“I’m calling out to anyone. Anyone. Anyone who made it. Hello?”
May 17, 2021. One-hundred three people sat waiting, hoping nervously that they would hear the Border Island patrol submarine, code named project storm bringer which was equipped with state of the art technology and extremely dangerous, would be commissioned for active duty. The CO patiently waited as the long minutes went by a drop of sweat rolled down his forehead he raised his hand catching it before it hit the ground. For once, he had nothing to say to his crew, but that was when the Chief Naval Officer arrived. Announcing, “On this day, May 17, 2021, 13th hundred hour Project Storm Bringer will be commissioned to protect and serve the people and contents of Border Island.” The CO’s mind was swirling as he heard the loud footsteps of boots crushing the ground giving him deja vu back to when he was commissioned as CO.
The nervous sensation he had before being instated as CO and the sense of pride and accomplishment after. It was a day of accomplishment and celebration for Lieutenant Theodore, XO Lucy, me, CO Damien, and one-hundred other proud sailors. The crew of the Border patrol submarine celebrated that day since it would be the last one for awhile. The Border patrol sub went through hundreds of routine exercises in the aftermath, was kept off all records, never had to surface, and lurked at 2,000 feet, but no matter what they couldn’t have expected to one day be fighting something they couldn’t see.
It was June 1st, the start of hurricane season, they predicted a storm off the coast of Africa. Within two days, the storm jumped to a category five and did something never seen before. It made a b-line straight for Border Island. At the time, we had docked at Border Island to restock on supplies . I felt the wind rush past me, the ocean spray coming off the waves as they crashed against the shore, the cool water beneath my feet as suddenly the clear crystal water turned dark. A shadow crept across the bay, the sky darkened, the sun disappeared. I looked up and saw the storm. I ran back inside to the strategy room.
Announcing while trying to catch my breath, “We are out of time!” I said “It’s coming!”
“ Slow down” Said Joseph “This is a confidential meeting, you can’t be in here”
“ No excuses. You don’t have authorization to be in here!”
The top officers began to fight as to why I was here. Should I be allowed to stay and say my piece and that’s when the glass started to shake, there was a sound like a wolf howling and the glass caved in catching Joseph and Liz. As everything started to be pulled out the window, I jumped for the red alert button, touching it as the wind pulled me towards the window. Three seconds and the storm would have me. 3...2...1... CRASH! The metal cover fell covering the window. The force throwing me into the wall. The room was spinning, I could hear sirens blaring in the distance. My head thumped like a headache, I reached up touching it and my hand came back down red. I tried to stand but wavered but held strong. I started to walk towards the door. I had to protect the people stationed here. I made it to the command room where Lucy was.
“What’s the extent of the damage?”
“The entire south wing is gone! Ripped completely off.”
“Is the sub room still intact?”
“Yes sir and so is the bunker”
“Follow me, we're gonna make a break for the sub room.”
“ But sir, what about the cargo?”
“Were gonna make a detour, but the base has been compromised. We can’t hold here”
“This is a bad idea”
“Well, it can’t get worse. Then the predicament were in right now”
I made a break for the cargo room Lucy not far behind. Reaching I initiated the manual override and sunk the cargo.
“What are you doing!” Lucy screamed.
“The world isn’t ready for what’s in that room.” I replied.
“ I won’t let the storm bring it out into the light”
“Now let’s go!”
As I ran I could feel the room shaking, I was aware of my feet hitting the ground, I knew everything that was happening when, suddenly, the building creaked and jolted sideways knocking me out a window into the water fifty feet below. I hit the water with a wallop and, for a second, I was aware of the bone chilling water, the chaos above me, Then, all of a sudden, I heard a rush of water as it was pushed down my lungs and there was darkness. I jolted upright unfamiliar with my surroundings, but as my eyes adjusted and came into focus, I realized I was aboard Project Storm Bringer, an ironic name for the time I thought. I heard the swoosh of someone walking as James, our senior medic, walked in.
“Lay down.” He said.
“ At this junction you should be dead-- so don’t push it”.
“I should be dead?”
“ Yes we found you unconscious and sinking to the bottom of the ocean.”
“ You were starved of oxygen for at least a minute”
“ And your not feeling any strange side effects?”
“ Like what?”
