• 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 2

Twilight’s eyes fluttered open. “Uuhhhnngg.”

Sandra’s soothing voice reached her ears. “I’m glad to see you’re awake.”

“What’s going on?”

“Nothing, really. You knocked yourself out an hour ago, and I’ve had to switch between monitoring you and doing my best to keep Mr. Davis’s leg.”

Twilight swung her legs over the wardroom table, which doubled as a medical table during combat and held her head to keep it from swimming too much as she turned to a sitting position. “Well, the good news is I can use a gun. But, wow, that hurt. Do you have my container?”

“Captain Reddy had it brought down to your quarters, which you’ll be sharing with Lieutenant Theimer and I. And yes, there’s only three women aboard this ship, and you’re one of them. Be ready to ward off the males, because you may need to.”

“Have you had to?”

“Not yet. Captain Reddy said that my nurses and I are to be treated with respect, and I assume he extended that to you. I mean, you’re a princess, so anything that could be regarded as an affront to your well-being could be considered an act of war by your country.”

Twilight lowered herself onto the deck, drawing an annoyed face, but eventually stood to full height. She was taller than Sandra by a few inches, and her hair was much, much longer.

“Before you leave, and before I forget,” Sandra said as Twilight started for the pea-green curtain, “head aft to the third door on the left. That’s your room, and Karen will be waiting for you there with some… less suggestive clothes.”

Twilight was about to argue, but shut her mouth. The lieutenant was probably right. Her boots were fine, though. “I don’t see what’s wrong,” she insisted.

“Sweetie, you’re wearing a bathrobe.”

Twilight looked down. “Oh.”

“Karen and I had to change you out so that we could check for injuries. You woke up before it crossed my mind to--”

“No, it’s fine.” Twilight peeked through the curtain, and seeing no one except Karen, sprinted to her quarters. The nurse slid the dividing curtain closed behind her. Twilight saw her new clothes on the bed, a military nurse’s uniform, and dressed with Karen’s help. “Where did you get this? The ship’s underhoo--oh.”

“This was Ranell’s spare uniform. A shell just came through the ship the other day… and she-she-” The nurse couldn’t continue, her quiet sobs getting the better of her.

“Was killed,” Twilight finished. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to remind you.” She pulled Karen into an embrace. The nurse’s tear-streaked face leaned into Twilight, who ran her fingers through her hair. “Shh. It’s going to be okay.”

“How can you say that? You’re more alone than that Jap we took aboard.”

Twilight’s face contorted. “What’s a Jap?”

“Just someone from Japan. A Japanese citizen. A Jap.” Karen backed away from her, slightly unnerved by the concern in Twilight’s voice.

“That’s derogatory. Why would anypo--anyone--do that?”

She shrugged. “It comes with hostilities, I guess.” She started to sound like her mind wasn’t there even though her body was.
Sandra poked her head in the room. “Captain Reddy is having a meeting in the wardroom now that you’re out. He wants you to join, Twilight.”

“I’ll be right there.” Twilight fussed with the nurse’s skirt around her waist and adjusted the stockings. “This feels ridiculous. My own clothes would do fine.”

“Sandra’s the highest-ranking woman on this ship,” Karen replied. “If she wants you to get something done, for God’s sake get it done. You’ll be fine.”

“What about you?”

“I don’t know.” There it was again, Karen on autopilot. “I’ll be me.”

Twilight rolled her eyes and left for the wardroom. When she entered, everyone, including the captain and a man of obvious different ethnic background, nodded respectfully at her. She took the man, dressed in blue, to be the Japanese person. Seeing a single seat open, she took it. Her chair was next to the young gunnery officer and another man she hadn’t seen before. It was clear that they were all officers, though.

“For those of you not aware, Twilight is from a world alternate to both this one and our own. Her title as Princess in her own country shall stand, and there will be even less tolerance toward misconduct inflicted on her than Lieutenant Tucker and her women, which is not to say that matters pertaining to them will grow lax. Understood?”

There were grumbles of assent, so he continued: “Also, I have accepted Lieutenant Tomatsu Shinya’s parole, conditionally. You will be accompanied by Sergeant Alden at all times--” he nodded at the strong Marine leaning against the bulkhead-- “and will only go where you can’t damage crucial parts of the ship. That being said, you may work in the machine shop with Mr. Sandison, provided the aforementioned conditions.”

