MV Lady Jean Peterson
“ANDREW!” Flares on the port side!” George called out. “They have got her back guys!”
“Full speed ahead and make for her starboard side Freddy please.” The whole crew could now relax and there was a lot of hugs going on and handshakes, none so much as with Andrew and Tommy.
Back on the O6’s bridge there was a lot of chatter between Bob Taylor’s ship and HMS Edward who would be with them in three hours’ time. Meanwhile Scott was on his phone talking to William, he filled him in about the whole operation but most of it was what to do with the pirates.
“Bob won’t want them on his ship neither do I. If they are transferred to the Edward and taken back to the UK they will get prison time and after that they will apply and most probably get asylum and who the fuck wants that? I can take them to within 100 miles of the Somalian coast and put them into my pirate boat and get shot of them. Dad would you find out what the legal side to all this and any risk to us, we all know that we have to do everything by the letter or get charged ourselves.”
Paul and two other crew had rounded up the pirates and they were now handcuffed together just inside the main deck.
Scott was still on the bridge when the radio came on. “This is the Lady Jean Peterson calling the Ocean Six. Are you receiving!”
The sun was up by now and both crews of the O6 and LJP watched as the pirates were transferred to the Jean’s pirate boat and released. It had been agreed to release the pirates at 100 miles from the coast which Scott promptly ignored. “They managed to take the O6 over 200 miles away from the coast and I’m fucking sure they can get back. I bet they get a good reception when they do!” All of them had been issued with life jackets, plenty of fuel, food, water, a compass, chart and first aid kit. The final insult was they had to have a radio, but at least they would be rid of them. Taking them back to the UK saved millions it would cost prosecuting them.
Scott and Paul stood together as the boat went further away.
“Scott, I have a confession.”
“What have you done?” Paul didn’t say anything but instead showed Scott the battery from the radio. He threw it over board. “Opps!”
“Ah well we have, almost, conformed to the human rights of murderers and would be murderers if we had not taken the O6 back.” They watched as the pirates went further away.
“Paul, thanks for this, we could never have done it without you and what makes it even better we did it without a shot fired. Now Bob has been stitched up we can all get back to some sort of normality and I can’t wait to get back, but now we are able to defend our ships properly, I am bloody sure there will be no repeat of this. I can now send you over to the ship we are escorting to defend her if we have to go off for search and rescue. I could not be happier.”
“Me neither Skip, me neither.”
Nobody had even talked about the weapons taken from the pirates and Scott had them transferred to his ship, leaving one and four magazines with Bob Taylor and by the time HMS Edward had left they now had the GPMG and 200 rounds as well.
There were even more discussions regarding the LJP’s seaworthiness as she should be taken to the nearest port for repairs but Scott eventually got his way and eventually he was told he could sail back to the UK escorted by the O6 now the radio was back up.
“ME escorting YOU Scott! Now that’s different!” They all said goodbye and then Scott and Paul transferred back to the Jean where there was a hell of a reception waiting for them. Bob agreed that Scott would lay off the South African coast and wait for the O6 to come back out.
After all the hugs and everyone talking at the same time, Andrew bought it to an end.
“I have nominated myself to remain in command of the Jean until you come back to your chair Skip, you two are to go off and sleep.” Neither of them argued and did as they were told and with one last cuddle to their partners they left the bridge.
They were still in pirate waters and going at the O6’s maximum speed of 20 knots. Goodness knows where he got them from but the chief engineer fiddled an extra two knots from somewhere and Bob was pleased to have them.
Andrew had organized two watches, four on, four off.
Reggie, Freddy, Marcel and Jon on the first watch with Jan, Paulina, Jerry and Tommy on the second. George would also be on the first watch as extra lookout but to go off to cook and Colin doing the same on the second watch. That left Andrew and Neil who would look after the engine room and all the ongoing sea maintenance. Although they seemed to have come through the Cyclone without any mechanical problems showing up they were concerned that some would.
