Rebels with a Porpoise
The howling wind covered the noise of creaking timbers and bellowing, to almost bursting, black canvas sails of the FreedomWarrior as
it knowingly raced passed the jagged rocks of Dolphin island in the gaze of the full moon. The latest haul – in salt water tanks hidden below deck – nervously sought out a fellow jail breaker. The
anticipation of freedom from breadcrumb row of their prison - ‘Store A (Best Cod)’ - had now been surpassed by the pure excitement of returning home. School reunion for most with their families.
Gillian couldn’t wait to see them – all that were left that is. Some were no more – they had already met a deep frozen end and were now not with a pulse but with parsley sauce.
The special cargo was loaded from the creaking vessel and - as delicately as possible in the howling winds – loaded onto trolleys by Oscar and his small army of giant eight limbed, 3 hearted
, bulbous headed grippers and shifters.
Once the entire load was safely locked into position the trolleys ached and groaned into motion along the steel railway line that led into the caves and into the pitch blackness of the
labyrinth that existed beneath the outer crust of this forgotten Isle. The perfect lair for the organisation self titled Rebels with a Porpoise – United Party (or
RWAP-UP for short).
Mickey Finn awaited the delivery of his former friends of the ocean. He was controlling his anger at the near loss of those he promised to protect from the Pickerel Freshly Frozen Fish Co. A
promise that - so embarrassingly - he had failed to keep. He could only hope for forgiveness and pray that he would never again have to face the unavoidable disappointment that he would see in the
eyes of his friends his…… I was about to say people. But that would be a great insult to this community. It was people that were the cause of the distress, the danger and the loss of dear friends.
Perhaps I should explain.
Mickey was the most evolved sea creature in history. A porpoise born into captivity and raised to perform tricks. However, a certain Professor could see that there was more to this particular
fish (And by “fish” I of course mean mammal).
The relationship grew close – like a father to a son. The Professor knew intelligence and Mickey had far more than anything from the ocean (unless Professor Stephen Hawking was being winched
away by Air Sea Rescue perhaps). To see the stress on this fish’s (And by “fish’s” I of course mean mammal’s) face as it tried to connect in language moved the Professor to tears and he swore to
dedicate his work to the development of communications between man and sea life. Had he known the results of his life’s work he would have surely taken another route.
The Professor had bought Dolphin island over 20 years ago. It was useless to human beings as a place of inhabitancy – which suited the Professor ideally. It also came with protected waters
around its coasts. It was only 5 square miles big with just one patch of grass - about the size of 4 football pitches. The rest was just jagged rock with a lighthouse so everyone thought. Lying off
the West Wales coastline in the Irish Sea it existed almost untouched - save for the lighthouse construction. And the only vessels that ever docked there were the Freedom
Warrior that was once a feared pirate ship by the name of The Shadow - and the light craft that brought a change of lighthouse keeper every two
months…or used to. Since Mad Jack gained his name people had stayed clear. Food was now dropped in by RAF helicopter for Jack. Every now and then a small team of SBS operatives would be sent on a
mission to creep up on old Jack – just to make sure he was ok. Of late two teams had reported Jack to be ok only then to have been lost without trace on their perilous return. And several poachers
had also failed to return from illegal fishing within the exclusion zone around the small isle. Legends of cannibalism and ghosts had begun to circulate throughout the costal villages on either
side of the Irish Sea.
It wasn’t Mad Jack or ghosts that were responsible for the Professor’s disappearance, however. It was the Professor’s own success that brought that episode into being. For once Mickey Finn
had realised that the new invention worked both ways that is to say that the fish could also understand the human speech as well as humans fish – he hatched a plan. He would pretend that it did not
work until he was in a position to organise a coup and imprison the Professor. Mickey had a problem you see. Mickey was absolutely bonkers!
