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    quokka
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Fordell - 19. Ford Ch 19

About twenty minutes later, Hunter arrived, and he was not looking too happy. “I have just done a search of his cabin, where I found a laptop computer, a note pad with notes written in shorthand, and a pocket voice recorder and about eight mini cassette tapes,” Hunter said, as he place a box onto the coffee table.

Looking inside the box, I saw all the items that Hunter had just mentioned as well as the camera that had been snatched away from the man. “Bloody media, they can be such a… Hunter, can you go and find Margaret and bring her to me here please,” I asked.

Waiting until Hunter had left the room, I turned to face James, “I am seriously considering cancelling this whole film project, from as soon as these guests have left the yacht tomorrow,” I said to him, “I don’t blame you and I am fully supporting you with what ever decision that you make,” James responded.

“Good, now let’s wait and see what Margaret has to say before I make my decision,” I said as I sat up straight and waited for her arrival.

When Margaret entered with Ashton following close behind, and he closed the door behind him and leaned against it, so no one could enter. “My Lord, I am terribly sorry for what has happened, our company will do everything to make amends for this unfortunate event,” Margaret said, and it was then that I noticed that she was holding an open laptop in front of her, and I indicated to it.

“Oh yes, as soon as I heard what had happened, I put in a call to my boss, the Executive Producer, and he is online now,” She announced as she placed the laptop on the coffee table with the screen facing James and me, and she sat opposite, behind the laptop.

“Hello again, now before you start saying anything, I need to ask one question, were all of the guests that are coming onto this show been vetted for criminal history and personal history?” I asked, “Only the basic background check on their business and home life, nothing about criminal checks, no I am sorry we didn’t feel it warranted to go into a in depth history on all the guests,” the Executive Producer said to me.

“Tell me then, what do you have on this guy, Mr George Gregson, and is that his real name?” I asked, “Well just that he is married with no kids, is a highly paid executive from London in the UK, and that he paid for this trip my bank cheque,” I was informed.

“Well, I suggest that you do a lot more digging into his history, because I am very seriously thinking of terminating this contract, and before you try and complain, I have it in the contract, that if I am mislead in any way, I have the right to terminate this and any future cruises,” I said angrily.

“This box that you see in front of you, contains a camera, lap top computer a voice recorder, a notebook with shorthand notes, and eight mini cassettes, no doubt full of voice notes. If his lordship doesn’t terminate this contract, as the Captain of this yacht, I sure hell will, and I will tip all of this stuff overboard in deep water, no matter what consequences that I may face personally,” James said.

“Ok, I think we all need to calm down and take some time to think this over some more…” the Executive Producer said before James stood up, grabbed the laptop, and walking to the aft of the yacht, and threw the computer overboard.

“You can tell your boss, that he can go to hell, he will not speak to Lord Fordell in that way, and as of tomorrow, the guests, you and your film crew will get the hell off this yacht,” James shouted. Margaret, who was standing in the middle of the room shocked that James had just thrown her laptop computer overboard, said nothing.

“I will pay for a replacement computer for you Margaret, I am sorry that it was thrown overboard,” I said to her. “That is fine sir, I am not surprised really, and the computer was the production company’s property, not mine, so they can deal with that,” Margaret replied with a hint of a smile.

“Right, now in regards to the temporary crew, they can come back to Seisia with us, and I will give them a few days for rest and relaxation, until you can arrange for a flight to collect them and take them back to Cairns. We will be remaining up there to honour our promise to the community, before we set off for an undisclosed location, that will not be my home state,” I stated.

“Going to stay away from civilisation for a while are you sir?” Margaret asked, “Yes you could call it something like that,” I replied. Once Margaret headed downstairs, I looked at Ashton, who had a smile on his face, before looking at James.

“By the look on your brothers face, it looks like he was half expecting you to do something like that<” I stated, and James laughed.

“Yes, well we have always been close and we do know when to watch out and be alert, when our expressions change,” James replied, and I looked over to Ashton who had a big smile on his face and he nodded to confirm what James had just said to me.

“What are we going to do with Mr Gregson or whoever he is?” Ashton asked after a few moments of silence, “We will release him when the other guests are leaving, minus everything that is in this box of course,” I replied. “What if he complains?” James asked.

“Well than I will compensate him for the loss of his equipment at current value, can you do a check on these items to see what they are worth, and get that to me before they leave,” I asked Ashton, who nodded his head yes, before he left the room.

The next morning during breakfast with the permanent crew, Ashton arrived into the room, with a mixed look on his face, “Sir, our detained guest is not a very happy man. He threw his breakfast at me as I closed the door. I told him that he can starve until lunch time, before closing and locking the door,” he informed me.

