The adventures of JOHN STORM and the SOLAR NAVIGATOR
CYBER WARS © by Jameson Hunter
CHAPTER 2: SOMALIA PIRATES © Jameson Hunter 2008 - 2014
90,30’N, 520 E
A bright orange sun slowly rose above the gently
lapping waters of the Indian Ocean, climbing
high into the eastern sky. The air was warm and
dry and an offshore breeze carried with it a
hint of dry grass. The ripples reflected the
giant orb, turning dark grey to blue. It was
going to be another beautiful African day.
the horn of Africa, is a vast natural expanse of
untrained flora and arid dunes. Four silhouettes
stirred from slumber, breaking camp and dousing
their fire. In a dawn raid a small untidy red
and yellow pirate boat was being pushed down the
beach at Bender Beila, on the west coast. The
sun climbed higher revealing four lithe dark men
in loose clothing purposefully rolling their
boat, nicknamed ‘Dollars,’ into the sea in
typical beach launched fashion on logs. Once
into the surf, all the men quickly boarded the
boat. The last man started the boat’s large V6
Mercury engine. ‘Dollars’ then quickly sped
off from the shore out to sea amid the changing
pitch of it’s outboard and considerable sea
spray, as the propeller reached its efficiency
pirates were heavily armed with a deck-gun and
each crew member bore automatic weapons, and one
of the group a portable missile launcher and a
huge toothy smile. The pirates had been camped
on watch, on a tip off, waiting for an unusual
looking ship. They’d been offered a handsome
payment to capture the database on board. When
the Solar Navigator hove into view; at first, it
seemed a rather daunting target for the pirates,
for its unusual design. But, they quickly
decided that it was small and easy to overpower,
and potentially rich pickings. With a customer
already in the wings it seemed easy cash. The
remainder of the craft and it’s crew, were
icing on the cake, to be ransomed in the usual
the pirates came to within 1000 metres, their
boat, triggered an automatic proximity alarm on
the Navigator’s radar system. Coming in closer
from behind and on a direct bearing, their
approach raised the alarm bleep level many
decibels, waking a slumbering John Storm who was
slouched in the command chair half asleep,
unshaven, with his hat over his eyes. John
tilted his hat up at the front to scan the ships
radar with one eye and noticed a fast moving
blip on the radar screen, heading straight for
his ship, represented as the centre of the
screen. He reached out to the console, and
tapped a few buttons on a small computer style
pad, which brought up a picture of the pirate
vessel on a separate large flat-screen display,
which he zoomed into and locked onto as a
target, simply by tapping a dedicated target
hell, he thought to himself, shaking himself
to regain full composure, just
when I thought it was safe to grab a few winks. Solar
Navigator had an excellent autopilot system that
lulled the crew into a state of reliance, which
many yachtsmen succumb to, especially when short
point in having a dog and barking yourself,
say some, but keeping an alert deck watch habit,
is a sailor’s must.
and his techie buddy, Dan Hawk, had sailed from
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where they’d enjoyed
meeting a distinguished group of archaeologists
who were on an anthropological field trip in the
famous rift valley, the cradle of modern man.
They wanted access to the ‘Ark’, John
Storm's unique onboard DNA archive, a collection
of rare samples which John had spent
many years developing as a student. In exchange,
John had been given additional rare samples to
increase his database, a sort of intellectual
swaps. The last thing that John or Dan wanted
when on such a mission, was any complications,
and certainly nothing that might threaten the
safety of the Solar Navigator, which was itself
a technological showpiece. However, the Ark it
would seem, was in high demand. They were
heading to El Iskandariya, north, formerly Alexandria,
via the Red Sea,
reached for a mike and spoke into it quietly.
