Collision At Sea | William Thomas Online | William Thomas

Collision At Sea




A Fable 

By William Thomas 

USNR (Resigned)




“Can't raise CINCPAC. Or my boyfriend. Jamming, sir. Sounds like the Rocket Man strikes again. Can we go home now?”


“Very well. Make it so. And don’t hit anything!”


“The watch-standers are falling asleep on their feet, sir.”


“Well wake them the fuck up!”


“We can’t spare the extra hands, captain.”


“I suppose now you’re going to start whining about how short-handed the navy is. Every time one of our ships crashes into something, or another navy airplane falls out of the sky, everybody starts complaining that we are all incompetent, training deficient, sleep-deprived. That lemon Ford with her hinky catapults and arresting gear and those fucking F-35s are hoovering every damn dime!”


“Sir! Every time I smack the radar with my fist, it’s showing the same target. Something big. Coming in fast amidships. Starboard side. Just like the Fitz. We’re on a collision course!”


“Never mind that. Go below and get me more java. This crap tastes like standard issue U.S. Navy mud. Which is why I love it so. Did I ever tell you the time I cornered this really hot chick – kinda looked like you, now you mention it – we were alone in the wardroom during the mid-watch, see? She was just a rating, so she couldn’t complain. And I said, ‘You wanna play Tailhook? An…”


“Sir…” (kicking the radar console and scuffing her spit-shine)


“What is it now?” (irritated)


“She‘s a container ship. Chinese flagged. Speed 25 knots.”


“Now you’re clairvoyant?”


“She’s been calling us, sir. Asking ‘WTF?’ in hysterical Chinese. At least that’s what it sounds like, sir. Like a Hong Kong bus.”


“What the fuck them back.”




“She’s close aboard, SIR.”


“Remember back to your midshipmen days? 'Ship on the right is right’? We must give way. What are your orders? Sir!”


The captain computed with lightning speed (which is why they made him a seagoing CEO). He could turn hard-a-starboard or hard to port, go to all ahead flank or back down hard. So many choices. So little time… 

He considered the sailor’s oldest emergency bromide: ‘When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.’


“Range?” he barked.


“Step outside and you can shake hands with her master.”


“I don’t want to shake his hand. I want to pop him in the nose! Nobody tells a U.S. Navy warship to get out of the way!”


(OOD presses the transmit switch on the 1MC) “SOUND COLLISION! Close all watertight doo...”


“What are you doing?” the captain intervenes. "You want to drown some sailors and get me court-martialled?”



“You’ll be court-martialled if they don’t, and this ship goes down. Sir, maybe we should tell everyone to jump overboard, while they still have a chance. You know, sir. Panic now and avoid the rush?”


"Are you…”





See also:

Incident Off The Spratleys

Willthomsonline Endorses The F-35

sinking down

Abandon Ship!

“RESIST MUCH, OBEY LITTLE”   发件人     William Thomas 2023