Spyhopping
/* source: http://ah-sandbox.wikidot.com/component:collapsible-sidebar-x1 */
 
#top-bar .open-menu a {
        position: fixed;
        top: 0.5em;
        left: 0.5em;
        z-index: 5;
        font-family: 'Nanum Gothic', san-serif;
        font-size: 30px;
        font-weight: 700;
        width: 30px;
        height: 30px;
        line-height: 0.9em;
        text-align: center;
        border: 0.2em solid #888;
        background-color: #fff;
        border-radius: 3em;
        color: #888;
}
 
@media (min-width: 768px) {
 
    .mobile-top-bar {
        display: block;
    }
 
    .mobile-top-bar li {
        display: none;
    }
 
    #main-content {
        max-width: 708px;
        margin: 0 auto;
        padding: 0;
        transition: max-width 0.2s ease-in-out;
    }
 
    #side-bar {
        display: block!important;
        position: fixed;
        top: 0;
        left: -19em;
        width: 17em;
        height: 100%;
        overflow-y: auto;
        z-index: 10;
        padding: 0.3em 0.675em;
        background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0.1);
        transition: left 0.5s ease-in-out;
    }
 
    #side-bar:target {
        display: block;
        left: 0;
        width: 17em;
        margin: 0;
        z-index: 10;
    }
 
    #side-bar:target .close-menu {
        display: block;
        position: fixed;
        width: 100%;
        height: 100%;
        top: 0;
        left: 0;
        z-index: -1;
    }
 
    #top-bar .open-menu a:hover {
        text-decoration: none;
    }
 
    .close-menu {
        margin-left: 19em;
        opacity: 0;
    }
}
/*
    Penumbra Theme
    [2020 Wikidot Theme]
    By EstrellaYoshte
    Based on:
       Paperstack Theme by EstrellaYoshte
       Ad Astra Theme by NatVoltaic and stormbreath
       Inkblot Theme by Croquembouche
       Anderson Robotics Theme by Croquembouche
       BHL Style Collapsible by Monkatraz
*/
 
@import url('https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Josefin+Sans:wght@700&display=swap');
@import url('https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Roboto&display=swap');
@import url(https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Fira+Code&display=swap);
 
#page-content { font-size: .9rem; }
 
body {
    font-family: 'Roboto', sans-serif;
    color: #EDEDED;
    background-color: #2F333C;
    background-image: linear-gradient(
        to bottom, 
        #21252E, #21252E 90px, 
        #21252E 90px, #2F333C 200px, 
        #2F333C 200px, #2F333C 100%);
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
}
 
#main-content {
    top: -1.2rem;
}
 
/* ---- SCROLLBAR ---- */
 
::-webkit-scrollbar {
  width: 9px;
  background: #transparent;
}
 
::-webkit-scrollbar-track {
  background: #21252E;
}
 
::-webkit-scrollbar-thumb {
  background: #ededed;
  border: none;
}
 
::-webkit-scrollbar-thumb:hover {
  background: var(--accentColor);
}
 
/* ---- HEADER ---- */
 
div#container-wrap {
     background-image: none;
}
div#header {
    background-image: none;
}
 
div#extra-div-1 {
    height: 164px;
    width: 100%;
    top: 0;
    position: absolute;
    background: var(--lgurl);
    background-size: contain;
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    background-position: 50% 50%;
    z-index: -1;
}
 
#header h1, #header h2 { margin-left: 0; float: none; text-align: center; }
/* Move the subtitle down a smidge */
#header h2 { margin-top: 0.45rem; }
/* Hide the existing text */
#header h1 span, #header h2 span { font-size: 0; display: none; }
/* Style the new text */
#header h1 a::before, #header h2::before {
  color: var(--accentColor);
  font-family: 'Josefin Sans', sans-serif;
  text-shadow: none;
}
/* Set the new text's content from variable */
#header h1 a::before {
  content: var(--header-title, "SCP FOUNDATION");
  font-weight: 300;
  font-size: 1.3em;
}
#header h2::before {
  content: var(--header-subtitle, "SECURE - CONTAIN - PROTECT");
  font-weight: 600;
  font-size: 1.22em;
}
 
