Episode Eight: Deep Waters

By Kittsbud

Part One

 

The Coastguard cutter ‘Stonewall’s’ bow cut through the ocean’s waves like a knife through butter. She was an Endurance class ship, built in the late nineteen-sixties but recently refurbished to be the pride of the fleet.

Normally, the ‘Stonewall’ commanded such duties as halting drug trafficking or the smuggling of arms or illegal immigrants. Today, however, she was making a simple sweep of the local shipping and fishing lanes. Some unusual activity had been reported, and Captain Marquand wanted to make sure the rumors were nothing more than that.

Marquand stood on the bridge, his hands clasped behind his back as he surveyed the calm waters ahead of his ship. “Anything to report, Mister O’Neill?” He asked of the officer to his right.

O’Neill shook his head while leaning forward to peer through the multiple glass sections of the bridge. “No, sir. All quiet. No sign of anything out of the ordinary.”

Marquand nodded. He’d expected as much. The reports he’d read had been nothing short of outrageous, but still he’d felt duty-bound to investigate them anyway. This was his neck of the woods and he wasn’t about to take anything for granted. “Very well. Take us home.” He nodded to his second in command and then exited the bridge.

O’Neill sighed, relieved he was alone with the lesser crewmen again, and began spouting orders to return to port. He paused as he turned and noticed Kurt Kresnick frowning.

Kresnick was their eyes and ears on sonar and radar, and if he had an expression of doubt it likely meant something was wrong. “What you got, Kresnick?” O’Neill queried.

The crewman shook his head. “I’m sure it’s a glitch, sir. For a moment there, I was reading an intermittent contact on sonar. It appeared and disappeared with each new sweep.” Kresnick checked his watch. He finally had a date arranged with Amy Hopkins and really didn’t want to spend another night out at sea instead because of some electronics goof.

O’Neil inhaled. “What kind of contact?”

Kresnick grinned. “Well, if you believe this hunk of wires in front of me, a sub, sir.” He tapped the screen. “That’s impossible, right? Unless Al-Qaeda bought themselves some serious hardware and snuck it in under our satellites.” The crewman laughed.

“Okay,” O’Neill gave in. He was tired and ready for some shore leave himself. “Log it and let’s go home…”

Kresnick nodded as his superior began to give orders to turn the ship around. Finally, he would get his date. He grinned and then quickly frowned as the blip on his screen came suddenly again. This time, although he had no idea why, the blip sent Kresnick cold.

It was as if some sixth-sense was telling him this was no instrument malfunction. He tapped at several keys, trying to remove the ‘ghost’ image from his monitor. After all, it had to be some kind of rebounding signal right?

The blip came again. Its ping echoed through Kresnick’s earphones so loudly and with such a sinister tone that he would remember it for the rest of his life. He turned to O’Neill, desperate to change his earlier evaluation of the situation, but it was too late.

As Kresnick pulled away his earphones and turned in his seat, the ‘Stonewall’ suddenly lurched in the water as if its stern had been taken by some giant creature and shaken.

O’Neill fell forward, just steadying himself in time on the com panel. “Report?” He barked as the ship lurched again.

A crewman shook his head. “Something just hit us in the stern, sir! Engine room confirms we’re taking on water from two breaches to the hull below the waterline!”

“Torpedoes?” It was Kresnick, all too aware that his earlier joke may have been at the ship’s expense.

O’Neill shook his head. “Doubtful. I didn’t feel any explosions. Are you tracking anything on sonar?”

Kresnick returned to his screen, a look of horror crossing his face as he read the impossible. “Sir, two more trails! They’re heading right for us!”

“Brace for impact!” O’Neill had barely said the words when the torpedoes hit home.

