The entire watch: Ops , the inconsequential ensign, the junior sailor who was the messenger of the watch, the experienced petty officer of the watch carrying a baton and a sidearm, the three sailors hoping to get ashore first.
But to his lifelong relief, the hammer fell with an empty click, which sounded like a door slamming shut to the messenger of the watch who found himself shocked into action by that little sound.
He had thought no one had seen him try to use his weapon, but the messenger of the watch and the three sailors waiting to go on liberty had all breathlessly awaited the gun's discharge, and had all felt disappointment in the petty officer's failure to achieve the Navy-wide level of mythic fame such an engagement would have given him if he had remembered to load the sidearm.
By now the messenger of the watch and Wyatt Earp had returned empty-handed to the quarterdeck, so there was an audience as Ops looked at the boy Squiciarini, thought of all the times he himself had wanted, just once, to be let off the hook.
But the messenger of the watch changed all of that.