BadPacing

One Meter Under Keel (AiE)

May 15th, 2013
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  1. >Day One Meter Under Keel in the Griffon Kingdom.
  2. “Two down bubble.”
  3. >”Aye, two down bubble, Captain Anon,” Executive Officer Lyra repeats.
  4. >”30 meters, Captain,” Color Sergeant Snowflake informs.
  5. “One half down bubble.”
  6. >”One half down bubble.”
  7. >”40 meters, Captain.”
  8. >”Captain, were getting pinged.”
  9. “Put it on overhead.”
  10. >Ping… Ping...
  11. >”Destroyer, 800 meters away and closing.”
  12. “Fuck, we need more time.”
  13. >You look into the periscope.
  14. >The Griffon Dreadnaught is in your sights – 1500 meters away.
  15. “Open tubes 1 and 2.”
  16. >”Opening tubes 1 and 2.”
  17. “Three degrees port.”
  18. >Ping… Ping… Ping…
  19. “How deep is her keel?”
  20. >Lyra flips through an old log.
  21. >"Uh...28 meters."
  22. >Ping, Ping, Ping.
  23. "Set eels for 29 meters."
  24. >"Aye, Captain."
  25. “Do we have a firing solution?”
  26. >”Not yet.”
  27. >PING, PING, PING
  28. >”400 meters.”
  29. “We have to fire now.”
  30. >”Captain, we don’t have a solution yet,” Snowflake replies.
  31. “Do it!”
  32. >“Firing tubes one and two.”
  33. >PING, PING, PING
  34. >”Torpedoes in the water, sir.”
  35. “Dive.”
  36. >You close the periscope, and it retracts.
  37. >”Destroyer, 200 meters!”
  38. “Launch the decoys!”
  39. >Snowflake presses several buttons.
  40. >”Decoys launched.”
  41. “All ahead full.”
  42. >”DEPTH CHARGES IN THE WATER!”
  43. >Lyra hits the alarm and the claxon warns the crew of the imminent collision.
  44. “Hold on!”
  45. 1/15
  46. >You swallow; waiting for them.
  47. >The claxon gives up after a few seconds.
  48. >Boom, boom, boOM, BOOOOOOM
  49. >Your submarine, Sculpin, jerks suddenly.
  50. >Water pipes burst.
  51. >”We’re taking damage”
  52. “Launch more decoys! All ahead flank.”
  53. >”Thirty seconds until first torpedo impact,” Snowflake says, his eyes on his watch.
  54. >BOOOOM, BOom, boom
  55. >Sculpin rocks under the depth charges.
  56. >”I’m tracking a second destroyer, 500 meters! It must have been behind us!” Lyra shouts.
  57. >”Twenty seconds.”
  58. >The intercom lights up and Lyra grabs the intercom.
  59. >”We have flooding, Sir!” Lyra warns.
  60. "Seal the compartments."
  61. >”Ten seconds.”
  62. ”Ten down bubble.”
  63. >”That’s too much,” Snowflake warns.
  64. >”Aye, Captain, ten down bubble.”
  65. >You brace yourself against the decline.
  66. >The sub groans loudly.
  67. >”Torpedo impact!” Snowflake cheers.
  68. >”More depth charges in the water, Captain.”
  69. >Silence
  70. >”Second torpedo; plus one second… plus two… plus three…plus four... Torpedo is a dud, Sir. ”
  71. >Creak, creak…
  72. >You can tell the depth charges are getting further away.
  73. >boom,boom, boom.
  74. >”We’re crossing thermal barrier… 110 meters.”
  75. “Good. Rig for silent running.”
  76. >Lyra speaks into the con. ”This is the XO, rig for silent. Engine room - all ahead one third.”
  77. >She turns to you and continues.
  78. >”We’re tracking the destroyers, Anon, but I think they are off our scent.”
  79. >Applebloom bursts in.
  80. >”What happened? I heard explosions!” Applebloom shouts.
  81. >“You’re not supposed to be here. Get back to the crew mess,” Snowflake says through his teeth.
  82. >You wave a hand as if to say, “its alright, let her be.”
  83. “Don’t worry about it little one. We’re handling it.”
  84. >You point at a corner for her to sit quietly.
  85. 2/15
  86. ”Trixie, can you tell if it is sinking?”
