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    quokka
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Fordell - 8. Ford Ch 8

“Oh, I see, well I do apologise for intruding, I will go now, as I only have a few hours before the yacht leaves,” I said as I started to make my way to the door. “Not so fast Mr, I need some details first, take a seat at the table,” the man said to me, and I did as I was told, still not sure, if he was really armed or not.

“Right, firstly your full name, and the name of the yacht you are on?” the man demanded of me, “My name is Edwin Fordell, and the yacht I am on is called the Calamity Jane,” I replied. “Ah yes, I have seen that yacht cruising the harbour a few times now, owned by a company by the name if Wigan Investments,” the man said to me.

Hearing this made me wonder who this man really is, as he would not know the name of the company, unless he did some digging into the Yacht’s registration files, as I watched him retrieve his mobile from his pocket and he looked like to be doing some web searching, before he brought the phone up to his ear.

I could hear the distant ring tone, from where I was seated, as he waited for the call to be answered, when it did and the man spoke. I knew instantly that this man was not a government employee, as he was speaking fluent Romansh, “I have an intruder by the name of Fordell, first name Edwin, find out what you can get on his history, and check the booking for guests on the Motor Yacht called Calamity Jane,” he said before ending the call.

I had a feeling that I was in grave danger, so I began to look at ways of escaping from the building, and as I turned to face the man, I was looking directly into a pistol, “Oh shit, I really am in trouble,” I said quietly to myself, “You said something, what was it?” the man said to me.

“I said bother, I am in real trouble now,” I replied, “Hmm, now you said this yacht you are on is due to leave in a few hours, what time exactly?” the man demanded, and I stuttered a bit before replying. “Nine o’clock, err nine am sir, please don’t point that at me, I am frightened enough,” I said still with the English accent.

The man’s phone rang, and he answered it and right away, he was speaking in Romansh, “Well, what information do you have on this man?” he asked over the phone, “…What do you mean he is not on the booking list, what else do you have on him?” I heard the man say as he glanced over in my direction.

“Nothing, like nothing at all, not even a driver’s license or anything like that? Ok, leave it with me, I will get the answers,” I heard the man say, as he ended the call and walked over to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. I saw this as the only chance I have to get out of the building, even if it was through the open window, with the fly screen as the only obstacle.

This was my only option, as the front door to the building was over three times the distance than the window, and I had a little bit of cover from the fridge, as I jumped up and bolded for the window, and dived head first through the window.

I curled up and rolled as I landed on my feet and knees, which hit my chest, pushing all the air out of me, and it took me two quick breaths, before I had enough air to continue my escape, dashing towards the small jetty, where my jet ski was located, as a trail of bullets followed me. Some of the bullets narrowly missing me a few times, as I weaved left and right to make a hard target to hit.

When I reached the jetty at full speed, I leaned down to scoop the end of the rope that was keeping the jet ski close, but not drift too far away, and I leapt in the air, to reach the jet ski, which was a good five metres from the end of the jetty,

My right foot slipped as I landed on the step of the jet ski, and my stomach landed heavily on the seat, once again pushing air out of me. While trying to catch my breath, I slid around to sit property onto the jet ski, turned the key and hit the start button, and put on as much revs as possible to get away from the area.

By now there were many voices, all speaking in Romansh, and they were still shooting in my direction, as I heard orders been made, no doubt to get the boat onto the water, this is when I was so glad that I brought the Sat Phone with me, and I dialled the number for the yacht.

“Calamity Jane, Captain Hackney speaking,” I heard a sleepy voice say, “Sorry to wake you Captain, it is Sir Mate speaking,” I said loudly over the noise of the wave runner. “Yes sir, what is the matter?” the captain asked sounding more alert now.

“Tipperary. Up anchor now and head for the Birchs River jetty at full speed, meanwhile I will head for Strahan in this wave runner, I have an unknown number of armed men who I have accidentally stumbled on, at a campsite near the mouth of the Clark River.

I want you and the crew and passengers to be away from harm don’t worry about me, I can look after myself, bye and good luck,” I said before ending the call, having heard the engines of the yacht start up in the background of the call, as I put the wave runner at full throttle.

I knew that the yacht would usually take two hours to reach that jetty while on a cruise, but at full speed of 14 knots, it could be there in less than 80 minutes to get to the 19 nautical miles of the jetty.

For me, the wave runner can do a top speed of over 35 knots, depending on the water conditions, and my destination was not Strahan, but the mouth of Macquarie Harbour, better known as Hells Gate, where I knew that their boat would have difficulties with rough waters.

