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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.

Unexpected Journey - 4. UJ Chapter 4

For the next ten minutes, there was a lot of shouting going on between the skipper and the two border patrol officers until we heard sirens approaching, and before long there was nearly a dozen police cars, plus some unmarked cars, making the wharf area very crowded.

Whispering, the skipper ordered everyone to raise their hands so they are in clear view of everyone, on the wharf, and not to make any sudden moves. When the two border patrol officers were finally ordered to put their guns away, a high-ranking officer stepped forward and started talking calmly to the skipper in Russian.

“We are a sail training ship from Norway, currently at the end of our 14-day journey, with 40 trainees planning to leave the ship at this port. Once we have cleaned up the mess, created by your border patrol officers, for the second time in three months, and we have restocked with supplies, we are planning to start our journey home”, the skipper said in English.

“You are saying that these two Federal Border Patrol Officers deliberately trashed your ship, just for the fun of it,” the senior officer asked in good English. “That is correct sir. It started when they began shouting at three of my crew to hurry up getting down from the main mast rigging, which cannot be done quickly, in a safe manner.

Once on the deck, the bigger of the two roughly grabbed one of the trainee crew, and shook him, demanding to see his passport immediately, which he did not have on him, as he was up on the mast when we came into the harbour. When I explained to the officer, that the boy was only sixteen years old, he let go, and I asked him to retrieve his passport, as did the other two crew who were also up on the mast.

After inspecting the passports, they headed below deck and came back smiling, and one of my bosuns reported that the galley and other areas had been trashed” the skipper explained. Both of the Border Patrol Officers began to argue in Russian, obviously understanding what the skipper had said in English.

“After the last time these two caused a mess on my ship, we had security cameras installed, so we now have the proof of what I have stated” the skipper said, and once again the border patrol officers began to protest in Russian, until the first officer arrived with a copy of the security footage on disc, and he handed it over to the skipper.

The senior officer turned around and barked out some orders, and we watched as the two Border Patrol Officers had their guns removed, and they were arrested, and placed in a police car, which drove off, along with the majority of the other police cars, with just two unmarked cars and one police car remaining.

When the gangway was put back into place, the senior Federal officer and two police officers came on board, and the crew stepped back to make way for them.

“On behalf of the Russian Federation, I wish to apologise for the unwarranted behaviour of these two former Border Patrol Officers, and we welcome you to the city of St Petersburg,” the senior Federal officer said to the skipper.

“Sir, I thank you for your apology and welcome. My only concern now is that safe passage of the trainees and their family members out of Russia, and back to their home countries, and for my ship and its crew be allowed to restock our ship and sail back to Norway” the skipper replied.

“I understand your concerns, and after facing this incident, I can understand your concerns, how may we assist you with your requests,” the senior Federal officer said. “If I may speak to the family members, who have come to collect their sons from this ship, I may have a better idea on what to plan,” the skipper said, and the senior officer faced once of his junior officers and spoke softly to him.

“A bus will bring your trainee crew family members to this wharf in ten minutes” the senior officer said to the skipper, “Thank you, we will continue to clean up if we may, until they arrive” the skipper said, and the three officers left the ship, while all the trainees, the watch leaders and bosuns headed down below to continue cleaning up the mess.

We had managed to clean up most of the mess, before being summoned back on deck, where we found our family members waiting for us. “do you have anyone collecting you?” I asked Tipene, who seemed to have no one there for him, and Tip shook his head no.

“They can only come as far as London, so I have to catch a flight tonight” Tip replied, and Mum was nearby when he said this, “Don’t you worry dear, we will look after you, I am Mary Madsen, mother of this brat teenager, and temporary guardian for Curtis” Mum said to Tip, as she gave me and Curtis a hug.

“Thank you, Ma’am, that would be very much appreciated” Tip replied politely, “Good that is settled, now go and grab your luggage boys, we have a flight to catch,” Mum said to us, and she turned to speak to the skipper as we headed below.

Saying a quick farewell to our watch teammates, the three of us headed back on deck, where Mum was waiting for us, and we followed her off the ship. “See you around Monkey” came a shout from up high, which I knew was only one person, and I stopped and looked up, to see both bosuns up high in the rigging, and they were waving to us, and we waved back, before continuing down the gangway and onto the wharf.

Ten minutes later, at the yacht club, Mum had made a couple of phone calls, and she was smiling when she finished the last of the calls. “Tipene dear, I need you to give your folks a call, and let them know that there has been a change of plans, just tell them that you are travelling with two of your crewmates and one of their mothers, from Australia, and that we are flying to Helsinki in less than two hours, then from there we will stay overnight, before flying to London in the early morning” Mum said to our Kiwi friend.

Tipene retrieved his mobile and tried to make a call, but he couldn’t, so we headed into the yacht club to use the public phone, and a few minutes later he happily announced, that his father was glad that someone was looking after their son and that he is looking forward to meeting you all in London tomorrow.

Twenty minutes later, after stopping off at the hotel, where Mum had checked in, and now checked out, having retrieved her luggage, we headed to the St Petersburg International Airport, where Mum had changed all of our bookings to four seats on the next flight to Helsinki, Finland.

We were relieved once we were passed passport control and customs, as we sat in the departure lounge, waiting for our flight, which would take just under one hour. Once in the air, I began to relax some more, glad that the drama was finally over, and that we would soon be in a safe city once again.

But my thoughts on that changed suddenly, about halfway through the flight, as the signs for fastening seatbelts came on, followed soon after by a PA announcement from the flight crew to Brace for Impact, as we went into a nosedive, them turned sharply to the left, and then to the right, as we continued to head down at a fast rate.

