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Old 12-21-2020, 06:50 PM
cawest cawest is offline
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Default looking for Something. a fan fic

so I put chapter 1 up and no one threw stones at me so here you go. This is were it will be posted and I hope you all like it.


Looking for Something.
Twilight 2000


Chapter 1 intro

Richard Mtendere looked off into the distance. The twin mast ship was making good speed threw the small waves on the blue water. Well it was making good speed, for a sailing craft in the middle of World War 3. Richard could not help, but chuckle at that thought that had just went through his mind. He had grown up in Traverse City, Michigan. He had joined the army for two reasons. One was that his chief rival in high school, had gone into the navy. That was not generally a surprise, not with his hometown dominated by the Grand Traverse Bay. That led to the second reason for him to join the army. He had gotten into a fight with the football captain and soon to be navy man at a graduation night party, which had not ended well for both of them. The Football jock had ended up in the hospital. And by that Friday? Richard had ended up at the Recruiter’s office in town. The Army Recruiter was the only one who could get him out of town in the time frame, that he felt like he needed.

He had done…… okay in the military. He was a grunt, but he was smart enough to keep his head down at all of the right times. He made buck Sergeant, just before the issues between China and the Russians had started to heat up in a major way. His unit had lucked out and had missed the first few months of the war, before his unit had been sent to Germany. Again, his unit had lucked out when the nuclear weapons started to fly in numbers that had only been seen in a few people’s nightmares. It was not long after that. That he was notified that his family and the girl he had sort of liked, had been killed in a riot.

Not long after that, he had been moved to be the NCO in charge of protecting the Battalion headquarters. That had killed his next promotion, but with the number of replacements drying up. This Battalion was more like a larger company than a Battalion Taskforce, which it had deployed to Europe as. He spent most of his time with his Battalion Commander, a very young Major who had been his company commander for the past four years. His main job had been fighting against Marauders and other criminal gangs, which were operating behind the lines.

Then the final push to try to reach the Russian/Polish boarder had happened, and his unit had been chosen to add numbers to the attack force. They had rolled through the enemy “front lines” and the fighting had been as expected, right until the time that it was not. The whole front had been stalled for some time, and then word came that everyone was on their own. Was the war over? He had no clue on what to do next, but the old man did.

The Old Man had been from some small town on the seacoast of Maine. Thomas W Hyde had joined the military, as part of being a way to get out of the family business. It had something to do with fishing. As it turned out, it was harder to get the salt out of his veins. When word had come down, to the Old Man that it was up to him to pull out his troops? He had reached down into his roots, and he had pulled out his “Go To Hell Plan”.

By now, his whole Battalion was only made up of 27 combat effectives. About a third of them were not even “American”. He gathered “his” people together and briefed his modified plan to his unit. They were now mainly just light infantry, with only two HMMWVs spread out between them. One was a fire support version of that incredible off-road vehicle. The rest of their weapons were smaller and lighter than that 25mm chain gun. Only 15 of the 27 troopers in the Battalion had decided to try the Major’s plan. It was a little on the crazy side. Richard could not fault the group, which had decided to try their own plans. He would be going along with the Oldman. Besides he had a few ideas of his own, on how to help make it a more workable plan.

They “traded” the two 4-wheel drive vehicles to a local “militia” leader. The 25mm turret had been missing on the second truck, when the trade had been offered and completed. The turret had been replaced with a large thin piece of steal to make a large, but workable hatch. The trader had given them two small river sail boats, with auxiliary diesel motors. It took a lot of work, but a 60mm mortar and a pair of light Machine guns were added to both small craft. The Major’s boat also had the fully operational 25mm chain gun turret mounted and hidden under a tarp on the bow. Rigging the power supply for the turret, had not been a trivial task.

They had started on the lower Pilica River, with those two boats. They had been filled with all of the people, weapons, and other supplies that the unit had left. After a few days, they had to repack both vessels. They had pulled onto one of the banks of the slow-moving river. The boats were still overloaded after the repacking, but the pair of ship’s crews had learned a few new skills in those first few days. The pair of boats had slowly made their way to the Vistula River, and then they were able to make it all the way to Gadansk….sort of. They had not done this, without a lot of blood being spilled on both sides.

The last 10km of the trip, had been done on foot. That had been due to battle damaged to both boats on the long trip down the rivers. By now, less than ten people of the original group had remained on those two boats. They had picked up some additions along the way, to replace those that had died or had just decided that they had gone far enough.

Now on the Baltic Sea. They had almost tactically moved west on foot, working down the coast of the windswept and storm-tossed Baltic Sea. When they had found a town that was under attack on their trek west. The group had helped turn the tide against a set of Marauders flying Russian colors on the town. It had taken a few days to work out what had been going on, but the town had been happy to see them. With their help, the two river sail boats were recovered from the river and moved to the town.

Major Hyde, with a lot of help from Richard, had traded the two river boats for a medium coastal sailing fishing/light cargo boat. The pair of them made plans to go to Bremerhaven, and a hoped-for ride home as part of something called Operation Omega. The backup plan, if that failed, was more complex. It started with them trying to sail across the North Atlantic. The backup plan to that one had them sailing down the coast and heading to west Africa. From there, they would cross the ocean to South America. After they survived that crossing, they would head north to the land of The Big PX.

Richard had found that he had remembered quite a bit about sailing, from his days on the bay as a kid and young adult. They had made it to Bremerhaven, without to many external issues. The 25mm chain gun had a way of making sure pirates stayed at a safe distance, from the small cargo sailing ship. When they had safely arrived, at the still very busy harbor with the over loaded vessel. The little ship had picked up two other small groups, who had been trying to make the same trip. Only they did not have the required skills to make it all the way on the water.

It had taken almost two days before the local authorities had accepted that they were members of the US military. It had taken some time to get used to being part of “The Army” again. Major Hyde had been re-tasked to help keep everything under control in the general area around the harbor. The Staff Sargent had been given a very different set of tasks.

One of the missions, which had come up for him to do. After he had to set threw and pass about a dozen classes on how to use a small boat. He was to run around the Baltic area looking for lost souls, which were looking for a ride home. They also were to pick up needed supplies, which the troops in Bremerhaven might need. If they could take out some enemy units, equipment, or the odd pirate or three? That would be also looked at as a positive outcome of his mission. Richard was not a master sailor, but he was given command of the mission and the sailboat he and the Major had acquired. This was okay with Richard.

During Richard’s third interview after returning from a patrol, things changed. That was when he had been given the choices to go home or maybe going somewhere else. He had picked somewhere else. Due to his skills, he had been “asked” to board the ship heading for East Africa. The ship, that he was on moved to leave the German harbor on Thanksgiving Day 2000. Richard had been with a handful of other passengers on the tramp freighter. He had mixed feelings about how and why he was leaving Europe. This was his clean break with anything related to his old life and unit. He was a lone man in the big bad world.

That was how he had found himself in Mombasa, Kenya. There had been some chaos when he had walked off the tramp freighter, that had some quickly painted over French markings Richard had found on the second day of the trip out. Richard had “lost” himself, as he took some time off away from the war. It seemed like all of the military people at the dock were more concerned about the aircraft parts the little tramp freighter had brought in. That and the 20 or 30 aircraft and heavy vehicle mechanics that he had been riding with in the rust bucket.

He had been hip deep in this war, for over five years. Richard could not remember all of the people he had seen killed. He wanted a break, away from orders, away from death, and away from the cold. A few days of vacation had quickly turned into a month, before he reported in at one of the defense points. Soon he was transferred to a small Repo Depot/Turtle farm. Because he was “army” and carried an official infantry MOS. He had been first pointed to a ground unit. But after explaining what he had been doing in the Baltic, before Omega had been launched. He had been “assigned” to the navy. The Navy had no idea what to do with him and put him on desk duty. Richard had found something to do, all on his own. He had started working with Operation Harvester, just on his own terms and in a very low-keyed way.
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Old 12-21-2020, 06:51 PM
cawest cawest is offline
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Chapter 2 On the run.

A splash of sea water brought Richard back to the real world. It also made his head jerk just a little, but it was enough that he could see the M40 recoilless rifle mounted on the bow of this sailing vessel. It was not a “real” M40 but a captured Norinco made Type 75, which was a clone of the American made weapon. That was not the only weapon, which the Bluenose III carried. Like a lot of things coming out of Mombasa these days. The Mombasa made vessel had a mixed heritage. Not that Richard was going to complain or point fingers.

She had come out of the growing support facilities, which were currently based in the harbor of Mombasa. Besides helping maintain the areas ships, they were adding to the number of vessels operating in this area. They had started building “new” ships, of the type that they had thought were a better fit to the current realities of this part of the world. The Bluenose III was over 140 feet long and massed just under 240tons empty, when she was launched out of a Mombasa dry-dock. She had twin mast to propel her from one point on the ocean to another. She also had a pair of multi-fuel engines salvaged from two wrecked five-ton cargo trucks center mounted in her hull. They were great for running around in a harbor, or when the horse latitudes reared up its ugly head.

She not only had the Chinese made Type 75 for teeth, which had come from some unit from Tanzania that had been hammered flat. She had a TCM-20 turret mounted on her aft deck. This went along with the small arms for every one of her 20-person crew to carry. She also had 4 light MGs to help with defense of the vessel against the growing threat of pirates. The only thing she was missing, was a SAM launcher. But SAM’s did not mix very well with things like sails, lines and masts. It was the whole fire thing.

Richard was only part owner of this vessel, but he was half owner and “the commander”. At least when it was on a mission for the military or when some combat was expected. The man at the helm or wheel was her day to day commander. Richard knew something about boats, but he didn’t know enough to handle something like this on the open ocean. He would convey his ideas to the Ship’s Master, and then the Master would try to make it happen or tell him to go pound sand. It was not an easy break up of responsibility, but it was working.

The last time something like the last boarder line offensive statement had passed, was when they had been attacked by a small group of Somali pirates. They had been able to take out two of the enemy ships, but when Richard had directed the helm to continue the attack against the 6 remaining pirate ships. The other co-owner had not let it happen. The ship’s master told him to go below and do something, that would not get them all killed in the next hour. Richard had nodded his head and kept his mouth shut for the next hour or so, but he did not go below decks. They only had been working together for a month, and they were still working on the fine details of working together back then.

Richard had taken proof of the two pirate boat kills; with both images and some key parts of wreckage he had pulled from the ocean. When they had returned to port? The local Kenyan government had been very pleased with them. The boat accounts were paid with 4 drums full of real diesel fuel, cash, and some hard-to-find ammunition. Richard had been surprised, when the two crates of MR483 flechettes had been pulled off the back of a cargo truck. Those four rounds had gone very nicely with the 10 Chinese copies of the M494 round. Those had been on the list as payment for removing two pirate vessels and an unknown number of pirate crewmembers from the local waters. Richard had taken it as a hint, that they were to keep up what they had just done.

That had been only the second mission, with Richard as part owner of this vessel. The actions of the Kenyan government had cemented his ties to the other owner. They had taken a few other missions, after that first little windfall. They had been anything from being a light escort to the fishing fleet to some scouting. Those were only side missions for Richard, but it paid the bills. He was chasing a few scattered reports about something strange, which had piqued his interest soon after landing in Mombasa. Richard had latched onto a report from the latest RDF convoy to make it to Mombasa, on their last port call. It was dropping off raw oil and picking up refined oil and other fuels to take back to The Gulf. There it would be used by the RDF units still fighting the Russians.

It had taken some time, but they had found what they were looking for. Now all they had to do was live long enough to make it back to a safe port, find someone to report to that would believe them, and then get back to the target. Now Richard was wishing that he had brought along a long-ranged radio, so that he could contact someone back at the Africom headquarters in Mombasa. Those devices were both hard to find and very expensive. That is if you could find one and keep it operational in a sea environment. Still, right about now? He was wishing for one of them.

This area was thick with pirates, and on that thought Richard started making his rounds around the top deck. He wanted to make sure that everyone was on their toes. If things went south, they would go south quick. The air and water might be warmer around here but being thick with pirates was something that these waters shared with the Baltic. Now if he could only get the boat to go faster than 16kts. At least with the current wind, they did not have to resort to operating her twin diesels. That would have slowed her down to only 8kts, and that might be enough to get them all a case of the deads by nightfall.

##########

Omar Muhamad looked threw his old spy glass. The spy glasses were Russian made and something that Omar had traded dearly to have. The Type 025 Torpedo boat had been built by the Hudong Shipyards, years ago. She had been in service with the Tanzania navy, before that country had fallen apart under internal and external pressure. Omar had not been the Captain of this vessel or any other vessel for that matter back then. The previous owners had fallen in and then had a major falling out, with what remained of the Soviet navy.

Omar had been doing some trading when he had found the vessel. He had been able to talk his pirate band leader into “buying” the boat for half of their fuel, some gold, and half a dozen uncut diamonds. Getting her back to the shores of Yemen had been an interesting experience, but her I band radar had help her avoid any major issues along the way. She even had been able to “collect” taxes on four fishing boats. All before making it to a safe harbor, that a part of their group used to provide land support to their tax operations. She had been a very nice cash cow every time she had taken to the ocean.

Omar loved the boat, but he could tell she was starting to show her age. The ones useful I band radar now was offline more than it was working. The four torpedoes that had come with the ship, were used in action or found to be defective. The two empty firing tubes for the torpedoes now were used to keep things out of the sea air, which did not like its sting too much. She still had the two twin turreted 14.5mm. They only had 100 rounds per turret, which should be enough for a few more collection missions. The real “show of force” were the three RPG-7s. He only had 3 real rockets, and 6 inert training rounds for them. They would only break out the real rounds if things went wrong. He only had the training rounds loaded into the grenade launchers, after one of his fumbled fingered troops had accidentally fired a rocket on a tax collection mission.

Omar was back to using his fine field glasses and scanning the local area of water. When one of the twin engines sputtered and threw off his balance? He remembered that he had been told by one of the Russian infidels, that they would need to be service regularly. Omar was a firm believer in inshallah. The engines would work, as long as they worked. He was jerked again, as one of the engines over revved. Omar shot a look over one shoulder to the helmsman, but he didn’t say anything. His eyes had been drawn to the tall billowing black cloud of unburnt and hard to replace bunker oil these engines were supposed to have been modified to use.

############

Richard saw the pillar of black smoke, before he could see the other ship. “Someone is about to burn out, or needs to replace a set of rings already,” thought Richard.

Richard gave a look to the other owner of the boat. He was an old, solidly built dark skin man that spoke with your typical London accent. Norwell Lionel just set his thick shoulders and grabbed the helm firmly in both hands. Both men knew of only one type of people that would treat their boat like that, and be in these waters. They were not the friendly type, as a general rule. They would know more, if the black exhaust kept coming towards them. Two strange friendly ships passing in the night, wanted to pass with a lot of distance between them.

Norwell would take care of making the boat move in the right direction, while avoiding most natural hazards. Richard would make his way to the hidden 105mm RCL mounted near the bow. Richard knew how to manage a boat’s books, crew, weapons, and a few other nautical skills that had gotten only better in the Baltic Sea. But he also knew how to shoot a heavy weapon off of a boat, a lot better than anyone else. Just don’t ask him to navigate away from the sight of land or climb a mast of any length. And there was a big difference between the Baltic Sea and the Indian Ocean.

#############

When Omar brought his gaze forward and away from the black smoke. If he could not see it? Then it was not there, inshallah. Still, it took him a few minutes of scanning, to see the white sails on the horizon. He should have seen it earlier, but inshallah. With an evil grin, he gave orders. That vessel would be their next “tax” collection. It also just happened to look like a nice replacement, for this current vessel.

The torpedo boat surge to “full” speed. The vessel would have been able to push 50kts when she had been first launched. Instead, the little boat could “only” manage 28kts with both engines pushing as hard as they could. At that speed? It would only take them a half an hour, to cut the corner and catch the speeding sailboat.

