DrYuriMom Posted May 28, 2016 Report Share Posted May 28, 2016 Chapter 2:http://academagia.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=3248&p=43110 Chapter 3http://academagia.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=3248&p=55693 Chapter 4http://academagia.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/3248-the-improbable-captain-a-victory-belles-story/&do=findComment&comment=58705 The Improbable CaptainChapter One: Tiger Cruise To the east of Hawaii August 31, 1939, 7pm Hawaii Time (sunset) “There you are, Dory!” The familiar lilting voice came from behind me and sounded more than a little winded. Perhaps even a bit exasperated, although it was hard to tell through the heavy breathing. “I’d almost run out of open areas of the ship to look, you know. If this place hadn’t panned out, I was going to go hat in hand to Commander Simmons to have him sweep his Holy of Holies for you!” I swiveled my head to look back at the approaching brunette, a view which was quickly obscured by strands of strawberry blonde hair brushing my face in the wind as it crossed the bow of the USS Pensacola. I’d been avoiding the bow for just this reason…well that and the abominable weather, but the tailwind this evening was brisk enough that the effect of the wind on my long hair was tolerable as long as I faced forward. And the view was definitely worth the trouble. “I promised Simmons I wouldn’t sneak into engineering again without a babysitter, Ginny.” I turned to face forward again and let the wind clear my face as the comely younger woman came up alongside me to lean up against the rail. “It was a dumb thing for me to have done, anyway. I thought I told you that.” “Well, I was running out of options. I didn’t think you liked the bow with that ridiculously long hair of yours and your aversion to binding it down.” I just shrugged since I was guilty as charged. “The view is worth it. Isn’t that the most incredible sunset you’ve ever seen?” The orange sun looked to be just touching the ocean when a swell would bring the ship up and the brilliant orb would once again be riding high. Moments later we’d hit the trough and Apollo’s Chariot would vanish from view only to bob up again with the next swell like a child’s ball in a bathtub. I could imagine the two destroyers alongside us on each side, USS Cassin and USS Downes, were being treated to an even greater effect given how the smaller ships were rolling with the seas. During the rough weather the past few days I’d come to appreciate the benefits of boat size on the ocean. I wondered what being on a battleship must be like. My dear friend turned her green eyes to the horizon before us. “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight?” she quoted an old saying about tomorrow’s weather. It certainly sounded hopeful. “We’ll see,” I allowed with skepticism. “The weather up to today has been atrocious, you know. I won’t hold my breath.” We paused our chat as the ship once again peaked and we were treated to yet another sunset. “Anyway, why have you been scouring the ship for me? Mildred have another bee in her bonnet that I have to exterminate with severe prejudice?” Ginny’s soprano sounded so sweet when she giggled. “Something like that. You know how bad Alice has had it ever since we left San Diego? Well it seems she’s gone dry. Poor little Eddy is bawling which is setting off all the other infants. The crew complained and…well…” “Mildred doesn’t want to be bothered by such trivialities as her duties as Captain’s wife on a tiger cruise so she ordered me to deal with it.” “Pretty much sums it up,” the smaller girl admitted with a sigh. “Dory, why do you let her push you around like this? She’s been doing it ever since we gathered together to board the ship. Yeah, she’s Captain Miller’s wife and all, but don’t you, like, outrank her or something?” It was my turn to chuckle. “You think so? Oh no. House member or no, I’m a Republican. From podunk California and a woman, no less. No Ginny, I avoid the War Department like the plague. If I showed any sign of trying to influence the Navy, both my career and Doug’s would be sunk.” I sighed as we both let a moment pass for the sun to finally dip below the waves – for good this time. “I knew when I ran for my father’s office that it would make Doug’s life harder, but he still gave me his blessing. When we decided for me to join you all for the move to Hawaii, I expected Mildred would take the chance to Lord it over me…see if she could bring me down. Her daddy’s Assistant Secretary of the Navy, after all; a good Democrat who would love nothing better than to take me down several notches. Captain Miller isn’t too fond of Doug either, ship’s XO or no. This was a trap for us, but I intend to show them we’re not such easy prey.” “I guess being in politics and all isn’t as glamorous as it looks.” “It has its perks,” I defended with a wan smile. “But you always have to watch your back.” For some reason Ginny grinned, but I didn’t have to wait long for the reason to be apparent as she reached behind me and pinched my derrier through the pants I’d insisted on wearing during the cruise rather than have men peeking up my skirt as I climbed ladders; a feat I performed with great regularity when the weather permitted even