The cat, Bozo, sat at the double doors, almost always open, as it was the morning, the cool breeze wafting in across his short, scarred by still strangely soft body fur.
He looked out, although, what with the solid wood railing between him and the more distant outside world, he couldn’t really see much of anything. Still, he peered out, blinking only occasionally, thinking whatever cat thoughts might go through such a creature’s seemingly limited but definitely walnut-sized brain.
Bozo had come to get me in the middle of town, crossing streets and wending his way through yards and parking lots. How was that possible? In spite of any emotional turmoil going on inside either my wife or daughter, how had a simply ‘swamp pussy’ feline creature noted, evaluated, and then acted upon such barely expressed emotions to come to a conclusion that I, the obvious alpha male of his pride, or at least the way I viewed myself in his world, should come back to the house and be a part of whatever was going on. It simply wasn’t rationally possible in my life experience, and it made me happy but at the same time a little unsettled. Was the world really much of anything as I viewed or understood it? And why was it that it was taking a cat’s obviously odd behavior to make me think such general thoughts about my own existence on the planet?
When I’d been at St. Norbert College, with courses thick with theology and philosophy study and discourse, no such thoughts had crossed my mind. I breathed in deeply, and then out, several times. It was the A Shau Valley. The Valley had changed everything, closing down some avenues of thought forever but opening up new ‘canyons of the mind’ I’d never known existed. Intense fear and even terror were very much a part of every human’s foundational sense of reality, that was now a given for me, but only now, in recovery from the ‘teachings’ down in the valley, was I coming to find that I had really not much of a clue about how, why, where or even what was my place in the universe around me.
Bozo turned his battered head to look across the room at me as if comprehending completely that I was giving him a role in life that he seemingly acknowledged without doubt but couldn’t portray in any way except by his conduct.
Gularte and I were headed for the base later in the day. When returning from my meeting with Mardian I’d immediately headed for the phone to call the base and find out how to reach the armory. There also, I knew, had to be more than one armory on a Marine base the size of Camp Pendleton. The phone rang as I walked toward it. Warrant Officer Holland announced himself before I could even say hello.
“Warrant Officer Holland here at the armory. The equipment you need will be here available for pickup at three p.m. The diver rigs will be rebreathers, which you may need a short retraining course on, as well as the new pressure gauges and buoyancy compensators. I’ll have a diver here for your short course, but he won’t stay long. We don’t have wetsuits, and the rebreathers have to come back. They cost three grand each.” The man’s brusque delivery ended with a click.
I stood with the phone in my hand, wondering how he knew he had me on my line and not my wife, or even Julie who loved to try to grab the handset when the phone rang.
“Inscrutable,” I’d murmured, hanging up the phone, or maybe he simply didn’t care.
He was a Marine. Marines wanted things to work according to the TOE, the table of organization and equipment. Anything outside of that, and this mission, plus equipment, was way outside of that, pissed them off in some way or another.
Once off the phone to the base I went into my closet to try to figure out what I might wear to the base since there was the party and then the formal necessity of dealing with Holland at the armory. There was a knock at the door, which was unusual, as the doorbell button was in plain sight and the doorbell worked fine. I ran downstairs to get the door but, when I opened it, was only in time to see one of the compound Lincoln’s driving up Cabrillo. I looked down. My suitcase sat in front of me. I lifted the handle. It was still full, my wife having been forced to pack it but would, no doubt refuse to unpack it. It was also likely, from her attitude about the incident, that she wouldn’t be dealing with anyone else from the compound coming to the door and making demands in the future. Once back up in our bedroom, I opened the suitcase, only to discover that it was filled with a few shirts, a pair of trousers, sox, underwear and nothing else. I smiled to myself, presuming that I would have been on my own for toiletries or any of that. Another unspoken comment that wasn’t a comment coming from my wife. I breathed a sigh of relief that I’d been fortunate enough to avoid another ‘delivery boy’ mission.
The 2/13 party in my honor was set to go down at high noon, back on the same beach just beyond in the wild surf I’d rescued Lance Corporal Young from. The weather had moderated substantially from that time and the day was starting out with its usual clear skies and bright sunshine. I would go to the party with my OP shorts on over my swimsuit. I went about taking the pieces of my Class “A” uniform down to the car since I didn’t want to show up at the armory wearing almost nothing at all. The warrant officer had sounded very serious, and I’d be withdrawing some very serious materials, plus sitting still for a training session on the use of a rebreather, a relatively newly available underwater breathing apparatus mostly used by the military because of its great expense.
