Lost at Sea Part VI

Thursday, May 11, 2017

An iron bound coast

Here is the next part of my serial story from our Role Play group The Airship's Messdeck.

You can start from the beginning here.

Previously Max and his crew are trapped, aboard a labouring steam trawler, in a massive storm raging across the North Sea. They have been battling the storm for days, the old Argo unable to steam through it and unable to run without being swamped by the merciless storm.
A great wave breaking across the bow has broken the mast and smashed the front of the wheelhouse.
Max orders Iveta and Simpson to lash the remains of the mast to the rail to keep it from smashing in the hatch cover...

 Enjoy Part VI

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed, and your water iced.

Lost at Sea
A serial story from The Messdeck.
Part VI
  by Kevin Jepson

    "Breakers Astern!"

    *Words to chill the heart of any sailor, especially in the dark of a subarctic night and close to an unseen lee shore!
    Max and Angus, teeth chattering and skin blue from the icy sea water blasting across them through the wreck of the pilothouse wall, struggle to keep the Argo's head into the massive Atlantic rollers.*

    Max, spluttering out sea water calls below "Lieutenant Bueckert!"

    Miss B.B. climbs quickly up the ladder from the cabin below "Yes? Sir"

    "I need you to  tell the Navigator to go aft and see if she can get an estimate of how far off the shore we are. Also, and this is important, unless the breakers are right under our ass... er stern... she is to take her time and try to determine if we are getting closer or we are holding our ground. Understood?"

    "I'll tell her."

    "Thank you and send Simpson up!"

    *As miss B.B. heads down the ladder Max can hear the hatch slam shut and soon Simpson is climbing up into the wreck of the wheelhouse. Seawater pours off his jacket and pools around him, his hands are shaking from the cold*

    Christ if we don't get out of this soon we'll freeze to death! If we aren't smashed and drowned first.

    "Simpson, get below to the Chirper, if it's still workable let me know the moment it gets shallow enough to anchor."

    "No point laddy!" says Mr Angus before Simpson can reply. "The coast hereabouts is steep to, you could have every link of chain out and you'd hit the rocks before the anchor touched bottom! Our only chance is to try to claw off. The wind is dropping maybe we can make some headway."

    Simpson looks at Max. "Sir?"

    *Max watches the waves breaking across the deck below, a grey glow in the darkness, it is starting to get lighter. The wind has definitely dropped but the rollers are even bigger than before and they are trying to push the Argo back every time one passes.*

    "Damn! Get below and check with the lads, make sure all is well with the engine. I'll try to give you some warning if the Navigator says we are going to hit the shore."

    "Aye aye Sir." Simpson gives a wan smile, "Least wise it's warmer down there!"

    Yes the wind is definitely less, and there are more stars, maybe we can actually see what we are in for now Max me lad.

    After what seems like an eternity Miss B.B. comes up the ladder and starts talking. Having memorized the message that Iveta had given her she starts counting on her fingers as she says, "Cannot tell how far off we are, nothing for scale. Seem to be holding at current distance neither approaching or receding. Breakers are continuous wall of surf except for a patch like river rapids... ah... she said 30 degrees Starboard Quarter?"

    "River rapids?"

    "Yes that is what she said. I asked her and she pointed it out to me, it is a lower patch in the surf, darker than the others, still very nasty looking to me though."

    "Very good, thank you Lieutenant. Get below and maybe see if you can get us some tea eh?"

    "Ok, we don't have any milk or sugar though, maybe I could put some medicine in it for you."

    Max laughs, shaking his head to get the sea water out of his eyes. "Aye ma'am that would be perfect! Make sure Lt Baleva get's some first."

    "Ok. Yes she is very cold I think, even though she doesn't show it." And with that Miss B.B. drops below.

    *As the Argo continues to struggle against the waves there is a new sound, felt rather than heard. A low rumble, like the bass note of some fiendish pipe organ, the sound of surf against cliffs of hard Norwegian granite.*

Part VII is here.


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