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CHAPTER SEVEN

Commander Grant ran quickly, for a man of his age, into the control room of his ship. The code red sirens were wailing and the man at the controls was yelling at the top of his lungs.

‘INCOMING! INCOMING! WE HAVE TWO HOT FISH COMING STRAIGHT AT US!’

‘What’s the situation?’ called back Sir Hamish

‘We have a Collins shadowing us at ten k’s back, it’s just fired.’

‘Well what are you waiting for man, full speed ahead?’

‘Do you think we can outrun them?’ said a second sailor

‘I don’t know, but for sure we’re about to find out.’

‘What should our heading be, Sir?’

‘Just drop some chaff, aim for open water and hit the scram jets.’

Boom, boom was felt behind the craft as they were catapulted north away from Indonesia and towards the Philippines.

Commander Grant left the control room boys behind him and proceeded to the incident room where he was thought the others would be gathering right at that moment. He was there within moments and sure enough that’s where they were.

‘What the hell’s going on?’ demanded Laurie

‘Seems we’ve been tracked.’ Replied C.G

‘I thought you said we couldn’t be tracked.’

‘Well, it seem like I was wrong; doesn’t it?’

‘What will we do now?’ asked Jim

‘Find somewhere to lie low and recharge the batteries,’ answered the Captain ‘any ideas?’

Buzz put his hand up and everyone looked at him, oddly enough.

‘What’s the matter; do you want to go to the toilet?’ asked Laurie

‘No, I think I know somewhere to go?’

‘How, Where’

‘Before I was so rudely awaken, I was having the most amazing dream.’

‘Yeah, go ahead we all know about these strange dreams of yours.’

‘It just so happens that I was dreaming of traversing these very waters and low and behold I was shanghaied by Chinese pirates and taken to a under ground cavern that was large enough to hide this modern monstrosity in. If you can get me a map, I’m sure I can direct you to it and if no-one has a better plan, I think we should check it out.’ Said Buzz

They all went about the business of battening down the hatches and rigging for high speed running. Time flew by, securing them from the worry of death and failure, which they left in their wake as they sped towards a new safe haven; Chang’s cave.

As Captain Grant’s amazing vessel made its way through the slender, pipe like, entrance and into the huge cavernous hideout that Buzz had directed them to, he purposely found his younger C.O slapped him on the back.

‘Well done my boy, well done.’

Buzz just responded by squirming around with a painful expression on his face trying to rub his own back.

‘I told you I knew what I was saying.’

‘Aye that you did’

‘So how long do you think we should stay here?’ asked Buzz

‘Just long enough to get our bearings and recharge the batteries. You, my lad are going to have to come up with another heading for us because I have no idea where we are going.’ Replied Grant

‘No worries but you will have to stop slapping me around like that.’

‘It’s a done deal.’

Captain Grant spun around and marched off to instruct his crew on how to go about their duties.

Buzz turned to Nat who massage his shoulder while he complained about her uncle’s rough treatment. After she had restored his composure, he asked ‘How would you like to go exploring with me?’

‘Sure,’ she replied ‘I’d love to.’

‘Get your hiking boots on then.’

Soon they had made their way off the ship and Buzz was showing her around the cave that he had visited in his dream. He began to recount to her some of the things he had previously forgotten to explain and before long, was back in the past again, experiencing it first hand and detailing it to Nat as it happened.

The Grand Cavern had taken on a new glow, more golden light had enriched the previously dark corners and new colorful sheens glistened from small fires marking the various groups of now happy pirates. Some celebrated the new order and reconciliation of old friends and foes. The mysterious princess’s men were a much more agreeable bunch and the woman herself proved to be a gracious host. Buzz the relieved, luxuriated in her company as the pair made themselves comfortable in the now deposed King of the South China Sea’s pirate empire.

‘Lai Choy San, I don’t understand what has just happened. It doesn’t make any sense to me. You give me my treasure, that your father gave to you and then he takes it back off me, then your men overthrow him for it?’

‘My brave warrior, you have changed the course of history. Chang was not my real father, he owned me from the time I was a small child and for many years I have dreamt of this day. He was a tyrant, feared and served by many but loved by none. He had imprisoned me in my mountain of wealth, after I had stolen from him the treasure you sought and now I rule his kingdom because of you.’

‘So I was your bait?’

‘Not only, but also. I dreamt you up, so when you arrived in my passage I knew exactly who you were and what you would do for me.’

‘How did Chang get the Golden Eagle?’