With the brief look at the boat from the window, I guessed that it was probably a Sun Seeker, and that it was designed more for harbours and rivers, instead of open waters. I was also guessing that the yacht probably has a top speed of about 25 to 30 knots, so with the five to eight minutes that it takes them to get their yacht into the water; I would have a good ten minute lead ahead of them.

The next call I made was to my Cousin in the UK, “Good morning Edwin, what is urgent that couldn’t wait, and what is that noise?” I heard Cousin Robert say. I only had to say one word, a code word that we had discussed if I was in any way in danger or in trouble with the law, the same code word I gave the Captain of the Yacht.

“Tipperary” I said, “Ok, you got my attention, what’s the situation?” Robert asked, “Armed men, speaking in Romansh, approximately half a dozen, all heavily armed, hiding out at a campsite close to the mouth of the Clark River near the Kelly Basin jetty, I have already sent the yacht away to safety, to its next destination, while my destination is Hells Gate.

They have a 70 foot Sun Seeker Open Motor Yacht, which I can easily out run, and out manoeuvrer, I chose Hells Gate because their yacht will not be able to handle the open water conditions for very long.

I have enough fuel to get around Cape Sorrell and go up the coast to one of the rivers, where I will go up stream as far as I can go, which will be a lot further than their motor yacht can go. I am hoping that they will give up once their boat can go no further, but in case they start hiking, I will keep going.

I will be fine, I have this sat phone, and I have a backpack full of supplies, including snorkel gear, water and snacks, so I will be fine for a few days if need be. I will ring at 1800 hours every evening to give a progress report,” I said. “Right, I have got that, should I make a call to the Federal Police there in Australia?” Robert asked.

“I thought about this question for a short moment, “No, keep them out of it for now, as I don’t want Mum to get wind of what is happening, I will speak to you tonight, bye,” I said before ending the call and switching off the phone to save battery power.

I changed directions again as I rounded a corner, now in the harbour it self, as I headed towards Hells Gate, and a few minutes later I heard gun fire, so I ducked down as low as possible. I looked at my speedometer, and I was doing about 30 knots, so I opened the throttle some more to top speed, to get a little further away from them, as I saw the yacht changing direction, heading for the narrow passage that goes to the Birchs and Sorell Rivers, and the power boat was following me.

Now heading in a north-westerly direction, the power yacht was now getting further and further away from my large yacht, its crew and passengers, which was my aim, as I began to make calculations in my head to try to work out how far I could go on one tank of fuel.

Estimating that the distance from the King River to Kelly Basin is about 19 nautical miles, is about the same distance to Hells Gate, which converted is about 35 kilometres. I knew that I have a little over triple that distance before I run out of fuel. I looked at my watch again, and thought back at when the man said the time of 5.45 am, so I guessed that I left there just before 6 am, and I made a mental note to check the time when I reach Hells Gate.

I looked over my shoulder a few times, and noticed that they were not gaining on me, but they were keeping up with me, which meant that I could not ease of the throttle until I reach Hells Gate, which worried me a little. What seemed like hours, was only 35 minutes before the lighthouse appeared, and I smiled when I saw this?

Knowing that in a few minutes, I would be passing through hells gate, and entering the Southern Ocean, I could already feel a strong wind blowing from the North West, which would make the ocean very choppy, which would be to my advantage, and I took a quick look at my watch.

Thirty five minutes to get 19 nautical miles, and I began to slow down a little as I set an alarm on my watch for 45 minutes time, giving me approximately fifteen minutes to find a place to go, as I turned to port to avoid a large sand bank, just as it began to rain. This reduced visibility, and gave me a better advantage, as I followed up the coast, no more than two hundred metres from the beach, so I could search for any rivers.

Now travelling at a slower pace to let the motor of the Wave Runner to cool down a little, I strained my eyes to try too search the beaches for any river systems that open up into the ocean. It was not long, before I found my first river, and I moved very close to the beach and slowed right down.

There was just a low stream exiting the river, but it was deep enough for a boat to cross over at speed, so I dismissed this river, and sped up again. With my chasers, just that little bit closer to me, they began to shoot towards me again, and once again, the distance, plus the head winds kept me way from the projectiles aimed at me.

Less than ten minutes later, I spotted another river, this one with this one running alongside a large sand bank, this time I slightly beached the wave runner, where the river runs into the ocean, where it is very shallow, and doubtful that their motor yacht would get across it and into the river proper.

I pushed the wave runner back into the water and headed south again, towards my chasers, for a distance of 400 metres, where I saw a wide deeper area of the river, but the sand bank is a good 70 metres in width. I had no choice, I had to try it, or else head further north, where I knew I would be getting closer to some settlements, which I did not want.

