MV Lady Jean Peterson
by BobbyG

 

Chapter 5

Andrew had one more week before he had to return home and would be very busy writing up his finals and set up a desk in the lounge and there he would stay for quiet a few hours during the day. Scott would also be busy and the first thing to do was to ring Reykjavik and buy a ship!

(“Of course sir, would that be Cruise, Battle or Air?”)

He would then get a crew together to fly them to Iceland and bring her back, it would take a month before she arrived after all the official bits had been completed.

Scott had a comprehensive set of original plans of the ship and after William had contacted a firm of naval engineers there would be a meeting at their home to work out the conversion. They were due just after Andrew went back. They had asked Scott to finalise a full list of what he hoped for in the conversion so they had an idea what to work on when they met. When all was agreed they would go off and begin the plans of the new ship.

The legal team arrived to discuss Scott’s hope of carrying tear gas which would be dropped on attacking pirates from the helicopter.

Once again because William was acquainted with many with influence he knew who to approach and the request would eventually end up in no less a place than the Home Office and on the desk of a friend of his, Patrick Thompson.

After being a large part of organising all this Scott would now have to wait for meetings to attend but still had work to do in writing down a comprehensive list of equipment and the various compartments he wanted and with William at his side they were both now in a better place. After they had completed the list William remained in his office having video conferences with the London office. Scott now turned his hand to other important issues and made Andrew fresh coffee and any snacks his man told him he wanted. Then when he had completed his days work they would go upstairs and fuck one another before Brenda yelled up that dinner was ready. “STOP what your doing and don’t forget to wash your hands before you come down!” She then giggled her way back to the kitchen.

Andrew was on his last full day and was already packed. All three went out into the country side for a long day and a picnic. It was just great to relax and forget the ship and everything that was going on for a while and they just chatted about anything  but ships. However, after dinner and now having a drink in the lounge it came up again. William asked Andrew how he felt about the whole thing.

Andrew, bless him, was on his second whisky and not really being that much of a lover of alcohol and  being asked a perfectly normal question, our American cousin would answer under the influence.

“It all sounds good to me guys and you have done a great job in getting the right ship and it’s high standard of equipment, well done from me.” He took another swig and Scott and William swapped smiles and Scott topped him up.

“Now I jist want to say one thing and that’s about the tear gas you hope to get but may not, but jist relax because you have a secret weapon on board….. ME….! Look guys with an American sailing with you, you will be safe as we are SO much more advanced than you lot, jist relax brothers, all will be well.”

“Another drink Andrew?” He tried to look at the bottle. “Ok one more then I’m taking you to bed captain cod!” He sipped his drink quickly and began to sing. Yep it was time for bed! Scott got hold of him and stood him up. “G night Sir William and don’t worry I will look after……um….. this bloke!”

“Goodnight Andrew and good luck Scott.” William laughed and rang the bell for Brenda.

They walked slowly through the hall and got to the bottom of the stairs with Andrew chatting about nothing that Scott could make any sense of, he just helped him climb up. That was until they were just five stairs from the top when suddenly Andrew grabbed hold of the banister and hauled himself to the top. He turned round and looked back down at Scott who stood still waiting to catch him! Andrew raised his arms above his head with fists clenched.

“I tell you Scott Peter thing, you are a lucky fucker. Just go and get naked and get ready for the….. DADDY!” He pulled his arms down and thrust his hips forward. “You have just won first prize Scotty nose!” He then turned round and came face to face with Brenda….! But he had not finish and made things even better when he whispered those immortal words, “Oh…. my…. fucking…. God!” He instantly sobered up and ran for the bedroom.

How the hell Scott got to him he never knew as he could not see as the tears fell out. He cuddled into “whisky breath” who was sitting down shaking his addled head. Scott knelt in front of him.

“Now let me try to remember what you said about us Brits….. Oh YES! I remember! Something about not being as advanced as you Yanks!? Think that’s it. Oh my love I just cant wait to catch up!”

“Shut up. I am in so much shit! Your dad and Brenda will crucify me!”

“Oh I don’t think so my love, listen.” Andrew lifted his head from his hands as he heard the laughter coming from downstairs. “That’s the last drink ever!” Scott creased up again!

