It had been weeks since the Determined entered the Pacific Ocean. In the time that passed, the ship had travelled a considerable distance. However, the relatively small waves of the sea of Kentucky could not hold a candle to the vast ocean. The ocean’s color has changed from a vibrant blue to almost black, signifying the depth of the ocean water underneath the ship’s keel. The waves of the Pacific were easily eight to ten feet tall, far greater than that of the sea of Kentucky. This meant that the crew to work much harder to keep the ship from sinking.
There was no longer any silliness on board, or animals not able to fall asleep for that matter. It was 12 hours of hard labor, and 12 hours of exhaustion fueled rest. After much arguing, Private Pawl won and was able to be the day time otter, while Sargent Miller was the night time otter. Argente giggled during the grand discussion that occurred, and chose to be the mid shift fox. The crew liked that idea, since she would be awake for part of each shift. The female fox had a calming effect on the crew, and settled small arguments that would occur from time to time. With the larger animal situation sorted out, the temporary distraction ended, and all attention returned to the endless rough water that surrounded their ship on all sides.
Each shift, the squirrels and chipmunks would furiously climb the masts to adjust the sails, and check for any sign of damage. The wind was much stronger out on the open water, and the sails remained full of wind almost around the clock. In addition to their concerns, was the ocean spray sent a salty brine against the wood, ropes, and fabrics on board. The sea salt dried and got into everyone’s eyes, making it difficult to see. There had been more than a couple near accidents of animals falling off the masts, or almost off the ship into the water. So Pudgy requested his crew begin to clean the ship. However, that was a never-ending struggle to mitigate the salt hazard. While vision complications were bad enough, they had the added worry that the salt had begun to eat away at the ship’s wooden exterior. When the humans sailed the ocean on similar ships, when they would return to port, there would be weeks’ worth of repairs made to the ship.
While the crew was firmly settled into their routines, and sleep patterns, the exception to the status quo was their hedgehog captain. Pudgy was only barely sleeping four hours a day, and even then, not more than an hour at a time. The visions of the ethereal glowing fox were constant, and she seemed to be more agitated with each passing moment. The little critter was nowhere closer to finding out who she truly was, nor what her motivations were for that matter. The exhausted critter stood at the ship’s wheel, guiding the ship to a steady west by south west course. When necessary, Pudgy would lock the steering wheel in place to help out with deck operations. However, the crew would not let him climb the masts, because it would be very dangerous given his current physical state. He had lost a considerable amount of weight as well, as a direct result of wave related upset stomach issues.
With day bleeding into night as they continued their journey on the vast ocean: time was losing meaning. Pudgy weary eyed kept his gaze focused forward, even as the storms poured deluges of water upon the ship. The prevalence of storm water meant that their fresh water supplies were staying well stocked. The bilge pumps were also getting a work out, as the water that did make it inside the hull, could be pumped out. Although the storms once passed, revealed a vibrant night sky full of the wonders of the universe on full display. The stars looked completely different from the forest back home, with many new patterns. Some seemed so close that if one were to reach up with their paw, they could pluck it out of the sky.
Unbeknownst to the valiant crew, that they had sailed past the halfway point of their Pacific Ocean trip. The ship had passed over the islands of Hawaii about a week prior, and none knew about it. The salt water had completely covered the series of islands that had made up the human state. While scientists had theorized what would occur during their fanciful projections of climate change and its related sea level rise, their predictions had never accounted for anything like this. The expectation was many years of tourism fueled by humans playing on the pristine beaches, and once all the scientists had passed away, the next generation would deal with the issue. Some of the beach would be lost, only to result in new beaches having to be constructed later at a much higher cost.
Hawaii was formed when a series of volcanos emerged from the ocean floor, and erupted with a near constant stream of magma. The liquid rock when reaching the water was cooled, and over many thousands of years, was able to grow tall enough to pierce the surface of the ocean. New volcanos formed, and the lands began to spread accordingly. In time though the rock stopped flowing, and the newly formed land became hospitable to both human and animals. While it is not clear when the humans sailed to the islands to settle upon them, the end result was that it had grown into a series of islands full of life.
