A rescue was imminent. The rescuer had no idea of who they were rescuing. It didn’t matter, because their role was to react and rescue – not question. The cutting edge craft they floated in buzzed above the waves just high enough to remove any risk of drag, but low enough to return to the water when required. Hard and sharp turns, then back up floating on the air above the waves.
Mark liked zipping about in this craft. It was called the The Digital – but the crew called it Mumbles. It wobbled in the air as it negotiated the task and created a strange wobbling noise when it changed direction. Just prior to it splashing back into the water. It could fly mighty high but was normally kept very low and very fast.
Mark was on his third flight in Mumbles and looked around the cockpit. Saul and Frank were close by and keenly focused on their duties, as was Mark, but he always tended to enjoy the bigger picture while tackling the small details. Today’s rescue was a standard mission for them – although far from it for the small group who were hoping against all hope.
The words HELP were stretched out on the sand at the shores edge, just far enough in to avoid being washed away. Ron, the eldest of the group, had taken charge and created a list of tasks to be carried out by his fellow passengers. The injured, sunburnt and incredibly exhausted bunch were now 12 in number. Two had been taken by sharks on the way to shore. Their remains kept arriving on the beach as the survivors went about ensuring their survival.
Mark saw the gleam of the large motor cruiser on his port side. It sat precariously in and out of the water. The stern had sunk, leaving the bow sitting out of the water like a cliff perched on the sea’s edge. The badly burnt section just visible above the water lines offered some explanation as to how this had happened. The reason for the explosion would not be understood for some time.
The best thing about finding the wreckage would normally be that the surveyors are close by – or indeed hanging onto what was left of their transport. Mark realised very quickly that there was no sign of anyone. The noise that Mumbles made would have alerted anyone alive, that help had arrived. Their arrival triggered no such reaction, just a wafting of smoke and the lapping of the ocean on the crippled boat.
Ron kept wondering what happened. The only time he abandoned this quest for understanding was during the shark attack. That happened when they hit the water and made their way to shore. Bruce was on the outside of the group just next to Ron. They swam together and by chance and by the nature of such things some people had to be on the outside of the ring they created. The two young children were in the middle surrounded by the adults. Bruce was taken first and dragged under like an apple bobbing in a barrel. He did not bounce back to the surface like an apple, but sadly Ron did discover parts of his torso when it washed up on the beach. The flotsam and jetsam of human remains kept washing up for hours. The other poor soul to be taken was on the other side to Ron. Bob let out a terrible scream and gurgling sound that would haunt the survivors for the rest of their lives. Some of them would endure this memory a lot longer than others.
Mark remembered that very strange thought he’d had before taking off this morning. He’d read a story about the Directors of the Nuthies Group of Companies and their families had fled the reach of the Australian authorities. They were believed to be in international waters – heading for asylum in a small un-named Pacific Island. Mark couldn’t understand how such a dramatic departure may be possible or even have a chance of succeeding. Could this have been their boat?
Ron was the FEO of Nuthies and understood the reason for the journey but had voted against such a wild and dangerous method. He liked to fly. None of the boat’s crew were on board, they’d been asked to motor back to shore in the tender when they reached international waters. The crew leaving was a stupid move thought Ron.
“How the hell would they navigate or even drive this fucking enormous boat?”
Peter the CEO, thought he knew everything about every thing and in most cases he did. In other case he knew shit. Sailing an 18 footer about Sydney Harbour did not equip him to drive this fucking enormous boat. In fact, he only figured out how to change course after he accidentally disengaged the auto pilot. The pressing of random buttons on the bridge did have some affect though. Peter felt that he was having some impact on the boat, but didn’t understand just how much. The venting of the bilge, while changing the fuel flow mixture at the same time was an unfortunate act. The fact that a fuel valve had blown loose due to this sudden lift in pressure, did not help at all.
Unbeknownst to those left alive, the ignition of this vibrant and volatile mix of air and fuel gaining momentum in the engine room was caused by Ron lighting one of his cigars. The explosion blew Ron clear off the boat, which then proceeded to tear itself in half. The main decking was holding this suspended stern piece together like a lone leaf on a dying twig.
All of the passengers were watching the bow waves and the dolphins swimming beside it as best they could from two floors up when they were suddenly launched into the air and the ceiling. They all landed with a crash of expensive momentous mounted on the wall, which was now the floor. Ron’s burning and smouldering clothes were extinguished very quickly. He was only in the water for about thirty seconds before his frenzied clambering saw him latch onto the now floating cliff like bow section. He clambered up and soon joined his fellow passengers.
