'Scorpion's Reach, 'The Island'
From the Author.
Last week we saw that Joey and Sandy were planning to 'deal with Murray' but it looks like he's got other ideas, are they going to get there in time? What about Sam and Hene? what's happening there?
A desperate chase through New Zealand, where the stakes couldn't be higher, but who'll come out on top?
Lets get to it and see.
From the previous.
The padlocks quickly clicked open, he swiftly opened the door and went inside.
There was a bike in the shed, just like he knew there would be, a Yamaha 200 trials bike, perfect for what he needed, the bike would blend in well both in the country and the town.
He'd carried a holdall with him; he set it down, unzipped the bag and began changing clothes.
Two minutes later all traces of 'Senior constable Murray’ were in the bag, they'd soon be at the bottom of the Pacific, but not yet, he zipped the bag back up, slipped his arms through the handle so the bag was on his back, grabbed the bike and wheeled it out of the shed.
He could be at Auckland airport in just under two hours, Wellington in about six, 'not really an option' he thought, 'if the proverbial is going to hit the fan, it's going to be a lot faster than that!' he had another plan, much quicker, and avoiding any customs, especially with what he was taking from the back of the cruiser, besides, he wasn’t leaving his boat behind.
Moving on, "He's done a runner"
"He should be just round this bend," Sandy shouted into the Mike, "drop back and wait for the siren!"
Joey throttled back as Sandy blew past him, red hair streaming out from under the helmet, "wish me luck" she shouted as she blew him a kiss, then turned, took hold if the handlebars and opened the throttle.
The bike responded like the racer it was, eager for the race and ready for the challenge.
Joey pulled up and waited as Sandy roared round the corner, she was well over the speed limit, nothing.
"Boss" it was Joey's voice on the line, he was talking to Jacko, but Mildred was 'patched in' through the network, "We've got a bit of a problem"
"Go ahead" Jacko replied, they were airborne, but still a good half hour away from the RV.
"Murray's done a runner, "Joey came back, "but that's not the problem!"
'Shit' was all she could think, 'if he's got word out, this is going to turn real bad, real soon!'
"Come again?" Jacko replied, "What’s the real problem?"
The team in the control room were looking stunned. "Don't just bloody gawp!" Mildred spoke quietly, yet every word was heard by all, "find the swine, AND I MEAN NOW!!"
“The squad car had a lockbox boss” Joey came back on the line, “an M4 assault rifle and sixty rounds of ammo, he’s taken them!”
The Missing 'piece'
Sam and Hene.
Pain, that's what she felt, coming from seemingly all over her body, but especially the back of her skull, 'Jesus, what, or rather who hit me?' she tried to open her eyes, everything still stayed black. She could see little pinpricks of light, and something moving really fast from right to left, seemingly dozens of times a second, like a really fast moving disc, rotor blades?
She felt the eyelids actually moving, it wasn't that they couldn't, there was something over them, but she was still too groggy to fully really realize what was going on, 'and what the hell is that drumming noise?'
At least it sounded like a drumming, but it was too regular to be anything but mechanical, "Hene?" She spoke quietly, Sam remembered Hene had been with her in the car, beyond that she had no idea what happened.
"Silence" a strange voice demanded, it sounded male, probably the wrong side of thirty, but the right side of forty, and it sounded foreign, but no idea where from.
She felt movement on her right, a very low voice talking in Maori, saying two simple words, "Kia Kaha!" repeated quietly a few times before something, probably a fist silenced him, she didn't hear any moans, just a stoic silence.
It was worth the risk just to acknowledge Hene, she turned slightly to her right and whispered, "Kia Koha". He'd told her to 'Stand tall' so she'd given the reply 'Stand strong' and that's what they'd do.
She didn't have to wait more than a second for the retaliation as a fist crashed into the side of her head, she didn't flinch, but it increased the headache she already had.
