"There are no cowards on this ship!" God, he hadn't thought of that for years. His high school English teacher had said it, loudly. It was the punch line of a war story. The teacher had accompanied a couple of his Navy buddies to the bow of their ship; one of them was bragging that he would dive. The captain had come up behind them, asked what they were doing, and then ordered them all to dive. Apparently, it had been a high point of sorts in his teacher's life.
"No cowards on this ship, Verdi," Oliver said, standing. Toast. Tea. When Oliver was upset, he turned to food. He had a high metabolism and ate what he wanted. His body looked chubby on its short square frame, but there was more muscle than fat under his skin; he could move quickly when he wished. He had a wide serious mouth with strong teeth. His eyebrows and hair were black. His eyes were large and dark brown with lids that sla