By now, many of the passengers were either screaming or sobbing, I was sitting next to Mum, and she was holding onto my hand very tightly, and her eyes were shut tight, as we started to level off and turn right again, before there was a very loud bang and the plane shook violently, and continued to shake, as we began to go into a faster decent once again.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, due to engine trouble, we will be making an emergency landing at an airport 15 kilometres north of the Finnish coast town of Kotka, please remain seated until the aircraft had come to a complete stop, and follow directions given by the cabin crew” an announcement said over the PA, and we soon could see that we were approaching land, as we started to level off some more, but the plane was still shaking badly.

What seemed like about half an hour, was really only minutes, when we felt the wheels touch the ground and screech, before the roar of the engines being put in reverse to slow us down, but I could tell we were still going too fast, as we hit rough ground and the plane was shaking badly once again, with some regular banging noises.

When we finally came to a stop, we all headed towards the two exits, over the wings, which had been opened by the crew, and we carefully climbed onto the wind and slid down onto the ground, about ten feet below us.

Once Mum, Tipene, Curtis and I were all on the ground, we made a dash away from the plane, heading back towards the runway, which was about 600 metres away.

When we felt that we were well away from the plane, we collapsed onto the ground, tired, frightened and exhausted from all of the drama, of what we had just been put through, as we eventually heard the sounds of emergency vehicle approaching, along with members of the general public, coming to help us.

Eventually, we were transported to the small terminal, which turns out to be an aircraft museum, where we where checked out by paramedics and ambulance crews that eventually arrived, and eventually we were reunited with our cabin luggage, so as to produce our passports for identification, and we were told that all other luggage will be collected, once the aircraft has been deemed safe to enter.

About an hour later, we were bussed to the town of Kotka, where emergency accommodation was found for all of the 52 passengers and 5 crew, and we were allocated two adjoining rooms at a fairly good hotel in the centre of town. Tipene and Curtis shared one room, while Mum and I shared the other room, with both having two double beds in each room.

None of us slept very well that night, still badly shaken up by the events onboard the plane, and as we headed down to get some breakfast, we were informed that our luggage was in reception waiting for us, which we collected and took to our rooms before eating.

After we had all showered and changed into some fresh clothes, the four of us sat down to discuss our plans to get out of Finland, and after some enquiries, we learnt that a train could take us to Helsinki, with the next one departing at 9.40 am, which was less than half an hour away.

Quickly we packed and checked out of the hotel, and a taxi took us to the train station, arriving with fifteen minutes to spare, and ahead we had a two-hour journey to get to the capital. Our flight from Helsinki to London wasn’t until 4 pm, so we had plenty of time to get through customs and passport control, before grabbing a bite to eat, and something to read for the 3-hour direct flight.

I bought an English print newspaper when the headlines caught my attention. “Terror in the skies” and I sat down away from the rest of the group for a few moments to read the article. “Yesterday a flight from St Petersburg to Helsinki, came under attack, a few minutes after entering Finnish territory.

Just hours earlier, federal officials in St Petersburg were caught up in a dispute at the Yacht Club Harbour, soon after a large tall ship had moored at the main wharf. It is not known if the two incidences are connected, but it is known that some of the crew that were on the tall ship, were also on that flight to Helsinki”.

I decided to not tell mum about the newspaper article, and hope that we are not harassed by the media when we arrive in London.

Tipene had texted his parents, to let them know the flight details from Helsinki to London, with a local time arrival of 5.10pm, and he received a reply to confirm this. When we entered the arrivals hall of Heathrow, Tipene rushed into the arms of his relieved parents, and soon after Tipene introduced us to his parents.

Stopping at a café inside the terminal, we all sat down and talked about what had happened, and Tipene’s parents said they were grateful that we had all survived the two incidences.

We learnt, that Tipene and his parents would not be staying on in London, but were booked on a flight to New Zealand, via Singapore, due to leave in a few hours’ time, so we said farewell to them and promised to stay in touch.

Spotting the media waiting outside the terminal, we decided to take a long way around, so we headed towards the domestic terminal, were we would exit and catch a taxi to our hotel. Before entering the hotel, with the media fast approaching, Mum said loud enough for all to hear, “Comfort Inn Hyde Park, and lose these bastards trailing us” she said, keeping a straight face, as she sat in the front passenger seat.

Just before we were to turn right, on the M4 towards London, Mum unexpectantly said, “Ignore what I said before please driver, and turn left to the Pinewood Hotel in Slough, please” she said, now grinning broadly.

“Yes Ma’am, I never have like the paparazzi, they are bastards” the driver responded as he changed lanes, and turned left, heading away from London.

“Thank you, your assistance will be rewarded at the end of our journey, and if anyone asks, we were dropped off at the Travel Lodge in Windsor, which is about the same distance,” Mum said.

“Yes Ma’am, my pleasure to assist you all” the driver replied as he chuckled at having tricked the media.

Copyright © 2019 Preston Wigglesworth; All Rights Reserved.
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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.
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Awesome chapter. Trouble seems to be following Mathias, Curtis and his Mum.  I would imagine it has something to do with his inheritance.

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Brilliant chapter, mayhem and drama, I cannot wait for more. This is exciting. 

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3 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Awesome chapter. Trouble seems to be following Mathias, Curtis and his Mum.  I would imagine it has something to do with his inheritance.

What did he inherit and why are the bad guys after him?

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1 hour ago, davewri said:

What did he inherit and why are the bad guys after him?

You will just have to wait...

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Okay, that went strange rather quickly. 😲

I thought at the end of the last chapter that the trainees might have had to sail the Tub back to Scandinavia by themselves, but the situation at the wharf de-escalated fairly quickly.

But, same as the newspaper reporter suggested, I can't help wondering about a possible connection between the incident at the wharf and the one in the skies...

I've also a feeling that Matias' mother may know more about what is going on than she is admitting to...

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