The Bends?

We join two Acting Sub-Lieutenants in the Royal Navy onboard T-Class submarine HMS Torrent, it is stationed in an American dock, and most of the crew are on shore leave. The two officers are in their cabin when a call comes over the tannoy system for them to make their way to the bridge. When they arrive they are greeted by a Captain Banks, he asks them to stand at ease and informs them that there is a change of plan, they are about to disembark and head back to ‘Blighty’ immediately. It will be a sensitive mission and they will have to head off under the cover of dark, before dawn. Unfortunately they will not be able to round up all the crew that are on shore leave, they will have to be left behind and instructions for them have been left. The submarine will have to operate with only half the crew capacity. Within minutes the submarine leaves the docks, leaving the east coast of America behind. They are to go within a convoy of ships as before, all merchant ships that will need protection if attacked by any u-boats.

Once on their journey Captain Banks orders Acting Sub-Lieutenant Conway and Scott to his office for a briefing. He informs them that he thinks their talents will be of utmost use this time around, he tells them that they have acquired an item from the ‘Yanks’ that will be of use in this war, especially against subs, it will be tested back in Britain. Banks pulls out from under his bed a large box/create, opening it and showing Conway and Scott the contents. As the lid lifts a faints glow emits from within, and inside is a torpedo shaped object, about six feet in length and three feet in diameter. Unfortunately there is not a lot of information about this object, or where it had come from, they have been very cagey about its origins, but the Captains thinks that the top brass are aware of it, and if they think it is important then so be it. The object is to be kept in the weapons lock-up, and to be guarded closely, the Captain lets Conway and Scott organise how they go about keeping the object safe.

The two Acting Sub-Lieutenants post one person within the lock-up room, keeping an eye on the object and room for anyone who may enter. Another guard posted outside the door of the room, and a further guard posted at the end of the corridor. None of the men are told of the contents, just the importance of keeping it safe. The men are told to be on guard for a four hour shift, and each to change shift one at a time, not all at once.

After about ten days of an uneventful journey there is word that there may be another sub nearby, Seaman Ian Osborne stationed at the passive sonar has picked something up.

“Sounds like Jerry, can’t make out the class, but definitely a sub. Heading this way.” Conway and Scott jump to it and start asking more details on the situation, they begin repositioning the subs position, aware all the time that they have delicate cargo that is of utmost importance, preferring to avoid any conflict if possible.

Scott checks through the periscope after the Captain had instructed their sub to rise, he finds nothing of the other vessel. “They have launched a torpedo!” Osborne informs them. Quickly Conway takes over the periscope, working out where it is possible to hit looking at the wake. Captain Banks orders the sub the dive. Not long after a shock wave rocks the vessel from the explosion of the torpedo above them.

“Another torpedo has been launched.” Seaman Osborne shares with the rest of the crew on the bridge. Captain Banks orders Conway and Scott to go check on the cargo, make sure everything is all okay.

Another explosion and the sub rocks in the water, viciously this time and throws people of their feet, a sound of tearing metal can be heard. When they come upon the corridor leading to the weapons lock-up, they see a glow coming from within the room radiating out through the hinges and bulkhead. The guards are still in place if some what thrown a little of their feet. Conway slowly presses his hand against the wall of the room, but he feels no heat emanating, however he begins to feel nauseous and light-headed. Soon even Scott begins to feel light-headed, and as they step away they see that the guards are experiencing the same problem, they start to feel light on their feet, almost as if they are floating.

Things become strange the sensation of nausea fells almost as if someone who suffers from travel sickness, and now both the Acting Sub-Lieutenants and the guards are all floating off their feet as if free falling. Conway decides to make his way a nearby coms unit while Scott swims his way towards the door of the weapons lock-up, the green light begins to ebb.

