MV Lady Jean Peterson
by BobbyG

 

Chapter 21

The second meeting between William, Sam, Jason, Martin and Sandra was taking place at William’s home. They were enjoying one of Brenda’s full English breakfasts. Right, you two are in charge of this mess, what’s your thinking because Martin will not be going to Aldershot of course.”

“Two options Sir William. One we now get the police involved and raid the flat and hope to find evidence on computers and mobile phones, anything on paper like contacts and possibly weapons, but make it out to be a drugs bust. Two. We have trusted people and we can send two of them to meet O’Brian and hand him a letter from Martin which we will write together but it will have to say this will be his last contact, lots to discuss about that though. And possibly one more option which is definitely dodgy, get really rough and stop him now.”

“I know two who will be more than pleased to get involved with any options.” They all looked at Sandra.

“Who may I ask?” She smiled at William.

“My dad and brother. They are both ex Royal Marines. My father was decorated during the Falklands war and my brother served two tours in Afganistan and one Iraq. They are trying to start their own armed security business and if they knew about this, O’Brian would be history.”

“Maybe worth telling them but it may give you a problem Martin.” Martin laughed

“They know all about what I used to be. Apart from Sandra they are the two best people in my life. They maybe retired Royal Marines but they will also stay Royal Marines.”

“Look we need to plan what we do about this Aldershot meeting but I would like to meet your father and brother as soon as possible Sandra.”

“They would like that but I have a suggestion to make about this meeting and no letter involved, just me.” Martin nearly had a fit and it took Sandra a while to calm things down.

“We wait until O’Brian goes in the pub and tell him we want a slice of what is being planned. We will tell him Martin guessed what was going on and we know about the Somalis and where they and he live. We need to get a casual photo of O’Brian, there must be lots of all O6’s crew, take the one of him and photo shop O’Brian’s face for Martin’s and show it to the shit. We make sure he understands his whole family  and the street they live in will get a copy, you must have those details in his employment file. So, one he hands over all videos and two, bring my dad and brother, Marin and me into his plans, if not he will suffer badly. We can also blackmail as far as he is concerned. That’s all I can come up with Sir William.” William turned to Sam. “Well? I know it needs a lot of talking through but for me it’s a hell of a good plan.”

They kicked it around for sometime and agreed how and what should be said. Sandra went off to make a phone call and came back in saying her father and brother were on their way.

 

An hour later William met the two former Royal Marines, Carl and his son Trevor Price. After they were bought up to date with every thing, they planned the meeting with O’Brian.

“Well I just hope this works. It will be another week before my son gets home and apart from having to do something about O’Brian we do nothing else until he gets home.

He wrote a note and gave it to Sam asking her to carry out a military and security checks on the two guys, it was possible they could be of some use if they managed to get authority to form their own armed security. As soon as he had seen the visitors off Brenda called him to the phone.

“Sir William turn on the Braking News Channel. Sir we have a huge problem.”

“Hold the line Stanley please.” The first thing he saw was a close up of Captain Cox aiming and then firing his rifle at a pirate boat.

“Yeah Gods how the hell are BNC able to show this!?”

“We have been hacked Sir William. Will you contact Scott and tell him to cut the link?”

“We can’t Stan, everyone will think we are trying to cover up, and besides Scott won’t know I’m calling until it’s all over. God almighty where on earth did he get that rifle!?”

*****

“This is the M/V Lady Jean Peterson escorting the cargo ship Ocean One. We are under attack by 4 heavily armed pirate boats. We request urgent support.” He gave out speed course and position, then repeated everything. The Dutch Frigate Antwerp replied telling him their helicopter would be with them in 30 minutes and the ship at full speed.

“Thank you Antwerp, you will be very welcome.”

“Port 10 get between the O1 and pirates. Yeah Gods WE are trying to protect the O1 from pirate attack and now that fucking lot from the O1!” The guy in the studios back in London didn’t bleep in time and all viewers would have heard Scott’s language.”

