The Sailor's Stories

1024 Chapter twenty four – The Sailor’s Awakening.

with 7 comments

“Civilian craft bearing 0 9 2, this is the Coast Guard search plane to the north of your bearing…, please respond…”

“Coast Guard, Coast Guard…, this is Lieutenant Commander Trevallian, United States Navy, on board civilian vessel Gillie’s Dream, good to hear your voice! Over.”

Gillie’s Dream…, this is Coast Guard…, Navy huh? What’s your situation? Over.”

Ha! He doesn’t believe me…, oh well, doesn’t matter anyway…

“Coast Guard…, Gillie’s Dream…, we got caught in that storm last night.., we took a lightening strike, which fried our electronics, but we have most of it fixed…, long range radios are toast though, we have short-wave only. What’s the weather report? Over.”

Gillie’s Dream…, Coast Guard…, weather is good for the next few days, storm has headed farther out to sea, heading west. Gillie’s Dream…, are you able to render assistance?”

“Coast Guard…, Gillie’s Dream…, …, what kind of assistance? Over.”

Gillie’s Dream…, Coast Guard…, there is a another civilian craft, bearing 1 7 0 of your current heading, about fifty nautical miles distant. We spotted them about an hour ago, but as yet can’t raise them on radio…, craft looks to be adrift…, and we are low on fuel…, there is a cutter heading there now, but there may be casualties…, are you able to assist? Over.”

Carl had joined us in the wheelhouse, at first he was concerned to see the state of his boyfriend, but after a brief explanation, he calmed down a bit. I looked at the three of them…, meeting the eyes of each in turn. I knew that we were, able to “Render assistance”, I also knew that we were obligated to do so, under the laws of the sea. But what I wasn’t sure about, was the danger factor. If I was alone, I wouldn’t have hesitated, and would already be on my way…, but I wasn’t on my own, I had three much more pressing obligations, standing right in front of me. In the past few weeks, I had been far more reckless, than I cared to admit, and it had almost cost me dearly…, could I take the chance that they could hurt? Catching their attention, I once again looked in the eyes of each of them…, each time, I was met by a nod. Though Carl was still an unknown quantity as far as seafaring goes, the twins knew the stakes…, almost as well as I did. Just when I thought, I couldn’t get any more proud of them…, they came up trumps, and my heart swelled anew. I had to advise the Coast Guard of the situation though…

“Coast Guard…, Gillie’s Dream…, I have three young boys onboard, I’m not prepared to take any risks…, but, we can take a look for you though, what’s the Eta on the cutter? Over.”

Gillie’s Dream…, Coast Guard…, cutter Eta is around four hours. Over”

Corey had pushed the main radio back into the wall socket, and brushed some of the spent wires, and debris off of the nav desk. Pulling out a ruler, and a grease pencil, I watched as he plotted a direct course. He made a few notes on a scratch pad, and with a determined look on his face, a minute or two later, he came up with some quick, but, very sketchy calculations. As I took a brief look over his work, to my surprise, I saw that he had even factored in our fuel state, and what the extended sail time would cost us…, the boy was thorough, I had to give him that. Looking over at me, he raised two fingers. I had watched him work things out, even though I knew that I didn’t need to…, he knew what he was doing…, I trusted him without question…

“Coast Guard…, Gillie’s Dream…, fifty miles you said? We can make that in around two hours…, we’re changing course now…, how long till you get back in the air…, or do you have relief coming? Because without long range radios, we will have to wait for the cutter to get close…, and if there’s trouble, we’ll be on our own, with no chance of calling for DUSTOFF. Over.”

The decision was made, however, and I motioned for Corey to take the helm. Within moments, we were on our new heading…, to what I had no idea.

Gillie’s Dream…, Coast Guard…, understood…, there’s another search plane on it’s way, you’ll be able to relay through them, we’ve got a helo on standby for ‘DUSTOFF’ if needed. We’re bingo fuel and have to RTB, but we’ll let the other plane know what’s happening. Over.”

“Coast Guard…, Gillie’s Dream…, roger that…, we’ll keep ‘Ears On’ for second aircraft. Gillie’s Dream out.”

Taking the helm from Corey, I sent him, and Carl, back out to the fore deck…, where they once again took up their vigil. All we had was a heading, and it was a little old…, there was no telling how far the craft had drifted. Corey had marked the it’s last known position, on the plot…, I had seen his concern, and followed his finger, as he pointed out that it was heading right into one of the largest shipping routes in the area. I was pretty sure that the Coast Guard would have still had it on radar…, their range was greater than ours, but that didn’t change the fact, that we only had a partial idea where she was. Having sent the boys out I turned to Dale, I was going to tell him to go and have a lie down…, but, for the second time that day, my heart swelled with pride. In spite of the injury he had taken…, and the fact that it made the job so much harder, he had pulled the radio back out, and was once again hard at work. Smiling to myself I said nothing, I simply turned back to the job at hand.

