Chapter 128: The Pequod Meets The Rachel

It seemed that somewhat late on the afternoon of the day previous, while three of the stranger’s boats were engaged with a shoal of whales, which had led them some four or five miles from the ship; and while they were yet in swift chase to windward, the white hump and head of Moby Dick had suddenly loomed up out of the water, not very far to leeward; whereupon, the fourth rigged boat—a reserved one—had been instantly lowered in chase. After a keen sail before the wind, this fourth boat—the swiftest keeled of all—seemed to have succeeded in fastening—at least, as well as the man at the mast-head could tell anything about it. In the distance he saw the diminished dotted boat; and then a swift gleam of bubbling white water; and after that nothing more; whence it was concluded that the stricken whale must have indefinitely run away with his pursuers, as often happens. There was some apprehension, but no positive alarm, as yet. The recall signals were placed in the rigging; darkness came on; and forced to pick up her three far to windward boats—ere going in quest of the fourth one in the precisely opposite direction—the ship had not only been necessitated to leave that boat to its fate till near midnight, but, for the time, to increase her distance from it. But the rest of her crew being at last safe aboard, she crowded all sail—stunsail on stunsail—after the missing boat; kindling a fire in her try-pots for a beacon; and every other man aloft on the look-out. But though when she had thus sailed a sufficient distance to gain the presumed place of the absent ones when last seen; though she then paused to lower her spare boats to pull all around her; and not finding anything, had again dashed on; again paused, and lowered her boats; and though she had thus continued doing till daylight; yet not the least glimpse of the missing keel had been seen.

The story told, the stranger Captain immediately went on to reveal his object in boarding the Pequod. He desired that ship to unite with his own in the search; by sailing over the sea some four or five miles apart, on parallel lines, and so sweeping a double horizon, as it were.

—The Pequod Meets The Rachel

As the Pequod approaches her predestinated battle with the White Whale, she encounters two whaling ships that have recently encountered that white phantom, much to their grief—the Delight, with a whaleboat smashed upon her deck as proof that the White Whale is near, and the Rachel, whose Captain begs Ahab to help him look for a lost boat, last seen fastened to Moby Dick. Quickly the Captain admits that his feverish search is due to the fact that his own son is aboard the missing craft, and he offers to charter the Pequod for a period of two days to help him look for his lost child.

These pleas fall on Ahab’s deaf ears and the Pequod stays her course, but in this Chapter of play, players may in fact accept the offer of currency (10 barrels of oil) to retrace their steps and play the top Sea card in the discard pile. This choice allows players to in function ‘become’ Ahab and drive the ship forward to its ultimate doom. A choice that inevitably must be made, especially when a card with a particularly malicious effect sits atop the Sea deck discard pile.

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