I drove the Coast Highway to Dana Point, not turning off to enter the Marina at the always busy intersection at the bottom of the Hill where most of Dana Point was built. I drove past Straight Ahead and noted that Paul’s vehicle was in rehab’s parking lot. I did a U-turn just up at the turn that almost everyone only used to go to the Quiet Cannon, the coast’s most famous and popular expensive restaurant. Back at the rehab clinic I parked in my usual semi-hidden spot and headed in through the side entrance. I wondered if Paul would be in and not tied up but noted immediately as I came out of the long hall that the man was there, sitting at his desk with his office door open. I stepped inside, wanting to ask him if he really did any other work at all other than wait for damaged people like me to come by without appointments, but didn’t say anything.
“Sit,” he said, looking up. “Out with it.”
“Out with what?” I asked, sheepishly.
“You’re supposed to be here for therapy,” he said. “You have mental problems from the war, but you don’t come in here for those, not mostly anyway.
No, you come in for instructions about how you conduct your life. I’m not here for that kind of advice.”
I stared at him for a few seconds. I had to trust him, even in a limited way, just as I had known from the beginning of work on the dive that I was going to have to trust Bob Elwell. Paul was objective in his ‘instructions about how to guide my life,’ and I much needed that. Bob was a real deep-sea diver and there was no way I could succeed in the complex dangerous mission without a real diver to provide knowledge, direction, and assistance.
“Proceed,” Paul finally said, with a big sigh, leaning forward to balance his chin on his clenched hands, elbows down before him on his desktop.
Why both he and Ehrlichman make the same move when listening intently I didn’t know but found marginally strange. They weren’t similar in any other way that I could tell.
I told him about the mission, but lying about the Porsche and saying that the lever of the emergency brake must have not been set properly…although simple logic would lead anyone, much less a brilliant man like Paul, to understand that I couldn’t know about the emergency lever being let go if I hadn’t been there. I finished my abbreviated rendition about how the mission had become one of deep diving, explosives, and getting rid of whatever might be in the Porsche frunk.
“What’s the problem?” Paul said, letting his hands and arms fall to his sides as he sat back.
“I don’t think the whole thing is a good idea.”
Paul started to laugh, gently at first but they fully out loud.
“You think?” he finally said when he got control of himself. “Two guys with no underwater detonation experience that I know of, are going to not only get hold of what’s needed but then dive down in the harbor, blow up a car that has a package inside a pretty secure and protected trunk, have nobody notice and then be sure the package is destroyed. You went to Vietnam after artillery school and blew up a lot of people which makes you an expert at what?”
I sat back in my chair, struck by the amount of emotion Paul was displaying. I hadn’t seen that part of him before. I didn’t know how to respond. Everything he said made sense and had led me to not want to perform the mission, and therefore why I was before him.
“You call it a mission,” Paul said, after nearly a full minute of silence.
“You mentioned that Mardian wanted the package at first but then the conversation changed to blowing the thing in place, as you put it. Why would he trust you to be certain that the package was destroyed? And we both know that no tiny explosion would do that. You’d have the whole harbor, very momentarily, looking and sounding like the 4th of July. It’s your mission. Go back to the basics. Go get the package and give it to Mardian. He’s as likely to believe you didn’t look inside as he is to believe you if you say you blew it up. And don’t forget what he said. If you do look into the box, then please remember the story of Pandora. Pandora let all the evil out of the box when she opened it against instructions. She did get it closed, but she closed all hope inside. There’s your advice and that’ll be twenty dollars for the time.”
I pulled the only twenty I had on me from my wallet and placed it on the desk. Paul had given me the same advice I’d been giving myself ever since the training dive with Bob Elwell was an option. There’d been no explosives planted in that dive but I’d come to understand that the bottom of the sea or harbor was a place almost totally alien to me, particularly at night. I needed both Gularte and Bob, but not as divers. Gularte needed to be topside to provide security and warning if there was to be trouble in the night. Bob and I would use the rebreathers, shielded lights, and tools to break into the Porsche. There’d be no bubbles, as the rebreathers recycled and contained everything. The lights would be twenty feet, or so down and should only be visible to anyone straight above them.