Mark spun Mumbles around the damaged boat and landed just far enough away to avoid causing it to rip part completely. Or so he thought. As soon as the craft glided up to within 10 meters the main decking although holding on for as long as it could, snapped like a broken tow rope. The smashing sound and resulting wave tore into Mumbles as it sat patiently on the edge of this disaster. The crew managed to move out of the way, just before the bow crashed down where they had waiting.
The stern section of the boat had acted like an underwater sail and rudder which the current gladly pushed for some 150 kilometres away from the small group of islands. Mark and the rather glad crew sat and watched the boat sink into the world of the salvagers.
“Scavengers more like it” .. thought Mark. “Saul .. mark this spot and send down the id for the scum that’ll follow up behind us. The three safe and dry watched the id sink and then turned their thoughts to any survivors.
Mark wondered out loud .. “Where would they get to if they did get off the boat?”
Saul had an idea … “They’d be within about 40 kilometres if they were in a lifeboat. “Or maybe more if the wreckage was dragged by the current.”
“Ok, set the range finder for 200 kilometres to be sure” Mark thought that a wider area would be a better idea. “If they survived we’ll find them won’t we Mumbles.”
The range finder was a clever system of drones that shot out like a fisherman’s net – 360 degrees and flew out across the environment sending back video of what if surveyed. Mark sat back and waited.
Ron was also waiting.
The island had some wonderful vegetation, some of it was edible, a lot was not. These city bred “selected fugitives” did not know the difference. Two of them came down with huge red blotches and a tremendous fever before dying on the beach, just outside the makeshift shelter they’d built. Peter said a few words on their behalf, before those that were still alive dragged the dead to a deep gully further up the beach. Peter was concerned about how they would survive their second day. Ron was more worried about what would happen when they were found. It was a given that they would be. He would be the patsy when they were, and their fraud investigated. Maybe life on the island would be better than goal. He had to find a way to fish, even though he hated fish, and find some meat to eat. Were there animals for eating on this island?
Richard ran the resort’s day trips and was very keen to get this group out of the bar and into the rainforest on the other side of the island. This group of severely drunk public servants couldn’t be arsed to move their fat arses out of the resort’s luxury and into the reason for them being here in the first place. The rainforest was the reason for the resort being here. The Spring Shift Resort and Spa offered luxury holidays. It specialised in those team building, bonding sessions that corporate Australia enjoyed wasting their money on. Tax breaks, booze, free love type sex with your work colleagues and the chance to relax were the main reason this bunch of free loaders had taken this opportunity. They all worked for the corporate regulator ASIC and investigated fraud and corporate malpractice. They did not know that the focus for their next investigation were camped out, quite roughly, on the other side of the island.
Nor did Ron know that they were on the resort’s island and excruciatingly close to their own demise.
Mark heard the ping and the pictures as the drone flew towards the beach. HELP was clearly marked out in the sand and the entire crew burst out laughing. Laughing and buzzing above the waves.
“These numb nuts are only two kilometres from one of the world’s most luxurious resorts and they don’t even know it” .. scream Saul.
Frank had spilt his coffee and offered a gasp has he caught his breathe. “Do you think we should rescue them. What about just dropping a message tab out the chute and leaving them to walk over to the resort. Can we really do that? .. Come on .. it’s such a hoot.”
No thought Mark, Mumbles was very expensive to operate and we had to have to get the media on our side so we can continue to raise money. “We’ll land on the beach and help them over the other side.” Call the office and tell ASIC we’ve found them.
Harry’s phone rang just as he was getting off the massage table. “Yes .. Say what.” You’re bringing them to me here? How the hell did you find them.? Fuck Me ! .. OK I’ll be here, at reception.
Remarkably, the ASIC crew had to stop having fun, the Mumbles crew saved the day and the selected fugitives were locked into room 120. Those requiring medical attention were given some, but all were looked after. The poor souls who lost their life were recovered by the resort’s medic and sealed into the freezer.
The resulting publicity was wonderful.
- Mumbles (The Digital ) received wide spread praise and government funding.
The ASIC crew, although being crucified by the tabloid television for their excessive spending were praised. There was a reporter along with them who’d shot loads of video during the wild nights fun.
- Ron was the patsy but managed to negotiate a soft deal allowing him to be moved to a small semi rural community in Qld.
- Peter was sentenced to 15 years in gaol. The rest got a range of lessor sentences, except the children.
- The boat’s crew were found safe. They had been arrested as result of their lecherous behaviour while spending their huge tip.
- The owner of the fucking enormous boat wasn’t so lucky. He’d insured his boat with the Nuthies Group of Companies insurance arm. After prosecution they’d filed for bankruptcy. Sadly he did not receive a cent for his 5 million dollar boat. He got nothing. A fucking enormous nothing.