Raider From The Sea, Chapter 38.

Captain Pinch wants to get ahead of the game.

Chapter 38.

RNS Victory.

Daniel Harper turned to his wife, who was shivering under his arm and said, “worried dear?”

“A bit. I know that Admiral Shanelis arranged with the Regency Council for our visit and you are here as Jarfaet’s representative and here to discuss the activities of the Ravathyra and get them to stop if we can. Still, I don’t know what I would do if I run into Erlan.”

“Don’t shoot him, dear. If I had known how you would take to guns I don’t think that I would have taught you to shoot.”

“You did, and that means that regardless of what happens, I am not and will never be helpless. Actually, if Erlan annoys me, I will talk with Rosaniya. She will know who to talk to about making Erlan’s life miserable.”

A lieutenant came up and said, “Mr. Harper, the capain’s complements and he would like to speak to you both on the bridge.”

“Dear, I think that we need to speak to the captain.”

With that, the pair went forward and to the ship’s small bridge.When they entered, Captain Isidore Christie had a radio message in his hand. “Mr. Harper, Milady, there have been some developments. The Ravathyra have apparently sortied everything they have.”

Lythienne blinked. “Rolin has either gone crazy or he’s up to something.”

“The commodore thinks that he’s up to something. He’s already diverted Enterprise toward Eryding to see if they can chase some of the characters down. Now the question is, do you want to continue with your mission?”

Daniel Harper put his hand on his chin and thought about it. Then he looked at the captain and said, “Yes I do. I’m not sure what we can accomplish, but the Ravathyra have been a scourge on the coast for a very long time and sending, me, an ex Senator and Secretary of State, with direct portfolio from the President will show how serious the Rebublic is to bring things to an end. My wife and I also want to talk with Richard and his wife and meet their children. But that is secondary to my primary mission which is to demonstrate that the Republic and the other blasted land states will no longer sit helplessly by while the Ravathyra do what they have done for centuries.”

“Mr. Harper, I can see that you are practicing. Are you sure that you are not running for President?”

Daniel grinned. “Lythienne won’t let me. She doesn’t want to entertain that much.”

“Ok, then. I will radio the commodore. I will try to not leave you in the lurch, but we may be called in on the chase. After all, we and Enterprise are the only ship with the gadget and this is the perfect opportunity to give it a test.”

RNS Enterprise

Rather than being on his bridge, Captiain Borug McRodden was in the cabin behind the charthouse that was filled with cabinets full of humming electricity. The captain had been briefed about the latest mad scientist’s toy and had been more than a little bit skeptical. That skepticism had turned to fervant enthusiasm as things had developed over the last few twentieths. The bedspring mattress antenna on his foremast was showing him the locations of at least thirty Ravathrya ships and they had no clue that he was tracking them. When the traces had first appeared the captain had had ratings call through the door to a petty officer who put pins on the chart in the chartroom. The ships had dispersed and then started to follow parallel courses. The courses led to the southern most extension of the island chain off the reefs offshore of the Rebublic.The same reefs that were home to the seafolk, all now citizens of the Republic and some of them had family on board, including the captain himself, whose sister had been dragged under and had wonderful children living on the sea. There was another group of ships heading to the hidden city apparently. In any case, thanks to the gadget, the Ravathrya pirates were going to have some rude surprises coming their way. The captain went though the door to the chartroom and said to the petty officer, “Are you giving the admiralty updates?”

“Every twentieth as you instructed, sir.”

“Very good. I’m going to hit the sack. Let me know if there are any dramatic course changes.”

“Aye aye, sir!”

SS- 21, (Bluefin)

Captain Pinch was resting in his cubby as the sub made its way back to the Hidden city. The door knocked and the chief of the boat said, “Sir, there’s a message from the Commodore. The Ravathyra have sortied.”

The captain emerged from the cubby and said, “How many ships?”

“The message didn’t say, other than over fifteen.”

“So, a large sortie. I expect that some will be heading to the hidden city.”

“I suspect so.”

“Ok, have you told Lieutenants Desmond and Magmaer or Major Clayhanger yet?”

“I was going to after I told you sir.”
“Have them meet me up on the bridge. I want to talk to Lieutenant Aqakuktuq as well.”

“He was on my list, but since you want to get wet, be my guest, sir.”

“Your turn will come, chief.”

“I know sir.”

The captain went up the bridge and called forward into the sort of shelter, forward on the deck, “Lieutenant, we have a situation!”

“Coming sir!”

The lieutenant was only wearing the poncho of his unit as he marched up the deck and climbed up to the bridge. He was joined by the marine major and the two lieutenants from intelligence and Pinch’s first lieutenant. When they had all arrived, Pinch said, “Admiral Zylvyre has made his move at last. Earlier this morning, at least three of his squadrons and probably more were seen sortieing out of Eryding.”

“Do you think that some will arrive at the hidden city?”

“I expect some will, in support or as a diversion.”

“What do you expect that Admiral Zylvyre is up to, sir?” Lieutentant Magmaer asked.

“That, lieutenant, will become part of our job. The four of us here are known about town and we have friends there. We are ahead of the Ravathyra and can be launched through the torpedo tubes and Swim to shore.”

“What about my mission?” Lieutenant Aqakuktuq asked.

“That does not change. After dropping off Lieutenant Desmond, Lieutenant Magmaer, Chief Anastos and myself, the boat will continue to the beach on the other side of the city and then return.”

Lieutenant Dantas had bit of a frown on his rather scaly face. “Shouldn’t you stay with the boat, sir?”
“Normally, I would. This a one time chance to get a good look at the enemy from the inside, the chief and I are already established in the community and you cannot go ashore for the same reasons that you could not the last time. I wouldn’t do this, except that this time we are ahead of the enemy and if we can get a clue as to what they are planning, we can save hundreds of lives. Just drop the major and the lieutenant’s people off the way the plan says and bring the boat back. It shouldn’t take you more than two days, even with complications. The boat was going to be watching the harbor in any case and I was planning to be ashore at least some of the time. The Admiral doesn’t know what the character on the other side is up to and that is something that the Republic needs to know. I will take the heat from the Admiral for abandoning my command, because right now, the more people we can get into the city while the Ravathyra fleet is here and Admiral Zylvyre is distracted, the better. In any case, I don’t want you or the crew to get sloppy and mess this up. Get the boat back and get ready for the big show.”


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