Almost Armageddon - a story - I should cocoa.

Almost Armageddon - I should cocoa


My name is Spud, better known as Rating John Densmore, one of the back-afters on the Conk – HMS Conqueror – a key nuclear sub in our fleet. We were the ones who sunk the Belgrano. I was there for that. I remember it well. They played us the tapes of those poor devils screaming as they were scalded to death when the boilers blew. Our whole crew were all drinking a toast and laughing their heads off. I wasn’t. It horrified me; nearly sent me wibbly. I still have nightmares about torpedoes chasing me through the boat or the big kettle melting down and scalding us to death, just like those Argies.


That’s why I did it.


They call me Spud because I eat a lot of chips. They reckoned I’d grow into a potato. But I don’t get too much time to eat chips these days. Our diet is carefully controlled. With 136 men on board it can get pretty whiffy back aft. They carefully manage what gasses we exude by feeding us the right things. Life on the boat does get to you. Being at sea for three weeks at a time sends you loopy. There are things you get used to. You don’t go to the loo when the ship dives deep. The bulkheads bend and the door doesn’t open. You could be in there until the ship comes back up. You learn fast. You can feel the metal bend and sense the pressure. It presses on you. It presses on your mind.


I’m a hero. At least that’s how I see it, though you’d never hear about it. They hush it up. It never happened, and, at the court-martial, they believed me that it was an accident.


It was Thatcher that did it for me. She knew that Belgrano was heading away but she still gave the order. Captain Cranse was up for it. They all were. They couldn’t wait to press the button. They murdered 323 of the poor bleeders. Not that they saw it as murder. You’d think we’d won the world cup! Talk about triumphalism.


Thatcher was so full of it. All the way back she was egging us on. That’s when I think it changed her. She thought she could take on anyone.


Cranse was on cloud nine. We even flew the Jolly Roger when we got back to port.


I think that’s when she went mad. I’m sure of that. She was a complete megalomaniac.


The Conqueror had been upgraded with 16 ballistic missile tubes but we only ever had 8 tubes loaded at any time.


That changed.


I remember thinking back then in port that something was up when we took the extra Trident missiles on board. All sixteen tubes were loaded up.


I’m sure Cranse and the exec officers knew, but I reckon they were as hypered up as much as Thatcher. They wanted it as much as she did. There was madness at work.


We were ordered to sail the boat deep and silent. I watched the charts because I was on the command deck. My job was serving the cocoa. We were heading for Russia.


I lay on my bunk in the missile room. I always slept there. There was more space to breathe. It all got clausto back aft. It was too hot and there was no room. They allowed those who wanted to bunk up with the missiles. It was a mixed blessing. There was plenty of time to think and those missiles certainly got your mind turning.


I was serving up the cocoa when we hit battle stations. I was frozen as they smoothly went through the procedures just as if it was another exercise. We were seconds away from a launch. We were going to blow all the tubes. But I knew those sixteen missiles each with their eight warheads were aimed at Russian cites and nuclear sites.


It did not take me too long to realise that Thatcher thought she could get away with a preemptive strike. She really thought she could take Russia out.

My mind was whirring. The Generals obviously thought they could also take out all the Russian subs. They imagined we had a window. They believed we could sneak in under the radar. Perhaps she’d made a deal with Reagan? He’d jump in too as soon as we started.


We were really going to launch. Seemingly we were the lead boat. The others would follow us and loose off their missiles. They really believed they could take Russia out.


The procedures were followed. The countdown was going. That’s when Thatcher chortled and brought me out of my trance. The Belgrano was bad enough but this could be millions, whole cities. I could see it - millions of screaming people – women and children. And Russia would react. We’d never knock out all their silos. British cities and American cities would burn.


But those fools did not seem to care.


That’s when I tripped and accidentally dumped the whole tray of cocoa into the computer works and blew the system.


World War Three never happened.


It was Thatcher who saved the world.


