The Ed Waller Stories: Book One - Algeria Here I Come

Chapter Twenty-Four: Free At Last?

 When we arrived back at the suite, Albert and Daniel were waiting for us. Albert started, "We brought you some snacks to hold you until dinner. We have plenty of unopened beverages that you can enjoy. Dr. Roberts and Mr. DePauw will be joining you shortly."

We had just sat down and Allie started, "Everyone, I hate to tell you this, but I think Mr. Lazlo and Mr. Duncan are involved in this mess up to their ears. I'll tell you why I think so….."

Allie was interrupted by the doorbell. Allie went to answer the door and Captain Brower and President Michaels were standing there with Officer Del Rio. Allie looked at them, "Good, I was just about to tell the others why I think that Mr. Lazlo and Mr. Duncan are involved in the plot to kill us."

I motioned for the gentlemen to sit down and Allie continued, "The morning we were docking in Helsinki, I saw the two officers in question talking to Dr. Whitney. I didn't think anything more about it until I saw the two officers on the bridge this afternoon. I saw Mr. Duncan hand Dr. Whitney an envelope."

President Michaels and Captain Brower both raised their eyebrows. President Michaels nodded, "Allie we have reached the same conclusion, but for a very different reason. Captain, why don't you call Officer Lazlo and ask him to join you immediately in Suite 1001?"

The Captain made the call and it was less than five minutes later when the chimes sounded.

Allie answered, "Won't you please come in Mr. Lazlo? Captain Brower would like to speak to you."

When Officer Lazlo saw who all was present, he turned toward the door but Amir was standing in such a position that Mr. Lazlo couldn't possibly leave. President Michaels looked at Allie, "Would you please tell Mr. Lazlo what you just told us?"

Allie shrugged his shoulders, "I think that you and Mr. Duncan are involved in the plot to do away with Mr. Waller, my brother and me. I saw you and Mr. Duncan talking with Dr. Whitney just before we docked in Helsinki. I saw Mr. Duncan hand Dr. Whitney an envelope."

Lazlo interrupted, "You're lying, I never had the opportunity to meet Dr. Whitney."

Allie wasn't going to back down, "Mr. Lazlo, I know what I saw. Unless I miss my guess, Mr. Duncan is the only officer on board with red hair that almost looks as if it is orange. I know the other person was you, because I wondered at the time if you dyed your hair and missed some. You have a large patch of gray hair on the left side of your head which stands out from the rest of your hair which is almost black."

President Michaels laughed, "Lazlo, for your information, Mr. Pierce has been relieved of his position at the company headquarters, and is now being questioned by the Miami police. It seems that he has been telling everything he knows, in order to save his hide."

Lazlo shouted, "This is just a sham so I can be made the fall guy for something that I had nothing to do with."

Allie was thinking aloud, "President Michaels and Captain Brower, I think we should have Mr. Duncan come talk to you, so we can hear what he has to say. In the meantime, why don't you have Officer Del Rio take Mr. Lazlo into Dad's bedroom, so he can't get away? I'll take off my briefs and Officer Del Rio can stuff them into Mr. Lazlo's mouth so he can't warn his friend."

If looks could kill, Allie would have been in a casket, shortly.

Captain Brower was laughing as he picked up the phone and made a call, "Would you please have Officer Duncan report to Suite 1001 immediately?"

Officer Del Rio had just taken Lazlo into the bedroom and shut the door when the chimes sounded. Allie went to answer, "Good afternoon, Officer Duncan, Captain Brower is waiting to speak to you. Please come in."

Again, Amir moved to the door to make sure that Officer Duncan didn't try to leave.

President Michaels began, "Allie, please tell Mr. Duncan what you observed the morning we docked in Helsinki."

Mr. Duncan a was little more pleasant in his response, "Allie, I'm sure you must be mistaken. I don't think I ever had the opportunity to meet the Whitneys."

Allie stood firm, "Mr. Duncan, I know it was you, because of the color of your hair and I recognized Mr. Lazlo because of the gray patch of hair that he has on the left side of his head. I distinctly saw you hand Dr. Whitney a large brown envelope, and then you shook his hand."

