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3,531 You Wish You Were Me

About quokka

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  1. FS Chapter 18

    “I do have my sniper rifle, locked in the arms locker at the northern compound, do I have permission to retrieve it, and use if required/” I asked, “Yes, staff sergeant you have authorisation to retrieve and use if you are fired on, for self -defence, shoot to maim, not kill understood?” the CO said to me, “Understood clearly sir, what about some assistance? I replied. “I will send Hays and Masterson to you right away, and a squad of MP’s will be there a few hours later, I will get them to call once they arrive at the front gate” the CO responded, “Very well sir, oh and the front gate was closed and locked at my request, earlier this afternoon” I stated, and moments later the call ended, and I raced down the stairs of the tower. Amos stepped out of the shower with just a towel around him, as I neared the bottom of the tower, and when he saw my face he raced to the tent to get dressed. “Angela, and Tom, I need you dressed right away, and grab your sleeping bags and a jacket, to stay warm” I said loud enough for them to hear me, and I grabbed the billy of hot water and poured it over the fire, to put it out, before entering the tent that I was sharing. I found Amos dressed in army camouflage gear, including a jacket, and in his hands, he had his army backpack, that had everything they needed to survive in the bush for a good length of time. Handing him my vehicle keys, “Can you get my hiking backpack and hydration pack, out from the back of my vehicle, and raid the esky, for some extra food, particularly fruit, and maybe that damper, would be handy, stash it into my backpack. I’m not sure how long we will be roughing it, so we need to be prepared, also I have authorisation to get my sniper rifle, so the north complex will be our first stop” I informed Amos, who dashed out to my vehicle, while I changed into my own camouflage clothes, and I retrieved my Satellite ear piece from my kit bag, and put it into my ear and activated it. “Cub to base, I am online now, we are preparing to leave the command post, to collect my special item, before we go deep into the bush for cover, over” I said softly, “Received and understood, take care out there, Masterson and Hays are on their way, and will be there in about 1 ½ hours, the MP squad will be an hour behind them” the CO responded, “Very good sir, we will be heading towards the north - east gate, I suggest the Corporal head directly to that location, and leave the MP’s to deal with the front gate” I suggested. “I will let them know, over and out” the CO said, and the call was ended, just as Angela and Tom appeared, while Amos finished filling the backpack with some food. “We have intruders on the facility, that headed further in, as soon as the caretaker turned on the outer lights, I just happened, that I was doing a scan of the area, when I spotted the intruders, and for all of our safety, we are going to take some precautions” I informed Angela and Tom, as we climbed into the Army jeep and with no lights on, we drove down the hill, relying on the moonlight, for guidance. Going at a speed a little faster than is safe at night with no lights on, and after a few turns, we were heading in a north - west direction, just north of the airfield, instead of the direct track to the main access road, which would take us too close to the intruders. When we finally reached the main access road, 3 kilometres north of the main complex, I turned the parking lights on, for a little bit of lighting, as I increased the speed up the road, for the 5-km trip to the north complex. Once I had retrieved the rifle and five boxes of ammunition, with Amos now in the driver seat, he looked at me for directions, let’s take one of the disused tracks east from here, towards the east gate, with the lights on this time, as the terrain is fairly rough” I said to Amos, who nodded his understanding and we set off. After a 45-minute slow and rough journey, we arrived at the least known facility, that is used mainly by the SAS regiment, and we parked inside one of the sheds. Grabbing our gear, we locked up the shed, and began to hike along a narrow track in a south - west direction, and we stopped about half an hour later when we reached a small creek, in a small valley. “Ok, we will set up camp near here, we have fresh water, and we can put together a good shelter with this thick patch of vegetation” I announced, as I glanced at my watch and it read just before 2100 hours. “Cub to Masterson and Hays” I said once I activated the ear piece, “Reading you loud and clear, we have passed the gate, and heading to the north-east compound, what is your current location” I heard a reply, “We have gone bush to stay hidden about a kilometre from your destination, the jeep is locked away in the shed, I suggest you do the same, and get hidden outside of that compound, to see if any intruders find it. We will report in every two hours, and I am armed with my sniper rifle, just to let you know” I responded, “Understood, we are armed too, over and out”. While Angela and Tom, huddled together to stay warm, behind a group of boulders, Amos and I did a scout around of the area, and we gathered some large branches and foliage, to start making a shelter, and within half an hour, they had made a low out of sight shelter, big enough for all of them to camp out for some time, and once we had Angela and Tom settled and asleep, I left Amos to stay with them, and I went to find a good spot to be able to see the surrounding area and the shelter. Once I had found a good spot about 300 metres away, perched high up on a nearby hill, I could see the shelter clearly, and through the scope of the rifle, I could see the north east compound, and after a little searching I spotted one of the corporals, and I sent a text message, “North west corner of building B, which one of you is it” I sent to both corporals, “That would be me staff” came a reply from Corporal Hays, and a second text made my phone vibrate once again, “I am near building F to the south” came a text from Corporal Masterson. After some searching, I located Masterson, “I see you Masterson, both of you stay in your positions, I have good coverage of most of the complex” I text back to both of them. “Just received word from the caretaker, MP’s have arrived, they found a car hidden in the bush just down from the facility turnoff, they have disabled it, and reported the vehicle details to the police, they will stay at the caretaker’s residence, till we let them know what is happening” Corporal Masterson said in his text. When I scanned the area around the campsite, I saw Amos sitting on a stone, looking around, occasionally glancing down at the camp site, and I sent a text to Amos, “you look a little bored, are they both asleep?” and moments later I received a response, “Just a little bit, and yes, they are both asleep, although I heard Tom crying a little bit, but he has settle down now” Amos said. About half an hour later I did another scan of the compound, and I saw some movement, so I sent a text to both corporals, “Are either of you moving about at the moment?” text them both, I received two replies quickly, “Negative, I am still in my same spot” Masterson said, “Not now, I did move further away from the buildings, but I am not moving now” came Hays response. “Both of you don’t move, you have a visitor, I see you now Hays, he is closest to you, don’t move” I replied, and putting my phone down, I put a bullet into the gun, and switched the safety off. Through the scope, I saw the intruder, looking at each of the buildings, trying to open each door, but finding them all locked. When I saw the intruder pick up a rock, and throw it into a window, I sent a text message to Corporal Hays. “Hays, don’t move, I saw what he just did, have you had a chance to see the intruders face?” I said, “Yes, dressed in dark clothing, he has a small hand gun, and he looks like he is ex-military, but not from here, I heard him speak into a radio, in a foreign language, possibly German” came a reply. “When I fire, it will be just to injure, move in once he has been disabled” I sent a text back to both of the corporals. I waited and watched carefully, till the intruder reappeared, and he had something large in his hands. I adjusted the scope, and put some light pressure on the trigger, as the intruders foot came into the cross mark of the scope and I squeezed the trigger, until the rifle fired, and I had a direct hit on the intruder’s foot, making him stumble and fall to the ground. Keeping the scope on the intruder, I saw Hays rapidly approaching, and he kicked the hand gun away from the intruder, and had the intruder lay flat on his stomach, with hands on his head. Masterson appeared soon afterwards, and he pulled out his phone and called me, “We have him restrained, what do we do now Staff?” the Corporal said to me, “Check to see if he has any ID, then call the MP’s, and get them to come up and collect the intruder, and they can take him to hospital for his injured foot, and no mention to them on who it was that shot the intruder” I replied, “Right, understood” he responded before ending the call. I watched through the scope, as they made a searched, and found no ID, then one of the Corporal’s sat on the back of the intruder, so he couldn’t move, which made me chuckle a little. A text came through, which was from Amos, “We heard a shot being fired, I presume it was you” was the message, “Yes, I shot a sly fox in the foot, Masterson and Hays have him, once the MP’s have collected him and taken him to Perth, we can head back to the command camp” I replied. “Understood, A and T were a little frightened by the shot, I am with them now, to ensure that they are safe, see you when you get back” Amos replied. About fifteen minutes later, I saw the MP vehicle arrive at the compound, and they immediately handcuffed the intruder, and once this was done, attention was then on the intruder’s foot, as his boot was removed and the injury was checked. From what I could see, it appeared that I had only nicked the foot, so it was just a minor flesh wound. When I saw the MP vehicle drive off, I called Corporal Hays, “We will be there in about half an hour, then we can go back to the command post, and get some sleep” I said to the Corporal, “Staff the box he carried, contained two laptop computers and a printer” Hays said to me, “Very well return them to the building and secure the building, see you soon” I said and ended the call, as I opened the bolt and checked the barrel, to make sure it was clear, before I walked back to where Amos, Angela and Tom were waiting for me. “Ok, are you all packed up, if so we can walk back to where we left the jeep, and we can go back to the campsite” I announced when I arrived. “How far was the fox, when you shot it? Tom asked me, and I glanced at Amos for a moment and smiled, “I was 1380 metres away Tom” I responded, “Wow that is amazing, how did you get that good?” Tom asked me, “A lot of practice, and I happen to have a natural talent to long distance accurate shooting, and my longest shot, was a target of about 2980 metres” I replied with a smile. Once we had arrived back at the compound, Amos took Angela and Tom to the vehicle, and I went with Corporal’s Masterson and Hays, as we stopped at the northern compound, so I could secure my rifle and ammunition again, and filled in a form, stating that I had used one bullet, that was used to disable an armed intruder. Once this was done, we set off down the main access road towards the access track that leads to Tobruk Hill, arriving about twenty minutes after Amos, Angela and Tom. There was no sign of Angela and Tom, so I presumed that they had gone to bed, and I retrieved my swag from the tent, and set it up under my vehicle awning, to allow room for the other two corporals to set up their beds in the tent, and within twenty minutes, everyone was in bed, and I lay in my swag listening to the light snoring, as well as the sounds of the bush, and I eventually fell asleep. When I woke in the morning, the sun was well up, and I could hear Angela humming as she was preparing breakfast for everyone, and I quickly dressed and made my way to the shower room to have a nice hot shower, which I missed out on having last night. When I came out refreshed and ready for another day of work, I found the three corporals seated on the bush seats, eating breakfast, and happily chatting about anything that didn’t involve work. “Good morning everyone” I said happily, just as Tom nearly knocked me over as he dashed towards me and wrapped his arms around my waist, “Good morning Uncle Mitch” Tom said cheerfully, “Good morning young man” I replied with a small laugh, and Angela handed me a plate of cooked breakfast, and I joined the others at the bush seats, to eat, and chat. “One of you in that tent is a good snorer” I commented between mouthfuls. “Guilty as charged” Corporal Hays admitted with a big smile, and we all laughed. Once breakfast was over, the three corporals and I went up to the top of the tower, so as to let the corporals see how it looks up that high, and get an idea of how it had everything set up. The 6 metres – 20-foot-high tower, is only just above the top tree line, and Corporals Hays and Masterson were amazed at how incredible the views were of the training facility. “So, what are the distances to the boundaries from here?” Corporal Hays asked, and I turned to Amos to reply, “Well it’s about 3.25 km’s to the east boundary, 5.8 km’s to the west boundary, 6 km’s to the nearest point of the southern boundary, near the main access road, and 8.25 km’s to the northern boundary” Amos replied with a smile. “So, a little east and south of the middle of the property” Corporal Hays commented, and I just smiled and nodded my head yes, to that comment. “That hill over there, 2 km’s away, known as Wewak Hill is the closest hill to the centre of the property” I said to the three corporals, and I let them take in the amazing views of the tower, and they didn’t see Tom sneak up the stairs, as I did, and he was wearing my army cap on his head. “Attention”, Tom shouted, and immediately all three corporals snapped to attention, and I burst out laughing, as I picked up Tom and gave him a hug, as he too was laughing. When corporals Hays, Masterson and Gregson realised that they had been tricked, they tried to tickle Tom, who screamed, and wriggling out of my hold he raced down the stairs, with the three men close behind. When Angela heard the noise above her, she saw Tom arrive, and he hid behind his mother, as the three men arrived at the bottom. “Whatever Tom did, he is only a boy, so he is immune to any punishments” Angela announced, and the three men looked very disappointed. “Get back up here you three” I shouted, and the three corporals groaned as they marched back up the stairs, and for the next hour, we discussed operational processes for the training camp, which were written up on the small whiteboard that was hanging on one side wall. “I think we need to have one wall enclosed, and since the east aide is side that is of less importance, regarding operational matters, that is the one that will need to be covered, by canvas or whatever you three guys can find, I will leave that up to you to sort out” I said.
  2. Chapter 27