All the laughing and sneering through the glass at the aquatic circus had driven him nuts. He had an inferiority complex which he made up for at times with bullyish aggression as a self
defence mechanism. This latest setback would not improve his mental state either. The Professor would see this in his personality were he here right now. Instead he was locked up in a glass dome
hidden within the labyrinth of caves that hid in the darkness beneath the crust of Dolphin island. Guarded night and day by Goldie and Goldie – two special (as in
needs) giant goldfish that paced – with long strides - back and forth the front of the glass dome. That was another of the Professor’s inventions – prosthetic human limbs for fish. He had thought
that maybe an easier way to communicate would be sign language. And once he’d managed to perfect arms it was natural to develop into legs and other parts. And so, basing his research on
fish/mammals on five feet in length, the average length of a harbour porpoise, he perfected his limb attaching technique on a variety of specially bred fish. Unfortunately for him the success of
the artificial limbs coincided with the success of the voice box unit that allowed fish to talk like humans. Independence and power for an ambitious teenage mammal, one would have thought, a likely
motive for the action Mickey had taken five years ago. That, fuelled with Mickey’s dislike of the fact that the dolphin and not the porpoise always had recognition for their intelligence, to be
sure. And there was also Mickey’s awkwardness on limbs that would fit any regular harbour porpoise but not one specially bred on a high protein diet and who grew to seven feet in length, making the
centre of gravity that much higher and the fluidity of his movements that much less so.
From the wrong side of a glass wall the Professor shook his head in disbelief at the morons who guarded him. With memories of only 15 seconds - and the time it takes to walk from one end of
the glass to the other being exactly 15 seconds - the days were spent having just one conversation. ‘Hi I’m Goldie.’ Said one Goldie to the other Goldie. ‘I’m new here. Wow look – that human’s got
a new plastic bridge! Aaaw! I wish I had one of those. I could go under – and then I could go over…’
‘Hey! When are you going to let me out!’ yelled the Prof through the glass wall.
‘Tell you next time I pass – I’m in conversation here with…er?’ Goldie looked confused. ‘About turn!’ and the pair of them swung their bodies in such a way that the heavy prosthetic leg
kicked out. Gravity’s pull on the weight and momentum travelling back allowed them to swing 180 degrees and start goose-stepping in the opposite direction for another 15 seconds.
‘Hi – I’m Goldie’, said the other guard, ‘I’m new here. Wow look – that human’s got a new plastic bridge! Aaaw! I wish I had one of those. I could go under – and then I could go over…’
‘Hey! When are you going to let me out!’ yelled the Prof through the glass wall……again.
‘Tell you next time I pass – I’m in conversation here with…er?’ this Goldie looks confused this time. ‘About turn.’ Kick and swing…
‘Hi I’m Goldie. I’m new here. Wow look…’ And so it went on – and on – and on. However - on the plus side - they were perfect for the job as they even forgot to go to sleep and took in food
upon Mickey’s visits to the Prof – which mercifully offered a change in conversation until 15 seconds after Mickey left. The Professor’s mental state however was very much in the debit column. In
an effort to stay in control he tried to focus as hard as possible on a plan to get conversations upon Mickey’s visits to feed him little bits of information about exactly what Mickey was up
Mickey was up to his eyes in the brown stuff at the moment. The cod that his elite forces had rescued were also fitted with the voice unit designed by the Prof. Would he be able to get the
genuine feeling of sorrow and regret into his voice when speaking the human language of English that was becoming the fish version of Esperanto (by “fish” I mean of course, fish and sea
He heard the tell tale sounds of the screeching trolley brakes as they pulled up to the back of the little purpose built stainless steel platform. The gush of bellowing air lifted forward the
black curtains facing Mickey and his committee. The heavy black cloth then settling back to rest against the lip of the platform – concealing the activity behind.
Heavy concertina doors were now fully folded back allowing Oscar and his team to unload the tanks onto the stainless steel platform. In total there were six tanks – full of live cod. They all
faced Oscar and the trolleys – as this was the only activity in view behind the black curtain. But the mumbling sound of the human speech was penetrating cloth and Gillian sensed something in that
direction. She turned – and the rest turned with her. The artificial light from the trolley lamp flashed off the sides of the plump meaty fish as they all turned 180 degrees. They didn’t see one of
Oscar’s arms stretch to a hidden button.