It took ages for Andrew to get to sleep mainly because Scott would burst out laughing every five seconds and all he could do was lay there cussing himself. But eventually Scott dropped off followed a few seconds later by a relieved boyfriend.

At breakfast the following morning they sat down and to every ones surprise Brenda served up a full English breakfast for Andrew.

“Oi what about us!?” William asked.

“You two can do your own toast. I only cook for and serve Daddies!” And went out laughing her head off and Andrew blight red!

Goodbyes are not nice and the first one was to William. “Come back soon son, I am going to miss you and good luck with your qualifying, not long now.”

“Bye William and thanks for everything.”

Scott drove to Heathrow and waited with Andrew by the departure gates until it was time for him to go through. They cuddled in and whispered their love, then he was gone. Scott drove home and spent the rest of the day and evening with his dad, they both needed it.

Obviously it was going to be a very busy time and Scott found himself overseeing the whole project, well that should be of no surprise after all he started it!

He would also go to London and meet with Martin who would brief him about all what was going on with the Ocean’s businesses which in fact was really Scott being taught by someone who knew his stuff and were becoming good friends. After every meeting Scott would take Martin to lunch and carry on talking about the various businesses and Scott’s hopes for his own plans to protect the fleet. Martin was all ears and became as animated as Scott himself was about the new ship and her future role in defending their crews and ships from another attack.

“Just wish I had something to offer and sail with you.” Scott smiled at him and wondered if he read gay magazines!

Patrick Thompson from the Home Office and one from the Ocean’s legal team met at the house to inform them that tear gas would not be allowed. “Only police and military are authorised to use the stuff and as you have no support at this time for what you want to achieve, you will never be allowed the gas, sorry.” Neither William or Scott believed they would get approval anyway but it was a good try. They did chat for a while then the visitors got up to leave.

“I am very sorry Scott, but you never know in time you may get what you want.” They shook hands and began to go out when Thompson stopped. “Oh my goodness, nearly forgot.” He reached in his jacket pocket and took out an envelope which looked like a card and handed it to William. “My sincere condolences to both of you. Goodbye and good luck.”

Scott wheeled his father back into the lounge.

“Open that envelope Scott, it’s not a card, Patrick sent one weeks ago.” Scott opened it and took out a white card, it was a recipe for pepper spray and just a few typed lines.

“This is very effective and will not do any lasting damage. It will effect a persons sight and breathing for approximately 20 to 30 minutes which is enough time for an escape or carry out other actions against those people. You will have to find a way to deliver the spray which, to be effective, can only be released under pressure.”

“Well, something useful came out of this meeting.” He read the recipe again and smiled, every item could be bought from any supermarket. “We just got what we wanted dad! All I need to find out now is how we can fire it off under pressure. I’m going to ring Peter in Yorkshire and possibly go back up there.”

The day William and Scott were waiting for had arrived and were standing at the dock with others from the yard as they watched the “Hauksson” enter harbour, even now she looked amazing and Scott was one excited man. It would take the best part of a year to complete the conversion and the start would be to get her into dry dock and begin work on the hull and superstructure followed by the refit.

He sent several photos of the ship to Andrew who nearly wet himself when he looked at them and showed them to his family.

“I hope they clean it up a bit Andrew, it looks a bit scruffy. It could do with a women’s touch!”

“Sure they will get round to it sometime mom and a few new drapes.”

Scott video called Peter up in Yorkshire and spent sometime discussing ways in which to carry two spray canisters and a method of releasing it. “Leave it to Jimmy and me for a bit Scott. I am sure we can come up with a solution.”

He made an appointment to visit a company of firework makers just outside Salisbury and was given a demonstration which impressed him no end. They were a bit confused when he asked for a couple to be fired at a 30 degree angle to the ground. Both were fired which left Scott really impressed as they shot off some three hundred yards and blew up about 20 feet off the surface and a fantastic star burst display to go with it.

“Can you produce them with white display only?”

“Yes of course.”

“Storage?”

“Dry and cool.”

“Shelf life?”

“Three years.”

He ordered 200 and would issue them equally among the fleet and keep his in a corner down in his dads wine cellar!