  87. >”The Dreadnaught has slowed, but I don’t think it’s sinking.”
  88. >Why can’t those Griffons learn how to make torpedoes that works every time?
  89. >You should have aimed under its armor belt instead of below the keel.
  90. “We’re going to have to make another run at her.”
  91. >The con is deathly silent.
  92. >Every eye waits for your next move.
  93. “XO, turn us around for another salvo, but maintain depth.”
  94. >Lyra gulps down before following your orders.
  95. >You can swear that under her minty coat, she is pale as a ghost.
  96. >You kneel next to Trixie.
  97. “Trixie… I know you and I haven’t… seen eye to eye.”
  98. >She doesn’t look at you.
  99. “What happened before – it was my job. They would have killed me if I didn’t… well, you know," you lie.
  100. >”I know, Anon,” she whispers back.
  101. “If I could take it back, I would.”
  102. >You move a hand to comfort her, but she pulls away.
  103. ”Trixie, I need your help.”
  104. >She looks up at you.
  105. ”I can’t fire more torpedoes at this depth, but if we cross the thermal barrier to go to periscope depth they will find us. I need you to guide our eels to that God forsaken ship. That’s our real enemy.”
  106. >”I can’t help you.”
  107. “Sure you can. You’re a unicorn. The greatest and most powerful.”
  108. >”I’m a hack, Anon.”
  109. “What do you mean?”
  110. >”I only know stage magic. I can’t do it. It’s not possible. Please don’t ask me to try.”
  111. >Fuck.
  112. >”Incoming transmission, Captain.”
  113. >Always something else.
  114. “Set for receive only.”
  115. >The small monitor flickers to life. The other ponies move from their stations to watch.
  116. >It’s grainy, but you can make out the Griffon king smirking at the camera.
  117. >”Very good, Anon. We have to say that we are impressed.”
  118. >A servant moves on screen to hand the King a drink.
  119. >”We are so impressed that we have decided to spare you - your crew included.”
  120. 3/15
  121. >”He’s lying,” Lyra says under her breath.
  122. >”You will be transferred to one of my Dachas and allowed to live under house arrest. You will even have a small piece of land to relax, exercise, or whatever it is you monkeys do.”
  123. >He smirks and shifts his weight on his golden throne.
  124. >”Your crew will be allowed to return to Equestria. I have already arranged for their transfer.”
  125. >He hands the drink back to his servant.
  126. >”All you have to do is surface. Now, isn’t that a reasonable offer? You have five minutes to answer, before my destroyers blow you out of the water.”
  127. >The monitor returns to static.
  128. >You move a hand to silence it.
  129. >”Anon, there is no way he is telling the truth. He wants us all dead,” Lyra says.
  130. >”But, what if he is? We can see our families again,” Applebloom replies.
  131. >You look at little Applebloom. Out of everyone on the crew you can’t bear the thought of harm coming to her.
  132. >She’s so young. She shouldn’t have to live in a steel coffin the rest of her life.
  133. “I want what is best for all of you. My life is already forfeit. I was dead the moment I killed Gilda.”
  134. >”I say we hit them now. He wouldn’t be offering terms unless he was afraid of us,” Snowflake growls.
  135. >You look at Lyra. She has a determined look on her face.
  136. >”Captain, we have to go to periscope depth if we are going to send more eels.”
  137. >You turn on the intercom.
  138. >You click the button once before releasing it.
  139. >A sigh escapes from you.
  140. >You don’t know what to say.
  141. >
  142. >
  143. >A few days ago.
  144. >”I’ve been looking over your file, Anon. Ten years goes by so fast – doesn’t it?”
  145. “Yes, it does, Captain.”
  146. >”I suppose you expect your freedom?”
  147. “Ten years in subs, or twenty on surface ships. That was the deal I was given.”
  148. >Captain Gilda closes the folder.
  149. 4/15
  150. >”That’s only a few days from now. What will you do? Where will you go?”
  151. “I'm sure Lyra and I will be able to find some work. She wants to pursue music, but for now any job will do.”
  152. >”You would fit in well here, as a free griffon. As an officer.”
  153. “I am sorry, Captain, but I’ve had my fill of ships and war. I just want to live a simple life.”
  154. >The intercom lights up.
  155.  