“I don’t know perhaps fast heart rate, loss of brain function, high blood pressure, trouble breathing. So you know don’t worry nothing to extreme”.
“Yeah thanks for that Doc”.
I stumbled off the bed.
“What are you doing?” James said.
“Were you not listening to what I just said?”
“I have to get to the command center” Replied I.
I walked to the command room. The looks I saw on people’s faces as I strolled past were devastating sadness, loss of hope, and helplessness. Like I would on a regular day I strolled in announcing,
“We don’t know sir.” The response was from Jamie, our communications lieutenant.
“We lost all contact with the mainland when the storm hit. Even our satellite comms aren’t working”.
“Well! Get it back online!”
“We are trying sir but there’s a complication”.
“We don’t know what the problem is”.
“When we look at the wiring, it all seems fine. But when we try and send out a signal, it’s like something happened on the other end.”
“At least we got something out of this. We have a heading. Set course for Pearl Harbour”
5 days later…
Captain’s Log 1: Today I was enlightened that the damage to Border Island caused severe damage in our tubing systems. Way worse than originally estimated. We have sprung a leak, therefore we can’t make it to Pearl Harbour in lure of this, we have redirected to Atka in the hopes of finding supplies and dare I hope contact with the mainland.
We cruised along the shore of Atka determining the most effective route to increase our chances of finding supplies. A single team went including Theodore, Jamie, John and David (our battle ops), and I. We would split into two teams one to travel into town in the hopes of finding supplies (bravo team) and one in hopes of finding a way to contact the mainland (alpha team). As this point we didn’t know what to expect what sort of world the storm had left behind. As we reached the shore the only sound was the splash of the waves crashing against the shore and the sand beneath our boots and that’s when I understood it all at once. No one was here.
A single crow flew through the sky, like it had been shot, it plummeted towards the ground its feathers coming off one by one floating through the air with a soft touch. As the bird hit the ground it vomited. I sent bravo team forward into the nearest town and sent alpha team back with the bird for our doctors to analyze in the hopes of better understanding what transpired here. Bravo team consisting of John, Jamie, and I slowly inched our way into town checking every shadow, every building, every crevasse for something, for someone but when we reached town we turned up empty handed. I sent John and Jamie in search of food and water while I looked for supplies. That was how I turned up at the door of the football stadium. The shadow of the biggest building in town loomed over me like it was going to engulf me. I wish it had.
I pried the door open creaking as I opened it inch by inch. As I reached out into the darkness beyond something cold responded pressed against my head. I could feel his hand shake as I stepped forward into the light I saw there were five of them.
“What do you want!” The man shouted
“Haven’t you taken enough from us already! Another demanded
“I am Damien Smith of the Border Patrol Submarine and haven’t taken anything from you”
“Lying thief!” The one with the gun shouted
I felt the dirt, the dry soil as he swung at me. I finally saw what was beyond, out in the football stadium all lying on the astroturf were hundreds of people. They were dead. I felt a sadness like nothing before. I suddenly felt sorry for the men. I explained our story to the men and they explained there's.
He said,” The day after the storm hit Border Island people started to get sick. At the time we thought what a coincidence but then two days later fifty people had dropped dead and we saw a news report. We thought that we were the only ones suffering but we were wrong. Whatever was held on Border Island caused a pandemic on a global scale.”
“After that it became everyman for themselves. Our government collapsed within two days, our usual shipments of supplies stopped coming in. Everyone got stick all around us people were dropping like flies. The town’s population used to be five hundred now its five.”
“Hmmm… Thank you” Replied Damien
“But we must be on our way now”
We turned in the other direction in search of a communications tower. If they could watch tv there must be a pole. It was 5 miles to the east when we came across the tower and luckily for us it was capable of a wireless connection to our radio system and could be extended to the western shore of the United States. We returned back to the boat having setup the radio connection. I walked slowly down the submarine’s hallway my heart beat fast, my blood was boiling as I walked into the command room. I slowly walked over to the radio making sure everyone was aware of every step and I picked it up
Announcing, “I’m calling out to anyone. Anyone. Anyone who made it. Hello?”
I continued the message throughout the day. There was no response. I stared out into the sunset it was one of the beautiful things in the world and I watched as it faded away.