The Sailor's Stories

1022 Chapter twenty two – The Sailor’s Awakening.

with 9 comments

Looking around in the semi darkness, I can see the looks of trepidation, bordering on fear. For some of my brave boys, it was their first time out…, as I looked closer, I suddenly realised, that some were indeed, just boys. The youngest, I think, at twenty…, maybe twenty one. Fuck me…, not even old enough to buy a beer! My thoughts stopped there, as the piece of shit cargo hauler bucked through some turbulence…, FUCK! I HATE THIS! I scream internally. No point saying it out loud…, no one would have heard me anyway, in the semi pressurised cabin. I really never liked flying…, well…, not unless I was at the controls of course. Like I said, this old bucket, really was a piece of shit…, but I knew I could fly it better than those assholes up front.

To be honest, the turbulence was making me feel a bit sick…, I flat out refused, to believe it was nerves. So trying desperately to concentrate on anything, other than my roiling gut, I turned my head to the side, and noticed the burly crew chief headed my way. As he approached, the cargo hauler bucked again, and he was forced to grab a handhold, or go over. Must be pretty used to this by now…, I thought as he shrugged it off, and moved to stand at my feet. Leaning over slightly, still holding onto something solid, he pushed a plug into the socket, in the wall frame next to my head.

“Final checks lieutenant…, two minutes to drop.”

“Thanks chief!” I said, removing the planes headphones. Now divorced from the plane’s internal circuit, I switched to the team’s. “All right boys and girls…, everyone up…, weapons and equipment check. Drop in two!”

There is a very simple phrase that every trainee in the SEALs, has beaten into him…, ‘Two is one…, one is none!’ So as the red drop light flashed on, we all stood , and partners checked each other over. And with practiced skill, switch our air supply from the plane’s tanks, to the little bottles we wore as part of our kit. With a tap on my shoulder, I turned to check my own partner, checking straps, harnesses, weapons, and finally air supply, satisfied I gave Jaime a thumbs up, and a wink. The crew chief leaned into me, and screamed in my ear that we were one minute out. With that I turned back to face my men, and with well practiced skill, I motioned them forward in two lines signaling readiness. As one, we put on our masks, just before the ramp came down, stealing what little atmosphere, was in the large cargo cabin. Here it comes…, I said to myself, stepping up to edge of the ramp. The light flashed green, and I jumped.

Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane is an…, interesting feeling. To be fair, it’s quite a rush…, as soon as you’re out, the slipstream grabs you…, as if trying to tear you apart. The unwary, will lose it as this point, and flail in panic. But…, not us…, this was a HALO jump, and all of us had done it before. In a typical HALO, the jumper will exit the aircraft, free-fall for a period of time at terminal velocity, and open his chute at a low altitude. The combination of high speed downwards, and minimal metal and forward air-speed serves to defeat radar, enabling a stealthy insertion. Military life is full of risks, and to be honest, a lot of guys actually get off on this…, I am not one of them. This one wasn’t so bad though…, only 18,000 feet. Apparently the natives don’t have very good radar…, well that’s what intel says, trust is a fickle mistress in my line of work.

This type of jumping can be dangerous. At high altitudes, greater than 22,000 feet, the partial pressure of oxygen required for human respiration is low. Lack of pressure can lead to hypoxia. Also, rapid ascent in the jump aircraft without all nitrogen flushed from the bloodstream can lead to decompression sickness. A typical HALO exercise will require a pre-breathing period (30-45 minutes) prior to jump where the jumper breathes 100% oxygen in order to flush nitrogen from his/her blood stream. Also, a HALO jumper will employ an oxygen bottle during the jump. A jumper suffering from hypoxia may lose consciousness and therefore be unable to open his parachute. As with all skydiving, participants run the risk of serious injury or death due to canopy malfunction leading to impact with the ground.

And it was the ground that as this moment was, foremost on my mind…, it was coming up, awfully fast! With the wind buffeting me, this way and that, I wrestled my own arm, so that it was in front of my face…, the altimeter read 2,800 feet…, about twenty seconds…, ten seconds…, five…, one…, I braced myself and pulled the chord.