Andrew had two of the AK47’s on the bridge with two magazines each and the rest, including the new GPMG and ammunition he had put in the weapons store. They had the rest of this night and all the next day before they knew they were out of the pirate area. Despite the fact that they were still in a danger area and as the sea was so calm Colin thought the conditions were good enough to take George to the winch and give him training. Bob Taylor agreed that they could practise “transfers” to his ship with an empty basket. They would start at day break the following day but meanwhile the two of them went and the training began by taking the basket out over the side and George trying to keep the basket just 3 to 4 feet above the water.
There was another reason why Colin wanted to get George familiar with the winch and how to operate it. He, Neil, Reggie and Freddy had decided to leave the LJP after they had transferred to the O6 and fly home from South Africa.
Andrew took a break and quietly opened the cabin door and went to the bunk and looked down at the sleeping Scott and thanked his luck once again for going on holiday to Iceland. He knelt down with his face just inches away from Scott’s. His mind went back to that first meeting when Scott had come to his table and “told” him he was going for a walk and once again wondered while the hell they did instead of staying in Andrew’s room and getting up to mischief. As it turned out it would be months before they did and only because of what happened to Lady Jean on the old O6. He thought again and wondered what they would be doing now if that had never happened. They would be crewing one of William’s ships he guessed, but then if they could stop escorting convert back to Scott’s original idea of ocean research of which there was still much to learn and discover. He bent over and gently kissed his cheek and left the cabin, he was still in command of the Jean and did not want to bend it.
He was more than relaxed as he knew there was not much further to go before the O6 and the LJP were out of the danger area and they could all relax even more and look forward to the return trip home and to get the ship repaired and back to sea. He was about to go onto the bridge when the alarm rang out and at the same time a huge explosion as an RPG hit the already wreaked hangar and bullets hitting the bridge.
“Searchlights on! Find the bastards!” Andrew called out. “Cannons full power!”
Without being told Marcel and Jon went to the weapons store and got the GMPG and all the rounds and took them to the bridge. Jerry and George grabbed an AK each and the four magazines and, again without being told climbed to the bridge top. Scott and Paul arrived together.
They were being hit on the port side and at last one boat was picked up in the light trained on it but not before another explosion on the port bow which did considerable damage to the hull but did not penetrate.
Up on top Jerry and George opened up and fired at the pirate boat which was now well and truly lit up and although all they hit was water, one of them go close enough to force the boat and its pirates to turn away.
By now Bob Taylor had his ship going hard to port and then starboard in an attempt to stop any boarding. He left the ship under the command of his first officer and went to the top of his bridge with the AK and the four magazines Scott had left with him. Bob’s searchlights were on and found a boat approaching him and firing at the same time. Bob did not think twice and emptied all 30 rounds at the boat coming towards his ship. Again nobody was hit but it caused the pirates to back off out of range.
“Paul get ready to transfer to the O6 with your weapon, when you get to her cover the opposite side to the one we are on. Colin go to the winch I’m coming with you. Andrew you have the ship and call Bob to tell him Paul’s coming over on the starboard side and for him to cover his port side until Paul is on board. Searchlights off.”
This transfer would not be easy as both ships were at 20 knots but at least it was calm. As soon as Paul was in the basket Colin lifted him and literally dumped him on the O6’s deck. Paul more or less fell out taking his weapon and ammunition with him and the last thing Scott saw was Paul running like the wind towards the tower. Bet he didn’t think he would be back this quick, Scott thought.
“Go to stern and port of the O6 and standoff 200 yards. I am going to the top, someone bring all the magazines up, Jerry if you want, come up with another AK. Neil give me a damage report please. Andrew have you sent out an emergency call?”
“Yes Skip we have a US Naval ship 170 miles away and she is sending her helicopter.”
“Ok. Radio Bob and tell I am going to look for that pirate. Full ahead and hard to port.”
“Skip, you do realise we only have stern lights.” Andrew said.
“And they can’t see us either, but they will when I turn about and have them switched on. Go to 3 miles and turn back, I know exactly where the O6 will be to catch her up. I just want a crack at those shits.”
At three miles Andrew told Scott they were turning, Scott gave him the course and once again they all felt the incredible movement as the Jean, still at full speed heaved over and within half a minute she was on her new course. “Lights on! Sweep slowly and cover the whole light area. FIND THEM! Andrew, radio the O6 and ask Bob to turn his lights on as well.”
