From the diary of William Jameson.
July 1, 1970- The weather on the Pacific is perfect for sailing as I and my seventy-two crewmen prepare to leave out of San Francisco Bay before first light this morning. This will be my last voyage with the crew that I’ve enjoyed so many other adventures with over the past twenty-five years. There is a gnawing feeling in my stomach that something isn’t quite right this time, but I cannot put my finger on it now.
July 1, 1970- I’ve set an open course for the virgin sea and given the order to set sail. The crew is in good spirits, though I’m feeling mighty sick. I’m going to retire to my cabin and lie down.
Captain Will is awakened from a nap by a banging on his cabin door. “Who is it?” There isn’t an answer, and the banging on the door continues. Although he’s awake, his senses seem dull and his mind is groggy. Will hears loud talking on the other side of the door, but can’t make out what is being said. The pounding on the door continues and he wonders, Am I in my cabin dreaming or is the crew really scheming to take my ship away from me? The door flies open and a number of his crew rush him. They proceed to beat him, with fists and elbows coming from all directions. After shackles are applied to his arms and legs, he’s lead to another cabin and shoved through the door where he falls face first onto the cold, damp, wooden floor. Lying in pain he hears the door slam shut and then hears the metal key turn the lock that imprisons him in the small ten by ten room.
July, 1970- It seems that my crew has mutinied and taken over my ship. But to what end? I’ve tried to reach out to someone in the crew, but to no avail. I’m not sure how long I was unconscious or how long I’ve been locked up. It feels like it’s months since I’ve seen home, but the days are uncounted since the ship was lost to me.
Will awakens before daylight and tries once again to have a dialogue with someone from his crew. He pounds on the cabin door and cries out, “Listen to me. I’m your captain. I demand that you return me my ship! Can you hear me?” Captain Will hears nothing but silence and wonders to himself, Am I all alone?
Date unknown- I’m still locked in this cabin and the only contact I have with the outside world is when food and water are pushed underneath my door. And even then, I get no response from my captors when I question them as to what is going on. Surely I will find out just what they have in mind for me and my ship. I gaze out of a lone porthole, my only view of the outside world, and I see a distant ship smoke on the horizon. I hear the crashing waves and see a flock of gulls diving down to the water in search of food. I wonder if I’ll ever see my family again.
Will is awakened by the sound of a key in the lock, and as he sits up a number of men enter his room. He recognizes his first mate at the front of the group. “Jameson, it’s time we take you top deck to face the crew.” Will, not yet realizing the gravity of the situation says, “Mr. Manuel, on board I’m the captain and I give the orders here.” The first mate chuckles and responds, “You were the captain. We’re in charge now. And no, you don’t give the orders anymore.” Will falls to his knees and begs, “Please don’t take my ship away from me. I just can’t live without it.” Mr. Manuel turns on his heel and instructs the men, “Bring him on deck.” Will tries one more time to change the course of events, “Manuel, you’d better think about it. If you return me to my home port, I’ll let the matter go. You won’t have to face hanging.” Manuel is already out the door and doesn’t hear Will. Two men grab him by each arm and drag him out of the cabin and up onto the deck.
Arriving on deck, Will notices a smaller ship alongside his and sees a number of armed men boarding. A stranger who appears to be the man in charge approaches him and says, “You must be Captain, or should I say, former Captain Will.” “Who are you and what are you doing on my…” The stranger’s hand reaches forward and Will can feel his fingers tightening around his throat. Will closes his eyes and with his face turned upward he prays, Heaven help me, take this stranger from my boat. The man releases his grip and says, “Mr. Jameson, I am now in charge of your ship. I and a number of others have had enough with America, and have decided to leave our native country. The government has taken away too many of our freedoms and we’re no longer able to prosper. The country isn’t what it once was. We’re callin’ everyone one to ride along, to another shore. We want to be free once more. Free to laugh our lives away; to eat, drink, and be merry without government interference. You can come along willingly Jameson.” Will turns to his former crew and pleads, “Everybody, listen to me. Return me my ship and all will be forgiven.” The stranger strikes Will across the mouth with a backhand and says, “Take him to his cabin and lock him up. It’s time to set sail.”
Unknown date- As I lie on my bed I can only wonder what will happen to me. I think of my home port, where I was born. If I could only return there once again, I would fall on my face and kiss mother earth. Where are these strangers taking me and what will they do to me? I look again out of my porthole, but instead of the open sea, I can now only see the mystery ship. Why is all of this happening to me?
Captain Will is awakened by a soft touch and he feels a damp cloth on his forehead. He hears voices, but everything is blurry and it seems as if his entire body is numb. The voice softly asks, “Is there anybody in there? Nod if you can hear me.” It’s as if he is floating above himself, but can’t seem to awaken. “Captain, it’s me. First Mate Manuel. Can you hear me? Can you hear me Captain Will?” Will’s eyes are still unable to focus and he’s only semi-conscious. He mumbles, “You are only coming through in waves. I see your lips move, but I can’t hear what you are saying.” Manuel answers him, “Captain, you took a nasty fall and there’s a huge gash on the back of your head. We ran into a storm that first night and you must have been thrown out of your bunk and banged your head on something.”
Will’s vision is slowly becoming clearer and he recognizes some of the faces of those standing around him; First mate Manuel, Doc, Salty the cook, his cabin boy Matthew, and many others in the crew. He becomes agitated and says, “What about the strangers and the guns and the mystery ship? How many months have we been at sea? Are we lost?” Manuel chuckles and answers, “Captain, we’re sailing back to San Francisco Bay. We’ve only been gone from port for three days. There aren’t any other ships or strangers or guns. It’s just us. It must have just been a bad dream. Don’t worry. You’re out of the woods now and you’ll be back to normal soon.” As Captain Will relaxes, he thinks to himself, I’m getting closer to my home, and a smile forms on his lips as he drifts off to sleep.