Meet Marlow, who is chilling on a verandah after dinner. He starts telling a story to a motley crew of nameless dudes.
You might as well get comfortable, Shmoopers, because Marlow plans on talking for a while. This story is a long one.
Apparently the Patna affair has become notorious, and Marlow will be the one to fill us in on everything that happens. He begins his tale at the moment he learned about the Patna.
Here's the scene: Reports have started trickling in of the onboard shenanigans, and then Marlow sees the Patna crew members arrive at the port and report to the harbor office.
The harbor-master, a man named Captain Elliot, chews out the Patna captain.
Marlow, however, is busy fixating on Jim, noting how different he looks from the other crew members. (Basically, Jim looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch model while the other crewmembers look like extras on My Name is Earl.)
Meanwhile, the captain of the Patna hops into a rickshaw and disappears. He's on the lam. Too bad Tommy Lee Jones is nowhere to be found. In any case, Cap'n is off the hook for now, the lucky duck.
The second engineer has a broken arm and goes to the hospital, and the chief engineer goes on a drinking bender and winds up in the same hospital. Nice one.
When he goes to the hospital to visit a friend, Marlow winds up trying to talk to the chief engineer, who is having a seriously tough time detoxing from all the alcohol he has drunk. He rants and raves at Marlow, saying that the Patna was full of "reptiles." This guy's a regular peach.