Ninjapacman

Ninjapacman's One-Shots

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This is the first in a series of one-shots I had planned. It may be a while until I get around to the next, as I may or may not have a more in depth project that I am thinking of.

 

 

 

The First Encounter
It was cold. That was the first thing I felt. Such freezing air is odd, considering the morning sun shining on my deck. My sailors can feel it too. The icy air stings their skin and permeates my steel frame. I hear someone shout “Violet fog off the port bow!” They turn my rudder a few degrees to starboard, and for a few minutes I feel warmer. Then the Mist catches up to me. The freezing air seems to strangle me. My sailors are confused, and fearful.
The icy air that clutches me seems to grab hold of my crew, and strangle them too. They call for more lookouts. They carefully try to see through the mist, but it’s too thick. I sense their worry and I feel them shaking but as long as I am here, my crew is not alone. Unfortunately, I'm not the only one with them. I hear propellers.
The sound is faint, but it seems to be another ship. It’s slowly drawing closer. As it does I feel threatened. The weight of the mist on me increases, and the cold suffocates my crew. They have trouble breathing, and they begin to lose focus. Then I hear what they do not. They don’t have time to react, but I do.
I put on speed and apply full left rudder. My crew panics. They don’t realize I’m saving them until someone spots the trails running parallel to me on either side. The lookout shouts “Torpedoes in the water!” far too late. With that I wake up.
It’s odd to walk along the timber of my own decks and climb the compact stairs up to my bridge. The icy mist bites into my skin. It wraps around me, suffocating me. I see the glances of sailors confused and scared, yet intrigued by my new form. They’re suffering as well in the violet mist. I hasten my step. I need to get them back in order, or we will not last long against the unseen foe.
I walk up to the Captain. He seems to be struggling and taking heavy breaths. He is nervous and disoriented. I put a calming hand on his shoulder and he stiffens up, then relaxes. I softly say “Keep your wits, Captain. You’ll need them to relax the rest of the crew.” He jumps in surprise and spins around, and the rest of the bridge crew follows suit.
“Who are you and how did you get on my bridge?” he inquires.
I reply simply, “I’m Mahan, and it’s actually my bridge. I believe we have some anti-submarine duties to perform right now, so I suggest you get my crew ready, Captain.” He looks incredulous, and starts to mumble, attempting to form words. Finding his reaction inadequate, I give him a little push. “Well? What are you waiting for? There’s a Submarine that just fired torpedoes at us off the port bow, so unless you want to get hit by the next spread, I suggest you call general quarters.” He gathers his composure and reacts properly this time.
My captain turns to the bridge crew and orders “You heard the girl! Sound general quarters and prepare for Anti-Submarine warfare.” The officers seem to wake up and turn to their stations. The alarm sounds, and the biting cold seems to lift away as they find their way to their combat stations.
This time the sonar operator calls out one small screw approaching from the port bow. My Captain orders a turn to port and half speed to avoid torpedoes. I reply “Aye Captain!” at the same time as the helmsman, and the helmsman seems distraught when I move before he can do anything. “Sir, it’s moving without me again!” he complains.
I respond kindly, “Don’t worry. I have control. You’re in good hands.” I glance down at my new hands as I say it. I’ll have to get used to those. The Helmsman doesn't quite relax, and I sense my Captain’s tension. He’s still skeptical about the whole situation, but his mind is adept and focused. It’s understandable, I suppose.
My Captain tells the helmsman, "If she has control, let her do it. She seems to know what she's doing." He then turns to me and asks, “Is there anything else you have control of that I should know about?”
I reply confidently, “Yes, of course. I have control of the guns, engines, and everything mechanical. I can only control one, maybe two things at a time but I assure you, Captain, I will command them with the utmost precision. I can’t do everything by myself, though. I still need crewmen to load the weaponry. I also need them for all usage of the depth charges, as well as maintenance of all systems.”
The Captain nods in response, and our focus is drawn back to the enemy when he receives his next report from the sonar room. They’ve found the enemy submarine around 1500 yards away directly off the bow. I listen closely, and I can hear its engine, confirming the sonar room’s report.
The captain thinks for a moment before reacting to the information. “Accelerate to flank speed and begin zigzag course. Keep pinging their location on the sonar.” I feel the engine crews get to work, and my four Babcock and Wilcox boilers start producing maximum power. I feel the rush of energy and surge forward.
My excitement builds as I chase down the enemy submarine. I hear her propellers pick up speed as she tries to escape me. She won’t get away from me easily. Every time my sonar room sends a ping I see her clearly.
My depth charge crews are ready, and so am I. I close the distance. She’s almost directly below me. I can feel my crew about to drop the first depth charges. The sonar room sends one more ping and I see them.
There’s a spread of four torpedoes closing on my starboard beam at an alarming rate! It’s almost too late. Between the thick purple mist and the focus on the submarine we were chasing, I almost failed to notice them!
The helmsman cries out and the bridge crew stumbles as I throw the ship into a hard turn to starboard. I manage to dodge three of the torpedoes!
There is a thundering explosion as the last detonates in my wake close to my stern! Suddenly my right ankle is cut through with a sharp pain. I stumble on the injured ankle.
I feel the pressure of the freezing air return on my throat and the crew seems to stop in place. They appear to be choking, and their faint breath is visible in the cold, struggling to escape their lips. The enemy is gloating. I walked into their trap.
How could I have been so careless? I didn’t check for a second submarine. I was too focused on the first, and now not only have I lost my opportunity to catch my prey, I’m going to get sunk, and my crew is going to pay the price.
I am about to give up. What can I do now? I’ve lost because of my own failed intuition. I haven’t even been awake for an hour. I take one final look at my Captain.
To my surprise, I see him draw in the largest breath he can and shout “Situation report!” At the sound of his voice, the tension on my throat eases, and my fighting spirit re-kindles. The crew is released from their struggle as well.
He quickly gets a report from each station. Most systems are nominal, but my starboard turbine has stopped spinning. It seems to be a problem with the propeller, and we’re only able to make 18 knots.
That’s more than enough speed to hunt a submarine, or in this case, two. I re-adjust my glasses and wince as I stand on my injured ankle, but I have to be strong for my crew. How can they fight if their ship is falling apart, after all?
