Tim McCarthy

The sharp salt water stings your thick icy beard as the <i>Vanguard</i> jolts once again from the violent waves. The gray afternoon sky releases torrents of rain from overhead and the foamy seawater comes rushing across the deck packed tight with stacks of frozen crab pots. The loud arching crane cranks as the fishing line comes shooting up from the water. Then comes the pot and with it, a heap of Alaskan Crab. 34 to be exact. You throw away the small ones.
Captain Ortiz's voice booms from the loudspeaker.
"Four more pots to go, guys. Red, stop leaning on the side of the boat. Were in a storm if you haven't noticed."
Red rolls his eyes, winks at you, then gets back to work.
Virginia, the only female on the boat and Captain Ortiz's niece, tips the emptied pot back up and over the rail and it splashes down into the foamy water below.
Travis, the third deckhand, hunches over at the crane operating switch, daydreaming.
Graham, the technician, is most likely downstairs reading last week's newspaper, sipping hot chocolate. He's the oldest and weakest of the bunch, and was the only one to welcome you on your first day.
Suddenly the overcast sky explodes with an orange burst of light like a camera flash. After the brief moment of shock, Travis is the first to notice a black meteor streaking orange across the sky. The meteor reaches the horizon and a massive eruption of water ascends into the air.
A few seconds later the sonic boom reaches the boat and throws Red, Virginia, Travis, and you onto the deck.
Enormous boulders come shooting up from the water as everything, including the horizon, begins shaking around you. The ship is struck from below as the shockwaves of the collision bring rise to immense land masses. You go flying into the air, out of control.
Chaos continues for no longer than a minute, but to you it seems like a lifetime.
Then you realize the front section of the boat has been ripped to shreds. You realize the storm stopped. And the boat.
As a matter of fact, the boat has landed on an island. Or more specifically, an island has risen under the boat.
You are surprised to see that Red, Travis, and Virginia lay unscathed on the ship's deck. You get up soaking wet from the ground and look out over the railing at the island.
The rocky atoll is covered in seaweed and barnacles, but is more or less flat. Red comes to greet you and you instinctively hug him.
The four deckhands go into the boat to check on the others. Graham is coming up the stairs. He has a few bruises on his arms but he seems fine.
In the bridge, Captain Ortiz is lying facedown on the floor with the radio transceiver in his right hand.
Virginia walks over to him and shakes him from unconsciousness. He rubs his eyes aggressively then sits up.
"Where am I?" he asks.
"You're in the middle of the Bering Sea, Uncle. We just got hit with the shock wave of a meteor. We're on an island now." replies Virginia.
"What's your name?"
"Virginia, your niece."
"What's my name."
There is a period of silence.
"Well, shoot," says Travis.
"Well," sighs Graham, "I feel like we may be here awhile. And if were going to survive, then we'll need a leader."
The four men are seated around the card table under the deck while Virginia takes care of the Captain.
"I'll do it," says Travis. "I've been out here the longest."
"Wait a second, why can't Ortiz still be Captain?" asks Red.
"Cause he doesn't know who anybody is? How's he s'posed to lead without knowing any of us?" replies Travis somewhat angrily.
"Well how well did he know us before? How well do you know him?" counters Red.
"All I'm saying is I don't want to give power to someone who I can't communicate with, you know?"
"No, I don't, " replies Red, rising from his chair and taking a step towards Travis.
"Whoa, whoa whoa," says Graham. "I say we put it to a vote. Now who wants-"
"I vote Captain Ortiz," says Virginia walking into the room.
"I vote Ortiz as well," says Red.
"I'm gonna go with Travis," says Graham. He looks at you. "How about you?"
You scan the room and lock eyes with Travis. Travis lifts up the left side of his orange jacket to reveal candy bar tucked into his jeans. It looks delicious. No one else notices.
"Well?" says Graham impatiently.
Vote Ortiz
Vote Travis