“Although the events in this story are fictional, the Octavius itself is somewhat less so. Legends of this ship’s disappearance have existed for centuries, and nothing conclusive about its existence has been documented either way.”
“Sept 17, 1762
Five Months now we have been at Sea, tho’ it seems but half a Week since the _Octavius_ embarked from Peking and the Orient. I have decided to eschew the Horn & attempt a Course through the New World for our return Journey. If, by God’s Grace, the Weather is clear & we maintain our current Heading, we should find Passage eastward through the Arctic within the next Fortnight.
June 1, 2014
Saw my first iceberg today. Not sure when we can expect pack ice, but everyone just tells me, ‘relax, we’re on an icebreaker’. Kinda takes the excitement out of sailing into the Great White North to chase down a ghost ship, but hey–at least we’ll be safer than the _Octavius_.
It’s funny–we really don’t know much more about the _HMS Octavius_ than what anyone’s grandma could find on Google. It was last seen in 1775, some thirteen years after its disappearance, by the _Herald_, an English whaling ship. When the whalers went on board, they discovered the entire crew of the _Octavius_ frozen dead at their stations. The captain, William Perington, was still at his desk, pen in hand, along with a woman and small child. I guess the whole ‘freezing-to-death-at-your-post’ business kinda freaked the hell out of the whalers, and they legged it pretty quick. But not before purloining the captain’s log book from right under his stiff, dead hand…
Course it was all basically hearsay until good ol’ Robert came across the log book in an auction for maritime memorabilia. It was vetted by a dozen historians, and it seems to be legit. Turns out the coordinates for the _Octavius’_ last known location were in the book. Also turns out that Yours Truly is Robert’s favourite student of maritime archaeology, hence my place aboard the _Liberator_! Sweet deal.
(OK, cards on the table–Robert knows about what happened with Dylan, and maybe he figures this trip will help me get over things? Yeah, right. But it’ll be a good voyage nevertheless. Right? Of course it will.)
_And why, O Wise and Lovely Amelia Finley, are you writing in a diary?_ My distinguished advisor, Prof Robert Winston, thinks it will actually help organize my thoughts when it comes to writing my thesis. Huzzah.”
About the Author
Nathan Ehret tends to follow a rigorous daily routine of procrastination. Sometimes, though, a story manages to sneak onto his laptop when he’s looking the other way. He’s fascinated by the unusual and maintains a healthy disdain for the practical. He lives, edits, and teaches English in Vancouver, Canada, and his other stories have been known to end up in places like Perihelion and Electric Spec.
About the Narrator
Because representation and acknowledgment is important, Halloween identifies as a female with the understanding that transitioning is not a requirement to acceptance. The guilt that arises from not living up to another’s expectation is simply a passage to maturity and self-acceptance once it’s let go of. Zhur or zhay pronoun reflects that understanding. Thank you.