MV Lady Jean Peterson
They were sailing towards the exact location were the O6 had been attacked. Scott asked for a reduction in speed and the Jean was bought back to 5 knots and would creep in like that for the last 2 miles.
The crew obviously knew what this was all about and for once not much was said throughout the ship and dead silence on the bridge where Scott was and Andrew standing next to him holding hands.
Scott stood in front of both navigation screens and watched as the ship approached and were now just 500 yards from the exact spot.
Freddy threw the lever that would move the propeller pods outwards and stop when they were pointing the opposite way. The Jean came to a standstill.
At the press of a button the ships computers would take over and keep her on the spot. Scott looked at Andrew and smiled. He kissed him and squeezed his hand and left the bridge.
They had had a lovely time in Cyprus when they all relaxed, went out together, swam, eat and drank. The boys loved it, they all did, but having Marcel and Jon with them made it even more special and bought about parental feelings towards them even though they were nearly 19.
“JON! Be careful, there are rocks right where you are.”
“Ok Tommy, thanks.” Jon dived in and the rest held their breaths, except Marcel who was laughing his fucking head off!
“Can I go in for a paddle please? Just up to my ankles, promise.”
Tommy’s parental instincts were apparently exhausted!
“Jan will you come in with me? I can’t swim and need your tits to keep me afloat.” Andrew, looking lovely in his tight yellow briefs and beautifully tanned body smiled at Jan.
“Cheeky sod. Ask Reggie his are bigger than mine.” Reggie quickly stood up holding his hand out.
“Oh come on then Andrew but leave Scott behind.”
It was a lovely time.
Scott called the ropes in and the Jean left Limassol harbour having had a fuel top up and taken on more aviation fuel as well. Once clear Scott asked for full speed and the Jean would stay like that until her approach to the Suez Canal when Scott would have to line up and take his turn to enter the canal and navigate through it and then into the Red Sea. When they had got to the southern part of the Red Sea the watches changed to four crew on and full lock down two hours before sunset. They were now in pirate seas and the mood of the ship changed and became even more alert and focused.
On this particular night Scott had just finished some company business with William on line. They talked some more and signed off. Scott went into the cabin and climbed into the bunk knowing Andrew would soon be out of the shower and would cuddle in together.
“Do you feel different like me? It’s like we are in a war zone and I’m actually a bit tense Scott.”
“I think we are all feeling that love. I’m stopping myself going to the bridge and stay there, that wouldn’t do moral much good if I did. Come on a kiss cuddle and try to sleep. Surprisingly they both slept well until that is Andrew’s clock went off telling him he had half an hour before going on watch. After he was dressed he went to the bunk where Scott was looking up at him. They kissed and Andrew left. Scott tried to get back to sleep, but this time he couldn’t.
Now, two days later the Lady Jean Peterson was at the exact spot where the old 06 had been attacked. The whole crew were on the bridge as Scott left it after one more kiss on Andrew’s cheek. He went to their cabin and took out the silk wreath he had kept in his wardrobe where he had put it until this moment. Scott changed into shorts and a sports top that he knew his mother would like and went out onto the aft deck towards the stern rail. As he walked he was in a world with just him and his mother.
He arrived at the rail and paused with the wreath still in his grip hanging over the stern. What he said will stay with him but as he spoke so the tears fell……………. He stayed there for a very long time.
He finished all that he wanted to say and opened his hand. He remained where he was watching the wreath drift further and further away with the image of his mother smiling at him as she had done countless times before she had been so cruelly taken from him.
Then the image changed and Andrew came into view also smiling at him and Scott knowing his mother was telling him she was at peace and he should go back to the man who had become his life.
With one last look at the wreath Scott turned and went back to the cabin and changed back into his uniform and went to the bridge. He took Andrew’s hand and held it very tightly and sat in his chair.
“Steer One Five Oh, 10 knots please.”
“Aye aye Captain.” Scott looked at Freddy and smiled his thanks and once again Andrew showed Scott how much he loved him by bringing the emotion of that little ceremony to an end.
“You’re hurting my hand!” The whole crew smiled quietly and waited.
“We start unarmed combat training and practice firing the shot guns tomorrow.”
“Thank you, go to 15 knots please.”
