Phorcys Rising [IC]
Captain William Bruce looked out from the viewing deck of the C.R.S. Minton’s sail, and drank in the sight of the calm, aquamarine water that shimmered in the dawn sunlight. There was an ethereal stillness that hung in the cool morning air that seemed to subdue the sound of the massive warship cutting through the water, and Captain Bruce reveled in this moment. It was a moment of utter balance and calm; an island of peace in a world now rife with chaos. Since he had become a captain, he had never once allowed another soul to be present with him during this time of almost religious reverie. He was a god, a god of war, and he was perched upon the instrument of his wrath, and he did not share in such an experience lightly.
Taking a deep breath of sea air, Captain Bruce turned his gaze aft. Beyond the menacing arc of the Minton’s hull, her sister ship, the C.R.S. Phorcys was cutting gracefully through her wake. Looking at the ship from across its bow, it reminded Bruce of some monstrous demon of the sea, bristling with pillars of destruction that belied its organic beauty. A slight smile crept across the handsome old captain’s face. If the Fri Imperium was unlucky enough to cross paths with these two sharks of hell, they would taste Carodie’s vengeance and reel at its ferocity, of that Captain Bruce was sure.
Willing the thought from his mind, Captain Bruce looked up to the coastline of Carodie. The Minton and Phorcys were set on a parallel tack to the coast, and the two vessels were plotted to follow their homeland all the way to the waters surrounding Otterden where they would link up with the cargo submarines that would complete the small fleet. However, they could not steam on the surface the whole way, and Captain Bruce studied the coastline until he made out a prominent rock outcropping. On land the rock formation looked only like a haphazard cluster of boulders shaped by nature’s chaotic hand, but out at sea the rocks formed the abstract figure of a woman reaching longingly towards the sky. Sailors called the rock formation Maiden’s Lament, and to many Carodie fisherman it was a symbol that home was not far away. To Captain Bruce it meant that the most important mission of his life was about to truly begin.
Taking in a last long taste of sea air, Captain Bruce made his way to the single hatch in the center of the viewing deck, and made his way down the ladder. He paused just beneath the hatch opening, reaching up to bring the circular door closed above him, and securing it with several long twists of the locking wheel. The latch secure, Captain Bruce finished his descent until he was standing on the Surface Command Deck. Looking out of the viewports that surrounded the deck was Commander Josh Huck, Bruce’ XO, and Lieutenant Elle Fleming, the Minton’s Dive Officer. The two officers had been experiencing similar moments of blanketing calm as their captain, and they had not heard him descend the ladder. Both men finally looked to their captain as his feet clanged upon the metal floor, their faces masks of stoic excitement. Captain Bruce glanced back and forth between the two men several times before speaking.
The two men immediately moved towards the descent ladder hatch and began their descent into the bowels of the Minton. Captain Bruce followed, securing the hatches behind him as he went until he stood in the bridge. The deck was small, dark, and filled with men and women that were clustered around gauges and controls of all manner and intent. Directly behind the seated helmsman was the large octagonal control pit where the periscope would descend, and more importantly the Officer on Deck would issue his commands. Captain Bruce made his way to this pit and gripped the railing directly behind the sailor that was manning the dive controls. With a voice clear and firm, but not loud, Captain Bruce began to relay his order, and the activity within the Minton became electric.
“Dive Officer, rig for dive.”
Immediately, Lieutenant Fleming began barking out orders:
“Chief of the Boat, report all sections rig for dive! Secure outer doors! Secure all viewport shielding! Secure all gun hatches!”
Around her a cacophony of repeated orders filled the bridge as seamen began enacting their officer’s commands. The shrill blare of the ‘ready for dive’ alarm filled the Minton, and the ship was an electric flourish of activity. The individual divisions began reporting their dive readiness to the bridge. The reports were being sent directly to the Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Felix Dodge, and once they were all in, the short stocky seaman turned to Lt. Fleming.
“All divisions report ready for dive!”
Lt. Fleming immediately spun to the seaman at the dive controls, “Dive controls, ready to blow air!” She continued her turn until she faced Captain Bruce. “All divisions report ready for dive and controls are primed sir.”
Captain Bruce nodded slightly. “Dive, dive, dive. Chief of the Boat, make your depth 2-0-0 feet, ten degrees down on the bow planes, and make your speed 2-5 knots.”
The men and women of the Minton jumped to the task as the ‘dive’ alarm roared. Captain Bruce could feel his ship tip forward as the wing-like bow planes dove the Minton’s nose beneath the waves, and air was forced from the ships massive ballast tanks, replaced with the heavy sea water. Though he could not see it, Captain Bruce knew that the surface of the water directly above the Minton was a roiling, frothing fountain as hundreds of cubic feet of air churned the sea. Soon however, the massive ship glided its way into the murky deep, and all evidence of its existence disappeared to the world above.
