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    C James
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Circumnavigation - 137. Manipulating the Beast

Chapter 137: Manipulating the Beast

 

(Here's a link to google maps, centered on the area in the chapter, because I know some of you are like me, and love to follow along and see the areas they are in.)

 

Trevor, pacing in Atlantis’s cockpit, glanced astern in the general direction of Melbourne, now far out of sight, beyond The Rip. Only a few shore lights were visible, and those were rapidly fading into the night. He was on the phone with Jason Kline, giving him a brief summary of what had happened, though Kline had already heard most of it. “Does this change anything?” Trevor asked.

“Don’t let it worry you. I’m in Sydney and everything is ready for your grand entrance. I think it’s going well. There were fewer reporters than we’d otherwise expect, seeing as how they picked up on your location early. I just hope your police escort didn’t renew their interest, though I’ve tried to counter it by leaking that it was a PR stunt,” Kline assured Trevor.

“Okay, so do we go in as planned?” Trevor asked.

“Yep, you’ll just motor up to the dock, let ‘em get a good look, talk to them a bit, and keep plugging the book. Then it’s off for interviews – I’ve arranged a slew of ‘em. Now, when you dock, don’t forget to let ‘em have a good look at the name on the transom, but whatever you do, don’t mention it directly. Hopefully they’ll raise the issue of which boat is which, but if they don’t, you’ll need to do it – though carefully like we discussed. Now, on my end, can I let ‘em know a firm time?”

Trevor checked the navigation display. “Yeah, we can make it at noon in three days, same as we planned. Sailing early just means we’ll go a bit slower.”

“If you can arrive a bit early, come on in past the heads – sound your horn as you do – and into Sydney Harbour, do a close pass of the Opera House, sail under the Harbour Bridge a few times, that sort of thing. The more people that see you, the better.” Kline went on to give detailed instructions for their grand entrance to Sydney, and then reminded them, “Make sure the name on the transom is ‘Atlantis’.”

 

 

Press interest in a subject has a perverse dynamic; the more unwilling the subject, the greater the press interest. This is not always the case, though it is usually a large factor in a major story.

Thus, in the world of the press, the orderly, logical structure of interest and merit so oft became irrelevant, leaving nothing but events; disconnected incidents awash in the media storm, their magnitude to a large degree at the mercy of factors more irrational and capricious than logical. A further factor is ‘The Sheep Effect’; the penchant of members of the press to follow a story merely because it is being followed by other members of the press. A classic example would be when the press becomes riveted on one particularly sensational murder case, devoting countless hours of inane blather to its pursuit, all the while utterly ignoring similar murder cases. This is The Sheep Effect, and it is a primary driver of the media cycle.

Trevor, due to his attempts to shield himself from press scrutiny in order to protect his safety, had engendered a furious interest in the media. This dynamic is not logical, nor even civil; it is merely the nature of the beast – a beast that Jason Kline knew very well indeed, due to being part of it.

Thus, to defeat the press and end their obsessive, dangerous focus, a logical approach cannot work. Instead, one must understand the true dynamics at play and, instead of opposing them, use them, thus twisting their own perverse rationales against them.

A war fought against the press had to be like this.

 

 

 

Bridget listened as the hiss of static ended, signaling that the audio encryption devices had synced. “You may proceed,” she said.

“There were a few snags, as well as a few opportunities. I impersonated a hire car driver, and took Trevor and his friend sightseeing. Mainly I wanted to keep them away from the boat, but I also found out their route; Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, then across the Pacific to the Panama Canal,” Gray replied, from the familiar surroundings of his Docklands pub.

“Very well, though I had already determined Panama; it is their only viable route. You have indicated success; I take it you know which boat is which?” Bridget asked.

“I do. They are on Atlantis. The other one, Kookaburra, is the one off Western Australia somewhere.”

Bridget’s eyes narrowed. “How certain are you?”

“You’re the expert on such things, so let me tell you what we found. I sent a diver under her, like you said. The man I picked knows boats. He found the zinc block,” Gray said, referring to the rectangular square zinc sacrificial anode mounted in the hull below the waterline – a common feature on boats and essential in minimizing electrochemical corrosion of other immersed metal. “No corrosion or pitting on the anode or its fittings, it looks new. The other metal fittings likewise look brand new, as did the folding props and saildrives. He says the hull is as smooth as a baby's bottom and has had a new coat of paint recently under the antifouling. I also had another man in place, and he had a look-see on her decks. He knows a bit of forensics, and had a look at her locks; they’re almost new, no sign of normal wear or key marking. Same with the Plexiglas; no sign of wear scratches. He said she looks brand new to him.”

Bridget began to smile. “Even if Kookaburra has had a refit, it is unlikely to have been so thorough or so recent. Atlantis, however, was stripped off the Seychelles, so this fits. It seems that they might be attempting some misdirection.”

“They said they were playing some games with the names. The name on her transom is ‘Phoenix’, though it’s a removable piece of vinyl,” Gray replied. He took a breath, and then asked, “How do you want me to proceed?”

Bridget drummed her fingers on her resplendent desk. “I would say that what you have found is convincing, though not absolute proof. We shall proceed with Ares as the primary target, and the one Trevor is on as the secondary. Therefore, locating Ares – Kookaburra – is your immediate task. Have you anything to report in that regard?”

“Not a lot. I’ve got a man in Carnarvon now, having a look about. He says she was seen briefly there and that’s her normal home port. She sailed with a middle-aged man and woman aboard.”

A slow, cruel smile spread across Bridget’s face. “That woman would most likely be Rachel.” Reflexively, Bridget touched her rib; the one Rachel had cracked in Geraldton. “That will make this pleasurable as well as practical. Locate and destroy that boat, as expeditiously as possible.”

