"How did you come to be here?" Mr Lacey asked Genevieve, the junior engineer, one day. Of course, since he posed the question from somewhere underneath the starboard furnace and with several screws between his teeth it came out as a muffled slur. Thankfully Genevieve, currently perched on a stool scrubbing rust from a spare valve, was getting used to her mentor's habit of talking from within machinery and it only took her a few seconds to work out what he had actually asked.
"You mean, on dis ship?" she said, and got a vaguely affirmative noise back. "Long story."
"I'm not going anywhere." This at least was true.
"Fine den. Long time ago, back 'ome, I was engaged-" Mr Lacey reappeared from under the boiler with one eyebrow raised. "Don't look like dat! 'e was a very nice boy. He work in de shop, wid de engines you know. Tiny place. 'e complain all the time dat it was boring, but 'e said, a job's a job. Den the Air Corps come. Dey want airmen, and 'e want to fly! So, 'e sign up. Year an