Ping! The sonar continued its never ending beat. Waves of powerful
but invisible sound pounded the black ocean waters in a futile attempt to
hear the enemy. A propeller, a turbine or even a cough were all that they
needed to catch the mouse. A whisper of sound and the chase would begin.
The mouse was no fool. It would not let out so much as a squeak to
give the cat the thrill of the hunt. It would bide its time in the shadows
of the deep blue grotto until the cat succumbed to boredom and left it well
“They’re still out there, aren’t they?” said the man quietly. His
voice was deep and ominous, but he dared not allow the fear gnawing at his
soul to show, for he was the Captain.
“I’m not sure any more, sir.” came the hesitant reply of the ensign.
“I know I heard something just an hour ago, but during the past sixty
minutes, I’ve heard nothing but fish gossip.” The ensign was only trying
to ease the pressure with his antics, but the humour in his voice was
clearly forced. The Captain grunted, and several petty officers chuckled.
Yet, none could deny that Fear lived among them. The spectre was clearly
an unwanted and certainly uninvited guest, but not even the many fathoms of
jet black water could keep him from his prey. He fed on fear, and the
greatest feast of all was just beginning.
Meanwhile, the mouse began to grow restless in his hole.
“Helm,” the voice was confidant, “bring us about to a new bearing –
6148 mark 72.”
“Yes, sir, coming to new bearing.” Moments ago this new voice had
been sure and strong but a trace of trepidation could be detected.
“Sir…”, the anxiety in the sonar officer’s voice grew rapidly. Now, like
an animal trapped in a cage, the voice grew frantic. “I’m picking up an
object…moving fast…it’s a torpedo!” Fear now had his foot in the door,
waiting patiently for it to open just enough to allow him to slip through
in wisps of smoke.
“All right people, just sit tight.” The door creaked shut again as
Fear was forced to knock yet again. “Rafferty, have you got a fix on it?”
With new found confidence, she answered, “Yes, sir. It’s bearing 328 mark
“Decoys launched, sir.” The entire ship was silent now. As quiet as
a mouse the crew waited hoping, praying, that the enemy torpedo would be
fooled and pass them by. After what seemed like an eternity, Rafferty
broke the silence, “It passed us, sir. It was damn close, but it went for
the decoy instead.”
The cat licked its lips hungrily. It had come so close and had
smelled the hot blood of the poor little mouse. Now, it sharpened its
claws in anticipation.
“Contact, sir! Sorry,” came the downtrodden answer the entire crew
had been waiting for, “the torpedo went for the decoy. We missed.”
“Ah, what a prize!” thought Fear. “If perchance the mouse escapes, I
can feast on the larger and more tasty cat.”
“Scan for incoming fire. Reese!” The voice bellowed, as if the loud
noise would deter the spectre which haunted them. “I need a firing
solution on the enemy sub and I needed it yesterday. You got that!?”
“Yes sir. I’m working as fast as I can.” Came the meek reply.
A little known fact of the animal kingdom is that mice, like cats,
also have claws, and have been known on occasion to gauge the eyeballs out
of their adversaries.
“Ready torpedoes one through four.” The battle bridge was alive with
anticipation; each officer doing his or her assigned task always knowing
that death could come at any moment.
Rafferty spoke in quick gasps, “Target acquired!”
“Launch.” said the Captain quietly. He was so calm he could have
been ordering a glass of milk or answering the telephone instead of sealing
the fate of over 100 men and woman on board the enemy sub. Like a Black
Mole, burrowing through the earth, the torpedoes streaked towards their
For weeks Fear hungered no longer. The battle had truly been a most
extravagant banquet. The cat had struggled at first but Fear knew he could
conquer. Yet there was one small detail gnawing at the back of Fear’s evil
and twisted mind.What of the mouse? How had such a small and pathetic
creature staved off his advances for so long when even the muscular cat had
succumbed? “Perhaps,” thought Fear to himself, “that is why even the
mighty elephant fears the little grey mouse ever so much.”