The cool sea showered the crew with falling mist and strong spring winds that caused the men to clench and shiver. As the music ballads observed the rising of dusk, the twilight set upon the Anglo-Indian empire in the year of our lord 1907. Captain Colin Limmerick sprawled by the bow watching the crew celebrate yet another long night on the Celtic waters. He sat up, trying to focus, counting several empty bottles of ale rolling about his feet as he mesmerized himself with a hefty bottle of whiskey. He hoisted himself up and staggered toward the crew, leaning by the stairs that led to the galley. Eddy, the first mate and oldest crewmember, stood beside the towering six-foot-four captain.
The Atlantic Mermaid held her own with her sturdy body, two protruding steam pipes, and one mast sail. She cut through the blue-grey waters, too small to be a mechanized steamer, yet too oversized to be a deep-sea trawler
Eddy sighed with exhaustion. "Lad, I'm gettin' too old to keep up with yar strength 'n mischief."
The captain chuckled. "Ye take a rest. I'll haul in the catch."
"Ah, yar a one-man crew. Just look at the size of ya, Captain."
"I do what I can." The captain laughed while flexing his great biceps.
Young Timmy steered the ship to the Dublin Quays while Eddy trailed behind the nine-man crew into the galley. They sat wherever there was an empty stool, placing warm ale upon the wooden table. Colin remained standing, drinking his ale while he gazed at his crew.
Eddy looked at him. "Can't ya find a place to sit, Captain?"
"Standin' I don't mind doin', thanks."
"Despite ya bein' the captain 'n owner of this ship, yar still like a son to me. I can tell somethin's eatin' ya. Is it quid?"
"Quid? It's not."
"Good to hear, Captain," Eddy responded.
"Our Mermaid, she brings us much good feastin' she does." Colin tried to smile. He finished his last drop of whiskey while noticing the crew comfortably seated around him. "Men, I've got some news for yez." He watched as a few drops of whiskey ran down the side of his empty bottle.
"Tyin' the knot are ya? I bet our Captain is." Eddy tried to guess. "Strange, a man of yar good looks can't find a wife." The crew cackled and drank up.
"Married, ye say? I haven't the luck with wenches, ye know it."
"Come out with it then--what is it?" Eddy asked. The room grew quiet.
"Men, I'm thirty-nine years old. Ye know as a man ages he starts to ask himself if he's happy?" Colin tried to focus on the crew, who appeared concerned. He brushed his fingers along the sides of his empty whiskey bottle and placed the last drop of spirit upon his tongue. "I don't know how to say this." Colin tied back his brassy-crimson hair, which hung to the middle of his back. "Ye know I've lived in two worlds for the past seven years, tryin' to obtain me university degrees'n run this vessel'n such."
The crew nodded. "We know our captain's a scholar!" Eddy blurted as they all opened another ale. "Yaz the smartest man I've ever known."
"Yer too kind. I just received me acceptance into London University's doctorate course in the Department of Natural History. Sure, you know how much I'm goin' after bein' a naturalist?"
The men broke into hysterics mauling Colin with rugged hugs. "We know yaz could do it, Captain!"
"I'll be meetin' up with me academic advisor next week in London town. I was teamed with 'im 'cause he's the only professor in the department who specialises in the evolutionary process. Ye fellows know me already, ye know how I'm interested in that kind 'n such, don't you?" Colin asked, blowing the foam from his mug of ale.
"Yeah, we know you're a big smart bastard!" Eddy shouted, then the men broke into chants of excitement.
"What ya goin' to do 'bout us 'n the Atlantic Mermaid?" Eddy asked.
"I thought maybe you all could carry on the legacy without me durin' the week. I'll still be yer captain, only I won't be on the ship as often 'cause I'd be spendin' me time at the university'n such. I'll try 'n be here three days a week to fill our largest quota I will." Colin lit a candle, reflecting the light off the freckles of his nose. The sun was starting to set as the crew intoxicated themselves without mercy.