Scott ordered the Jean on course towards South Africa and they would sail 150 miles off the Somalian coast. He could have taken them down the west coast of Africa to meet their first escort, the O5, when she left Cape Town, but he needed more time for training and also to have solo time for the crew to adjust to the pressure of sailing through pirate waters, himself included. They would of course keep all training up as they sailed, but it was all so different now, they were “on station” and with the ship ready for whatever came her way. They didn’t have long to wait.
All those not on watch assembled in the saloon where a large area was cleared and a gym mat laid on the deck and watched as Paul gave instruction to his captain in hand to hand fighting and winced every time Scott was thrown onto the mat over and over again. This would go on like this with all those there and it would be some days before any of them could put up a decent fight, mind you, they were up against the best and because of that by the time they were approaching the point when they would meet there first escort, all of them would have improved a great deal.
They were all on the bridge one afternoon for a meeting when Scott said something that he had been thinking about since Paul had started training them.
“Does anyone think that if we were in a situation that was in our favour we could board a ship that had been taken by pirates and take it back? I’m not saying that’s what I would want to do right now of course, I just want your opinions that’s all. Paul?”
“Well, I could certainly train anyone as that was a large part of my training with the SBS and I know we have enough fit crew to do it, but apart two shot guns we would not be that well-armed, but as far as I know no ship has been taken back and that would be something the pirates would not be expecting, so the element of surprise would most definitely be in our favour.”
“And just who would you want to go on something like that Skip?” Scott looked at Andrew and saw the hard look he was giving him.
“I would ask for volunteers, but it’s not likely to happen as the conditions would really have to be in our favour.”
“But IF it was considered they were, you would be one to go right?” Andrew continued to stare at Scott and then looked out to sea. “I was under the impression a Captain always stayed with his ship.” He looked back at Scott. “I’m sorry Skip, but don’t you think we should experience some sort of pirate action before we think about carrying out other operations as the military would say?”
“All I was asking for is opinions and you have given yours and thanks for it. I won’t talk about this anymore just now, maybe sometime in the future after we have had some experience as I seem to be ahead of myself, meanwhile let’s go about our work.” Scott left the bridge and went to his office. He sat down and thought about what Andrew had said and knew bloody well the lovely man he was right. He would talk to him later about it. He would be seeing him much sooner than he thought.
“Skip to the bridge please.” Scott rushed up and found Reggie officer of the watch. It was 2pm.
“What have we got?”
“Tommy reports two boats on the Hawk on our stern at just over five miles and doing 30 knots.” Scott sounded the alarm.
“Stay at 15 knots. Secure the ship.” Jan came on the bridge and started the water cannon generators and turned the forward one so it faced aft and at an angle that would fire the water jet over the entire ship and land 150 yards behind it. Everyone was calm and focused although heart beats were somewhat higher than normal of course as they could be about to come under fire. All the training was now about to be tested and so were each member of crew.
“Test the cannons when you are ready.” All those that could watched as all five cannons burst into life and were once again amazed at the massive volume of water belching out. It was not only an amazing sight, it was also a confidence booster.
Jerry got to his station and turned the cameras on and began to record, the images would be sent direct to William and the Company lawyers offices in London.
Marcel and Jon were already in the hangar and began their startups. Two minutes later Marcel reported to Scott they were ready. Marcel sent his helicopter out first on the rails still clamped down and after another check released the clamps and took off. He cleared the ship on the starboard side and the on board computer would hold it in hover until he took over control when he got to the bridge. He slapped Jon’s bum as he passed and dashed up to the gangway and by the time he settled into his seat Jon was also up and came to the bridge and sat next to Marcel.
“Ok lads, off you go.” They took their helicopters out in a wide ark and just 30 feet above the water and at the same time turning towards the two boats coming at them and when they got to their flying limit of two miles they would turn and fly at the same speed as the Jean. The boys controlled their main cameras that kept the boats in the centre of the screens and when the boats were level with them the images coming back were very clear and everyone could make out six men in each boat and all armed with AK47’s and a boarding ladder. They were speeding side by side and Marcel would get behind the starboard one and Jon the other at a distance of 300 yards at 30 feet and wait for Scott.
“Seems we have two lives ones.” Scott was waiting for the boats to break off, one going to port and the other to starboard and attack.
