It is Elizabeth Cambridge who has pulled together this group of adventurers. Some have been called because of old friendships and others contracted for their skills.
The first to arrive is Cordelia Carter with Chubbs McGee in tow. It obvious they have some connection yet seem almost strangers at the same time. The next to arrive is a handsome gentleman introducing himself as Professor Humberto Uzamake. The professor seems to know Elizabeth somehow.
This group is introduced to their final member, John Henry, a huge man sitting atop a big and battered motorcycle. He will be their guide through the swamps of Florida.
The journey begins on a battered boat, the Carolina Dreamer, captained by a curmudgeonly old man calling himself Burt and a young mate he calls Petey. It will be a three-day journey across Florida into the Atlantic, from there, they seek an island which seems to appear only on an old battered map held by Elizabeth.
Everyone is warned to be careful near the edge of the boat, there are huge snakes and alligators (at minimum) about. It is actually Peter who gives the warning about big snakes to the two women aboard the ship whom he obviously is smitten by. An not long after this warning, he is indeed pulled overboard by a 30’ snake. Only Chubbs witnesses this at first. He calls no warning, for he knows the boy is clearly doomed and beyond saving.
Burt seems more annoyed then upset, like he has more work to do. Upon realizing he doesn’t have to split his pay, he gets a bit happier.
On the morning of the third day, the Atlantic in site, tragedy once again strikes. As Burt is standing alongside the bow relieving himself (out of site of the ladies, he does have some modicum of respect) he is torn from the deck by a giant alligator. It is John Henry who is first to respond. He leaps into the water, attempting to wrestle Burt free of the gator. The professor whips out his Webley pistol and fires at the gator. He looks surprised when he actually hits it.
As blood spills into the water from Burt, his leg torn off at the hip, and the flesh wound on the gator, Chubbs notices two giant fins cutting through the water toward the carnage. He realizes their is no hope for Burt but John Henry can be saved. He yells a warning to the big man and reaches out a hand to pull him aboard. Somehow this small man is able to pull the giant to safety just as the sharks tear into Burt and possibly the gator, which has dived under the water.
It is now Cordelia who steps up to steer the ship on the course set by Elizabeth. Surprise, surprise, Cordelia seems to be an ace pilot and ship captain. A day into their journey at sea (into the heart of the Bermuda Triangle some realize), they encounter a violent storm.
April 29, 1948
It is only the next morning when the storm breaks. The skies are overcast and thick with fog, but in the distance the crew spies the silhouette of another ship. Approaching, they see the ship Natures Brew adrift. The sea is so eerily calm and placid that nothing moves on its own accord, including the discovered ship. Boarding, they find no sign of the crew and a ship apparently abandoned very recently. One lifeboat is missing.
Upon further investigation they discover:
- Engines in good repair, with no signs of age or weathering, and plenty of fuel.
- In the hold, crates marked as machine parts are actually full of 5-galon casks of Rum.
- The last entry in the Captain’s logbook, penned several days after leaving Cuba, dated June 21st, 1931.
They leave the battered Carolina Dreamer to the sea and take over this 60-freighter. John Henry rustles up some grub after firing up the engines, whilst Cordelia sets course for the destination marked on the old map.
Shortly thereafter, as the sun breaks through the low clouds, they come upon a small island. It is right where the old map had marked, mind you, the charts from both sea vessels have no such island marked. It appears to be a lush tropical island. The group takes the other lifeboat ashore, leaving the Natures Brew safely anchored in the cove.