“Will do. Ah, about that woman; would you like me to make sure she dies, in case she’s not on the boat when we blow her?” Gray asked.

Bridget paused for a few moments, thinking. Finally, her decision made, she replied, “Only if convenient. Her death is a small matter, mainly just a personal preference of mine, though it would please me if she is aboard when the boat is destroyed. However, let me be clear: the boat is the absolute primary target.”

“I need to locate her first. I have fifty kilos of high explosive plus two drums of petrol for her. That’ll reduce her to kindling and incinerate any remains.”

“Just ensure that she is destroyed in deep water. I shall leave the particulars in your hands, under your control; you have the people, knowledge, and expertise. Just keep me informed. As for finding her, I found her once before, via chartering a jet and flying along the coast. However, I had a better idea where to look, thanks in part to your former associate’s tracking device,” she said, referring to Basingstoke. “We do however have an advantage; the press. I have several people tasked to watching the Internet for any sightings.”

“Any need to do both boats simultaneously?” Gray asked.

“It would be better I suppose, though not a requirement. Take Ares first, of course – we cannot afford to alert the primary target. Trevor and Atlantis can be taken later if need be. In fact, Trevor would likely return for his mother’s funeral,” Bridget replied. She gazed out at the sea for a moment, and then added, “I shall take the liberty of wiring you a quarter million this afternoon. I always pay well for a job well done. Now, regarding the remaining million and a quarter; I shall pay you in full as soon as the targets are destroyed, regardless of whether it is by your hand or via my own operation.”

As soon as the call was over, Bridget summoned Xavier. Once he had entered her office, she said, “I have received word from Australia. All is going according to plan, though we still must be prepared to act with urgency if that tape should be found first. I judge the chance slight, though one must be wary.”

“I have a list of people who I think are well-suited for any mission.”

Bridget gave Xavier a nod of approval, and then took a slow sip of her drink. “I am aware that you have friends amongst the security details of the other cartel heads. Give me your read on the situation; unvarnished, please.”

Xavier hesitated for an uneasy moment, wondering how Bridget had found that out. He realized that she must have sources of her own. “They too have taken to calling you Bruja Del Mar. I only have friends in the employ of three of the heads, though others talk to them. You are disliked by five. I have heard that they hate the idea of an American woman amongst them, and each of these five have operations far smaller than yours. They fear you. They also do not like that the head of the table has taken to using your success to taunt them. They see your relationship with him as an alliance; the two most powerful organizations within the cartel. This makes them fear for their own heads.”

“Any rumors of a move against me?” Bridget asked.

Xavier shook his head. “Not even a whisper. They are far more fearful that you will move against them. They are also very well aware what the head of the table would do to them if they were to try anything during one of your visits to Cali. That is his domain, they would never dare.”

Bridget chuckled, gazing serenely at the sea. “Give me their names. I shall bear that in mind, though I will do what I can to dispel those fears. I have no need of expansion at their expense, nor would the head of the table allow it. We are, after all, allies: all of us.”

Xavier complied, writing down the names. “There is one other thing. A rumor. Some are speculating that… that you and the head of the table,” Xavier hesitated, wondering if it was true and, if so, whether he was about to anger both Bridget and the first amongst equals, “are closer than other members of the cartel are, uh…”

Bridget began to laugh, her eyes twinkling with mirth. “They are like old women with their gossip!”

Xavier nodded awkwardly, feeling a wave of relief. “All people are fond of rumors, I think.”

Bridget’s mood darkened visibly. “Indeed, and that brings me to an issue far closer to hand. As you know, I have gone to considerable time and expense to cultivate contacts amongst the Bahamian authorities. I pay them well, and also keep our operation from being troublesome to them. In return, they leave us alone, and also pass us information, particularly relating to the activities of American operatives. I have just had a delivery from one of our people in Freeport in that regard. A local officer passed him this,” she said, handing him one of Lisa and Joel’s fliers. “The officer noticed an American officer taking interest in it in a bar, and passed one of the fliers on. It reached our area head of operations, whom I have met. He is asking for instructions.”

Xavier looked at the flier and began reading, the color fading from his cheeks as he reached the part about dementia. “I will deal with this personally, Ma’am. Such an insult cannot–”

Bridget interrupted Xavier with a dismissive wave of her hand. “It is of little concern in that regard. He gave me a description of the young couple passing these out. I believe them to be Lisa Whitaker and Joel Stiles, my old friends from Florida, no doubt trying to find me. They are nothing if not persistent. They bear keeping an eye on, nothing more. Killing them would serve little purpose – at the moment. They are soon to be married. Their original plan was to have their wedding at my home, though I fear that notion died amidst the flames. However, one really ought to attend social events that one has helped organize. Perhaps it may turn out that I shall be attending after all – should there be need.”

 

 

Atlantis, battling rough seas off Cape Howe, turned north. Trevor, grinning in the wind, said, “Okay, we’re starting the northbound leg, and with these winds we should be in Sydney a bit ahead of schedule.”

“I hope this works. Going from hiding to making such a mucking great show is fucking nuts – but maybe nuts enough to work,” Shane replied.

Trevor adjusted the sails, taking a moment to think before replying, “Jason Kline and my uncle cooked this up. I think it’ll work, sorta. I also think there’s a part of it they haven’t told us yet.”