“Leveling out a 2-0-0 feet Captain. Ballast tanks secured and all divisions report a successful dive,” said Lt. Fleming.
“Very well,” Captain Bruce looked over his right shoulder towards the sonar room. “Sonar, Bridge, contact report.”
The report came back almost instantly, “Bridge, Sonar, scope is negative except for the Phorcys. She has matched our depth and is cutting our wake.”
Captain Bruce brought a hand to his beard, “And so it begins.”
Unlike Captain Bruce, Captain Philemon did not spend her last surface moments gazing at her homeland, no she had descended into the bowels of her ship the first moment she could. The dark of the ship suited her, the containment of the walls all around her set her at ease like nothing else. She was at peace there. The first time she’d ever stepped into the marvels of a submarine she’d known it was where she belonged. It had been on some tour her father had been granted when she was young, all the branches of the military had important members and their families tour the pride of the Carodie Navy. Her father had been begrudgingly impressed. She had been dumbstruck and had held a secret passion for submarines for years, letting it ferment into a dream she wanted to see through with everything inside her. She’d waited years to give it voice and when that voice had been met with derision and refusal she had cast everything aside and fought for that dream. This moment, in command of her nations greatest hope was the culmination of that dream. It meant so much on so many levels she shook with it.
This was not her first command of such a wonder but it was the most important and as much as she was confident in her skill, all most too much so, this mission meant too much and deep inside was a small worm of worry. She stood there, her uniform crisp and fitted, a striking figure with a calm, mask of a face as the people she commanded buzzed around her, doing their work, unaware of the deep, hidden worry of their seemingly stoic captain. She would work to keep it this way the whole journey. The captain was more than just a leader and organizer, she was the litmus test. If she were unconcerned the crew would know nothing was wrong and so she kept her worm of worry deep and hidden hoping that if it lived in the dark long enough it would die off.
The tenor of the activity around her changed and broke her from her cocoon of contemplation. Her eyes snapped to the crewman who stood in front of her as if he had some news to impart.
“Yes?” she said expectantly as the crewman, shiny and new and eager to make a good impression snapped a sharp salute at her. She accepted it with no note and waited as the crewman recalled himself enough to give her answer.
“Captain, the Minton descends.”
A sculpted eyebrow rose and red lips twisted into a wry smile as she answered,
“Well then, we’d best follow.” She barked out a round of commands and listened for the proper replies from all parties before giving the final word.
“Let’s make it pretty!” she called out in the end. She felt a tingle run all over her as she felt the energy change. The crew moved about their work seamlessly, all their drills had paid off and the ship began to descend. She could have sworn she felt it the change as if it had been on her own skin and not that of her ship. A shiver went through her, her eyes aglow when she felt the ship go fully under. More commands given, reports received, all flawlessly until her head was nearly swimming with pride. If things went this smoothly all along their success was guaranteed. When she ship leveled out she ran her hand lovingly over some metal work near where she stood. “Good girl.” She muttered to herself before looking to her crew with just as much pride in her eyes.
“Well done.” She said to them all, her joy and her honest pride clear in her face and voice.
Kyra sat next to her desk in her office like usual. She was reading one of a huge stack of documents, a total of two thousand five hundred seventy four in fact. She had been reading from this ever growing stack since Kyra and Josephine first were picked to be part of the crew of this ship. Kyra sighed as she reached for the next neatly stacked document and opened the file. "Commander Nathaniel Wool, age thirty two, distinguished in battle both from courage and skill." She looked over his military record and smiled a little. "The brass really went all out on this mission" she thought aloud as she was finally done with the pile of documents. "Everyone is a veteran."
She slowly stood up from her chair and stretched her body, hearing a few cracks. "Oh gosh I've been sitting here for too long." As a matter of fact, she had been skipping out on quite a bit of sleep to read through every single dossier of the entire crew. And she'd had to, `grease some palms´ to get some of the information about covert operations and the like. She did not like being kept in the dark about the crew, she wanted to know everything. She took one last look at the pile of documents before she started filing them into cabinets in order of last name.
It took quite a while to finish the task she had set out to do and she could hear the chime of the diving alarm. Kyra sighed, she had wanted to inform Josephine about the crew's dealings before they dove. "No use in bothering with it right now I guess" she thought and walked into the private bathroom that the captain and she shared. She slowly got out of her uniform and untied her hair and let it flow freely across her back. "Tired" she grunted and massaged her face before stepping into the shower. She waited until the steam heater had done its work before turning on the tap. It was an odd feeling, taking a shower first at ten degrees and then level, but by now, Kyra was used to it.
