Lord above, look at the size of that Leatherback Sea Turtle!” Edmund C. Roberts proclaimed. It was very large, at least a meter and a half along its carapace and swimming in the company of a beautiful Sea Maiden. That evening Roberts learned from some of the sailors on his ship that Leatherback Turtles sometimes reached twice that size, that they could dive to the deepest reaches of the ocean, and the shell itself was actually quite leather-like, capable of bleeding when abraded, and thus responsible for attracting sharks.” “How dreadful,” the triplets intoned when the young naturalist informed them at dinner.
And yet, the truly dreadful deed was unfolding coincidentally in the bowels of the good ship, Baci Finale. Jimmy, the loquacious ship’s engineer was interrupting an act of sabotage in progress. “You there,” he shouted about the thumbing and hissing of steam machinery. A man he thought was a member of the “black gang” of stokers looked up from his task. He was bent over the reciprocating perambulator, a huge wrench in one hand, a greasy packet in the other. “You there,” Jimmy repeated as he advanced into the shadows. “What are ya doin? Get away from there or you’d get us all killed! You’ve no business with the perambulator!”
Just as the little man moved fully into the gloom another figure stepped out from behind the giant valve, raised his left arm and fired not one but two shots at the engineer. The first ricocheted harmlessly off a steam return pipe and whistled askew into the darkness but the next passed through Jimmy’s shoulder muscle and then went on with enough force to shatter the osmotic reflux gauge to his right, Splinters of high impact glass and a jet of scalding steam followed. Within seconds the counterbalanced equilibrium of the compound steam engine hiccoughed ominously before it settled back to a noticeably less stable pitch.
Edmund C. Roberts’ journal reads:
Trouble aboard our good ship. Repairs made, the engineer doctored, and a mystery to be solved. On a far lighter note, another Sea Maiden; number 20, named as Sarah, sighted, and yet another Sea Turtle. Leatherback.
March 30, 1913