#login-status {
    color: #ededed;
}
#login-status a {
    color: var(--accentColor);
}
#login-status ul a {
    color: #ededed;
    background: #21252E;
}
#login-status ul a:hover {
    color: var(--accentColor);
}
 
#account-topbutton{
    border: solid 1px var(--accentColor);
}
 
#footer, #footer a {
    background: transparent;
    color: #ededed;
}
#license-area {
     color: #ededed;
}
 
#search-top-box {
    top: 2.2rem!important;
    right: 8px;
}
#search-top-box-form > input[type=submit] {
    border: solid 1px #ededed;
    background: #21252E!important;
    box-shadow: none;
    border-radius: 0;
    color: #ededed;
    transition: color 0.15s linear;
}
#search-top-box-form input[type=submit]:hover {
    border: solid 1px var(--accentColor);
    box-shadow: none;
    color: var(--accentColor);
}
#search-top-box-form > input[type=text] { display: none; }
 
/* ---- TOP BAR ---- */
 
#top-bar { 
     top: 8.4rem;
     display: flex;
     justify-content: center;
     right: 0;
}
#top-bar, #top-bar a {
     color: #ededed;
     transition: color 0s;
}
#top-bar ul li ul {
    border-color: var(--accentColor);
    overflow: hidden;
}
#top-bar ul li.sfhover ul li a,
#top-bar ul li:hover ul li a {
   border-top-color: #2F333C;
}
#top-bar ul li.sfhover a,
#top-bar ul li:hover a {
    background: #21252E;
    color: #ededed;
}
#top-bar ul li.sfhover a:hover,
#top-bar ul li:hover a:hover {
    background: #21252E; /* top bar hover background color */
    color: var(--accentColor);
    transition: color 0.1s linear;
}
 
/* ---- SIDE BAR ---- */
 
div#side-bar{
    background: #21252E;
    clear: both;
    padding: .8em;
    border-radius: 0;
    box-shadow: none;
    overflow-x: hidden;
}
 
#side-bar .heading{
    color: #ededed;
    font-family: 'Josefin Sans', sans-serif;
    font-size: 0.94rem;
    border-bottom: solid 1px #ededed;
}
#side-bar .side-block {
    border: transparent;
    border-radius: 0;
    box-shadow: none;
    background-color: #21252E;
}
#side-bar .side-block.media {
    background-color:#21252E;
}
#side-bar .side-block.media > * {
    display: flex;
    justify-content: space-evenly;
}
#side-bar .side-block.resources {
    background-color:#21252E;
}
.side-block .menu-item > .image {
    display: none;
}
 
#top-bar div.open-menu a {
    border-radius: 0;
    box-shadow: none;
    color: var(--accentColor);
    background-color: #21252E;
    border: solid 1px #21252E;
}
 
@media (max-width: 767px) {
    #main-content {
        padding: 0;
        margin: 0 5%;
        border-left: none;
    }
    #page-title {
        margin-top: 0.7em;
    }
    #side-bar {
        background-color: #21252E;
        left: -18.6em;
    }
    #side-bar:target {
        border: none;
        box-shadow: none;
    }
    #side-bar .close-menu {
        transition: width 0.5s ease-in-out 0.1s,
                    opacity 1s ease-in-out 0s;
        display: block;
        position: fixed;
        width: 100%;
        height: 100%;
        top: 0;
        right: 0;
        background: rgba(0,0,0,0.3);
        background-position: 18.6em 50%;
        z-index: -1;
        opacity: 0;
        pointer-events: none;
    }
    #side-bar:target .close-menu {
        width: calc(100% - 18.6em);
        right: 0;
        left: auto;
        opacity: 1;
        pointer-events: auto;
    }
    #side-bar:target .close-menu:hover {
        background: unset;
    }
    #page-content > hr, #page-content > .list-pages-box > .list-pages-item > hr {
        margin: 3em -5.5%;
    }
    #side-bar {
        top: 0;
    }
    #side-bar .heading {
        padding-left: 1em;
        margin-left: -1em;
    }
    #search-top-box {
        top: 107px;
    }
}
 
