Yes, my King.
Ralph tells me that Minerva told him that a familiar could travel to the moon. Is that so?
Well. You could almost hear Cameron, personal familiar to HM the King, mulling his answer. The distance is no big deal, of course, but why would you want to? Arrival would be no fun at all in an airless environment that would be hellish or glacierish.
But if we had some kind of ship to protect you and the crew. Could you do that?
Of course. But I hate to seem dense, but why? What’s the point?
Because we need a dream. We need a dream that will spark the imagination of everyone on Earth Prime. A dream for Bwca and Elves and Trollians and Humans. An Adventure to fire creativity: to build new machines, write new poems, do new math, sing new songs, find new cures, see new stars and comets, do great new art. A new renaissance maybe.
My Dad told me, the King paused as if for a breath. That one summer when he was a kid, he looked up at a glorious moon, and realized that there was a man on it. They had been inspired by their President to put a man on the moon and they’d done so. They said they’d made a “giant leap,” but we’ve taken no giant leaps since then. Not even little tiny steps. Nothing to inspire the imagination. Nothing to challenge our very nature. So we’re going to do it again. And I hope I can inspire our world. There are going to be Elven Dominions, if not beyond the stars, at least amongst the stars. We’re going to have great new dreams.
We’re going to start easy with a space station and a great telescope. Then we’ll go from there. I’ll appoint Dad the chairman.
Justin was entranced and looked into the far distance for several long moments.
Yes my King, Cameron observed.
“Do you remember last night,” Justin asked Colin as they were dressing for dinner that night
“Yes dear,” as Vyvyan fiddled with his tie.
“About the moon?”
“What about it?” Colin smiled a little smile; he wasn’t looking right at Justin.
“I said, ‘we’re going to go there.’”
Colin’s smile widened. “So you’ve made reservations? Or, what?”
“Vyvyan!” Justin ordered his head valet. “Fling a slipper at him at once!” Justin was smiling, too.
“Yes, my King. Of course. Wherever did I leave your slippers?
“But that’s a really good idea.” Vyvyan continued.
“Oh yeah! Sure! Righty-o! What do you know about it anyway?” Thomas scoffed, having made Colin’s cummerbund magnificent.
“There’ll be a great base there. With docks for space ships, and mining, and dancing in light gravity, and sex and everything. You can see it in the Earth movies and TV shows. Or you might could read a book. You can do that, right?” Vyvyan was arch.
Vyvyan and Thomas continued their debate as Colin and the Justin went down to dinner. They heard, “…you pongo1 lout.” As the door closed.
With the Miso soup, Colin commented, “I think that’s really a great idea. And it all kind of fits together. We were raised on Earth, and then we came to Earth Prime which was kind of quiet and sleepy. There was magic and familiars and all that wonderful stuff. But if it wasn’t magic, it was horse powered. Then we came, brought the liegemen with us, and then rescued even more people like Gary and Colonel DeLucca, and things have started to seriously change. We have railroads, better and larger ships, and we’re building a zeppelin.
“But. We need to go slowly and carefully. The nature of Earth Prime is both challenging and soothing and we don’t want to change that. New horizons are great, but so is horse power.”
“You’re right. You know, somehow, the boys decided that our moon ship should look like the Federation Starship Enterprise.”
“I wonder where they discovered Star Trek,” Colin wondered as the fish course was served. “Do we even have TV here? Do we want it?”
“I told them I thought that was a little large for a moon ship and might be hard to land. Terence looked at me as if I’d lost my mind and assured me that the Enterprise has shuttle craft to do the landing.”
Colin chuckled, “That’s a relief. At least they’re not expecting to be beamed around. What the hell did they call that thing, anyway?”
“I don’t remember. I’ll be sure and ask Terence or Henry when next I see them.”
By the time the lemon meringue pie arrived it was decided to contact Dad and get a small team of engineers working on the design of a space station: to contact the Astronomer Royal to see to the design of a suitable telescope for the station, to assign a familiar to research NASA archives and records, and to contact Gary and have him start locating the minerals that they might need.
