Lost Regiment of Videssos: The Misplaced Yankees
Author's Note: This is a revised and edited adaption of GBW's great fanfic The Lost Regiment of Videssos. After reading this on Alternate History Discussion, I realized this fic was too good to stay dead. As it is over ten years old, I decided I would try my own spin on it. However GBW if you see this and object, let me know and I will take it down.
The Lost Regiment series and all related characters belong to William R. Forstchen. The Videssos Cycle and all related characters belong to Harry Turtledove. No money is being made from their use so please don't sue me-go sue the people who keep making Adam Sandler movies instead.
January 6, 1865
Four hundred miles southwest of Bermuda
For the first time in three days, Andrew Lawrence Keane realized, the seasickness had left him. He paused for a moment in wonder; was there nothing left in him to get sick with, or was it the simple stark terror of what was happening?
Tobias Cromwell, insisting that the growing storm would not interfere with his schedule, had passed out of the Chesapeake and on into the Atlantic, even as the wind gust picked up to thirty knots. From there it had simply gotten worse, and by the end of the day they were racing before a southwesterly gale of near-hurricane proportions. The boilers had long since been damped down, and now they were running bare-poled before the wind.
Hanging on to a railing next to the wheel, Andrew watched as Tobias struggled to keep them afloat.
"Here comes another!" came the cry from the stern lookout.
Wide-eyed, Tobias turned to look aft.
"Merciful God!" he cried.
Andrew followed his gaze. It seemed as if a mountain of water was rushing toward them. A wave towered thirty or more feet above the deck.
"A couple points to starboard!" Tobias roared.
Mesmerized, Andrew watched as the mountain rushed down upon them and the stern rose up at a terrifying angle. Looking forward, he felt that somehow the ship could never recover, that it would simply be driven like an arrow straight to the bottom.
The wall of water crashed over them, and desperately he clung to the rope which kept him lashed to the mizzenmast. The ship yawed violently, broaching into the wind. As the wave passed over them, he saw both wheelmen had been swept off their feet, one of them lying unconscious with an ugly gash to the head, the wheel spinning madly above them.
Tobias and several sailors leaped to the wheel, desperate to bring the ship back around.
"Here comes another!"
Rising off the starboard beam, Andrew saw another wave towering above them.
"Pull, goddammit, pull!" Tobias roared.
Ever so slowly the ship started to respond, but Andrew could see that they would not come about in time. For the first time in years he found himself praying. The premonition that had held for him and the regiment, that they were damned, was most likely true after all, even if the end did not come on a battlefield.
The wave was directly above him, its top cresting in a wild explosion of foam. The mountain crashed down.
He thought surely the rope about his waist would cut him in two. For one wild moment it appeared as if the ship was rolling completely over. His lungs felt afire as they were pushed beyond the bursting point. But still he hung on, not yet ready to give in and take the breath of liquid death.
The wave passed, and Andrew, gasping for air, popped to the surface. They had foundered, the vessel now resting on its portside railing. Helpless at the end of the rope, he looked about, cursing that his fate was in the hands of a captain who had killed them all for the sake of his foolish pride.
"Damn you!" Andrew roared. "Damn you, you've killed us all!"
Tobias looked over at Andrew, wide-eyed with fear, unable to respond.
Tobias's gaze suddenly shifted, and with an inarticulate cry he raised his hand and pointed.
Andrew turned to look and saw that yet another mountain was rushing toward them, this one even higher than the last, the final strike to finish their doom.
But there was something else. Ahead of the wave a blinding maelstrom of light that appeared almost liquid in form was spreading out atop the wave like a shimmering cloud of white-hot heat.
The cloud swirled and boiled, coiling in upon itself, then bursting out to twice its size. It coiled in for a moment, then doubled yet again.
"What in the name of heaven-?" Andrew whispered, awestruck by the apparition. The intensity of the light was now so dazzling that he held up his hand to shield his eyes from the glare.
There seemed to be an unearthly calm, as if all sound, all wind and rain, were being drained off and they were now lost in a vacuum.
But still the wave continued to rise behind it, and then, to Andrew's amazement and terror, the wave simply disappeared as if it had fallen off the edge of the world. Where a million tons of water had been but seconds before, now there was nothing but a gaping hole, filled by the strange pulsing light.
Suddenly the light started to coil in yet again, then in a blinding explosion it burst back out, washing over the ship.
The deck gave way beneath Andrew's feet, and there was nothing but falling, a falling away into the core of light as if they were being cast down from the highest summit.
There was no wind, no sound, only the falling and the pulsebeat of the light about them. As his thoughts began to slip away, Andrew was roused to a modicum of alertness by the sight of a red-gold dome crashing through the pulsing light curving a tunnel about the ship.
With alarming swiftness, the dome approached the ship rapidly and, before Andrew could cry out, the ship and the dome collided.
The dome of red-gold light faded most of the way, then, as if guided by a will, the dome drew streamers of light from the pulsing light of the tunnel surrounding the entire scene and blazed forth to full strength once again, expanding to surround the ship in a sphere of golden light.
The sphere of golden light crashed into the pulsing light of the tunnel and pushed through, leaving the ship suspended in nothingness. As his thoughts finally slipped away, the toll of exhaustion and the extraordinary events overtaking him, Andrew could only wonder if this was death after all.