OCEANUS ADVENTURE #16

A Fictional Series by J Quisumbing

Chapter 6 continued…

Hallbright gave him the thumbs up as he pulled down his mask and placed the snorkel mouthpiece in his mouth. He slid into the water and the first thing he felt was the current under his legs. He went face down but stayed floating on the surface with the snorkel still above the waterline. Then he tilted down his head so that the snorkel was immersed to test his makeshift breathing gadget. He took a breathe and was satisfied that water did not leak into the system. He exhaled and was again gratified that air bubbles expectedly blew out through a valve at side of his mouthpiece. He was about two feet under when he noticed something.

He kicked off to swim backwards to see what was really below the boat ramp. He half expected to see a metal hull but the surface was rough like rock covered with sea grass swaying in the current. He swam closer to find that the crags and cranny surfaces was plastic. How solid it was, he was not sure. He’ll have to ask Dr. Quimby about it. Thinking of which, he better start heading for her lab.

He clicked on the mini props and was jetting through the water about three feet underwater. He could not help but smile because he was gliding through the water like in the latest Aquaman movie. As he approached the small floating island that was still being developed, he saw that the underside was made up of thousands of plastic cubes being held together by what look like cargo netting. By his estimation, the underside went down about ten feet. Then he noticed two achor lines extending downward to what he was not sure. He wanted to dive deeper but first he had to surface to replenish his air cannisters.

As he was about to dive back down, his peripheral picked up a gray blob the quickly swam past him. For a moment, he thought it was a shark. He had dived with sharks before but he still can’t help hearing the Jaws music in his ear. He decided to skip investigating where those anchor lines went and swam under the island to head straight for the lab. He was halfway swimming under it when he was relieveded to encounter not a shark but a curious bottlenose dolphin.

When Hallbright cleared the island, he surfaced and found that the dolphin came near. He noticed that it wore a harness with a patch that had the Oceanus emblem on it.

“Tony Hallbright…,” it was Dr. Quimby calling from the inner ring shore. “I was wondering where you were.”

He started to swim towards her when the dolphin appeared next to him. “I see you already met Flipper.”

“Flipper! You kidding?”

“Nope. I’ll explain later. Meanwhile, go ahead and follow him.” Dr. Quimby blew on her whistle one long high pitch burst and at the same time making a gesture.

Flipper responded by nodding its head then swam to his left. Hallbright followed suit. It didn’t take long until he reached a netted enclosure. Flipper easily jumped it. He on the other hand, swam to a floating platform where a young girl was petting another dolphin.

He quickly climbed out and said, “And who do you belong to, young lady?”

She haughtily eyed him then turned with her chin up saying, “My mother told me never to talk to strangers.”

“Ooooh, I see. That is wise, but you see I’m not a real stranger. I’m a marine biologist just like your mommy. You can call me Uncle Tony.”

“Well, Uncle Tony…” Dr. Quimby said mockingly. She was standing just above him. “Why don’t you stow your gear and join me inside? I want to show you the works before I have to feed the little ones.”

To be continued…

PREV


Note from the author:
Oceanus Adventure is a fun effort on my part to enter the wonderful world of creative writing. It’s a story of a group of people who launched themselves into the Pacific Ocean on an artificial island to solve the Great Pacific garbage patch. My hopes is that this will end up into a TV series.

Comments and idea suggestions will be most welcomed. I hope you enjoy.

OCEANUS ADVENTURE #15

A Fictional Series by J Quisumbing

Chapter 6

When the guests had all disembarked, Jona had called in all senior officers for a security meeting. They met at the bridge ready room at eleven hundred hours. Jona felt that since the bridge deck was already restricted to the officers and bridge crew, it seemed logical especially if he was worried about planted bugs.

“The chief engineer’s final report was that the O ring was also tampered with,” reported Robby. “We have also assigned guards on all three engine rooms and at both tow line hitches.”

“Can the guards themselves be truly trusted?” asked Mae who was really angry when she realized the danger to her kids.