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Scott manages to open the door with some difficulty considering the circumstances, once the door opens the green light begin to intensify. Seeing inside, Scott finds that the metal casing of the torpedo object has cracked, the guard looking rather confused floating near the ceiling, the room looking in disarray. Scott asks the guard if he is okay and what had happened, he tells Scott that the explosion had caused the object to break out and crack. The glow from the object is very bright and hurts the eyes.

Scott comes up with a plan and takes the object out of the room to a nearby broom/storage cupboard, once inside and on his own he closes the door behind himself, soon his body goes through a strange transformation. Scott’s body turns a red colour, two hard bone protrusions sprout from his head, a long pointy tail unravels behind him, and he now stands a few inches taller than before with a girth to match. Using his new form Scott melts some metal with the excess he can give off as a makeshift solder to patch up the crack. The glowing stops emitting from the object making it easier to orient oneself, however the floating sensation continues.

Meanwhile Conway gets on the coms and radio in the bridge, checking up on the condition and situation with the rest of the sub. “There was a direct hit sir, and we thought we were going to sink…but…” the guy on the end of the radio informs him, “I don’t know what is happening…it feels like when I had a parachute jump…in training, only…we’re floating. And the Captain is dead.” Conway enquires about the situation with the Captains death and about the hit, it transpires that the Captain died from the explosion and that there is no leaks reported! Conway orders the guy to get a full report, informing him that he is on his way up.

On his way to the bridge Conway hears reports from various seamen that the situation is stable but confusing. Once on the bridge Conway can ascertain that the hit was near by as some of the bulk heads are buckled. Conway did a route around and discovered the hit was on a level below the bridge, there is no water coming through however the floor is wet, and the water in the hole has frozen in place and is of a very dark colour, unable to look through it to the outside.

Conway takes command of the bridge putting the crew there at ease, then asks Seaman Osborne if he has anything to report from outside. “There is nothing out there, there is no echo, no sound!” Osborne replies with a little confusion in his voice. Next Conway goes to the helm asking them to bring the sub to periscope depth. Tap, tap “I think we are above water level sir.” The guy at the helm taps the instruments then turns to Conway, “The pressure gauge is broken. Umm permission to head to the surface sir.”

“Certainly.”

After a few seconds of trying several different things with the instruments the guy turns back to Conway, “I am afraid we can not blow ballast!” Conway just looks at him, “In fact they cannot take on air, they will not respond at all.”

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Scott secures the object back in a container, transforming back to his normal self. He then takes it back to the weapons lock-up checking that the guards are okay and managing the situation, putting them back on duty of guarding the object again. Scott has now got a serious burn mark down his right arm, luckily it can still function. The guards agree to be able to serve their duty still. Scott then heads back to the bridge, to see how Conway is getting on with the situation there. The going is a little difficult with the strange floating behaviour, but he manages it without too much incidence.

On the bridge Conway and Scott discuss what they have been doing, and any possible next plan of action. All the instruments appear to be not functioning, no reading can be made so Conway takes the risk of putting the periscope up. The periscope rises about a foot before it stops, and when Conway looks through all he can see is darkness, as he floats there upside down and holding on, however he can make out odd flickers of light. The periscope can only be turned about twenty degrees either way, but he can see extensions of ice in the blackness. Held some distance away in the ice, around a hundred metres or so, is most of a German u-boat entirely encased in ice. Conway shares his discovery with the bridge, after a long stunned silence. He explains that he could make out the moon, a full moon even though it shouldn’t be right now, and it looks a lot bigger and brighter.

As Conway keeps looking back through the periscope in disbelief, he can make out something near the u-boat, some sort of movement and light, within the ice! “I…don’t think…we’re…where we…once were…..”

After some time of deliberation on the bridge Seaman Osborne breaks the silence, “Sirs! Umm I can hear something,” he is still manning the sonar, “it sounds…I have not heard it before, I would say it’s like burning, or bubbling.” He explains that he first thought it was some sort of interference on the equipment, but it appears to be getting louder. Conway quickly takes another look through the periscope, finding the flickering light within the ice is a lot brighter and nearer, and what appears to be a sort of white channel heading back towards the u-boat.

