21 Jun 2012

Inside the Gunnery Room pt 1

Nowhere is man more conscious of his mortality and his transience than in space, where the crewman can hear the movement of the turrets along the ship's side, sometimes gentle and almost melancholy and sometimes hammering away like thunder through an excess of strength.... like the devil playing an organ with all the stops out.

First Battle.

Beads of sweat pooled off his forehead and ran deep into his eyes, stinging like an angry wasp. It was his first tour of duty in the gunnery crew of the Hurricane class battlecruiser. His first taste of battle. This was a million miles away from the peace and calm of home. The adrenaline thumping him hard in the chest. Nervous tension and excitement mixed in with the fear and not knowing made for a hedonistic cocktail of emotions.

The glowing red lights would fade to black with every angry slamming of missiles against the battlecruiser's armor. Boots clanked along the meshed floor as the crew scrambled to position. Alarms wailed and the turrets spat out their projectiles from sizzling hot autocannons. Clak, clak, clak, boom. The noise was constant. Deafening and frightening, but at the same time reminding him of a classical piece of music, almost beautiful and somewhat reassuring. The heat inside the gunnery room was searing. Unbearable. Steam hissed from pipes he never even knew existed. The noise was like thunder, like a wing of bombers passing through the inside of a maze of metal corridors. Heat was being forced into the autocannons high above his head. As the heat intensified to each gun an occasional surge of water and nano-accelerators could be heard working their way through the pipework.

Then it stopped.

The utter blackness of the room swamped everything and for a moment he considered that this could be the end. The silence was briefly interrupted by the sound of the microwarpdrive spluttering back into life. A welcome noise. The soft red glow of the emergency lighting pierced the darkness and then the lights flickered back to a brilliant white, again stinging the eyes. CW lowered his black visor to shield his eyes from the new light. The victory light. 


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