  156. >”Captain, we’ve docked.” Lyra informs.
  157. >”Very good. I’ll be up in a minute,” she says through the microphone before turning to you, “we’ll finish this later.”
  158. >You nod and start walking to your bunk.
  159. >”Oh, Anon. We are expecting some new trainees. See that they are introduced to our way of life.”
  160. “Aye, Captain.”
  161. >
  162. >Later.
  163. “Well, well, well. Two more pieces of shit. They give me worse and worse every time.”
  164. >You look at them.
  165. >One is a little earth pony. The other is a blue unicorn.
  166. >At least they look healthy.
  167. “You probably noticed that you are wearing collars. They are electrified, and cannot be removed, so don’t bother trying. If they are uncomfortable, I will adjust them after this briefing.”
  168. >You take a breath. You’ve made this speech five times, but it still feels like your first.
  169. “My name is, Anon. And I am the ship’s Boatswain. You are on His Majesties Royal Submarine Sculpin. She is an Angler class sub. Anglers are multi-function submarines, and the Sculpin is capable of attacking land, sea, and air. Of course all of this will be explained to you by the video I am about to show you as well as during your training with the crew. Any questions so far?”
  170. >”When can we go?” The little one asks.
  171. >You kneel next to her.
  172. “Did you see the crew when you came on board? They are all slaves. Even I am a slave. The Griffons on this ship are mostly criminals or debtors. The officers are volunteers. If you can handle this for ten years, then you will be free.”
  173. >The little one starts crying.
  174. 5/15
  175. >”You can’t do this to us. When the princess hears o-,” the blue unicorn begins.
  176. “Yes we can, and your princess won’t do anything. She lets us take ponies for the fleet to prevent war. A war she knows she will lose. The Griffon Kingdom is strong, and ponies will never be able to defeat our kingdom.”
  177. >”That’s a lie! She will come for us.”
  178. >You shake your head.
  179. >”What is your name?”
  180. “The Great and Powerful Trixie.”
  181. >Sweet baby Jesus, these ponies always have weird names.
  182. ”Alright, Trixie,” you say intentionally harshly. “Tell me why you will be saved, and not the other ponies.”
  183. >Trixie stands up.
  184. >”Trixie is the most powerful and famous magician in Equestria. This filly is Applebloom. She is the sister of an Element of Harmony. The princesses will be falling over themselves to rescue us.”
  185. >You laugh at this.
  186. >This is actually what ponies believe.
  187. “Every pony before you said the same thing. You will be no different. Now, if you will direct your att-“
  188. >”No.”
  189. >You ignore her and continue.
  190. “… your attention to this film, it wi-”
  191. >”I said, NO.”
  192. “Trixie. We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way.”
  193. >”The Great and Powerful Trixie will not be intimidated.”
  194. “Snowflake!”
  195. >The door opens and reveals the Color Sergeant.
  196. “Please show this new recruit to her bunk,” you say, pointing at Applebloom.
  197. >”Yes, Boatswain,” he says as he turns to the filly. “Come on.”
  198. >She follows him out.
  199. >It’s just you and Trixie now.
  200. “Fight me.”
  201. >”You’re a slave. We should be working together.”
  202. “I don't have a collar around my neck. That’s because I have earned the trust of the king. In a year you won’t have to wear it either. In two years you might even be given shore leave. I am a slave, but not like you.”
  203. >She charges up her horn.
  204. >You press a button and her collar springs to life.
  205. >She shakes uncontrollably and falls to the ground.
  206. 6/15
  207. “It hurts, doesn’t it?”
  208. >She grits her teeth and gets back up.
  209. >Her horn begins to glow again.
  210. >You let her have it – seven seconds this time.
  211. >Somehow she stays up, always keeping eye contact.
  212. >She is strong.
  213. “If you try blasting me again, I will cap your horn,” you grit.
  214. >She shoots a beam at you.
  215. >You try to dodge, but you aren’t as young as you used to be.
  216. >Fuck, that was your good arm.
  217. >You take a moment to look it over. It’s burned.
  218. “Now you’ve gone and done it you whore.”
  219. >You let her have it. Ten seconds.
  220. >She shakes erratically.
  221. >You will probably have to replace the collar’s battery soon.
  222. >Still, she stands.
  223. >A swift kick in the face and she relents.