The black cloth swept apart to reveal the six tanks displayed upon the platform. The committee – standing around a conference table - began to settle to silence as the curtain parted. The
seriousness of the situation flowed on the air and touched everyone present. The eyes lost life and the heart ached. Mickey ached the most. What on earth could he say to these friends of the ocean,
how on earth could he possibly convey the genuine sorrow in his heart?
‘My friends, welcome back. Please accept my most humble of apologies and sincerest condolences.’ He lowered his head and it all went silent as the whole room joined him in a mark of respect
for the fish that he had not been able to protect or save from a breadcrumb, cheese, parsley or buttery end.
‘I will not fail you again. And I will not fail to gain revenge for this.’
The cod just kept on flicking their tails and kept eyes front – which isn’t easy when they are on the side of your head. Far less strain if everything was another twenty metres away.
As nobody had been nominated as spokesperson Gillian decided to say something. ‘Can we just go home please?’
‘When we know the waters are again safe – we will take you home’ Then Mickey’s tone changed. ‘And we will then make sure that Pickerel will never take one more fish from our protected areas!’
The threat was genuine enough.
‘Gentlemen and Ladies,’ he invited of his committee to take their seats. Bizarrely the cod hadn’t questioned how these hugely over-sized sea creatures (every fish specially bred to five feet
in length to suit the false limbs) were able to breathe air and walk around like human men and women. Only when Felicity Quimm – a middle aged sea trout - crossed her legs - did the rather
disturbing reality register. But the cod said nothing – fearing some crazy customisation of their own bodywork.
‘Mr Chairman?’ Keith Ken piped up. ‘Should we not have privacy for this meeting now?’
‘I think our friends are more than ever in need of assurance that we as the Rebels with a Porpoise – United Party - will act upon the needs of those who
live within the boundaries of Dolphin island. They more than anyone have paid the heaviest price for our failings to protect and serve. So they are welcome to stay and listen to what we plan to rid
ourselves of the threat that is Pickerel’s ultra-fresh frozen fisheries.’ He slammed his right flipper on the desk – he’d seen clips of movies where the head of a major corporation had emphasised
his determination and powerful statement with a desk trembling thud. Unfortunately the flipper sounded more like a fanny fart. He tried to rectify the wrong by using the left side of his body that
had had a prosthetic arm fitted – badly – and like a well abused child ’s doll the limb detached and launched itself diagonally across the table completely knocking Felicity out of her chair. The
cod were all big eyed, open mouthed and very, very confused.
A huge human fist crashed into the highly polished solid mahogany desk top. The knuckles were crushingly white. Dressed like a Mafioso Godfather the imposing and threatening frame rose from
his chair and glared. A growl and snarl from within the goatee-beard preceded the words ‘and where is my fucking fish – H-h-h-h-evans!’
‘Dunno, Sir. It’s a mystery like – innit?’ The nervous, bald headed thug-like Brett F Evans pleaded.
With a mock girly voice the sarcasm spewed, “I dunno sir. It’s a mystery like, innit?” The masculine roar returned for the next derogatory comment as spittle rushed forth with the bellow,
‘the only fucking mystery to me – h-h-h-evans! Is what the fuck possessed me to employ the services of a complete fuck-wet like you! Security specialist! Security specialist?’ There was a pause as
an insult befitting was sought out from the depths of Pickerel’s mind. ‘I wouldn’t trust you to look after a-a-a- church collection plate!’ Not really worth the effort.
‘Now, Mr. Pickerel, Sir, please – let’s not get ‘asty eh? The boys was new to the job.’
‘And now they are out of a job! Get rid of them – now!’
‘ ‘ang on Sir, eh? If they go now we’ll have nobody to guard the Norwegian ‘addock.’
‘The…’ mockingly, ‘ ‘addock, is probably safer on its own - without this bunch of morons looking after it. In fact the only way I’m certain it would still be there for freezing and packing in
two hours time is if I asked this bunch of clowns to try and steal it. Because I’m pretty sure they’d fuck that up as well! ’
‘We can all make mistakes…’
‘Mistakes. Yes you are right – like the mistakes their mother’s made when they suggested an early night and took a chance on the out of date condom.’
