USS Jimmy Carter, who prefers being called by her last name, was the youngest daughter of a litter of three. Born of USS Parche born in 1995. Parche was the premier American spy submarine during the Cold War, earning 9 Presidential Unit Citations for her valor. Since the advent of nuclear power, it is unusual for nukeboats to have more than one submarine pup. Parche had three which would eventually become the Seawolf-class consisting of Seawolf, Connecticut, and Carter. Carter may be larger than her sisters but she was born the runt, weak and sickly with a deformed spine. The module that allows her to carry SEALs was, as a pup, a constant source of pain as its added weight caused the discs in her back to misalign. As she grew the deformation got so bad that Carter was threatened with sclerosis which would've meant the needle for sure. Several risky surgeries prevented this development but delayed Carter's entrance into service for several years. Like most submarines, she was scheduled to enter service between 3-5 years of age. Seawolf entered service in 1998, Connecticut in 2000. It was not until early 2005 that Carter was deemed ready to serve.
Carter felt that she needed to make up for the delay and worked hard to prove her worth. Over the next 2 years she made herself invaluable to the fleet. Her ability to hover over targets, launch and pick up SEALs all while making an acoustic hole in the ocean ensured she was the Navy's submarine of choice when stationed off North Korea's coast in 2007, assisting in a SEAL team operation to botch a missile launch. The operation succeeded but Carter's inexperience worked against her as she rushed her escape and although extremely stealthy even at speed, she is not invisible. North Korean defenses aided by PLAN forces gave her a harsh rattling. She suffered damage to her propulsor and reduction gears, ensuring her sound signature was forever changed. Told she would need 7-8 months to heal stateside, Carter, ever the workaholic, took a posting at the Navy's Ship and Submarine Recruit Training Center in San Diego California (Based on the real thing in Great Lakes IL). It was there that she met the ship who would changed her life forever. Her name was Traeger. A rare breed of destroyer, Traeger was born in Kuwait to a freighter dam. DNA testing confirmed her sire was an Aegis destroyer of American descent. (No nation operates male ships but does have established water sanctuaries for males born and raised in their seas) Despite her foreign origins, Traeger entered RTC due to her American blood and on the recommendation of Samuel B. Roberts "Sammy B", an old frigate who had assisted with her birth. Carter was assigned to be her division's lone RDC as submarines always work alone. She quickly proved her worth, educating and on occasion beating her division into shape. Her workaholic mentality did little to help her injuries however and after a scare and at Traeger's urging, she reluctantly went to medical for assistance. Ultimately however, it was Traeger who, while a recruit, used her medical training to see Carter through her stay in San Diego. Through this timely assistance came a sense of mutual affection. Carter, due to her closed off nature, was blind to Traeger's affections. When she herself became aware of her feelings is unclear but what we do know is she was most certainly aware of them when tragedy struck in 2011.
Traeger was patrolling off the East Coast, having received reports of terrorist warships disguised as merchants. One of these modern "Q-ships" struck her with two missiles. The first missile knocked out all her defensive systems beyond repair, the second missile pierced several vital organs causing massive hemorrhaging that could only be slowed. To save her life, Traeger was placed in a medically induced coma that lasted 3 months. Hearing of her condition, Carter, who was in drydock to receive repairs and upgrades to her navigation systems, dared a risky journey under the arctic icecap with nothing but her nose to guide her to clear water. She arrived in Norfolk and stayed at Traeger's side, in the same berth, the entire time the destroyer was in her coma. She never left, rarely ate and hardly slept. Doctors noted how they saw her eyes flashing in the night for weeks at a time, usually only sleeping when she inevitably passed out from exhaustion. When Traeger finally stirred, Carter was so weak from her constant vigil that she could barely move and made a clumsy exit out of the berth, leaving some of her anachoic tiles behind. Traeger almost certainly was able to put two and two together but she never told Carter. She definitely did not share with the submarine what the doctors told her. Her wounds would never heal, the hemorrhaging would get worse and eventually her organs would fail and she would die. The estimation given was 2 years. Traeger did everything she could to ensure she could spend those 2 years with Carter as much as possible. She transferred to the West Coast and between 2011 and 2013, Carter made hundreds of trips down to Point Loma San Diego where Traeger was stationed. The two's close proximity to one another allowed them to grow closer and it while it still remains unclear if they ever confessed to their feelings, this time their romance was not hidden.
