GUILT AND JEALOUSY
I slowly approached him and stammered "I'm sorry....I'm so sorry. I can't believe I did this...."
He met my gaze with this pain-filled amber-gold eyes and answered "It's alright. You have a fair reason to be mad at me. I am often mad at myself, heaven knows."
I bit my lip, and cried "But I hurt you, bad."
As I said that, I reviewed the side of him that was facing me. The badly broken starboard side that he was listing so far over to favor. Where my bow had hit, the steel plates of his hull had been cracked and the metal bent inward into a great gash similar to the one I sustained from HMS Hawke so long ago. What little I could see of his hull frame didn't look pretty either. It was even more severely twisted and rather mutilated looking. I shuddered, wondering what other damage I had caused.
Tears formed in my eyes as I wondered how on earth I could of done this. This warship was the same one who had helped me through my grief over my sister's death. He had never done so much as to raise his voice at me. He was Britannic, Nelson, and Hood's father. He was the Commander of the Royal Navy, earning higher accolades than any other ship before him. He was the Royal Navy's flagship. Ever since he was young, people had treated him cruelly. Ships of my type had never welcomed him, but he had trusted me to be different, so we had become mates. But now, I had done nothing more to acknowledge that except treating him less than a sailboat. I hated myself for this. How could I have just lashed out? At his age, it took a long while to fully recover from injuries like this, and depending on when he had gotten into the fight with S.S Deutschland, he wouldn't be recovered from that, either.
I gave him a gentle nuzzle, and said "I'm so sorry...how can you ever forgive me?!?"
He sighed and answered "I still love you, darling. That is how."
He was towed to the Belfast drydock that I had used in the past, the only one that could work. As he couldn't return to Scapa Flow, it was my responsibility to go there and tell the fleet of his whereabouts. It wasn't truly my responsibility, but it was the least I could do. So, I set off the morning after his drydock internment, and aimed my prow towards Scotland, entrusting Britannic with her little brother.
I raced into Scapa Flow a day and a half later, and was saved from being interrogated merely because the vast majority of the other warships recognized me as being their Commander's mate during the Great War. I dropped to a more respectable speed, and was preparing to say something, when a voice shrieked "MAMA!!! IT'S MY MAMA!!!"
Hood came tearing over to me from seemingly nowhere, and showered me with kisses and affectionate nudges. Then, he looked up at me, and cried "I've missed you!!!"
I gave him a nuzzle and said "I've missed you, too!"
He grinned broadly, then asked "Why is your bow all scraped up?"
I cringed. There was no way I could tell him I had scratched my paint off during a fight with his father.
I tried to wave the question off, and said "Oh, it's nothing, Hood. Just the bad weather. Now, do you know where Wilhelm Gustloff is?"
He turned and said "She was over there by my pal, Ajax. You'll see her."
I nodded, then said "Thank you, dear. Now please, stay here, Hood. I would like to speak to Miss Gustloff in private."
He stared down at the water in a pout, and replied "Aw, alright."
The German ship looked up at me with wide blue-green eyes as I came up before her, and said "You're RMS Olympic?"
I cut my engines, and announced "Yes, I am Olympic. I cam here to tell you the whereabouts of Tempestuous."
She blinked and said "I thought he went to visit you."
With a nod, I said "Indeed, Wilhelm. That is correct. He did visit me."
She seemed to bite down on her lip, and asked "Is he alright?"
"He is interred in drydock, for he sustained a 'unplanned injury', which stove in his hull, and possibly broke his bow."
Her eyes grew huge, and she cried "Oh, the poor boy! How did it happen?!"
I gazed levelly at her, from the fright-filled eyes, then to her hull, which was swelling out on either side, unable to hide the fact she was pregnant, and replied, flashing the scrapes on my bow "Let's just say I was a little bit mad at a certain female who took his full love and devotion away from me, M/V Wilhelm Gustloff."
She backed up, and said "I took your place by 'stealing' his affection, in other words?!"
I glared and answered "You heard me."
She exclaimed "Olympic! I am not some 'new' girl he has never heard of. We knew each other and were mates before the Great War started, that is where my now-adult daughter, KMS Graff Spee came from. We were together for as long as possible, but when the winds of war came to haunt, he knew we couldn't stay together. We were sworn enemies, I being German and him being British. When all is said and done, if we had crossed paths at the wrong moment, or really, any moment, he would of surely killed me. He almost had to anyway...come to think on it......"
I raised my brow and asked "What?"
She closed her eyes, and a story began:
**"I had been minding my own business, and trying to avoid any confrontation with the British, but as a hospital ship in need, I couldn't hide and avoid everything. I was out in the middle of the sea one evening, and there was a strange fog over everything, making it so hard to see. Imagine my endless terror when an enormous vessel broke through the haze, and materialized before me. He was obviously a full-grown adult male, and a very strong looking, no nonsense one at that. My blood ran cold as I saw his blue, red, and white flag, the Union Jack of Great Britain. The fog kept coming between us, making details hard to see. Considering the identical paint-job, I could of been my brother, Robert Ley, as far as this ship was concerned. I remember my terror at staring down the huge barrels of his 16 inch bow-mounted guns. So vast, and cavernous. I knew what would happen. Faintly, I remembered hearing the humans' orders, the countdown to fire. I cowered, knowing I would die, but still cried out "Please, don't kill me!!!" Although I had no idea who this warship was, my voice obviously stirred something in him, something to make him go against his crew's orders. At the very last second, he disobeyed their commands, and turned his artillery sharply to starboard, towards the empty sea. It was not a second too late, for as soon as he did, they went off, a flurry of flames and smoke pouring from them. Flames that would of consumed me otherwise. The explosion was enough to shake the very earth. Almost 30 miles out, the ammunition from said guns finally hit the sea, creating a huge wave, which I could now see in the thinning fog. My eyes then met those of this warship, who had gone against human orders, and not killed me. They were eyes of a stunning amber, which seemed to gleam and glitter like a gemstone, due to the vast amount of gold hues in each, which seemed to catch every ray of light upon earth. I had never seen eyes that impressive on any other fellow, so I knew immediately who this was. "You saved my life, Tempestuous.", I remember saying. Despite some of his crew being strictly livid at this hold-up, other officers held them at bay. He took this opportunity while free of orders, and slowly came over to me, giving me an affectionate, yet gentle nuzzle. I remember telling him in a hushed voice over and over "You saved my life." He pulled back, looking over me with those stunning, yet so kind eyes, and had answered "I will never kill you, darling. Keep safe, I must go now." Sadness flooded me at our hasty meeting coming to a close, but he had a very important job that I couldn't keep him from. I leaned in to nuzzle him back, then let him go. We never saw each other again, not until recently."**
I blinked, and said "He did all that?"
She nodded, and said in reply "He is a tough ship, with a very loving heart."
Olympic lashes out at Wilhelm Gustloff for 'stealing' her mate's love from her, but Wilhelm retaliates not with a fight, but with a story of how much the old English warship loved her during the Great War by going against all orders to kill her.
Didn't Wilhelm and Gustloff meet several chapters before this? Here she is acting like they hadn't met before.
I'm sorry? She breaks his bow and he is perfectly fine with it?
W-O-W!!! Tempest must love her!!!!!