(The story starts here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.jp/2016/06/econ101-novel-ch000-excuses.html.)
Zedidiah and the Island Coast Guard were unable to find Wycliffe or his passengers in the previous chapter: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2016/06/econ101-novel-ch230-searching-not-found.html.
This chapter can't help being rather sombre.
It also can't help touching extensively on religion.
The Church District President and his second counselor met Professor MacVittie and the Whitmers and Pratts at the airport when they arrived at their last layover early Thursday morning.
"Yes. Are you President Brown?"
"James Brown." And they shook hands. "I'm the District President. This is my second counselor, President Hale. My first counselor was not able to come."
"The Pratts, and the Whitmers."
President Hale said, "We're glad everyone made it this far okay."
"Thank you for meeting us here," said Paul.
President Hale asked, "Did you get any sleep on the night flight?"
"Does anyone?" Mary answered.
"Well, I guess not. I'm sorry to hear that," President Brown offered his sympathy. "Hopefully you can get a nap before the final leg."
All five murmured their thanks.
And he continued, "We wish we had good news to give you, but there are still no useful results in the search efforts."
"Well," said Paul, "No news is at least no bad news. I guess it may take a while."
"May we start this meeting with a prayer?"
They concurred, and President Brown offered the prayer. Then he proceeded to explain: "I've been asked to inform you of the Church's and University's involvement. As you know there are funds being made available to help make sure you can get a proper search effort going. The university alumni organization is taking the lead there."
"That'll be a great help," said Bob.
"Students and others are volunteering to participate in the search."
"I hope this won't interfere with their studies." said Anna.
"They are being interviewed by their bishops, and will only be allowed to come if they can sufficiently handle the time and other burdens of volunteering."
"Is this all necessary?" Mary asked.
"I know that the four of you say that you have the strong impression that your children will be taken care of."
Four voices chorused, "Yes."
"But you still want the Lord's help, don't you?"
Bob was the one to respond. "We have been assuming that they already have the Lord's help."
"Indeed, they do. But, per Doctrine and Covenants section 24, we are not to require too many miracles, are we?"
No one really knew how to respond to that.
He continued, "We need to do our part."
President Hale offered a bit of reassurance. "We'll be careful that things don't get out of hand."
President Brown continued. "For the next several weeks, you will be wanting to hold your meetings here on the islands, I think?"
There was no disagreement here.
"I'm authorizing each one of you brethren to lead Sunday meetings and administer the Sacrament. If you can hold your meetings together, it would be best to do so, of course. But if the need arises, any of you three can hold your Sunday meetings independently. When you are together, we would like Brother Whitmer to take the lead."
"Me? I have the least experience in this group. I just barely got my temple recommend for the first time in a long time last Sunday."
"We are aware of your situation, and we assume you will receive counsel from Brother MacVittie and Brother Pratt, and from the sisters."
"Oh. Well, okay."
"Is everyone here willing to support Brother Whitmer?"
There was a chorus of agreement.
President Hale gave him a package of materials. "We have a packet of instructions for you. We are not formally organizing a branch, so it's not a complete branch president's packet, but it will give you an idea of the scope of your stewardship."
And Professor MacVittie was given a packet of materials relating to coordinating the search efforts in the islands and bringing in the donated funds where necessary.
"By the way," President Hale said, "One Dan Claymount and one Kristine Person have asked to be allowed to come help in the search."
"Oh, no!" Mary exclaimed. "Bobbie and Karel would not want them postponing their marriage."
"Their bishops are discouraging them from coming."
Anna turned to Paul and said, "Honey, we should have Sheryl call the Claymounts and tell them to tell Dan they should be putting their marriage first."
Paul agreed, and the others concurred.
Then President Brown said, "The Brethren have asked me to tell you one last thing, that the impressions you have received about your children's safety are indeed from God. The brethren are impressed that it will take a lot longer to find your children than we all would like, but they will be found, and they will not be suffering for their health."
Mary put their surprise into words. "The president of the Church?"
"Yes, the presidency and certain members of certain committees who have received some promptings concerning your children. This should not be discussed, however, as such discussion could interfere with the agency of people involved, particularly your children."