One routine that never changed was Scott’s video chat to Andrew either early morning or late night. They took it in turns to accommodate the time difference so it would be either an early or late call. They would chat for an hour bring one another up to date and then after sweet talk sign off. However, this time would be different as Andrew was going away for two weeks to a navel base for more practical training on one of their many destroyers and he would not be able to talk every day. “It’s best I call you my love, but I will text of course. Apparently it’s going to be very intense as I will be expected to work as if already qualified and will be part of the ships engineering team. It will be good experience for me Scott.” They told one another of their love and signed off.

After a train journey through the night Andrew finally arrived and was met by a smiling crew member and taken to his ship, the USS Rockall. Once he had been shown his cabin he was taken to the seamen’s mess deck and eat with them. They were a friendly bunch and joked the whole time. Andrew felt very welcome, but then suddenly the atmosphere changed completely and watched as every man stood to attention in complete silence and looking passed Andrew. He stood up and looked round and for the first time looked at a very handsome Lieutenant Theodore Harding. He came to Andrew and held his hand out. “Welcome aboard the USS Rockall Andrew, I hope you are being looked after well and you will enjoy your two weeks with us. I will be your overseer and we will meet often.”

“Thank you sir I am being very well looked after and look forward to learning a great deal while I am with you.” Someone let out a snigger and got shouted at by Harding. “Sailor, THAT could lead to a visit with the Captain!”

He turned back to Andrew. “You will be working with different engineers during the next two weeks, when your shift is at an end the engineer, you and I  will meet in the training shack to discuss the day.” He turned and left. The men remained standing until the door closed and Andrew heard some whispered insults coming out of a few of them. That man was obviously not liked and he wondered why.

Andrew loved it and the first four days flew by and indeed he was learning by the hour. That had a lot to do with the engineers who Andrew liked enormously. He was regarded as one of them and as they took the piss out of him so much, proved it. He did wonder why on his first meeting with the Lieutenant some of the crew seemed not to like him but during the first four after duty meetings he was pleasant enough and he did not give Andrew anything to worry about. Ok, he did seem a little arrogant and almost too sure of himself, but then so is Scott Peterson! He promised he would never tell him that, it was untrue anyway.

On the last day of his first week he was working with Chief Petty Officer Mike Green who oversaw the engineering department and had 20 years behind him. It was mainly going through that week and Andrew had to go through all subjects he had experienced and after Mike had corrected him over a couple of them they had finished but Mike hadn’t. He looked at Andrew not smiling as he usually did.

“Look son, I need to tell you something but you may not like it. I feel I can trust you and keep what I have to say confidential. Have I got you right?”

“Yes you have Chief. There is no reason why I shouldn’t. I find this crew a great set of guys.”

“And Lt Harding?”

“He is fine with me during our meetings but on first meeting I noticed some guys seemed not to like him that much. It’s none of my business though.”

“Andrew, I hate to say this but he is not a nice guy for many reasons which I wont go into, except one. He will come on to you in here later and attempt to get you into his cabin. It happens every time we get a good looking student and you are a good looking student. You don’t have to believe me but let me tell you what will happen at our meeting. He will be complimenting you on your work this week and ask for my assessment of you so he can give even more compliments. He will then tell me to go so he can give you personal career advice, but his real aim is to get you by yourself and manipulate that time to come on to you. It has happened a few times and we can only guess he has got his way and mainly because the kids are too scared because there will be, shall we say, suggestions that students would not get a good report and it could be that further expensive training be withdrawn. Andrew, unless it’s something you would want to happen, be on your guard son.”

“Well I certainly don’t want anything to happen like that but what can I do, just walk out and tell him stuff it up his ass? That’s a sure way to get thrown off even though I already know I have passed my all of my qualification courses, but why is it allowed to happen anyway?”

“His father is an Admiral and they are peas in a pod and together they are one powerful pair. I’m not criticising Andrew but you don’t know what can happen in small communities like this one. It’s VERY rare but it happens and it’s likely to get worse. We think by the rumors we are being sent on a mission in a few months and the Admiral will command it and this will be his Flag. With the pair of them on board it’s going to be a bit difficult because there are good looking young sailors among the crew and Lt Harding can pick and choose. There is another officer on this ship and we are convinced he and Harding were in some sort of relationship but then it stopped for some reason but during it Harding became almost human for a short while, then he went back to his old ways which brings us back to where I started. Can I give you a bit of advice?”