Paul Henri St Marie, PC, OGD, Household with Swords, Coronation Medal, fussed gently with his cravat and his boutonniere. He was waiting to join the King and the Earl Martial for coffee. He knew that he’d be getting a new assignment and had no idea what it might be. He’d had an interesting few years. He and his pals Jamie and Christian had decided to shake down this kid from the adjacent high school. He turned out to be a prince and he had an awesome familiar who had kicked their asses but good. Then, rather than being tossed in jail, they’d been taken into the prince’s service. While a resident in the palace, he had fallen in love with Alice, one of the maids, who just happened to be a beautiful Elve. When she became pregnant, rather than a calamity, it was cause for celebration. He had been sent to the newly discovered continent of Australia as the Prince Royal’s personal representative. They had established a port and naval base, a fort, and a town they had named Adelaide in honor of the town of the same name in the Old World. Alice had given birth to twins, Alan and Alicia who were now ready for school. The familiar Sennacherib had effectively attached himself to his service and had spent hours almost every day teaching Paul about Earth Prime. And about Earth, too. In fact, it was Sennacherib who had taught him how to tie a cravat.
Paul recognized Dafydd from his last visit to the palace, but Dafydd was no longer a footman and the Star of the Household Order sparkled on his coat. He escorted Paul into the drawing room where the King and the Earl Martial warmly welcomed him home. Two footmen bustled quietly providing coffee and a lovely blackberry pound cake.
“Well, first,” the King commenced, “we’d like you and your family to attend a little reception for you here next week. At that time, we are going to knight you for your excellent service on a distant shore.
“Remember when we first met. Who’d have thought it would come to this.”
“For now,” Colin continued, “We’d like you to consider your next assignment. What I’d like you to do is undertake the management of zeppelin air service on a gradually expanding basis. We’re just developing the airships now, so you have time for a nice long leave.
“Then you’ll be in for a lot of high level work. You will be serving at the ministerial level and you’ll have to work with our government officers as well as with foreign governments. At this time, what we’re thinking of; is starting with service from Ellendale to Alexandria with several stops between.
“Then the next most likely target would be the Great Kraal at Isandlwana, then India, and eventually back to your old stomping grounds in Australia.
“The zeppelins are going to be part of the Navy so we’re going to appoint you as a full captain.”
“How’s Alice? And the kids,” Justin smiled.
“They’re all really great. We’re having the devil’s own time getting the twins back into clothes. Fortunately, it’s cooler here, so that’ll help.”
St George Kilverstone Davids had been pleased to discover that he did not get seasick. The same could not be said for Ted; however it didn’t seem to last, after a day or two at sea, Ted was fine. Even when they were in port, the almost undetectable motion of the ship had been enough to keep him at sea. Mentally at sea anyway, which seemed to do the trick. After the first couple of days aboard, he’d been just fine. This pleased Stoney because he’d felt like he had to tease poor Ted because that was the Navy way; but he hated to do it because Ted was his very best mate. Stoney had gone to the sick bay on behalf of Ted and asked for the cure for seasickness. The Medic had smiled gently, “Same’s it’s been for a thousand years — bread and water.3” Stoney never teased Ted when they were alone; only when the press of circumstances required it. When they were alone Stoney only offered comfort.
They had started the cruise from Portsmouth and had cruised north into Kvenland waters where they had been cordially received by the Kvenland Royal Navy and by representatives of the King of Kvenland. The fjords were awesome. The seas had been choppy but the wind was steady and moderate so the ships motion, at least for Stoney, was quite comfortable. Another midshipman, not known to Stoney, was seen lying along the weather gunwale vomiting down a scupper.
Then they had crossed the Atlantic with beautiful weather under plain sail. But they were very busy. There were constant drills: setting and taking in sail, setting stuns’ls, taking a yard down from the mast and then, in the best military tradition, putting the yard back up. Then there was the terminology. Ted and Stoney were constantly quizzing each other, and sometimes questioning a sailor, for all of the individual items had a name and a specific job. And there were a staggering number of them. Some of them even made a little sense. They were taught that the “horse” on a yard “gives way” through “stirrups”; however, in order to function properly and give a man or boy the leverage and support needed to work the sail, the “horse” had to be “moused” through the “stirrups” to the correct depth below the yard. By contrast, hauling something into the “Main Catharpins” seemed easier to remember since it made no sense at all.
“Go figure,” Ted observed quietly to Stoney when this was discussed. The transition from horse and stirrups to ‘moused’ was certainly a rich mystery.
On the far side of the Atlantic, they stopped for provisions in a bay formed by a river that would never be called “East”. The elves that lived here had preferred to remain largely untouched by the rest of the world. They lived in loose associations (“real tribes” Stoney breathlessly reported to Ted) and tried to minimize their impact on their world.
