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Wetting Your Whistle
By LauraBF

Disclaimer: If you think they're mine, you're sadly mistaken. I borrowed them, hugged them, squeezed them, and called them George and then gave them back like a good girl. Seriously, Harm, Mac, and the TV series JAG belong to Donald P. Bellisario, Belisaurius Productions, Paramount Pictures, and Columbia Broadcasting Service Entertainment.

Author's Note: This is based on a true story. I changed it a bit to fit, but something similar happened to my grandfather, who was a Naval Aviator during WWII and Korea... (Yes, I was raised as a Navy brat.) Just seemed like something that might happen to Harm.

Have I ever mentioned that I really hate water sometimes? Strange thing for a Naval officer to admit to, I know. But when I’m out in the middle of the ocean, I want to be either flying over it, or sailing through it, not floating in it waiting for SAR.

It’s damn cold in this water, and I really hate this. At least they can’t blame me for losing another aircraft this time--I was just doing my quals and the catapult broke. I didn’t have the velocity I needed to get it off the deck, and it ended up in the water. The screws have probably gotten it by now.

Mac is gonna kill me if they don’t find me soon. And after she’s finished, Mattie’ll have a turn. I hope Blackjack is okay; he didn’t come up anywhere near me. There wasn’t even time for a proper ejection; I barely managed to pop the canopy before the plane sank with both of us inside.

It’s dark out here tonight. I’ve spent the last ten minutes yelling, but I doubt they can hear me over the sound of the engines. I pull out my flare gun and try to shoot it, but it doesn’t fire. Damnit. How are they supposed to find me before something happens if I can’t fire a flare? The cold waves push me closer to the hull of the carrier; exactly where I don’t need to be. From there, I could get caught in the pull from the screws and pulled in; I’m not ready to get chewed up and left for shark bait.

Okay, okay, so I’m being overly dramatic. But it’s going to be hard enough dealing with Mac if I survive--I don’t want a pissed off Marine pulling me back from the dead so that she can kill me herself. Things have been so screwed up lately, I’d rather face her in one piece. She’s had enough to deal with without my death on top of it

I swim away from the ship, fighting the waves that would push me into it. Why do these things always have to happen to me? I can hear the sound of a chopper taking off. I look around and spot it looking on the other side of the carrier. Shit. They won’t find me over there! “Over here!” I yell, but they don’t look. I’m pretty sure that the noise of the rotors is covering up my voice.

I can see them going down close to the water as the searchlights pick up a man. Good. Blackjack is safe. At least Skates wasn’t with me on this flight; she’s sick, so she’s in bed. The helo starts searching over the other side where they found Blackjack, but they show no signs of coming over here. I keep yelling, hoping to call attention to myself. Some undertow catches me, and I go under. It takes me a few minutes to break free, and the helo has moved near the bow of the other side of the ship, away from me.

I don’t know what to do; the water is getting choppier and the longer I stay in here, the colder I get. I have no wish to deal with hypothermia and its aftereffects again. I take a couple deep breaths, trying not to panic as I resume treading water. My eyes desperately search the water around me, looking for anything that might be able to help me.

The moonlight glints off something shiny in the water, and I make a grab for it. It's Blackjack's lucky whistle. Every single time we've gone up, he's taken it out and kissed it. He says that his grandfather carried it and it kept him safe through WWII and Korea. Maybe if I'm lucky, it'll be loud enough that they'll hear me.

I bring the whistle to my lips, take as deep of breath as I can and blow. Water burbles out of it. I give it a shake and blow on it again. A loud, piercing sound fills the air and I know it's moving across the water. The helo's searchlights hit on me, and they bring me up. I guess Blackjack was right; it is a lucky whistle.

"Glad we found you, sir," one of the men says with a smile as he hands me a blanket and helps me wrap it around myself.

I simply nod, my teeth are chattering too much to answer. I thought the water was cold, but it's even colder out of it. We land on the deck and Blackjack and I get out of the helo and are escorted to sickbay. Have I mentioned that sickbay is one of my least favorite places on a carrier? I haven't exactly had great experiences there.

The corpsman checks us over. "Commander, you're fine; go get a hot shower and a change of clothes. You too, Lieutenant."

Before we leave, I hand Blackjack his whistle back. "I guess it really is lucky, Blackjack," I say.

A huge grin spreads over his innocent-looking face. "I'll tell Grandpa that, sir," he says, then turns and heads towards his quarters.

Just as I go out the hatch, the CAG stops me in the corridor. "Nice to see you survived, Hammer," he says gruffly. "After you get a change of clothes, I want to talk to you about losing another one of my Tomcats."

"Yes, sir," I say, coming to attention. This is not my lucky day.