Standard Operations

Standard ops

Classified/Homeland Security (map attached). Case: i9-4579intruder


The banshee wail of the intruder alert sets my scalp tingling. I yell. “Where’s the source Priscilla?”

“Strait of Georgia ma’am, just south west of Vancouver. Looks like the city is place of origin.”

“I turn to my 2IC. “Anna, get a drone out there, stat.”

“On it Cap’n.” The prowler she selected lifts off the front deck with a giant whoosh.

I should have known Anna would be ahead of me. The gal is extraordinary. A week new to our station at Roche Harbor, but already acting like a veteran. Incredibly fit, agile as a monkey, strong, keen as they come. Fiery red hair masking an amazing intellect. I love her enthusiasm and zest for her job. She already has the dock lines loosened on the port side as I start the five giant outboards. 1000 horsepower come to life with a tremendous roar, temporarily drowning out further conversation. The all-round rubber inbuilt fenders stretch and screech as I pulled away.

This is no time to obey the harbor rules of ‘no wake’. I gun the Mercs to half capacity. A giant plume shoots up behind us. As we reach the outer markers, the intruder siren goes off again. My ears go into protective block mode. What is going on? A multiple invasion? Priscilla yells across the saloon. “Nanaimo. Makes no sense.” Another drone launches from the front deck. The big screen in the main cabin shows the two terrorist source spots with bright red flashing circles, and the two drones with thick blue arrows indicating direction.

I tap the secure personal audio nodule in my throat. “Calling Canada SeaLand. Come in.” I flip the silver Encompassing Communication Module out the breast pocket of on my uniform, and throw it to Priscilla. She secures the link to our compatriots in Victoria, and the big screen splits in two vertically. John Larson’s image appears on the right side showing him standing beside his desk. I tap the nodule again so our conversation is shareable. “Hi Katherine. We think you can anticipate more of these alerts coming in any second. Canada Inland Intel has been warning us for a week about increased hot-spot dialog between cells. They’re trying to identify sources ahead of launch. Don’t depend on it. Over.”

John is a good guy. Land-based though. Canadian defense policy is not as intense as ours, and the country openly relies on our resources, especially in these boundary waters. “Thanks John, will let you know what we find.” The blast of the siren once again drowns out whatever John says in response. I shout. “Geez Priscilla, can we shut it down a notch? I’ll be deaf before I’m thirty.” She reacts slowly and I realize she is concentrating on Larson’s picture on the video display. She pivots toward me, one hand clamped on her crotch. “God that guy’s got a great bulge in his pants. Sure would like to help him get dressed.”

Despite the urgency of the mission I turn so she can’t see my reaction, and smile. Twenty-five years ago men would have lost their jobs if they’d made analogous remarks over a gal’s boobs. Boy, had things switched around in the intervening time. No more glass ceilings through which to look up skirts, rather there are discreet wearable digital screens that check any man’s measurements within 15 feet. I turn back, feign a look of disinterest, and ask loudly “Come on gal, what’s that latest source? Get your clit under control. We obviously have a pending crisis here.” I know a lot about Priscilla’s body. We’d been lovers for over a year now.

“Point Roberts, Kath.” She is lazy about names but I don’t really mind. “Right under the noses of our station there. Bloody daring jerks. Clearly a diversion effort. Which one of these three sources is the real McCoy?”

The siren shrieks again. “Hell, four of the bastards, not three. Origin is Ganges, of all places. Backwater retirement town. There goes the last of Anna’s drones Kath. Wanna call SkyLock?”

I hesitate. We’d had runs against us before, involving two terrorist vessels. Four suggests a heightened sense of urgency on the part of the militants to get another illegal terrorist across the border. How many of these boats on the water are decoys? How many are real? Clearly we can’t apprehend all four. The four detected have been picked up by the signals emanating from concentrated intensity electronic communication devices. Our high-def intelligence alert systems have been aware of these for some months now.

Bloody muslim terrorists. If the terrorists knew how easily we can pick them up now, I’d take advantage of it. I’d tie up our resources with fake decoys and then send the important guy in in a regular boat with no bristling antennae. Just a sporty innocent runabout. We’d never catch him.

I decide against contacting SkyLock directly. In a way they are already involved. It is their satellites which have identified the four possible terrorist boats. We could ask them for more intelligence, but we are busy enough. Needing a short conference I ease the engines on our 40 foot runner back from our 50 knot speed. “What do you think Anna?” A brilliant mind hidden behind all those red ringlets, I had no trouble deferring to her. She has a high forehead for intellect, and an athleticism that is awesome to watch in motion. I haven’t gotten to learn the intricacies of her body yet, but I will in time. God she is attractive.

“First, forget Point Roberts. I think they’re playing with us. They know full well that anything unusual in town would have been spotted already. No, in my view, that one’s just a one-man show to irritate us. As for Vancouver I don’t mind betting that the organization’s headquarters is in town, but launching from there is just too obvious. It’s the Ganges and Nanaimo sources that are new. Nanaimo is much further away. As we sit right now on the edge of Haro Strait, we have lots of options”.

I scan the Strait ahead. A heavy freighter is coming up from the south, and white caps indicate there is a strong wind creating two-foot plus waves. Nothing our boat can’t handle. Might be a bit bumpy, that’s all.

I turn to the screen. “John, any views contrary to Anna’s?”

Bouts of annoying pixilation violate tehimage on his half of the device’s veneer. All we hear is “… trying to learn more about Nanaimo boat.” Bandwidth is often an issue in the Strait.

I have an idea. “Anna, suppose the Ganges boat knows we’ll engage them and is set to keep us busy checking them over for half an hour or more while the Nanaimo boat sneaks into Stuart or Patos Island say, turns off their equipment, and transfers their cargo to an innocent runabout? Possible?”

“I like your thinking boss,” pipes up Priscilla, although I’d asked Anna. “And it gives me another idea. Let’s intercept the boys from Ganges. I have a new electronic gadget you may not know about that could be useful. Got it yesterday. Here.” She removes her Maui Jim’s, one of the few brands of sunglasses that have lasted all this time, and retrieves from the pocket pouch on her left trouser leg a small metallic cube, sides about an inch long, with a sophisticated click switch on one face.

“Cool. What does it do?” Anna asks.

“Negates certain communication protocols. It’s called a Selective Communication Device or SCD. Once we pull alongside the Ganges boat, I can take a read of all the comm. standards they are using with my personal wrist machine, and set SCD to block any outward use of those protocols, while not interfering with incoming messages. Sort of a jamming device that can be one way or two way.”

“What’s the advantage?” Anna asks.

“Well, I can set it so they can still get messages from their people but will wonder why they can’t respond. The tricky part is that I have to get it onto their boat and hide it as it’s an Extended Near Field Communication based system. It’s small enough to stay concealed unless a really thorough scrub is made of the boat. Once onboard and active, we can speed off to intercept the Nanaimo boat carrying what we hope is the real prize and they can’t let headquarters know any concerns.”

Anna responds. “Well, if these guys are like all the others we’ve apprehended we shouldn’t have a problem. They’re just mere males, leery muslim creeps, craving feminine recognition, visual and verbal.”

“What do you have in mind?” I ask.

Anna turns to Priscilla. “Are you willing to parade a nice big dose of cleavage under their eyes? You have the best offering among us. While they ogl you, I’ll drop the device in one of the main cabin’s side storage pockets among their unused fishing tackle or somewhere else innocuous. Dumb pricks.”

Priscilla makes me smile. “Happy to show off the ladies anytime… “

I move the throttle forward, loving the sound of the highly tuned mercs as they churn the foam filled water behind us. We start bouncing almost immediately. “Let’s intercept these guys near the southeast end of Moresby Island before they cross the international border. They’ll bitch that we’re out of our jurisdiction but we’ll pretend their GPS is faulty. John will support us. Priscilla, what is that drone telling us about a possible contact point?” While Priscilla fiddles with her wrist machine, John’s affirmation of support comes through loud and clear. No more pixilation disturbance on the screen.

“You need to slow down 10 knots Kath, and it will work out perfectly. And listen you bi-sexed comrades, keep your eyes on the waterway as I enhance my killer offerings.” I recognize that Priscilla has deliberately taken a bit of a risk with her labeling. We aren’t quite sure of Anna’s sexual preferences yet, although hopeful she is at least bi. We figured males wouldn’t be able to stay away. How she responds to both them and females we still need to learn.

I refocus my mind. Right, drop speed. I adjust the throttles and watch as Priscilla shakes loose her light brown hair. It had been pulled back into a small stub per official guidelines, but now falls a few inches below her shoulders. She undoes three buttons on her blouse revealing a gorgeous set of suntanned 36D’s that I’ve always envied. And I know from experience that she can present them in incredibly enticing ways.

Oh yes, if these decoy terrorists are like their foreign predecessors – fascinated by women unadorned in full-cover black – then they are dead ducks.

*                       *                     *

The two dark complexioned men smirk as we pull alongside their Trophy sport. We explain our interest in checking their craft for safety features. Both sides know the reasoning is farcical, and the terrorists play their role dutifully, complaining about the location, and the unnecessary stoppage since their boat is new.

They are taken aback when I ask “Why do you have so many communication masts and antennas?” They have no good answer other than “personal preference in managing broad ranging environmental information and long-distance communication both within Canada and across the border.” The three of us smile at the canned response.

We check the intruder boat’s supply of flares and personal safety devices and declare we have no concerns, congratulating the owners on a well-managed boat. Priscilla returns from checking the anchor locker near the bow of their twin-engined 30 foot cuddy cabin vessel. She has to step down from the front deck into the main cabin. She leans forward, stretching out her arm to one of the men to aid her stability. As reward he gets a magnificently memorable view of Priscilla’s golden orbs. His friend hastens forward to also help.

Regretfully, for she’s enjoying the interaction, Anna turns her head away and drops the SCD into a small pocket under one of the back cushions. She and Priscilla leave the boat and wave goodbye to the two goggle eyed foreigners. WTD

Our giggles finally subside as we imagine the men’s frustration trying to tell their friends about the good looking agents they encountered. I push the throttle forward and steer northeast, wanting to get to a convenient hiding place to lay in wait for the Nanaimo boat. I ask Anna for a recommendation.

Anna consults the feedback from the drone 1000 feet above the Nanaimo terrorist boat. It’s heading down the inside passage rather than outside Valdes and Galliano islands in the Strait of Georgia. Anna makes a calculated guess that the boat will stay north of the Pender islands, suggesting east Camp Bay and Blunden Islet as possible hiding spots for us. Even if the terrorist boat elects to run south of the Penders we’ll be in formidable chase position.

Under Anna’s guidance we end up idling on the south side of Blunden Islet. It’s a full five minutes before the planned encounter with the foreign boat. We are still in Canadian waters, a little over a mile northwest of the border. We’ve turned off all electronics so that we provide no discernible signature in case we are being tracked. We’ve even shut down communication with the drone above the terrorist boat since the last signal was exactly as we had expected. Priscilla asks “What’s our strategy Kath? Fast chase with full lights, siren, and electronic interference? Or silent tracking to destination?”

I think for a few seconds, then respond, “I don’t want any chance for these bastards to land anyone. When they do that, it’s all the harder for our local forces to catch them. So it’s full bore ladies. The works. Nothing spared. We go after them max force. No holds barred. You both OK with that?” Two heads nod yes.

Anna queries, “Weapons?”

“Laser guns. Head shots only if they draw on us. Priscilla, your turn to stay hidden below, so they think there’s only the two of us. You both know the drill. I’ve got both good and bad vibes about this. Their course shows no evasive maneuvers such as zig-zag courses, or random stops. They came through Dodd Narrows rapids as if they were a tourist boat. I think these guys are acting innocently wanting us to think they are like any other sports boat out here bent on enjoying the international waters. But I think there’s a terrorist below deck. Two minutes till they come by. Throttles up in neutral in one minute. Stand by.”

A new blue Cobalt R35 streaks into the waters 200 yards ahead of us. Nice boat, sleek lines, hard top, no bimini, two men silhouetted in the driving seats, multiple antennae originating near the windshield arced backwards. We spring out behind them in full intercept regalia. Anna focuses the high-tech laser gun located on our arch at their rear end where the inboard motor sits churning the waters ahead of us. We’re seen and they pick up speed, crossing the border 100 yards ahead of us.

Unexpectedly they suddenly slow down and turn 90 degrees to port. Anna gets it immediately. “They realize they’re in US waters and are turning to head back into Canadian territory. Can you cut them off?”

I smile. This is where I excel. I know my blood pressure is ramping up but I actually feel icy calm and controlled. Unlike our target I don’t slow down an iota, but pull a 2G port turn, the two starboard engines lifting above the surface and screaming their dislike. Anna and Priscilla hang on tightly. When we settle back on equilibrium I’m on a course nearly parallel to our foreign friends and only 50 yards in arears. They skim by Skipjack Island headed north towards the tip of Saturna Island. I push the throttle forward to the maximum demand and in 30 seconds we are alongside, Anna hailing them with the electronic megaphone telling them to pull over.

They ignore us, which gives me new rights. I have no hesitation jamming the full starboard rubber fender against their frame, jolting them severely. It’s a risky move since they could bounce back and partially lift out of the water cutting into our rear frame. The training films are clear. But this is my expertise. The alien in the passenger seat turns white, not believing our intensity. He shouts to his companion to stop. To no avail. They plough on, but their boat is now turned northeast, and will have difficulty getting back into Canadian waters, especially since the border becomes true northward between Tumbo and Patos Islands.

“Fire at their engine Anna,” I order. She does and black smoke emanates from the fiberglass cover. Their boat slows, and for good luck I make another bruising assault between the driving position and the bow. They get the message and shut down. We pull alongside and listen to a litany of curses, complaints, and threats, some in English, most in a foreign language.

We tie up alongside as the smoke from the destroyed engine dwindles and dies to a limp hissing stream. We show our credentials and ask the two men why they tried to avoid us and ignored our request to pull over. These guys are less articulate than those in the Ganges boat. They struggle with English and make little sense with their replies. Surprising, as most of the terrorists we encounter have been well trained in our language. One of the men guards access to the downstairs cuddy cabin. We figure we know why. Anna steps to his side and removes the boat’s keys from the ignition, dropping them in her pants pocket. Sergio, whose name we have learned, and who is standing in the main cabin, reaches out and cries “Our property! Give back.”

Anna looks at him with disdain, and says “When we’re done shitface. Passports?” Sergio’s face clouds over. I figure he’s looking for a fight. He’s a bull of a man. Over six feet tall, broad shoulders, chest like a barrel, black hair brushed forward and upwards. Physique of a weight-lifter. His face changes into a threatening scowl.

He surprises both of us by suddenly leaping from his boat to ours, probably intent on breaking something aboard. However, the tables are turned instantly as Priscilla rises from the companionway and delivers a hard sharp kick to the man’s groin. He groans miserably and doubles over, clutching his vitals. His stamina is evident however, as he draws himself upright and lunges forward. Mistake. Priscilla takes a step back, and with a perfect martial arts maneuver, kicks him under the chin. His head snaps back and he drops like a sack. Go woman, go! She jumps on him, turns him over, pulls his arms behind him and cuffs him with the new electronic grips. He starts yelling, at which point she jams the mouth lock between his teeth where it clamps on to both his lips and teeth and silences him.

“All under control boss,” she tells me. The cowardly alien passenger, still shielding access to the cuddy, quickly hands over his passport. Abdul something or other. Passport in Arabic. I don’t bother to check it further, but indicate he should move away from the door frame. He resists, shaking his head ‘no’ back and forth. I’m tired of the resistance, and notion to Anna to do her thing. Her chance to get physical. Why not? Get the frustrations out after the tense chase. The rule book is deliberately vague about physical interaction. Written by women of course. We love it. Gives us a lot of freedom that wasn’t there in the old days.

I stand back thinking the idiot guarding the door has no idea what he’s in for. The dummy has his arms outstretched across the entryway. Anna’s first punch jams into his solar plexus. His arms drop. The next punch is a hook under his chin. His eyes roll around in their sockets and he literally crumples to the floor.   Anna reaches down to move his body out of the way.

A strong hair-covered arm pulls her into the cuddy. She yelps in pain as the arm’s owner smashes her on the shoulder with the butt of a black pistol. He pokes it forward, aiming it directly at me.

I duck behind the driver’s seat, wary of the gunman’s intent. Does he plan to use Anna as a hostage, or is he going to shoot his way out with her as his shield? In the instant I deliberate there is a sharp ‘zap’ sound and the gunman’s pistol goes flying, his fingers dangling uselessly. Marksman Priscilla to the rescue. I jump forward and apply a headlock to the infidel and pull him over Anna’s body out of the cuddy cabin. He reaches up with his good hand, grabs my hair and yanks. “Yow.” My head jerks back but I refuse to give up my grip.  Next thing I know Priscilla delivers a karate chop to the man’s throat and he goes limp.

We bind the three shits into immobility, and pull a sling for Anna’s right arm out of our first-aid kit. I establish comms with John in Victoria and with our headquarters back at Roche. We retrieve the drones and secure them in their small hangars forward. We send images of the three passports ahead, and secure the terrorists’ Cobalt hard against our starboard fender.

All three of us feel drained. Good reason. Usually our intercepts don’t become so physical.

We spend time making sure our versions of the whole exchange are consistent. The chips planted in our necks will be examined to check we went by the rules – our only possible indiscretion being the safety check of the Ganges boat in Canadian waters. I have no doubt however that John Larson will stand by his approval for us to proceed.

I take us home at half speed, sensitive to minimizing bumps that might aggravate Anna’s discomfort.  I shouldn’t have worried I guess, for the mild painkillers we’d administered are doing their job well.

We’re met at the dock by a cadre of uniformed agents. They happily take our prisoners away. We bathe in the well-wishes and congratulations coming our way, recounting out intercept several times. We know there’ll be a de-briefing later, but for now it’s rest and recover time. I look at my two subordinates, grateful for their support and commitment. “You two are positively awesome,” I tell them. “Simply the best there is. I’ll go anywhere with you.”

Anna smiles. “Good,” she responds. “I need a shower. Care to join me?”

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