The newly promoted Commodore Carl Leonard ran as fast as he could to the bridge of his new command, a battleship called the Something. He unbuttoned the top button of his uncomfortable new uniform and flung himself into the command chair. When he had been a captain he had been content to walk around and give personal orders, and see things for himself. He felt a certain dignity came with being a commodore, however, and he wanted his sailors to feel the same way.
"Five Canadian frigates are coming this way, sir," said the comm officer.
"Just like them," Carl muttered under his breath, "Packs of small ships rather than one large ship. They're like wolves or...jackals."
Leonard touched the tips of all the fingers of his one hand to the tips of all the fingers of his other. This was his new method of deep thought, as opposed to his old one of scrunching up his face. It brought more dignity (and less stares from the crew).
"Helm, move to intercept them. Don't be to anxious though. Just ease towards them."
The Something slowly moved toward the enemy ships. Carl wondered briefly if they were beginning to catch on that the Mexicans had invaded. The Canadians had been growing more and more rambunctious and aggressive as of late. It was doubtful. The American government was keeping a tight lid on the whole thing. Right now they were on Lake Erie. The Canadians had been trying for quite a while to land on in Pennsylvania, most likely to move southeast from Erie and Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. The ongoing defense by the Americans which had been going on for months now had come to be known as the Battle of Lake Erie.
"They're very near, sir. Only three hundred yards and closing. They are not firing."
"So, they want to play chicken, do they? Ease the throttle forward just a nudge, helm."
The Something sped up just a tiny bit.
"Come on," Carl said to the Canadian ships as though they could hear, "Come on. You're not going to take me on, are you?"
The five frigates indeed scattered as the much larger battleship moved closer and closer. The American Navy had been moved to extreme measures since the beginning of The Last War, including recommissioning all of the obsolete, huge battleships. Every piece of machinery that could have hands laid on it had to be grabbed up.
"Weaps, disarm five torpedoes and fire one apiece at those canucks!"
"Did you say disarm, sir?" the grizzled old weapons officer asked incredulously.
"I did, son, now please do it."
The weapons officer gave Carl a queer look. He was at least twice the commodore's age. With a shrug he carried out the orders. The five frigates began to turn away and take evasive maneuvers as the torpedoes launched towards them. When one of the torpedoes banged into the hull of one of the frigates with a clank, but did not explode, the frigates stopped scattering.
"Weaps, fire another salvo of disarmed ones."
Five metallic bangs that could be heard all the way in the battleship rung out. The frigates were turning to face the Something. Cannon turrets were beginning to swivel.
"Sir, they're aiming guns at us!" yelled out the agitated comm officer.
"Don't move an inch! Weaps, one more salvo of duds!"
The bridge crew was growing fidgety, and they all seemed disappointed when another five bangs rang out, even though they all knew it would happen.
"We're taking damage. They're firing all forward guns at us."
"And," Leonard said with a smile, "They think that none of our torpedoes are working. Weaps, please fire another five torpedoes, but this time make them live."
"With pleasure, sir."
Carl smiled devilishly as the last five torpedoes were born out of the womb of the Something. The Canadian ships were not moving an inch. One torpedo detonated, blowing up the five duds which were already in the area. The frigate in that area was destroyed as it frantically ran into the first dud which had been fired. Realizing their mistake, the remaining four frigates tried to run for it, but the water was a veritable mine field the next instant. Three frigates were sunk instantly. The last had a huge hole in it's side, and began to roll over as it took on water. It slowly sunk.
"That, ladies and gentleman, is how you play chicken," Commodore Leonard said loudly.
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
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."
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