The Submerged Threat Part 1
The calm waters of the channel at night looks beautiful, the water gentle ripples as the rays of the moonlight make it sparkle. A perfect night for sailing, the small supply convoy couldn’t ask for the better sailing condition. The six supply ships gentle cruise towards a Britannian port feeling safe and secure with the three destroyers guarding them, cloaked in the darkness of night with their lights turned off they are hard to spot. But something has spotted them, a predator beneath the waves stalks them as it closes in for the kill.
Silently it swims closer and closer until it’s in a position to strike, once ready it charges it weapon and fires. A red beam slices through the sea are turning night into day with its bright light before a ship explodes, one of the destroyers was hit and is now burning. The ship spills its oil into the sea turning the water around the ship into an inferno leaving nowhere for the sailors to run, scared and shocked the remaining ships barely react. A second beam is fired this on hits a supply ship in the middle of the fleet; secondary explosions rock the ship tearing it apart as its cargo explodes one after another.
Both ships rapidly slip beneath the waves as the ships of the small supply fleet finally react to the sudden surprise attack; the supply ships quickly change course putting as much distance between them and whatever is devastating them while the destroyers move towards it seeking the destruction of this aggressor. Deciding to cut its losses the hidden danger beneath the sea fires one last time, it beams parts the sea and hits its mark. A second supply ship explodes. Satisfied with the devastation the attacker silently retreats, leaving hundreds dead and the waters of the Channel aflame the unknown threat quietly drifts away.
For hours the escorting destroyers search but come up empty handed, scout planes join them, but they too come up empty handed. No trace of the monster is found, all they now are that it was a Neuroi that they are after. The red beam, the fierce attack, there is nothing else it can be. But it vanished which is something the Neuroi never does; it disappeared without a trace instead of fighting to the death like every Neuroi has done in the past. This Neuroi is different, it smarter and deadlier thanks to its hit and run surprise attacks.
The next morning isn’t as beautiful as the last, rain lightly falls from the sky and the black smoke continues to fill the air after last nights’ attack. Everyone was shocked to hear what had happened, three ships lost with all hands, to an enemy no one even saw. In the mess hall of the destroyer Harekaze the mood isn’t good, the powerful enemy they encounter as soon as they arrived in this world has just become even more deadly and terrifying. Most of the girls couldn’t help but imagine what happened to those poor lost ships happening to them; they can’t help but picture themselves inside their ship as it burns and sinks leaving them unable to escape. Even the curry that once cheered the crew up after they were branded as criminals does nothing to lift their spirits; nothing seems to do that.
All everyone does is eat in silence, the only noise being cutlery scraping on plates and the hum of the destroyer’s air vents. The warship is silent, its crew depressed and no one seems to be able to break the bad mood that settled over the crowd. Misaki is sitting at her usual table with the rest of the bridge crew just plays with what’s left with her half eaten breakfast thinking about what happened last night. She is pushing around the rice with her chopsticks while the rest of her table eats quietly and slowly, no one is in a good mood after what they heard.
“We need to do something to break the mood,” Shiro says as she finishes her meal, right now she is the only one that has handled the bad news well. “Nothing good will come of it if everyone stays like this.”
“I know,” Misaki replied staring at her food. “But I have no idea what to do; no one’s been this depressed before not even when we were branded as mutineers.”
“We could have fun,” Koko suggests, and everyone around the table looks at her, even Misaki looks up from her food to look at her. “We still have the stuff we used for those sumo fights; we could have another tournament.”
“That could work,” Shiro says thinking over the idea. “It will at least distract everyone from their fear.”
“Ok let’s hold it,” Misaki agrees standing up done playing with her half eaten meal. “Let’s do it after lunch if the weather improves we can do it on the deck, but we can’t do it if it continues to rain.”
