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    quokka
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Tough Times - 12. Tough Chapter 12

Our four and a bit hour flight to Sydney went very smoothly, arriving at 5.15 in the afternoon, and once we had our luggage, we had a chauffer car take us to our hotel for our overnight stay, where we would change to tourist mode, for our two our early morning flight to Lord Howe Island, arriving there just after 9 am.

“Good morning gentlemen, can you tell me which accommodation you are staying at while on the island please,” the uniformed lady at the counter asked us as we stepped into the small air terminal, after stepping off the Dash 8 aircraft and walking on the tarmac for thirty metres to get to the terminal.

“I’m sorry we are not staying on the island, we are been collected later in the day to board a yacht at the jetty,” Brady replied. “That is highly unusual sir, can I ask for your identification, and ask the name of the yacht that you will be boarding?” the lady asked, and I could see that Brady was not at all happy about all these questions, as it would put our security at risk.

“I will answer your questions, but only in a secure room, free of any listening devises of any kind,” Brady replied eventually, “Sir you will answer my questions, or be detained, and sent back to the mainland on the afternoon flight,” the woman said, which I could see had Brady looking very pissed off now.

“Look, I am a detective from WA Police, and I am on a special assignment. I will not reveal any information out here in the open and in public, and that goes for my friend here too,” Brady said quietly and in an angry tone, with his arms crossed over his chest. The lady took a step back and spoke quietly into the microphone of her two-way radio.

Less than a minute later, three men approached and all of them were armed and looked ready to end the argument, and letting Brady explain that he would not answer any questions in public, no matter what threats that they made, and moments later we were marched away through a number of passages and doors, until we arrived in a small meeting room, where we were told to sit and wait.

A good twenty minutes later, two of the guards and a new person entered the room. Mr Anderson and Mr Alpike, what is the purpose of your visit to Lord Howe Island today?” the new gentleman asked, “As I said when we first arrived, we are only transiting through LHI, as we will be boarding a yacht later in the day,” Brady replied, “Ok, what is the name of the yacht and the master of the yacht?’ the new man asked us.

“As I said before, my name is Detective Brady Anderson, from WA Police, I am on special assignment, and because of that, I cannot reveal any other information about our travels today, and I request that all documentation of our arrival on the island be destroyed, for the safety of those that I am assigned to protect, and no I cannot reveal who they are,” Brady responded.

“What about you Mr Alpike, what do you have to say about all of this?” the man said directly to me, and I shrugged my shoulders, “I have no idea, I am here on an administration support role, and I only know what I need to know, which at the moment is very little. I didn’t even know we were coming here until we were on our way here,” I replied, and Brady smiled and nodded his head in agreement.

“I don’t like this one bit, but as long as you are off the island before sunset, I am going to let you pass, but be warned, if I find out that you stayed overnight on the island, then you will be arrested and sent back to the mainland to be processed,” the senior man said to us, and I just nodded my head in understanding.

We were escorted back to the arrivals hall, where we found out luggage open and most of our contents scattered all over the counter. Brady stopped and turned to face the two men, “Ok, shitheads, what was the reason for our luggage to be searched without our permission.

We are Australian citizens, traveling from one domestic airport to another, you had no right to search our belongings,” Brady snarled at the two men. “Sir, I suggest you tone down your voice, pack up your luggage and leave, before you get into any other trouble,” one of the officers said in reply.

“Ha, that’s what you think mate, just wait till my superiors hear about this,” Brady replied, and we quickly repacked our suitcases, and headed out of the terminal, where there was no sign of a taxi or a transport bus anywhere. “That is just bloody great, so much for island hospitality,” Brady grumbled, as we re-entered the terminal and headed over to the taxi call box to order a taxi.

While we waited, Brady put his mobile together again, and dialled a number. “Hello, it is me, we had some troubles with the authorities, when we landed at LHI, demanding to know why we were only transiting through, wanting to know the name of the yacht and its master, and why we are transiting.

They eventually got the message that I was not going to tell them anything, no matter how much they threatened to send us directly back to the mainland,” I heard Brady say, and he listened to a response from whoever he had called, and I guessed that to be Marc on the yacht.