    “What sort of fruit trees did you get, Gramps?” I asked him. “Well, I have got two varieties of apples, two of apricot, 1 of nectarine & plum trees, two Nashi Pears, plus two navel oranges, two grapefruit, two mandarins, and two lemons, and twelve red grape vines,” Mum announced to us. “I have also bought some wooden fence posts, and wire, to make enough trellis for the grapes, and also enough PVC piping and fittings, to water not just the fruit trees, but all the eucalypts as well. If we have such a big property, we might as well as put it to some good use,” Gramps announced. “I see, and where have you decided to place the orchard and vineyard?” I asked. “We thought along the eastern fence line, inside the soon to be planted eucalypt trees,” Gramps replied with a smile. “Ok, after lunch, let’s go out and have a look at the area,” I said to them. Straight after lunch, we all headed out into the back of the paddock, to see where Gramps and Mum planned to put all of these trees and vines. “We thought maybe put the citrus trees and pears closest to the eucalypts, about 8 metres apart, then the apples and stone fruit on the next row, say five metres apart from the first row, to allow tractor access, and the vineyard trellis last, with each plant being six metres apart,” mum said. “Well it looks like you have everything planned out. Are we going to have a vegetable garden as well?” I stated. “Yes, we thought of an outdoor hydroponic vegetable garden, on the east side of the shed, so it gets plenty of sunlight in winter, and also plenty of wind protection as well,” Gramps announced. “That sounds fine by me. Just remember I won’t be around a lot for the next few years if I get accepted into university next year,” I said to Mum and Gramps, who smiled and nodded their heads in acceptance. By the end of the day, we had three rows of trees planted along the eastern fence, plus we dug all the holes for the fruit trees and vines, and all the post holes for the grape vine trellis. We also dug holes and planted trees along both sides of the 200-metre long driveway, with the trees spaced eight metres apart. When all was completed, I thanked everyone for all their hard work, and I suggested that we go into town for some fish and chips for dinner, which everyone agreed on. By the time, we arrived back home, my brothers were almost falling asleep, so Mum had them showered and tucked in bed, while I relaxed in the lounge room for a while, and watched the late news, before I retired to bed, since I had school in the morning. For the last week of the school term, the boys and I went to school each morning, with Simon driving himself to school now; I didn’t need to go and pick him up at the marina. While at school, Mum, Kirk, Leon, Jasper, Gramps and Isaac dug a long trench, laid out and buried the poly piping that would supply the water to all the new plants, before they collected the ordered fruit trees and vines, and planted all of them, plus installed the trellis fence for the vines, with 4 rows of wire, for the vines to grow along. Gramps also installed a low-pressure water pump beside the water tank, so as to pump all the water to the trees, using deep soaking sprayers for the fruit trees and vines, and small low sprinklers to water the trees. By the end of the week, the top north-east corner of the property had an orchard and vineyard, covering roughly the same area as the house, shed, tank and back parking area. All of the eucalypt trees were only 1.5 metres tall, while the fruit trees were all one metres tall, so they had a little bit of protection for the settling in period. With another school term ended, Jasper, Simon, Toby and Finn were preparing for their trip to the Cocos Keeling Islands, and since I was going to be driving them down to Perth on Monday, I decided to spend a few days down there, before driving back to Jurien Bay on Thursday. I wanted to get some promotional work prepared to advertise the Charter business, to a more wider audience, instead of just local media and on internet web search engines, so I had arranged some appointments, for while I was in Perth. On Saturday morning, after having a sleep in, I headed over to the marina, bringing Gramps with me, and we were both in our company uniform, when Jasper saw us approaching. I could see him using the PA system, to alert the crew, and he scooted down the stairs and inside. By the time, we had reached the yacht, Kirk, Leon, Simon and Jasper were all in uniform as they came out onto the deck. “Glad to see everyone so alert and prompt. How about we go for a little sail out to Boulanger Island,” I said to the crew with a smile. “As you wish, Boss,” Jasper said, and I observed the other vehicle approaching the marina, knowing that it was Isaac, along with Mum and my brothers, plus Finn and Toby. Once everyone was on board, Kirk and Leon released the mooring ropes, and Jasper motored the yacht out of the marina, from the fly bridge, where I soon joined him. “Any reason for this unannounced sail, Boss?” Jasper asked me. “Yes, there is actually. I want some more photos of the crew and family, so we can put them on the website, once we have the Last Frontier back in town. Also, I would like your ideas on renaming the trimaran, as I will be doing some promotional work for the charter company while I am in Perth, after dropping you guys off at the airport on Tuesday,” I replied. “I guess Coral Coast Sail Charters is too much of a mouth full?” Jasper said to me. “It is. I have also been working on a possible charter timetable, that will have you and the crew busy, while I am away at university,” I responded. “Will Simon be going to university too?” Jasper said, just as I spotted Simon coming up the stairs. “Yes I will be going to uni as well, but if all goes well with this sailing trip next week, you will have two new sail crew to fill in, when I am not available,” Simon responded as he referred to our friends Toby and Finn. “I have been working on a round trip journey, that guests can take a choice of one or more of the three sections of the trip, the first being Fremantle to Exmouth - 7 days and 6 nights, with stops at Port Dennison, Kalbarri, South Abrolhos Islands, Denham, Carnarvon and Coral Bay, with a 1 day12-hour stop at Exmouth, before starting the next section of Exmouth to Christmas Island - 9 days and 8 nights, with stops at Port Sampson, Brome, Derby, Scott Reef and Ashmore Reef, with a 1-day and16 hour stop at Christmas Island. “The final section is Christmas Island to Fremantle – 7 days and 6 nights, with stops at Carnarvon, the Abrolhos Islands, here at Jurien Bay and Rottnest Island, with 5 day’s 12-hours rest before starting all over again. In all the crew, will get 8 days in total of shore leave over a 4-week period, at Exmouth, Christmas Island and Fremantle, plus some hours off at most ports of call. I have also worked out a pricing for each cruise, depending on which cabin the guests have on the trimaran. I have made it so that whether it be a 7-day cruise, 16-day cruise, or the whole 23-day cruise, the guests get the last day half price, plus those doing more than one cruise, get the days in port between each cruise for free. So, if they do the first and second cruise, they get the overnight in Exmouth for free, or the second and third, they get the two overnights at Christmas Island for free. Does that make sense?” I said to Jasper and Simon. “Yes, it does. So who decides about time off at ports of call?” Simon asked me. “That would be the skipper’s decision. When you see the timetable, you will see the times set out for each stop, so it helps with arrival times at the next ports of call, depending on sailing time,” I explained. “That sounds pretty easy. Do you think we will get enough guests to make it all worth-while?” Jasper asked me. “I hope so, as I will be doing some major advertising, which I will be arranging when I’m in Perth,” I responded. When we arrived at Boulanger Island, I asked Jasper to anchor the catamaran about 10 metres from the east side of the island, and once the anchors were set, with Kirk and Leon instructing Toby and Finn on what to do, I asked everyone except Isaac to board the dinghy’s and head to the island. I asked Isaac to take a series of photos on both my camera, and my phone, from the deck of the catamaran. Once I had everyone on the beach, I had Isaac take photos of the whole group, then of just Gramps, Mum, my brothers and I, and finally of just the crew, Jasper, Simon, myself, Kirk and Leon, plus Toby and Finn. When everyone was back on board, I asked Isaac to do the same series of photos from a dinghy, of the whole group, just the family, and just the crew, all standing on the aft deck. Once I was happy that we had all the photos that I required, we secured the dinghy’s and headed back to the marina. When we had finished mooring the yacht, I suggested that we all head over to the house for a BBQ lunch, which everyone was pleased about. During our casual lunch gathering, I showed Simon and Jasper the information that I had put together for the planned cruises, which I had mentioned to them earlier. I had estimated the crew wages costs compared to the guest’s income for each cruise, and we needed to have at least 3 cabins occupied to get a decent profit, after costs. After the BBQ lunch was over, and the crew had returned to the marina, and Isaac had returned home to his small farm, the family and I, just relaxed for the remainder of the afternoon. “You know, we could just about produce a good amount of the food for the charter cruises. Your younger brothers suggested that we get some chickens, so we can have plenty of eggs, and I have been looking into that. You might have to bring them back from Perth, when you come back home. I am sure your mother would be able to put together some delicious frozen meals, that would be ideal for crew meals, which will take some pressure off during charter cruises, and when our vineyard and orchard are established, we will have plenty of fruit as well,” Gramps said to me. “You had this planned all along didn’t you Gramps” I said to my grandfather. “Well, I have to keep busy somehow, so why not by producing a lot of food for the charters,” Gramps replied with a big smile, which made me chuckle. When Monday eventually came around, Jasper, Simon, Toby and Finn loaded their luggage into the back of my ute, and climbed in, ready to make the two-hour journey south to the capital city. I informed my friends and crew, that we were all booked into a 4-star hotel for the night. I had also made reservations for a restaurant for 7pm for dinner. I had actually booked 5 separate rooms, but Toby and Finn asked if they could share a twin room, which I was able to organise with the hotel reception. Once we were checked in and settled into our rooms, I asked everyone to join me in my room for a little meeting. I said to Jasper that there was no rush getting back, so if they wanted to spend a day or two at Christmas Island, that they could, and the same at the Abrolhos Islands. I handed them each their flight tickets from Perth to Christmas Island, leaving at 1pm the following day. I suggested to Jasper to contact the federal police on the island, to let them know of their pending arrival, and I gave everyone $250 spending money for the journey, plus an envelope to Jasper, which contained the Court document, saying that the trimaran yacht was now back in ownership with the Hamilton family, plus the charter company credit card, to be used for emergencies. After an enjoyable dinner, we all returned to the hotel, and retired for the night, agreeing to meet at the hotel restaurant at 8am for breakfast. I spent a couple of hours doing some research, looking at different ways of promoting sail charters, before I went to bed. The next morning, after we had all eaten, we went for a drive up to Kings Park, which is located on Mount Eliza, on the west side of the city, with wonderful views of the Swan River, the city and the south and eastern inner suburbs. With an area of 990 acres, it has a mixture of botanical gardens and natural bushland, with a giant children’s playground, located in the middle. It is a wonderful place to visit and reflect, as it is also the location of the state’s main war memorial. After nearly two hours there, we returned to the hotel, where everyone’s luggage was stored in my room, as they had checked out straight after breakfast, and piling into my vehicle, we headed to the airport, so the guys could catch their flight to the Cocos Keeling Islands. Once I had seen the guys off at the airport, I returned to the hotel, where I just relaxed for an hour, before heading to my first of many appointments that I had arranged over the next three days. When I arrived home, late morning on Friday, I was exhausted from all of the meetings. Getting used to driving in the city was a nightmare. The boys wrapped me in a tight hug, when I walked in the door, pleased to see me again, and I returned the hugs. “Where are Mum and Gramps?” I asked my brothers. “Out in the orchard,” they said together, and we all headed out the back door to go and find them. I found them by the shed, where I saw that a shaded lean-too had been built on the east side, with shaded side and end walls. “Hi, Mum and Gramps. Wow, I see you have been very busy,” I said to them, as I looked at the two single and one double row of bench space. “Did you get everything that I ordered,” Gramps asked me, referring to the hydroponic equipment that was still on the back of my ute, since loaded on there, that morning. “Yes, one water storage tank, one small pump, lots of poly pipe, poly fittings, and 2 dozen large hydroponic planting trays, chemicals and hydroponic plant mix,” I responded. We went to unload everything, for now storing it all in the shed, till they were ready to put it all together. “By the way, I received a call from Jasper yesterday morning. They are being delayed leaving Cocos Keeling Islands, as they had to remove all of Mr Kingsley’s personal belongings, which are now in the hands of the police. “They are also giving the yacht a thorough clean, and restocking it with supplies, and they have managed to get a charter for the return journey, I have told Jasper to just use the credit card to cover everything. Apparently, Finn and Toby are having a wow of a time, as it’s the first time they have been off the mainland,” Gramps announced to me. “That is awesome to get the charter. Do you know any more details?” I asked Gramps. “Only that the guests are from Europe, and that all five guest cabins are in use. They are going to Christmas Island, Exmouth, Coral Bay, Kalbarri, Abrolhos Islands and Rottnest Island. I am arranging to send Kirk and Leon to join them, to help cope with the work load,” he replied to me. I was pleased to hear this , as it meant that it would be at least a ten-day charter. “If they delay departure of Christmas island till tomorrow, we could get the lads to them there. It would mean another drive to the city,” I replied. “Ok you go and call Jasper. I will call the lads, who are on the catamaran,” Gramps said to me. “Jasper, hi it’s me. I have just got home, and I’ve been told about the charter. Have you left the Cocos Islands yet?” I asked, as soon as he answered the Sat phone. “Hey, Boss. No, we were planning on leaving tomorrow morning, so if you can get the lads to Christmas Island by then, that would be handy,” Jasper replied. “I will get right on it now. Have fun. See you when you get back. Oh, and have you told the boys they are getting paid for the charter?” I responded, and I heard Jasper chuckle. “Yes, and you should have seen the shocked look on their faces. They are very happy to be paid for this trip. We did a day cruise for the pending guests yesterday, which helped the boys get used to sailing. Simon has just settled into his usual routine. I think he is thrilled to be back on board the trimaran,” Jasper replied. “Ok, Mate, see you when you get back. Bye for now,” I said and I ended the call, before calling the airlines to see if there were seats available to Christmas Island for the next morning’s flight, and by luck there were. “I will take them to Perth. You look too beat to do another trip so soon,” Gramps said as he entered the house, as I had just finished booking and paying for the tickets, and arranging hotel accommodation in the city. “All set, for tomorrow’s flight leaving 8am. Thanks for doing the trip, Gramps. You are right. I am worn out. I need to go and take a nap later. Did you get the lads organised?” I responded. “Yes, I am collecting them in an hour, and heading straight for Perth from there,” Gramps replied, as he headed to his room, no doubt to get an overnight bag prepared. When Gramps had left to take the lads to Perth, I headed to my room for a short nap.
  3. New Beginings

    Having recently lost his second parent, Huon Davenport meets a stranger from Europe, who has a story about their fathers, when they were students at Oxford University. Meanwhile, Huon is discovered to have a singing talent, which his school friend, and his friends mother, - the schools chaplain, try to encourage him to continue.
  4. NB Chapter 1

    I was sitting on the ground with tears rolling down my cheek, as I spoke to my mum in her grave. “I really miss you a lot mum, I just wish that you didn’t leave me when I was so young” I said as I placed the 9 red roses, representing 9 years since her passing. The roses came from our front garden, which mum had planted the year that I was born 17 years ago. Since her passing, I worked hard to maintain them, even threatening to run away from home, each time dad thought about pulling them out. Dad now lay in the grave beside her, having recently passed away after a car accident, and I had placed a single protea flower stem, representing South Africa, where dad was born, but came to Australia as a young boy. I was alone now, I had no family that I was aware of, and the lawyer that came to visit me, announced that the 942 - acre river side property, that I had lived on all my life was mortgage free, and there were no debts. Located just 18 km’s downstream from the town of Toodyay by road, I had managed to get my driver’s license last year, so I was able to be mobile since my father was killed. In the past 1 ½ weeks since the accident, I was thankful for the assistance of the family lawyer, who helped me with organising my father’s funeral, I was pleased that my dad had a prepaid funeral organised and he had expressed that he wanted no funeral service, just a burial beside his wife, my mother. The lawyer said that my father had established, a university fund for me, so that I could continue my education, which had been mostly a private education, at the nearest Grammar School in Guildford, which I was just ten weeks from completing, when the last school term commences next week. At the time of my father’s passing, it was on the third day of the spring holidays, and I was just three weeks short of my 18th birthday. With the assistance of the lawyer, I was able to remain at home, without any interference from the Department of Family and Child Protection, and with the money that I had saved from the winter and summer holidays from the past three years, I had enough money to keep myself fed, until the funds were activated for me to remain at home. As I began to stand up in the local cemetery, wiping away the tears from my face, I suddenly realised that I was not alone, and I saw a young man standing under a tree near the gate to the cemetery, looking in my direction. “What are you looking at, why don’t you just leave me to grieve on my own” I said bitterly to the young man, who appeared to be not much older than myself. “I am sorry Huon, I did not intend to intrude, I am sorry for the recent loss of your father” the young man said with a distinct foreign accent. “H… how did you know my name and who are you? I asked a little shocked, and I saw him smile, “Can I offer you a pub meal, and discuss it over lunch, and my name is Sebastian Alexandre Wagner” the young man said to me. I nodded my head, and made my way to my car, and drove to the main pub in town. I spotted the young man – Sebastian, park behind my car, and he followed me into the pub, where we found a table in a corner, and as we sat down he held out his hand, and pausing for a moment I shook his hand. “It is good to meet you at last, I have known about you and your father for about 6 years, as my father started to show me a bit about his business. As I said my name is Sebastian Alexandre Wagner, my father was Alexandre Sebastian Wagner, and when he was teaching me about his business interests, he told me a story about his time as a university student in Oxford. He had a room-mate and they became good friends, he was your father – Mathew Devonport” the foreigner said to me. “You said was, has he died also?” I asked the young man, as I tried to work out where he is from, but his accent was mixed, and hard to pin point, all I could guess was that it was somewhere in Europe. “Yes, with some strange coincidence, my father was killed in a car accident in the Alps, returning home from a meeting, on the same day as your father, and with the time difference, it was just within a few hours after your father, and I can see that you are trying to work out where I am from. The large town of Sevelen, that I live in, and where I was brought up, is near the banks of the Rhine River, just inside the Swiss border with Liechtenstein, 2 ½ km’s to the east” Sebastian said to me. “Wow, that sounds like a nice place to live, lots of mountains I guess? I replied, “Yes, there are mountains to the North West and South West in Switzerland, plus mountains to the East in Liechtenstein. German is the main language that we speak there, but also Romansch and Italian, which I also speak fluently, as I do with English” Sebastian said with a smile. “I have been to Europe twice, only after my mother died from Cancer when I was about 8. My dad wanted me to see a bit of the world, while I was still young. Rome, Florence, Milan and Venice on the first trip when I was 11, and Copenhagen, Kolding, Horsens and Aalborg on the second trip when I was 15, so I know a little bit of Italian and Danish. Dad was planning to take me to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness, for Christmas this year but…” I said to Sebastian. “Potrei essere in grado di insegnarvi un fluente italiano, mentre sono qui?” Sebastian said to me, and I was surprised that I understood every word of what he said. “Maybe I can teach you some fluent Italian, while I am here?”. “Sì, questo sarebbe un buon ringraziamento. Quanto tempo rimarrete in Australia?” I said hoping that I had not said it incorrectly. “Bravo, that was perfect, I will be here for as long as it takes to complete my business” Sebastian replied to me. “I took Italian as a foriegn language in Years 7, 8 and 9 at school, but didn’t continue it after that, I guess because I didn’t have anyone to talk to in Italian” I explained. We enjoyed a nice steak and salad pub lunch, and Sebastian continued to speak in English, but changed to Italian every now and then, to test my language skills, and I understood most of what he said to me. Sebastian explained that when our fathers were studying at Oxford, they were in the rowing team together, and did fairly well, but one Northern summer, while swimming in the Thames, Sebastian’s father got cramps in his legs and nearly drowned, and it was my father who saved him. Sebastian said that he would repay my father for saving him, and each time he brought the subject up, my father refused to accept any gift or reward. A few years after they graduated and returned to their respective home countries, they lost contact with each other. About a year ago, Sebastian’s father reminded him of this event at Oxford, and made his son promise that one day, he would repay the debt to his university friend, and that is why I am here. I looked at Sebastian in a confused manner, not fully understanding what he ment by that, and Sebastian chuckled, before speaking. “Like you, I too have lost both parents, but I am not an only child, my mother died during child birth eleven years ago, my twin brothers are being cared for my my maternal grandmother in her home country of Liechtenstein, that is why we live so close to the border with that country” Sebastian explained. After a brief pause he continued, “Since being reminded of the Oxford story, I have been spending my holidays, doing some searching to find your father, and a month ago, I found that your father had returned to his home town of Toodyay, which my father could not remember the name of. My father was thrilled with the news of finding your father, and once he had completed some business, he and I were planning to travel to Western Australia to find you, unfortunately that was not to happen” Sebastian said sadly. “So, you have come to repay the debt, that your father owed my father, how exactly is that going to happen now he is dead too” I stated, “Well, when I was doing my research, I looked into your background as well, our family has a lot of business connections, so it wasn’t too hard. I know that you own a farm just out of town on the riverbanks, and I know that you attend a private school, and that you are near the top of your year in most subjects. I also know that you have a small education fund, for you to attend university here in Western Australia. I travelled here three days after my father’s funeral, to come to meet you, and hopefully become your friend, like our fathers did, and I hope that you will allow me to help you in any way possible, I am quite wealthy so the sky is the limit” Sebastian said to me, with a smile. “Look, I have only just met you, and this is all new information to me, you will have to let me think about all of what you told me, and money is something that I don’t really care much about, as long as I have a place to live and food in my stomach, I will be happy. I have the last school term starting in two days - time, so I have to get ready for that” I responded. “I understand, well at least allow me the chance to get to know you a bit, how about starting with showing me this farm of yours” Sebastian said to me. I thought about this request for a few moments, not sure, “Look I have just met you, it is the first time I have heard this story about your dad and mine, so I am going to say no, to visiting the farm. I have too much to do before school starts on Monday. Thank you for lunch, I got to get going, I have some food shopping to do then I have farm duties to complete” I said as I stood up. “I am sorry that you feel that way, I will be staying in Perth for a few weeks, so maybe we can catch up next weekend, so we can talk some more” Sebastian said to me, “I will think about it, bye for now” I said as I turned and left the pub, and I walked the half a block to the supermarket to buy some food. When I returned to my vehicle half an hour later, I noticed that Sebastian’s vehicle had gone, and after a quick shop at the hardware store, I headed back to the house. Once I had put the shopping away, I looked around the house, and I decided that I should tackle the chore, that I had been avoiding since the funeral. Going to the garage, I found some empty boxes, and took them into my parent’s bedroom, and I opened the wardrobe, where I found some of my mum’s clothing still hanging there. I burst into tears and left the room, going to my bedroom two doors down, where I lay on my bed and cried myself to sleep. When I woke up, it was already dark, and remembering that I had some stock to look after, I staggered to the back veranda, slipped my gumboots on and headed for the shed, where there is a dairy cow to be milked, chooks to feed, eggs to collect and five poddy calves to feed. I also had some fences to repair, and the water supplies to be checked, but they would have to wait till the morning. When in returned to the house, it was well after 8pm, and so I retrieved a frozen dinner from the freezer, and placed it into the microwave, while I cleaned up a little. When I had finished eating, I had a long hot shower, and headed to bed, feeling tired and drained of energy, from the very emotional day, but I had a very restless night, thinking back on the arrival of the stranger at the cemetery. In the morning, I staggered out of bed, shortly after sunrise, and I went and milked the cow, fed the chooks and poddy calves, before coming back to the house to have some breakfast. By 7am, I was in the farm ute, with wire strainers and other fencing tools, a roll of plain and barbed wire, and I headed out towards the northern boundary, to deal with an overdue repair of a damaged fence, due to Kangaroos, who have been breaking through from the neighbouring National Park. When I had fixed the two lots of fences that I knew of, I decided to do a survey of the whole northern boundary, which covers five paddocks, so I headed west along the firebreak track, and soon came across another patch of damaged fence. Nearly three hours later, satisfied that I had repaired all of the damage, I arrived back at the shed, and glancing over towards the house about 400 metres away, I saw an unexpected vehicle parked there. It was different from the vehicle that Sebastian had driven, which I was pleased about, and cautiously I walked back to the house, to see who the visitor is. I smiled when I recognised the visitor as the local Anglican minister, who is also the chaplain at my school. “Reverend Davies, sorry to keep you waiting, I have been doing fence repairs” I said with a smile, as I shook her hand. “Hello Huon, I guessed that you were out on the farm somewhere, and I don’t mind waiting, I took a walk down to the river, to pass the time, you have a beautiful property here” the minister replied, as I lead the way inside the house. A few minutes later, after preparing cups of tea, we sat down in the lounge room. “How have you been coping? Is there anything that you need help with?” Reverend Davies asked me. “Well yesterday, I went into my parent’s room, to start packing their clothes, and I found some of mum’s clothes still hanging in the wardrobe, I started crying straight away, and had to leave it, I just couldn’t do it” I said, starting to get upset again, “How about if I get some of our Op Shop ladies to come by and deal with all of the clothing, then when you have some time we can deal with the rest together” she suggested to me. “Yes, that would be nice thank you” I said as tears began to flow down my cheeks, and I used my sleeve to wipe away the tears. “Now, how are things going financially? Are you getting by?” Reverend Davies asked me, “Yes thanks, I have an appointment with my family lawyer, after school on Monday, to finalise my trust fund, and we will be discussing the farm as well” I answered. “I am happy to recommend to the headmaster, that you have a week off school, so you get more organised” Reverend Davies said to me, “I will be fine thanks, and keeping busy will keep my mind off my troubles” I replied, with a half-smile, “very well then, thank you for the cup of tea, I will have some ladies call in at 5pm on Tuesday to start sorting through your parents clothing. I presume, you are happy to donate them to the Op Shop?” the Rev said to me, “Yes that is fine” I replied, and a few minutes later I was standing on the front veranda, watching the vehicle leave. The remainder of the day, and the following day, were a bit of a blur, as I did the required chores, and not much more, as I was in no mood to do any more. When Monday morning arrived, I fed the animals, before I showered, dressed in a fresh school uniform, and I drove the one hour and fifteen minutes to Guildford, where I parked the car at the rear school carpark, and headed off to the start of a new school term, keeping to myself for most of the day.
  5. FR Chapter 26