#########

Sweat was pouring down the back of Richard’s neck. It was very hot under the oil canvas used to both protect and conceal the heavy weapon. The closer the enemy got, the easier it was going to be able to hit it. Richard had no idea why the pirate was taking so long to catch up. They had started coming after them at a very good clip going across the ocean rollers, but then it had noticeably slowed down. Richard kept his eye glued to the siting eye piece. Threw it, he could see a group running around on the deck between weapons turrets and command structure. He was wondering why they were bothering with pulling out AKs and RPGs. They seemed light when they had two twin heavy machine guns, and two twin sets of torpedo tubes to use in combat.

###########

Omar was not a happy man. They had been closing on the target, when the second engine had stopped on them. He had been able to increase power to the one remaining engine, but if that one also failed? He would be without power, in more than one way, in the middle of the unforgiving ocean. He had already given the order for his crew to do their dances and being intimidating as possible. It would only take a little longer to get within the range he wanted. His boat was still faster than any sailboat on the ocean.

Omar made sure to catch the eyes of Asim. Asim was manning the forward twin machinegun turret. It would be his job, to fire the warning shot across the bow of the sailboat. Asim was the best shot in the whole group, and if he did not do his job right? He would lose part of the bonus, which he normally got on taking a tax collection. He would need to fire his twin machine guns close enough to prove a point, but not hit the target. Sinking ships were harder to collect from. It was not impossible, but it would be harder to collect from them. If it took more than two burst of machinegun fire? Then Asim would also have to help with the reloading of any recovered 114mm long brass cases from both MG mounts. With the look and head nod from the Captain. Asim was now in charge of when he fired the attention burst.

##############

Richard did not even flinch, when the forward turret open fire at less than 200m from his ship. He did not need to see the line of water fountains stitch a line in front of the bow wave of the Bluenose III. Richard had a tight smile on his face and adjusted his aim just slightly. If the other vessel would have just left them alone or had been a friendly? He would not have to unleash the dragon onto them. With the twin burst of heavy weapons fire? They were now listed as pirates or an enemy vessel, and subject to the beast that his hand was holding back.

Richard let a little breath out, which he was holding to steady his aim. He could have used the 50cal spotting rifle, but that would both reveal his location, and show what weapons were waiting for them. A round as heavy as the 50cal, tended to move a lot of air.

“Cut the Spinnaker.” Richard did not move, when he said those three words.

Behind Richard three people went to work just out of sight of the pirate vessel. They did not cut the Spinnaker sail. Good ones were hard to come by, anymore. They just released three ropes that had been set up with a quick release mechanism. With those three ropes now loose, the huge sail pulled up and away from the hidden firing point. Recoilless weapons were a great way to add heavy firepower to a lightly built ship. But to make them “Recoilless”. They had a back blast to almost equal the muzzle blast. That flaming back blast did not react well to ropes and sails. With the spinnaker flapping high in the wind, it also was now not helping pull the ship threw the water. So, the ship slowed making shooting from it easier, and now the back blast was also clear.

As soon as Richard felt the oil skin get ripped off of his head, by the freed sail. He pulled the trigger on the long-tubed weapon. A twin blast of gasses and heat left the long tube. It was hard to hit a moving sea target. That was the reason for the type of shell that was just shot. 105mm RCL rounds were hard to come by but using them to stop a pirate vessel that had twin 21inch torpedo tubes was worth a few of the very hard to find rounds.

Still Richard was smart. The first round he fired was a training round. It was a reloaded shell with a solid steal nose as the projectile. If he hit is target? It still would know it had been kissed, by a heavy weapon. Unless it was a warship, most vessels in these local waters were made of thin steel, lightweight aluminum or a mix of wood and tar. A solid 7kg slug moving at over 500m/s would punch into, if not all the way through the hulls of something like that.

Richard’s face did not move, as he saw the path of this “practice” round. The first shot was always the hardest, and it was one of the reasons that the practice round had been first loaded. As soon as the wind carried the smoke away from the RCL. The weapons team when to work. The second loader threw the lever to open the back of the weapon. He reached in with thick gloves and rotated the hot spent shell out of the breach. With a few quick steps. He placed the round upside down in a specially made wooden housing, so that the shell could be reused.

As soon as the Number 2 loader had stepped away. The Number 1 loader step forward with a second round in her hands. This was not another solid round or even an anti-tank round. It was a fragmentation round. She quickly, but safely, put the nose of the round in the breach. Then she rotated it to lock it into place. A split second after the round stopped moving, the breach lock was dropped back into place. Richard was slapped on the top of his fritz helmet, when the breach block was locked back down. Richard had seen where the first round had gone, and he had already corrected his aim for his second shot. Again, he did not show an outward sign when the warship opened fire again. This burst was not a warning shot.

##########

Omar had seen the long tongue of flame shoot out from the bow of the sailing ship, a heartbeat after the larger forward sail had started flapping in the wind at the top of the forward mast. He had not known what had happened, even when he saw the object (shell?) go skipping across the water off of his boat’s stern. It had happened so fast, that he had not been able to give any orders. That had not stopped Asim from reacting to the explosion on the other boat.

Asim had been watching the target, to try to judge if he was going to have to use a second twin burst to get the target to start dropping her sails. He had an idea of what had been fired at him. He had used an 82mm B-10, before he had been picked to crew this boat. He thought he had an idea of what those types of weapons would do, to the thin hull that was under his feet. With a few quick adjustments of the controls at his fingertips, he re-aligned his weapons on the enemy ship. He put a long burst into the side of his target.

Not all of the machine gun rounds, he fired hit the ship. That was just not how machine guns worked. The line of twin water fountains started about 3 meters short of the hull, and then walked up the side of the ship. The twin lines of now wood fountains made it about halfway across the deck, and then the cloth sails started to meet fast moving metal. Asim could not hear the screams over the hammering of the twin 14.5’s, but he could still hear them in his head. He knew that this boat would be added to his list of nightmares, as soon as he was able to put his head down on a bunk.

############

It was Richard’s job to make sure, that the crew of the pirate ship did not live long enough to have those dreams. With the slap on his head. Richard pulled the trigger again. With his slight adjustment to his aim point, he did not miss with this round. The round flew straight and true. Before his team could reload him with a HE round. The deed was done. It would only take a few minutes longer for it to be noticed by the rest of the Bluenose’s crew, that the “battle” was over. The 105mm gun would be unloaded of its oddly designed, holey filled slightly rusting metal case, and it would be returned to a weatherproof box. The two expended shell casings would stay where they were, until they reached the dock. Then the spend shells could be traded as part payment for other locally reloaded rounds of 105mm.

The round was traveling at over 1,110 mph. That is almost three times the speed of sound, at sea level. The hard nose of the round impacted just aft of the pilot house low on the main hull. That was where Richard thought the engine room might be. Richards aim was just a little off, and the round impacted forward of the twin abused engines. It went into the berthing and kitchen space on the vessel, after passing through the thin metal hull. The outer metal cover of the ship was hard enough, and the fuse was sensitive enough to interact. The shell did not fire off its bursting charge until it was fully inside the ships internal hull parts.

The blast wave, hot metal, and shell fragmentation went out in a bubble pattern. The wave of death went up, left, right and down. It killed or gravely wounded, everyone from the pilot house going back to the open back turret of the twin machine guns. Inside of the hull, it was something out of a nightmare. The hot metal cut threw bulk heads and bodies with equal abandon and resistance. The blast started a fire in the backup fuel tank. Soon the fire had spread to a half case of RGD-5 hand grenades someone had not put away into its proper place. The 45ton vessel lost its hull integrity, by the flying metal of the secondary explosion. That was when the 600 grams of filling from the grenades went into unfriendly mode. The ship was cut in half, just behind the piloting house.

########

Norwell Lionel was all white teeth on a black face, as the secondary explosion finished off what his partner had started with the beehive round. The twin 20mm cannons would not even have to unmask and take the pirate under fire. The sharks would take care of the rest of the problems. He turned the wooden wheel in his hands, and his beautiful boat turned at his command. He did not even look over his shoulder, to see if anyone had survived the interaction with the heavy weapon. One part of his mind knew that some of the pirates had to have lived.

Norwell felt that the wheel had just finished moving to put the craft on the right course. The aft part of the pirate vessel was already underwater. With a sudden jerk, he pulled out his camera. It was a very nice tourist job, which was worth more than he had paid for it. He quickly took two images on the 35mm film. By now the sharp bow of the torpedo boat was pointed up in the air, and the deck was pointed towards him. This was going to be the proof, to collect on the bounty the US Military and Kenya government had on any Pirates. He had no idea if Richard had already done so, or not. But he was not going to take the risk of missing a payday. At worst. The images would end up pinned on the wall in the mess area, that showed each of the pirates that they had taken off of the board.
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Old 12-21-2020, 08:12 PM
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Bluenose III 1x 105mm type 75 RCL, 1 x TCM-20 from 75th ground air defense artillery BN. Part owner Richard Mtendere and London native Norwell Lionel
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Old 12-22-2020, 07:02 PM
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Note before reading: You might notice NPCs from the East Africa source book that was release in 2018.

############

Chapter 3 Mombasa

The Bluenose III dropped her anchor well off of the shore in the harbor. They were in a designated small boat anchorage, and out of the harbor’s traffic lanes. That freed up the valuable dock space to those who could afford it, and for those that needed the space, crews, and or equipment that the harbor’s dock area held. The Bluenose had been met at the mouth of the Mombasa harbor, by the powered whale boat based off the Harbor defense ship FF 1064 USS Lockwood. They didn’t have any cargo to sell or to buy for that matter, and so they had been directed to this location in the crowded harbor. The twin lines of now patched bullet holes had been noted, and the cover story used by the twin commanders. Information was power in this day and age, and just because the uniform said US Navy on the correct side of the jacket. That didn’t mean, that they would not try to make a little money on the side by selling juicy bits of data to third parties.

The sun had set some hours ago, and the two boat partners were having a pair of cold beers on the slowly swaying top deck. Having anything cold in this part of the world was strange. Then again, the only way to keep a crew, was to have some perks. Also, if you wanted the food you were buying to stay fresh. You needed to keep it refrigerated. To do this a small alcohol powered generator was fired up, and it ran the refrigerator. It also runs a few lights spread around the ship for four hours a day. It was not a small expense, but it had a high payoff.

Norwell took a slug of his beer and looked over at Richard. “Okay brain trust. Now what do we do?”

Richard was laying back on the top of the low pilot house. He loved looking at the stars. That was something that he had found out late in life. With so little electric light leaking at night, you really could see a lot of them. The German and Polish skies had been cloud covered most of the time, and then you had the trees to have to look through when it was not cloudy. The less said about the Baltic weather, the better. “We have to get “it” to the right people, just like the information about those pirates we ran into.”

Norwell was getting a little short tempered. He had just wanted to contact the Lockwood, and hand everything over to them. The only thing that stopped him, was the knowledge that he knew that he was not a businessman. He was a sailor, now. “And just who would this mythical person be, Richard?” The sarcasm was dripping off every word he said.

Richard came up off the wood top and swung his tan legs down. He pointed to the long boat coming out of the night with an oil lantern mounted on the bow and stern. It was a local water taxi. He finished his beer, and then he pointed to the lights deeper into the main town of Mombasa. “You know who, and there’s my ride. If you have not heard from me by this time tomorrow? Go with your idea. I will not be in any condition to argue.”

Norwell almost choked on his beer. “Her!!! Are you out of your ever-loving Yankee mind?! Or should I just ask if your life insurance policy is paid up, and am I your beneficiary? She is still mad about that kiss you stole a few months ago.”

Richard had a sly smile on his face. “You might be right, but she did hip throw me afterwards. I think we’re square. I trust her enough to get us to see The Colonel.”

The two friends parted ways with a handshake, and Richard climbed down into the Viking long boat looking craft for the short ride to a dock. From there, it would be a cheap bus ride to where he needed to go. He would keep going over in his head, what he needed and wanted to say. Some things were better than others, but he was sure of one thing. He was going to be kicked in the coconuts before the night was over, but maybe that would be worth it.

Richard was looking up at the sign. The bar was hopping with music and voices were vibrating the very stone of the nearby buildings. There was a line out the door, and Richard had to fight down a smile. He was just glad that he had taken a few hour nap, before he had that beer with his business partner. “I guess everyone does go to Ricks, at least once.”

###########

It didn’t take Richard long to find who he was looking for. He just needed to find the loudest noise in the place, after the band. As he walked up to a woman with red hair as she slammed down a shot of something clear. When the double shot glass hit the table. She flat footed jumped up and put a snap kick into the chest of a brick house sized man, that had been just a hair slower than her taking the shot. The living wall with legs went flying back and he didn’t get back up that quickly from the beer-soaked floor. The action was met with hoots of laughter and applause from a gathering of people in and out of uniform.

Richard used the opening in the crowd to approach his target. “Hey, Denise. We need to talk.”

The red head’s head snapped up, and eye locked onto the voice. She did not say a word. She just stormed up to Richard, and for the next half minute. He was blocking kicks and punches that should have broken bones being launched from the red headed woman. When she took three steps back to regroup. Now it was Richard’s turn.

Richard didn’t throw a punch or kick. He was smarter than that, and he was sober. “Commander, this is important. Killing pirates important.”

Richard knew that there were two things that can get this woman’s attention. One was using her rank, and the other was mentioning that it was about killing pirates. There were a few things in this fallen world, that LCDR Denise Moore like more than the navy and killing pirates. The USS Edwards had developed a reputation of being the best pirate hunter in what was left of the US Navy. Rumor had said that some of the larger pirate groups had put a price on her head. So far, all that had achieved, was more pirates going down to see what was in Davy Jones’s locker.

When she didn’t launch another set of attacks, Richard knew that he had her attention. “Commander, we need to find a quiet place. We have work to do.”

Denise and Richard walked away from the group of bystanders near the game tables. Richard gave a slight wave to the owner of this place standing over by the bar. Rick’s American Café was also known as a place where two parties could make a deal. The pair went upstairs were it was less crowded, less noisy, and more comfortable with thickly cushions booth seating. It took Richard almost an hour to cover most of the details of his last mission. He had the camera with him, but the Bluenose did not have the equipment to develop the exposed film.

Denise rocked back into the booth’s thickly padded black leather back. “Why should I believe you, Richard?”

Richard had expected this. This story was pretty incredible. “Get me an appointment with “The Colonel”, and he can have the film looked at. I have two dead crewmembers and a patched-up boat as proof of the pirate attack. That is on top of what we found.”

Denise did not say anything for a few seconds. She made a thin-lipped look, and then exited the booth. When Richard did not join her quick enough, she half turned. “Well let’s go!”

The pair walked out of the club almost side by side. Richard and Denise could both feel the eyes following them, as they walked towards the exit. Some were wondering if the male had finally broken the Ice Queen. Most of the others? They were wondering what had happened, that would get the party animal to stop and go back to work, before the sun rose.

Denise was on her hand-held radio, as soon as they had put a building corner between them and the building holding the club. They would only walk for about three blocks, before a military HMMWV pulled up to them. Now that there were armed MPs all around them, they were safer. They had been dispatched when Denise had pulled out her radio, and she had started the ball rolling. The two people in civilian clothes got into the open back of the all wheeled drive military truck.

The camouflaged military truck pulled up to one of the four main buildings, which made up the US military command structure in this part of the world. The camera was taken from Richard, as soon as they made it through the sandbag entrance of the main building. The first stop was the security office on the first floor, where Richard was almost stripped searched. The next stop was the fifth floor. Richard had a pair of young privates escorting him from the security room to this floor, and into a briefing room. Denise was the only person in the room, when he stepped in and the door was closed behind him. One part of his mind noted that he thought he heard the lock being thrown. It was not unlike being locked in a cage with a hungry lioness.

Denise was still in her street clothes, when she walked up to Richard. It happened to fast for him to react, but she slammed her knee dead center into his crotch. Richard bent over and tears came instantly to his eyes. Now that he could not see, but still more tears came to his eyes. Soon he was down on the thick carpet, and the words “black belt” came to his mind.