 

 

 

          

The breeze helped. It was a hot day, the first offing of a coming torrid summer on Andros Island. Gonzalez wiped his brow, continuing his seemingly casual stroll across the parking lot, towards the small marine-services operation mentioned in Bridget’s asset list. Ever careful, Gonzalez did not enter, having decided instead to ask local contacts to keep an eye on the place. A place that, unbeknownst to him, was one of the ‘tripwires’ that Bridget had left, to give her warning that her asset list, and thus the tape, may have been found.

Luck, as it so often does, played a role that day. The two local officers who, at Gonzalez’s request, began intermittently observing the business were not corrupt, nor was their superior. Bridget would not find out from them that her ‘tripwire’ was now an item of official interest.

 

 

In Brisbane, Australia, Kent Moorcroft – the reporter who had found Trevor and Shane in Coral Bay – was typing furiously at his coffee-spattered keyboard. He glanced again at the report he’d received from Florida, and compared it with his copy of Bridget’s asset list. He knew he needed more, and fired off an e-mail. Then, he leaned back, studying the draft of his story, which included the full text of Bridget’s asset list.

 

 

At eight in the morning, Atlantis, sails flying and churning along at fifteen knots, crossed the busy shipping lanes at the mouth of Port Jackson.

Keeping the rugged cliffs of South Head to port, Trevor angled his course due west, passing close to the cliffs of North Head as he entered the inbound shipping lanes under full sail.

The Heads, as they are commonly known, form the entrance to Port Jackson, a vast set of drowned river valleys that comprise one of the world’s finest harbors. The southernmost – and largest – arm of Port Jackson is Sydney Harbour.

The rugged headlands made for tricky winds but Trevor had been asked to enter under full sail, instead of on engines as was his normal practice.

As Atlantis passed the line between the heads, Trevor grinned, reaching down to press the horn button, triggering Atlantis’s air horns and sending an ear-splitting blast echoing between the rugged cliffs.

“I just love making sneaky, low-key entrances,” Shane said, glancing down at Trevor from his perch on the salon roof.

“Start waving whenever you see anybody,” Trevor said, grinning and tugging his shirt off, and then whirling it over his head.

“That’s a good idea, toss me that,” Shane said, eyeing Trevor’s shirt. He reached down, catching it as Trevor tossed it, before returning to his place in the center of the salon roof, whooping and twirling Trevor’s shirt around his head.

Trevor connected his iPod to Atlantis’s built-in sound system, which had speakers in the cockpit as well as in the salon. He set it to play a set of tunes he’d downloaded for the occasion – disco.

Shane glanced down at Trevor and asked, “Just whose idea was it to have me dancing up here shirtless? Yours – or Kline’s?”

“Both. Kline suggested having you up there. Shirtless was my idea, but he loved it.”

“And who thought up the disco?”

“Me. He just said loud music,” Trevor replied, with an evil grin on his face.

“This is sexual harassment!” Shane declared, as he began twirling Trevor’s shirt in time to the disco beat.

Trevor cranked up the volume, and for good measure blasted Atlantis’s horns a few times, as he followed the shipping channel southwards, and then west again, into Sydney Harbour. Ahead, they could see the massive Sydney Harbour Bridge, and to the left of it, the graceful scalloped shells and glass of the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Trevor kept close to the starboard shore, blasting the horn and waving at people who paused to look. A bevy of pleasure boats began approaching from different directions, matching course with Atlantis, part of an ever-growing escort. Some had been arranged by Jason Kline, though the majority were just people out boating.

Soon, with the Opera House directly to port, Atlantis, still under full sail, neared the towering Sydney Harbour Bridge, which loomed, filling the skies ahead. “Get ready to duck,” Trevor joked, watching as Atlantis’s mast passed far under the bridge’s main span with over sixty feet to spare. Trevor sounded the horn, which echoed off the bridge and across the harbor, drawing even more attention. A few more horns from their accompanying flotilla joined in on the cacophony, as Atlantis, still under sail though with engines running, churned past the bridge.

The growing armada, now two dozen strong and with Atlantis in the lead, passed north of Goat Island. Trevor was following Kline’s most recent instructions to the letter, sounding the horns repeatedly, adding their raucous blasts to that of the little fleet of pleasure boats.

Atlantis approached Cockatoo Island, Trevor turning to port to begin a turn around the island, holding the turn until Atlantis was eastbound, heading back past Goat Island’s southern shore, towards Sydney Harbour Bridge.

This time, as they passed under the bridge, the horns of thirty boats joined Atlantis’s, kicking up a massive ruckus heard all along Sydney’s waterfront.

Once past the bridge, Trevor turned towards Sydney Opera House, heading right for it as he and Shane lowered the sails. Thirty yards from the Opera House, Trevor spun the wheel, turning hard-a-starboard through one hundred seventy degrees, rolling out on a heading of due west, for a five hundred yard run across the busy ferry traffic of historic Sydney Cove into Campbell’s Cove – a small cove at the foot of the Harbour Bridge’s south tower, and in the heart of Sydney’s trendy ‘The Rocks’ district.

Sydney Cove, Australia’s birthplace, is bounded by the Sydney Opera House to the east, and The Rocks and Sydney Harbour Bridge to the west. It is the heart of maritime Sydney, and at the south end of Sydney Cove is Circular Quay – built atop the site of the first European settlement in Australia – the nexus of Sydney’s busy harbor ferry system. They were in dangerous waters; as Atlantis crossed Sydney Cove, Trevor had to steer to avoid an inbound ferry, passing it just astern and waving at the startled passengers.

Campbell’s Cove, on Sydney Cove’s western edge, is home to a water taxi facility as well as a full-rigged copy of HMS Bounty and other tall-ship replicas. Here, Kline had arranged for Atlantis to moor for the day. Trevor was delighted with this bit of showmanship, for it availed him of a chance to get an up-close look at the tall ships.