/* ---- TABS ---- */
 
/* ---- YUI TAB BASE ---- */
.yui-navset .yui-nav a,.yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav a{background-color:inherit;background-image:inherit}.yui-navset .yui-nav a:hover,.yui-navset .yui-nav a:focus{background:inherit;text-decoration:inherit}.yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a,.yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a:focus,.yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a:hover{color:inherit;background:inherit}.yui-navset .yui-nav,.yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav{border-color:inherit}.yui-navset li{line-height:inherit}
 
/* ---- YUI TAB CUSTOMIZATION ----*/
 
 .yui-navset .yui-nav,
 .yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav{
     display: flex;
     flex-wrap: wrap;
     width: calc(100% - .125rem);
     margin: 0 auto;
     border-color: var(--accentColor);
     box-shadow: none;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav a, /* ---- Link Modifier ---- */
 .yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav a{
     color: #ededed;
     font-weight: bold;
    /* ---- Tab Background Colour | [UNSELECTED] ---- */
     background-color: #21252E;
     border: unset;
     box-shadow: none;
     box-shadow: none;
     transition: background-color 0.15s linear;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav a:hover,
 .yui-navset .yui-nav a:focus{
     color: #ededed;
    /* ---- Tab Background Colour | [HOVER] ---- */
     background-color: var(--accentColor);
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav li, /* ---- Listitem Modifier ---- */
 .yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav li{
     position: relative;
     display: flex;
     flex-grow: 2;
     max-width: 100%;
     margin: 0;
     padding: 0;
     color: #ededed;
     background-color: #21252E;
     border-color: transparent;
     box-shadow: none;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav li a,
 .yui-navset-top .yui-nav li a,
 .yui-navset-bottom .yui-nav li a{
     display: flex;
     align-items: center;
     justify-content: center;
     width: 100%;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav li em{
     border: unset;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav a em,
 .yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav a em{
     padding: .35em .75em;
 
     text-overflow: ellipsis;
     overflow: hidden;
     white-space: nowrap;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected, /* ---- Selection Modifier ---- */
 .yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav .selected{
     flex-grow: 2;
     margin: 0;
     padding: 0;
    /* ---- Tab Background Colour | [SELECTED] ---- */
     background-color: var(--accentColor);
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a,
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a em{
     border: none;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a{
     width: 100%;
     color: #21252E;
     font-weight: bold;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a:focus,
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a:active{
     color: #21252E;
     background-color: var(--accentColor);
}
 .yui-navset .yui-content {
    background-color: #21252E;
    box-shadow: none;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-content,
 .yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-content{
     padding: .5em;
     border: none;
}
 
/*---- TAB ANIMATION by Croquembouche ---- */
 
.yui-navset .yui-content > div {
    display: block;
    top: 0;
    overflow: hidden;
    transform-origin: 0 0;
}
 
#page-content .yui-navset .yui-content > div[style*="none"] {
    display: block !important;
    flex: 0;
    max-height: 0;
    padding: 0 0.5em;
    border-width: 0;
    /* The following transition affects the one that DISAPPEARS */
    transition: padding 0s linear 0.5s,
          border-width 0s linear 0.5s,
          flex 0.5s cubic-bezier(.18,.51,.54,.9) 0s;
    animation: tab-disappear 0.5s ease-in-out 0s 1 both;
}
#page-content .yui-navset .yui-content > div[style*="block"] {
    display: block !important;
    flex: 1;
    max-height: 9999rem;
    /* The following transition affects the one that APPEARS */
    transition: padding 0s linear 0.5s,
          border-width 0s linear 0.5s,
          flex 0.5s cubic-bezier(.18,.51,.54,.9) 0.5s;
    animation: tab-appear 0.5s ease-in-out 0.5s 1 both;
}
 