    After having an early lunch, we drove south, stopping at Dongara to refuel, and we arrived back home just in time for lunch. Gramps had telephoned Mum, to let her know that we would be home in time for lunch, and that everything went very well at court. Once again I drove the whole distance back home. When we arrived back, Jasper followed us to the house as I had invited him to join us for lunch, so we could discuss what to do next, regarding the trimaran yacht at the Cocos Keeling Islands. “We have to get the trimaran back to Jurien Bay. Do you have any ideas on that?” Gramps asked me once we were all seated at the table. “I was thinking about it as we drove back. We have school holidays due soon, so I was thinking that maybe you and Jasper with Simon, and our two friends, Toby and Finn, might like to make the trip to the islands, and sail the Last Frontier back home,” I commented. “I am happy to do that, as long as Simon and the two boys are happy to do that,” Jasper replied. “Ok, I will speak to them tomorrow about it, and go from there,” I said, as we continued eating. After lunch was over, I decided to go to school for the last two classes for the day, and so I changed into my school uniform, grabbed my backpack, and drove to school, arriving just five minutes before the first bell. With Music being my next class, I grabbed my books from my locker, and almost bumped into Finn, when I turned to head to the music room. “Hey, Bud, I wasn’t expecting to see you today,” Finn said with a smile. “We arrived back at 11.30am, and after lunch I decided to come to my last two classes instead of staying at home,” I said to Finn, as we headed off to our class. When we arrived at our final class of geography, I was starting to feel quite tired from all the driving, that I had done earlier in the day, so I just listened to the teacher without actually concentrating, and when the bell sounded for the end of the day, I packed away my books. “Mr Hamilton, stay behind for a moment,” the teacher said to me, and I groaned as I waited for everyone to leave the classroom. “I appreciate that you made an effort to return to school after taking some personal time off, but you must participate in the classes, if you are going to attend. Do you understand me?” the teacher said to me. “Yes, Ma’am, and I do apologise for not paying much attention today. I have just got my licence, and drove to Geraldton and back this morning to attend court, so I guess I’m a little travel weary,” I replied. “I see. Well, make sure that you get plenty of rest, so you are fresh for school tomorrow. That is all,” the teacher said to me and I smiled and made my way to my locker, where Simon, Toby and Finn were waiting for me, with smiles on their faces. “I wasn’t paying attention in my last class, and the teacher noticed, so I just had to apologise that’s all,” I explained to them, as I put my books into my backpack, and we headed out of the school. We found Neale and Jedd standing near the carpark, waiting for us. “Sorry about the delay boys. I had to stay behind in class to talk to my teacher,” I explained to them as I unlocked the car, before turning to Finn and Toby. “By the way, do you two have any plans for this coming end of term holidays?” I asked my friends. “No, why is that?” Simon asked me frowning. “Well, I was hoping, you three would like to join Jasper for a trip, to the Cocos Keeling Islands, so as to sail the trimaran back to Jurien Bay,” I said to them. “That sounds awesome, but we will have to check with our parents first,” Finn said. “Ok, just let me know the decision, so I can arrange the flights from Perth to the Islands. I will catch you guys later,” I said to Finn and Toby, as Simon and I climbed into the ute, where the boys were waiting for us. Less than ten minutes later we arrived at the marina to drop Simon off. Back at home, the boys started on their homework, while I went to my room for a lie down and I soon fell asleep, waking up only when Mum shook my shoulders. “Time for some dinner. We have already eaten. I thought I would let you sleep a little longer,” Mum said to me, as I climbed out of bed and followed her out of the room. After I had eaten, I went into the office and started to do some homework, but after 45 minutes, I had done enough. I went to the kitchen for a drink of water, and saying goodnight to Mum and Gramps I headed to bed for the night. The next morning at breakfast Gramps reminded me that I had my skippers ticket exam after school. Once we were ready, we headed off to school. Finn and Toby were at the school carpark waiting for our arrival, as we climbed out of the vehicle. “Does the big grins on your faces mean you are joining me on the trip to the Cocos Keeling Islands,” Simon asked them. “Yep, we can come and we can hardly wait,” Toby said. “That’s good to hear. I will make the arrangements. I will drive you guys down to Perth on the Monday, when the holidays start. “I will organise overnight accommodation, then on the Tuesday you will fly up to the Cocos Keeling Islands and stay on the yacht from there onwards. It should take you about 6 days to get back to Jurien Bay, via the Abrolhos Islands,” I said to my friends. “That sounds great,” Finn replied with a smile. I saw my brothers to Junior school, while the others headed to the lockers. After school, once Simon and the boys had been dropped off, Gramps and I made our way to the Marine Supplies store, as the owner of the store was the assessor for the exam. After presenting my log book, I spent the next hour tackling the theory exam. I felt that I had done fairly well. I was informed that a practical test would take place on my yacht at 8am on Saturday, that would go for no less than four hours, and that I would know the results of the theory exam at that time. From the marine store I headed over to the marina, to catch up with Kirk and Leon, who had arrived back earlier in the day. They both gave me a big hug as I stepped onto the aft deck of the catamaran. I laughed as I returned the hug. “It’s great to see you guys again. Did you have a good holiday in Perth?” I said to them. “It was great thanks, Boss. We even spent two days on Rottnest Island, which was awesome,” Kirk and Leon replied. “Will you guys be ok to return to work on the trimaran, when it returns to Jurien bay in two-week’s time?” I asked. “Yes, Boss. As long as we are working for you, that is fine by us,” Leon replied with a smile. “That’s good to hear,” I replied. Just over a day and a half later, with another school week finished, Simon had managed to pass his driving licence tests on Friday after school. When I woke Saturday morning, I suddenly remembered that I had to go sailing, so I quickly dressed and went to the kitchen for breakfast where mum had already made me a full cooked breakfast. “Thanks, Mum. You didn’t need to do that,” I said to her with a smile. “I do, Son. I had left you with that bastard of a husband of mine, and I have regretted that moment ever since. I am so sorry that I did that to you,” Mum said with tears in her eyes. “We are a family again, and I am happy, so let’s not dwell on the past, and look forward to the future,” I said with a smile, and I sat down to eat. Once I finished, I grabbed my car keys, thanked Mum for breakfast, and I set off down to the marina, arriving shortly before 7.30am, where I found Jasper, Simon, Kirk and Leon waiting for me. I smiled as I stepped on board. “Good morning, Gentlemen. A good day for sailing,” I said to my crew. “Yes, Boss, it is just that. I have a current weather report, with good winds and weather for the whole day,” Jasper replied with a big grin. ‘Thanks, Skipper. Prepare to get under way once the assessor, Mr Lincoln, arrives,” I replied, and the lads smiled. Over the next five hours, we sailed along the coast, and also went further out to sea where the strong winds put me to the test, but I took the challenge in my stride, knowing that I was comfortable with handling virtually any type of weather. When we motored into the marina shortly after 1pm, I was pleased with how the day’s sailing went, and I was hoping that the assessor, Mr Lincoln, had the same view, while I had the lads finalise the mooring of the yacht at the marina jetty. Once secured, the crew left the yacht to head into town, leaving me with Mr Lincoln to learn the results of the practical assessment. I watched in silence as Mr Lincoln wrote down some details on his note book, and when he eventually finished, he looked directly at me. “Mr Hamilton, in the many years that I have been doing assessments both here and in Geraldton, you are by far the most skilled young man that I have had the pleasure of assessing. Congratulations,” Mr Lincoln said to me. “Thank-you, Sir. I appreciate your time to do my assessment,” I responded, and I shook his hand, as he passed me the documentation to say that I had passed, and that I was now officially a skipper. Once Mr Lincoln had left, I remained at the catamaran. I turned on the television in the saloon, and watched some programmes until the crew returned about half an hour later, where they all congratulated me on getting my skipper’s ticket. With just one more week to go before the spring school holidays, I went into the office and made some calls to arrange the accommodation in Perth and flights to the Cocos Keeling Islands for my crew, before I headed back home where I was congratulated by everyone. “While you were away, I received my order for three hundred blue gum eucalypts, and we can start planting them tomorrow. I have four manual post hole tools, that I purchased today, so we can start digging, first thing in the morning. Jasper, Simon, Kirk and Leon have also volunteered to help us with the plantings,” Gramps announced to me. “Well, I guess I better take it easy till then, if we all have a busy day,” I responded. For the rest of the afternoon, I spent the time with my younger brothers, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and it gave Mum some free time to herself. As we all sat down to dinner, with all four crew members included, the table was full, and an extra chair had to be added to fit everyone. When the main course was finished, and Mum, Simon, Kirk and Leon cleared the table, I stood up to make an announcement. “I am blessed to have not just my family here, but also my crew members, who I regard as good friends. So much has happened in the past few months, some good and some bad, but we have all come through as one happy group of family and friends. I just want to thank-you for your love and support during this time,” I said feeling a little emotional as I finished and sat back down in my chair. Mum, who walked up behind me, wrapped her arms around me and gave me a kiss on the cheek, which made me blush a little. “All we need now, is to find you a suitable boyfriend,” Mum whispered to me, soft enough for only me to hear, or that’s what I thought, until I saw Simon sitting next to me, started to blush a little. I was a little surprised by mum’s statement to me, and I guess I hadn’t really decided if I was gay or bisexual. As I thought about it a little more, I guess I didn’t really care, as I had loving family and friends surrounding me. I turned to Simon, who gave me a smile, and from under the table he grabbed my hand and gave it a little squeeze, before letting go. Once dinner was over, and the cleaning up had been done, the crew members said goodnight, and Simon drove them back to the marina, in the second-hand, 4 year old, Toyota Rav4, that his grandfather had given him on gaining his driver’s licence. The following morning, everyone gathered at the shed, where all the trees were left yesterday. Gramps had already given them a good watering before breakfast. “Ok, since we already have existing firebreaks all around, let’s start planting on the north and north east sides first, to protect us from any possible bush fires from the national park across the road,” Gramps announced to us. “We have a 240-metre long northern fence, and it is 80 metres from the corner to the end of the driveway behind the house, so that is where we need to plant the trees, say about 5 metres apart, with each of the three lines also being 5 metres apart,” I added. “How about I do the pacing out of the distances, and marking each spot with some spray paint. That way we can make sure we get them even, but I need to have a post marker at each end to keep a straight line,” Mum volunteered. “Well, it sounds like we have that part worked out. I volunteer to have one of the post diggers,” I announced. “Me and Leon will have two more,” Kirk volunteered. “And I will have the last one,” Jasper said, just before Simon tried to say anything, and I smiled at him. “Ok, the others can get the trees, and place one about a metre away from each marker on the ground, then come back and plant them in the ground. I have arranged to borrow my uncle Isaac’s mobile fire unit, so as to water each of the plants in. He should be here shortly,” Jasper added. “What about us?” my brothers said at the same time. “You guys have the special job of stomping the ground around the tree, to make sure it stays in the hole and grows strong,” I said to them both, and they smiled, happy with getting the special job of stomping. From the back of Gramps’ ute, that Jasper mostly drove now, Jasper pulled out two brand new steel pickets, a sledge hammer and two picket caps. Handing the sledge hammer to Simon, they set off over to the northern boundary on foot, while I had everyone load all the trays of tree saplings into the back of my ute. When Isaac arrived, we all climbed into the two vehicles, and drove across the paddock to the northern fence, where Jasper had already driven in the picket 3 metres in from the northern fence in the eastern corner, and he and Simon were now walking down to the western end of the fence. Mum had loaded a basket load of drinks and snacks for everyone, and when we stopped near the first marker, my brothers asked for and received an apple to munch on, while they waited. As soon as the second steel picket with yellow cap was in place, mum started to pace out the distance, stopping every five metres, to place a bright orange paint spot on the ground, before moving on. I began digging the first hole, and suggested to everyone that we make the holes one metre deep, then fill them in ¾’s of the way, so they are ready for planting the trees, giving them plenty of soft soil to get established in. Gramps jumped into my vehicle and starting from the north-east corner, he headed down the line, while Simon grabbed a tree suckling, and placed it near each hole. When Mum had finished marking the first line, she relocated the steel picket a further 5 metres from its first place, then walked back up to the eastern fence to relocate the first steel picket. Gramps and Simon passed us hole diggers, and when they had finished distributing the first row of 48 trees, they left the vehicle at the start, and began planting the trees, after Isaac had placed a lot of water into each of the holes. After just over 1 ½ hours, we had completed digging the holes and planting the first row of trees, and Mum had completed marking the ground for the second row, staggering the marks halfway between the first row. With four diggers, we were getting the holes dug a lot faster than I expected, even though it was hard work, and we stopped for a drink and snack, to recover a little. “Ok, since Mum is well ahead of her job, how about you and Jasper do the distributing and planting, while Kirk, Leon, Simon and I can do the digging. Gramps and Isaac can continue with the driving, and the boys can continue doing a great job with the stomping. Then we can swap around some more for the last row of trees,” I announced, as we finished our drinks. By the time, we had completed planting 144 trees, everyone was exhausted, including the boys, who were covered in mud, but they had enjoyed every moment of it, although Mum wasn’t too pleased, judging by the frown I saw on her face as she looked at her two youngest son’s. I estimated that we had another 48 trees to plant along the eastern fence from the northern corner to just behind the house, and I hoped that we would get that completed that afternoon after lunch. We made our way back to the house where mum demanded her youngest two to strip down to their underwear, and use the laundry tub to get rid of all the mud on them, and I went to retrieve some towels for my brothers to dry off with. As we sat down for lunch, Gramps looked at me and smiled. “I just wanted to let you know, that not only did I order all of those eucalypt trees, but I also ordered and bought thirty fruit trees of various types, plus a mini tractor, with a trench digger attachment, for easier planting.”
  6. FS Chapter 17