“They’re all clear. They were all vetted by Jer, I mean Maj. Roque,” said Jona. “He felt a squad of retired Philippine Marines would be really be needed against like… sea pirates or something. I’m so glad he talked me into it.”

One of the supervisors asked, “So, what is the plan? None of us have the experience to conduct a proper investigation.”

“Originally, I finished talking to a friend of mine in D.C.,” said the admiral. “Since, we will be joined by a crew of U.S. Naval Personnel a week from now. I requested that NCIS, that is Naval Criminal Investigation Service, assign an ‘agent at float’ to be stationed here. It’ll be a load off my mind to know that the United States investment is being taken cared of.” He leered a little like the Thresher Cat at Jona.

“So, we radioed Maj. Roque that after he drops off our guests at the Manila airport, he is to fly directly to Subic Bay to pick up a NCIS agent from the USS Nimitz. The agent would have already be given his or her assignment to us. We’ll meet the agent by tomorrow.”


Tony Hallbright was just finishing his email when his tablet started to beep. He clicked on the quaint bell icon which was jiggling. It was a calender notification that he was to report to Mae Quimby’s lab at 4pm. By his watch, he had about half an hour to report. He looked out his window to see how far he had to run. Dr. Quimby’s lab was along the starboard inner ring just across from the residential island. He could run along the pathway that goes from this structure to where her lab is. Then he looked at the water and decided to get there another way. His thinking was that since he was a marine biologist, he might as well get the lay of the land. Besides there were some toys that he brought along that he had been dying to try.

Ten minutes later, he had donned a short wet suit was at the small boat launch which was the closest thing to a beach around here. A filipino crewman helped carry a couple of equipment cases down from his quarters. When Hallbright opened them, the crewman whistled with wonder. Inside one case was a pair of mini propulsion fans. He quickly pulled them out and strapped one on his left calve, then the other to his right calve. He checked the battery power and was satisfied that it was fully charged. In the next case was something a little more makeshift.

The crewman was quite curious as Hallbright strapped this gadget on his left upper arm. It was two small aluminum cylinders with long airtubes protruding from them into the mouthpiece of a snorkel.

“Sir Tony… ano yan… I mean, what that?”

Hallbright smiled, “Ah, this is my own innovation. This helps me breath underwater.”

“How… it works, sir?”

He reached up to a handle that connects the top of both cylinders. He pulls it back and then pumped it 4 times.

“I pump this everytime I surface. When I go under, this gadget gives me 6 more minutes. This is, of course, for shallow diving only.”

“Sir Tony… engines on… current strong… be careful…”

Hallbright gave him the thumbs up as he pulled down his mask and placed the snorkle mouthpiece in his mouth.

To be continued…

PREV


Note from the author:
Oceanus Adventure is a fun effort on my part to enter the wonderful world of creative writing. It’s a story of a group of people who launched themselves into the Pacific Ocean on an artificial island to solve the Great Pacific garbage patch. My hopes is that this will end up into a TV series.

Comments and idea suggestions will be most welcomed. I hope you enjoy.

OCEANUS ADVENTURE #14

A Fictional Series by J Quisumbing

Chapter 5 continued

The sun was still very low on the horizon. The shadow of the trees was still fairly heavy on the compacted trail that encircled the inner ring. A figure was hiding in the shade of the older mangrove trees waiting for a pair of joggers to disappear around the bend. Hoping that the coast was clear, the figure sped across the pathway into the tall cogon grass. Crawling on wet grass, the figure reached several protruding ‘H’ Bitt about 4 feet tall from the base. The ‘H’ Bitt was a pair metal posts and a welded vertical bar which formed a letter ‘H’. These things were used for mooring and towing purposes which at this moment the thick towing lines of the Tugboat Mathilda were snugly secured. The tugboat was about a mile out. The figure inspected closely the line which went taut and then went slack. Then the figure pulled out a stainless steel cannister of fast acting acid then proceeded to pour it on the thick rope. By the reaction, the figure reckoned that the acid will eat through in about half an hour. Then the figure crawled back to the trail, peeled off the black outfit, buried it, then went jogging.