So, when the humans all disappeared within days, that came to a tremendous shock to the animals that lived upon the islands. As the human made structures deteriorated, the original occupants of the islands adjusted. Far away from the mainland, in relative peace, while the hedgehog went on his various adventures. As the ocean levels rose, the weather changed to become more severe. Terrible storms pounded the islands, flooding them with a never-ending torrent of fresh rain water. With little fanfare the water was relentlessly finding the weak spots, nooks, crannies, and any other human created void on the land’s surface. The fresh water mixed with the ocean to form a brackish brine which poured deep into the earth, and began to eat away at the various barriers to the liquid rock that still flowed deep below. The acids that eventually formed began to reach the various fissures, otherwise known as a big crack in the rock, reaching the super-heated rock and created steam.
To put things into perspective, on Pudgy’s steam ship far away in the forest, there was a big gauge with a red section that indicated danger. When steam pressure builds up to a sufficient level, its release is usually a terrible explosion. However, there is no such helpful gauge for the Earth. Once the pressure had built up to a sufficient level, the land blasted out of the ground and sent debris in all directions. Sadly, this resulted in a feedback loop, since more fissures were created. This resulted in more ocean water pouring into the interior of the planet, and reaching the molten rock far below the island surface. The surface land began to open up into massive sink holes, and sucked the ground far into the interior of Gaia. The devastation was all encompassing, with the smaller islands being covered by the waters first. At first the animals were able to flee to the nearby bigger islands, but many did not survive the escape. When the big island sunk beneath the waters, the surface animals had been irradicated, and the once nation of islands was no more.
With Hawaii being just a dream, and far behind the ship, the Determined sailed on into ominous black skies. In most cases, the sails stayed up, and the ship was using the wind gusts to make better time. However, with skies turning as black as the boots that Cobalt once wore, Pudgy ordered the sails to be furled. The chipmunks nodded, and began to take down the sails, and wrap them tightly upon the mast arms. The little hedgehog kept his gaze forward, with unblinking eyes. With each sail that came down, the ship’s forward momentum slowed. As the clouds flashed violently overhead, all 11 sails were eventually brought down. The precious fabric now being safety stowed away, the crew came down out of the ship’s rigging to stand on the deck. The waves began to grow larger, tossing the ship up and down violently. The water continued to grow taller and taller, with the distance between the trough (bottom) to the crest (top) fifteen feet.
The skies boomed with thunder, so loud that is made one’s ears ring. The smell of ozone was strong, and the visible bolts of lightning crackled overhead going across the sky in various arcs. “ALL PAWS, BRACE YOURSELVES!” The hedgehog captain shouted, and watched as the animals began to lash themselves to the deck railings. A strong wind blew directly at the ship, causing the masts to creak terribly. As the rope lines flapped violently in the wind, Pudgy held the wheel steady. Ahead of the ship was no light, only an utter void of darkness. The rain water began to pour from overhead, and hurt when it fell onto the critters’ bodies. It almost felt as if you were being hit by a bear. The captain knew that the ship needed to approach the wave, and then steer accordingly to avoid capsizing the ship. The crew had practiced these maneuvers on the sea of Kentucky, and its three-foot waves, so the principle remained the same. The stakes were far higher though, as the storm surge conditions were so much more dangerous.
Pudgy, with water dripping from his quills shouted, “Mr. Field Mouse, go below and wake up the crew! We need to work the bilge pumps as quickly as possible!” The mouse nodded, and quickly scampered over to the hatch that led below. As the ship pitched violently forward, he rolled along the deck, and clung desperately to the mast. As the ship reached the trough of the wave, it levelled off, allowing the rodent to scamper as quickly as he could. Reaching the hatch, opening it, and ducking below the deck. A squirrel quickly ran over to shut the hatch, and then grabbed onto the railing by the captain’s wheel, as the bow of the ship lifted upwards as they ascended the wave. At the bow of the ship, Argente’s ears were folded down, and she was staring forward, as the lightning bolts began to strike the water ahead of the ship.