‘He or his father, and I am not sure weather they are one in the same, stole it from the Great Genghis Khan or his descendants. As far as I know, they would have gone on to rule the world if we had not relieved them of the symbol you now possess. So you see we are thieves and you are the salvation of the people or their next despot.’

‘And what do you want from me now?’

‘Nothing, take your Eagle and go, it has not brought anything but sorrow to my kind and we will be better off with out it and don’t forget the Portuguese rule the waters between here and where you want to go.’

There was great wealth stashed in the coffers of Chang’s caches, all the maps and charts needed for our dreamtime hero to plan the next leg of his quest to return the Great Golden Eagle to its Himalayan high coupe.

In the days and nights spent in the company of his Dragon Lady, he studied the layout to the passages and safe havens that had previously only been known by Chang and his gangs of men, who now seemed perfectly happy to work for their new mistress. The Sinbad was refurbished, restocked and made ready, while his old crew started to take on the appearance of a well oiled unit ready for anything or anybody who might cross their path.

On the day they sailed out of the waters controlled by Lai Choy San, with the prize of their quest safely stowed out of sight, Buzz the once again magnificent, was confident of the successful path

laid before him. Now all he had to deal with was the Portuguese Navy based out of the old city of Bombay, hopefully the disguises they had prepared for themselves would suffice when the inevitable time would arrive that they would have to deal with these people who must not, under any circumstances, relieve him of his prize.

His ultimate goal was to make it to Northern India where under the protection of the Moguls he would begin the overland journey to Samarkand thru the Hindu Kush with his golden bird. Years of studying the stories told to him as a child in the Palaces built by the descendants of Genghis Khan, had sent him questing for the fabled bird he had vowed to return.

For now he had to content himself with the slow and steady pace the trade winds were propelling him at. All the preparations had been made and nothing more could be done but wait for the inevitable confrontation with the powers that presided between him and his goal. The Sinbad was sailing well, at their present pace they could expect to reach the open ocean between Singapore and Ceylon within days and as long as the weather held fair then the crossing was only a matter of weeks.

—————————

Natalie spoke bringing Buzz back to the moment, ‘So all that happened right here?’

‘What? Yeah, yeah, right here.’ He said somewhat distracted as he started pulling rocks away from a crevice in the cave wall. Before long, he was standing upright and proudly displaying a bejewelled dagger still beautiful if not somewhat encrusted by centuries of corrosion.

‘Amazing!’ exclaimed Nat, ‘What’s the story behind that?’

‘This is were I slept when I was him, the ancient mariner. It was much nicer then but I kept this handy just in case my princess changed her mind about my status as savoir of her people.’

‘Oh, so she slept here as well?’

‘Look Nat, I wasn’t really him; it was like I was seeing through his eyes, understanding with his brain, but not in control of what he did. I certainly don’t feel responsible for the men he killed or anything else; I was more like a passenger than the captain, you must understand that.’

‘I do, it’s just a little hard for me to accept it.’

He dropped the artefact and carefully moved towards her. She resembled a cat deciding whether to strike or flee, but as the freeze frame moments passed, did neither. He eventually embraced her more tenderly that ever before and breathed into her ear ‘I love you’.

———————————

Meanwhile back at Nick’s headquarters, things hadn’t gone as well as Elisha had hoped, Nick had managed to get himself into a fowl mood and had begun throwing things, namely the cute little blonde, she was out on her ear. Eli was trying her best to calm him down, but by the time the reports started coming through that they had once again let those ‘arsholes’ get away, there was no consoling him. The day was off to a shit start and it didn’t look like it was going to get any better, he was threatening to pull the plug on their whole ‘holiday’.

To make maters worse the company suits and been sending reports that their operation in Afghanistan hadn’t been going well, the drug lords were getting greedy and demanding more and more for their crops everyday. General Pain in the Butt was making his presence felt by rallying support on just who ran this part of the world, pointing out the fact that while Nick might have inherited the business on paper, he still had the men on the ground in his employ and that if Nick didn’t want an army of bikies surrounding him, he might just want to reconsider his position.

‘Get that pilot’s lazy arse out of bed and tell him to start warming up the engines, it looks like we are going to have to run this ourselves from the air.’ Commanded Nickolas

Eli didn’t even try to disagree; she just put her head down and went about complying with Nick’s orders as was her habit when he got like this. If things didn’t get any better she would end up biting pillows while Nick worked out his frustrations on her. This was pretty much how it went and by the time they were leaving Australian air space, Elisha was having trouble sitting straight in her office chair and Nick was heavily sedated.

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