I thanked Paul and walked out, having paid twenty dollars for five minutes of truly solid advice. It’d been worth it I knew, as I considered while sitting outside in the front seat of the Volks.
I drove to Gularte’s to pick him up for the party, thinking deeply about the mission and what Paul had to say about it. Mardian had been unclear about how the mission was to be accomplished and Paul had picked up on that. It was up to me how I handled the situation. It was like the Valley and the battalion. I seldom got anything on the command radio, at least that got through the Gunny, and to me, that was detail-driven. The mission was clear but how to accomplish it was left to Gunny and me. The Gunny was gone, however, and I had to reassemble his advice from others and then apply my own solutions.
Gularte was ready when I got to his place. He wore his Ghurka version of my OP shorts and hung his police uniform in the back along with my Marine rig.
The drive took almost no time at all, as we used the access road that led around the compound, past the Coast Guard Headquarters, and then around the massive globes that made up the protective guards in case something explosive went wrong inside the plant.
The battalion was assembled down on the sand. We parked the Volks on the edge of the nearly unused road and went to join everyone. My center wound was scabbed back together and no longer bleeding. My Red Marine Corps “T” shirt covered my entire torso, and I wasn’t expecting to have to take it off.
Top Galant was there, as well as Larry Young and many more. Everyone was drinking except for Gularte and me. We stayed for an hour, sitting on the sand, nobody going into the ocean, including us. When we were about to leave the Top said that a ceremony had to be completed. Only when he began to speak about my rescue of Young did I notice that I was surrounded. A path was cleared to a trailer as Top finished speaking and the Marines all began cheering. Four or five Marines grabbed me and forced me through a gauntlet of lined-up men. I was then lifted from my feet and thrown through the air. I landed in the trailer, with Marines gathered all around me. Ice is not as soft or giving as water, which I felt right away. The trailer was filled with ice cubes and those cubes were fairly sharp. Fortunately, I landed on my back. I realized that I had just participated in an old Marine Corps tradition. The Ice Bath.
I climbed out with Gularte’s help, everyone else overcome with laughing and carrying on. We headed for the Volks and got out of there. Marine celebrations could be a little too raucous for my taste, especially after what I’d been through and was still going through. I loved the Marine Corps in so many ways but then there was stuff I just had to go along with. I wasn’t a ‘real’ Marine again, after all, in spite of my I.D. card and apparent registration in the DEERS system but I was forced to act like one on a regular basis.
We drove back toward the compound and stopped at the Coast Guard headquarters just off the road. The Coast Guard had no idea who we were but, after a short explanation, and showing the officer of the day my Marine blouse, he let us in to change clothes. My center incision was still closed so I had no need to stuff toilet paper inside the blouse.
Once properly attired, and after the officer of the day actually saluted me in spite of the fact that he was an ensign himself. Since we were still inside and I was uncovered I didn’t salute him back, but smiled and thanked him sincerely.
The drive to the armory was relatively quick, as the building was just off from the Las Pulgas gate on the base. We breezed through the gate, my being in an officer’s uniform, and headed toward the shooting range. As we approached, the sound of near-continuous shooting came to our ears, even over the sounds coming from the vehicle. The building loomed up as we drove closer toward the edge of the cliff that ran all along the entire western edge of the base. The main entrance appeared to be the only entrance, except for a bunch of closed electric doors obviously intended for the arrival and departure of large trucks. There were only a few cars in the parking lot. I noted that all the slots, most empty, were reserved like they had been back at the First Civil Affairs group I’d worked with before being assigned to the Western White House detail. Having an understanding of the system and likely rigid enforcement I steered the Volks onto the grass nearby. It’d be a distance to haul everything from the armory to the car, but it wasn’t worth putting up with the warrant officer if he turned out to be what he’d sounded like on the phone.
The main entrance door was electronically locked. I pushed the doorbell-like button next to the steel thing and an electronic click could be heard. Gularte pulled the door open, and we stepped in. I inhaled deeply. The place smelled like Hoppes #9, a gun-cleaning solvent that I loved, at least to smell.
The warrant officer came through an inner office door to the counter.
“I’m Holland, come on around, and let’s get the short course out of the way. Two Navy Seals came all the way up from Coronado to train you guys.”
Gularte and I moved around the counter and entered a back room that was full of thick-topped wood tables, obviously used for the cleaning of weaponry.
Two men stood at the back of the room. They turned as one to face us, while the warrant officer retreated, closing the door behind him.
