When I first looked at the U. S. S. Sangamon, I wondered if my consent to continue this harebrained odyssey might have been hasty. The craft, and that must be the most liberal use of the term, bore resemblance to no other design with the possible exception of a sunken railroad car, and since I was not presently curious about sea bottom exploration, I was unimpressed with my prospects. Here before me was the instrument for testing all the phobias I could think of except fear of heights.
Since my immune system was from an evolutionary standpoint, tuned to cope with stressors of twentieth century origin, I was fearful that I might be stepping on to a virtual Petri dish of opportunistic life forms. I shrugged away a spasm of contempt and prepared myself for a prolonged period of shallow breathing.
Those first introductory moments prior to boarding Sangamon would have driven a sane man to desert, but I naively persisted, so there I was. Before I relate my particular litany of complaints, it might be informative to describe U.S.S. Sangamon more thoroughly, since she, not the Civil War, constituted the specific framework of my dilemma.
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