Ninjapacman Posted November 3, 2016 Report Share Posted November 3, 2016 This is the first chapter of my new story, An Enterprising Captain. Give me as much feedback as you can, please. I want to hear all the negatives you can think of to criticize me on. Captain Samuel Truxton stared up at the starry night sky as he laid in his hammock on the flying bridge. He reached his hand up as if to grasp the Constellations shining in the heavens. The pleasant imagery was shattered by the voice of his Officer of the Deck. "What are you doing, Captain? Is there a fly in your view?" Samuel ignored the question. "What do you think is up there, Tommy? Don't you ever want to search the stars and find out?" Not amused, the seasoned sailor blandly replied, "Between all them twinkling lights is nothing, Sam. That's why they call it space. It's empty." Samuel lazily turned his head to look at Thomas in his watch duty. "Come on, try to imagine a little," He said, encouraging his comrade. Thomas shrugged and responded once more in a bored tone, "I'm not the wonderin' type of guy. I leave all that hooey ta you." Samuel sighed and gave his companion a disappointed frown. On a calm night with so many stars, the sea around them was clear for miles, and Thomas gazed perpetually into the distance. Sam stood up from his hammock and took a look around his ship from his vantage point on top of the conning tower. The deck was almost empty. The sailors that were out were either on duty, or loitering to give those on duty some company. Sitting atop of the number 2 turret at the bow of the ship was a now familiar young lady. Her dark, curly hair waved in the light ocean breeze. She wore an old US Navy Lieutenant's uniform, with a blue coat and twinkling gold buttons. At her hip was a unique ceremonial saber. Her name was USS Sterett, second to last of the Benham class destroyers. She stared solemnly ahead, watching the open ocean with vigilant eyes. Samuel asked, "How long has it been, Tommy?" Another bored reply came almost instantly. "About two hours, sir. You'd know that if you paid attention to the bells." Samuel grunted in what was barely a laugh, "I know how long you've been on watch tonight. I was asking how long we've had her with us." "Oh, that." Thomas said with realization. "I'd say 'bout three years now." Samuel thought about it for a second, trying to recall the years in his head. "That's what I thought, but it seems like so much longer. I almost can't remember what life was like on this ship without her." Thomas responded quickly, a slight smile touching the corner of his lips for the first time since the night watch started, "Well for one, we couldn't fight battleships back then." Samuel couldn't deny that. Even though they were on a mere destroyer, the power of the "Belle", as she called herself, was spectacular. Since Sterett appeared, their five-inch guns could penetrate the thickest battleship armor, and their thin side plates could stop a regular Sixteen-inch shell. Unfortunately, they didn't fight anything that fired regular shells. The job of the USS Sterett was solely to hunt Morganas. Those unholy demons that had appeared in 1939 disrupted the entire world's shipping lanes and shredded even the most powerful warships with ease. Their weapons were nothing short of devastating, and their armor was nigh impenetrable. The only ships that could fight them were ships that had manifested belles of their own, such as Sterett. Samuel patted Thomas on the back reassuringly then softly chuckled. "I hope you can keep yourself occupied for the next two hours." Thomas grunted in affirmation and returned to looking through his binoculars. With that, Samuel climbed calmly down the compact ladder to the bridge wings. About level with the top of the number 2 turret, he called out to the girl sitting on it, "How long has it been?" She responded deftly, "About two hours. Haven't you been paying attention to the bells?" Samuel couldn't stop himself from laughing. Sterett turned around and gave him a slight grin. She pondered for a moment and then spoke once more. "Well, it's been almost three years. I've been with you since December 1939." Samuel leaned against the railing and let out a soft breath. "It feels like so much longer," he said. She shook her head. "Don't be so dramatic. You simply feel that our battles together have drawn us close. There are no bonds stronger than those forged under fire." Samuel laughed warmly and responded, "Now you're being the dramatic one." He paused for a second, unsure if he should ask, afraid of the possible answer. Finally, he said, "Do you think you'll ever leave us?" She seemed a bit shocked at the question, almost pulling back. She opened her mouth to answer, then tensed up, her eyes suddenly darting to the northwest. Realizing what that meant, Samuel ran into the bridge. "Sound general quarters!" he ordered. He didn't have to stick around to know the bridge crew would follow through. Sam ran back out and climbed up to the flying bridge, where Thomas was searching the western horizon with his binoculars. Before Samuel could speak, Thomas gave an annoyed grunt, then spoke with a similarly annoyed tone "She always finds them too far out now. I remember back when we saw them 'fore she did." Samuel smiled, content with the answer to the question he didn't have to ask. At that moment, the ship came alive with loud bells signaling the action stations alarm. The bells rang out with fervor, punctuated by the call of: "This is not a drill! This is not a drill! General Quarters! General Quarters! All hands, man your battle stations!" The ship exploded into action. The empty decks were suddenly full of sailors rushing to their posts, all ready for action. Samuel looked down once more at Sterett. She