DAY!
Dave

Me, not long before retiring from the USN and right before Jessica was born.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Story Excerpt

It's been awhile since I've posted a story excerpt from the Stone Island Sea Stories.  (Well, I did post one a couple of weeks ago with regards to mentioning or establishing Birthdays for main characters in a story, but...)

Anyway, below you will find the first few pages of Chapter Thirteen of Beyond the Ocean's Edge.
Chapter Thirteen
Port Visits

          
            It was December, but south of the Equator it was summer and quite hot.  Pierce and the officers of His Majesty’s Schooner Island Expedition stood their duties in shirt sleeves, uniform coats being stowed in their respective cabins.  Their desired course was east by southeast as they sought the tiny island of St. Helena.  Unfortunately, the winds came out of the very point to which they were heading, and they were forced to tack across their intended track.  For every mile gained in the desired direction, they sailed three, four, or even five miles on port or starboard tacks.
            It was now that the schooner’s sail plan made its benefits known.  With her square sails furled tight about their yards and nothing but fore and aft sails, Island Expedition could lie closer to the wind and make better progress to windward than any square-rigged vessel.  Because of the nature of the fore and aft rig, tacking or wearing ship was simpler.  More of the work involved could be done from deck, rather than aloft, and fewer hands were needed to accomplish each evolution.
            As the days progressed, Pierce tacked after the forenoon watch was called, after the first dog watch had begun, and finally once the midwatch had been set.  As it worked out, the ship was on a starboard tack twice and a port tack once on any particular day.  The next day it would be on a port tack twice and on a starboard tack once.
            Island Expedition drew ever nearer St. Helena as it described a great jagged path, a hundred miles or more to each side of the line leading directly to that island.  Pierce and the other officers sighted and measured the sun every day at noon.  The position was plotted and slight corrections made to place them on the correct course.  On the ninth day of the month, they determined they had reached St. Helena’s latitude.  Now their desired track was directly east.  They came about and set up close-hauled on a starboard tack.  That would suffice until they fetched the East Indian Company’s outpost.  Practical considerations demanded an occasional short run on a port tack to counteract any leeward drift to the north and keep them to their desired course.
            The wind was fresher, and stirred the sea into choppier larger waves.  Some staysails were gotten in, and at times the officer of the watch was forced to order reefs in the large mainsail and foresail.  Still, Island Expedition thundered on, her port side deep in the water as the wind pressed her over.  She drove her sharp bows into the sea and sent up clouds of spray and foam.  Once in a while she met a particularly large sea, and her bows would crash into it, sending masses of water, spray, and foam washing along the deck to soak those there.
            Pierce found it exhilarating.  He stood on the windward quarterdeck, the wind in his face as the spray whipped about him.  It was refreshing and cool, even while they were in the tropics and the temperature quite warm.  The schooner had settled into a predictable motion, pitching and rolling with the passing of each sea.  He balanced easily, instinctively, as he casually glanced about him.  Yet in that casual glance he perceived many things and knew all he needed to know about the schooner.
            Then his mood darkened.  Even though he was reveling in the brisk excitement of this day at sea, something in his life was missing.  He had never been to sea with anyone special waiting for him.  True, his parents had waited when he had first sailed as a midshipman.  But never had he left a young lady behind.  For the past weeks he had tried to keep Evangeline out of his thoughts, because if he didn’t, his loneliness would drive him mad.  It took a great effort not to think of her.  He wasn’t always successful, and once his thoughts were of her, they would prey upon him for hours.  He would be unable to sleep, despite the relaxing motion of the ship and the wind that made below decks much more comfortable.
            Today Pierce could not prevent his mind from wandering back to England and the waiting Evangeline.  He pictured her in the dress she had worn while standing on the pier when Island Expedition had cast off to head into the Solent.  He pictured her in the bonnet that she wore that day, and how she had smiled bravely and waved.
            He recalled their first meeting, how something had stirred deep within him, and how he had decided that if she did not fit his ideal of the perfect woman, he would change that ideal to fit her.  He thought of her direct honesty and practicality, as when they had met attired in their robes, enroute to or from the bath.  He remembered her skill and mastery of an Oriental fighting technique when they had been waylaid by brigands.
            She had offered to teach him, but in the hectic days before sailing there had never been time.
            It had been wonderful, just to be with her.  He recalled the longing and want he had felt when they were together, and the conflict within, as he balanced animal desire for her with respect, decency, and true affection.  His mind turned to the last days they had spent together and how their passions had come forth.  With sweet pain and sadness, he remembered their first professions for each other, and the sweet deliciousness of their first embrace.   Those next few days until Island Expedition sailed had been pure bliss, and now were a wonderful but tortured memory.
            As he thought more, his mood darkened.  He had known her only a few months.  Their expressions of love had occurred in the last weeks of their time together.  She had promised to wait until he returned.  He in turn had promised to return to her, and he would do just that.  But could a young woman of such grace, beauty, desires, needs, and wants, forsake those urges for the next few years?  Could she stay intent on their beginning relationship and not be swayed by anyone she would chance to meet?
            Pierce began to think he was a fool.  Were her feelings as intense as he imagined, or as strong as his?  Should he have pressed the physical issue to its conclusion, and at least be able to claim memories of that pleasure, regardless of the future?  Perhaps that was what she had wanted as well.  Gone three months now, was he a dim memory, a fool who failed to avail himself of her charms, a fool out of sight and out of mind, perhaps for years?
            He wondered darkly.  What was she doing now?  Was she on the Isle of Wight waiting for and missing him?  Was she enjoying the company of other young men, another naval officer perhaps?  Was she being courted and more by a merchant of Newport?  Was she with a general, an admiral, or a captain?  Could she even be in the company of a common laborer, a private soldier, or an ordinary seaman?
            Pierce checked himself momentarily.  For his entire life he had fought to not make distinctions of rank in such matters.  But he wasn’t classifying them one against another.  He was classifying them against himself.  No matter who it might be, he tortured himself unmercifully to think she could be with someone else.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Things That Irk Me 2