With an expert touch, Trevor docked Atlantis behind the replica of HMS Bounty, accompanied by the blasting horns of the flotilla of pleasure boats.

Dockside, a gaggle of reporters stood waiting, headed by Jason Kline, and backed by a throng of onlookers numbering over a hundred.

As soon as Atlantis was moored, Kline bounded aboard, motioning for the reporters to follow.

“Welcome to Sydney,” Kline boomed, giving Trevor, and then Shane, a hearty handshake. “Spend some time talking to these ladies and gentlemen, though only for half an hour; I’ve a car coming to take you to the first studio.”

Kline turned to face the crowd, though his speech was intended for the reporters who were now aboard peppering Trevor and Shane with questions. “Trevor will be touring Sydney today, and making several studio appearances. I’m acting as his literary agent, so please feel free to direct inquiries to me at any time today or in the future. My name is Jason Kline, I’m in the book. And speaking of books, Trevor has a superb one coming out, all about his trials and travails and epic crossing of the Indian Ocean, a voyage unmatched in maritime history!”

Trevor managed to avoid cringing at Kline’s overwrought hyperbole, and as he’d been instructed, kept up his practice of trying to twist every answer and statement he gave into a mention of the book.

A marching band, hired by Kline, arrived on the dock in full regalia, striking up a little off-key, adding to the carnival atmosphere of the press event. Kline heard a few muttered mumbles from the press, all along the lines of ‘another publicity stunt’, and managed not to smile: everything was going according to plan.

Trevor and Shane, who had been giving interviews shirtless and in jeans, smiled for the cameras, fielding questions as best they could, passing time while they waited for their promised ride.

When the car – a gaudy white stretch limousine – arrived, they tugged on shirts and locked up while Kline herded the reporters off Atlantis. He then posted two security guards aboard to keep an eye on the boat, before leading Trevor and Shane past the blaring marching band and through the crowd to the waiting limo.

As soon as they were inside, he whispered, “Stand up through the sunroofs, take your shirts off and whirl them about, and make it look as tacky as you can manage. Remember; you’re supposed to be publicity whores.”

Trevor and Shane complied – Shane found himself actually enjoying the stunt, while Trevor felt a bit embarrassed – as the limo pulled slowly away.

A block from the docks, shirts back on, Trevor and Shane took seats across from Kline, who grinned. “I think this is going very well; you’ve got three shows to do this morning one of ‘em live, and one this afternoon. Keep spinning everything onto the book, be really blatant. Then, look really uneasy when they ask the question we’ve been waiting for.”

Kline had already briefed them on what to expect, so Trevor and Shane, after exchanging a worried look, nodded in agreement. Trevor took a breath, and asked, “Do you still think this’ll work to get ‘em off our backs?”

Kline nodded, a sly smile appearing on his face. “It’s already working; there weren’t as many reporters as I’d originally thought. If there’s one thing the press hates, it’s being used, and they already suspect you’re using them for PR. So, the best way to get them to lose interest it to make them think you want the attention and are manipulating them to get it. I’ve had some friends feed a few ideas to the interviewers, one of whom is known for hard-hitting interviews. Let her do her worst, and if you look guilty, so much the better.”

They arrived at the first studio, where they suffered through makeup before being led in front of glaring lights to the set. Trevor and Shane stuck to Kline’s script, mentioning the book to a degree that irked the show’s stars. Trevor also remembered to pitch coming public appearances in Brisbane, Cairns, and Darwin, looking right at the camera as he invited everyone to attend. “Come on out and see us. I’m giving autographs, plus I’ll share a few quotes from my coming book,” he said, deviating from Kline’s plan, which had been to announce that Trevor was selling autographs for five dollars apiece. Feeling every bit a fraud, Trevor had initially agreed, though he found himself unable go that far. He loathed the idea of selling autographs.

The last interview of the morning was with the former investigative reporter Kline had mentioned. After Trevor again made his to-the-camera pitch to attend his events and buy autographs, she asked the first obvious question. “Interesting route. Where else are you planning on visiting?”

Trevor shrugged. “It depends on what kind of events Jason Kline sets up; we’ll go wherever the crowds are, but we’re doing a circumnavigation of Australia, plus maybe some diving and surfing.”

“With all that, will you still have time to write? Also, what’s the title of your book?” the host asked.

It was the question they’d been waiting for. Trevor found it easy to look uncomfortable. “Uh, I haven’t been told what the title is yet.”

The host’s genial demeanor vanished, and she arched an eyebrow, reverting to the investigative reporter she still was at heart. “They haven’t told you yet? Doesn’t the author name the book?”

“I think he will be,” Trevor mumbled, and then quickly added, “Uh, I mean I will be.”

“Who is actually writing the book?” the host asked, arching an eyebrow, a smile appearing on her face.

Trevor glanced offstage, at Kline, who was gesturing frantically. Trevor blinked, and then said weakly, “I guess I am, but Mr. Kline’s people are helping a lot. We’ve had some fun swapping the names on the boats and doing other stuff. There are actually two boats. We’re on Atlantis right now – she’s the one I crossed the Indian Ocean on.”

The interview dragged on, with the host beginning to grill Trevor, both about the book and what she called his money-making PR tour. By the end of the interview, Trevor and Shane were fully painted as publicity-craving opportunists.

Offstage, Jason Kline was delighted, though his face wore the bitterest of scowls.

