The God Wars

Chapter Two:

Polar Opposite

By Dwayne MacInnes

Captain Arnold was the first to react after the device ceased to function. "Get that man to sickbay!" the captain ordered two of the sailors on the bridge. A black cloud filled the bridge and the doors were thrown open to help dissipate the smoke and acrid smell that accompanied it.

"Sir!" the sonar operator shouted. "The contacts are no longer there. I only hear the screws from our fleet."

Before the captain could acknowledge the helmsman broke in. "Captain, the instruments are wrong. According to my compass we are heading west!"

"Maybe that damn machine turned us around," the captain griped. "No, the sun is still rising and we are headed towards it so we must be going east."

"It's a little early for sunrise don't you think," General Crist offered.

"Machine must have ruined the compass as well as blacked us out or something to boot," the captain reasoned. He turned towards one of the lab-coated men.

"You, ah, Dr. Berger," the captain said a little loudly. "What in hell just happened?"

"We had tried to make the convoy invisible," Dr. Berger replied staring at the still smoldering machine in disappointment. "It worked last year on the Eldridge in Philadelphia."

"Stop your stammering man!" shouted the annoyed captain. "What happened?"

Dr. Berger cleared his voice. "Well, captain, sir, uh -- I don't suppose you are familiar with Project Rainbow?"

The stern look from the captain alerted the scientist that he was not. "Ah, well by applying the Unified Field Theory using electromagnetic radiation and gravity we were attempting to bend light. This would have made our fleet invisible to the enemy."

Dr. Berger noticed that instead of calming the captain he was actually agitating him further. "Sir, it is possible that we could have transported the fleet."

"What do you mean 'transported' the fleet? Through time? To a new location? What?"

"It is possible that both occurred." Dr. Berger replied.

"Sir, the fleet wants to know what is going on," the radioman said. "It sounds like everyone is okay, but every compass seems to be pointing in the wrong direction."

"Can you reach Liverpool, or New York?" the captain asked.

"No sir, the only signals I am receiving are coming from our own fleet."

"Dr. Berger," Captain Arnold said sternly. "I have about ten thousand soldiers and a few hundred military engineers on the Olympus as well as valuable replacement parts, ammunition and other stores on those cargo ships that are direly needed for our efforts in Europe. That is not to mention the oil on that tanker and that hospital ship and the vehicles on the LST....

"I will not have it on my record that we lost the war because your little toy did not work correctly.

"I will put this bluntly. Fix it!"

* * * * *

Because Dr. Reno's injuries were serious, the Pima sent him over to the Respite for care. The medical care needed was beyond that which the sick bay of the Pima could offer. Captain Arnold determined to keep the fleet moving east despite what the compass said. A compass could be wrong; the direction in which the sun rose would always be the same.

Arnold figured the time to be about 1000 hours. They could not be certain of the exact day. If they could move forward in time a few hours, it was also possible that they had moved forward a few days, weeks, months, or even years.

The sailors in the fleet also came to the realization that they were no longer in the North Atlantic. The temperature was too warm and the sea did not feel right. After years of crossing oceans, a seasoned seaman came to know the temperament of the various oceans.

Nonetheless, Captain Arnold figured that if they continued east eventually they would find land. So far, not even the radar picked up anything. The Kiska launched a few scout planes but the TBF Avenger torpedo bombers acting as scouts could not find anything within their flight range.

* * * * *

General Crist was feeling useless with the looming crisis facing the fleet. It was not his way to be inactive when something was going down. One only rose to the rank of general if he could quickly come to decisions and implement them into action.

Therefore, General Crist transported himself over to the hospital ship Respite. Crist figured that keeping the fleet together and calm occupied all of Captain Arnold's attention so he could not head over himself. So, Crist took it upon himself to be transported over to the Respite where he would, depending on the Reno's condition, interview the doctor.

General Crist was amazed once he stepped aboard the Respite. The large hospital ship reminded him a lot of a modern hospital. The ship boasted two operating rooms, had x-ray machines, dental care, plastic surgery, and psychiatric care. She could care for over 400 patients and had a crew of 516. Some were ship's crew and others were medical personnel. Doctors roamed the corridors, as did a number of nurses.

Crist had forgotten that there were women in the convoy. All were the nurses aboard Respite. They were all over the age of 20 and held the rank of lieutenant. Crist also noticed that most were chaperoned by a soldier. This was ship of mercy not of ill repute.

Finally, Crist found the doctor attending to Dr. Reno. The medical doctor assured Crist that Reno, though gravely injured, could answer a few questions. General Crist entered the sterile room and saw the scientist lying in a bed with bandages wrapping his upper torso. There was an IV-drip hanging from a metal stand that connected to Reno's arm.

Dr. Reno groggily looked over at the general as he entered the room. "You must have something important to ask if you came all the way over here to see me," Reno said in a tired voice.

"As a matter of fact I do. Please, let me know when you are too tired and we can pick it up later," Crist said as he pulled a chair up next to the bed.

"Just a little sore. Go ahead and ask your questions," Reno said.

General Crist explained all that happened since the machine shut down. He told the scientist about the compasses, the sun rising early, and the change in the ocean. When he finished Reno laid back and digested all this for a while before he addressed Crist.

"Do all the compasses point in the same direction?" Reno queried.

"As a matter of fact they all point directly south with about a 13 degree declination," Crist offered.

"I'm afraid that you may not like my answer," Reno strained the exhaustion finally overtaking him.

"Maybe you should rest," Crist stated. "I could come back in a few hours."

"No, you should let Captain Arnold know," Reno replied.

"Know what?"

"The compasses are working correctly. The magnetic pole on this world is to the south," Reno said fighting to stay conscious.

"What do you mean?" Crist asked hoping he did not hear correctly.

"Simply, that we are no longer on Earth. We have been transported to another world," with that final word Reno collapsed back into his pillow and lost consciousness.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on April 29, 2009 5:57 PM.

"The Adventures of Gaius Cornelius Ferrarius" - The Slave Woman Incident was the previous entry in this blog.

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