The interior bilge pumps had been connected to a series of pipes, and soon began to spurt out water from various exterior ports. Those openings could also be shut off, in the event of a terrible wave situation. With the excess water being pumped out, the two otters squeaked with fear as they held on for dear life in their storage hold. The two aquatic animals watched the lightning strike several times in the water to the starboard side of the ship. Sargent Miller shouted, “PUDGY! WHAT IS THAT OVER THERE?” The crew turned to the began to see lights in the distance on the right side of the ship. A squirrel called out from the main mast, “PUDGY! I SEE LIGHTS STARBOARD ALSO!”
Pawl was not paying attention to the lights, and had peeked over the edge of the ship. The water beneath the keel was so dark that it seemed like light would be absorbed within it. Sargent Miller ducked back, and held onto Argente for dear life. The former human hated the ocean, and missed his quiet lock and dam from Missouri. Pawl turned and pointed with a front webbed paw, “I see the lights … is that a human ship?” Before any animal could remark further, the storm somehow grew even worse. The wind howled so loud, it felt like one’s ear drums could burst at any moment. The rain water poured even harder upon the deck of the ship, requiring the exterior bilge pumps to be operated even quicker. They were a series of paw pumps, that once suction had formed, could redirect the water off the ship. Pudgy watched as spouts of water began to shoot out from various spots along the port and starboard sides of the ship. The volume of water being pumped out was of tremendous concern.
However, the lightning kept striking something out in the water. As the lightning flashed, Pudgy could see the outlines of a fishing boat. The ship must have been made of metal, which would attract the natural electricity that comprised a lightning bolt. But the thought of the discovery was not of foremost importance, and attention was kept on their own situation. The ship’s crews valiantly continued on in their tasks, bailing out the ship, and navigating the terrible conditions. The flash of light from the electrical discharge from the clouds continued to light up the ship in the distance. It seemed to be heading closer and closer, but it was hard to tell since at most times it was dark as night. Between the howling wind, and the thunderous claps overhead, occasionally there would be blissful moments of silence.
As the hours passed, eventually the terrible storm began to give up, and passed behind them. With the skies beginning to clear, the soaking wet deck crew of animals began to sigh a breath of relief. The rains slowed, then stopped falling. The skies lightened, and once more the sun began to shine through the clouds. One good thing though, was that the waters of the pacific were hot like bath water. The rain that fell was warm, so no one was shivering from the cold. No one was wearing any clothes, so it didn’t matter anyway. As Pudgy yawned, he shook the excess water off from his body. The various squirrels and chipmunk crew members tried to dry themselves off as well, while Argente kept looking to the starboard. The light of dawn was just cresting over the eastern horizon. The fox started to call out a warning call, “PUDGY!”
As the hedgehog looked in the direction his fox friend was, he could see what she was concerned about. There was a human sized commercial fishing boat that was approaching them. “RAISE THE SAILS,” The hedgehog captain shouted, and steered hard to port. As the wheel spun, the ship started to pitch in that direction. The crew scampered up the masts carefully, and began to unfurl the sails. They would not be up in time, so hopefully the ship could steer away before a collision. “MILLER … PAWL! Get out and help push the ship!” Pudgy shouted, and watched as the river otters quickly nodded, then scampered out of their hold and into the water of each side of the bow. Soon both were on the starboard side, swimming furiously, and pushing the ship away. The metal bow of the ship was approaching at a rate far too fast for anyone’s liking.
