Dipping, rolling, and listing; the ship plowed through the night time waves. The swell had picked up to four metres, and the barometre dropped quicker than the whores draws on half price night. Above, the heavy clouded night sky loomed black and menacing, so much so that the horizon was indefinable; ocean and sky melting into one. Wind began to lash the tops of waves, cresting white and beginning to blow.
A pipe ordering the ship to ‘close all upper screen doors and hatches. Ship entering inclement weather.’ was heard throughout. The XO seated himself more firmly, leaving the PO to wedge himself between bulkhead and the door frame of the XO’s cabin in the hope of remaining upright as the pitch and roll of the ship intensified.
“So, what did you land on PO?”
“A woman Sir, all though I couldn’t see her due to the pitch darkness of the hangar. I don’t think it was me landing on her that caused her to moan. I believe she died. My being there was coincidental at best regards her passing.”
“Dead? My God.” Whispered the XO, not expecting what he had just heard.
“As Good Friday Sir. She was one of many. The dead covered the entire deck within the hangar, I established later. All I could do at the time was vomit. The stench and reek of the bodies was penetrating. It stuck to everything, and entered every pore.” The PO stopped to collect himself, the memory enough to cause nausea. Continuing, he said. “I was stuck in there the entire night. The crew left the hangar well alone. It wasn’t until morning, with a smidgen of light coming from beneath the hangar door, that I was finally able to see enough to get myself to a forward hatch, and ease myself through. The smell of the dead remained on me, and I was worried that the odour would be enough to give me away. I still had not consumed any water, and was desperate for it.” The PO ceased talking, leaving the XO to ask, “and did you find any.
“Aye Sir, down one deck and aft. I guessed I was heading in the direction of the aft heads and showers, it proved to be a good guess. I stopped only long enough to drink; I was too exposed. Having consumed what felt like litres, I vomited again. Drank some more, and fled.”
“So where did you go from there,PO?”
“I located an outline of the vessels schematic near a Damage Control locker, and orientated myself as best I could. All I wanted to do was escape, but the ocean was big and empty, and the day was getting brighter, and brighter. I headed down further into her. My original idea was to get to the engine room, and render damage to as much of it as I could. However, once within, I thought it better to leave it until later that night, when the watch keepers were doing as little as possible. The idea was that if I caused upsets whilst both day hands and watch keeper’s were on deck, it would increase the likelihood of my capture. The best I could come up with was to hide and if not sleep, then at least rest. Which is what I did.”
“Where were you able to do that PO?”
“In the same DC station, hiding under bear and Drager suits. It worked well, and without interruption, even though I was crouched at the bottom of the locker.”
At that point, the phone attached to the XO’s cabin bulkhead rang. After a minute of muted conversation, the XO said. “I’m wanted on the bridge. Go back to the mess. I will ring you there when I am free.”
Click the PO’s crossed hook’s above. I have embedded the break away tune from one of the sleek grey messenger’s of death, I once served within.
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