• Published 4th Feb 2018
  • 1,484 Views, 208 Comments

My Little Destroyermen: Walker on Water - The Atlantean



The magic of a sudden squall is all that's needed to send Twilight Sparkle into an alternate world where everything wants to eat her. Along with the similarly displaced crew of USS Walker, she tries to survive the danger as it whittles their numbers.

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Chapter 1

Lieutenant Commander Matthew Patrick Reddy sighed. Under his command were two ancient Great War-era Wickes-class destroyers, both dilapidated, venerable old ladies way out of their area of expertise. USS Walker (DD-163), his ship, had just lost much of her crew and taken heavy damage, including the loss of the number one boiler (and the forward fireroom for a time), the quite-useless range finder, and dozens of holes throughout the hull. She was old, battered, and broken, but not completely gone.

Next to Walker floated her sister ship USS Mahan (DD-102), if her condition could be called floating. Her forward superstructure was obliterated, her poor pumps dealt with more flooding than a leaky submarine, and her crew was down to forty effectives--only one of them being an officer, and not counting the half-dozen men Matt had sent over. Currently, Matt’s executive officer, Lieutenant James Ellis, was acting captain of Mahan as he and several other Walkers helped repair the destroyer.

The two ships were nestled in the Bali Strait, just off Menjangan Island, on the southern edge of the Java Sea. Their surviving American crews were wary of Japanese ships, submarines, and carrier planes. It being the third day of March 1942, the overwhelming juggernaut that was the Imperial Japanese Navy had absolutely steamrolled the United States Asiatic Fleet, coupled with the ABDA (American, British, Dutch, Australian) force, whose defensive area was the Java Sea and its rich oil fields. Dozens of destroyers, several cruisers, a sub here and there, all annihilated. Matt’s two ships were once under the command of Captain Gordon aboard the British cruiser HMS Exeter, but Exeter was sunk, along with the British destroyer Encounter and the destroyer USS Pope (DD-225) two days before. The little fleet had been run in a circle before the Japanese battlecruiser Amagi came to finish Walker and Mahan. Caught between racing into the squall behind Amagi and escaping the two battlegroups chasing them, the two four-stacker destroyers slugged it out with a ship many times their size, technology, and capability. They just barely entered the squall alive and were now more alone than the day before.

There was no radio, which wasn’t odd during war, but it wasn’t just that there weren’t any transmissions; there wasn’t anything to hear. During the fight, the radio constantly chirped distress calls from merchants. Today, it was more silent than a cold boiler.

The slightly pudgy Chief Gray, the highest-ranking non-commissioned officer on the ship, the chief boatswain’s mate, and ruler of the deck division, spoke up. “Skipper, we’ve patched most of the holes, though we’ve had to weld a lot of seams - that’ll throw the yard-apes into fits. Everything at or below the waterline is sealed, and everyone not working is getting some sleep. Speaking of which, you need some, too.”

“I know, Boats, but I also have a hundred-odd men who need me to lead them. I can’t do that sleeping. Besides, Juan can bring coffee.”
As if on cue, Juan, the only Filipino between the two ships, appeared with a fresh carafe of coffee. He refilled Matt’s mug, followed by the others, then backed through the curtain, promising sandwiches when he returned.

“Thank you, Juan.”

“If I may, Captain Reddy,” interrupted a balding red-haired Australian corporate superior in a Dutch oil company--his name was Courtney Bradford--“there’s a ship on the horizon.” He was staring through a hole in the wardroom with “his” binoculars - though Matt doubted the original owner would ever get them back, given ownership on this ship.

Matt frowned. Of course Courtney was off-topic. But the passenger was staring at something. Matt abruptly stood and motioned for the binoculars. He stared through the hole himself, and his frown deepened. “That’s not a ship in the Japanese Navy. It looks like the Constitution.”