“Bloody sure you can mate! I need it.”

“Heck you sound like a Limey talking like that Andy, do you know any!” Andrew kept a straight face but admitted he had made a few Brit friends when on holiday!

“Ok, one thing that Harding is not good at, apart from many other things, is being stood up too, he can’t handle it and by standing up to him he can’t do a damb thing to stop you qualifying, he has zero influence on any students future progress. All he does is make students think that so he can get them into his bunk. Some day there will be a showdown with that guy but not until his old man is out of the way. I will tell you one more thing, I WILL be outside this door when you two are in here alone. You are a nice guy Andy, we all like you and therefore part of our family and we look after family.” Andrew suddenly felt much better and was now looking forward to this meeting!

“Come in gentlemen and lets get comfortable. Give me a few moments to read through these reports, meanwhile help yourselves to coffee and perhaps you could get me one Andrew, just black please young man. Andrew and Mike had a great time pouring the coffees and grinning stupidly at one another.

“Thank you Andrew, as I say, lets get comfortable.”  The two friends sat and waited and both knowing Harding was going to go overboard.

“Well, well, well Andrew! I don’t think I have ever read such glowing reports before. They are simply at the top of a very long list of former students we have welcomed aboard the Rockall, don’t you agree Chief?” Andrew felt Mikes foot clamp down on his.

“Indeed I do sir and I would go further and say Andy here is by far the best we have ever had and, if I may say sir, a fine young man whose parents are no doubt very proud.” Andrew kicked Mikes shin, Mike stared straight ahead with a dead pan expression on his face, then kicked Andrew back!

“I totally agree Chief and now I think the official part is over except to say, this second week is very likely to be even more worth while to all of us. Right Chief, thank you for your comments but I would like time with Andrew and talk about future careers and give him some advice as to what he could do to advance himself. Goodnight Chief.” Harding was making sure what he wanted Mike to do and that was, “fuck off!”

“Good night sir and to you Andy but perhaps you would like to join me and the other Petty Officers in our mess later.”

“Oh NO Chief, Andrew is invited to the officers mess later. Another time maybe.” Mike closed the door and waited.

“Right Andrew. Have you thought much about the future? US Navy perhaps and a guaranteed great career in my opinion.”

“Well sir…..”

“Oh please Andrew we are off duty now, first names only, I’m Theo.” He held out his hand and took Andrew’s then covered it with his other hand for some time. Andrew freed himself.

“Although I am keeping my options open. ” He lied. ” I have been offered an engineering position with the Ocean Shipping Company in England, it’s a British outfit and very attractive I must say. I have already met the owners and one of the captains and he is a nice guy and I am sure a good man to sail with.” AND I FRIGGING LOVE HIM! He said to himself.

“A Brit company you say? Well I would certainly keep those options very much open in that case Andrew. Look, lets go to my cabin and have a chill out while we talk, it’s much less formal and maybe a glass of wine and I have some suggestions to make to you which I hope you will think about and I can really help you make decisions during our meetings next week which we could also take in my cabin. I can also help you through the final stages of your qualifications and guaranteed excellent passes on all subjects…..I really wouldn’t like you to fail Andrew.” The message was clear even if a bit obvious. Andrew smiled at him in a way he usually only reserved for Scott, very seductive. Scott would knock my head off if he saw this, bless him.

“It’s nice of you Theo but I am not sure about going to an officers cabin, what would be said if we are seen going in? Not that I would be compromised I am sure.” Andrew was setting Harding up and thoroughly enjoying himself.

“Trust me, there will be no problem and no there will be nothing for you to worry about, just friends being together and, well why not, perhaps even a cuddle, just a friendship cuddle I mean. There is so much negativity in this world and not enough sharing of tender friendships.”

Andrew nearly threw up! His time had come and was about to put the boot in.

“Which you hope would lead to much more than a cuddle Theo?”

“OH MY WORD ANDREW!? Is that a question or suggestion!?

