Both Scott and Andrew had taken an instant liking to these two officers, no attitude, no superiority, no questioning about their reason to be there and most important of all, their comments about the Jean. Both men had been more than impressed during the tour which only confirmed what they had been asked to report back on anyway. The Commander came straight to the second reason why they were there.
"When we stop a boat that we suspect could be a mother boat we hold the crew in the wheel house while we search it and a month ago found a device that James recognised as a tracking receiver. We kept it of course so we could keep it on the bridge and see if it reacted. We assume they are planted on ships when they are in port so that these people could follow and attack. When it went off we followed it and surprise surprise, it was you! We were coming to Colombo on a goodwill visit anyway and that's why we are here to let you know you have been visited and a tracking device has been fitted somewhere on your ship and you need to search and find it before you sail again. James and I have another two hours before we have guests on the IoW and would be happy to search with you.
We followed your last action and well done it seems you really stuffed them up and the other actions you have been involved in. I think you must realise that you are being talked about at home and I want to tell you I have been asked to look at you and report back. Scott, you and your crew have done well and I have been asked to find out what you want to make your ship more secure because we all know that the Jean and the one you are escorting could become an even bigger target and, if you have not already realised it, the shits who force these people out to take ships hostage will do anything to take you and the ship you are escorting. The ransom demand will be massive if they manage to get you."
"Why aren't you telling me to fuck off back home and leave it to the Naval forces to sort out? From what you are saying you and those back home could possibly be thinking that all we will do is make matters worse if we were taken and held hostage. The Government or whoever must be pissed off with us."
"It’s true that's what was being said at the start until they realised you were doing a great job. Look, you have been attacked a few times now and although other ships have been taken you could have become number one on the pirates wish list because your activities have been shown on so many news channels and the more they do, the more our people now want to support you, there are quite a number thinking, like you, that ships should be armed. Scott I have been asked to find out what you want and there is no doubt you will get anything within reason." Scott could hardly believe what he was hearing and thought of Paul.
"I want a snipers rifle." It seemed no different than ordering a meal! And the reply was as off hand.
"No problem, can we go and search for this tracker? There are two crew still on board and I will get them to search with us."
"Good idea Scott." Scott picked his mike up. "Marcel and Jon, whatever you are doing, stop it and meet us and our guests on the bridge please." The boys cussed Scott and got dressed.
After introductions and telling the boys what this was about Jon came up with the place to search first.
"If it was me I would plant it on top of the bridge." They all followed Jon out and he took them up top and within a couple of minutes he pointed at the unit behind the mast.
"There it is, right where I would have put it. Can I have a pay rise now Skip?"
"You get PAID?"
They ripped the box off and Dennis suggested he would take it with him and keep it on when he sailed and see who turned up.
"You never know the IoW may make a name for herself as well!"
Scott gave him the photo of the guy who had fired on the old O6 and may have been the shooter who had killed his mother and disabled his father.
“Just in case you ever come across him, I would love to see him in the Old Baily one day Dennis, but even if we get him, nothing will happen I guess."
They said goodbye after another hour. "I will make my report Scott and recommendations and will include your request." They left and the four friends went out to try to forget the meeting that morning and enjoy themselves. Scott however couldn't and Andrew knew it and kept even closer to him, which he would have done anyway. Marcel and Jon did not everything about the meeting, but also knew Scott was thinking hard and they too kept close to him, which they also wanted to do anyway.
The rest of the time in Colombo was great and they all had a wonderful time in Club Lush thanks to Colin. As in Mumbai they found themselves very popular especially when Paul and Jerry let their hair down and gave everyone the amazing sight of them doing press ups for the duration of one tune. As it went on many of the local lads joined in as well as the two boys who, after the number had finished, got even more phone numbers and gave them to Reggie.
They were all in the saloon at 8am on the last day and would cast off at midday. They were having breakfast followed by a meeting that Scott had asked for, but before that he needed to talk to Paul. They left for Scott's office and sat down.