“We’re here to help you understand how to use these rigs,” one of them said.
“Okay,” I replied.
Both men were in civvies so there was to be no formality, whatever my obvious rank or their own. I did want to learn about the devices, but I’d already made up my mind about their use unless Bob Elwell couldn’t supply me with a regular tank and regulator. Both men before me looked like twins. Each was about six foot three and each had a completely shaven head. They were physical specimens I knew neither Gularte nor I could have survived more than a minute or two in a fight. But the men emitted no macho attitude, only a professorial analytical presentation.
The rebreathers were simple and looked more like backpacks than SCUBA gear. The point the main instructor SEAL kept making had to do with two gauges. The oxygen gauge and the carbon dioxide gauge. If either of those two gauges went into the red, then you had seconds to either adjust the flow using a brass knob on something called the oxygen tube or die.
“Of course, that’s if you’re below one atmosphere,” the SEAL laughed. “If you’re above that then simply stop breathing and surface.
I was relieved. The Porsche couldn’t be in any more than twenty-five feet of depth, but I couldn’t be sure. The rest of the class was about getting into and out of the rigs and listening to both men carry on about the fact that the new bouncy compensator vests were there because it wasn’t like regular diving. You couldn’t breathe in and surface or exhale and go down. Everything was contained inside the units.
“Don’t know what you’re doing but you can do it in complete silence and with no bubbles,” the man’s clone said, speaking for the first time. “We kinda got a look at your other gear so it would seem that whatever you’re doing it’s not something to do with training or entertainment.”
I looked at Gularte and then back at the men.
“Are we done here?” I asked, ignoring the SEAL’s question, as I knew he expected that I would.
“Drive your car inside when I open the outer door,” the first SEAL said, pointing toward the side of the building, even though they were totally contained in the gun cleaning room with no view out.
I moved to the door and stepped through it. The warrant officer was waiting with a wooden box.
“TNT is a civilian explosive, not common for normal military use but the others, if adjudicated out in proper quality should do the job, whatever the job might be. You will need 1.12 pounds of linear C-4. Two electric detonators with ignition wires and handset. Also, some detonation cord, just in case you want to use the fuse cord and two small supplementary charges in order to make sure the main charge gets proper sympathetic detonation. Cut the C-4 with a sharp knife, as much as you might want to measure for whatever effect you feel you might need. One inch will blow a regular passenger car about twenty feet in the air, but then, since this is a special requisition that never took place, I would presume that you already know all that. By the door are two underwater lights with new batteries. Should be good for a few hours. Those are on the house, so to speak, since you may run into some night work.”
Once we reached Gularte’s place we went inside. Gularte had no garage and neither of us wanted to keep the box of pyrotechnics inside our residences so my apartment garage, located under the living room, would have to be the temporary repository for the equipment. Although I knew that the explosives, the C-4, the small supplementary charges, and the detonation cord, were all benign except for the four physical detonators I carried in my breast pocket, I still didn’t like having so much explosive potential near my family. I’d thought about simply not accepting that part of the withdrawal from the armory but, in briefly thinking about it decided to go along until I was certain about what was going to be required to accomplish the mission.
As the engine died, I turned to Gularte.
“It’s not like we put in a formal requisition for this stuff, and you had to notice that we signed for nothing. How in hell can that work inside a United States Marine Corps armory?” I asked, looking over my shoulder at the mostly filled back seat.
The warrant officer had stuffed swim fins and wetsuits on top of the rebreathers, the ordnance box, goggles, snorkels, and underwater lights.
“So how did they know what to give us, aside from the training in rebreathers which we likely don’t need? The warrant officer didn’t even ask for our sizes or do a fitting for the wet suits. There’s way too much information being passed around that we know nothing about but here we are, once again, down in the valley in the crap.”
“Yeah, there’s that,” Gularte replied, uncomfortably.
“Richard and Cobb have their hands deep into this,” I said, “and I don’t like it. Whatever’s going on is going on because this government is coming apart at the seams right now and I think everyone’s heading for cover and trying to pull that over in after them. I don’t want to go down with the ship.”
“So, we’re not going to blow anything up” Gularte replied, disappointment in his voice.
I remained silent, thinking about our difficult situation.
“And we’re sure as hell going to look inside the package, right?” Gularte asked, “I mean if we get the package?”