“I accept, Captain,” Shinya said. Twilight noticed that almost all the officers were disquieted by him speaking English. She wondered why that was.

“Next: repairs seem to be going well for us. Sorry I’ve delayed you for so long, Mr. Ellis. How’s Mahan?”

“We’ve patched a lot of the holes, but she still leaks like a sieve. I really hope we don’t get hit by a storm. As I said earlier, we’re down to just under fifty effectives. Most of Mahan’s losses were in the aft deckhouse and the bridge. Honestly, Skipper, I don’t know how we made it. Whatever you tell us to do, we’ll do, but I’d rather not push her past fifteen knots.”

“That’s fine. We’ll lay doggo for the day and repair what we can. In the meantime, Spanky, give us your report.”

The squat man next to Twilight shifted. “We’re not as bad as Mahan, if that’s what you’re asking, Skipper. Gray and I have been coordinating the snipes and deck-apes to fix everything near the waterline. Most of our leaks were plates shaken loose by near misses, and we’ve welded a lot. The divisions have been working together so much, it ain’t natural. They should get a bunch of the credit for keeping us afloat. And God, too. He sent that squall that saved us, and He deserves most of the credit, that’s for sure. I know some of us ain’t all that religious, but He’s really the only one who could’ve caused what happened.” There were murmurs of assent.
“And a lot of the credit should go to Captain Reddy.”

Matt’s face felt hot. He knew it was important for his crew to have faith in itself, and to have faith in its captain. But it just felt odd. “Right,” he said after a pause. “I’ll go ashore on Bali in two hours to check out the wildlife and do a bit of exploration, and I’ll take Mr. Bradford with me. We’ll have Springfields from the armory, everyone, and pistols, too. Add a BAR, and throw in a couple tommy guns. Ten members, plus Mr. Scott.”

“Captain, I’d like to go,” Twilight said. Everyone stared at her in shock. “I understand everything you’ve said about conduct, but I want to pull my weight. And I can defend myself as well, since I have Mr. Gray’s knowledge of your weapons.”

Gray arched his eyebrows. Then he took a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and handed it to an ethnically different man who came with a platter of sandwiches. “Give this to Mertz, will you, Juan?”

“Of course, Mr. Gray.” Juan left, promising to return with coffee.

“I can’t guarantee your safety, Princess. After Mr. Davis was bitten on Menjangan this morning, I highly doubt that you’d be safe on land,” Matt argued.

“Menjangan isn’t Bali, Captain. And given your crew’s aversion to the water here, is it safe to assume that it’s no better than dry land?”

“Neither will be safe, Twilight.”

“Then why are you going?”

Mat was silent. She’d talked him into a corner with her adorkable face and undeniable logic. He didn’t want to back down in front of his officers, but it was clear that they sympathized with her despite her position as Princess and status as one of the only females between the two ships. Hell, her ordeal was worse than theirs since she was the only survivor of her ship--not to mention a species change. “Fine. But you stay with the boat.”

Twilight nodded. The deal was fair enough to her. She’d at least be able to get off the rocking, swelling, rolling Walker and feel the sand between her fingers--oh, how she missed Equestria’s peaceful beaches! Plus, she really wanted off the ship simply because hers was at the bottom of the sea.

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

Twilight jumped off the launch (which was larger than the whaleboat, and could be lowered with its crew inside it) and into the shallow, knee-deep water, a Springfield rifle in her hands. A collective gasp ran through the rest of the shore party as she splashed, but they relaxed when they saw that the prolific piranha-sized fish that saturated the Java Sea hadn’t come to eat her. With a laugh, Silva hoisted himself over, BAR slung on his back. The others followed sheepishly. One man, whom she remembered was referred to as Mr. Scott, stayed with Twilight, while Matt, Silva, and eight others began their trek into the tropical jungle before them.

An hour later, Twilight pricked her misshapen human ears to the sound of gunshots. Several of them, fired in rapid succession, were coming from Matt’s group.

“They’re in trouble!” she cried, just as a large furry lizard-thing darted between her and the jungle, hissing like a snake about to strike.

“Princess, stay with the boat!” Scott yelled. He fired his Thompson at the lizard, shredding it in seconds. Twilight backed from the carnage, wide-eyed and breathing hard. Then she felt the disturbance in the sand that marked a predator. Another lizard, unseen, had creeped to ten yards, its downy skin camouflaged by the beach. She whipped around and aimed her Springfield at it. With a deep crack and a flash at the end of the her gun, the lizard flopped to the ground, blood oozing from a hole in its face.

