Alternate orbits (Ace double) by A. Bertram Chandler

By A. Bertram Chandler

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It has been suggested that steering gear failure was a cause of the collision. Mr. Margolies: Yes, I looked. The pointer was hard over to starboard. And so it went on. It was established finally that both Masters had done all the right things, although Captain Hazzard should have realized that a delay was inevitable when switching directly from full ahead to full astern. It was thought that a tidal eddy had been responsible for the collision. The court recommended that ships passing in Collier’s Reach keep each well to their own sides of the channel, also that speed be reduced.

There was something rotten in the state of Aquarius. She asked Grimes if she could browse through the ship’s files of correspondence. He said, “Of course. ” She found the one labeled Damage Reports. It wasn’t especially bulky. But its contents were interesting. 3 Inner East, Port Kantor, the stem of the vessel came into heavy contact with the starboard side of the Lone Star Line’s Canopic. Damage to Sonya Winneck was superficial only—please see enclosed sketch—but that to the other ship was considerable and, I am informed by Canopies master, will necessitate dry-docking.

At the right moment Grimes would come hard to port, presenting his stern to the Iron Warrior. Andersen would loose off his rocket, aiming for a point just abaft the break of the other ship’s fo’c’sle head, where men were already standing by. They would grab the light, nylon rocket line, use it to pull aboard the heavier messenger, use that to drag the end of the towing wire aboard, shackling it to the port anchor cable. After that, it would be plain sailing (Grimes hoped). He would come ahead slowly, slowly, taking the weight gently, trying to avoid the imposition of over— much strain on either vessel.

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