Dropping Anchor in the Endless Blue Sea

Eliza's first week of her new job had felt like one of the longest she had ever lived through.  While starting off with a bang, the job quickly decended into a routine tedium of long hours of cleaning duty, course adjustment and maintenance, and worst of all, scouting from the crows nest.  God she hated being in the crows nest.  Between the relentless inescapable sun and the amplified swaying of the sea and mast, Eliza found herself battling nausea every time she had to do a stint up there.

And then there was the awkward social dynamic of it all.  It was very obvious to her that none of her coworkers had ever worked together before, and pretty much all of them were introverts who weren't terribly prone to making small talk.  Eliza had been surprised to discover that Riz was an honest to god fish-person, as she had been under the impression that fish people had been a myth conjured by the fertile imaginations of notoriously superstitious sailors and peasants.  After getting over that shock, she found him to be pleasant enough to be around, and she probably found a little too much enjoyment in poking fun at his stammer.  She also refused to call him "Worm" as that name seemed rather degrading and she felt like a bitch saying it.  Even Riz himself didn't seem to care for the name much, so why didn't he take this opportunity to reinvent himself?  It's not like Eliza knew what the man had done to earn that name anyway...

Rigs seemed to be recoving remarkably quickly for someone his age despite how hard he insisted on pushing himself.  Unfortunately, the wound didn't seem to make the codger any nicer; he had growled at Eliza on several occasions throughout the week when she'd made a mistake or didn't do something the way he would have.  It wasn't like she'd ever worked on a Trimaran before.  Surely she deserved a little patience?

Jay was nice, yet like everyone else, he wasn't terribly talkative.  He generally gave Eliza her space and seemed to be more comfortable around Rigs than her, although that might have had to do with the fact that he had unofficially become the old man's nurse since Rigs refused to drop the tough man act.  All in all, the supposed trader was tough to read, and Eliza still wasn't exactly sure what to make of him.

As for the captain, well, he was almost always cold and aloof, seeming to focus his energies entirely on wherever it was they were going.  That behavior made her more nervous than it probably should have.  When Eliza had first mentioned her intention of applying for a position on the Dutchman to her father, he had informed her that the man had arrived at Wayville crewing his hefty vessel all by himself shortly before putting out the recruitment notices for the position she had been applying for, a sure sign that Murdock had lost his previous crew.  At the time, Eliza had been desperate enough that she had dismissed her father's warnings, but now that she'd had a week to mull on it, Eliza wondered if Murdock's coldness stemmed from a belief that they were all expendable and therefore not worth getting emotionally attached to.

Through all the awkwardess, anxiety, pain, and discomfort of the week, Eliza found solace in (as she always had) tending to her garden, which thankfully Murdock had permitted her to place on an assigned part of the deck.  Her plants had started struggling once she'd sold her boat as safely getting them all the sunlight they needed had become an impossibility, but thankfully most of them seemed to be making a comeback now that they had most of the light and water they needed.  Being denied access to the crew's potable water for sustaining her plants, Eliza kept her distiller nearly always busy turning salt water into salt and water.  Even so, that probably wouldn't have been enough if they hadn't been blessed by a few light rains throughout the week.

The day when the tedium of sailing on the endless blue sea had been disrupted had begun like any other.  Eliza had been assigned to the helm that morning, which was far from the worst job she could have got.  Unfortunately, today the captain had decided to be pickier than usual and had demanded so many fine course corrections that Eliza had seriously considered telling him to take the wheel himself.  Most of the day had been like that, and as the time the sun fell out of the sky, Eliza struggled not to cry out of frustration, a sentiment exacerbated by Murdock's absentminded giddiness.  Was he taking pleasure in flustering her?

Then he set down the sextant he had been playing with for much of the day and declared, "We're definitely in the right area. Ms. Hawthorn, keep us on this heading as precisely as possible, I have specialized instruments in my cabin, which I need to check. Rigs, Worm, be ready to throw the hook at a moment's notice."

Right area?  Throw the hook?  As far as Eliza could tell, they were still in the middle of nowhere with nothing but open sea around them, as had been the case ever since they fled Wayville.  What was the captain thinking?

Still, as she had all day, Eliza gritted her teeth and followed the command to the best of her ability as Murdock retreated into the bowels of the Dutchman.  Time dragged on as she waited for him to return and make everything make sense.  When he didn't come back out, Eliza began wondering if Murdock had randomly decided that today he would become a gigantic asshole just to keep everyone on their toes, until finally...

"Drop the anchor!" he called. "It's only a few hundred feet deep here. If the maps are right, there's bound to be something good down there!"

A few hundred feet deep?  What was Murdock expecting to find here?  As the ship shuddered to a halt, Eliza anxiously awaited an answer.

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