Now much slower, drifting lazily towards the jungle canopy below I looked up to check on my men. Everything was going well, no one had had a miss. The thousand foot drop only took a few minutes, and we came down in a small clearing. Bundling up our shoots I assigned a young petty officer, burial detail…, we weren’t gonna need them again, and I didn’t want to give away our position. This was to be a quick “Snatch and Grab”, and I would rather have the natives not know we were here until we were well and truly gone. I called Jansen over, as I shrugged out of the heavy jump harness, and unslung my M4…

“Tom, find us a path, but don’t get to far ahead…, go.”

“Got it skipper.” And he was gone.

It was still dark, but I wanted to hit the target and be gone, well before sunrise. Hopefully we could catch them still sleeping…, I had no illusions that we would, but I had to hope anyway. The target was five klicks in a straight line…, but only a fool would walk a straight line, so we had quite a ways to cover, and I was anxious to get moving. Looking around, I saw that the boys were ready, so I snapped my fingers, and everyone perked up. With a couple of clear, but subtle hand gestures, we were off. We moved with pace, but the stealthy quiet, of the death dealers we were. Following a man like Tom Jansen, was not the easiest of tasks, the man was like a ghost…, unless, you knew what to look for. A stone here, a twig there…, nothing that ever seemed out of the ordinary…, except to the well trained eye. His favoured mode of communication, was a simple leaf trick, that he had picked up, from a favourite author. It involved bending the leaf, back onto itself, to form a ring…, all you had to do, was follow the way the tip of the leaf pointed.

As we crested a small rise, I saw that we had finally caught up to Jansen. He was crouched low, against a tree, the fronds lying naturally over him…, the man really was a master. I silently crept up to him, as he motioned what he was looking at. As quiet as I was, it was no surprise that he had heard me coming. I knelt down next to him, and looked where he pointed…, he’d signaled two, it took me a second to see them, but then two guards came into view. They were lazy…, that was the first thing I noticed…, one was smoking, and the other was about to be. This is going to be easy, I thought, but quickly checked myself. The second, you stop respecting the danger of a situation, it killed you. I raised the scope of my rifle to my eye, ignoring the guards for a moment, and checked the rest of the camp. The satellite images, had been spot on…, no fences, just roving patrols. There had been a real threat of dogs, but as yet I hadn’t seen any, or even any evidence…, and trust me, I looked. I slipped back off the rise, and got the rest of the boys together.

“Alrighty then.., no dogs, just two guards, that we have seen so far. I don’t want to raise any alarms for as long as possible, so knives and silencers only, until the fireworks start. Andy, Mike…, you’re overwatch. Andy get eyes on, take down any stragglers when the shooting starts. Greg, Jaime…, you take the north side. Dave, Sam…, you take the south. Jeff, Dan…, circle round and come in from the other side, we’ll wait for you, go…, Tom and I go up the middle and grab the package. Look sharp boys, and stay frosty.”

We waited five minutes then crept silently into the bush. We had decent cover to about halfway, but though the guards may have been lazy, whoever designed this camp was not. It was set on a small rise in the middle of a man made clearing. The brush and grass on all sides, showed the signs of scorch marks…, obviously a flamethrower was regularly employed to keep the immediate perimeter in view. It was however, still dark, and the guards had already destroyed their night vision, so I took the chance. Two clicks from each pair, chirped ion my ear piece, signaling my teams readiness…, so aiming at the closest guard, I pulled the trigger of my silenced .45….

The hull of the small craft, rocked steadily on the gentle swell. The cove was well shielded, from the major shipping routes of the area, due to it’s high cliffsides. Though being this close to shore, the swell was certainly able to be felt. I woke with a start…, once again covered in sweat…, it wasn’t the rocking that woke me up…., not even the sloshy, plinking sound, of the water hitting the hull. Nope, it was the raging insistence of my past, always in the shadows…, haunting my sub conscious. As I came to full wakefulness, I noticed the pain in my shorts. I made the mistake of a third mug of cocoa, before turning in…, and man was I paying for it now!

