Chapter 4

For the past few hours, the creaking of the water flowing past the steel hull of the submarine had been the only thing anyone had heard. At 650 feet, the pressure exerted by the water around them had been immense, around 20 atmospheres. It was almost eerily quiet in the conn as no one had made a sound, everyone eagerly awaiting the first contact.

Every so often someone's eyes would wander off to the side, towards the ladder that led up to the sonar room. Jack's mind wandered as he sat down on his chair in the middle of the conn, his eyes examining the compartment around him. The bulkheads were covered in different dials, meters, and piping, nothing was smooth and pretty, yet it all seemed to fit in perfectly.

Along with the three officers, ten enlisted men occupied the decently spaced compartment. This included the backup pilot and the few men in charge of monitoring various systems like the communication between departments along with gauges regarding depth, heading, and pressure.

It had occurred to Jack in the course of the past few hours since the beginning of the match that he had issued orders in both feet and meters. This went against regulations, and in the actual Navy, they'd be using feet, yards, and nautical miles. While he was somewhat upset that no one in the crew had approached him about his mistake, he let it go.

Jack looked over at Robert, he was quietly talking to Steven, every so often pointing towards the small topographical map sitting on his desk. Sipping on what Jack guessed was a cup of black coffee, Robert seemed rather pleased with his decisions up to that point. Such is the Law of Conservation of Happiness, happiness cannot be created nor destroyed. Someone else has their delight taken away from them and given to another.

The little jokes about submarine life were what kept Jack alive, while he had only been in charge of the Pearl for the past few days, he had grown to enjoy these small reminders of life. When the time did come for him to go to the mess, he liked to sit with the rest of the men on board and get to know them. Very quickly Jack noticed a growing rivalry between the Nukes and Coners.

Nukes are the electricians and mechanics that work in the engine room have been through specialized training that the rest don't go through. Coners referred to anyone who worked in the front of the submarine. He hadn't seen pranks yet as everyone was still serious about the mission, but he expected things to happen soon.

"Conn, sonar: I need to talk to you ASAP!" While Jack wondered what Sonar was thinking, he didn't question his motives. Sonar was a bit off as a person, although he wasn't even close to George Brady, the man still knew how to do his job.

Jack turned around to see both Robert and David looking at him, faces molded into curiosity. With a sleight of hand, he told them everything they needed to know, he'd go check it out. Careful not to speak too loudly he alerted everyone in the conn of where he was going.

"Lieutenant Ellis has the conn." While a few crew members did turn around and look at him, he didn't pay them much attention, he had a job to do. The ladder up to the sonar compartment was steep but quick, and within seconds he had already made his way up.

As Jack poked his head into the sonar room, he saw Sonar anxiously looking at the circular screen in front of him, the two other enlisted men in charge of the radio and ESM mast both looking at their officer yearning for answers.

Sonar didn't even look over at his Captain, a customary salute was left out as well. The same couldn't be said by the two enlisted men who readily snapped to a salute. While some officers may chew out an offense like this, Jack excused it as he knew Sonar was listening in on something important.

"What do you have for me Sonar?"

"Captain, I have three biologics about 200 feet above us." The way he said it made it seem like a question.

"That's what you called me up for?" Jack was pretty annoyed, he'd expected something a bit more significant.

"Not exactly, the biologics seem to be spooked about something, and it's not us."

"Well, how long have we been with them for?"

"Thirty some-odd minutes, they've only just been spooked." Jack saw the genius behind Sonar's find, it was definitely odd that the biologics had only been scared just now.

"So something out there's got them riled up?"

"Problem is, I don't have a clue as to what does. It could be anything, submarines, ships, other whales, maybe even a giant squid." Jack laughed at the thought that a squid could spook a whale, although he'd only heard stories of them and had never actually seen one in person.

"As the sonar man, you have any ideas as to what we should do?"

"You probably don't want us to go active on sonar, right?" It didn't take long for Sonar to read Jack's face, it was somewhere around No Shit Sherlock.

"Then I don't have anything for you, Captain." Jack sighed as he put his hand on his face, there wasn't much he could think of doing.

"Look Sonar, I'm going back down to the conn, make sure to keep me updated. If you even have the slightest sense of the Germans out there, I want you to tell us immediately, understood?"

"Uhh, yes sir!" The red-haired LTJG gave him a quick salute with an odd face before zoning back in on his sonar screen.