It took more than just a few minutes for Richard to recover enough to pull himself off the floor. Even then, he needed the help of an office chair. While he was recovering, he heard the door open and close twice. He had no idea who or how many people had come in. He was still finding it hard to focus his eyes. After what seemed like hours, he was able to make it into the chair and his eyes started to clear. He was very surprised at who was in the meeting room with him.

Everyone knew about “The Colonel” or Lt Col Thomas, but this was the first time that Richard had been in one of the famous Harvester related meetings in person. Richard had been looking forward to finally meeting The Colonel. That was the surprise, which greeted his still watery eyes.

Richard wiped a last tear from one of his eyes with the back of his off hand. “Well Teddy, I take it you are Colonel Thomas.” There was not much more he could ask, even if his mind was back up to speed.

LTC “Teddy” Thomas gave the other man a sly smile. “Good to see you again, Richard. At least we don’t have to worry about someone listening in on this one.” He passed over the camera and a sealed packet of three rolls of fresh 35mm film. “It would seem that your little side project turned out to be real and not the wild goose chase, I thought it was.”

Richard took the camera and the three pack of new film. “It took more work, and it took a lot longer than I expected. But I think the images speak for themselves.”

Teddy was a HUMINT pro and his face gave nothing away. He just opened a folder, and he pulled out a few still damp photos separated by some thin wax paper. He was starting with a pair of images of the old torpedo boat. They were before and after images of the pirate. He put them in front of Richard. “I will make sure you get the bounty on this kill. Why do you think they didn’t use a torpedo on you after you showed how much firepower you were packing on that little tub of yours? Did you recover any of the crew?”

Richard set his shoulders. “I would bet that they ran out of them, or they were broken before they found us. We think that they lost an engine on the attack run, but they kept pushing in anyway. No, we left the pirates for the sharks. We had other things on our minds, after we put a shell into her hull and got them to go away.”

Before anything else could be said. Denise spoke from her spot holding up the back wall. “Too bad you didn’t capture that Type 025 PTB. She would have been great, on Lake Victoria even without any replacement torpedoes. They could have slapped it on an old rail car and sent it out on the next supply run heading that way. That could give some of those assholes on the lake something to think about.”

Richard could not help but let his feelings show. “I lost two crewmembers! And we took on water and other damage, before we could put her under!” He was not going to say, it was his shooting that blew apart the enemy warship. He was part of a crew. “I would have been just as happy, if they would have left us alone. Then you could have dealt with them, the next time you were out that way on one of your Search and Destroy missions.”

When Richard turned to look back at the light colonel, he noticed that the other man had pulled out other images. They were the ones that he really wanted to talk about. Richard had taken almost 20 of the images. Only six were of the outside, and the rest were taken inside the target from different locations. Richard spent the next few hours going over and back over, everything that had happened and what he had seen. He reinforced, that there were other groups in the area. And they could find the target at any time, or they already had found the prize.

When they were done? Richard was given a ride to the Navy dock and a powered whale boat took him back to where the Bluenose was riding at anchor. He was ordered to return to the building for a noon meeting the next day. He didn’t need to be told that he needed to keep his mouth shut about what he knew.

When he came up over the Transom he was greeted with a shotgun in the face. The duty night shift guard was not sleeping. Before Richard could make it to his outside mounted hammock, Norwell came out of the helms station wiping sleep out of his eyes. Before he could say anything, Richard underhanded tosses him a little velvet bag with drawstrings.

Norwell caught the flying bag, and it made an odd sound when it hit his meaty hand. With a quizzical look, he opened the bag. In the full moon light, he could see a few cut blue, red and clear crystals along with a few small gold coins. Richard had come through with payment on the deal. It was not as much as Norwell had expected, but he was not going to bring something like that up tonight. He would wait until the sun was up, and both of them had food and coffee in their stomachs. To do otherwise was bad form

##########

It was noon the next day, and Richard was back in the tall office building. He only had been able to get a whole six hours of sleep, before he had to talk to his business partner. Part of it was to remind him that he was still in the US military. The other part was to explain the light purse, he had passed over last night. The gold and gems were the payment for taking out a not minor pirate warship, and a little extra between friends. It was all the payment that they could come up with, with such a short notice, and keep it quiet. The rest of the payment would only be given after the meeting today. This also might lead to another payday, but he was afraid that the “big payday” would not happen until they could get the prize into Mombasa’s harbor.

That was why he was here now. He had no idea if this meeting was in the same room as last night or not. He had been escorted all of the way from the traffic control point into this room, without even stopping for a detailed security check. Every seat in the room had a name plate set out on it or in front of it. Richard’s was on the back row and near the main exit of the room. He thought it was not a bad placement. He was looking it as it was giving him an easy escape path.

The meeting started about five minutes after Richard arrived, he had not even been able to take a sip of his coffee. This limited the number of looks he was getting from the rest of the meeting attendees. He was in uniform… of a sorts. A weather-beaten Navy Captain started the meeting, without much fanfare.

“I would like to think everyone for coming to this briefing on Operation Looking Glass. It is falling under the broader Operation Harvester mission.” He kept talking and an image that Richard knew well was put on the wall. After all, he had been the one to take the image. “We are going to try to recover the Russian built Skoryy class Destroyer Smotryaschy or DD 455. The ship’s name means looking, in Russian. An independent operator just found the vessel on an island east of Socotra and west of Kilmia, called Darsah. It is a 7km long spit of hell on earth.”

A new image, which was not one that Richard had taken was displayed. “What do we know of her? She was built between 1949 and 1953. We had thought that all of the ships of this class were pulled out of service by the end of 1984. Some of them were put back into service as the war dragged on. She had been originally reported in the Baltic being made ready for combat, and she was moved to the Black sea. From there, we know that she started to cover supply convoys going to Maputo and other points unknown. We had thought that the South Africans got her with the nuk strikes on 10 Dec 1997. She has not been seen again, until yesterday.”

An officer in a navy uniform with a lot of gold, stepped into the briefing with both feet. “Why are we wanting to recover this old tin can?”

A voice interrupted the navy officer, which came from a speaker mounted on the center most desk. Richard had no idea who might be on that speaker, but it would seem that everyone else recognized LTG Harris’s voice without any introduction. “For two reasons. We don’t want anyone else to have it, and as the attack on the refinery showed us. We have a wide scope of threats to have to deal with. The Patriots can cover air and missile attacks, while we have missiles for them. But Mombasa harbor is too big, for just the damaged Lockwood to cover all the area and avenues of approach. We have to keep a second major asset in harbor to cover the other half of the damn thing. And then we had to use a third asset, like the Valley Forge in case something happened to the other two. When we were short on fuel? That was a workable solution, for the problem. Now that we have the fuel flowing again, it limits us. If we can recover and repair her hull and key systems? She will cover the sea and any sub surface issues, at least long enough for a more capable unit to be activated.”

With the smack down laid on the senior navy officer by the most senior officer in this theater, the meeting went on. Teddy had to fight down a smile and took over from the Navy captain. “Plus, your navy types know how hard it is to come up with replacement 5inch rounds. We can reload them, and cast new warheads, but the local made fuses are crap. This destroyer has four 130mm guns, and the main magazine looks to be full or almost full. And I can get more of those type of rounds…….from other sources faster than we can get replacement 5 inchers.”

Colonel Thomas didn’t have to cover about what some pirates might do with that amount of firepower or ask about what would happen if the French recovered it. Most of the people in this room could connect those dots and come up with a good idea of what would happen. At a minimum, it would cause an increase in the numbers and firepower of the escorts needed for any ships going to South Africa, RDF, or back to the States. At the end of the meeting, tasks were broken out. The kicker had been the last image in the briefing before the question slide. It was of the bow of the pirate torpedo boat. The twin torpedo tubes were clearly visible on what remained of the vessel. It was a statement image pure and simple.

When Richard was about to leave the room, Teddy passed over a black plastic film tube with a soft under-hand toss. Richard just gave it a slight shake, and he could feel and hear the movement inside. He knew that it was over half full of cut diamonds. He could have gotten more uncut stones, but they were not worth as much. Richard and his business partner had some big bills to pay. The Bluenose had not been cheap to have built or to keep manned. Two stones would go to each of the dead crewmembers next of kin. The rest would be put to very good uses.

##########

This was going to be one of the largest Harvester missions launched this year. In less than an hour, an Albatross float plane would be taking off with 10 armed men from 1st Battalion, 3rd Group. Another 15 troopers were from 3rd Battalion were assigned to the mission. They would be going out on the Bluenose. Richard needed to quickly get back, so that he could make sure his boat was ready for the short notice high value charter. Both teams were the duty units in the local area for supporting Harvester missions, and on call for short notice very high value missions that might come up from a number of different sources that were not conventional.

As soon as the group for 3rd Bat were loaded on the Bluenose. It would be making a run north at her best speed. If things were found to be………complicated by the team from 1st Bat. More troops would be brought out and dropped by parachute for added support. The parachute drop was not considered to be a good idea. Hitting an area that was only 2.2km wide, on its widest point, was not something you should plan to work.

The heavy firepower would be coming from 30th Marine RGT. They would be taking the Alexander Bonnyman. She would be carrying 4 of the AAVP9s, 2 LAV-25s, 4 gun trucks out of the ready reserve, and 200 jarheads. The salvage tug Solstar would be doing the heavy pulling, and the Forrest Sherman class DD 950 Richard S. Edwards would be the escort and mission commander for the whole mission. They would be leaving in no more than three days, after the Bluenose.

All of this was a major muscle movement for AFRICOM, and it could not be kept quiet for long. There were only two things that could be kept quiet. One was where the action was going to be taking place, and the second was the target they were going after. The Grumman Albatross and the Bluenose left the area spot on time. The flying boat would reach the target area and return to Mombasa, before the Bluenose was out of sight of the harbor.
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Old 12-22-2020, 07:04 PM
cawest cawest is offline
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Skoryy class Destroyer Smotryaschy (looking) DD 455 before her TT were removed for RBU2500 2x twin 130mm, 1 twin 85mm, 7 x single 57mm, 5 TT, max 60 mines or 52 depth charges.



Jasiirada Darsah L 7.1km W 2.2km
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Old 12-31-2020, 09:47 PM
cawest cawest is offline
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Chapter 4: The Island

The Pilot of the twin-engine Grumman Albatross dropped his left wing, and he got a good look at the island he was going to drop off the snake eaters at. He was not impressed, with what he saw. Even from only 400 feet above the waves, it only looked like a large sand dune in the middle of the ocean. The water all around this area was very clear. He could see the area north of the island was shallower, but that would make for a longer walk for the guys in back. And sometimes waves did funny things, when they went from Open Ocean to very shallow water. There was a little bite out of the south west side of the island that gave it a harbor. Well cove would have been a better fit, than a word like harbor. The grounded warship was in that limited cover, and it almost filled the crescent shaped cut in the land mass. From the images that had been in his briefing. The cove looked bigger, from sea level. He was not going to risk that landing in his aircraft.

With another slight movement of the stick, he leveled his wings. The blowing sand gave him an idea of how the wind was moving in the local area, and he was betting that the island was blocking most of it. He only had a co-pilot with him, and the rest were the shooters or cargo needed to support the shooters. The two sets of eyes looked around the open water, and from this high they could not see anything. That was one of the things that was so hard to get used to. This area had been a major shipping lane, and it should have been filled with ships moving from Europe to China or Japan. Now it was the land or water home of pirates. He slowly dropped down to the water going from east to west. He wanted to stop “his” craft before it reached the beached ship.

The water was almost glass smooth as the Albatross boat like hull kissed the water top, and then suddenly a wall of white momentarily cut all vision to the outside world. The water started to grab more and more of the surface area of the flying boat as it lost lift. With a flip of a switch, the twin propellers cut back power to only idle. The plane now boat coasted until it was more bobbing up and down, and not moving in one direction.

The pilot did a quick check. His craft was carrying a rated full load, but thanks to the fuel he burned coming out here. His craft was sitting a good 6inchs higher in the water, than when he had left Mombasa a few hours ago. He slowly taxied his bobbing boat with wings closer to the nearby sand covered shore. He was waiting to feel the sand start to scrape on the hull bottom. Then he could turn his craft so that the loading hatch was parallel to the beach. At the planning meeting, it was assessed that the sand on the island was too soft for him to use it as a runway. That left only a water landing to get some shooters on the dirt.

With only one engine providing power he slowly nosed his craft forward. He had less power, used less gas, but he had finer control of his now boat. He didn’t have any air much less water charts of this island, which were of any use. He just kept his flying boat headed towards the island, at about a walking pace. On a whim, he dropped his landing gear, but he did not lock them down. When he hit shallower water? It should let him know by the feel of the moving sand on the wheels, and it would push up the landing gear.

It did not take long for the pilot “to feel” the sand. He knew how “tall” his landing gear was, below the boat hull part of his craft. He looked at the beach and did a shoulder shrug. Most would say that he did the math. But he really just made a guess and pulled the landing gear up with the hydraulic assist motor. He gave the craft a little more rudder, and then the passengers could “hear” the sand on the bottom of the craft over the light engine noise.

Bill turned around and looked behind his “co-pilot” and with an evil grin. “You boys will have to put out or walk to shore.”

SSG Wilkes gave the old man a look. “You’re not my type. I think that I’ll walk.” When he looked over his shoulder, he could see the grins from his team. They had heard the old joke. “Okay, it’s time to go to work.”

While the detachment NCO was getting out of the five-point harness seat. The side of the craft opened up, and one of the team jumped into the warm water. When he came up out of the blue water, a line was passed to him. He would be the anchor, while they unloaded. He was supposed to swim to the shore and put the anchor in the sand. When he stood up, the plan changed. That proved unnecessary, just like the small inflatable raft in the back of the plane. The water was only a little deeper than hip deep on the best swimmer in the team.

The team quickly formed a human chain in the water, and the float plane was emptied of the supplies that had been brought out with them. In less than a half an hour, after touching down on the underwater sand. The twin-engine float plane was empty of cargo and passengers, and it was starting to pull out into a little deeper water to start it’s take off run. It was leaving behind on the very real desert island. A ten-man detachment making up two SF teams, with a small pile of supplies.

SSG Wilkes was watching the old plane slide across the water and become a full-fledged airplane again. He suddenly felt very alone. He could see the rest of the team watching their only contact with what passed for civilization this late into world war III. Without thinking about it, he knew what he needed to do to get his detachment back focused on the mission.

“Corporal X take Bravo team and check out the tin can. I’ll take the rest of the degenerates and scout out a place to set up an over watch and hide site. Let’s make sure we are alone. When you and your team are done? Come back here and start helping hump this crap.”

Corporal Tim “X” Xzavier took Bravo team. The 5 of them fast walked toward the grounded Russian destroyer. They were lightly loaded with weapons and equipment as they went about the task in a tactical manner. You did not need much, when you were doing close quarters clearing of an objective. It would be AKs/M16s/45s and grenades if they found anyone that wanted to have a fight. It did not take Bravo team but two hours to clear the dead ship. Just as they had been briefed, it was empty of threats and bodies. It was a ghost ship, ripe for the taking.

The second in command made it almost to the top of the dune, that made up the spine of this small island. He could see were a slit trench was already being dug into the hard sand. As he watched a new hole opened in the side of the dune. It was a short tunnel going to the military crest on the other side of the knife edge dune. There would be two short trench lines with bunkers on the ends, one on each side of the crest.

When X dumped his arm and back load of supplies. The SSG looked up from using the sharp point of the shovel to dig out a harder packed block of sand. “Give it to me, Tim.”

Tim gave a slight smile and hopped down into the half-finished trench. “For once, the briefing was right. No one’s here. We found about twenty sets of bones on that point of land, on the other side of the ship. I would say they ran aground, and then ran out of food and or water. We did not find any of those things on that hell’s sized oven. Even rainwater had dried up on her top deck. I’m not a sea born bell hop, but I think she is solid.”

The SSG used the shovel handle to hold up his arm. “That is a first. Help get the stuff up here. Then we all will take a break, and get some water and food. I want everything dug in and undercover as fast as we can. Then I’m going to have to call back to base. The pilot should have let them know that we landed okay, but I want to make sure. We’re going to be here for a few days, but I don’t want everyone to get too used to doing nothing. I soooo do not want another Sudan.”

Tim gave a sour look, and then a slight head nod. They had lost half a team, trying to pull out a few dozen boxes of 122mm rockets. He did not want to have another Sudan, ether. With the addition of five more sets of hands, and a break to eat, drink and to grab a little rest. The rest of the supplies were brought closer to the building trench, and its twin defensive points. Only 8 troopers were working on the defensive and hide site at any one time. The rotation to the two over watching positions gave the whole team a recharge every hour.

The key to making the two trenches and four defensive points a viable hide site. Was that once they got the rough parts done, they had to start “hiding” it. This team had been in Africa for about a half decade, so they had a good idea on what they would need, when the order was given to head out. They did not have much time to get anything special, but you would be surprised what you can get done in half an hour. That is, if you have a huge warehouse and the right drive to supply those needs.

When the trench was about halfway to the needed depth, tent canvas was pulled out and set up over it. It was not the right color, but after a little work to get the pitch of the canvas just right. Some local sun-bleached sand blended it into the background. When it was about two hours until sun set, the whole team stopped working. The trenches and defensive points were not “done”, but they had excavated two tunnels. They had enough space to store all of the supplies needed to live for 14 days on the island without additional support.

Only four of the team members would be awake, after the end of day meal. Two would be awake on each side of the ridge. Very little work would be done on the hide site, after the meal. It was too dark, and the team was not going to risk any light leaking out to give away their location to anyone in the local area. The sun baked sand kept the group warm, as the outside temperatures dropped, and the winds started to kick up. This combination had the makings for a very cool night. If they were seen landing? This would be the time that they would be attacked.

When the sun started to rise. The detachment had a stand-to, and everyone was awake to watch the sunrise. After a visual scan of the local area, going all the way to as far as their spotting scopes could reach out to sea was done. A pair of two-man patrols walked/jogged the 7km island to make sure no one had come ashore, without being noticed. SSG Wilkes had to contact Head Quarters, while the patrols were making their circuits.

He would have to do this twice a day, or until something major happened. He did get one set of good news. He was told that the reinforcing team was on the way. It was coming via a slower mode of travel, but it would be there in less than a week. The main recovery team was still being drawn up and would not leave port for a few more days, at best. The last part was not so good news. Two SF teams were bad news for any local group to deal with. But that did not mean that they could not be wiped out, if enough bad guys showed up.

Day 4 on Darsah

The SF detachment had been on the island for now starting, on their fourth morning. The hide site was done but would be slowly modified, as they had time and ideas to make it more comfortable were identified. They had seen four vessels in the local area, after they had landed. All had been sail powered, and seemed to be fishing boats in nature and in operation. That did not mean much, as most of the local fisherman would turn pirate. That is, if they thought they could get away with it. Each ship had been reported back to headquarters, after they had left the area. Wilkes didn’t think that they had gotten close enough to the island, to see the grounded Russian destroyer.

On the third day of their stay on the island. The mission NCO sent a team down to the grounded warship, after the morning patrol. They went over it from top to bottom. Amazingly most of the weapons could still be turned and elevated under manual controls, after some work. They seemed to be in working order, but his team was light on heavy weapons training. They were able to get two of the 57mm AA guns, one on each side of the ship, to do everything but fire a real round. They found half a dozen spent shells in a below deck ammunition locker to test the weapons. The ready lockers on deck were still half full with live shells. They had wanted to fire the weapons for real, but Wilkes had put a squash on that. He did not want to announce to the locals that they were there. If they needed those cannons? They would test fire them, in live action. Being in the ship during the day was like being in an oven set on max. The internal temperature was well over 100 degrees before noon, even at this time of year.

The sun was just starting to set, when the north side lookouts spotted another sail coming over the horizon. This did get everyone’s attention, but not in a major way. The 10 man team was on alert, but they did not change the pattern that they had fallen into. That changed when it was reported that the sails had turned, and it looked like the boat was heading towards them. The whole team went to stand to in about 10 seconds. Two M60’s, one very battered PKM, and one almost brand new M249 were uncovered on the end defensive points. All eyes were out, but the only threat was on the north side of the island.

The sailing boat had two light MGs, one mounted on the bow and the other on the square stern. That automatically did not make this boat, a pirate vessel. Everyone was packing heat, these days. It was just a matter of how much, and how they planned on using it. Those were the only weapons seen by the team on the island. Both weapons were manned, but the 1-man operators were not “active” in their duties. They looked to be asleep, as they held the deadly weapons. They were not expecting any threat, but they were supposed to look like that they would be ready at short notice. The SF teams kept a count on the number of bodies on the vessel. Soon they had even given a few of them “names”, but the little vessel had at least fifteen warm bodies on it.

The sailboat moved to the west, when it was only a few hundred meters off the north side of the island. It was just before the sunset. They started to take down the sails and a pair of anchors were dropped over the side. It looked like the boat was going to be staying the night. The SF team kept watching the boat, from their hide sites. When all but one light on the boat was extinguished, most of the team was allowed to come off “shift” and get some sleep.

The two SF teams were awakened an hour before sunrise. The time just before sunrise, is one of the best times to attack. That is due to the slow response time of any one awake, your body’s clock is just geared that way. The team would eat their second cold meal, in the last 24 hours. This fact did not even make it into the forefront of their minds. They had eaten cold meals for days on end, on past missions. At least this one was not still squirming when it was popped into their mouths. The team barely spoke as they moved under cover, in the two trenches. They knew how far sound could travel and that possible pirate boat, was well within that distance.

They had just finished checking equipment and getting some food in them, when the number of lights on the anchored boat started to grow. The team when on full alert, as more and more people started to wonder around the top deck of the sailboat. The SF team watched as the crew on the fishing boat below them went about, whatever it was that they were doing. It was two hours of stress, which rolled off their backs like water off of a duck. They all started to breathe a little easier, when the two anchors were pulled out of the water.

They almost fully relaxed when the boat started to move. Then they noticed that the boat was moving west and staying very close to the shore of the island. Being that close to the shore, meant that they were risking the boat to any underwater rock or other obstruction. The team was again on full alert when they saw someone in the mast yell and point to the south. The team knew that the grounded warship had been spotted by the fishing boat.

The team was not going to fire into a fishing boat, not if they didn’t have to. They watched as the sailboat made a hard turn and crossed over to the south side of the island, that held the small cove filled with a grounded warship. It looked like things were about to go downhill for the SF Teams.

###########

Wilkes made his way through to the western most of the two little tunnels to the south trench. He set up beside the group sharpshooter. He could not call just anyone, sniper. That was because he was old school, and this person had not gone through a proper sniper school. That didn’t mean that his team sharpshooter was not one hell of a shot.

Wilkes looked threw a spotting scope, and he could tell that the small sailboat was going to try to land on the island. He was working out what might be the best way to handle what was coming. In a soft voice. “Jill, you think you can give them a warning shot? I don’t want to give away our position, and I don’t want to shoot a fisherman.”

Jill was not the snipers real name, but it was close to Chill and that was good enough for her. She was looking down the scope mounted on her SVD sniper rifle and made a very slight adjustment to her firing position. “Yea, I can. The back mounted MGs is not moving hardly at all. I could get a good slider off of it.”

Tabatha “Jill” Chill was not your normal US military Special Forces trooper. She also had never been to the US, that she could remember. Oh, and she was a woman. She had been born to an American father and a German mother, who both worked at a safari park. She had been shooting for as long as she could remember. It had started with small game, and to keep the rats out of the fodder for the safari park’s animals. She had killed her first poacher at the ripe old age of 16 in Feb 1995. Things had quickly gone downhill, as the Great War of Africa went into high gear. She quickly developed a local reputation, as a hunter of men. That was how she got the Russian sniper rifle. She had “joined” the military, not long after she had acquired the weapon from its former owner.

Now at 22, she was an old hand at the sniping business. She had kept the Russian Dragunov, because of the steady supply of 7.62x54R in the bush. She had made only one change to the weapon after she had taken the weapon off the body of the Sniper, which had killed her boyfriend the week before. That was to replace the optics with some of the great toys the American Special Forces had under lock and key. It was with one of those nice devices, that she was “zoomed” in on the ship moving parallel to the island.

Wilkes let out a little breath, which was almost a sigh. “Do it.” With those few words, he was committed.

Tabatha put her finger in the trigger well and gave the thorn shaped metal a little pressure. The sound in the trench was impressive, but for the ear plugs both were wearing. Unlike in the movies, her barrel was not exposed to the outside world. She was firing completely from within the trench. This little trick kept a muzzle flash from being so visible and a cloud of sand flying around, to be marked for returning fire.

##########

Abdi Risqe Shakh’s head snapped up, as he heard the sound of some high-speed metal hitting hard metal. His long years in combat, had told him that the zipping sound after the metal impact was not an issue. If you heard it? Then it had missed you, and you were safe. The aft gunner was looking wide eyed at the silver smear that had appeared on the side of his machine gun. Now knowing his gunner was alive, and more importantly his weapon should be still functional. Abdi turned to where the gun shot could only have come from.

He had been surprised at the sight of the grounded warship. He had only stopped at this small island, because he needed to get some rest. And he did not trust any of his crew, to keep his ship off any rocks in the night. It was only out of curiosity, that he had started to sail around it. The French and the damn Americans had been very active in looking for his kind of people. Then to his surprise, he had seen the rust scarred ship on the other side of the island from where he had anchored overnight. It was too good, not to want to check out. But now it appeared that the crew was still alive, and that they did not want to risk the hospitality of this Somali based band. Now that he had thought about it, he gave a few orders. He was known to make snap decisions while on the water and this morning was no different.

####

Wilkes kept watching, as the sharpshooter had put the round dead-on target. He had even seen the look on the gunner’s face when the round had impacted on the side of his weapon. He was hoping that the warning shot, would be enough to get the fishermen to leave the area. Someone shooting at you was the universal sign that someone wanted you to go away, and I have a firearm that will ruin your day.

All the SSG could do was frown, as he watched the crew come pouring out of the different access ways on the sail powered fishing boat. Each one was coming out with some kind of rifle. That was all the proof he needed to know, that this was not just the run of the mill fishing vessel. His hopes were further dashed as the vessel made a sharp turn, towards the island. It quickly crossed the few dozen feet of water and ran aground on the wet sand. The now armed crew came spilling out of the wooden hulled ship, in a tidal wave of flesh and weapons. These were not the actions of a fishing vessel, was about all that Wilkes could think about.

The SF team did not need orders to start servicing targets of the new threat. Chill took out the bow MG gunner with a single shot to his bare chest. This took both of the MGs out of the battle that was growing on the beach below them. She had killed the bow gunner, and the ship’s orientation blocked the second MG gunner from seeing any targets. That is unless, he wanted to start shooting threw his own sails or deck.
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Old 12-31-2020, 09:48 PM
cawest cawest is offline
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When the M-60 machine gun started to do its death chant. The pirates knew where the attack was coming from. They might have been pirates, but that didn’t mean that they were not brave. It also did not mean, that they were that smart either. They were going to have to charge, uphill, to get at the defenders. The attacking pirates did not even pause, when the PKM started to fire at them. Maybe they were smarter, because with their ride home now stuck in the wet sand behind them. There was nowhere they could go, but up.

The M-60’s first burst had hit high, and it stitched a line of holes just below the rail line at the bow of the pirate sailboat. Still two pirates fell, as the heavy 10g 7.62mm bullets hit them. The RPK threw up a line of sand fountains, in front of the growing wave of attackers. Wilkes, and the only other riflemen did not miss with their first shots.

The main wave of twenty-three attackers only had SKSs and AK-47’s to defend themselves with. Some of the key members of the pirate band had AK-74s. They were attacking, just like they had been “trained” to do. They were attacking in a running human wave and using their weapons to suppress the enemy with high rates of fire. The Americans, Kenyans, and French just called it spray and pray. They would agree that it looked impressive as hell, but it did nothing against troops that had been trained. And the SF detachment was very well trained, and they had years of combat experience already under their belts.

It only took a few seconds, for the whole ten-man team to fill into one side of the paired trenches. They were shooting from the high ground, and that can cause a few issues, for green troops. This team was not green, not even a little bit. After a few little adjustments, the second burst of fire hit the human wave. The SF teams were not going full rock and roll with their weapons fire. They were using short burst of 3 to 5 rounds at a set of targets.

This was a dance they had done many times, and this time it was almost like range time. The zone of fire or impact zone did not have any cover, and the targets were coming toward them. It was just too bad that the SF team had been in such a rush, and the rest of the north side team had not brought the 2 MGs from the north side trench with them. But the added firepower from the 16s, had an effect on the attackers.

The attackers were only 200m from their home, when the mass attack fell apart. They had left over a dozen bodies behind them, and that had been enough. The surviving attackers broke into two major groups, and a bunch of individuals that had dropped to the ground. One group tried to fall back towards the sailboat, and the other one tried to put part of the metal hull of the grounded warship between them and the devils on the ridge line above them.

Chill and Wilkes saw the pirates break, and both tracked the more organized group heading towards the destroyer. Chill put a round in the lower back of what looked to be a leader of the group, and she gave a self-satisfied smile when he fell face first into the wet sand. Wilkes elevated his weapons and a 40mm grenade went out the tube. After so many years in combat? He knew that the round would land, where he had wanted it. The wild card would be if there were any enemies in the area, when the explosive filled round landed.

Wilkes could not help but flinch, when Corporal X fired off his M-79 Thumper only 4 feet from the SSG’s head. The two flying explosive filled packets landed only seconds apart, and within 4m of each other. They caused a pair of donuts of death, and three single shots later. The whole group nearest the warship was bleeding out into the sand.

The rest of the team poured fire into the backs of the retreating enemy. Four pirates made it back over the side of the sailboat. If they would have stopped firing and reset the sails. The SF team might have let them go. But after they scaled the side of the boat, they started to try to return fire towards their tormentors. One had even tried to make it to the bow mounted light MG.

That did not go over well, to the people neck deep in the trench. When there were no more threats on the beach. All of the fire started to fall onto the fishing boat. Chill was kept busy by firing round after round into any sail covered movement, which was near one of the two MGs the boat carried. Then a fire started, and it was not weapons fire. It was good old cave man level fire. The SSG called for everyone to stop shooting, as the flames started to take hold. He had to wait for five minutes of not a round being fired by both sides before he could take the next step.

########

“X take your team and check out that sailboat.” The SSG was scanning the area below threw the iron sites of his weapon.

X nodded and yelled for his team to follow, and he jumped out of the trench and started to jog down the slope. The second team would give them any cover fire, which might be needed. The first group moved smoothly, and they didn’t slow down to check any of the bodies they passed. They were halfway down the hill, when X waved his 2 point troopers and fastest runners to make for the now burning boat. The rest of the team would be there to give any needed fire support.

The two men sprinted with weapons at the ready, the last 500m. They were barely breathing hard, when the pair made it to the side of the boat. As X watched, much to his horror. As his two man team went over the side and onto the pirate boat. They should have waited for the last three members of the team to join them, before doing something like that.

###########

The SSG saw the first two men go up the sides of the burning boat. He did not understand what was going on any better than Tim. When he pulled the field glasses from his face? His blood went ice cold in his veins. With a quick order, only Chill and the 60 gunner would stay in the trench. The other two members would join him, at the run, going down the hill. They only slowed down to grab shovels, to go with their rifles.

Tim made it to about 4m from the side of the boat. Now he understood why part of his team had gone up the sides of the boat. He could hear the just muffled screaming and thumping coming through either and open hatch or threw the side of the wooden vessel. Several images flashed through X’s mind. He orders his team up the side of the burning boat. While he is giving those orders, he sees his boss and two teammates running down the side of the hill.