Shaking his head in total dejection Pickerel waved his hand up and down from a limp wrist in a signal to ‘get rid’.
Evans did not push his luck. ‘Sorry boys, innit. I think it’s over for ew. Sorry butty.’ He gave a consulate pat on the back to several of the not so slightly overweight, shaven headed,
security team that until seconds ago were the special security unit for “Store A (Best Cod)”.
As Evans showed the “boyos” out of the office Pickerel checked through a pile of invoices and delivery notes that littered his desk. The knuckles turned white again as he gripped a handful of
paperwork before launching the crumpled paper ball at Evans as he approached the desk.
‘So where the fuck do we get the cod to fill these orders now then?...’ And Pickerel kicked his leather studded green office chair that rolled some metres before the wheeled legs held
position and the seat and back spun several turns. There was an awkward pause whilst the two of them stared at the rotations – almost willing it on to one more turn. They even made a gesture with
the head in an anti-clockwise direction as if it would add the extra few units of energy to achieve another circuit. It was at least five seconds after the chair became motionless that Pickerel
returned to his rant. ‘…tell me that? Thousands there – thousands.’ The stress levels rose. ‘Bloody hell H-h-evans!’
It’s worth pointing out here that Pickerel actually thought that Hevans was actually Evans’ correct surname. Ever since interview. Evans had this strange way of speaking. He would leave an
“H” sound off words beginning with “H” but add a “H” where the word didn’t begin with a ‘H’ but began with a vowel – although not always - mostly. And so – after introducing himself at interview as
“Brett F Hevans” – and not wishing to upset by correcting his possible employer - he was stuck with the mispronunciation. And the level of emphasis on the “H” sound when Pickerel called him was a
pretty accurate indication of just how angry his boss was with him. So a “H-h-h-h-evans” was a sure sign that somebody’ s arse was going to get well and truly kicked. Now that Pickerel was down to
a “H-h-evans” Brett felt a little safer than he did 3 minutes ago.
Leaning over the top of his desk supported by his arms that were locked in position and rested upon whitened knuckled fists - Pickerel forcefully stated, ‘I want to know who did this to me.
And - I want to know now. And, then, we are going to have a little payback.’ He rocked on his knuckles. ‘I’m not gonna let them make a monkey out of me’.
Evans resisted comment. But, Pickerel could see what he was looking up and down at. The atmosphere changed back to that of 3 minutes ago.
‘What are you gonna do about it, then, eh?’
‘Sir, I know the boyos might have let ew down. But, at least ew can rely on me, innit?’ Evans noticed the rocking accelerating and Pickerel’s skin colour changing from red to mauve. ‘Er –
leave it er, with me,’ Evans softly spoke as if trying to calm a wild silverback as he backed away to a safer distance. ‘Best get some replacement cod first though, eh? Got my best fishers on it
tonight - guaranteed.’ He was almost to the door. ‘And then, like, I’ll go an’ find some tidy boys ‘oo can look after it properly for ew .’ He slowly and steadily reached out behind to take the
door handle in readiness of a leap to safety. ‘innit.’ And in a flash he was the other side of the door shouting ‘you ‘ave my h-assurance! And when an h-Evans gives ‘is word - hit his ‘is
In between the growls and groans of frustration Pickerel managed a ‘stupid little welsh prick.’ And then he sat. A bad mistake when only moments earlier you had kicked your chair metres away
from its usual position. Evans heard the crash…and decided to keep on walking.
Oscar used his dexterous skills to slot back into place Mickey’s detached left limb. However, it had locked it into position a little high and now appeared to be giving a gay Nazi salute.
This was not the time to see the funny side in anything and Mickey could do no more that huff and puff dejectedly. Oscar shrugged four of his Octopuses equivalent of shoulder areas and upturned
ends of his suckered arms.
‘My friends we must perhaps take more forceful action against these fishers who illegally lower their nets into our waters. Perhaps we need to strike out at this Pickerel – this human evil
that feeds our fish still alive into the choppers, slicers, mashers and freezers. And for what does he do this?’ he panned the room ‘That’s right – for profit – to make sure he can add on a few
pennies to the price tag by living up to his slogan “so fresh when frozen you can hear their last breath when they cook”.