Jack sent up a quick and quiet prayer before carefully making his way back down the ladder and over to his chair. On his iPad, he pulled up the subs diagnostics and began scanning over all the recent reports. He always wanted to be on top of how each and every compartment aboard the submarine was doing. Sadly his work was interrupted by the presence of two very tall crew members in dark blue uniforms.

"What?" Jack was a bit direct with his question to his two subordinates, and honestly, he was pretty tired.

"So Captain, what'd that crazy bastard tell you?" David still had some of the minor disdain in his voice, something Jack didn't really approve of. Sighing once again he looked up as he opened his mouth to speak, only for the headset to interrupt his train of thought.

"Conn, sonar: New contact bearing two-zero-zero, designated Sierra 1!" Everyone perked up at the mention of a new sonar contact, the tried crew itching for a fight.

When a vessel was separated from the ambient noise, it'd be designated with a specific nomenclature. Sierra for sonar, Victor for visual contact, Romeo for radar contact, Echo for ESM contacts, when the same vessel is detected by more than one of these methods, it's assigned a Master designation.

"Sonar, Conn: Are you sure?" Jack wanted confirmation before he ordered the crew to battle stations, any reasonable captain would.

"Conn, sonar: Positive, running the weak signature through the computer right now." As the two other boys looked down at Jack for approval, he nodded as David made his way over to the submarine's 1MC to broadcast his next order.

"All hands Battlestations Torpedo!" He repeated this phrase a few more times before the lights flickered into a dark, blood red. Jack looked around him as the air inside the submarine grew thick and hot, everyone's nerves boiling with anxiety as they waited for news on the contact ahead of them.

"Robert, get back to the Nav and give me an update as to what the contour around us is, I want to be ready for whatever might get near us."

"Sir, yes sir!" He quickly made his way back to the navigation section of the conn, Jack could hear him talking to Steven about his newest mission.

"David, while you're still on the 1MC could you rig the ship for ultra quiet?" Jack phrased it like a question, but the rather smart Master Cheif knew it too be a cold, real order.

"Yes, Captain!" Within seconds he was back on the shipwide radio.

"Rig ship for ultra-quiet," David spoke with a sudden calm to his voice, something that Jack hoped in these moments of stress would help the crew.

While in the last few days everyone on the ship Jack had noticed that the ever-present buzzing of the nuclear reactor and the water brushing against the hull had become quieter, it hadn't entirely gone away. This time, when he gave the orders, it mostly dissipated into the background. He could still see a few crewmen coming in from different corridors, quickly entering the conn and going to work, most coming from the mess.

"Nicholas, make speed five knots." Jack looked at their chief pilot, knowing that their acting dive officer, David, was busy on the shipwide comm.

"Make speed five knots, maneuvering aye!" Jack thought for a second what he'd do, he debated whether or not he was going to wait for the maps from the Nav or try and get a shot off first.

"Sonar, Conn: How are we looking on that contact, do you have an ID yet?" There was a bit of silence on the headset as he waited for his reply, whatever Sonar said next would impact his choices from now on.

"Conn, sonar: Sierra 1 is definitely a submerged contact, still no positive ID on its class though." David looked back at Jack with concern on his face, he wanted to have a general idea as to where the contact was.

"Sonar, conn: Do you have a possible shooting solution on Sierra 1?" This time his response was within seconds, a pleasant surprise to the tired Captain.

"Conn, sonar: Possible reading on Sierra 1, 8,000 yards, bearing two-one-two, six-zero-zero feet, eight knots speed, five-zero percent solution. We're almost directly behind her, still trying to get a positive ID." He could tell the anticipation in Sonar's voice, he was whispering yet he still sounded nervous. Everyone who had been permitted to talk lately had been whispering, no one wanted to be noticed.

"Just got back from the Nav, bottom depth is 26,000 feet, and it's only going to get deeper. We should have around 300 feet of clearance to each side right now, so maneuvers aren't really recommended until we ascend another 200 feet." Jack's mind processed all this new information as he tried to get an idea as to what his plan would be.

"If we're right behind Sierra 1 then we should try and use this advantage. Once we get a positive ID, then I want to plug our numbers into the TDC and get ready to fire. They shouldn't have enough room to maneuver either, so they only have two directions to go. Get the TDC ready, I want our TDC technician waiting ASAP! If Sonar's right then we should be in Sierra 1's blind spot so he shouldn't detect that torpedo until its right on top of him." Robert nodded, a steely determination on his face as he headed up to the attack center.

