A day has passed since the Ross Ice Shelf collapsed and the devastation to coastal cities all across the Pacific Ocean was cataclysmic. Neighbourhoods that had been promoted to waterfront property after a 6 foot rise in sea level over the past 2 years were washed away as the monstrous waves came to shore.
Millions of people simply disappeared off the coasts of New Zealand and Australia due to the speed at which the swell reached their shores. Traffic jams blocked evacuation routes, trapping the fleeing hoards. Desperation drove others to abandon their vehicles and the belongings they had salvaged merely to succumb to a torrent of water they could not outrun.
Only the few who had foreseen the inevitable grid lock and were seasoned long distance runners were able to make it to high enough ground in time.
The list of casualties numbs Captain Jacob to the point of detachment: Wellington, Sydney, Honolulu, Lima, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are only the largest of the cities affected. Countless smaller communities were obliterated.
Cassandra sits alone in her quarters. She feels nothing. Her empathy died the moment she realized that her only child, Josie, was one of the millions. The footsteps echoing down the hall do not register in her mind.
First Officer Tremblay approaches the captain’s quarters and pauses at the door, smirking. He takes a deep breath, stands tall, then knocks. The door opens.
“Captain, the danger is passed. We’ve been ordered to the Ross Sea.”
“How much time to we have before the icebergs all melt?” Captain Jacob caresses the picture frame of her daughter on her desk then walks with Officer Tremblay to the bridge.
“The estimates range from 1 month to 2 months for the largest pieces,” he replies as they reach the upper deck.
The ship is already making its way around Labrador and heading south. Captain Jacob turns to her first officer and demands an explanation. “When did this order come?” She moves to the communications log and is about to start a search when Officer Tay intercepts her.
“We were concerned about your state of mind considering—“
“—You are out of line, Officer Tay. I am the captain of this vessel not you. I am responsible for its safety and the safety of everyone on board. You directly violated an order to remain in the bay until further notice.” The captain grabs the radio and tries to call the coast guard but First Officer Tremblay steps in to block her.
He motions to Officer Tay. “Let it be on record that Captain Cassandra Jacob of the CCGS Terry Fox has been relieved of duty due to post traumatic stress. She is no longer fit for command.” He grabs the captain by the elbow, drags her to a chair, and sits her down.
“Here’s the deal, Cassandra.” He leans over her. “The water is very cold here. It would be a tragedy if you were to throw yourself over.” He ties her hands and feet to the chair. “For your own protection.”
Cassandra takes a quick inventory of her situation then calmly responds. “I am not suicidal, George.”
Officer Tay saunters over to George and kisses his neck. She pastes on a condescending smile and stares straight at Cassandra. “That’s not what your obituary will say.” She laughs.
“What?” Cassandra shifts her questioning eyes over to George, who is busy fiddling with the radio. A foreign voice comes through the static and George replies in kind. “George! What is going on here?”
George puts down the radio and nods to Officer Tay. She leaves the bridge.
“With every challenge comes an opportunity,” he quotes and adds: “That’s a lot of fresh water and I do believe the price just went up.”
Cassandra is speechless. He’s been bought.
“Just call me Jack,” he chuckles as Officer Tay returns with an SVDK.