This weekend, early on Sunday morning, we'll adjust our clocks from 2 am back to 1 am as we transistion from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time.  (Well, we do that here in the US.  I understand the UK has already changed back, and I have no idea about the rest of the world.)  Right now it's dark at 6 pm.  Next week it'll be dark at 5 and it will be earlier each day until the Winter Solstice.

I've been aware of and have lived with Daylight Saving Time since I was a small lad.  I suppose the first memories are from when we lived in Sumner, Washington and Dad worked at or on McCord AFB.  Not only did he go to work and hour earlier in summer because the clocks had been advanced an hour, he got an additional hour of sunlight because his job started an hour earlier as well.  If he normally started at 8 am, during the summer he started at 7 am, so he and his fellow workers got two extra hours.

But do we really save daylight?  No!  We merely shift it around.  We start our day an hour earlier to match the changed setting of the clock.  The amount of daylight on any given day depends upon the time of year and our latitude, or how far north or south we are.  Along the northern part of the Continental US we get a pretty good variation between winter and summer, and the difference is more pronounced as we go north.

Last night's sunset, taken a bit after 6 pm.

Over the past few years, I've been thinking that "they" have it backwards.  We should be on Daylight Saving Time in the winter so we can have a least a smidgeon of it at the end of the day.  When I was working from 8 am to 4:30 pm, it would be dark, just starting to get light when I went to work, and by the time I got home it would be dark again.  I'd rather have gone to work int eh dark and had a little bit of light left when coming home in the late afternoon or early evening.

One reason for going off Daylight Saving in winter that I've heard is to prevent kids from going to school in the dark.  Reasonable I guess, but how about kids in the far north of Canada or in Alaska.  I went to first grade on Eielson AFB for a few months and I remember walking down our drive way to catch the bus in the dark, and I remember getting off the bus and walking home in the dark.  It really didn't matter if we were on Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time.  In the middle of winter there was only a few hours each day when the sun would be above the horizon.

Anyway, I think we make too big a deal out of this Daylight Savings thing.  We should pick one, Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time and stay on it. If we need to adjust hours to provide some benefit, that simply adjust the times we do things.  Start the job, open the business an hour earlier or an hour later and leave the clock alone.