“Mid ships.”

“Skip 2 contacts 5 miles 50 knots!”

“Oh lovely! Lights on strobe, LRAD on. All cannons on, hold the midships hoses but set them to hot.”

“Captain Cox has gone to the starboard wing.”

” Four boats 800 yards Skip.”

“Half speed! In you go Marcel.” The distance would now close more rapidly for Marcel to get into range.

“Captain Cox is firing again.”

“Bollocks! Andrew get us between them and keep following.”

“Marcel?”

“Going in Skip….! Oh shit…! I missed! Going round again.”

“How you doing Jon?”

“Finished refuelling and pods on, 2 minutes and I will be up Skip.”

“Skip Captain Cox is firing at the nearest boat on the port side.” It was the same one Marcel was after but because Barry was hitting into the bow of the skiff, they made a violent turn and he missed again, then the thing ran out of fuel and plopped harmlessly into the sea. He loaded another on the ramp.

Scott ordered full ahead and felt the Jean get into her incredible acceleration as she went to get closer to the O1. He got to 200 yards then called for 13 knots.

“I’m up skip.”

“Well done Jon. Attack both starboard boats, use both pods.” If Jon could stop them he could fly to the other two that Barry was still firing on. Jon flew out wide ready to line up astern of the nearest boat, Marcel was heading for the other one.

“Aft boats now at 3 miles 50 knots.”

“Skip, these four are in RPG range.” Scott went to the fire control and selected the three starboard firework tubes.

“Hard astern…..” 300 yards and firing….. Full ahead.” Those that could, watched as the three fireworks exploded directly over the two boats. It was so massive both drivers lost control as they let go of the tiller which closed the throttles. It was a great shot but very bad timing as Marcel flew towards his target but got blown up by his Captain! He cussed then loaded another bullet. “Third time lucky?” But at least Jon was having a better time.

“SKIP! Got him.! They can’t see a thing.” Scott was relived but it would be short lived.

By now he had told Andrew to stay on the starboard side, he realised now Barry was keeping the other two busy and had done considerable damage to both boats water and fuel containers and all four spilling their contents which ran to the boats stern. Barry now changed his aim and fired at the hull at the stern of both boats and both fell back. He would now wait for them to come closer and fire on them again. Scott had more or less guessed all that and now deliberately left Barry to it.

Jon spoke giving Scott bad news. “Skip! Just did another attack but nothing happened, somethings wrong with the release valves.”

“Come back Jon.”

“SKIP! Got him! He’s out of it!” Marcel had at last got a hit. One down, three to go, but it wouldn’t happen. Scott had his binoculars stuck to his eyes and watched as an RPG was aimed at the Jean from the second skiff.

“Hard to port.” Once again the ships incredible maneuverability kicked in as she turned almost at right angles to port. He continued to watch the guy aiming the RPG. “Hard to starboard!” The grenade missed by miles, but Scott knew the pirates would come after them again unless Marcel could wreck their out board.

Meanwhile Barry carried on firing and watched as a fire broke out which took hold and they had no choice but to abandon the boat. That meant the other boat had to stop and pick them up. Scott looked at Barry and was relieved he had gone to the starboard wing to fire again, the boat picking up would now have 12 men on it and somewhat crowded and so he stopped firing.

The situation so far was, one boat with no engine, one not able to function because of pepper spray and one sunk. The crew with no engine transferred into the other boat and both of them turned and went to join the other two coming at the Jean and O1.

“Mid ships, catch up with the O1. Colin will you reload more fireworks please. Cannons and LRAD off. Lights go to steady beam.” Scott just knew he would need the fireworks when the four boats came at them again, he was also worried about Marcel and the fact he was too exposed when they got into RPG range and there would be six RPG’s and up to 24 AK47’s that could fire on the Jean, he just hoped Barry could help them out again. A bigger problem was about to appear which didn’t help one bit. Jon had landed and Neil went to see if he could fix the release problem, but no, it was knackered.

