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Author: clonesgirl
Fandom: The Sinking of the Laconia
Rating: NC-17 for sex, violence and death of OCs
Pairing: hartenstein/mortimer
Timeline: 1943 A/U
Word count this section: 3,265
Warnings: Historic and fictional characters, some violence
Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: Characters borrowed from BBC strictly for playing with, not profit. No offence intended. This is purely a work of fiction.
Summary: Hartenstein is suspicious when a fishing boat maintains radio silence.
Beta: None. If you find goofs please let me know.
A/N: Sequel to "The Man Who Wasn't There".

U-156 was on her way home once more, this time from a rescue mission in the South Atlantic. As always, she accompanied the liner Titanic. Together, they had been on patrol now for two weeks, the latter now carrying over five hundred survivors and their families.

It was late afternoon and Captain Werner Hartenstein and his first officer were sharing a coffee in their quarters.

"Something is bothering you," Mortimer observed.

The U-boat commander shook his head. "And I wish I knew what. I just feel..." Again, he shook his head in frustration at the impossibility of describing a nameless feeling.

"I know."

"Do you feel it too?"

Mortimer considered the question. "I feel something, but..." He shrugged.

Hartenstein abruptly put down his mug, rose and headed for the bridge.

"Anything on the radar?" he queried.

"Something in view now, sir. I've been watching it. Appears to be a small vessel, maybe a fishing boat."

"For a fishing boat it's a long way from port. How far away is it?"

"Approximately sixty miles, sir."

"And the direction?"

"Due north. If they maintain their current course and speed they will intercept us in about thirty minutes."

Hartenstein gave orders to maintain a close watch on the unknown vessel and advise of any change of course. He also ordered Fiedler to contact headquarters to see if there were any other vessels in the vicinity. However, according to headquarters there should have been none within a two-hundred mile radius, therefore the vessel was unknown. As always, they advised caution.

As the vessel drew closer several pairs of keen eyes watched through binoculars on both U-boat and liner.

On this cruise they had rescued survivors from two U-boats and three cargo vessels which had been sunk in the Third Realm war. All were now ensconced on Titanic enjoying the best the luxurious old liner had to offer. Of course there had been the usual reluctance to board her, the queries about icebergs, the queries about her safety and the number of lifeboats, etc., all of which they had heard before. However, once the new arrivals boarded her they soon forgot all about how safe she was for they were far too busy greeting old friends and family and enjoying the ambience.

For all intents and purposes the unknown vessel was a fishing boat, however, Hartenstein was not convinced. Also, there was that nagging feeling that simply would not leave him. It was not helped by repeated attempts to contact the vessel by radio, all to no avail.

"Her radio might be broken," Mannesmann suggested.

"Or might not," Mortimer remarked.

Deciding to err on the side of caution Hartenstein ordered Titanic to close her watertight doors.

"Do you anticipate danger?" the officer queried.

"The vessel is unknown. We found a fishing vessel once before and it was anything but. I will not take chances with this one."

"Aye, sir. Closing watertight doors now." Hartenstein waited as the order was given to sound the alarm and close the doors. Shortly the officer reported the watertight doors closing.

Hartenstein ordered them to post lookouts and watch for torpedoes before ordering the forward gun prepared for action. As a further precaution he also ordered one of the machine guns to be brought on deck in readiness should it be needed.

Seldom used now except for practice firing but kept in immaculate order, the machine gun was duly hauled up to the deck of U-156, loaded by its crew and readied as the unknown vessel drew closer.

Breaking off to intercept it, U-156 turned hard to starboard whilst utilizing her marine light to signal the other vessel to heave to and prepare to be boarded. However, there was no response from it and it kept on coming. What was also significant to Hartenstein was that no crew members seemed to be visible on deck.

He shook his head, removing his cap and running a hand distractedly through his hair which he was sure was standing up at the back of his neck. There was something familiar about this boat but he could not quite put his finger on just what it was.

Mortimer noticed the habitual gesture, a match for his own foreboding.

Their eyes met, Mortimer winking, his lips turning up very slightly at the corners, a gesture no one else would have noticed, but his commanding officer knew it well - knew it and appreciated it for the gesture of confidence and support that it was.