Again, there were no explosions, but still the projectiles did the damage they were intended to. The ‘Stonewall’ began to list heavily as its rear compartments began to flood with seawater. “Where’s the captain?” When no one replied quickly, the officer made a choice. “Give the order to abandon ship.” He looked to the communications officer. “Send out a distress signal and then get off this crate with the others…”

Kresnick gaped. It was impossible. The ‘Stonewall’ couldn’t be sunk like this- not by some unseen enemy below the waves. “Terrorists…it has to be terrorists…” He mumbled under his breath as he scrambled for the forward deck. “They probably sabotaged us in the docks…couldn’t be a sub out there…couldn’t be…”

Kresnick paused as he clambered from the bridge and realized half the ship was already under water. There was no time to climb into a lifeboat or raft. No time to look for injured or trapped friends. He shook his head, still not trusting what his eyes had seen onscreen. Then, knowing he had no choice, Kurt Kresnick dived into the ocean, leaving at least twenty crewmen behind to their fate, deep beneath the waves.

As he hit the water, Kresnick began to swim frantically towards the nearest raft. He knew too well if he were too close to the ‘Stonewall’ when she succumbed to the sea he would be dragged down with the current she created.

Gratefully, he grabbed an outstretched hand and allowed himself to be pulled aboard a half empty raft seconds later. It bobbed in the water, and he realized the motion was making him abruptly feel nauseous.

Kresnick flipped over onto his back, panting to quell the sickness, and it was then that he saw it.

Heading away from its ‘kill’ Kresnick could have sworn just for one fleeting moment to have seen a periscope cutting through the sea. It looked wrong somehow- scary in some bizarre unexplainable way that he couldn’t put his finger on. At that moment, he didn’t even care.

Deep inside his heart, Kresnick knew he had just escaped something far more sinister than a simple sinking or terrorist attack. He had escaped the wrath of some dark thing- a thing that’s thirst for death would not end this day or the next because no ordinary man could stop it.

 

Two Weeks Later

Dean Winchester eased off the Impala’s gas and let the Chevy glide around a sharp hairpin bend. The car roared as he tapped the accelerator once he’d passed the snakelike section, urging the engine back to life after its brief remission.

He smiled at the noise of the V8, singing along loudly to accompany its purr and the blaring sound from the radio. “Oh they say that it's over, and it just had to be oh oh oh…They say that it's o-over, and you're lost children of the sea, yea…”

“Dean!” Sam scowled at the sound coming from his brother’s mouth. “Do you have to make that noise? I thought we had a Banshee in the car…”

“Man, 'Children of the Sea' is a Black Sabbath classic!” Dean’s eyes twinkled and he pointed ahead to their destination. “Besides, I thought you’d appreciate it considering the location you chose for our next gig. Or should I say wild goose chase?”

Sam inhaled and his gaze followed his brother’s gesture. They were about a mile from the small fishing town of St. Michael’s Bay on the east coast. The town itself was everything it appeared- just a tiny community struggling with a dying economy. It was what lay beyond the bay that had caught Sam’s attention, and it was that mystery that had brought the brothers here today.

“It’s not a wild goose chase. Trust me.” Sam reached over and turned the music down just a touch. “Pull into the marina parking lot over there and I’ll show you the latest reports. We’ve stumbled on something pretty unusual here…”

Dean did as he was asked, pulling the Chevy up in an empty spot that overlooked the whole marina and bay area. It was a sunny day, and from here they could see beyond the inlet far out to sea. “Looks pretty normal to me,” he remarked. “So picture-perfect, in fact, that I think I feel nauseous just sitting here looking at the place…”

“Maybe you’re sea sick as well as air sick?” Sam retorted, and when Dean mouthed ‘jerk’, he grinned. “Look, can we just get back to the facts?”

Dean nodded. “If we must, Sherlock.” He glanced over as Sam pulled out their laptop from a holdall on the rear seat. “And just for the record, I got over that whole air sickness thing remember?”

Sam did. He just enjoyed still teasing his brother about it every now and again. Instead of replying now, he flipped open the silver laptop on his knee and hit several keys. When a picture of a large coastguard vessel appeared, he spun the screen around so that Dean could see it.