    “Right, we will get right onto it, we will finish the tower, and you can start on the lean-too” Corporal Masterson said in reply, as they both grabbed a piece of scaffolding and began the climb up the stairs, to make up the safety rails, before they lay the top platform floor, and install the roof. “Oh, by the way, there is something in the back for the camp for you” Corporal Masterson shouted from near the top of the tower. When I opened the back of the jeep, I smiled, when I saw a half - 44 Gallon drum there, and there was a small section of the side cut away, plus a half of the bottom was also cut away, as well as a circle cut out at the back of the bottom. Also in the back of the jeep was a 1.5 metre length of chimney piping, and I happily pulled out the new bush cooking stove, and began to set it up over the fire pit, which still had hot coals in it. Once it was in place, I put the cooking hot plate over the stove, and placed the billy onto it, before restoking the fire, to get the heat up again for the billy. “Well that will make life a little easier for us” Angela said when she saw the new item in the campsite, having just completed washing the dishes in the spare tent. “The lad’s upstairs are the ones to thank for that, and I will be making a lean-too as a camp kitchen area, to make life a little easier” I replied, looking upwards towards the top of the tower. Just as the corporals announced that the tower was now completed, including the roof frame, and canvas tarpaulin roof, I had finished the lean-too also with a tarpaulin roof, and the campsite was looking a lot better now that it was completed, and as we all sat down for a cup of tea, another army vehicle arrived, with this one towing a water tank trailer, with a pump attached, and Corporal Hays was driving. “Come and have a cuppa, then we can sort out the water, then we can get the tower fully kitted out with the tables, chairs, radios and lighting” I said to the corporal, who smiled, before nodding a greeting to Angela and Tom, and he noticed that both of them were wearing their ID cards around their necks. With one table placed under the lean-too against the wall of the tower, the car fridge, was placed on this table and connected to the power board, next the two large cooler eskies were moved out of the tent, and placed under the table. The table in the tent was taken up to the top if the tower, along with the other spare table and the three extra chairs, while the boxes of other supplies were also carried up. I suggested to Angela that we have the tents location changed so as to create side walls for the lean too, and she agreed to this idea, and so I helped her to move her and Tom’s tent, before relocating the now empty tent, which I would use as my accommodation, and that of the corporal’s when they stayed overnight, when the cadet training begins. Leaving my vehicle at the camp, I travelled with the Corporals back to the main complex, to have a meeting with the Warrant Officer, who would be returning to the city after lunch. “I have some good news, the AFP have arrested a man, but he was not the ex-boyfriend, but some one that he had employed to follow you, to try and locate Angela and Tom. The man refused to give any more information, only confirming that he was employed to look for and locate Angela Parker and her son Tom” WO Owens informed me. “So, what happens now?” I asked, “well, because, this is a case that covers three states, the AFP are very interested in the matter, so they had had him kept on remand until the complete their investigation” I was informed, “Well I am glad that we have been able to keep Angela and Tom safe for now, we just have to make sure that it stays that way” I replied, before we got down to business, regarding the fast approaching cadet training camp. I reported that the command post camp was fully set up and operational, and that we are pretty much prepared for the cadet training camp. We went over all the details of the camp, including the training programme, and once this was complete, we had lunch, before Warrant Officer Owens and Corporals Hays and Masterson set off back to the city, with the two trucks and one 4WD. Once they had gone, Corporal Gregson turned to me, “Ok Staff, what do we do now?” he asked me, “Well lets lockup here and head back to the camp, do you have your gear with you?” I replied, “Just my kit bag, but no swag, as I presumed that I would be staying at the complex” the corporal said to me, “Well go and grab a mattress from your bunkroom, and you can either use my swag, or share a tent with me” I replied. While Corporal Gregson was getting his gear and a mattress, I went to the kitchen, where I found an empty cardboard box, and I gathered three extra plates, bowls, cups, three sets of cutlery, I also grabbed a cast iron frying pan, some extra cooking tools, and two aluminium bowls. With all the supplies I need, I locked up the kitchen & dining hall, and loaded the box into the jeep, just as Corporal Amos Gregson approached with his kit bag and a rolled-up mattress, which he loaded into the jeep, and we made our way back to the campsite. I made a quick call to the caretakers, to let them know that the main complex was locked up and that we were camping out near the north boundary for a few weeks, exaggerating our location a little so as to keep the truth to just a few, and I suggested that the gates be closed and locked, as no Army personnel are due to arrive until Saturday. When we arrived back at the camp, I heard the generator softly operating in the background, and I could smell freshly baked bread or something similar. I noticed that my swag had been relocated, as it was not under my vehicles canopy, with the vehicle now behind the relocated tent, that I would be occupying, and I pointed out to Corporal Gregson, the tent that he would be sharing with me, and I left him to get settled in, while I retrieved the cardboard box and placed it on the table, where I saw a freshly baked Damper loaf. “That smells very nice, Angela, when do we get to sample some of it” I said to Angela with a smile, as she pulled out all the items in the box, “In an hour when it is time for afternoon tea, and thank you for the extra cooking supplies, this will make life a little easier” Angela replied with a smile. I head up to the top of the tower, and with the binoculars, I did a scan of the property, and I saw that most of the main buildings at the main complex and the northern complex, were not fully visible, due to the terrain and the vegetation. The airfield was fully out of sight, due to hills being in the way, but the caretaker’s buildings and front entry gate are in a direct line of sight due to a valley, with no hills in the way, which I was pleased about. I heard footsteps coming up the tower. “Permission to come up” I heard Tom announce, and I smiled. “Permission granted Private Tom” I replied, and I saw a big grin on Tom’s face when he arrived. When he looked around he looked stunned at the view, Tom’s grin grew bigger. “Wow this is totally awesome” Tom said and I handed him the binoculars, so he could look around the property. “Uncle Mitch, what is that metal triangle thingy on a tree?” Tom asked me a few minutes later. “That is a navigation marker, let me show you the map of the property… this is called a topographical map, which means that it shows all the contours, or hills on the property. See these lines with numbers on the line, that means that it is a hill that is 300 metres above sea level. This hill that we are on now, is this one on the map, see the clearing on top, and the track leading down the hill. See the little red dots on the map, they are the locations of those markers, one of which you spotted in the binoculars, there are a total of four navigation paths on the property, and each path has a total of 6 of those markers, and each one has a difference number and letter code” I explained, “Do you mean like orienteering?” Tom asked me, “Yes, exactly like that” I said pleased that Tom understood. I rolled up the map and placed it on the protective tube, and I suggested to Tom that we go back downstairs again, and he followed me down. “Afternoon tea is ready” Angela announced, as she passed us a cup of tea, and we grabbed a slice of damper, from the plate on the table, which had butter and jam on each slice, and half of the loaf was gone very quickly. After we had eaten and helped to clean up, I asked Corporal Gregson, to grab the chainsaw, so we could get some wood to build some bush furniture. For the next three hours, we found enough fallen trees, and cut them to the required sizes, before carrying it all back to the camp site at the top of the hill, which was quite a challenge on its own. After a short break, we began to construct some furniture, near the fire stove. Digging four holes in the ground, we buried half of two 800 mm long posts into the ground, at 900 mm apart, next we buried two 1800 mm long posts, 600 mm back from the first two posts, next using the chainsaw, we cut slots on the inside of each post, at 400 mm above the ground for the front two posts, and at 300 mm on the back two posts. After some trimming, two side beams were slotted into place, and nailed to keep it there. The next stage was trimming 1 metre length thick logs into 50 mm thick planks, which were nailed into place, to form the backing of the chair, and the same was done with the planks, for the seat, to complete the bush two-seater chair. As we stepped back to look at our work, Tom appeared and on seeing the new chair, he raced to it and sat down on the chair, and declared it as being awesome. Once Tom had returned to the tent to continue his studies, Corporal Gregson, got to work on building another two-seater bush chair, opposite to the other one, also on an angle facing the stove, at two metres away, and we had the second chair completed just before dusk, and while Angela was busy preparing dinner, with the stove now roaring hot, and when Corporal Gregson and I were seated on the chairs, the warmth of the stove could be felt easily, as we relaxed and chatted about the coming cadet camp. “You know Staff, it would be better if we could get the cadet officers come a bit earlier, so we can give them some extra training, that would be beneficial to all the units in the long term”, “It’s Mitchell after business hours, if that is ok with you Amos” I replied, and there was a pause before I saw him smile, “Sure Mitch, that is fine by me” he replied. “Regarding your suggestion, I have been thinking the same thing, it may be a bit late, to make any changes, but let’s call the boss and see if he can make the changes” I commented, as pulled out my phone. Dialling the CO’s mobile number, it rang just once before it was answered, “Good evening Staff, how are things up your way? the Lt Colonel said, “Good thanks sir, the tower is completed, and secured, we made it 1.5 metres shorter, so we could have a lean-too, for a camp kitchen area, and Corporal Gregson and I have just finished building two bush chairs from fallen logs, which we are sitting on now” I replied. “Very good, now what was the purpose of your call?” the CO asked, “Sir, the corporal and I are in the view that if we can get the cadet officers to the facility a day earlier, that we would be able to give them some more training, that will be beneficial for all of the cadet units” I said to the CO, “I agree with you on that, and I will do my best to get the cadet officers to you by 1100 hours on Saturday, instead of the same time on Sunday, good night” the CO said and he ended the call. After some minutes of silence, as we listened to the sounds of the bush, as well as the campsite, with Angela in kitchen, and Tom singing, while he was having a shower, which made me chuckle, Amos cleared his throat. “Staff, I mean Mitch, I was thinking, if this works out well, and the CO decides on making this site a more permanent Command post, it would be good to have a more solid roof shelter over the tents, to protect them from falling tree branches, heavy rain and from the heat of the sun, in summer” Amos said to me. “So how do you think we should do that, just 4 posts, with slight sloping outwards, cross beams and a wooden plank roof” I asked, “Yes, that sounds about right, we can probably build them over the top of the tents, without having to pull them down” Amos replied, “Very good, we can get started in the morning” I responded with a smile. After dinner, which we ate sitting on the new chairs, Amos and I did the cleaning up, while Angela relaxed in the seat while enjoying a cup of tea. Once we were done, I let Angela know that Amos and I were going for a walk, and we set off down the track to the bottom of the hill, and we walked in silence for the whole way. “So, what is this all about” Amos asked me as we neared the bottom of the hill. “Sorry, I just needed to chat with you, without them being in hearing range” I started to say, as I stopped and looked around, “I just have this nasty feeling, that this issue with Angela and Tom, is far from being over, so I just wanted you to stay alert at all times, and I wanted ask you if you can help me keep a constant watch on them, with shared night watch duties” I said. “Sure Staff, all you have to do is ask, I am happy to help you at any time, I can do the first watch till 0100” Amos replied, “thanks mate, I appreciate your help, and let’s keep this just between the two of us for now” I said with a smile, pleased to have the help, and we began the hike back up the hill to the camp site, and when we arrived Angela was stepping out of the shower room, dressed in fresh clothes. “You go and have a shower, I will go upstairs and do a scan with the night vision binoculars” I said to Amos, and he went into the tent, while I headed up the tower steps, and for the next few minutes I scanned the property for any heat sources and movement, and I saw one person moving near the front of the caretaker’s residence, and I was going to let that pass as the caretaker taking a walk, but decided to check anyway, as I retrieved my phone. “Bindoon Training Facility, caretaker speaking” came the answer to my call, “Benning here sir, are you inside your residence, I can see movement outside” I said quietly, “We are in the lounge watching television, where is the movement?” came a concerned reply, front northern corner” the caretaker said. “I suggest you stay indoors, turn on your outside lights, and call the police, for your safety, do not go outside”, I responded. “Copy that Staff Sergeant, will you call Lt Colonel Harding?” the caretaker asked, “Yes, I will, and he may send up a squad of MP’s, to boost up security on the facility, I will let you know about that” I responded and ended the call, before dialling the CO’s number again. “Sorry to disturb you sir, but we have unauthorised activity at the caretaker’s residence, I have just spoken to him, he has turned on the outside lights, as my suggestion. I see two men, dressed in dark clothing, they took off for cover, as soon as the outside lights came on, I can’t see them at the moment, wait, I see them now, they are heading further into the facility, now they are out of sight due to terrain, what are your orders sir” I said to the CO, “I will call the caretaker, and let him know, that I want him to remain indoors, until the all clear is given, do you have any weapons with you?” the CO said to me.
  7. Chapter 4

    Great story I look forward to more great chapters Well Done
  8. FR Chapter 25

    Lots more adventures and drama, tighten your seatbelts, there is a lot more to come.
  9. FR Chapter 25

    Over the next half an hour, I worked on the theory driving test, and I was pleased that I had only got one question wrong, which meant that I had passed easily. The next thing was the practical part of the test, which I was a little nervous about. “The ‘L’ Plates are in the glove box. Good luck, Grandson,” Gramps said to me with a smile, as he handed me the keys to the Colorado. I followed Anita out to the carpark, and climbed into the vehicle. “Just relax and take your time, and you will do fine,” Anita said to me, as I put my seat belt on, and started the engine. Twenty minutes later, after driving around most of town, executing fairly good parallel parking, reversing and three point turns, we arrived back at the police station, where I let out a deep breath. I hope you were breathing, and not holding your breath all that time. Relax. It is all finished, and you passed,” Anita said to me happily. “Thanks, officer. That is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done,” I replied, and we headed back inside the police station, to finish the paperwork. Gramps let me drive back to the school, and I reported back to the admin office, to let them know that I had returned, even if I was fifteen minutes after classes had already began. It was just as well I only had a study class, so I headed to the library. “So how did it go?” Finn asked me, as he and Toby appeared beside me when I walked into the library. I just gave them a smile. “Wow! Cool! You got your licence. That’s awesome,” Toby said to me a little too loudly, which received a telling off from the librarian. “I won’t be at school tomorrow. I have to go to Geraldton to attend court regarding the disputed ownership of the trimaran,” I whispered to my friends. We chatted quietly for the remainder of the class, before heading to our last class for the day. When Simon, my brothers and I arrived at the carpark to be picked up there was no sign of Gramps’ Colorado. All I could see was a blue Colorado, and I guess my curiosity got the better of me, since I hadn’t see the vehicle at school before. I cautiously approached it. As I neared the front, I saw a giant red bow on the bonnet, and an envelope under the windscreen wiper with my name on it, which I retrieved and opened. “Congratulations! Love, Gramps, Mum and boys,” was all that was written on the small sheet of paper, and feeling something else in the envelope, I looked in and saw a set of keys. “Well, it looks like I am driving everyone home in my new car,” I announced, as I opened the driver side door, and saw a set of ‘P’ plates on the seat. Five minutes later I dropped Simon off at the marina. I saw Jasper approach, so I turned off the ignition, and stepped out. “Congratulations on getting your licence, and nice wheels you have there,” Jasper said with a smile, as he shook my hand. I turned back to the ute. “Yeah, she is real nice to drive too,” I commented, not seeing Gramps and mum approaching from behind us. “Do you like the colour?” Gramps said from behind me, making me jump a little as I turned around. “It is awesome thanks, Gramps,” I replied to him. “Ok, lets load up and head back home,” Mum said. Gramps jumped into the front passenger seat, while mum and the boys sat in the back for the trip back to the house, where Gramps white Colorado was parked near the shed. “If you like, you can drive us to Geraldton tomorrow,” Gramps said as we climbed out of the car and headed inside. “Maybe part of the way there and back,” I replied. I headed to the office to start on my homework, and I spent the next two hours studying, till there was a knock on the door, and the boys appeared to announce that dinner was ready. I thanked the boys and once I had shut down the computer, I headed out of the office to eat. “How have you gone with your homework? Have you finished it all?” Mum asked me. “Almost, Mum. Another hour and I will have it completed. This year has been real hard to keep up with my studies, with everything that has happened,” I replied. “Have you any progress reports from your teachers?” Gramps asked me. “No not yet. We don’t really have any tests, like previous years. We will have mock exams at the end of this term before we start our finals,” I replied. After dinner, I headed back to the office, where I picked up the phone and called Jasper. “Hey, Bud. Can you contact your friends at Cocos Keeling, and get them to do a more thorough check of the yacht before the court case tomorrow,” I asked, as soon as Jasper answered the phone. “Yes, I can do that. Why, what are your thoughts?” Jasper replied. “I’m thinking if he had illegal guns, he may have other illegal stuff,” I responded. “That is good thinking, Mate. I will get right onto it,” Jasper said and he ended the call, so he could do what I had asked. I went back to doing my studies, but I was interrupted when my phone rang again about twenty minutes later. “Hey, Jasper. Do you have some news already?” I asked. “Yes, apparently, our friends on the island were thinking the same thing, and they had done a thorough search this afternoon. They found a small number of drugs, plus two more hand guns in one of the crew cabins. “Unfortunately, the crew members concerned are currently in transit from Perth to Sydney, so the federal police in Sydney will deal with them. In the mean time they have written up a report, and sent a copy to the Geraldton Magistrates court. They have emailed a copy to us, so you can take it with you tomorrow,” Jasper said to me. “Ok, thanks for that. I will talk to you later. Goodnight,” I responded, and ended the call. Once I had finished my studying, I checked the emails, and found the new email from the Cocos Islands. I printed it out before shutting down the computer, and heading to my room. I had a shower and headed to bed. When I woke the next morning, it was just after sunrise, so I dressed and went outside to take a short walk, since I would be travelling for four hours to Geraldton and back. When I returned, I found Gramps and Mum in the kitchen chatting. “So that’s where you went. I went to wake you up a couple of minutes ago, and found you already awake,” Mum said to me. “Yes, sorry. I needed to stretch my legs for a bit, and get a clear head with what’s going to happen today,” I said to them. “Do you have your copy of the sale contract, and the notice from the bank regarding the cheque bouncing,” Gramps asked me. “Yes, and we also have a report from the federal police on Cocos Island. They did another search and found some drugs and two more guns,” I replied, as I sat down at the table. Mum gave me a cup of tea and some toast, before giving Gramps some toast, and he too sat down to eat. “Court starts at 10am, so we need to be there about half an hour before then. It would be best if we leave at 7am or no later than 7.15,” Gramps said to me. I glanced up at the clock, which read 6.45am, and I nodded my head. “I just need to take a fast shower and change into a suit, then I am ready,” I said as I took another drink of the tea, ate the last of my toast, and headed back to my room. When I returned nearly twenty minutes later, Gramps was also dressed in a suit. I had a manila folder in hand with all the documents that I needed, as we headed out the door. With keys in hand, I climbed into the driver’s seat and we headed north. For my first long distance journey, I felt quite comfortable driving, and before we knew it, we were entering the outskirts of Geraldton. Gramps gave me directions on where to go to get to the court house, which is near the foreshore. We parked in the main carpark shortly after 9.15am. “Well done, Anton. That was very good driving for your first long distance trip,” Gramps said to me with a smile, as we climbed out and locked up. Once in the foyer area of the court house, I could see a large customer service area straight ahead. To the left there was a security screening area, like there is at airports, and I followed Gramps in that direction. Once we had passed screening, we went around the corner, where there was an information board with the day’s court listings for each court room. We found the one for us. “Australian Federal Police & Hamilton Vs Kingsley – Court Room 4.” We headed in that direction. Approaching some bathrooms, I said to Gramps that I would be back in a moment, and I went to use the bathroom, returning a few moments later. We soon found court room 4. We sat down in the small waiting area outside courtrooms 3 & 4, and I looked at my watch, which read 9.25am. About fifteen minutes later, two men dressed in suits arrived and sat down nearby, and ten more minutes later a lady appeared from the doors of court room 4. “All person who have business in courtroom 4, please make your way inside,” she announced, as she opened the door wider, to let us walk in. We sat down about two rows back from the front seats, and waited. The other two men sat down one seat from the front, but on the other side. We had no idea who they were, but we wondered while we waited. A few minutes later, another man came rushing inside and sat down in front of us, and started shuffling documents in front of him. A door opened at the front, and the lady announced, “All stand please for Magistrate Frankton presiding.” We sat down when the magistrate motioned for us to sit. “Ok, let’s get this day started please,” the magistrate announced. “Your Honour, James Denning representing Mr Kingsley,” the man in front of us announced. This was when we realised that we were seated on the wrong side. “Your Honour, I am Federal Officer Lennard, and this is Federal Officer Grant, from the Australian Federal Police,” one of the men said. “Who are you two gentlemen?’ the magistrate asked Gramps and I, and I nervously stood up. “Your Honour, my name is Anton Hamilton, and this is my grandfather – Marcus. We owned the trimaran yacht known as Last Frontier, which is the matter in dispute,” I said carefully, and I sat back down again. “Officers Lennard and Grant, can you please give me a brief explanation of what this is about?” the magistrate asked. “Certainly, Your Honour. Approximately 1½ weeks ago, Mr Harrington and his grandson, entered into a sale contract with the trimaran yacht, located at the time at the Jurien Bay marina, which they have owned for approximately 6 months. The contract stated that the sale would entail three payments, the first to be made on agreement of the sale, the second to be made on taking possession of the yacht, and the last payment to be deposited into the bank account a week later. “When Mr Kingsley took possession of the yacht, and inherited two existing crew members, he presented a second cheque, and left the Jurien Bay marina soon after, with their original next stop to be Fremantle. When Mr Hamilton was informed by his bank, that the second payment had bounced, he contacted his former employees, who stated they were at Cocos Keeling Islands, and they were afraid for their lives, and wanted to return to Jurien Bay. “Mr Hamilton’s skipper of their second yacht, is former WA Police Officer Jasper Adamson, and he contacted the Federal police officers at the Cocos Keeling Islands, to assist with getting the two crew members free of their homophobic employer. It was at this time, that our colleagues performed a customs and quarantine search, since they had not announced their arrival at the islands as they are legally obliged to do. “Our colleagues found a number of undeclared hidden illegal hand guns and a high-powered rifle, and $58 thousand total in Australian and US currency. A second search yesterday, resulted in finding a small amount of illegal drugs and two more hand guns, hidden in one of Mr Kingsley’s original crew’s cabins. We wish to support Mr Harrington Senior and Mr Anton Hamilton’s petition, to reclaim ownership of the trimaran yacht known as Last Frontier, because of the failure by Mr Kingsley to make the required payments to the Harrington’s,” the Federal agent stated before sitting down. “Where is former police officer Adamson now?” the magistrate asked, and I stood up again. “Sir, we did not think he would be required to… “I began to say when I heard the door open behind me. “I am here, Your Honour. I apologise for being late. I had car troubles on my way up from Jurien Bay,” Jasper announced as he walked forward. He bowed his head briefly before joining us. “Mr Adamson, the Federal Police have just given a description of what has happened over the past week and a half, is that correct?” the magistrate asked. Jasper saw the federal agent hold up a document and nod his head to Jasper. “Yes, your honour that is correct. I met the federal officers on the islands when we were on the catamaran yacht, and when Mr Harrington and Mr Hamilton took ownership of the trimaran from the previous owners, who needed a quick solution regarding their trimaran yacht, and its two crew members, as they had a family emergency to fly home back to in Canada. I contacted the federal agents, when Mr Hamilton asked my assistance, regarding helping the two Canadian crew members, who were being worked unfairly and kept on board, with no access to their passports, so they couldn’t just leave. “As Skipper for Mr Hamilton, only they and myself had access to the yacht’s safe, when the crew members contacted us. We gave them the safe code so they could retrieve their passports, and they saw the large amount of cash and the gun. When the federal officers boarded, while Mr Kingsley was briefly onshore doing some shopping, they were told of the gun and large amount of cash. As a result, Mr Kingsley was arrested and taken into custody, to be sent to Perth, while the crew were allowed to pack their belongings and leave. The trimaran yacht has been secured by the Cocos Keeling police, until today’s hearing,” Jasper announced. “Your Honour, my client has only just arrived back on the mainland late yesterday, and I have only had two hours to speak to him, while he is on remand. He has stated to me that there must have been a bank error in regards to the 2nd payment to the Harrington’s, and that he is pleading not guilty to the charges of illegal firearms and leaving the country with illegal amounts of money,” the lawyer representing Mr Kingsley stated. “Your Honour, I have an email from my bank, stating that the funds stated on the 2nd cheque presented to me, was cancelled by the cheque owner, on the day that it was presented to me,” I said after I had stood up. I held up the document. Jasper took it from me and presented it to the court clerk, who gave it to the magistrate. “Mr Denning, this document proves beyond doubt, that your client tried to fraudulently obtain ownership of the trimaran known as Last Frontier, and this is the only matter we are dealing with here today. I find in favour of Mr Harrington Senior and his grandson, Anton Hamilton, to be the legal owners of the trimaran yacht known as Last Frontier, and that the first payment made to them is non-refundable, because of the breach of contract. “Mr Lennard and Grant, I highly recommend that you add 2 charges of illegal deprivation of liberty, to Mr Kingsley’s existing charges, which are to be held in the Magistrates court in Perth, at a date to be set. Court is adjourned,” the magistrate said and we all happily stood up. Jasper shook mine and Gramps’ hands, before shaking the hands of the two approaching federal police officers, and formally introducing them to Gramps and me. Once outside the court house, I took a big deep breath. “I am so proud of you, Boss. You did a great job in there. I have been in court many times as part of my police duties and I know how these things go,” Jasper said to me. “Thanks. I was so scared and nervous. Anyway, how come you came today?” I responded. “Well, I had a call from the federal agents on the islands, and they suggested that I get my butt into gear and get up to Geraldton, as I might be needed to support you in this case, which seemed to be correct. I was late because I had a tyre blow out on the way,” Jasper replied. “Well it looks like, we own the trimaran again, so I guess we can go ahead with our other plans,” Gramps announced. “What plans are those, Marcus?” Jasper asked. “Gramps and I had a little meeting the other day, and it was decided that now the family is settled into our new home, that we sell the catamaran, and concentrate on having the trimaran as a charter vessel, as we can get more guests on board, and it’s a lot more comfortable for everyone,” I announced. “I see. Well in that case, would you consider selling her to me, in lots of small payments?” Jasper asked, which we didn’t expect to hear. I looked over to Gramps, who smiled. “Yes, I think we can do that, as long as you remain as our skipper for charters on the Last Frontier,” I replied, as I held out my hand to Jasper. “You have a deal there, Boss,” Jasper replied as he shook my hand with a huge smile on his face. “Woo hoo! This is so awesome,” Jasper shouted out loud, and we all laughed.
  10. FR Chapter 24