Twilight immediately slid back the bolt and her spent case ejected into the sand. Chambering a second round, she stole a glance to the left and saw a third lizard charging the distance between it and her. She fumbled closing the bolt in fear as her trembling fingers tried to close the firing chamber again. It was twenty feet away.

Brap-bap-bap-bap-bap! Twilight shielded her face and nearly dropped her rifle. When she looked up, the lizard was down not five feet from her. Her scared, ragged breathing from her close call with death was joined by leaning on her gun. As soon as she regained control of her legs, she retreated to the man who’d just saved her life.

“Thank you!” she cried, throwing her arms around him.

“I’m just doing my job, ma’am.”

“What’s your name?”

“Tony Scott, ma’am. I’m the coxswain on Walker.”

“Thank you, Mr. Scott.” She leaned into him a bit more, trying to absorb the confidence he radiated. Tony, on the other hand, stood erect and scanned the trees for any sign of Matt’s group. When they emerged from the trees, he sighed in relief. The Skipper hadn’t been killed. But judging by the rage-filled look on his face, someone else had been.

“Who was it, Skipper?” he asked.

“Marvaney.” Matt shouldered past the two, paying little attention to either. Taking his position in the boat, he scowled at the island and the world that seemingly conspired to kill them.

Silva and Chief Gunner’s Mate Sonny Campeti gingerly lowered Marvaney’s body in the launch. Only then did Twilight truly appreciate the death she’d so narrowly avoided herself. The gunner’s head was nearly torn completely off, but at least someone had taken his shirt and wrapped it around his neck, covering most of the grisly wound. Shiny black blood glistened from the permanently stained cloth in the sunlight. Afterwards, everyone on the beach boarded the launch, with Courtney watching over a dead lizard for dissection back on Walker.

The ride back was quiet. Twilight knew that Matt was furious. Furious at the water, furious at the island, furious at the fuzzy lizards that killed his crewman. He radiated so much anger at the world that Twilight thought she might burn up. Meanwhile, the group had already started to mourn the loss of their friend. From what Twilight had discerned, he was a very likeable man with no enemies aboard Walker.

Matt fumed aboard his ship, forgetting to salute the flag on the aft mast and Gray’s side party. Lieutenant Tucker couldn’t even comfort him, the lack of women being what it was. She did try though, quietly, as the rest of the party came aboard and carefully lifted Mack Marvaney’s body on the deck. Courtney hovered over the already-stinking lizard carcass like an expectant father, which Matt found repulsive, but he couldn’t blame the naturalist.

“Now, you see here, its eyes are set forward. Without a doubt, it had stereoscopic vision, making him a formidable predator. Terrifying! And look at these powerful legs, built especially for running. Its arms are evolved to be arms, and its claws seem be sharp enough to slice anything. Scary indeed!” he lectured as he began to dissect it with his tools. After a few moments, he saw Sandra and said, “Lieutenant, it’s good that you’re here! Do you mind coming over here and helping me slice this bugger up and show these lads where to aim next time? I fear it will become a nasty task indeed if we wait much longer.” When he said that, the men jostled for a better view.

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

Tony Scott handed his Thompson over to Campeti so the chief gunner could return it to the armory while he grabbed some lunch. He made his way to the galley and snatched a sandwich off the counter. “Hey, Mertz, do you have anything besides sandwiches?”

“Not really. We’re still cooking up some of that bean stuff for dinner, and it’s taking most of the kitchen. But I do have a pickle. Want one?” Ray Mertz asked, his uniform covered in grease stains from working on the stoves.

Tony nearly turned it down, but instead placed his arms on the counter. “Sure, why not?”

“Want one for the princess?” the cook asked as he handed the coxswain a pickle.

“I don’t--hey!” Tony playfully punched Mertz in the arm. “She ain’t my girl, you know that.”

“Well, she’s kinda kept close to you, out of earshot but can still see you. What’s that all about, eh?”

“I just shot a lizard with my tommy gun. The thing was charging her, see, and I did my job. Skipper told me to protect Princess Twilight, so I did.”

Mertz gave him a second pickle. “Just offer it to her. Hell, she just nearly died twice and it isn’t even sundown yet. If anything, it’d be nice.” He winked, but kept Tony between him and Twilight so she wouldn’t see it. But when he looked, he saw that she was interested in watching the number three gun crew drill on pointing. They wheeled the gun around, complaining about a damaged traverse gear, and pretended to fire a round before restarting the drill.

