Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer Camp Stories 2016 - Operation Dark Waters Part 3

The continuing tales of a dad with too much free time writing stories for his kids at sleep-away camp. Start with part 1 and then part 2. Without them, this won't make much sense.

July 9, 2016

Undisclosed Location North of the Arctic Circle

USGC Polar Night

Dear Kids,

We had a real breakthrough. I can really talk to Artie. He’s about 400 years old (young for a sea monster). He said there are two great and horrible sea monsters, they have only been in the North for a little while and they have enslaved the lesser monsters. One he said has a hard, hard shell – like our ships – and knows about us (that is humans). The other he couldn’t describe except to say it was more terrible. Even being near it could hurt your mind.

I reported this to the Captain, she looked right at me and said one word, “Nemo.”

“Huh?” I answered.

“Did you ever read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mr. Mannes?”

“Sure, Jules Verne, the Nautilus, Captain Nemo. What does that have to do with anything?”

“It’s real. The novel was a leaked intelligence report, Mycroft Holmes had the brilliant idea to label it fiction so no one would believe it.”

“Mycroft Holmes?” I muttered quizzically.

“Sherlock Holmes’ brother, head of MI-5, yes that’s all real too. Later! Nemo is still out there. We haven’t heard much from Nemo for about 50 years, but that psychotic genius is still out there.”

“Wouldn’t he be like 200 years old?” I asked.

“He’s an evil genius who hates humanity and invented stuff 150 years ago that we still haven’t figured out. Or maybe it’s his son. Who knows? But your description fits him perfectly.”

She turned to the intelligence officer, “Get on the growler and find out what the polar bears know.”

“Is that a communications network,” I asked.

“No, we can talk to the polar bears. They know everything going on up here,” she turned to the XO, “Get the Canadians on the horn. If we are fighting the Nautiilus, we are going to need some help.”

Things were silent for a moment and the Captain looked at us and spoke gravely, “Commence Operation Finding Nemo!”


July 11, 2016

Undisclosed Location North of the Arctic Circle

USGC Polar Night

“All hands, this is Captain Mastronati. For the past several days we have been tracking the Nautilus. We have found her. With our Canadian allies we will bring her to battle. Captain Nemo has terrorized the world's oceans for over a century. But now, he has suborned the sea monsters we monitor and is not merely threatening maritime traffic, but humanity itself. This will be a hard fight. Nemo is a deadly foe with unknown technologies. Nonetheless, having served with you for two years in these dark waters, I will say that there is no crew I would rather have under my command for this mission. We may pay a heavy price, but we will be victorious. We are the Coast Guard, our mission is to keep the waters safe and our motto is semper paratus - always ready! If that means sailing into a storm to save drowning sailors: we are always ready. If that means charting unknown waters, we are always ready. And if it means a fight, we are always ready! SEMPER PARATUS!”

The ship's bridge and corridors echoed the Captain's call. Then the Polar Night sat quietly in the ice, waiting.

“Sir, it’s the growler! The polar bears have a precise sector,” the bridge intelligence officer said.

“Go silent, still engines, direct max passive sonars in his direction! Get the Inspector MacKenzie on the horn.”

“Sir, the polar bears have a message for Mr. Mannes.”

She gestured and I took the handset, I deep soft voice, with a hint of growl said, “Los osos blancos, son cremosos!”

“You gave the polar bears my background file?” I said in surprise. The barest hint of a grin passed over the Captain’s face.

“Inspector MacKenzie here. We are tracking him and will engage momentarily! Squadron aboot!” A voice came over the speaker.

“Excellent,” the Captain replied. “Remember the plan. You force him to surface. He can break through the ice, but he’ll be stuck. Then we will neutralize the Nautilus with our main guns.”

“Don’t worry! The Mounties always get their man!” MacKenzie said politely.

“Um, Captain,” something was bothering me. “There is another sea monster out there. Something that Artie was even more afraid of than the Nautilus. We need to get intelligence on this. If you just destroy the Nautilus…”

“Mr. Mannes,” she turned to me, I was ready to get chewed out. “You are correct. We’ll disable the Nautilus and then board. Prepare two assault teams and a team of divers. Full armament!”

We watched the SonScape.

“Kind of neat that you use maple leafs to identify the Canadian ships. They are really fast,” I observed.

“Those aren’t visualizations,” Lopez explained. “The maple leaf is a special super-hydrodynamic design. They are the fastest thing underwater. But they don’t have much firepower. The can harass the Nautilus. They’ll do some superficial damage that forces her to the surface. Then, the fireworks start!”

Lopez was pulling on arctic assault gear and examining her assault rifle. Suddenly, I was very, very scared.

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