In Part One, Polly was rescued from the English Channel by a supply ship. She finds out the the supply ship is in route for one of the sea forts that provide Britain’s first line of defense against the European mainland.
“You two, stop staring and get the girl some dry clothes,” the captain ordered the two young men who’d brought Polly into the cabin. She’d let the blanket drop. Her nipples, still erect from the cold water, stood firm against the sheer skirt she wore.
When the young sailors returned they handed the clothes to the captain through the partially open cabin door. “Well now,” he said. “These are men’s clothes. They’ll have to do. Here—you can change in my quarters.” The captain handed Polly a long sleeve shirt, trousers, boxer shorts, and work boots.
Polly peeled off her skirt and stepped out of her panties. The captain stared for a few seconds. He’d never seen a full grown woman without a single hair on her body. He turned quickly when he saw the dark object under the skin of her forearm. “Let me know when you’re finished.”
“Okay, I’m dressed,” Polly said as she pulled a pair of wool socks on. “Do think I can get something to eat? I’m starving.” Her stomach growled.
One of the sailors that had fished Polly out of the water brought a tray into the captain’s cabin. Polly sat at the table used for chart plotting. She looked at the plate: Three eggs over easy, three sausage links, a large biscuit smothered in baked beans, and a whole tomato cut into six slices.
“Would you like a cup of tea?” The captain asked.
“No,” Polly answered. She hated tea. “Coffee please, black. And keep it coming.”
Polly ate the hearty breakfast in minutes. She still felt hungry. “Can I get another?”
“Another what? Biscuit?”
“Another full breakfast?”
Polly ate two more breakfasts and drank another full pot of coffee. Now that she was able to concentrate on anything besides the hunger gnawing at her insides she asked, “Where are we and we are we going?”
“You’re in the North Sea at North 51º, East 2º. About right here,” the captain said as he directed the tip of a pencil toward a spot on a map. Polly’s finger reached the location before the pencil. “51.924715 North and 2.486352 West—to be exact.”
“How did you you know that?”
“I don’t know.” Polly understood the converging horizontal and vertical gridlines of the map while she glanced at it.
“Maybe you should get some sleep. You’ve been through quite an ordeal. You can use my cabin.”
Polly agreed. She lay on the bunk, unable to sleep. Her vision penetrated the darkness as if it were the middle of the day. She couldn’t close her eyes. She took a book off the small bookshelf. Polly thumbed through the front pages, reading and memorizing each one before it turned over. Once the back cover was reached, she work toward the front cover. Polly went through the whole bookshelf in an hour and seven minutes. The first light of dawn crept through the portal.
There was a knock on the door. “Time to get up,” the captain said.
The ship had bee heading almost due East at 18 knots for the past hour. The seas had calmed. It would be another ten to twelve hours to reach the nearest land, somewhere off the coast of Holland. Maybe the captain was meeting another ship.
Polly stepped out of the captain’s quarters. He was on the radio: “This is supply ship 136 reporting. Prepare to dock and offload supplies. I need to speak with the Naval Intelligence Officer.”
As the supply ship steamed closer Polly recognized what she saw from one of the books she read. It was a sea fort of the Maunsell type: five concrete bunkers, each four stories high, mounted on concrete tripods. The tripods were embedded into the solid rock of the shallow shoals. Twelve inch battleship rifles were mounted on turrets on the top levels of the bunkers. Catwalks connected the tripods.
A voice came over the radio: “Naval Intelligence here.”
“We picked up a young woman in the water last night. She was alone. She doesn’t remember how she got out in the middle of the channel.”
“Bring her in immediately.”
While a crane lifted crates from the hold of the supply ship, Polly climbed a sixty foot ladder attached to one of the tripods. An armed guard waited at the top. He led her into a doorway on the first floor of the bunker.
A man sat a desk. He held a piece of paper in one hand. When he finished reading he looked up. He removed a cigarette from a silver case and lit it with a lighter in the shape of a globe he’d lifted off the desk. “My name is Commander Fleming. I’m with Naval Intelligence and I’d like to ask you a few questions?”
“Firstly, what is your full name?”
“And your date of birth?”
Polly thought for a few seconds. It was 1941. She added for years to her age, making her nineteen. She subtracted nineteen from 41. “March 27, 1922,” she answered.
Commander Fleming made a quick note on the report. “Happy birthday, Pollyanna.”
“Please, call me Polly.”