"Torpedo room, conn: load Mk 37 tube one, begin fire point procedures," Jack spoke into the headset softly, hoping that the weapons officer, Jack was prepared.

"Conn, torpedo room: loading Mk 37 tube one, beginning fire point procedures, aye sir." Jack was pleased that he heard the response so quickly and quietly, there were only a few more things he had to get done before their first fish could enter the water. David stood diligently in front of him acting as the dive officer, watching over every movement Nicholas and the rest of the crew made. It would take five minutes before the Mk 37 was loaded in the tube using a mix of hydraulic and hand-cranked systems, just a bit faster than the original Skate. They had an advantage because the torpedo was already on the slide to move into the tube and not on the storage racks. Jack had previously given the order to cache torpedoes on the slides ready to load at all times.

"Conn, sonar: I have an accurate reading on Sierra 1. She's at 9,000 yards, bearing two-zero-nine, six-zero-zero feet, but she's slowed down to seven knots speed." David turned around and gave Jack a big smile, he could feel the anticipation in the air for what was about to come.

"Sonar, Conn: How accurate is that reading, seven-zero percent?" Jack wanted to make sure Sonar had a good bearing on their target before engaging, he didn't want to screw up their first fish.

"Conn, sonar: Easily eight-five percent Captain, I'd bet my life on it." There was a giddy feeling running throughout his body until a sense of dread took over. He still didn't have a positive identification on what exactly Sierra 1 was.

"Robert, I want you to give these coordinates to the TDC technician. Torpedo tube 1, Mk 37 shall be programmed to go active at 9,000 yards, bearing two-one-zero, running straight and deep. Understood?"

"Captain, TDC has torpedo tube 1, Mk 37 programmed to go active at 9,000 yards, bearing two-one-zero, running straight and deep. Input calculations?"

"Not yet, I need to ask the torpedo room if they're ready, hold on for a few more seconds."

"Torpedo room, conn: Is Tube 1 loaded, flooded, and ready to fire?"

"Conn, torpedo room: Tube 1 ready." Jack was pleased at the efficiency they were having for their first combat mission. Of course, as time went on this process would get quicker as each submariner became experienced with his craft.

"Robert, advise the TDC technician he is clear to input the previous coordinates and send them to the torpedo room.

"Wilco Captain, the TDC technician has been informed and will be sending the coordinates to the torpedo room any second."

"Conn, sonar: Sierra 1 is classified as U-Boat Type 7C." The designation calmed Jack, chances are this was just a lone wolf and not much of a threat to him. He assumed this was one of the newer captains learning the ropes in this exercise and not working in a wolf pack.

Again, David looked back at Jack as if waiting for him to give the order to 'kill' the U-boat before it turned around and realized that it was being followed.

"Torpedo room, conn: Fire Mk 37 tube 1!" Everyone held their breath as they waited for the response from the torpedo room. Upstairs, Sonar visibly shuttered from the slight noise made by the torpedo swimming out of its tube, a funny sight to all in the sonar room.

"Conn, torpedo room: Firing Mk 37 tube 1, the weapon is away!" The hot, re-processed air in the submarine grew tense as everyone waited for the torpedo to take its course. Jack could see nervous faces and crossed fingers all around him, each and everyone in anticipation for what was to come.

"Hey David, if the torpedo is going at thirty-six knots, it should only take like seven and a half minutes to reach 9,000 yards, right?" David visibly ran the numbers through his head, thirty-six knots was around 1,215 yards per minute.

"Give or take a few seconds Captain, should be!" While they were technically breaking the rules of running under ultra quiet, this was something that needed to be discussed.

"Then the Type 7C should only be able to cover 1,723 yards before our torpedo goes active and if our fish has an acquisition range of 950 yards, they'll be 773 yards out of range." David's mind once again processed the new information, for a second he was worried they may have miscalculated where to give the torpedo the orders to go active.

"Well, it should only take forty seconds for our fish to cover that gap so we should be fine. Unless the Type 7C pulls some unheard of maneuvers or detects our fish actively pinging by changing its current course, we should be just fine Captain." Jack was relieved, while in the future he should account for the gap used by the speed of torpedo and submarine, he knew the Mk 37 still had a good chance at hitting its target.