  224. >It only takes a moment to cap her horn.
  225. “You will stop now.”
  226. >”Never.”
  227. >You punch her several times.
  228. >She lays down, finally giving up.
  229. “You’re strong, I’ll give you that. I guess I will have to break your spirit.”
  230. >You lock the door.
  231. “I was like you once. I didn’t want to bend to the King’s will,” you say as you pull out your baton.
  232. >She tries to curl into a ball.
  233. “I will make you learn your place.”
  234. >You raise your baton and hit her, again and again.
  235. >
  236. >A few minutes later.
  237. “Lock her up. She needs to think about her new station in life.”
  238. >”Aye, Boatswain,” Snowflake replies.
  239. >He pulls her beaten body out of the room.
  240. >
  241. >
  242. >The next day.
  243. >You wake to the sound of the engine coming to life.
  244. >The sub rocks slowly as it begins making its way.
  245. >That’s strange. You are supposed to be released tomorrow.
  246. >Why aren’t we staying in port?
  247. >Maybe the ship is going south to your new home?
  248. >You still have an hour before you need to report for duty.
  249. >Coffee would be good right now.
  250. >You perform your morning ritual and go to the crew mess.
  251. ”Good morning, Gustav.”
  252. >”Ah, good morning, Boatswain. “
  253. “What do we have for breakfast today?”
  254. >”Only the best of course.”
  255. “I’ll take one plate then.”
  256. 7/15
  257. >You take a seat and the small filly from yesterday brings you your meal.
  258. >What was her name? Apple something. Well, it doesn’t matter. You won’t ever see her again.
  259. >Lyra bursts through the door.
  260. >”Anon, we’re going to sea.”
  261. “Yes, I know. We are probably going to the southern port. I asked the captain to take us there.”
  262. >”No. You don’t understand. We aren’t going to be released.”
  263. “Stop being ridiculous. The king would never betray his word.”
  264. >”Ask the captain if you don’t believe me.”
  265. >Lyra is visibly shaking.
  266. >”It must be a mistake. This would be unprecedented,” Gustav adds from behind his counter.
  267. >”So, we won’t ever be free?” the little filly asks.
  268. >You put down your fork and back away from the table.
  269. “Don’t worry. I’ll clear this up. We’ll be laughing about this rumor later.”
  270. >You place the plate on Gustav’s counter and make your way to the con.
  271. >
  272. >”I already know what you are going to ask, Anon,” Gilda says as your approach.
  273. >She pulls up a piece of paper, and clears her throat.
  274. >”In light of the recent skirmish with the Equestrian Navy, the Royal Navy must do everything in its power to stay vigilant. By order of His Royal Majesty, all submariners – including royal marines serving on submarines - must serve twenty years before being made free griffons,” she pauses and looks at you, half smirking, “effective immediately.”
  275. >The con bursts with outrage.
  276. >The two officers brandish their sabres , which quickly ends the shouting.
  277. >Your heart sinks.
  278. “Captain, surely the king intended to exempt those already serving.”
  279. >”I’m afraid his order is very clear. It says ALL submariners.”
  280. >You clench a fist, but keep your voice level.
  281. “I respectfully ask you to confirm this order.”
  282. >”I already have. Naval command verified that all of you are staying here.”
  283. 8/15
  284. >You can feel your nails digging into your palm.
  285. ”This is bullshit and you know it.”
  286. >”You’re talking out of turn, Boatswain.”
  287. “No, I am not. What the fuck was the point of serving on a submarine if we aren’t released in ten years? Half of your crew hasn’t been on land in months!”
  288. >”That’s enough, Anon.”
  289. “I don’t think you give a single shit about any of us.”
  290. >”Color Sergeant, lock the boatswa- the seaman in my quarters. I will personally re-indoctrinate him,” she says as she pulls out a collar.
  291. >Seaman? After ten years she’s just going to throw everything you’ve worked for away.
  292. >Ten years of beatings. Ten years of standing watch and cleaning the engines. Ten years of slowly clawing your way to the top.
  293. >Snowflake doesn’t move.
  294. >Gilda turns to him.
  295. >”You disappoint me, Color Sergeant. You will be dealt with later.”
  296. >Gilda returns her gaze to you. In her claws is the collar that taught you your place.