“They uses them earth magics,” a bo’suns mate told them. “Best ter keep clear of ‘em.”
Then they set course southward. The weather held, and the learning continued. There were a series of islands off the tip of what would not be known as Florida and they anchored near one of them that was completely uninhabited. They spent ten days there, swimming, fishing, and sleeping. This was glorious fun. They swam naked in the warm waters. Ted, who was used to running naked on the shores of the Riviera, tanned almost instantly and was seldom dressed. Others, Stoney included, wore shorts or a shirt, or some combination, as they had some tender bits that were unused to sunshine. As tans improved, clothing diminished. There was a pod of dolphins that followed the ship into harbor and they frolicked in the sea with the boys.
They feasted on crab and pompano and yellow tail. They boiled them or roasted them and drenched them with olive oil. There was fresh bread in abundance from the ships bakery; there was corn on the cob steamed in its leaves; and there was a vast store of a wonderful melon that they had bought from the east river Elves. Actually, they had traded bolts of flannel cloth for the “watermelons” and the corn.
Only the most basic anchor watch needed to be maintained by the midshipmen, so no one had that watch more than twice, and it was only four hours long. A skeleton crew of regular sailors remained aboard at all times.
By this time, Ted and Stoney had met a young sailor who became their particular pal. He worked with the ships carpenter. The carpenter was always called ‘Chips’ so of course, their young friend was ‘Chipper’.
Some of the ‘young gentlemen’ of the Naval Academy would be rather distant with the crew of their ship, coming as they did, from ‘established’ families. This was not a problem for either Stoney or Ted. They were certainly from very well ‘established’ families now; families that were very close to the Crown in terms both of duty and friendship; but that had not always been the case. Stoney had been apprenticed early to the post office, from an orphanage and then moved on to be a footman before the Academy. It had been harder for Ted, he was homeless and had been a rent boy in San Diego before rescue by Mr D, now Colonel Sir Raphael DeLucca KT, PC, OGD, who had adopted him and three other victims of the street whom he loved unconditionally. So the fact that Chipper had been the son of a stevedore, who enlisted in the Navy at twelve with the rank of Sideboy, seemed perfectly natural, even adventurous, to Stoney and Ted.
Of course, some of the ‘young gentlemen’ wouldn’t be too impressed by that proximity to the Crown. They would point out that both HSH the Prince Ashmore, and Colonel DeLucca were ‘rather’ newcomers. And, really, a family should be active at court for several generations before it should really consider itself ‘established.’ ‘Don’t you know?’
Even better, there was very little about the actual day-to-day operation of the ship that Chipper did not fully understand. He helped them avoid a number of carefully laid traps, and some of the normal pitfalls, that any ship’s crew would arrange for visitors such as midshipmen. He also insured that they received extra treats as he had charmed the cook long ago and the three of them just exuded triple the charm.
They then paid a courtesy call at the great harbor of the Kingdom of the Sunrise at the port that Ted would have called Vera Cruz had he been able to remain in school long enough for geography or history lessons.
But soon their first cruise would be over, so the St Brendan the Navigator sailed eastward, steered through the Windward Passage and then set course North by East-northeast for the Canaries. It was on this leg of the voyage that the weather turned on them.
When Tamara happened by to ask the Dodger if he had any clothes that needed mending; or perhaps he’d like her to make him something new, Sorcha knew exactly what was going on.
Sorcha was a formidable Clydesdale familiar; she’d been on maternity leave in the Royal Mews when she first encountered the Dodger. He’d been convicted of aiding and abetting the notorious Rajah in San Diego and been assigned to work in the stables. Arion, the Head Groom, was not pleased about it and had been happy to turn him over to Sorcha who had basically taken charge of him. As the Dodger recovered from the drug addiction that Rajah had used to control him and others, he became a willing worker and Sorcha began to provide the parenting that had been absent in his life. Sorcha had spoken to Cameron and arranged that the Dodger was given a full pardon for the San Diego crimes. He was a free man, but he loved Sorcha and he was now First Teamster to HM the King. Encouraged by Sorcha, the Dodger had given Tamara some mending and had ordered some clothes including several shirts and a new Argyll jacket in dark green.
Sorcha knew exactly what Tamara had in mind and thoroughly approved. The Dodger’s first thought was to take Tamara for a ride in the phaeton; but Sorcha suggested that it would be better (by which she meant that the Dodger was less likely to be diverted from Tamara) if they merely went for a nice walk. They could stroll in the gardens and become better acquainted.