Sorry if this kind of rambles.  It's one of those ideas I've had for a while but now that I sit to write it, my thoughts are a bit scrambled.
Dave
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Things That Irk Me!

I seem to come up with ideas to post here all the time, but when I get here I find that often they've abandoned my memory bank.  Thus I end up not posting as often as I would like.  I've often thought of posting about those things that somehow bug or irk me and perhaps today I'll get started.  (There are several and if I can, I'll try to tell you about one or two on a fairly consistent basis over the next weeks.  I won't guarantee anything as it seems I keep letting this aspect of my on-line life slide a little.)

Near the top of my list of Things That Bug Me is the habit of adding "State" to the name of the State in which I reside.  You'll hear television news people talk about Oregon, Idaho, Montana, California, and WASHINGTON STATE.   Why?  I suppose it's to avoid confusion with the other Washington, the one back East, the city that serves as our Nation's Capital.  To me, if you are talking about the capital, you would say, "Washington, D. C." to ensure folks know that is the locale of which you speak.  Much of the time, context will properly identify which Washington you are speaking of.  If you are speaking of several states in the Pacific Northwest and mention Washington, it should be clear that you are speaking of the State and not the city.  Likewise, if you mention the Cascades, the Columbia River, Puget Sound, the wheat fields, etc, the fact you speak of the state should be clear.

fall foliage beyond the back fence.

In my opinion the need to clarify by adding "State" to the State's name should be a rare occasion.  Yet if people insist, perhaps the name of the State should officially be changed to "Washington State," or officially, "The State of Washington State."  Then we would have such institutions and governmental departments as the Washington State State Department of Transportation, Washington State State University, (Go COUGS!) and the University of Washington State Huskies.  We'd also have the Eastern Washington State University Eagles and more.  Of course, then, folks would tend to drop "State" from the name and I would be upset that people keep saying "Washington" instead of "Washington State."

Hoping the upcoming first week of November finds everyone in good health and great spirits.
Dave
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Yes My Brain Works in Strange Ways!

So last Wednesday I posted about the 9th of October being Edward Pierce's Birthday, and offered some explanation of how arrived at that date for my main character's date of birth.  Only dawned on me later that I could have included the below excerpt from Beyond the Ocean's Edge in which his friends and shipmate's celebrate his Birthday.  So here I am posting it nearly a week after, proof that my brain does indeed work (if it does) in some odd ways.  (This is the final scene of Chapter Eleven.)
Dave

When I was still working, one co-worker made this B'Day cake for another...

             A fortnight later, after they had finished their evening meal of boiled beef, potatoes, and peas, Lieutenant Hotchkiss proposed a toast.  “A glass be raised by all.  Today is the ninth of October, and it marks the birth of our esteemed captain, and my long-time friend, Edward Pierce!”  Glasses were raised, and Hotchkiss continued.  “To your health and happiness, sir,” he said.  He drank, as did the others.
            “The captain’s health and happiness,” various voices intoned.
            Pierce sat slightly embarrassed.  He had noted earlier the date’s significance and had hoped it would pass without any notice.  Only his old and dear childhood friend knew or would have brought it to the other’s attention.  Hotchkiss was of a sentimental nature and took sharp notice of birthdays and other anniversaries.  Even as he wished nothing had been said about his birthday, had his friend not brought it up, he would have felt slighted.
            In turn, Pierce raised his glass and said, “The health and happiness of all at this table!  To Island Expedition and all who sail in her!  Their health and happiness!”
            “To us and this schooner!” the assembled group said as all took another sip from their cups.
            At a discreet nod from Hotchkiss, Mr. Midshipman Hadley intoned, “Gentlemen, the King!  God bless our Sovereign, King George the Third!”
            “The King!  God bless him!” they replied, toasting the Royal Health.
            Later, sleep did not come for Pierce.  He had enjoyed the fuss made over his birthday and the cabin’s friendly warmth that evening.  But something was missing, and he searched for what it was.  He lay dead tired, and yet he was wide awake.  It would have been a most complete evening, had she been present!
            With his thoughts again of Evangeline, Pierce was reminded of his loneliness.  That loneliness kept him awake all night.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Another Short Story