Hartenstein, utilizing a megaphone, ordered the vessel to immediately heave to and prepare to be boarded. The two vessels were now no more than three hundred metres apart and closing fast. What was worse it was aiming directly for Titanic and he had to cut it off.

"They're after Titanic!" Mortimer exclaimed.

"Hard to port!" Hartenstein ordered to bring his vessel across the bow of the fast-approaching boat. However, he was about to discover that it was incredibly manoeuvrable, much more so than his own craft.

Without warning the other vessel also changed course, its speed increasing considerably as it turned to avoid the U-boat in its path and sped off after Titanic which was now some distance away still on its original course.

He knew it now! Hartenstein realized. He recognized the sound of the engine. It may have been disguised as a simple fishing boat but the engine gave it away. They could not disguise the sound of it and he knew where he had heard it before; it was an s-boat, a high speed Kriegsmarine vessel with a powerful engine similar to the British torpedo boat and with a far greater range than the American PT boat. He estimated that it was now doing a good forty knots and, since Titanic could only do a maximum of twenty-five - twenty-six at a pinch - it would catch up to her in no time. He therefore ordered the liner to use full emergency speed and be prepared to take avoiding action in case of torpedoes.

Mortimer shook his head; taking avoiding action with a 46,000 ton vessel that never turned efficiently at the best of times was asking for the near impossible.

As his own boat turned once more and sped up Hartenstein ordered Rostau to give it everything while knowing full well that it would not be enough and their only chance of stopping the vessel was to destroy it. He ordered the crew manning the forward gun to fire at the speeding vessel and the men manning the machine gun to fire at will.

However, the other vessel was racing toward Titanic and U-156, unable to match it for sheer speed, was left to play catch-up.

"My god, they're fast!" Mortimer exclaimed.

"Helm, try to intercept. Bring us between them and Titanic!"

"I'll try, sir, but she's too far ahead of us," was the response.

"Bloody hell," Mortimer muttered.

All watched as the machine gun fire put holes in the other vessel's bridge and blew out windows and bits of fishing net went flying, however, nothing seemed to slow it down.

"Must have an auxiliary bridge," Mortimer ventured.

"Blow it out of the water!" Hartenstein shouted. He was damned if he was going to let this demon craft damage Titanic.

Of a sudden the vessel slowed and turned directly towards Titanic's starboard side. Both men realized what it meant, and within moments they saw it.

"Torpedo launched!" Mortimer exclaimed looking through binoculars.

Hartenstein grabbed the radio telephone, waiting impatiently for the liner's bridge to answer. Andrews himself answered.

"Torpedo on your starboard midships! Turn, turn!"

He waited as Andrews gave the order and heard voices in the background also warning of a torpedo.

They could also see many of the passengers now on the large vessel's starboard side watching the torpedo come closer as the huge liner gradually began to turn.

"Turn, turn, damn it!" Mortimer begged, knuckles white with tension.

"Sheisse, we won't be in time to intercept it. Fire on the torpedo with the machine gun. You have to hit the tip!"

"Hit the tip!" Mortimer shouted.

U-156's machine gun fired continually as they attempted to hit the torpedo before it hit the giant liner while her forward gun continued to fire on the speeding boat which had turned once more and was now racing past Titanic. Once ahead of the liner it began to turn to cut across the larger vessel's bow.

"He's going to her port side where he'll be shielded. We have to hit him before he turns," Hartenstein shouted.

Finally, as the speeding boat was turning a shell from the foward gun hit home, the explosion blowing away a large chunk of the stern, the resultant plume of flame and thick, black smoke indicating its old-style diesel fuel had ignited, the vessel immediately disabled and slowing.

Hartenstein realized that Titanic, in a fruitless effort at avoiding the torpedo, would be unable to turn in time as the lethal weapon now bore down on her starboard side close to the engine room.

The crew on the machine gun were still firing as they strove to prevent the sheer destruction the torpedo would most certainly cause if it hit. Although the liner would not sink the explosion would cause havoc if it were to penetrate her double hull.