Greg Garrett, Walker’s gunnery officer, eyed the distant vessel. Just a kid compared to the other men, even Matt’s thirty-two years, he had a youthful face and a bandaged neck from when the forward fireroom went out and steam blasted through the ruptured steam lines. “Estimate range seven miles, sir. She’s foundered and taking on water.”

That alone made Matt’s skin crawl. Right after exiting yesterday’s very odd squall (the one that saved them), they found Mahan again, then the wreckage of a Japanese destroyer that took two of their latest torpedoes - working ones, thank God - to the face. Voracious predators roamed these seas now, wherever they were, and they’d only been able to rescue a single unconscious officer before the piranha-sized fish took to the deeps again. A giant fish thing, which Mr. Bradford asserted wasn’t some type of plesiosaur because of the 65-million time gap, had also appeared. The ocean was a lot more dangerous now than if it was saturated with box jellyfish.

“Ready the whaleboat,” Matt ordered. “Mr. McFarlane, get back down to Engineering and answer bells as I need them.”

“Aye, sir.”

“Boats, be ready to board that ship. Lieutenant Tucker, the wardroom’s all yours.”

“Yes, sir,” Sandra Tucker replied. She had sandy-blonde hair, was a little on the short side, and was a knockout with that girl-next-door prettiness most women couldn’t reach. “We’ll be ready for any wounded that come through here, Captain.”

A few minutes later, the battle-weary USS Walker steamed out of the strait and into the Java Sea, headed for the sinking ship.

-------------------------

Princess Twilight Sparkle woke to cold seawater brushing against her face. She jumped to her hooves with a yelp and quickly backed away from the encroaching water. All she knew was that the ship was flooding; the lamps had died, so she couldn’t see, and she could hear the low roar quite easily. Then her memories flooded back.

She’d been aboard the Equestrian cargo frigate ENS Friendship with some highly classified equipment when a storm struck. Normally, it wouldn’t have been an issue, but this storm had a green, sickly feel to it. It felt like the surrounding ambient magic was being sucked through it as if it was a drain. Before the crew could do anything, it reached them and dismasted the Friendship with its powerful winds. Finally, after hours of intense storm, the rain stopped. And it didn’t just stop. It hung in the air for a minute. Then Twilight looked over the side of the ship to relieve her sudden seasickness. She wished she hadn’t. Not only had she hurled her breakfast, but her lunch as well. The ocean hadn’t been there. That was impossible no matter how much magic you used. Even alicorns couldn’t do that. She backed from the railing and clung to the deck, trying to stay attached to something real as a whining pressure built in her ears. Then the the pressure dropped to normal, the ship heaved up, and she faceplanted, tumbling below decks to where she was now.

“Captain Galaxy?” she called. “Mr. Beez?” Her voice cracked a bit, betraying her panicking mind. “Chief? Hello?”

She banged against the closed trapdoor to the main deck, finding that her magic was useless in this environment. When nopony answered, she tried again, slamming her body into it. After half an hour, she resigned herself to the fact that she was trapped. “Anypony?”

-------------------------

“Chief, I’m sending you over there. Take Silva, Mack, and Laney with you,” Matt said. Walker was hove to about two hundred yards from the foundered ship, and the whaleboat was being lowered to send a party to investigate.

“Why Laney, Skipper?” Gray asked. “He’s a snipe. What could he possibly do to help on a sailer?”

“He’s about as strong as Mr. Silva, if I’m not mistaken, and he’ll pull his weight. Silva, on the other hand, needs to get out for a bit before he gets bored. He'll go in with a BAR, and you take a tommy gun. And Mack, well, he’s a good guy. Should do well.”

“Yes, sir.” Gray turned to the number two gun crew. “Silva, Marvaney, get down here! We’re going onto that sinking hulk.”