“I’ve got to get with Bob Elwell,” I said, not answering his questions. “He’s a real diver and he’ll have a better idea about how to get into the car then either one of us, I’m sure. When I was a kid in Hawaii my brother and I commonly dived down a hundred feet to gather a special seaweed and we had no equipment or help except for my sister flaating above with an inflated innertube. We’re way too deep into equipment and complex planning. I’ve got to simplify this thing and Bob’s the key.”
“What about keeping this thing secret?” Gularte asked.
“Secret from whom? Even those SEAL guys up from Miramar had a good idea about what we’re up to, and then there’s Cobb, Richard, Mardian and only God knows who else. Trashing the Porsche and retrieving the package may be the least of our problems, as far as secrets go. I’ll see if I can find Bob. Turner and Rodriquez are on beach patrol tonight, so we won’t have to hide the Bronco or go through any of that this time. We need to do this tonight or I’m never going to get any sleep until it’s over.”
“When it’s over?” Gularte asked his tone one of amazement. “You mean after we have the package or because we gave up? I don’t think there’s an ‘over’ in much of this.”
“I can’t fault your logic,” I replied, as Gularte got out of the Volks and closed the door carefully behind him. “I don’t trust the explosives, no matter what those guys said about them being harmless,” he said, slowly backing away from the car, but smiling while he did it.
“Very funny,” I replied, but making the decision to leave everything we’d picked up locked in the Volks when I got home rather than unload any of it to store right under our apartment.
Once home, I parked the Volks across the street instead of in the driveway where I normally kept the car. I went inside, carrying my shorts and party gear under my arm. Julie came running out, Bozo at her side, as if she might need protection. I smiled down at her, and she smiled back, reaching out to touch my Marine Officer’s uniform. Julie loved uniforms, and I had a few. I yelled to Mary but went right upstairs to get out of my clothing. Wearing the uniform was never a thing of comfort, as it fit more like a straitjacket than a costume of clothing.
“I’ll be right back,” I yelled to my wife, who hadn’t come out of the kitchen, which wasn’t uncommon. The washer and dryer were in the kitchen, which was more the social center of the downstairs than the living or dining rooms.
I drove to the parking lot above the San Clemente Lifeguard Headquarters building. I had to walk down and use the pedestrian underpass to work my way back to the building on the other side of the tracks. I had no clicker to operate the gates, although I had thought about cloning the ones the department issued.
Bob was there, as he usually was. I’d never asked him about his personal life, simply presuming he had no one since his life seemed to be centered almost completely around the beach and being a lifeguard.
“Can you take a walk with me?” I asked him.
Sheridan Byerly, the lifeguard executive officer, eyed both of us with some suspicion. My request had likely been too casually delivered to Bob, I realized. Sheridan was extremely sensitive and bright and rumored to be gay but standing at six foot six and being able to swim like a fish, didn’t brook much of the way of open criticism from any of the guards he ruled over.
I walked toward the pier with Bob, waiting until we were totally out of the range of any possible listening device I could conceive of. I quickly filled him in about the missing Porsche and its location, although I left out the part about how it had gotten to its harbor bottom resting place. I asked for his opinion about how a night dive could be made to retrieve a classified package that had gone down with the Porsche locked inside its forward trunk.
“When would you attempt this?” Bob asked, offering no solution as to how the effort might be made.
“Tonight, why?” I asked, wondering why the timing might be important to Bob.
“How’s the trunk normally operated?” Bob surprised me by asking.
“By key, I presume, and we don’t have the key,” I replied.
“No, I mean from inside the car. Almost all cars have a lever or a pull device to release the trunk lid latch, and then there’s usually another lever right along the front edge of the hood that has to be pushed or depressed.”
“Hell, it’s an exotic Porsche, how in hell would I know? I drive a Volkswagen,” I replied, remembering, however, that my Volks had the same arrangement Bob had described.
“The question is, then, where’s that lever, if there is a lever, and I presume that we’re not going to ask the owner of the thing, I mean if the owner is still in the vehicle or unhappy about where it is.”
I was blown away. Bob was a big athletic man who didn’t talk that much, and I hadn’t expected such deep thought or mental penetration about the actual mechanics of the situation.
“How’s your time right now?” Bob asked, again seeming to come out of the blue with his question.
“Fine, why?” I asked back with a frown.
“We take a short trip to San Juan Capistrano where you got the Volkswagen from,” Bob stated. “They sell Porsches. We try one out.”