He had no idea what was going on today, with everyone breaking combat rules. He threw up one hand and decided to wait at the base of the boat, until the SSG could explain to him what the hell was going on today. He did not have to wait long. The SSG had leather lungs.

From almost 200m away the SSG started to yell, and clearly be heard at the boat. “Get the fire out!!! Get the fire out!!”

X had no idea why the SSG was worried about the fire. Then he looked up and saw the tall pillar of black and white smoke rising into the air in an ever-growing size. In his mind, he saw it as a finger of god pointing down for the world to see. That was so not good. SF teams did not make a habit of wanting others to know where they were.

X and his two team mates quickly attacked the burning boat with their Kabars and machetes. They started to cut off anything that was burning or looked to be getting close to catching fire. They didn’t know that much about sailing craft, and in this case, it was to their advantage. They were worried about fire, and not their safety, or making sure the boat would remain operational after the fire had been taken care of.

Wilkes was almost to the side of the still growing inferno of a boat, when he saw four bodies being thrown over the side of the craft. They were still hog tied and looked to have smoldering hair and clothes. One part of his mind noted that they were tied up, and not an immediate threat. He focused on stopping the growing threat. With a quick flip of his hand, and Wilkes’s rifle was across his back and out of the way. It was time to do some hard labor, and not shoot something.

With eight people now fighting the fire with knives, ship’s buckets, and the last one was best not to look too closely at what they had held before the fire. With shovels of sand being thrown up from the beach. The fire was first gotten under control from spreading any further, and then they started to put out the fire. A big step in that had been when one of the team had been able to use a found heavy bladed ax. He had quickly cut down part, a major part, of the aft mast. He had not needed to cut all the way through the mast. He was only about a third of the way through, when the tension and weight pulled it down and put a lot of burning material into the sea in a single large splash.

X was panting for breath, and for the first time he truly looked around. The boat was sitting lower in the water, and it was surrounded with floating or half sunk flame scarred and smoking junk. The wooden boat was still smoking, but his teammates were going around putting fresh wet sand or sea water, on any wisp of smoke. He almost fell over when a big hand slapped him on the back. He rocked on his toes and turn to look into a soot covered face.

###########

The SSG gave his Bravo team leader a tight smile after the heavy pop on the back. Then he pulled out a small handheld radio. They only had two of the devices. They used to have more but, between the Nuks, combat, and just wear and tear. They were down to only two of the devices that still worked.

“Jill, what do you see?” Wilkes released the button and waited.

“Boss! We can’t see anything on the horizon on this side.” The voice stopped for a few seconds. The SSG knew that Chill would have sent the only other person in the trench with her, to the other side of the ridge. After it seemed like there was not any threat to the exposed team fighting the fire.

Wilkes was brought back to the real world, when squelch was broken. “Mouth said that the north side is clear. The smoke is blowing south by southeast, and it seems to be thinning out. We have some clouds coming down from the north. That might blend in, and cover some of the visible smoke.” Chill knows that there were very few ways to cover the smell of smoke, but if the clouds would make it harder to see where the smoke had come from. It would cut down on the threat, unless someone was close enough to smell the burnt stuff.

“Thanks. If one of you two see anything, let me know ASAP. We are going to start Post Battle, as soon as this hunk of junk stops smoking.”

Wilkes looked at X but pitched his voice to carry. Bravo team! Keep this POS from catching fire again and check her out. Alpha team! We get to do Post Battle on the beach.” The SSG’s orders were met with groans from both teams. That did not mean, that they wouldn’t do the assigned jobs with skill and speed.

Wilkes hopped over the side of the boat. He quickly could see that the boat was sitting at an odd angle. All of the water and sand had seemed to have changed the center of balance of the little vessel. He had no idea if it would be salvageable or not. That was not his lane. There would be some navy pukes out here soon. They could figure that out, he had other ideas on what was worth saving. Something was twitting his combat sense, and he was trying to work out what it was. As he was looking up at the now visibly thinner and lighter colored clouds. He felt a rock move under his freshly landed left boot.

Wilkes’s head shot down, and now he noticed all of the crabs moving around the beach. He could not remember the last time that he had seen this many crabs moving around in the day light. As his eyes moved around the beach. He noticed that the dead bodies were covered with them. It didn’t take him very long, to work out what all of the crabs were doing. Not after the screams started, anyway. They were eating the bodies.

The image of the four tied up people landing in the sand flashed threw his mind, as he ran towards the sound of the screams leaking threw his weapons fire damaged ears. They were coming from the other side of the boat. Wilkes skidded around the sharp bow of the ship. As soon as he made the turn, he could see four bodies writhing in pain and covered in different types of crabs. Only the pair that were not fully gagged, were telling the world about their pain.

The SSG hit turbo, and full sprinted to the first body. He had to use his bare hands, to sweep some of the crabs away from the face of the first POW. He received more than a few painful clamps by the powerful claws. Wilkes just sharply wave the stricken hand in the air, and the claw arm would be pulled out of the crab. It took him almost a minute to get the flailing hands cut free, so that the man could help defend himself against the many leg monsters.

With the hands free, the man did not even try to finish removing the gag, he just started smashing the assaulting crustaceans. His legs were still flailing, and the SSG had to dive onto them so that he could cut the ropes. It took a few tries, but when those ropes were damaged enough that the man could break them. Wilkes went to the second person, this one had a gag fully in his mouth, but now the SSG could hear the muffled screams.

Now that Wilkes had some experience on what to do. He cut the legs free, before he started to work on the arms. By the time he was heading to the third person, the first person was helping him. At first, he was pulling the crabs off one at a time. That was before his higher brain functions kicked in and helped hold the arms, so that the SSG could cut the hands free. The fourth man was closes to the water and was covered with a thicker blanket of the animals.

The first man yelled something in French, and the four strong group assaulted the crab infested ungagged man. They were too late. The fourth man stopped moving, before they could get the ropes cut. One of the crabs had finally eaten down to the femoral artery and cut it, with a clip of his three inch long claws.

Wilkes wanted to collapse on the ground, but after seeing crabs everywhere. He just put his back against the sides of the burnt sailboat. He was spent. Between the long night, a short battle, a run down the spine of the island, fighting a boat fire, and then battling a million crabs. That said, his battery was done. He was huffing and puffing to recharge his body with O2 and get the CO2 out of his blood. While he was trying to recharge, he watched the three men. They were beaten, you did not get black eyes, broken noses, and lips like that from a crab’s claw.

When they also joined him in the shade of the boat, they did not sit on the ground. It would be some time, before they would ever sit near water waves of any kind. Wilkes looked over at the three men, and he could not help but have a thin-lipped look on his face. “Well, you all don’t look like Somalis. French?”

The SSG was rewarded with three heads nodding up and down. “Well at least they understand English. That will be a help.” Thought Wilkes.

Now that Wilkes had caught his breath. He needed to get back to work, and he went into command voice. “X get over here! We have some friends, which need some looking after!” Besides being the Bravo team leader, he also was the group’s field medic. He was not trained as an 18D, but he could hum the tune. And he was pretty good, after all of the experience he had gotten on the job during this war.

While X checked out the surviving Frenchmen, Wilkes needed to check out his team. The rest of the group had started first to check out if any of the pirates were left alive. They would move any found alive, to a holding area. Then the rest of the team that was not helping patch wounds, or on over watch for new threats. They would start to look over each of the dead bodies.

Wilkes would be the one searching the dead bodies. It was a gruesome job, but it had to be done. Before nuclear weapons had started to fly and cities started to disappear under mushroom clouds. You would only search for items that might generate some Intelligence for your military or civilian overlords. After a few years of war? You would search for Intel, and to collect any weapons. That was to keep them out of the growing number of marauder’s hands. By now you not only wanted to keep them out of marauder hands. Your own unit might need those weapons, and any recovered ammunition you could find. Even after all of these years in combat, putting your bare hands on a dead body was not a natural thing.

It did not take long, for a pile of useful and maybe useful items to start to grow. During one of the SSG trips to the two piles, after field stripping a crab covered dead pirate. He looked over, and he could see what might be six bodies laid under what was left of some of the sailing canvas. He knew that they were not his people. He would have been told by now, if any of his people were hurt that badly. When the SSG’s arms were cleared of the Chinese made SKS, a half-filled bandolier of ammunition, and a pair of cheap maybe handmade knives. He walked over to see what was going on.

He was only about a dozen feet away from the shade covered area when he could see that none of the wounded were his, and that they were not on the ground. He was not surprised. He doubted that he would ever eat crab again, even if it was on a menu he could afford. X meets him about three steps from the stretched-out sail.

Before the SSG could say anything. X knew what was coming. “Six, all theirs. And I will not be able to save any of them. At least not unless, the rest of the group gets here, or we can get them to a better than average hospital. Damn crabs!!”

Wilkes could not help but shudder at the words and tone that had been used by X. “Have you ever heard of anything like that?”

X got a lost look in his eyes. “I don’t know? I know they will eat anything dead. But I didn’t think about any blood covered or only slightly moving target near the water line. That was enough, to finish off most of the wounded. They were eating them while KOed from shock, but very much alive. They had just bled out between the gunshot, frag wounds, and the little monsters making their own or excavating the existing wounds we gave them.”

“How about the Frenches?”

X did a chin nod toward the half burn pirate boat. “They are okay. The three that are still alive were healthy enough to kill a lot of crabs, by thrashing around. Until they could not move any more. They are dehydrated and could use some food. They are not talking, beyond anything related to medical needs. I bet they are DSGE, or they were trained by them.”

Wilkes nodded his head. “Keep them down here. We are on the same side, but you heard the rumor about Kony and his group. Do you have enough to take care of them?” It there was no help for the gravely wounded pirates. They could use a mix of heroin and cocaine to let them go to sleep at least without pain.

X gave a slight nod. He would not “release” someone, unless he knew that there was no help for them. He would contact headquarters back in Mombasa, to find out how far out the rest of the team might be. He thought that he was going to lose one or two pirates, before he could get into contact with them. It would be his call to make and he would only give someone a shot, if he needed to. That was just how it was, in this part of the world. The time of helo evacuation, and then a direct jet flight to a major hospital in a first world nation were long over.

Wilkes looked up at the ridge, and then to the two piles of recovered items. He didn’t want to drag all of that stuff up that steep hill. Then they would have to dig another few holes, which he would have to cover to keep them from being seen by any unwanted eyes. Then he looked over to the ship. The tide was going out, but the warship’s hull would not be dry at the low tide. The old crew had used a pair of chains used to launch the small warship’s lifeboat for other missions. This team had now set up a chain ladder to assess the old warship, but the two sets of lines were still hanging down from the old destroyer.

With a slightly evil grin, he went about his plan. A small boat was pulled off the bow of the pirate’s boat. It might have been a lifeboat. But more than likely, it was a launch to act as a tug to dock the pirate ship in a harbor with unfavorable winds. It took about half an hour to patch a few bullet holes on the long boat. Then it was put into the water, and salvage was loaded into the small boat. They would tie a rope to the bow, and the other line to the warship. It would be pulled up to the deck of the warship, and then unloaded into a room in the aft deck house.

It would take three loads of the small boat to clean the beach. It was not due to the huge amount of stuff, but the mass. The hardest part had been collecting most of the spent brass out of the sand. The pirate boat only had its twin mgs pulled off. Anything else would have to wait. The pirate ship did have a few supplies, which had proven to be useful. They used boarding hooks with long lines to drag the dead bodies into the sea water. They wanted to clear the beach of crabs, and anything they might like for dinner. Each person had their own images of sleeping in the trenches and waking up with crabs starting to eat them in their sleep.

The sun was directly overhead, and the temperature was still not to its maximum. That was when the last body had been dragged into the knee-deep water, no one wanted to go deeper into the warm ocean water. The crabs, and sharks were known to like the scent of blood. And there was now a lot of blood in the ocean right about now. The last six bodies were the only ones that were not covered by crabs. They all had died from their different wounds. X had not needed to use a full shot. He only had given them enough to take most of the edge of their pain away and then their wounds had done the rest.

The walk back towards the ridge defensive line was slow. Part of the slow pace was the need to help the three very weak Frenchmen up the steep sand dune. It was noticeably cooler under the cover in the trench, then on the surface of the dune. Water was broken out from one of the deeper hand dug caves. It was as cool as could be found on this island. Field food, some of it was MRE’s or some local made dried food, was passed around. The three Frenchmen were given a double set of bags of food. Wilkes took his time eating, drinking cool water, and relaxing. He wanted to be as rested as he could, when he was going to have to update headquarters. He had kicked around the idea of not sending the message, until it was time to check in. That was only a wishful thinking thought, which he knew he could not do. He just hoped the three new additions would not try something, before more US forces made it to the island.

#############
Note.
The idea about the Crabs came from watching a Documentary show about looking for Amelia Earhart on an island in the Pacific. What they did to a pig carcass was scary.
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Old 01-03-2021, 12:03 PM
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Chapter 5 Day 10 on Darsah

Bluenose III arrived not long after the sun had come up. The SF team had gone on full alert, when the tall sails caught the first rays of the sun before the water and hull received those golden beams. The only thing that the team knew, was that it was another sailboat which might or might not be armed. All they could do was watch, as the vessel got closer. Weapons were pulled into cheeks, when the sails were reefed, and the vessel visibly slowed down.

They only relaxed when the radio speaker gave a set of codes, which only the Captain on the reinforcements would know. While the sailboat was tied up to the stern of the warship. Wilkes and X walked down the sand dune. The rest of the team and guests would stay under cover. They were acting as lookouts in case the small ship was followed by a threat. Plus, there was going to be a lot of hot work getting the 15-man team off the sailboat, with all their equipment. Wilkes knew that his team was running low on energy, after being out on the pointy end of the stick for over a week. It took a lot out of the ten men team, which had to keep 4 people awake at all times.

Wilkes took the ex-pirate launch out to the sailboat, with the star and stripes flying from her stern. They would have to row out to the two ships in the small cove. The tide was high, and Wilks was not the best at the oars. It did give him time to see SF troopers starting to move on the top deck of the old Russian destroyer. Seeing members of 3 Batt made him put his back into the oars.

The SSG had needed some help getting up from the almost water level launch, to the deck of the large sailboat. When he came up on deck, he was nose to nose with the barrel of a cannon. It was a heavy weapon that his people had not noticed, when the boat had come in. He quickly looked around the boat. Rowing down the 390-foot length of the warship, had taken a lot of energy out of him. He noticed that the sailboat crew had somehow rigged up a lift system on their aft mast. They were using it to move cargo and people to the destroyer’s stern, which was over hanging the sailboat’s deck by at least a dozen feet.

Wilkes’s eyes just looked back around in time to see a man in an army uniform coming his way. He had two dark lines running down the sides of his k-pot. When they were closer, the SSG put out his hand. SF did not do sniper checks in the field. “Captain Black, It’s good to see you. I heard about that little job your team did last month in the Northern territory.”

The other man gave a sly smile. “And I have heard good things about you, SSG. I understand that you turned down a promotion to LT, after your last little dance with the bad guys.”

The older man felt a little heat come to his face. “Sir, I’m an NCO. I like being one. We don’t have to deal with so much dog and pony. Now, if you don’t mind. You’re late, but we were not expecting you until tonight from our last update from Mombasa.”

Captain Black gave a soft chuckle. “You know that sailboats are faster under sail, than they are under power by diesel engines. We had an almost head wind, and the captain got tired of doing something called “tacking”. He dropped all the sails and powered up the diesel engines. We were making about 8mphs until the winds shifted late yesterday, and we were able to get back up to full speed. Now give me a sitrep.”

SSG Wilkes gave a more detailed report. He covered about the pirate attack, and the recovered Frenchmen. That had caused the Captain to ask about captured pirates. When he was told that there were none. The Captain had given the NCO a dark look. This caused the NCO to take the gloves off, and he went into detail about the crabs. He did not spare the details, and the Captain went pale. He shot a few looks over the side of the boat at the blue water. The SSG got the Captain back on track, when he covered the two heavy weapons on the Warship his team had been able to get “operational”.

