I may have something with this one. Finished with literally about 30 seconds to spare. Here’s a bit. Exciting!
Manix rolled across the heaving deck, his left arm aflame and leaving a trail of scorch marks. He came to a hard stop against the rail and took a moment to cry out in pain before patting out his burning sleeve. He grasped the rail to pull himself upright, but his fingers slipped on a mixture of blood and oil.
Forward, the Kennedy’s forecastle was a raw, open wound. Manix imagined that if he were to somehow stand beyond the ship, looking back at her through the clouds, he’d see a nice cross-section of her forward decks. The forward mast was gone, perhaps taken by the same explosion that had sent Manix tumbling. Men scrambled to haul away the sails, which had fallen to drape in flames across the port gunnery turrets. Of Captain Florry, there was no sign; Manix assumed the worst.
“Lieutenant!” screamed Seaman Glenn, who didn’t seem to notice the blood streaming from his forehead. “They’re coming about! Starboard low!”
Manix found a dry patch of railing and leveraged to his feet. Indeed, closing fast was the brig that had ambushed them out of the afternoon sun. A small ship, but one with teeth. She bore no flag, had offered no surrender or demand. She soared through the sky as though crafted by the winds themselves. Their opponent approached head on, but would no doubt swerve at the last moment to launch another barrage or even board. Normally a frigate such as the Kennedy would have no trouble repelling a ship of that size, but this one was far faster than most, and the guns uncanny precise.
“Midships!” Manix cried aft, hoping a helmsman yet lived to carry out the order. “Ready these guns!” he ordered Glenn.