I’ve some entries for Arlo’s Journal from “Mermaid Rising” that set up “The Mermaid’s Apprentice.” Here’s the 7th and last entry following those from Section 2 of “Mermaid Rising.”
July 20th – Time Flys
I’m back on The Lazy Cloud with several sacks of mangos. Life is good.
A quick look at emails, and I see that Jeb is coming! Good word at last. I want to click my heels and settle for tapping my fingers as I read the rest of his message. He says he’s bringing his daughter. I get so mad I fling my hat across the room, and about knock over the computer.
Getting up I fetch the hat, settle it back on my head before returning to see why my disagreeable brother is bring the girl. Didn’t I mention for him to come alone? I look back through the emails we’d exchanged to see, I’d invited her. Why on earth would I do that, and even going so far as to suggest she bring a friend – another mouth to feed?
It bothers me that I’ve had such a change of heart without realizing it. I’m puzzled, but the evidence is plain. I better get myself wrapped around the idea of Jeb having his girly daughter around. I wonder which of her friends she’ll bring. It doesn’t matter much to me, but having ladies aboard I better straighten up somewhat. I know it wouldn’t make a lick of difference to them. Guys can’t clean like women, but I set about tidying up anyway. It’s ingrained that I try to make a good impression.
I should have done a more thorough read of the emails. By the time I get back to them I find out that they are already on the way. By then I was ready and determined that I’d share my life with Jeb’s daughter Melanie and her friend Ri’Anne. The trial of cleaning up had proven to me that I was in bad shape and could use another set of hands about.
It was good to have the wind in my face again. I said farewell to Syreni as it disappeared over the horizon behind me. Their friendly atmosphere and beautiful island couldn’t hold me for long. With nothing but the beautiful sea all about,
I make the Papua New Guinea port around 2 PM. The locals are not very happy to see me, nor I them. We paste on our fake smiles and do business. The folks at Syreni were nice, but they didn’t have city supplies, and I ordered some since it would be a few hours yet before my family arrived, though they should be touching down any time. I hoped they didn’t take a taxi, the drivers here were crooks. Even if Jeb was a taxi-driver, they’d take him for a ride and I wanted to get going. I wish I’d warned him of that before he left, but now he was out of touch. I dropped him an email anyway just in case.
Since I had time to waste, I decided to go through the gear a last time. Calibrations done, I noticed an oddity in the amount of free space on the hard drive. It should have tons of space, but it was running out and dwindling while I watched. There was only one thing that used space like that, cameras. I was pretty sure all of the dive gear was off, but I went through it again to be sure. A few hours of frustration later, I rechecked three times, but still the space was shrinking on the drive! There was no gear on, where was it coming from?!
It didn’t take my lightning fast mind to deduce it. If it wasn’t my dive gear, then it had to be gear that was on the yacht. Turning around I stared at a camera over my shoulder, which would record my work when I worked in the office. No it was off, but there were many cameras about the yacht – at least one in every room. Highly suspicious and not a bit nervous, if the cameras were on then there was a reason for it. When I found those that were on though, it was with a mighty “Duh!”
The night before the dive where I’d gotten hurt, I’d had difficulty sleeping and there had been a beautiful moon. Wow, what wasted space. I’d left them on this whole time. With my finger hovering over the delete key, I thought about removing the film of the moon, and endless hours of viewing nothing, nothing at all. There was a reason I never used those cameras. I couldn’t just upload the data to the cloud, to study later, there was too much of it. I almost sent it to DK’s team of interns to have fun with, but if there was anything at all I would want kept private it would be too late.
On that note, I decided to keep the bloated files. Perhaps in the days ahead I’d have a chance to go over them. Considering I would need more space, I called around and got the locals to sell me a new drive. They might be a backwater place, but they carried good gear, some of the time. One of my supplies informed me, apologetically for not having notified me that my new cameras for the underside of the yacht had arrived. I was stirred to agitation for them not informing me earlier, but then I wasn’t supposed to have made port for a month or more yet.
Perhaps I could get Jeb or his kids to get them installed. Surely a pair of girls that swam on their swim team could mount the things. They were more for vanity, but DK had insisted, considering they could record at all times. He’d paid for The Lazy Cloud’s refit, so I’d agreed at the time.