"Sir, we're just about out of fuel. We don't have enough for another pass, and make it back to port before she hits, sir", Yeoman Clancy pointed, out, respectfully, in accordance to his duties.
"Yeoman", the captain said through gritted teeth, never taking the binoculars from his eyes. "If you don't shut the fuck up with your fucking bullshit concerns, I am going to throw you the fuck overboard." All delivered calmly, evenly, seriously.
Clancy imperceptibly nodded, to a man who wasn't looking, and dismissed himself in silence.
His own reaction gave the captain pause. He wasn't known as "The Highest High-C On the Fucking High-Seas" for nothing. Whatever they actually meant by it. He knew his crew loved him like no other, harsh taskmaster or not.
Still, all this for a stowaway?
20 minutes later, Clancy returned.
An observant captain would have noticed the liquid courage on his breath, steeling himself with alcohol as he did to gain the confidence for another confrontation with his mentor.
It always came to this, in the student/teacher relationship.
It's like he told his sons, before the world forced him to relocate permanently to the ocean in order to save a shred of his fading humanity. You’re not a man until you kick your dad’s ass.
"Sir, we c- ngh", Clancy emitted, as Captain Dan's left hand raised up, silently, from nowhere, with the comedic actions reserved for cartoon zombies rising from the grave, and backhanded Clancy into unconsciousness.
He saw...something, out there, in her. "Her", being the sea. Everything was a She when you lived on the ocean with a bunch of hardlegs.
But he KNEW his feelings. He trusted them above all. His instincts and feelings made him who his was. And he was the best rogue pilot the NAU Navy could afford.
He radioed the contower. "Kill the engines, and drop some boats", he said. "I want everyone awake, in these fucking boats, ROWING and SEARCHING until we find her again. "NOW", he gritted. "MOVE".
Thirteen tired, angry men stirred. Had they a little less respect, he would have been the next one overboard.
But he saw something out there, in her. His imagination? No. That speck, that slightly discolored portion of ocean too far up ahead to be sure it was REALLY a speck of a different color, represented his salvation. He had lost crewmen and passengers before. But he wasn't losing this one without a fight.
"Radio for a tanker to rendezvous at 0600.", he snapped into the radio. "We're going to be here the rest of the night, until we find her."
And, some thousands of feet away, held aloft by pure human will, a frail, scared, nearly unconscious young lady with a rebellious streak as wide as the Mississippi called out with the last of her strength, "help".
No one heard her. But he wasn't going to lose another one.