was now standing on top of the number 2 turret, facing west with her sword at the ready. Thomas suddenly stopped and called out, "I see her!" Checking his gyro, he continued, "Bearing 264! She's sailing north!" Samuel grinned once more at the impressive eyes of his friend and said, "Thanks, Tommy!" He then rushed down to the bridge to find his XO, who hadn't even bothered to put on his uniform before running to the bridge. Despite his obvious haste, the man looked quite alert and ready for someone who had just been so suddenly awoken. "We're already plotting an intercept, sir," Said the XO without looking up from his map. Sam almost found himself laughing as he replied "Thanks, Jack!" He was running out of work. At this rate the ship would start to run itself. Oh wait, he thought, I suppose it already does! He looked out the bridge windows at Sterett, standing valiantly on top of the gun turret. She wasn't the type of girl to relegate herself to the bridge in a battle. A report came in from the radar room. They'd established radar contact with the enemy. They were at 32000 yards and closing quickly. Samuel ordered flank speed to close to the target and engage. He felt the wind pressure increase as the 3 Babcock and Wilcox boilers produced maximum steam. With her improved boilers, Sterett was able to make an impressive 40 knots. Sam stepped out onto the bridge wings and shouted to Sterett, "Do they know we're here yet?" She shook her head in response. If they were lucky, they might be able to get the enemy with no casualties in return. As the distance decreased, the tension rose. He ordered preparation for general attack. The anticipation was nearly unbearable as the ships inched closer. Then, Samuel got a report on the enemy position from the radar room. They had reached 15000 yards, maximum torpedo range for their Mk 15 torpedoes. Samuel looked once more at Sterett, and she responded again by shaking her head. At 10000 yards Samuel ordered, "The target is 45 degrees to starboard, sailing towards us. Adjust firing angles." When he received the affirmative report from the starboard torpedo crew, Sam said, "Rudder hard left! Ready torpedoes, Fire!" Four fish slid into the water at 3 second intervals. Once the last had been released, Samuel ordered, "All guns, prepare to fire!" USS Sterett made its full turn and began to pull away from the enemy as the crew held their breath, waiting for confirmation of their success. They seemed to wait for an eternity. After a full 7 minutes, they saw a bright flash off the port bow, and Thomas called out from his position above the bridge. "We got 'em!" The crew felt a rush of excitement, and simultaneously released the breath they didn't realize they were holding. A second later, a scream pierced the night, and shot splashes leaped out of the water several hundred yards away. Excited, Samuel shouted, "Fire!" Almost simultaneously, the four 5" guns on Sterett barked their reply. The bright flash of the naval rifles illuminated the ship for a split second. Sterett's coat whipped out behind her with the gun blast from the turret she stood atop. Samuel's bones vibrated from the shock of the guns, and these were comparatively small for naval cannons. Within a couple seconds, they fired once more. A couple more shot splashes landed a safe distance from Sterett. After the belle fired another three salvos, a call came down from the lookout tower "They're goin' down!" Samuel gave the order to cease fire, then said, "Hard right rudder! Make for the enemy position!" Hopefully this time they could catch some pieces of one. It would prove invaluable to fighting them in the future. Sterett jumped off the gun turret and walked up to the bridge. "Do you think we can get her this time?" Sam asked excitedly. Sterett replied, "She's going down quickly, I don't think we'll get there in time." "Then make the best speed you can!" Sam said as he scrambled up to the flying bridge to get a better view. Sterett calmly followed him up. "You know I'm already pushing my boilers as hard as possible." It was true, their foaming wake was proof of the fact that they were making a blistering 41 knots. Anxious, Samuel swiped Thomas' binoculars, with a stymied objection from the latter. Looking through them, he found the sinking enemy destroyer. She had rolled onto her side, her superstructure already half submerged. Sterett was right, it wouldn't be long before she went down completely. Upon closer inspection, she appeared incomplete. There were the smoking holes and torn misshapen metal from 5" shell hits; But more than that there were parts missing, little cracks in the framework, exposing machinery like a skeleton. Some parts looked altogether wrong, as if they were from a different ship. Samuel could think of no better word to describe her than "Corruption". Sam stared on with a morbid fascination. Before her bow was engulfed by the waves, he no longer needed his binoculars. The sinking ship was surprisingly stubborn, taking a long time to go down. When they reached 1000 yds, he could see thin sinews of oil spreading from the wreck. It added an ominous hue to the already dark water. Samuel called, "Engines to one-third power." As Sterett slowed, he shouted, unable to hold back his excitement; "Get that salvage crew in the water! I want as many pieces of her as we can get!" One of her motorboats was quickly lowered into the murky waves, full of salvage crew and equipment. Sterett pulled out to a safe distance and began slowly circling the wreck, guns trained on it, just in case they were needed. Samuel watched with unbridled anticipation as the small salvage boat sped towards the dead Morgana. