Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The End of the Pickerel

Again, last night's Pigboats game was a classic. Last time, we had ended on a cliffhanger, where the XO, Lt. Bob Vaugirard, had just anchored the junk Pickerel off Punta Praet in a typhoon, when they sighted a Japanese navy (IJN) corvette coming towards them through the driving rain and swirling wind.

The XO grabbed two small, wiry, dark haired men and sent the rest below, including the aviators and Lt. jg Yoder, who was both tall and blond. He showed the men how to apply grease from the crankcase of the engine they had just broken up on their face, legs, and arms; to turn their fishbelly-white skin - an occupational hazard when subs are underwater all day and only surface at night - dark brown. They stripped off their uniforms, and stained and ripped their skivvies to look from a distance like the sort of clothes a set of down at the heels Filippino fishermen might wear.

By this time the corvette, which was moving slowly in the poor visibility near shore, had come close enough to make out some details. As Yoder swung through the hatch, the Japanese prisoner - who had been patiently sawing his ankle rope against a sharp rib down below - snapped his foot rope and started to dash uo on deck. Yoder grabbed a rope, and using his Rope skill brought him down with a loud crash. Yoder leapt on his back and hogtied him, then stuffed his mouth with a spare IJN uniform.

A Japanese sailor on the corvette shouted out in Japanese, but the crew shook their heads. He tossed over a line, miming the crew to catch it. The XO, not able to speak anything but English and his native Cajun Creole French, decided to pretend that he could speak Spanish. " PRONTO MATADOR OYA POYA ESTA MUY PEQUENA!" he shouted angrily, using the skill Adapt, and his Trait Big Fat Mouth. He threw the rope back to the corvette.

The Japanese sailor points to the loom of Punta Praet, and mimed tossing the rope back again. Vaugirard did not understand, so he goes to the tiller and yells at his crew "MUĂ‘ECA CARAMBA HASTA SIEMPRE LA REVOLUCION!!". The IJN sailor yelled something at the corvette's bridge in Japanese, whereupon the XO hurled a basket at the corvette and made shooing gestures. "GAUCHO VOLARE HO HO!!" he shouted ay the corvette's bridge. The sailor raied his hands in surrender and walked back towards the bridge. The corvette turned and started away quickly, as a machine gunner opened up  with a long trailing burst into the Pickerel's hull. Three of the rescued fliers were killed, and one flier and one crewman were injured.

The sea poured in though the gaping holes the machine gun had opened in the junk's sides. The XO dashed below, as he and Yoder stuffed sailcloth into the holes to try and stem the horrendous leaks, while one seaman worked the hand pumps, and another gave the wounded first aid. They got the leaking barely under control - the pump had to be manned continuously, but it was no longer gaining on them. Yoder noticed the XO's strange reactions, and realized he had lost his battle with the stress, staring off and talking to himself - he failed his stress roll - and suggested the XO might like to help the two good swimmers fother the hull with a sail. He did so, and it kept the XO busy, but didn't improve the leaks much.

Meanwhile the Pike reached the rendezvous point and the Pickerel wasn't there. They tried listening, and Lt. jg O'Grady heard the sounds of twin screws at very low revolutions - a navy boat moving slowly towards them. He warned the Skipper, who held the Pike right where it was. The boat moved slowly over them, without hearing a thing - sonar being useless in the downpour. They tried getting up very close to the cape, but there was no sign of the Pickerel.

Finally, the Skipper and Mr. O'Grady poured over the charts, and using Research and Analyze, they realized that with the nasty wind and the currents, the Pickerel probably never made it past Punta Praet. They headed back on the surface towards Punta Praet, O'Grady lsitened to the Spanish language propaganda broadcasts, and heard that IJN planes had sunk a submarine in the Gulf of Davao today. "Hey Skipper! They think we're sunk - or at least they brag about it!"

Eventually, they reached Punta Praet and took the remaining crew and fliers aboard. The Pickerel sank within ten minutes of the pumps not being manned. The Skipper looked the XO over as he climbed aboard, then told him to get a shower and he's be waiting for his report in an hour.

End of Session.


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