“In the frenzy over Nazi submarines laden with gold and uranium oxide, the fate of Germany’s cargo submarines from the first world war is often overlooked. Yet German merchant submersibles were calling at American ports as late as November 1916, just four months before the United States entered the war.”

“Desperate to break or at leas circumvent the British blockade, the merchant submarines, seven in all, were built by the private Lloyd shipping company. Filled with advanced German chemical dyes and synthetic medicines, they returned laden with rubber, nickel, and tin. Each voyage paid for the cost of the boats many times over.”

“The historical record tells us that of the Imperial German cargo subs, only one was successful in making two voyages before America entered the war. It and the five subs that never made a voyage were armed and sent to war. The seventh sub left for America but mysteriously disappeared, and no trace of it–nor any record of its cargo manifest–were ever found.”

“But I have uncovered evidence of a visit by the post sub, the Bremen, to Portland, Maine in late December 1916, months after its scheduled arrival in Newport, Virginia. The documents not only point to the ship’s condition and ultimate destination, but offer a glimpse of its heretofore unknown cargo.”

“And that, gentlemen, is where we need to put on our English tea dresses, for we’re all going down the rabbit hole a bit on this one.”

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The impact slammed Matthias against the bulkhead like a limp rag doll. He could still hear the alarm blaring, mingling with the ringing in his ears, but his body felt drained, empty. He didn’t even feel any pain, just a dull sensation in his lower back.

“Depth charge! Depth charge!” Someone—it might have been the captain—was screaming, but it was hard to hear him over the roaring and rattling that filled the air.

Matthias thought it all very silly; what good was it yelling about anything? He was too relaxed to care, and despite the seawater beginning to pool around his ankles he felt quite warm.

Everything would be all right after he’d had a little nap.

Joshua nodded. He glanced out the window, eyes streaming with tears. The intense light had faded from his eyes, and now they brimmed with sunlight.

“So what do we do now?” Margie said. “They’ll be looking for us. When Wright doesn’t report, they’ll send someone out.”

“We’re stabbed the Entente in the back,” Lightoller sighed. “We’ve stabbed the Germans in the back. Everybody here is going to be wanted wherever we land.”

“We’ve got to go on,” Joshua said, finding his voice. “Henriques and Lily gave us that obligation through their sacrifice. If we sit here, if we turn ourselves in, if we give up…we’ve betrayed everything they gave up for us.”

There was silence for a moment. “So what do we do now?” Margie asked again.

“We live,” Joshua said, “and we keep on living.”