“Ten on main radar, the nearest at 4 miles and just those two on the Hawk.”
“Ok let’s call the shots, full ahead.”
The Jean rapidly reached her maximum speed of 30 knots, followed by the two boats when they had cottoned on.
“M/J get 100 yards behind them, they will come at us now. Paul send out we are under attack. Paul spoke into the mike and reported the situation and the Jeans position, speed and course. As he did both boats increased speed, broke off and went to either side of the Jean, they were now just 200 yards off the port and starboard sides and they all saw several of the men raise their weapons.
“Cannons full power.” Jan pressed the firing button to the forward cannon which would stay static and cover the stern and then using the control sticks aimed the stern cannons on both boats and pulled the triggers. Thousands of gallons of water spewed out. The two midships cannons were controlled by sensors that would track a target and automatically fire when a target was in range.
The main cannons were still slightly out of range, but they were being given a warning which was part of the procedure for alerting a potential attacker to bugger off. They didn’t and kept coming still with weapons turned on the Jean.
“Freddy turn towards the starboard boat.” Freddy moved the control stick and the Jean began to close with the boat and as soon as they saw it coming at them an RPG appeared.
“Go in boys and use both canisters.”
Marcel’s and Jon’s hearts were bursting as they lined up and at full throttle closed in on their targets. They each arrived just a few feet from the stern of each boat and together pressed the release button on their control sticks. A huge cloud of pepper spray shot out as they flew 10 feet over the boats.
“Good, go round again. Use the screamers this time!” Everyone had forgotten them!
There was panic on the boats as they were all blinded and both drivers let go of the steering and so the throttles as well and they came to a stop.
“Five knots, hard to starboard. Jan soak it with the forward cannon as soon as we are in range but wait for the boys to attack again.” Freddy pulled the throttles back and turned to bring the Jean towards the starboard boat. Jan directed the forward hose towards the pirates and waited to be told to fire on it.
Both boys now came back and released another load and the pirates nearly shitting themselves when they heard the screams which ended any ambition to take the Jean.
“Soak them Jan. Jon keep an eye on your boat and give them another dose if you see a weapon raised.” Jan would now raise the cannon to a high angle so that the water would fall on the target just about vertically, if she fired directly at them there was a distinct possibility that they would be blasted out of the skiffs and be in serious trouble and Scott having to answer some equally serious questions.
The pirates were having a bad day and made even worse when the water arrived. Jan timed it well and when the boat was half full she aimed away.
“Tommy is the Hawk clear?”
“All clear Skip.”
“Freddy do your stuff. Andrew take the helm.” Freddy went to the load hailer and in Somalian ordered the pirates to throw their weapons over board, “or you will be sunk.” They began to throw the lot over board even though it was obvious they were still having difficulty focusing.
“Andrew, take us to the other boat and half fill that one as well Jan.” Andrew took the Jean forward and then hard to starboard to get to the second boat and when in range it too got the Jan treatment and was half filled. Freddy repeated the order and six more AK47’s and an RPG launcher went to the deep.
“Stop firing Jan. You boys stay where you are and keep filming. Andrew get closer to this boat and Colin go out and put a rope on the winch and put it over the side, Paul go with him and take a shot gun.”
As ordered the pirates attached the rope to their boat, still bailing out like mad and Scott told Andrew to take them to the first boat. When they got to them he told Freddy to tell them to get into one boat. When they had transferred he told Jan to sink the empty one.
“Jerry have you got close ups of this lot?”
“Yep got them all and sent to London.”
“Thanks, ok let them go.”
They stayed with them until one engine was running and watched as they went away. “I wonder if we will see them again.” He asked for 10 knots and to return to their original course.
“Paul send out the pirates have been beaten off and no casualties. Come in you two, great job, great job everyone. 10 knots please.”
Marcel and Jon landed and refueled and when the helicopters had been secured they went back to the bridge and joined the rest, everyone was on a high and there were plenty of smiles going round the bridge.
“Jerry cut sending to London.”
“Any thoughts, anyone? I already know I made one mistake and won’t repeat it if there is a next time.”
“What mistake Skip?” Paul asked.
“I should have taken some of their weapons.”
“Don’t think that was a mistake Skip, maybe it would have been if you DID take them.”
