20 April 2012
SCRYING IS BELIEVING
By Curtis C. Chen
"We're in hostile waters, less than a hundred miles from shore," I heard the Captain saying as I climbed up the ladder into the conning tower. "Anything goes wrong here and we're fucked."
He was talking to Lieutenant Markey. Roseler was already here, crowded into the tight space around the periscope. I wedged myself into a corner next to the Captain and COB.
"This will be a one-way scry," Markey said. She might actually have looked better in trousers than a skirt.
"And why does Rosebud have to do the spell?" COB asked.
"Seaman Roseler is doing the easy part," Markey said. "Because he doesn't have a focus object, I'll need to anchor the far end of the scrying tunnel."
COB did a double-take. "You're going to be his crystal ball?"
Markey sighed. "Captain? We can discuss the finer points of remote viewing instruments, or we can get this done."
"All right," the Captain said. "Carry on, Lieutenant."
I transcribed our coordinates and helped Roseler incorporate Markey's signature into his spell. A few minutes later, they were facing each other and holding hands, their eyes closed as Roseler incanted his scrying spell.
Next to me, the Captain muttered, "I'll be glad when we're done with all this black magic bullshit."
"Yes, sir," I said.
He glanced at me. "Your family have talent, Seaman?"
"Not that I'm aware of, sir." It was a lie.
"Thank fucking God," COB said, on my other side. "Give me science and engineering any day of the week."
"You know Markey wanted to go outside at first?" the Captain said. "Said she could make an air bubble. Wanted to climb out the forward escape trunk and, quote, 'have a look around.' "
"Crazy fucking dame," COB said.
I bit my tongue.
"Told her that was not going to happen," the Captain said. "I mean, something goes wrong, fucking air bubble pops, and my damn boat's flooding. We didn't come all this way to drown in—"
Roseler started screaming. It came suddenly, without even an intake of breath, and the sound was barely human. I dropped my clipboard and covered my ears.
"Get the doctor!" Markey shouted. Roseler was convulsing now. "Gray! Help me hold him down!"
The Captain leaned down the ladder and yelled for the doctor. I jumped across and grabbed Roseler's shoulders. His eyes had rolled back into his head. He was still screaming. His legs kicked around as Markey did her best to restrain them.
"What the hell's wrong with him?" COB asked.
"He made contact!" Markey said. "Dammit, Chief, you didn't tell me he was a reader!"
"A sensitive! Low-grade esper, possible clairvoyant!"
"How the fuck were we supposed to know?" COB said. "This is a Navy submarine, not a damn witches' coven—"
Markey stood up and whirled so fast, even the Chief flinched.
"You use that word again," she said, "and I will have your stripes. Understood, Chief?"
I could see COB barely holding back a sneer. "Understood, Lieutenant."
Image: down periscope by kosheahan, April, 2008