"David, as your responsibility entails, I want you to critique everything I do. Don't be afraid to use harsh words, I don't want myself making a mistake that could've been easily avoided, understood?"

"Yes, Captain!" David gave Jack a firm face, in his mind today was the day David would begin to push himself on questioning his Captain's orders for the betterment of the crew. He knew there was one other mission-critical person he should tell about their mistake before getting back to the mission at hand.

"Robert, if in case I make another rookie mistake like not accounting for the target's speed, please remind me before any numbers are punched into the TDC." It was only a few seconds before he got a response from the XO, an unhappy one at that.

"Fuck, I'm sorry Captain, I should have noticed that."

"Look, Robert, don't worry! It's our first time firing a torpedo in a war game, so mistakes are to be expected. Let's just learn from this and try to make the Pearl a well-oiled machine for our next target to come up against." Jack felt rather pleased with his little talk, he thought that he worded what he had just said about practice well.

"Understood Captain, will do!" Jack left the conversation at that, he didn't want to continue what he thought could be taken as chastising any longer.

"David, once we get a confirmation on if our fish ran true, do you think we should continue our current course or try to maneuver somewhere else?" The six foot two-inch-tall, brown-haired command master chief scratched his hair, trying to come up with a possible idea as to what their strategy might be.

"Personally Captain, I think we should pick back up to one-third speed and continue our patrol. It shouldn't be long before Sierra 1 get's away from us and docks at the Yokosuka Girls' Marine High School as it waits for the end of the match." While David's plan was rather sound, it needed more detail for Jack to give the go-ahead for the order, after they 'sunk' the U-Boat he'd make sure to reconvene all the officers in the conn and set up a new plan of attack.

"Alright then, let's wait until this little fight is over and we'll move on from there. Until then, any questions about how things might work when a ship gets sunk?" Sighing, David tried to think of any questions he might have, he already knew most of what he could possibly ask.

"Just one thing, how will a sunken ship notify everyone that it has been, you know, sunk, Captain?"

"Good question, the ship in question will raise a white flag below their country of origin's flag and turn on an omnidirectional pinger which Sonar will hear and notify us about."

"Thanks, Captain! Other than that, I don't really have anything I don't know, they taught us pretty well back in Seattle." Jack gave David a small smile as he walked back to his chair, promptly sitting down with a little plop. He had set a time on his iPad for eight minutes and twenty seconds, around the amount of time it should take for the Mk 37 to hit its target.

By this point, the nervousness aura in the conn was beginning to reach maximum levels, everyone was waiting patiently for the confirmation of a kill. A kill that, according to Jack and David's math, should be occurring sometime within the next three and a half minutes. Being the captain that was trying to diffuse nervous situations, he decided the best way to do so was by talking.

"David, could you imagine if we were still in Seattle? Having to deal with an instructor on the submarine constantly drilling everyone." David chuckled a bit at the thought, not much but just a little bit.

"I know right, but instead were halfway around the world fighting the Germans and the Japanese. I'd be willing to bet you that none of the original USS Skate members ever thought that there'd be a bunch of high schoolers running a nuclear submarine." The mood seemed to lighten up a bit, at least to the point to where Jack was happy. While this talk wasn't mission critical, and therefore breaking the rules of running under ultra quiet, he viewed it as knowing that when the time came, they wouldn't break standard procedure.

"Yeah, I'd say they'd probably freak the fuck out!" This time a few other submariners in the conn laughed along, each enjoying the slight relief the conversation brought them.

"They'd all turn into Scotty or HS Adler and worry about our safety way too much. I'd be willing to bet that they'd see us as a bunch of ET Bradys."

"Conn, fire control: weapon has gone active." Jack slightly bit his lip as he began counting down in his head until the torpedo would acquire the Type 7C.

Any further conversation was cut as the timer went off with a slight ping. The torpedo should acquire its target within the next thirty seconds, a significant step in sinking the U-boat. While the eerie and nervous aura that ran the conn earlier returned, it was noticeably weaker, something that Jack took pride in.

"Conn, fire control: weapon acquired." Some of the most anticipated words on the submarine finally were said, and the nervous aura of the room slightly went up, everyone waiting for the signal of a confirmed kill. Something funny about the previous statement was that it was said using proper submarine communications and not directly by Robert. Instead, it was by someone else, Jack assumed whoever was talking, was most likely the TDC technician.

