On Patrol: No Mere Spectator

The lower gunnery deck, where the big guns were loaded and fired, was in many ways a twin to the mess we’d just left. The chaos was slowing, though; everyone could feel the banking, everyone was preparing for a full broadside.

“All hands! Double shots, double time! I want two shots from each gun in under half a circle!”
I winced slightly, Esmil’s vocal performance reminding me of various drill officers and training regimes I’d seen and been through.

Gun by gun, activity slowed and ceased as crew reported readiness for double-shot – a feat I used to assume impossible, since normal gun load times were about a circle each. For a few seconds, nobody moved at all and it was almost quiet.

The other ship came into view and Esmil shouted for fire. All sixteen cannons discharged in one fantastic barrage of sound, sending the whole ship askew under the force of the broadside. I was thrown against the wall, ears ringing. All around, crew scrambled to get fresh powder and shell into the cannons for the second volley.

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