"We are going to be offered a snipers rifle Paul when we get back home but only if you agree to it. You would of course be the only person qualified to use it but only assuming you would want that anyway. But before you answer we are getting a GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun) issued by HMS IoW, so we will have a weapon to use from now on. It seems the authorities are impressed with us and there are people who, like us, think that if ships carried weapons, piracy would stop, or at the very least become much less. What do you think?"
"Can I choose the rifle?"
"Yes and you will have to take a refresher on it."
"No problem count me in then and before you ask, I won’t harm anyone, I won’t need too."
Back in the saloon Scott went through all that he had told Paul and also a couple of more things as well.
"We are getting stun/flash grenades to fire in the same way you guys had planned to fire fireworks and smaller grenades to fix on the helicopters." Marcel and Jon thought it was Christmas.
"And, finally, we are taking delivery of a GPMG later today, issued by the IoW and Paul is authorised to use it. We will now be armed." Scott let that all sink in.
"Right, I'm not going to ask for your thoughts now because you need time to take it all in. This may be going much further than anyone of us expected and you may now have concerns that this maybe a step too far as it seems we could be victims of our own success. For my part I am more than happy that we seem to have the support from our people and, for me anyway, I will feel much more confident having the means to defend ourselves properly. BUT, and this is the big one, I don't expect any of you to agree and I would like you to have time to talk with your partner and as a crew without me and tell me what you think and if you wish to leave. We are being allowed weapons because of Paul and his service and I am confident no pirate will ever take us as we will have the means to out range their weapons and Paul has promised not to kill anyone! I'm going to my shack and call my dad."
At 11am two crew from the IoW came on board carrying a couple of open boxes with fruit on top. They were taken down to the saloon and unpacked the fruit and looked in at the GPMG, all in bits. Paul had the whole crew around him while he explained the weapon as he reassembled it. "And there it is, welcome aboard pirates!" The gun and the 200 rounds were locked in an empty cabin and would stay there until they were at sea and Paul would start to practice fire.
At the pre sailing meeting Reggie spoke up. "Skip, we have all met and you will be having the same crew for as long as you want us except, Theo and Royston of course."
"Thanks everyone I won’t be asking for any crew changes. Now, I have already mentioned to Andrew that I will drop off any of you when we get to Cape Town and you can fly to where ever you want to go, I think you and Tommy should go Paul as it will give you more time on your rifle refreshment course. I will need six crew, so fight it out amongst yourselves if you what to go home from Cape Town."
Two days later they met the O1 and took up station behind her. Scott went over to her and got permission to practice boarding which began that night with Scott and Jerry in action. Marcel and Jon took it in turns flying around the ship practicing to observe her without being detected. Before they met the O1, Paul had practice fired the GPMG shooting at a target fixed to the RIB which was towed behind the Jean at 200 yards and was satisfied he had zeroed it and ready for use.
Now that they were armed the obvious happened which meant nothing did! The whole journey was without incident and after they had reached the mouth of the Red Sea the two ships parted and Scott ordered 20 knots sailing west out of the Arabian Sea and then turn south on a direct route to South Africa which would take them 200 miles off the Somalia coast and when approaching Madagascar he would sail down the west coast and then on to Cape Town. At that speed it would take just over eight days, eight days of intense concentration as they sailed and even the off watch crew just waiting for the alarm to sound.
"Yes love?" Andrew turned round and kissed his man and held him tight. They were in the bunk and coming back down to sea level after intense concentration in the love making department and the only 'alarm" to go off was the pair of them shouting out what was just about to happen.
"Something wrong Andrew?"
"No, not wrong, just thinking that's all..., but yes a bit worried."
"Is it about us?"
"Don't be daft..., no its Marcel and Jon. We love both of them to death, but I also know they love us... and I mean LOVE us! Oh I know they flirt and make any excuse to hug and cuddle us and that's fine, but I am sure they would love it to go further, I know it Scott. Did you not think about them not wanting to fly to Iceland when we get to Cape Town even though it would give them a few more days there? Jon hasn't seen his family for ages and Marcel is part of Jon's family now, so why not go? I think it’s because they know I'm going home and they will have you to themselves. FUCK! That sounds so bad!" There was a long pause, Scott had come to realise that as well and as much as he loved the pair of them, he knew it was getting too close, BUT at the same time he did not have a problem with it either.