He had an almost stereotypical New Orleans accent, his voice conveyed emotion while keeping it quiet, something most people couldn't do. While he didn't know the names of everyone on the submarine yet, he assumed that the TDC technician was likely an E-4. Aboard the sub, those who weren't officers or at least E-7s were most likely E-4s. They were the muscle aboard the Pearl and in the small crew, they each played an integral role.

He had a timer set for forty seconds, the estimated time till the fish impacted the German U-boat, simulating a live torpedo and 'sending' it to the bottom of the ocean. Everything had gone well so far, Jack hoped on the Virgin Mary that nothing would happen.

His biggest worry right now was being discovered, the U-boat had one aft torpedo tube, and if they were somehow detected, then it was inevitable that there were more U-boats in the area.

Thirty seconds...he could hear a few people counting down the seconds in a slight whisper, the chief navigator and pilot among them. It felt like time was slowing down the closer they got to impact, the noise of the water flowing past the submarine, the background of the propeller shafts turning, he doubted there was a single noise out there they didn't hear.

Twenty seconds...even the blood-red lighting felt like it was interrupted by the sound of someone loudly slurping coffee. Jack could feel the anger rising higher than the Burj Khalifa, the blood boiling hotter than the sun as he turned around to find the cock sucker that was making the horrid noise.

Somehow, Lord knows, the IDC son-of-a-bitch had managed to sneak past everyone down the conn, coffee in hand. He saw Jack's face, among the others all seething at him and smirked, he knew that as long as he wasn't doing something mission detrimental, then he was fine. It wasn't like Jack could punish him, he could only chew him out as he filled a vital position that couldn't be easily replaced. It wasn't like Jack was planning on surfacing the submarine during the wargame, transmitting their location by radio, and asking for a replacement.

Somebody would have to die before he did anything so brash like that, he didn't give a shit what disease they caught. As long as nobody died, they were continuing what would hopefully become their killing spree.

Joining in with the rest of the submariners in the conn, he gave the doctor a marvelous middle finger. His problem, David gave as many fucks as Batman on Robot Chicken, meaning absolute zero.

Jack looked down at the timer on his iPad, ten seconds until impact. Chances are that the crew of the U-boat knew that there was a torpedo on them if the active sonar pings hadn't given it away then the Germans were dumbasses.

Everyone held their breath, mentally counting down the dreaded seconds. It felt like they were in tunnel vision, all the sounds just blanked out as they waited. Jack felt a tingle working its way up his spine, slowly moving up to his head, each individual vertebrae shivering in response.

His nervous system was put into overload in suspense. All at once he felt like he could hear every sound and nothing at the same time. It was as if time just stopped, seconds turned into hours as he waited.

The ping was so loud that even the crew could hear a faint signal bouncing off the steel hull. It was as if the entire submarine just jumped for a second, the sound of thirty-five sneakers all bouncing off the floor rippled throughout the compartment.

Even Jack jumped, pumping his fist into the air. All the work over the last few hours the suspense of the war game had been building up to a point, each and every mind waiting for that omnidirectional ping. A few seconds later, that same ping hit the submarine again, it would continue to do so until the submarine surfaced. Afterward, it'd weaken until docking at the Yokosuka Naval Base.

"Conn, sonar: lost contact! Sierra 1 last bearing two-one-zero, omnidirectional pinger activated...we got her!" The crew only cheered louder at this, their first kill, a U-Boat who they'd snuck up on, was now at the 'bottom' of the sea.

"No Shit Sherlock!" He looked over to see David shouting up the ladder that led to the Sonar room, a massive smile on his face. For all the shit he gave their sonar technician, he enjoyed having Sonar, he was an integral part of the crew in his mind.

Jack walked over to his captain's chair before jumping up on it, putting his hands in the air like a conductor. He wasn't going to have anyone sing though, they still had a job to do, and everyone needed to quiet down.

"Everyone back to your jobs dammit, we still have a war to fight!" Everyone acknowledged their Captain, a chorus of awws later and they went back to their stations, the electricians, navigators, and various ratings got back to work. He could still hear a few cheers from across the submarine, of course, not everyone would here his orders. Walking over to the 1MC on the wall, he picked up the small handheld radio, pressing down the button and spoke.