Bob was the one who said, "Understood, I guess." And then the others nodded.
President Brown added one more thing. "And the Brethren have expressed confidence in your children's efforts to remain faithful."
None of the parents knew what to say to that, so they just nodded again.
After they ended the meeting and Presidents Brown and Hale left, they found an international call capable phone and the Pratts called their daughter.
"Sheryl, it's your mom."
"We're at the last layover."
"Oh? Did something happen?"
"Not really. But we hear that Dan and Kristie are wanting to join the search."
"They did call here."
"Honey, could you call them, or call the Claymounts and the Persons, and have them let Dan and Kristie know that we appreciate their concern? And that we are confident that Bobbie and Karel are okay?"
"And that we all think that Bobbie and Karel would prefer they go ahead with their marriage plans."
"I think that's the best, too. I'll call them."
And they kept the call short, because calling international from an airport back then cost a lot more (relatively and actually) than it does now.
After that, Bob kept watch and read his packet of instructions while the others took naps, waiting for their flight. Then he tried to nap on the last leg of the flight.
Zedidiah was waiting for them outside the airport when they got to the main island.
"Ah, Zedidiah, Thank you for contacting us and keeping us advised. May I introduce Bob and Mary Whitmer, and Paul and Anna Pratt," and the professor indicated each in turn.
"I'm glad to meet you. I wish the circumstances were better."
And Anna said, for them all, "We understand."
"This is investigative officer Kei Paalo, from the police force here. He has been participating in the investigation."
"I'm sorry to have to meet you in such circumstances, but I also extend our welcome to the island." Officer Paalo said. "May I explain now about the course of our investigations and search?"
After hearing that the island had been searched with no results, Paul asked, "How about the plane? Can it be made airworthy so we can use it in the search?"
Zedidiah said, "You wouldn't want to trust it in the air. You'd never know whether something important would break. It would need to be completely rebuilt."
Officer Paalo did not think it was as bad as that, but refrained from saying so.
Professor MacVittie asked, "Has the sea between where the plane was found and the island been searched?"
"No, it hasn't," Officer Paalo told them. "That would take a lot of resources, and we thought we'd rather you decide what was more important."
"How clear is the water in that area?"
"Very clear," Zedidiah said. "You can see down to the ocean floor pretty much everywhere out there."
"How deep is it?"
"About twenty to forty feet."
Paul and Bob looked at each other and nodded in agreement, then suggested to Professor MacVittie that they pray about the next step. He concurred, and they did, asking whether they should trace the line from where the plane was found to the island.
They were impressed that they should, so Professor MacVittie asked, "Can we rent a fairly large boat and three skiffs? We think we would like to trace that line."
"That can probably be done, but I suggest we wait until the morning to try to make the arrangements."
Officer Paalo and Zedidiah helped them make arrangements for rooms for the night, and showed them to the Western Union office.
There, they made calls home to let their families know they had arrived.
And Sheryl told them she had contacted Dan and Kristie. She said they had been adamant about canceling their marriage plans to help search until she had suggested that they could be more help if they were married before they came.
Then they had some dinner, went back to their rooms, and got some sleep.
In the morning, they talked with the hotel owner, Den Kelai while eating breakfast. He told them a bit about the island, and about the charter pilots.
He explained that Wycliffe and Zedidiah had many friends there, that Wycliffe was especially known for being maybe too helpful at times, but was a true friend in need, as well. And he told them that everyone on the island wanted to find Wycliffe and their missing children.
After they had finished breakfast, Officer Paalo and Zedidiah took them to meet some of the charter pilots and owners of boats, and several other groups who might help when they needed volunteers. They were able to arrange for a boat large enough to carry three skiffs, and Officer Paalo and Zedidiah accompanied them out to the cache island.
They arrived fairly late in the afternoon, and spent some time looking over the island and the plane. Paul, who was a mechanical engineer, thought the plane was in good enough condition to consider repairing, but they decided not to do anything about it for that day.
Then they put the skiffs in the sea and searched until dark. Paul and Anna piloted one skiff, Bob and Mary another, and Professor MacVittie and Zedidiah the third. Officer Paalo stayed with the boat's crew. The four vessels searched in swaths parallel to the beach until it was too dark to continue.
