When I awoke, it was in a room with no windows, but it was uncomfortably bright. That told me that it was a hospital of some kind. I somehow knew, without any reason, that the walls were metal. That put me somewhere, inside someone’s ship. I had no idea what country owned the ship, but I hoped that it was a US Navy ship of the line, or if not, at least a European Navy ship. I did not want to be aboard the ship of an African or Arab nation.
I found a call button, attached to the small hard platform where I lay. so I pushed it. A young naval officer, who looked to be about sixteen, entered a few minutes alter. He wore a white dress uniform, but then most officers probably did. I doubted that there were too many things an officer in the navy did which would require utilities. They had sailors and marines to do those jobs.
“Ah I see you are awake?” he said.
“Obviously, and I need water badly,” I suggested.
“I can get you some ice cubes, but water is not going to be available to your for a few more hours. You have been out a while and a couple of hours ago, you have also been under anesthesia.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Our surgeon removed a bullet from your leg,” he informed me. “When you came in, you were covered in so much blood, we didn’t see how you could still be living. Turns out most of the blood belonged to someone else.”
“Yes, fortunately for me and unfortunately for him.” I replied.
“How did you get so much of his blood on you?” he asked.
“He laid on top of me while he bled to death. Well almost to death, I think he still had a minute or two left when I rolled him off me.’ I said.
“How awful for you,” he commented.
“Not as awful as it was for the man who died on top of me.” I said seriously.
“Yes of course,” the young officer said, “There are a lot of people who want to see you. Your friends, some TV people, and of course our intelligence officer. He has been interviewing the others. They say you were quite the heroine.”
“Well they are mistaken. There is a thirty something chick, who gets that award in my opinion. How did she come out,”
“Mary Ellen,” The child officer said, “She is alive and uninjured as far as I can tell. She might have some emotional issues later on. She killed two men, so she may have some PTSD, but who knows. Right now she is just glad to be alive.”
“She should be feeling that,” I said. “It could have gone either way there at the end.”
“Well, I’m sure you would rather see your friends, but the intelligence officer insists that he be first.” the young officer said.
“Tell him that until I talk to my boss Alex, I have amnesia. See what his reaction is to that.” I said with a weak smile.
The young officer smiled. I think he had a secret dislike for the intelligence officer. But then it has been my experience, that officer and intelligence don’t really belong in the same sentence, let alone a man’s title.
About ten minutes later an older man in uniform came into the room. He had gray hair and black eyes. He also didn’t smile. “Sergent Stone, yo u can stop the bullshit and talk to me or face trial for murder.” he demanded.
I laughed, “If you have evidence of anything, other than self defense, then you need to go ahead and try me. I think you will find video evidence that we tried to avoid the confrontation which led to those men dying.”
“Contrived no doubt,” he said.
“Okay, I have nothing more to say. If you do not allow me to see my friends, I am going to file an official complain on humanitarian grounds. We need to comfort each other and we are civilians you know.”
“Why didn’t you pick up the survivors of the smaller boat?” he asked.
“I have no idea. I was busy at the time trying to keep the pirates from killing us all. After that I was unconscious. I am sure you have asked the others that same thing. What did they tell you?”
“I don’t answer question, I ask them.” he said.
“Then you need to get the fuck out, before I have that nice little officer file a harassment complain. After all I have been wounded.” I said.
“Right,” he said as he turned to leave.
I had no idea what would happen next. I had a pretty good idea that Morris or Gwen was outside with a video camera. I would have felt better if it had been Mike. It took them another thirty minute to get Alex into the room. I started to speak, but he put his finger to his lips. I knew that the room was probably bugged, but I nodded my head at the reminder.
“So what happened after they got on board?” he asked.
“First I saw of them on the ship was the men trying to get to the bridge. I shot one them, then somebody shot me.” I said. “That’s about all I know. They are saying that we got fifty of them, I can only speak to about ten. Then there were probably that many more at the rear of the ship. Teacher and Bear were defending back there. I have no idea how many they killed. Probably ten more. Four more got on board midship I killed two of them the other two somebody else got. I don’t know what happened to anybody else.” I said.
“Mary Ellen, of all people, killed one with your pistol, then hunted one down in the crew’s cabin. Then she put all six slugs from the buck shot shell into his belly. Not a pleasant sight I assure you.” Alex said to me.
“They asked me about survivors, I have no idea what they are talking about.” I said with a smile.
