The Due South turned sharply to starboard and, a minute later, was angling out parallel to the nearest island. The oil could be seen at this range coating the surface of the small islands and the stench of the oil was barely tolerable. In the meanwhile, Stardust was holding the sandbag on his back. The crew was all talking about the mystery man in their midst. Aaron and Stephen had spread around that he called himself Stardust, but no one could remember the name he had given when he signed aboard.
Aaron was back at the ship’s rail near Stardust, watching the gap between the hull and the island. “Dat’s as close as we can get!” he shouted. “Stardust, you’ve got five feet to clear!”
“No, he’ll have to throw it ten!” Stephen chimed in. “You’ve got to actually get it far enough onto ‘de island ‘dat it doesn’t fall off!”
Stardust started breathing heavier and, with a final grunt of strain through clenched teeth, heaved the sandbag overboard. The crew, watching intently from the starboard rail, saw the sandbag hit the edge of the island and teeter there.
“It’s gonna fall!” someone shouted.
Stardust came over to the railing, put a hand on it, and vaulted over it. He sailed through the air so long that he almost overshot the entire tiny island. This time he landed on his feet, but the oil-soaked ground made him lose his balance and he tumbled onto his backside. He Sprang back up, half-covered in oil, and seemed to reel for a moment as if the oil fumes were about to overcome him. But then he sprinted back towards the ship, hurdled over the giant boom stretching across the center of the island, and reached the falling sandbag in time to grab it with both hands. To more cheers from on deck, he dragged the sandbag as far back as the boom, lifted it again, and tossed it to the far side.
Stardust looked all around. He almost would have said the sheen on the water looked beautiful, had he not known what it was. The oily sheen was everywhere – as far on the water as he could see to the horizon. And the horrible, horrible smell of it all. How could anything out there endure it?
Someone onboard shouted down to Stardust, “Just 50 more to go!”
The man had said it as a joke and Stardust heard people laughing. He just turned back and looked up to the crew and said, “Let’s do this, then!”
NEXT: Our Elgin supporting cast comes to Louisiana and to terms with Sean’s superpowers. But does Sean, as Stardust, have the power to stop the worst ecological disaster in U.S. history? Find out in “Stardust and the Top Kill!”
Iron Man by Bob Layton
13 hours ago