Once they were safely back in the limo, Kline chortled, “That went bloody well. I hate doing it because it’ll hurt us when the book is really ready, but it’ll keep you from being hounded. I think the afternoon’s interview will seal the deal, and you’ll have little to no notice in Brisbane. I’ll do what I can to drum some up, but the press won’t want much to do with you by then. Okay, in the meantime, let’s grab some lunch. I’ve tipped a load of reporters to where we’re going, and the number that turn up will give us a good read on how we’re doing. Oh, and by the way, I’m out a thousand dollars for the car, the band, the security, and the lunch. I’ll be needing that before you sail – if you haven’t got it in cash, there’s a bank where we’re going for lunch.” Kline didn’t say, but over two hundred of that was actually for his time and expertise.

With those words, Trevor suddenly lost his appetite, and cringed.

“Where are we having lunch?” Shane asked.

Kline grinned. “A place that goes round and round, way up in the sky. Australia Square, which is, of course, round.”

The limo turned a corner, revealing a view of a fifty-story round skyscraper, of modern design in spite of dating to the 1960’s. Kline pointed at the top. “Lunch awaits.”

The limo delivered them to the main entrance, and a short elevator ride later, they emerged on the forty-seventh floor, home of Sydney’s famous Summit Restaurant.

The view was so spectacular that Trevor momentarily forgot the thousand-dollar price tag of the day, but the best was yet to come. A waiter seated them, just a few feet from the window. They’d no sooner sat down than Trevor noticed. “We’re moving.”

Kline smiled. “It’s a rotating restaurant, so it rotates.”

The waiter, busily handing out menus, added, “One revolution every one hundred and five minutes. Only the outer band, near the windows, rotates. The central areas stay put.”

The rotating area of the restaurant was essentially a giant donut-shaped ring, its outer edges flush against the windows. As Trevor and Shane were about to find out, this had some interesting effects – some of them unexpected.

Kline set his menu aside. “Have what you like, but the price I quoted only includes the lunch special.”

The waiter returned, and they each ordered one of the specials; hummus, olive tapenade, and focaccia bread. As soon as the waiter left, Kline said, “So far, so good; no reporters, and I spread the word you’d be here.”

The views through the wall of glass were superb and ever changing as the restaurant rotated, providing a breathtaking experience. Even Kline, who had been there before, found himself enthralled.

The movement of the restaurant imparted a gradual change to the view and, soon, Darling Harbour came into sight. The anchored yachts caught Trevor’s eye, and then, heralded by a glint of reflected sunlight, a monorail. “Hey, a monorail going over the bay, above a bridge,” he said, grinning at the sight.

“That’s the Pyrmont Bridge; it’s an old swing bridge. The monorail track can swing separately to let through tall ships.”

Trevor watched as the monorail disappeared from sight. “I’ve been on a monorail before, they’re pretty cool. I’d never been on a train before coming to Australia though; they’re pretty cool too. We were going on one, back in Melbourne, until that mess with the driver.”

Kline turned to look at Trevor. “That worries me. I’m hoping it was just a driver poaching business, but you said he charged just fifty for the day? That’s extremely low. I’ve taken the liberty of asking the Brisbane and Cairns police to keep an eye on you, citing that as the reason. Better safe than sorry.”

Shane gave Trevor a pat on the back. “It’ll be okay, Trev. We’re leaving from Cairns, but they’ll still be looking for us along the north coast, then back around Carnarvon.”

Kline nodded. “The press should be far less a problem, and that’ll make keeping your location hidden easier after Cairns.” Kline was careful to avoid saying too much; he didn’t wish to spoil the surprise planned for Cairns.

Shane gave Trevor a curious glance. “How come you’d never been on a train before, but you’ve been on monorails? I’ve never been on a monorail, but I’ve been on trains loads of times.”

With a distant smile, Trevor replied, “There aren’t many passenger trains in Florida; just some around Miami, plus Amtrak’s line, but that doesn’t go anywhere near Ft. Pierce.”

“They use monorails instead?” Kline asked.

Trevor shook his head. “Nope, the only one I’ve seen is the one I’ve been on, and that’s just the one at Disneyworld; it connects the two main theme parks – Magic Kingdom and Epcot – the parking lots, some resorts, and that’s about it.”

Shane turned to stare at Trevor. “Oh, just Disneyworld. You lucky bloody sod,” he said, a grin spreading across his face.

Trevor chuckled. “I’ve just decided where I’m taking you when we get home; Disneyworld. It’s only about a two hour drive from Ft. Pierce.”

“Ripper!” Shane declared, with a delighted grin.

After finishing his lunch, Shane made his way to the bathroom, which is in the central core area, not on the rotating floor. When he exited the bathroom, he stopped abruptly, looking around in confusion.

“Right here, mate,” Kline called out, from a few feet away. As Shane sat down, Kline added, “It’s a bit disconcerting the first time; you subconsciously expect the table to be in the same place it was, but when you come back to the moving part, everything’s shifted.”

“I’ve never been in a rotating restaurant before, but it’s ripper!” Shane announced.

Kline smiled, and whispered, “When you two have finished the book and we’re ready to give it a burl for real, I’ll bring you back here, my shout.”

After lunch, they found a lone reporter waiting in the building’s lobby. Trevor, with feigned eagerness, answered questions, twisting most into pitches for the book.

“Yep, this is going well indeed,” Kline said, as they pulled away in the limo. “They are losing interest, because they think you want the attention.”

The final interview of the day went as planned, and the limo returned them to Atlantis. A crowd was waiting, one comprised almost entirely of teenaged girls. To Trevor’s relief, only two reporters were in evidence. As they got out of the limo, Trevor asked Kline, “Any chance we can have a look at the tall ships, especially Bounty?”

Kline glanced at the replica of HMS Bounty, which had originally been built for a movie, and now gave harbor cruises. “Absolutely. Greg Fowler told me you’d insist, so it’s all arranged. Follow me.”

