Last week I finished the first segment of the second act, in which we saw Oscar and Harry venture against the waves and ready themselves to push against the eddies. I added a fair bit of new material for that sequence, and I’m going to continue to do so in today’s work.
As a reminder, here was the outline I wrote up for the second segment of my new act.
- Attempt to break through eddies but can’t build up enough speed because of Harry’s engine trouble
- NEW Oscar times the rising and falling of the waves, then dashes for the eddies when gravity is on their side
- Harry’s engine cuts out part way and they have to go slower, which messes up Oscar’s timing
This is going to change slightly, though. Originally my intention was to introduce the limitations on Harry’s engine in this segment, but I decided to do that already as they struggled against the waves. I will still have the intermittent performance drops of his engine factor into today’s piece, it just won’t be a new thing to them.
And now let’s get into it.
Towards the Eddies)
The next wave approached, obscuring the eddies from Oscar’s view. The nose of his boat turned upward, pointing his view towards the dark sky overhead where the whipped tendrils of dark vapor overhead seemed like an ocean in their own right.
“Let’s start pulling to the right, even as we climb,” Oscar instructed over the radio. “Not too far. Ten degrees.”
The whole vessel creaked ominously as its rudder turned against the rushing tide. It didn’t really turn in response, more so the whole thing just started pulling sideways through the water, kicking up a violent spray against the right side of the wheelhouse. Then the spray shattered into a million pieces as the boat breached the top of the wave and Oscar peered down the long ramp to the eddies before him.
“Make it twenty degrees to starboard,” he shouted, “and give it everything you got!”
Harry’s boat broke through the wave-top, too, and together the two skated down the back of the wave. Faster and faster they went. Nearer and nearer the swirling eddies loomed. As the two sailors descended Oscar’s eyes roved over the ever-changing water, mapping out where it pushed out and where it pulled in, and where they would want to enter the fray.
“Hold back, I think–” he faltered.
“No. No! Forward. And a little less to starboard. Let’s get in right behind that big swirler dead ahead. It’ll pull us the way we want to go, but we’ve got to be quick to make it!”
“I think I’ve about maxed out without choking the engine!”
“Slowly raise it. If it starts to stall, slow down until its steady then raise it again.”
A ripple in the water bucked Oscar’s boat, giving him a split-second of air before he slapped back onto the water.
“I’m at twenty-five percent throttle…” Harry’s timid voice broke over the radio. “Twenty-seven…”
The two boats slid into the trough and leveled out. The eddies were spinning nearer and nearer, but they still had a bit to go before they reached them.
“Faster!” Oscar commanded.
“I think it’ll cut out.”
“We’ll just have to chance it. Higher!”
The water began pulling upwards, the boats started to tilt sideways against it.
“Thirty-fi– oh no!”
Harry’s engine cut out and his boat immediately hauled back on the line, slowing both boats to a crawl. Oscar flitted his eyes left and right. They could try turning up into the wave, but there was no way they would clear the top of it at this angle, or else they could plunge down, right into the heart of the mini whirlpool.
Oscar spun the wheel to the right.
“Hold on!” he shouted. “We’re going in!”
The nose of the boat sailed over the lip of the wave, then it cascaded downward into the eddies. There came a thundering crash as the bottom of the boat hit the swirling currents and, in a moment, his entire deck was swamped with dark and freezing water.
“We’re going round!” he shouted, forgetting that he wasn’t holding the mic any longer.
The Last Horizon boat bobbed back up to the surface and Oscar furiously grappled with its wheel, spinning it left and right, trying to straighten the nose out. He peered into the froth and tried to pick out where Harry had got to.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” he exclaimed as he spotted the Broken Wing barreling down a collision course for him. He picked up the mic and desperately shouted.
“Harry, turn to starboard! Turn!”
Harry’s boat swiveled and careened sideways. It rushed past Oscar on the port side, so near that Oscar’s vessel shuddered down into the other’s wake. But Oscar didn’t have time to give a sigh of relief. The rope between the boats was fast spinning out as Harry’s vessel continued its reckless charge. Oscar spun his wheel hard to starboard, trying to align the rear of his boat with Harry’s, so that he wouldn’t be pulled in a wild circle when the rope hit tension.
The rope snapped tight and there followed a sound like a gunshot as one of the great bolts at the base of Oscar’s boom shot off into the sea! Oscar’s boat was hauled backwards, and Harry’s was pulled starboard from the nose.
“Harry, level it out and pull us out of this whirlpool!”
This was a very fun sequence to write. After rehashing the same scenes over and over it was refreshing to find an all-new danger and a new solution for it. I do realize that this middle segment of the story is getting much longer than I had expected. Maybe that means a lot of it will get pruned back later, but for now I’m going to enjoy getting to write this material.
Next time we’ll finish off with this segment and then we’ll be able to calm things down for a moment of brooding introspection. I’ll see you then!