“Dan, are you there buddy, over.” He flipped
the switch to receive. He knew Dan was in his
bunk, probably fast asleep. While waiting for a
reply, John flipped open a plain flap on the
command console, almost impossible to see, if
you didn’t know it was there. Inside, was a
sunken joystick, which he moved, and immediately
green cross-hairs appeared on the screen. At the
same time an external panel on the nose of the
Navigator opened to reveal a compact and
harmless looking matt black tube with fins along
the barrel, only just visible, which was guided
remotely from inside the ship with incredible
accuracy. John moved the joystick, tracking the
boat with the green sights, which turned red as
the vessel came into sight of the weapon. The
pirate boat had now slowed somewhat to gain
attention from the rear helm, which was
unmanned. So they accelerated to get ahead of
the Navigator and lurched to pass on the port
side of the sleek vessel, just ahead, admiring
the gleaming windshields, in preparation
for what looked like their attack. They were
completely unaware that they’d been spotted
and tracked for the last 700 meters.
armed the ships laser cutter, switching to pulse
mode, when powerful releases of energy had the
same effect as a cannon, except that the firing
was near silent and almost invisible. John hit the record button on
another pad on the console. He wanted this on a
hard-drive, just in case of recriminations from
any of the neighboring authorities, who
frequently patrolled this stretch of ocean.
Thankfully, the ships cameras recorded in hi
resolution, similar to broadcast quality, to
capture every detail.
Large capacitors stored up to 200 kilowatts of energy for an instant burst release, not unlike that from a CDI spark plug ignition system commonly used in car engines, only a much beefier laser discharge aimed with pinpoint precision, which the ships batteries alone could not deliver without damage to their electrodes. Unaware of the danger his crew were in, the leader of the pirates, a tall lean man, wearing a dirty grey sweatshirt and baggy blue trousers, lifted a hailer to his mouth. He signaled to a mate carrying a rusty big bore rifle to fire a warning shot at Solar Navigator’s hull.
“Dan, are you about old chum,” said John into his handheld microphone. Before any reply came, a shot thumped into the Navigator’s hull, just below the front port windshield.
“That’s done it,” said John
involuntarily, as he instinctively pressed the
fire button. John would have to repair that
hole, and the culprits would pay.
Somali’s didn’t feel the strike, which
vaporised their thin aluminum stern plating
below the water line with just a squeal of
steam, as the waves splashed about their hull
and they waved their weapons at the Navigator,
as if their favourite football team had just
scored a goal; in premature victory salute. A
hole about seventy millimeters in diameter had
opened up thirty centimeters underwater. The
pirate captain clicked the button to shout his
demands at the Navigator through his loud
hailer, then felt something was wrong as his
boat had stopped bobbing quite so much and was
lower in the water. He looked back at his mate
on the tiller, who looked forward, equally
puzzled and shrugged.
was gushing into the pirate boat sucking it down
at the rate of ten millimeters a second. As the
pirates struggled to come to terms with the
sinking of their boat, they looked at one
another accusingly, wondering if they should
fire another shot at the strange ship, while
looking for clues about their boat. The pirate
captain was silent in confusion. Twenty seconds
later and they were ankle deep in water, at
which point they knew their boat was doomed.
Hastily, one pirate unpacked an inflatable
canister, and pulled the cord to inflate it.
Another pirate rushed to help, and they launched
it over the side, throwing into it their
weapons. They just managed to jump into the
water alongside, before their boat slid gently
under the waves, amid a flurry of froth and
flotsam, the deck gun the last part to disappear
John slowed the Navigator such as to keep the pirates ahead. “Dan, Dan, where are you?.” A voice came from behind him.
“Here skip.” John whirled to see Dan yawning, bleary eyed, hair disheveled.
“Better give him another blast skip, said Dan looking out the windscreen.” John turned back to see the pirates scrambling aboard and reaching for their weapons. They weren’t about to give in without a fight. John reduced the laser’s output, and fired another burst at the bow of the partly inflated life-raft, at which point all the pirates efforts to aim their guns at the Navigator, turned to dust. Now, they were struggling just to stand up as the inflatable nose melted.
“It’s like trying to stand up in a hammock,” retorted Dan, as they watched the pirates struggle to get out from the sinking dinghy. The pirates tried to stay afloat and carry their weapons, a difficult task as a short training exercise. Near impossible, for very long. John ended any thoughts of further resistance using the ships loud hailer.
