Success at Any Cost

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Writers Rift

Please comment and review. I'm looking to grow and improve as a writer so every bit helps

Chapter 1 (v.3) - Battle at Sea

Submitted: August 01, 2017

Reads: 421

Comments: 2

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Submitted: August 01, 2017




 The cannonball exploded three feet from the head of midshipwoman, Brooke Gains; splinters peppered her jacket and tangled in her hair. Brooke staggered backwards and wanted desperately to give in to the ringing in her ear. Slowly she collected herself, brushing away her curly black hair from her face. As she swept off some embers she was finally able to take in her surroundings; a large hole now existed where the bulkhead of her ship used to be, and through it she could see the ork ship with its sharp triangle sails and black wood keel.She spun round to her deck, of the eleven guns on the ship's port side only four remained active. Normally a navy patrol ship like hers, the Courser, would have a magician to maintain a forcefield around the ship but for whatever reason it wasn't here. Suddenly she noticed two of her sailors were laying on the deck wounded. Brooke dove to the side of Ms Robin the closer sailor and applied pressure to a gash in her leg. Brooke desperately signaled for a young powder girl to fetch the ship's surgeon. As the girl ran off, Brooke’s remaining gun crews finally recovered from the initial shock of the explosion. All four crews looked down to her desperate for orders.


“Swab the bo-” was all she could get out before the second woman, Ms Baker, coughed several times and fell unresponsive. Scrambling to the other sailor, Brooke began compressions announcing her orders “Swab, powder, ram, shot, ram, wick, FIRE”. She matched her compressions to the cadence of her commands. When they fired she took the split second of fire to dive down and breathe into Baker’s mouth, before resuming her orders and compressions. Another enemy volley threatened to break her focus but the impact was too far back to hurt her like the last one.


The powder girl returned with a surgeon's mate. At the sound of another explosion from the guns her arms gave out; she suddenly collapsed to the deck on her back. She laid there catching her breath as the surgeon's mate and the powder girl attended to Baker and Robin. Her mouth continued making the motions of the orders but she heard no sound come out.


Despite her silence her crews continued on, albeit their next shots were much more out of rhythm than they had previously been. As the next volley rang out, she rolled onto her side and watched the cannons strain against their safety chains. Her eyes grew wide at the revelation. She shouted out in hoarse voice, “Chains!” The women at the guns quickly dropped their cannonballs and dove for two small cannonballs strung together with a length of chain.


She returned to barking orders with renewed vigor “Swab! Powder! Ram! Shot! Ram! Wick! Adjust! FIRE!” The cannons bucked just as before, only this time she dove for a hole made by an enemy strike. The chain shot spun through the air towards the enemy ship. The first one to contact flew much too high and struck the crows nest. The second shot struck the foresail tearing it in half, inconvenient but not damning. The last two struck as a pair first tearing the rigging on the far most rear mast, and then snapping it like a twig before it dropped into the sea.


Before Brooke had a chance to revel in her victory, the guns on the deck above joined in on the fun with chains of their own. Only three in the salvo of 11 actually struck, but they were crucial strikes to the mainmast, just above its center. The sound of it cracking was louder than any of her cannons. It crashed into the foremast dragging them both down onto the deck.


The ork ship was as good as dead. The women around her rose up in cheers, hugs, and shanties. Before Brooke could join them a deep stern voice roared out, “Who's brilliant idea was it to load chain-shot down here?”


Brooke swallowed hard, “I did ma'am, midshipwoman Gains”


A short, leathery lieutenant walked down the stairs onto the gun deck, “Let's hope you keep up the good ideas Gains,” she pitched a musket at Brooke, “‘cause the captain just requested for you to lead the boarding party.”



© Copyright 2018 Chris K.C. All rights reserved.


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