Actually, there were two parts of her body that didn't hurt, that's because they were numb. From what she felt of her shoulders, her arms were attached to the roof, probably using 'plasticuffs'. If that was the case then there'd be no way out yet, not that she'd even try, she had no idea where they were or which direction they were going in.
Scorpion Team flying down this gorge, at fifteen feet (below the road)
"I gotta get one of these"
The country was just a blur, trees, houses, farms and even cars flew by as they raced for the RV point. Joey could have sworn he saw 'stunned mullet' looks on the face of at least one Porsche driver, mind you even he thought Sandy's flaming red hair streaming behind her was pretty spectacular, (he did have to admit to being 'just a little biased ' but it wasn't much 'honest').
Sandy was in the lead as they approached a sweeping left hand turn, she went wide in the approach, kissing the centre line just before leaning the bike and turning into the corner in a 'racing' stance, as soon as she was clear she opened the throttle and headed for the one lane bridge, there was a car coming the other way, and it had priority, but that didn't stop her gunning the engine, the car slammed the brakes on as she roared over the bridge, Joey was right on her 'tailpipe', all he heard was the screech of brakes and loud horn and a string of unintelligible abuse from the driver as they blew past.
"Twenty five minute trip, twenty minutes to do it in!" was their only thought as they pushed the bikes to their limits, or at least tried to, whatever they did the bikes seemed to roar their approval, it was if the caged beasts had finally been let loose, all Joey could think was, 'I gotta get one of these!'
Twenty minutes later they were pulling into the area when they saw the helicopter approaching from the south. Joey flipped the bike onto its stand, dismounted and ran holding his arms straight up, stopping after a few paces he brought both arms down pointing to where he wanted it to land.
Joey repeated the actions a few times as the chopper came round and lined up, Sandy came and stood beside him so that the pilot could see them both. As soon as the skids touched the sands, Joey gave a 'thumbs up' sign, it was a request to approach the helicopter, the pilot signalled back and they headed in, the rear door on the pilot's side slid open just as they reached the aircraft, they hopped in as the door slid shut.
The Drug dealer's hideout?
Destination, White Island?
The pilot didn't wait, as soon as the door was closed they were away, skinning across the top of the water at about fifteen feet, just enough to stay clear of the surf.
"Sorry boss" Joey spoke up as he strapped himself in, "Murray's done a runner, took some important kit with him too!"
“Never mind that” Jacko replied, as he pointed to the body armour, “We just got a location for the others, we’ll deal with Murray later, this takes priority,” he turned to Sandy and asked. “You know about a place called White Island?”
“Yeah” Sandy replied, “It’s a rocky Island just off the coast, thirty miles or so from Whakatane, probably about sixty miles from here, is that where they are?”
“Looks like it” Jacko replied. By now both Joey and Sandy had their ‘vests’ and were reaching for their weapons, they’d found Joey a browning, Sandy was surprised and pleased to see a Makarov for her, she’d gotten to like the compact Russian weapon. “I’ve had the weapons adjusted for you both, as much as we could anyway” he carried on speaking as they turned the weapons over in their hands, they felt good, and familiar, “anyway back to the point” Jacko went on, “It looks like the helicopter landed at the southern end of the Island!”
“Makes sense” Sandy replied, she prodded Joey for the tablet he was carrying, it took her a couple of seconds to access a file, “Here’s a map of the island from Google earth!” she tapped the tablet, “the Island used to be a Sulfur mine back in the early twentieth century, the original mine was on the west, but the volcano erupted and wiped the settlement out back around 1910, when they went back to the island they built the miners huts on the south side, but the mine itself is still on the western side!” she pointed to the two. “If they’re on the southern end then they’ll be either in or near the old huts, but they could have people on the west as well!”
Sandy reached for the switch on her headset, it put her in direct contact with the pilot, “Head along the coast as far as Opotiki, then turn north for thirty five miles then” she began.
