Authors: Philip Donlay
Also by Philip Donlay
Copyright Â© 2014 by Philip Donlay
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, and incidents either are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, businesses, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Published in the United States of America by Oceanview Publishing,
Longboat Key, Florida
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PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
You inspire meâ
This book would not have been possible without the skilled law enforcement professionals around the world whose tireless work and dedication help keep our nation safe. Special thanks goes out to the United States Coast Guard, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
For their patience, friendship, and insight, I offer a heartfelt thanks to Rebecca Norgaard Peterson, Scott Erickson, Bo Lewis, Gary Kaelson, and Brian Bellmont. You've played a bigger part in all of this than you'll ever know. For always giving me the unvarnished truth in a way that inevitably makes the stories better, Glenna Rossiter, Jonathan Mischkot, Kimberley Cameron, my brother, Chris; my parents, Cliff and Janet; and my son, Patrick. You're an indispensible group of gifted people, thank you for keeping me on course.
A special thanks goes out to Dr. Philip Sidell, Dr. D. P. Lyle, and Dr. Paul F. Bruer for their remarkable medical expertise. As always, I'm most appreciative on many levels. A very special thanks goes to fellow creative souls, Richard S. Drury and Pamela Sue Martin. You encourage me to keep the faith, continue writing, and along the way always manage to teach me something.
I'd also like to thank dear friends and experts of all things nautical, Amanda and Joseph Dayton. For specialized knowledge about a myriad of subjects, thanks go to Margaret Buchanan, Laurie Savage, Arlene Chafe, and Braden Lusk. I'm the first to admit that I couldn't have written this story without you. All of you have my eternal gratitude.
Finally, to the people who turn words into books. Thank you to my literary agency, Kimberley Cameron & Associates, you're the best. Utmost praise also goes to my publisher: Patricia and Bob Gussin, Frank Troncale, David Ivester, Emily Baar, and Susan Hayes. You believed in this project, brought it life, and along the way, made it a better book. Thank you, Oceanview Publishing, there isn't a better team anywhere.
The Zodiac maneuvered quietly in the darkness, riding the mild swells of the Pacific Ocean. The sky was moonless, a perfect night for killing. The man in charge watched the
Kaiyo Maru #7
through binoculars. The garish lights from the fishing vessel lit up the ocean, illuminating the screeching, circling ocean birds that wheeled above the carnage. The six-person team was dressed in black, each carrying an assortment of weapons. They motored confidently toward the larger ship, the stench of dead fish stronger as they drew near. The sound of the powerful winch hauling the ship's catch helped mask the Zodiac's approach. The leader focused his binoculars on the fisherman tending the long-line. The main cable ran for miles with monofilament line tied to a razor-sharp hook at one-hundred-foot intervals.
He watched with growing revulsion as each hook was stripped of its prize. The line had been set to run shallow, which also allowed for the indiscriminate catch of diving birds and sea turtles, their lifeless carcasses tossed back into the ocean. But most of the hooks held the fishermen's target catch: sharks. They ranged from four to seven feet in length. Each shark was hauled aboard where every fin was expertly sliced off. Spewing blood, the shark was then thrown back into the water, still alive. The sharks could no longer swim so they sank. The lucky ones would quickly bleed to death, or drown, since sharks need to stay in constant forward motion for water to flow over their gills. Others would linger for days as they died of starvation. He'd seen footage of the butchery before, they
all had, but to see it firsthand was like touching a match to the dry tinder of his outrage.
Using hand signals, he instructed his man to bring the Zodiac around, careful not to create a telltale wake. They motored in a slow arc until they were directly in the path of the
Kaiyo Maru #7
then waited. As the one-hundred-sixty-foot vessel drew close, they matched the Zodiac to the speed of the ship and using rubberized grappling hooks, looped lines over the forward section of the hull. Once secured, five members of the team quietly boarded the ship leaving one man behind with the Zodiac.
Two of them hurried through a watertight hatch and disappeared into the superstructure; their job was to go below decks, secure the engine room, and then round up the crew below. Guns at the ready, the leader, flanked on either side by the remaining two members of his team, moved undetected toward the bridge. The captain was alone at the helm, leaning over a chart. At the popping sound of gunshots coming from below, he turned his attention to the instruments, as if searching for a mechanical reason for the unexpected noises. The three intruders burst through the hatch, guns raised. The man on the left spoke Japanese and ordered the captain to put his hands on his head. He emphasized his words by jamming the barrel of his machine gun into the soft skin under the captain's chin. The captain immediately complied.
The leader gestured for the prisoner to step away from the controls. He knew that the fishermen would be no match for his skilled team. One by one, the reports from below confirmed that the crew had been rounded up and that the captured sailors were secured at gunpoint on the main deck. The leader glanced at his watch. Less than fifteen minutes after boarding, the ship and crew were his.
