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datatime: 2022-12-03 20:31:31 Author:PUoLvSed

The squads continued into the ship, and still they encountered no one. After a thorough search, they climbed back to the main deck.

"Roger," Louis answered, although it must have killed him not to say "Dodger."

"Roger," Louis answered, although it must have killed him not to say "Dodger."

"This is Omega One. Proceed according to plan and cut out the lousy poetry."

The voice of the 2IC came onto Mason's radio. "Lieu tenant, I think you should get up to the bridge as quickly as possible."

"T minus four," the pilot's voice droned.

Moving quickly, Mason led his team to the wheelhouse. On the way, they passed men who were stationed on the decks and wings of the bridge keeping watch.

"When we do, I will call you. Over and out."

They were seconds away from their target. At the last moment, when it seemed as if they were going to slam into the side of the ship, the Seahawks cut their speed, swooped up and over the vessel and hovered over each side of the wide stern deck. Thermal-imaging viewers scanned the ship for heat areas that would indicate human presence. Satisfied the deck was clear, the pilot maneuvered the aircraft past the masts and antennae and hovered at fifty feet.

"Doubt if the admiral would like being called Goldilocks. Besides, it was the air force's turn to name this mission."

They were seconds away from their target. At the last moment, when it seemed as if they were going to slam into the side of the ship, the Seahawks cut their speed, swooped up and over the vessel and hovered over each side of the wide stern deck. Thermal-imaging viewers scanned the ship for heat areas that would indicate human presence. Satisfied the deck was clear, the pilot maneuvered the aircraft past the masts and antennae and hovered at fifty feet.

Mason got on his cell phone. "Omega Three. Stern LZ secured. No assets encountered. Report in, Omega Two."

Every man knew that this was when the teams were at their most vulnerable. As they had practiced dozens of times, the SEALs dropped a two-inch-thick rope that was secured to the hoist bracket down to the deck, then they donned heavy welder gloves. Mason stood in the door, got a good grip on the line and jumped. Using the upper body strength that was a product of rigorous SEAL training, he checked his controlled fall before his feet touched the deck, quickly moving aside to avoid the next man down.

"Omega Three. All A-OK."

Both helicopters were emptied within ninety seconds. As soon as they hit the deck, the boarders threw their gloves away. The first four men down adopted a circular formation that was reinforced as the others joined them. The helicopters darted off like startled dragonflies and hovered a few hundred yards from the ship on either side. They would await the word that the ship had been secured, or that the mission had failed. Their orders were to evacuate the assault team and sink the ship with well-placed missiles.

"Boiler room. Engines are purring away. No one here either."

Within minutes, they had rendezvoused in the bow of the ship with the port team. Mason ordered his 2IC to probe the bridge and superstructure while he took his squad to the decks below. Using the same leapfrog technique, Mason and his men made rapid progress through the storage areas and holds. They stopped in front of one door that was welded shut. Since they couldn't get in, no one could get out, so they moved on. They burst into the boiler room with guns ready. The engines were going, but there was no sign of boiler men or engineers.

"This is Omega One. Proceed according to plan and cut out the lousy poetry."

Mason knew from hard experience that dropping out of the sky onto a huge and possibly heavily armed moving ship in open ocean and disarming an unknown explosive was not exactly a piece of cake. They had rehearsed boarding vessels at sea dozens of times, but this was the real McCoy. The mission depended on delaying detection until the last possible moment. The HH 60-H helicopter was ideal for the job. It was relatively quiet, had an infrared jammer and suppressor system, a radar threat-warning receiver and other electronic eyes and ears. In addition, the helicopter had sharp teeth: two M-60 machine guns and a Hellfire missile system.

The squads continued into the ship, and still they encountered no one. After a thorough search, they climbed back to the main deck.

Moving quickly, Mason led his team to the wheelhouse. On the way, they passed men who were stationed on the decks and wings of the bridge keeping watch.

The voice of the 2IC came onto Mason's radio. "Lieu tenant, I think you should get up to the bridge as quickly as possible."

"Omega Two. Stern secured. No one home, so we will roam."

"Boiler room. Engines are purring away. No one here either."

Every man knew that this was when the teams were at their most vulnerable. As they had practiced dozens of times, the SEALs dropped a two-inch-thick rope that was secured to the hoist bracket down to the deck, then they donned heavy welder gloves. Mason stood in the door, got a good grip on the line and jumped. Using the upper body strength that was a product of rigorous SEAL training, he checked his controlled fall before his feet touched the deck, quickly moving aside to avoid the next man down.

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