The Captain quickly gives me a concerned look, and I return a confident smile. After seeing that I am alright, he says “Find that second submarine.”
I focus again and listen closely. I hear the second submarine off my starboard bow, about 2000 yards. I can also hear the first enemy clearly about 100 yards off my port beam.
I relay the information to my captain. He thinks carefully, and orders “Position the ship directly above the first contact.” He then asks “Mahan, can you guide us to the target?”
I salute and respond confidently “Yes, sir. I can tell exactly where they are with my state-of-the-art sonar. I won’t fail, Captain!” I listen carefully for the changes in location, and begin directing the helmsman there.
I can hear the low whine of second enemy submarine’s engine, and what sounds almost like laughing as I give her my starboard beam again. She must be almost ready to fire torpedoes.
When I listen to the first, I hear a slightly higher whine, more frantic. She is excited, and maybe even a little scared.
Our first contact dives and begins making course changes to throw me off, but I won’t let her get away. I manage to steer the ship directly above her.
I inform the Captain that we are sailing directly above the first submarine. He smiles in response and says “Good job Mahan. Can you take control of the engines and keep us on top of her?” After a second he adds “And warn the engine crews that they’ll lose control for a couple minutes”
The XO nods and relays the information to the engine rooms, with some protest from the engine crew. I can feel their unease. I suppose it's understandable considering they've just been told they have no control over their station. With a decisive order, the captain gets them to calm down and stand by.
I proudly report “Aye, Captain! I now have full control of the engines, and I will make sure we are positioned precisely above the target until you direct otherwise. Unfortunately, Captain, we can’t launch depth charges from directly above the target. We would never hit them, and in the worst case we would damage ourselves!”
He nods approvingly and says “Don’t worry. This will simply keep her locked down while we deal with the second. Train all guns to starboard. Ping that second submarine.”
The sonar crew responds and for a second, I see the surrounding sea in brilliant clarity. The second submarine is lined up for torpedo attack, but she hasn’t launched them yet.
At periscope depth, she’d normally be in an unsafe position. However, this icy purple mist makes it difficult to see more than a couple yards from our ship, so she’s only visible to sonar.
Unfortunately for her, she’s close, and my gun crews are good. The sonar room relays her speed, heading and location to the fire-control room.
Once the information is delivered, and adjustments are made, the captain orders “Open fire!” His sentence is punctuated by the thunderclaps of my five 5”/38 caliber naval guns.
There’s another ping from the sonar room as the guns reload, and I see that the second Submarine is retracting her periscope, she hasn’t yet launched torpedoes, but she’s about to dive. We’ll only get one, maybe two more chances at this.
I focus on my task of keeping the first submarine under my keel, and I feel helpless that I can’t do anything about the second.
My guns clap again, shattering my helplessness and pushing me back to my mission. I can trust my crew. They’re all well trained, and they have the best equipment possible.
At the next ping from the sonar room, I see that the second submarine is starting her dive. It could be a serious problem if she escapes now.
For a third time the sonar room relays new information to the gun crews and the fire-control adjustments are made.
My 5” rifles ring out once more, and I prepare to maneuver. If we miss, we’ll be in trouble.
Suddenly I hear a piercing scream, and for a second, the freezing pressure returns to my throat, then disappears as quickly as it had come! I immediately boost engine power, and start to pick up speed.
We’ve hit the second submarine with an AP shell! She’s wounded, and will have to surface. I let the Captain know, and he quickly gives the order I expected, “Full speed ahead, start dropping depth charges!”
I relinquish control of the speed to my engine crews, and focus on steering the ship. I can feel the engine crews' elation at being able to get back into the fight. I listen to the now angry whine of the first submarine’s engine, so far below. The depth charge crews, anxious since the start of the fight, roll the first charges off the stern.
With my steering, they detonate ever closer to the enemy below. After only a few depth charges I hear what I was waiting for. The heavy pop of the depth charge followed by secondary explosions and a mangled scream.
The first submarine has been sunk. Before we can celebrate, a shell whistles overhead and splashes a few yards to port. The second submarine has surfaced, and is attacking with her deck gun!
The purple haze clears up slightly, and we make out the eerie enemy submarine just as a flash of light comes from her, signalling another incoming shell. This one falls short, but it’s closer. She’s finding the range.
We turn towards her to close the distance and ruin her aim. As we close in, I can make out more details. The submarine looks almost squid-like in it's streamlined form, and dark tentacles clutch the vessel tightly, as if intending to crush it.
As we get to almost suicidal range, I see a figure standing on her bow. The figure appears to be a woman, with tentacle-like limbs flowing from her waist, similar to those of her vessel. She has a sea of wavy dark blue hair that reminds me of the cold, crushing depths of the ocean. What I notice above all is her piercing red eyes. They stare directly through me, filled with hate and anger.
The captain sees her too, and stares at the inhuman figure. For the first time in the fight, he seems scared. He stutters, “W-What is that?”
I’m not sure how I know, but the answer comes to me. “It’s Asphyxiation, a Morgana.” I respond simply. The figure on the enemy submarine hisses, and the pressure on my neck returns, though far weaker than before. It snaps the captain and me out of our trance, and we return our focus to the fight.
The fire-control room estimates her range, and my guns zero in on the target. At the captain’s order, the guns bark once more, this time hitting her directly. We’ve loaded high explosive, and are rewarded when it tears a hole a yard wide in her hull.
We obtain similar success with the second salvo, and multiple direct hits on the third. The Morgana lets out one last defiant scream and a sickening miasma of oil spreads on the water's surface as she sinks beneath the waves.
The violet mist finally clears up, and I feel the warmth of midday in the pacific. The seas are calm. It’s a pleasant change from the unfriendly cold I woke up to. The captain turns to me and glances at my injured ankle with concern.
“Let’s get back to port so you can be repaired properly.” He says compassionately.
For the first time out of battle, I can see him clearly. I adjust my glasses and salute then cheerfully reply, "Yes, sir!"
He will be a suitable Captain.

