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You remind me of one of Victor Hugo's stories, "The Corvette Claymore." A gunner fails to secure his cannon properly, it breaks loose in a storm and starts rolling across the deck, smashing the ship to bits. The gunner tries to redeem himself from his dereliction of duty by going into the gunnery deck to immobilize the gun, at the peril of being smashed to bits himself.
It really is one of the most dramatic stories I ever read. You can read it yourself via Google Books.

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