“Very well, he only has a few hours before we arrive at Hicks Island, can you ask one of the stewards to pack all of his luggage, and have it ready to be collected when he is leaving,” I responded. “Yes sir, I will do,” Ashton said before taking a seat at the table to have his breakfast.

When it came time for the guests and the filming crew to leave, I stayed out of sight on the bridge deck watching just out of view of everyone as they stepped onto the tender to transfer them to the island where the plane had just landed.

Mr Gregson or whoever he is was holding onto his suitcase as he looked back at the yacht as the tender neared the island. “Good riddens to bad scum,” I said to myself, “Did you say something Edwin?” James asked me, “I did, but it isn’t important,” I replied, as we watched the passengers and filming crew climb into the vehicles, to transport them the short distance to the airfield.

While they were on their way, the three-crew members were loading all the food supplies that had arrived on the same plane, before making their way back to the yacht, as we watched the plane climb into the air and turn south for Cairns.

On the return journey to Seisia, James and I had a meeting with the temporary crew to let them know what is happening. We informed them that the contract for the thirteen-week cruise had been terminated, but the yacht was providing the temporary crew a one-week holiday onboard the yacht, before been flown back to Cairns, where the film production company will decide their futures.

“Excuse me Mr Fordell. There have been rumours amongst the crew, that you are the actual owner of this yacht. Is that true?” one of the junior deckhands asked, and I glanced over to James beside me who shrugged his shoulders, and I gave him a nod.

“You might as well know. Yes this is owned by Mr Fordell, along with a lot of other properties that he has inherited unexpectedly,” James said, “Go on, and the rest,” I said to James, who lifted his eyebrows in surprise, before smiling.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you the owner of this fine yacht, Lord Edwin Crawford, Baron of Fordell and Baronet of Wigan,” James announced loud and clearly, and suddenly there was eleven very stunned looks facing them, although two of them looked like they already knew, as they showed slight smiles on their faces.

It was those two, the senior steward and the senior deckhand, who stood and gave the formal curtsy and bow with the rest following suit. “Sir is this why you remained on the upper decks for the most of the cruise and the cause of the event that took place last night?” one of the stewards asked me.

“Yes, that is correct, and as a result of the production company failing to properly screen the guests, a reporter managed to slip onboard, and take photos of me and make notes of his journey onboard the yacht, and that is the reason for the cancelation of the contract.

I am sorry that it has affected all of you with work, but as I said it is the fault of the production company, and I will not have my safety put at risk because of it,” I replied. “Is this why Mr Hunter is always close by to you, is he your body guard?” another steward asked.

“Mr Hunter has been in my family’s employment for many years, and he is not only my bodyguard, but also my butler and chauffeur, so I suggest that you do not mess with him,” I responded. “Not a chance sir, when that Gregson man elbowed him in the chest last night, we saw how he restrained Mr Gregson very easily, before locking him in that cabin,” Carter the galley steward commented.

“Right, we will be arriving back at Seisia at 1100 hours tomorrow morning, so we will have the yacht back in good order by that time please. That is all for now,” James announced. “Mr Mitchell, Mr Berger and Mr Wright, please stay behind,” I said as they started to leave the main saloon.

Once the others had left the room, and Hunter had closed the door, James stood up. “I have some good news for the three of you. Under the recommendations of your supervisors and approval from my employer, you three have been offered full time positions onboard this yacht,” James announced.

“Wow, that is awesome, thankyou Captain, and my Lord,” Prentis the Canadian Senior deckhand responded, with the other two also thanking us for the opportunity to be full time onboard. “Once the others have left in a week, you will have a cabin to yourselves, and your duties will not differ much from what you have been doing for the past week,” James said.

With just eight temporary crewmembers leaving in a week’s time, James thought it might be a good idea to spend a bit of time visiting the Torres Strait Islands, but before that it to happen; I had a meeting to attend to with the elders.

I learnt that the elders wanted a round sort of building with an open central courtyard, with a central fire pit, so that meetings and ceremonies can be performed. I suggested that it be made octagonal, to make the rooms easier to build, which will be meeting rooms, bathrooms, a couple of storerooms and a conference room that can open out to the central courtyard.

When I had drawn up a rough sketch of my ideas, and with a few tweak’s from the elders, we had a new building set to be built in the community, which will be the centre of the community for many years to come. After sending the plans to an architect firm in Brisbane, I asked James to set off on a cruise around the islands of the Gulf of Carpentaria, to waste a little bit of time while we get a detailed plan of the building.