    By the time that we had finished, we were all exhausted from all the work, and we happily made the journey back to the marina, where Gramps came out onto the marina carpark to meet us. “I had a call from the Federal police, they have sent the required documentation, to the Geraldton Magistrates court, regarding the ownership dispute of the trimaran, and it is scheduled to be heard Wednesday, next week,” Gramps said to me. “So, we could have the trimaran back in our hands soon then. I wish I had never met that bastard Kingsley. I hope he rots in jail,” I replied with a frown. “You will have to come with me to attend the hearing, which means some time off school next week,” Gramps added and I nodded my head in understanding. The following day as we arrived back at the marina from school, Gramps was there waiting for us, and there was no sign of Mum or Jasper, and one of the vehicles. “Get changed and we will head over to the house. The others are already over there,” Gramps said to me, and once we had changed, Gramps drove us over to the house, where there was a pile of large boxes and new furniture, sitting on the front verandah. Over the next two hours, everyone was busy taking everything inside and unpacking the boxes, and putting together the beds, with Mum mainly directing where everything went, and taking care of everything to do with the kitchen. When all was done, we all collapsed onto the lounge suite to rest, and I was pleased that the house was now starting to look like a home. After a short while, I stood up and turned to face everyone. “Well tomorrow is move-in day, so let’s get back to the marina and start packing our belongings ready for the move,” I said to everyone, and about ten minutes later we arrived back at the marina. I stopped Gramps from boarding the yacht, as I wanted to speak to him without everyone else around, and we walked back to the other end of the jetty. “I was thinking, if we do get the trimaran back, that I would like to sell the catamaran, as having two vessels is a bit too much to deal with, and now that we know we won’t get full payment from Mr Kingsley, we are probably very low of funds. “I know that the catamaran has some memories for you, so I wanted to check with you, as I feel that it should be your decision and not mine, plus we can get a better income from the trimaran, if we get it given back to us,” I said to Gramps. “I understand your thinking, and I thank you for getting my input regarding this. As I said when this all started, that this catamaran is yours and mine, as equal owners. “Over the past months, you have proven many times that you are a very responsible young man, and I am very proud of you. So, my answer is yes, go ahead with selling the catamaran, if and when we have the trimaran back in our possession,” Gramps said to me, and he pulled me into a hug. “Thanks, Gramps, you are one awesome man,” I said with tears in my eyes. When everyone woke up the next morning, the family members began to pack our belongings, and since I had done a lot of mine the previous night, I helped my brothers to finish their packing. Thankfully, a lot of their belongings were still packed and in storage in town, along with a lot of Mum’s belongings that they had shipped over from New Zealand. After we had stopped for some morning tea, Jasper and Simon helped everyone to load all the luggage and belongings into the trailer and the back of one of the vehicles, and we made our way over to the house. When everything was unloaded, Jasper, Simon and I went over to the large storage locker, to collect all of the other luggage and boxes of belongings, and bring them back to the house. When we had returned, the boys were busy unpacking their belongings, and working out where to put it away. It was good that they had large deep walk-in wardrobes, and a built-in shelving area. I just placed all my belongings in my room, to unpack later, so I could help get the last load of belongings from the storage unit, into the house and distributed to the right areas. Just as we had finished unloading the trailer, the truck from Geraldton arrived, and everyone stopped what they were doing, to help unload the truck. As this was happening, Mum was in the kitchen preparing lunch for everyone, having done a quick shop earlier. She watched as we unpacked all of the whitegoods, and put them into their set place, and finally there was just the two televisions remaining. “Can I have the large one in the lounge room, and the slightly smaller one in the games room please,” I said as Simon and Jasper unpacked the televisions from their boxes. When we sat down for lunch at the dining table, I was happy that we were finally settled into our new home, with plenty of space to stretch out as we ate and chatted. Once lunch was over, Jasper announced that he and Simon were heading back to the marina, to get the yacht back into readiness for the next possible charter, and the arrival of Kirk and Leon on Wednesday that coming week. So, they drove one of the vehicles back into town. For the rest of the day, the family were kept busy unpacking their belongings, and getting settled into our new home. Gramps parked the new vehicle and trailer in the shed. After that, he and I went for a walk around the property, to get an idea of what there was on the property. Gramps suggested that we plant a couple of rows of eucalyptus trees along all the boundaries fences, to give us a little more privacy, and also a little more protection, in case there was ever a wild bush fire. We were too far away to get any kind of view of the ocean, so there was no need to have an open area in that direction. After a short rest, Mum announced that she needed to do some food shopping, so as to feed the family for the next week, and Gramps volunteered to remain at home with the boys. So Mum and I drove into town to do a big food shop. I texted Jasper to ask if he and Simon were coming over for dinner, and he replied that they had plenty of food that needed to be eaten, so they would remain on the catamaran. While mum put all the groceries and kitchen supplies away, I headed into my office, closing the door, so hopefully I wouldn’t be disturbed. Booting up the computer, I waited till everything was initialised, before looking at the software that I had asked to be added to the system as part of the purchase. It was then that I realised that I didn’t have any stationary for my office, and I made a mental note that I needed to do this after school on Monday. I went to my room and retrieved my laptop computer and my school bag and brought them back to the office, once again closing the door. I thought that while I was in there, I might as well get my homework completed, and so I dug out my text books and got to work on my studies, stopping every now and then to do some things on the desk top computer, like setting up the internet, getting the new printer/scanner set up, getting my email account established on the computer, and looking at our charter company website. Some hours later, there was a soft knock on the door, and it opened slowly. I saw my two brothers peering in. “Mum said to wash up as dinner is almost ready,” Jedd said. “Ok, Guys, thanks. I will be there shortly,” I replied, and they closed the door again. When I arrived in the dining area, the table was set with five placings. Gramps was standing near the kitchen bench chatting to Mum, and the boys were watching cartoons on television. “Have you guys done your homework?” I asked my brothers as I approached them. “Yes, Anton. Gramps had us sit at the dining room table to do it, and it only took us half an hour to get it all finished,” Neale replied with a smile. When we all sat down to eat, we chatted about how good it felt to be living in a real home again, and as one family, before Gramps looked at me with a smile. “I think you are ready for your two exams,” he said to me, and at first, I had no idea why he said two exams. “The first is to get your driver’s licence, the second is your coastal and open oceans skippers ticket,” Gramps announced. I was a little surprised, before realising that I was now old enough to be able to drive a car. “I have arranged for the driving tests to be done on Tuesday after school. The skipper’s exam is after school on Thursday, and we have that court date on Wednesday remember,” Gramps added with a broader smile. I was a little speechless, that in just one week, I would be able to legally drive a car, and skipper a yacht. “I guess we better start teaching you how to drive properly before you do the theory and practical tests,” Mum announced as she placed a driving theory book in front of me. That night, as I lay in bed, I read through the driving theory book, which had all the rules and instructions on driving. I read it a second time before setting it down and going to sleep. The following morning, after we had finished breakfast, Mum and I went over to the shed and climbed into the car. Mum had me familiarise myself with the vehicle, which was a manual geared Holden Colorado Ute, before I started the engine and backed it out of the shed. With the driveway being about 750 metres long, I spent the next two hours going up and down the driveway, getting used to driving, including reversing, 3-point turns, using the indicators correctly, and remembering to check the side and rear vison mirrors when required. Just before lunch time, Jasper and Simon arrived, and Simon said that Jasper was helping him to learn to drive, so he could go for his driving test on Friday. I chuckled for a little bit before telling my good friend that I too was doing my driving tests this week, but on Tuesday, and that I had already spent most of the morning doing driving practice on the driveway. Simon said he had been practicing on the vacant carpark of the marina, and that Anita had arrived while he was doing it, and she said that she saw nothing Simon reported with a big smile, and we both laughed. “So, Jasper. I have set up my new desk top computer, in my office, so I can monitor the website, but I will get you to keep an eye on it during the week when I am at school. Can you make sure that you print out all emails regarding the charter business, and make sure that I get a copy put in my office,” I said to Jasper. He smiled and nodded his head. Once lunch was over, we all sat down to watch a movie in the lounge room, and Mum even made some popcorn for us to enjoy, as we watched the movie “Hook”, with Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman as the main actors. With the surround sound speakers installed in each top corner of the lounge area, the movie was awesome, and sounded like we were at the movie cinema. The following day, as it was looking very overcast with possible rain, Mum drove us to school, picking up Simon at the marina on the way, and dropping us off at the front of the school. As usual I walked my brothers to the front building of the junior school, before heading back and getting ready for my first two classes of the day. By mid-morning, the skies had opened up and it was bucketing down with rain, so I stayed indoors most of the day. Luckily there was a pause in the rain at the time that school had ended for the day, and we were able to get to the vehicle without getting wet. Once Simon had been dropped off at the marina, we headed home and after changing out of our uniforms, I headed to the office to get started on my homework. The boys were already at the dining room table doing theirs, with Mum supervising them, and helping when needed. I was deep in concentration, reading from one of my text books when a sudden flash and crack of lightning sounded close by. I heard the boys scream with fright. I got up and headed into the dining area, where Mum was hugging the boys. “It’s ok, Guys. It’s just the clouds. They have a terrible tummy ache, and are not feeling too well,” I said to them. “Well tell them to go away, because I don’t like it when there are very loud noises,” Jedd announced, just as there was another very loud crack and flash of lightning. “Wow! That one was even closer than the first one,” Mum said to us, just as Gramps arrived, having gone outside to check on everything. He looked a little shaken up. “That one was a little close for comfort,” Gramps said as he sat down to relax a little from the shock of the close call. Another loud crack and flash came, and this time we lost our power. I stood up and went to the back verandah, where the store room containing the solar power batteries and converter were located. I flicked the switch over to solar power, to get the power at the house back on. As I approached the back door, looking northwards, I was not happy with what I saw. “Oh shit, that is not what we need right now,” I mumbled to myself, but obviously not soft enough, as Jedd heard me swear. “Mum, Anton just said the 4-letter ‘S’ word,” I heard him say out loud, as I walked inside. I could see that Mum was about to tell me off, but I beat her to it. “Never mind that now, Mum. Call the local fire station. We have a bush fire due north of us, in the national park, probably due to lightning strike,” I said to Mum who was standing near the phone, just as there was another loud crack. “Stop, don’t touch the phone. It’s too dangerous with lightening around. Use a mobile on loud speaker, with it on the bench so you are not touching it,” Gramps said loudly, making all of us jump in fright a little. Mum did as Gramps suggested, looking up the number in the local directory, before dialling the number. “I want to report a fire. It looks to be at the north end of the national park, about five kilometres away,” mum said as soon as the call was answered. “Yes, that is correct. My name is Suzanne Wallis. We are on Cambewarra Drive, just off Jurien Road,” Mum added, and a few moments later she ended the call. “They thanked me for such a prompt call, and they will send out the crew to tackle the fire,” Mum said to everyone. We stepped out onto the back verandah to have a look. I pulled out my mobile and called Jasper. “Hey, can you grab the binoculars and look north-north east of your location, and tell me what you see,” I said to Jasper. Moments later I got a response. “Holy crap, a bush fire in winter time,” he replied to me. “Yes, and in the national park too by the looks of it. Hopefully there is very little dry stuff and it will burn out. What is the current wind speed, its direction and humidity readings?” I asked. “Wind is coming from the north east, at 5 knots, and the humidity is at 26%,” Jasper replied to me. “Ok keep an eye on it for me, but stay off the fly bridge. The lightning is getting vicious. We have already lost mains power here, and we are on solar battery power now. Stay safe and talk to you later,” I said to Jasper before hanging up, just as I saw and heard the sound of emergency vehicles racing up Jurien road towards the fire. I was pleased when some heavy rain arrived about half an hour later, and extinguished the bush fire. After dinner, I returned to the office to complete my homework, and when finished I read the driving information book, before I had a shower and went to bed early, knowing that I had a busy day ahead of me the next day. The next morning, I had another quick review of the driving book before getting dressed and ready for school, and heading out to get breakfast, where the rest of the family were already gathered. When lunch time arrived, I was about to head to the library, when a PA announcement called for me to go to the admin building, where I found Gramps waiting for me. “Slight change of plans. Your appointment for your theory test and driving test, has been changed to right now,” Gramps said to me, which I was a bit surprised about. I followed Gramps out the door towards the carpark. When we arrived at the police station, Anita was at a desk near the counter, and she smiled as we entered. “Sorry about the change of time. We have some other commitments for later on, so we had to do it now or change the day,” Anita said to me.
  11. FS Chapter 16