With three sails up, and the wind being caught, the ship’s forward momentum started to increase. The otters were squeaking in their shrill voices, while Pudgy spun the wheel back to amidships, to straighten out their course. Argente pointed with her paw at the white ship that was still approaching. “Pudgy look, I see writing! Do you know what it says?” The little hedgehog turned around and read out loud, “Alaska fishing adventures … Kodiak Island… Alaska?” Miller grunting, called out from the water,
“how did a fishing boat get all the way out here?” The human sized boat was about a hundred feet long, and had a large deck at the stern of the ship. Huge metal mast arms were positioned in such a way, that it could drag massive nets behind it in the water. There was an interior section on the deck, and then a pilot house on top of that, all enclosed. In the glass windows of the pilot house, Pudgy thought he saw movement. The human ship began to pull away, also to starboard, allowing the much smaller sailing ship to pass by on a parallel course.
Loud music could be heard blaring from exterior speakers that ran underneath an overhang of the pilot house. “Hey! Hey! Hey, hey, hey! Macho, macho bear (macho bear). I’ve got to be a macho bear. I’ve got to be a macho, macho bear. I’ve got to be a macho! Ow! Macho, macho bear. I’ve got to be a macho bear.” Macho, macho bear (yeah, yeah). I’ve got to be a macho!” The little hedgehog remembered that music, but the words sounded muffled since he had water in places, he didn’t know water could get into. As he shook the water out of his ears, the critter captain watched as a large white polar bear quickly exited the wheel house, and out onto the deck. He called out in a deep voice, “hello there! Is everyone all right, we almost didn’t see you! Sorry about that!”
As the otters started their choreographed routine to get back onboard the ship, Pudgy waved at the large white polar bear. He cupped his paws around his mouth, “HELLO MR. POLAR BEAR!” The white bear looked at the ship, with the myriad of curious animals looking back at him. The two river otters waved once they had made it back onto the deck, and shook off the ocean water. All of the Determined’s crew watched as the gigantic white bear was intently focused on the hedgehog. Pudgy still wearing his mining helmet, waved and bounced happily. “P … PUDGY? Pudgy hedgehog, I know you …from the gathering of bears on Kodiak Island! What are you doing out here?” The little hedgehog nodded, “Pudgy accept apology. Pudgy didn’t know any other ships were out this far south. Pudgy and friends are on a big adventure to the Philippines!”
The arctic bear looked confused, “the …Philippines?” Another bear’s voice called out from the pilot house, “wait … how far south did we travel?” Behind the white bear, a smaller koala bear appeared and waved from the deck, “G’Day Pudgy! We’re on our way to Australia! Ivan drunk all the alcohol on Kodiak, so we had to go to Australia for a proper drink.” Pudgy waved back, “g’day Bill! Mr. Polar bear, do you have a name?” The polar bear grinned and wiggled his black tipped nose, “Snortapoopus Q Burr. Call me Snort for short, nice to see you again Pudgy! My word, look at that ship you have. Hey Bo, come and check this out?” A large black and white panda bear eventually appeared beside Bill, and slowly waved his paw at the ship. “My goodness Pudgy, you have a proper junk there. Look at all those sails … I bet you can go quite fast.”
A drenched gray squirrel looked at the panda bear and shook his paw at him, “our ship is not junk, you big meanie! We built it out selves at Friendship Town!” The black and white bear looked a bit sheepish, “I apologize if I caused offense. The ships where I come from are called junks. Although the sails are shaped differently, and usually red in color.” Pudgy raised a paw, “oh, thank you for explaining Bo! Is your ship, ok? We thought you got hit by lightning?” Snort nodded, “yes, we had shut down the engines and electrical system before the ship was struck. Bo called that storm a typhoon, and I can see why he was scared.” The panda blinked, “I wasn’t scared.” Bill the Koala laughed, “he was scared, I was too when we saw the whale jump over our bow.” The Determined’s animals blinked in unison, watching the ship of bears and listening. They had heard the stories from Pudgy, but never imagined they would meet the characters in the stories.
