Before Jennay could continue, his desk phone rang. He gestured to one of the empty seats in front of his gray metal desk. Compared to the rest of the office, it seemed the only military issue object.
Hardy sat, opening his briefcase and taking out his orders packet, listening as Jennay spoke angrily into the phone’s handset. When he finished, he slammed down the phone. “That damned Kennedy’s going to be the ruination of the country. One of these days, he’s going to get his comeuppance. Mark my words.”
“I will, Sir.”
“Off the Record, of course. Our President is a competent leader and a credit to The Fleet. Remember that, Hardy.”
Jennay took the order packet and removed the contents for inspection. As he read, he moved a small microphone closer to him and began speaking. “On this date, I, Admiral Brandon Jennay, have officially received the order packet for Lieutenant Commander Michael Hardy, USN, to assume command of Submarine Anglerfish to commence operations as soon as operationally possible.” He stamped the orders and placed them in a desk file before inserting a piece of letterhead stationery into a gray IBM electric typewriter. He typed for several seconds before removing the letter and signing his name at the bottom before handing it to Hardy. “Show this to the Topside Watch along with your ID.”
Hardy folded the letter and nodded. “Thank you, Sir.”
Jennay stood and extended a hand. “I wish there was more time for pleasantries, Captain, but we both have our duties to perform. Get underway as soon as possible and stand by for operational orders.” After they shook hands, he pointed to a door to their right. “That door will take you unobserved to the Pier Complex. Dismissed.”
Hardy picked up his briefcase and went to the door. The door opened up to a monorail system that once he was seated whisked him to a stop near a false cave opening. Climbing out, he saw her. Gunmetal gray down to the waterline and black beyond, her sail planes set at neutral. Her hull stretched farther than he first noticed from the air and as he drew closer to the pier, he noticed a series of raised bumps along her metal skin. He showed his credentials to the plain clothed security watch but instead of rendering or receiving normal honors, the single security watch merely picked up an internal intercom and announced his arrival. No bells, no fanfare.
He reached over and took the intercom. “This is Captain Hardy speaking. All Hands, make preparations to get underway and submit reports to the XO,” he checked his watch. “All shore leave and liberties are canceled as of 2400. Set Sea and Anchor Detail at 0300. That is all.”
“Welcome aboard, Sir.”
Hardy studied the sailor. “What’s your name, Son?”
“Shipley, Sir. Quartermaster Third Class.”
“Thank you, Shipley. Carry on.”
As he climbed down the deck entrance, Hardy realized that while the Anglerfish looked like a Permit from the outside, its deck layout inside was another story. Definitely bigger on the inside, he thought as he dropped down into the control room and immediately waved away the traditional stop to activity that a Captain on Deck usually brought. He followed the signs to his cabin a few doors down and entered an access code to get inside. Everything he needed to live onboard was generously provided. He pulled the chair away from his desk and began reading the reports piled up in the In Basket. Welcome Aboard, Indeed.