The two gunner’s mates climbed down the ladder to the deck, where they then followed Gray down the rungs to the lowered whaleboat, the larger one with a Browning automatic rifle slung across his back. Silva was big, muscular, and kept his hair so short he might as well make it bald. Mack was leaner, with a normally fun, no-enemy personality and regulation-length hair. Both were excellent at their jobs, handling them with cool, professional attitudes, but while Mack had a wife back in Cavite, Silva was a rambunctious Hercules that still raised hell wherever they entered port.

Lastly, Dean Laney clambered down the rungs. He was almost as big as Silva and equally powerful. The two’s rivalry symbolized the much larger one between the deck-apes and the snipes to a T. Laney being in engineering, he was much more tolerant of overly high heat, while Silva could take the world’s eighty-degree humidity. However, both men could at least agree on one thing: the forward crew’s head was deck-ape country, while the aft one was snipe land. Which was why Silva constantly used the aft crew’s head. To piss off the snipes.

Gray grumbled as the machinist’s mate wordlessly sat across from Silva. He was only there to make sure Laney helped assess the damage to the ship. Then the coxswain Tony Scott opened the throttle on the burbling engine, and the whaleboat’s propeller bit into the water.

A few minutes later, Gray heaved himself onto the deck. Immediately, he pointed his Thompson submachine gun around, looking for a possible enemy. Sliva came next, sweeping the stern with uncharacteristic careful consideration. Laney and Mack followed, each holding a pistol.

All four sailors knew what they were supposed to do. Mack and Laney inspected the hull, while Gray checked out the masts and rigging. Silva, well, was Silva. He tromped around the deck, trying to find weak planks to enter the ship. That main trapdoor looked too broke to open.

Below, Twilight heard the noise. She didn't recognize the voices, but they spoke Equestrian and they were above her. She bucked the trapdoor.

The voices stopped. Then one ordered the stomping one to check it out. With an “Aye, Chief,” he walked to the trapdoor and jumped on it. Dust fluttered down and Twilight coughed. Another jump shattered a support. She backed away just in time, as the third caused its hinges to break off and send the whole thing crashing down with a cloud of wood dust.

Coughing, Twilight approached the being who picked himself off the mess with a few curses. “Hello? Who are you?” Her voice was a lot quieter than she intended, but he heard it.

He pointed what had to be a weapon at her in surprise, but backed down. “Chief, I found me a pony!”

“What?” An older face, probably Chief, poked over the edge of the hole in the deck. “Ah, just what we need. An animal to feed as well.”
“Excuse me?” Twilight was astonished. Her, an Equestrian citizen, an animal?

“Silva, did that pony just talk?”

I think so, Chief. What's your name, little pony?”

“I'm Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Friendship in Equestria.”

Chief stood there for a full minute before breaking into a short burst of laughter. “A princess… of friendship? That's one of the craziest things I've heard!”

“I know it sounds weird, but you have to believe me.”

Silva hoisted his weapon. “Chief, she's a castaway. We gotta bring her to Walker ‘cuz of that rule of the sea.”

“I know international maritime law, Silva. But bringing a pony aboard Walker? I'd have to clear it with the Skipper.” He scratched the stubble on his chin. “In the meantime, let’s get you up here,” he said to Twilight. “Silva, hoist her up.”

Twilight looked alarmed, but didn’t resist as Silva wrapped his big arms around her and lifted. Her lack of resistance was mostly due to the fact that water was now up to her knees, and she wanted out.

“Damn, Purple, I thought you’d be heavier.”

“My name is Twilight.”

“I don’t care.” Silva practically threw her to Chief, who pulled her onto the main deck. Then he climbed up himself, aided by his taller stature and individual digits. “Can you fly with these?” he asked, spreading out her left wing.

“In Equestria, yes. Here, I don’t know.” She climbed down the ropes to the waiting whaleboat, as directed by Chief. As soon as she left custody of the ship, a bright violet light flashed in poor Tony’s eyes, momentarily blinding him. When he could see again, he noticed that she wasn’t a pony.

