Stingray cruised through the quiet waters of the Pacific Ocean like a great silver, yellow and blue fish.
In the spacious cabin, Captain Troy Tempest and Lieutenant ‘Phones’ Sheridan studied their controls idly while taking the craft along the regular patrol route.
Marina, the beautiful girl from under the sea, peered out through one of the starboard view-ports into the murky depths outside.
“Gee! I can hardly stand this excitement, Phones,” Troy remarked with an ironic glance, “How about you?”
Phones raised an eyebrow and grinned, “Yeah, it’s a thrill-a-minute trip for sure.”
“I know these routine patrols are important, but boy are they tough going sometimes.”
Troy turned to Marina, “I guess you’re as bored as we are, huh?”
Marina looked at Troy. She tilted her head to one side and shrugged slightly. Although she never spoke, the WASPs had spent enough time with Marina to understand her little gestures.
“Well, I suppose you’re pretty much at home down here. At least one of us is happy. Say Phones, we’re about due for our report. I’d better call up Marineville.”
“This is Stingray calling Tower. Come in Tower.”
After a brief pause, the voice of controller Atlanta Shore came back over the radio set, “Tower to Stingray, receiving you. Go ahead.”
“Routine check call, nothing to report, Atlanta.”
“Thanks, Troy. I’ll see you all for dinner when you get back.”
“P.W.O.R, we’re sure looking forward to— Say, what’s the matter, Phones?”
“I’m gettin’ a soundin’! There’s somethin’ metallic on the sea bed.”
“Stand by Atlanta, Phones has found something. Where is it, Phones?”
“Green zero-one-zero, range two thousand.”
“Right, let’s check it out.”
Expertly, Troy guided Stingray on the course Phones had specified and soon they arrived. Troy slowed Stingray to a crawl and descended gently.
The ping from the hydrophone was strong and clear and then, in the powerful beams of Stingray’s searchlights, they saw it.
“Well, will you look at that!” Troy exclaimed.
Phones whistled, “There’s something you don’t see every day.”
Atlanta’s voice was anxious as it came through the radio once again, “What is it, Troy? Are you okay?”
“You can relax, Atlanta! It’s a submarine; an old TB20-type.”
Commander Shore’s gruff voice filled the cabin as he took the radio microphone from Atlanta.
“Shore here, Captain. A TB20 you say? You sure about that, Troy?”
“Sure as I can be, Sir. They’re pretty distinctive.”
“Mmmm, yeah….” Shore reflected, “Any identifying marks on the hull?”
“Paint’s faded in places, but I reckon that’s the old Submarine Service insignia just there. That checks. They used to use TB20s for patrol duty.”
“Sure did,” Shore replied, “Tough little ships. Commanded one myself for a time. Can’t be too many left in seaworthy condition.”
“We might have a positive identification, Sir. We’ve moved closer and there’s a faded registry just visible above the silt.”
Troy paused, straining to make out the markings, “Yes! Registry reads ‘Number One-Seven – SS Manta.'”
“Great Neptune!” Shore exclaimed.
“What’s the matter, Commander? Sounds like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“You’re not far off the mark, Troy. If that ship really is the Manta, then you’ve just found my old command.”
“Gee! What are the odds of that?” Phones asked.
“Well I’m happy for you that we’ve found it, Sir!” Troy added with a smile, “What are your orders?”
“I guess if it looks in good shape and if you can get a line on it, you can tow it back to Marineville. Seems to me that it’s time for an unexpected reunion!”
“P.W.O.R! Okay Phones, let’s get to work.”
But while Troy and Phones prepared to examine the submarine for its journey to Marineville, they didn’t know they were being watched.
Camouflaged behind a nearby outcrop, Surface Agent X-2-0 cackled wickedly to himself as he viewed their progress on his craft’s aqua-scanner.
“Those terrainean fools have fallen for Mighty Titan’s most ingenious plan. Commander Shore is certainly in for a memorable reunion. But not in the way he expects…”
TO BE CONTINUED
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