“Maybe you are right Paul, right unless anyone has anything to say I’m off to write all this up, at least we have some experience now.” Scott looked around him and as no one said anything he told them again, “well done everyone” and left. Andrew watched Scott leave, the comment about having experience was obviously aimed at him.
An hour later Andrew knocked on Scott’s door.
“Come in.” Andrew opened the door.
“Why the hell did you knock!?”
“Because I wasn’t sure if you wanted to be disturbed.”
“Oh come on Andrew, we have just carried out what we have trained for months to do and it went better than I thought it would and maybe I’m still on a high, but what I really needed to do was get it all down while its fresh in my mind.”
“Nothing to do with my opinion about taking a ship back then?”
“Yes and I was wrong to bring it up. Bad timing, it was a mistake.”
“Fucking hell what?”
“YOU making TWO mistakes on the same day!? That’s a first and it takes a bit of getting used to I have to say.”
“You’re taking the piss.”
“I am indeed, but I will stop if you kiss me.” After quite some time Andrew pulled away. “Come on Captain your crew need you to be with them and talk this through properly, not stuck in here on your own.” Once again Andrew got it spot on.
The crew met on the bridge and they watched the video of the whole attack and agreed it went as well as they hoped.
“So long as we get warning from the Hawk in good time, we are ahead of them, at five miles they can’t see us so they must have radar or being directed. We need to keep an eye out for mother boats.”
“Did we get any reply to our call Paul?”
“Nope, not a word and not even when I sent it was all over. Seems we are on our own.”
“Well, we are on someone’s radar even if it’s only the pirates. We will just have to wait and see, but when they get back to wherever they came from they will certainly be taking about us and very pissed off. I just can’t wait to start escorting, this piracy will get worse I’m sure of it.”
What they did not know was they were certainly on someone’s radar and that someone was sailing towards them while Scott and the crew were meeting on the bridge.
“Right, two weeks before we meet the O5 and plenty of time for you Paul to beat us all up, but I warn you now, I’m so fired up you will be on your back from now on!” It didn’t QUITE work out that way as Paul proved the next time they got the mat out. Scott though was still fired up and took every session even more seriously and began to visit the mat less often. Jerry and Andrew were the same, but Jan was way ahead of them all, no one, not even Paul could get her down. She just stood there like a lump of granite and was immoveable!
Scott and Andrew were being homosexual two days after the attack when the phone rang, it was Paulina.
“Skip we have a ship coming at us at 30 knots and 20 miles.”
“Thanks Paulina, I will tell you just how lousy your timing is one day.” Paulina screamed out laughing and told Jan.
“Bloody hell she is in a hurry! Jerry to the bridge please.” Jerry arrived but did not mention Scott’s own bad timing.
“I want you to video this, she looks fantastic. Look at that speed!” The ship was now coming at them at 32 knots and looked very impressive. “Hope she’s got breaks Skip.”
They all came to the bridge and watched this magnificent war ship bearing down on them. Scott was at the fixed binoculars, massively powerful things slung from the roof of the bridge.
“USS Rockall, that sounds familiar!”
“IS IT? That’s the ship I did my final course on and that guy tried to get me into bed!” A huge cheer went up.
“Did he?” Jan asked.
“I would rather go to bed with you Jan!” She laughed so much everything wobbled. “His name was Lieutenant Theodore Harding, wonder if he’s on it now?” He was.
“Good afternoon Lady Jean Peterson, this is the Captain of the USS Rockall, may we have permission to come on board?”
“Good afternoon USS Rockall, this is the Captain of the Lady Jean Peterson, permission granted. I will come to 5 knots and send our RIB to pick you up, what side?”
“Come to the port side Captain and thank you.”
They continued to watch as the 6000 ton ship slowed to their speed. The gang was lowered over the side with the Destroyers crew watching as the Jean’s stern door raised and the RIB shot out driven by Jan with Freddy as crew. The RIB closed and got to the gang and watched as two officers got into the craft with Andrew looking through binoculars.
“Well well Captain, you are about to meet the guy who came on to me.” Scott took the binoculars and looked at him.
“You were right, he is bloody good looking. He is in for one huge surprise, stay on the bridge I want to see his face when Paul and I bring them up.”
Scott and Paul made their way to the boat deck and waited for the RIB to arrive. Jan steered onto the cradle and the winch took over and hauled them on board and when clear, the door closed and six massive bolts slid into position.
