Chapter 5

Written by: Ray Stone

Bishop turned slowly until his back was against the door. With the motor in one hand he wiped the sweat from his face with the other. Stepping carefully between the racks he found he was alone. A sigh of relief escaped his lips.

The tinny voice of Rankin on the walkie-talkie broke the silence. “Bishop, where are you…Is there a problem?”

Bishop pulled the walkie-talkie from his belt clip and pressed the talk button. “Yeah, I’ve got the motor…. say, did you hear the door slam a moment ago?”

“I heard a crash but I didn’t see anything out here. What the hell’s going on?”

“The door was closed from the outside,” explained Bishop. “Come and get me out.”

Rankin unhitched himself from the boatswains chair and ran into the communications room. Raising the latch, he opened the door and Bishop stepped out.

Bishop’s eyes focused on the hatchway cover closed earlier. It was open again. The two men shut the hatchway and maneuvered a metal desk over the top.

“Our unwelcome guest was here,” said Bishop shaking his head. “He was hiding in here and escaped while I was in the locker room. The sooner we get the radio fixed the better.”

Several minutes later the replacement motor was secure and in place. Rankin, swinging precariously in the boatswain’s chair, gripped the satellite dish with a freezing hand as he battled against a gusting wind.

Bishop tried the radio again. Within seconds the static cleared as he tuned into the right frequency. Crossing his fingers, he pushed the ‘Comms’ switch.

********

The rain had been beating against the metal walls of the communications room for more than half an hour in an irregular staccato beat. Every crack and weakened seal around the windows and the door acted like instrumental mouthpieces, creating a melodic nightmare of high pitched shrills and Gothic dirge.  

Both men sat in front of the console staring intently at the speaker as though willing Sherwin’s voice to break the tension. The arrangement called for Sherwin to call each hour unless Bishop called first. All attempts to raise Sherwin had failed so far.

It was all Bishop could do to keep calm. Somewhere beneath them a killer lurked and they needed to deal with him before they could find the explosive device and disarm it. Now after losing the other two men in his team, that was going to be near impossible. He drummed his fingers on the desk.

“The radio is definitely working,” said Rankin, angrily prodding a finger through the air at the speaker.

Bishop nodded. “I know, don’t worry. Sherwin will call shortly.”

They waited another ten minutes before the radio burst into life. Sherwin, in an excited voice, ordered Bishop to exercise extreme caution.

“Terrorist sources are warning the CIA that the rig is gonna’ be blown sky-high if they intervene. For God’s sake find and eliminate their man. He’s a bloody suicide trigger!”

 

Raymond Stone (MT)