"Yes, I have seen it as well and just hoped it would go away. I will have to talk to them, unless you want too?"
"You’re the fucking captain, it’s your job!"
"Oh piss off, how many captains have to talk to crew about wanting to go to bed with him and his boyfriend?"
"More like a captain hoping they would! I haven't got a clue. So captain, sort it out." Andrew cuddled into Scott and laughed his head off.
"Shut the fuck up, what do I say for Christ's sake?"
"No idea but I know you will come up with something, even if you make it worse."
"Thanks, but I tell you something, those boys will be flying home when we get to Cape Town."
Scott did not like working in his office as it cut him off from the crew so he had taken to working in the saloon at the dining table as often as he could and would only use it for private meetings and video calls. He was sat with his laptop writing emails when Marcel and Jon came in.
"Hello Skip, want a coffee?" Jon asked.
"Yes please. You going on or coming off watch?"
"Just come off Skip, can we sit with you?"
"Course, nice to have a bit of company." They bought the coffees to the table and sat down, one on each side of Scott.
"Skip can we say something?"
"Could I stop you?" They looked at one another and then at Scott.
"After we have had the coffee can we go to your office please?"
"We are alone at the moment, why not say what you want to say here?"
"We want to make sure nobody interrupts Skip." Jon smiled at Scott who began to panic, Andrew was not there to help as he was in the engine room working. He looked at them both and wished they were not smiling at him like that. There was nothing in the Captains training manuals that would help him and bloody well knew what this was all about.
"Let’s go to the cabin, come on." They got up and left the saloon.
"Right, what's this all about?" The boys sat close together on one couch and Scott facing them on the other one. Neither of these two knew how to hold back and if they needed to say something, out it came.
"Marcel and I love you and Andrew and we MEAN love you both as much as we love one another. That's all we want to say, we promise not to mention it again Skip, but you have to know how we feel and it won’t go away. Take your time, there is lots of it. Can we go now please?"
"No you can’t! What about Andrew, he needs to hear this as well!"
"He already knows, we spoke to him half an hour ago! By the way, we are flying to Iceland when we get to South Africa, Andrew told us we had too." Scott sat there unable to say anything, but he couldn't anyway, the boys had got up and left.
"For fucks sake Andrew, say SOMETHING for Christ's sake and make some sense at the same time." Andrew looked at Scott and smiled at him, he had never seen him look so uncomfortable and no idea how to handle this. He thought he would make things even worse for his Captain, he loved him that much.
"We have known for months how the boys feel about us and my dear Scott I know we feel the same about them and don't argue I know you better than you know yourself." Andrew waited for that to sink in and then put the boot in.
"I, and therefore you as well, are actually as much love with them as they are with us. It’s a fact and I very much doubt those feelings will ever change, not while we are all on the Jean anyway. What I am certain about is that the love we have as couples will never be at risk and IF we ever got together as four guys in love, there will be no damage done to our relationships." Andrew waited for Scott to think about it.
"You mean we all meet and have sex!?"
"NO!? What then, play fucking monopoly!?"
"Not sex, make love."
"Oh shit, I need a few Chapters to think this through." He looked at Andrew trying to work him out totally confused.
"Do you want to make love to them then?" Andrew was a complete shit and laughed his head off again knowing it would give Scott an even bigger problem.
"Listen to me my love of all loves. We both LOVE them and I have no problem making love to them, so long as we are all together. Take your time, you apparently have a few more chapters to think about it!" He kissed Scott and then laughed his head off again. Scott thought about all this and not coming up with anything sensible, fucked Andrew!
They were half way through the trip when Captain Andrew's of the USS Rockall called the Jean and spoke to Scott asking for the two ships to meet and for Scott to go to the Rockall and discuss the exercise Scott had suggested they carry out. Scott was in fact a little surprised they had got back to him, but was pleased none the less.