Kline, followed by Trevor, Shane, the reporters, and a small crowd, walked to Bounty. The reporters were allowed to follow Trevor, Shane, and Kline aboard, where they were all given a brief tour by one of the crewmen.

During the tour, Shane asked Trevor, in an offhand tone, “How does it feel to be aboard a copy of your former ship?”

Trevor answered the puzzled looks this caused with a smile and a laugh, followed by an explanation. “Shane sometimes calls me ‘Captain Bligh’”.

The Bounty crewman arched an eyebrow. “Due to your Indian Ocean crossing having many similarities to Captain Bligh’s epic post-mutiny open-boat voyage to Timor? That was over five thousand kilometers.”

Shane blinked, and shook his head. “No, I just call Trev that because he’s a cruel and abusive bastard.”

The crewman laughed. “Bligh was and remains controversial, though he seems more abrasive than cruel. He was governor here for a while, and like much else in his life, his tenure had controversy.”

“I think rather highly of mutiny… sometimes.” Shane quipped, while looking at Trevor.

Trevor laughed. “See what I have to put up with?”

That evoked a round of chuckles, and the crewman returned to the task at hand. “This replica is actually a bit bigger than the original. The original, properly called His Majesty’s Armed Vessel Bounty, had a crew of forty six.”

Kline looked at Atlantis, and then up at the tops of Bounty’s three masts. “Trevor’s Atlantis isn’t much smaller than Bounty. Atlantis is shorter but a bit wider, and her mast looks only about ten meters less than Bounty’s. It must have been a tight fit for the number of crew aboard.”

The crewman laughed again. “We’ve had well over a hundred aboard, though only for harbor cruises.” The tour continued, and then, after an interview session with the reporters on Bounty’s quarterdeck, it was time to go.

Trevor, back aboard Atlantis, told the reporters, “We’re heading for Brisbane, and we’ll be there Saturday. We’re going to anchor on the Brisbane River, all the way downtown at Kangaroo Point, then go ashore for some PR events. Please put that in your stories – and thanks for all the free PR you guys are doing for us, it’s been really awesome!”

“Trevor, a word please,” a seemingly distressed Kline said, motioning for Trevor to join him in the salon. “Good work. Now, about that money, please?”

Trevor retrieved a thousand Australian dollars, and managed not to wince as he handed it over.

“Thanks mate, and you two keep working on the book for real. Do like I said in Brisbane, and by Cairns I’ll bet there’s little press interest in you. Have a safe voyage home,” Kline said, taking his leave.

Kline made his way to the dock, where he stood watching as Atlantis cast off and got underway, heading out past the Opera House, bound for Brisbane, and then their final stop in Australia; Shane’s hometown of Cairns.

 