She finished her shower a few minutes after they levelled out and stepped out of the shower, smelling of lavender due to the soap. Kyra dried up her body before throwing her old uniform into the washing bin. She wrapped a towel around her body and walked out into the office. She had forgotten to bring a spare set of underwear with her into the bathroom. Once she opened the door to the office, she could see a crewman waiting for her inside. She casually walked inside and over to her desk as the crewman turned around and noticed her. He quickly averted his eyes as she sat down in the chair.
"Speak or get out and come back later" she said and crossed her arms over her chest. "I....ahem..Ma'am, I've finished the request that you asked me to do" he said and handed over a dossier. "Good. Did you have anything else to report?" "No Ma'am." "Then why are you still here?" "Ma'am?" "There is a lady sitting here in the nude with only a towel to hide her modesty. Don't you think that a gentleman would leave the room right after reporting?" "Yes Ma'am" he gave a quick salute before quickly leaving the room. "Young ones" she said and shook her head before opening the dossier. She read through the file in her hand, a file that had taken some time to get. An extremely detailed file of everything the sub had inside, down to the last scrap of food.
"We are carrying quite a bit. It must have been hell to inventory all of this. I'll have to give proper thanks to those who did later." Kyra got up from the chair and walked over to a coffer that stood on the ground and she took a pair of new underwear from it. She let the towel fall down and started dressing. "The only ones whom can walk right in here are myself and Josephine after all" she said to herself as she got done and walked into the bathroom and put on the uniform. She tied up her long hair but she did not tuck it into her uniform this time and let it hang freely before she put on her hat and adjusted it in the mirror. "I have bags under my eyes" she pouted a little before taking out her make-up kit and applied it in a slightly larger area under her eyes than normal. Once she was satisfied, she closed the box and left the bathroom and the office in the hunt for Josephine.
She found her, as expected, on the bridge watching over the crew. She walked straight up to her and spoke quietly into her ear. "Josephine, no one in the crew has any dark stories that might jeopardize the ship and I have gotten that inventory file sorted out. Everything matches up so far and I have nothing strange to report at this time."
Demeter Gray scanned the lines of text on her clipboard as a rolled cigarette dangled precariously from the corner of her mouth. The thin plume of smoke wafted upwards like a gray serpent, disappearing into the seemingly endless piping above her head. She had kicked the habit shortly after her days with the Novas came to an end, but every time she embarked on a new sub with a new crew there was call for a private little send off. It was less a habit and more a tradition. Smoking was of course prohibited on the Phorcys, (or so they said), but Gray bent rules as a rule and in this instance, the violation would be short-lived. Sitting on the edge of her desk, she let her eyes roam the medical bay. There were stacks of boxes, containers, and the like piled high wherever there had been room. Each of the examination beds were covered in doctoral journals and books while the air smelled of iron and sterility. The musk of tobacco lingering around her gave her just enough variety to fight off nausea. Glancing down again, she noted every red check marks on her list that represented items that had already been accounted for. “They were damn generous with supplies,” she flicked the cigarette’s ash into her butt kit, “I’ll be lucky to finish inventory before mission’s end!”
Standing up, Gray set the clipboard down and stretched. She rolled her neck and rubbed at her shoulder which had started to ache. Her corpsman’s jacket was discarded, thrown over the back of her chair, and she popped loose the topmost buttons of her collar until her collarbone was exposed. Rubbing at her pale throat, she walked over to the bed that would be hers for the duration of her time on board. There’d been a bunk established for her with the others of the crew in the Phorcys berthing area, but Demeter learned a long time ago of the consequences of indulging in that particular temptation. Still, she had already made a mental note to pay the boys a visit soon enough. After all, they’d need to know just who their caretaker would be on this dangerous journey and Demeter prided herself on making 'good first impressions'. There were two boxes sitting open on her bed, and she reached for the closest one. A quick glance over her shoulder confirmed that no one would be paying her a visit just yet. She started to unconsciously unpack her personal belongings as she went over the mission briefing in her head once again. Muttering to herself every so often, she gave a sudden jerk when something clattered to the floor.
Demeter stepped back and looked down. A worn pair of wire spectacles rested at her booted feet. For a moment, she merely stared at them as if in a trance. Slowly she crouched down to retrieve them, cradling them in her hands as she stood up. She traced the lines and contours with the tip of an index finger, half hoping to feel some type of energy, any lingering essence or force from the person who they’d once belonged to.
“You needn’t be so rough. Demeter. Medicine was never meant to be used like warfare.” The tall man smiled down to her, the lamplight giving his glasses a soft glow. “You’re stitching him up like he’s invaded your country and your needle is a bayonet!”
“What the hell’s it matter as long as the fuckin things hold!” She was frustrated at him for hovering and tried to hunch her shoulders enough to block his view.