“Then come in from the east?” the pilot asked.
“Yeah” she replied, “that should prevent them seeing or hearing our approach, land us on the eastern side and make the same way out, re-fuel at Whakatane and wait to hear from us!”
“The eastern side?” the copilot was puzzled, “that’s a hell of a”
“Hell of a climb were you going to say?” they could hear the laughter in her voice, “Don’t worry, these guys are bloody mountain goats! It’s not going to be an issue!”
"If New Zealand is at the bottom of the earth, this is where the farts come out!" (Joey)
The sun had just disappeared over the horizon when they got first sight of the Island, the pilots had stayed out of sight ‘at the first’ pass and now it was looming up straight ahead.
“Will ya look at that!” Mac was looking off to the right as they approached, the sky was a deep blue, and getting darker almost by the minute, except for on their right where there was a steady stream of what looked like steam, so thick it looked just like white smoke coming off the mountain that was at the northern end of the island. “And what a bloody smell!” he was trying to hold his nose.
Imagine the smell of rotten eggs, then intensify it a hundred fold, and add a burning sensation on the back of the throat, that’s what White Island smells like! Not dangerous for short term exposure as in a couple of days, or even months, but any longer and you’re going to have some serious health consequences.
Sandy looked up, saw Mac's face, and turned to the pilot who was also looking round and smiled, the copilot was also smiling, though he was concentrating on the flying, being a ‘local boy’ he couldn’t help smiling at the faces they were all pulling, he knew it was partly letting off tension, but also partly trying to get used to the totally alien environment that was below them, it literally was like Mars, and quite a few movies had portrayed it as Mars!
“If New Zealand is the bottom of the earth” Joey began, “this must be where the farts come out!” the whole team erupted in laughter.
Here's a picture of something similar
Heading for 'Sierra Pappa'
The pilot brought the helicopter to the hover about four feet from the surf, Smithy launched out first and sprinted up the beach, as soon as he was by the rocks he took up a defensive position, next was Mac, then Jacko, fourth was Sandy, and last, watching everyone’s backs was Joey.
As soon as Joey was in the crouch just clear of the rotors he turned to the helicopter and gave the pilot the ‘thumbs up’ sign, the pilots acknowledged with ‘thumbs up’ turned the helicopter rose about ten feet and headed out to sea, within seconds the silence descended.
Smithy and Mac had their night vision visors activated, as soon as they were on the ground the others did the same, but they waited a good ten minutes before doing anything.
The most dangerous time in any operation is right after the ‘insertion’. You think you’ve not been observed, but you can’t be totally sure, so many ops have gone ‘tits up’ simply because someone saw something, but wasn’t sure so they were taking a second look when the team, confident they hadn’t been seen broke cover, if only they’d waited an extra five minutes, they’d have seen the hazard and thing would have been different, this team wasn’t taking the chance.
Jacko reached for the throat mike’s pressel, flicking the switch he spoke into the mike, “Scorpion team to control, insertion complete, heading for Sierra Pappa”
‘Sierra Pappa’ was their staging point, from there the team would have a view of the whole of the Island, that is all except for the very northern points beyond the rim of the volcano, they’d be able to see how many ‘targets’ they faced (from this point on everyone on the island, with the exception of the team and the two they came to rescue was a target!) and where they were.
“Scorpion team, this is control” the voice came back, it was ‘Mildred’s’, “Roger that, we have updates, check your intel links, timetable moved to ASAP, out!”
That's all for this week folks
Sorry folks, but we need to stop there, too much going on, but the team are 'on site' and chasing a deadline. People's lives are in danger, are they going to make it? Find out next week.
If you enjoyed the story, then leave a comment, by the way, the Book is available on Amazon, and if you're in New Zealand in April I'll be doing a reading from the book at the Cambridge Library in the Waikato on the 26th April (the day after Anzac day, our day of remembering those who gave their lives for our freedom). Let me know if you want details...