    “Sorry for being late sir, I seem to be still having trouble with being followed, no matter which way I go from home” I said as I entered the office, “Yes, I am aware of the situation, I had another call from the AFP, they seem to agree that all the stolen cars are a result of this Dean Linton man, they are suggesting that your friend and her son go into Protective custody, and I agree with them” the CO said to me. “Sir, may I suggest, maybe Angela and Tom could spend the next two weeks with me at Bindoon, that way we will be well out of public view” I suggested, “Yes, that could be one solution… very well, as long as they can pay for their share of the food, they have my permission to stay at the BTF - Bindoon training facility, under your care and protection” Lt Colonel Harding said to me. Over the next two hours, we discussed what else needed doing before the cadets arrived, and the Lt Colonel informed us that had arranged for the Cadet Under Officers and Cadet Warrant Officers from each unit, are to arrive a day before the rest of the cadets, this was a total of 36 cadets that would arrive at 1100 hours on the Sunday morning, after they all meet at Irwin Barracks, and travel up in an Army truck. After the meeting, while the three Corporals were loading up the two portable toilets and water tank onto the second truck, I called Aunty Jean, to let her know of the plan to keep Angela and Tom safe, and she let me know that she would have them at Campbell Barracks within an hour. I reminded Aunty Jean to bring some form of ID with them, so they can be allowed into the base. I was at the gate when Aunty Jean’s car arrived, and standing next to the gate guard as the car came to a stop, I saw Angela and Tom crouching down in the back seat, staying out of sight, “They have permission to enter Sergeant, let them through” I said to the gate guard, who looked at me for a moment, before opening the gate. Drive around to the back of the administration building, I will meet you there” I said to Aunty Jean, who nodded her head in understanding, and drove off. At the back of the building, I assisted Angela and Tom out of the back of the car, and led them and my aunt inside to my office, where Lt Colonel Harding was waiting, and I introduced the visitors to my CO. After a brief chat, I said goodbye to Aunty Jean, and retrieving Angela and Tom’s backpacks, I watched my Aunty leave, as she went to do some shopping. A little while later, WO Owens, and Corporal’s Gregson, Masterson & Hays headed off the base in the two large Army trucks, heading for Bindoon. Once I had gathered all the planning material and packed it into the boxes, I loaded it into my vehicle, along with the two backpacks, before letting Angela and Tom know it was time to load up and get moving. For the trip, out of the city and outer suburbs, Angela and Tom remained low, and out of sight, until I knew that we were not being followed, and instead of heading north on the Great Northern Highway, we headed North East on Toodyay Road, to the town of Toodyay, where we stopped briefly for some lunch, before continuing north to the training facility. Just eight kilometres before the front gate to the training facility, I turned left onto a minor gravel road, turned around and stopped a few hundred metres past the intersection. Telling Angela and Tom to stay in the vehicle, I jogged back to the intersection and remained hidden, till I observed a vehicle passing by about a minute later, and I didn’t like the feeling that we were being followed, so I made a call to the AFP giving a description of the vehicle, its rego plate number, and the direction it was heading. I took my time walking back to the vehicle, and get buckled in. “I just called in that vehicle that just passed, if it was following us, then we won’t have to worry anymore, so from now on we can relax a little but stills stay alert, just in case” I said to my passengers, as we turned back onto the road, then soon after turned right onto a firebreak track, that heads north along the boundary of a neighbouring farming property. “Sorry about this rough ride, I am taking another way into the training facility, that is not usually possible” explained. After about 3 kilometres we reached the boundary of the training facility. I stopped to make a quick phone call to the facility, and Corporal Masterson answered the call, “Benning here Corporal, do me a favour and jump into a vehicle. head to the front gate, if there is an orange coloured Holden Trax, with personal plates lingering around near the entry, try to ask him what his business is at this location. I have a feeling you won’t get a chance though, as he will probably race away. Get back to me in which direction he is heading” I said as soon as the call was answered. “Yes Staff, right away” Corporal Masterson said and he ended the call, and we set off again to followed the base boundary northwards. There is a 1 ½ metre high wire mesh fence, continuing north, as we drove on along the fire break, and periodically there was a warning sign attached to the fence. When my phone rang, I stopped before answering the phone, and after listening for a moment, I frowned, “Call the AFP, let them know what has happened, and if you can give them a description of the driver, then can you come and unlock the gate near the northeast facility, as we are driving along the outside of the boundary” I asked before ending the call. When we reached the gate, Corporal’s Masterson and Gregson were there waiting for us, with one of the trucks parked nearby, and they had the gate open ready for us. “Hey guys, thanks for this, how are things going with the cargo that you brought up with you” I said to the two Corporal’s, “Everything is unloaded Staff, we have set up the two portable toilets and the water tank, and we have just started putting the scaffolding together” Corporal Gregson announced. “Did you add the extra items that I asked to be packed?” I asked, “Yes Staff, that is in place, ready for use” Corporal Masterson replied. “Very good, I will meet you there” I said as I started my vehicle again and headed west on the dirt access track till we reached a “T” junction, and I turned south and after many more turns and just over 9 kilometres later, we arrived at the top of Tobruk Hill, where Corporal Hays was finishing sorting the scaffolding. In the small clearing, we saw the water tank, two portable toilets, thirty metres away, there was two large tents, and a portable table and four chairs. “Welcome to your new home for the next two weeks” I announced to Angela and Tom, as we stepped out of the vehicle, which I had parked near to the tent. “Wow, what a view” Tom announced, as he looked around, “I thought we were going to be staying in a building somewhere” Angela said sounding a little disappointed, I am sorry, but I thought it best if we kept you well away from all of the main buildings and people that will be coming to this training facility in less than a week. We have a major cadet training camp with 12 cadet units participating” I said to Angela and Tom, “Oh, I see, and you will be staying here with us during this time?” Angela asked me, “Yes I will be sleeping here every night, but there will be times when I will need to go to different parts of the property, but one of these three corporals will be with you at all times” I replied. While Angela and Tom got settled into their new accommodation, I helped the three Corporal’s to build the scaffolding platform, which will be 4 metres in diameter, and 7.5 metres in height, with scaffolding stairs leading to the top platform, that is 1.5 metres below the top safety railing. A lower platform at 3.0 metres above the ground, will hold the water tank, and the space below the tank, will become a shower area. Once the first platform was completed, we lifted the empty poly tank up onto the platform, and safety railings were put into place, to keep the tank in place until the fresh water is placed in the tank. The steps were installed as each level was completed, and we noticed Angela and Tom sitting on the chairs watching us as we continued the work. By 1500 hours, I called a stop to work for the day, even though we still have 1.5 more metres to go, and the top platform to be installed. While the Corporal’s took the truck back to the main complex, I grabbed the sledge hammer and two steel pickets, which I hit into the ground two metres apart in one corner, before repeating the process with the other 3 corners, then using wire, I secured the platform to the steel pickets, at 2 metres and 4 metres high, so stop any movement on the platform, when there are people on the platform, and any strong winds that may appear. I finished just before dark, and I found Angela and Tom in one of the tents, where Tom was doing some school work. I suggest that they get washed up, and load up in the vehicle, as we were going to the complex for dinner, which both of them were pleased to hear, as they had not seen any sign at the camp site so far. After a 6.5 km drive, we arrived at the complex, and as we entered the dining hall, we could smell a delicious meal, and WO Owens, the three Corporal’s and the Facility caretakers were already seated. “So, Mitchell, how are things going at your command post on Tobruk Hill? The Warrant Officer asked me, nearly completed Sir, I have the eight tiedowns in place, and we are just two metres short from completing the tower, the water tank is in place, and the campsite is pretty much set up” I replied with a smile. “Angela and Tom, I have these for you, that you need to wear at all times, so make sure that you have them on you” WO Owens said, as he handed over ID cards for them both. “You are now officially members of this Army facility, congratulations” I said to them with a smile, and the others in the room also congratulated them. After dinner was over, I showed Angela and Tom around the complex, while other staff members were loading up my vehicle with extra supplies that are needed for the campsite, and Corporal’s Hays and Masterton taking one of the trucks to the hill with the Inverter generator, fuel and two fire extinguishers, power extension cords, Two large boxes that contain two VHF radios, a UHF radio, antennae for all the radios, also included is all the stationary required, and also there is two portable tables and chairs. As we climbed into the vehicle, to make the trip back to the campsite, Tom immediately noticed the boxes on the spare back seats, “What is all of this Uncle Mitch?” Tom asked me with a frown, “Oh, just a few supplies that we will need” I replied with a smile, as I quickly glance at Angela, who had looked back to see what her son was talking about. When we arrived back at the camp site, the generator was quietly purring away, with a number of spotlights, attached to the scaffolding tower, some of them shining around the campsite, and others shining up the tower. “Wow, this is incredible” Tom said as he jumped out of the vehicle to check everything, and Angela joined her son, to look around the now improved campsite. The truck had been and gone again, by the time we had arrived, and they had set up the lights, got the generator in place in a small hole to reduce the noise levels, the tower below the tank, now has tarpaulins on three sides and a wooden panelling wall and door on the side facing the campsite on the last side, and inside this area, there is a wooden grated flooring and a drainage ditch, and a shower rose above, and in one corner there is a portable gas water heater, and fluorescent light in another corner. While they were looking around, I unloaded my car fridge and placed it into the vacant tent, then moved the portable table from outside, into the tents, and placed the car fridge onto it, and plugged it into the power board that had been set up in there. Already in the tent was two large eskies, that contains plenty of food for the three of us. I decided to leave the rest of the supplies in the vehicle, until the top of the tower was completed, so I opened up the side awning and rolled out my swag under it. “It looks like some people have been busy while we were away for dinner” Angela said with a smile, and I gave a little chuckle, “Just a little bit, the campsite will be complete by the end of tomorrow, once we have the top platform completed and a roof on it, then we can get the command post furnished with the portable tables and chairs, and install the two radios, and lighting that will be needed” I replied. “Will Mum and I be allowed to be at the top?” Tom asked me, “Yes Tom, but not when we have training exercises in progress, then it is out of bounds, until it is over for the day, although on some days we will be doing training at night time as well” I replied. “That will be fine, I have brought plenty of school work to keep Tom busy, so we can stay out of the way” Angela said to me with a smile, before she said good night to me and took Tom to the tent to get ready for bed time. The next morning, I was up early, I changed into a fresh work uniform, and went for a short walk around the base of the hill, before returning to the camp, and I began carting large rocks to the camp, to form a camp fire ring, just 1.5 metres east of the scaffolding tower, and I had it completed by the time Angela appeared from their tent. “Good morning, I’m sorry if I woke you, I am an early riser, and after my morning walk, I had to do something to keep myself busy” I explained with a smile. “That is fine Mitch, I am a light sleeper, and surprisingly I slept well on that camp stretcher bed” Angela replied. “You will find all the food in the other tent, and I will get the camp fire started” I replied. From the back of my vehicle, I pulled out a hessian bag, that was filled with dry fire wood and kindling, and a hotplate, and I soon had the fire going, and the hotplate was in place, with Angela appearing with eggs, bacon, sausages and bread to make toast, and I let her take over with the cooking duties, while I began to cart sections of the scaffolding up to the top, to try and get the tower completed. When Angela called Tom and me to come and get breakfast, I had already set up one of the extra fold up tables, and breakfast was laid out on the table, with plates, cups and cutlery laid out. Tom, still dressed in his pyjamas, staggered out of the tent, and he looked around, before heading to the table. “Good morning sunshine” I said to Tom with a smile, and Tom grumbled a reply, which made me chuckle. Considering that it was only 6.30 in the morning, I didn’t blame him for being a little grumpy at this time of the morning. As I had finished my breakfast, I could hear an approaching vehicle, and I dashed up the tower, to see who was coming, and smiled, when I saw an Army vehicle approaching, and I made my way back to the ground. A few minutes later Corporal’s Masterson and Gregson stepped out of their vehicle, and I smiled as they approached, “Morning guys, I have a thought about this tower, I think we will only make it 6 metres high, and the remaining scaffolding can be used to make a side lean-too for a camp kitchen area” I announced.
  12. FS Chapter 15

    “We appreciate what you have done for us so far, please don’t put your career in jeopardy by doing this for us” Angela said, and I smiled, “The army is already involved, as it was them that called the rescue helicopter to collect us last night, or early this morning, and my Warrant Officer went back to collect Tom’s and my backpacks and my car, so we will wait and see what my CO says, oh and because I am with the Special Air Command, we need to keep that hush hush, as we try to keep as low key as possible” I whispered. Once I had let Tom talk to his mum for a little longer, before I took him back to Aunty Jean’s place, and I was preparing to head to the base, when Aunty Jean asked to speak to me alone, and she lead me to the study at the back of the house. “I know you are planning to speak to Lt Colonel Harding this afternoon, to get permission to hide Angela and Tom at the base or at Bindoon, but I have an alternate location, where they can stay” my aunt said to me, and I looked at her in a confused way, and she smiled to me. “I may be an old-women, but I am also good with my investments, as well as this property, I also own the house next door at number 27, and three doors down at 35 and the house next to that at 37” my aunt announced to me, and my mouth dropped open in surprise and shock, and my aunt chuckled when she saw this. “the house next door – number 27 has just became vacant, after my long-time friend was taken into Palliative care, and her family have cleared the house of her belongings, and I have purchased her furniture, so the house is ready for a young family to move in right away” my Aunt said to me. “Aunty that is very generous of you, I will gladly pay the rental fees for the property, can we get Tom and take a look at the property now?” I replied, “Yes we can go and take a look now, as you may have noticed, it has a good-sized wall and vegetation to hide most of the house from the street. We can keep the front pedestrian and driveway gates locked from the inside, and there is a hidden side access gate near the back veranda of both houses” my aunt announced, as we stepped out of the study, and I called for Tom. “I have been meaning to ask you about this gate, I noticed it again when I was pruning the creeper on the wall, and the overgrown trees the other day” I said as we stepped off the veranda, and made our way to the gate, where Aunty Jean produced a set of keys, and unlocked the large gate. “I did a check of the place yesterday, the garden is very unkept, and the pool has been empty for some time, and the lawn needs a good clipping” my aunt said to me, as we entered next doors back yard. The yard was a reasonable size, and the pool was about 12 metres long, as we stepped onto the back veranda, and we followed Aunty Jean into the back of the house next door, where the house has 4 large bedrooms, two at the front and two in the middle, a lounge, and study, just back from the front small bedrooms, a good-sized kitchen and dining room, a laundry and family bathroom, and a wide front veranda. “How would you like this to be your new home?” I asked Tom, “I think it would be awesome, especially if we are living next door to you” Tom replied with a big smile. “We have a lot of gardening to do, before your mum gets out of hospital, will you help me with that?” I asked Tom, “You bet I will” Tom replied, and we all laughed at his eager response. “I guess, I had better make a phone call to cancel a meeting, then we can get started on the garden” I said to my aunt, who smiled as she led the way back to her property, leaving the gate open and unlocked. Ten minutes later, Tom and I retrieved a heap of tools from the garden shed, loading it all into a wheel barrow, and we went next door, where we pruned a number of oversized tree branches, that were hanging over the pool, and some overhanging on the two side boundaries. Once this was done, we raked up and bagged all of the leaves on the lawn and in the garden, before I mowed the small amount of overgrown lawn. By the time we had finished this, it was starting to get dark, and the back yard was starting to look a lot better. While Tom went next door, I went to check the two front gates, which were both closed, but there are no locks on them, so I made a mental note to make sure that locks are put on both gates first thing in the morning. I noticed that the front garden was quite over grown, but I thought that maybe it was a good idea to keep it like that, to give it the appearance, that the house was not being used. The next day, with it being my last day off, from my 6 days of leave, I went to the hardware store, and bought some very large chains, and padlocks, and when I returned to my aunt’s house, she and Tom were having breakfast. “Good you are back, I had a call from the hospital, Angela is well enough to be discharged from the hospital, if you would like to take Tom with you to collect her, and I suggest that you take some precautions, just in case someone is deciding to follow you, to track down Angela and Tom” my aunt said to me. “Could I suggest that you keep Tom with you, and get their house ready for them, I will go and do some food shopping first, before I go and collect Angela, and we will go to Campbell Barracks, to see if we can shake anyone that may be tailing us, we can leave via a back gate, and come back here from there, and maybe I better use your car Aunty, as mine is a little too easy to spot” I suggested. “Yes, very well, we will do that, here are my keys, she will be waiting for you when you get there, maybe see if you can leave the hospital via a back way” my aunt said to me, “I am sure that we can do that, as it is a big hospital” I replied with a smile, and I ruffled Tom’s hair. When I left the house, I drove around the western suburbs, stopping at two shopping centres, where I spent about half an hour at each place, before going to a small carpark near the back of the hospital. Fifteen minutes later, after walking along a number of very long corridors, and going up three levels, I arrived at the ward where Angela was waiting for me, and she smiled when she saw me arrive. “Hiya Angela, are you ready to go?” I asked, “You bet” she replied as I picked up her backpack, and I chuckled at the same response as her son said yesterday, and I we made our way towards the back of the hospital, where the car was parked. Fifteen minutes after leaving the hospital, we arrived at Campbell Barracks, and as I was showing my Army ID, I asked the gate guard to keep an eye out for any vehicle that may hang around near the entry, after we have entered the base, and report them immediately to Lt Colonel Harding’s office. A few minutes later, we parked outside the administration building, and I led Angela inside to the admin reception, “Yes, he has just walked in, hang on” I heard the Corporal at reception say and she handed me the phone. On the phone, I was informed by the security that a car did indeed stopped and waited around for a few minutes, until he went to speak to the driver, when the car raced off. The security guard informed me that the car details have been forwarded to the police for investigating. I thanked him for his assistance with the matter, and ended the call, before turning to Angela, “It appears that your ex-boyfriend has managed to locate you again, but this time we have a plan to keep you well hidden, I will tell you all about it on our way to my home not that far away” I said to Angela, as I saw WO Owens approaching. “Hi Mitchell, I have been briefed on what is happening, and I suggest you change cars with me, and take the back gate back home, and get your guest to stay low and out of sight, we can swap cars back when you come to work tomorrow” WO Owens said to me with a smile, as he handed me his keys. Knowing where his car is parked at the back, I told Angela to wait here at reception, while I moved my aunt’s car to the back of the building, and I transferred the shopping and Angela’s backpack to WO Owens car, and once this was done Angela and WO Owens appeared via the rear door, and I asked Angela to climb into the back seat and to lay down low. Fifteen minutes later, we arrived at my Aunt’s home, and I drove the car down the side driveway to the car bay behind the house, where Tom and Aunty Jean were waiting for us, having sent a text to Aunty Jean to say we were on our way back. After giving his mum a hug, Tom retrieved the backpack, while aunty Jean and I collected the shopping, and followed Tom to the side gate and to the back door on next door. “Tom and I have been busy making beds, and doing some cleaning in the house while you were away, I even managed to get a couple vases of roses in the loungeroom and Angela’s bedroom. Tom has the other bedroom opposite, behind the study, and he told me that he likes his new home very much” Aunty Jean informed me, as we entered the house, and Angela was looking around the kitchen as we entered, and immediately began to unpack the shopping that I had brought. “I can’t say how much I feel, about all the help that you have done to look after us, once again thank you” Angela said as she loaded the shopping into the pantry and fridge. “Now for tonight, you will be having dinner with us over at my place, we have a chicken casserole planned, and you are most welcome to come over at any time” Aunty Jean said to Angela. “Now just a few things, in regards to security for you both, the two front gates have been locked with heavy chains and padlocks, and I suggest that you stay away from the front yard, which we have left looking over grown, so it looks like the house is not in use. There are two small bedrooms at the very front of the house, that I suggest that you use for just storage purposes, I will install some bolt locks on the doors, so they are locked from the hallway, in case someone breaks in through the windows, I will do the same with bolt locks on the front door, and I will get some window alarms installed, in case someone tries to open the windows from the outside. We will keep the gate between the two properties unlocked all the times, so you can get to us quickly, and I will see if I can install some security sensors and cameras, to monitor the outdoors, when you are inside” I said to Angela, who looked a little glum, and she nodded her head in understanding, and Aunty Jean and I left Angela and Tom to get settled into their new home. I spent most of the afternoon, finishing cleaning up the back yard of next door, and by the late afternoon, I had the whole back yard back in good order, and I had cleaned out all of the leaves from the bottom of the pool, and began filling it up part of the way. When it was time for dinner, Angela and Tom arrived with smiles on their faces, “You did a wonderful job of the backyard thanks Mitchell” Angela said to me, as we sat down to eat. “It’s my pleasure, we needed to get the place looking suitable for your outdoor living space” I replied, and we chatted about a few things as we ate. “If I give you a list, can I get you to get some education supplies for me, so I can resume home schooling for Tom, please” Angela said to me, “Yes that will be fine, I can do it during my lunch break tomorrow if you like” I replied. “Thank you very much, and maybe you can supervise me with swimming practice” Tom added, “Yes young man, I can do that at the end of work” I replied. After dinner, Angela thanked Aunty Jean for the delicious dinner, and I walked her and Tom over to their house, and said good night to them, reminding them to make sure all of the doors and windows are locked. After helping Aunty Jean to clean up, I had a shower and went to bed, since I had work in the morning. The next morning, I was up at 0600, and as I stepped into the living area, I found Aunty Jean in the kitchen preparing breakfast for me, and she smiled when she saw me. “Good morning Aunty, you know you don’t have to do this for me, I can look after myself” I said with a smile, “You are my nephew and I love you dear, I am more than pleased to prepare meals for you” my aunt replied, as I sat down at the table and she placed some toast, a cup of tea and a cooked breakfast in front of me. When I arrived at work, Warrant Officer Owens and the three Corporals were waiting for me in our work area, where we have been planning the cadet camp. “Good morning all, I hope everyone has had a restful weekend” I said with a smile, and I hear WO Owens chuckle, as we sat down and started reviewing what we had done so far and discussed what else needed doing. “The CO has approved the hiring of a scaffolding platform, a water tank and two portable toilets, we have added a generator, and fuel to that list, all which are booked and will be ready to be collected on the Monday before the camp,” WO Owens announced. With just two weeks till the camp takes place, I was starting to get a little worried that we had forgotten somethings, even thou Warrant Officer Owens had everything organised in the way of food and drink supplies, and large tents to accommodate all of the cadets. “I’ve already had a call from a friend in the AFP, regarding that car that followed you to the base. The car was stolen a few days earlier, and was found abandoned near the Fremantle train station late yesterday afternoon. So far, they have found no finger prints or DNA, to give a clue on who it is that was following, and they cannot locate the ex-boyfriend of your friend” WO Owens reported, “I understand, thank you for what you have done so far sir” I replied. For the remaining two weeks, we were all kept very busy at the base, I used various vehicles to and from the base each day, and a few times, I noticed that I was being followed, so I made sure that I made plenty of detours, to lose the car following. When it was getting hard to lose them, I would go into a multi-level carpark, and leave the vehicle there, and catch a taxi home, jogging the last kilometres, as I would be dropped off at different locations, in case I was still being followed. The CO continued to update me on the police investigation, regarding the ex-boyfriend of Angela’s, and each time they got a licence plate number, it ended up being a stolen vehicle. I had Aunty Jean take greater care when she went out to do some shopping, for us and for next door, and three days a week, Angela and Tom would have dinner with us, so they could socialise a little. Tom was enjoying the swimming pool, even thou it was a little too cold, he still went swimming every day, to get some exercise. On the Monday morning, I had packed my luggage for the next two weeks, as I would be spending it at the training facility at Bindoon, and I took my own vehicle this time, and took a different and longer route to Campbell Barracks. When I arrived, I parked my vehicle behind the building so it was out of site from any public road, I was surprised to learn that the scaffolding had already arrived and was loaded into the back of one of the army trucks. The CO asked for me to see him as soon as I arrived, and I went directly to his office, where the whole planning team was gathered, and waiting for me.
  13. FR Chapter 23