“Just because you don’t have a gentle bone in your body doesn’t mean the patient will take kindly to residual bruising.” His voice was stern now, his brow furrowed in that grave way that instantly brought her temper to heel. “Now do it right, or it’s back to menial duties for the next two weeks!” Showing her his back, the man began to walk off.
“Yes sir, Dr. Weston.” She murmured, defeated.
“And Gray?” He turned back with a wry grin on his lips, “You’d make an excellent seamstress…”
Demeter chuckled softly, a tear running down her cheek that she quickly wiped away with the back of her hand. She set the spectacles aside and continued to unpack. Once she was finished here, she would take a jog among the sub’s interior. It was just the thing she needed to clear her head and see what this Phorcys really had to offer.
“You can’t tell me you talk to him frequently.” Piped up Colberts while rummaging through his locker. There had been random chatter between the brown-haired, young diver named Colbert and a few of the others since the Phorcys descended into the sea to keep their off-duty time interesting. Two other divers, seasoned Stevens and honey-haired Jerry, sat at a table near Colberts, playing a game of cards. Stevens had to roll his eyes, annoyed by the newest member of their team.
“No, he’s not a talker,” Stevens added. “But you don’t need a talker for an officer.”
“I know,” Colberts said. He shook his head, though, turning from his locker and walking over to the two card players. Stevens waited for his reply while Jerry smiled at his hand. “Still, I find his lack of communication troubling. Does he have any interest in socializing?”
“Maybe he just knows when to shut up.” Stevens tone only added to the message he sent, loud and clear to Colberts. Jerry laughed, shaking his head and placing a red two on the pile in front of them. Before Colberts could reply, Stevens directed his gaze to the pile and Jerry’s amused face. He gave an audible sigh before speaking. “Seriously, Jerry? I can’t tell if you’re laughing at that play or what I just said.”
“Me neither!” Jerry boomed, giving another round of his hefty laughter.
“Look,” Colberts continued, taking a seat between the pair at the table while Jerry settled himself down. “It’s not like I dislike the guy. I just want to know I have a leader who I can rely on.” Stevens would have responded but his gaze settled on the shape in the room’s doorway. It dawned on him who stood there and he quickly stood up.
“Sir,” Stevens began, the others following suit as they realized who was present. They saluted him hastily.
“At ease,” the voice cut in clearly. David Malcolm, their diving commander and leader, took a few steps further, inspecting the game and the room. “I am here to remind you all of your duties for today.” He said in a neutral tone of voice. His icy, pale face was emotionless, the warm brown eyes calmly watching them.
“Yes, sir.” Jerry said. “We’ll be at our posts soon.” Stevens nodded in agreement while Colberts simply stood there without words. Commander Malcolm gave a short nod as he directed his attention to the locker standing open.
“This is your locker, Colberts?” He asked.[/B]
“Yes, sir.” Colberts replied slowly.
“Other than the contents you have spilled out on the floor,” Commander Malcolm pointed to the ground’s accumulated pile in a nonchalant manner. “I would say it is up to my standards. It’d be best if you put it all away.” Colberts nodded, promptly going back to organizing his locker as Commander Malcolm walked away. He stopped at the door, his tall frame filling the vertical gap from floor to ceiling with ease. “Oh, and Colberts.”
“Sir?” He looked up from the pile, dreading what might be said next.
“I’m impressed with your career. Keep up the good work.”
“Thank you sir,” Colberts managed to blurt out before Malcolm disappeared.
“Impressed?” Stevens said when they were in the clear. “You wanted him to talk and you got what you want, Colberts. I rarely hear that from him unless he really means it. You lucky son of a bitch.” Jerry’s laugh returned.
David made his way to the bridge at a strong pace, taking a glance at his watch took take into account how his schedule was thus far. Time for a game of chess. He thought to himself. Before taking the luxury of such a game, he decided a quick report to the captain and her assistant would be in order. Weaving his way around the crew, pipes and organs of the Phorcys, David finally saw the captain and assistant and made his way over.
“... And I have nothing strange to report at this time.” David heard as he came to a stop, patiently allowing Kyra, the captain’s aide, to finish.
“Captain Philemon,” he saluted, then nodding to Kyra as well. “Just checking in briefly. All is well for my men. If there is anything you will need, I will be playing a game of chess with Commander Wool in the wardroom.” David took his leave, heading out of the control room
--Commander Wools Quarters--
Commander Wool sat in his mahogany chair. It was a commander quarters after all, roomy and spacious for a submarine to begin with, and onboard this large, state of the art submarine it seemed a bit luxurious compared to his earlier career. He kept it quite Spartan however, A bed, a table, some books, two chairs. Nothing overly fancy in itself. If one was to hazard a guess, it was becouse he came from idealistic, pragmatic parents who taught him better then to show off. If one knew him personally, they would realize how much he hated when things were cluttered and unorganized.