  297. >You will never learn that lesson again.
  298. >She throws the collar at you.
  299. >A thousand thoughts cross your mind, all screaming – “fight!”
  300. >You catch it, and let it fall to your feet.
  301. >She laughs at the absurdity of the situation.
  302. >”That’s fine. I need some griffon to make an example of.”
  303. >She presents her claws and swipes at you.
  304. >Again, working for years in a submarine has hurt your agility.
  305. >Your heavy denim uniform catches the brunt of the assault, but blood escapes from your gash.
  306. >”ANON!” Lyra screams.
  307. >She charges at Gilda, but is backhanded to the floor.
  308. >Other ponies jump in and fight her two officers.
  309. >Snowflake kicks Gilda and she slips toward you.
  310. >It’s enough for you to make your move.
  311. >You grab her neck in your hands and twist.
  312. >She claws at your arms, but it’s too little too late.
  313. >You hear a satisfying click, and she collapses.
  314. >The two officers drop their sabres and surrender.
  315. >”We were just following orders.”
  316. 9/15
  317. >
  318. >”What do we do now?” Lyra asks.
  319. >You don’t know. It all happened so fast.
  320. >”We have to go to Equestria. They will have to let us defect,” Snowflake offers.
  321. “That’s over five days away. We’ll never make it.”
  322. >”We have to try… Captain” Lyra says sadly.
  323. >Captain?
  324. >You look around.
  325. >The con’s crew is looking squarely at you.
  326. >They want you to lead them.
  327. >”What about these two?”
  328. ”Let them go. We don’t have any room to keep prisoners.”
  329. >The watchp0nies escort the two officers outside.
  330. >
  331. >
  332. >The next day.
  333. >Be the king at your royal palace.
  334. “They did what?”
  335. >”Yesterday, the crew of the Sculpin murdered their captain. They intend on defecting to Equestria.”
  336. >You turn to the two griffons before you.
  337. “You are officers. How could you let this happen? A mutiny? In our navy?”
  338. >”They were crazed, your majesty. We couldn’t fight them all.”
  339. >You turn to your admiral.
  340. “Ready a task force. We will see this monkey slave killed personally.”
  341. >”One has already been prepared.”
  342. >Good. At least the navy hasn’t become totally incompetent.
  343. >”What of these two?”
  344. >You turn and look at the two sorry excuses for griffons.
  345. “Kill them.”
  346. >
  347. >
  348. >Back in the Sculpin. Present day.
  349. >"Anon? Are you alright?"
  350. "I'm fine. I just drifted off for a moment."
  351. >Lyra frowns.
  352. >You take the intercom.
  353. “Ponies. We have been through so much together. The Griffon king has offered terms. He will give you back your freedom if we surrender. Equestria. I have never seen it, but it has been described as the most beautiful place in the world. Your friends are there. Your families are there. I will be allowed to live in prison for the rest of my days.”
  354. >You look at little Applebloom.
  355. 10/15
  356. “We are almost lined up, and I think we have a chance of sinking the Dreadnaught. Who knows, maybe we can take down the king as well. So, my little ponies… no… my friends… we have two choices. We can surrender and live in peace, or we can fight just a little bit longer, and maybe prevent this from happening to other ponies.”
  357. >Silence.
  358. >The intercom cracks to life.
  359. >”This is the engine room. We’re with you captain.”
  360. >”Forward torpedo room – lets get those bastards."
  361. >”Radio room – we won’t leave you behind.”
  362. >”Is this on? Uh… Crew mess – who wants to cook forever?”
  363. >A smile creeps across your face. If you will die, you will die together.
  364. >
  365. >”Anon, we’re ready.” Lyra whispers.
  366. >You shake your head. This won’t work.
  367. >You keep your voice as low as possible.
  368. >”Snowflake, this is your show. Set the eels to low. We don’t want them to find out our plan.”
  369. >”The ship is moving too fast. There’s no way I can hit her at that setting.”
  370. “We barely escaped the destroyers last time. We can’t get any closer, and we can’t send our eels loud and proud.”
  371. >”Wait,” Trixie whispers. “I can do it.”
  372. >You smile.
  373. >You wave a hand and she moves toward Snowflake.
  374. >”Launch them, and I will make sure they hit.”