The leader pulled off his ski mask and ran his hand through his longish gray hair. He was tall, over six feet, but alarmingly thin. He may have been handsome once, but deep scarring marred his face and neck. It looked as if the skin around his eyes had been melted, and when he blinked, it appeared to take a great deal of effort. The person on his right followed suit, and the mask slipped
off, revealing perfect olive skin accented by short spiky black hair. The woman was more striking than beautiful, green eyes radiated both self-assurance and intelligence. She was five foot seven, muscular like an athlete, yet slender. She smiled in a subtle way that implied that she was in control of her surroundings, confident that no matter the conflict, victory would be hers.
“Ask them how many in his crew.” The leader ordered his translator, who had elected to keep his mask on.
A flurry of Japanese was initiated by the man who still held his gun to the captain's chin. The captain grunted a reply, his eyes wide with fear.
“He says there are twenty-one men plus himself.”
The leader raised the walkie-talkie to his mouth. “How many prisoners do you have?”
“We've got nineteen on deck. Two were killed and left below.”
“That's everyone. Start filming. Make the crew finish reeling in the line, only be sure to release each fish. Pay particular attention to anything that comes up dead. Get it all.”
He turned to his translator. “Take the captain down on deck. We'll be there in a minute.”
Once the bridge was theirs, he set down his machine gun and began to punch buttons on the navigation unit. It took him several minutes, but he finally programmed the autopilot to guide the ship on the course he'd chosen. After he double-checked the plot, he adjusted the ship's speed and then made a discreet radio call to his own vessel to come and retrieve the team. The one-hundred-sixty-foot megayacht
was standing by just out of radar range and would be alongside in less than thirty minutes.
“How long will it take them to find this boat once we leave?” the woman asked.
“I set their speed for ten knots. Left undisturbed, they should arrive near land in a little over two days. We'll be long gone before anything we've done is discovered.”
The walkie-talkie sprang to life, and his men down on the main
deck reported that the last of the long line had been reeled in and all the fish released.
“We're on our way down,” the leader replied, pulling his mask back over his head and carefully adjusting the material until the slits fit perfectly around his damaged eyes.
The woman replaced her mask then removed a small handheld video camera from her rucksack.
They both hurried down the gangway to the killing floor of the fishing vessel. The leader knelt down and picked up one of the knives the fishermen had been using to fin the sharks. It was a simple knife with an unremarkable wooden handle, but it would do the job. He glanced at the woman, she nodded and began recording. Two of his men grabbed the captain, the third man held an automatic weapon on the frightened crew. With a man on each side, the captain's arms were stretched away from his body. Despite his violent struggles, the leader used the knife to cut away the captain's shirt until the man was naked from the waist up. An expression of horror mixed with disbelief contorted his face. He began to moan and shake his head back and forth as they pulled a plastic wrap snug around his ankles.
This night had been twenty years in the making, and though it only represented the beginning, the leader knew he was about to taste the sweetness of revenge. He made a show of testing the sharpness of the blade on his thumb and then smiled as he moved toward the sobbing fisherman. As the knife parted flesh, he ignored the screams and felt an upwelling of elation. Everything was now set in motion.
At the sound of his phone, Donovan Nash was instantly awake. The caller ID told him the number was restricted and that it was 3:42 in the morning. He braced himself; nothing good ever came of a call at this hour. “Donovan Nash.”
“Donovan Nash,” a strained, raspy voice repeated. “I was hoping to speak to Robert Huntington.”
Donovan sat up in bed.
was a name he hadn't used in over twenty years. A name only a handful of people knewâthe man on the phone wasn't one of them. “Who is this?”
“All you need to understand is that I know who and what you are. This is your wake-up call to let you know I'm going to destroy everything that's important to you.”
“Don't threaten me.” Donovan threw off his covers and launched himself out of bed, adrenaline pumping. He opened the drawer to the bedside table and grabbed his gun, went to the bedroom window, and peered at the street and driveway below. He saw no vehicles outside. Everything looked normal.
“Think of it as less of a threat and more of a promise. I can also assure you it will be a slow and painful destruction. Go to YouTube and find:
I'll be in touch, Robert.”
Donovan could hear the deathly silence as the call ended.
I'm going to destroy everything that's important to you.
The words replayed over and over in his head, and he appreciated the weight of the pistol in his hand.
He threw on pants and a sweatshirt but not before his eyes shot to the ugly scar that ran across his right thigh and the matching
one on his right wrist. All products of a murderer armed with a knife. It had been seven months since he'd been attacked. The physical wounds of that night had mostly healed, but the scars were a constant reminder of what could happen if he let his guard down. With the pistol in hand, he slipped downstairs.