His rifle rested against his side as it always did. In his hands was a book named “How to become a chess champion.” The commander furrowed his brow, he was a intelligent man but he was a terrible chess player, absolutely rubbish at it. Not that it ever stopped Wool from playing, despite being a sore loser he was still a chess fanatic.
”Commander” A female voice rang out into his quarter. He looked up from his book, looking at the female Sapper lieutenant who stood before him while looking every bit as stiff and by the books as he had expected of her. The amount of accoplished and skilled women onboard this vessel was quite the blessing. Due to the largely male military, He found that women who made it far excelled many of their peers. They had to.
“Yes Lieutenant? Report.” He looked the woman straight in the eyes. Nothing but respectful behavior from the Commander. He didn't believe in treating people differently regardless of upbringing, gender or social status.
“All Sappers are accounted for, all our ammunition and supplies have been loaded. We are awaiting orders.”
“Set Ensigns O’mal and Rostov on paroling the engine deck room. You take two other and make sure everyone knows their shifts.”
“Roger that Commander, Sir.” She quickly a saluted and departed again. Wools concentration had been broken however, so he put down the book and got up to his feet. Strapping on the jacket he moved down to the bridge.
“Commander Wool reporting, Captain. All is clear on our front.. I’ve set two of my boys down in the engine area as per standard protocol. Congratulations on a excellent dive. Should you need me.. I’ll be having my behind handed to me in chess.” He nodded and left.
-- some time later---
Commander wool looked up to see a fellow commander. He smiled at the other man and nodded to the chess board. He looked forward to this.
“This time. I got a trick up my sleeve.” He grinned.
First Lieutenant Alexander Drake
It was indeed a fine ship.
The Phorcy cut through the waves like a warm knife cuts through butter. The sea was calm and the day pleasant, the gulls called and flew overhead whilst Carodie herself followed the submarine from its flank. His gloved hand gripped the iron railing tighter as he bid a silent farewell to his motherland; it was a Myriad custom to grant Carodie a proper farewell when setting out the seas. A custom he decided to keep hold of, even if he did perform the ritual in silence. Alexander did not linger on the sight of Carodie turning his attention forward. The Minton tore through the water with unfailing haste, as if the ocean itself was the Imperium navy. He recognised Captain Bruce at the helm of the sail. He was a solitary figure that rode of beast of war, Alexander on the other hand was the in company of his fellow sailors.
Two petty officers, Graham, a sprightful lad of nineteen who hailed from Haven and Joshua Drake. His second or third cousin, he couldn’t recall which one, thin blood but a Drake none the less, and Seamen Autissier, whom despite the Fri sounding name, was actually a full-blooded Carodian.
The pair of petty officers talked and fiddling with their telescopes whilst Autissier just smoked, had done since dawn. “Say goodbye to home, sir.” Autissier pointed out the formation of rocks that Alexander identified as Maiden’s Lament. A warm sight to the heart of many returning home, and a sad one to those departing. Alexander nodded with a small smile as the pair gazed off at Maiden’s Lament; this was Carodie’s farewell, this was the last time he would see his homeland. Who knew when they would see home again, if they would see home again. Escaping a sinking battleship was one thing; to escape a sinking submarine was completely different.
“You served long Autissier?” He asked the ragged sailor quickly as he watched him cast the remnant of his cigarette into the ocean, “Enough that I can’t sleep on a normal bed any longer, sir. And you sir, you served for long”
“Only on surface ships, this is my first commission aboard a submarine.”
“I do hope you enjoy facial hair then, sir.”
Alexander opened his mouth to reply but then opted to remain silent, truth be told Alexander didn't enjoy facial hair.“Lieutenant, the Phorcy is preparing to dive, though we are welcome to stay in the fin as long we close the hatch.” Joshua said cutting into his trail of though. “Very well, I don’t believe that any of us can hold our breath for several hours, shall we gentlemen?”
Alexander was first, followed by Joshua and then Graham. Autissier went last, securing the hatch. The crew within the ship were all at work as he felt descent into the depths, the croaking sound of metal under the pressure of the ocean echoed around them, it was a queer but exciting feeling. He immediately headed in the direction of his Commanding Officer once he had scouted them out. To say Philemon wasn’t what he expected when he first stepped aboard the Phorcy was an understatement, first off, she was woman. He had never served under a woman before, he had always served among a very male dominated officer class, and second, she was young. Twenty-eight, two years above himself. Making her the youngest commanding officer he served under. Captain Bryan whom had just turned thirty-four when he stepped on-board the. However, he refused to allow this to cloud his judgement of her and of her abilities of command.
“Captain,” Alexander stopped before her removing his cap, “I trust all is well?”