“Skip, Marcel’s helicopter has taken a hit, there is no way we can get the valve changed in time for the next attack.”

“Ok. Jon refuel and take off 200 feet over us then come to the bridge. And you Marcel, if I tell you get out of there, drop everything and come to the bridge as well, do you hear?”

“Yes Skip, I hear.”

“Four boats line abreast, 2 miles, 40 knots.” Up on his wing bridge Barry was also looking through his binoculars and worked out the next attack at the same time as Scott did. Both captain’s were sure all four boats would go after the Jean and stop her, then they would go for the O1. Scott looked at his watch, all this action had only taken 15 minutes and the Dutch helicopter still 15 minuets away.

He got onto the radio again to give the Antwerp an up date.

“We will be with you very shortly captain.”

Scott looked out at the O1. Barry had slowed to about 8 knots, he had every intention of bringing Paul’s grenade launcher to bear and shorten the distance he could shoot but with only 50 rounds left he would have to make every round count. He hoped that by falling back one or two pirates would come at him and draw them away from the Jean. But he had one more decision to make, the biggest of his life, shoot at the pirates with the RPG’s? If he didn’t there would be very little chance in stopping both ships from sever damage or worse, and of course probable casualties.

Scott had to think about his crew and get most off the bridge.

“Janet, Jerry and Andrew. Are you prepared to remain on the bridge?”

“Of course Skip.”

“And I’m staying with Jan Skip.” Scott knew he could not object or to George when he said he was staying as well. Andrew smiled at Scott and sent his love to him.

“Very well but on my order everyone else go to the engine room but hang on tight.”

Both sides of the hull had been further strengthened to protect the engine room and was the safest compartment on the ship.

“Ok, we all know all four skiffs will come at us first, you will see Captain Cox has ordered the O1 to slow therefore he can fire at a shorter distance and Paul to use his grenade launcher. Marcel I have changed my mind, you can try to get a hit ONCE only, then go to the engine room.”

“Skip.”

“All crew, if we can no longer defend ourselves we will have to surrender to them and I expect Captain Cox will do the same. We are now totally dependant on his rifle and the Antwerp’s helicopter.”

Back home millions were glued to their TV screens and many more millions in other countries. Andrew’s family were sleeping the night through and had no idea of the events going on in the Arabian sea and the danger their son and brother were in.

William and Brenda were holding on to one another and praying for a happy outcome but he had to contend with the phone constantly ringing from the media and in the end unplugged the system but it also cut him off from his legal team. He had been advised not to use his computers or mobile phone. “They could have got into everything, we are checking all systems and don’t think we can use any for a few hours.”

“Well when we are able the first lot to be sued will be that fucking BNC mob!”

“Jerry, use a split screen with your camera covering the O1 and pirates and Marcel’s directed onto those boats. What’s their distance?”

“1.5 miles, 40 knots Skip.”

“The RPG’s range is around 330 yards, that will give you one engine to go for Marcel then close the hangar shutters and go to the engine room. All crew off watch please go there now.” Reggie and Royston picked up the two large paramedic back packs then followed the rest to the engine room.

“We are about to turn 180 at full speed and drive at them head on. Marcel take off when I tell you and try to go for a boat that has two RPG’s. I will time it so we can turn back when we are in firework range and send the lot away but that means we will be in range of their RPG’s and, depending on Marcel’s aim, we will have either 4 or 6 of them firing at us. No pressure Marcel! I will be chucking the Jean all over the place so everyone hang on to something or someone. Here we go.”

He didn’t give Andrew an order, instead he kissed his cheek and told him he loved him. They were about to head for their most dangerous action as they were without their most effective means to defend the ship. Jon’s helicopter had been shot down and Marcel’s unable to spray pepper. But there were two assets that most definitely had saved them so far, one illegal and one bordering on it. Captain Cox’s Lee Enfield rifle and Scott’s “bullets” flown by Marcel, but without the rifle he knew they would have been in very serious trouble by now. He vowed he would be showing this recording to all and sundry to prove just how effective being armed would be against pirates. Little did he know, millions were already watching live! He spoke into his head set.