The phone started to ring before Mr. Duncan could respond. Allie answered, "This is the Waller cabin. How may I help you? … Oh, hi Mr. Pietro. Let me get the Captain for you."

Allie handed the phone to Captain Brower, "This is Captain Brower. … Thanks, Pietro. Please have the call transferred to this cabin."

The phone rang and the Captain pushed the speaker button, "This is Captain Brower."

"Captain, this the Chief of Police in Helsinki, Ivan Grontveldt."

"Just a minute, sir. I have some other people I would like to have hear this conversation. Allie, ask Officer Del Rio to bring Mr. Lazlo into the room."

Allie did as he was told and the Captain started, "Please go ahead Chief Grontveldt."

"Captain Brower, it seems that two of your officers recruited Mr. Whitney to kill a Mr. Waller and two young men by the name of Safi. They were blackmailing Mr. Whitney because he was not traveling with his wife but rather his secretary. He indicated that an Officer Duncan even provided the weapon he was to use. Mr. Whitney has been turned over to the American embassy and he is going to be extradited to the United States for prosecution."

"Thanks, Chief Grontveldt."

It was a good thing that there were nine men in the room because Duncan grabbed Allie, "We're leaving and were taking this brat with us. We have done nothing wrong. It was this brat from Algeria and his brother and his brother's lover who have caused all of the trouble."

Duncan and Lazlo didn't know what hit them because they were immediately immobilized by Khalid and Amir. Both men slumped to the floor. Allie looked at Khalid and Amir, "What did you do to make them pass out?"

Khalid avoided the question, "Officer Del Rio, I suggest that you get some of your security people here to help you place these scumbags in the slammer. Anyone who would try to use a ten year old as a hostage should be castrated."

Captain added, "I also want Mr. and Mrs. Santiago confined until we can make sure the threat to Mr. Waller, Brahim and Allie is totally neutralized."

After Lazlo and Duncan were taken to the service elevator by the security detail, President Michaels turned to Allie, "Do you suppose that you might be able to stay out of trouble for the next twenty four hours?"

Allie looked at the Captain, "Sir, I don't suppose you have any officers on board, that could show us around Poland tomorrow, do you? We had a fantastic time in Estonia. I really would just like meet the real people instead of going to the tourist traps."

"Allie, let me see what I can arrange. I'll let you know at dinner."

After President Michaels and Captain Brower departed, Allie started in on Dr. Roberts and Mr. DePauw, "I sure hope that the two of you got some rest this afternoon. In fact, you look more tired now than you did when we got back from our trip. Maybe Dad should get you jump started with some of that bubbly stuff. I'm going to go take a shower. I feel dirty from those people touching me."

Dr. Roberts looked at us, "You do have a live wire there. I can hardly wait to see what lies in store for us tomorrow. We need to go get ready for dinner."

Khalid and Amir were shaking their heads as they left. I hugged Brahim, "I guess we should get ready for dinner, before we go face the firing squad. I sure hope this phase of our life is over."

When we got to the dining room, everyone was at the table except the three of us. There just happened to be three spaces for us to sit. Allie was between Jim and John I was next too Kate and Brahim was next to JoJo. Everything was progressing fine and we were eating our main courses when a young female officer approached the table.

"Good evening, ladies and gentleman, "I'm Ludmila Wasilewski. I have been informed that I would be taking you on a tour of my country tomorrow. Which of you is Alexander Graham Safi?"

Allie looked perplexed, but he stood and extended his hand, and the young lady grabbed him and gave him a kiss, "I just wanted to thank you for making it possible for me to be promoted. I'll pick you and your party up at 8:00 o'clock sharp. Make sure you bring your swimming gear with you so I can check you out. Meet me at the exit point."

She turned to Andres, "Make sure that you get the people at this table soused, so they don't realize that they're being fleeced, tomorrow."

Before she left, she shook her finger at the table, "Remember, eight o'clock sharp or we're going to leave you behind."