Over the next hour, or so, I had poured through all the possible contingencies, and pitfalls of what we were doing. All the while, keeping a wary eye on the radar screen. Our radars range was fairly limited, due to it’s height off the wheelhouse, it only gave about five miles. The simple fact of the matter was, that we couldn’t ignore a request for help…, knowing that though, did nothing to alleviate my concerned tired mind. We had gotten our last sight of land, about an hour in…, and the open water can be lonely place. With little to concentrate on, it afforded you far too much time for contemplation…, my mind was in over drive. The Coast Guard guy said that, they had had no contact…, that could mean anything. Their radios could be out, like ours were…, they could be injured, or worse…, they could have been attacked…, maybe their engines or genset was out…, there was just too many possibilities.

We had made contact with the second search plane, not long after the last one left us. The pilot had told us that the craft had drifted a little, but, was still on roughly the same bearing. I had asked him for an update, on the cutter, and was advised that, it too was on schedule. I had talked to him for a while, regarding the situation, discussing several options. I felt it prudent to advise him, that if I felt the need to arm myself, I would do so. At that, he became quite concerned, and strongly advised against it…, ‘For my own safety’, he had said. I wasn’t having any of that shit…, so explaining to him my situation, and who I was, I told him, in no uncertain terms, to check with the Navy Department…, after I had given him my service number, to confirm my ID of course. He went off the air for a while…, and I guessed correctly, that he was checking my story, as several minutes later, he came back  and called me “Commander”. I doubt he was any happier about the situation, but at least he wasn’t arguing anymore. Like I said, I was not about to take any chances. We kept in touch, every fifteen minutes, or so…, for updates, but other than that, there was nothing much to say.

As time wore on…, my mind lingered on the worse case scenarios, I just couldn’t rule them out. After all only the week prior, I had seen a news story on CNN…, the story was centered on an article, about several small pleasure craft, being hijacked…, the area the boats had been targeted, was not that far from here. Oh sure…, that was a little further down the coast…, but still not out of the question. The pirates…, because, to be fair, there was nothing else to call them really…, had, as yet, to be caught. As a trained operator, I knew that storms…, like the one we had last night…, made easy pickings, for those that had the desire…., What the Fuck man? … You’re just psyching yourself out! I thought, as I shook my head to clear it, and went back to what I was doing.

Thankfully my thoughts were interrupted, not long after, by a shrill whistle. I looked out the forward window, and saw Corey standing there looking back at me, pointing to port. Following his arm, I saw the spot on the horizon. And as I looked down at the radar, sure enough…, there was a decent return slightly to left of port, so I adjusted course accordingly. Out of sheer curiosity, I glanced at my watch, I couldn’t stop the proud grin…, we were right on schedule…, damn that boy was good! Setting the autopilot, I went out on deck…, as I approached my young nephew, he handed me his binoculars. We were a lot closer now, and getting closer all the time. With Carl now beside us, I took my first look, there didn’t seem to be any visible damage…, but then looks can be deceiving…

“Good work boys…, keep an eye on it.., I better go tell the flyboys that we have eyes on.”

Smiling at my praise, they both nodded, as I handed Corey back the binoculars and headed to the wheelhouse. Another brief report to the search plane later, we were well within range for the rib. Though still erring on the side of caution, I cut the engines, and let our forward momentum drift us slowly closer. I was nursing the wheel, left and right, trying to slow us down some, as I didn’t want to get too close. Watching the radar plot, I counted down the distance. When we were roughly a hundred feet, I turned the wheel full left…, this had the effect, of cutting our drift, to next to nothing.

“Holy Shit! … I’ve got it.., it’s working!”

