Defeating Leyton’s alarm system had been child’s play and now, the agent, known as Cassiopeia by the U.S. Intelligence services, stood in the darkened room near the large bow window looking south over the moonlit Atlantic. Carefully sweeping back her long dark hair into a hair tie, she extracted a cylindrical device, about the size of a can of soda from her rucksack. The brass tube of the telescope felt cool through the latex gloves as she slipped the unit over the front lens. Cassiopeia flipped a switch and a small red light appeared on top of the night vision enhancer and after a few seconds the light turned to green.
She scanned the dark ocean due south for a time and located her quarry, three small boats flying small triangular light reflecting flags. She squatted down and spread out a chart on the wood planked floor which she then oriented north to south away from her. Using a pencil flashlight, she marked the boats’ positions.
Up behind the telescope again, she swung the brass tube further east. “Come on!” she pleaded, as she scanned slowly trying to locate her next target. It took an anxious minute to locate the faint glow of the halyard of the sailboat skimming quickly over the ocean swells. She had already adjusted her plan based upon the weather report; the brisk onshore breeze could challenge the best of sailors. And she was after one of the best.
After noting the position of the sailboat on her chart, she took out a throwaway cell phone and entered a prearranged text message, selected a phone number and pressed the send button. “Good job, Cassie.” She said aloud, smiling inside at the code identifier her adversaries had given her. She swung the telescope slowly toward the first of three boats which were still close inshore.
It only took seconds to locate the flags bobbing in the moonlight slightly north of Jackman Shoals. Already they had turned away from the shore heading roughly in the direction of the sailboat. “Excellent!” She breathed her thought which sounded more like a sigh. For months she had planned the operation when she’d learned that Cyrus Leyton would be testing a prototype of the device which could revolutionize naval surface warfare. Her employers at first only wanted the drawings but when she informed them of the test, they ordered her to steal the device itself.
Of course, not wanting her to break cover, or worse be captured, they suggested using a team of mercenaries to do the actual stealing. But she and the team leader didn’t get along from the first coded message. And although they had never met in person and he didn’t know she was a woman, Andre’ had done his best to take control of the mission. She had complained but her employers insisted on using his team and the rest was history.
Now, far away from her team, she again looked through the telescope and followed the three boats as they sped over the dark ocean swells. The night scope showed their flags bouncing wildly in and out of the wave troughs; she figured their speed at over 30 knots. If Andre’ weren’t careful, she thought, his quarry would see them far enough away to call for help from the U.S. Navy fast boats which cruised several miles to the east of Grief Bay.
She watched the three Zodiacs converge in her lens with the slower moving sailboat. They were coming up fast on the stern of the sloop. She trained the scope on the larger craft and noted that the sailboat seemed to be changing course. Leyton had seen his pursuers.
Ten miles to the southeast, Cy Leyton, on board the Dulcinea, was surprised to see three small boats racing toward him and, realizing that they would overtake him in less than a minute, he turned the wheel slightly starboard to run closer to the wind, but he knew it was too late. They would cut him off in no time.
Leyton picked up the radio mike and pressed the transmit key. “Damn!” He cursed out loud, realizing that his radio was being jammed, but as he leaned over to replace the mike, a burst of machine gun bullets smashed into the compass, spraying glass shards all over the cockpit. He ducked down beneath the cockpit rim as the lead boat pulled abreast of the lumbering sailboat and the gunman in its bow took careful aim toward his position.
Knowing he had little chance of escape, Leyton turned the steering wheel hard over to starboard, and using the wind, brought the speedboat under the sloop’s wave piercing bow. With the helm hard over and the wind helping the sloop to pivot, the sailboat sliced through the wave top catching the lead pontoon boat amidships, swallowing the screams of the three men aboard the smaller craft.
Seconds later, two streams of automatic gunfire slammed into the steering wheel and splintered the canted teak deck as a second fast boat swung close aboard to allow a gunman to leap into the cockpit and raise his weapon to shoot the boat’s pilot. But he found the cockpit empty; Leyton had moved forward toward the bow crouching behind the cabin roof. The boarder saw the movement and raised his machine pistol to fire when a bright silent flash erupted beneath the sloop’s waterline lifting the 36-foot sailboat out of the water.
As the agent on the bluff miles to the northwest, watched the action, she saw the light reflecting surfaces on the sailboat and the small fluorescent flags converge in her scope as a blur of swirling green tracks. “Something is wrong.” She mumbled. “They were just supposed to board and retrieve the device. Oh, Andre’, you fool!”
Cassie watched helplessly as the two smaller images swung apart then merged again with the larger green of the sailboat. The single image turned toward the shore of Grief Bay and was moving for several seconds toward Jackman Shoals, when a bright greenish flash erupted in the middle of the lens where the boats had been.
On the second Zodiac, the would-be pirates saw their comrade on board the sloop disappear from the sailboat’s cockpit in a ball of yellow flame which shot up from under the sailboat’s keel shattering the fiberglass hull, shearing the aluminum mast in two and driving the forward half of the boat nose first under the waves.
The sound and flame of the blast mushroomed up into the night sky as the thundering sound traveled for miles across the dark water and echoed off the black granite cliffs west of Grief Bay. For several seconds the wreckage hovered on the surface, then slipped quickly under the swells sending a cloud of steam high into the air. When the mist dissipated in the steady onshore wind, all evidence of the sailboat’s existence had been erased. The two boats circled in vain looking for survivors then turned to the south moving quickly out of the area.
Inside her perch in the stone house on the cliff, a shaken team leader closed her eyes and looked away from the scope after the magnified flash had burned across her retina. Temporarily blinded, Cassie took a deep breath, letting her vision recover. In seconds, her training kicked in. She collected her device from the telescope, placed it gently back into her rucksack, recovered the chart and quickly used her pencil flash to scan the area for any evidence that she had been there.
A minute later she had rearmed the house alarm system and walked out onto the bluff behind the stone house. Removing her dark haired wig, she stripped off her latex gloves and picked up two heavy stones. Tying the gloves and stones into the wig, she tossed the package over the edge of the cliff into the noisy black surf far below. The breeze along the bluff buffeted her face as she turned and walked around the house to the two cars parked in the driveway. The rich man’s dark blue Viper gleamed in the moonlight as Cassie got in her sedan and drove off into the night.
As she turned onto Route One southbound, Cassie wondered how she would satisfy her clients; their very existence depended on a successful mission. And that clock was still running against her.