Chapter XL



Two hours later the Captain announced that the submarine was entering the harbor at Devonport. He announced the British were requesting a formal docking ceremony so all off duty and nonessential submariners would have to be in dress uniform for an above deck presentation.  This meant the main officers would be on the conning tower observation area and the line of sailors standing at ease on the sub deck aft of the conning tower.  An entrance like that was always very impressive whether it was a submarine or an aircraft carrier.  No doubt the Brits would have a marching band to play the Israeli national anthem.  It probably would be on the news that this was the sub that captured the now notorious Sir Terrance Lutts.

Lutts would be kept on board under lock and key until after the ceremony and then he would be secretly ushered out of the sub where British Intelligence would have their chance to see if they could get anything out of him.  No doubt the Princess, the Monsignor and Frank would also have to be debriefed by MI-6. 

While waiting the three fighters for religion sat in the Captain’s small conference room.  For much of the time they tried to sleep.  When the Captain gave the order over the PA system they all woke up with a jolt. 

Yawning, the Princess said, “I can’t wait to get out of here.”

“Where will you go?” Frank asked.

“I suppose back to the castle at Maidstone.  I assume the staff will still be there and I sure as hell don’t feel like dealing with the press.  No offense, Frank.”

“None taken.  Will you be safe with all those Luttses about?”

“I’m sure I can get some protection from Scotland Yard through my connections with the Royal family.”

“Must be nice to have a direct line to the powers that be.”

“As a matter of fact, it is.  Could you come with me, Frank?”

Frank only took a second to think it over and said, “Sure.  Who would be crazy enough to turn down Cinderella?”

That brought on a smile to the Princess’s face.  The first he had seen in a long time.  It had been a stressful ride trying to save religion and their lives. 

“How about you, Monsignor, where are you going after they let you go?” the Princess asked.

“Back to the Vatican.  I am sure his Holiness has a lot of questions.  Plus we are not out of the woods yet.”

Just as soon as the Monsignor had finished his sentence there was a piping noise and then the Captain ordered all crew members who were part of the docking ceremony to go to their places.  You could hear countless steps coming from the hallway and odd noises as several hatches were opened to let the men above. 

“I wish we could go up and watch.  I would like a bit of fresh air,” the Monsignor continued.

“Maybe if we all had uniforms we could,” Frank quipped, “You could start a new fashion, Princess, by being seen in naval dress blues.”

The Princess started to laugh, but stopped very abruptly when the room suddenly was shook and all of a sudden chairs started to fall over.  We could feel the entire submarine was being raised at an angle.  What we found out later was that as the submarine was coming toward the dock which was still about a mile away, the commercial salvage ship, Agamemnon, from Greece was leaving port.  Both ship and sub were going only about 3 knots each which was the speed limit allowed by the Harbor Master.  Weather conditions were lovely and the waves were minimal in the harbor.  The salvage ship would pass on the starboard side.  Each vessel was progressing to where they would pass with a safe 100 yards between them.  In fact, it was reported some of the Agamemnon’s crew had waved at the sub’s crew while they were approaching.  Although the sub’s crew were facing port side and did not see the waving.  Only a couple of the officers noted it on the conning tower. 

Suddenly the Agamemnon picked up speed and steered towards the submarine.  At the same time it swung its giant crane over the sub.  At the end of the crane’s cables was a large superconducting magnet used to pull up sunken ships.  When it was swung over the magnet knocked over eight sailors standing in the deck presentation line.  No sooner than it was over the submarine deck than the power must have been switched on and the powerful superconducting magnets literally pulled the sub’s aft section out of the water.  Then the crane rose raising the sub’s aft section higher and higher.  Soon all the sailors of the presentation line were in the water.  The officers in the conning tower at least had something to hold onto, but then the angle became so extreme the conning tower started to be submerged.  The security cameras in the harbor caught all the chaotic action.  Soon the officers were forced to jump.  The attack came so quickly and the angle was so extreme they could not get the hatch closed.  Water came gushing into the bridge and we could hear the submariners screaming.  Outside the Captain’s door we could hear water flowing.  The three humans looked in a panic liked trapped rats on a sinking ship.  Just as sudden as the salvage ship started this unwarranted giant swirly then the submarine felt as if it was in freefall.  The magnet had let go of the sub and the aft came crashing down into the water.  At the same time the forward part of the submarine came up.  The conning tower was once again high and dry, but there was not one officer left on the conning tower area.  They were struggling in their heavy uniforms in the cold water to stay afloat.

Frank was the first to get to his feet and then he helped the Princess get up.  The Monsignor was back on his feet, but still bracing himself against the wall.  Of course, I heard it first, but the sound of robotic soldiers could be heard entering the two open hatches on the submarine.  Mixed in with their clattering sound I could hear men still screaming and one junior officer barking orders in the vain hopes of bringing order to this mess.

