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New York Harbor

Late Afternoon

1/26/2020

 

 

It felt like sand pelting his cheek, only cold with the smell of the sea. Eyes turned skyward, lit with the brightness above him he could only describe as ethereal. Earth, could be breathtaking. Sky a brilliant and throbbing blue one moment, glittering crystals of snow and sea spray winking at him. The next, filled with freezing "rain" that he could only describe as a descending cloud, obscuring the sky above him into a bright blizzard white. It dusted over his features, bringing an uptick on the corners of his lips. He could imagine, if only for a moment, it was his doing.

 

The honk of a boat that passed him in greeting brought him back to the grit of life and dark water of the bay. He'd spent almost a day out with his dragon, where the melting metal beast had first woke him from his descent into this hell. Out before dawn, back by late afternoon. Cruising up the coast had its dangers, it was going into uninhabited territory, and the ocean shoreline was wrought with sunken freighters. Some, like his landmark were easy to see as they died into obscurity. Others, were icebergs just under the surface waiting to rip an unsuspecting hull open.

 

It had taken years of trips, and hull repairs, to clear a path enough for him to safely navigate a boat to the small harbor- and the dragon out of it. It seemed whatever storm or weather disaster that most likely accompanied the Resonance had washed stray ships into a pile only to roll over each other like sea glass... freighters were massive things, but the sea was their god. Some died and lay at the bottom, some survived but died on the beach. Others still lurked in their anger only to drag others down with them. It was a miracle his dragon had beached itself unscathed.

 

He steered left to make the corner into his bay, always vigilant someone may have followed. A boat going well out of bounds could do it discretely for a time, but eventually someone was bound to notice. That alibi he hadn't figured out yet.

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As repeated warnings of the winter storm continued to air over the radio, sea green eyes, steady and calm, peered through the ice pelted windows of the bay patrol boat. The small craft rolled with the writhing waves of the turbulent sea, nauseating plummets and climbs testing seasoned guts. He’d gone as far as he could but the

Turbulent waves writhed and crashed against the hull of the small craft; he had ventured as far as he could. The vast open waters of a raging sea would capsize his boat were he to press on any further. Thankfully, according to the chart, he’d traveled well past the perimeter of the search area.

[dover]This is PB-315. No sign of the ‘Devil May Care’. No sign of the ‘Devil May Care’. Over.[/dover] The constable reported.

[npc]This is Coast Guard One. Appreciate your assistance. Storm conditions are increasing, recommend port. Over.[/npc]

[dover]Roger, that.[/dover]

Fearless of those dark fathoms beneath the churning surface of the sea the mariner only now respected the storm as it threatened to capsize his craft. It meant a mark on his record the constable didn’t need, one that could temporarily suspend his licence, if not permanently revoke it. He had to make the coast, it was his only chance, but lying between the certainty of sinking and salvation was an equally deadly obstacle.

The Eastern Seaboard had changed. The persistence of vehement storms, lack of security and services had forced much of the population to abandon what was once highly sought after real estate. Beyond the shores of the cities the coasts were all but barren and riddled with uncharted dangers. A wall of wrecks were scattered across the coast of the nearby peninsula. Ships succumbing to the ocean’s wrath, hammered against the rocks or drifting to the shore as sure as elephant’s to their graveyard. Rusted hulls and jagged carcasses of twisted metal breached the surface or lied just below. A hull piercing minefield that had claimed it’s share of victims over the years. Navigating it in a storm was certain doom, but it was the route any seaman who’s ship meant their life would choose. So it would be his.

The bay constable rode in with the storm, gentle waves surging into massive swells as a wall of white struck the coast. He couldn’t maintain control as a massive wave threw the smaller vessel over remains of a cargo ship before breaking against the wall of wreckage. The Delta 1150TX ramped off a wave it’s padded hull grazing the dilapidated side of a beached freighter before splashing down into a narrow channel. The sides of two massive ships rose up on either side of patrol boat, calm waters flowing between them. He was safe, or so he had believed. The groan of old metal rose above the wind and the ship that took the brunt of the waves ever so slightly shifted it’s weight. Would that it’s titanic weight move enough to crush him between seemed improbable but the mariner thought not to take the chance, deciding to get closer to shore.