@keyframes tab-disappear {
    0% { max-height: 9999rem; }
    1% { max-height: 100vh; }
    100% { max-height: 0; }
}
@keyframes tab-appear {
    0% { max-height: 0; }
    99% { max-height: 100vh; }
    100% { max-height: 9999rem; }
}
 
/* ---- INFO BAR ---- */
 body{
     --barColour: #21252E;
     --linkColour: #ededed;
}
 
 .info-container .collapsible-block-content{
     padding: 0 .5em 30px;
}
 .info-container .collapsible-block-content .wiki-content-table{
     width: 100%;
}
 
/* Ayer's info-bar patch by Monkatraz */
#page-content .info-container .collapsible-block-folded, #page-content .info-container .collapsible-block-unfolded-link  {
    width: 100%;
    max-width: 100%;
    margin: 0 auto;
    padding: 0;
    box-shadow: none;
}
#page-content .info-container .collapsible-block-link::before, #page-content .info-container .collapsible-block-unfolded-link::before  {
    content: " ";
    display: none;
}
#page-content .info-container .collapsible-block-content::after {
    display: none;
}
 
/* ---- INFO PANE ---- */
 
#page-content .creditRate{
     margin: unset;
     margin-top: 4px;
     margin-bottom: 4px;
     margin-right: 3px;
}
#page-content .rate-box-with-credit-button {
    background-color: #21252E;
    border: solid 2px #21252E;
    border-radius: 0;
    box-shadow: 3px 0px 0px 0px var(--accentColor);
}
#page-content .rate-box-with-credit-button .creditButton p a {
    border-left-color: transparent;
}
 
#page-content .rate-box-with-credit-button .page-rate-widget-box .cancel {
    border-radius: 0;
}
#page-content .rate-box-with-credit-button .page-rate-widget-box .rate-points {
    border-left: 0;
}
 
.rate-box-with-credit-button .page-rate-widget-box .cancel a:hover {
    border-radius: 0;
}
 
#page-content .rate-box-with-credit-button .fa-info {
     color: #ededed;
}
#page-content .rate-box-with-credit-button .fa-info:hover {
     color: var(--accentColor);
}
 
#page-content .creditButtonStandalone p a {
    background-color: #21252E;
    border: solid 2px #21252E;
    border-radius: 0;
    box-shadow: 3px 0px 0px 0px var(--accentColor);
    color: #ededed;
}
#page-content .creditButtonStandalone p a:hover {
    color: var(--accentColor);
}
 
#page-content .modalbox {
     background: #2F333C !important;
     color: #ededed;
     box-shadow: none;
}
.close-credits,
.credit-back {
    filter: grayscale(100%) invert(100%) contrast(275%);
}
 
/* ---- PAGE RATING ---- */
 
.page-rate-widget-box {
     margin: unset;
     border-radius: 0;
     border: solid 2px #21252E;
     box-shadow: 3px 0px 0px 0px var(--accentColor);
     background-color: #21252E;
     margin-top: 4px;
     margin-bottom:4px;
     margin-right: 3px;
}
 
.page-rate-widget-box .rate-points {
    background-color: #21252E !important;
    border: none;
    color: #ededed !important;
    text-transform: capitalize;
}
.page-rate-widget-box .rateup,
.page-rate-widget-box .ratedown {
    background-color: #21252E;
    border-top: none;
    border-bottom: none;
}
.page-rate-widget-box .rateup a,
.page-rate-widget-box .ratedown a {
    background: transparent;
    color: #ededed;
}
.page-rate-widget-box .rateup a:hover,
.page-rate-widget-box .ratedown a:hover {
    background: #21252E;
    color: var(--accentColor);
}
.page-rate-widget-box .cancel {
    background: transparent;
    background-color: #21252E;
    border: none;
}
.page-rate-widget-box .cancel a {
    color: #ededed;
}
.page-rate-widget-box .cancel a:hover {
    background: #21252E;
    color: var(--accentColor);
}
 