The following day Jan took him and Paul over to the immensely impressive war ship and was welcomed on board by both Robert Andrews and Don Forrester "Great to see you again Scott and nice to meet you Paul, is it cold up there?" Paul looked down at the 6ft Robert and just smiled back. "Let’s get to my cabin."
"No Admiral Harding Robert?" Andrews was pouring coffee and had his back to the others so they would not see him smiling.
"No Scott he has been recalled and that's the reason why we would like to carry out this exercise, the Admiral, to be honest, was not that keen."
"So who's in charge then?" Don spoke up.
"You are looking at the new Admiral Scott." It was Roberts turn to speak.
"And Don here is the new Captain of the Rockall."
"Congratulations, hope we can work better together now. Admiral which hatch do you want me to unlatch?"
"None thanks, I haven't got a son on board."
They got down to business as soon as Marine Captain Martin Standing arrived.
"OK Scott, what do you want?" the new Admiral asked
"We were attacked by four boats a couple of weeks back and found out afterwards we had a tracker put on us so they knew where we were. We got rid of them without a shot fired, but we think they would have learnt by that and in future they will attack out of our water cannon range and just fire their AK's and RPG's and hope to do enough damage to get on board.
I would like the exercise to be in two parts, the first part is for you stay out of our range and fire blanks at us and the helicopters will attack you, I want them stretched to the limit. They will only use red dyed water spray, but an indication of a hit will be how much dye ends up on your guys and if you can spot them when they attack. IF the crews deem to have enough dye on them I would like them to stop attacking for five minutes as though they were contaminated and not able to see so we can concentrate on the other boats, then after that time they attack again, in that way we will be able to assess how effective we were. Obviously nothing will be definite as to who has done what to who, but it will give us an idea of how successful or not we have been and how we will operate in a real fight. I know we have experienced quite a few attacks now, but I want men who are better trained to exercise with, anyway you can never get enough practice.
Part one will end when I raise the Union Jack. The helicopters will come back and replenish and when I take the flag down part two begins and I would like your guys Martin to carry out a full scale attempt to get on board us. You will not get sunk, but very wet and a lot of bailing out. Of course how you attack will be up to you, but I am hoping for a multi attack in different directions to see how our water cannons and helicopters coup. If any of your men do get on us we could of course use the cannons to wash them back off, but we won’t do that as there will be injuries. When I feel the exercise has done all it can and is at an end I will raise the American flag and invite all of your lads to come on board for a BBQ and a dry off so tell them to ware swim briefs and we can talk about how it all went and what lessons we have both learnt. There will be plenty of beer which I know is against the rules, but it would be great to break them for once. Paul has got something to say."
"Because of my military service, we have been cleared to be armed. We took delivery of a machine gun by the Royal Navy just before we left Colombo, we don't have blanks, but the point of telling you about our weapon is that you know we have one. It won’t make much difference to your attack on us, but at least you know we could fire back."
"It will make a difference Paul. If it’s ok with you Captain I would like to invite Paul to fire one of ours, at least we would know how good he is!" Don Forrester agreed. "Don't show us up Paul." Paul couldn't wait, it had been a long time since he had fired a weapon, apart from his inside Tommy of course.
Half hour later all the Marines and many crew were out on the flight deck as a Marine took him through the basics of the weapon and after Paul had test fired it, he waited for two target balloons to be released over the stern, waited for them to get to about 200 yards and sunk both of them in two short bursts. Three more were released but now one at a time and when the first got to 350 yards Paul fired and sank that one followed by the other two when they also reached the same distance. Of the 30 rounds in the magazine, he still had 5 left.
"This is getting expensive Paul, excellent shooting sir." Captain Forrester said and everyone else agreed.
"Thanks Paul, I will take this into account when we start the exercise." Capt Martin Standing shook a fellow Marines hand and Scott was as pleased as punch. When they got back to the Jean Scott could not stop telling everyone about it.