    Boss we are miserable here, can we come back and work for you again, we don’t care if it is for less money, we just want to get away from here” Leon said. “When are, you scheduled to leave the Cocos Keeling Islands?” I asked the lads, “We are restocking for supplies, then we are leaving straight after, Mr Kingsley has gone with two of the other crew members to do the shopping, leaving one other crew member and us behind, and we are anchored about 100 metres off shore” Kirk replied. “Ok guys hang tight, Jasper knows the federal police officers on that island, I will give Jasper a call right now, so get all of your luggage packed and ready to go, and be ready” I said to the lads. “One slight problem, Mr Kingsley has our passports locked away in the safe” Leon said to me. “Well, hopefully he hasn’t had a chance to change the code yet, try 951357, if that does work, grab just your passports and nothing else, don’t worry about any lost wages, I will speak to you again soon” I said and I hung up. Next, I called Jasper on the satellite phone, and explaining everything that Kirk and Leon has told me, and included that I had given them the safe code to retrieve their passports. Jasper said that he would call the police at Cocos Keeling Islands, and that he would call me back when he has news of what has happened. I mentioned to Jasper, about the 2nd cheque from Mr Kingsley being bounced by the bank, and as such the sale contract had been breached. After I had hung up from talking to Jasper, I ate my breakfast, paid the bill and went for a walk along the beach to try and relax a little. A very long two hours later, when my phone rang, I jumped with fright, before I looked at the caller ID which said - Sat Phone. “Hello Jasper, how did it go” I said as soon as I answered the call. “The lads were in their cabin and ready when the police launch arrived, and the officers remembered them from when they first arrived on the Island, with the previous owners before you, the boys were encouraged to board their launch, with their luggage, with much disapproval from the other crew member, who apparently called them a lot of unsavoury names. Mr Kingsley and the other two crew members arrived in their rib dinghy soon afterwards, and they tried to drag the lads back onto the yacht, which resulted in the officers warning them off. Mr Kingsley was informed that he had breached the sale contract of the trimaran yacht, and that the yacht was being seized till the court decides who the owner is. Since they arrived late last night, they hadn’t done the customs and quarantine check on arrival, and so Mr Kingsley and the three crew were told to sit in the saloon, while a customs check was done. Apparently, the lads spotted a hand gun, and a large amount of cash in the safe, when they retrieved their passports, and mentioned it to the police officers, and gave them the safe code to open it. Mr Kingsley was not at all pleased about this, and a further search found a high-powered rifle and another hand gun, and this resulted in Mr Kingsley being arrested for carrying guns illegally into Australian Territory, and having over $22 thousand in Australian currency, plus $ 36 thousand in US currency. The officer called me to check if I knew about any guns on the yacht, while I worked on the yacht, and I said that I only had my police service pistol, until I gave it to them back when he was on the island last, and that only I and my boss, had the code to the safe, until the yacht was sold last week” Jasper said to me. “So, what is happening to Kingsley and his crew now?” I asked Jasper, “Well Mr Kingsley is to be detained and sent to the mainland to be formally charged and processed through the courts, the three crew members are free to go. I didn’t bother to find out what they are going to do, and I believe the yacht is being placed in a secure facility, until it is decided by the courts on what to do with it. I have arranged accommodation for Kirk and Leon on the island, till the next flight back to the mainland, which won’t be till Tuesday now. Can you organise the flights for them back to the mainland and Jurien?” Jasper said to me. “I will be very pleased to do that, and also I will pay for the accommodation too” I replied happily, pleased that everything has turned out well in the end. Once I had finished talking to Jasper, I telephone the airline and booked and paid for two tickets back to Perth, and I decided to give the lads a short holiday in the city, so I booked and paid for a week’s accommodation in a 4-star hotel, so they could return to the catamaran, after the family has moved into the house. Once I had checked out of the motel, I made my way back to the marina, and I could see the yacht approaching, as Jasper, Simon and Gramps finished their two-day charter. Leaving my weekend bag and backpack with laptop inside, beside my bike, I went to help with mooring the yacht at the jetty, and helped the guests to step onto the jetty and offload their luggage, and Jasper waved to me from the fly bridge, as I thanked the guests for their charter, and wished them a safe journey home. Once the guests had gone, I went to retrieve my luggage, and found Mum and the boys there waiting for me. “Hiya mum, how was the shopping trip, did you get everything that you wanted?” I asked her as I picked up my luggage, and we made our way to the catamaran. “It went well dear, but I will have to make a second trip sometime during the week on my own, so I can get what I couldn’t get yesterday” Mum replied. “Hey boys, did you have a good time in Geraldton?” I asked my brothers, “It was ok, I guess, better when we were not running around looking in all the shops” Jedd replied as we stepped on board. Simon, Gramps and Jasper were already seated in the saloon, when we arrived. “I need to let everyone know what had happened over the weekend” I started as I sat down next to Jasper, I was eventually able to contact Kirk and Leon, and the trimaran was in Cocos Keeling Islands, and they were very unhappy, their new boss had kept their passports locked away, and had been restricting their movements when in port. I have agreed to let them join us again, and with the assistance of Jasper and his Federal friends on the islands, the lads got their passports back, and Mr Kingsley is currently being detained for illegal firearms. Kirk and Leon will be flying back to Perth, the day after tomorrow, and they will spend a week having a holiday, before they return to us here. By then, the family will be moved into our new home, so that will make room for the lads, on the yacht, and with them back, Gramps won’t be needed as much for charters, and I am sure he has lots of plans for that big shed at the back of our new home” I said and that received a number of chuckles. “Jasper, Simon and the lads can do the charters when they come about, and in the meantime, I am thinking on getting more accommodation on our new property, so the crew can have rostered time off from the yacht. Saturday is moving day, so I would like all hands to assist, when the delivery trucks arrive” I announced to everyone. “I have one truck, with a three-piece lounge, large dining table and eight chairs, a television cabinet, a dining dresser cabinet, two book shelves, a large office desk and office chair, three double beds, two single beds and mattresses to match, two bedside tables for each of the four bedrooms, due to arrive Friday mid-afternoon, and a truck with washing machine, dryer, microwave, a fridge/fridge, bench freezer and one very large and one medium size televisions, and surround sound system arriving Saturday lunch time. I still need to do some shopping for a large outdoor dining table and chairs, a kettle, toaster, crockery, cutlery, cooking pots and pans and utensils, bedding and anything else that I have forgotten at the moment” Mum announced. “How about you and I go to Geraldton Wednesday morning, stay overnight, and come back Thursday afternoon, so that we can get everything else in one last go, I’m sure Anton won’t mind looking after the boys for one night” Gramps said to Mum, and she smiled, “That sounds perfect” she replied. When I arrived at school the following day, after taking the boys to Junior school, I made my way to the senior school administration. “Hello Anton, I was just thinking this morning, that we have had no more incidences since the confrontation you had with those three lads, I think the whole school knows now not to cause trouble. You have virtually wiped out the existence of any bullying or discrimination, well done young man” the deputy principal said to me with a smile. “Thank you, ma’am, but it was a team effort, not just me. The reason I am here today, is to ask permission to miss first class after lunch today, which is art, as I have an important business meeting that I need to attend” replied, “Yes, Anton that will be fine, I will let your teacher know, thank you for letting me know, and have a good day” the deputy principal responded, and I headed towards my locker to get my books for my first two classes for today. Each class seemed to drag on for ever, as if time had slowed down. When the bell finally sounded for the lunch break, I grabbed my backpack and raced out the door, ignoring a call from the teacher to slow down and not to run. When I arrived at the local council offices, I was a little puffed from running, so I stopped and tried to calm down a little, before I stepped in and went to the main counter. “May I speak to someone from the building department please?” I asked politely, and the receptionist looked at me strangely, before picking up the phone and speaking to someone briefly, “Take a seat, he will be with you shortly” the lady said to me in an annoyed tone, I thanked her and took a seat. Nearly twenty minutes later, a balding gentleman finally appeared from out the back somewhere, and he looked around, before seeing the receptionist point at me. “How can I help you, young man?” the gentleman said to me. “Tell me sir, is it customary to make ratepayers wait for nearly twenty minutes, before being attended to” I said to him as I stood up, with my back to the receptionist, “What do you mean by ratepayer?” the council worker asked. “My name is Anton Hamilton, and not only do I own a property here in town, but I also own a tourism business, when I asked to speak to someone from the building department, I was not expecting to have to wait for twenty minutes” I replied feeling my temper starting to build. “I am terribly sorry sir, the receptionist, just said that a school kid asked to see someone, and that it wasn’t urgent, and I said since it wasn’t urgent that I would be out as soon as I had finished my lunch” the gentleman responded. “Although that is not an acceptable response, it is not why I am here today, may we go somewhere to talk” I replied, and I was lead to a small meeting room, just around the corner from the reception foyer. Taking a few breaths to try and calm down, before I started, I sat down and pulled out my laptop from my bag and turned it on. “The reason I am here is, that although I have just bought a five-bedroom home on 8 acres of land for my family, that being my grandfather, my widowed mother and my two half-brothers, I am in need of additional accommodation for my employees, when they are not working” I stated. “Can I just ask you, are you the family that owns the catamaran in the marina?” the council worker asked, “Yes, that is us, and I employ four staff when we are on charters around the region” I replied. “I see, so what are your plans for additional accommodation then Mr Harrington?” the council worker asked me, and I presented to him a number of options, one being four one bedroom cabins, with bathroom and kitchenette, another option is two granny flats, that have two bedrooms each, or a four bedroom workers cabin, each one with their own bathroom, or the final option is a 4 bedroom, two-bathroom house with two living areas, cross shaped house. The council worker suggested that maybe I should consider having maybe one granny flat and two cabins, situated away from the main house, so that in the future, if I wanted to sell the property, it could be subdivided, with the main house on one block and a extra group of accommodation, on the other block. I was given a few forms that needed to be filled in, and told that an architectural plan of the accommodation layout and a map of the property to be included in the application. I thanked the gentleman for his assistance, and I left the building refusing to even look at the receptionist, and I headed back to the school, depositing the forms in my locker, before heading to the library for the last fifteen minutes of class. At the end of the first school day of the week, I was pleased to be back at the marina, and once we were changed out of our school uniform, I asked Jasper and Gramps to join me in the office. Once the door was closed, I took the forms and lap top computer out of my backpack, and I began to present my ideas to the those in front of me. When I had finished, there was a long silence, and eventually gramps cleared his throat to speak. “I think that it is a good idea to provide the extra accommodation, and I agree with the council worker that we place the buildings further to the front and on the opposite side of the property” Gramps said. I thanked them for their input and while Jasper left the room, Gramps remained to help me fill in the forms, and I printed out a copy of the layout plans for each of the two types of accommodation, and added them to the forms, and we completed them just before dinner time, as I planned to submit the forms on Wednesday, as soon as I had a copy of the property plans, that I would get tomorrow. Just as we were finishing dinner, my mobile rang, and looking at the caller ID it was Kirk and Leon calling. “Hey guys, how are you going?” I said as soon as I answered, “Hey boss, we are good thanks to you and the skipper, the accommodation here is great too, thanks for organising the accommodation and the flights back to the mainland” Kirk and Leon said in turns, “I have arranged accommodation for a week in Fremantle, before you travel up to Jurien Bay. The family has purchased a home, so there will be more room on the yacht, so by the time you arrive, we will have moved in, so you can settle into your jobs right away” I said to the lads, “That sounds good by us, thanks again for everything you have done for us, and we look forward to seeing you all again” the lads said and they ended the call. Over the next few days, the routine of going to school, doing homework and looking after the boys, while mum and gramps were away in Geraldton doing some final shopping for our new home. After school on Wednesday, I submitted the documents and plans to the local council, and informed that it would be approximately two weeks before I know a response on my application. On Thursday, after school, with Simon and the boys with me, I met with the real estate agent to finalise the settlement of the house, and once the documents were signed and I handed over the bank cheque, I was given the full set of keys to the house, and congratulated on my first home purchase. Once the real estate agent had left, we all went upstairs and had another look around the house, which was now officially mine and my families. After a good look, around the house, we checked out the large two bay shed, and workshop, with the large water tanks nearby. When we had done that, we rode towards the front of the property, and I stopped about halfway, which is about 75 metres from the front gate, and I looked around the area, which has just small and medium sized shrubs around the area. “I think the village of accommodation can be on just one side of the driveway, starting about ten metres back from the road, with an access road in the middle” I said to Simon and the boys, Simon smiled and nodded his head in agreement. When we arrived back at the marina, I was pleased to see Mum and Gramps had just arrived back from Geraldton, and the vehicle and trailer were jammed pack full of boxes of new purchases, along with another new vehicle. “Hello Mum and Gramps, I have completed the settlement, how about I change out of my uniform, and come with you to unload everything at our new home” I suggested. “Simon and the boys and I have just come from there, how about Gramps looks after the boys, and Simon, Jasper and I come and do the unloading” I suggested, “Very well then, go and get changed and we will go” Mum said. Less than twenty minutes later, we were back at our new home, and we began to transport everything into the house, including the main item that I had ordered, a brand-new desk top computer with a large screen, which I placed in what will be my office.
  14. FS Chapter 14

    A few minutes later, I found the tell-tale signs of a bite, with a small area red and swollen, on her lower calf muscle, after getting Angela to sit up, and grabbing my first aid kit, I grabbed a bandage and began to tightly bandage the leg. Once I was done, I asked Tom to pack up everything of theirs as we would be leaving the camp as soon as possible, and while he was busy doing this, I stepped out of the shelter, and tapped the ear piece to activate it. “Staff Sergeant Mitchell Benning to Base, I have a priority one medical emergency, over”, I said quietly, “Cub, this is Warrant Officer Owens, receiving your emergency, please give me some more details of the emergency, over” I heard the familiar voice say. “Sir, I am at the Swamp Oak campsite on the Bibbulmun track, 26 kilometres south of Dwellingup. I have a female patient, aged approximately 30 years old, minor injury of badly twisted ankle, and major injury of an unknow bite, possible spider, her respiration is fast, cold and clammy skin, sweating, she is conscious, and able to respond to my questions, request immediate chopper extraction, over” I said. “Message received Cub, standby for further information” Warrant Officer Owens replied. “Who was that you were talking too, and how can you do that with no radio/” Tom said to me looking a little confused, as he stood nearby, “I am with a special regiment in the Army, and we have these little satellite earpiece communicators, that I can call my base to get help” I replied, as I glanced over to Angela. “What we need to do, once we know that help is on its way, is to make our way to a clearing just under a kilometre north west of here” I announced, and I walked up to Angela, to check on her condition. “Base to Cub, help is on its way, do you have a place where the chopper can land, over” I heard WO Owens say in my ear, “Affirmative to that, there is a tree harvest clearing approximately 1.3 kilometres north west of our current location, just east of the Lane Poole reserve campsites” I replied, “Copy that Cub, I will relay the information, they will be there in 45 minutes, over and out” I heard the WO say. “Ok Tom, just grab your mum’s backpack, as I presume that has all of your main essential belongings, just leave your backpack beside mine, and we will collect them later” I said to the lad as I squatted down and picked up Angela, who groaned with pain. “Tom, I will need you to lead the way, with my torch, but don’t get to far ahead of me” I said to Tom, and we set off northwards up the track, and 400 metres later we came to an access track. “Turn left Tom” I announced when I saw the junction, and with a wider and smother track, I was able to pick up the pace a bit, and after a further 800 metres I could see the large clearing in amongst the small row of trees, and I could hear the distant sound of a chopper approaching. “Hear that Tom? That is the rescue chopper, come to pick us up” I said to the lad, as we walked through the light bush, till we finally arrived at the clearing, and I placed Angela carefully on the ground. “Stay with your mum buddy, and pass me the torch” I said to Tom, and I walked out further in the clearing, where I waited until the chopper was fairly close, before I turned on the torch and shone it up in the air, and waved it from side to side, and some floodlights on the chopper turned on, shining on me and the surrounding area. Once it had landed, two paramedics stepped out, one walked in my direction, while the other retrieved a portable stretcher, and quickly I gave a brief of Angela’s condition, what I had done, and the respiration and pulse readings that I had taken. “Some first aid training I see” the paramedic stated after I had given all the details, “More than that smart arse, now attend to your patient, and let’s get loaded and heading to hospital” I said in an annoyed manner, and I helped load Angela onto the stretcher, and carry her to the chopper and load her in, then I lifted Tom, into the back as well. The paramedic attempted to close the door, but I put my hand against the door, to keep it open. “If you leave me behind, I can guarantee that you will lose your job” I snarled at the paramedic, “Who the hell do you think you are, you can find your own way back to the city” the paramedic said to me. “Wrong again Mr” I snapped and forcing the paramedic back with my hand on his chest, I climbed onboard and closed the door behind me. The stunned paramedic didn’t know what to do, shocked at being told what to do. At that point, I spotted the pilot looking back at us, “I suggest you take off, if this lady dies because of your idiot partner, then it is on your head not mine” I said to the pilot, who nodded his head, and faced forward, and soon we were in the air and heading north to the city. Looking around the rear cabin, I spotted the oxygen, and I placed the mask over Angela’s face and turned it on. Opening a few cupboards, I found the stethoscope, and the BP Cuff, and I soon was checking Angela’s Blood pressure. I called out the reading, which the paramedic noted down, followed by the pulse and respiration readings, before I handed the stethoscope over to the paramedic to let him continue, while I checked on Tom. “Your mum is in good hands now, and we will be at the hospital in about 35 minutes, so try not to worry” I said to Tom, and I moved forward and sat in the co-pilot seat, and put the headset on. “Hello, I am Mitchell Benning, a qualified first responder with the Army, I am sorry about how I reacted to your partner, but he was being arrogant, and getting in the way of me travelling with you guys, I reported the emergency and I need to remain with Angela and her son” I said to the pilot, who nodded his head in understanding. When we landed at the hospital, there was a medical team waiting for us, and they hurriedly loaded Angela onto a trolley and took her inside, and I guided Tom as we entered the hospital, where a nurse directed us to a quiet waiting area down on the first floor. “Tom, is there a purse in the backpack, with your mum’s driver’s licence and other items?” I asked the lad, who was looking very sleepy, and he nodded his head yes. I let Tom lay down on seats, as I looked into the backpack and retrieved, the purse, where I found Angela’s Driver’s licence and health insurance card. Leaving Tom to sleep, I went looking for a nurse, to let them know identification and health insurance details of Angela. Once I had done this, I returned to the lounge, where I found Tom awake and crying, as soon as he saw me, he rushed towards me and hugged me tight. “I’m sorry buddy, I just had to give the hospital some details about your mum, I won’t leave you alone again” I explained to Tom, as I bent down to pick him up, and he wrapped his arms around my neck, and I hugged him as I sat down, and waited to him to calm down a bit more. “Tom, I live with my aunty in Nedlands, once we know that your mum is ok and recovering, how about you come with me to my home, and my Aunty Jean, can give you some breakfast, and we can get you cleaned up and get some sleep” I said to Tom. “Ok Uncle Mitch” Tom said softly and he started to drift off to sleep in my arms again, and I smiled as I listened to his slow breathing. About half an hour later, a nurse came into the room, and seeing Tom sleeping in my arms, she sat down beside me, and quietly explained that Ms Parker had been bitten by a red back spider, and the antivenom was now dealing with that, and her ankle has been treated as well, and that she was sleeping. I thanked the nurse for the update, and asked her to jot down some information, and I gave her my home phone number and address, and asked the nurse to let Angela know that Tom is safely with me and my Aunt Jean, until she is well enough to be discharged from hospital. With Tom in my arms, and Angela’s backpack on my shoulder, I walked to the elevator and made my way down to the front entrance of the hospital, where I was surprised to see WO Owens waiting for me. “I thought you might want a lift back home” to your Aunt’s place, Hillman Way, Nedlands wasn’t it” the WO said to me with a smile as he grabbed the backpack off me. “Thanks sir, I appreciate it, I also need to go back and collect the rest of my and young Tom’s belongings at the campsite” I replied. “You look after young Tom here, and I will do that myself, first thing in the morning” the WO replied, as we climbed into an Army vehicle and once I had Tom strapped in, we drove towards the western suburbs. “Stirling Highway, and down Broadway is the most direct way there, thanks Sir” I said as I glanced back to check on Tom who was still sound asleep. “You better call your aunt and let her know you are on your way home” the WO said as he handed me his mobile phone. I glanced at my watch, and it was just after 0500 hours, and I hoped that Aunt Jean would not be to upset with being woken up this early, as I dialled the number. I was a little surprised when the phone was picked up almost right away, “Is that you Mitchell, are you ok” my aunt said to me right away, “I am fine thanks, I bumped into some people on the track, who were injured and fell ill, I am on my way home now, I have ten year old Tom with me, his mum is in hospital recovering” I said softly, Ok, I will get some breakfast started for you both, see you soon” my aunt said and she ended the call. Tom woke up when we arrived at my home, and he walked close to me as we approached the door, with me carrying his mother’s backpack, just as the patio light came on and the front door opened, with my aunt smiling, “Aunty Jean, this is Tom Parker” I said making the introductions, ‘Come in young man, let’s get some breakfast into you, then we will get you washed up and into bed” my aunt said taking charge of Tom. After breakfast, I found a pair of winter pyjamas that were a little too small for me, and I gave them to Tom, along with a fresh towel, and showed him the bathroom, so he could have a shower. While he was cleaning up, I helped aunty make up the bed in the spare bedroom, next to mine for Tom to sleep in, and when Tom appeared clean and dressed for bed, we showed him his bedroom, tucked him in, and he fell asleep nearly right away. Once I had showered and changed, I too decided to catch up on some sleep, and I let Aunty Jean know that the guy who dropped us off may return with our belongings while we are asleep, and I headed to my room and promptly fell asleep as well. When I woke up a few hours later, I was feeling refreshed, and looking at my watch, I saw that it was just before 1100 hours. Once dressed, I made my way to the kitchen, where I found my aunt chatting to Tom who was also dressed in fresh clothes, and looking around, I spotted my backpack near the hallway, and I smile. “Hello Tom, how are you feeling” I asked the lad with a smile. “I feeling better now thanks, Aunty Jean just rang the hospital, and I spoke to mum for a little while, she said that she will be in hospital for a few more days” Tom replied happily, I was about to ask another question, when an unexpected voice hit my ear. I had totally forgotten about the ear comm’s piece, and it made me jump in fright, which Tom noticed, and he chuckled. “Benning’s here Warrant Officer” I said after activating the comm’s piece, “Cub, I am just checking in to see how you are going, you were fast asleep when I dropped off your gear” WO Owens said, “All good thanks sir, I didn’t mention it before but my car is also at Dwellingup” I responded. “You will find it parked in your driveway, we found the keys in your backpack, see you at 0800 on Monday, Owens out” the WO said, and at that point I removed the ear piece out of my ear, and placed it in my pocket. “I keep forgetting about that damn thing, I had it in when I went to bed earlier. Now Tom, could you possibly tell me a bit about you and your mum, like where are you from, and what were you doing on the Bibbulmun Track” I asked the lad. “We are from Victoria, Mum and I left home two years ago, to escape her abusive boyfriend, who had been hunting us no matter where we go. We went to Rawson, in the lower Australian Alps in Victoria, where we rented a remote cabin for about 4 months, which was awesome, as Mum and I started to do long hikes in the mountains. When Dean found us up there, we fled into the mountains with just a backpack each, leaving everything else behind, and we hiked an Alpine walking track for two weeks, before we travelled to Tasmania and rented a house at Tullah, where we lived for about 8 months, till Dean found us again, and once again we fled into the mountains. This time we were prepared, we didn’t have any extra possessions, and we made sure that we were better prepared for long distance hiking, and we reached Southport about 6 weeks later, mostly living on freeze dried food. We arrived in Western Australia about two months ago, and we lived in Mt Barker, while exploring the Stirling Ranges and Porongurup’s, before travelling to Albany, and hiking up the Bibbulmun track, until we met you when mum tripped on something and hurt her ankle” Tom said to us. “Wow, you have had a real difficult time haven’t you, and this ex-boyfriend of your Mum’s seems to be able to track you down easily” I replied, “Mum thinks he has connections with crime bosses, who have police connections, that is how he keeps on finding us” Tom said sadly. “Well my friend, he will not be able to track you down, where I plan to hide you, and before all of this bad stuff happened, what did you mum do for an income” I asked. “Well my grandad, left mum an inheritance income, so she doesn’t need to work, but before that she was a qualified high school teacher” Tom replied. “Ok, we you may not have to run any more, as I have the idea place where you and your mum can live, if I can get the necessary permission, but I will tell you more once I have spoken to a few people” I said with a smile. “After lunch, how about you take Tom to the hospital to visit his mum” Aunty Jean suggested to me. “Yes, Aunty I was already planning to do that” I replied with a smile, and we chatted for an hour, while lunch was being prepared. Just before lunch, I went into my room, and put the ear piece back into my ear and activated it, “Cub to base, anybody copy?” I said, “CO here Cub, how can I help you?” came Lt Colonel Harding’s voice, “Sir, I need to speak to you on an urgent matter, can I see you as soon as possible please” I responded. “Ok Cub, I will be in my office on the base at 1600 hours, I will speak to you then, Base out” the CO said and the link ended. Once we had eaten lunch, I drove Tom to the hospital to see his mum, and I stayed outside the hospital room, to let Tom spend some time with his mum. After half an hour, I entered the room and Angela smiled broadly, “Here is my guardian angel, hello Mitchell, thank you for everything that you have done for us both” Angela said to me, “It is my pleasure, I am glad that I was able to help” I replied. “Tom tells me that you and your Aunty Jean have been taking good care of my boy, and that you have some sort of plan to keep us safe” Angela said, I smiled and nodded my head, as I sat down a chair close to the bed. “I am a Royal Australian Engineer Regiment member of the Special Air Command, based at Campbell Barracks, my main job is Weapons training, at our main training facility north of Perth. I spend a lot of my time there at the facility, which is a restricted area, for defence personnel only, and I have a meeting with my commanding officer this afternoon, to see if it is possible for you both to stay there, until this matter is resolved” I said quietly.
  15. FR Chapter 22