The trail with the flickering light in the ice soon becomes too close and disappears from sight of the periscope. It is almost as if someone has dug their way through the ice towards their sub. The Acting Sub-Lieutenants quickly ascertain that the trench is heading straight for the damaged area of the submarine, appearing to be of human size. They quickly order a security detail to make their way with haste to the location. Soon the security detail reports back that they can hear some sort of scratching coming from the other side of the damaged haul. Conway quickly heads to the area leaving Scott to stay on the bridge.

Once there Conway can also hear the scrapping noise from the other side of the haul, and decided to spend a few moments focusing, then throws an unnaturally quick punch at the wall of the haul right at the scrapping point, small lightning arcs and sparks on his blurring fist and wrist. A large impression is left behind where Conway’s fist was mere moments before, and there hear murmured voiced from the other side which almost sound like German. Again Conway throws another lightning punch at the haul, this time making a small hole through, immediately a rush of air gets sucked through that same hole before pressure stabilises in seconds. More orders seem to be voiced in German from the other side, and then a bright light appears in the hole with sparks emanating from it.

Back on the bridge they all hear two almighty crashes, unsure of where it is coming from except below, could be inside or could be outside, and after Osborne gets his hearing back he informs Scott that he has heard a sound he knows, like someone cutting at the haul. Scott instructs Seaman Osborne to take charge of the bridge, while he goes down to help Conway.

Upon reaching the area where Conway and the security detail are, Scott finds a large punched hole in the wall, about the size of a small plate with some fist type indentations around the breech. Scott gives Conway an odd glance before asking if this is the point where the invaders are making their contact. Scott suggests to everyone in the room, including Conway, to stand back, then he transforms again, growing in size, turning a red colour with his horns and tail.

This is the first time that Conway has seen Scott’s transformation, he has heard about his talent and that is all. There he stands a perfect representation of a medieval devil, cloven hooves and all, the guards just stand there with their mouths open, guns levelled uneasily at him. Conway commands the guards to focus their attention back on the hole, unfortunately they seem to be a little confused first turning to him then back to the devilish Scott.

Scott ignores what is happening around him and focuses on pressing his hands against the breech, willing heat from the fires of hell to spread out around the outside and melt away the ice. Steam starts to bubble and seep from the hole, hearing shocked exclaiming from the invaders, a wild bullet manages to fly through the hole and ricochet off the metal narrowly missing Scott. The shouts from without seem to be getting quiet, looking through the hole Scott can see droplets of water floating about, a fair amount of the ice has managed to melt away from the haul revelling the tunnel the Germans have dug, seeing one of them lead out nearby.

Stepping back for Conway to take a look, Scott transforms back to his normal self a visible burn running up his left leg, all the hairs singed away. Conway starts to throw some more punches at the weakened wall. After about quarter of an hour of pounding, Conway manages to make a big enough hole for a person to fit through, all the noise keeping the Germans away so it seems. Conway suggests that they had better go get the Germans.

The head of the security detail turns to Conway and enquires about what is going to happen now, apparently reluctant to admit not wanting Acting Sub-Lieutenant Scott to be going with them, however happy to go face the Jerrys. Conway raises an eyebrow at Scott, who informs them all not to worry he will be staying behind.

“Between the devil and the deep blue sea sir” the guy replies to Conway’s pep talk turning to look through the hole, “Although we are not that lucky sir.” He looks out in to the ice path.

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Scott orders a crew to come and fix the initial breech in the haul, and to get ready on the new hole once the men outside come back through. While Acting Sub-Lieutenant Conway and his seven man security detail make their way out in to the ice tunnel after the Germans.