“I don’t know either. Something about their boat blowing up. I don’t know anything about it. Me and two of your security guys were in the hole guarding the Plumpy Nut. We never saw anybody at all. Couldn’t hear much either,” Alex said.
“Well, you guys were the last defense of the cargo. Since you are the boss, I couldn’t risk you getting killed. It would have been bad for business.” I thought that sounded reasonable. So how is Mary Ellen coping.”
“Better than her husband. He is really pissed that you would let her go hunting down that last pirate.” Alex said.
“Tell him it had to be done, and I couldn’t do it. She could do it, and she wanted to do it He needs to just get over it. It seems his Barbie Doll has fangs,” I replied.
“She sure surprised me,” Alex said.
“What have you heard about me?” I asked.
“They say you have a really dirty wound. It took too long to get you airlifted off the freighter. Once we got you here, they went to work. Nobody knows how much of the damage to your calf muscle is long term, and how much will come back in a couple of months..” He said.
“Well, I do hope it won’t effect my bikini look. Nothing worse than a bitch, in a bikini, on crutches.” I said.
“Maxine, I hate to tell you honey, but you have a lot more and bigger scars than the one that bullet is going to leave.” Alex said with a laugh.
“I really hate you said that. I thought those scars gave me character.” I laughed as well.
“All the guys want to come in before we have to go. We still need to deliver the Plumpy Nut. If we don’t do it, then it will all have been for nothing.” Alex said with a smiled.
“Then bring them in,” I said.
The room was so small that they had to come in no more than three at a time. “You did a hell of a job,” Bear said to me.
“Bullshit you and the teacher kept them off the ship, I couldn’t.”
“We all know better Maxine,” his wife said. “If it hadn’t been for you, we might all be dead.”
“That’s way over the top Alice. Mary Ellen saved your ass not me.” I said smiling.
“Oh, we have told her how proud of her we are.” Alice said.
“Yes the newest doll from Mattel, Barbie with Fangs,” I liked the sound of it when I said it to Alex, so you I repeated it to the others. They laughed of course.
“Thanks for keeping us safe,” the sleazy salesman said. Mary Ellen had obviously been on his ass.
“Your wife is the real hero here, I think.” I said it and I meant it. Marry Ellen looked at me with what could only be called puppy eyes. Obviously, not many people praised her for anything but her looks. She was just grateful, it seemed.
After patting each other on the back and showing how grateful we were to be alive, Bear said a prayer for the Teacher. I felt he was the one to do it for sure. There was something about being with a friend, when he died, that stayed with one forever.
The last group to enter was Gwen an Morris. I was a little surprised since they weren’t really leaving with the others. There job was to stay with me. I was headed out on a medivac ride. From the ship most likely to a military hospital somewhere. Earlier when I asked where, no one knew, or at least no one would tell me. I was in the custody of the United States and my interest and rights were being considered with every decision they made, I was told. I somehow doubted that Gwen or Morris were going to hitch a ride.
The Navy had allowed everyone to see me, so that they could all testify that I was alive and well. I didn’t blame them at all, it was what I would have done as well. After they all left I expected the real pressure to begin.
Instead the female in the white uniform came into the room. She held a tray which I suspected held a syringe to knock me on my ass. I might as well enjoy the drugs, since I had no choice. Sure enough she hit me with the junk, and I fell asleep on a US Frigate in the Gulf of Aden.
I awoke in a full size hospital room. Exactly where in the world the room was located, I had no idea. It had a window at least, so I looked out. The tree outside was naked, so I assumed that I was in the northern hemisphere at least. Most likely northern Europe or maybe in one of the countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union. It did not appear to be a place I wished to be. I was nervous about being in a strange hospital, without any way to protect myself. I wasn’t too worried about being killed, or even physically abused, but I could easily be denied access to an attorney.
Hello Ms Stone, I am going to be your physician for a few days, then you will probably be release. As you probably know already gunshot wounds are prone to infection. The bullet carried all kinds of bacteria and picks up even more as it travels through your clothing. We need to keep you under observation for a while. My job is going to be to see to any of your health issues while you are here. Please ask for the doctor at anytime you feel the need.
His job wasn’t to treat me, it was to scare the hell out of me. His implication was that I would be needing treatment. Which certainly, to my sick mind at least, implied torture. I hoped that they at least remembered that I was one of the good guys.