‘Outrageous! The Man’s an animal………… and by animal I of course mean mammal!’ raged Eddie Lumberjack – who ironically was a Pickerel - from Nova Scotia with an extremely bad sense of
direction. ‘An insult to my families good name!’ Several committee members mouthed the words “Lumberjack?????” to one another. Eddie spotted one or two in puzzlement and mime and started his
nervous twitching and neck stretching. ‘And by family I of course mean Lumberjacks…………….er – I mean species. Pickerels – yes – that’s what I am...’ He goes bolt upright in his chair - almost to
attention ‘…and bloody proud of it.’
‘When you’ve finished?’ If Mickey had had eyebrows they would have been raised at this point. ‘Thank you.’ He took in a breath and blew it out of the side of his mouth. His time with the
Professor making him more human than fish at times (If I hadn’t said fish instead of mammal this occasion it wouldn’t have made any sense at all - would it?)
‘What are WE going to do about it then - Mr. Chairman?’ Keith Ken asked in his drawn out boring monotone way (the reason he was given his name). He really
was a miserable old trout and never had anything positive to say. All he did was pick faults in other’s efforts.
‘As I recall WE don’t do anything much at all,’ chipped in Owain Shifty – a Bala Shark, ‘all you do is pick faults in other’s efforts.’ (See - I told
‘How dare you!’ and then Keith Ken leant over to Hilary Warbonnet and sneered, ‘See – I warned you all about letting the likes of him in.’
‘What’s that you’re saying about me you little snitch!
‘Everyone calm down please! We are not going to get anywhere unless we can come up with some…’ he looks at Keith Ken, ‘positive action. Now let’s relax, give our voice boxes a rest and think
about what WE are going to do.’
The committee looked to one another for the attention seeker.
‘Erhmmm!’ Gillian flicked her tail rapidly - hoping that this would help in attracting the committees attention. ‘May I ask…who WE exactly are?’
The committee looked insulted by the fact that she didn’t know. They all looked to Mickey.
‘Well – we are of course the Rebels with a Porpoise – United Party.’
Gillian and the rest of the cod sought recognition from each other of this title but only found puzzlement and embarrassed head shaking.
‘You must have heard of us – surely?’ Mickey hopefully queried.
Not a flicker.
‘The Robin Hoods of the Irish Sea?’ He pleaded.
Just more head shaking and puzzlements in the tanks.
‘No? Nothing?’ Imploring now, ‘at all?’
The atmosphere was thick with uncomfortable embarrassment. A suddenly feisty Gillian broke the pressure, thank goodness. ‘Are you the ones who fitted us with a voice?’
‘Yes – that’s right. We gave you the opportunity to have a voice in what we do? How we represent you.’ Mickey excitedly claimed.
‘No – I mean are you responsible for this thing in our throats?’
Mickey picked up on the negative tone in Gillian’s voice. He sheepishly responded ‘In a way we are, yes. Every fish wanted one.’
‘But we didn’t ask for it?’
‘Well you didn’t say?’
‘We’d need a voice box for that? Did you not notice that we were swimming away from you when you caught us to fit them’
‘Er – ok – point taken.’
‘Anybody sense the panic and struggle?’
Mickey was like a scolded child looking humbly down as his prosthetic leg kicked away and scuffed the floor. A scolded child with a gay Nazi salute that is. ‘Sorry – thought you’d want
‘Well we didn’t. We were quite happy as we were. So don’t even think about giving us those arms and leg thingies.’
‘Good.’ She had stunned everyone with the powerful display. She surprised herself as much as anybody.
‘Weak Chairman allowing a woman cod (can’t get Joan Rivers out of my head now) to speak to him like that,’ whispered Keith Ken under his breath. But loud enough for Mickey to register
‘And you have every right to ask these questions.’ He panned the audience. ‘But of course you would need to be able to write or speak in order to ask them,’ he forcefully stated in an attempt
to regain some credibility.
Gillian couldn’t respond and just thought it through in silence.