"All hands, quiet down now...confine your celebrations to whispers and fist bumps, we're not out of the shit yet. Alpha rotation is on break first, be ready for combat any time though, over."

The blood-red lights on the submarine switched back to their bright glow. The air conditioner booted back up, Jack shivering at the rush of new cold air.

Various crew members started making their way up the ladder or through the various passageways. Jack and Robert both were in alpha rotation, but they wouldn't leave the conn until Jack felt everything was going fine.

"Ellis, Halsey, Thompson over here pronto!" Jack could see a few heads pop up over the mass of bodies leaving the room. Within a few seconds, the two officers and senior enlisted were by his side, looking into his brown colored eyes with expectation.

"We need to get out of here...I have a feeling that somebody's going to investigate the area in force. Ideas?" The submariners thought long and hard for a few seconds, trying to come up with plans ASAP. The COB was the first to speak his mind, trying to formulate his hastily thought up plan into words.

"Before I start, Captain...can we walk over to the nav table, I'm going to need a few charts to make this really pop out," Jack replied with a low grunt as they made their way to the little nav room. "We should try to gun it towards the Bonin islands right under the layer, we should be able to make it by midnight or so." David looked up with a smile on his face, his fingers pointing towards the small island chain.

"Can I get a reason behind this?" Robert looked at the COB with a questioning gaze, trying to decipher the meaning behind his plan. It'd take time to get to the Bonin Islands, and at high speeds, they'd be producing a lot of noise, even under the thermocline layer.

"There's a bunch of deepwater around those islands, the Japanese can mask any radar returns off of islands while not having to worry about running a ship aground."

"Why are you so confident that it'll be the Japanese, what if we run into the German's?" For once David didn't have a rebuttal, he seemed to open his mouth like a fish as he tried to come up with words.

"Then what's your plan Robert...surely the best XO in the USHSF ought to be able to come up with something?" David looked at the XO with a little bit of fire in his eyes, obviously annoyed about his quick questions.

"I say we should just dive deep and wait for somebody to come to stick their nose into one of the U-boats 'sinking'. We wait until they're in the optimal position, right in front of us, and then we strike like a cobra." Jack raised his eyebrow as he looked at the two heads of the submarine arguing. Both of them promptly shut up when he spoke.

"What does the chief nav think about this shit?"

"Honestly skipper, I don't want to wait around here much longer, so I agree with leaving the area, but I agree with the Lieutenant on setting a trap. Looking at the nav chart, I'm not sure as to where we need to position ourselves to have the highest chance of success since most of the area around there is 5,000 feet deep, we won't really be able to use anything as cover."

"Good, you missed one crucial thing though," Jack looked over the chart, his mind deciphering the information he saw and formulating a deadly plan. "We'll be going to the Bonin islands and stopping around 2 nautical miles off the island of Ototojima. If we patrol bearing two-one-zero, then we should be in about 800 feet of water, we can mask our active signature trace with the bottom."

Robert looked over at his Captain and wondered where he was going with this plan. "How do you plan on engaging any targets? What if no one is there?"

"I want us to dive to the surface and try to get a few radar returns if nothing comes up then we'll go mad with active pinging. If we keep it up for a minute or two, then somebody's going to investigate, a tin can telephone could hear that clusterfuck of noise we'll be making. After that, I want us to run silent and dive to just below the layer. We'll fire off torpedoes at whoever shows up, submerge to bottom depth, and make our way towards the bottom of the island chain firing at whoever we meet along the way. I want to try and have them hunt us, we should toy with our prey and always have them guessing as to where we are!" Jack looked satisfied with his plan, a broad grin spread across his face, brown hair slightly dripping over his forehead.

"So we're going to start playing the psychological warfare game...if we can make them think we could hit them at any moment, then we're golden." David looked at the skipper with a genuine smile, enjoying his Captain coming up with a master plan.

"Exactly, we should press the attack as often as possible! I don't care what time it is, if we can continuously attack during the day and night, then we'll wear down their crews." Robert joined in in the conversation, adding what he thought of on the spot.

"Skipper, do you want me to start plotting a course?" Jack looked at the nav and gave him an all-knowing smile before popping his collarbone.