In the spring of 2013, Carter was ordered to sea on a 3 week patrol with USS Ronald Reagan's task force for exercises. Knowing her time was running short, Traeger jumped the gun and bought a ring. Carter did so likewise, and as seemed to be the case with these two, without the other's knowledge. Unfortunately, Carter's departure date was moved up and the submarine was forced to leave port before Traeger had a chance to give her her ring. Four days later, Carter was informed of Traeger's death. Grief stricken, the submarine returned to Bangor Washington and hid herself away in her private berth (which she hated using) for 2 months. Nebraska discovered Traeger's ring an it remains unclear how she did it, and attempted to give it to Carter. Nebraska was a troll with a cruel sense of humor and Carter did not take kindly to what she perceived as another attempt by the boomer to push her buttons. The ring was cast into the sea and it wasn't until later that Carter learned Nebraska was actually being honest for once. Carter's own ring intended for Traeger was buried at sea with the destroyer.
Following the death of Traeger, Carter became largely withdrawn and recluse. Once a favorite of Seattle's music and pawn shops, she was rarely seen around the port. Although not known for her sense of humor, Carter could relax and enjoy free time like the rest of the subs but she became a pure consulate professional and preferred isolation to fun. Her only visitor was her sister Connecticut. The two were very close as pups and the bond fortunately persisted through adulthood. Most submarines become isolated as adults and do not maintain close family knit bonds. For Carter, Connecticut literally became a lifeline. Although Carter and Traeger never became intimate, the final step needed to create a soul bond, it is now believed they were bonded on some level and Traeger's loss threatened to break Carter as breaking bonds often did to ships. Connecticut acted as the presence Carter needed to avoid that fate. Not that Carter didn't try to join Traeger. Between 2013 and 2018, there were three suicide attempts with one in 2015 resulting in a visit to Intensive Care. Connecticut did everything she could to control her sister's mood swings and never left her side when Carter would sink into depression as she often did in the spring. This closeness saved Carter's life because it wasn't just suicide that Connecticut had to worry about.
In early March 2020, Carter returned from a patrol. She seemed fine, retreating into her berth as always. Connecticut wasn't immediately on hand to watch her as she herself was out on patrol, returning a week after her sister. Knowing there was only one place to find her, she set sail for Carter's berth. Her sister hadn't tried anything stupid even though she was left alone for a week. The only thing that bothered Connecticut was Carter seemed sluggish and tired and the ever motherly Connecticut made it abundantly clear that Carter rest promising to return with food. In the 2 hours it took her to do so, Carter's condition had deteriorated rapidly. Her temperature had spiked 3 degrees and she was displaying symptoms of nausea which developed into vomiting. By nightfall Carter was running a core temperature of 103.4 degrees, had a blood pressure of 170/85 and was so dizzy she could barely stand being forced to lie on her side. Fluid collecting in her lungs caused severe coughing fits. The fever alone was enough to concern Connecticut, not just from the high readout but because of her back. Carter, despite the surgeries, still suffered from back problems and in a secret only known to the two sisters, had a form of MS. Fever and stress were two things that tended to induce attacks and there was no question that Carter now had a good dose of both in her life. It wasn't long before both subs were given the grim news. Connecticut, although it is likely she would've willingly done so anyways, was ordered to remain with Carter in isolation. For 2 weeks Connecticut nursed her sister along, their own bond the only encouragement Carter had to fight the virus that had so savagely attacked her lungs and bowels. As expected, her back did indeed flare up and she suffered two rather fierce attacks while under Connecticut's care. Her sister remained undaunted however and Carter bounced back as she always did.
The experience brought Carter even closer to her sister and when Connecticut was bred and became pregnant later that year, Carter was the one who looked after her. She was there when Connecticut went into labor, giving birth to a healthy pup named Utah. Utah was large for a pup, one of the largest ever measured at over 35 feet in length and weighing in at over 2000 tons. Connecticut paid the price for that and was left unable to care for the pup. Carter who was perfectly capable of breeding herself but always seemed to find a way out of the ring, now took the pup in. Her diligence ensured Utah grew to be one of the strongest and most capable of submarines in the service. For the next 10 years all was well and then came a series of skirmishes that escalated into a World War.