Theodore ‘Bear’ Steer was an Aussie expat who thought he could retire in the Philippines but hated the idea of sitting on his butt in a beach hut. When Jona Quimby came to him with a chance to captain a deep sea tug, he chugged down the brew he had in one gulp and then signed on even before he knew how much he was going to get paid. Bear was at the captain’s chair enjoying his coffee when the tug suddenly surged forward. He didn’t have to ask what happened. He knew that the tow line got cut.

He put the engine on idle and left the wheel house to the rear open deck which overlooked the stern. His crew was already reeling in the mile long tow cable. He opened up a compartment that had a parallel wheel and throttle control. He took the tug out of idle and brought the throttle up a notch so that props don’t get entangled with the slack cable.

He heard a shrill whistle from his tow captain who held up a extremely frayed rope end. This tow cable was without a doubt sabotaged.


Admiral Reese was standing before the navigation console when he noticed that the course drifted to the port by an alarming five degrees in less than 20 seconds. Looking out the bridge’s windows, the island of Caringo was already filling out a third of the view.

Then, the radio squawked that Matthilda’s tow cable was cut. In his mind’s eye, the admiral assessed the entire situation. First, number 2 propulsion was down. This was not a problem as long as number 1 was putting out three quarter speed, number 3 at half speed including the two tugs towing. It was slow going but they only needed to stay on their current course for another 30 minutes until the tide shifts. But then the Matthilda which was towing the starboard side ring was suddenly cut. With the tide still pushing on their forward port quarter, they were sure to hit the reef to their left. If he pushed his 2 remaining thrusters, they could end up stressing where the starboard ring connects to the bow to the point of stressing. Then it hit him. He didn’t have to fight the tide. Instead, he’ll let the tide steer them clear.

“Stand by to deploy the sea sails on the port side.”

For a moment, they all looked at him questioningly. But then one of them turned on a panel and another monitor came on with the heading Sea Sail Control. The screen displayed the top view of Oceanus. Along the rings were the ten vertical pontoons each assigned a designation number 1 to 10 like the face of a clock.

“Ready, sir.”

“Deploy 1 to 5”

The crewman highlighted pontoon’s 1 to 5. Then, another window appeared depicting 5 elevation views of the vertical pontoons. On each pontoon on both flanks a compartment opened. Two forty foot long booms swung up and from them sails began to unfurl downward until they formed two upside down triangles.

When each image showed 100%, the crewman said, “Sea sails 1 to 5 deloyed, sir.”

“Very well. Helm, all stop on number 3.”

“Number 3, all stopped, sir.”

“Manoeuvring thrusters to port one third speed.”

“Aye sir. Manoeuvring to port one third speed, sir.”

At first, there was no sign of change, but then, as the admiral looked forward through the bridge window, he saw that the island was assuredly moving left which meant the bow was swinging to port. The sails provided enough drag to point the bow the right way. They definately didn’t progress forward. In fact, the whole action kept them safely stationary long enough for the Matthilda to reattach its tow line and the engineer to complete repair on number 2 thruster.


Crisis diverted but for Jona, a dangerous situation still worries him. They have one or more saboteurs amongst them.

To be continued…

PREV


Note from the author:
Oceanus Adventure is a fun effort on my part to enter the wonderful world of creative writing. It’s a story of a group of people who launched themselves into the Pacific Ocean on an artificial island to solve the Great Pacific garbage patch. My hopes is that this will end up into a TV series.

Comments and idea suggestions will be most welcomed. I hope you enjoy.

OCEANUS ADVENTURE #13

A Fictional Series by J Quisumbing

Chapter 5

It was zero fifty thirty hours.

GPS had Oceanus’ position about half a mile past the mouth of the bay. The propulsion thrusters had been running on three quarter speed for about 3 hours because the incoming tide was stronger than expected. It was slow going through the mouth and based on sonar readings, the stern submerged pontoons just cleared the bottom by just 2 fathoms.

