The same section was also designated for steam instruction, Dalzell being made leader of the section in this branch.
The class was then dismissed. Somewhat later Pennington and Hallam returned from their interview with the commandant.
Hallam at once sought out Dave.
“Darry, old man,” murmured Hallam, “Pen is as crazy as a hornet against you. As he had taken the first step by sticking himself on the pap-sheet (placing himself on report), the commandant said he would make the punishment a lighter one.”
“What did Pen get?” queried Dave.
“Fifty demerits, with all the loss of privileges that fifty carry.”
“He’s lucky,” declared Dave promptly. “Had the report come from other sources, he would have been dismissed from the service.”
“If Pen’s lucky,” rejoined Hallam, “he doesn’t seem to realize the fact. He’s calling you about everything.”
“He can keep that up,” flashed Dave, “until his toothache leaves him. Then, if he tries to carry it any further, Pen will collide with one of my fists!”
Not much later a call sounded summoning the youngsters to the midshipmen’s mess. Dave was glad to note that Pennington sat at some distance from him at table.
While the meal was in progress the “Massachusetts” and the other battleships got under way. The midshipmen were on deck, an hour later, when the fleet came to anchor for the night, some miles down Chesapeake Bay.
Before the youngsters were ordered to their berths that night Third Classman Pennington had found opportunity to do a good deal of talking to a few comrades who would listen to him.
Pennington was determined to stir up a hornet’s nest for Dave Darrin.
MIDSHIPMAN PENNINGTON GOES TOO FAR
At eight o’clock the following morning the various sections were formed and marched to the deck.
“All present, sir.”
The chief electrician was now summoned, and to him the section was turned over. This young man, Whittam, by name, was an enlisted man, but a bright young sample of what the Navy can do for the boy who enlists as an apprentice.
“You will take your orders from Mr. Whittam as though he were an officer,” directed the officer, his words intended for all members of the section, though he looked only at Darrin.
Dave saluted, then, as Chief Electrician Whittam turned to lead the way, Dave called quietly:
“Section, left wheel—march!”
They followed Whittam down into the dynamo room, an interesting spot for a machinist.
“It’s fine,” muttered Dan, as he stared about him at the bright metal work, the switch-board and the revolving machines. “But I’m afraid I couldn’t learn the use and sense of all this in five years.”
“Silence in the section,” commanded Dave, turning around upon his chum.