• 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 7

Twilight opened her palm skyward, then curled her fingers and brought her hand back to face her. Beads of sweat rolled down her face, and her hair was soaked in sea spray, her eyes furrowing in concentration.

“Come on, come on,” she grunted.

For a moment longer, nothing happened. Then a mass of dark blue fluid coalesced into a ball aft of the ship, hovering a few feet above the sea. Larry Dowden on the auxiliary conn nearly dropped his morning coffee in shock.

“Holy Mother,” he breathed.

It was after morning GQ, and Twilight was trying to hone in her magic skills for the second day in a row--with Matt's permission, of course. Sandra stood behind her in case something went wrong, and everyone not on duty crowded the deckhouses and galley to watch. Even Matt stared at her from the bridgewings.

Raising her other hand, Twilight moved the ball of water alongside the ship, her arms shaking from the exertion required to keep up with the twelve-knot pace Walker was making. Sandra took a step closer, but kept her distance. A hundred gasps went through the crowd as the princess split her concentration and her arms, moving to build a second ball of water on the other side of the ship. Her body visibly strained from the effort, sweating small droplets of blood* as tears streaked her reddened face. After a few minutes, she gave out and dropped her load, splashing the entire ship and earning a condescending torrent from Gray about paint on the hull repairs not being dry yet. She sagged, and Sandra propped her up.

“No more magic for you today, Princess,” the nurse scolded as she half-carried, half-dragged Twilight down to the wardroom. “You really shouldn’t overstrain yourself so often. I might not clear you for tomorrow at this rate.” Truth be told, Twilight was lucky Sandra was even letting her practice magic. The strain on her body seemed to nearly counteract the healing process, but her insistence that she was fine--and Sandra did want to watch her practice, too--convinced Karen to let her out the day before, so Sandra let her go today.

The crew slowly dispersed, chatting loudly about the possibilities--and how hot Twilight looked when she forgot to wear something over her undershirt and Navy skirt. Even Matt had to admit, she did that as often as she could, possibly to remind the men what they were missing. She was good friends with Sandra, though, and the older (not by more than five years), more military-experienced woman would reign her in when she needed.

“Skipper, lookout reports something on the horizon,” Reynolds reported, “bearing oh-one-oh.”

The lookout’s own voice came in moments later: “Bridge, I swear it’s those cat-monkeys again! Thought they were a squall for a second, but that carrier-sized ship is burning. Looks like a hell of a fight.”

Matt raised his binoculars to his face and zoomed in. The excellent detail of magnification revealed a “hell of a battle”, all right. What surprised him was not the… medieval nature of it, with swords, shields, and spears as the prevailing weapons, but the utter abandon with which both sides fought. The attackers--there was no other word for it, since the disparaging difference in speed made it obvious who started the fight--climbed their ships’ masts and bowsprits and just… charged headlong into a weakening wall of determined defenders. The fight must’ve been going on for a few hours already.

“Sound GQ,” he ordered. The alarm blared throughout the ship, and he pulled a helmet over his head. He was surprised to see Courtney plop one on his balding scalp as the naturalist entered the bridge. He was Twilight’s most enthusiastic observer when she practiced magic and was usually the last to leave, instead spending as much time as he could writing everything down in a spare (and empty) logbook from the late Doc Stevens’ library.

Down below, Sandra and Karen helped Twilight strap her helmet on. The princess winced from the movements, but kept quiet. The two nurses knew she ached from practicing magic. Once her helmet sat at a crooked angle, Twilight tried to climb to the number three gun, her normal station during GQ.

“Oh, no you don’t.” Sandra pulled her back into the wardroom. “You stay here. You’re not going to get yourself killed if I have anything to say about it.”

Twilight grumped, but complied.

Up on deck, Silva scanned the horizon for targets. Normally, Twilight would be on trainer, but Tom Felts took her seat today. He hoped the skinny princess wasn’t too hurt, because she seemed to like firing the gun.

In the pilothouse, Matt watched as one of the smaller ships, which had been circling the battle, put on sail and approached. The battle itself was clearer, too, and he could see that most of the smoke came from a burning ship lashed to the carrier-sized one. The “carrier” was also afire, likely set by the burning sail and masts.

“If that ship gets within three hundred yards, the number three gun will fire a warning shot across her bow,” he ordered.

“Aye, Skipper,” Garrett’s reply came through the speaking tube after Reynolds relayed the order.

Courtney stared at it through “his” binoculars. “If I may, Captain, that ship does look like an Indiaman.”

