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Chapter 18

Red Sea, off Eritrea, 1:04 P.M. 

It was too quiet, too peaceful, too good to last....

It was a week later and Carlos was on a trawler in the Red Sea just south of Jeddo. His mission- cruising and fishing. Well earned R and R while he recovered from a broken nose and other bruises.

The trawler had been loaned to him to replace Fisk's yacht, which Fisk had given to Sheikh Qanyare as a kind of "signing" bonus.

Qanyare had received his wives back with the yacht, which somewhat diminished his appreciation of Fisk's gift. But he was still on the team.

And Tarita was on a high. She was celebrating not only the success of their Somali adventure, but also the box-office success of her newly released film. 

-Gamer Today Magazine

The trawler was dead in the water. Carlos had turned off the engine to let the boat drift so they could swim. He was in the galley grabbing a beer when suddenly the silence was broken by a ship's horn blast astern.

Carlos looked aft through a porthole. A small warship was approaching fast. 

He realized that the trawler had been mistaken for a pirate mother ship, which it once had been. The warship, a British frigate, pulled alongside.

It was the omnipresent HMS Azalea. And there on the bridge, bullhorn in hand, was Lieutenant Commander Updike. His clipped British accent resounded over the water.

Updike: "Hear this, trawler crew: All hands on deck. Now! Or we will board you."

Minutes went by and nobody appeared on the trawler's deck. Updike raised his bullhorn again, but stopped when he saw a hatch cover start to open.

A feminine hand and arm emerged to push the hatch cover up. They were followed by Tarita's head, then her bare breasts, then the rest of her, also bare. 

Tarita: "Why Admiral, how nice to see you again. We were just about to take a swim. Please come join us this time. We're skinny dipping. You'll LOVE it! Then afterward we'll all have a good gin together. Get close."

Carlos's head and shirtless chest rose from the hatch beside Tarita. Smiling invitingly, and working hard to stifle laughter, they waited for Updike to react.

The haughty Royal Navy officer stood rigidly on his ship's bridge, his upper lip stiffening a bit. Updike's mate awaited the order that, like the time before, would send HMS Azalea steaming indignantly away from these libidinous loonies.

Several seconds passed. Carlos nudged Tarita to give Updike another zinger. Draping one arm over Carlos's high shoulders, she addressed the prim Brit in a low, slow, come-hither VOICe ....

Tarita: "Two men would be such fun for me. Do join us, Admiral."

With characteristic formality, Lieutenant-Commander Updike removed his officer's hat, placed it on the bridge console, raised his bullhorn and addressed them.

Updike: "Don't mind if I do. Do you have tea?"