“The only thing I can think of us doing to try and sort this mess out is to return to Sydney and try getting to you another way,” Brady said, and he nodded his head, at what was been said to him, “Ok, I will wait to hear back from you, bye for now,” Brady said before ending the call. “Was that Marc?” I asked quietly, and Brady nodded his head yes. “Like me, he is not at all happy with this stuff up,” Brady said to me, as we saw the men who detained us eyeing us off in the distance, and we tried to just ignore them.

About fifteen minutes later, Brady’s phone rang, and he pulled me closer as he answered the call, “Hey Brady, can Dev hear us talking?” I heard Marc say, “Yes, he is right next to me and listening,” Brady replied, and for the next ten minutes, we heard the plans for us to get off the island as soon as possible. Marc was sending us flight tickets and information, with Eastern Air Lines, which is a small regional airline based in Newcastle.

They do flights from Newcastle to Lord Howe Island and return, and also occasional flights to Norfolk Island, 900 kilometres to the north east, which is a three-hour flight. Marc has arranged for the in coming Eastern Air Lines flight to refuel and to continue on to Norfolk Island with just two passengers and luggage.

We would then meet the yacht off the coast of Norfolk Island soon after dark, when the yacht won’t be so obvious, and we would leave as soon as we are onboard the yacht. After the call, Brady called for a taxi and it arrived a short while later, where we asked the driver to take us to a tour company that may be able to show us around, as we were only on the island for a few hours.

We were taken to lagoon Beach, where there are two tour companies, one does mostly water activities, while the other does bike and snorkel gear hire, which we thought is the better option. After some discussions with the tour operator, he agreed to mind all of our luggage, while we went snorkelling for an hour, followed by an hour of bike riding, and we paid him extra for allowing this to happen.

Shortly after we arrived back from snorkelling, Brady’s mobile began to ring, and he rushed to answer it, “Hey Brady and Dev, I have emailed you all the details, the plane should have just landed and will be refuelling shortly, so you will need to get back to the airport soon. We will see you in a few hours, bye,” Marc said to us briefly before ending the call.

We thanked the tour operator for the use of the snorkelling gear and informed him that we would not be going biking due to us having to leave right away, and told him to keep the bike hire fees, before we called the taxi again, and not long after we arrived back at the airport.

“Ok, so what are you gentlemen doing back here?” one of the guards asked as we entered the terminal with our luggage, and Brady searched for and located the email, that showed our booking for a flight to Norfolk Island, leaving as soon as the plane is refuelled.

The guard seemed to think that we were making this all up, so he made a phone call at the nearby information desk, and he returned with a frown on his face. “I have no idea how you do this, but it has been confirmed, that you are on this Eastern Air Flight, going to Norfolk Island,” the guard said to us, and pointed us towards the departure area of the terminal.

Once we had our booking confirmed, we waited in the very small departure lounge, until we were called to board the King Air plane that would take us to Norfolk Island. In a way we were both glad that we were off Lord Howe Island, once the plane was in the air and heading further out to sea, towards a small island situated hundreds of miles from the nearest mainland.

When we arrived at Norfolk Island, the security process was very quick and simple, and a taxi took us to our booked accommodation, which is located at Forrester Court, located just 5 kilometres north-east of the airport, where we would be spending part of the night, as the dinghy from the yacht will be collecting us at 11pm at nearby Cascade Pier.

We had been booked into one of the cottages close to the beach, and after having a short rest, we decided to take a walk along the beach towards the pier, where we will be going later in the evening.

“So, do you know where we will be going, once we are onboard the yacht?” I asked Brady. “No, I have no idea mate, I guess we will just have to wait and see,” Brady replied, and when we arrived at the pier, which was made of stone and appeared to be quite old, with some steps down to the water to allow access to smaller boats. “I guess this is where we will be met later on today,” Brady commented, and I just nodded my head in agreement.

After the walk along the beach and the Pier, we called a taxi and we headed over to Kingston, to check out some of the museums and heritage sites, and stopped at the hotel for some lunch. After a wonderful meal, we called into the supermarket to buy some snacks and prepared meals that just need heating up, before we began walking all the way back to our accommodation, which was quite a hike, but knowing that we would be on a yacht for an unknown length of time, we both thought it was a good idea.

After our long walk, we rested for a few hours, before heading down to the beach to watch a spectacular sunset, and after our reheat dinners, we just relaxed and watched a few movies on DVD, and taking it in turn to use the bathroom to shower and change into some fresh clothes, ready for our arrival on the yacht.