Before they left to go back to the Jean though, Don Forrester took Scott aside.
"You will accept I cannot in any way sanction the breaking of any Naval rules Scott, but if it helps I won’t be smelling anyone's breath when they get back either."
"Will Capt Standing know that Don?"
The exercise would take place in two days’ time. They had agreed it would be in daylight and the first they knew it was under way was when the Rockall called to say it had begun, in that way the helicopters had time to change the gas containers and fit the dye ones on. Other than that there was no exchange by either ship.
It was a beautiful day, hardly any wind, bright hot sun and calm seas. Perfect for an exercise or even an actual attack.
"Six boats 5.5 miles aft, 50 knots." Tommy rang the alarm.
"Do not take off, but start up. When they are in range go and attack them. Jan and Theo I want you to fire on maximum spray to cover the ship in the same way a smoke screen would. Paul you know where to go, take the gun and have a nice sun bathe." In any attack now that's where he would be only this time feeling a bit spare with a gun and nothing to shoot.
Martin Standing had his boats came to 300 yards and peel off to starboard and begin to circle the Jean. Marcel and Jon saw this and got behind the last boat and attacked with the screamer on and placed a good load over them, Marcel pulled to starboard leaving Jon to attack himself. Two boats would now be out for five minutes. So far so good. Martin Stanton seeing this told the other boats to break as soon as they heard the screamers and the next two attacks failed so did the next two, meanwhile the attackers were firing blind through the mass of water belching out in a mass of spray.
"They have got used to the screamers Skip and only gives them chance to get away." Marcel said," I think we should turn them off."
"Ok lads do it." They attacked two more but they did not stop and Scott assuming they did not think they had been sprayed enough to affect them. Martin Standing sent two boats to the stern followed by Jan's cannons still sending up a huge spray.
So far Scott did not have to alter course, but as the two boats were closing slightly he ordered full astern, the ship rapidly lost speed. "Full power at maximum throw." The boats literally drove into the two jets and were soaked and had to turn away. Marcel and Jon attacked them with a good covering each and they stopped for five minutes, but there were still four boats attacking'
"Full ahead." The Jean took off!
"Go back to spray. How much dye have you got boys?"
"Two passes each Skip."
"Use yours Marcel and come back in." Now he would see what one helicopter could do, but knew Jon would be out of dye before Marcel could get back up. Andrew went to the hanger to help Marcel refuel and change the canisters. Jon attacked two more boats only stopping one before running out and told Scott.
"Ok come over the Jean and stay there at 150 feet and have your camera so we can see the whole area." It was a good move as they now had a panoramic view on Jon's screen and now Marcel was back up he sent him off to attack the two nearest boats.
Jon had to land and turn his helicopter round with Andrew helping again. "When you have run out of dye Marcel come back and hover over us at 150ft."
They carried out two more attacks and twice came back to turn round before Scott asked Paul to run the Union Jack up bringing the first part to an end. Martin took his boats away a mile to the Jeans stern and waited for the Stars and Stripes to be raised.
"Ready Skip and taking off." They arrived at their stations and took over manual control and Scott asked for the American flag to be raised.
"Ok both stern cannons at half power, Theo ours on full power high angle and cover 30 degrees port and starboard of the stern."
For the next hour the six boats made every attempt to come along side, but the cannons kept them at bay and found it impossible to get alongside as Scott had the ship thrown all over the place and just that stopped any boarding for the whole time they were under attack. The helicopters could not attack as the boats were so close to the Jean and the cannons firing would have bought them down, but if one found itself further away because of Scott's violent turns they pounced on it and several found themselves having to wait in the "sin bin" for five minutes.
Just to try out what would happen if there was a reason, Scott had the Jean stopped and watched as there were more attempts to come along side, but all boats were half filled with water and the poor lads bailing out like fuck.
Scott eventually asked for the flag to be lowered, it was all over and George and Colin got the BBQ out and began to cook. All the boats were secured to the Jean and the Marines climbed on board, very wet and a bit knackered. The Lady Jean Peterson's crew had a wonderful view as all 24 Marines stripped off down to their swimming gear and dried off. They were a glorious sight.