Tony approached her slowly after another minute of conversation with Mertz. She looked so beautiful right then, her long hair trailing in the breeze, her eyes now closed to accept the wind in her face. She was perfectly balanced on the rail with her legs crossed in a way that would prevent her from going over the side if she slipped. Her hands lightly gripped the rail, and her arms followed her wasp-thin torso to rounded shoulders and a slender neck.

“Ma’am?”

She looked down at him and smiled. “Mr. Scott. What can I do for you?”

“I, uh, damn, you’re pretty, ma’am.” His eyes widened when he realized that his language had slipped out of habit. “I, uh, didn’t mean to curse, I’m sorry, uh…”

She laughed. It was a beautiful, cheerful laugh with just the right hint of jingle. “I’m sure Mr. Silva could say worse, Mr. Scott.”

Back at the counter, Mertz had called in Lanier to watch as well. The two let out a howl at Tony’s expense, but it could’ve been a joke for all the poor coxswain knew. Tony’s face went beet red, however, if only because of the small notion in the back of his mind that they were watching.

“Iwaswonderingifyouwantedapickle,” he sputtered. He held the pickle in front of him, wrapped in a paper. “We don’t have many left, so I thought you’d want to have one before we ran out.”

Twilight smiled and slid off the rail, landing in front of him. Him being male, he couldn’t help but notice how her chest bounced when she did. He shook the thought from his head.

She accepted his offer, sliced it with a bit of unnerving magic, and extracted a few shriveled seeds. “Can we not plant these to make more?”

“I honestly never thought of it,” Tony admitted, “but my passing knowledge of pickles says that no, we can’t. The seeds are dead.”

“I know a spell that can bring any seed to germination,” Twilight said. “I had to learn it so Applejack still had a job one year. A particularly cold early freeze killed every tree that didn’t produce zap apples, and my spell was able to revive the entire farm. But it does take magic almost exclusively from the caster, and a lot of it, so practically no environmental magic is used. Just set it up and I’ll bring it to life.”

He stared blankly for a few seconds. Then he realized his expression and tugged her arm. “Come on then, let’s tell Mertz!”

She followed him to the galley’s counter. Out of curiosity, she picked up a Vienna sausage and munched on it. Her eyes told Lanier the truth, even if she swallowed it all down to avoid offense. She hated it.

“Hey, guys, Miss Twilight can grow us some pickles! She just needs us to set up the thing and let her work her magic,” Tony exclaimed. Normally, he'd try to stay away from magic, but he was too focused on the prospect of fresh pickles down the line.

Lanier’s bulk found its way around the counter. He inspected Twilight up and down and snorted. “You couldn’t even handle a ham sandwich this morning.”

“I know,” she replied. “But if you don’t want to grow your own food, I’ll stay back.”

Lanier scratched his chin. “The men will complain no matter what I cook them, so it’s no problem for me as long as we don’t get down to the Vienna sausages. We’d have mutiny in the chow line, even from you. I’ll have to clear it with the Skipper, but growing some cucumbers doesn’t seem all that bad. We just gotta keep the brine we have so we can turn ‘em into pickles.”

It just so happened that Matt and Gray walked in for sandwiches. “Ah, Skipper,” Lanier began, “can we grow ourselves some pickles? Miss Twilight says she can revive a seed or two, and that’s really all we need.”

Matt blinked. “I don’t have a problem with that, Mr. Lanier. Chief? What do you say?”

“Just keep the damn plants off my deck and we’ll be fine.”

Twilight left to get her container of magic while Lanier and Mertz thanked the captain. Tony went with Twilight to carry the container; if anything, he knew it was heavy. She could just barely lug it around earlier. When they returned, a little pot was prepared with a pickled cucumber seed resting on the dirt. Twilight squirted a proportionate amount of magic into her hand and closed her eyes. Gray took a step back out of caution from the last time she cast a spell, but it wasn’t necessary. Purplish black tendrils extended from her waving fingers and wrapped around the seed, feeding it water and nutrient, and finally planting it just under the surface as a healthy, germinating cucumber plant.