Looking down at myself, I was always always gratified that I could get that…, well…, lets just say, I was not going to be able to use the boat’s crampt head. As I left the forward cabin, I hadn’t even noticed my bunkmate was missing. Wearing nothing but a pair of white regulation boxers, and a shabby old t-shirt, I stepped unabashedly out onto the deck, slipped my manhood through the fly and let rip. A steady stream, arcing over the hand rail, landing in the cool blue waters of the cove. I thought I was alone…

“Eeewww…, Uncle Cam…, that’s nasty!”

It appears I wasn’t…, just like when I left the cabin, I hadn’t noticed him sitting up on the forward deck. In my shock, I took hold…, flipped the bird, and finished up. He was still giggling when I walked over, and sat down next to him.

“Sorry about that little man, but when a guy has to go….” I said with a smile, wrapping my arm around his shoulder.

“Yuck! … You could at least wash your hands first!”

He was still giggling, but at that he tried to push me away…, which turned into a mild tickle attack. Corey was incredibly ticklish…, always had been, though it had been a long time since, I had employed this tactic. To be honest, I think he actually enjoyed it, as he acted just like the little kid, he used to be. My attack, however was relentless and thorough, and towards the end, I had him on his back, his legs flailing in the air…., laughing uncontrollably…

“All right!” He squealed, “I give up…” He said, breathlessly.

I let him up, but feigned a quick renewal, when he stuck his tongue out at me. Instead I slipped my arm around his shoulder again, and pulled him into a hug, as he melted into me…

“What are you doing up so early little man?”

“Just thinking about stuff…, couldn’t sleep…, you were dreaming again…” He shot me a quick, almost apologetic look, then hastily continued…, “Not a bad one…, actually I think you were enjoying it…”

That was a lie, and he knew it. What’s worse was that, as I looked into his eyes, and he looked back into mine…, he knew…, that I knew it too. However, I accepted it without question…, and just carried on with a smile.

“Ah…”

“It’s cool Uncle Cam…, don’t worry about it.”

He had a sad look on his face, that the smile he was so desperate to pull off, just couldn’t quite hide. So thinking quickly, I decided to change the subject…

“How long have you been up here?”

“About an hour or so…”

“An hour…, dude, it’s really cold this early…, what were you thinking about?”

He looked up at me, squinting a little, what with the sun slowly rising over my left shoulder. He looked me straight in the eye, thinking…, almost as if trying to decide, if he wanted to tell me or not. I just looked back with a calm reassuring smile, and waited. I didn’t have to wait long…

“Dale and Carl are fucking each other…, aren’t they?”

SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! …, I knew this would fuckin happen!

“Ah…”

“It’s alright, if you don’t want to talk about it Uncle Cam…, I understand…, I just thought…”

“No…, it’s alright Little Man.., ah yeah…, yeah I think they are. But that’s just what happens, when you get into a committed relationship…, when the time is right, that is…”

“So how do you know when the time is right?”

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! … Most parents have a few more years, before they have to talk about this shit…, damn those two!

“Well…, when two people get together, and love each other…, like those two do…, umm…, I guess…, it’s all about stages and levels of comfort, when you reach a certain level in the relationship, the one where you are totally comfortable with your partner…, it’s only natural that you progress to the next stage…, in this case, sex.”

“Is that why you gave them the master cabin this trip?”

“Pretty much…, well, there is no point trying to ignore it anymore…, I kinda hoped they would wait a few years…, but you two have never really done that, now have you…, honestly, impetuous, doesn’t even cover the way you two operate.”

“I guess that’s true.” He said, with another fit of the giggles.

“I want you to promise me something though, ok?”

“Sure…, what?”

“I want you to promise me that, if you get on to the same level with someone, that you come to me first…, ok?”

“Ok.”

“I mean it dude…, I won’t try to stop you little man, I promise…, besides it’d be pointless, and a waste of precious oxygen anyway…, it’s just different for you that’s all.., I’m really sorry it has to be this way, but it does.”

“What do you mean…, why is it different?”

“Well for a start, Dale can’t get Carl pregnant….”

I had to wait for a moment, for the full blown laughter to subside…., obviously the thought of a pregnant Carl, was extremely funny to my young nephew. When he calmed down I continued.

“This is serious Corey. I mean it, I want you to come to me first…., is there…, is there anyone special, that you are thinking about? This Sam girl maybe?”

“Maybe…, I do really like her Uncle Cam.”