/* ---- PAGE ELEMENTS ---- */
 
.page-source, tt{ 
    font-family: "Fira Code", monospace;
    font-size: 0.87rem;
}
 .code pre, .code p, .code {
    font-family: "Fira Code", monospace;
    font-size: 0.87rem;
    color: #21252E;
}
 
h1 {
    color: var(--accentColor);
    font-family: 'Josefin Sans', sans-serif;
    font-weight: bold;
}
h2,
h3,
h4,
h5,
h6 {
    color: #EDEDED;
    font-family: 'Josefin Sans', sans-serif;
    font-weight: bold;
}
 
#page-title {
    color: #ededed;
    font-family: 'Josefin Sans', sans-serif;
    font-size: 1.65rem;
    text-align: center;
    border-color: #ededed;
}
 
/* Clicky links */
a,
a.newpage,
a:visited,
#side-bar a:visited {
    color: var(--accentColor);
    transition: color 0.15s linear;
}
a:hover, a.newpage:hover, a:visited:hover, #side-bar a:visited:hover {
    color: #ffffff;
    text-decoration: none;
    background-color: var(--accentColor);
}
a.newpage { filter: hue-rotate(180deg); }
 
/* patch for sidebar media, collapsibles, ACS, info button and ayers module so link doesn't override */
#page-content .collapsible-block-folded a:hover, #page-content .collapsible-block-unfolded-link a:hover, #page-content .rate-box-with-credit-button .fa-info:hover, #side-bar .side-block.media a:hover, .danger-diamond a:hover {
    background: transparent;
}
.info-container .collapsible-block-folded .collapsible-block-link, .info-container .collapsible-block-link {
    background: var(--linkColour) !important;
}
 
hr{
    background-color: var(--accentColor);
}
 
blockquote,
div.blockquote,
#toc {
    background-color: #21252E;
    border: solid 2px #2F333C;
    box-shadow: -3px 0px 0px -0.1px var(--accentColor);
}
 
.code {
    background-color: #F8F8F8;
    border: solid 3px #2F333C;
    box-shadow: none;
}
.scp-image-block {
    border: solid 8px #21252E;
    border-bottom: solid 0px #21252E;
    box-shadow: 0px 0.26rem 0px 0px var(--accentColor);
    box-sizing: border-box;
}
.scp-image-block .scp-image-caption {
    background-color: #21252E;
    border: solid 4px #21252E;
    color: #ededed;
    font-size: 0.84rem;
}
.scp-image-block.block-left { margin-left: 0; }
.scp-image-block.block-right { margin-right: 0; }
@media (max-width: 540px) {
  .scp-image-block.block-left, .scp-image-block.block-right {
    float: none; clear: both; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;
  }
}
 
#page-content .wiki-content-table tr th {
    border: solid 1px var(--accentColor);
    color: var(--accentColor);
    background-color: #21252E;
    /* set border for table title */
}
#page-content .wiki-content-table tr td {
    border: solid 1px var(--accentColor);
    /* set border for table content */
}
 
/* fancy collapsible */
#page-content .collapsible-block-folded, #page-content .collapsible-block-unfolded-link {
    background: #21252E;
    transition: background 0.25s linear;
    padding-top: 0.5rem;
    padding-bottom: 0.5rem;
    padding-left: 1rem;
    padding-right: 1rem;
    width: min-content;
    white-space: nowrap;
    overflow: hidden;
    margin: auto;
}
#page-content .collapsible-block-folded .collapsible-block-link::before {
    content: "▷ ";
}
#page-content .collapsible-block-unfolded .collapsible-block-link::before {
    content: "▽ ";
}
#page-content .collapsible-block-link {
    text-decoration: none;
    color: #ededed;
    font-weight: bold;
}
#page-content .collapsible-block-folded:hover, #page-content .collapsible-block-unfolded-link:hover {
    background: var(--accentColor);
}
#page-content .collapsible-block-unfolded-link {
    box-shadow: 0px -0.26rem 0px 0px var(--accentColor);
}
#page-content .collapsible-block-folded, #page-content .collapsible-block-unfolded-link {
    margin-top: 10px;
    margin-bottom: 10px;
}
 
