CRUISE FOUR
THE SEQUEL TO
THE MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE
PART THREE
ROUGH  PASSAGE
                  As shown in the previous chapter, the Wheaten Princess was in grave danger.
 
There was a Terrorist plot to blow the ship and all her innocent passengers to Kingdom Come, and the fate of every soul rested in the capable paws of LT COLONEL MURPHY V - with the help of FBI Agents Guinny, Dasher and Bailey; the dauntless French-Canadian Inspector Griffin and his brave British friend, Major Sydney, and Cooper, the Reporter who had assisted them in obtaining the information.
The fearless seven met together to discuss tactics. How would they go about this?  They could identify the terrorists, but they needed to know first where the bomb was planted! After it was safely disarmed, the men could be apprehended. It was too risky to attempt arresting them when they did not know where, exactly, the bomb was or how much time they had to disarm it!

Cooper, the reporter, had told them that the terrorists had discussed placing it in the ship's engine room. It was probably already there, and set to detonate by remote control!

THEY HAD TO FIND IT - AND QUICKLY!
To make matters a whole lot worse, Captain Guiness had told them he'd received report of an approaching storm front, and they were headed straight into it! He had set a course to miss the centre, but they would still be caught in the fringe, and that would make the next two days extremely rough going.

Everything seemed to be working against them!  But our brave friends were not discouraged, and continued to search the engine room for the place where the suitcase was hidden. It was a very large and complicated area to search, and not a square foot could be missed.

While Murphy V and the FBI Agents were making the search, Griffin, Sydney and Cooper kept a close tail on the two terrorists. They were experienced in following a suspect without raising their suspicions, and Cooper was making good use of his listening device. 

From their conversations, it became obvious that they intended to set the device off by remote control, worked by a cell phone. It also became evident that they planned to make use of the fast approaching bad weather to do the dirty deed. So Murphy V and the FBI Agents had only a matter of hours in which to locate the device and disarm it!

Griffin and Sydney considered the possibility of grabbing the two men and taking the cell phone before they had a chance to punch in the deadly code, but then, Cooper made an alarming discovery -

Meanwhile, life on board continued as if nothing was wrong. The Captain had warned everyone that they were headed into bad weather, and that he had altered course to miss the worst of it, but ropes were still being set up around the ship to assist people in getting from one place to another, and everything on deck had been secured.

No one was to be permitted on deck once the Captain considered it dangerous. They battened down, and prepared to weather it through, regardless, so the Band kept on playing; the passengers kept on dancing and no one seemed, yet, to be off their food! There was a heavy swell, but the Wheaten Princess was well built and well balanced to ride out the toughest weather.

No one knew the extent of the danger they were in, or the desperate attempts being made to save them all from a terrible fate in mid Atlantic. 

Abby suggested that they hold a competition for the best dancing couple, so there was a dash to the floor as eager youngsters competed for the case of French Champagne!

Hurley was the first in, with the lovely Bella Beachbunny, followed by Cody and Morgan; Boogie and Madame Stella; Riley A and Shana; Boomer and Katie S; Clancy and Maeve; Buddy and Cassie; Finnegan G and Khaki and Dr Charlie with Katie T.

The members of the Band chose the winners, and they picked Charlie and Katie T.  The next thing that happened was the sound of corks popping as the case of Champers was shared among all who had been on the floor with them.
Captain Guinness called a meeting in his cabin to discuss the situation that faced them. His top Officers were there, plus other significant members of the Crew. Lt Col Murphy was there to brief them on what was happening regarding the terrorist threat.

Doctor Charlie and RN Scooch were among those present. They needed to know about the approaching Storm Front in order to be prepared for cases of sea-sickness, but they also needed to be told about the bomb threat, so they could be prepared for possible casualties. Likewise, Shadow needed to be told so that he could provide suitable entertainment to take passengers' minds off the rough weather.
THE TWO CRIMINALS HAD AN UNKNOWN 'BACKUP' ACCOMPLICE ON THE SHIP! - and he had A SECOND CELL PHONE which was to be used if the other one failed, or if they should be captured! 

