Alone among the crew of the merchantman Stella Marie, and fortified by his rum ration prior to scaling the foremast, Devon Collier usually very nearly enjoyed ice watch duty, especially on brittling nights moonlit such as this. He liked the game of the Stella Marie below driving him ahead into his own puffing breath. He liked the Atlantic silvery, and the seeing so far that it made it near impossible not to spot any growlers, or the bergs, like great white islands, riding the Labrador current south for Christmas. But, Devon took immediate dislike for this night's watch. He had only just snapped in his lifeline along the railing of the bucket up the foremast. Out of the clear night the ship suddenly appeared — dead ahead — and Stella Marie's bow sure to strike her amidships. There was not even time to alert the bridge. He shut his eyes, as if not seeing might make it hurt less. But the hurting seemed strangely long in coming. After some spell of time, Devon registered his own ragged breathing, his breath perhaps a little heady with the rum, falling as ice crystals against his face. And peeking, saw there was no ship against his nose. Only the silvery, wide Atlantic.