Well you handsome devil we should both admit we are two rather good looking fellas and it would only be fun and just think another whole week to enjoy special times. What a lovely suggestion of yours Andrew.” Obviously not a question then he thought.

“It wasn’t. I don’t either want to go to your cabin OR have sex with you and don’t threaten me with a bull shit bad report because you have no influence on my qualifications which I already know I have gained anyway. I told you about a Brit shipping company and meeting one of their captains? Well he is much more, he is my boyfriend and you can be thankful he is not here now because you would be out of that porthole by the nuts, after he had kicked them in. Get a fucking life Harding and start now and stop grooming young men to share your bunk, you sad fucker.” Andrew got up staring at Harding then went out and saw Mike along the corridor.

“Hi Mike, that offer still open for tonight?”

“Indeed it is, say 1800?”

“1800, there I said it!” Both laughed there heads off, a sort of relieving a bit of tension.

“Did it go ok may I ask?”

“Course you can. It was fun but now I’m going over it in my mind and I may have made a big mistake.”

“Really? How come?” Andrew had this massive smile as he looked at Mike.

“The offer of a whole evening and next week with a really good looking guy or an evening with you old farts. I need my fucking head examining!” They went on deck laughing and would be like that for some time.

The last week was great and Andrew not only learnt even more, he had by now made many new friends and knew he was going to miss them. Mike Green got permission to hold a farewell party for Andrew on the aft deck with about 30 coming to say goodbye and have some fun. This was one occasion beer was permitted but not drunk by Andrew, he had not forgotten getting stoned at Scott’s and all the piss taking from his man! Andrew had a great time made even better when the ships Exec Officer showed up, Commander D Forrester and spoke to Andrew asking about his future plans and was told about the Ocean Shipping Company. “Ok fine and I wish you well and by my experience being involved with them is no bad thing, I have a great of respect for both the Royal and Merchant navies. Good luck to you.”

(bloody hell, someone likes us!)

The party was over and after Andrew shook many hands just he and Mike were left standing against the port rail.

“So Andrew, graduation in three months then off to England.”

“Yes Mike and I can’t wait but I will miss you all and the Rockall. I have had so much fun and learnt loads. Thank you so much Mike, you are like a second dad to me.”

“Hey! I’m not that old. Well, maybe I am! Can I ask you something personal and I don’t mind if you don’t want to answer.”

“Go ahead, I don’t have a problem YOU asking Mike.”

“I think there is someone very special in England for you…..and it’s not a girl? I am sure of that.” Andrew stared into the water and thought of a certain man in England, a man he absolutely adored.

“His name is Scott, we met on holiday and fell in love. After the holiday he was taking his navigators qualification and from Cyprus they were sailing onto Australia but they were attacked by pirates when they got into the Arabian Sea and his mother was killed and father disabled for life. We both thought it had finished us but after some time we got back in touch and, here we are, back together even though we are 3000 miles apart right now.”

“That’s a very sad story Andrew but I’m pleased you found one another again. I wish both of you every happiness in life and when you sail together. I don’t have any kids, but if I had a son, he would be like you. They cuddled in very hard and again the next day when Mike insisted he drove Andrew to the train station and there was one more strong cuddle before Mike drove back. Neither would know it then, but it would not be the last time they did.

Those three thousand miles or so away Andrew’s boyfriend was back in Yorkshire watching as Jimmy flew overhead and dumped another load of water over them from the helicopter’s two “pepper” tanks. He and Peter had worked out how to pressurize them which gave each tank six two second sprays which should cover the length of a pirate skiff flying at 80 mph and at no more than 10 feet above the pirates themselves. Therefore they would be able to carry out six passes using both tanks or twelve using a single tank. Scott realised he would have to carry out tests to see how effective using just one tank would be. But that was not all these two had come up with. They had made a nice piece of kit they called a “screamer!” It functioned like blowing a whistle.

They had fixed a short tube on top of each skid with a valve that could be opened by the touch of a switch on the control panel, the wind would rush in and the scream coming from it would wake the dead. It was so highly pitched, it must have been illegal and would put the fear into anyone’s God!

