W e are aboard the S.S. MARie CELeste II - a small, rather battered, occasionally leaky passenger ship which seems to be drifting somewhat aimlessly, destination apparently un­ known; although it is rumoured amongst some of the passengers that the ship sailed originally from an obscure European port, it is no longer clear from the log whether she is returning from or is on the way to America (somebody appears to have tampered with the crucial entries). It is rumoured amongst the passengers (a rumour probably started by a member of the crew) that some of the lifeboats fall below current safety standards and there is concern that, in the event of a major disaster, not all could be saved. Many are thought to be poor swimmers (comfortable only in shallow waters); never­ theless the captain managed to reassure most people during an earlier conducted tour of the ship by pointing to the running repairs that the crew were continuously and assiduously carrying out.