Josephine’s face pale face glowed from the light of the various instrument panels in the bridge, her eyes still sparkling with the high of a good dive. Her gloved fingers still running over the metalwork affectionately when her assistant, Kyra walked up to her and whispered in her ear. One sharply arched eyebrow rose at her words. Josephine herself had checked the crew and their records and all that after they had been examined by the higher-ups. Though her resources weren’t as extensive as Kyra’s she liked to think she was a good enough reader of people to have picked up on anything truly nefarious that might have somehow slipped through the finer tooth comb of the Naval intelligence. But it seemed to make the woman feel better to have such information so Josephine let her have it. Lord knew the woman had suffered enough, control was very important to her.
More than once she’d suggested to Kyra that she might be happier serving in that branch of the navy, especially considering her abilities in that department but Kyra’s loyalty, once given seemed unshakable. Josephine could certainly appreciate that. Though being a true friend, she wanted Kyra to have a life and career of her own, not just always being in Josephine’s shadow. Regardless of all that Josephine was on the most important mission of her career to date, perhaps the most important of her life ever and in the face of that some slips in protocol were simply not acceptable.
She pulled her head back and turned her face to regarded the woman from a breath away, her face set into a smooth professional mask, one eyebrow up.
“Captain.” She said, softly and gently so that only her aid could hear. “We are underway officially. It’s Captain now, not Josephine, not until we are done with this mission. Understand?”
She looked past her aid and nodded professionally at the approaching figure, one David Malcolm, tall, lean and strangely distant. His record was excellent and she looked forward to working alongside him. His salute was correct and his exit was swift, something she noted with displeasure. Though his manner was correct and she could find no fault with it set an idea in her mind. She liked to get to know her command crew, it made for better teamwork in her experience and his swift departure spoke of difficulty in drawing him out. His engagement with Commander Wool was heartening though. It spoke of it not being an altogether herculean task.
As if her thoughts had summoned him Commander Wool then made his way into the control room and delivered a message to her that was eerily similar to that of Commander Malcolm. His exit too was almost as similar, as if the men had coordinated their appearances. Something about that made her want to laugh despite her recent reminder to Kyra about protocol. She managed to stifle her laugh but she didn’t bother to hide her smile. She wasn’t known to be humorless. So she smiled, a crooked twist of her lips and nodded at his retreating form.
It seemed that a mandatory Officer’s meal was going to have to be in order what with all the coming and goings. If she ordered them all to one spot she might actually get to speak to them beyond orders and duties. They were all going to have to depend on each other, their lives would count on each other, they should know what each other was made of. With that though in mind she turned to Kyra.
“Would you make arrangements for the officers to join me in my quarters for dinner tonight, I think it best if we get to know each other early on. I may make this a recurring and mandatory event. See that the Galley is aware of this.”
She turned to leave, knowing Kyra would see to it efficiently. She was ready to stretch her legs and do a walk though of her ship when she spotted Lt Drake approaching them. She smiled, happy to see him and determined to have the company of one of her officers even if she had to command their company. He was by all accounts a promising individual and she’d been pleased to hear of his assignment under her.
“You trust correctly Lieutenant. I was just making arrangements for the officers to dine together with me in my quarters tonight; it seems an auspicious way to start off a journey. I was also about to stretch my legs and walk the ship, would you join me?”
Kyra stood still and waited for Josephine to respond to her report. Most of the information Josephine would probably already know. But, she would not know everything that Kyra knew. There is a difference knowing something about a person, and knowing everything about that person and its surroundings. Kyra had not stopped at military records or the basic family information, she had dug deep. She had made mental notes of everything that could be an obstacle. Twenty in the crew had ever gotten a gambling debt, one had lost his home to debt collectors. Fifty had ever been in a bar fight, one with a lethal outcome and ten with someone being shipped off to a hospital. Those things were just some of the stuff she knew. She knew everything about your family, your relatives. Anyone whom might have a reason to do something strange, Kyra had made sure that person did not join the crew. As a matter of fact, there weren't actually two thousand seventy four on-board this ship right now. There was actually only two thousand sixty five on-board the ship, nine had met, `difficulties´, before the submarine took off.
As Kyra returned to the real world again she saw Josephine starting to lean in close. Kyra made a mental grin; "I guess its time for -that- again." And sure enough, Josephine told her to call her by her title again. Kyra responded in an equally quiet voice; "*Sigh* Fine, -captain- but I might still call you Josephine in private, habits are hard to break you know." Kyra chuckled and just when Josephine was about to complain about something, the arrival of Malcolm interrupted her. Kyra did not like calling Josephine captain, or by the titles she had previously, but she had to in the end. She had been teasing Josephine with saying that she might not call her captain in private, she knew how important this mission was to her. But if Josephine called her Kyra in private, she would call her Josephine in private, as simple as that.