Minna stares out her office window through the rain and at the destroyer, she worried for the ship and her crew. Ever since she read the report of last night’s attack she’s feared for their safety, it happened so close to the base and the Harekaze that she can see the smoke still rising. She promised to keep them safe, last night’s attack reminded her that no one is truly safe from the Neuroi. No matter how hard you try are how safe you feel you never are truly out of the deadly reach of the Neuroi, Minna knows that all too well after the loss of her homeland and her childhood sweetheart to the destructive power of the Neuroi.
The reports just coming in from the rescue ships aren’t doing anything to help ease her worry, they report seeing no survivors just the surface of the water where the ships slipped beneath the waves was on fire. Now all she can think about is the safety of the Harekaze; her promise to return them safely back to their world is looking less and less likely that she will be able to keep that pledge. She sighs as she turns back around to face Trude and Mio who have just finished giving her the report of the unsuccessful search and rescue effort, both look just as worried as Minna does about this new threat posed by the Neuroi.
“I don’t think there is anything we can do?” Mio says when the report has been read. “As long as it stays underwater we can’t do anything about it.”
“We could drop depth charges,” Trude suggests.
“I don’t think that would work; then we won’t know where to drop those charges,” Minna replies not knowing who that plan could work. “The ocean is so big that even using my ability we would have trouble locating it.”
“I won’t be able to find the core if we can’t find the Neuroi,” Mio adds before she comes up with an idea. “How about asking Misaki and Shiro? They said they fought against submarines before; they may have a way to detect underwater threats.”
“I’ll think about it,” Minna says sinking into her office chair. “Personally I would like to keep them out of this fight, I only asked them to defend the base so Command would agree to give them the supplies they need till we can send them back.”
“They don’t have to fight,” Trude tells her. “If they can find it for us we can take it out.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Minna replies being the meeting to an end.
In the kitchen of the base, Yoshika and Lynne work together to make another morning’s meal for their squadron. This morning it’s only toast and tea because of the supply plane carrying their food supplies has been denied landing permission until Minna is confident the strange rat creatures from the Harekaze’s world are all dealt with. Supplies are starting to run low, but everyone understands why, after seeing what happened to Eila and Sanya they know they can’t risk spreading those rats around the country.
So far the two previously infected witches are sleeping in the medical room with the bases nurse watching over them, although the crew of the Harekaze says they will be okay now Minna still wants to make sure. Not knowing anything about this virus Minna has ordered them to stay in the medical room all day and taken them off duty for the next forty-eight hours. The two girls set aside two dishes ready to be sent to those two witches.
Yoshika and Lynne finish plating up the food remembering at the last minute they have an extra mouth to feed, Yoshika opens a can of tuna Misaki gave her for Isoroku while Lynne pours some milk into a bowl. They set the food and milk down in the corner of the kitchen where Isoroku is already waiting, once they see him happily dig into his breakfast they start to take the food for the witches into the dining hall.
Inside the dining room, they find everyone else is already there waiting to be served. Lucchini is gentle rubbing her arm still not liking the fact she was injected yesterday, Shirley reading another one of her biker magazines, Erica is sleeping while Trude yells at her, and the rest are just sitting there quietly in their seats waiting for their food. Like usual Yoshika and Lynne had out plates of food than a cup of tea or coffee in Minna’s case before serving themselves, they join the others at the table, and the usual chatter about the weather and Neuroi begins.
Not surprisingly the talk around the table is mainly about last night’s attack, the witches aren’t scared like the crew of the Harekaze, but they are still worried about this latest Neuroi. Never before has one attacked from below the waves, they typically attack from land and the sky but never from underwater. There have been a few Neuroi who have hidden under the water before, but they always surfaced first, pouncing out of the water before shooting off red beams at anything unlucky enough to be in its sights. But this Neuroi is different it stayed hidden under the waters of the Channel and never came up, with no sighting of the Neuroi and no idea of its class or capabilities everyone is in the dark and can only hope they find something out about this Neuroi before it strikes again.