The sea was significantly calmer amidst the unnatural break water but visibility was poor. The flurries made navigation difficult, but the mariner persisted, slowly crawling through the seafaring cemetery. The way was oddly cleared of debris, almost purposeful.

Perhaps it was.

Through the blowing snow the constable could make out the silhouette of a ship moored in a small bay. Another wreck? It didn’t seem so. A salvager perhaps? It was not uncommon to come across these treasure seekers but there was always the question of legality and whether or not they were negotiators or killers. He didn’t have much choice but to find out and so he slowly cruised into the bay, cautiously searching for signs of the crew.

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He felt it before he saw it.  Shadows in the squall, the gatekeepers shifting slightly as if in warning.  Someday they would collapse, he was hoping he would be gone by then.  A false hope maybe.  In his calm little bay, he was anchored close to the Dragon to wait it out.  The otherworldly thing was slid up onto the beach, the safest place for it at the moment… almost half completely flickered out of mind’s eyes, the hull that touched the seafloor and beach however looked a relic of Earth history.  Storms like this, he protected it, watched over it until he knew it was safe.  He couldn’t moor it anywhere else without it being seen or realized.  With all the hate floating about lately, it was a flurry of questions he wanted to avoid.  If it accidentally worked its way loose and somehow floated into a weak walled capsized freighter hull to be crushed,… or gods forbid lost into the ocean… he would never recover.

 

Arms calmly folded, he watched the wall of white through the windows as his small work boat undulated lazily beneath him.  Shadows again.  Door opened, climbing out carefully to get a better look away from the snow that was beginning to stick to his windows.

 

Eyes cast behind him, the visible parts of Dragon were beginning to disappear into the wall of white, something was moving into his small bay, into his world.

 

Shit.

 

English was an interesting language.  In his, there were few curses, in theirs… there was so much to choose from. 

 

He hopped back toward the small bridge, picking up the radio.

 

“Vessel inbound, vessel inbound, this is the Ormen Lange on channel 16.  I am anchored in your direct collision path just off your port bow in shallows.  Please alter course and stop, over.”

 

Thumb clicked off, the curse coming from his lips this time much sharper in his own tongue.  Fingers reached to turn on the engine, just in case, a light tap on his horn and light up to signal location. If the boat kept moving at the pace he thought it was, it was going to run aground, after pushing him into it.

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Dover threw the engines in reverse. First instinct was to run the name through the database but the system was down due to the storm.

[dover]This the harbour patrol.[/dover] Dover formally announced, momentarily pausing for any sudden movements but visibility was poor. Just then a massive wave slammed against the stern of his craft, pushing it dangerously close to the Ormen.

[dover]SHIT![/dover] He exclaimed, driving hard to starboard and into calmer shallows in the wind shadow of a rusted out hull. Visibility was getting worse, the Ormen was barely three boat lengths away and he could barely make it out.

[dover]How many in your crew? Over.[/dover]

Cut backs meant the harbour patrol had to stretch their man-power, meaning not everyone boat could have a full crew. Dover liked to work alone, so he volunteered to solo it, unfortunately being a lone wolf on the sea left one vulnerable.

[dover]I need to weather this storm. Over.[/dover] He noted that the Ormen wasn’t bouncing around as much but couldn’t tell if there was enough room to anchor two boats safely in close proximity.

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Knuckle on his forefinger tapped on his forehead as he held the radio in the same hand.  It was the closest thing to a facepalm… This could get worse, but not by much.  Eyes looked up just as a boat erupted from the squall, dangerously close.

 

Yes, it could get worse.

 

His first instinct was an outstretched palm.  It was habit, ingrained, meant to engage the sea and push the vessel back.  It managed to punch a tunnel in the snow of the tempest- fueled this time by adrenaline, drive and surprise, not just an errant attempt to “check-in” on powers he hoped had rekindled without his knowledge.  He blinked a moment, the other boat clear for a snapshot before disappearing again as it turned hardtop starboard to avoid him


"How many in your crew? Over."
 

