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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Last War: Chapter 39, Part 1

"Look at this ruddy mess!" exclaimed Vice Admiral Gus Waber.

The hulks of many Coalition ships were scattered throughout the water. The huge, bulky Leviathan would have to navigate through that?

"I'll tell you something," Waber said, turning to his commander, "With all the damage we do to the blooming coalies, it's a wonder nobody knows we're out here. You'd think every fisherman with a scow would've had to run through at least one coalie wreck."

"Yes, sir," agreed the commander.

Waber had begun to start thinking of his time aboard the Leviathan not as a glorious military adventure anymore, but as more of a cleanup operation. There was no doubt about Allied naval supremacy. But Waber had to keep things that way, otherwise coalie ships would start springing up like weeds. Killing a ship was no longer a cause for celebration, but now just a matter of course. Another day at the grind.

And sailing through the wrecks of those ships was even worse.

"I just wish something could come along to shake things up a little," said Waber suddenly to his commander, "It's starting to get boring."

Waber never would have thought he would have found himself griping about boredom on a ship 8 kms long. There were still kilometers of the ship he hadn't even seen yet. But he was bored.

It was a common lament.

"Here now, what's that?"

Waber looked up. The commander was pointing out away from the Leviathan to port. Waber looked. Where were they? The Pacific? If the ship was coming from that direction...

"Americans," said the commander.

Waber nodded.

"Allies. Well, I suppose we couldn't keep ourselves secret forever."

Waber ran to the bridge. He turned to the communications officer.

"There's an American ship off to port. A frigate. Try to raise her. We don't want her crashing into us. She probably hasn't noticed us yet."

The comm officer nodded and proceeded with his orders. Waber ran back to the deck with his commander.

"The Yanks sure look like they're aiming right at us," said the commander.

"We're trying to raise them right now," said Waber.

But the frigate was moving towards them rather quickly.

"Shit," muttered Waber under his breath, "Well, hail them. Yell out to them with a bullhorn if you have to."

The comm officer was there on deck, about to say something.

"Keep trying to raise them. I don't care if they don't answer!"

The comm officer shut his mouth and returned to his post.

"Sir, we can't take a hit from them. It would destroy them and probably give us a good knock."

Waber nodded.

"We'll just keep trying to get in touch with them. Didn't I tell someone to get a bullhorn?"

A junior officer grabbed a bullhorn as the admiral commanded and began trying to hail the frigate.

After a few minutes, the frigate was still steaming towards them, full speed. Waber shook his head.

The commander whispered in Waber's ear, "Sir, we can't move out of the way. We can't hail them. We have to destroy them."

"No!" yelled out the Australian admiral, "They're our allies. It would be a war crime. I won't have that on my head. If they crash, it's an accident. I'd rather we both be hurt than to destroy a ship full of innocent Americans."

The commander knew the futility of trying to argue the point with his leader that the Americans would die anyway, and this would avoid Australian deaths. He just shook his head and both he and Waber prepared for the inevitable.

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