Madame Ultra and the Unexploded Bomb – A story of Responsibility for Critical Decisions

Blog Post by: Captain Brian McJury

July 31, 2020

The wire cutters trembled, “The red one, THE RED ONE, HURRY, 5 SECONDS, CUT IT!” the panicked voice crackled over her headset…. “This can’t be right…I’m sure it’s the green one?” thought Madame Ultra…

It was the new guy’s first job on her crack international bomb disposal team, Ultra had an uneasy feeling. Although he said he was an accomplished bomb expert, Ultra never enquired further on how that experience might have been gained…

Now, in the very seconds she relied on him most, she realised the source of her unease; here she was sitting beside a huge bomb, relying on a complete stranger to ensure both her, and everyone else inside a 25 Km radius, were not vaporised…

Immediately, in these final seconds, her life began to pass before her eyes; she was transported back to her time as Master on the final voyage of the worlds’ largest spy ship, social media having made it pretty much redundant. As Waves Group have been continuing to find in manoeuvering casualties, the exhausted bridge team welcomed the implied safety of the Pilot’s arrival; even more so when, without a word apparently needing to be said, his expert wave of the hand beckoned them to get going into the Port quickly. Not quite the detailed discussion either Ultra or Waves Group had expected, but hey, it was his Port and they had to get on their berth before the liner service departure time.

Two damaged channel beacons later, and Ultra felt uneasy. There had been plenty of background chat between the Pilot and the VTS in their native language, completely unfamiliar to Ultra, although she began to suspect the recurring name “Netflix” may not be a Port tug after all. Unlike the many port casualties Waves Group have investigated, Madame Ultra was not hesitant to speak up, “Are you sure about speed Pilot, this is a very hard turn, I cannot see the tugs and we are fixed pitch remember”; “Yes, yes, we must be fast, before the liner service leaves…I have done this many times on fishing boats, see, the small ones over there” he said, aligning with some recent Waves Group investigations into the capabilities of some personnel and ports.

“Fishing boats?”, Ultra’s unease turned to alarm; and why had the bridge team not told her about their speed? She had been sitting right there, on the bridge email computer for the last 20 minutes. With chagrin she realised the bridge team had succumbed fully to the Pilot’s aura of safety.

The wheel went hard over… too little too late, the nuclear power station they had been using as a transit line was about to see the addition of more atoms, at 10.5 knots. She closed her eyes, “Still, at least those wizards at Waves Group will be able to use our VDR recordings to tell our families the truth of what went on here, and maybe even knock the liability down a bit for our poor underwriters” she thought, “Why did I have to send that stupid bunker barge email, I’ve trusted a complete stranger, and now we will all be lucky not to be vaporised”,

“Vaporised!”, instantly Ultra was back in the present, one second to go… “That’s it! advice is useful, but I’ll make the decisions when it’s my rear end is on the line…” She grabbed the green wire and cut….