About half way down this ice tunnel, with Conway leading the way, an explosion echoes through the tunnel, somewhat muffled due to all the ice, followed by thud in the ice near to Conway. A second bullet flies free imbedding itself in to Conway’s torso, ripping in his flesh. Conway pulls his gun and takes cover, realising that the Germans are in no mood to talk except with their guns. Another bullet tears in to Conway, this time taking flesh from his left arm, pain surging through.

This time Conway lets his gun talk the universal language of war, the shot rings out through the tunnel hitting one of the two German guards. The other guard makes a run for it, well more like floats, propelling himself up the tunnel. Quickly Conway and his detail push on up the tunnel as the reach the u-boat, and more possible ambush points.

After making sure that the repair crew know what is needed and set to it, Scott heads back to the weapons lock-up to take another look at this strange object. He notices that the repair he had done earlier has melded in with the rest of the metal, it is smaller than a normal torpedo, nor is it as heavy and Scott takes his time studying and scratching his head trying to figure this thing out. The metal/alloy of this object does not seem too familiar.

Again Acting Sub-Lieutenant Scott transforms in to the devil, applying pressure to this torpedo shaped structure, pulling and pushing it in places and finding that a part of it slides open, again the odd greenish light spills out. The whole room is bathed in this light, with no shadows being cast anywhere. Inside this object can be seen unusual bio-mechanical structures/parts, like cogs and wheels made out of muscle, fat and tissue, all of it alive, pulsing and turning aglow with life. This thing feels like it has some unlimited power, boundless as if there would be no limit to what it could do. A further look inside Scott can make out odd, almost like mathematical symbols that do not look to be in the correct order, along with some other type of writing or symbolism similar to a type of Arabic script.

After spending what must have been around thirty minutes studying the writing, Scott discovers that part of the writing appears to be written backwards in a sort of mirror writing, where other parts are in forward writing. The writing appears to be sets of equations for the potential power and output of this object, showing that this thing could power any type of machine in infinite amounts, but there are signs that this thing can do more than just power things.

Back outside with Acting Sub-Lieutenant Conway he orders the security detail forward, using cover where possible. Unfortunately one of the detail gets hit by a bullet, getting knocked back in agony, the guy clutching his wound, blood spraying out and floating in the air in droplets. The push carries on with exchanges of fire between the Germans and Conway’s men, slowly he manages to gain ground on the Germans, especially after one of them goes down with a wounded leg. Conway shouts out for them to lay down their weapons and surrender, a few of them do while others make a dash inside.

Conway and his men make their way in to the u-boat, fortunately not coming across any traps, however they do come across many dead bodies floating about, most of them having severe burns. They come across a blow torch and some explosives as they head deeper in, and opened up torpedoes. Eventually they are lead to the galley which has been locked and barricaded from the inside, still able to view inside through the little window in the door, all the Germans seem to be hold up within. Again Conway asks them to surrender, but just hear words coming back in German basically telling him no and to go away.

A sparking fist flies hard against the restrained blockage, the door flying of its hinges and sailing across the room. All the Germans just stay where they are in stunned silence as this door flies through the room, all done by one guy stood in the doorway, no explosives, just rubbing his knuckles with a couple of sparks running up his forearm still. Conway orders his security detail in to the room to secure the room, they rush in guns pointing at the Germans. The poor Germans just let it happen unable to respond, still stunned by everything that has happened.

Conway and his men order the Germans to get up and leave their u-boat and head over to his submarine, they are reluctant to go anywhere near the sub, especially with that demon with horns onboard, but Conway convinces them, bullying them out and along. After almost an hour he makes it back onboard the submarine, along with the seven remaining Germans that were left alive on the u-boat.

Scott not being able to find much else out about this object decides to give it a little shake, just to see if any sort of stimuli will give any sort of result. As a result of this action the glow intensifies and a sense of inertia can be felt through the sub, a backward movement, like acceleration.

Now Scott tries a different movement, he zooms the object through the air like a toy airplane. This time the object mechanism begins to spin and turn quicker, and the pulsing quickens as Scott spins it through the air.