The new team would be staying on the two boats. The three Frenchmen were brought down and would also spend the rest of the time waiting for the fleet to arrive at that location. He had more people to keep an eye on the possible French Intel agents. Wilkes team would be able to rotate a pair of the detachment members to the newly arrived sailboat. That was to have a saltwater shower, and a real meal. Everyone was going to get one saltwater shower and a hot meal a day.

The rest of the day was spent with the sailboat crew helping the new SF detachment and HQ team get set up on the warship. The rest of the day was busy as two different detachments of SF and the boat crew had a lot to do. All the while someone was keeping an eye out for any threats. The only issue had been when Captain Black saw a small group of boat crew take their meal on the beach. The SF Captain at first wanted to yell a warning, at the last second, he closed his mouth and went to talk to Richard and Norwell.

################

Richard shot a look towards the still slack jaw Norwell. “Well, that explains the bodies we found, on the first trip. I bet they got weak from lack of water and food, and the little monsters came out for a free meal. I think we will need to put out rat guards on the lines, before we go to night shift.” He gave himself a visible shake at the mental image of a line of hungry crabs coming up the anchor lines in the middle of the night.

Richard had been looking forward to going over and checking out the half burnt out pirate boat grounded on the other side of the warship. It would have been near or after dark, which just happened to be the time when crabs were most active…normally. That plan had just been flushed down the old ship’s head. Richard did another shudder, when he thanked the SF Captain. Then he went towards the bow to do a little yelling, and to let some rumors start running.

The night was dark. Not one light was visible from any of the three key locations on the island. The hide site on the ridge, the three section teams on the warship, and the small sailing boat that had been moved from the stern to the amidships near the bridge. Light discipline was ingrained almost to the genetic level, for most of the SF personnel. The sailboat crew had learned a few things, or they would have all been dead by now.

##################

Suti Ali Harut looked up and found the star he was looking for. He had been sent out by his commander Arai Mahomed. They had two of the group’s ships turn up missing in the last few weeks. The first one was a major asset. Even if it was on its last legs. The second vessel had been carrying four French infidels. The group leader had plans for those Frenchmen. A powerful group inland of his units had offered a very large ransom for the French nationals. Suti did not know what was going to be traded, but it was rumored to be big…. very big.

That was why Suti was out here. He was going to follow the planned and normal routes his group had been known to use. He had been ordered to find out what had happened to the payday. So far, he had not seen any sign of his group member. It was not unheard of, that one of the group’s ships would have a problem. Suti decided that he was going to start checking the smaller islands. Another set of two different search teams were going to check out the “normal” stop over points.

He trusted his crew. He would come off shift in a few hours, so that he could get some sleep. His back up captain would have the rest of the night shift. He had even spent time training some of them himself to be better at their jobs. He had plans to grow into his own taxing group. To do that? He needed trained and trusted boat skippers and heavy weapons experts. He didn’t know how long it would be, before he could split off. It would heavily depend, on how good he was at collecting any “extra” taxes. If he could get a cut of this rumored ransom? That would speed up his timeline, into getting his own group set up. He even had his own little harbor that he was going to take over, when the time was right.

###########

Thanks to the hide site near the top of the ridge. The sailboat and the two teams on the Smotryaschy, had only had about a half hour warning. The sailing boat had pulled down her sails and had only her thin masts to catch the first rays of light. Still that short of notice, was enough to get everyone ready for the visitors.

Suti Ali Harut looked at the island highlighted by the rising sun. He was coming in from the east with the sun at his back. His man was lashed to the top of the mast looking around the water. This had been his punishment for being found sleeping while on a previous night shift. He had been the first of his crew to see the ship grounded. This had gotten the whole ship’s crew moving. Suti had shifted his boat to come in, with the sun more at his back. He had a bad feeling about this. He had orders, but finding a grounded warship was too much to not take a few hours to spend checking it out.

Jake was on one of the 57mm anti-aircraft guns. As it just happened, the sailboat was coming up on the side that was opposite of where the Bluenose had been tied to all night. Part of the HQ team was also the detachments heavy weapons experts. He had never used a 57mm gun, much less any AAA weapons. That didn’t mean that he couldn’t figure it out. The first team had oiled the gears and had done a few checks, to see if the weapon worked. Jake had spent most of the first night checking out and working the different gears to swing the weapon around. Saltwater and steal were well known not to mix very well, and it was worse when you added time to the mix.

He had not been able to fire the weapon, but he had 2 of the four round clips on the loading tray. He had the other two members of the heavy weapons team holding more of the clips. These were clips, not magazines. And they were not light, with each of the 4 rounds weighing over 6 pounds. When he had taken his seat. He had slowly moved the barrel to point towards the possible threat. As the sailboat moved toward them. He would only make slight movements and never in two dimensions at the same time. He did not have his finger on the heavy trigger, but it was close. He had an ear bud plugged into a small push to talk radio; Captain Black had a matching one. If or when the word was given? He could put a round down range, very quickly.

Captain Black was getting updates every few minutes from the SSG. With the sails down, the over watching team could see the twin light MG on the nose of the approaching boat. There was no way to see if the weapons were loaded, but there were two people standing behind the improvised gun shield. That did not mean that it was a pirate, but Captain Black was leaning more and more that way. They were not flying a flag, but with the fall of so many governments. Was that really that important anymore?

Then he gets the report, from the ridge. That the rest of the crew was armed, and they were eating handfuls of leaves. It did not take long for the Captain to know what he needed to do. There was only one reason that people in this area would be eating what he thought was Khat and packing automatic weapons. He was looking through the heavy duty and dirty binoculars mounted on the side of the bridge.

“Sergeant. You may fire into the pirates.” The Captain’s voice was steady. It was his call, but he had made harder calls in his life.

A quick set of booms sounded from that center of the ship. The Captain watched as three water fountains erupted off the bow of the approaching boat. Only one round hit the boat, and the last round overshot the narrow vessel. The reply was a long burst from the homemade twin mount 7.62 machineguns. A few of the rounds did hit the warship. It was a large and nonmoving target, but the metal hull shrugged off a few light rounds with contemptuous ease.

Suti ducked when he had seen, not heard, but seen the gun flash from the midship’s deck house of the warship. He had started the twin powerful motors under his helm, with a flip of the switch while he was still ducking for cover. He was just about to start spinning the wheel when one of the rounds hit his ship. The round blew up on contact, and it blew at least four of his crew over the sides. This was not a wreck. It was a live warship, and he did not want to take on one with his limited crew and weapons. He had a grin on his face. There was no way that a grounded warship would catch him. When he returned? He would be leading every ship and shooter the group had or could call up on short notice. Suti was thinking that maybe, he would be able to take over this group and let the current leader start a new group somewhere else.

Suti was focused on thinking about how his world was about to change. His vessel was the fastest one in his group of pirates. It did not matter if it was under sail or engine power. The only ships that were faster, were all of the prewar military vessels. But those were wearing out and the fuel from the tanker that had run aground, was also running out. His vessel used the power of wind and alcohol. He never noticed the sailboat coming out from behind the grounded warship.

#############

Norwell had an evil smile on his face. The wind was blowing in the right direction, if the other boat started to flee the way it had come. When it had been fired on, and then fled on inboard engines? He was moving with the wind behind him, but he had not yet deployed his sails. Captain Black had already talked to the boat commanders, about what he was going to need them to do, if they ran into any pirates at different stages in the plan. He had modified those plans when the twin leaders of the Bluenose had made a few pointed suggestions. The twin salvaged truck diesels came to life, and his ship started to move. The crew was quickly getting the sails raised, and soon they would be moving at a faster pace than the engines could push alone. It would only be a matter of time, for the newer ship to catch the fleeing pirate vessel.

Richard and Norwell had orders to try to take any fleeing ship, which were not known to be a pirate. If they turned out to be a Pirate? Then they were to take whatever measures, they felt was needed to stop any future pirate attacks. The Bluenose did not know why the SF team had fired at the other boat, but the Bluenose would try to get them to stop. If they could? Great! If not? Then they had a plan for that also.

Suti was still dreaming about the riches he was about to receive. His distraction might have also been because of the light smoke coming from the hit near the bow of his ship, or it could have been that he was thinking about having to deal with a crew that was freshly hopped up on Khat and no place to vent it off. It really did not matter. He and his crew did not “notice” the other sailboat quickly catching up on them.

That is until he noticed the great billowing sail he had never seen before, was seen out of his peripheral vision. He started yelling orders to those that were near him. He could not believe that another vessel was not only staying up with his vessel. It was starting to pass him!!! Then he noticed the dreaded red, white, and blue flag on the stern. That was all most of the crew needed to see. 7.62mm rounds started to fly from the pirate craft towards the hated American flagged ship. It was wild firing, and it might not have been the best idea on the pirate’s part.

The gun fire coming from over a dozen shooters on the other ship. That was enough proof that the other ship was a pirate, and they still wanted to fight. Richard was thankful that the twin light machineguns, on the bow were not in action. He had noticed the torn-up deck near the weapon, before they had started to pull alongside the other vessel. Then his aft mounted twin 20mm turret open fire in retaliation for the AKs. The heavy RCL was not that great at hitting a moving and maneuvering target on the open ocean. It was call catenary, and it was a level one bitch to have to deal with it. The TCM-20 had two 20mm autocannons, which is to say that they were just a really big machine gun. It was not a single shot weapon, like the 105mm RCL. It could afford to miss with a few dozen rounds to get one or three solid hits.

As soon as the other vessel had started to fire at the Bluenose. Norwell started to open the distance between the two sailboats. It was more of a reaction, than to any real plan of action. It took four bursts of fire from the aft turret, before it scored its first hit. Some of the Bluenose’s crew had already started to return fire with lighter 5.56 and 303 caliber rounds. They were not hitting that much, but it was getting close enough. Richard could see that some of the other crew were ducking, but too many were standing back up and firing back at the Bluenose.

There seemed to be a slowly growing number of shooters in one group, about were the ship’s wheel should be. Richard was about to direct the heavy automatic weapons to fire into that area. That was when a long twin line of 20mm shells stitched a line from the water line to and threw the group, and then they went higher into the rigging. Richard could “see” the tracer rounds as they crossed his field of view. That was when Richard and the crew of the Bluenose found out that alcohol and 20mm tracers do not mix.

The 500L fuel tank was only about half full today. That meant that it was half full of oxygen. That was enough to have an active reaction, between the 20mm burning tracer round lodged in the fuel tank and the fuel within the thin metal tub. Another round had caused a leak in the fuel, before the fuel air mix was right. The ship was blown in half by the reaction. One second the twin turret was about to put another long burst into the fleeing ship. Then things…. Changed.

Then there was a flash, which blinded the crew of the Bluenose for a few seconds. When their eyesight returned? All they saw was a shower of burning wood, sails, and parts of bodies flying through the air. The vessel had been separated from below the water line. Even that part of the hull had been crushed. There would not be any Intel or salvage taken from this pirate. That was both good and bad. At least now they did not have to worry about keeping an eye on captured pirates, to go along with the three Frenchmen. It also meant that if there had been anything of interest, like the motors and weapons. It was all going to the bottom of the ocean.

It took almost an hour, and more fuel burned by the Bluenose, to make it back to the almost full cove. Norwell was starting to get a little concerned about the fuel, he knew that the old warship had dry tanks. They already were under half a tank. The rest of it would go quickly, if they ran into many head winds and/or they needed to make a quick rundown south. Getting weather reports had not been a thing for over a year. Who knew when they would be getting anything like a weather radar report again? It was like sailing the waters in a crazy mix of 1800 and the 1990s.

#############

4 days later

The team on the south ridge of the island, of course, were the first ones to see the relief force approaching the island. Without a tall mast to support a great expanse of light colored sails? The ships were not seen, until the ships were only five miles from the island. The Alexander Bonnyman was the first ship to “land”. The captured vessel closed to within 900m of the island, before its great doors on the bow started to open. Soon a ramp was extended a few meters into the water of the now drifting Polish made ship.

This was a first for the SF team. On all of the other missions they had been on? They had worked with locals, Kenya military, British and American army units. But mostly they had worked with what little remained of the United States Airforce. They were amazed as the 4 AAVPs came charging out of the dark tunnel and flew into the water. The four “APC” s popped up to the surface, and the low freeboard tracks slowly made their way towards the beach.

The 4 AAVPs fanned out in front of the LST. When the bridge could “see” the amphibians that had been launched out of the bow doors. It started to slowly advance towards the island again. The four floating heavily armored APC’s were clearing the way for the LST. When one of the tracks started to rise out of the water, the LST’s Captain picked one of the tracks to follow almost at random. He revved up the massive engines and the 5,000ton ship and cargo started sliding up the soft sand. The ship did not even make it high enough for the bow to fully clear the waves. A second metal grate of the loading ramp was lowered and as soon as the ship had stopped moving, two LAV’s rolled through the shallow water and small waves onto the dry beach.

Captain Black used the one surviving pirate long boat, to leave the grounded warship to go to the now crowded beach. As soon as all of the AAVPs made it fully onto the beach. Two of the four tracks stopped, and marines came rushing out of the back. They would search the local area, while the four tracks made their way towards the target of this little operation. The ground teams would set up visible defensive points near the warship. It was very hot to stay on the Smotryaschy, but at least they did not have to worry about sand getting into any fold of skin or piece of clothing. The time for hiding from any passerby’s was over.

The rest of the fleet made their way towards the cove. The small salvage tug slowly made its way to the stern of the warship. The escorting Forrest Sherman class vessel, armed with her 3 single 5inch cannons, 2 twin turrets with 3inch cannons, and some anti-submarine weapons would stay off the island. That was very heavy firepower, for this part of the world. It would be a very bold, heavily armed, or very dumb pirate group that would now challenge the maybe new owners of the old Russian destroyer. She would not spend all of her time doing loops around the 7km long island. The US Navy just did not have enough fuel to keep up with games like that.

###########

2 Days later


SSG Wilkes, Captain Black, and Major Strain were walking along the beach on the north and east side of the island. As they walked, they could see the odd skull or rib cage spread out on the sand. This area had been found the day after the battle with the pirates. The SSG had already found what he thought was a Russian uniform. It was assumed that this was the area that most of the crew of the Russian ship had died.

Major Strain looked around at the bodies. He had a sour look on his face as he took it all in. “That explains the crabs. They got use to looking higher on the beach for food. I’m glad that I have all of my people bunking on the LST, with a duty QRF team sleeping in the four AAVP’s. They are to support the awake team in the trenches.”

There was a 4-man team walking around the area not far away from the leaders. One was walking around the area with an odd-looking large PVC pipe box, which was hanging off of a large Marine’s shoulders. It looked like a frame for a huge hoop skirt of some kind. Periodically he would stop walking and point to the ground. Then some of his 3-escorts would pull out small shovels and they would start digging into the sand. The SSG could not figure out what they were doing, but there were three other teams just like this one currently walking around the island.

Captain Black beat the SSG to the punch. “Sir? What are they doing?” He was pointing to the group nearest to the water line.

The Major looked away from the bones, and towards were the SF Captain was looking. “It’s something we picked up, when we took over that island off Kenya. The pirates had buried some nice things, before we paid them a visit. One of my boys was doing some extra duty. As punishment, he had been given an old handheld mine detector. I was told about the corrective action, on the second day of his punishment.

That was after he had found the fourth TM-46 and the third case of 7.62x39. Now it’s something we do anytime. That we are going to be still for any length of time, which might have been held by an enemy combat group. I looked up as much information about this class of vessel, on the way out here. She can carry 60 mines or 52 depth charges. The area that should be holding them, is completely empty. The crew might have decided that it was a good idea to hide somethings, after they ran aground. At worst they will find old brass, which we can take back for reloading.”

############

The Captain of the Solstar was looking towards the grounded warship. He absently minded rubbed his uniform shirt with his left hand. He was not in full uniform, finding pants that fit him had been an issue. Besides he was not “regular” navy, in any shape or form. While he might not have been navy, but he knew how to salvage. He looked over to his fellow expat Brit. “So, Norwell? What do you have for firefighting gear?”