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~

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 it 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 . :)

~~~~~~~~

Atlantis' Page (see what Atlantis looks like)

    feedback.gifPlease let me know what you think; good, bad, or indifferent.

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 RickMD, for some major advice and help.

Any remaining errors are mine alone.

Copyright © 2013 C James; All Rights Reserved.

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C James,

You know I post "reviews" and "critiques"...infrequently--at best--sometimes only two or three times per story, especially if there's a lot of slow moving chapters or a sudden change of pace or, as usual in your case, a nasty cliff hanger ending! Shame on you for some of those.

That being said, I have been enjoying Circumnavigation every time a new chapter comes out. You've planted plenty of surprises in the story...a good deal of which I don't think any of the readers had even an inkling of, myself included.

Don't take silence as a lack of feedback...silence is golden. It means they have nothing bad to say about it, or that I choose not do downgrade a previous review. thumbsup.gif Besides, if I leave a critique or review, it holds until I change it--then, sometimes, I leave a review on the entire story after the finish (I do have to remember and go back to do quite a few of those now before senility and ADHD make me...Oh, Hostess Cupcakes!).

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Please forgive me for not reviewing your wonderful story more often. We all love this story and truly hope you take us to the end. I have been late to work sometimes because I check every Tuesday morning and try to read the new posting before leaving for work. PLEASE finish this great story.blush1.gif

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Another great chapter. It's been a long, but enjoyable ride, and I'm looking forward to what's next. It's going to be full of excitement, and I fear, though hope not, some tragedy. Why is Kline so interested in Trevor handing him over money? Was this the agreement? (If it is I've forgotten). This whole press thing has me somewhat confused. Is it really that necessary? I presume the rest of the story might shed some light on it.

While I do tend to comment on author's stories, I guess I, like others, have neglected to comment on this one - and yet it is one of the better written stories on GA. The characters are really interesting and likeable. I especially like the rapport between Trevor and Shane.

 

Thank you,

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Well maybe Bridget's luck is starting to turn. The asset list it seems is about to be published. Gonzo set up surveillance on a business that was supposed to be a trip wire, but somehow lucked out with honest locals.

Additionally, it seems that Grays team merely looked at the boat to try to determine if it was the one that had made the Southern Ocean crossing after being stripped by the pirates.

Finally, Bridget learned that more than a few of the other members of the cartel disliked her.

While these are crumbs and the sea witch deserves a really horrendous ending, I guess this will have to suffice.

As for as CJ's intense desire for feedback (adulation) we all bow to the master's wishes!

All Hail CJ!biggrin.png

In all seriousness, thanks for all the hard work, research, rewrites and sheer inventiveness the epic story has shown so far!thumbsupsmileyanim.gif

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I can't believe there are only 5 more chapters to go..... Loving the story so far but I have the feeling that all of the playing with the media is going to come back to haunt Trevor. Can't wait for the next chapter :)

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I have followed Circumnavigation since it first appeared in late Dec 2010 which means it has run for nearly two years. I have watched eagerly at first on Monday morning and then it drifted to appearing late Monday to early Tuesday am Pacific time for a new chapter each week.. I have become a real fan of Trevor and his compatriots and the perilous journey. I have marveled at your interest in sailing and command of the geography as various points of interest were visited along the way. The story has held my interest and has more than enough suspense and cliff hangers to entertain and to thrill. You have done a great job and while I have been more silent than vocal this is a literary work you can be proud of.

Keep up the good work!

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I am confused as to who is writing the book on Trevor's near death experience. I got why they were doing the press event, but I do not remember who got the deal to circulate his adventure. If someone did get the book deal then why was Shane writing about it as well? So why is it that Trevor did not make a copy of the tape to send to Lisa or Joel or even send it to the press. I would have thought that by doing so, even if they believe Brigitte was alive that would have ended up killing her. I got that they would have lost the gold, but since they turned in the asset list couldn't they have sent a copy by mail before they leave Australia for international waters?

I lost sight of whether or not Gray had already put a bomb on Ares or not. Also did Brigitte say to kill Trevor, but only not to kill Rachael if she is not on Ares?

It would be nice if Brigitte was captured at Lisa's & Joel's wedding, but I thought that was postponed till Trevor got back to FL. Unless Brigitte does blow up both Atlantis and Ares I do not see her seeing that ceremony in the upcoming chapters.

I am happy that the end is near. I really want to know what happens to Trevor and Shane, but can it really be finished within five more chapters?

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First found this when it was about half way tends to jump around a bit and sometimes have to again read the previous chapter or two to refresh my memory as to where the plot/s are going

I am greatfull that you are writing this and overall enjoying it

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C James,

I am one of those guilty of enjoying your stories without writing reviews. I realized after reading your note (hard to miss) how really upset you are at the lack of reviews. I would hope that the number of hits to your story on Tuesday mornings likely shows how popular your stories are and how much you characters are loved by the readers. I never really knew how to express the joy and escape I get from reading your stories as I myself are a horrible writer. I apologize for my selfishness and vow to do a better job in the future. And, yes, I do love all of your stories, including the ones that no longer seem to be on gayauhors.com. Thank you again.

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I started reading this story in late July, and am now caught up to the

current chapter. It seems that all parties have their own plans, and I

wonder how the publication of Bridget's asset list by Kent

Moorcroft will affect the situation. If Bridget sees that some of her

dear late husband's information has surfaced, maybe she'll lose a bit

of that legendary calm and make a mistake?

 

-and don't you dare stop writing!

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I am one of the guilty reviewless readers. Shame on me. Especially where such an opus is concerned. Such a masterpiece in so many ways. Hard to believe there are only five chapters to go. Love Bridget's character...such a monster. Thank you.

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Totally love the story I check every day for a new chapter. I can't imagine not being able to see how it ends although the end saddens me as we'll lol. It's like losing a good friend. I have just started reading and read all of the chapters in the past 48 hours. Please keep posting.

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On 10/02/2012 03:59 PM, KJames said:
C James,

You know I post "reviews" and "critiques"...infrequently--at best--sometimes only two or three times per story, especially if there's a lot of slow moving chapters or a sudden change of pace or, as usual in your case, a nasty cliff hanger ending! Shame on you for some of those.

That being said, I have been enjoying Circumnavigation every time a new chapter comes out. You've planted plenty of surprises in the story...a good deal of which I don't think any of the readers had even an inkling of, myself included.

Don't take silence as a lack of feedback...silence is golden. It means they have nothing bad to say about it, or that I choose not do downgrade a previous review. thumbsup.gif Besides, if I leave a critique or review, it holds until I change it--then, sometimes, I leave a review on the entire story after the finish (I do have to remember and go back to do quite a few of those now before senility and ADHD make me...Oh, Hostess Cupcakes!).