In the conning tower, Mortimer crossed his fingers, praying that a lucky shot would somehow explode the deadly weapon. They were very close to it now, less than twenty yards, but not close enough to intercept it with the reinforced hull of the U-boat. The torpedo itself was now mere metres from the liner's hull.

"Mein gott," Hartenstein whispered.

All held their breath as the machine gun continued its rapid fire. When the sudden explosion came it caught everyone unawares. The blast blew an enormous amount of water into the air, the spray drenching all on the U-boat as they sped through it. However, they had no time to rejoice in the victory as, temporarily blinded by the fountain of water, they were unable to see what was directly ahead of them.

The enemy vessel, now helpless and drifting, was on fire and the fire was spreading to the bridge. Crew members could now be seen trying to put it out. However, it was now to suffer a worse fate.

As U-156 came through the spray her crew shortly became aware of screams emanating from the vessel as Titanic, still in the act of turning to starboard, simply overran it, her enormous bow crushing the unfortunate boat to the ghastly sound of grinding, tearing metal.

There followed a deafening silence as all aboard the U-boat, now well past the explosive waterfall, were transfixed by what had just occurred.

Hartenstein, bright droplets of water running down his face and lodging in his beard, took a deep breath before ordering his vessel to come about, thereafter informing Titanic of his intention to search for bodies and wreckage which might yield evidence of the boat's origin.

The subsequent search yielded little, the sharpness of Titanic's underwater bow, reinforced to cut through icebergs, and her immensely powerful triple screws had seen to that.

The search, after some thirty minutes, was abandoned.

Captain and first officer thereupon retired to their shared quarters for a stiff drink.

Later, with both vessels back on course once more, Andrews called to congratulate Hartenstein on successfully protecting Titanic.

"Look here, old boy, that was a bit too close for comfort. Had to give the order to evacuate the engine room but my chief engineer insisted that somebody had to stay and monitor the pressures especially with the engines using emergency power. Didn't find out ‘til later that the rest of the engineering crew also stayed saying that the chief couldn't do it all on his own."

"Then I can only commend your chief engineer and his loyal crew. Had we not been successful in detonating the torpedo they could have come to serious harm. Our crews have worked hard today."

"Your crew did a superb job. Please pass on the gratitude of everyone aboard Titanic."

"Will do, my friend."

"Hartenstein, I've been wondering..."

Hartenstein waited.

"That boat and the people in it," Andrews continued. "Do you think they were sent on a suicide mission?"

"I believe they were sent to destroy Titanic at any cost including their own lives. Their masters consider them expendable."

"Apparently, so do we," Andrews replied glumly.

"The way things are, my friend. They are so brainwashed and corrupted that they cannot be saved and therefore must be destroyed lest they take over this peaceful realm."

"Nonetheless I didn't mean for the old girl to run them over like that. Dreadful thing to happen."

"I know, my friend, but it was not your fault. It was unavoidable."

Hartenstein waited while Andrews digested that.

"Yes, I... I know you're right. It's just... to have to kill is so abhorrent even if they did deliberately target Titanic."

"They meant to destroy her," Hartenstein stated quietly.

"God forbid. The fact that they were even trying to sink her... I shudder to think."

Hartenstein found himself smiling. "Cheer up, my friend. Everyone knows Titanic is unsinkable."

Andrews chuckled. "Don't remind me, but I think I've had a few lifetimes scared out of me. I was sure that damn torpedo was going to blast its way through the hull and chew up the old girl's engine room, not to mention my chief engineer, and the thought of that was enough to... Well, you know what I mean. Everything is replaceable but my chief engineer isn't and when I found out later that all the others stayed too, well just the thought of it was enough to make my stomach churn - and I don't get seasick."

Hartenstein was amused. "Your passengers enjoyed it."

"Anything for a bit of spectacle. You heard all the cheering?"

"And the applause. The crew appreciated it."

"They were ordered to stay within the ship's interior but you know how it is; everyone wants to be part of the action and to hell with danger. After all, they've already survived being sunk."

"True, my friend. Very true. Look at us."

"Indeed," Andrews replied with more than a touch of irony. God knows they had all survived being sunk.

"You know that it was a vessel of the dark," Hartenstein ventured quietly.

"I thought as much. And you have orders to destroy all ships of the dark."

"I do, and if Titanic had not obliterated them I would have been obliged to do it myself. Your magnificent vessel saved me the trouble."

"Then I suppose I should be grateful. She may not be very manoeuvrable but she is powerful."

Hartenstein was smiling again. "Still think Titanic is suited to dangerous rescue missions?"

Andrews heard the amusement in his friend's voice. "More than ever, my friend," he reassured. "More than ever."

Hartenstein could hear the sincerity in his friend's voice as well as the amusement and was happy to have lightened the man's mood. If, one day, White Star decided to withdraw Titanic from such dangerous work he knew that he would miss guarding her and working with her master who had become a dear friend to himself and Mortimer. Of course there was the Admiralty and a host of others who sincerely believed that the priceless old vessel should be kept well away from rescue missions at all costs. Andrews had once intimated that they never wanted to have to put her back together again. "Too many rivets," he had said jokingly, both of them knowing that rivets were easily machined into place these days. Hartenstein smiled at the memory.

"The Admiralty may disagree," he cautioned. "Those three million rivets."

Andrews chuckled. "Ah, yes, the rivets. The Admiralty disagree anyway both with White Star and among themselves, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."


They bade each other goodnight.

Later that night Werner Hartenstein was preoccupied with soft lips which were trailing down his neck.

"You love it, don't you," he teased, arching his neck inviting more.

"Mmm?" his distracted lover managed between kisses and wet swipes of his tongue.

"Danger." More kisses up his throat. "You love it. You love it when I sink something. You always have," he accused.

"That's because you do it so well."

"It makes you horny, doesn't it," hands were sliding down his arms, "even when I sank a British ship. You wouldn't come to me in our dreams but you loved it when I came to you instead," and eager lips were sucking avidly on a hard nipple. "You could never resist me, could you, my Britischer." Lips were now sucking the other nipple as eager hands stroked his thighs until, finally, a finger gently touched an eager, straining tip, teasing there, making him yearn for more.

"And now you make me wait!" he accused. "You are like that boat today. What is that expression you British have - a wolf dressed like a lamb?"

"A wolf in sheep's clothing."

"Ja, that is you." Dancing fingers were running all over his belly. "You are deceptive!" he accused.

"And you didn't sink the boat anyway, Titanic did."

"Ja, but I attacked, and you love that. You love the scent of battle!" he accused once more.

"Impatient German commanders must be taught a lesson." Lips and tongue trailed warm wetness over his hips and belly. "They must learn patience," hands moved to the inside of his thighs, "and tolerance," a finger touched his swollen testicles, "and they must be punished for their sins," the finger continued to tease before dipping lower, "by lying perfectly still," their eyes met, "and not moving one, single muscle."

"You torture me," came the hoarse response.

"Shh... Be patient, my captain. Remember, a British officer knows how to mete out punishment... as well as pleasure."

A finger and thumb gently pushed downwards to expose the wet, glistening tip while another finger slid agonizingly slowly in the moisture there, rubbing against the tiny opening and gliding around the rim. The other hand parted his legs more, and an oiled finger entered him to stroke and tease that place that never failed to make him lose all control.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to the recipient, a wonderful, wet tongue glided voluptuously over the tip, teasing him until he was sure he would go mad with desire, his hands clenching the bedclothes in an agony of wanting.

Blue eyes, smoky with heat, took pity on him as a wonderful warm mouth engulfed him, loving him as only a long-familiar lover could, and he clenched down on the finger buried in his arse as he came hard, muscles straining in glorious, rapturous release, his lover greedily swallowing all that he had to offer.

"You wolf," he panted accusingly. "Come here." He reached for his lover to also find him panting. He managed to open an eye and heard a muttered "No need," as Mortimer cleaned himself up before falling down beside him once more as they cooled off.

After a while they covered themselves up, Mortimer sighing with pleasure.

"You loved it, didn't you," he whispered as they shared lazy kisses.

"Ja," he managed to reply, already half asleep.

"You see? I know how to handle an arrogant German. You have to show them who's boss."

They fell asleep to the familiar sound and rhythm of the boat's engine and the lull of its movement as its slim bow cut through the dark sea.