Electronics Technician First Class R.V. Winkle finished his breakfast, put his plate and cup in the window for the Mess Cooks to wash, and headed to upper level on the after ladder, to ESM. He needed to calibrate one of the display units there and Chief Irving had promised to meet him, be his “Safety Watch”. There was 15,000 volts running around in that display and RV didn’t want to be sticking his hands in there without a safety watch.
“Mornin’ Chief” RV said when he slid the door open and spotted his Division Chief snoozing on the bench.
“Hey Rip, how was breakfast today?”
“Pretty good, I guess. Petey’s cookin’ but even he can’t fuck up powdered eggs any worse than they already are.”
The boat had been at sea for almost two months, and the crew had been eating powdered eggs for breakfast a while now. Actually the boat had been gone from port longer than that, but they had been underwater for almost two months, this time.
“Who’s got the watch Chief?” RV asked.
“Beauford does,” Chief Irving said. “He stuck his head in here a bit ago then went to Control to plot the NavSystem offsets.”
ESM was small. The space for a crewmember to work was about six feet long and less than three feet wide. The outboard side was all electronic equipment that the ET of the Watch would operate when the boat was at Periscope Depth. The inboard side of the room had a three foot long bench, where the Chief had been napping, and a safe. There was a work table that could be folded down from the inboard wall. When it was folded down there was about fourteen inches between the edge of the table and the face of the arrayed electronics. The bench was unusable when the table was deployed.
The Chief stood up, stepped aft and turned sideways. RV slid forward, past him. This was a dance the entire crew knew well. You did it every time you met someone in a passageway. Space is limited on these Anemone class boats.
The calibration did not take long and when completed they secured the equipment. Chief Irving headed to the goat locker to catch some rack time. RV went to control to check in with Beauford and found him talking with the Quartermaster looking at the charts. He looked at the depth gauge and saw they were deep.
“What’s shaking Beauf?”
“Not much man, I’m exhausted. Worked on quals the entire time between watches but made some good progress.”
RV looked at him and could see he was tired. “Why don’t you go hit the rack, Beauford? I’ll take your watch”
“I can’t do that to you Rip.” Beauford said, “You never sleep.”
“My Great, Great, Great, Great, Grandaddy got enough sleep for several generations of Winkles,” RV said, “I don’t need to sleep.”
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