There's something out there...
|"I'm telling you, Captain, there's something out there." Amanda peered out the porthole at the vast peaks and valleys of black sea beneath starlit sky. Once again, she saw it: a shining crest that was just too smooth and sleek to be water.
Captain Barnes barely glanced over her shoulder. "We've been hunting your sea monster for days, Officer. Radar's picked up nothing. We go any farther off course and we won't make the drop."
"You have your orders, Officer."
"Yes, Ma'am." Amanda climbed the ladder and reset the course. The cargo was too valuable for anything less than complete professionalism.
Twelve hours later, port appeared on the horizon.
"Land, ho!" shouted the lookout.
Amanda, standing on the bridge with wisps of escaped hair blowing from her neat bun, turned to look behind her. There it was again, nearly invisible even in broad daylight but for its rounded uniformity. Manmade, it had to be. A submarine. And it was much closer.
"I see it," murmured the Captain, behind her.
"Pirates?" she gasped, turning to her superior too quickly for a battle-trained sailor. She took a calming breath.
"Let's find out. Warning shot across her bow."
"Ships!" cried the lookout.
The captain and Amanda saw them, in every direction, ships closing fast.
"Man the guns!" shouted Captain Barnes. Seamen scrambled into position. Amanda opened the throttle, speeding for shore.
The sub kept pace, and it became evident that the ships would reach them before they reached port. Once in range, guns began to fire.
They were outnumbered.
But then a ship exploded from below. Then another, and another.
Surrounded by a ring of burning boats, they stood bewildered. The sub crested again, within shouting distance. The hatch flipped open, and a man appeared with a crisp salute.
"Your escort, Ma'am."