“Uh, ma’am, did you, uh, just morph from horse to human?” He scratched his head and looked down, embarrassed. At the same time, his perplexed face gave away his true thought: what the hell just happened?

She glanced at her body. She’d gone to her human form, thankfully with clothes, and was lying face-up in the whaleboat. “Sweet Celestia, I have!”

Silva and Chief peered over the rail, now a foot closer, and dropped their weapons. Both men’s eyes bulged out their sockets, trying to comprehend the magic before them.

“Goddamn, Purple, you’re a hoo-man now!” Silva called. He immediately stopped caring about the fact that she’d been a pony mere moments before--there was another woman in their midst!

Chief, on the other hand, had no words to describe what happened. It went against everything he knew, and probably Spanky McFarlane, the engineering officer, and the Skipper as well. Hell, Mr. Bradford could spend the rest of his life trying to explain this, and he was a naturalist! Finally, he found something to say. At least he could try to get some answers.

“Miss Twilight, did you leave anything of importance aboard your ship?”

Her eyes widened. “Oh, no, nononononono…”

“I’ll take that as a ‘yes.’ Mack, Silva, check out the aft hold and bring out whatever you find.” He pointed at the hole that used to be the trapdoor, and the two men jumped in.

A few minutes later, a large crate found its way into the whaleboat. Twilight carefully inspected it, and, satisfied, she nodded and strapped it down. Mack, Silva, and Chief climbed in, followed by a man Silva called Laney. Then Tony burbled the boat back to the waiting destroyer, where its anxious crew watched the wooden ship sink into the Java Sea. The whole way, all five men blinked, pinched themselves, pinched each other, and did other things to make sure they weren't dreaming. She knew it was real, but Princess Luna could've made a shared dream.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the whaleboat gently bumping its mothership. Twilight went first, as Chief ordered “ladies first,” and shakily gained the rolling deck. After her, the four men came aboard, saluted the flag, and went back to their original posts. Except Chief. He guided the violet-skinned woman to the pilothouse, where ship’s captain was studying a map with a balding redhead who was probably his navigator. Neither of them seemed to have noticed the flash a few minutes ago.

“Reporting in, Skipper.”

The captain looked up. His clean-shaven face was covered in little cuts. It must’ve been painful to move a razor around them. “Chief Gray, good to see you back aboard a--” He stopped, staring at Twilight as if she were some sea monster. “Who is this?”

Sensing that Gray was about to screw up her introduction, she quickly stepped forward and said, “Captain, I am Princess Twilight Sparkle of Equestria.”

“Nonsense!” the redhead exclaimed. “Equestria is not a country of the world. Captain Reddy, she must be playing a joke on us.”

“Mr. Bradford,” Reddy said, “you’re here on my sufferance. Please don’t make outbursts like that, or I’ll send you down to the wardroom to help Lieutenant Tucker.”

Mr. Bradford sputtered, apologizing and trying to explain himself at the same time.

“It’s clear that we’re not in the same world that we were in yesterday. Therefore, we can’t jump to conclusions. Also, I don't mean to be rude, ma’am, but your skin is literally purple. Princess Twilight Sparkle, can you tell us how you ended up here?”

“It’s just Twilight, Captain. My ship was caught by a sudden storm that tore the mainmast from the deck and took the rigging with it. My crew was lucky to cut the rigging before the mast rolled the ship. I was knocked into the upper hold and hit my head on something. Your men came just in time; I was trapped in there for maybe an hour after I woke up.”

“Ah, Skipper,” Gray interjected, “when we found her, she was a pony. She changed into a human when she got in the whaleboat.”

“Is that so?”

Twilight gulped. “Yes.”

“Bu-bu-bu-bu…” Mr. Bradford stammered. “That’s impossible! At least on our world. Miss Sparkle, how exactly did your world work, scientifically?”