  375. “Lyra, as soon as the eels are in the water, make your depth 250 meters.”
  376. >”Anon, that’s below crush depth.”
  377. “They won’t expect us to go that deep. It’s our only chance.”
  378. >She frowns, but nods.
  379. >”Torpedoes in the water. Estimate 1 minute, 20 seconds to first impact.”
  380. >You start your chronometer.
  381. >”Dive, dive, dive,” Lyra whispers.
  382. >The Sculpin lazily descends.
  383. >”50 meters.”
  384. >”60 meters.”
  385. “Keep it slow. Very slow.”
  386. >”I’ve done this before, Anon.”
  387. >You bite your tongue. Too much is on the line for an argument.
  388. >”Are you tracking the torpedoes, Trixie?”
  389. >”I think so.”
  390. >”80”
  391. 11/15
  392. >”100 meters”
  393. >You look at your chronometer. Thirty seconds left.
  394. >You can see sweat beading under Trixie’s coat.
  395. “Remember, hit it as low as possible.”
  396. >”120”
  397. >”Ten seconds.”
  398. “You can do it, Trixie. Just keep concentrating.”
  399. >”140”
  400. >Sparks shoot from Trixie’s horn.
  401. >”Torpedo impact.”
  402. >Finally something is going your way.
  403. >”Second impact.”
  404. >”160”
  405. >”Third. All three hit.”
  406. >The crew celebrates in silence.
  407. >You turn to a gasping unicorn.
  408. >She looks drained.
  409. “You did good, Trixie. Can you tell if it is sinking?”
  410. >She smiles weakly.
  411. >”I think so.”
  412. >”Equestria, here we come,” Lyra beams.
  413. >The destroyers will have to tend to the sinking ship.
  414. >It might just give you enough time to escape.
  415. >You can't help but smile.
  416. >
  417. >
  418. >Two days later.
  419. >”It’s Equestria!" Snowflake shouts down the hatch.
  420. >The con erupts in cheering.
  421. >”We made it, Anon,” Lyra says with a relieved look.
  422. >You nod.
  423. “Then we should start evacuating the crew.
  424. >”Aye, aye, Captain.”
  425. >Lyra informs the crew. She tells them to take only what they can carry.
  426. >You climb up to the watch and soon your fellow ponies and griffons start boarding the rubber dinghies.
  427. >Snowflake shouts orders directing the crew to the boats.
  428. >”Why can’t I hold all these spices?” Gustav laments.
  429. >”Because you are taking too many. Just throw them into the life raft.”
  430. >”And soil my new livelihood? I think not. Come on, Applebloom, you can carry more.”
  431. >"Ahm trying."
  432. >You shake your head at the interchange, but you don’t chastise them.
  433. >You’re finally free.
  434. >Lyra sits next to you.
  435. >”It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
  436. “It is.”
  437. >You admire the white sand and emerald water.
  438. >”I know we’re not in the Griffon Kingdom anymore, but… I was wondering… if you still wanted to start a life with me.”
  439. >You take a deep breath.
  440. ”I can’t, Lyra.”
  441. 12/15
  442. >She looks at you with her yellow eyes.
  443. “Well, not until we visit your family.”
  444. >She jumps up and hugs you.
  445. >”Oh, Anon.”
  446. >She pulls back slightly.
  447. >Your eyes meet.
  448. >Time stops.
  449. >Her eyes drift down to your lips, then back up again.
  450. >You pull her close.
  451. >You never had feelings for Lyra before, but in this moment… everything seems perfe-“
  452. >”Destroyer! 5000 meters and closing!” Snowflake yells.
  453. >FUCK. It was too good to be true.
  454. >All around you ponies are yelling, and jumping into the water.
  455. >Those that can fly are abandoning ship as well.
  456. >Gustav takes flight.
  457. >”Wait! Take me with you, Gustav!” Applebloom yells.
  458. >He groans before dropping his spices.
  459. >Applebloom easily fits in his arms.
  460. >”We’re spotted, Captain. She’s turning toward us!”
  461. “I’m going below. We’re gonna shoot everything at him. Maybe I can buy you ponies some time.”
  462. >”No, Anon, you can’t. We were supposed to be together,” Lyra says.
  463. >Her hooves desperately cling to your uniform.
  464. “Lyra, don’t wait for me. Live your life.”
