The Commodore's Final Voyage

Amittai Axelrod

SOLUTION:

This is the metapuzzle. The answer words from the 15 puzzles in this spacetime fit into the grid. For disambiguation purposes, each of the 'o' marks in the grid matches up to a letter 'O' in an answer word. There's only one way to do it. The filled-in grid is as such:

```M O D U L O R O W A
N J I M M Y C L I F
F P R E F R O S H M
O D A C R Y L I C R
E C T I O N P I E T
H E I N A M B U S H
D O O M P O R P H Y
R I N I N K L E A M
E S S P O O N S T I
M U L I G A L L O P
```

The two columns below the grid represent a game of Battleship. Instead of two players on two grids with two sets of boats, here we have one player playing himself on a single grid with one set of boats. The reference to 'first blood' in the introtext indicates that the game is entirely misses until the last move (Player Two's J5). Since the players face each other, Player Two's moves use a coordinate system that is flipped from Player One's. Player One has A-J down the left and 1-10 across the top. Player Two has A-J up the right and 10-1 across the bottom. After all the moves, these are the squares that have been hit (The star represents the last move, a hit):

```  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
A . . X . O * . O . . J
B X . . O . O . . X . I
C X X . . X . O . . O H
D X . . . X . . O O . G
E X . . O . O . . . . F
F . X X O X . X O . O E
G . O X . . O . . . . D
H X . X . . O O . . . C
I . O . . X . . X . O B
J . . X . . . O . X . A
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
```
Given this board configuration and the knowledge that the last move was a hit, the five ships (carrier-5, battleship-4, cruiser-3, submarine-3, destroyer-2) can only possibly be on the board in the following way (ships are stars):
```  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
A . . X . O * * O . . J
B X . * O . O . . X . I
C X X * . X . O . . O H
D X . * . X . . O O . G
E X . * O . O . . * . F
F . X X O X . X O * O E
G . O X * . O . . * . D
H X . X * . O O . * . C
I . O . * X . . X * O B
J . . X * * * O . X . A
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
```

Reading the letters corresponding to ship locations, in order by ascending ship length, gives: (OR)(IGA)(MIP)(IRAT)(ESHAT). With proper word breaks, the answer is ORIGAMI PIRATES HAT.

(Thanks to Codex Borgia for the grid diagrams!)