“This is, or rather was, the ‘Stonewall.’ She was one of the coast guard’s largest ships. She sank just over two weeks ago just a few miles past Teufel Point. That’s only a stone’s throw from here.” Sam looked grim as he continued his narrative. “Smaller fishing boats have been going missing for about a month in this area, but nothing this big before…”

Dean frowned as he read some of the local newspaper reports, along with two more official explanations. “Says here someone saw a submarine. So, what’s the big deal? The coastguard ship probably hit one of our own subs, like the incident with the Japanese tanker and our navy awhile back.”

Sam shook his head. “No way. Read on.” He let his forefinger trace a path down the screen to yet more information. “After the crewman reported a periscope the navy sent a destroyer to the area to qualm panic. People were so paranoid they were thinking all kinds of crazy things about a terrorist attack from the sea. The navy found a great big zilch, not even using satellite sweeps.”

“Maybe it’s Moby Dick?” Dean wiggled his eyebrows skywards in his trademark expression of humor and then shrugged. “I guess your coast guard crewman could have been seeing things. I mean, what are you suggesting here, Sammy?”

“I don’t know, but the crewman didn’t imagine it. We’re dealing with something new here, though.” He hit enter and a new screen flickered up. “This guy saw a submarine too, only it was surfaced and at night.”

Dean read the second page item from the St. Michael’s Tribune. It was brief, and barely mentioned that a local fisherman named Tim Walker claimed to have seen a submarine. From what Dean could tell, the reporter who’d written the article was pretty skeptical. “This says Walker is a fisherman.” He looked over to the marina.

Sam nodded, understanding his brother’s thoughts even though he hadn’t spoken them aloud. “Time to pay Tim a visit…”



St. Michael’s Bay Marina

Tim Walker hit reverse on the Spindrift’s engine just at the right moment to force the small charter boat to glide to its mooring like the gently floating flotsam it was named after.

The boat bumped on the side of the wharf, bobbing in the water like a cork, and Tim finally cut the throttle altogether. He jumped down, intending to securely berth his vessel when he suddenly spotted two men apparently waiting for him on the edge of the marina.

Both men wore dark suits, and from their stance he guessed this was official business. Tim sighed, moored the Spindrift, and then absent-mindedly ran a hand through the stubble on his face as he approached the two strangers. They hardly looked old enough to be intelligence agents, and yet he had an odd feeling they were here for something fishier than his boat.

“What can I do for you gents?” Tim decided to make the first move, ambling towards the men with a curious expression on his face. “Something tells me you’re not here to charter my boat.”

Dean nodded, “You guessed right.” He produced a fake I.D. which he promptly flashed at the twenty-eight year old fisherman. “We’re with the Navy Department. This is my associate, Mike Myers. We’re here about the incident you reported.”

Tim frowned. He hadn’t actually reported anything- at least not officially. He’d gotten a little drunk one night and got way too talkative at a local bar. He’d never intended to tell anyone about the submarine because he knew locals would say he was crazy. Still, it was all out in the open now, and all he could to was damage control.

“You mean what was in the local paper? You know, they blew that thing totally out of proportion…” Mike Myers? Wasn’t he the dude that killed everyone in Halloween? Tim kept his thoughts to himself, but couldn’t help a small smirk at the coincidence of the names.

“So, you’re saying what you saw had nothing to do with the recent sinking of a Coast Guard vessel?” Sam moved forward, feeling awkward in the black suits he and Dean found themselves wearing all too often lately. “You do realize one of the crewmen’s statements included a sighting of a periscope?”

Tim backed up, suddenly wanting to be back on the Spindrift where he felt secure. “I…I don’t know anything about that.”

“It’s alright,” Sam continued,“We’re not here to trap you, or trick you. We’re here for the truth. If there’s a submarine out there sinking ships we need to stop it.” He glanced over at his brother.