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Andrew Pollock stepped onto the motorboat with elation. He had skipped out on a career at MIT to join the navy when the Morganas attacked. It was paying off in spades. He had a rare chance to see the insides of the demon Morganas that mysteriously plagued the seas. The small craft rocked in the waves produced by its parent ship, and oily water sloshed into it. Seizing the opportunity, Andrew immediately took one of the collection jars they had brought with them for smaller artifacts and used it to scoop as much oil as he could. Grinning with satisfaction, he put the jar down as the boat started to move. The vessel cut through the oily black water, quickly approaching the dying Morgana. When they got within 200 meters, they started seeing small bits of debris floating away from the sinking ship. Andrew eagerly plucked a piece of some unidentifiable material from the water. It was a fragment of the Morgana's hull. These rare pieces would be invaluable for researching the Morganas if they could get them back to base. Soon, the debris got too thick, and the boat was forced to slow down to navigate it. Andrew stared at the bits of wreckage with great interest. Suddenly, something caught his eye. There was an small red top hat with a flower in the brim floating in the water. As they passed, Andrew reached his hand out. If he didn't know better, he'd say the hat wanted him to pick it up. It seemed to be calling to him. He took hold of the brim, and felt a hand on his shoulder. He heard the gruff voice of the damage control chief, barely holding back laughter, "Funny as it is, we're on a salvage operation. Don't get carried away shopping for the latest fashions!" He turned around to face the rest of the salvage crew, then looked back at the water, but he couldn't see the hat. Then he realized where it was. He immediately removed the fashionable red hat from his head, so quickly that he nearly threw it away. When did he put it on? Blood rushed to his face as he turned a color to match the hat. At this, the team could no longer hold themselves back, and the boat broke into uproarious laughter. The cheerful guffaws seemed out of place among the morbid scenery of the wreckage. He unceremoniously stuffed the headpiece into one of the bags the team had brought with them, trying to play it off as smoothly as possible, but this just made the crew laugh harder. Their laughing stopped quickly when the groan of bending metal pierced the night. The DC chief spoke softly; "We're running out of time." Andrew quickly recovered himself and said, "Let's get on that ship before it sinks!" The salvage crew nodded in unison, and the small craft took off once more, closing the distance with the hulking mass of damaged metal. Pulling in close, they threw grapple lines, which caught fast onto the jagged pieces of the hull. Once they'd secured the grapple lines, the team started moving quickly into the Morgana Hull. Their footsteps on the thin metal hull echoed eerily across the open water. Andrew walked with caution, trying to avoid stepping on the odd non-metal parts of the Morgana. As far as they knew, those pieces were horribly unstable, falling to dust from even small vibrations. Without going too far on the hull, they stopped and set up their equipment. Andrew picked up his welding torch, and started cutting a piece from one of the unusual cracks that ran through the hull. Once he secured a piece of the unidentified Morgana material, he put it in a padded, protected container. Just as he was about to start on the next piece, the ship shook violently. Metal screamed as one of the cracks widened, splitting the sinking hull in two! Andrew picked up the box containing the hull fragment, and ran back towards their small boat. The hull groaned under each of his footsteps. Andrew was almost at the boat, but the angle of the sinking ship was increasing fast. He focused on the boat. If he made it there, the crew could leave and get safely back to the Sterett. Suddenly, the hull under him gave way! He realized his mistake too late. Andrew had been so focused on the boat that he didn't watch his footing, and he had stepped on a patch of the unidentified material. He felt suspended, and time seemed to slow down as he fell into the blackness of the Morgana hull. Was this its way of getting revenge? But the darkness rising to meet him stopped abruptly. He looked up, and saw the large hand of the DC chief holding his arm, pulling him up to safety. Andrew released the breath he didn't know he'd been holding, and his heart seemed to start beating again. Not only that, but he had managed to keep his grip on the important box. The DC chief pulled him onto the small boat, which was nearly being pulled out of the water by the rising bow of the sinking vessel. They cut the grapple lines, and the salvage boat splashed back down into the murky sea. The engine revved, and the boat pulled away. Andrew sighed with relief as they managed to get out of range of the whirlpool that formed on the sinking vessel, dragging everything nearby down with it. A searchlight beam cut through the night, seeking out the salvage crew. The motorboat turned towards it, making good speed. As the USS Sterett sailed into view, elation finally hit Andrew. He had just managed to get a major breakthrough on the composition of the enemy ships. This could be crucial for shortening the seemingly endless war with the Morgana! The young engineering chief had never felt so excited in his life. Chapter 2: http://academagia.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=3423&p=51969 Chapter 3: http://academagia.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/3423-an-enterprising-captain/&do=findComment&comment=59333 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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