The SONAR tone bounded aimlessly through the massive expanse all around us, but all signs said “nothing to write home about.”
The captain sighed softly while everyone else tried to bury their loneliness in productivity.
The disparity between the nuclear-capable, inescapable, matte-black shell that shielded us was somehow more obvious with a glance through the periscope.
Even if you’re neither agoraphobic nor claustrophobic, being packed sardine-like at the bottom of the ocean can coax both out in short notice.
Ping… ping… ping…
“I see a huge object at 8 o’clock, sir” said the navigator.
So many bloodshot eyes stared in his direction at once.
“Properties,” the captain asked.
“30 feet long, moving toward hostile waters,” the navigator listed.
“Let’s investigate,” said the captain.
The vessel turned slowly, deliberately, to find the object.
“It appears to be diving,” said the navigator.
The captain commanded coldly “Arm the torpedos,”
We all looked at each other at once itching for something to do, not forgetting that a hole in the hull the size of a quarter would let in a jet of water that could slice a man in two.
Ping… ping… ping… ping…
We were approaching now.
The captain pulled the periscope down.
“On my command,” he said holding his arm up.
Just enough light filtered through from the surface,
To show a sperm whale corpse slowly falling.
“Don’t call me that.”
The navigator apologized profusely, and asked for information,
“Our worst enemy, another false positive,” the captain said dejectedly.
Each bloodshot eye fell back to its station,
In silent disappointment.