(Orient Express) The WCERN’s formidable new carrier, Fred Astaire, received an official send-off as it made it’s maiden-voyage in Lake Taihu.
An estimated 850,000 people crowded Turtle Head Islet for a glimpse of the Expatdom’s battle-wagon.
On the foreshore, on a viewing-pontoon, an assemblage of world leaders gathered to view Fred Astaire’s passage. The invited dignitaries
included US Defence Secretary Gates, Britain’s Dame Margaret Thatcher, Australia’s Kevin Rudd, and His Holiness, Pope Benedict xvi.
Admiral Lloyd Bridges snapped a crisp salute to the well-wishers.
His Holiness pronounced "Dominus vobiscum" in response.
"We’re taking Fred Astaire on a southerly course", said Admiral Bridges,"then we’ll take her in, close-inside Suzhou Expatdom’s territorial waters."
The Admiral dismissed suggestions that this would provoke a sharp response from the Suzhou Expatdom. "Neither I nor my swabs will be going anywhere near any of the Suzhou Expatdom’s bars or fleshpots, – no shore-leave will be granted."
"No", he chortled, "we’re just going to sail past, and rub their noses in it a little!"