For decades the Chinese have envied American seapower and Carter in particular. Her skills were unmatched and impossible to replicate and when China declared war on the United States in 2035, they had to find a way to keep Carter out of the conflict entirely. They nearly succeeded. The Chinese laced the entrance to one of their main harbors with an invisible toxin poisonous only to submarines, then set up activity there that they knew Carter would find impossible to resist. By the time the submarine got there, the toxin had diluted enough to where it didn't kill her but it was more than enough to make her very sick. The toxin was a powerful nerve agent, designed to find a weakness in a sub's body and exploit it. And for Carter that meant her back and her lungs, the latter of which had been weakened during her mysterious illness in 2020. Although never a confirmed case, it is suspected that Carter was the only submarine to catch COVID-19. How the disease transmitted to her and not to anyone else is unclear. But whatever the case may've been, it forced Carter to do something she'd never done before. For the first time in her career, she was unable to return to port on her own. Wracked with pain and unable to stay under for long, she made a transit on the surface under constant air cover. The insidiousness of the toxin was the more she moved, the more it spread. Limping her way into Guam, Carter was so debilitated she nearly took out the pier as she docked. She made the rest of the voyage back to Washington, lying sprawled across the deck of a transport. Her body reacted badly to the toxin, her lungs and airsacs inflaming and filling with fluid as her system fought to flush the toxin out. Without knowing what it was she was reacting to, doctors had no choice but to allow her body to fight the toxin on its own. They kept fluid out of her lungs by putting Carter in a coma and using pressurized Oxygen to keep her lungs filled with air. She was out for 5 months. Connecticut and Utah's patrols were staggered during this time and the two quickly set up a consistent rotation. It was during one of these rotations that Utah made an astonishing discovery off California's coast. Somehow, while transiting in shallow water, she rediscovered Traeger's ring. By this time, Carter's relationship with Traeger while no secret, was viewed as a thing of the past and something that very few ships talked about. Most certainly not within Carter's impressive hearing range. Utah turned more than a few heads her way when she started to make inquiries and it was her mother who eventually explained to her, her aunt's painful past. Fearing the worst, Utah returned to Carter and made a promise to her resting aunt that she would not hold it against her if Carter chose to be selfish for once and join Traeger in the stars. But Carter's will pulled her through and she seemed to know that now was not her time. She understood her destiny only all too well. Seeing the ring Utah had placed on her webbed finger she looked at her niece and said "I have a new reason to live and I will die in battle protecting it."
She was right. 12 months later, Carter orchestrated a masterful spy operation into Chinese waters. Knowing the Chinese were gearing up for a major assault on Hawaii but thus far unable to determine their method, she sailed into Hong Kong to hack into the Chinese military network from the otherside of the firewall. The problem was, her intrusion would not go undetected and the Chinese could not know she got off with vital information. So she staged a decoy. Getting into the harbor was no problem, escape would be more difficult. Carter used her impressive stealth capabilities to slip into and out to the harbor entrance undetected where she made the handoff to Utah, a single datastick that would ensure America's victory in the water 4 months later. The two set out for international waters with Carter hovering above Utah to shied her from Chinese sonar. Carter had modified her signature to appear on the sets as a Virginia-class submarine and when the Chinese locked onto her signal, she put her real plan into action. Knowing that it was vital the Chinese believed they won and knowing they wouldn't accept that if they never saw a body, she allowed herself to be cornered. Although allowing is a bit of a stretch. Carter was perfectly capable of taking out the fleet above her without much difficulty but she engaged the Chinese slowly, clumsily but still put up one hell of fight nonetheless. Chinese ASROCS forced her to the surface where, badly wounded, she was forced to hand over the datastick, but it was a copy. Carter had taken the precious time to download the data onto one stick, then copy it onto a second stick once underway. Utah had the original copy and carried it back to American lines 20 miles away. Air support was sent in to rescue Carter but the crafty submarine had other ideas. Carter knew that even though the Chinese had their data back (or so they thought) they would still suspect something and the potential for them to cancel their upcoming operation was high unless it could be ensured there was nothing missing. No loose ends. That was Carter's mentality from the day she began her career as a spy machine. And that mentality extended to her. Bloodied, with broken bones and injuries that no doubt would've been fatal without an American hospital, Carter gathered the last of her strength and fired off four torpedoes in quick succession, killing two destroyers and wounding a third. The fourth was drawn in to kill her and Carter waited until she got in close before setting off her scuttling charges. "I'll see you in hell!" She spat just before they went off. The explosion cooked off her missiles ensuring them all a quick and fiery death. Utah who had rejoined American ranks by this point, witnessed the explosion alongside her mother. "It broke her." She said later. "Connecticut was never the same after Carter's death, noble as it was."
The Battle for the Hawaiian Islands took place as scheduled 4 months later. Carter is single handedly credited for delivering the information needed for the American victory that won us the war. Utah survived the conflict and went on to serve admirably in the years following. Connecticut saw action in the last battle but was seriously wounded in action and succumbed to her injuries a few days after learning of the victory. Carter was so influential and so loved that no ship has ever been given her name as no vessel is considered worthy to be her successor. But I like to think that her kindness and compassion more than her valor and courage under fire is her greater legacy. A legacy now written in the stars.
USS Jimmy Carter
January 4, 1995-April 2, 2047