I was also in contact with a building company in Townsville, to assist with the contruction of the community building and to make improvements to alot of the key buildings already in the community, namely the hospital, the college, the police station, the government accommodation units and the primary school and post office.

Once I was happy that everything was in place to get the construction work going, and with a mention to the elders to not hesitate to contact me at my office in Strahan, we set off for our week long cruise in the Gulf, and it was the next morning that Hunter brought an email to my attention.

“Lord Fordell in the Gulf of Carpentaria” was the lead title of the article, “The luxury yacht named Saluzi is owned by Lord Fordell, and he was seen onboard his yacht while it is been based in the Gulf community of Seisia on the far northwest coast of the Peninsula.

When I was discovered as a reporter, I was detained in an empty lockable cabin, and I was given food and drinks during my overnight detainment, before been placed on a plane minus my photographic and recording equipment and all my written notes.

It is very obvious that Lord Fordell protects his privacy very much, as I only saw him briefly just twice over a three day period, before I was detected. I will continue to work hard to get more information about this elusive and private Lord”.

Once the last of the temporary crew had left the region, we spent a few days at Seisia, before we headed southwards down the East coast. It took us 2 ½ days to get to Cairns from Seisia, where we stocked up with fuel and supplies, before we continued on our journey and a further 4 days before we arrived in Brisbane, where we once again refuelled and restocked.

When we finally arrived back at Strahan, I had Brad pick me up and take me directly to the Lifestyle Village, which is now 80% full. Mum was thrilled to see me again, and over some afternoon tea, she told me about all the new friends she has made in the village, and that with all the recreational facilities, she said she was staying fit, and enjoying her new life.

With the help of the Administration department of the Seisia College, I was able to keep in regular contact with the council of Elders, and over the next four months, I monitored how the building projects were progressing.

After the first two months, I flew up to North Peninsula Airport, to personally inspect the progress, and to have face to face discussions with the Council of Elders, and I was pleased to see that most of the renovations and upgrades had been completed.

During these four months, the yacht was kept busy with cruises at its new location in the Davey Harbour region, and although I was rarely on the yacht during this time, I was in daily contact with James, and we discussed how things are going with the cruises, as well as more personally about missing each other.

After the first month of the new cruises, I chartered a plane every fortnight, to take me to Melaleuca Airfield and I would stay two nights, before flying back to Strahan. My new office at Risby Cove was looking fantastic, and the administration office downstairs was doing a great job of screening each of the guests who book a cruise on the yacht.

Just three times had the screening picked up a reporter attempting to get onto the yacht for a cruise, and with the conditions of a booking are depended on security check by the management of the cruise company, which allows for a booking not to be accepted and the deposit been fully refunded.

I was now on a regular routine, starting with a very early breakfast, followed by a short boat trip into Risby Cove, all before 7 am, and as Hunter secures the boat, I walk to the road and cross over, and I quietly slip into my new administration building, with Hunter entering a few minutes later.

I was spending five hours in my office, before Brad would collect me and take me to the lifestyle village, where I would have lunch with Mum in her home, and we would chat about all sorts of things. I even brought up the subject of a possible trip to Scotland to visit Robert and spend some time checking on the businesses there, and make a visit to Aunty Bea’s grave, and Mum continued to avoid the subject.

In the afternoon’s I would either spend a few more hours at the office, or head back to the manor, and do some walking around the property, so as not to get to unfit from sitting around all day. Life is now so much different than when I was just an ordinary high school boy, it wasn’t what I had for my future, but I was stuck with it, with so much responsibilities, both here in Tasmania, as well as my other home in Scotland.

The End.

Copyright © 2020 quokka; All Rights Reserved.
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Very excellent chapter and story. I hope that Edwin is able to get to where he isn’t hounded by the media all the time. I think it would be great to see another story about Edwin and his possible relationship with James. I enjoyed reading this story from the beginning.

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The End ... Oh dear me no! What am I going to do over the holidays without Edwin the guys to keep me happy with my regular fix?

Us brits from blighty need to hear about the hunky Captain James and Lord Edwin to know that all is well with the world... So to quote a little chap from literature - Please sir, I want more.....🤪😁

Edited by Kev
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Very nice story with an open end. What’s sngoing toehappen between the captain and the baron?

Am I right  in suspecting that there will be a sequel in the (hopefully) near future?

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A fantastic chapter. A great ending to the story.

We're left with a very open ended chapter with plenty of questions still to answer, let's hope we get a third book on Lord Edwin.

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