“We relied more on magic than science, but we did have steam engines, if that’s what you mean. There were Unicorns, who could use normal magic, then Pegasi, who could use flight and weather magic, and Earth ponies, who had earth magic. Finally, there were Alicorns like myself, who ruled over all with the magic of all. I actually used to be a Unicorn,” Twilight confessed, “but Princess Celestia thought I was worthy of the title for doing something extraordinary. All I did was rearrange my friends’ destinies to how they were supposed to be after I accidentally messed them up.”

“Astounding. So, because you have magic, you can use it to, say, fly?”

“Yes, in Equestria. My magic doesn’t seem to be compatible with this world--otherwise, I would've stayed a pony. The only reason I was still an Alicorn on my ship was probably because it’s soaked in Equestrian magic. I don’t think I can fly right now.”

Before the naturalist could ask another question, Lieutenant (j.g.) Larry Dowden, acting executive officer in Ellis’s absence, walked in to take his watch, a precious Coke in his hand. “I heard we had a new guest from Silva’s awfully loud rambling,” he said, “so I thought she’d like one of these. Ma’am?”

She accepted the drink, finding that her throat was parched. The fizzing sensation that it left was strange but refreshing. Then she remembered that her last meal was over a day ago. “Do you have some food? I haven’t eaten all day.”

Captain Reddy shot a glance at Gray. “Sorry, Skipper. Didn’t cross my mind. If you’ll follow me, Princess, I’ll take you to the galley. Lanier and Mertz should have some sandwiches out by the time we get there.”

“Thanks. And please, call me Twilight.”

“If you say so.” With that, Gray led Twilight to the amidships deckhouse. Matt ordered Larry to head back to Mahan and followed the two, who were being tailed by an enthusiastic Mr. Bradford. He helped himself to a sandwich and watched Twilight devour one of the vegetarian ones, and then another, and another. “You might want to slow down there,” he commented.

“Sorry. I just lost yesterday’s food during the storm. The rain was so weird for a minute-- it just hung in the air. Not even an Alicorn Princess can make that happen with a squall that size, especially since it felt like it was sucking all the ambient environmental magic from the world around it.” She shuddered.

Matt nodded. "That happened to us as well. We encountered a rain squall that was extraordinary; however, ours saved our lives, while your squall tried to end yours."

“Well, as a cartoonish purple human and not some cartoonish purple pony,” Gray said, “you’re gonna need some protein. Eat one of these.”

She eyed the pinkish innards of the sandwich he’d handed her closely. “What is this?”

“That, my dear princess, is ham. Meat from a pig, if I’m not mistaken,” Mr. Bradford explained.

“It’s part of an animal?! Fluttershy would never forgive me for eating this! Neither would any of my friends, for that matter. It goes against everything Equestria stands for. Mr. Bradford, I’m a pony, not a griffon! I can’t eat meat!”

“It’s Courtney, Twilight. But you must remember that you aren’t a pony at the moment; you’re human, and humans need to eat meat to get protein. Unless, of course, you go through the trouble of finding those proteins in vegetarian foods, but I’m afraid we haven’t all of those aboard. You knew that, right? Of course you did.”

Twilight just stared agape at the sandwich. Finally, she hesitantly inched it closer to her mouth and chomped down, unwilling to accept defeat in front of her hosts. A few seconds of chewing, and she swallowed it down. I’m becoming like Rainbow Dash, she thought. I can’t let a challenge pass.

“First time eating a sandwich?” Lanier asked. “Jeezus, you’re a sissy.”

Her cheeks burned. “I’ve never eaten meat in my life.” Then, to everyone’s surprise, she munched on the rest of the sandwich. When she finished, she said, “It’s delicious.”

Lieutenant Tucker walked under the deckhouse from the wardroom, since Larry had thought to send someone to tell her that her medical services weren’t needed. She immediately saw a tired young woman with a ton of responsibility behind Twilight’s calm eyes. Taking a sandwich, she ate slowly to keep herself from hurling over the side of this rolling ship.