Norwell did not know how to take the question. Fire was not a good thing on a mostly wooden boat full of cloth, ammunition, and about 500l of fuel. So, he knew exactly what firefighting gear he had on hand. It was a lot more, than what was normal for a vessel of her size and mission set to have on hand.

Later that afternoon. Richard and Norwell were looking over the side of their vessel. A 10hp motor was running at full power. It was pulling water from one side of their vessel going up a hose, that lay across the boat’s deck and going into a water monitor mounted on the other side. The water nozzle was pointed down at the water. The sea was only about a meter deep at this location. The firefighting hose was pumping out water through its tightest nozzle setting. The jet of water was blasting the sand, which was holding the bow of the ship. It was not moving that much sand, but every little bit moved was thankful by the Solstar.

Aft of the Bluenose, there were lines being run out of the salvage ship. The modified tugboat had started almost touching the aft part of the grounded 2,300ton ship. The tug had dropped a large elbow pipe below the water line. It would direct about half of the thrust water down into the sand below the vessel. Slowly it would move away from the warship, blasting an underwater trench as three lines were played out from the aft of the Tug. It would keep going until the depth of water was reading that it was 6 meters deep, without the trench.

They would be doing this all night. Both ships would be moving toward and or away from the grounded ship. It would not take that much electrical power, so they would keep going while the rest of the crew on the two ships got some sleep. The largest population of people awake in the area, were the SF detachments and the Marines. The team on the ridge could see further, but the night vision devices on the LAV’s and AAVP could see better, from their lower position. Still even with the work and additional personnel, there was not any light leaking to give away their locations.

########

Arai Mahomed, no Admiral Arai Mahomed as he liked to be called was not happy. He had now three missing ships. At least that son of a dog Suti’s radioman had been able to get out some information, before he had been cut off. Another one of “his” ships had been close enough to see smoke in the sky a few hours later. They were too far away to know what was causing the smoke, but it was in a part of the ocean that it should not be.

It had taken him some time, to get most of his fleet ready for combat. Now he was on his way. He didn’t know what might have happened, but finding a battleship on the beach? That was something to good for him not to risk sending every ship and man that he could. According to the one report and hoping that Suti had stuck to his search pattern. That left only one island, which this “battleship” could be grounded on. He checked his charts and the clock swaying on the wall. He should be on the north side of that island, by noon.
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Old 01-06-2021, 06:53 PM
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Chapter 6 Noon the next day

The Solstar was on the second try of the day, to pull the Smotryaschy off the sand. The first attempt had not worked, to no surprise of the captain and crew of the Solstar. He had just wanted to see how stuck it was on the ground, and to see if the wreck could take the strain. Much to his surprise, on the second try. The ship had moved almost a full meter, after two hours of pulling. That was why the spring was put out on one of the heavier anchor chains. This would give the small ship about a third more pulling power, at least for part of one good pull. Then the math was not so forgiving.

The Solstar was just about to start pulling again, when a warning was sent to the whole fleet. The SF team reported that over a dozen vessels were heading their way. The whole area went on high alert. That stopped any more trying to pull the ship out of the sand. The whole group kept getting reports on the movement of the small fleet of ships. It was clear by the flags flying, that it was not a friendly visit. It was just too bad that the destroyer covering their mission, had been checking out a radar return about 80 miles to the west. She was on her way back, but it would be some time before she would be returning to the island. The Solstar, Bluenose, and the Bonnyman were heading away from the island. They were to pull out and keep going until they were about two hours steaming away. The Captain of the Bonnyman had thought that his twin 57mm would be very useful, but they were ordered by Major Strain to stick to the plan.

#############

The fleet of The Islamic Sea Warriors made the turn on the east side of the island and was rewarded with a rare sight. Arai had not been expecting a Battleship. He was a little let down when he saw that it was “only” a smaller warship. Still, it would make him the king of these waters, well after the French and those damn Americans were taken care of.

The Russian designed Shershen class torpedo boat had been late of the Egyptian navy’s Red Sea squadron. She had been returned to service at the start of the African War. When that country had fallen into chaos after the Aswan damn had been breached, the vessel had been “lost”. Now it was the flagship of The Islamic Sea Warriors, and Arai Mahomed was at its helm as the point of the whole fleet. He had been a well healed businessman, before the war. He had even done the Hajj, before the latest round of wars had broken out.

His scanning of the grounded warship was interrupted, by a burst of cannon fire from the island. His eyes went wide as he saw the top of the bow mounted twin 30mm AK-230 get blown off. He reacted and the bow of the flagship turned for deeper water, at almost 40knots. When he was able to get his boat turned around again, so that he could see what was going on. He could see two lines of tracers reaching out and touching two vessels of his fleet.

Arai felt a well of pride. As all of his boats were returning fire from their many different machine guns and other automatic weapons. Then his heart sank faster than it had risen. The fire was coming from two tanks, and they soon were aided by 4 heavy machine guns from some small turrets on larger ugly boxes on tank tracks, and four 6x6 gun trucks. Their fire was not as accurate as the pair of wheeled tanks, but it was an impressive volume of fire.

The pirate fleet was still holding its own, and they were tacking to land almost 350 low skilled gunmen from their crews. He started giving orders to the few vessels, which still had working radios. His vessel was not designed for this kind of fight. Now that he had lost one of his twin gun turrets, his main firepower was the twin 21inch torpedoes. That and the three radios, his generators could keep powered. He was thinking about replacing the emptied two rear most torpedo tubes with a BM-21 launcher. He had seen where a vessel like this one had that set up, but it was underwater due to a 3 meter wide hole where it’s bow used to be. It was currently resting in only a few hundred feet of very clear water. He had still wanted to recover that vessel, but his group lacked the equipment, trained personnel or even enough expendable cannon fodder to do the job.

One thing Arai had learned early in his new career, was to keep a full 360 degree lookout. The gun fight on the beach was drawing many of the eyes on the boat, but not all of them. It still took some time, before he realized that his most experienced lookout was kicking him in the shoulder and pointing towards deeper water. He was screaming at the top of his lungs, but the pirate commander could not hear him over the three M-503A diesel engines running at high RPMs. Now he was wishing that the Pot Drum Radar was still working.

Arai could see the smudge on the horizon. It did not take long for the smudge to grow into an image that made his blood run cold. The demon ship Edwards was coming for him. After the first run in with this demon Jinn vessel. Arai had been planning on sending the Satan spawned ship to the bottom of the ocean. That was why he had spent so much time looking for and buying every Type 53-56 torpedo he could get his hands on. So far, he had only been able to find four of those high-tech weapons of war. But his people could only keep 2 of them working at any one time, and he was not going to waste time carrying broken weapons. One was a Russian made weapon, which he had paid top dollar for. And the other one was “just” a Chinese make KE version.

With a tap on his chest to touch the Koran in his pocket. He turned the ships wheel and went to go after his white whale. Soon the three engines were going as hard as they could. The vessel could not make its top speed, for a number of reasons. It still was faster than the old Forrest Sherman class destroyer. He had paid well to find out everything he could about this ship, over the last few years. He knew that this ship did not have a surface search radar, which could detect him at under 10km. If he could get that close, without being seen? He would be able to fire his homing weapons at the American sea demon.

############

LCDR Moore was leaning forward in her command chair. She had been checking up on a reported submarine for the last day and a half. There had been a growing number of reports, of a pirate submarine working in this part of the Indian Ocean. She could not risk, not checking on a halfway decent report of this sneaky little bastard. That is until the report came in about the fleet of pirates approaching the location of her primary mission. Now she was burning as hard as she could to get back to that remote island. At least the SF team on the ridge could give her an order of battle list of this pirate fleet.

She was bringing all of the firepower at her command, like a hammer of the gods. Moore had been fighting her ship for years. She knew its strengths and her weaknesses, like missing a surface search radar. She had made sure that she had lookouts on both sides of the bridge wings, and another set up near the aft most of her smokestacks. Her vessel was launched in 1956, and her navy officers were of the 1990’s generation. Her commander had been used to having all of the nice toys, but that did not mean that she didn’t know how to work under today’s conditions.

When it was reported that a torpedo boat was racing out to meet her? She put on a grin, that a great white shark would have envied. When the Edwards was brought out of the museum to replace combat losses. The US Navy did not have enough time or resources to bring her all the way back up to being a top of the line warship. They were more worried about getting her guns and engines working. So, for her? They did not put in the Nixie system, much less the Prairie/Masker systems to defend against a torpedo attack. But that didn’t mean that this would stay this way. She had been at least modified, so that they could be added later. Hope springs eternal, until the Demon Murphy crushes it like a beer can under your boots.

When the Lockwood had been repaired, as much as they could. It was found that she would never sail the high seas again. The high-speed geared steam turbines on the Knox class ship, were just too complex to reproduce with a couple of old repair ships. That didn’t mean that she was not going to make one dandy of a very slow (even for her class) harbor defense ship, that is if they could get a few more very hard to find parts. Even being crippled she had been able to sink two terrorist boats, and she had stopped more than a dozen other attempts to attack the harbor. She just could not safely survive on the high seas. This had led to a few opportunities for USNAVAFRICOM, after they were sure she would not sink at the pier side. Any weapons she could not use were pulled off, so that she could both support the rest of the fleet and make room for the needed modifications to make her a more effective harbor defense ship. Some of those toys had found their way onto the Edwards.

Moore kept her eyes on the approaching PT boat and waited. She was betting on two things. One was that the bad guy knew that her ship did not have working a surface search radar. The second was that the bad guy had not been trained on how to use his boat effectively. When she saw the burst of smoke coming from each side of the PT boat, she let her teeth show.

“Hard to port!! Roll the Nixie on the starboard side!!” Moore held on, as her ship reacted like a racehorse.

The old destroyer escort made a hard turn, and one of the few torpedo decoy devices recovered from the Lockwood was released over the side. As the warship made her very sharp turn. The Nixie was left behind, until the line supplying power to the device went tight. Then the little device went from about 0 to 27knots with a hard tug, and she started to work the voodoo that she could do so well.

##########

Arai was saying words that the Koran would have frowned at him using. Both of the expensive weapons went out the forward pair of tubes, just as they were supposed to do. Then things had gone sideways. He had seen both weapons fly through the air and hit the water, in front of his hard charging boat. One had taken off at an even higher speed than his impressive command could turn. He had been very surprised about the speed of the weapons. He had been told, that they were faster than any boat Arai had ever seen by the weapons seller.

The second weapon had come out of his port side tube. It had been his very expensive Russian made weapon that had passed all the test that they had known how to do. That had been the weapon, which he had been least concerned with. That might have been why he did not see it make one final dive, and head for the ocean bottom. Arai had no idea that he had a double failure with that weapon. And that second failure had saved his life. The old Russian built weapon not only had a main engine failure of its kerosene-oxygen turbine. It also had a detonator failure of its warhead. When the torpedo hit the sand bottom, the 307kg of high explosive did not detonate on impact with the hard sea floor. That would have blasted the lightly built 170ton aluminum hulled PT boat into a bad memory.

Without any weapons to challenge a real warship. Arai turned from the battle as the first blue and white-water fountains erupted around them. Arai did not care if any of the other ships followed him, or not. He was more worried about his own skin, as it dawned on him that he was being fired at by many large caliber weapons. With quick turns of the wheel, and careful not to fall into a pattern his boat slide side to side. Soon the enemy was out of sight, and so was the Jinn infested island. As he looked around the local sea moving passed him at 40knots. He was thinking, that maybe, the hunting was better and safer higher up into the Red Sea.

##########

Back on the Richard S Edwards. Her commander was hanging on for dear life, as the great vessel makes the power turn. As soon as the vessel was on its new heading. She bolted out of her chair and ran for the nearest bridge wing. It was her job to deal with the torpedo in the water. Her XO would take care of the enemy PT boat. With the completion of the massive high-speed turn, it had unmasked two single 5inch cannons. This class of vessel was different than most other WW2 class ships. Instead of having your main guns in a pair of super firing turrets forward? They were mounted on the aft of the vessel.

Those two single mounted weapons were starting to throw shells toward the now retreating PT boat. With two fast and wildly evading ships? It was going to make it nearly impossible to score a hit, without guided weapons. The rapidly increasing range also was compounding against the hit probability. Each gun captain mentally selected to only fire 10 rounds without a hit, before calling off the firing. They knew that 127mm rounds were getting very hard to find back in Mombasa.

While the cannons were firing, the helm’s officer and the captain were still trying to save the ship. She had expected the enemy to fire the torpedoes right at her command. That was great, if you were watching a WW2 movie. That was not so great, when you were using guided weapons of a certain capability. The 54MPH weapon had to waste time and energy in a turn to pick up the wake of the target. She knew that the Russians like to use wake homing torpedoes in most of their small surface combatants, and Moore had used this knowledge to her advantage.

The weapon was almost twice as fast as the Edwards. But it could not just charge up her wake, after having to pass it to pick up her wake to track on it in the first place. After finding the target, it had to do a kind of S pattern to keep “seeing” the target vessel. This cut down on the closing rate that the weapon could generate. Seemingly at random Moore would call out a course change, as she watched the harbinger of death closing in on her and her ship. She was recalling all of her training; from the counter submarine training she had undergone in the Gulf of Mexico. Suddenly 300m off the stern of the speeding warship, a great fountain of water rose into the air. It was just far enough away from the stern of the destroyer, to not cause it any shock damage.

When Moore returned to the bridge? She had a big smile on her face. When she saw the look on her XO’s face. She gave him a slight shrug. “Fishing for Torpex. You have to love it, when you can finally reel a big one in.” Now with a straight face she addressed her XO. “Pull in the line and pull out the reserve Nixie. I’m just glad we didn’t have to run both out. That would have been a pain to keep both of the power lines from tangling, as we did our fishing.”

It took the Edwards half an hour to make it back to the grounded Russian warship. They were joined by the other three ships on this mission at almost the same time. The only other action the Edwards saw, was when the bow twin 3inch turret opened fire. It took only four sets of double rounds to send the last, largest, and retreating pirate ship to the bottom. It burned and quickly sunk three miles off the coast of the small island. The same island was covered in smoke made by many things that should not burn.

There was not any need for fire support from the warship. The ground battle was over, by the time she was in range to provide any covering fire. All that was left, was to take care of the wounded and the dead. While the ground teams were cleaning up the battlefield on the island. The Solstar tied up to her spring buoy only a few minutes after coming into the cove again. She gave it one more try, and she was rewarded by almost sinking. That attempt and recovery after the attempted pull, gave time for Moore and the ground teams to have a meeting.

##########

Just before midnight.

Moore was tired. She had just sent the Bluenose III back to Mombasa a few hours ago. She was carrying the first and smaller SF Team, along with the three surviving Frenchmen. They were very short of fuel, and just trying to keep fresh water for the larger number of crew and passengers would have finished emptying those tanks. Still, she would be a little faster getting home than the rest of her fleet, and that had its uses. She started to review the briefing from the ground team. It was not pretty, even after all of these years of war. She still was affected by death, but it affected her more if they were people under her command.

The ground battle had been bloody. They had one damage LAV-25, three non-operational AAVP’s, and all 4 of the gun trucks were shot to hell. They had grounded the LST again and used the only remaining LAV to help recover all of the damage vehicles. The SF HQ team had lost most of their heavy weapons team. The 57mm AA gun had a gun shield, but the shield had not stopped the 14.5mm API rounds that had been fired at it.

Those had not been the only losses for the ground units. The Jarheads had 8 dead and almost another two-dozen hurt. All of the dead and wounded had been transferred to the Edwards. She had the freezer space to keep the dead, until they could be handed over to Graves Registration back in Mombasa. She also had the best medical facilities to handle the wounded. They had even been able to collect a dozen living pirates. Those captives were staying over on the LST, it was not like she could just leave them in the water or for the crabs. They had a cabin, which could be used as a brig with very little effort needed to get it ready. The LST had not been overloaded on this mission, mainly because the USN was that short of support.