‘In answer to your first question,’ Mickey pointedly announced, Rebels with a Porpoise – United Party or RWAP-UP if you like - are a committee of sea life
dedicated to the upholding of our freedom to swim in our own protected seas. And we are sworn to take action against those who abuse our rights. Our members are…’ He swung his body to the right in
an effort to point his gay Nazi salute in Felicity’s direction – which was furthest away to his right. Remembering moments earlier she ducked quickly. Mickey’s arm stayed on and up but the hand was
embarrassingly jangling and he now looked and sounded like a Cornish folk dancer. When his sigh subsided he continued. ‘This is Felicity Quimm our statistician.’
The response from the cod suggested that they were thinking ‘What the fuck is a statistician?’
‘Numbers and stuff’ helped Mickey. He twisted slightly to his right in the direction of Colin Quimm. ‘This is her son, Colin. A young trout who represents the young life of the seas’ There is
a bigger gap between Colin and Owain than between Colin and his mum – so Mickey had to swing further. He did it quickly enough to cause the fingers to rattle on his arm. In frustration he sucked
through his teeth and clicked like a – well – like a porpoise. The look to Oscar suggested disapproval. So Oscar moved to a position behind Owain and held out two upturned tentacle covered
underarms to indicate “this is”.
“Owain Shifty – a Bala Shark - is our contact for supplies on the mainland – having settled in back home in the Bala reservoir. (After escaping from an aquarium in Blackpool Tower Owain went
back home – as he thought. Nobody had yet to explain to him that it was just a name and that he really originated from Thailand or Indonesia. The names given to fish by humans was somewhat
confusing for them – just ask the Frogmouth Catfish about it’s attempts to find it’s parents).
Oscar moved behind Eddie Lumberjack.
‘Eddie Lumberjack – our strategist.’
The cod as one went ‘Uhhh?’
‘He plans stuff.’
‘You already know he is a Pickerel… “and proud of it”’ It was an attempt at humour which fell flat on its face and only gave Keith Ken something else to whinge about under his breath.
Oscar – not yet fitted with prosthetic limbs suckered along past Mickey to the other side of the committee table in order to point out those to Mickey’s left. First left was Keith Ken.
‘This is Keith Ken our secretary…’ and before the cod can go ‘Uhhhh?’ again he quickly adds ‘…who looks after the money and takes minutes. Notes!’ he added quickly. ‘Keith Ken has vast
experience as he is an old trout.’
‘And a miserable one at that!’ Owain chips in.
To Keith Ken’s annoyance this re-occurring aged joke is still enjoyed by the rest of the committee.
Oscar moved on one.
‘Hilary Warbonnet who represents the females – Gay and Lesbian Fish movement too. She is a Rainbow Trout.’
Oscar moved to behind the next chair.
‘And this beautiful Angel Fish is Lava Bread Candy. She is our eco warrior and makes sure that all our lovely plant life of the sea is looked after by us. After all, it is going to effect all
of us in some way – someday – isn’t that right?’
Lava Bread Candy sweetly smiled beneath a headdress of seaweed and welcomed the cod with a, ‘Peace sisters and brothers.’
Oscar stood behind the last member.
‘And last but not least it’s Buster. Buster Bubble is the newest member of the committee.’ Buster started to inflate rapidly. ‘And it looks like he would like to say a few words.’
Buster let out the air in one large puff. Excitedly he introduces himself, ‘I’m here as the researcher and journalist. We soon hope to send out announcements and news reports sonically
throughout our waters. Keep everyone up to date with what’s going on. Hi – nice to meet ya!’ He remembered the reason the cod were there. ‘better in other circumstances, of course.’
Mickey surveyed the committee. ‘So this is us, WE, the Rebels with a Porpoise – United Party. So it is
WE that have to find a way to stop what has occurred from ever occurring again in our waters.’
‘And what if you fail…….again?’ Gillian accused.
‘We won’t. Chivers will see to that.’ He looked around the room. ‘Come forward my friend.’
The translucent form of Chivers, the jellyfish, crept from his undetected hiding place. The super stealth spy and instructor for the Dolphin island special fish force approached Mickey and a
tentacle offered a salute which was returned in kind by the porpoise with a limp-wristed, rattling prosthetic left arm. A right flipper would have been a far worse insult believe it or not.