He’d almost forgotten about the radio in his hand.

 

Just myself.  Over.

 

…and the feeling of impending antagonism, made more pronounced by the next transmission.


"I need to weather this storm. Over."

 

Of course he did.  A lot of things were spinning through his head.  When the squall was over, he would have a lot of explaining to do.  It was a maze to get into this place, a maze that to anyone able to pick through it would see as a deliberate clearing of wreckage.  How would someone know how to clear it?  Navigate underwater to be able to hook and dredge?  The worst part? Harbor Patrol.  He was no stranger to killing to protect his secrets… Harbor Patrol would be missed.  In this storm though, maybe not.  He’d never seen them out here this far in a storm… he had the advantage at the moment, at least until things started to clear.  The front hull of the Dragon would be visible at that point. Just a boat, he could explain it away as a hobby.  A boat that cast its own camouflage when it touched the water.  Shit.  Shit didn’t seem strong enough to sum up his gauged panic.

 

He should say something.  It had been entirely too long.

 

Settle in, plenty of room.  Over.

 

Radio was slammed into the cradle as he started to move, grabbing the handrails and sliding down the bridge ladder.  There was a plan.  It was a crappy plan, but it was a plan. He could winch the Dragon completely onto the shore, but was unsure if the trees the winch were lashed to would hold the weight.  Or, he could wait out the storm… see if Mr. Harbor patrol really gave a crap about his interesting boat, then find a new place to hide it after he was gone.

 

Or, brain lurched forward as he snapped the rigging knife into its belt clip and glanced at the boat hook, he could take care of this now and send Harbor Patrol’s boat to the bottom. He balanced precariously on the gunwale, keeping his balance as the boat undulated with the water.  Shore, or the other boat.  He had to make a decision.  The water was his to play with; he could hit the water and make it to either location even in this weather.

 

If he left the man alive, he would still have to explain how he got on shore.  What a raging clusterfuck; last thoughts to himself as his body sluiced into the freezing black with barely a splash.

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As Dover struggled to steer his boat the sea suddenly lurched, a massive wave ploughing through the ship grave yard. It kicked up the stern, flipping the boat on it’s nose. There was absolutely nothing he could do but brace himself as tons of water hammered down on the smaller vessel. The bow dipped, pushed down hard into a ridge of rock that otherwise would have been beyond the boat’s depth. It hit hard, rupturing the hull, the sudden impact throwing Dover forward, through the window.

“BULLOCKS!” Was all that went through his mind.

Eyes suddenly turned dark, clearly seeing through the water as he quickly assessed the damage of his boat. The bow was completely destroyed, but could he pull it to shore? Difficult to know. He had sustained a head injury, a deep gash along his forehead flowed red, the trauma making it difficult to focus. All he knew was that the Ormen would be sunk if another powerful wave slammed the wreckage into it.

Dover breathed in, his lungs instantly adapting to the aquatic environment, as natural to him as the world of air. He needed leverage, even were his strength at full capacity it would be difficult to maneuver a sizeable object in the turbulent waters. He needed something solid, and he saw it, writhing below. Gripping the hole in the hull he pulled with all his strength, stretching for the algae encrusted cable. He kicked to near exhaustion, but he couldn’t reach it, then the distance closed without effort. Another wave was coming! He could feel it.

As the mass of water was drawn to the sea Dover pulled the wreck away from the Ormen. There was rope in the hold but he wouldn’t have time to moor it before the wave hit. He dug his fingers into the broken hull and looped an arm around the cable. The wave struck, thousands of pounds of force bearing down. The hull buckled, but held, the formorian’s muscles burned from the stress until at long last the pressure subsided.

The wreckage safely tethered, Dover ascended. It was a good fifteen minutes later that he broke the surface of the crashing waves, waving to the captain of the Ormen. It was more of a polite gesture than anything. The formorian could have easily survived in the sea but then the witness would have only been lead to assume that an officer of the law had drown. It was best to avoid such complications.

 

“Over here!” Dover shouted, awaiting a rescue.

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LISTED!

AFFILIATES

OUR BUTTON