At 10.30pm, we left the cottage, with all of our luggage, and with a partial moon, we made our way down to the pier in the darkness, and stepped onto the pier ten minutes later, with there been no sign of the yacht in the distance, and we wondered how long we would have to wait.

“You are early, just like us,” a voice out of know where said to us, which made both of us jump in fright. “Jeepers, give us a heart attack why don’t you Marc,” Brady said once we had recovered from the scare, and all we could hear was chuckling until Brady appeared out of the darkness.

“Terribly sorry, I didn’t intend to scare you that way. Here, let us assist with your luggage,” Brady said as two other people appeared out of the darkness, and I recognised them as the Bosun and Senior Deckhand, as they gathered all of our luggage, and disappeared into the darkness. “Shall we follow them, the quicker we do, the faster we will be out of this chilly,” Marc said to us both.

It felt a little strange stepping onto the swim deck of the yacht again, but I had a feeling… that this was now my home. I stopped for a moment to think about it… smiled and kept walking. “Everything ok Dev?” Brady asked me softly when I caught up to him, “Yes, things are looking good for the future. Well, I hope it will be,” I replied.

Going up the stairs on the port side of the yacht, we arrived on the main deck, and we sat down in the after outdoor lounge area, where stewards quickly appeared with cool fruit drinks for all of us. “Any chance of knowing where we are going on this extended trip?” Brady asked Marc, who glanced over to me.

“We are heading south from here, our first stop will be Invercargill for a supplies stop, from there we will be going into hiding for a while to ensure that Rebecca and her boys are kept safe,” Marc replied, “So, I am guessing that where we are going is quite remote, with a very small population?” I asked.

“Yes remote, but there is a large population there, just not the human kind,” Marc replied cryptically. “What the hell does that mean?” Brody asked sounding a little annoyed. “Steady on there my friend, it is an island ok, with plenty of seals, birds and sealions, and plenty of beautiful largely untouched land,” Marc relied.

“Hmm, sounds like we are going to the south pole or somewhere damn close to it,” Brady stated, and Marc chuckled at this remark. “You are not that far off the mark there my friend, it is an island in the Southern Ocean, but it is not inside the Antarctic Circle, actually it is closer to the 52 degrees mark, which is above that of the Falkland Islands,” Mark relied.

“Sounds like a very could place to be visiting,” Brady commented, “It is, but I am also looking at another option, which is a lot warmer, like just below the Tropic of Capricorn and also still in the Pacific Ocean, but I can’t say much more for now as it is still in negotiations,” Mark informed us.

“So, for now we have to pull out our woollen underwear and hope that the second option comes through?’ I asked, “Yes, that is about it, I am afraid. Look I am trying to take care of the health and safety of family, and I would also like to have you both here for support…” Marc said to Brady and me.

“Ok, but remember, I am only on this yacht, on a temporary assignment, that means no more than two weeks maximum, then I have return home and get back to my usual job,” Brady said to Marc. “Understood, and I am very grateful for you taking up the slack with Hans having to return to Europe,” Marc said.

At that point we were interrupted by the arrival of the yachts three special guests. Brady and Dev, this is Rebecca and her three boys, Paxton, Harrison and Brandon,” Marc said making the introductions.

Copyright September 2022 All Rights are Reserved, Preston Wigglesworth
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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37 minutes ago, travlbug said:

Security is a tough, thankless job. Kudos to those who keep us safe.

Devlin, you have my head whirling:  At first, you don't want anything to do with Marc and the Blue Seas; but now, you can see the yacht as home? What's changed?

That's a good question. One possible thought is Devlin is observing the lengths Marc is going to protect to his Sister and her kids. As someone whose own siblings don't give an F about him he may see Marc in a different light. 

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They were to involved at LHI...made too many waves for the two episodes with 'security' not to go unnoticed!

We thanked the tour operator for the use of the snorkelling gear and informed him that we would not be going biking due to us having to leave right away, and told him to keep the bike hire fees, before we called the taxi again, and not long after we arrived back at the airport.

“Ok, so what are you gentlemen doing back here?” one of the guards asked as we entered the terminal with our luggage, and Brady searched for and located the email, that showed our booking for a flight to Norfolk Island, leaving as soon as the plane is refuelled.

 

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