A sound can be heard from outside of the Germans being kicked along the tunnel, so Scott wait for confirmation of them all being onboard before trying something new, so uses the time to look at it again seeing if there is anything different from the action he has done.

Scott stand near to the door out of the room, he then throws the object at the opposite wall and quickly leaps through the doorway, slamming the door closed behind him. As the door closes the object slams against the wall. Suddenly a cracking of the ice can be heard as the sphere of frozen mass they are trapped in begins to turn. Scott radios in to the bridge and checks with the situation they are experiencing, seaman Osborne informs him that a large piece of ice has broken away from their sub, and that he can daylight again, light coming out through the periscope.

Eventually the spinning of the sub settles to a stop, and no more cracking of ice can be heard. Scott enters back in the room to find the object intact with the light still a steady glow, the bio-mechanism inside ticking along at a steady pace. A call comes through the com from Osborne stating that the light through the periscope has gone, and looking through he thinks he can see the Earth, he is sure he can see what he thinks is India.

Transforming back to his normal self, Scott cradles the object and begins to gently caress it, unfortunately it response differently, it is almost as if it growls. So Scott tries it again after transforming, seeing if a different form makes any difference. Again there is no difference in response, it is exactly the same which ever form Scott takes.

This time Scott tries a gentle blow in to the mechanism, and the object gives of a happy sounding hum, the submarine now seems to have a forward movement, again accelerating. The push forwards becomes a free fall sinking feeling, the haul starts becoming hotter.

Now Scott takes the object in his arms, cradling it motherly, reassuring it as he nestles it in his arms. The object carries on humming happily, almost as if it is content and satisfied. The haul carries getting hotter with the temperature within rising. A smell of warm cables starts becoming noticeable. Scott tries a different tact, he puts the object down and starts waving cold air across it, fanning it. As the cold air wafts across the object and it becomes cool it almost seems to shudder, some of the wheels within begin to tick forwards and backwards, clockwise, anti-clockwise at the same rate as the air movement. The submarine engines begin to hum.

Next Scott decides to leave it alone, not to do any further action to it, and see what this causes from the object. A slight grinding noise comes from it as the gearing begins to turn faster. The submarine engines begin to speed up too!

Scott picks the object up again, and the coms beckon. The guy on the other end tells Acting Sub-Lieutenant Scott that he thought he was in the engine room, and asks how that they are moving so fast backwards. Scott thanks him for the information and instructs him to let him know what happens next.

This time Scott tries a little something different, he takes the object in his arms and thinks about being back in England, back in the water safe and sound. He concentrates on arriving safe in the waters of good ‘ol Blighty, and keeps this thought in his mind. The sub appears to tip, pointing nose first towards Earth. After what seems like five to six minutes the floating resorts back to a normal gravity.

Conway takes a look out of the periscope, seeing them passing through the clouds, breaking the higher atmosphere and seeing a large expanse of blue water beneath. Seaman Osborne asks Conway what Acting Sub-Lieutenant Scott is up to, as they are travelling faster backwards then they ever should, and shows Conway the instrument dial the needle as far to the right as possible and bending past the pin stop.

After what seems like a very long time of ‘flying’ through the Earth atmosphere, the submarine makes a smooth and gentle descent. Slowly England comes to view and then London, then Buckingham Palace can be seen below. Then a large expanse of water within the walls of Buckingham Palace comes in to view, and the submarine descends to land gently nose first in to the water, the tail end stick up higher than the surrounding walls.

They are welcomed back as heroes, a whole month before they are due, with the object plus German prisoners of war, and an intact submarine if somewhat geographically in the wrong place.

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3 thoughts on “The Bends?

  1. Pingback: More shineyssssss « A night on the game

  2. Star wars,The Philadelphia Experiment and Lord of the rings all in one captivating edge of the seat game.
    Expect Scott is enjoyed his increased girth(and height).
    An enjoyable one shot!

  3. Pingback: How many calories blog

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