“It does. Almost exactly like one from the eighteenth century. But what’s it doing here, and why is it crowded in lizards?”

Twilight clambered up the ladder, chased by Sandra. The nurse seemed reluctant to let her charge on the bridge, but Matt waved the two in.

“Captain, whose side will we take? We must help the… what did you call them last night, Mr. Bradford?” Sandra asked.

“Lemurians,” Courtney supplied.

“Yes. Lemurians. They clearly didn’t start that fight, just by looking at ship size and obvious speed!”

“But the lizards have ships straight out of our eighteenth century! They might’ve had contact with other humans.” Even as Matt pressed his case, the number three gun crashed overhead, sending a warning shot into the water. The explosion sent water cascading onto the bow of the “Indiaman”, but all it did was renew the yells and snarls of those aboard, whom Matt could clearly hear. They beat garishly decorated shields and clanged their swords together, as if inviting challenge.

“Mr. Garrett reports that the ship crossed three hundred yards, sir.”

“Acknowledged.”

Twilight walked out to the starboard bridgewing and stared in wonder at the scene, eyeing the approaching ship. At two hundred yards, three flaming balls catapulted from its deck. They arced through the air, bursting into scattered orange flames as they impacted the ocean surface. Seconds later, another round of three came, this time catching Matt’s attention. Two fell short, but one burst alongside the hull, its heat bubbling the paint just below the number.

“Did they just shoot fireballs at us?” Matt asked. Without another hesitation, he walked to the talker’s station, took the headset from Reynolds, and said, “Mr. Garrett, this is the captain. Commence firing.”

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

Chack was exhausted. Hours ago, after the Sky Priest of Salissa Home, Adar, said the customary before-battle prayer, the Grik came slashing up their lashing ropes and boarded from their nine ships--no numbers of Grik had ever been seen before! For a while, they were kept off the bulwarks, but their sheer numbers pushed the defenders back. There were two moments of reprieve, though: one of the ships morphed into a flaming hulk, setting itself afire with its Grik Fire stores, and another ship as well, but it was lashed to Salissa’s bow and caught the forward tripod. The good news was that the fire was intolerable to even the Grik, so the front was reduced to a fifteen-person line. The bad news was that it was going to consume Salissa if they didn’t defeat the Grik soon and fight the fires. The Grik had already gotten into the holds once, slaughtering younglings and elders, but Keje-Fris-Ar’s injection of himself and his dwindling personal guard, acting as a mobile reserve, to stem the tide and push them back.

He rotated out of the line and greedily drank from the blood-tinged water barrel nearby. His parched throat needed it. He needed it if he was to save not only Salissa, but his sister Risa, who’d received a head injury and had been taken out of the fight. He needed it if he wanted to live and fight another day, if he wanted to prove his worth to Selass, if he wanted to show that despite his pacifist behavior in years past, he was a warrior to behold and honor in the Sacred Scrolls alongside the great prophets revered by the Sky Priests and guide his people from the stars.

He heard three massive splashes and turned just in time to see two more straddle the farthest Grik ship, with the third striking home and destroying it in a magnificent shower of splinters.

“The Tail-less Ones! The Tail-less Ones destroy the Grik!” he cried, wading back into the fight with his heavy axe. The Mi-Anaaka around him built up a thundering cheer as they followed him, using the Tail-less Ones as a rallying cry. The Grik fought with the usual abandon, but it hinted of… desperation. The Grik were terrified. They fought and they bled, but they were fighting each other now as well. Some leapt over the side in fear, quickly being consumed by the flasher-fish in a froth that brushed the side of Salissa with tail-high waves.

Three Grik ships still remained untied to Salissa, circling the battle to attack the Tail-less Ones. But with the crash of mighty weapons, two were splintered into a thousand pieces, their crews howling as they slowly met the surface of the water--and the prolific schools of flasher-fish that awaited them. The third was not so lucky to have as quick a demise, nor were the Tail-less Ones to be able to destroy it quickly. Three concussive splashes straddled the Grik ship, all disappointing but glorious spectacles. As Chack watched, the fluffy clouds that dotted the sky boiled into a dark-grey bought of thunder that centered around the little smoky ship of the Tail-less Ones...

Author's Note:

*This is a thing. It can actually happen.

Sorry for the shortness, but I spent all day (and past 2 weeks) in multiplayer shenanigans.

Based on past chapters and Twilight's developing ability in controlling magic, I think we all know what's about to happen next...