‘Chivers here has already accepted the responsibility for training our crack troops for quicker response time to those illegally entering our waters. Thanks to the contacts of Owain Shifty -
the new high tech radar and tracking system has been supplied and is installed. It will alert us of any further attempts by Pickerel to take our friends from our seas – should our natural instincts
As the light shone through Chiver’s body it created a rainbow from him to the tank from which Gillian watched with great admiration. She realised now whom it had been in the darkness on
the Freedom Warrior who calmingly spoke softly and confidently to the rescued haul on their journey back to Dolphin island. The odd blast of moonlight through a
porthole causing a rainbow in the shadows. Trusting Chivers felt a far more reasonable ask than to trust in this committee and it ’s chairman.
‘Not long now boyos – soon have a grin on the face of that miserable old bastard.’ Evans confidently said to himself.
‘Ehhmmm!’ The creeping Pickerel warned.
‘Errr. You fit and well then?’ Evans asked with false concern and a great degree of nervousness.
‘Thanks for your help by the way,’ the sarcasm oozing with threat, ‘ I must remember to repay the compliment sometime.’ Pickerel left an uneasy pause before querying, ‘they near yet?’
‘Yes, sir. They’re just h-about to h-enter the h-exclusion zone. Should ‘ave another load of lovely plumb juicy cod before morning.’
‘So which one are they?’ asked the boss trying to work out the flashes and bleeps on the screen of the tracking system and radar.
‘That’s’s them ‘ere. See that red flashy thing…that’s the Red Flash.’
‘I can see that! Imbecile.’
‘No – I mean it’s the Red Flash. That’s the name of the boat like – innit.’
‘How original. And I suppose the secret mission is called “Operation illegal cod fish”.’
Evans is shocked. ‘ ‘ooo told ewe?’
Under his breath and with a despondent shake of the head Pickerel lamented ‘incredible – quite incredible.’
‘Any ‘ow – see this line ‘ere? That h-is the fishing boundary ‘round that poxy island which h-is the big green blob ‘ere. H-as ewe can see they are just about to cross the line – by ‘ere look
‘Let’s just hope they are a bit better at fishing cod than the amoebas you employed were at looking after them – eh?’ threatened Pickerel.
‘Top boys these. Top I tell ewe.’ He attempts to divert the threatening gaze by grabbing a radio handset. ‘Red Flash can ewe ‘ear me – h-over?’
After a lot of crackling the Irish twang of Cap’n Phil O’Sheet swept across the air waves. ‘Hello base – dis is me Phil O’Sheet – Cap’n of the Red Flash speaking to ya.’
‘Hello Phil boyo – this h-is Brett F h-Evans ‘ere. ‘ow’s it going butt?’
‘All is well here t’anks very much. D’seas a bit choppy but it won’t be a problem for me an’ me crew here. Soon be lowering dem nets and filling up dem tanks fa ya.’
Evans turned to Pickerel as if expecting some kind of recognition.
‘It isn’t done yet. And they had better not mess it up.’ A finger jabbing the chest accompanied the words.
Evans turns back around. ‘Cap’n Phil – keep us h-up to date ‘ere butt on ewer progress – right? Over’
‘Aye, aye. Over’
The red flash on the screen crosses the white line of the boundary.
Wooa! Wooa! Wooa! Wooa! Went the siren - and the flashing red lights on the walls gave accompaniment. Chivers gave a salute and left – followed by special services operatives who had been
hiding in the shadows unnoticed until now.
‘No cause for alarm people!’ advised Mickey over the noise.
‘So why the alarms then?’ moaned Keith Ken.
‘Just our new warning system! Chivers and his boys will meet up with the rest of his team patrolling the perimeter!’ he proudly assured. He whispered to Oscar an instruction and Oscar gave
signal to his team to reload the tanks from the platform back onto the trolleys. ‘My friends we will report to you later with the outcome! For now our team of movers shall take you to more
comfortable surroundings! Don’t worry – everything is under control!’ He then gave signal to the committee to join him elsewhere. They duly followed his lead to a back room. Gillian could make out
the radar type equipment that lay within. The black cloth slowly closing across the platform afforded her that short glimpse at least.
