[Music treat at the end. This story will be posted in full after the Challenge for those of us that like to read everything in one complete telling,]
MAYHEM – Saturday Morning
Melodious murmurs mingle with the churning surf and rival bird calls. Makes these memories matter. Kama and me – melded.
“The dive ship will take us out to the final wreck. This will be your last dive and will test your capability at depths of nearly 30 metres. But be prepared for the unexpected – this is not a tourist excursion. And I won’t be easy on you.”
The training officer, Inspector Varley, hasn’t let up all morning – not since our 4 a.m start. Intensive workouts, testing dives, and mental mazes to tax us – and prepare us. No normal course.
“Move. We’re not on a shopping trip. Anwyl, you push us off with that boat hook. And put some muscles into it – if you have any.”
Ignore the windup. My wetsuit moulds to me for warmth and protection but it sculpts and reveals. Kama’s toned body is as marked.
I push us off. The coxswain steers the ship out beyond a rocky promontory. But Kama and I must row us further in an inflatable towards a jagged outcrop – even though it has an outboard.
Our scuba gear rechecked from tank to goggles, we descend into the majestic depths.
The corroded metal merchantman looks vibrant with fish and seaweeds. The ripped hull and damaged superstructure indicate the mayhem of the storm that wrecked her on the rocks above.
Varley indicates we are to enter through the main breach in the hull. Kama on point, me behind – ahead of our mentor-taskmaster.
Tattoos tingle. Nerves jangle. I dive down and left as a black- clad figure with a tinted mask fires a spear gun at Kama.
I surprise the second attacker by dolphin-kicking into him. Improvised Jiu-Jitsu stuns him.
Kama anticipates the spear, weaving into attack mode. She disarms her attacker gesturing with the grabbed spear-gun for him to swim up to our deep compression rendezvous.
I follow with my captive at the point of his gun.
Varley gestures at his watch and shakes his head.
Resolved too fast. That’s just us.
Back on the dive ship, he struggles to suppress his chuckle.
“Fastest resolution to my ambush ever. You ladies are good enough to be in my Marine unit – not in CID.”
“Is that a job offer?” Kama raises her eyes as she looks towards me. “We come as a team.”
One of the unmasked officers laughs and thumps her on the back. “With your manoeuvres, I’d be out of a job. I’ve never seen some of them. What are they?”
“A melange of my Tamil martial art of silambam and Sparkle’s jiu-jitsu.”
“As my partner said, we’re a team so train as one.”
Inspector Varley gestures for the coxswain to return to shore.
“You two moved as one unit through that rupture. Instinctively prepared. You’ve passed – and yes, if you ever want to become maritime police and face marauders at sea, I’d welcome you. But I suspect CID won’t let you go. So, good luck on tomorrow’s nautical challenge and get those crooks.”
My stomach churns. We’ve colleagues that want us gone. Ones that despise minorities like us. And moving to another force won’t resolve that.
Tap my bracer.
M for Mayhem and Minorities. A for Ambush. S for Silambam. N for Nautical. E for Exertion.
“That your secret weapon, Anwyl?”
“Mnemonics are my mental ally. Keep me ahead.”
If we can identify the real attackers and what they are smuggling from Sweden. Narcotics?
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And now for something completely different.
“Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” William Congreve – The Mourning Bride