/* Selection */
::selection {
    background: var(--accentColor);
    color: #ffffff;
}
 
/* Footnotes */
.hovertip {
    font-size: .9rem;
    background-color: #21252E !important;
    border: solid 1px var(--accentColor) !important;
}
.footnotes-footer {
    background-color: #21252E;
    padding-left: 1.4rem;
    padding-right: 1.4rem;
    padding-bottom: 1.5rem;
    box-shadow: -0.24rem 0px 0px 0px var(--accentColor);
}
.footnotes-footer .title {
    color: #ededed;
}
.footnote .f-footer, .equation .e-footer, .reference .r-footer {
    display: none;
}
 
/* Tags */
#main-content .page-tags a {
    margin-top: .18rem;
}
.page-tags span {
    border-top: 1px solid #ededed;
}
 
/* Pop-Up Windows */
.owindow {
    background-color: #21252E;
    border-color: var(--accentColor);
}
 
.owindow .modal-header {
    background-color: #21252E;
}
 
.owindow .modal-body img {
    background-color: transparent !important;
}
 
.owindow .title {
    background-color: #21252E;
    color: #var(--accentColor);
    border-bottom: 1px solid #2F333C;
}
 
.owindow .button-bar a {
    background-color: #21252E;
    border-color: var(--accentColor);
    color: #ededed;
}
.owindow .button-bar a:hover {
    background-color: var(--accentColor);
}
 
/* Edit Buttons */
.buttons .btn {
    background-color: #21252E;
    border-color: var(--accentColor);
    color: var(--accentColor);
    padding: 3px 5px;
}
.buttons .btn:hover {
    background-color: var(--accentColor);
    color: #21252E;
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rating: +12+x

Fisher3.jpg

The Year Was 1778.


The sleek, angular profile of the SCPS Palma, an experimental Engle-class stealth missile corvette, cut silently through dark waters. Her decks hummed with a vitality that Captain Barrett could feel resonating throughout the command deck - a low, constant vibration that settled deep in the roots of his molars and dulled the osteoarthritis in his knees. She was hunting.

They had been tracking their prey, a medium-size fishing trawler, for nearly three days: from its departure in Havana on a fine summer morning in 1983, to a few miles east of La Nouvelle-Orléans, a smuggling port for American revolutionaries. One that had recently been ceded to the Kingdom of Spain.

It wasn't a particularly fair game, Barrett reflected as he glanced at the radar-map, and not quite the swan-song he had anticipated when he signed on all those years ago. There had been danger and mystery once. Jean & Jean Transtemporal Shipping had been smuggling supplies, weapons, information, people, and anomalous objects to the highest bidder across nearly 400 years, completely and entirely unchecked by anyone. They had been an inconvenience for the Foundation's operational and archival departments for a large portion of that. Particularly the latter - who were responsible for finding out how an M1 Abrahams main battle tank wound up on the Western Front, alongside other incongruities. When the Foundation caught wind of what they were doing, they were quick to respond. Barrett could still remember seeing the Palma for the first time -

"Captain, we're seeing two vessels inbound towards the target. Small ones moving slow."

He was snapped out of his musings by the interruption. The additional blips on the radar, approaching from the coastline, confirmed their suspicions: a scheduled rendezvous. They knew, of course, where the vessel was headed before it left port. It would have been nearly impossible to track them had they not, but still a ship lost in time wouldn't be unprecedented or the strangest thing Barrett had seen in recent years. Those rowing toward the trawler threw any such plausible deniability out the window. "Alright," he responded, "let them close the gap, then bring us up past the horizon. Prep two teams for insertion."

