Tremors franchise © Universal Pictures
Kantai Collection © Kadokawa Games, DMM
Not Completely Out of Ammo
Jason M. Lee
Wanting some time off away from naval and her fellow ship girl shenanigans, Missouri smiled as her rental bounced along the single rocky road. Finding two other ship girls that were needing some time off, they agreed to join along with her suggestion of a road trip through the US's lesser used paths.
"Why in Nelson's name are we headed to a little town called 'Perfection' when it's all but boxed in inside a desert?" Anson all but shouted as the US battleship flew past the green road sign.
"I, too, am curious about the reason for this location," Nagato echoed as well, hanging onto the frame when the jeep bounced over a rough patch.
"Heard about Graboids a few years back, and one of the folks living here runs a tour on seeing the only white Graboid living here."
Anson's brows furrowed while Nagato looked confused.
"Aren't those the giant dirt blind worms or snakes that eat their prey from underground?" the British battleship ventured. She had heard inklings around Portsmouth, but passed it off as another of the Internet silliness that some of the destroyers or new builts often needed correcting of.
"Yep! Been wanting to see one ever since Phoenix went on her biology binge."
The fact that the USN's resident pyrotechnician had been on a "biology binge" worried the British and Japanese battleships a bit.
"And the tour allows visitors to see one of these Graboids in person?" Nagato quickly went on her phone to look up the info, frowning at the slightly slower speeds her connection was getting. She shouldn't had been surprised, considering how far away from any major metropolis they were.
"Yep again! All legal with the state rules! The only incidents are people usually loosing their camera equipment, but no serious injuries."
The fourth of the King George V-class battleships made a face as the town's water tower finally came into view. "That does NOT inspire much confidence. What sort of cockamamie people would live with such a creature out here in the middle of nowhere?"
He blinked some more.
He almost reached up to rub his eyes before a steel grip grabbed his wrist.
"Don't bother," Anson spoke, slight disbelief and embarrassment in her voice. "Nagato did exactly what you and I just saw and I STILL can't believe it. She normally doesn't do this, but I guess she got a bit impatient."
The owner of Desert Jack's Graboid Tour simply nodded.
Not often having military guests, Tyler had agreed to do a bit of a special tour for the visiting ship girls. While Perfection was landlocked, they still got the news like anyone else did with an Internet connection, and was pleased to hear that the government was footing their bill, thus he took them along his "less than safe for regular tourists that are liable to injure themselves and thus cause legal issues" routes. It wasn't El Blanco he and the three battleships had encountered upon deciding to follow the somewhat strange seismic readings he had noticed on his seismometer.
Nope, it was almost a tiny colony of Graboids. How he and Burt - hell, Fish and Wildlife - missed these bastards without hearing a depletion of the local fauna would forever remain a mystery.
Instead, Nagato had decided to dismiss his warnings on A) staying in his jeep, B) getting onto large boulders, and C) standing absolutely still when a Gabroid popped up.
She got swallowed.
Panic was the first reaction, prompting him to radio Burt. Second was to dig around for any concussion grenades before the ground exploded with flying dirt, rocks and bloody body parts.
Seeing photos of ship girls in their rigging during PR ops was one thing. Seeing it in person on a mildly ticked off ship girl who easily plowed through Graboid after Graboid was another.
A certain sound in the distance had the hairs on his neck standing up. "You guys put out a lot of heat, right?"
"Yeah, what about it?" Missouri had been snacking away on her bag of trail mix, amused at the futility of Graboid beaks against 39,130 metric tons of ship steel.
Tyler pointed at the approaching dust cloud. "Then we have another incoming problem."
Missouri blinked. Anson facepalmed.
"Well, shit," the third Iowa-class ship summed up.
The scene that greeted Burt was that of 41 cm/45 3rd Year Type naval guns, 14 inch Mk VII guns and 16 inch Mark 7 guns creating a thunderous concert, alongside Oerlikons, Bofors and DP guns raining metal death on the horde of Shriekers and Graboids. (Oh, Fish and Wildlife were going to have WORDS, once this was over.)
Steel angels of death, bringing divine fire to some of his most disliked opponents.
Yet, it was the Japanese warship, whose elegance and tempered fury that stirred certain things inside his chest.
Things that he hadn't felt since his wife left him.
Concentration on where her shots went. Correcting her brackets. Coordinating with her fellow battleships.
Such that could only be described in one word, which he uttered after the conflagration died down and ears were no longer ringing and eyes no longer seeing spots.
The blush that bloomed on the eldest of the Big Seven's face would've been visible all the way from Las Vegas.
The immediate spit takes of their tea/coffee by Goto and Holloway some time later became the stuff of legends.
"You are cordially invited to the engagement party of Mr. Burt Gummer and Japanese battleship Nagato..."