With the boat in the center, one skiff on the outside, and two on the inside, spaced about 50 feet apart, they covered a two hundred foot swath of sea. In about twenty-five passes, they were able to search out to a half mile before they gave up for the night, finding nothing of interest.
They camped on the beach for the night.
They continued on Saturday, searching out to three miles while it was light. On Sunday, they called a day of rest, and the Zedidiah and Officer Paalo and the boat's crew observed with interest as the parents and the professor held a Sacrament service.
After the meeting, they prayed and felt they should ask the opinions of those with them, whether they would prefer to depend on God and rest, or continue searching. Zedidiah and Officer Paalo, of course, were particularly anxious to continue, so they did. But they found nothing of interest that day, either.
On Monday, they were joined by another boat and more skiffs and a crew of volunteers, allowing them to search a broader swath.
When they found Wycliffe about eight miles out, Zedidiah broke down in tears and they stopped to take care of the body. Professor MacVittie and the parents also were taken a bit aback, not having realized, until then, some aspects of the cost of keeping their children safe.
They brought Wycliffe's body on board the main boat and covered him, radioing for a plane. Then they searched the area more carefully, taking a longer swath there.
Not finding anything or anyone else, they continued the parallel swaths. When the plane came, they sent one boat to the cache island to transfer the body to the plane, and Zedidiah went back to the main island with his friend's body.
Wycliffe himself did what he could from the other side of the veil to comfort his friend, going back with the plane.
The rest of the searchers continued their searching until dark. Some of the volunteers camped for the night on the island, with the parents. Others returned to the main island.
Before the parents went to bed, there was a radio call from the main island. The Coast Guard coroner had been able, with the help of a vacationing doctor from Australia, to determine that Wycliffe had been dead at least eight days when they found him, and probably more than nine.
Paul suggested, and the others agreed, that he should start working on the plane. So they also radioed for supplies and tools from the main island.
The next morning, another boat arrived, with more volunteers from the islands and student volunteers from the University. They brought tools and supplies for working on the plane with them.
Zedidiah, Paul, Anna, and a couple of volunteers worked on the plane while the others continued the search.
By Friday, with fresh volunteers coming out each day, they were able to search all the way to the buoy marking the spot where Zedidiah and Matt had found the plane, and a bit beyond. They found Wycliffes trousers and shirt near where he had removed them to swim more easily, but nothing else.
And Zedidiah and Paul were able to get the plane back into shape for flying, using it to support the search on the last stretch to the buoy and past it on Friday.
They returned to the main island on Saturday morning.
Wycliffe's funeral was held that afternoon, and well into the night, following the island traditions. Many of the islanders came, from all the islands where Wycliffe and Zedidiah had worked. Bobbie's and Karel's parents also attended, along with Professor MacVittie.
Some of those who came had met and worked with Bobbie and Karel, and made it a point to offer expressions of concern to their parents.
One of those who expressed his concern was a widower who had lost his only daughter in the recent storm.
On Sunday, the professor and their parents observed another Sabbath, keeping their meetings simple. Zedidiah and some of the islanders joined.
After the meetings, they talked about Wycliffe and about the search. Mormon belief in the afterlife and the eternal nature of families came up, and some of the islanders were interested to hear about that.
Then they started planning for the next step in their search, including Zedidiah in their plans. The widower, whose name was Nazoru, was among the islanders who also offered to help. (Yes, we shall hear more of him and his family shortly.)
[JMR20160708: Muffed this about Hanaka. He knows where she is at this point.
Wycliffe, of course, was present, on the other side of the veil, for the funeral and for the sabbath meetings.
Notice the references to things of value that money can hardly touch, and other things of value that money can't touch at all. There are many things more powerful than money at play in economy.
Unfortunately, few of them, besides money, seem to be amenable to the arbitrary uses of human will.
Now, especially, notice how Wycliffe is considered on the island, not a perfect person, but not a bad man, at all, really.
Now I'd say we should be seeing how Bobbie and Karel are doing for food and shelter: (Link will be here).
The table of contents is here:
[The initial (rough) draft of this chapter can be found here: http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/04/economics-101-novel-ch24-their-parents.html.]