“And how does she feel about you?”

“I think she likes me too…,I don’t know…, maybe she does. Before we left, she said she would miss me…, and then she…, she kissed me…”

Well…, he may be the more confident of the two…, but Jesus, he was clueless.

“Well yeah…, I think that kinda does mean she likes you. I tell you what…, when we get back, why don’t you invite her over for dinner…, we’ll do something special, and see how she takes it all in…, sound like a plan?”

He looked up at me again, and smiled one of those winning Corey smiles…., the ones that make your heart melt.

“Sure Uncle Cam…, sounds good.”

“Alright then…, now come on, I’m hungry…, let’s go get some breakfast.”

He didn’t say anything, and neither did I. We just got up, and went below deck to the galley. After some fairly deep discussion…, we settled on pancakes and bacon. As I mixed the batter he just sat there watching me. He didn’t say much of anything, until the other two arrived. Not too long after we were all sitting down to fresh tea, pancakes, and crispy bacon…., not too mention some fairly spirited conversation. And a skillful, yet diplomatic planning session for the day’s activities…, almost reminiscent of a high level NATO meeting. Sitting there, chewing on some bacon, only half listening to their conversation…, I went over the events of the morning. The dream I had was what struck me the most. I mean…, why would I dream about that, it was just a simple “Snatch and Grab”, we pulled it off with no casualties…, I just don’t get it…, it doesn’t make any sense. There has to be a hidden meaning…, but I sure as hell can’t see it…, maybe the Doc can help me figure out, when I see him next week. Still lost in thought, I heard the distant clinking of dishes going into the sink….

“…Hey…, earth to Uncle Cam…, we’re going for a swim…, you wanna come?”

“Huh what? … Yeah sure short stack, just let me get changed.”

Written by bigct/Octavius

January 6, 2010 at 16:56

9 Responses

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  1. man … one thing about your writing ( which I love) … you better have a seatbelt on. I mean otherwise you going to fall out of your seat reading . I love it . I was like o.k. Snatch and Grab, to the birds and bees…. What a ride… Well done too.. I will add….. Thanks C.T.

    P.S. still leaving me screaming for more more more … lol ….. so now I know how your going to paying for the boat lol ….

    justolefriend

    January 6, 2010 at 17:53

  2. I came across this story the other day, and I can not say enough about it. So far you have hit it right on with Cam and what he is suffering. Google Highway of Heroes, and look at how our neighbors to the north treat the return. If anyone reading this was in country, then thank you for your service.

    Trapper

    January 6, 2010 at 19:02

  3. Well worth the wait. You, my friend, have a gift for balance that reminds me of reading some of the masters like Tolkein. Keep it up. This is easily my favorite story of all the ones floating around.

    Dawngreeter

    January 6, 2010 at 23:22

  4. Well C.T. great chapter!

    reddecatur

    January 7, 2010 at 01:12

  5. Wow! That was a heck of a ride! Whew!

    The scene change from the past to the present was smooth and flawless. I loved the concurrent conversation with himself as he was talking to Carl. This is your most technically challenging yet, and you pulled if off like a pro.

    Start looking for publishers! Now! What? Stop sitting there looking at the screen with your mouth agape! You heard me! Find you a publisher, your story is just that terrific!

    biki

    January 10, 2010 at 04:05

  6. Thank you all for the very nice comments…, I read most of them at work…, that took some explaining!

    Anyways, I really appreciate your comments…, they make the whole effort worthwhile.

    CT.

    bigct

    January 11, 2010 at 17:57

  7. I donèt have an American military background (or any military, for that matter)so not familiar with terms…what do HALO and SEAL stand for?

    Davey

    June 12, 2010 at 11:53

  8. HAHO High Altitude-High Opening
    SEAL Sea, Air, and Land

    Alan

    June 12, 2010 at 14:16

  9. HALO means High Altitude Low Opening. Skydiving for real men. They don’t do it that way anymore though. It was desinged forthe old circular parachutes, but now with the new rectangular shaped ones, they do the HAHO. It’s a little bit more stealthy because you don’t have to fly a plane as close to the landing zone as you do with the HALO.

    John

    October 2, 2010 at 06:28


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