Barrett leaned forward instinctually as the ship accelerated. He could feel the power, barely contained and straining to be let loose. She was the fastest thing on the seas with enough firepower to decimate navies. Nothing could catch or even see her; not for at least another few hundred years. On nights like this, surrounded by dark seas and bright stars, he felt she knew it too.


They had an open radio line with both RHIBs on approach: two six-person teams, Alpha to board and secure the fishing vessel, Beta to intersect with the now-loaded rowboats that were making lazy progress towards the shore. They were within visual range now and creeping steadily closer.

Barrett had lived this moment a hundred times. It was a moment of possibility when no-one knew what would happen next. When they were chasing down the big fish, J&J fully aware of the cat and mouse game, there had been close calls: unexpected escort ships, an oil tanker rigged with explosives, the occasional airplane, submarine, or anomalous weapon, an incident with a nuclear device during the Spanish Civil War. They had made it through - not all of them - by the skin of their teeth. All through good instincts, quick reflexes, the stalwart protection of the Palma, and a generous amount of luck. These days things went soother. They were cleaning their way through the captured and decoded ledgers, closing in on those small shipments that never seemed important enough before. They had time now and plenty of bones to pick from.

A panicked voice, filtered and distorted through the radio static, blasted across the deck: "Launch on deck. Missile Launch! Returning fire, this-"

A flurry of alerts rang on top of one another, commands and responses echoning over the continued barking of the radio. Barrett trained his eyes on the fading flare emerging from the fishing boat's deck. The seconds slowed to a crawl. Somewhere in the dark, it raced towards them. He couldn't see it against the sky. However, the ship could. As the CIWS roared to life, arcs of tracer-marked fire tore apart the stillness of the sky, red-hot and fading into the distance. The first, second, and third bursts shuddering into the darkness, until the fourth - in a flash of white light - found its mark. Barrett stilled his breath as the voice over the radio came back to him. "Splash one. Hostile crew subdued." Maybe a desk job wouldn't be too bad, he thought as he checked his pulse.

The sweep was routine. Smuggled contraband: a small shipment of rifles, ammunition, and explosives, tagged and recovered. With the crews detained for questioning, Alpha team secured small, shaped charges below the waterline of the trawler. Barrett watched as it sunk beneath the waves, nothing but a fading wreck. The smaller rowboats, emptied, they let drift away.


The Ritual:

The hunt was concluded. The night was quiet once more.

The old man walked to the bow of the ship where the sharp angles of cast metal met at a knife's edge. He approached the two curving monoliths of yellowed, glistening ivory - sea spray reflecting the pale moonlight. Before him were the jawbones of two right whales, mounted horizontally along the gunwale. He let his hand drift along the surface of the port-side one and felt the deep, carved lines etched into it. It was too dim to see but they, like the rest, were ingrained in his memory as though his very own bones were marked with the story of each leviathan's life. They began similarly. Beasts, born amidst the wave, growing and feeding on the millions of minuscule lifeforms that drifted the currents. Growing and learning; mating and eating. It was in their deaths that the creatures differed. The leftmost, harpooned and lanced by cold, cruel steel, had been brought ashore and stripped bare of its blubber. A carcass picked apart by scavenging humans, its body rendered down into oil. Its twin, stranded on the beaches of Newfoundland, was found with a trawling net wrapped tight around its head, suffocating to death as its stomach clogged with plastic.

His hand came upon the deeply embedded iron nail. Legs planted firm against the deck, he strained and pulled on it, until it gave with a spray of saltwater across his face. Pulling the hammer from his belt, he turned and laid the metal tip against the carved jawbone of the younger beast. This one had swam the seas as he learned to sail. He brought the hammer down. The nail bit. Bone cracked. He raised his hand up again, then let it fall, driving six inches of cast-iron downward in a series of blows as the relic splintered and spat shards across the deck.

Letting a slow breath out, his gaze slid across the night-sea. They were heading home.

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