As Malcolm quickly made his report and exit, Kyra could see the displeasure in Josephine's face. Others might not have picked up on it, but after being with Josephine for almost every day for the last six years, Kyra knew what Josephine was thinking most of the time.
As if they had planned it, Wool arrived, and then he left again. Kyra's lips formed into a small grin just before she noticed Josephine smiling. She sighed to herself as she once again was reminded just how much she had changed over the years thanks to Josephine. And just when Kyra was thinking that Josephine would tell her to arrange the officers meal, she did. "I must be psychic" she mumbled under her breath just loud enough to Josephine to hear it whom gave her a questioning stare. "I'll get on it right away Captain" Kyra said and nodded just before Josephine turned around and started talking to Drake. Kyra took this as her queue to leave and so she did, walking off the bridge.
As she was walking towards the galley, she overheard a discussion two male crew-members had. "...and that captain. I heard she whored herself up to her current position" "I heard that she slept with the entire brass just to be able to captain this ship on this mission." "Would you care to repeat that please?" Kyra asked as she stood next to the two men. "Oh look, its the captains little bitch" one of them said and started to loom over her. "Perhaps its not just the captain whom whores herself to everyone. I heard that you could get information out of anyone" the other said as he moved to the other side of her. "Perhaps we should just fuck you ourselves, I heard you like it rough." "Then we can always invite the captain and make it a fourso--." Kyra did not wait for the man to finish before she kicked the man in the nuts with her steel cap boot. As he doubled over, she quickly switched foot and kicked the other one with the other boot. She crouched down to the men and quietly started to speak as a crowd began to gather. "I would advice you two fine men to never show your faces in front of the Captain, nor myself. If you do, I'll make sure that you get sent down to the bottom of the ocean with weights attached to your legs. Got it?" Kyra stood up; "Someone ship them off to the medical centre" she said with a cold voice and left the scene and continued towards the galley.
Once there, the talked to the galley personal about the officers meal in Josephine's quarters. They would be six in total, Josephine, herself, Wool, Malcolm, Demeter and Drake. Kyra sighed a little. She enjoyed the meals that she normally shared with Josephine alone. They were the moments that she really liked in the submarine. Talking about interests, if anything interesting had happened, smack-talking the crew sometimes, good times. "Send out a runner and have them inform the respective officers of the dinner, schedule it at 1900 hours" she turned to leave but remembered a thing and said; "Tell them that their presence is REQUIRED, refusing is not an option" over her shoulder before leaving the galley.
Kyra made her way back to her office and further into the bed-chambers and undressed. "I really need to get some sleep" she said to herself and lied down in her bed, naked. She quickly counted the things that she were supposed to do, and checked them off one after another until she had checked them all off. Kyra yawned loudly, she had been up for a few days now. "Good night~~~~~" she said into the air before she quickly fell asleep.
A pair of heels clicked from the sound of them snapping suddenly on the metal floor, heralding Malcolm’s arrival into the room where Wool sat contemplating his game of chess. Wool looked up from the game with a welcoming grin and nodded for the game to commence. He opened his mouth, announcing that he had a “trick up his sleeve.” Malcolm gave a hint of a smile, his lips curving slowly.
“I see.” He said as he went over to the record player that sat in the corner. “I hope you don’t mind if I play some music.” He sifted through the small collection that the officers had in a cabinet beside the player, his back turned toward Commander Wool. “I find it helps me relax, think, and enjoy the game.” His eyes searched for what his feelings and thoughts could not describe. He wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted, his eyes sweeping over each label in an attempt to match his mood. And they succeeded in finding it. Carefully taking a sleeve out of the collection, Malcolm placed it on the table, slipping the record out and on the player that rested beside it. The room’s steely white noise was broken by the sound of a calm piano, giving a mood of ease and comfort.
“One of my favourites from Carodie’s greatest, in my opinion.” He turned one-eighty degrees and took his proper seat across from his opponent. Jonathan Wells really set the game up well. “Now, let’s see this trick of yours. And perhaps I’ll teach you another if you watch closely.” He opened the game, his pawn leading the heroic charge upon the field of black and white. The moves were quicker at the start, but they still took their time. They had seen each other play before, beating others and finally coming to an agreement to test each other in a game.
He respected Commander Wool as a fellow player but also as a new friend. David didn’t talk too often, preferring instead to only say what was needed. But there were some who he could talk more freely around. He supposed being stuck on a submarine for an extensive mission would require at least one person of the latter group, and he gave Wool a chance most didn’t get. This game, in truth, was more or less a casual way for David to get to know the other officer without having to be too outspoken or active. He preferred to ease into a familiarity with others, and this suited him fine.