When he got back home he and William sat drinking a night cap talking about the conversion and agreed it was going very well in these first three months and they were on course to have every thing completed by March 2006. “Have you got all the defence stuff sorted out now?”

“And attack stuff dad and I bet you a pound to a piece of dung some lefty will ask questions and objecting because someone could get hurt.”

“I have watched pirate attacks on line and often there are two skiffs at a time and possibly up to 12 AK47’s and two RPG’s, will the ship coup son because it scares the crap out of me! It’s so very unfair, they can carry guns and kill but we can’t even have tear gas to defend ourselves!”

“I am relying on the bullet proofing and hope it does it’s job. The RPG’s are a different matter and one lucky hit could do a lot of damage. We will have three things that I just know will be taken away from us and that is why I am saying bugger all about them. I’m sure we are going to have just about all of the media, the church and liberal left wingers against us. I even think they will hope we fail and get taken.”

“What three things?”

“Fireworks, they are really heavy metal and if I use them I already know I will be a last resort.

The pepper spray which will be objected to because I found a way when I had already been refused tear gas.

And most definitely the bullets because that’s exactly what they are and bullets cannot be fired at pirates. But dad we have one thing that I am convinced will keep us safe and that’s the ship herself. She will be a 2000 ton power boat and more manoeuvrable than many newer craft in service. Ok, it’s costing a bomb or two but she will do her job and with Andrew on board apparently we could not be safer. Just wish I could see him again, miss that bloody Yank so much.” William looked his watch and smiled at Scott.

“5… 4… 3… 2………1!” The phone rang!

“Hello, mad house.”

“Oh Scott, your dad says that as well!” Scott recognised Janice’s voice.

“I rang a few hours back and William gave me a time to ring as he knew you would be back home by now…. ANYWAY! Why am I ringing!?” Scott was thinking that as well! “Scott, Andrew graduates on 25 next month and we would like you to come out and celebrate with him and us. Please say you will come?”

“Janice, nobody can stop me and thank you. Oh yes I will be there but I’m guessing it’s a secret right?”

“Yes my dear we want to give him what you gave him when he went to England.” Scott nearly bust a gut trying not to split himself with the images of giving  Andrew much more than a surprise meet at Heathrow!

“When do you want me to come?”

“We were thinking you come a week before graduation and stay another one until you two fly back. That ok with you?”

“Yes of course and will let you know when I am due to land. Will anyone be there to meet me?”

“Of course. Either Walter or our eldest son David will be at JFK to meet you. OH it’s going to be such a great time Scott. Give our love to William but I have to go, I forgot to turn the oven on!”

Scott sat back down after pouring two more drinks and after much thought asked the question that had been in his mind for weeks.

“Dad, am I doing this right? I’m suddenly not sure.”

“Yes your are son and never doubt yourself. We have the means to protect our crews, never loose that thought but we both know there will be difficulties at home. Scott, your ship could eventually become very big news when they find out about you and what you are about. Believe me all hell will let loose from every media outlet to get at you for your story and they will not stop until the shits get you in a corner. BUT, there is good news, they will not get to you without going through me, and that my dear boy is my contribution to this project. I will take the heat off you as the Americans say and give them what you want me to tell them and take what they want to throw at us but I bet you eventually they will come round and become supportive rather than hope we fail…..meanwhile son, fuck um!”

“I have three things that will make this a success. You, and according to Andrew, Andrew and the ship. All I need now is a crew that is as good as the other three.”

“Ok, so of the three which one is the most advantageous.” William was grinning at his son who was pointing at himself.

“The ship!”

“Wait till I tell Captain America THAT!” It was good to laugh.

Scott was packed and ready to drive to Heathrow, in the mustang of course. Brenda had cooked breakfast and was invited to join them.

“Brenda we would like to ask you something. You must know the ship will be named when it’s completed and dad and I would like you to do the honours and name her, mum will be thrilled. Will you?”

“Thank you, both of you, of course I will be delighted to name her….and knowing what the name will be means even more to me. Excuse me please.” Brenda got up and hurried out.

After a long goodbye to William, Scott started up and began his journey towards the love of his life. He laughed out loud. “Walter or David meeting me!? Yeah right. Hope your on time Andrew!”

 

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