A smiling Commander got out and went to Scott.
“Commander Forrester Exec Officer of the USS Rockall reporting Captain, it’s very nice to meet you.” Scott introduced himself and Paul.
“May I introduce Lieutenant Harding, one of our engineering officers.” And gay Scott thought. They all shook hands and Scott took them to the bridge where the rest of the crew were waiting.
Scott introduced the crew in turn and watched Harding as he shook hands and noticed the smile broaden when introduced to Jon and then Marcel. “Nice to meet you guys.”
Andrew had positioned himself so Harding could not see his face until he turned when introduced. “May I introduce a fellow countryman of yours, Second Engineer Andrew Bushman but I understand you have already met?”
“We have?” It was a rubbish pretence. Even more so when the pretend penny dropped. “Oh, I remember now, your course on the Rockall, yes that was it. Hello Andrew, very nice to meet you again.”
“Is it?” Andrew did not extend his hand.
The look on Harding’s face was worth a month’s wages as he stared at him.
“Well this IS nice, old friends meeting up again and both of you thousands of miles from home! Perhaps Neil you and Andrew would take the Lieutenant on a tour of your engine room and Paul and I will give the Commander our tour.” Andrew shot Scott the look that told him he was in big trouble later.
“You have the ship Jan.”
“Oh thanks Skip, I always wanted one.” The Commander thought that was hilarious. Harding didn’t even hear, he was wondering about Andrew and if he would say anything.
Both tours took an hour and as Scott’s progressed the more Commander Forrester was becoming more impressed and even more so when they got to the helicopter hanger where Marcel and Jon were waiting.
“My word, they are huge! Must be the largest radio controlled helicopters around.” The boys were in their element as they explained everything to the American and the reason why they were there.
“You mean you have pepper spray Captain! Does it work?”
“It certainly does, that’s why we stopped the pirate attack so easily and no one got hurt, just irritation of the eyes and very wet. We did what we have trained to do for months and it worked out very well.”
Forrester was taken back to the bridge and shown the Hawk radar system which the Commander took a keen interest in.
“My word this is a fantastic ship Captain, damn fine ship, I could not be more impressed.”
“Time for a coffee Commander. Let’s go to our cabin.”
“Yes, Andrew’s and mine.” Commander Forrester now knew for certain what had been suggested in the Icelandic media after the rescue. He smiled to himself and was not bothered.
Scott poured the coffees and sat down opposite his visitor.
“So, Commander you seem to like what you have seen. I assume that’s why you are here, you needed to check us out right?”
“Can we use first names Scott, mines Donald and prefer Don?”
“Yes Don, no problem.”
“Yes the Admiral who is Commander of the International naval force needed to know what you are about and why you are in these waters. Let me say we looked you up and we all thought this was a joke and was a rich kid having some fun at his father’s expense and we also thought your age was rather too young to be a captain. Then we read about your mother and father and I would like to extend my condolences to you. Let me say now, my opinion is the exact opposite. A great ship, a great crew and, forgive me, an excellent Captain despite your age. I really am impressed.”
“Thank you, we are about to meet our first ship and escort her from Cape Town to Mumbai. We then meet up with another ship after a couple of days in port and take her to the Red Sea. After that, back to South Africa to dock for two weeks when we will all fly back home for a break, or I may take us back to the UK, it depends on the next ships sailing through these waters.”
“Don’t you find it a huge risk though without weapons? I certainly would.”
“This is a stop gap until the International authorities allow ships to carry weapons and trained people to use them. We are convinced that if weapons are carried the pirate attacks will stop. They have already taken ships hostage and have carried out some dreadful abuse to crews and murdered some innocent people and of course someone’s getting millions of dollars in ransom money. We had the means to convert the ship and that’s why we are here. I wonder if Lieutenant Harding will share your opinion of us, somehow I don’t think so. Neil and Andrew will tell me after you go.”
“I can’t say much, but two things I will say though, one it should make no difference what that man’s opinion is as it won’t be important anyway and the second is his father is the Admiral and that’s the only reason why he is on the Rockall and….I have said too much.”
“Ok, glad he is not my problem, there is something I could say about him as well, but like you its best not said. Come on let’s go and chat to the crew.”