 

 

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Grammatucally solid. Good characterization. Proper use of first person. I like your emphasis on description. I hope you keep at it since I'd love to see how you develop Mahan and her captain.

 

It makes me wish I had the energy to resume Penny's story. Maybe someday.

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It's a one-shot, so there likely be anymore in the future. There's a reason I didn't give the captain a name. If there's a big enough positive reaction, I might give it another chapter and see where it goes from there.

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I know how you feel Yuri. At least you got the first chapter done! :P

 

I've been sitting on at least 2 chapters of amazing ideas, but can't bloody write them out both out of a lack of effort and a complete lack of ideas on the one most important part: the characters. I don't know how I'm gonna write up the belles. The ones I picked are absolutely perfect for the story setting and my ideas, but they both have a lackluster service history and a rather bland or un-researchable namesake. The captain I could write, I suppose, but the two belles are just stopping me dead...Ah well, this thread isn't for me to rant about my problems. Good start Ninja, I hope for more one-shots or that bigger project to show themselves soon!

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Thanks, Fif, I'll be sure to get right on those. Hopefully you can get started with your ideas too. I've seen all the ones you posted in the ideas thread. If you don't think you can write them, you can pass one off to me and I might try my hand.

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Well no spoilers but my little project involves two already. Otherwise they're posted there specifically for you guys to use! I know I'm never gonna get around to writing them, but I want to see them written. Anyone who wants to try their hand is free to take them up and make them a reality!

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There are more fics, De3ta! this is the fifth posted, I believe. We've got fics in this forum by YuriMom, Twoheavens, Scootia, and Wellington already! I highly recommend reading them, they're all fantastic.

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For the first VB fic thingy i've seen, it's a damn good start.

Thanks! It's a short one-shot, but I put a lot of effort in.

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There are more fics, De3ta! this is the fifth posted, I believe. We've got fics in this forum by YuriMom, Twoheavens, Scootia, and Wellington already! I highly recommend reading them, they're all fantastic.

*shamelessly promotes my fic*

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