Jona was enjoying the wee morning wind on the starboard wing. He had his glasses on Caringo Island west of them. The sky was light enough to make the sandy beaches sparkle. He was reminiscing when Mae, the kids and him took a Boston whaler to the reef sanctuary on the lee side of the island where they did some snorkeling then hit the small town for the local version of pizza.



Migs was wondering where his replacement was. He was the swing shift engineer for the number two propulsion thruster. He stretched and yawned on his duty station monitoring the six display monitors. Then he noticed on one screen that a hydraulic pump pressure had increased from yellow to orange. Orange meant that he had 5 minutes to release the pressure before it turned red which meant critical. So, he called one of his crew to take his station. He dashed down a couple of ladders and head to the hydraulic pump room. When he opened the hatch, he knew things were really wrong because the compartment was filled with smoke. The first thing he did was going to the nearest alarm box. He elbowed the glass cover, breaking it. Then he pulled down the fire alarm. Not wanting to wait for support, he went to another nearby cabinet where he found a face mask, then dashed into the smoky chamber.


Jona was thinking about turning-in, when he heard an alarm beeping sound.

“What’s going on?” he asked a bridge crewman.

“Sir, fire alarm at the engineering station of number two propulsion.”

A phone rang and another crewman picked it up. “Director, the fire is in the hydraulic pump station. The chief engineer is requesting to shut down number 2 thruster.”

“Very well. Anybody hurt?”

“Yes, sir. One man. He was brought to sickbay.”

Jona nodded his head. He went over to check Oceanus’ position. He was not too happy that they were too close to the reefs of Caringo Island. With one thruster down and a strong tide still coming in, they could still be pushed against the reef.

“Helm, turn port by ten degrees. Shutdown number 2 and decrease number 3 to quarter speed. Increase number 1 to three quarters.”

“Aye, sir,” said the helmsman.

Then Jona got his radio. “Mathilda, Belinda, this is base, come in over.”

“Mathilda here. What’s up, chief?” “Belinda here too.”

“Ok guys. Thruster 2 is down, we need you guys to pick up the slack. Can you handle it?”

“Can I handle it?” asked the Belinda captain. “I can do it better than Mathilda by myself.”

“Oh, really? … ” The competitive bantering started all over again, but Jona tuned them out. He then passed the conn to the second officer on duty.

“I’m going over there. Keep your eyes on our position and radio me if we begin to get any closer to those reefs, contact me right away. Meanwhile, get Admiral Reese from his cabin to take over here.”

“Aye sir.”

Jona head below and found a zodiac waiting for him. The zodiac took about 9 minutes to zip across the lagoon to the stern. It took him another 4 minutes to reach the number two engine room. When he got to the hydrolic pump chamber, it was already cleared of smoke. He found Robby there with the chief engineer.

“Robby… what happened?”

“According to the chief, the rubber O-ring seal from a secondary gasket stripped away causing hot liquid oil to leak. Then, the gasket heated up causing enough friction to warp the shaft running the pump. It should only take an hour to replace the damaged parts. We’ll get number two up and running.”

“Who got hurt?”

“Oh, it was Migs. His feet slipped on the spilled oil and knocked himself out when his head hit the bulkhead. He’s up in sickbay. Doc said he’ll live and entertain us in the next talent show.”

Jona smiled at that, remembering how bad Migs was on stage. He was about to leave when a thought hit him.

“Hold on, Robby. How is it that the O-ring was defective? Those things were all brand new, right?”

“That is the question! The chief is ‘miffed’ about it and I agree. This shouldn’t have happened.”

Jona was thoughful about this as he went back up to sickbay.

To be continued…

PREV


Note from the author:
Oceanus Adventure is a fun effort on my part to enter the wonderful world of creative writing. It’s a story of a group of people who launched themselves into the Pacific Ocean on an artificial island to solve the Great Pacific garbage patch. My hopes is that this will end up into a TV series.

Comments and idea suggestions will be most welcomed. I hope you enjoy.