“Gentlemen, I suggest that you let go of your
weapons, or I’ll be forced to fire again this
time at you. Keeping hold of your guns will be
taken as a hostile act.” The pirates looked at
each other, only two spoke English, Hence, a few
seconds of rapid translation followed, after
which they all dropped their guns into the
ocean, never to be seen again.
Somali pirates surrender to HMS Surefire
John radioed for help using the international emergency frequency. “Hello, this is the Solar Navigator calling coastguard services off the east cost of Somalia. Our position is 90,30’N, 520 E, over.” He repeated the message again and again, stopping to give Dan instructions. Dan went aft and returned with a hand gun from the ships emergency cupboard and a tazer, sporting a huge smile. Suddenly, the radio came to life.
“Ahoy Navigator, this is HMS Surefire. We’re at 90,’N, 520 E, what can we do for you? over. Batteries dead?” Cheek, thought John, grinning at Dan.
“Hello Surefire, we’ve captured four Somali pirates, can you help?”
“Help? That’s why we’re
patrolling. How did you manage that - I mean,
nobody’s captured so many pirates before.”
told Dan to throw a couple of lifejackets to the
pirates, and keep an eye on them. He also had
them on screen, but it seemed unfair to keep the
laser cutter aimed at them - overkill. The
pirates looked up at the Navigator with a new
respect. They could see Dan had sidearms and
were not sure how their boat disappeared beneath
them, without a shot fired. It all seemed like
magic and voodoo is something Africans take very
seriously. They would cause no more problems.
“Surefire, just get here as soon as possible and we’ll explain, over.”
affirmative, ETA about 30 minutes. The
skipper’s name is Hawkins. He sends his
regards. Over and out.”
Surefire arrived in 23 minutes. Fifteen minutes
after that and a helicopter was hovering
overhead with a gaggle of reporters filming the
recovery of the hapless pirates. “So much for
our quiet little excursion, skip.”
The Surefire arrived in 23 minutes. Fifteen minutes after that and a helicopter was hovering overhead with a gaggle of reporters filming the recovery of the hapless pirates. “So much for our quiet little excursion, skip.”
John looked at Dan. “It doesn’t rain ….”
“But it pours,” said Dan. The pirates scrambled aboard HMS Surefire, keeping their distance from Solar Navigator. A warship held few mysteries. Far safer.
“Hello Navigator, am I speaking to John Storm.”
“Hello Surefire, is that Captain Hawkins?” said John.
“It is indeed, and I’d like that explanation. The pirates are behaving like lambs.”
“Come aboard, why
don’t you. Teas are on us. Over and out.” John
cradled the mike and went topsides to welcome
his visitor. “Dan, put on a brew, if you
please.” Dan said nothing. He was parched.
The two ships slowly maneuvered alongside, when ropes were thrown down from the Surefire, and they tied up. Captain Hawkins nimbly scaled a rope ladder, down to the right outrigger of the Navigator, then onto the walkway. Tea was eventually served, by which time the Captain had been sworn to secrecy as to the method of sinking.
“No wonder they’re so subdued. To
them it must have seemed like witchcraft. Who
wouldn’t be.” The two men parted friends
with grins from ear to ear. Captain Hawkins took
much of the credit of the capture, with the
grateful thanks of John and Dan., who resumed
their journey into the Red Sea, heading for the
Suez Canal on their way to El Iskandariya.
In the forward module, John slumped into the comfortable command seat. Dan was standing behind admiring the view, when John turned and winked. “Perhaps now I can get some shut eye.” He pulled his cap down over his face. Dan grinned, as he headed to the rear module. He was going back to his bunk. The remainder of the journey was thankfully uneventful.
Pirates - Somalia, Youtube
WARS (CYBERCORE) Copyright
© Jameson Hunter 2008 and 2014.
right of Jameson Hunter to be identified as the
author of this work has been asserted in
accordance with section 77 and 78 of the
Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
In this work of fiction, the characters, places and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or they are used entirely fictitiously.
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