Frank yelled to the other two, “Lets get the fuck out of here.”

I spoke up and said, “Sir, the submarine is being boarded by robotic soldiers.  I suggest we stay put.”

After I made that observation Frank slammed the table against the door and the Monsignor joined him in piling up the chairs.  I continued to monitor the ingress of soldiers.  Quickly the number of human voices started to diminish.  When it comes to hand to hand combat with a robotic soldier it is 99% certain the human will lose.  After all, the robot is never unarmed.  They have their flying mini-drones they can deploy.  Hopefully, they only rendered the submariners unconscious, rather than terminate them. It was literally seconds after I heard the last human voice when I could tell the robotic soldiers were making their retreat.  Mixed in the sounds of the retreating robots I could hear some low frequencies common to the hovering blades of a helicopter as well as some higher frequencies of transport drones that could carry a single soldier – either human or robotic.  That is exactly what the harbor cameras would show.  They would also show one single human being escorted by several robotic soldiers to the small robotic helicopter.  No sooner than the invading force had taken to the skies then there were explosions inside the salvage ship.  Black smoke and soon red flames would start to envelop the ship.  The Israeli sub was dead in the water. 

Meanwhile we were still holed up in the Captain’s conference room.  Slowly, I started to hear the moans of the crew waking up.  All around the ship there were footsteps and finally over the PA system came an order to any able bodied personnel to go up on deck and help rescue their brothers and sisters in the water.  It was then that Frank told the Monsignor to help him unblock the door.  No sooner had they put the room in order than there was a strong knock at the door.  It was the Colonel.  Frank opened the door and let the very wet Colonel Mann in.  On the side of his right face his temple was bleeding, but he acted as if that was the least of his concerns.

The Colonel’s first words to us when he saw our faces was, “The bastard's gone.”  I could tell he was not in a happy mood.  His face was flushed and I don’t think it was from the blow he had taken.  “Son of a bitches fucked us, royally.  The damn Brits didn’t do a thing to stop them.”  Finally, he calmed down enough to take a good look at the three and ask, "You all okay?”

“Better than you,” the Monsignor answered as both Frank and the Princess nodded in the affirmative.

Then the Colonel went back into his anger mode and said, “That’s twice that asshole has wiped our asses.  I don’t like that.  Next time I get hold of one of those Luttses I will shoot him between his fucking eyes.”

“Stand in line” Frank said. 

“Sir, I hear other vessels approaching” I interjected.

There were three vessels that were approaching – one fire boat and two tugs.  The first tug came along and helped fish out the Israelis and then secured a tow line to bring the crippled sub to the dock.  The second tug secured lines to the now smoldering Agamemnon and kept her from floating towards any other vessels.  Off in the distance I saw a light frigate of the Royal Navy slowly coming towards us.  I was not sure what good they could do us now.  Once I was on deck and reconnected to the world-wide Internet I could see the entire event was being watched world-wide.  The awe in the voices of the news reporters sounded like Sir Terrance was the biggest anti-hero the world has ever seen.  One called him, ‘Sir Super Terror Lutts.’

Frank was not allowed to go to bed until it was three in the morning by MI-6.  Even then, he stayed up another two hours writing his article revealing to the world what Sir Super Terror was up to.  Once he had me send the article along with my photographs, it only took the Wall Street Journal twenty minutes to have it on their web page and headed towards the presses.  Frank realized there was a risk that Lutts might accelerate his doomsday schedule, but he thought it highly unlikely.  This guy had his own schedule and very little could stop it now.

The Brits were able to track the helicopter that took Lutts away.  It landed in a hangar with a retractable roof at a private air strip.  Once the roof was closed ten different vehicles came out and went in ten different directions.  They made frequent stops inside other buildings and often two or more vehicles came and went afterwards.  Within an hour the equation of Sir Terrance's escape looked like (1x3x3x2x3x3x3)x10 = 2430 possible moves.  Many of the buildings had connections to other buildings as well, which meant Sir Terrance could have walked away and been any of the many humans leaving those buildings.  Granted the United Kingdom is only second in street security cameras, but it would still take time to try and track where he really went.  He would not be the first or last person to slap on a woman’s wig and walk by a bobby.   

MI-5 asked to interview the Princess and her two escorts in the morning.  It was not until three o’clock that afternoon that the Princess was able to call a cab to take her and Frank to Maidstone castle.  She was assured that by the time she got there a security perimeter manned by a mix of Scotland Yard and MI-5 would be there.  She would be able to have the peace and quiet she sorely needed.  The Monsignor had finished about an hour earlier and caught a leased plane sent by the Vatican that flew directly to Rome.  To his surprise he had to share the jet with another dignitary from the Vatican.

“Your Holiness, this is a surprise.”


Chapter XLI



















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