The large SF team, Marines, and with help from the crews of the LST, Destroyer, and one or two from the Salvage tug. They had cleaned up the battlefield, again. They had used the operational LAV and the last AAVP to recover any heavy items from the grounded pirates or pull to shore the flaming wrecks of their vessels. Heavy, was defined as anything that four very strong marines could not lift on their own. Besides the heavy weapons and ammunition the pirates had used, other things were recovered. The engines were very highly prized, and not only by the navy. Most of the vessels had at least one, but three of the shot-up pirate boats had three powerful engines that could be recovered. Most of the marine engines already had been modified to burn alcohol, those were almost as valuable as the recovered heavy weapons. Those heavy weapons had ranged from belt fed 7.62 machine guns going all the way up to a 37mm AA gun, along with a dozen RPGs recovered.

The work had been going slowly, until the crabs showed up for a meal of the dead. That had gotten the survivors and walking wounded moving to finish the details at a very rapid pace. All of those recovered supplies were moved over to the now very crowded and overloaded LST. The Tug and the Edwards did not have the room for them, and still do their primary missions. And the Smotryaschy needed to be as light as they could get her. The more weight they added to her hull? It would only make it harder to move her off the sand.

With so much fire and smoke, there was no way to keep this mission a secret from the larger area. All of the ground teams would be pulled off the island, after the post battle clean up. They would be staying on the boats, in case they had to leave in a hurry for some reason. After seeing the crabs starting to work on the dead bodies of the pirates? The ground personnel had been overjoyed at the news that all of them would be sleeping or otherwise staying in the hot metal hulls when not on an active detail on the beach.

##########

The Captain of the Solstar, was waiting for just the right time as he scanned the water moving around his little ship. The tide was coming in and he was not going to wait until it reached its maximum height. That would be cutting it too short in his experience. Suddenly with a wave of his hand to the helmsmen. The throb of the engines started to grow, and he looked over his shoulder at the thick tow line. He could see the water being twisted out of the line as more and more stress was applied to the nylon core. He had been on this boat long enough, to know when she hit her limit just by what his ears and feet told him.

The strain was building in both ship and man. “Let the Alexander Bonnyman know they are to start pulling, and to let us know when they hit the rev limit.” The captain was in his element. Gun fire scared him to death, but this was right in his wheelhouse.

The Captain of the salvage ship moved back to the helm station and waited some more. Off to his port side, he could see the Polish made LST start to move, very slowly. The tow line came flying out of the water from her stern in a flash of bright yellow. Soon it was also, under heavy strain of trying to pull the old warship off the sand. He could hear the lines “singing” in the cool night air as the yellow lines were pulled. That was not a good sign.

“Okay let the Edwards know, that they are going to be needed after all.” If another line was not added soon, both lines were in danger of parting under the load.

Now the captain went back to the starboard wing of his little craft. The borrowed night vision device was attached to a mount for tonight’s operation and mainly for his use. He had just got the devices settled onto his face when a third line came flying out of the water. The two best ships for this kind of work, were the tug and LST. The Large Slow Target had the torque to pull her fully loaded hull off an enemy occupied beach. Now it looked like they were not going to have enough power for tonight’s work. The Edwards only had a single shaft, and her prop was not designed for this type of work. It and her hull were designed for speed, not this kind of torque loading.

Just as he was starting to worry that they would not have enough power, to get the target off the beach or the lines might break. He did not know what they would do if that happened. He was also worried, that if they put too much power into pulling on the stern of the old warship. If they put too much load on the grounded ship. It might rip off or otherwise damage her watertight hull and ruin the whole reason for this mission. Then he felt his boat move. He did not need to hear the report from his team on the tow. He could tell that it was coming off the island. He felt his vessel jump and start to move…. to fast way to fast. “Cut the Edwards loose!!”

Ten seconds after the bellow. The thick line between the two small warships went shooting threw the air with a whip crack. The team on the old warship would have used two heavy fire axes, to cut that tow line. As soon as the heavy line was cut. The rate his ship was moving dropped suddenly. It didn’t stop moving, but it was not moving as quickly as it was just a few seconds ago. With a smile, he returned to his bridge. Now all they would have to do was recheck the tow’s hull, rig up a bow tow line, back up, and then make the trip back to safe harbor.
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:12 PM
cawest cawest is offline
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Chapter 7 Post Mission.

Teddy was in his office taking a heavy drink of something that should not have been in a military office. He did not even take his feet off his desk when the door opened. The room was dark, but for a light on his desk. There were only a handful of people, which could make it into his private office. He didn’t even raise an eyebrow, at the sound of ice hitting glass coming from his built-in bar hidden in the dark room. When the sound of someone sitting in an overstuffed chair and the leather squealed, now the LTC looked over to his boss. “I heard that you flew in this morning. How is the baby?”

Lieutenant General Jonathan Harris took a deep slug of the amber liquid. “Mother and baby are doing well. I had some issues to workout, with some of the local government types. I figured that I would swing by and get a one-on-one update on this Operation Looking Glass. I have to admit it was a good name for that mission.”

Teddy now dropped his feet on to the tile floor. He reached over and pulled a thick file out from under a stack about a foot high on the corner of his desk. “They are still looking at the Smotryaschy, but she is going to be renamed the USS Looking, as soon as she is out of the dry dock. The Tamir 5 sonar works, and the Marines found the missing parts for the Redan 2 surface search radar. The air search system is still not working. I was told, that if we can find a fire control radar for a SA 4/6/or an 8. Some of the locals can use them for parts donors, and get it working again.”

Teddy looked over his reading glasses, but his boss was stone faced. “Her hull has some thin spots, but they will be working on adding a few steel plates to those areas before they re-flood the dry dock. It turns out that she was down to about a 75% load on 130mm ammunition, and the 57 was over half empty when they got her into the dry dock. She also has no torpedoes, mines, or depth charges. The three launcher systems looked to be in working order, but who knows. Both of her 85mm AA guns are gone, along with any ammunition for them. The engines should be able to be repaired, to a point. She is basically World War 2 technology, and that is something the locals and the repair ships can deal with. If they are given enough time and materials, they can work miracles. She will only need to have one engine, and that is to power the lights, electronics, and AC. The other boiler and engine combination will be a backup, if they don’t need it for spare parts down the road. If she only has one engine? She will be able to move on her own power around the harbor at about 14 knots. The problem is with the reduction gears, she will only have one set. The other one is only good for a boat anchor. This did let them yank out the second electrical generator. Someone came up with the bright idea to hook it into an existing steam power plant, to supply more power to the nation’s power grid.”

The General looked over his glasses, at the head of ISA in Kenya. “And the cost?”

Teddy made a face and looked at his boss. “Four of the gun trucks are going to be used for spare parts. The engines and transmissions are… well shot. The armor and weapons will have to be moved when they can find suitable vehicles as replacements. One of the AAVPs is going to become the new parts donor, for the rest of the fleet. Fixing the armor is not that much of an issue but turrets, tracks, weapon sites, and suspension are totally different animals. The same is true of the second LAV-25. The good thing is that the wreck will get two other LAV-25s back into operation. I sent you the list of dead, and the ones that will not return to full duty and those that will. I think over a dozen dead is a steep price, for a rusty ship that is going to cost us even more to get back into operation.” Tonight, Teddy was feeling every one of those dead and wounded on this mission.

This was why Harris was here. Teddy might be the head of ISA and had his fingers in almost every pie in Kenya, but every person has his limits. He had been getting reports, which said Teddy was starting to burn out. The Big Boss had his own little Intel net. “She will allow us to add one more warship to our counter pirate missions, and other mission groups in this area of the world. During the mission, they took down one of the largest pirate groups between here and the Suez Canal. It would have been nice to have at least sunk that Mol class PT boat. But one PT boat was taken out, and one or two hard to find torpedoes have been taken out of enemy hands. That does not count the dozen other pirate boats now off the seas. We know that this mission removed almost 400 pirates from one part of our waters. Besides the warship should start to have crews learning their new jobs by the end of the week. They recovered over a dozen useable marine engines, and another dozen that will be used as spare parts. The 37mm, the 14.5’s, the 12.7’s, and smaller caliber machine guns will be very useful, and we can find the ammo for them. I would call that a very good return on our investment.”

The General knew that Teddy had a sour spot about the DSGE. After talking about the golden apple, it was time for the worm. “I had the three surviving Frenchmen flown out two days ago. They are still not admitting that they were DSGE or telling us what they were doing, that got them caught by pirates in the first place. I understand that the group could not move fast enough, to get away from the water’s edge of the harbor. I have a feeling that they were be of two minds, of eating every crab in sight or throwing up at the sight of one of them on a dinner plate.”

Teddy looks like someone had kicked him in his genitals. “I hope you got something for them. I wish you would have let Zebra team talk to them. And then dump them in the harbor, when they were done with their bodies.”

Harris did not even move a millimeter at the statement of torturing and killing three possible members of the French intelligence agency. “The French became very friendly, when I used my video teleconference to show the image of the survivors. I don’t think their boss believed me about how the fourth man had died. I bet that it will be a very in lightening interview when they get home. They sent a C-160 down filled with some ATGM missiles, a pallet of 155 rounds, and some high value spare parts we needed. I might have gotten an APC, if I had pushed it. I will settle for them thinking that they owe us one. That should drive some of their more narrowed minded bunch right over the edge. I also was passed a note, to be sent to a “Messieurs Mtendere and Lionel”. The General gave a raised eyebrow as he spoke the two names that he had seen on a few reports already.

LTC Thomas only raised an eyebrow in reply to his boss’s unasked question. Having possible French Intel assets working in their backyard could cause problems. Then again? That might be useful to try to pull information or push the right kind of data to the DSGE. It was a double edge sword, but that kind of thing was the new normal for Intel work in this part of the world.

Harris met the eye contact, with the knowledge that the message was sent and received. “I left the notes with one of your staff before coming in. But it did get me thinking. This is the second major recovery, which came from a third party. How do you think that we can use these independent prize hunters more effectively?”

The two men spent the next few hours working on a list of different ideas. The pros were long, but the cons were not small either. Teddy had to call in half a dozen of his team to work on the idea, before the two men kicked the idea fully over to Teddy’s small but very competent staff to flush out. Both men thought that the next few weeks would be interesting. The hard part would be managing it and keeping the wrong people from finding out about to many of the details of the operation.

##############

Captain Richard Mtendere was sitting in more meetings than he had cared for, after the Bluenose had returned to Mombasa. The first one had been no sooner than the lines had been attached to the dock. A Navy commander had boarded the ship, carrying a leather letter case. Richard and Norwell had been pulled to the aft most part of their vessel. They were out of the way of the group helping the Frenchmen and SF team unload. In a very quiet ceremony, both men were given “papers” that said each man now held the rank of Captain. It was of the O3 kind, not the O6 of the navy type. Richard had raised an objection, but he had been met with a very level look from the officer until he shut his mouth again. Richard could tell that this man didn’t want to be here, anymore then the two boat owners wanted him on their vessel.

Now any time they were in port. They had an open invitation to attend a private Harvester meeting. The Bluenose was still in a full dry dock, and she had been in that dock for the last week. It had taken a week, for a space in one of those things to open up for her. They were just lucky that the port of Mombasa had those, and still had the people that knew how to use them. Richard and Norwell were paying for the dock time, out of the profits from their part in Operation Looking Glass.

The ship had needed the dry dock to repair battle damage to the hull, and the engines needed some looking after. Getting a slot in a dry dock was not cheap, but this had not even cut that deeply into the funds they now had “in the bank”. With the ship in the body and fender shop. He had time to check up on the mission, and to see the first of a new type of Harvester meeting. Richard had been very surprised when an O-2 had hand carried the invitation to his hotel room. He had only passed along a message two mornings before that he had free time to use his pass. The one that he had been given on first returning to Mombasa.

Richard looked around the room in one of the key buildings that the US military used in Africa. He shot a smile at LCDR Moore, and she returned a single finger salute back at him. That only got a chuckle from Richard. She was still sporting a shiner from the party two nights ago. Not everyone in this room had been involved in the active parts of Operation Looking Glass. LTC Thomas was not leading this meeting. He was in the room, but not in uniform for some reason. There also were faces that Richard had not seen before. This put him on edge and his inner voice was telling him that something was up. From some of the looks he was seeing this was not a “normal” Harvester meeting.

A very tired looking army Captain walked up to the metal frame briefing stand. She was the commanding officer of the Military Intelligence Company or MICO. She also was, more or less the head of Colonel Thomas’s staff. She punched a button and the central screen lit up. Even her voice sounded tire to Richard’s ears. She had put in some long hours getting this latest hair brain idea off the ground. She had not liked the idea, much less giving non cleared personnel access to some of this data. But she had to admit, that the last mission had been very productive.

She took a deep breath and looked at the back wall. “I would like to think all of you for coming to today’s meeting. I would like to congratulate and inform you. That all of you, have been selected to become the first group indoctrinated into Project Prize Hunter. If this proves to be fruitful? It will slowly be expanded. I will warn you! That some of the data you will have access to could get our people killed, if the wrong people find out about them.”

The whole room was now on edge. Some had even shifted in their seats. From one of the side doors, a group of people in uniform started carrying in white cardboard boxes of files. All of the eyes in the room were watching, as the new group put boxes of files on a table near the far wall. Two very hard to find laptops were pulled out, and soon they were displaying a screen with blue back grounds as they were waiting to be used.

The Captain waited for the rest of her staff to finish getting all of the gross and distracting movements done. “As the name suggest, we have a list of prizes we want you all to find and report or more hopefully find and recover. First, we would like you to check out any Boeing 707’s you can find. Not every 707’s is going to have the same value to us. We are really looking for the 123 or 820s models. Their P&W J57 engines are needed for our B-52Gs and KC-135s. I have no idea what airframe will get the parts, in the end, but both craft are in high demand. The P&W JT3Ds engines on the 707-820s are needed to support the H model BUFF. If that might be too big for you to handle? We can use 122mm MRL rockets. We also have a Team that needs some support, to turn seaweed into biofuel. They need long and large dimeter high heat capable pipes and the like, to do some fast heat transfers. Also be on the lookout for any SA 4 or 6 sites.”

The female kept going on, with her prepared briefing. After the first hour, she had opened the floor for any questions. She would address most of those questions, before continuing with her briefing. The whole meeting lasted for two and a half hours. When the captain had stepped away from the metal frame, the room had quickly broken into smaller groups. They had descended on the other military Intel people and files along the one wall like a starving man on a finely cooked steak.

Richard was hanging back from the crowd and avoiding Denise at the same time. He had his eyes open as well as his ears, as he moved around the room. He had a note pad, but he was not using it at this time. He did not want anyone else to notice, that he was keeping track on what was being looked at by the other groups. He quickly found out that, as far as he could tell. That everyone was looking at data related to possible land based recovering missions. Then he noticed that there was a stack of files not being viewed. They seemed like they were related to the post mission briefs on the four major convoys, which had made it from the states to his little corner of hell.

He absentmindedly picked up a pair of thick folders from the set up folding tables. One of them was dated Nov 1997, and the other was marked May 1999. Richard flipped through the first one, and his eyebrows went up into his hairline. In a low voice he started talking to himself. “Well now, that is interesting.”

He did not see or hear LCDR Moore come up behind him. She had been moving into strike, until she saw the target reach for a set of files with Navy markings on the cover. The red head had an odd little smile, as she slowly moved away from the one-time target. Now she had to go tell the MICO commander, that at least one hook had been set. You did not send a good fisherman out for bluegills, you sent them out to find your Blue Marlin. Besides, she could always practice her football techniques at a later date.
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  #11  
Old 01-12-2021, 09:14 PM
cawest cawest is offline
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this closes out book 1. i hope you all liked it.

We will see how book 2 Gold and Zambezis works out
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  #12  
Old 01-13-2021, 04:46 PM
Lurken Lurken is online now
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That was a very good read. Spreads some more light onto the African theater. Thank you.
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