I steered out to sea, and when I was a good 500 metres out, I turned around, noticing my chasers closing in fast on my position, as they began the gunfire once again. I kept down low as I gunned the throttle to top speed, heading directly for that sand bar, hoping that the speed would be enough forward momentum to get me over it and into the river.

I was surprised when I ended up in the air, thanks to the steepness of the sandbank near the ocean side of the bank, and I soon found myself closing in fast to the ground again, with the water of the river also close. I was expecting a very heavy landing, but I was surprised yet again, to be landing on the water, as I steered left to avoid being beached on the side of the river.

My chasers were now very close, and some of their shots, were extremely close to my head, as I tried to keep low, and looking over my left shoulder, I could see the power yacht racing up the coast, trying to catch up to me, as I raced up the smoother waters of the river.

When the river bended right to go inland, I looked at the other yacht briefly, seeing that they had slowed right down and were now turning back towards where I had entered the river. I continued upstream first heading north then more to the east, with a few sand bars and a few rocky shores, which they would be easily able to get through.

I continued onwards for about half an hour, before I slowed right down, and let the engine just idle, so I could listen to see if the other yacht was still following. Unfortunately, I could here the noise of the yacht’s engine, as it echoed up the valley, so I continued on, but not going at full speed, as I needed to manoeuvre around rocks and sandbars.

Very slowly, the river began to get narrower, and I hoped that it would not be long, before my chasers are forced to stop, because they do not have enough room to get through the thick trees, that grow along the river banks, of which some of them I had to duck under.

After passing a sharp U bend about twenty minutes later, where there was a large rocky sandbank over most of the river, I slowed down to an idle once again to listen. I could still hear the motor yacht coming upstream, and I wondered how much further they would come, up steam, as I hoped that the sand bank I just passed may stop them going any further.

The river remained at the same width, which was frustrating for me, but I was coming across a lot more rocky sandbars, which must be slowing them down a fair amount, and when I saw a road bridge ahead, I tried to think of a plan.

Should I abandon the Wave Runner under the bridge, and hike into the forest, or maybe catch a lift northwards, to the nearest town, which I knew to be Zeehan, or should I risk keeping going upstream, to get a bit closer, but that would put me fairly close to the road leading into town.

In the end, I decided to keep going, and just a few kilometres north-east of the bridge, I spotted a small creek on the right, so I turned into it, and about ninety metres in, shortly after a bend, it was to thick to go any further, so I stopped the engine, and removing the key, which I placed in my backpack.

I lifted the cap off the spark plug, and jumped towards an overhanging branch, managing to grab hold with just my legs up to my knees hitting water.

I climbed onto the branch, and I made my way across towards the main trunk on the southern side of the creek, and jumped into the bush. Fully aware that there may be snakes, but also needing to keep as quietly as possible, I crept on my hands and knees, as I continued to listen to the sound of the yacht motor.

I could hear their voices now, speaking in Romansh like before, and they were discussing if I had continued or maybe I had hidden the wave runner under these thick trees. I listened as the sound of the motor began to fade away as he continued upstream, for another five minutes before the sound of the motor stopped.

At that moment, I froze, not moving an inch, as I listened to them in discussion again, and this time they said they could see roadside markers, and it sounded like they were referring to a map, with the words Farrell River and Amber Creek up from the road bridge.

Copyright © 2020 quokka; All Rights Reserved.
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Wow what a dramatic chapter. Edwin is in alot of bother, having stumbled across that hut and it's occupants who speak Romansh. Luckily Edwin has escaped them for now.

Edited by chris191070
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Okaay. Very interesting chapter. A bit James Bondish, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

What are a group of Romansh, apparently criminals :ph34r:, from Grisons in southern Switzerland doing at the bottom end of the planet (relative to their home), if not prepping for some criminal activity? High-jacking MY's (Motor Yachts like the Calamity Jane), to use for drug running is a possibility with crime groups from Asia. 

The other possibility is kidnapping for profit, but the seems initially unlikely with Edwin since he/they didn't recognize Edwin, and because you don't try and kill a hostage. So they just see him as someone who can upset their plans. UNTIL, whoever their phone contact / info source is discovers Edwin's identity and high value ($$$$ €€€€ ¥¥¥¥).

BUT, (a big one), Edwin saying 'Tipperary' should immediately active Hunter and his former SAS skills to get to and protect Edwin.(does Edwin wear one of those 'hip' woven bracelets you see on lots of younger people, but who British MI-5/6 & SAS have Harry & Wills wear since it has a 'tracker' inside?).

Tick tock... 

Edited by Anton_Cloche
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No no no, leave him alone.  Let him get away from the thugs.  Should have alerted the Authorities.

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