EXT BOATHOUSE ON THE RIVERSIDE – NANTES – 1865 – DAY
Rain is falling in sheets as the riverside doors of the boathouse open to reveal the submarine with a full head of steam up. As soon as the doors clear, the monstrous ship slides into the river.
Arriving mid-channel, she stops and the current turns her head downstream. A Confederate battleflag flaps defiantly from her stern.
INT THE CSS GRAY WHALE
Lon reaches for one of the speaker tubes above the wheel. Louis and Romeo flank him in the crowded control room. The view ahead is murky and hazy.
(into the speaker tube)
Any sign of that Yankee warship?
Jonah! Are you there?
Run forward and check on that warship.
He’s gone before Lon can answer.
I agree. He knows his place.
(without turning around)
And he deserves to be free and I’m going to see to it when we get to where we’re going.
A fleeting glare of menace passes over Louis’ visage as he stares at the back of his commanding officer. Mr Clay and a pleased Mr Keenan squeeze in beside them.
Humming like a top!
Well worth the price.
The petty officer’s respects, sir. We’re raising the island at the mouth of the river, and we see a vessel coming in to the main channel. A warship.
Very well. Mr. Keenan, would you prepare to submerge her?
EXT USS PREBLE – QUARTERDECK
Lt. Manning props his glass in the rigging and trains it on the CSS Gray Whale.
Forward on the bow a dozen SAILORS swarm their ten inch pivot gun, pushing and pulling the monster into direct line with the oncoming CSS Gray Whale.
What the devil is he doing?
I don’t know, sir. Their flag is gone.
I can see that. Yet how can she pick up speed and no smoke?
And she appears lower in the water?
Upshur takes the glass.
He bounds to the taffrail and hollers down the length of the deck.
Commence firing! Now!
A thunderous CRASH answers his order.
EXT THE CSS GRAY WHALE
The screaming projectile passes over the vessel and splashes down to its rear. It detonates sending up a plume larger than both ships put together and its spray envelopes the Gray Whale.
INT THE CSS GRAY WHALE
The explosion ECHOES through the iron skin of the vessel. And forward the sea closes over the bow and soon envelopes the view port.
Hold her at a depth of 80 feet.
(taking up a speaking tube)
Jimmy, make the battery connections and engage the forward propeller when ready.