Tony caught her as the energy left her body. Casting any spell seemed to completely drain her reserves. She nodded her thanks up to him and sat on the closed container. He grabbed a sandwich off the counter and offered it to her, which she gratefully accepted. Lanier was too busy to care; he was having kittens over the live, growing plant that shouldn’t have sprouted. The cook cradled the pot in his arms like a father holding his newborn son. Even Twilight had to stifle a laugh at how awkwardly hilarious he looked.

Brad “Spanky” McFarlane, the engineering officer, bounded onto the deck to temporarily escape the sweltering hundred-ten degrees in the boiler rooms. “This old girl’s definitely got some life left in her, Skipper! Number two should be up again in a couple hours. Can’t do anything for number one--the firebricks are gone, the boiler’s a wreck, and besides, we had to scrap it to revive Two.”

“That’s fine, Mr. McFarlane. I take it that the aft fireroom is fine, so we’ll have three boilers by evening?” Matt asked, eyeing Lanier’s new plant for any signs that it would try to kill them.

“Yes, sir, looks like it.”

“Good work. Make sure your division gets a full night’s rest; they need it, and so do you.”

“I’ll do what I can, Skipper, but I’m kinda nervous that we’ll hit something in the night.”

“What do you mean?” Twilight asked.

“This water is infested with creatures that will eat you alive, as far as I’ve heard, and there’s apparently some kind of oversized crocodile as well. I didn’t see it, since I don’t leave the engineering spaces all that often, but the deck division did.”

She shuddered at the thought. “So that’s why nopo--no one jumps in the water for a swim.”

“Precisely!” Courtney exclaimed, although the timing was more coincidence than anything. “With the skull so thick on the sides and back, one should aim for the front. But more than that, I assure you! Place your shot on the nose or eyes and it will go straight to the brain, instantly killing the beast. You knew that’s what hitting the brain did, didn’t you, Silva? Of course you did. But you could also shatter the breastbone, and that could stop its heart with great certainty. It’s also a much larger target than the eyes…”

“Mr. Bradford really knows how to keep a running lecture,” Matt said. He yawned. “I’m turning in for a few hours. Wake me up if anything weirder than purple princesses happens.” Without even catching his own remark, most likely due to his tiredness, he walked off to his quarters. “And no magic until I’m up,” he added as an afterthought. Inwardly, he thought Twilight’s abilities were extremely useful, but they were way too strange for him. On top of that, they only had the one barrel before there was no magic at all. They should ration it as much as possible.

Twilight raised an eyebrow, but didn’t pursue the topic. Instead, she walked to Courtney and Sandra, hoping to learn a few things about their new enemy.

The quiet night carried into the morning, with Courtney’s running lecture finally coming to an end sometime around midnight. Repairs to the two wrecked destroyers continued unabated, though, and the racket kept Twilight from sleeping. She couldn’t understand how some of the men were able to take a five-hour nap when noisy machinery was right next to them. Eventually, she did close her eyes just before dawn, when the sun’s golden rays began to heat the bulkhead beside her head.

Then Walker began a pell-mell acceleration, knocking her out of her bunk. She squeaked as her head hit the deck and dizzily stood to the gong of the alarm bell.

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

Down in the engineering spaces, Spanky lifted his favorite mug, filled with hot coffee, when the bell hit “ahead flank” and the screws bit the water. He’d heard that the Army pilots, the most seriously wounded, and three nurses, leaving only Lieutenant Tucker and Ensign Theimer, had transferred to Mahan not half an hour ago, so the passages would be clear for the next shift, but damn, that was more surprising than finding out that only half of the women were left aboard.

Spanky dropped his mug trying to grab ahold of something, and it shattered on the deck, sending scalding liquid into the legs of a concentrating Isak Rueben (one of the Mice. The other was his half-brother Gilbert). Isak swore, but kept his mind on keeping the number four boiler from getting messed. Men scampered about, and the water tenders frantically moved to stop water from sloshing the turbines. Slid plates were moved back to their previous positions, and a relatively normal pace started again.

“Bloody hell!” Spanky exclaimed. “Guess the Skipper didn’t hear ‘take it easy!’”

Author's Note:

More continuity changes, but I gotta keep start fast and get to the stuff I actually like. Really, the change is the timeline--and, of course, Twilight's being there. But besides our purple pony princess, everything is just somewhere in the timeline it originally wasn't. For instance, Matt doesn't go to Menjangan Island until after meeting the Lemurians (next chapter). For those of you who've actually read Destroyermen, I hope you can forgive me for these.