The sun is now well up and the harbor is starting to come alive... While we were eating breakfast several boats returned from the nighttime fishing and are now moored beside the fish quay. The noise has increased and we go on to the sun deck, coffee in hand to watch the hustle and bustle of the unloading and weighing of the catch. Lucky we had moved Dorrit last night otherwise we'd have been right where they wanted to unload.
The Epirotiki, a 70-foot high-bowed fishing boat is nearest us and the crew is busy on deck. The wooden boom swings over the hold and a basket is lowered into the depths of the boat. Ten seconds later it's swung up full of fish, and onto the quay where its contents are emptied into wooden crates. Crushed ice is spread on top and the crate is loaded onto a flat bed truck. Each box has a card stapled to it and a similar card is handed to the boat owner.
"They had a good catch." Alena says as we see the number of crates on the truck increase.
"I guess so, -- Still they may have been out several days looking for the fish. --- It's a very hard life. --- Look at that guy operating the boom."
His hands are like bunches of brown bananas and look as if they are made of hard leather. He has a clean, white gauze pad over one eye held in place with two 'Band-Aids'. An old scar runs down his cheek and his traditional black, Greek fishing hat is pulled back on his head. He is shouting orders in a very gruff voice.
"He looks like Charles Bronson." Alena remarks, as she brushes Chantel's hair out of her eyes.
Chantel has both hands on the mahogany rail surrounding the sun deck. She is peeking over the top standing on tiptoe. I think she is more interested in the sea gulls diving down and grabbing odd bits of fish the crew are throwing into the water.
"Mike come here a second." Lez walks to the wheelhouse. I follow him in. Alena glances in my direction, smiles as I shrug my shoulders then turns back to Liz.
Les places one foot on the seat and folds his arms across his knee, "Did you get through to your uncle?" he asks.
"Not yet, I managed to speak to Valentin though, he's my second cousin, I can't remember if you met him or not. He was in London when we had that trouble in East Anglia, short guy?"
"Coor . . . that's going back a bit . . . seven or eight years ago wasn't it?" Les rubs the underneath of his chin with his hand. "Isn't he the guy the waitress problem was over? Loves the ladies?"
"Yeah . . . That's him." I laugh, "120 pounds dripping wet. Shot the ear off the Brady brother in that pub after he'd slapped the waitress around."
"Tough little bastard . . . Didn't seem to have any fear."
"Yep, he got shipped back home very quick . . . Well he's going to call his contacts here and see what he can find out."
"London Apprentice, that was the place . . . Fuller's Beer. I always remember a pub with good beer. So, you'll have to wait and see?" Les looks over my shoulder to Alena and Liz.
"Yep! . . . He said to call him tomorrow." I poor a glass of water from a 'blue bottle'.
"Les? . . . Do you still have Channel 83 set up?"
"Sure do, only it's 85 now, 83 was given to the docks in Cyprus. You don't think I'd come into this area without it do you?"
He moves to the control panel housing the electronics of the Satellite system.
I look out the rear window and see Alena and Liz leaning over the back handrail chatting.
"Look." He reaches up, selects Channel 85 and the bottom panel of the system box flaps down. Strapped in place by Velcro grips is a BDM 9mm pistol with four spare ammo clips. "Still as you set it up for that St. Valerie job; only I changed the model. It's lighter and more accurate."
He looks through the rear window while I un-clip the Browning and remind myself of the other night with Jack.
"I tried one of these at the range a few weeks ago. Bloody marvelous. I like it." I shift the slide and see there is a round in the chamber. I recall the action on Lady Priscilla and how I found all five targets with such ease. I smile, then replace it in its clips feeling more confident that it was the BDM and not the original .44 from six years ago.
Les continues, "It was O.K. while we were playing round the French coast we never even thought about it, but there's a great deal of water here and there could be some strange guys. By what you're telling me you may have already met one or two."
"I don't know . . . is it imagination . . . is it that you can't live a fantasy without some bad points?"
"Mike, best be on the safe side . . . It's easy to get at it in a hurry. There's no need to tell Alena she'd only worry. Liz knows about it, but then you know Liz she's more likely to use it that I am."
He closes the flap, "Remember -- 85. There's another BDM under your bed, where the transmitter's located for the remote compass. Reach up behind it and back, it's fastened with Velcro to the top of the transmitter, and my old Walther is behind the cereal packets in the galley cupboard. Now let me show you this . . . " He opens a small cupboard under the chart table to expose a minute printer similar to a credit card printer used in restaurants.
"How did you get that?" I ask, looking at the STKFAX240, a satellite-linked FAX machine used by the SAS.
"I got it from Stewart last year . . . I had a small job to do for him in Nice. It's still linked to his office in Gower Street. I think he's forgotten about it 'cause it's still active." Les pulls on the paper roll. "It's receive only though. He used it to send me shipment details and boat movements. It's very clear. It's 1200 dots per inch, really high-tech. He can even send photographs." I bend down and look at the controls.
"It's wired into the console." Les continues . . ."If a message is coming in, I get three 'pings' like the echo sounder, only longer and this green light comes on." He touches an extra warning light built into the LORAN console. Les closes the wheelhouse door . . . "Now come down here." We descend the short ladder into the engine room.
"Remember the false compartment for the Scotch?"
I think back to the customs guy and my missed cuddle!! "Funny isn't it. I went straight to it without a second thought."
"Well, he opens the cover and removes ten bottles of Johnny Walker Black Label. "Well you were wrong, it doesn't hold 24 bottles anymore, I modified it, it only holds twelve. He pulls up the baseboard exposing a deeper compartment below, and withdraws a Heckler and Koch MP5 Sub Machine Gun fitted with a KAC Navy Model Suppressor and ITI Laser Aiming Module.
"Bloody hell, Les! If the Greek authorities found you with this they'd lock you up and throw away the key."
"Yes . . . maybe . . . But the only way they'll see it is if I've used it and I'd be alive. After Ray and Ken's experience off Morocco last year, I'm being very careful. Remember Ken won't be coming back, and Ray's not the same any more" He replaces it, re-packs the compartment and replaces the Scotch. "If they'd had one, they could have got the bastards before they boarded their launch, things may have been different. If you need it, it means there's a lot of them . . . AND remember . . . you've now got Alena and Chantel to think of . . ."