The story so far:
Matthew hoisted himself back onto the ship. None of the other sailors helped him like they helped the others, so he tumbled onto the deck a bit. Still, even that was better than falling into the water. As he moved toward the cabins, he saw one of the others who'd been on the whaler hurry to the captain. Under the captain's scrutinous glance, Matthew hastened below deck, though a sinking feeling in his gut told him he'd not be there for long.
"Mr. Gaines," the captain's voice carried through the dark, dank cabin with unexpected clarity considering he spoke softly, "You are aboard this ship to do your work and catch us a whale. You wanted the promotion; if I knew that you were unwilling to use the harpoon, I'd have left you in the blubber room."
Matthew turned away from his bunk; he'd almost made it but doubted the captain would have hesitated to wake him. He turned and saluted, raising a curled finger to his brow. "My apologies, sir."
"Apologies?" The captain stalked closer to Matthew's bunk, hunched over to accommodate the short space below deck. "I cannot abide weak men! First thing tomorrow morning, I shall write you a recommendation for a fishing ship--you do think you can hook a fish, can you not? I want you off of my ship the next time we pass a merchant...failing that, we're coming up close to the coastline of Connecticut...I'll sail up the Mystic River to be rid of you."
Matthew swallowed the lump in his throat. Fishing vessels didn't bring home nearly as much money as whaling crews...but the captain's words were final, so all he could do was nod and turn back to his bunk.