    “Here is, this month’s wages, and a one-month bonus for you both, with my thanks for everything that you have done for us,” I said to the lads as I handed over the envelopes. “Thanks, Boss. It has been awesome to get to know you and the family,” Leon replied with a half-smile. Turning to Simon and speaking in a soft voice I said, “Remind me to empty out the safe, and grab the sat phone, before I head over to the catamaran tonight.” He nodded his head in understanding. I suggested that we all go onto the island for a walk and swim, and the boys were pleased to hear this. “But we don’t have our swimmers with us,” Neale said to us. “Well, maybe you can strip down to your undies, and us oldies will just be ankle or knee deep,” I replied with a smile, and I followed the boys to the back of the yacht, and onto the swim platform, where the boys jumped in and splashed around. Mum appeared soon after with some towels, and we watched the boys together, while the rest of the crew went for a look around the island. An hour later when they returned to the yacht, we called the boys to come out of the water, and while Mum was getting them dried off, I went up to the fly bridge, and the lads pulled up the anchor, so we could return to the marina. When we arrived Mum, Gramps and the boys headed over to the catamaran, and I said I would be over there shortly. I made my way back to the office with Simon heading to the fly bridge to retrieve the satellite phone, before coming to the office. I retrieved what was left of the cash, plus Jasper’s passport, and a few other bits and pieces, and I left the yacht’s ownership documents in there. Heading out of the office I made my way over to the catamaran, where I found Mum sitting in the saloon. “Hi, Mum. Where are the boys?” I asked. “Taking a nap. Neale was feeling a little tired with helping with the move, and Jedd wanted to stay close to his brother,” mum replied, as I gave her a smile and announced that I was heading to bridge. Once there I opened up my laptop computer and had a look at what real estate was available to buy in town. It wasn’t long before I found a number of suitable homes. The one that I liked the best was a two level, four-bedroom house with double garage, lots of open living spaces on both levels, and a good size back landscaped garden. I called the number for the real estate agent, and she was happy to be available for a viewing later that afternoon. I did the same for the other properties, setting a viewing time of 45 minutes between each viewing. When the family went over to the trimaran for lunch, Simon asked Mum if she could cook dinner for that night on the catamaran, and Mum happily agreed to do that, but the lads had to go and do a major shopping trip straight after lunch, which they agreed to do. I noticed that the last of Simon and Jasper’s luggage was sitting just inside the saloon door, as we entered and sat down at the dining table, where the lads served us our last meal together on the trimaran. While Simon, Kirk and Leon were off shopping, Jasper and I cleaned up, and got the galley into a good order, ready for the transfer, and when done, we headed over to the catamaran, where Mum, Gramps and the boys were relaxing in the saloon. “Hi, can everyone climb into Gramps car? I have a couple of things to show you,” I said to the family, who looked a little surprised at my request. Once in the vehicle, I gave Gramps the address, and less than five minutes later we arrived at the first property that I saw online. “I thought it would be best if we bought a home instead of another yacht, so I have chosen the three best ones,” I announced, as we arrived at the first address, which was fairly close to the marina. Everyone climbed out of the car. The two boys were very excited to see the house, and I introduced myself and the family to the waiting real estate agent. “Are you the family that owns those two yachts in the marina?” the agent asked, when she heard our surname. “Yes, we are, but the bigger trimaran has just been sold, so that is why we need to find a new home for the family,” I replied with a smile. Once we had seen the 4-bedroom property on Villaret Way, we thanked the agent, and said we were also viewing the property on Bettong Avenue. We all climbed back into the vehicle and headed towards the centre of town to see the second property, which had 4 bedrooms and a study. By the time, we had finished seeing the last property on Cambewarra Drive, which is further away from the marina, I had already decided that I liked the last property the best. The house was one level, built about 3.5 metres higher than the main road. It had a verandah all around. With five bedrooms and an office, two bathrooms and an extra toilet, there was plenty of room for the family. It was on a large 8 acres of land, a 7 ½ kilometre drive from the marina, and about the same distance to the school. When I looked at Mum and Gramps they too were all smiles. “It appears that the family likes this house the best, so we will buy this one please,” I said to the real estate agent, who was a little shocked at my announcement. The house was already vacant, and included a pool table and an outdoor spa, so the agent said that settlement could be as early as two-week’s time, which we were happy about. When we were all in the vehicle again, I turned to Gramps. “I think you can have the guest bedroom, that has its own ensuite bathroom, Mum can have the master bedroom, also with its own en suite bathroom, the boys can have a bedroom each, and I will have the last one, with the boys and I sharing the family bathroom. Jasper and Simon can remain living on the yacht, and we can give them lunch and dinner at the house,” I announced, and everyone seemed pleased with this decision, as we made our way back to the marina. When we arrived back at the catamaran, Kirk and Leon had just finished putting the food away, and were now starting to prepare dinner, while Simon was relaxing in the saloon, where the family joined him. “So, Boss, can you tell me why all of your family is so happy?” Jasper asked me when he saw that everyone was smiling. “Oh, that might have something to do with our little excursion just now. We have been looking at homes around town, and we are buying a four-bedroom house, on 8 acres, just out of town,” I replied. “Wow, that is awesome. So what happens with Jasper and I?” Simon asked. “I was hoping that you would be ok to remain on board here, and you can both have lunch and dinner with us at the house each day when not on charter. You can have the crew double cabin, and Jasper can have the forward guest cabin,” I replied. “Yes, that is definitely fine by me,” Simon replied with a smile. Once dinner was over, Kirk and Leon said goodnight and headed over to the trimaran. They looked very sad as they left the catamaran, knowing that in the morning, they would have a new boss, and would soon be heading south to Fremantle, and then eastwards. The following morning I woke up to the sound of Mum calling the boys to get up and get dressed ready for school, and once I had showered and dressed, I made my way to the galley to get some breakfast. I was a little surprised to see that Jasper was back, and Simon, Kirk and Leon were there eating breakfast. “Good morning, Guys. Nice to see you home again, Jasper,” I said with a smile, trying to keep the mood happy for everyone. “Morning, Boss. Marcus let me inside. I texted him when I had arrived in town,” Jaspers responded, as I sat down. Once I had eaten, I stood up and walking over to the lads, I gave each of them a hug, and told them to keep in touch, and to contact me if they had any concerns. I saw tears in both of the lad’s eyes, and they nodded their heads acknowledging my statement. Before I started to show signs of tearing also, I headed to the office nearby to grab a text book that I need for school. I took the chance to wipe my face, before heading back out to the saloon. “Ok, we are off to school, Mum. See you this afternoon,” I said, as I shoved the text book into my backpack. Neale, Jedd and Simon were ready, and followed me off yacht, before grabbing our bikes and riding to school, for the start of another school week. When we arrived at the school, the senior leadership team – Mike, Sam, Toby and Finn were waiting for us. I introduced them to my other brother Neale. I lead my brothers to the junior school, and once I had done that I returned to the senior school, and prepared for my first class for the day, which was English, followed by Physics. By the time that lunch time arrived, I was glad for the break, and letting Simon know, I headed over to the junior school, to have lunch with my brothers. Both boys were happy to see me arrive, and I asked Neale how his first day back at school was going. Neal informed me that he had made a few friends, and that he liked all of his teachers so far, which I was pleased to hear, as we sat down to eat. Just as I was about to head off back to the senior school, my mobile sounded with a message, and I saw that it was from Jasper. “I have reactivated the yacht charter website this morning, and we have already received a number of enquiries. Mr Kingsley is waiting till you return after school, before they set off for Fremantle,” I read, and I smiled as I put my mobile away. Letting the boys know I would see them at the end of the school day, I headed back to the senior school, to get ready for the last two classes for the day. When Simon, my brothers and I arrived back at the marina after school, we saw a lot of activity happening on the decks, and recognised Kirk and Leon preparing to set off on their new adventure. I just hoped that it all worked out well for them. As I reached the end of the jetty I saw Mr Kingsley barking orders to the lads and two other crew members. I didn’t like the sound it, but I could do nothing about it. I said hello to Mr Kingsley as I stopped near the trimaran. He looked down from the fly bridge and smiled at me. “Hello, Anton. How was your day at school? All good I hope. Thanks for having the trimaran in good order, when I came on board this morning. I look forward to the coming months of sailing back home,” Mr Kingsley said to me, and he made his way down to the main deck, where he handed me a bank cheque as the second payment. “I wish you, and you crew a safe and uneventful journey,” I said to him with a smile, as I handed over the ownership papers, while he signed the Sale agreement document, which I counter signed. Kirk and Leon came up to near where I was standing. “We wish we hadn’t agreed to stay with the yacht now. We will miss you heaps, Boss,” the lads said to me quietly, so that only I could hear them. “I will miss you guys too. Take care and remember I am just a phone call away. So, you remember the URL for our website? Just email me via there, if you can’t call,” I replied to Kirk and Leon, who were both now visibly crying. “Let’s get going. Release the mooring ropes, fore and aft,” Mr Kingsley announced loudly, and I stepped back away from the edge of the jetty, as I watched the trimaran slowly move away, and head towards the Indian Ocean. Moments later I raised my hand and waved to them and saw the lads wave back, as they left the marina. Once the trimaran was out of sight, I went on board the catamaran, and I sat down in the saloon, dumping my backpack at my feet. I had a terrible feeling in my stomach, and I wished that I had not gone ahead with the sale of the trimaran. I estimated that the yacht would arrive in Fremantle in about nine and a half hours. I wanted to try and contact the lads to see how they were after the trip to Fremantle, but I knew that I would have to wait till the morning to text them. I needed to get plenty of sleep since I still had school to concentrate on. I headed to my cabin, where I listened to some music, while I did some homework, and remained there until it was time for dinner. I was pleased to see that Simon and Mum were working together. Over dinner I just listened to the conversations around the table, as I did not want to talk about how I was feeling right then. I offered to help with the clean-up, and Simon said he would help me to do the dishes. Once, we had started, Simon sighed loudly. “So, I guess you are thinking about the lads and how they are going with their new boss,” Simon said to me. I just nodded my head and kept going with the dishes. “Are you going to give them a call or text in the morning?” Simon asked me after a long period of silence. “That’s my plan, yes,” I responded. “Don’t stress about it too much. I am sure once they have settled into a new routine, they will be fine,” Simon said to me. “I hope so. I just got this really bad feeling that’s all,” I added. Once the clean-up was finished, I headed to my cabin, to finish my homework, and once done I had a shower and went to bed, not feeling up to socialising with the family and the crew, but just as I climbed into bed there was a knock on my cabin door. “Come in, Boys,” I said, knowing that I had not said goodnight to Neale and Jedd, who had frowns on their faces as they opened the door. “Hey, Guys, sorry. I’m not very happy today. I didn’t mean to take it out on you. Go and grab a book and I will read you a story,” I said to them. They smiled and disappeared, returning moments later with a book in hand. Half an hour later, with the story finished, I gave the boys a hug each and said goodnight, and they headed to their cabin to go to bed. The next morning, as soon as I woke up, I picked up my phone and sent a text message to Kirk and Leon, “Hey guys, I am just checking in to see how the trip is going for you so far. Let me know as soon as you can, Regards Anton.” Moments later my phone beeped to say that the message had not been sent. I stared at the phone for a few moments wondering why the message had not been sent, and I kept thinking about it as I dressed and got ready for school. I was still looking at my phone when I arrived at the dining room for breakfast. “Hey, did you manage to get a message to Kirk and Leon?” Simon said as he arrived moments later. “I tried, but it says – message not sent. What would cause it to do that?” I replied. “Well the only two things that I can think of are, either they are out of range, or the battery is out of their phone. Do you think they are alright?” Simon responded. “I do hope so,” I replied. Each morning and afternoon for the remainder of the week, I tried calling Kirk and Leon, and each time I received a recorded message that the number that I was calling was out of range or disconnected, and as each day passed, the more worried I became. When Jasper had secured a two-day charter for 6 guests on the weekend, I was too worried about everything, so I booked a motel room for Friday and Saturday nights, and Mum and the boys chose to spend the weekend in Geraldton, leaving Jasper, Simon and Gramps to manage the charter. Mum said she needed to travel to Geraldton to organise furniture and household goods for our new house, so borrowing the car they set off straight after the boys were home from school, for the two-hour journey north. Mum had already booked a motel in Geraldton for them to stay in, so she could spend most of Saturday shopping. Having my laptop with me, I looked at Google maps at I ate my takeaway dinner that Friday night, wondering where they could possibly be. The more I studied the map, the more I was afraid that they were not going to go around the south of Australia, but instead head north west towards the Arabian Gulf. While online, a message came up to say that I had a new email, When I opened it, I was not happy with the email from my bank, informing me that the 2nd bank cheque from Mr Kingsley had bounced. When I woke up on Saturday morning, I once again, dialled Kirk and Leon’s mobile number, and this time it was ringing, which I was relieved to hear. “Hello. Why are you calling my crew members?” came an unexpected voice. “Is that you, Mr Kingsley?” I asked a little surprised. “Yes, it is. Kirk and Leon are busy working. Don’t call them again, as they have too much work to do,” came a reply before the phone went dead. I stared at the phone for a few minutes, before I put it down and dressed. Walking into town, I found a café that was open and ordered some breakfast, and while waiting my phone rang. Looking at the caller ID it said Kirk and Leon. “Hello,” I said cautiously, not sure who was calling me. “Oh, thank goodness you are answering. I can’t stay on the phone too long as Mr Kingsley has threatened to throw our phone in the ocean,” Kirk said. “Guys, where on earth are you, and what is going on?” I asked them, pleased to be able to speak to them at last. “We arrived in the Cocos Keeling Islands late last night. Mr Kingsley says our next stop is the Maldives Islands, then onto the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.”

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