Ping! The sonar continued its never ending beat. Waves of powerfulbut invisible sound pounded the black ocean waters in a futile attempt tohear the enemy. A propeller, a turbine or even a cough were all that theyneeded to catch the mouse. A whisper of sound and the chase would begin. The mouse was no fool.
It would not let out so much as a squeak togive the cat the thrill of the hunt. It would bide its time in the shadowsof the deep blue grotto until the cat succumbed to boredom and left it wellenough alone. “They’re still out there, aren’t they?” said the man quietly. Hisvoice was deep and ominous, but he dared not allow the fear gnawing at hissoul to show, for he was the Captain. “I’m not sure any more, sir. ” came the hesitant reply of the ensign.Order now
“I know I heard something just an hour ago, but during the past sixtyminutes, I’ve heard nothing but fish gossip. ” The ensign was only tryingto ease the pressure with his antics, but the humour in his voice wasclearly forced. The Captain grunted, and several petty officers chuckled. Yet, none could deny that Fear lived among them.
The spectre was clearlyan unwanted and certainly uninvited guest, but not even the many fathoms ofjet black water could keep him from his prey. He fed on fear, and thegreatest feast of all was just beginning. Meanwhile, the mouse began to grow restless in his hole. “Helm,” the voice was confidant, “bring us about to a new bearing -6148 mark 72.
“”Yes, sir, coming to new bearing. ” Moments ago this new voice hadbeen sure and strong but a trace of trepidation could be detected. “Sir. . . “, the anxiety in the sonar officer’s voice grew rapidly.
Now, likean animal trapped in a cage, the voice grew frantic. “I’m picking up anobject. . . moving fast. .
. it’s a torpedo!” Fear now had his foot in the door,waiting patiently for it to open just enough to allow him to slip throughin wisps of smoke. “All right people, just sit tight. ” The door creaked shut again asFear was forced to knock yet again. “Rafferty, have you got a fix on it?”With new found confidence, she answered, “Yes, sir. It’s bearing 328 mark46.
“”Launch decoys!””Decoys launched, sir. ” The entire ship was silent now. As quiet asa mouse the crew waited hoping, praying, that the enemy torpedo would befooled and pass them by. After what seemed like an eternity, Raffertybroke the silence, “It passed us, sir. It was damn close, but it went forthe decoy instead.
“The cat licked its lips hungrily. It had come so close and hadsmelled the hot blood of the poor little mouse. Now, it sharpened itsclaws in anticipation. “Contact, sir! Sorry,” came the downtrodden answer the entire crewhad been waiting for, “the torpedo went for the decoy. We missed.
“”Ah, what a prize!” thought Fear. “If perchance the mouse escapes, Ican feast on the larger and more tasty cat. “”Scan for incoming fire. Reese!” The voice bellowed, as if the loudnoise would deter the spectre which haunted them. “I need a firingsolution on the enemy sub and I needed it yesterday.
You got that!?””Yes sir. I’m working as fast as I can. ” Came the meek reply. A little known fact of the animal kingdom is that mice, like cats,also have claws, and have been known on occasion to gauge the eyeballs outof their adversaries. “Ready torpedoes one through four.
” The battle bridge was alive withanticipation; each officer doing his or her assigned task always knowingthat death could come at any moment. Rafferty spoke in quick gasps, “Target acquired!””Launch. ” said the Captain quietly. He was so calm he could havebeen ordering a glass of milk or answering the telephone instead of sealingthe fate of over 100 men and woman on board the enemy sub. Like a BlackMole, burrowing through the earth, the torpedoes streaked towards theirtarget.
For weeks Fear hungered no longer. The battle had truly been a mostextravagant banquet. The cat had struggled at first but Fear knew he couldconquer. Yet there was one small detail gnawing at the back of Fear’s eviland twisted mind.What of the mouse? How had such a small and patheticcreature staved off his advances for so long when even the muscular cat hadsuccumbed? “Perhaps,” thought Fear to himself, “that is why even themighty elephant fears the little grey mouse ever so much.”