“My arm still hurts,” Lucchini continues to complain as she rubs the spot where Minami pierced her skin with the needle yesterday. There’s a small red mark there which is more noticeable on Lucchini then her fellow squadmates because she won’t stop touching it, unknown to her she is making the pain last longer but rubbing it. “I hate it.”
“The ships doctor said it would sting a bit for and that feeling should go away during the day,” Shirley tells her as she continues to flip through the pages of her magazine. “You just need to ignore it until then.”
“It’s for the best, after the events of yesterday…” Trude adds. “If it will stop what happened yesterday from happening again then it’s worth it.”
Laying in single bed side by side Eila and Sanya quietly hold each other, the events of yesterday affected them much worse than the others. Their memories are foggy but from what the others told them about their actions left them shocked. According to the others, they acted more like animals than girls, and it left both of them shaken. They feel terrified, scared that some little rodent so easily controlled their bodies and minds. They are so afraid of it happening again that their bodies shake at the very thought of those rats and those same rodents haunted their dreams last night, even the reassurance of being vaccinated against the rat’s horrifying power has no effect on them. Nothing anyone does can eradicate their fear.
Last night was the worse night’s sleep in both of the young girl’s life’s; their dreams were full of the rats making them kill their friends, needless to say, it made sleep impossible forever girl. In the end, both girls crawled into bed together and held each other till dawn. Protecting each other from the darkness and helping each other stay awake so that they can be spared the horrors of sleep.
Finally, dawn broke and even the rain and the bad news of last night’s attack can take away the relief the feel that the darkness of night has passed. For them, it’s a good sign that they will have several hours of freedom before the evening makes them sleep trapping both girls in those horrible nightmares.
“I’m hungry,” Sanya finally says after hours of silence as her stomach starts to rumble.
“Me too,” Eila replies feeling just as hungry. “I’m sure someone will bring us something to eat in a minute, if we weren’t confined to this room I would go and get us something. How are you holding up?”
“Not good,” Sanya almost whispers as a tear leaves her eye.
“I’m not good ever,” Eila tells her lightly brushing away that tear. “I hate that a rat controlled me.”
“It’s my fault,” Sanya says as she starts to cry burying her face in Eila’s chest.
“It’s not your fault Sanya,” Eila says holding the silver haired witch and gentle stroke her back. “It was that rat’s fault; you are not to blame for this.”
“But I brought it into the base,” Sanya tells her not soundly like she will ever stop crying, the sobs of her friend break Ela’s heart, and she feels Sanya’s sadness as if it’s her own. Eila feels tears start to form in her eyes; she fights to hold them back not wanting Sanya to see her crying. “I took it to my room, and it took us both over because of me.”
“I don’t blame you Sanya,” Eila calmly whispers into her friend’s ear which seems to work, Sanya freezes in her arms, and her sobs pauses momentarily. “I know you wouldn’t hurt me; you didn’t know what that rat would do. If you did then you would have never touched it, it’s not your fault.”
“But I…” Sanya continues to blame herself, but Eila quickly stops her before she can say another word.
“It’s not your fault Sanya, don’t blame yourself,” Eila tells her. “You made a mistake; everyone does that so don’t blame yourself. No one was hurt worse than a few bruises so don’t worry, no one blames you so don’t blame yourself” The sound of the door slowly opening draws both girls attention. “Let’s talk about this later ok.”
“Ok” Sanya replies as Yoshika and Lynne enter carrying the two witch’s breakfast.
“Good morning” Yoshika calls out as the two girls come into the room. “It’s only toast today; we haven’t got many supplies right now.”
As the day goes on the light shower of rain finally stops then the grey clouds disappear slow dissipate, soon it’s almost like it never rained before. Looking at the deck of the Harekaze every member of the crew smiles for the first time this day, word spread fast of the planned event for today, and everyone is looking forward to it. Those who want to compete already know who their first match will be and those who are watching have already made their first-round bets. Finally, the gloomy mood that settled over the crew has disappeared and doesn’t look like it will be returning anytime soon.