Scott would not get his wish in hoping to engage the pirates again and it would take him some time to come to terms with it after the success they had had in taking the O6 back, but very nearly lost both ships because of no radar or the cover of the helicopters. He of course was relieved there had been no casualties, just some damage to his ship and at least he knew she was more than able to take hits and survive them, but it was a very hard lesson to learn nevertheless. The US helicopter did find one of the pirate boats but by the time the Marines got to them there were no weapons or anything else to show they were in fact pirates, just fishermen with no nets! They were released.
They finally sailed into safe waters and were just two days away from Port Elizabeth but instead of waiting out at sea for the O6 to come back out they had to go in for a seaworthiness survey so she could sail back home.
Scott was in his office listening to Reggie, Freddy, Neil and Colin and learnt they would all be flying back home when they arrived in South Africa. “We have all spoken and think it best that we leave when we get into Port Scott. It’s going to be very hard for us and we guess the whole crew and the sailing back to the UK will be very difficult anyway but as we are going into port we thought it best to leave sooner than later and Skip, we don’t want any fuss, just go as quietly as we arrived, hope you understand.”
“Of course I understand and you are doing what I would have done as well. You won’t want speeches, but if I were to say anything you will know exactly what it would be, just a “thank you” is all I can come up with right now and from my dad and the crew as well. We are going to miss you all so much, but I am beginning to make a speech, so I will shut up!”
As soon as the Jean was moored up, officials came on board and took all weapons away including the machine gun which Scott would get back when she was able to go back to sea. The survey was due to begin the following day and once the customs people had left they were able to spend a short time with those who were about to leave the ship for the last time.
The four friends had packed and the mini bus was waiting at the dock side. Very little was said, just hugs, handshakes and “thanks and good luck.”
They all went out to the top of the gang way and watched as they went off the ship for the last time and not a dry eye either. They stopped at the door of the mini bus and waved back, then they were gone. The Lady Jean Peterson had changed for ever and would never be the same, but that did not mean she would not continue her work and be just as effective. She would continue with her escorts for some time to come and eventually become what Scott had intended in the first place, an Oceanic research ship, but before that happened there would be a few more “adventures” for the Lady Jean Peterson and her Captain and crew to experience.
A week later the ship slipped her lines and left the harbour and as soon as she was clear Scott took her to 18 knots and they settled down to the 10 day voyage home. A new radar had been installed which made her legal to sail and a better communications system that would allow Scott to speak to William and by the time they got back everything that needed to be done had been arranged.
The O6 had sailed long before the Jean could and every crew member of crew from the Jean and all those that could be on the O6 were out on deck to wave goodbye. Bob Taylor was waving to the LJP and did the most UnBritish thing! He came to attention and SALUTED!?
Scott in return blew a kiss back and Bob creased up!
It would take some time for them all to come to terms with the four guys leaving and so Scott arranged a full programme of training exercises and emergency drills leaving it to Paul to organise all of it including the practice firing of the GPMG. After many of these practices, Jerry would take the second machine gun when they were fully armed on their next sailing.
They were just two days away from home and Scott and Andrew were laying on their bunk with just shorts on both of which were at full tent as they kissed and fondled one another’s magnificent bodies.
“Love me?” Andrew asked rather needlessly.
“That was a bit needless to ask that dopey bugger, do you?” Scott replied, rather needlessly. Andrew did not answer as there was a knock on the door. They kissed once more and got up taking the “tents” with them. Marcel and Jon took one look at them and smiled as Scott and Andrew looked at two more “tents!”
They closed the door and cuddled in close kissing all together. A couple of minutes later four beautiful men laid naked together on the bunk for a short while until Scott took Marcel to the couch. Both pairs were totally focussed on one another………then the intercom clicked on 🙂
“FIRE FIRE FIRE! ENGINE ROOM! Andrew, Marcel and Jon respond!” There was a mad rush to get dressed and now with no “tents” to get in the way, they flew out of the cabin.
The intercom clicked back on… OPPS, SORRY SKIP!”
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