Thanks!!!!

 

Sorry, but we'll have to agree to disagree on "Silence is golden". Without feedback (good, bad, or mixed) I just don't have a motive.

You've been great; occasional feedback is all I ask for, it's just when it dwindles to near nothing that I get fed up.

 

BTW, I NEVER use cliffhangers! :P

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On 10/02/2012 08:51 PM, davewri said:
Please forgive me for not reviewing your wonderful story more often. We all love this story and truly hope you take us to the end. I have been late to work sometimes because I check every Tuesday morning and try to read the new posting before leaving for work. PLEASE finish this great story.blush1.gif
This story will go to the end, I promise. :)
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On 10/02/2012 10:20 PM, Terry P said:
Another great chapter. It's been a long, but enjoyable ride, and I'm looking forward to what's next. It's going to be full of excitement, and I fear, though hope not, some tragedy. Why is Kline so interested in Trevor handing him over money? Was this the agreement? (If it is I've forgotten). This whole press thing has me somewhat confused. Is it really that necessary? I presume the rest of the story might shed some light on it.

While I do tend to comment on author's stories, I guess I, like others, have neglected to comment on this one - and yet it is one of the better written stories on GA. The characters are really interesting and likeable. I especially like the rapport between Trevor and Shane.

 

Thank you,

Kline wanted paying; he's out of pocket 800 otherwise. :)

 

The press issue; they are dealing with it the only way they can; acting like they want the attention, which due to the perverse nature of the press deters them. It's the only way to get the press to stop hounding them (and that hounding means their every move would be reported).

 

Thanks!!!

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On 10/02/2012 11:09 PM, Daddydavek said:
Well maybe Bridget's luck is starting to turn. The asset list it seems is about to be published. Gonzo set up surveillance on a business that was supposed to be a trip wire, but somehow lucked out with honest locals.

Additionally, it seems that Grays team merely looked at the boat to try to determine if it was the one that had made the Southern Ocean crossing after being stripped by the pirates.

Finally, Bridget learned that more than a few of the other members of the cartel disliked her.

While these are crumbs and the sea witch deserves a really horrendous ending, I guess this will have to suffice.

As for as CJ's intense desire for feedback (adulation) we all bow to the master's wishes!

All Hail CJ!biggrin.png

In all seriousness, thanks for all the hard work, research, rewrites and sheer inventiveness the epic story has shown so far!thumbsupsmileyanim.gif

Thanks!!!!!

 

BTW, it's not the asset list Bridget fears, it's the tape. The asset list is deadly danger to Trev and Shane though; if Bridget learns it (and thus likley the tape) has been found, her approach shifts from "slow and careful" to "Kill them NOW!" :)

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On 10/03/2012 12:50 AM, Simonjames30 said:
I can't believe there are only 5 more chapters to go..... Loving the story so far but I have the feeling that all of the playing with the media is going to come back to haunt Trevor. Can't wait for the next chapter :)
Make that 5 more to go after the one I'll be posting in a few minutes. :)
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On 10/03/2012 02:40 AM, tabaqui said:
great chapter again, sad to know that the end is near :(
Thanks!!

 

I'll miss this story too; it's been a huge part of my life for over two years.

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On 10/03/2012 08:44 AM, Napaguy said:
I have followed Circumnavigation since it first appeared in late Dec 2010 which means it has run for nearly two years. I have watched eagerly at first on Monday morning and then it drifted to appearing late Monday to early Tuesday am Pacific time for a new chapter each week.. I have become a real fan of Trevor and his compatriots and the perilous journey. I have marveled at your interest in sailing and command of the geography as various points of interest were visited along the way. The story has held my interest and has more than enough suspense and cliff hangers to entertain and to thrill. You have done a great job and while I have been more silent than vocal this is a literary work you can be proud of.

Keep up the good work!

Thanks!

 

I've been to many of the places in the story, so some of that was easy for me. :)

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On 10/03/2012 08:51 AM, KodeOwl said:
I am confused as to who is writing the book on Trevor's near death experience. I got why they were doing the press event, but I do not remember who got the deal to circulate his adventure. If someone did get the book deal then why was Shane writing about it as well? So why is it that Trevor did not make a copy of the tape to send to Lisa or Joel or even send it to the press. I would have thought that by doing so, even if they believe Brigitte was alive that would have ended up killing her. I got that they would have lost the gold, but since they turned in the asset list couldn't they have sent a copy by mail before they leave Australia for international waters?

I lost sight of whether or not Gray had already put a bomb on Ares or not. Also did Brigitte say to kill Trevor, but only not to kill Rachael if she is not on Ares?

It would be nice if Brigitte was captured at Lisa's & Joel's wedding, but I thought that was postponed till Trevor got back to FL. Unless Brigitte does blow up both Atlantis and Ares I do not see her seeing that ceremony in the upcoming chapters.

I am happy that the end is near. I really want to know what happens to Trevor and Shane, but can it really be finished within five more chapters?

Shane is actually writing the book, but Trevor was trying to ack as if it was being done by one of Kline's people. He's supposed to be acting like the "front" for a PR scheme and a ghostwritten book (to get the press to lose interest).

 

Trevor can't easily make a copy of that tape yet; it's in US format, different from what the Aussies use. Though many of their VCR's can play a US format tape, copying one is a lot harder. Trevor needs US VCRs.

 

Bridget wants Rachel dead, but only if convenient. It's not a big deal to her.

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On 10/03/2012 08:30 PM, prklux said:
First found this when it was about half way tends to jump around a bit and sometimes have to again read the previous chapter or two to refresh my memory as to where the plot/s are going

I am greatfull that you are writing this and overall enjoying it

Thanks!!!

 

The plot is overly complex; if I had it to do over again, I'd streamline it (and the verbiage). :)

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On 10/04/2012 04:27 PM, dylandude520 said:
C James,

I am one of those guilty of enjoying your stories without writing reviews. I realized after reading your note (hard to miss) how really upset you are at the lack of reviews. I would hope that the number of hits to your story on Tuesday mornings likely shows how popular your stories are and how much you characters are loved by the readers. I never really knew how to express the joy and escape I get from reading your stories as I myself are a horrible writer. I apologize for my selfishness and vow to do a better job in the future. And, yes, I do love all of your stories, including the ones that no longer seem to be on gayauhors.com. Thank you again.

All my stories are on GA, but some aren't in GAstries yet, and are just on http://cjames.gayauthors.org/
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On 10/05/2012 01:43 AM, Stephen said:
I started reading this story in late July, and am now caught up to the

current chapter. It seems that all parties have their own plans, and I

wonder how the publication of Bridget's asset list by Kent

Moorcroft will affect the situation. If Bridget sees that some of her

dear late husband's information has surfaced, maybe she'll lose a bit

of that legendary calm and make a mistake?

 

-and don't you dare stop writing!

I'm definitely going to finish this now, no worries. :)

 

As for Bridget... we'll soon see. :)

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On 10/07/2012 04:55 AM, charlieocho said:
I am one of the guilty reviewless readers. Shame on me. Especially where such an opus is concerned. Such a masterpiece in so many ways. Hard to believe there are only five chapters to go. Love Bridget's character...such a monster. Thank you.
Thanks!!!

 

It'll be 5 chapters after the one I'm about to post. :)

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