Selena bounced a little in her chair as she revealed her plan. "At the ice-cream parlour, it was Silvia's idea."
Bill replied with a sceptical, but loving tone, "of course it was. Yes you can, even though I'll be all alone.." Bill pouted his face.
Putting her hand against his face Selena responded with a big smile. "Thanks dad, you're the best!"
Bill felt a swelling feeling in his chest as he viewed the beaming smile on Selena's face. He wanted to hold on to that feeling for all his life. Perish the thought of anything happening to his beautiful baby.
The time went by quickly with conversations about school, friends and soccer. Bill steered the Hummer along as they neared Hampton. It certainly was a smooth ride. Heading onto route 664, they crossed the bay area and headed towards Norfolk. Turning off the Western Freeway, Bill directed the Hummer towards the Craney Island US Naval Supply center. One of the oldest and largest Navy facilities, NAVSUP, as it was now named, worked with major government research programs. This included the program that Bryant and Bill had been working on for the last ten years. Of course there was a team of engineers, naval personnel and assistants to help them. Without Bill and Bryant though, the project would never have gone ahead.
Approaching the security gate, Bill showed his pass as the guard made him sign some papers. Looking over at Selena, the guard glanced back at Bill. Bill shrugged his shoulders before speaking, "Sorry, couldn't get a sitter in time." The guard looked one more time at Selena before hitting the button to raise the security boom. Bill drove the Hummer through to the designated car park space as the guard started to think of what sort of studies he would have to do, to get a job that would enable him to afford a car like that.
Stopping the car, Bill looked directly at Selena again, "Promise me you won't get in Bryant's way. He's stuck his neck out for us, so.." Selena just gave him the butter wouldn't melt in her mouth look. As they exited the Hummer, Bill looked towards the main building and beheld Bryant shaking his head for a brief moment. Bill trusted that Bryant would not make a fuss in front of his daughter, no words were needed.
Selena slung her backpack on as they walked towards the building. Bill was carrying his sports bag. Bryant welcomed them both as they headed over towards the dock area.
"How was your trip? Did you encounter much traffic?"
"No, it was pretty clear; we left early and beat the rush," replied Bill.
"Good," turning his attention to Selena, Bryant continued, "so Selena, you looking forward to a week on board a smelly sea station?"
Selena just shrugged her shoulders, replying, "It can't be as bad as the change rooms after soccer!" Bryant laughed as he looked over at Bill, "kids huh?"
Bill took a deep breath as they approached the vessel that would take them to their destination. It didn't look like much at all. Before them was a barge like vessel with an overhead crane at its rear. The peeling scraped paint confirmed the many years the vessel had spent at sea. It was also an indication of the lack of funding that been coming to the project recently. In fact, if they didn't find some major discoveries on this trip, the whole project might be canned. Bryant turned towards Selena as she was staring at the drab vessel. "Welcome to your taxi, please mind your step as you are boarding the vessel." Bryant gestured his arm towards the boat as Selena rolled her eyes.
Getting on board, Bill accompanied his daughter to the front of the boat. There was a simple bunk area to put their bags and a kitchen setup if they felt hungry. Feeling unsatisfied from the earlier packet of chips, Selena walked over to the refrigerator and opened the freezer compartment. Pulling out a box of frozen pizza, she quickly spun around, searching for a microwave. A smug smile developed on her face as she spied the microwave. Bill just shook his head in wonderment at the eating habits of young ones. "So, you'll be right? I have to go talk with Bryant okay?" All Bill got was an inaudible noise from Selena as she watched the pizza spin in the microwave.
Bill met Bryant on the deck as the navy assistants loaded the necessary machinery and prepared to set off. Bryant was looking out towards the Eastern waters, thinking of what they would uncover. "So, how long do you think it will take to get to the ocean observatory Bryant?"