Aboard the Adelaide II
I was alone on the bridge. It was eerily quiet. The Adelaide was maintaining position on a parallel with Brisbane, which was hard to explain to passengers and crew. I saw flashing lights off the port side and raised my binoculars to get a better look. A very large and fast naval ship was headed our way, flood lights full on, pointing right at us. I glanced at the time; oh-four-hundred.
I picked up the intercom phone and dialed Ren’s room. He answered on the first ring.
“You need to get to the bridge, now. Bring Aaron with you,” I said quickly and hung up.
The cruiser slowed as it approached, and someone broadcast a loud announcement from a megaphone aimed at us.
“This is the Royal Australian Navy. Heave to and prepare to be boarded. Any attempt to flee will be met with appropriate force.”
As it pulled up alongside, it dwarfed the yacht in size. I hit the switch to turn on all exterior flood lights.
“JT, JT, Russ.”
“Go ahead, Cap.”
“We’re being boarded. Get up here and help tie the lines.”
“Aye, Cap, on the way.”
Mack, Ren and Aaron rushed onto the bridge at that moment.
“What the fu…” Mack started. I put a hand on his shoulder.
“Maintain position, Mack. I’m going down to greet them. Aaron, I assume this is of your doing. You and Ren had better come with me,” I instructed.
I ushered Ren and Aaron out the door ahead of me and guided them down to the deck. JT had secured the lines. Two Australian marines stood by the railing of the naval cruiser holding assault rifles at parade rest.
Just then, a team of six men in unidentifiable military-style black clothing boarded and walked toward us.
“Aaron Jeffries?” the lead man called, in an American accent.
“Here,” Aaron responded, with a lazy salute.
“I’m supposed to say ‘Jerry sent me,’ whoever that is. I take it you need assistance with a bug infestation.”
“Yes, sir, that’s a fact. This is Captain Garrett,” Aaron introduced. He removed his black stocking cap when I extended my hand, which was accepted. Quite a bit shorter than me, buzzed head and commanding eyes, he nodded when he shook my hand.
“Sorry, sirs, I’m not at liberty to reveal my identify. Just call me Silvio—don’t ask.”
“No worries,” Aaron said. “We certainly appreciate your help.”