“Close the door!”
He pauses. I can see the hamster wheel spinning. “ya know, we probably shouldn’t. If it malfunctions the default is to just clear the tube out into the sea. So probably shouldn’t.”
“Don’tclosethefuckingdoor” I reply. I slither further down the tube. My thick coveralls slide easily against the polished metal flooring and walls. I reach the end and rap on the metal door. It thuds. I write my name in grease pen. Looking back to where I came from I see two idiots, one is my best friend and the other one of his sailor compatriots. The hamster wheel is still spinning. I’m pretty sure they’re debating locking me in the tube. With great haste, I wiggle backwards, feet first, out of the tube.
Once out of the tube, “soooo…..default is just to launch?”
“yeah, pretty much.” There is nothing but Davy Jones locker on the other end. We are out in the Atlantic Ocean. I have no idea far under the surface we are. It’s classified. I don’t know how far out into the Atlantic we are. Also classified. But, we’ve been underway for a day and a half at this point, most of which I have fortunately not spent in a torpedo tube.
Having written my name on the walls of a torpedo tube, we commence that most common of Navy pastimes, the doing of nothing. The forward compartment of the submarine, which houses the missiles, is a sought-after lounge spot. The temperatures are cooler. The rest of the sub tends to run just a little warmer than one would prefer. But here, leaned up against a missile, shooting the breeze, which is the only breeze to disturb the stagnant air at these depths, it’s quite comfortable. I’ve under been under way for a short time, but can tell how the monotony leads to some quite shocking shenanigans. And I played college rugby. Put a gaggle of early-20s sailors in a tin-can without sunlight, booze, women or distraction and shit will get weird. I still can’t believe some of the things I saw.
Another sailor leans one arm on the top of the small compartment door and pokes his head through. “Any you clowns seen my shotgun?” he asks. He is the one currently tasked with protecting the missiles from saboteurs. And he is, at this particular moment, unable to locate his gun.