Andres, Josef and Carlos were laughing. Andres said, "You people just had the good fortune of encountering the Wicked Witch, Lulu. The bar staff is elated to have her as our boss rather than that Duncan person. Look how she is making the guests feel welcome. I have a feeling that you are going to have the experience of a lifetime tomorrow, if she is going to be taking you on a tour."

After dinner, Allie asked to be excused. He just wanted to go to the suite and chill, as he said, and Jim and John agreed.

We made our way to the Starlight Lounge, but after a couple of dances the events of the day started to catch up with Brahim and me, as well as several other people. We made our way to our suites and the three boys were already asleep.

Brahim and I took a shower the ship's sewer system or whatever was probably going to get clogged.

We were awakened the next morning by Allie, "Dad and Brahim, get up! I need to go check on the generals and Grandpa Darryl and Uncle Tom. We need to be at the dining room when it opens at 7:00."

I was surprised when our full table of people were there waiting to be seated when the restaurant opened. Josef and Carlos didn't even ask what we wanted to drink. The fresh orange juice was in front of us, practically before we sat down. The three boys had milk and the rest of us had coffee. It was evident who Josef considered to be the most important person at the table was, because he started with Allie, "What will you be having Mr. Safi?"

Allie grinned, "Josef, I'd like the cheese omelet with hash browns and some fresh fruit, please."

Everyone else, except for Braim had a ham and cheese omelet, even Khalid and Amir. Brahim had a plain cheese omelet.

Amir started to give Allie and Brahim a hard time. "I give you guys a month, and you will be eating pork three times, some days."

Allie looked at Khalid, "General Khalid, we'll face that hurdle when we get to it. Remember, there are people out there who don't like us too much. They will stop at nothing to discredit us. Besides, we wouldn't want Mr. and Mrs. Summers to get the wrong idea, would we?"

After we finished eating, the three young guys went to get their swim suits and a towel. When they returned, they each were carrying a canvas bag with the ship's logo on it. When I saw them, I questioned the boys, "Where did those bags come from?"

John looked at me, "Mr. Waller, we stole them, of course."

Allie was giggling so hard that he could hardly talk, "Dad, don't believe John. Albert gave them to us, along with some old towels so that we won't get charged if we don't bring them back. There's Miss Lulu."

Officer Wasilewski approached us, "Let's get to the disembarkation station so we can get off as soon as we have been cleared to depart, by customs. Our transportation is waiting,"

We went to the disembarkation point and Officer Del Rio was waiting for us. He handed Allie his slingshot, "I hope you don't need to use this, today."

There was an announcement on the public address system, "The passengers have been cleared to disembark."

Officer Lulu didn't waste any time and we were the first to leave the ship. We made our way to a mini bus that was waiting for us. She kissed the driver and two boys who just about knocked her over. She motioned to the driver, "Let's get out of here, before the herd disembarks."

She took the microphone, "I'll explain more as soon as we get away from the crowd."

After we departed the dock area, Miss Lulu, as she was to become known, stood, "Ladies and gentleman, I would like to introduce my husband Karol. He is our chauffeur for the day, as well as our chef.

The two young men seated in the back are our sons, Aleksy and Dawid. We will be taking a short tour of the area, before we get to the small farm where we live."

Sit back and relax, and I'll explain about the sites that we are passing. This area is rather picturesque and is still pretty much in the 19th century, even though we have been invaded and reinvaded several times. We are not like the area around Warsaw which has become a huge industrial center."

We had been traveling for about 45 minutes when we stopped in front of a stone house. Lulu announced, "All out who are going ashore. Guys, why don't you go for a swim while we fix lunch, and we'll have a picnic lunch by the pond."

When we walked into the house, it was anything but 19th century. It was state of the art. The five boys disappeared up the stairs and returned wearing their swim suits, and started toward the pond, whatever that meant. Lulu suggested that Karol should take us gentleman to look around the farm while the ladies concocted lunch.

Karol spoke beautiful English. Both he and Ludmila had spent a year studying in the United States, as foreign exchange students. Karol explained, "We only actually farm about a fourth of the farm. The rest is leased to some neighbors. We only have enough livestock to take care of our personal needs. I'm a professor of English at the University, so there isn't much time to take care of the farm."

Dr. