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    C James
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Circumnavigation - 114. Hunting the Hunter

Chapter 114: Hunting the Hunter

 

High above the sparkling sea, Basingstoke glanced down at Kookaburra, taking note of her course, so similar to his own of southeast.

By now, Basingstoke was almost certain that Trevor’s promises to return had been false, but he still held to a shred of hope. That hope died as Basingstoke climbed past ten thousand feet and, ahead, he saw the wake of a high-speed boat, on a bearing for East Wallabi. A look through his binoculars as he grew nearer confirmed; it was a customs boat.

Basingstoke considered Trevor’s abrupt departure and promise to return, coupled with the approach of the customs boat, to be beyond the scope of coincidence. And with that, he realized that the authorities would likely be looking for his plane; Kookaburra had been in a position to notice his take-off.

As a pilot, Basingstoke was familiar with the basics of the two main types of air traffic control radars. Primary radar, which worked via reflecting signals off a target, and secondary radar, which sent out a pulse that solicited a broadcast by an aircraft’s transponder. His understanding was that air traffic control radars in Western Australia were largely secondary radars, and as such needed a working transponder on an aircraft to be able to see it. Basingstoke had made sure his transponder was off before taking off from Kalbarri, and now he checked again.

Basingstoke did not have radar of his own, so he had no way of knowing if other aircraft were hunting him. He was aware of the Jindalee system’s existence as the primary air and sea defense tracking radar in Australia – due to his line of work, he had long envisioned the possibility of being a wanted man – so he had taken a few minutes to look it up on-line. He’d seen a simple graphic of the coverage arcs of the three main station sets, and had no reason to assume that it was in error. Thus, he was unaware of the Jindalee radar system’s true capabilities and coverage area, and assumed that his plane was now out of its coverage, or soon would be.

The Jindalee Operational Radar Network, Australia’s primary continental defense system, is an over-the horizon backscatter radar. It works by propagating – bouncing – signals off the ionosphere, and detecting the return signal, which also uses an ionospheric ‛bounce’. In order to avoid interference between the outbound and inbound signals, each sector has a pair of stations: one transmitter and one receiver, approximately fifty miles apart.

Jindalee’s range is enormous; it has been used to detect missiles launched out of Lop Nor, China, aircraft over Korea, and shipping off Somalia, though its abilities vary depending upon the condition of the ionosphere at any given moment. Tracking Basingstoke’s plane was well within its capabilities, even though its transmitters for the western sector were located almost five hundred miles inland from the coast. The reason they were so far inland was the nature of the radar; bouncing signals off the reflective layer of the ionosphere, almost one hundred miles up, gave the system its tremendous range; multiple bounces could, in good conditions, enable ranges of thousands of miles. However, it required a shallow angle for the beam’s intersection with the ionosphere, and thus had a minimum range of just over four hundred miles; it was blind to anything closer than that to its stations.

Basingstoke’s major error was in believing the southerly limit he’d seen for the western transmitter. Its reported arc began offshore of Geraldton and swept northwards, but in reality it could, and did, cover much farther south as well, as far as the waters west of Cape Leeuwin, Australia’s southwest cape. This was how it had detected Atlantis when she was approaching Australia from the southwest, coming up out of the Southern Ocean. Jindalee’s minimum range was also a bit less than reported, enabling it to cover the coast throughout most of its coverage arc.

Due to the imperfect and very changeable nature of the ionosphere mirror – a network of coastal ionosonde stations sampled it every few minutes – Jindalee was not precise. At five hundred miles, the best it could do was place a target within an oval ten miles wide and twenty miles long. However, this was more than sufficient for the Jindalee operators to be able to report Basingstoke’s course and speed to the Customs Service: the target was heading in the general direction of Perth, and would arrive in about an hour.

Basingstoke had no idea that he was being tracked, so after he was out of sight of the Customs Service boat, he had altered course to put him on a direct bearing for Perth. He was, however, unsure about the capabilities of the Perth air traffic control system; he didn’t know if it had primary radar. Therefore, he had to assume that it did, and take precautions.

Fifty miles from Perth, Basingstoke descended to one hundred feet above the waves and banked east, heading for the coast. Flying low, he reasoned, was a sure way to beat any primary radar. He would have been right, if not for Jindalee.

Basingstoke crossed the coast just south of Guilderton, still heading east, though now gaining altitude and keeping to within three hundred feet of the ground in the gently rolling countryside. The situation, as he saw it, was that even if he had been tracked towards Perth by air traffic control, they could not possibly see him now. The greatest remaining risk, he felt, was that with just six general aviation airports in Perth’s region, the authorities could dispatch a police car to each, knowing that he could not remain in the air for long.

The solution, he felt, was simple; delay his airport landing until the following morning.

Keeping his Beechcraft Debonair low, he passed over the rugged Darling Scarp. This also placed him inside the minimum range of the western Jindalee radar transmitter, which was northwest of Laverton. With that, Basingstoke’s plane temporarily faded from their scopes.

Basingstoke turned south, passing five miles east of Northham, keeping the Darling Scarp – which runs north to south – between his plane and Perth. He kept low for another thirty miles; far enough to emerge from Jindalee’s minimum range, and then, after sweeping his eyes around the flat countryside, climbed to two thousand feet to enable him to spot what he needed.

The area was too dry for farmland, but the flat, fertile fields served another purpose; grazing. From above, the land was divided by an uneven grid of dirt roads and tracks. What Basingstoke sought was a recently graded stretch of dirt road, one devoid of trees and with the fences set back somewhat. What he sought was commonplace in that area, giving him several from which to choose.

Picking a remote stretch far from any farmhouses, Basingstoke made a low pass, and with a nod of approval, he reefed around to make his landing approach.

As soon as his wheels touched, Basingstoke knew he’d underestimated the roughness of the road. The jarring shaking of the washboard surface rattled his plane, abating only as he braked to a dusty stop.

Shaken, Basingstoke emerged to check on his aircraft, and then, satisfied, he sat down in the shade under a wing, to wait.

 

 

In Florida, the morning sun blazed in through the chandlery windows, giving Dirk and Jim the perfect light for a much-needed task: dusting.

It was Dirk’s first day at the chandlery in months, and also Jim and Dirk’s first day of living together: Jim had moved into Dirk’s home the night before, part of his relocation to Ft. Pierce. Dirk, intent on his dusting, froze for a moment, before letting loose with a riotous sneeze.

“Gesundheit,” Jim said, with a gentle chuckle. Dirk – and Jim, to a lesser degree – had been sneezing from the dust all morning.

“The place sure got dusty,” Dirk observed, and then added quietly, “It’s hard to believe we’re actually back and not on the run anymore. I… I still feel strange here though. I can’t forget that Bridget Bellevue is still out there somewhere, and what she did to Henry and tried to do to Trev. She’s a monster, and she sure has allies. I tense up ever time the door chime rings, or even my phone.” Dirk was referring to his cell phone; he’d already had to unplug his landlines at home and at the chandlery, due to a continual stream of calls from the press. He was dreading the onslaught of reporters that he was sure would appear once his whereabouts became known.

Jim gave Dirk a comforting hug. “I know, I feel it too.” He patted the Glock 9mm concealed beneath his light jacket. He’d picked it up at his home in Cocoa Beach the night before, and Dirk had his own gun, a .45. Jim had a concealed-carry permit, though Dirk did not have one yet. “We should get some range time; neither one of us has fired a gun in months. Gonzalez is helping to expedite your concealed-carry application, so you should be legal in a week.”

“For now, I’m okay with having mine under the cash register and one at home, but I’m glad you talked me into the permit; it’ll be good to have, under the circumstances. I don’t think we’re at risk, but I didn’t think Henry was, either,” Dirk said, with a sad shake of his head, and then a shudder. The tingling of the door chime made Dirk tense up, his head snapping around to look.

Hesitantly, head down and with a contrite expression on his face, Charles Styles entered the chandlery. He and Dirk had known each other for years due to Trevor’s friendship with Joel, but Charles had believed Dirk guilty. They had not laid eyes on one another since the stormy scene when Charles and Lisa had picked up a satellite phone for Trevor, which had later proven to be a rock. Dirk’s first emotion was anger over what he felt was a betrayal by a friend.

Charles cleared his throat, and said, “Dirk, I saw the news… that lawyer of yours, he was on, and… I heard what’s been done to you; that you were set up. Plus, Joel told me he’s met Rachel, and, uh, I’m here to say that I’m truly sorry for thinking you were guilty of killing her and trying to kill Trev. I’ve known you for years, I should have known better, and at least given you the benefit of the doubt.”

Dirk had long seethed over Charles’s accusations, but he tried to overcome his resentment. In an even tone, he replied, “It was a pretty convincing job of framing me; a cop and an assistant state attorney were in on it. Look, Charles, I won’t claim I’m not steamed, but I do remember that you were trying to help my son and look out for him, and that’s why you came here that day. So… apology accepted,” Dirk said, sticking out his hand, though with some reluctance.

They shook, and Charles replied, “Thanks. If there’s any way I can help, just ask… I know it’s hard getting a business going after an absence, and that’s without all the bad press.”

Dirk relaxed slightly, his lingering anger ebbing as he gave Charles the hint of a smile. “Frank Tittle did a good job of using the press conference to get us out from under suspicion, so I’m sure the business will be okay with time. Ah, Charles, there was something you said when you were last here that’s puzzled me for months: about accepting Trev. Um, Trev and I have talked, and… I don’t know if you know or not, but that part was all a big misunderstanding. Long story short, I’d like you to meet my boyfriend, Jim Ainsworth.”

Charles reached out and gave Jim’s hand a hearty shake. “Pleased to meet you, Jim. Yeah, Joel mentioned that a lot of stuff was a misunderstanding.”

Dirk knew there was another issue he needed to broach. “I hear that Joel is grounded for coming to meet me that day. I’m sorry for involving your son, but at the time I thought he had important information. He’s basically blameless in this.”

Charles shook his head. “No he isn’t; he knew damn well what he was doing… though I guess it turns out he was right, and there was no risk.”

Dirk frowned. “Charles, you may not know this, but my private investigator that set up that meeting, Henry Wesson, was murdered shortly thereafter.”

“I heard. That’s… horrific. I… that gives me nightmares. I know Lisa and Joel knew Bridget Bellevue and have been to her house. Any news on where she is? All I know is from the news; she escaped to the Bahamas. They keep playing that clip of the shoot-down of the two police choppers.”

Dirk shook his head. “I don’t know any more than you. I wish I did.”

 

 

A few miles away, Gonzalez was drumming his fingers on his desk and scowling at his computer screen when the new State Attorney, who Gonzalez had only met twice before, tapped on the wall and strolled in. “Need any help getting an office? You should’ve had one by now,” the State Attorney asked.

Gonzalez had been advanced in rank two days before as part of the promotion the former State Attorney had arranged, so he was entitled to have an office instead of a cubicle. He didn't see the need to move, and the fact that the vacant office had belonged to George Alfred made the decision an easy one. “Thanks, but I’ll be taking over the corruption task force in a few months, so I figured I’d stay put. Any news?”

The State Attorney shook his head. “Nothing much. We sent everything we had to Interpol and the Bahamian police, and so far, all we’ve had are a few reported sightings, all over the place, but nothing is panning out so far.”

Gonzalez nodded. He’d expected as much. “I’ve been thinking; I’ve got a lot of leave built up – I haven’t had a vacation in years – and it’s likely to be pretty quiet on my end of this case for now. So, I was thinking of taking a vacation now, seeing as I probably won’t want to do so after taking over the task force.”

The State Attorney nodded. He’d first met Gonzalez when his predecessor had introduced them just two days before, but Gonzalez’s thoughts of a vacation at this point did not fit with the State Attorney’s view of the investigator. “Let me hazard a wild guess; by pure coincidence, you just developed a hankering to see the Bahamas?” Gonzalez’s expression told the tale, so he continued, “You’d be going as a civilian if you do that, but I think I can fix that. Let me see what I can do through the Feds, and get you in there in an official capacity. Probably temporarily liaising with the DEA office there, or maybe some office of the Bahamian government. It’ll be detached duty, not a vacation.”

“Thanks, sir,” Gonzales replied, pleasantly surprised.

 

 

It was a long, uncomfortable night. Basingstoke bided his time, napping fitfully. An hour before dawn, feeling exposed, he waited, only to hear the distant clatter of a far away helicopter. That gave him pause, and prompted him to begin his pre-flight. He knew that his plane would be visible for miles around come daylight, and that it could be reported by a passer-by without him knowing.

He was about to take off and fly to a small general aviation airport near Perth, when he checked his satellite phone and found that he had a message from Sanchez. He decrypted it, and read with a mix of relief and exasperation that his contract had changed yet again, and that his hit had been postponed for the moment. He smiled broadly at the mention of how much money had been transferred to him for the delay and change in plans. In the end, his emotion was one of relief, for he had been under the impression that his contract had to be carried out by the end of December. Now, he had been well paid and given an extension, along with a considerable increase in his fee.

With the change in his orders came the freedom to clear the area for a while. He checked his airport guide, selecting a small field in Merredin as his first refueling stop.

Basingstoke took off as the first hints of dawn colored the eastern sky, heading northeast for Merredin. Due to relying on the ionosphere, which is heavily affected by sunlight and solar radiation and thus very erratic around dusk and dawn when conditions change drastically, Jindalee’s coverage was erratic at best at those times. However, they did spot a possible target, just a hint, in the suspected area, though it soon vanished within the dark zone created by Jindalee’s minimum range. They could not identify the target, so they did not yet know that it was the plane they sought.

From Merredin, Basingstoke planned to fly east-southeast, heading first for Adelaide – refueling at small fields at highway roadhouses as he went. From Adelaide, where he planned to spend the night, he was just a few hours flying time from his home near Melbourne.

 

 

 

Later that morning, aboard Kookaburra, a sense of shock prevailed. First, the day before, Basingstoke had ceased answering his phone, and soon thereafter, they had watched him take off, heading southeast, passing almost over Kookaburra. A long and restless night had followed, as Kookaburra raced southeast. Then, in the morning, they had come close to Fremantle and begun making cellular phone calls to Florida, Carnarvon, and then Rachel and Martin’s home in Northampton.

A deluge of bad news had been coming in, one thing after another. First, via Officer Gonzalez, they were told of Henry’s murder and the destruction of Bridget’s home, and her subsequent escape to the Bahamas. Other calls had been made, to Lisa’s father and Joel’s parents, and then to Dirk and Jim.

Morose faces, coupled with a mournful silence, had pervaded for the long minutes after the calls. Lisa and Joel were especially hard hit, for they had known Henry. Finally, Lisa broke the silence to say, “Poor Henry, that’s so… I can’t even say it. It’s beyond horrible, and Bridget did it. Now we know for sure it was her who’s been causing everything. That manipulative, lying, murderous bitch! I fucking hate her, Lisa said, clutching Joel tightly.

 

 

In Carnarvon, Greg Fowler paced in the customs shack. “A balls-up. A right bloody balls-up! They had him on radar, and lost him,” he grumbled, still frustrated and angry over the events of the previous day.

Craig Grundig glanced at Ned Kelly, and explained, “The Jindalee radar has minimum ranges as well as maximum, so they lost the track when the plane went too far inland.”

Fowler slammed his fist on the desk. “They should have bloody mentioned that possibility before it happened, and had somebody send up a plane to follow him. Now all we know is he’s probably somewhere in the Perth area, or gone on somewhere else.”

Grundig, again for Ned’s benefit, explained, “They acquired a target a few minutes after the plane vanished. It was heading south, maneuvered a bit, then dropped off the radar again. One of the officers thought it might have been landing, maybe, but there’s no airstrip in the area.”

“And it took them almost an hour to pass that thought to Customs. Trust the Air Force not to know that a small plane can land in all manner of places,” Fowler grumbled. “They could only localize where it vanished within about twenty kilometers, so that’s a big area. By the time a helicopter from Perth could go have a look, it was getting dark.”

Jindalee is responsible for tracking sea and air traffic heading towards Australia, and the beam is directional; they could not leave it on and focused on the possible target area indefinitely while neglecting their other areas of responsibility, and had thus been unable to cover the suspected area continuously. The sweep that had detected Basingstoke’s morning take-off had not caught him within the suspect area, and no one had yet made the connection. It would not have made much difference in the short term; they had lost the track as he passed their minimum coverage range.

Ned stood up and gave Fowler a comforting pat on the back. “Greg, you found the best bit yourself.”

Fowler nodded. “Maybe. Now we know there was a plane matching the description of the target at Carnarvon airport while you were having the security system installed, and a Beech Debonair of similar description, but different tail number, in Kalbarri when that imposter showed up. Whatever you do, don’t shut your security system off.”

Ned arched an eyebrow. “Got a plan?”

“Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do. I’m having the Federal Police look into this, to see what they and their technical experts can find. In the meantime, I want the system working. I have a hunch what it’s really for: to keep an eye on Atlantis. Now that someone went after Trevor, I think it’s him they are after, not the boat, and they want to watch the boat to see if he shows up. So, we give them exactly what they want.”

Ned blinked. He and Fowler had spoken with Trevor to compare Ned’s recollections with Trevor’s. As a result, they were moderately sure that the security salesman and the imposter reporter were one and the same, a theory lent credence by the news of the plane at Carnarvon airport. “Hold up, Greg. How will that help?”

Fowler smiled coldly. “We’ll get a technical expert up here and have a few changes made, so we can feed taped security camera video over your system as if it was live. We’ll do that with footage showing nothing, while we make lots of film of Trevor working on Atlantis. Then, once he’s safely off somewhere, we’ll play bits of it, so it looks like he’s working on her every day. Those supplementary cameras and motion sensors we set up will keep us clued in if he shows up. My guess is he’ll turn your system off and stroll right in, then we’ve got him.”

“I’m bringing my shotgun to work,” Ned announced.

“Fine, but you won’t be alone there, once we begin,” Fowler assured him. “Oh, and by the way, the Geraldton team sent to East Wallabi found something; a life-raft that matches what Trevor saw. So, we’re checking it for DNA. If this character has a sample on file, we should get a name. It’s a long shot, but it’s the best we’ve got at the moment.”

 

 

Trevor, wearing shirt and shorts, manned the helm as Kookaburra approached Fleet Base West.

Trevor handled the docking with ease. A customs officer was waiting at the dock, and he came aboard, along with a police sketch artist, to talk to Trevor, Shane, Lisa, and Joel.

 

 

An hour after Kookaburra docked, HMAS Perth, moored dockside less than half a mile away, was running another exercise in her operations room – Combat Information Center, in U.S. usage – which is the heart and nerve center of a warship. The operations room holds the displays and control panels for the ship’s weapons systems, electronic warfare systems, communications, flight operations, and radar systems, and today, as it was on most days when the ship was in port, a training exercise was underway.

One midshipman, again posted to the electronic warfare console, noticed something familiar on the flat-screen display. After making a few adjustments, she was sure, and turned to look at the weapons officer. “Sir, I’m picking up a pulsed transmission, VHF twenty, repeating every three seconds, bearing two-three-niner degrees true. It’s at one-five-seven megahertz, just like we saw before Christmas.”

The weapons officer studied the screen for a moment, his eyes narrowing. “Bloody hell, not again.” He pressed a button on the intercom and asked, “Bridge, got anything at two-three-niner degrees that could be emitting on VHF?”

“A large, red, civilian catamaran, sir,” came the expected reply.

The weapons officer glared at his radio detection display for a moment, and then said, in a loud voice, “The guy hit by pirates. A sloppy civilian, probably has a set energized and can’t be arsed to shut it off.” The last time, he’d sent a complaint to the customs service, but this time, he decided he’d go in person on his lunch break. He wasn’t about to pass up the chance to visit a little vitriol on the customs service, which he felt had no business being on a Navy base, let alone parking visiting civilians there.

An hour later, lunchtime was at hand, and the weapons officer stormed ashore with a handheld VHF radio, and walked with purpose to the customs office.

He charged in, and without preamble, put the radio on a desk and clicked it on. It was already tuned to VHF twenty, and emitted a pulsing chirp. The weapons officer glared at the customs officer, and snarled, “You lot are responsible for that, and it is interfering with my operations room aboard Perth!”

The customs officer looked up from his lunch and blinked in surprise. “Uh, what is that, exactly?”

“That,” the weapons officer said, in a soft, highly condescending tone as he pointed at his radio, “is a radio. It receives radio transmissions.” He glared, raising his voice to full volume and continuing, “In this case, the one coming from that fucking catamaran you lot saw fit to park in a military base! I complained last time, but apparently you have done nothing, which you’re evidently quite skilled at!”

The customs officer, his own temper rising, stood up. “Hold on. There’s a good reason for it to be here, though that’s none of your concern. I highly doubt it’s transmitting anything.”

“The hell it isn’t. The system on Perth got a bearing, right at the catamaran. Now, watch and learn,” the weapons officer said, picking up the radio and slowly sweeping its antenna in a full horizontal circle. The tone changed, growing louder when aimed east and west. “The antenna detects best at a ninety degree angle to the source, so we now know the source is either north or south of us. Now, take a wild guess what’s south of your office? The fucking catamaran. So, we now have two bearings, and they cross right at her. That’s the source of the signal.”

“Maybe just a radio left on?” the customs officer guessed, with a disinterested shrug.

“That would be my guess. Now, either you do something about it, right now, or I will. In fact, I’m going there right now,” he said, turning and heading out the door, radio in hand.

The customs officer snatched up his sandwich and can of coke, and then hurried to catch up.

They arrived at Kookaburra, the handheld radio still chirping. The customs officer called out for Trevor, who appeared in the cockpit. “Hello, Trevor, I need to ask; have you a radio on?” the customs officer inquired.

Trevor shook his head. “No, nothing… except a cell phone and a satellite phone on standby; I know those transmit.”

The weapons officer, who had no grudge against Trevor personally, replied calmly, “It’s a VHF set, and we’re picking it up on my ship’s electronic warfare systems. I need to ask that you shut it off.”

Trevor glanced at the helms, and then replied, “The built-in VHF systems are off, and have been since we docked. Let me check the handhelds.” Trevor went into the salon, retrieved the two handhelds from the navigation desk drawer, checked both, and returned to the cockpit with them in hand. “They were off,” he reported.

The weapons officer came aboard, and looked for himself. “So they are. Must be one of the built-ins then, he said, swinging his radio’s antenna towards the salon, and then around. It chirped loudly, but was too close to the source to be able to detect differences in signal strength.

“There’s nothing aboard that emits a pulse like that, and sure not on VHF twenty,” Trevor said, staring at the officer’s radio in puzzlement. “I’ve got the radar and AIS off, so nothing should be transmitting except the phones, but they wouldn’t show on a VHF set. I have the single-sideband radio on standby, but marine single-sideband is in the kilohertz range, not megahertz like VHF, and it shouldn’t transmit at all on standby.”

The weapons officer snorted. “I’m glad to see that you think you need to teach military experts about radio frequencies...” He paused, his demeanor softening, and he arched an eyebrow. “However, it’s good to see that you know a bit about radio: most civilian operators don’t have a damn clue. It’s unlikely the single-sideband is the problem, unless its transmitter has failed in a very strange way. Let’s go shut it off and see.”

Trevor led the way to the navigation desk, passing a puzzled Lisa, Joel, and Shane in the salon on the way. Trevor shut off the radio, but nothing changed with the VHF in the officer’s hand. Trevor scratched his head, and offered, “Why don’t I shut off the boat’s main breaker? That’d rule out anything non-portable aboard.”

Kookaburra’s main electrical panel was just a few steps away in the portside companionway, so with the weapons officer in tow, Trevor led the way and threw the main breaker.

The VHF radio’s tone never wavered. Basingstoke’s low-powered transmitter was powered by several laptop computer batteries.

“It can’t be something aboard,” Trevor said. As soon as the words were out of his mouth, a nagging concern raised its head. ‘A tracking device? Or just a malfunction, or something nearby?’ he wondered.

