A Tall Ship Tale #69: Yellow Snow

Another episode from Paul DeAnguera’s epic.

By means of its unique GAG levitation system, the H.M.S. Legume followed the Yangtze River upstream across the Tibetan border into the Daxuc Mountains. Here, steep canyons topped by snowbound crags were shrouded in fog. “Wait — I see something!” Emma cried from the crow’s nest.

“What is it?” the First Mate bellowed up from the maindeck.

“It’s yellow, flat and diamond-shaped, and about 10 feet up from the ground,” she called down. An away-team slid down the flying frigate’s anchor cable to investigate, and returned with a large metal sign:


“How will we ever find that pinnace in this fog?” Owen Anatu asked. The First Mate disappeared into his cabin for a minute and returned with two ornate incense burners on gilded chains. “I was given these by a Catholic priest long ago,” he explained. “Have two seamen swing them from the bow.” And so the Legume proceeded cautiously through the fog. At length they heard a clattering sound; the swinging incense burners had bumped into something — perhaps the ship of the robed and cowled Brotherhood monks!

“Censers indicate a cloaked vessel off the starboard bow,” Owen reported.

“Have Mr. Siu Lu beam a prize crew across,” Captain Quid directed. The Zen master dragged a heavy plank to the edge of the main-deck and let one end fall onto the other ship. The First Mate and a group of sailors slid down it onto the pinnace, and quickly overcame the monks. The Brotherhood captain, standing in the rear of the ship, introduced himself as Isaac Stern.

“In fact, we are all named Isaac,” he explained. “It is part of our initiation to take a new name.”

“Never mind that! What are you doing here?”

“Merely fishing, Lieutenant! We recently discovered that the trolling is very profitable here. That’s why we call it the new troll zone.”

“I see footprints going up from the shore and under that bridge. You troll under the bridge?”

“Oh, no sir! I don’t look like him at all.”

The First Mate beamed back aboard the Legume and conferred with Captain Quid. Sir Hillary was dispatched with a shore party to follow the footprints. “All right, I admit it! We are here to capture Lao-tzu and his book. But you will never find them!” Isaac shouted defiantly. Sir Hillary paused and turned, asking laconically:

“You want Tibet?”

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