Bill laughed in his Australian accent, “too bad Ivan is sleeping off a terrible hang over, otherwise he would be here to chat as well. These human sailors and their fireball moonshine stuff …it is a wonder they were able to stand at all. That stuff tastes terrible, almost like gasoline.” Bill laughed then turned to the polar bear, “bloody fireball, eh Snortapoopus, any chance you can get this bucket going a bit faster?” The polar bear shook his head, “we are almost out of fuel, I have to be stingy with it.” Sargent Miller called out, “where did you find gasoline or diesel?” I thought all of that stuff was gone?” Bo the panda bear nodded, “a former human who had turned into a bear showed us how to pump it out of the tanks to fuel this ship.” Bill nodded as he inspected the sails above the sailing ship, spoke excitedly as he pointed with his brown furry paws. “Although seeing Pudgy’s ship and its sails, you boys thinking what I am thinking?”
Snortapoopus nodded, “the fishing boat’s trolling arms can be rigged with sails. The human quarters have sheets we can use. Pudgy, stay there, I need to check something!” The polar bear disappeared as he headed into the pilot house of the ship, while Bo and Bill waved and spotted Argente at the front of the ship. The silver fox was a drenched mess, but she waved back. Bo called out, “are you Argente?” The female fox nodded, “yes, nice to meet you.” The crew introduced themselves, and after all greetings were made, there were many smiles. In time the polar bear returned and waved, “sorry for wandering off Pudgy. I hoped the map thing was working on the ship, but the electrical systems are not working right. The sails appear to be the only way we can move on from here.”
Pudgy nodded, “Pudgy having visions of a ghost fox, who is leading us in this direction. The Philippines is west by south west, so this is the direction to go for us. If Pudgy remember correct, Australia is south west of the Philippines. Pudgy wish had that map, but would it even be correct now?” Bill the koala bear nodded, “that sounds about right Pudgy! Hey, once you are done with your business there, come to Australia and I will show you how we party down under!” The hedgehog laughed, catching the stern look of no from Argente at the bow of the ship. Pudgy waved, and bounced happily,” maybe Bill. Pudgy unsure what is going to happen next, but hopefully whatever is happening to our world, Pudgy can stop it.” The bears nodded, laughed, and waved as they watched the tiny sailing ship speeding ahead. With the sail configuration, and ship design, it was slicing through the water.
The music on the ship of bears changed to a song that kept blaring, “IN THE NAVY!” And started to fade as the Determined sped ahead. Once the ship of critters had cleared, Pudgy watched as the polar bear waved from the pilot house. The fishing vessel started to turn again, to steer direct towards the south west. Snortapoopus waved from his post, and soon Bo was seen from the stern deck waving as well. It was a couple of hours until neither ship could see each other. However, on Pudgy’s ship, everyone was mumbling the macho bear song. Eventually the sun began to set, and the stars started to shine once more. The hedgehog captain fell asleep standing up, paws on the wheel. The night shift chipmunk carefully maneuvered around Pudgy, and locked the wheel. Watching him with a look of concern, he could see the hedgehog’s eyes darting back and forth. His quills started to stick out, as his body tensed. It was clear that the critter was having another vision.
Pudgy could see the ethereal silver glowing fox running ahead of the ship, but this time she stopped and turned around. Both her ears were wiggling, as she pointed gleefully behind her. “Almost there Pudgy …” her voice echoed over and over. The hedgehog shouted, “what does Pudgy do once he gets to the Philippines!” The fox giggled, “look for the eagle. He will take you to the summit. Pudgy … wake up. Pudgggyyy …wake up.” The vision suddenly disappeared, as the critter opened his eyes and saw Mrs. Field Mouse shaking him gently. “Pudgy wake up, you slept for the entire night shift. Look ahead of us, I think I see an island!” The hedgehog wiggled his nose, and yawned, but felt a lot better since he had rested for as long as he did. “The ghost fox said in Pudgy dreams that we were almost there.”