“Very odd,” the weapons officer said, before sweeping the radio around. “It’s close; I’m getting no change in amplitude. He then remembered the customs officer’s lunch, and said, “Let’s get to the bottom of this. Follow me.”

They returned to the cockpit, where they found the customs officer finishing the last of his sandwich. The weapons officer stepped close, plucking the coke can from the customs officer’s hand. Without explanation, he took it to the back rail and, with a flourish, dumped its contents into the bay.

“What the hell?” the customs officer exclaimed.

The weapons officer gave him a cold smile. “Contrary to my expectations, you’re going to be useful after all. Well, part of your lunch is, at any rate,” he said, flipping open his pocketknife and deftly cutting the bottom off the can. He then jammed his radio’s antenna though the pop-top opening, and told Trevor, “Now it’s more directional, because it’s partially shielded except at the open end. That should give us a bearing.” He began sweeping it slowly around, finding that it was louder when pointing forward, so he tried again from the foredeck. Three more checks from different locations, and he was fairly sure. “It seems to be coming from the mast.”

“The mast?” Trevor asked, blinking a few times, and then he told the weapons officer about the suspicions they’d had the day before about a tracking device possibly being aboard, and why.

“Bloody hell, that’d explain it,” the weapons officer said, looking up the mast. “I can’t tell where on the mast, though. I’ll call my ship and have them send over some techs, we’ll soon get you sorted.”

In less than an hour, the techs arrived, gear in hand. It took a while, but with Trevor and Shane’s help to gain access, they found the transmitter in the anchor locker, wired to the mast’s lightning grounding line.

During the search, Trevor had called his uncle, who responded to the news of the find by shouting, “Whatever you do, don’t touch it, and don’t disconnect it!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Click here for an interactive map of the Perth region, starting out centered on Fleet Base West's Warship Row. The map can be panned, zoomed, etc.

A Discussion thread for this chapter is in my forum, please have a look and join in.   direct link here. The forum enables conversations so in many cases it's a far easier to use format than the "leave a comment" section on this page, so I suggest having a look, but use whichever (or both) you are more comfortable with . smile.png

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Please give me feedback, and please don’t be shy if you want to criticize! The feedback thread for this story is in my Forum. Please stop by and say "Hi!"

     

     

    

Many thanks to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions.

Special thanks to Graeme, for beta-reading and advice.

Thanks also to Talonrider and MikeL for beta reading.

A big Thank You to RedA for Beta reading and advice.

Thanks also to Low Flyer, for zeta reading.

Special thanks to our Aussie friend, Winemaker!

Any remaining errors are mine alone.

Copyright © 2013 C James; All Rights Reserved.

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This is a really good chapter. I'm sorry I will have to wait two weeks for the next. But I look forward to reading Infinite Density.

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In the prior chapter, the evil witch Bridget escaped capture and in this chapter the assasin Basingstoke escapes for the moment as well.

How disappointing!

Here's hoping that when these two (and Sanchez as well) finally do meet their maker, it is after the most grueling and horrifying deaths that the devious CJ can imagine. (Wouldn't that be something!)

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On 03/07/2012 12:40 PM, donkehoti said:
This is a really good chapter. I'm sorry I will have to wait two weeks for the next. But I look forward to reading Infinite Density.
Thanks!

 

Sorry for the delay; I pretty much had no choice; I was running behind. Keeping up with the weekly posting schedule is right at the limit of my abilities; I'm not a fast writer. I'm a rotten typist, which does not help. Doing the short story Infinite Density for the anthology (It's as long as two Circumnavigation chapters) put me even further behind on Circumnavigation. :)

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On 03/08/2012 03:16 AM, Daddydavek said:
In the prior chapter, the evil witch Bridget escaped capture and in this chapter the assasin Basingstoke escapes for the moment as well.

How disappointing!

Here's hoping that when these two (and Sanchez as well) finally do meet their maker, it is after the most grueling and horrifying deaths that the devious CJ can imagine. (Wouldn't that be something!)

I was dissapointed that they didn't get 'em too.

 

What? Sweet, innocent me devious? Now how could I be that? 0:-)

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The guy was rude and a right program but at least he solved the tracking problem lol.

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