“Oh! You were in San Diego, too,” Tamara exclaimed. “I don’t ever want to go back there.”
“Me neither,” the Dodger concurred. “The only good thing ever happened to me in Dago was when Ralph cold cocked me with a sap an I woke up here.”
“Ya know, the King’s chauffeur. He’s a mate.”
At which point the King went trotting by on Kameyn.
“Lookit!” The Dodger pointed excitedly, “its Kameyn and the King! Ain’t they beautiful?”
And they were. Though Tamara had never been on a horse in her life, and her only exposure to them had been books, TV, or the movies; she was quick to admit that the two were a sight to behold. Kameyn had elevated the trot to a level of style and grace the gait usually lacked. The King was posting so effortlessly he seemed to be attached to Kameyn. The King gave the impression that trotting was as easy as a stroll in the park. Two grooms, also beautifully mounted on bay Arabs, followed the Royal pair.
Tamara had taken advantage of the distraction to slip her hand into the Dodgers. She smiled at him and gently squeezed his hand. He squeezed back. “Let’s go to my room and have a nice cup of coffee.” Tamara suggested.
In Tamara’s room, the Dodger was treated to an excellent cup of coffee and some wonderful tarts Tamara had made. There was also a nice sofa to sit on, and even cuddle. Then there was a kiss.
And before the afternoon was out, the normal young world of a teenager had finally caught up with the Dodger. His previous world had been the very definition of abnormal: of drugs and bondage and violence, of the strange and dangerous; of cold and ugly streets, and finally of exotic magic that both freed and convicted him. But now, all of that was well behind him and he knew he was in love.
“Wake up! Charlie! Wake up! They’re killing him! He’s a Magister and they’re gonna kill him!”
“Who? Wha’? ‘Ter,” Charlie managed to mumble as his lover, Cal, jerked him awake and out of bed in the middle of the night. With a flash Cal transported him and Charlie out of their bedroom and into the bedroom of Prince Gary Ashmore and Liegeman James Wolsey.
“Wake up! Come on! We gotta save him!” He continued to shout as they dragged Gary and Jamie out of bed. With another flash all were gone having now left two bedrooms in a shambles of strewn sheets and blankets.
They erupted into the sitting room of a dingy apartment, in a drab neighborhood, of a defeated town on Earth. There, a pot-bellied man of some years had just knocked a young almost teenage boy over the sofa and onto an assortment of bricks and boards which had been doing duty as a coffee table.
But now he stood transfixed in the face of an eruption. He was stunned by the sudden appearance of four naked teenagers in his living room. Surprised while engaged in the usually very pleasant business of beating his nephew senseless, a favored pastime.
“You fuck!” His Serene Highness the Prince Ashmore yelled as he grabbed a floor lamp and took a homerun swing with it, hitting the big man on the shoulder and the side of the head. Stunned by the eruption, and now by a glancing blow to his head, he was thrown off balance and onto the floor as Jamie tackled him. But he shrugged Jamie off. He was a large man and was frequently required to do manual labor in order to pay the rent and buy liquor. He lurched to his feet yelling incoherently. And that was the last sound he made. The eminently practical Charlie had grabbed a cast iron frying pan from the countertop in the kitchen and brought it crashing down on the man’s head, sending him down and out while scattering cold chili around the room in the process. It made a dull bonging-clunking sound as Charlie hit him a second time for effect; otherwise, it had been rather like the Hammer of Thor.
Cal had gone to the boy who lay in the litter of the improvised coffee table. “He’s been badly beaten. Charlie, stand on that asshole!” With a sharp snap-flash, four naked teenagers, a fifth injured boy in tattered underwear, and an unconscious thug arrived in the lobby of Sir Lawrence’s Infirmary.
The boy was whisked into the emergency room and the thug was manacled to a gurney to await the guard. Claude approached the four naked rescuers. Claude was clearly someone; he was immaculate in scrubs that fit him so beautifully they seemed tailor made. Claude gave them each a set of hospital scrubs from the supply closet. “Won’t you put these on please. You’re distracting everybody.”
The storm came on strong when they’d been at sea a week. At first it seemed surly, almost sullen. But by two bells into the ‘fore noon’ watch4 all plain sail had been reduced to the fore and main topsails, reefed top gallants, the fore staysail, and a fully reefed driver. She ran fair before the gale.