As the sun was just coming into full view over the eastern horizon, a tall mountain covered in green lush foliage could be seen. As Pudgy started to get his hopes up and point towards the tall mountain, a female voice rang in his ears, “NOT THAT ONE!” The voice was so loud, that other members of the ship’s crew could hear it. Argente’s head snapped up from her berth in the storage compartment at the bow of the ship, “Pudgy, who was that?” The little hedgehog looked around, “ok Miss Ghost Fox, where do we go then?” The compass on the ship’s deck immediately turned north west. A nearby chipmunk pointed, “I think the ghost wants us to go that way?” The hedgehog nodded, and steered the ship in the direction requested.
What the critters on board did not know, was that the Philippines was a nation of islands just like Hawaii. In fact, there were more than 7,100 islands in total. The two biggest islands were called Luzon and Mindanao. Their destination was Mt. Apo, which was located on the latter island. However, most of the islands were perilously close to ocean level. As the water rose, the islands quickly disappeared. However, the animals were able to evacuate from island of island as this occurred, so the loss of life was much lower here. Mindanao was a shell of its former glory, and the low-lying areas had been swallowed by the ocean. The eastern coast line of the large island had turned into its own island, due to the mountain ranges that ran along the Pacific coastline. The once fertile farmlands were gone, and the ocean waves passed by uninterrupted.
As the ship sailed around the barrier islands, in the distance a mountain taller than all the rest could be seen. Argente nodded, “that must be Mt. Apo.” There was no correction by the disembodied voice, so it appeared the assertion was correct. As the ocean floor rose from the depths below, once more the coloration of the water began to change. The waves also began to grow smaller, though not by much. In the distance, dolphins could be seen playing about in the water. While all manner of curious fish began to swim up to peek at the wooden hulled ship sailing overhead. Private Pawl licked his lips, “so close …we could just snatch a fish or two.” Argente giggled, “I will be so glad to be able to get out of this ship and walk around. I am so tired of sitting.”
Day turned into night, then back into day once more. The mountain only continued to ascend into the skies above, though the foliage could be seen much more clearly. Towering trees pierced through thick jungles of green plants. The trees did not look right, and were clustered together in think trunks that stretched high into the sky. Pudgy wiggled his nose, remembering Cobalt cursing once day as he tried to chop out something that looked like that. Bamboo was the word he used, and could remember how hard his human friend worked to get rid of that stuff, to no avail. Closer and closer they sailed towards the shoreline, with more details coming into focus. The coast line was full of jagged rocks, but there were coves where they could sail the ship into. This was where the next challenge of the voyage would take place.
The Niagara, which their ship was based on, was longer due to the fact that they needed to carry boats to ferry the crew members to shore. The original plan design featured a place to put those boats, but due to the hedgehog’s insistence on departure, that was dropped from the build. This meant that the ship would need to be sailed into a cove, and then securely moored somehow so the ship would remain safe. Selection of a landing spot therefore was critical to the voyage, if there was any hope of return. Return was also forefront in Mr. Field Mouse’s mind. They would need to locate a source of food, so that the ship’s supplies could be restored for the voyage home. What all crew members hoped, was that this was a journey to, and travel home sort of adventure. They chose not to entertain the thought that this adventure might go beyond that.
After a couple days passed, and the ship was running a parallel course with the shoreline, the ethereal voice boomed again. “WHY HAVE YOU NOT COME TO SHORE YET?” Pudgy woke up, still standing at the ship’s wheel. “Mrs. Field Mouse … any word on finding a suitable port?” The female mouse walked up slowly, looking up into the sky, trying to figure out where the angry female voice came from. “Pudgy … we don’t know yet. The shoreline is so rugged, that even if we could dock the ship, it might get damaged in the process. It would be EXTRREMELY HELPFUL, if our mysterious disembodied voice friend, WOULD TELL US WHERE TO GO?!?!?!” The hedgehog chuckled as the female mouse stomped her paw for effect. Looking up Pudgy wiggled his nose, “well?” The compass on the deck of the ship spun wildly in in a circle, until it swung towards the south west. The mouse stormed off squeaking a series of words Pudgy could not understand, but knew were bad.
