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The LADY JANE

"Not a very big ship, is it?" Claudia frowns at the vessel locked fast in the ice. Glaciers loom all around. You and Claudia trudge toward a ladder hanging over the lee side.

"What's it doing here?"

"Scientific expedition. Anthropologists searching for the Arctica."

"The Arctica?"

She hands you a photocopy of an newspaper article. It's from the London Times, 1833. She climbs the ladder as you read.

 

MISSION of EXPLORATION,
To UNCOVER the NORTHWEST PASSAGE,
Now READY TO SAIL.

Portsmouth. The expedition under the command of Capt. JOHN TORVEY announces its intention to sail on a voyage to the Arctic seas. The ship is H.M.S. Arctica, formerly the whaler Cyrene out of Shelmerston.

With Capt. Torvey are Cmdr THOS. EDDINGTON, Master ATTICUS DERMOT, and the Bosun, Chaplain, Purser, 2 Mates and 32 other Able-Bodied Seamen recently of H.M.S. Namur. Joining the expedition as Surgeon is Mr DAVIS THROMBY recently of the University of Glasgow, and Lt TERRIBLE HARDING, formerly midshipman with Sir John Franklin. Also with Capt. Torvey are his wife, Caroline, daughter Perdita and one or two maids.

The Capt. has stated his intention to explore Baffin Bay, Lancaster Sound "and points north and west." He does not feel it is out of the question for the Arctica to claim the Admiralty's prize money for discovering the Northwest Passage, and advises the North Pole is also a possibility. The Cyrene was built in 1822 and operated out of the West Indies. It was completely submerged for six months in 1830 after yellow fever decimated the crew. Cpt Torvey spared no expense in outfitting her and declares her fit for the northern adventure.

 

"And so what are you doing here?" you ask when you reach the top of the ladder.

"Captain Torvey is my great-great-great-grandfather," she replies. "I'm here to find out what really happened to..."

The rest of her words are lost. With a shriek, the wind doubles in force. Clutching your bags, you both stagger down the gangway into the belly of the Lady Jane.

An Access Excellence Science Mystery sponsored by Genentech, Inc.
Copyright © 1997 Genentech, Inc.; all rights reserved.

 

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