As soon as lunch is over the crew places mats down onto the deck and gather round ready for the tournament, the first two fighters quickly step forward to the applauds of their fellow crew members. Macchi, the ship’s lookout, takes off her glasses and hands them to a nearby girl as she stares off with Marikouji the ships Sonar Personnel and Trumpeter, they stay silent as they wait for the fight to begin.
“Ready?” Misaki asks pointing to Macchi who nods; she then points to Marikouji. “Ready?”
“Yes,” Marikouji politely replies with a small nod of her head.
“Fight,” Misaki says, and the two fighters instantly move towards each other.
Their hands meet and look together as the start to push each other in a contest of strength, but soon they let go, and both girls grab the others sumo belt, they push, pull and try to knock the other over before they are sent crashing down to the mat. But in a contest of strength Macchi has the edge and soon it starts to show, Marikouji looks more and more like she is going to fall by the second, but she doesn’t seem fazed by that fact. For some reason she doesn’t seem bothered that she is going to lose, could it be she doesn’t care or could it be that she has a plane?
Less than a second later the answer is clear, Marikouji moves in a way that it makes Macchi’s strength nearly lose her the game. Macchi catches on though and quickly breaks the contact between the two girls, now they are both standing as they were when the match began staring and waiting for someone to make a move. Marikouji moves first rushing Macchi, but in one quick move the match is over, Macchi uses all the momentum in Marikouji’s charge to throw her opponent to the ground and win the game.
“Macchi is the winner,” Misaki announces raising the victor’s arm into the air and causing Mimi to give her a jealous death glare, it’s no secret on the ship that the Harekaze’s Accountant Chief has a crush on their ships eagled eyed lookout. The next two fighters step forward smiling eager to have some fun, Kuro, the ships assistant engineer and Mei the torpedo chief, step forward. Once again the Harekaze’s Captain asks the two fighters if they are ready, once again as they answer yes she begins the fight but calling out. “Fight.” The two battling girls clash, but Misaki can’t watch this one, she hears footsteps coming from behind her and turns around to see Minna and Mio walking towards her watching the fight continue. “Good afternoon Minna, good afternoon Miss Sakamoto.”
“Good afternoon Misaki, can we talk to you for a minute?” Minna asks in reply.
“Ok,” Misaki answers but she turns to Shiro. “Can you take over for me?”
“Sure,” Shiro says as Misaki leaves following the two witch commanders down to the other end of the ship.
“What can I help you with?” Misaki asks as the come to a halt.
“We need your help in finding the Neuroi that appeared last night; I take it you heard what happened when it appeared,” Minna says.
“Yes I heard, and I think we can detect it,” Misaki tells her thinking for a moment and trying to get the image of the Harekaze’s becoming a burning wreck before it sinks beneath the waves. “The Harekaze’s is equipped with sonar which could pick it up, but we will have to sail after it and will be moving slowly as we search.”
“Would you be willing to help us? I can’t guarantee your safety but I will do everything I can to keep you and your crew safe but we need your help, I know it is a lot to ask for but will you be willing to help?” Minna asks not liking the idea, and her voice does nothing to hide it, she doesn’t want to put them in danger but after thinking this through she realizes she has no choice if she wants to stop this latest threat from the Neuroi.
“Of course we will be willing to help,” Misaki replied sounding slightly scared but determined to help. “If it will stop what happened last night from happening again then we will do everything we can to help you.”
“I like your attitude,” Mio tell her before laughing her trademark laugh.
“Thankyou,” Minna says feeling both proud of the girl’s bravery and fearful for her safety at the same time. “Yoshika and Lynne will be aboard your ship in case anything goes wrong; we will attack tomorrow morning. I requested some aerial depth charges which will arrive later tonight; we plan to begin our search at ten o’clock. I want your ship to stay back, just find it and we will take it out.”