               So there was no choice in the matter. The device had to be found first!
The following day, the storm front was upon them and the Wheaten Princess was tossed about in the huge waves whipped up by gale force winds. And this was the OUTER FRINGE  of the storm?! What must the CENTRE  be like!

Dr Charlie and Nurse Scooch were swamped with passengers seeking last minute 'sea-sick' meds, and there had been some minor accidents where some passengers had fallen or been thrown to the floor when the ship lurched suddenly.

The pitching and rolling upset even the strongest stomachs, and threw the most steady and balanced off their feet. That is, excepting Hurley, who thought it all an exciting 'Ride at the Fair'!  He was to be seen near the Purser's Office with several others, obviously enjoying himself while they were asking for help in what seemed a dreadful situation!
The Band and the Passionate Pooches continued to play in the main lounge throughout the day in a gallant attempt to keep everyone's spirits high. However, Riley M had fun trying to stop his drums from rolling across the room and the waiters found it difficult to carry their trays of drinks without spilling them before they reached the customers!

Some of the passengers who had strong stomachs and steady sea legs could see the funny side of it, and some were even taking videos to 'show the folks back home'!
The Beauty Queens took refuge in the Mediterranean Lounge and Bar, hoping that a few stiff drinks might calm their nerves as the ship pitched and rolled. Sitting was a whole lot safer than standing! Others had the same idea!

 All those awaiting their drinks didn't know whether to laugh or cry when poor Guinness N lost his balance when the ship suddenly lifted up, then dropped down almost immediately. The drinks on his tray went in all directions; glasses smashed, and he only managed to recover before ending up on top of his overturned tray!

Emma (the elusive!) arrived just then, wearing 'saddle bags' - much to everyone's surprise and curiosity, and she told Guinness N that she would help him pick up the broken glass before someone cut their feet on it.  When asked about the 'saddle bags' she informed them, with some degree of disdain, that she NEVER left terra firma without being prepared for the worst! She had her life preserver in there, as well as a First Aid Kit!   WELL! 
Meanwhile, our super sleuths were hard at work following the terrorists, and Cooper, the reporter extraordinaire, was listening in on their conversations. The FBI boys had gone a step further, and while the men were in the bar, Dasher planted a 'bug' so he could keep tabs on what they said in the privacy of their cabin.

Guinny arrived at their pre-arranged meeting place where they were to compare notes and discuss further plans. He was wearing his raincoat and was dripping water with every step. He'd been tailing the two men to see what they were up to out on deck, when everyone had been told to stay inside because of the raging seas and heavy rain.

Unfortunately there seemed to be nothing to report. The bomb must have been planted when they were not observing. That was not good news. Murphy V would have to presume that it had been set in the engine room.

He was informed, and the Captain was told to clear the engine room and all nearby areas, for safety, while Murphy V sniffed out the bomb - if it was there!
Later that evening, there came the breakthrough they'd been hoping for. While Murphy V was busy searching and sniffing through the Engine room, Dasher tuned into a phonecall from the Terrorists' cabin to someone named 'Hugo' in cabin 641. The bug' was paying off!  This MUST be the accomplice!

Cooper sprang into action, setting up a watch in a nearby cabin and waiting for 'Hugo' to leave.  He did so to go to the second sitting for Dinner. Cooper followed.

As hoped, 'Hugo' was met by the two terrorists and, from what Cooper could hear, they were discussing their plan.
 
Cooper hurried back to inform the others.

Soon, he was joining Griffin and Sydney in the Captain's cabin, while the FBI guys had gone to assist Murphy in the engine room.  They wanted to locate, and disarm the bomb first. Until that happened, Griffin, Sydney and Cooper would not let the three terrorists out of their sight.
Murphy V was on his knees in one particular corner of the engine room, peering into a small space where there was something that shouldn't have been there. He'd found the bomb!

He sent Guinny, Dasher and Bailey from the room and told them to keep well clear - just in case he made a mistake, then he set to work.

It was a type that he was familiar with. He very carefully removed the cover lid, and after nearly 20 minutes of separating and cutting wires he sat back, wiped his brow, and released a huge sigh of relief. THE BOMB WAS DISARMED!
                        He sat for a while before going out to tell the others that the job was done.