She wasn’t able to see clearly the committee in the radar room watching one big red flashy thing crossing a white line boundary thing. Nor was she able to see the twelve little blue flashy
things heading off the big green massy thing – so wouldn’t know that this was Chivers and his elite forces entering the water and swimming as fast as they could towards the big red flashy thing.
Nor would she know that there were already twenty other little blue flashy things hanging around the white line boundary thingy near the big red flashy thing. Mickey had done a good job putting it
all together considering he only had one arm - and a badly fitted prosthetic arm at that. Indeed, he also had the use of two flippers but…well - I’ll let you paint your own pictures here.
Brett F Evans had two good arms. Unfortunately, he really was a “stupid little Welsh prick” and hadn’t done such a good job in connecting everything up. He had no little blue flashy things at
all on his screens. So he was unable to give any warning at all to Cap’n Phil O’Sheet on the Red Flash. With Pickerel breathing heavily over his right shoulder he
anxiously watched and even more anxiously listened. The words “poor catch” with an Irish twang would very highly likely be the last words he would ever hear.
From the Captain’s balcony Phil O’Sheet surveyed the crew’s activities. ‘Right den lads – get dem nets ready! Ten more minutes and we’ll drop dem in. You dere! Make sure now dere’s enough
water in doze tanks! We don’t want doze little fishies to go dying on us before we get back t’ port now – d’we!’
The crew got on with the necessary preparation. They were totally oblivious to the activities of another crew almost on board. The moonlit shadows provided the perfect cover for the special
fish forces that were creeping up the dark side of the boat. Tentacles and arms pulled and slid over timbers, metal and rope. Molluscs and jellyfish crept into position and waited for the signal
from Napoleon Alexander - the team leader. He patiently watched in admiration of the proficiency of his troops to carry out their orders. Chiver’s training had been worth the investment into this
elite group. Now it was time to test their nerve and their patience. Could they just observe from positions inches away from the enemy or would they crack – or maybe strike without order. They were
well trained – there was no doubt there. But - this was the first mission for all but the team leader. And he had only been part of a team lead by Chivers on two previous low key missions. So he
was about to feel a whole lot of pressure…literally. For as he admired his own skills he failed to sense the suckered arm wrapping around close but without touching. Only until it was all around
and could then suddenly grip hard – which it did.
‘Concentration at all times’ whispered Chivers into Napoleon Alexander’s hearing system. You should have known I was there.
Napoleon Alexander couldn’t answer – the grip was too tight to speak.
‘Take a position up there by the captain. Wait for my signal. ’ Chivers eased the pressure off the grip. Napoleon Alexander followed instruction. He was as disappointed in himself as Chiver’s
must have been in him. But those moments to highlight the failures of tonight would need to wait until after the action due to take place next. He slid silently into a position near the bridge –
awaiting the signal to strike. Chivers checked - using silent signals - that they were all ok and ready to go. The first phase of the attack was given the green light. A rookie operative was given
instruction to take out seaman #1.
Phil O’Sheet – took a double take. Surely there was a man at the nets a second ago. He shook his head and chuckled to himself. Then out of the corner of his eye he caught a flash of yellow
Wellingtons as the wearer was yanked away from his position at the nets. This caused a little searching of the grey matter. Did it really happen? His hearing became keener all of a sudden. A
muffled cry – he could have sworn he’d heard a muffled cry? But of course – it was the howling wind playing tricks. He chuckled to himself once more. ‘Flaming e-jot,’ he cursed of himself. You’ll
be seeing ghosts next so ya will if ya not be careful.’
The yellow oils of seaman #3 suddenly dulled. It was as if a dark mass had wrapped itself around him. This wasn’t surprising to Chivers. He had just given the signal for a member of his
special team to wrap their dark massy body around him. Numbers 4, 5 and 6 followed almost together and right in front of the Cap’n as he peered eagerly through the sea spray covered window of his
bridge. Surely the wind wasn’t violent enough to lift three men clean off their feet like they were made of paper?
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