I shot a glance over at Dale, and he beamed back at me. I wasn’t sure what he was talking about…, having completely forgotten what he had been up to the last hour or so. My questioning look, quickly turned into a proud smile though, as the sudden realization dawned on me. Not to be outshone though, he just looked on with a bit of a cocky grin…

“The radio Uncle Cam…, I’ve got it working…, the power feed must have burned up, when the lightening hit…, it was shorting on a piece of metal way in the back, but I found it! … It’s fixed Uncle Cam…, I got it working again…”

He stopped talking when I pulled him into a loving bear hug. Sparing a very brief moment, I marveled at the possible, and wonderful future, my boys had. That moment was short lived though, and I was quickly brought back to reality…, there was pressing matters at hand. As I stepped back out onto the deck, I knew it was probably hopeless, but I told Dale to try and raise her on the short-wave. We were close enough now, to the other boat, to get a really good look at her…, she was bigger than ours…, maybe another ten feet…, higher off the water line as well. She was listing slightly to port…, which probably explained her lazy, circular drifting. Looking again through Corey’s binoculars, I could see all this…, but I wasn’t overly concerned by it…, as something else had caught my eye.

“Boys…, I want you to go below deck now…, ok…, no questions…, just go.”

They both looked like they were going to…, but on reflection decided not to say anything, before they turned and went below. After another brief look, to confirm what I had seen, I followed them. Unlike them though, I didn’t stop in the wheelhouse…, I continued on…, to the lock box I kept under the bunk, in the masters cabin. I came back a minute or two later…, with my .45 and two Berettas. I handed one of the Berettas to Carl, and the other to Corey…, they were both confused, but I motioned them to stay quiet for a moment, as I picked up the mike for the short-wave…

“Coast Guard search plane…, this is Gillie’s Dream…, have craft in sight. Can see blood splatter in the main cabin…, am going over for a look, I doubt it, but there may be people hurt and needing attention…, I’m taking my sidearm with me, just in case. Over.”

Gillie’s Dream…, Coast Guard…, understood Commander…, Cutter is still on it’s way, and there are rescue swimmers and a helo onboard…, be careful. Over.”

“Coast Guard…, Gillie’s Dream…, roger that, Out.”

I turned to the boys…, the fear on their faces was chilling, but I knew I had no choice. There really may have been someone still alive over there. I handed Corey and Carl, two clips each, and watched as they loaded the weapons. I could see that they didn’t like what was happening…, but to their credit, they did it anyway. I put on my best smile…, words were useless at this point. When I made to leave, Dale jumped forward and wrapped his arms around me. He didn’t say anything…, he didn’t have to…, the look on his face said it all, as he started to cry, gently shaking his head no.

“There maybe people that need help…, I have to at least try.” I looked at them all…, I loved them so very much, “I need you guys to try and get the cutter on the main…, they should be within range, and we may need those swimmers.”

He was still a little choked up, but Dale let me go and stepped back. As he wiped the tears, Carl wrapped him in a tight hug. I really didn’t want to go…, but I meant what I had said. I looked at Corey…, he just nodded, then turned his head. As he did, I saw a slow tear, slide down his cheek. I couldn’t bare it any longer, so resigned to what I had to do, I went out back and untied the rib…, as I was about to step into it…

“I’m coming with you…, I told you before…, I’m not leaving you alone.”

“Not this time little guy…” I said, as I looked deep into Corey’s eyes.

“Two is one…, one  is none…, remember? … What if there are people that need help…, you can’t do it alone…, I’m coming with you, even if I have to swim over there to do it.”

As I continued to look into those wondrous green eyes, I knew he would do it too, so I just pointed to the rib. The trip across was short, on the way over I had set some pretty serious ground rules…, and made him promise to stay in the boat, unless I called him. Going into the unknown, is always a rather daunting task…, training counts for only so much in these situations. You can prepare, for most things, but there is always something that you miss…, no matter how good you are.

All this was going through my head, as we pulled up to the aft ramp. The scene that took place, played out in my mind, as I stepped onto the boat…, everywhere I looked there was more evidence of a struggle. Blood…, the odd bullet hole. I hadn’t bothered to put any shoes on, so I made no noise, as I padded silently into the main salon…, there was furniture and clothing, strewn across the floor…, and of course the blood splatter I had seen earlier. I followed it down the wall…, to a pair of legs…, they were men’s legs I realised, once I stepped closer. A man of roughly middle age, lying on the floor, behind an upturned armchair…, lying in a pool of dark sticky blood. He was well and truly dead…, if the stoved in head was anything to go by. The horror of the scene, was like nothing I had ever witnessed…, and trust me, I have seen some pretty horrific shit in my time. What horrified me the most though…, I think…, was the torn bloody swimsuit of a girl…, it wasn’t very big, so the owner couldn’t have been much older than the boys…, it made me sick to my stomach, though more determined.

“What the fuck happened here!?”

I saw a brief flash of movement out of the corner of my eye…, and as I turned to see where it had come from, I heard a very audible gasp. Thinking Corey had disobeyed me…, I looked back towards the sound. What I saw, made my blood run cold…, and I am ashamed to admit…, that for a moment…, I froze.

