Pat. Cave


Lt. Commander Bronski of the ‘Nemesis’ lowered his binoculars and turned to Captain Petrov,


“Seaview’s not submerged; her conning tower is still visible.”


“I wonder what Crane’s playing at … they’re still maintaining radio silence.”  Petrov glanced at his watch, “Still, it’s time.”


“Skipper?  We can’t … “


Petrov smiled slightly, “There’s no such word as can’t.  It’s time he was taught a lesson.  I’ve waited a very long time for this.  Have all torpedo tubes loaded.”




“That’s an order, Mr. Bronski.”




Chip unhooked a mic, “Chief, how’s the repairs going?”


“Can’t figure it out sir, the pumps are jammed solid but we’re working on it.”


“Very well.”  Chip replaced the mic then turned with Lee as Riley shouted from the radar station,


“Skipper, the ‘Nemesis’ is gaining on us, she’s about 20 points off our Starboard bow.”


Lee marked the new position on the chart.  “What’s Petrov up to?  I wouldn’t trust him an inch.”


“I wouldn’t worry too much, Lee, he can’t out run us and he knows it.”


“We may have to outmanoeuvre him,” Lee murmured thoughtfully.  He picked up a mic, “Manoeuvring, stand by, we may need a fast turn or two.”


“Aye, Skipper.  We’re ready.”


Chip folded his arms and watched Lee is silence for a moment.  They had all been slightly on edge since they found out that it was the Nemesis after them but they had evaded her before, they could do it again, even with the ballast tanks out of use.  Lee was maintaining his usual calm, confident manner but Chip knew that his friend had a very personal reason for his distrust of Petrov, although Lee had never specified exactly what had happened between them.


“Skipper,” Riley called, “the ‘Nemesis’ is opening her torpedo tubes!”


Lee didn’t hesitate, “Sound battle stations.”  As Chip pressed the alarm button and the hollow klaxon resounded ominously though the boat, Lee grabbed a mic, “All hands brace for impact.  Chief, can we submerge yet?”


“Not quite, Sir.”


“Torpedo coming starboard fast,” Riley warned.


“Hard port rudder,” Lee ordered urgently.


Seaview shuddered as a torpedo scraped along her starboard side and disappeared into the ocean.


“Second torpedo, port side.”


Hard starboard rudder.  We’re sitting ducks!”  Lee murmured under his breath as he steadied himself on the rail of the periscope island.


“I don’t believe this.  Nelson …” Chip’s words were cut short as the torpedo impacted amidships.  The giant boat rocked and then righted itself almost immediately.


Lee snatched up a mic, “Damage control, report.”


“Skipper,” Sharkey’s voice reported, “we can blow tanks now.”


Very well.  Chip take us up.  Petrov is going to gloat about this.  I just know he is.”


“Aye, Sir.  I’ll get a repair team on deck, in case there’s any damage.”  He smiled slightly, “Apart from the obvious, of course.”


“Yes, that’s fine – just fine!”  Lee crossed to the radio shack, “Sparks, get me the ‘Nemesis.’


“They’re coming through for you now, I have Captain Petrov.”


Lee, good test!  I’m admiring your new livery from here.  The yellow dye goes very well with the grey.  Very stylish!”


“If you must know we are having problems submerging,” Lee told him, begrudging every word.


Really?”  Petrov could not conceal his delighted amusement; “You really mean you have to sail all the way to Santa Barbara on the surface displaying my expert target practice?”


“Not if we can help it.  You realise we’re going to have to run these tests again when engineering have made the repairs.”


“Looking forward to it, Lee.”




“Oh, alright, if you insist.   In the meantime, enjoy your journey home.  Petrov out.”


Chip listened to the conversation in amusement, “Lee, you never did tell me what this rivalry was all about.”

“It’s a long story, Chip … “




“You did what to him?” Chip queried as Lee finished his story over coffee that evening.  “If the Academy had found out, it would have been goodbye career.”


Lee grinned, “I know.”


“No wonder he wanted to get his own back.”  Chip sighed, “I’ll have the repainting organised as soon as we get back but I have to say you certainly got what you deserved!”