At exactly nine fifty AM Yoshika and Lynne arrive on board the Harekaze and the destroy is ready to set sail, with the crew having mixed feelings about this mission they all stand at their stations ready to do their part. Some are afraid, some are eager, but all are willing to fight. On the deck is all the depth charges the Harekaze’s has ready for use as well as additional aerial depth charges the witches will be using. Minna and Misaki both agree that since the witches can only carry one depth charge at a time that using the Harekaze’s like a mobile supply platform will increase their chances of succeeding against this latest Neuroi.
Both the Lynne and Yoshika dismount from their Striker Units and head to the bridge; they arrive just as the witches take to the sky and the destroy starts to move. It slowly leaves the coast where it was anchored taking to the sea where it belongs, where the crew and ship haven’t been in what feels like forever. Heading for the dagger but not for the first time the Harekaze’s sets sail ready to fight, with all hands ready and the witch’s flying protectively above them it’s a fight the crew are nervous about and ready for despite their fear.
“Take us out slow and steady,” Misaki orders as the two witches step foot on the bridge, Misaki turns to face their new guest as Rin takes control the Harekaze’s guiding her to the open waters of the Channel. Misaki spots her two guests as they enter the bridge and says to them with a small bow and smile.“Welcome aboard,”
“Captain Minna wants us to head to the scene of the night attack and see if we can pick up the Neuroi’s trail from there,” Koko tells her relaying Minna’s orders.
“Ok,” Misaki replies turning back around to face her bridge crew. “Rin set our course to last night’s battle, lookouts keep your eyes open and ready the depth charges.”
“Everyone is ready,” Shiro reports.
Meanwhile up in the sky flying above the destroyer Minna and the rest of the witches bar Eila and Sanya watch over the ship, their weapons on their backs and a depth charge in their arms. Minna watches the crew of the Harekaze walk around the deck of their ship and her fears and worries double. She looks down at them fearing they will all die and worrying whether involving them in this was the right decision. All last night she laid awake wondering that but never could come up with an answer, she knows she needs their help, but she doesn’t want it knowing the danger they will face if they support.
“This isn’t their war,” Minna’s mind says. They don’t have to fight and die for it.
But Minna can’t think like that, not now when they are going to face this danger together. She knows this; she pushes the thoughts from her mind as she looks back up away from the crew she may very well have sent to their death. Taking a quick breath, Minna needs to prepare herself before issuing orders to the destroyer. Orders she dreads giving, orders she fears will lead to the sinking of that ship and the death of her crew. But orders she has to give, at times like this she hates being in command.
“Head to the scene of last battle,” Minna radios her orders the Harekaze. “We will begin our search there.”
“Minna you don’t have to worry about them,” Mio says putting her hand on Minna’s shoulder while nearly dropping her depth charge with the other. “Yoshika and Lynne are on board that ship. They can protect them while we stop the Neuroi from even attacking them.”
“I know but…” Minna continues, but Mio doesn’t let her.
“They will be fine,” Mio tells her again. “They will make it back because you won’t let them die here today, they have beat long odds before.” Minna looks at Mio confused about the last part; she knew the crew of the Harekaze has been through a lot but never dug too much into it. “When I spoke to a few of the crew they told me about how they defeated ships in the past that had overwhelming firepower and armour so thick their shell would just bounce off of it. They have to have more than luck to beat the odds then. They will survive, the girls down there seem to know what they are doing, and we are here to protect them. So don’t worry, they will be all right.”
Further back in the formation gentle floating along is another pair of witches, Shirley and Lucchini who fly shoulder to shoulder through the air keeping pace with the others. Shirley seems to be really comfortable in the flight; she is holding her depth charge without any problem. Lucchini, on the other hand, is struggling, the depth charge is slipping through her fingers, and she can barely keep it from falling.
“It’s heavy,” Lucchini complains as she struggles to keep hold her bomb.
“Don’t worry Lucchini; we will be dropping them before you know it,” Shirley tells her while giving the young witch a reassuring smile.
“Can’t I drop it now?” Lucchini asks. “It’s too heavy.”