Ted and Stoney had stood the mid-watch and knew that the wind was picking-up and the seas roughening. They’d gone aloft three times to reef sails, or take sails in. Wet and cold they’d climbed happily into their hammocks and had gone to sleep almost instantly.
When the boys were turned out with their watch, they received a cup of tepid coffee and some bread and jam for breakfast. Topside, they were cheered to note that the Captain was on the quarterdeck with the Officer of the Watch. There were four sailors on the helm, and they were all regular sailors, strong men to control the rudder; none of the younger midshipmen were fighting to hold the course in the tumult of wind and waves.
Stoney noted four sailors out on the main yardarm. He noted that the horse was providing them a good foothold and knew that he’d be up there too, before the watch was out, as the sails needed tending in every weather. Stoney returned his attention to the main deck as green sea water surged over the gunwale and along the deck, threatening anything loose on the deck. He thought again of Chief Jones’ advice. He maintained his firm grip on the railing beside him.
Chipper was wrestling a tangle of damaged woodwork and tangled cordage along the weather side of the main deck and Stoney and Ted went immediately to his assistance without a word being said. Following Chippers instructions, the three of them were lashing the wreckage to the bulwark so that it could not go careening about with the storm tossed motion of the ship. The three boys, all fairly accomplished sailors by this time, quickly tied down the wreckage and looked up and around as they gathered themselves to return to the shelter just forward of the quarterdeck.
A sharp crack grabbed the attention of everyone near the quarterdeck. It rose above the now routine shrieks of the gale in the rigging, and the lesser sounds of the ships motion. With that crack, the mizzen gaff parral parted, and the spar swung free, held by only one line between the spar and the mizzen cap. Several loose lines, swinging wildly, flashed across the quarterdeck. One of the sailors at the helm was knocked off his feet by a flailing line, but he quickly regained his feet and resumed his station at the helm. The other three seamen at the helm had not relinquished their struggle with wind and wave while their mate recovered his post.
The Captain was struck across the back by another flailing line, but the blow was largely spent and he was staggered but retained his footing. Not so lucky was the Officer of the Deck who was struck on the back by a loose block which flung him forward, over the railing and onto the main deck where he was carried forward by the seawater awash against the gun wale as it sought release through the scuppers.
St Brendan plunged forward into the swell and there was another surge of green water over her gunwale and along the main deck. This picked up the Officer of the Deck and carried him aft as the St Brendan lifted her prow for the next wave. He was very much in danger of being carried overboard with the next swell. Timing the motion, Stoney crossed the main deck with long strides and grabbed the Officer by his arm. He then inserted his arm under his officer’s foul weather coat and clutched the braces of his overalls; Stoney braced himself for the next surge of water and held fast to a nine pin block which, and not by accident, was precisely where he needed it to be. Seconds later, Ted joined them and helped to brace and support the two men. They were holding tight to ship and one another when the next surge of green water rushed up the gunwale and surged over and around them trying, almost as if it had a life of its own, to break them away from the St Brendan.
As the water rushed away, Chipper appeared with a line which he looped around them, and then ran back to the shelter of the quarterdeck with the bitter end. When next the water rushed away, the hands that Chipper had organized heaved away, and Stoney, Ted and the Officer of the Watch were brought into the shelter of quarterdeck, and then into the main cabin. The surgeon checked them over. The Officer of the Watch had a dislocated shoulder which the surgeon reset with only a grunt of pain from the Officer; he was wrapped in bandages and sent to his cabin. Ted, Stoney and Chipper were each given a tot of brandy and told they were fine lads and that was a “nice piece of work. Very seamanlike.” Then they went back on watch feeling rather proud.
By the first dog watch, the wind had moderated considerably, and the clouds were breaking and occasional patches of blue could be seen. The St Brendan’s motion eased considerably, and by the evening watch, she was running fair under top sails and top gallants. The Captain was considering whether to set the royals and the mains, but he was a cautious man, concerned about the King’s sails and cordage. He resolved to wait.
Three days later, under a glorious sunny sky, with a light breeze blowing, they made port at Los Christianos on the Island of Tenerife. Mr Byng, whose shoulder had been dislocated, was back on the quarterdeck although his arm was still firmly strapped to his body. He’d have been a goner if the seas had got him.
The King, Sir Christian Sanford, Bart, PC, the Principal Private Secretary to the King, and Cameron were closeted in the King’s office. They did this regularly, three times each week, unless there was some special reason that might call for an additional meeting, or some other scheduling change.
