“A WELL-TRAINED CREW”
by OPOVV, ©2016
The curtain rises as the song “For What it’s Worth,” by Buffalo Springfield, is heard. The stage is set on a bridge of a US Navy destroyer. The backdrop is of grey seas and a grey sky at twilight.
Captain: “Left 10 degree rudder; slow to 1/3rd.”
Helmsman: “Left 10 degree rudder, aye. Coming left 10 degrees.”
Lee Helmsman: “Slow to 1/3rd; DING! DING! Engineering responding DING! DING!: slow to 1/3; aye.”
Helmsman: “Steady on heading 270.”
Captain: “Very well.”
Messenger: “Captain, sir, message for your signature, sir.”
Captain: “I don’t believe this. Hand me that microphone for the 1MC, will you, Boats? Thank you.
“Attention, crew; this is your Captain speaking. Our patrol orders have been changed to ‘observe suspicious activity: do not, repeat, do not engage.’ There you have it: they think that we’ll be the sacrificial bait. Well, what do you say we give them a little surprise of our own?
“Boats, sound GQ.”
“Aye-aye, Captain: with pleasure.
“BONG! BONG! BONG! General quarters! General quarters! All hands, man your battle stations! General quarters. This is not a drill. General quarters. BONG! BONG! BONG!”
End of ACT I
Curtain rises to the song of “Master Jack” by 4-Jacks and a Jill. The stage is set as the interior of a 5” gun turret.
Nichols: “Hey, Sullivan, it’s your turn to be on the phones. Load up. Put all those dogs on that door, Smith. Report ready.”
Sullivan: “Bridge, Turret #1; all manned and ready.”
Nixon: “Finally. Looks like we’re going in and taking some names. What you think, McCann?”
McCann: “I was on messenger duty and handed the Captain the message. I’ll tell you this: he was ticked, and I do mean ticked. I’ve never seen anybody more determined. We’re not only going in but I bet we see some action.”
Nixon: “About time. I had an uncle on the USS Cole and remember very well when President Clinton got on television and said that we’ll hunt them all down and bring them to justice.
“Bunch of bull. We didn’t do diddly, not one darn thing. Nobody saw any justice. It was all hype, nothing but hype.”
Nichols: “Let’s hope we get some payback this time.”
Sullivan: “Heads up. Reload with an ‘illuminating projectile,’ pronto.”
Williams: “Why don’t they just say ‘starburst shell’?”
McCann: “Right way; wrong way; Navy way.”
Nichols: “Look alive; fire control taking over. We’re just along for the ride.”
Sullivan: “Fire control reports lost connection. We’re on our own. 178; elevation 68; fire when ready. Load with high-capacity round, pronto.
Nichols: “So there’s no confusion.”
Nichols: “You asked why don’t they just say ‘starburst shell’ or ‘the shell with the nice parachute.’ You fight like you train and in training we say ‘illumination,’ okay? No confusion.”
Sullivan: “Fire control regained. We’ll be firing at some patrol boats. Look alive.”
BANG! BANG! BANG!
End of ACT II
Curtain rises as “Everybody Loves Somebody” by Dean Martin is heard in the background. Scene is the same but the crew is all sweaty and dirty.
Boats voice-over the 1MC: “Secure from General Quarters. Captain says, ‘Well done.’”
Sullivan: “Hey, the Captain’s at the door! Open it up, Smith.”
Nichols: “Attention on deck!”
Captain: “As you were, men. I just want to thank you on behalf of the crew. We took a few hits and lost a couple of our radars, but you guys didn’t flinch. Your actions saved the ship, but what’s more important is that we sunk each and every one of the boats they sent after us.
“We’ve been relieved and are heading for home port, so our tour of this part of the water is over. Well done, men, I’m proud of you.”
McCann: “What about you, sir, begging your pardon?”
Captain: “Oh, that. I’ve been officially relieved and the XO will see us home. But my time was up anyway.”
Nixon: “We’re all real proud of you, sir, with what you done. We’re in international waters and we’ve a right to protect ourselves, isn’t that right?”
Captain: “That’s right: and it’s about time that we sent the rest of the world, including the Chinese and the North Koreans, the message that nobody, but nobody, pushes the United States Navy around. As you were.”
Nichols: “Wow, how about that? We sunk everything they could throw at us. Just shows what a determined Captain and a well-trained crew can accomplish. How many were there, Sullivan?”
Sullivan: “You’re not going to believe this, but we sunk 17 in all. We did pretty good, didn’t we?”
Nichols: “About time; about time.”