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Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Last War: Chapter 49, Part 1

Captain Carl Leonard pinched his face into a bizarre countenance. He was deep in thought, and his musculature had a tendency to show how deep his thinking was by a directly proportional amount of facial distortion.

"What could it have crashed into?" he muttered under his breath.

He had long since gotten over mourning the dead Americans on the frigate. He was now completely convinced the Coalition had taken over the frigate. But why crash it? And what had they crashed it into? An island? Another ship?

Carl laughed out loud at the thought. No ship was that big...was it? Now he began to seriously question what two decades of naval doctrine had drilled into him.

"You can’t have a ship that big!" he exclaimed, oblivious to the stares he was getting from the junior officers and sailors around him, "It's just impossible."

He began to rub his chin, and fell into thoughts again. Was it possible? He began to pace the bridge. He had to find out. But how?

"Send out some boats and divers. See if you can recover any survivors from that frigate. I think...I think they'll be Mongolian," he said to his commander.

He continued pacing once again. Leonard stopped pacing at the communication station. He picked up the transmitter and put it to his mouth.

"Wide band, all frequencies," he said to the comm officer, who obliged with a nod.

The captain pressed the transmit button and considered momentarily what he would say.

"This is Captain Carl Leonard," he said finally, "Of the U.S.S. Farragut. I am transmitting this message to which may have been damaged when a U.S. frigate recently crashed. We are here to offer our assistance if it is needed."

Carl released the transmit button. If anyone responded he would at least know what had happened. As far as he could tell it had rammed into a wall or an island. But there weren't any landmasses within hundreds of knots of their position. So what could it have been?

The radio suddenly crackled to life and, if it hadn't been for many years of naval training for a certain dignity and cosmopolite manner, Carl would've jumped.

"Farragut, this is the Australian vessel Leviathan. Do you read?"

"That's an affirmative, Leviathan, we read you," said excitedly, then to his crew, "Find where they are."

"Oh, thank God. I was about ready to start evacuating," Carl could hear the man's thick Australian intonation, "But if you can give us a hand with repairs, we may not need to. Over."

"Captain Leonard, we can't find them on anything. I think our scopes are malfunctioning. Radar, sonar, infrared - I'm getting nothing."

Carl nodded.

"We read you, Leviathan, but we can't find you. We think our equipment may be malfunctioning. Can you transmit us your exact coordinates?"

The other seemed to be laughing.

"Negative, captain, your scopes aren't blinking. We're right in front of you. We'll send off a signal flare so you don't crash into us."

Leonard looked around urgently.

"Well?" he demanded of the scanner officer.

"I'm sorry, sir, the only thing we get is this massive sort of blob. Too big to be a ship. It might be an uncharted island, or an iceberg - although that seems unlikely in the south Pacific."

"Well, check for their flare," said Leonard growing very irritated.

"There, sir," called someone.

Carl looked to where they were pointing. A signal was going up from what appeared to be a solid gray wall.

"Holy God," muttered Leonard.

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