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Awakenings Chapter 8: Redemption, Page 8

Standing by the aft machine gun, he could see that the antitank grenade dropped into the gun tub had not critically damaged the PCF boat.  There were no reports of their taking on water and the fuel tanks seemed intact. He watched Juan fire yet another RPG and miss the water line of the ship yet again.  Getting impatient, he opened the aft locker and pulled out a mortar round.  This he then loaded this into the naval mortar mounted beneath the .50 caliber machine mounted on the aft deck of the PCF boat.  He aimed the mortar in the general direction of the container ship.  Pulling the trigger, he was rewarded with the sound of the mortar firing.  Watching, he saw the mortar round hit the hull with an explosion several feet above the water line.  Now even more fuel spilled out. 

Juan continued firing RPGs, having not yet hit the ship hull at the waterline.  He paused for a moment and watched as Robert loaded a second mortar round.

Shindo kept his boat hydroplaning, going slightly airborne as he crested each swell.  Everyone had to hang on.  Even though the light had faded to almost dark, there were no running lights on.  However unbeknownst to him, someone had the forward cabin lights on, something that he could not see from the flying bridge.

Someone on board the PCF Boat shouted, causing Robert to look over his shoulder a moment while adjusting his aim of the Naval Mortar on the ship.  Robert could just make out that a small yacht or boat was heading directly at them.  This caused Robert to stop for a moment.  Was this boat a threat? 

Juan shouted, “I finally hit the waterline!”

Robert turned back to the Honolulu.  “Finally!  It is going to take several hits like that to sink a ship of this size.”

Shindo could see the figures on that aft deck of the PCF boat silhouetted clearly now in the light of the burning fuel.  He could see one person kneeling and firing an RPG.  A second person was visible at a mounted machine gun.  Not wanting to get to close to such firepower, he cut power and turned the boat to the left, gentling the motion of the boat.  Shindo yelled down from the flying bridge to some of his men on the aft deck.  “Start firing RPGs at that boat!”

Robert turned in time to see the first RPG fly from the other boat and pass over their heads.  He quickly pivoted the gun around to face the other boat.  Guessing at the range, he pulled the trigger to fire a mortar round at the boat.  He was rewarded with the explosion of the firing followed moments later by a burst of water less than 50 feet from the other boat.

The plume of water from the mortar explosion doused Shindo with cold water, doing nothing to calm his anger.  Recognizing the threat from the PCF Boat, he throttled up the right engine and began a turn.  Meanwhile, another RPG was fired at the PCF boat.

Robert saw the second RPG launch and head towards the boat.  “Everyone take cover, incoming….” The RPG grazed the bow deck of the PCF boat and the explosion drowned the rest of his words out.  Looking up after the blast, he could see that the windshield to the pilothouse was blown out, the helmsman getting back up, shaking bits glass off of himself.  Part of the bow deck was peeled up like the top of a partially opened tin can.  Looking more closely, he could see that all that remained of the gun tub crewman who had dove to the foredeck were some bloodstains on the bulkhead.  He quickly turned the reloaded naval mortar back on Shindo’s boat.

Shindo swung the boat around hard to the right to try to avoid any more fire from the PCF boat.  Out of his peripheral vision, he saw the flash of the naval mortar being fired.   He heard a deafening roar right before he lost consciousness when the mortar barely hit the right aft quarter of his boat, shattering the fiberglass hull into hundreds of pieces.

Seeing the impact of the mortar, Robert did not take time to celebrate.  He immediately reloaded and fired yet another round at the Honolulu.

DeMario felt ok as long as he did not take a deep breath.  Unfortunately, the run and dive for cover as he advanced on the shack near the cranes sent searing pains into his chest.  Ignoring the pain, he trained the AK over the heads of those following.  No one shot at them this time. 

Joe was gasping from the running, the smoke from the fires at the docks burning his lungs.  “Ed is in that shed over there.  There is one guy equipped with a gun with him.  No one is watching us at the moment.”  Joe paused for a moment, his eyes squinting like he was staring at some distant scene in bright light.  “There is going to be an explosion.  We must take cover behind those containers over there.”  Joe pointed to some containers on the opposite side of the crane near where they were now taking cover.

DeMario studied Elise and Pauline for their reactions to Joe’s statements.  “That is a long ways through a very open area.  What kind of explosion?”

The two ladies and DeMario watched Joe as he struggled to answer.  “Some kind of big fire ball with a shockwave.  I see Ed in the water.  Lots of smoke, broken windows….”

DeMario sucked in a breath, wincing at the pain.  “How much time do we have?”

Joe wiped more sweat from his brow.  “Not much.”