"You know it! I'll take the rotation with Robert and go on break, hit me up when you're done. David, you have the conn!" With a transaction of respectful nods, the submariners scurried off to their various duties. Jack and Robert both went up the ladder towards their individual staterooms. They were right next to each other and, from what they'd done so far, usually went down to eat at the same times.

"So Robert...what do you think of the plan?"

"Honestly, I think that's it's rough and is relying too much on the Japanese being in the area...we don't know where anyone is and we don't have any way sort of intelligence as to enemy movement patterns. Us trying to find them is like trying to find a needle in a haystack and were blindfolded." Jack was a bit annoyed at his XO's criticism of his plan, but it was necessary if they wanted success.

"We're not blindfolded, Sonar has some scary good ears so if there's anything this side of paradise, he'll know about it. So honestly we're just slightly visually impaired.

"Respectfully, have you checked out that BQQ-2 sonar? The damn thing's as old as the dinosaurs! You're pretty much turning an electronic wheel to get a bearing on something before trying to put it through some beyond out-of-date filters and hoping you stumbled upon something better than a whale's ass." He laughed at Robert's analogy, his argument made sense and although SSN-580 was the most advanced submarine in the USHSF.

"Imagine what those poor bastards in the Gato, Balao, Tench, and those new Tang classes have to deal with! They don't have the advantage of the cold air, the recycled oxygen, or this much room. Sure our sonar is the same as there's and sucks ass, but we have so many advantages to being on one of those diesel that it cancels out the problems!"

"Good point Captain...it's just, compared to a lot of the stuff they taught us about the Navy's nuclear submarines, the 688s, 774s, and those magical 21s, these older subs are just horrible. I see why they'd want us to train on them obviously, but the switch in technology when we get in the actual navy just seems like it'll be such a shock!" The XO raised a good point, of course, all they could do was talk about it. There was no possible way to change the system, and they both knew things happened for a reason. Before the conversation could continue, they both arrived at their small staterooms, wooden doors plastered with a black plaque containing their name and rank.

"See you for dinner Captain?" Jack replied with a grunt and smile, along with the XO's salute, they retired to their quarters. They'd both had a tiring day, and this would most likely be the last fleeting moments of sleep they'd get in the day before another chance at combat.

Closing the door, he got a good look at his room, the model and engineering posters on the wall, folded uniforms in the small closet along with a few personal items. As he walked to the closet to undo his new IFRV uniform, he heard the faintest voice coming from his hat, someone over the headset was trying to reach him.

Rubbing his ghost white face and brown hair, he yawned before reaching over to grab the headset.

"Skipper...you there sir?" He could just recognize the voice as his chief navigator, the junior officer he had told to inform him of his new plot.

"Yea, just about to crash dive too dammit! You got that course all plotted out?"

"We should come right, bearing two-one-zero at fifteen knots. The layer is decent, it's really shallow, so if we go at around 150 feet, then we should be fine. We shouldn't be cavitating, and the passive sonar should be able to hear what's happening outside the hull. Our earlier predictions were wrong about how long it would take us, we'll probably get there by five in the morning, so everyone's going to be tired. Is that course ok with you?" Again, Jack popped his collarbone, as he rubbed his eyes and spoke into the small microphone.

"Sure...just make sure we don't get jumped by a German wolfpack or hit an underwater mountain."

"Wilco Skipper! I'll tell the Master chief ASAP, pe-!" Before Steven could cut off the transmission, Jack cut him off, he had a slight request that could make all the difference. "Make sure to get Sonar down there, I want David to brief him on the plan, I have a feeling the sonar shack will freak the fuck out if we end of running into a crowd of merchant ships considering there's a notable sea lane nearby."

"Got it Skipper, peace!" With the final words came sudden drowsiness, Jack's eyelids were slowly collapsing over his eyes as he hobbled over to his bed. Eager to lay down into its comforting embrace, to get some rest before what would become an eventful day and a nerve-wracking shift. As he lay there in bed, his mind went over all the memories to that point, all the thoughts, plans, and previous experiences, and how they'd all be culminating to this final event. What he hoped would go down in history as the Battle of the Bonin Islands Part 2, Electric Boogaloo!


Hey guys! Long story short I've been extremely busy with school and have spent a lot of time being extremely sick so these chapters are long overdue! Expect a bunch of new chapters in all my stories really soon, I've tried a new writing style in this chapter so let me know how it compares to the previous ones.

As always I do not own Haifuri