“If they fire at us dead ahead they will only be able to bring a few weapons to bear and so I think they will turn broadside so they can use the lot. As far as I can see the two middle boats have the two RPG’s Marcel. Take off and attack.”

“Skip.”

“Paulina LRAD on and lights on strobe. Sound the horns. Jan cannons on full but keep them to stern. When I turn we could be in range to aim directly into the boats. Right, standby everyone!” He was about to order hard to port when all four skiffs turned to their port.

“Hard to starboard.” He waited a few more seconds, the range of both RPG’s and the fireworks had been reached.

“Come about!”

“SKIP…..! GOT HIM!”. The outboard motor disintegrated in a mass of bits and smoke. The boats speed reduced so rapidly some of them fell over board taking weapons with them. But by now the rest of the pirates were blasting away at the Jean scoring many hits on the bridge and all structures forward of it, but now RPG’s were being aimed ready to fire.

“GET OUT, MARCEL!” The lad dropped his control panel and ran to the hatch, as he passed he slammed the large red close button then out of the hangar. He closed the hatch and threw the locking leaver. Meanwhile the shutter was rolling down to close. That shutter was the weakest part of the whole superstructure.

Marcel was half way up the gangway when the grenade exploded into the half closed shutter blowing it out of it’s mounting and destroying everything in the hangar but worse the tanks burst and the fuel caught fire.

At the very second the RPG’s fired so did Scott. Shells and fireworks would have passed one another. Two seconds after the grenade wiped out the hangar, Scott’s fireworks fell onto two of the boats and blew up 20 feet above them. It was a perfect shot. Two boats came to a stop and some very disorientated pirates to go with it, but the third boat had already broken away and was heading for the 01. This one had two RPG’s and at least 9 machine guns.

“Hard astern! Jan you are already in range, fire directly on them but don’t sink the bastards.” He watched as both boats were half filled with water and would no longer take any further part.

“Andrew, full ahead and get to that other one.”

The fire alarm was sounding telling the crew in the engine room where the fire was. Neil, Theo and Jon made for the hatch and Marcel with them, but  stopped when Scott spoke.

“Marcel to the bridge and don’t walk!” The lovely lad could not get there any quicker!

Neil looked at Jon. “You are not coming, stay here.” He and Theo already guessed the sprinkler system in the hangar would have been knocked out but there were a number of foam hydrants, two of which were outside the hangar for obvious reasons. The fuel was burning off but the heat was beginning to buckle the roof and had to be put out. They each uncoupled their hoses, turned the stop cocks on and within a few minutes it was bought under control. They would stick around in case there was another outbreak.

Not that it made much difference but Barry ordered full ahead and looked down at the deck, Paul was hidden behind the capstan just waiting for the boat to come into range but had to duck down as every AK47 opened up at the bridge. Barry screamed out for everyone to hit the deck, but the superstructure was an aluminium construction and no protection against machine gun fire.

The ship was hit by many rounds, mainly on the bridge and the deck below it. All crew had dived to the deck and for many, prayed for the first time in their lives.

Barry ignored the firing and stood there with his sights on the driver. When he had shot him, he would continue to fire on the rest at random. And that’s exactly his intention but for the fact he was shot himself. One bullet smashed his left upper arm, the second hit the collar bone and left shoulder but the most serious was when a bullet hit the left side of his head.

They were still out of range from Paul’s grenades but he fired six off anyway. At least they knew what would happen when they got closer. He loaded six more and fired those off as well at 5 second intervals.

Marcel arrived on the bridge just as James Black, the O1’s first officer radioed that the ship was taking many hits. There was a brief pause then he came back on. “We need help, the Captain has been shot and…….., oh fuck! He is in a bad way! Please help!”

“James, we are on our way. Go hard to port and try and get your stern to that boat.”