Opher 4.6.2018


opher goodwin Added Jun 8, 2018 - 8:22am
This was a fun story. I had to adjust the facts somewhat. The Conqueror was not equipped with missiles, just torpedoes. We would need a bigger a Polaris sub really but that didn't fit in.
Dave Volek Added Jun 8, 2018 - 1:22pm
Studying WW2 history, it was amazing at how quickly technology evolved. For example, the Spitfire saved the Battle of Britain, but was obsolete two years later. I think one reason for war is to test out the new weapons, see how they work, and make changes.
I was a little confused with this story as it seemed to morph too quickly into the Falklands war to a WW3 scenario.
opher goodwin Added Jun 8, 2018 - 1:25pm
It was all at the same time Dave. Putting Margaret Thatcher as a megalomaniac was only a small step. I did have to fabricate the Conqueror though. It wasn't a Polaris class. 
Dave Volek Added Jun 8, 2018 - 1:30pm
I missed that Russia happened immediately after the Belgrano. It seemed to me that there were two distinct events with some time between them.
Neil Lock Added Jun 8, 2018 - 4:32pm
Opher: They carefully manage what gasses we exude by feeding us the right things. Yes, stopping us emitting carbon dioxide by feeding us bullshit!
Oh, and your diagnosis of Thatcher is worth investigation.
opher goodwin Added Jun 8, 2018 - 6:29pm
No - I linked them into one Dave.
opher goodwin Added Jun 8, 2018 - 6:30pm
Neil - not a diagnosis - a story. I think there's a difference.
James Travil Added Jun 8, 2018 - 7:21pm
Good story Opher. It kinda put me in mind of The Hunt for Red October, although that was an upgraded Typhoon Class sub. 
Mustafa Kemal Added Jun 8, 2018 - 11:32pm
Opher, nice, pleasurable read. I remember how i felt when we invaded the Falklands. I felt so powerful!   Errrff.
BTW, as a career army officer, my father spent 3 months on a nuclear submarine in the atlantic, where I do not know. 
He told me that if he had it to do again, that is the way he would go. He liked the fact that there was no dead meat.  Everyone knew their job well, moreover, many knew two and three jobs well.  He liked a tight ship.   Funny, he didnt have one at home, but of course,  there he was not the captain.
opher goodwin Added Jun 9, 2018 - 3:30am
Thanks James - it was a bit of fun. I did a bit of research but had to play around with the sub.
opher goodwin Added Jun 9, 2018 - 3:31am
Mustafa - thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed my bit of silliness. It is quite amazing that your father experienced that. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it.
opher goodwin Added Jun 9, 2018 - 7:18pm
Wow!! Has this become a Riley Brown site?
opher goodwin Added Jun 10, 2018 - 6:54am
It's OK Riley is in decline again!
Jeff Michka Added Jun 10, 2018 - 7:07pm
As PINK Floyd said: 
...Begin took Beirut,
Galteri stole the Union Jack,
"The "Final Cut" is still one of the most politically deadon LPs ever recorded, IMO.
Yeah, I remember that "Falkland Period."  or, depending on who you are, the Malvinas, which always made the islandS sound "dirty."  As in construction workers in downtown Buenos Aires cat calling to a lovely lady passing on the street, "Hey, look at the Malvinas on that one!!!"  And I spent time calling the cruiser the Senor Belgrano.  LOL, But not too LOL...
Jeff Michka Added Jun 10, 2018 - 7:15pm
So, opher, you are a Royal Navy vet with service during Falklands?  The Final Cut might be insulting to you, if so, I'll apologize for bringing it up.
opher goodwin Added Jun 10, 2018 - 7:21pm
Jeff - I'm no vet. The Final Cut was a great album. I agree with its sentiments.
Jeff Michka Added Jun 10, 2018 - 9:16pm
Ah, was just curious, and Waters is no fan of war, any war.  He spent most of his career railing about what WWII did, and capped it with "Final Cut."  Ht it right between the eyes, IMO.  I mean, how thrilled can you really be over fighting a war with a country ran by Ceasar Romero, Ricardo Montalban and Fernando Llamas.  Really?  Go Maggie....
opher goodwin Added Jun 11, 2018 - 3:32am
Jeff - war is always a failure. Sometimes, as a last resort, we have to resort to it. There are very few wars that I would support - the annihilation of ISIS being one. Floyd have done a great job producing thoughtful music with real meaning.  
Stone-Eater Added Jun 12, 2018 - 1:26pm
Maggie was a joke. I did prefer the Maggie of Rod Stewart LOL
opher goodwin Added Jun 12, 2018 - 6:34pm
Stone - she was an extremely divisive, ruthless and unpleasant person who made a number of great blunders.
I too prefer Rod's Maggie.
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 6:38am
....or Maggie McGill, she lived on a hill ;-)
opher goodwin Added Jun 13, 2018 - 8:16am
Many doors to the Morrison hotel Stone.
Stone-Eater Added Jun 13, 2018 - 10:42am
Yep. And not only strange people go there LOL
opher goodwin Added Jun 13, 2018 - 12:22pm
Stone - strange days to take a midnight swim