Tuesday, June 4, 2013

See the Conquering Hero Comes

Our new player couldn't make the game Monday, so we played out the return to normalcy in Fremantle of the Pike's officers. Having insulted Captain Quigley's intelligence with wild talk about sinking aircraft carriers, he had just left in a huff, when the XO, Bobby Vaugirard, was assaulted from behind as he spoke to his skipper. The red-haired assassin was none other than Galatea, Bobby's WREN driver and current romantic interest, and origin of the name of the late, lamented frigate Galatea.

"They said you were dead! Don't you ever do that t' me again, you sod!" were her affectionate words. Bobby found himself trapped in pretzel logic in the ensuing word storm, and, panicking, made several verbal blunders, including asking for her number, forgetting she had already given it to him, and thus implying she wasn't worth remembering concerning such petty details. He escaped with his skin intact, while his Skipper watched from the sidelines, vastly amused.

The Skipper, Ray Campbell, left for Captain Quigley's office with his report, while Bobby dived into the mountain of paperwork that awaited him as a reward for his station as Exec. Quigley left Campbell to cool his heels in the anteroom, while he read Ray's report - undoubtedly to get Ray nervous - but that strategy failed as he read Ray's report that the Pike had indeed sunk two carriers in the Surigao Strait, along with many other craft he had known nothing about. The last he had heard from the Pike was acknowledging the receipt of the "Ultra" message that had precipitated the entire encounter, as the Pike's radio antenna had been wiped out along with most of her upper works by the vicious depth charging following the attack.

He immediately called Ray into his office and told him that the report was ridiculous, crazy. Ray backed the report as nothing but the truth. Quigley growled that if Ray's report were not completely backed up by his officers, Quigley would throw him in the brig and cashier him from the service. Campbell maintained the report was the simple truth, and his officers would indeed back him up. Quigley read further. "I see you recommended Vaugirard, Rizzo, and Sanderson (the three volunteers on the Galatea's attack) for the Medal of Honor... If what you write is true, that doesn't sound too excessive." He hesitated at the end, looked at Ray, then signed the report. When he looked up, Ray was still there. "What do you want, a parade? Dismissed!" Ray's parting remark that a parade would only be fitting earned him a "DAMN YOU CAMPBELL!" for his pains.

That evening, Bobby called Gal's number and began with affectionate remarks, only to learn that the recipient was Ginny, Gal's roommate. They ended up going out for dancing and Swan beers at a club in a double date with Ray and Ginny. While the other two were dancing, Bobby learned that Gal was a widow, having been married for three days last year before her new husband Jimmy was shipped out to die in Egypt. Bobby told her he was married, but he and his wife had not touched each other since the birth of their daughter years ago. He told her that when he got back to the States, he'd divorce his wife and send for Gal. Gal told him not to make promises. They were hazardous things in wartime, and they should just enjoy the moment. The night proceeded. All in all, a sweet  session that was needed and wanted.

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