Dean smiled slightly at the fisherman, knowing Sam could talk people into almost anything. “All we ask is a little of your time. You’re not the only one to see this thing.”

Tim gestured back to his boat, “I guess you'd better come aboard.”

Sam nodded and the two brothers followed Walker onto the Spindrift. It was only a small charter boat, but the main cabin was still adequate enough for their needs- even if it was a little dark with its glum, practical lighting.

Tim took a seat opposite both his guests. He set his hands on the small table, unsure where to begin.

“It was a misty night just off Teufel Point. I wasn’t too far out and my scope was clear. I was about to head in when suddenly I got a blip right in front of me. Through the mist I couldn’t see much, but I knew the damn thing was close. I cut my engines and prayed I didn’t hit the other ship…except it wasn’t a ship out there…”

“What happened?” Sam prompted.

Tim swallowed hard. “I ran forward, expecting to see a local boat heading in, like me, that had got caught in the mist, but what I saw was much lower in the water…and black…”

He looked up, wanting to see Dean and Sam’s reaction. When he was satisfied they believed him, he carried on. “There were voices too, shouting, but none of it was in English.”

“You’re thinking terrorists?” Dean looked to his brother and was about to mouth ‘wild goose chase’ but Tim’s next words stopped him in his tracks.

“No, I don’t know what I think, but I sure as hell don’t think terrorists.” Tim hesitated a second, and then gave in. “The voices were yelling in German. What’s more, I got a good look at the sub’s con tower. No way was that baby a modern nuclear powered ship.” He sighed, confident they would think he was crazy now. “She was a U-boat, a genuine diesel powered relic from the past. Trust me. I grew up on the sea. My dad was ex-navy.”

Dean screwed up his face in disbelief. He’d dealt with some pretty weird cases, but never any non-living object that big manifesting itself- and complete with a crew by the sounds of things. “A U-boat? Are you sure?” He queried. “I mean, even if this thing is out there, why would it be in U.S. waters?”

“It was there. I know it sounds ridiculous, and maybe the terrorist plot idea is more plausible, but it’s not the truth. It was a German submarine that sank your Coast Guard cutter.”

Tim took a nearby pen and paper and hastily wrote down a number. “That’s from her con tower. If you’re really naval intelligence, you should be able to check it out.” He looked suspiciously at the two brothers.

“We’ll check into it.” Sam took the note and quickly slid it into his top pocket.

“In the mean time,” Dean continued, setting his eyes on Tim until the young skipper squirmed uncomfortably, “How about you take us out to where you saw the sub?”

“Are you kidding?” Tim pushed on the table, forcing his chair back so he could hastily stand up. It was obvious he was more than scared. “I’m not going back out there. That thing has been taking out boats for over a month. I already got too close for comfort that night.”

Dean didn’t give in. He reached inside his jacket and pulled out a wallet full of notes. He’d won the money at cards two nights previous and hated to waste it, but sometimes you couldn’t bribe people with a fake MasterCard. People tended to bend more easily if they saw the true color of money. “We’ll pay you double the rate,” he offered flatly, “Plus any other expenses incurred…”

Sam’s eyes widened in surprise. It wasn’t often Dean gave up cash so easily, and that meant this case had more than piqued his interest. “You’d be doing us and St. Michael’s Bay a great service,” he backed up his brother.

Tim hesitated. He was no coward, and he desperately needed the money- the charter boat business was in serious decline here, but still, the submarine troubled him. All he could think of was the deathly black conning tower and the phantom shadows running across the deck-plates through the mist. Their voices had resonated through the milky-white miasma like eerie echoes from the past, and he doubted he could ever erase the memory. They were dead men’s voices, and he knew it.

“I’ll take you out off Teufel Point, but if we see nothing, we come right back. I’m not being a sitting duck out there all night while you look for the impossible…”

Dean nodded, keeping hold of his cash. “Good enough, but you don’t get paid till we return. Call it a little insurance. We’ll meet you back here,” he glanced at his watch, “in say, two hours?”