They eat and drank with Martin passing around the cans and all talking in groups and discussing the exercise and all agreeing that the Jean was next to impossible to board.
"Sending out spray from the cannons when we were out of range was a great idea and we have no idea if we were firing for real we had no real aiming point, the spray really put us off and as for firing an RPG, that would be total guess work. The fact that you can now fire at an attacker makes you so much safer and with Paul behind a machine gun, I'm just glad I'm not a pirate attacking you. From the time the exercises started and the helicopters put two boats out, we never had more than four boats able to attack you at any one time. Bloody good result Scott.
As for trying to board, that was great fun and impossible at the same time and as the cannons were only on half power when it was directly turned onto a boat for those few seconds, it was impossible to do anything and when the jet went away we were just left to bail out and pretty much out of it. Great exercise and very well done, we will look at this and, as you said, learn."
It was a great end to a great day. There were lots of handshakes all round and Scott was pleased that every Marine shook hands with Theo and Royston.
They all helped clear up and went to join the watch on the bridge and looked at the video. When it got to the point Marcel was told to go to 150ft and give a whole view of the area Scott asked Jerry to stop it.
"That gave us such a better overall view don't you think?"
"M and J, before we get to Cape Town I want you to contact the helicopter people and talk about getting one that can just take off and hover over us like Marcel did today. I don't want anything like we have now, just a simple battery unit with a decent camera."
"I think we already know of one Skip, let you know tomorrow. Who will fly it?"
"Let’s see if we can get one that suits us first, then we will think about it. Right, bloody great day and I learnt a lot, thanks so much everyone it was an excellent exercise and even impressed the US Navy, just as much as they impressed us. Andrew when are you on watch?"
"Fuck!" They all took the piss and those that could went to their cabins.
Instead of sex Scott wrote an email to Don Forrester thanking him and Martin Standing and all the Marines for a great exercise and sent the Jeans crew their regards. A reply came back more or less saying the same thing. "We watched it from a quarter of a mile away as you could see and found it very interesting and I can assure you we too learnt a lot. Regards from the USS Rockall and look forward to working with you again."
Andrew, Marcel, Jon, Jerry, Reggie, Freddy, Paul and Tommy had packed ready to leave for the airport after they had moored and cleared immigration and customs. Scott, Neil, Colin, Jerry, George, Jan and Paulina would remain and take the Jean home. It was only a "stop and go" so goodbyes had to be said before they approached the harbour.
Scott and Andrew wrapped up tight after they had made love to one another. They could not say much and knew this was not going to be easy. They kissed one last time and went for a shower. They dried one another off and then dressed each other.
"There you look great, in fact too great you will get too much attention on your way home and when your there."
"I will make a little effort trying to beat them off, but there is only so much I can do, still never mind I will email you details." Any bullshit helps when you are about to leave your love for a week and a half.
Andrew would be back in the UK after his holiday one day before Scott if he could maintain 20 knots, at that speed it would take him just under 13 days, but he was bound to hit bad weather on the way and would have to reduce speed.
They got into two taxis and they were gone and everyone left felt dreadful. Scott took them back out of the harbour and once clear went to 20 knots and on a course for home.
Andrew text loads of times before his flight telling Scott about all the attention he was getting and finding it hard to resist. "So many great looking guys Scott, even the Brit's aren't too bad." Scott decided to shut him up.
"M+J came back after they saw you off, but I will redecorate the cabin and burn the sheets when we get home!" Andrew decided to shut Scott up.
"They took off an hour before me, Nob head!"
During the trip Scott got a lot done including ordering the new helicopter Marcel and Jon looked at for him and after a lot of discussion about its ability to do what Scott wanted, it would already be home by the time he got there. He also spoke to William a great deal and he would arrange a meeting with their lawyer.
"Scott there is something else, but best not to talk now."
"Obviously a problem then dad."
William had had a visit it by police from the Metropolitan Police.
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