“I want to drop mine too,” Erica whines joining in with the complaints.
“No, you won’t Hartmann!” Trude yells startling the poor girl so much she nearly drops her charge from her jump alone. “We need all the charges we have so don’t you dare waste one because it’s too heavy if you drop that then I will make your life a living hell.”
“Why are you having your crew prepare depth charges?” Yoshika asks looking around at the Harekaze’s crew working. “I thought you were going to hang back while Minna and the other fight.”
“We are,” Misaki tells her looking back catching Yoshika’s brown eyes; she can’t help but think that it’s the most beautiful brown she has ever seen. “I am only having them prepared them just in case we have to use them, I am planning on letting Minna handling this but its best to have them prepared just in case we need them”
“Captain we are arriving” Shiro announces as the ship slows its approach so that the sonar will work better.
Outside the bridges windows and all around the ship is the sea where the battle took place, very little signs are there to tell you a fight took place. Only a few pieces of floating wreckage and small patches of water ablaze, soon that wouldn’t be anything at all, and you could sail through here unaware of the lives lost beneath the water you sail on. Everyone who can see it looks, those who can’t listen to every word those who can say describing the scene. But this doesn’t create fear and spread it throughout the ship; it creates a determination that’s so powerful the Neuroi will have to be incredibly lucky to escape them and do what it did again. Soon they are all back on the stations and working again, wanting nothing more than to stop this Neuroi before it can strike again.
“Start our search pattern; Rin keep us slow so Marikouji can work,” Misaki orders and the destroyer quickly settles into a search pattern. “Lookouts keep your eyes open, call out any red beams you see or anything that doesn’t look like it should be here.”
“Aren’t you scared?” Yoshika asks her as she stops looking at the little remains of the battle looking scared herself.
“I will be lying if I said I wasn’t,” Misaki admits looking back at the Fuso witch. “But I know you and the others will keep us safe.” That comment makes Yoshika blush slightly, but it’s so small no one notices. “And the Harekaze’s is a good ship, she kept us safe before and will do so again.”
“Captain we got something, our sonar is picking something up,” Koko reports but before she can say another word…
“Incoming left!” Macchi suddenly shouts.
“Rin hard left rudder!” Misaki orders and almost instantly the Harekaze’s banks as it sharply turns, Misaki quickly runs to the window of the bridge just into time to see the red beam of death narrowly miss the ship. “Rin take us dead ahead towards where that shot was coming from, Koko tell Minna where we picked up the sonar contact.”
“Trude, Erica drop you charges in five hundred meters, Shirley, Lucchini drop yours in five fifty,” Minna orders as the Strike Witches begin their attack run. “Sakamoto, Perrine we will drop our charges in six hundred meters. Afterward, grab more charges from the Harekaze while Sakamoto and I assess the damage.”
“Yes ma’am,” The Witches reply as they level out, they drop their charges on cue, and the ocean explodes. Massive columns of water shoot into the air as underwater exposition churn up the water, pulling out of their attack run most of the witches feel confident that nothing could have survived that attack.
“Did we get it?” Erica asks as she circles back around heading for the destroyer.
“I’m checking that now,” Minna says as she uses her ability to check the area while Sakamoto scans it with her eye. Bubbles start to appear, at first everyone thought it was the Neuroi breaking up, but that theory is quickly proven wrong. They shoot out of the sea like large black bullets and head straight for the destroyer. “Drones,” Minna says as she realizes their course. “Their heading for the Harekaze, take them out before they reach the girls on that ship.”
“Incoming air attack!” Macchi calls out as several small black objects appear out of the water and charge straight towards the ship. “Sixteen targets with the witches in pursuit!”
“Ready AA guns!” Shiro orders and both Tama and Mei quickly run to their large weapons. “Watch you fire our allies are up there with them!”
“Rin take evasive actions!” Misaki tells her navigator as the threat gets closer and closer, Rin quickly makes the ship swerve from side to side. “Take us up to fourth combat speed!”