Dasher, Guinny and Bailey breathed a sigh of relief as they saw Murphy V emerging from the engine room, a little pale, but with a broad smile on his face.

They did not say anything. Words were quite inadequate at such a time as this. They simply returned Murphy's grin and gave each other 'high fives', then made their way to the Captain's Office to tell him the good news.

Captain Guiness thanked them all with great feeling - especially Murphy V, who had saved them all from a terrible fate. He invited them to join him in some special Irish whiskey. They all needed it!

As they relaxed, they drew up a plan to apprehend the terrorists in the early morning hours. That would be the safest time as very few people would be about and the criminals would be, hopefully, fast asleep. Even if they were armed, our friends had the element of surprise. They had keys and could sneak up on them.

At 3am, Griffin, Sydney and Cooper set out for the cabin of the third man. The FBI guys were on their way to the cabin of the first two men. They were not armed. They had what nature provided - teeth and claws!

Keys were slipped silently into locks, doors opened, and the raid was on!

One of the terrorists grinned viciously at Dasher, who had him by the ankle, and with a look of triumph on his face he punched in some numbers on the cell phone he had in his hand.

Nothing happened.

Dasher simply grinned back at the man and whispered just three words in his ear:

"Too late, Buddy!"

Griffin, Sydney and Cooper soon had the third man securely tied up. He knew he was outnumbered and did not put up a fight. Cooper and Sydney felt a little disappointed that they'd not had the opportunity to sharpen their teeth on the man's pyjamas!

So it was all over! Now Captain Guiness had to decide what to do with the criminals. He had put them in cabins which had been converted to serve as prison cells, but he really wasn't keen to be having them on board all the way to Marseille.

The next day, he made a call to the authorities in London, and to his great relief, they agreed that the Wheaten Princess could dock at Southampton and the terrorists would be taken off by the Police Special Branch, and held there for trial. Passengers would not be going ashore as it would only be a brief stop over. From there, they would go on to Marseille, free of their dangerous prisoners.
Dawn broke on the third day, revealing blue skies and calmer seas.  The whole ship breathed a sigh of relief!

Captain Guiness made an announcement which stunned even the carefree Hurley into silence.  He told them about the terrorist threat, which was now over, and how the ship would be stopping briefly at Southampton so that the three terrorists could be handed over to the appropriate authorities.

There was a buzz all over the Wheaten Princess, as passengers excitedly chatted about what had been going on while they had been thinking the storm was the worst of their worries!

They now knew who the mysterious Murphy V was!  He was their HERO!

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With all the dangers and threats over, everyone was on deck as the Pilot came aboard and two smart tugs guided them into port at Southampton. 

They watched with great interest as three men in handcuffs were escorted ashore by four hefty policemen, and bundled into a waiting van.  That would be the end of their wicked reign of terror!

Then the Wheaten Princess was on her way again - next stop - MARSEILLE!

That evening, there were special celebrations.  A very special dinner was prepared, with free Champagne for all, and the Band and Passionate Pooches provided special entertainment.

Tobey was looking after THREE ladies! Miss Reilly, his fiance, MacKenzie Jane, his younger sister, and Sister Ella, who was being adventurous, or so it seemed. She certainly raised a few eyebrows!

Rudy was with Scooch, who would have liked shore leave in Southampton, but Rudy was promising her better things in Marseille. Two of the Ballerinas were sticky-beaking over their chair at Tobey and his lady friends, and the third one, Brandy G, was still waiting for Hurley, who was apparently expected. Well, what could that boy be up to now!?
(Actually, he turned up 10 minutes after the picture was taken, with Cassie, Katie T and Kansas!!!!!! Perhaps he believes in 'safety in numbers'?)


Copyright - A P - 2009-2010
So the Wheaten Princess set course for Marseille. The sea was calm, and already passengers were forgetting about the dramas of the previous days. There were so many exciting and romantic experiences to look forward to.
In Italy, Killian, Tuckerotti and Brady were about to leave for Paris. To read all about it, click on this link:
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