His idea was brilliant, I realized, except for one thing,
“What if the release is electric in that kind of expensive car?
“Twelve volts. One of our Jeeps was caught in the surf and was underwater for three days before the surf came down and we got it out. Saltwater carries a current through it, true, but not enough to bother a car battery much. The Jeep turned over when we got it out. Wouldn’t start, of course, that took a complete engine rebuild.”
“Let’s go,” I said, “I’m across the tracks since I lack a clicker of my own.”
I drove to the dealership, which was located right off the freeway just a bit north of San Clemente itself. We parked right near the front door, got out and went on to the showroom floor. There were a half dozen Volkswagens of different features, colors, and even designs, but only one Porsche. A salesman approached.
“Hey, remember you,” the man said with a big smile, his right hand extended. “You got the red Volkswagen from us.”
I shook his hand, not having to say anything as the man just continued to talk.
“How about the red Porsche here, since you seem to be a man of some means.”
“Just what we were thinking,” Bob replied with a big smile, as he moved to where a red Targa, almost identical to Little Mardian’s sat waiting. He opened the door of the Porsche and slipped into the driver’s seat. I went around and climbed into the passenger side.
The salesman continued to talk but we weren’t listening. Finally, Bob broke into his diatribe about the wonderful features of the car.
“How do you open the trunk from in here?” Bob asked, looking all around inside the driver’s side compartment.
“Oh, that’s easy,” the salesman replied, “and it’s called a frunk on these special cars. Front trunk and all.” He stepped to the Porsche’s side and slipped one hand down between the seat Bob was sitting in and the door. Bob looked down as the man pulled back on a short lever. A distinct click came from the front of the car.
“That’s it, all there is to it, except prying it open. This thing is so fast that the hood doesn’t pop right up, as at high speed the slipstream might catch it and cause the frunk lid to blowback, causing all manner of problems. I keep a little plastic knife in the dashboard opening there.” He pointed at the opening in front of me.
I pulled out the small white knife, no doubt purloined from some cafeteria setting somewhere. I took the small thing and got out of the car. The salesman walked around and held out his hand. Once he had the knife he went back to the front and stuck it’s tip into the small curve that formed the front of the frunk and eased it slightly upward before he could get his fingers under it and pry it all the way open.
“There, that ought to do it,” he said.
I walked up to him and held out my hand for the small knife, which he promptly handed over. I went back and made to return it to the dashboard opening but pocketed it instead. The salesman was oblivious, still trying to sell Bob on the outstanding features of the unusual expensive sports car.
Bob got out of the Porsche and slammed the door before heading for the front door. “We’ll be back to take a test drive later,” he said, exiting the showroom floor with me right behind him.
Once back on the freeway, Bob started to laugh. “All that for a five-cent plastic fork,” he said.
“Well, and a vital bit of knowledge we badly needed, thanks to you,” I replied, finding no humor in any of what had transpired. “Now that we have the way to get in, hopefully, what plan do you recommend for using that way?”
“No tanks or gear, except that knife you grabbed and one light,” Bob answered as if he had the whole thing laid out beforehand in his mind. “We don’t use tanks or any of that. We wear the wetsuits because they are black and Gularte’s about the same size as me. Gularte waits on top to spot and potentially head off trouble since we won’t have communication once we’re at the bottom. Ten seconds to get to depth, one minute to find the car and get the frunk open. Add a face mask and snorkels, although we shouldn’t need the breathing assistance and it’s a wrap.”
I was flat-out astounded. The seemingly simple lifeguard was much more than he portrayed to almost everyone around him.
“You haven’t even seen me swim,” I said, shaking my head.
“You saved that Marine, and I was out there with you, remember?” he replied. “Compared to that this is going to be a picnic…and fun to pull off. I’ve got to see that guy’s Porsche sitting down on the bottom. That’s priceless, not that I’m making any accusations about how it got to be there or why.
“What time?” I asked, wondering if Bob had figured that out too.
“Nine,” Bob replied immediately. “Early in the morning hours would be just asking for curious minds to follow up on if we get spotted. Nine is still ‘move around and get ready for the real dark of night later on’ kind of stuff.”
I was impressed again. It would be a pleasure to dive with the man. Somehow the mission had been pared down from an explosive exercise requiring tons of preparation and high risk to a simple dive into the harbor and quick recovery of whatever was there to be recovered.