EXT USS PREBLE
By the time the plume has settled the sea to the front is empty.
Did we sink her?
I just pray she’s not armed.
(calls up to the rigging)
Lookouts! Look sharp!
INT THE CSS GRAY WHALE – FORWARD ENGINE ROOM
Under Ross’ supervision, Jimmy twists a valve shut, then with Romeo’s help they seize a lever and engage the clutch for the forward propeller.
Loud POPPING noises issue from the hull sides.
What was that?
Old bloody Davy Jones is come for your soul.
It’s only the water pressure, gentlemen.
EXT UNDERNEATH THE USS PREBLE
With one set of propellers pulling and the other pushing the CSS Gray Whale quickly traverses underneath her nemesis.
As she emerges from beneath the warship’s shadow, she suddenly shudders and shakes violently and rises too soon, clipping her enemy’s propeller.
INT THE CSS GRAY WHALE
Thrown off balance, Clay falls to the deck. Lon grips the wheel through the violent convulsions and remains standing.
What was that? What’s happening?
The ship rights itself and Lon goes to the older man’s aid.
We struck something, most likely their propeller. We need to seek refuge and check for damage.
EXT OFF AN ISLAND – DUSK
The CSS Gray Whale rides placidly on a calm sea off of the island at the mouth of the river. A party of sailors man a launch close to her side checking the outer hull.
Lon, off by himself, has a sextant and takes a reading.
INT CSS GRAY WHALE – THE BATTERY ROOM
Stacks of huge batteries line both sides of the hull and a row in the center, filling the length of the chamber. Jimmy is checking the upper two levels, and Romeo is down on all fours checking the bottom level.
I smell something.
(turns his attention to him)
(moving toward him)
On the side near the hull, acid is seeping onto the wood planking and a sinuous curl of smoke blossoms into a blue flame.
CSS GRAY WHALE – ENGINE ROOM
Arriving in the engine room, Lon is just in time to see Louis leading a fire fighting crew out of the battery room. All are hacking horribly. Louis slams the bulkhead door shut and secures it.
Where are Romeo and Jimmy?
Lon shoots him a fierce look.
A faint pounding erupts from the other side of the door. Lon grabs the latch and drops it when it sears his hand. Unfazed he rips off some cloth and uses it to open the door.
Romeo falls out onto the deck, and air sucks into the battery room and reignites the blaze. Louis shoulders the door shut.
Lon grabs a blanket and smothers Romeo’s still smouldering clothes. Then he lifts Romeo tenderly.
Romeo, can you hear me?
A CREWMAN snatches up a ladle and brings a drink from the engine-room scuttle-butt.
(administering the water)
I’m not giving up!
Take care of…
His eyes roll back in death.
Permission to speak, Captain.
If we’re going to save the ship we need to flood that chamber now.
No. Open all the cocks. We’re going to scuttle her. She’s beyond saving.
(to another crewman)
Pass the word to abandon ship.
CSS GRAY WHALE – CONTROL ROOM
Louis passes through on his way to the stern.
Is all under control?
We’re ordered to scuttle her.
Just like Annapolis all over again.