“Hey Jimmy…, looks like we caught another pretty little fish!”

It was Corey alright…, but he wasn’t alone. Standing behind him was a guy in his late thirties…, badly dressed, as if he had just gotten that way…, white…, he had one hand on Corey’s chest…, the other was resting across it…, holding what looked to be Corey’s Berretta. Corey was doing his best to be brave…, but the guy was playing pretty roughly with his nipple. Corey, like myself, was still shirtless…., and the older guy was causing him quite a bit of pain. That was enough, to shock me out of the state I was in…, one of  my boys was in trouble. It was then that I realised we were not alone…

“Oooo he is pretty…, just like the girly…, wonder if he tastes as good?”

“Well we’ll soon see now won’t we.” The guy holding Corey said to his friend, then he looked back at me. “Don’t try an’ be a hero army boy…, is gonna just make it harder on da boy here.”

He had obviously recognised my dog tags, and the tattoos I had on my chest and upper arm…, though he had woefully misinterpreted them. I was still standing behind the chair…, so I don’t think the guy, who had Corey could see that I was armed…, and ‘Jimmy’ definitely couldn’t see it, because my back was to him. I didn’t need to turn to see ‘Jimmy’…, my mind had still been working well enough to remember that fact…., as I could see his reflection in the curved, mirrored ceiling of the Salon. He was about ten feet behind me…, though unfortunately, he was aiming what appeared to be a .38, at my head. I had little time to think…, but I needed to come up with something…, and damn fast!

“Is this your boat…, what the hell happened here?”

“Fuck up soldier boy…, no this ain’t our boat…, it sunk…, we just been having a little fun here is all.”

“Shut up Jimmy…, he don’t need ta know shit! Just do’em man…, it’s play time.”

I watched as Jimmy stepped a few steps closer…, he had no training, and was probably drunk, I could  tell…, his gun hand kept wavering, and as he approached, he turned it sideways…, gangsta style. Even at this range, he would be lucky to even wound me, with a hold like that…, so I took the opportunity.

I slipped my hand to the front of my shorts…, slid the blade slowly out…, then in one fluid motion, flicked the blade behind me, and raised my sidearm. The knife embedded in jimmy’s neck and he went down, gurgling as blood sprayed the wall. My sidearm was now aiming at the other guys head.

“I’m navy fuckhead.., I know what you two did…, and you will never do it again.”

It all seemed to go into slow motion then…, just like the movies…, it’s weird how that happens. I once knew a guy, who referred to it as ‘Fight time’, when things happen really fast…, but you see them really slow. All I know is that one second…, with careful aim, I pulled the trigger…, the next…, the guy was falling backwards, rapidly chasing his brains. When I got to Corey, a second after that…, he was in shock. His little body collapsed against me, and I wrapped him tightly, trying desperately to shield his eyes, as I pulled him back to the rib. He wasn’t going anywhere, he was too far gone…, so I quickly did a room clearance of the rest the boat…, what I found was sickening…, but I would let the Coast Guard handle that.


Written by bigct/Octavius

January 13, 2010 at 17:56

7 Responses

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  1. WOW …. yep think I needed a helmut and at least oxygen tanks on standby .. forget holding my breathe…and seat bleats they would be no use here … Great chapter man. The way you do actions scenes is awesome … So when are we going to get this publish , and when can I get a signed copy … know we have to wait until it done … but man this one so needs to be publish. Beside you need money for you fishing tour boat … Lee


    January 13, 2010 at 18:29

  2. WOW! Exciting!


    January 13, 2010 at 21:01

  3. I agree with Lee. Get it pubished. This is too god to waste on a simple blog. Again, I’ll tell you this is easily the best story of its ilk around. Cam is starting to remind me of Dirk Pitt.


    January 14, 2010 at 00:05

  4. Ditto to the other three!!!!!


    January 14, 2010 at 02:05

  5. Absolutely terrifying! This was almost to much for me to read, very graphic…….. Cam’s fear was well done. And as a complete landlubber, all the nautical descriptions were very interesting!

    See! I’m not the only one telling you to get this published!! How long have I’ve been telling you it is good enough for paper? And now you have others saying the same thing, so finish this up and start shopping it about!


    January 14, 2010 at 02:27

  6. Wow. Amazing details going on right here. Agreed, get this thing published!


    January 14, 2010 at 07:48

  7. Sigh Poor Corey and Cam OH how I remember this chapter and yes CT you are a Great writer, story teller, captivator of a reader!~



    May 5, 2012 at 19:45

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