04 May 2012
UNDER THE SEA
By Curtis C. Chen
Nearly a dozen wary eyes turned to Lieutenant Markey as she entered the submarine's control room. Most of them turned away almost immediately.
"Two knots, Captain," the helmsman reported.
"Very well," the captain said. He turned to Markey. "What are those torpedoes going to do to these kraken?"
"We're not shooting torpedoes at those things," Markey said. "We need to get the hell out of here, right now."
"Oh, we're moving," the captain said. "But we did not sneak ourselves into the goddamn lion's den just to have a look around. We're here, we're going to do some fucking damage before we leave."
"Aft tubes loaded, Captain!" the weapons officer shouted from behind me.
"Stop!" Markey said. "Our intel was bad. Those are not kraken out there. They're Elder Things. Two of them."
"I don't care what kind of fucking sea monsters they are," the captain said. "I just want to know what's going to happen when we wake them up."
Markey stepped closer to the captain, glaring at him. "I don't know what will happen, Captain. But it's going to be at least a thousand times worse than what happened to Roseler."
"I don't care," the captain said, "as long as it happens to the fucking Japs and not us. Now how far away do we need to be when we shoot off those fish?"
"These Things are not just monsters!" Markey said. "They are the worst monsters ever. They are beyond imagination. Do you understand? Cults have worshipped them as deities. Old Gods. If they wake up, it could be the end of the world!"
The XO grunted. "You just said you didn't know what would happen. Now you're saying it's the end of the world. Which is it, Lieutenant?"
Markey replied without breaking off her staring contest with the captain. "The specifics are classified and somewhat technical. We don't know exactly how bad it would get. But I'm not authorized to take that chance. And neither are you, Captain Channing, sir."
"Then you get authorization," the captain said. "Use a comm spell to contact your superiors."
"I can't," Markey said. "We're too deep. Too much water, too much iron." She tapped a pipe above her head for emphasis.
"Goddammit, teleport back and ask in person!"
Markey laughed. "Captain, I have nowhere near enough power to initiate a teleport, even if we were surfaced. I don't go home unless we make our rendezvous in two days."
"Eighty-five hundred yards, captain," the helmsman said.
"Eighty-five hundred, aye," the captain repeated. "Weapons, flood aft torpedo tubes."
"Aye, sir, flooding aft tubes!" the weapons officer called.
"Captain!" Markey said.
"COB, get those orders from OP-20-G and bring them in here," the captain said.
"Aye, sir." The Chief turned and maneuvered his way forward.
"Markey, in seven minutes we're out of range and we don't get another chance at this." The captain spoke softly but firmly. "So we're both going to take another look at those orders and see precisely what the fuck we're authorized to do."
Image: monster sea battle by Johnson Cameraface, December, 2011