if it irked old man Miller. “At least your backside is a might prettier to look at than most of those fat old men you work with in Washington.” I decided there was really no answer to that comment other than the blush I knew I must be showing from the heat I felt in my cheeks. Ginny was always outrageously flirtatious with me, in private of course. It brought back memories of college and…well never mind that. “Shall we go down and see what we can do for poor Alice and her little Eddy?” I asked into the awkward silence now between us. “He’s three month’s now, isn’t he? It will take some work, I suppose, but he should be weanable. Wanna help me whip up some mashed peas in the mess?” As the two of us turned to make our way below decks again, I noted something which would change all our lives forever. You must forgive me my naiveté at the time as it was the first sunset I’d ever viewed away from land. Isn’t the sunset supposed to be orange and then fade off? Why has it suddenly turned green? Is that a deep sea thing? /*/ I don’t know how to describe it, but the “feel” of the ship radically changed in just the half hour it took to attend to Alice and her little boy. Not only did the crew suddenly seem restless and men were scampering to and fro, calling out for us women to make way, but even the bulkheads of Pensacola herself seemed…anxious? Apprehensive? Excited? Eager? I couldn’t quite find the right word since the emotions often seemed to conflict with each other. And since when did cold steel feel alive? Just as we’d settled little Eddy down with some mashed peas in his tiny belly, an announcement came overhead. It was my husband’s voice. “All crew to your duty stations. Repeat, all crew to duty stations. Families, please remain in your berths until further notice.” A simple statement. To the point. Clearly not relevant to me. I hadn’t made it to the halls of government as a woman in this world by being well-behaved. Knowing Mildred wouldn’t lift a finger for her charges, I quickly did a circuit of the berths assigned to the families to ensure all was well…and that they knew to stay put. I placed Ginny in charge of ensuring everyone else behaved before turning to head topside to see what the fuss was about. As usual, sweet little Ginny managed to fire her own broadside at me before I could get away. She slipped an arm around my waist and kissed me on the cheek before whispering in my ear, “Be careful, you hear?” She then swatted me on the rear to launch me forward on my way. Damn that impertinent girl! /*/ Green The world was green. And not the verdant green of the California redwoods I love so much. No, this was the green of illness. A putrid, corrupt miasma. It didn’t exactly smell, but it managed to fill the nostrils nonetheless…not to mention everything else. The air felt thick. Moving through it felt like running your hands in thirty weight, leaving you feeling oily in its wake. Even though all objective evidence suggested there really was no resistance. And above all, the atmosphere of dread covered everything. The only thing that didn’t feel like death was… Well, the ship herself. Every time I touched a bulkhead I felt… Anticipation? Tossing the strange and confusing feelings aside, I ran back to the aft tripod mainmast. I knew the conning tower would be abuzz with activity, but the rearmost tower was almost deserted except for a warrant officer and some crew ready to sight for the rear turrets. During the cruise I’d used all my extensive skills of persuasion to win over the warrant and petty officers. Doug had told me before we left that it was they who really ran the ship. He and the other officers were just there to look pretty (and yes, my husband is quite attractive in that uniform of his!). The crew was all quite smitten with me by now. A shame none of them lived in my district. It was clear that they were anxious as they watched me climb up to the maintop, but they kept their silence. It may have helped that I seemed to be the most positive person around, even managing to smile encouragingly to each man individually as I made my way higher. I wondered why that was the case, that I could feel so confident. But as long as my hands were grasping the ship I felt, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, that somehow everything would turn out alright. The view has changed so much since this afternoon. True, the sun had set and night was fast approaching, but that was the least of the changes. Green mist was all that could be seen in any direction. All three ships had struck most of their lights, but from Pensacola I could still visualize the superstructure of Cassin and Downes sailing close by to each side – likely as close as was deemed nautically safe. But even those few lights came to my eyes as that putrid green of the air around me. Beyond those lights was…nothing. No, not nothing. Something. Maybe 30 degrees to starboard, as Doug would say. Ahead and to the right of us, on the Downes side. “What the Hell is that…” I muttered, I thought just to myself. “Not Hell, Captain,” a young female voice sounded near my left ear. “Desolation. You best get to the bridge, Ma’am. She's coming.” Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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