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From: Justin Escher Alpert

To: SenSweeney@njleg.org
Cc: SenBuono@njleg.org, SenBeck@njleg.org, SenKean@njleg.org, SenKyrillos@njleg.org,
SenCodey@njleg.org, SenWeinberg@njleg.org, AswJasey@njleg.org, AsmMcKeon@njleg.org,
AsmBramnick@njleg.org, Carolyn.Williams@rutgers.edu, AswOliver@njleg.org,
Jeanne.Ashmore, AsmGusciora@njleg.org, Michael.Drewniak, SenLesniak@njleg.org,
MSymons@gannett.com, Goldstein@gardenstateequality.org
Date: December 6, 2012 at 6:13 AM

Lieutenant Sweeney, I tell you in confidence that your efforts to overthrow the Captain would be
nothing more than mutiny and I will hear nothing more of it!

Yes, for three years the Captain was oft drunk with power (I particularly was not fond of what he
did to those two midshipmen who asked to bunk together). But the Captain grew into his
position. And when the Storm came, the men placed Faith in the Captain that he would lead us
to safer waters.

Lieutenant Sweeney, our sails need mending and the men are eager to get to work. The Captain
has earned the Trust of the crew. We need to pull into port for the winter. Frankly, I believe that
the good Captain after his heroics during the Storm would benefit greatly from some shore leave,
some peace of mind, and some freedom of time to chart a new course.

I have never been one for naval politics, Lieutenant. I never rose through the ranks the way that
you or the Captain did. You have done well for yourself with the connections that you have
made from your academy and the Captain (with whom I share an alma mater) had done quite
well by his academy acquaintances. But dear Lieutenant, your academy days are long over. You
and the Captain together have complete dominion over the HMS Jersey and her destiny. Do not
insult the crew’s intelligence by telling them that blue skies should always prevail if they throw
the Captain over board. You are a very powerful man, Lieutenant, no matter your title, but
respectfully, Sir, you do not control the weather. The Captain has proven his seaworthiness in
the Hundred Year Storm, and as such, he has developed the Trust of the crew. I beg of you,
Lieutenant, hear the madness of your plan. Can you look me in the eye and tell me that you have
removed all self-interest?... Is what you propose solely for the good of the crew of the HMS
Jersey and the majesty of the King? Lieutenant?!?

And each time that you and the Captain have a disagreement while drinking in the Officers
Quarters… each time the candle light silhouettes one of your shadows bursting through the door
yelling, “Let’s let the men decide!...,” the men lose confidence in the leadership abilities of each
of you and the lot of us. The reason that there is a door on the Officer Quarters is to encourage
openness and keep robust debate away from the crew, so that they may go about their work
without questioning the officers and without assuming that there is room to slip a piece of
parchment between them while they are at the helm. That is how a solid ship should
operate. And I tell you as a friend, Lieutenant, if you have been unable to regularly build a
consensus amongst the officers (how recently have you come tumbling out the door yelling
‘leave the decision to the crew’?), there is no reason to believe that your consensus building
skills should become any more deft following your rabble-rousing of insurrection. The junior
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officers look to you for your leadership, Lieutenant. One day they may find themselves in a
similar position and they would remember well your selfless courage. The work only gets harder
from here. For the good welfare of the ship and her crew, the problems that you personally have
with the Captain must be settled in the privacy of the Officer’s Quarters. Let the Captain know
of your thoughts for which direction the ship should sail in the spring, and the Captain will
assuredly and fairly consider your trusted counsel. You and the Captain may even agree to a fair
increase in wages for the crew.

The battle for the Admiralship was hard fought. The academy which graduated both the Captain
and myself, lost. And we are all embarrassed for some of the arguments that we made… for
some of the lies shouted by our by our town criers… for some of the actions that we took on
behalf of the supposed righteousness of our respective academies ahead of the interests of the
Armada. Yet, here we serve the same King from the same noble HMS Jersey… fastest in the
fleet… with more learned men on board than any other ship of comparable size. Together we
can figure a way to fix her anew and make her the pride of His Majesty’s Armada.

I beg of you, dear Lieutenant… please… sheath your sword. Do not let political bureaucracy
come between the HMS Jersey and her Captain. We cannot try and judge the Captain based on
his time learning the ropes of this fine ship with one eye on naval politics. The Storm happened
and he became a better captain for it. He proved himself on the high seas. The men look up to
him. They believe that the Captain is a man of good faith and fair dealing. They believe that he
has earned the right to helm the ship as we mend. Let us take leave from naval politics and
rough waters. If we are to lead the other boats in the armada to serve His Majesty’s glory, we
must forgive the Captain for his transgressions against us. The interests of the crew and the
Captain are aligned. Lieutenant Sweeney, the interest of the Captain and yourself are
aligned. Some of the officers even believe that the Captain may find it in his heart to forgive
those poor midshipmen for their transgressions (especially after seeing their goodwill and heroics
in the Storm… that and how their bunks are so well-kept). I am sure that with your consensus
building skills as Lieutenant, the Captain could lead all of the crew to work diligently for the
Jersey’s great success and high-adventure on open the seas. We owe no allegiance to the battles
of our academies back in London. You and the Captain are the leaders of the Jersey now. Make
her sail true.

Speak not your plans of mutiny to any other person and word of it shall not leave this room. The
Captain has built trust with you, Lieutenant … a working relationship that could be cultivated
and could blossom for the benefit of His Majesty and the crew of the HMS Jersey. The Captain
now has a working relationship with the Admiral. With your support of the Captain, Lieutenant,
despite your former allegiances to different academies, I am sure that the Captain would support
you for the post of your choice back in London when your commission expires. If the men see
you working together with the Captain, they will work harder for the benefit of the HMS Jersey
and for His Majesty’s glory. The Jersey with your leadership and support of the Captain will be
a shining example for the rest of the Armada. And yes, a byproduct of your efforts may be that
the Captain himself becomes Admiral. That would bring great honour to the crew of the Jersey
and be testament to the quality of your service to the King. But if you propose mutiny,
Lieutenant Sweeney, the men will stall in their efforts to mend the ship while they watch you
dueling with the Captain. And we will have lost valuable time.

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Lieutenant Sweeney, you outrank me, and as such, you are my commanding officer. I speak
freely to you at great risk. At greater risk to myself for even being seen with you under these
circumstances, I beg of you, Lieutenant… Stand down. Help the Captain mend the ship and let’s
seek out blue skies and high-adventure on the seas together.

It is truly my honor to serve the HMS Jersey with you, Lieutenant Sweeney. If the crew sees you
working together with the Captain, in control of the ship with sails fully bellowed, religiously
checking each other against self-interest, they will follow you through the next storm, and to
wherever the winds may take us.

May the Good Lord bless the HMS Jersey and give you the courage of your convictions.

Justin Escher Alpert


Livingston