“Marcel take control and fly into that thing at the bow, screamer on. Can you do a vertical dive?” He was already flying towards the pirates.

“Skip, Royston and myself are ready to transfer to the O1 if you can get alongside.”

“The Dutch helicopter is on screen, one minute away.”

“Thank you Reggie, we need to stop that boat first. I am lining up on the starboard side of the O1. Only go on deck when I say. Slow ahead Andrew.”

Jerry had his camera following Marcel’s helicopter. He climbed to 200 feet and did a loop over the skiff that bought him into a vertical dive. The nightmare was just seconds before it would end. Scott watched Marcel’s screen as the helicopter dived until it’s final act in protecting the Lady Jean Peterson and her crew. The helicopter slammed into the pirate boat ending any further attempts to take both ships.

Several things happened at the same time. One, the pepper containers split and the entire contents covering the pirates which temporarily blinded all of them. Two, the fuel caught fire and 12 pirates jumping over the side. Three, the Dutch Lynx helicopter arrived.

Reggie, Royston and Colin were told to go to the aft deck and wait to be transferred to the O1.

“Paulina will you please get the medical centre prepared in case we can bring the captain over. We will need every trauma pack and a lot of luck.”

“Reggie, with you and Royston attending the captain, he is in the best hands possible and no luck needed.” It was music to Reggie and Royston’s ears.

“Thank you so much dear lady.”

Under Scott’s directions Andrew bought the Jean to the starboard side of the O1 and simply rammed both ships together so that Colin could transfer the two doctors, but in Reggie’s case, a surgeon with twenty years behind him. Barry’s life would literally be in their hands.

When Reggie and Royston had transferred, Paul and Thomas were lifted back. As the transfers were happening, Scott had the RIB with Jan and Jerry on board launched. Jerry had a shot gun and a heavy iron bar! Thus armed they set off to stop any pirates from drowning. There was a long rope attached to the RIB and with Freddy yelling over the loud hailer, they were to grab hold of it and taken to the Jean. Once there and now with Paul back they were taken to the aft deck and secured to the rail. Scott had them taken to the other boats which had the Dutch helicopter over them and all weapons thrown over the side. The pirates were transferred and given food and water, then told to go and tow the skiff with no engine.

Scott felt he had conformed to international law in regard to protecting lives at sea then left them to get on with it and go back to the 01 to wait for Reggie to say he was ready to transfer Barry. Thanks to the efforts of both surgeon and doctor, Barry was still alive and although very sick they had managed to stabilize him ready for the transfer. Paulina had already prepared the sick bay and was out on deck waiting to help get the captain into it.

Colin very gently lowered the cage onto the Jean’s deck then Scott and Paul lifted him to the sick bay. Royston was also bought back over as well as the rifle and ammunition as asked to by Scott. It was now over to Reggie, Paulina and Royston went to work on Barry and the crew hoping for a happy outcome.

Apart from those in the sickbay and Neil and George on watch the rest went to look at the damage.

The hangar was completely wrecked and would have to be rebuilt but the comfort was to find the bulkhead between it and the rest of the ship without any damage whatsoever.

They tried to count bullet marks and roughly came up with around 200+ but once again the good news was not one had penetrated into the bridge, Scott’s and Andrew’s cabin or the deck below that. The hull was undamaged but with quite a few bullet hits. However, they all new that if another RPG struck, it would have been a different story. “Jerry can you film all this and send to my dad and London?” But of course that would not be needed, every viewer could see for themselves and Scott was soon to find out they could.

Scott and Andrew went to the hospital bay to get an update. During any procedure sliding doors would be shut and the theatre a sealed off sterile room, otherwise there would just be curtains closing off that room off from the sick bay itself.

Both doors and curtains were open and the covered body of Captain Barry Cox on the operating table.

Barry Cox became the only fatality in the attack on either side but a man who had helped save both ships by his actions but only because of his illegal rifle. The media were going to have a field day… And so would Scott, eventually.

 

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