“They aren’t’ going to hit us are they?” Rin asks shaking at the wheel of the ship.
“Of course they won’t,” Shiro replies but it does little to reassure their frighten navigator.
“We’ll help too,” Yoshika says as she and Lynne pick up their weapons.
“Thankyou,” Misaki says to them feeling safer already. “Choose whatever position you want on the deck.”
“Right,” Yoshika replies before she and Lynne run out of the bridge and down onto the deck of the ship.
“Where should we go?” Lynne asks her friend as the sound of the Harekaze’s anti-aircraft guns starts to fill the air.
“I’ll take the left side, and you take the right side,” Yoshika suggest.
“Ok,” Lynne agrees giving Yoshika a quick hug before letting go and saying. “Be safe.”
“You too,” Yoshika says before the two witches part ways to do their job.
The destroyer Harekaze zigzags around the Channel as its AA guns roar into life sending bright tracers into the sky, soon traces from Yoshika’s Type 99-2 Model 2 Kai’s 20 mm tracers joined them with the infrequent well placed shots from Lynne’s Boys Anti-Armor Rifle Mk.I. Several Neuroi shatters as the fire from the ship in front of them, and several more from the witches behind them but three gets through, dodging fire from all sides three small Neuroi drones get through and strike back against the Harekaze. They each fire a small, weak laser, two of the shots miss as the Harekaze swerves out of the way, but one hits them, it strikes their rear turret.
The gun explodes which shakes the ship and turns the area where the gun once stood aflame, the turret no longer exists and as the crew recovers from the hit the three Neuroi explodes under the combined fire of both the Harekaze and the witches. The damage control team quickly leaps into action grabbing fire extinguishers and running towards the blaze, Minna and the other touchdown on the destroyer’s deck just as the damage control teams start to battle the blaze. Minna quickly makes her way to the bridge as the other grab more depth charges from the deck; she sees the crew is alright apart from a few cuts and bruises, but that hit left her just as shake as the ship. She thought the Harekaze was lost and she sent these girls to their deaths, seeing everyone alright is such a relief Minna could cry.
“Is everyone ok?” Minna asks as she looks into the bridge.
“We’re all fine,” Shiro answers as she and the rest of the bridge crew pick themselves up off of the floor.
“Incoming just to our right!” Macchi yells, and Minna looks to see another beam splitting the ocean as it heads straight for the Harekaze.
“Hard right rudder!” Misaki shouts, and Rin quickly turns the ship, they only just make it, and the red beam misses the Harekaze’s hull by less than a millimeter getting so close it scorched the paint. “Do we have the location that shot came from?”
“Marikouji says it came from four thousand meters dead ahead,” Koko answer relaying the message from the sonar room.
“Head back to the harbor; we’ll handle it from here,” Minna orders flying off to grab a depth charge before anyone can say anything in response.
“Should I set a course back to the harbor?” Rin asks wanting the Captains order.
“Yes,” Misaki replies looking down. “There’s nothing we can do anymore, our ship needs repairs, and it’s only a matter of time before we are hit again.”
“Everyone drop your charges at the Neuroi’s last known position, after that return to base,” Minna orders as the Witches fly towards the submerged Neuroi and the Harekaze heads for the port at Folkestone. “If this doesn’t stop it there is nothing more we can do.”
“Minna we can’t give up,” Trude says with Mio backing her up on that.
“We have no choice,” Minna tells them. “If this doesn’t stop it then we can’t do it again since we just lost our means of detecting it, we need to rethink our strategy to deal with this one.”
The witches dive one more time before dropping their charges, once again the water ends up in the sky as the witches pull out. This one last attack fails as the Neuroi has already moved on, disheartened and defeated the witches retreat. Minna sends everyone back to base while she and Mio head for the Harekaze. Minna gives one last order to Shirley as they part way, she tells her to bring a truck to the port of Folkestone since the girls that crew the Harekaze will need a new home while their ship is being repaired.