As the hours passed, and the ship steered in the direction of the compass, the chipmunks at the top of the mast called out. “Pudgy … starboard side! I see a cove!” As the crew turned to look, they could see a large set of boulders formed a circular barrier around the shoreline. Spinning the wheel to the right or Starboard, the ship began to turn, and the sails began to grow less full. As the crew worked to redirect the wind to tack the sails, the ship sailed around the rocky edge and into the cove. A lush forest of green trees and towering plants were running along a muddy shoreline. The shoreline was clear of plants, as the salt water rendered any of the natural plants unable to grow there. Carefully skirting the shoreline of the barrier rocks, the ship began to turn to the port or left, and run parallel with the shore line. Pudgy called out, “SARGENT MILLER … PRIVATE PAWL! Get ready to swim, we need to check the depth under keel.”
The otters nodded, and then scampered up out of their storage hold and began to peek out over each side of the ship. The water’s color continued to change, to that of a clear blue where one could actually see the bottom. Closer, and closer the ship sailed, with the otters calling out directions. The ship’s sails were starting to be furled, and wrapped tightly around the mast arms. This continued to slow the vessel down, until only the motion of the water was gently pushing the ship towards the shoreline. Miller squeaked out, “DROP ANCHOR!” Argente nodded, and pushed a lever in her compartment, and soon a chain started to fly past her on the starboard side out through a hole in the hull where the anchor was located. A big splash could be heard, and soon the ship jerked to a halt as the anchor caught the bottom. Pudgy wiggled his nose, “welcome to the Philippines everyone!”
There was a collective cheer amongst the crew members, and soon the night time crew was emerging from below deck rubbing the sleep away from their eyes with tired paws. The looming mountain towered in the distance, with the thick jungle standing between the ship and their destination. With the otters helping, the crew excitedly started to maneuver the gang plank out, and swung it out to connect with the muddy shoreline. The blank served two purposes: a further connection point with the shoreline, and a way to ensure the ship would not run aground. The rudder was locked into place, and soon Paster Blue Jay and Angeliki Raven had emerged from below deck.
The former human priest raised his wings to the skies, “praise to you, o God, for a safe journey to our destination. We your humble servants thank you for your blessings!” Angeliki nodded, “thank the gods we have arrived safely.” The blue jay shot her a look, but let her comment slide for now, and watched as the hedgehog scampered past and down the gangplank to reach the shoreline. Hopping out onto the ground, Pudgy bounced happily, “WE MADE IT!” Then all watched as he fell over, and expelled the contents of his tummy. Sargent Miller nodded, “this is the part I never looked forward to after a long deployment. The sea sickness …” As the animals scampered off of the ship one by one, the ground kept moving underneath them, and soon they too felt violently sick. More tummies were expelled, and they laid on the ground trying to recover.
Mr. Field Mouse nodded, “I’m going to stay on the ship for now.” His wife giggled and hugged him from the side, “get some alone time.” Argente giggled and carefully walked around the deck, to reach the plank. She leapt from the ship, and carefully maneuvered around her friends. “I’m going to scout …. ahead ….” The silver fox too fell over onto her side, as the world began to spin. “Maybe …spend …some time … till the world … stops spinning.” The otters were too busy playing in the ocean water, and checking the ship for any damage to notice the condition of their land-based friends. The pastor laughed from his perch on deck, and whispered to his raven friend, “you added an extra “S” to God Angeliki.” The raven chirped as she laughed, “you stay here with Pudgy and the crew. I am going to scout ahead.” The raven quickly took flight, and soon was ascending into the skies above. She darted between two towering strands of bamboo trees, and was soon out of view. The pastor waved his wing, and then watched as the two field mice slipped beneath deck, and shut the hatch. “I should leave them alone … I think.” The Determined had made it safely to the Philippines, and Mount Apo. Why did the ghost fox bring them all the way to this foreign land? What were her motives? And more importantly, did they make it here in time to prevent the oceans from raising any further? All this would be answered, as soon as Pudgy and friends can walk again without falling down.