[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,]
SABOTAGE – Monday Midnight
Stars shining on the sea should settle our nerves. Impossible now we are sure the scheming stinks.
“How will we find these containers you say was swept overboard during the storm?”
Peder hands Rashmi an electronic tracker.
“Switch this on and our cargo will be transmitting a signal. Simply follow that. When you find the cargo attach the items to the rapid deployment lift bags. Once inflated they will bring the cargo to the surface for retrieval. Straightforward.”
Mind racing. Hesitate from asking what the salvage is. My senses say don’t.
“How many containers? You’ve given us eight small bags.”
“Four to search for. Two lift bags per canister.”
Pia strides over, tapping her watch. “You better leave now.”
At the stern, we climb back down to our boat, already loaded with the scuba tanks and lifting devices.
We cast off and raise the sails. Our craft slices apart the sheen on the water from the moon and stars. Perfect weather.
Sudden dread as spasms seize me.
P for Panic but also Precautions. Slow breathes.
The mini-sonar directs us over the area where the cargo should be. We lower the sea anchor and release the rapid deployment lift bags – weighted to sink steadily on a long hawser.
A last scrupulous check of each other’s equipment, then we drop backwards over opposite sides into the serene darkness. The beams of our head-lamps stab into the depths.
The strengthening beeps guide our cautious descent.
When we reach the bags, we lower them. Deeper, past jagged rocks. Seaweed. Curious fish.
Containers – canisters designed for underwater recovery. Not just for the deck of a Swedish ship in the storm. Not swept overboard but jettisoned.
I sign Rashmi to strap two balloons to the first container as I adjust their regulator pressure gauges for the correct depth. Then we scrutinize the containers. No signifying marks. Nothing to divulge the contents. But designed for lifting straps.
However, there is a suitable slit where I insert our own tracker – a signal we can follow. Security 101.
We open the valves on the two scuba cylinders that inflate the bags. Swim clear as the bags lift and carry the container towards the surface.
Same procedure with the second canister – and second transponder. Two more balloons. Then the final two canisters.
A for Ascent.
Almost over. Tension not disappearing. Breathe slowly. Don’t waste precious air.
Our ascent takes longer as we need a stage decompression. Longer climb than our descent and time working on the seabed. Time enough for the waves to have picked up above.
The beginning of a squall.
No sign of the rapid deployment lift bags.
P for Panic as my stomach churns.
But the Njörðr Hämnaren has sailed closer. They’ve already winched the cargo aboard.
Relief and Apprehension.
We take off our tanks to simplify our return journey.
Tattoos hammer T for Timing.
“Too easy,” I say to Rashmi. “Be prepared for anything.”
Like the semi-automatic shots that spray the sea. R for Revenge.
Pia hails us. “Time to stay where you are, detectives. Yes, we know who you are and thank the North Wales Police for their assistance. Lagens väktare. May you swim in peace.”
I dive at Kama as I spy the carelessly stowed spare sail and scream.
TRAP. The boat is ripped apart.
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“Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” William Congreve – The Mourning Bride