Matt nodded at Sandra. “Lieutenant, this is Twilight. She was the lone survivor of that ship we saw. Twilight, this is Lieutenant Sandra Tucker, head of our medical division.”

“Don't worry, Twilight, these rascals aren't that bad. At least the officers aren't.”

The princess managed a weak smile. Then she turned and saw some guys sitting on the box from her ship. “Get off of that! You don't know how to handle it properly!” she yelled, running to them. They complied as soon as they saw Matt’s raised eyebrow a moment later.

Twilight threw open the crate and rummaged through its contents. For a few tense minutes, Matt wondered if it was a good idea to let her do that on the deck. Then she found what she was looking for and sighed in relief.

“What do you have there, Twilight?” Gray asked.

She pulled a large can out of the crate and lugged it onto the deck. “Last month, a pool of pure Equestrian magic was discovered on a remote island. Princess Celestia tasked me with bringing the first samples back to Equestria. We pressurized it and chilled it to store more per container. My ship was carrying ten total crates just like this one, with a magic container covered in random cargo. As long as I have this, I should be able use magic, fly, etcetera. And I wouldn't have to change to pony form; my human form can technically use magic. It’s just harder.”

“Can you make fuel appear in our bunkers?” Gray asked. His tone indicated that he didn't believe her.

“Make things appear? There's no spell for that.”

Gray shrugged. “It was worth a shot.”

“Indeed,” Matt agreed. “Twilight, how proficient are you at using guns?”

“Guns? Are those like the weapon Mr. Silva was carrying when he found me?”

“Yes.”

“Then no. But I do know a knowledge assimilation spell I can use to learn. It doesn't hurt at all.”

“In the interest of science ‘n’ diplomacy, I volunteer to be assima-lated!” Silva hollered as he sauntered from his relieved watch post on the number three gun.

“Silva! You are not the kind of man Twilight needs to learn from!” Matt said, shaking his head. “If anything, it should be Mr. Garrett or the Chief.”

“Garrett’s still on watch. I'll do it,” Gray volunteered. “Besides, I'm not sure it'll actually do anything.”

Twilight took a hose out of the crate and attached it to the container. “It doesn't take that much magic from the caster, compared to other spells. The reason it's high-level is because it requires much more concentration. Then again, it usually uses ambient magic almost exclusively, so I’ll have to use much more than normal.” She squirted a large amount of purple-black liquid into her palm and visibly relaxed as the magic sank into and spread through her body. When her eyes opened again, they were completely black except for a light turquoise as her irises. Gray flinched at the sight.

“This won't last long,” Twilight warned, “so we need to move quickly.” In an instant, she was next to the bosun with her hand against his temple, fingers spread like tentacles. Although he looked unchanged aside from a confused face, she arched back and glowed violet. At the same time, her eyes went pure white as her mind played “copy and paste” with Gray’s knowledge. After a few minutes, she telepathically told him to pull her hand away, which he did, bewildered. The other Americans were just as weirded out by the phenomenon.

Twilight doubled over and put her hands on her knees. She shut her eyes and her breathing was heavy and ragged. “I… I… think I did too much.” Her knees buckled and Gray barely had time to catch her before she hit the deck.

Author's Note:

I've altered some of the original Destroyermen timeline in ways you should know:

1. The wardroom meetings are shuffled around, along with the ship reports in them.

2. In Destroyermen, Leo Davis gets bitten on the first day trying to secure the hawsers the morning they see Twilight's sinking ship. Here, he gets bitten between this chapter and the next, which ends up being about midday.

3. Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) Lieutenant Tomatsu Shinya is introduced to the officers and offers his parole to Reddy much earlier than in the books. (Chapter 2)

4. Matt's shore party did lose Marvaney (Chapter 2); however, it wasn't on the same day that Mr. Davis was bitten.

If there's any more that you can name, by all means, say it in the comments so I can add it to this list.