Tim agreed, although he was already wishing he hadn’t taken the two suits up on their offer.

 

St. Michael’s Bay Motel

Dean pushed open the room door and quickly loosened his tie. If there was one thing he hated it was ‘monkey suits.’

“So, you trust Captain Ahab back there?” He tugged at the tie more until it was free of his neck and then flung it on the nearby bed.

“Yeah, I think so. He seemed genuinely scared when we asked him to go back out there.” Sam took a seat on the edge of the bed near Dean’s discarded tie and pulled out the piece of paper Tim had handed him. “I’m not sure how we’re supposed to find this submarine, though. I mean, it could be for real. I know our forces sell off old ships and such to other countries. Maybe Germany did?”

“But you don’t think that’s the case here, do you, Sammy? You think this thing is one freakin’ giant tin can full of spooks, right?” Dean’s jacket came off next, landing right next to the tie.

“Yeah, I think we’re dealing with a water bound version of Cyrus Dorian’s truck,” Sam admitted. “Right now, though, I have to prove it before we can make a move.”

Dean agreed. “Right, because you’re not sticking my ass on the line again like you did that night!” The elder brother frowned and headed for their room’s rather small shower, muttering to himself. “Maybe get rid of it my ass...I mean, c'mon, the thought never occured to you?"

Sam watched Dean exit the room and smiled. He shook his head in amusement as he heard the shower kick in and his brother began to sing rock songs increasingly louder over the hiss of the water. It was a common ritual, and one Sam still hadn’t got used to. Maybe one day he would buy ear plugs- or a gag. Right now, though, it was back to the case.

Sam slid a hand into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He may not be a real naval intelligence officer, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have connections. Harve Gant was a buddy of their dad’s from his days in the marines- what’s more; Harve was still involved with the military.

Sam checked the front of their dad’s diary and found out the number he needed. He dialed quickly and waited for the ring tone. Before the third ring, Harve picked up. “Hey, Harve, it’s Sam Winchester…” Sam waited for the usual boisterous greeting from his old friend and then continued. “I was wondering if you could do Dean and me a favor. Can you check if there was ever any record of a German U-boat, designation number 112?”

“German huh?” Harve was obviously intrigued at what the Winchesters were up to, but as usual he didn’t ask questions. He knew better than that. “I’ll have to go through official channels on this one. Computer records this side the pond don’t go that far back. I’ll need to clarify this with our friends in Europe. Call you back as soon as I know something, Samuel…”

Sam cringed as he hung up. He hated being called Samuel almost as much as he did Sammy, but Harve just never did get out of the habit of calling him that. “Now, we wait,” he said to no one in particular. “At least, unless our sub manifests itself tonight…”

Later that night…

The Spindrift gently cut into the ocean’s waves as her skipper expertly steered her on a tight course past Teufel Point. The little boat bobbed as it hit a wave and then continued onwards, unawares of what the men aboard her were searching for.

It was dusk, and a light sea mist had already begun to form, making the normally scenic area appear almost menacing.

To Tim Walker, the haze would usually have meant nothing. Tonight, its very presence made his stomach queasy. It had been this way when he had originally sighted the submarine and its long deceased crew. Walker didn’t want to stick around to find out if the U-boat was about to make a return appearance.

“Guys, I don’t care how much you’re offering, I’m not sticking around if that mist gets any heavier.” Walker glanced at his two guests with a look of apprehension that gave away just how scared he was feeling.

Dean couldn’t resist a smirk back. After years on the job and several close calls with death, very little tended to bother him unless it involved damage to his precious Impala or his father. “Relax.” He shrugged playfully. “What’s the worst that could happen? Maybe some ghost crew will come out of the fog and skewer our asses. On the other hand, I could just have been watching way too much Carpenter lately…”

Tim grimaced. He’d been on the sea long enough to know you never mocked it. The ocean was a beautiful but deadly piece of nature; it deserved respect. “So not funny, jerk.” He didn’t know who these people were, but he was genuinely beginning to doubt their government ID’s.

