Topic: Sub: Ep 9/10
Joined Tue 09/06/11
As the USS Virginia left Midway, Captain Wilma Harris glanced at her reliable number two.
“What did Admiral Kimmel say to you?”
“He queried my missile command mam. Though I managed to say that I was only bluffing.”
“You know Vanderhofen; you will make a damn good submarine captain.”
“Thank you mam.”
“Come on then, let’s take her down.”
As the sub vanished once more, the global temperature was about to rise quite sharply.
The USS Arizona was a simple hunter killer and as it approached the Mariana Trench, the captain was a very worried man. At its deepest, it was 36, 198 feet. Well below any crush depth, that ingenious man could yet construct.
“Depth fifteen K sir.”
“Thanks helm. Sonar. Time to play with your new toy.”
The Arizona had just been fitted with the latest in sonar technology. This sub could ping any target whilst remaining undetected.
“What’s down there?” the captain asked.
The operator gave him a rather puzzled look.
“I really don’t know sir.”
“What do you mean by you don’t know?”
“Whatever it is sir it’s metallic and about fifty feet long.”
“Down here sir. That is quite impossible.”
“My scope is telling me otherwise.”
The curious captain wandered over and gazed at the screen. Upon it, he saw the curious object for himself.
“Nothing can be sitting on the ocean bed here.”
“I know sir.”
“Helm down twenty K. We’ll damn well take a closer look.”
As the bow dipped, the submarine surged forward toward the waiting trench.
“It’s still there sir.”
“It’s damn peculiar. Anything else?”
“Just the odd fish sir.”
“Perhaps a wreck?” his number two suggested.
The captain scowled.
“Nothing has ever been lost here sir.”
Bring us around again and please double check.”
As the vessel came around for a second pass, a ray struck the bow.
“What was that?” the captain asked.
“No idea sir,” sonar replied.
The helmsman suddenly reported.
“Hull temperature at twenty degrees and rising sir.”
“Now I know that’s impossible.”
“Hull temperature at forty degrees and rising.”
“Take us back to fifteen K,” the captain ordered.
A second ray struck the four screws and as it hit, the spinning turbine shaft shattered. As the boat rocked violently, the electrical systems suddenly shorted.
“What the hell hit us?”
“All systems out sir,” the helmsman reported.
The bow dipped sharply as it dived out of control.
“We are losing her sir.”
As the angle became more extreme, the terrified crew hung on for dear life.
“Can we get a message out?” the captain asked.
“All power for the emergency buoy gone sir.”
The helmsman cried out, “Depth twenty K.”
“That’s nearly crush depth,” the captain whispered.
The hull began to creak as the plummet continued. At a depth of twenty-one K, the pressure hull cracked.
As the ocean rushed in, attempts to close bulkheads failed completely. As the water rose above his head, the captain prayed for a miracle that never came.
The USS Virginia was cruising steadily at ten K when the calm communications officer said, “Flash message from Pacific Command mam.”
“Read it out and skip the preamble.”
“To all forces...Today at twenty one hours Zulu, the USS Arizona disappeared whilst engaged upon a Dept of Defence mission. This is to be regarded as a war warning. Signed Admiral Kimmel USN.”
The senior officers glanced at each other.
“It seems sir that the world is about to go mad.”
She took the com and said, “Engineers.”
She glanced at her number two.
“Check out the birds Murray. We may have to use them.”
Within the reactor room, the astonished engineer groaned deeply.
“Come on you lot. Follow me.”
When they entered the missile room, they started checking the intricate launch circuitry.
At the UN, tempers were starting to flare. The US envoy was reaching the end of his report.
“The tragic loss of the Arizona was entirely due to hostile acts of the Russian Federation.”
The annoyed Russian spat back.
“Mr Chancey is well aware that we have no submarines in that area. If his government does not reduce its alert status my government will feel obliged to respond.”
The US envoy thumped his table hard.
“Go ahead sir. We are indeed ready and waiting.”
His opposite number stood and marched his delegation out of that now seething cauldron.
The USS Eisenhower was the latest in aircraft carriers. Capable of holding twenty fighter-bombers, it was patrolling the eastern Mediterranean whilst watching the skies.
“Anything on radar?” the captain asked.
“The planes report no contact sir.”
“I just hope it stays that way.”
