Underway. Shift colors.
The crew topside watched as the steady unseen force of the tug’s propellers made it seem as though the pier was pulling away from them. Their families and whatever comforts they might be leaving behind were moving away and would soon, for a time and of necessity, be forgotten. There was sadness in that forgetting, and also relief. For along with the love of family and nearness and community, there was the burden of it.
For new sailors, this leaving was ripe with opportunity. Opportunity to prove one’s worth, to DO THE THING, to be the star and get the promotion and come home a hero. For the older sailors it meant relief from the endless workups and preparation and shows of capability that were required of a ship that was only “getting ready” for deployment. If all went well, to be actually on deployment meant the ease of routine, regularity, habit and the occasional swim call and exotic port visits. If all went well.
Everybody actively avoided thinking about the ways it might not go well, but they were ever present. For each crew member, there was a dozen or more ways that he or she might die in the course of a day. And that was just the ways the ship itself could kill you. There were also the shipmates to consider. One just had to hope that if a shipmate lost it out at sea, they’d go the route of self-harm and not fratricide. Then there was the ever-present reality of being agents of war which, unsurprisingly, is not popular with everyone.
So things might not go well.
But just as those thoughts surfaced for many of the crew, the tug was cast off. The ship was picking up speed under it’s own power. Music blasted over the 1MC and the ship and it’s crew rocketed toward a wide open horizon.
Secure from Special Sea and Anchor Detail. Set the normal underway watch.
Above is an excerpt of Deployed, a novel.http://marcidaniels.com/deployed-a-novel/