"You bastard," Lauritz whispered under his breath, "Fire another salvo!"
A fusillade of torpedoes streaked through the water in a predatory arc towards Joniec's ship. Only a few hit the mark. Others veered into other Eastern ships, causing damage that Lauritz did not care about.
"Turn off the heat seekers on all torpedoes!" Yost demanded.
"But sir, without a tracking system they'll never hit."
"With a tracking system they'll keep hitting other ships. Take off the heat seekers and aim right at Joniec. Ram a few down right down his throat."
"We need help. Send out a distress signal to every friendly navy ship you can reach," said General Bruno Olensheim.
"It's already been done sir. Unless we can hold off the Easterners for quite a while it shouldn't do any good."
"Scheisse," the German said.
"One transport sunk."
"Only one?" screamed Joniec.
"They're big suckers, sir," the Bulgarian said as though Joniec should have known that, which he should have, "Thirteen destroyers sunk, seven battleships sunk, eight frigates..."
Joniec wasn't listening. They were sinking all the defenders, but none of what was being defended. What good was it to have sunk armed ships if the troops still got through?
Captain Yost Lauritz tapped his fingers anxiously against his side. He was growing very agitated.
“I can’t take this any more. Get me a line to Joniec’s sub.”
The communications officer handed Yost the radio transmitter. He clicked it on and spoke into it.
“This is the Norwegian submarine Olaf V to First Admiral Johann Joniec. Do you hear me Joniec? I’ve come here to face you, and I’m tired of sitting here. Answer me!”
The radio crackled slightly.
“Who is this?” came the Ukrainian’s voice in poor Norwegian.
"You have to evacuate, sir."
"There's still time," Olensheim said, "I'll wait for the last troops."
"We can't save any more, sir. Once this ship goes under it's going to make a tiny little whirlpool that's going to suck every lifeboat within a kilometer down with it. You've got no more time."
Olensheim stepped reluctantly onto the lifeboat and it rowed away just as the transport ship was sucked under the waves with many hundreds of troops still trapped inside.
“Captain Yost Lauritz!” the Norwegian said.
Joniec looked around at his crew. Most of them shrugged. Some didn’t do anything at all.
“I’ve never heard of you before, Lauritz. You’ve got a vendetta against me? Why?”
“Do you remember a ship called the Hakon from your days as a lowly captain?”
Joniec smiled as the memory dawned on him.
“You fished up quite a haul of gold, as I recall.”
“It was taken illegally. I’ve got nothing against a fair fight, but you...”
“Oh, spare me, captain!” Joniec cut off the Norwegian sharply, “We had a slight gold shortage in the Eastern Bloc at the time. We were on the road to war. When you are preparing to take over the world certain unsavory things have to be done.”
“Like killing innocents?”
“I’m going to kill you, Joniec.”
“Fine,” the Ukrainian replied, “Then come and kill me. I’ll be ready for you.”
Joniec made a slicing motion across his neck with his finger, and the transmission was immediately stopped by one of the crewmen.
“Turn the sub. Point us toward that Norwegian one. Full speed ahead.”
“They’re coming towards us, captain,” the young sailor said anxiously, “What should we do?”
“Match them knot for knot. Head straight towards them.”
“That’s insane! Or foolhardy."
"Do it. Leave if you want. Only an old fool like me deserves to be foolhardy."
The sailor nodded. He laid in a course for Joniec's submarine.
With a resounding plunk and a splash, another German frigate went to Davy Jones' locker. Olensheim was dismayed.
"I hope the admirals can handle this. An old grunt like me shouldn't even be out on the water."
A chill wind was blowing through the air. Olensheim's lifeboat was continuing to rock and buck towards a safer troop transport.
"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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