Sam nodded. For once, he agreed with the young skipper. Dean was being his usual blaze self when they least needed it. He’d also been making far too many ‘Carpenter’ references considering the fake name he’d given Sam. “I think we need to take this situation a little more seriously.” He nudged his brother and then jerked a thumb, indicating they should head out on deck before Dean caused more tension.

Dean raised a brow mischievously but did as he was asked.

“You know, just because we live with this stuff every day doesn’t mean everyone else should be as hardened to it as we are.” Sam took a hand from his pocket and steadied himself as the Spindrift rocked with the ocean’s motion. “Walker doesn’t strike me as a coward. He’s just scared, Dean.”

Dean knew his brother was right. There was nothing wrong with fear. Heck, sometimes it could keep a person’s senses heightened enough to save his life. That also didn’t mean he couldn’t rib Walker a little if he wanted to, now did it?

“Man, he just needs to lighten up a little, ya know?” He didn’t wait for a reply but instead his brow furrowed as he realized the mist was indeed becoming denser as they headed into it. “Sammy, is that mist turning into an out and out fog or are my eyes seeing things?”

“No, it’s getting thicker,” Sam agreed, watching as the murky miasma rolled towards them, its mass changing shape as it whirled atop the ocean. “I should go check on Tim, before nerves get the better of him and he turns tail.”

“Guys, you better get up here!” Tim’s voice was shaky.

Dean nodded knowingly. “I’m guessing those nerves you’re talking about just kicked in.” He cocked his head towards the cabin. “Come on, let’s go calm Ahab.” The elder brother jogged along the deck and paused as he reached the cabin door. He’d expected to see Walker turning the Spindrift around, but instead Tim’s eyes were glued to the radar screen as if he were mesmerized by it.

For a split second, all Dean could think of was how he’d once stood as a child, awestruck while some evil shtriga had almost killed his brother. It had been a long time ago, but the expression on Walker’s face gave away what he was feeling the exact same thing.

Walker was no more a coward than Dean had been. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when something inherently evil was going down. Abruptly, Dean regretted his earlier remarks about the fisherman, although he would never confess as much to Sam.

“What have you got?” He eventually asked, sensing it was what they had come in search of.

Walker rubbed at the growth of beard on his face and shook his head in disbelief. “There was a blip on the radar. Then it was gone…”

Dean climbed further into the cabin and leaned of the skipper’s shoulder. The screen appeared clear. As he watched, the radar took another sweep and pinged. Something was in the water ahead of them.

Another sweep and again the scope was clear.

“Instrument malfunction?” Dean quizzed, already knowing it was not.

“No way, I just had the Spindrift checked out. It’s out there, isn’t it?” Tim dared to look through the cabin window, but through the mist there was little he could see. That didn’t stop his body involuntarily shivering as the air temperature suddenly began to drop.

Dean sensed the chill too, but decided not to mention it. He might be a damn good driver when it came to four wheels, hell, even two wheels, but there was no way he or Sam could captain a boat- at least not well enough to get them out of a sticky situation should it arise. They needed Walker, and they needed him as unruffled as possible.

“If it’s out there, we’ll deal with it. Right now, that could be anything on your screen.”

He didn’t wait for the barrage of rebuttals he knew would come. Instead, Dean headed forward to rejoin Sam, letting a hand gently slide under his jacket to touch what lay hidden there. He needed to feel the cold metal of the weapon and know that if trouble was coming, he was more than ready. John had trained the brothers that way, and it was a habit he and Sam would never lose- not even if they eventually killed the demon one day and slipped into some semblance of a normal life.

As he reached his brother, Dean realized from Sam’s painful grimace that something was wrong. “What the hell’s going on out here, little brother?”

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