Geoffrey tells me the Captain of the St Brendan is in something of a dither, Cameron began. It seems there was an emergency and the Officer of the Watch was knocked off the quarterdeck and, but for the quick thinking of a sailor and two midshipmen, would likely have been swept overboard and drowned; his shoulder was dislocated and he had a mild concussion.
And the ‘dither’ is, Christian wondered.
Well the Captain doesn’t know how he should commend the rescuers. A medal, a written commendation, some combination of both, or what.
The three saved their officer, is that correct, the King asked.
Of a certainty, according to Geoffrey.
How did they do this?
Well, when first the officer was knocked onto the main deck, one of the Midshipmen grabbed him and held fast, when the water rushed away, the second Midshipman joined the first and they held on again for another dousing; then a First Class Boy secured the three men with a line and then had a party of seamen he’d organized, haul the three to safety, after a final dousing.
Tell Geoffrey to tell the Captain that they’re all to receive the Soldiers and Sailors Medal. They saved a life and they demonstrated initiative and teamwork and situational awareness. What more could he ask for? We’ll have a little ceremony when the ship comes in. Check my calendar; I’d like to do it if it’s possible.
Majesty. And that topic was concluded.
I think, Christian continued, that you might consider that young officer with the Restoration Commando for official notice. He’s done an excellent job, and the Berlin restoration of the menorah was quite outstanding. It created a lovely mystery and all the attention has reminded people of the Holocaust which is something that needs doing from time to time.
Give him a second Expeditionary Medal with a Mention in Despatches bar. I like him and I don’t want to spoil him. And, the King paused for moment. Can we do something for that wonderful night watchman. I don’t guess we can give him a pension, but we ought to think of something. “The language of the angels,” what a line.
We could arrange for him to win a nice prize with their lottery that should please him. Cameron contributed.
And while we’re at it. I really didn’t like that one detective who kept trying to criminalize the event. He kept hammering at that poor watchman. What could he have been thinking? The watchman is making his rounds when he’s grabbed by intruders who are returning a large antique gold menorah, probably worth every bit of £10000 and he tries like hell to make the poor man out a criminal. What a jerk!
I’ll make him a little uncomfortable, Cameron promised.
Please make sure Colin reads his mail. The Prince Ashmore has located an abundant source of helium for his sky ships, Christian smiled.
Do I know this Geoffrey? The King interjected out of the blue.
I don’t think you’ve met, Cameron replied. He’s been with the Navy as a dolphin for quite some time now. He’s experienced and he and his crew have been with the St Brendan for her maiden cruise.
Well I’d like to meet him when they get in if that’s possible. Christian, feel free to bend my calendar a little. I want to meet the St Brendan, meet this Geoffrey, and pin some medals on deserving chests.
Well, if that’s all for now, I’m off for a ride with the Hussars
My King, Cameron inquired. Have you talked to Colin about marriage?
Yes, of course, he’s not opposed, all his concerns are practical. He feels it has to be fair to the girls.
Don’t start. The King raised a palm to stop an argument. I know it’s dynastic, political, duty, arranged and all that shit, but Colin also requires: fair! Work on it.
The King looked at his watch. Day after tomorrow gents. And he was off.
1 An impolite term for a soldier. Here, used affectionately.
2 Photo by starrynightphotos.com
3 The author served on a destroyer when he was a young man in the Navy. A friend who always had temporary sea sickness, once asked for a cure and he was told to eat saltine crackers (a lineal descendant of hard tack) and drink water. Same as the Roman Navy; nothing new about that and some traditions seem invincible.
4 In the world of Ellendale, as in the Old World, a ship’s day is divided into watches, they are: the mid-watch (2400-0400), morning (0400-0800), fore noon (0800-1200), afternoon (1200-1600), 1st dog watch (1600-1800), 2nd dog watch (1800-2000), evening (2000-2400). Each watch, is divided by bells that sound every half hour. For example, the mid-watch would begin with eight bells at midnight. One bell at 0030, two bells at 0100 and so on until 0400 which would be eight bells and the watch would change. The dog watches allow for a leisurely dinner and insure that there is variety in the watch schedule. There are two dogs, but the bells sound every half-hour as if it was one full watch. On the St Brendan the Navigator the crew stand port and starboard watches which means four hours on watch and four hours off watch. There are minor variations of terminology, and a host of new variations, here on earth, but none of these apply to HM Navy.