When they got to the saloon they found the off watch crew and a great surprise, a very excited and enthusiastic Lieutenant Harding. He was talking to Neil, Andrew and six others and sounding off about the Jean and what a great ship and fantastic crew.
“Captain Peterson I am so impressed and a great crew, your ship will be a great asset to the international navies operating against pirates and I just wish I could sail with you for a week or two. Captain would it be possible to sail with you for a couple of weeks if my Captain and my…….The Admiral agrees?” Alarm bells rang out.
“I doubt they would agree Lieutenant, you are needed on your ship.” Scott thought that was a bit lame and hoped it would be forgotten, he had seen the looks he had given the boys and just knew why he was so enthusiastic. A couple of weeks on an all gay ship! A gay man’s dream.
They were back on the boat deck saying goodbye to the visitors. “Stay in touch Scott and thank you for allowing us on board, I will be giving positive feedback when I see the Admiral. We will be listening out for any information you relay back to us. Good luck in all you do and stay safe.” They all shook hands and the RIB was run out of the stern and went back to the Rockall.
“So, what was Harding like?” They were back in the saloon.
“He was wetting himself with excitement and didn’t convince either of us and to give you my expert professional opinion, he’s a wanker!”
“Thanks Tommy, but I bet you all he is twisting his dads arm as we speak, his dad is the fucking Admiral.”
“The Lady Jean Peterson is a fantastic ship father and an absolute asset in operations against the pirate threat. Quite apart from her excellent ability to confront any attack on herself and Captain Peterson’s ships, she would be an extra set of eyes and report back to you any intelligence. As I say, I would love to have time with her and also take Lieutenant Fortune to work with their medical team, fantastic people and a great hospital provision. They have got everything to meet most medical needs as they proved when they rescued the Icelandic trawler men a few months ago.” Anyone listening to what Theo was saying would take it all in and be impressed, unless they already knew he was a shit and MAY have found a way of getting his rocks off. An all gay crew, some great looking guys AND Royston as well. Perfect.
Admiral Harding sat in his cabin in deep thought. Those thoughts went back a number of years as a Lieutenant on a two year secondment to the Royal Navy, a posting he had not wanted and it showed from day one. He was one disagreeable individual and very unpleasant to all he was attached too and was quite simply Mr Bad Attitude. Eventually the Navy got piss off and it ended up in front of his CO.
“Seems you have quite a few problems serving with us Lieutenant and that is not a question, it’s a statement of fact. We find you the complete opposite to every US Naval Officer we have had the pleasure serving with us. You Lt Harding are no longer welcome. None of us wish you any difficulties when you get home, instead you are being relieved of your time with us due to internal Royal Naval matters. You will be escorted to your embassy who are aware you are on your way. Your bags are packed, now get the hell off my ship.” He rang a bell and two military police came in and took him away.
He was seething as he remembered that time and now had some way to get even and use his son who would throw himself off a train if he were told too. The man had only one thing in his head, embarrass this silly boy captain and his ship.
He sent for Donald and questioned him about his and Theo’s visit and after half an hour knew all he needed to about the crew and the ship.
Harding sat thinking for some time then looked up at Donald. “I want you to contact this ship and arrange a two week visit for Lt Harding and Lt Fortune. Thank you Donald, you may leave.” Donald did as asked and knew there would be a big problem, even though he had on idea what it would be.
Scott got the request the following day and was meeting the crew on the bridge to find a way of saying no and a good reason for saying so.
“I know all I have to say is no, but I also know I would have to come up with why. Someone give me a good excuse because I haven’t got one.”
“Tell him he came on to Andrew when he was on that course.”
“Thanks Jerry, but how the hell can I tell him his son is gay for goodness sake and all he hopes is to come on board because he thinks we will all be waiting for his little dick and of course bringing that other guy with him who could be the same as he is, or a sure fuck when he realises he won’t have any luck with us?”
“Just my opinion Skip, but why are we having a problem? That twat or any other twat won’t get anywhere near any of us, well certainly not Paulina and me!” Jan laughed like hell. “And it could be a bit of fun and teach the fool a lesson or six. I don’t have a problem and the bloke will have me on his back if he tries anything on.” She meant with the boys of course and they all knew it, including Marcel and Jon.