As the fighter cover took up defensive positions, four Mig’s appeared upon the scope.
“We have four hostiles approaching sir.”
The captain responded at once.
“All hands to action stations.”
As the klaxon sounded, a volley of missiles left the approaching warplanes.
“Missiles inbound sir.”
“Where are the fighters?”
“Engaging now captain.”
Seconds later the missiles struck home. As explosions ripped the hull apart, the carrier began to list to port.
“Abandon ship,” the captain called as the raging fires took a firm hold.
Aboard the sub, the com officer interrupted.
“Incoming coded message mam.”
Wilma took it slowly.
“I’ll decode this in my cabin number two.”
When she entered the berth, Wilma opened the safe and removed the codebook. After five minutes, she read the urgent alarm.
‘Proceed to Mariana Trench with due speed. Locate and destroy the enemy submarine. You have nuclear consent.”
Wilma closed her eyes and threw the paper onto the bunk.
When she reached the command area, she said quietly, “Make speed to the Mariana Trench helmsman.”
She then took Vanderhofen to one side.
“We have been ordered to destroy the enemy sir. I have nuclear consent.”
“That is not good news at all mam.”
“I tend to agree with you. We have to do this without setting the world alight.”
As the vessel approached she ordered, “Take us to twenty five K.”
The vessel ploughed on as sonar started to report.
“Scope clear mam.”
“Nothing at all?”
“Hold it a second. Picking up a debris field mam.”
“That must be the Arizona,” Vanderhofen whispered.
“Okay helm bring us around, and go to twenty eight K.”
“That is one above crush depth,” Vanderhofen warned.
“That is why I’m worried. We really have to take a closer look.”
As the sub began the turn the communications officer received another message.
“Not now,” the captain said.
“It’s marked D2 mam.”
The officers glanced at each other.
“That is Defcon 2,” Wilma whispered. “One below the launch command.”
“That means we are at war mam,” Vanderhofen said quietly.
“Your guess is as good as mine mam.”
“Anything on sonar?”
“I seem to be picking up an object mam. Roughly fifty foot long upon the trench floor.”
“Is it metallic?” Vanderhofen asked.
“It sure sounds like it.”
Wilma took a decision.
“Ping her twice.”
As the ping test went out the officer listened intently.
“No response mam.”
The sub moved over the mystery object without incident.
“Take us up twenty K helmsman and do another sweep.”
“Still considering the options?” Vanderhofen asked.
“Certainly am. Whatever is down there may be far more powerful than us.”
The sub suddenly rocked as a beam struck the hull. The helm called out, “Hull temperature twenty degrees and rising.”
Wilma glanced at the helm.
“Get us out of here. Bow planes forty.”
The bow rose as three beams struck hard and fast. The submarine rocked violently.
As the rocking slowly subsided she barked, “All hands damage report.”
As they came in, she realised that they had been lucky.
“What’s the hull temperature?” Vanderhofen asked.
“Back to normal sir.”
The sub rose rapidly until another beam struck the four screws. As they splintered violently, the drive shaft snapped.
“We have major damage captain,” the engineer reported.
“I reckon we have had it.”
“Helm?” Vanderhofen asked.
“Control gone sir.”
As the bow dipped, the captain took a last, desperate gamble.
“Cut the reactor Murray and switch to batteries.”
“What’s the plan?” Vanderhofen asked.
“Let’s try gliding for a change.”
“Helmsman, make for the trench shelf.”
“I’ll try mam.”
As he fought the useless controls, the bow plunged deeper.
“All hands brace for impact.”
At the last moment, the bow lifted and struck the shelf square on. As it slid along the rock-strewn shelf, the stern crashed down hard.
“I think we made it,” Wilma said with some relief.
The com buzzed and she took it.
“Sorry mam. The turbine hall is flooding. We have sealed it off.”
Wilma stepped away.
“That means regardless of what we do now, we will never get off this shelf.”
Vanderhofen glanced at the depth gauge.
“We are at twenty eight nine hundred mam. Just a little above crush depth.”
She looked at him grimly.
“Now we are in trouble.”
She thought for a moment.
“Cut all power.”
As the sub fell into an eerie darkness, the hull began to creak alarmingly. To be continued...
Edited by tudoravenger on Sun 05/20/12 01:56 PM