The fledgling rays of early morning sun shimmered across the still waters turning faded pewter into brilliant translucent shades of opal, silver and bronze. The strengthening shafts of light stretched across the harbor to a battle scared ship waiting in silence for the sun to warm her decks and playfully dance along shimmering brass fittings. She came to this anchorage to heal the wounds suffered during a desperate encounter with the elusive Japanese destroyer sent by a merciless conqueror to destroy the last British citizens to flee Singapore. She waits now in silence to feel the pulse of oil pumping life into her array of pipes and tubing as her engines—her heart—come to life and beat in a steady rhythm. Soon her human masters will breathe new life into her and she will experience the pleasurable taste of salty spray streaming across her sleek dazzle painted hull.
Her name is Mariah.
Katrin Lee Albright stood alone on the peak of the tall tree covered hill overlooking Surabaya Harbor. Her 22 years on earth had not prepared her for the increasing fear she experienced as the Japanese Army pushed closer to her home. She brushed the long golden-brown wind whipped hair away from her face while anxiously watching the remaining Allied ships from her hiding place high above the harbor. The brilliant rays of sun light laughingly danced across the decks and momentarily reflected off guns and fittings as its hot breath seared the backs of sailors scurrying about the decks.
Katrin and her father, a missionary priest from the Church of England, went into hiding when the Japanese began their lightning-quick offensive through the small island state within days of their conquest of Malaya and Singapore. She and her father, Joseph Albright, a missionary Anglican priest, saw the brutal flashes from dueling ships across the horizon during the vicious naval conflict in the distant Java Sea. The few ships that returned gave witness to the lopsided battle that left only a few to retell the story of failure and defeat. Now she feared the ships would abandon the war ruined harbor before they could reach them.
Katrin hoped her dad would come back before darkness fell and relieve her anxiety. She knew he believed God would protect them and prayed with her to place them in His hands. He told Katrin to believe it was already so, and it would be done – just as Jesus promised so many centuries ago. Katrin knew she needed to trust what her father knew to be true, but right now she was alone and felt afraid she would be discovered.
Katrin felt a shaft of fright penetrate her soul and quickly climbed a nearby tree when a sudden rustling in the undergrowth caught her attention. At least she had remembered to make a barely perceptible path away from where she watched like their friend, Colonel Gherst from the Army Rangers, once showed her. He said it was a way to fool the enemy during one of his many visits to their home. She briefly wondered if Colonel Gherst was taking part in the battle to keep the Japanese from overtaking Java.
The sound was coming closer and Katrin held her breath when she could see movement coming toward her hiding place.