I wrote The Unseen Visitors as my contribution to  Celebrating Spokane Authors, a collection of poems, essays, and short stories by members of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  It's now on my web-site for anyone who might want to read it, and I'm posting it hear as well.
Dave

Here's the volume it was originally published in.
The Unseen Visitors
By D. Andrew McChesney

           The exploration ship flashed out of the clouds, making a large s-turn as it slowed.  Landing legs deployed, it settled gently on the mesa.  The crew breathed a collective sigh of relief.  Landing on strange worlds was never easy, and this was one of the strangest they’d come upon.
           Cap sighed and unbuckled his harness.  “All right people!” He said.  “All seals remain in place until we’ve done a full check.  Aerial scans can’t always be trusted.”
           Knowon added, “It is imperative we not lose anyone, cause damage to the ship, or cause harm to anything or anyone here.  Understood?”
           Sigh, nods, and muttered responses indicated compliance. Noak breathed deeply and punched his harness release.  The youngest of the crew, he was restless and sure the caution dictated by the leaders was wasted.  He’d spend as much time as anyone aboard the large ship, high above this world’s atmosphere, analyzing sensor reports and studying the findings sent back by unmanned probes.
           It was a huge world when compared to their own, but surprisingly its gravity was not much more than they were used to.  And according to the instruments, the air was breathable and even contained more life-giving oxygen than home.
         Collapse )
           “As to the scheduling problems, I’ll speak to Cap.  I’m sure he will have something to say, perhaps some extra work for those habitually not available.”  He turned back to his duties.
           As the two walked away, Reddschurt said, “I sure hope he’s right… at least about them seeing us.”
           But Scyophf was wrong.

           Andy, possessing a rather primitive flip phone at the time, and sure the image he saw was merely the result of a dirty lens, snapped a picture of the monitor’s screen one night and saved it to his desk top computer.

The picture Andy took that night!
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Birthday Celebration

A couple days ago, a writer on Twitter asked if any other writers created or specified Birthdays for their characters.  Good thing I saw that because I realized my main character, Edward Pierce, was fast approaching his birth date anniversary.  Today!  He'd be 243 years old today, presuming that as a normal human being he would have passed on  well over a century ago, probably more than a century and a half ago.

While we think of cake when celebrating Birthdays, I'm sure Pierce would have enjoyed a generous slice of pie!

As a character, Edward Pierce has existed in my mind for over half a century.  I became aware of him while still in high school, and last month my class and I celebrated our 50th reunion, so he has been a part of my imagination for a very long time.  So, how did I decide he had been born on 9 October 1776?

The year came about because fo the era I wanted to write about, and the fact I wanted him to be a close contemporary of C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower.  Hornblower it seems was born on July 4, 1776.  I selected October 9 as it is John Lennon's Birthday, and at the time the Beatles were the biggest thing in music and in the lives of nearly every teenager in America (the World?).  Additionally in the very first drafts of what would later become the Stone Island Sea Stories, I managed to incorporate characters with names similar to or derived from the Beatles' last names.  In the current version of the stories, there are two, whose names are thusly derived, both warrant officers aboard Island Expedition. Those individuals would be, Stephen Cartney, Bo'sun, and William Harris, Gunner.  (And if I remember correctly, my Boot Camp Company Commander was a Senior Chief Bo'sun's Mate coincidentally named William Harris.)

So I'm hoping that Edward Pierce ended up living a long, healthy and productive life.  I'm not far enough along in the story to know for sure.  And as he is/was a normal human being of that era, I would suspect he is no longer with us.  However, he exists/existed in a world with a hint of science fiction or even fantasy, so who knows.  Evidently his good friend William Townsend ended up in some sort of time portal and emerged in recent times.  (This is depicted in the short story, Mr. Townsend's Chronometer, which you can find at the Stone Island web-site )

Enough rambling for today, I guess.  Just wanted to share that it is my main character's birthday and a bit about how it came o be on this day.  And now I can say I haven't gone quite as long with out posting as I have in the recent past.

Dave