“Skip, if we knew he and this other guy was genuine and only wanted to have time with us for professional reasons, would you take them?”
” Yes Paul, you are right of course. So, everyone ok with this then? Andrew?”
“No problem, he wasn’t when I was on the course and he won’t be now, but I will be keeping an eye on both of them, like we all will.”
“Ok, we will agree to having them then, Harding will be on your watch Jan and Fortune on yours Paul.”
“Can’t wait.” They said together.
Royston Fortune was completely unaware what was being discussed while Harding was waiting and hoping Scott would agree to having them. This was a great opportunity and Theo was thinking about him and Royston sharing the same cabin.
They stood together in the Admiral’s quarters listening to their Admiral as he told them about their two weeks with the Lady Jean Peterson.
“I don’t have to tell you that you are representing the United States Navy and expect you to show the Brits how to run a ship and even teach them a thing or two. I would not have agreed to you going unless I was sure you are more than competent, but then the US Navy is the best of course and I already know you will show those people just how fortunate they are to have two of the best sailing with them. I will be looking forward to the many compliments from the ship’s captain when you return. Commander Forrester reported that he considers the ship to be first class and I accept his opinion, but what I hope to hear is the Lady Jean Peterson is an even better ship after your time on board. Dismiss.”
A smiling Lieutenant Harding saluted his father and a furious Lieutenant Fortune saluted the Admiral. They left and went to their cabins to pack.
The Admiral waited for a few minutes and then picked his phone up. Half hour later the Rockall’s Captain, Captain Robert Andrew’s, the Exec Officer Commander Donald Forrester and the Marine Captain, Captain Martin Standing were sitting listening to Admiral Harding.
“I have an exercise for you gentlemen which will be carried out a week today. We are going to board this Lady Jean Peterson who, according to you Donald, is the dog’s bollocks as the Brit’s say. Well we are about to find out. I want four boats and 24 men to carry out the operation and I want that ship taken as though it is an enemy and the crew taken as well. Lieutenants Harding and Fortune do not know about this, but will be able to tell me how they respond to the attack afterwards. We will make it all very friendly, but advise them at the same time to go back home and leave the pirates to the professionals.” He had not been totally honest about Theo though.
“Sir, as I reported after my visit, Captain Peterson and his crew are very well organised, trained and he runs an excellent ship and he will cooperate with us by sending intel to us which may be of great assistance.” Don said.
“He is a CIVILIAN Don and this BOY captain is about to learn a big lesson and that is he is not needed or welcome in my area of command. I want that bucket and it’s captain off my ass.”
Donald was in his cabin thinking about it all and smiled to himself. He had not been able to mention the Jean’s Hawk radar system mainly because the Admiral was getting bored with all the compliments coming out of Donald’s mouth and ended the meeting. The Admiral would know the attack on the Jean had been in daylight and would assume the attackers were spotted because it was. He would have no idea that at night the Jean could “see” just as well and he was not about to tell him now. Admiral Harding maybe an excellent commander, but his arrogance and narcissistic traits were becoming a problem, but in the military it was difficult to talk to anyone about it.
“Oh well, I wonder who will learn a big lesson? I’m darn sure the Marines won’t get anywhere near boarding Scott’s ship. This could be so embarrassing.”
The Admiral was in his bunk and was thinking hard about his son and how keen he was to get himself and Lieutenant Fortune on that ship. He had not often been so keen about anything like this before unless it was American and he was worried about the reason. The Admiral had also watched the video of the search and rescue of the Icelandic men by the Lady Jean Peterson and the interviews afterwards and although nobody actually said it was an all gay crew, the interviewer tried hard to get Scott to say they were, it would be great news. He ducked the question quite well, but did not deny it either. The follow up comments were all saying the crew were gay and the vast majority more than happy about it.
“My son…..homosexual!? NEVER!” He then thought of his talk with Theo when Peterson had agreed to them sailing with him for two weeks. It was just what the Admiral wanted.
“Commander Forrester told me about Peterson’s night routine which included ships lock down two hours before sunset. On the seventh night you are on board, I want you to unlock the starboard mid ships hatch at 0100hrs and ring my cell to tell me you have done it. You don’t need to know why, but you will get your half ring after you do as I ask, but ONLY if you unlock that hatch.”
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