  465. >Your lips lock.
  466. >She melts in your arms.
  467. >You take this chance to throw her into the water.
  468. “I’m sorry, Lyra.”
  469. >She scrambles onto a dinghy.
  470. >You quickly climb down the ladder.
  471. >”Captain, the crew is all in the water,” Snowflake yells as he follows you down to the con.
  472. ”Good, get out of here.”
  473. >”That’s an order I can’t follow, Anon.”
  474. >You chuckle.
  475. “You royal marines are all the same – crazy,” you chuckle. “Alright. You arm the torpedoes and I’m going to start the engines. We have to give our crew a chance.”
  476. >You make your way to the engine room.
  477. >Seemingly everywhere are discarded items and uniforms.
  478. >But, you have lived here so long that you know every last pipe and chokepoint.
  479. >The trash is easily avoided.
  480. 13/15
  481. >You look at the massive engines.
  482. >It’s been a while since you had to do this.
  483. >You press the primer three times.
  484. >With all of your weight you flip the engine start lever.
  485. >Nothing.
  486. >Again.
  487. >Still nothing.
  488. “God damn Griffons don’t know how to build for shit!”
  489. >You hit the engines with a wrench and try again.
  490. >It starts to hum.
  491. >Third time’s a charm.
  492. >Unlike the ignition, the throttle easily moves to all ahead flank, and you rush back to the con.
  493. >Outside, you can hear explosions.
  494. >The sub rocks as the water around it is forced away.
  495. >BOOM.
  496. >You can hear water rushing into the sub.
  497. >”Don’t worry, Anon. She’ll hold.”
  498. >You nod and look out the periscope.
  499. >The destroyer is almost on you.
  500. ”It’s too close. We won’t be able to run away. Looks like we need a change of plans. Can you still fly?”
  501. >”It’s been a while.”
  502. ”But, can you still do it?”
  503. >”I can try.”
  504. “Good, because you’re going to carry me.”
  505. >”What?”
  506. >You steer the sub toward the now perpendicular destroyer.
  507. >You arm all three eels, but they stay securely in their tubes.
  508. ”It’s done. Let’s go!”
  509. >Both of you climb the conning tower.
  510. >Below you, the sub shakes violently under multiple impacts.
  511. >You look to the destroyer.
  512. >You could throw a rock at it.
  513. >Ponies start abandoning ship before the Sculpin collides with her.
  514. >The destroyer tries to turn away
  515. >You hope they can all escape.
  516. >Snowflake grabs you and you feel your weight being lifted.
  517. >You turn to get a look at your ship.
  518. >The destroyer’s claxons scream, “imminent impact!”
  519. >The ship tries to turn away, but it’s too late.
  520. >The Sculpin collides with its rear.
  521. >You close your eyes to shield them against the bright red flash.
  522. >The air around you swings Snowflake wildly, but he quickly recovers.
  523. >”YEAH!” Snowflake cheers. “Get some!”
  524. >Black smoke betrays the ship.
  525. >The Sculpin made one hell of a spear.
  526. 14/15
  527. >The destroyer lights up in flame, and more ponies jump into the water.
  528. >But, Griffons make it out as well, and they're coming right for you.
  529. >Snowflake won’t be fast enough to escape them while carrying you.
  530. >Above you, you hear a loud rhythmic whine.
  531. >Three ponies are flying at the griffons at breakneck speed.
  532. >”Thank Celestia. It’s the Wonderbolts.”
  533. >Your eyes begin to water.
  534. >They must have been tracking the Sculpin all day.
  535. >Behind you, Wonderbolts chase off the Griffons.
  536. >They are reluctant to fight Celestia’s forces.
  537. >Snowflake lets you down on the beach.
  538. >Wonderbolts land all around you and your crew.
  539. >They are holding spears, but do not attack.
  540. >One of them, maybe their leader, approaches.
  541. >She has an orange mane and a yellow coat.
  542. >Lyra holds on to you.
  543. >You kneel down, ready to beg for their mercy.
  544. >You are all slaves and criminals.
  545. >And you are on their land illegally.
  546. >The crew follows your lead.
  547. >She stops just centimeters from you.
  548. >You can feel her hot breath on your neck.
  549. >”Get up. You’re free.”
  550. fin
  551. 15/15
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