As Malcolm waited for Wool’s next move, he dwelled upon the wall Wool had formed. Strong, supported and careful. He wondered what he would have to do to break this blockade. He carefully considered the options, weighing and calculating possibilities. For a moment he mused to himself the idea of a submerged pawn, sneaking through the blockade. The thought made him realize how much the Phorcys and its sister really were like a pair of pawns. They actually had a blockade to contend with, and the stakes were much higher. The move could win or lose the game they played with the Fri Imperium; a checkmate going either way. Such a headstrong tactic, it could be seen as reckless, but war has shown that high risk can reap a high reward. And Malcolm truly believed it was the best course of action.
Looking down at the board this time, he hid a grin as he mapped out a plan, seeing that - an abrupt knock at the door frame broke his train of thought, disappointment stretching onto his face. A young officer stood there, apparently bearing a message. “Commander Wool, Chief Malcolm,” he said as he saluted. “Captain Philemon has requested that you both attend an officers’ meal this evening hosted by her.”
“Thank you, you’re dismissed.” Malcolm said quietly. He tried in vain to remember what he had seen, the piano’s notes calmly reassuring him in the background.
“There is one other thing, sir.” Malcolm looked up to see that he was still there. “It’s a requirement that you go.” With that, the Chief nodded and the young man left swiftly.
“I’ll have to be honest,” David began, looking to the other officer. “We’re in for a long game. I am rather hungry anyway...” He stood, straightening his posture fully. “You’re a good player. Now, let’s record our positions before we get ready for this meal.” He opened his shirt’s pockets, taking out a small flask to get to the small notebook and pen that were tucked away. He added after seeing his flask resting on the table: “Do you think they will have anything good to drink?” His tone and face were quite neutral, but a hint of humour really was there.
A brisk jog about the sub had done wonders for Demeter’s frayed nerves. She had to admit to herself that she’d been more than bothered by the emotional flashback that Weston’s glasses had triggered. True, the spectacles were a precious and intimate keepsake, but Demeter enjoyed admitting her vulnerabilities as much as a syringe needle in the eye. She was aggravated by it in fact, and had decided to run the heat out of her blood, taking care to avoid areas where the Captain and her officers might be for the time being. Given her own reputation with authority figures, Demeter wanted to introduce herself on her own terms. She had little doubt that a more fitting situation to do so would present itself eventually. Fate never failed in making things interesting for the once Nova.
Now that she had returned from her personal fitness tour of the Phorcys, she stretched her muscles and started a rigorous set of pull-ups from a low hanging pipe over the medical bay entryway. Her mind began to wander through the portions of the sub that she had visited. The gears of her mercenary mind mapping each and every nook and cranny of the many rooms, decks, and levels she’d passed through. “They built Her well”, Gray thought, “Though I might have added a bit more spit than polish. We’re riding in an overhyped blonde celebrity. At least the tits ain’t fake.”
She chuckled to herself as she finished her last set, dropping back to the floor with a heavy thud. Already she could feel the therapeutic results of her regimen kicking in, pumping her full of calming doses of endorphin ecstasy. Sighing, she rolled her neck until it cracked and shook her shoulders. Maybe now she could finally get some work done on the supplies that though now unpacked, needed to be put away in their proper places.
“Madam Doctor,” a young voice rung out, “Erm..I mean…uh..ma’am…a message from the Captain, ma’am.” He stood rigid and uncomfortable in front of her, his large adam’s apple bobbing with each nervous swallow. Though the crewman towered over her by at least six more inches, he anxiously fidgeted as he waited for her to acknowledge him.
“Easy Sailor, between your stutter and that growing hardon, you’d think I was Captain Philemon herself. I heard she’s quite the eye candy though.” Demeter winked at him, folding her arms across her chest and tilting her head. “Well come on, out with it. What’s our fearless leader require so soon?”
“Din…dinner…ma’am. Captain’s orders.” He seemed to lapse into silence as the rest of the message became lost in translation. Blinking once, then twice, the caboose finally caught up to the rest of the train. “Captain Philemon will be having dinner in her quarters. She demands your presence at the highest priority. All officers must attend.”
“Well well, guess we can’t disappoint her Ladyship then now can we?” Demeter turned from him, walking a ways as she kicked off her boots and pulled her ponytail free from its sweat soaked elastic. Her black hair tumbled down about her shoulders and she bent over to peel her pants off and down her legs. Shimmying out of them, she turned with underwear exposed and looked over her shoulder at him. “You finished? Or did she order you to also help me dress for the occasion? If you’re up to it, I haven’t had a bonafied shower assistant in ages.” Demeter noted the flush in his face and decided to release the poor boy. “Dismissed Corpsman.”
The young man fled and Demeter headed to the shower with another chuckle on her lips.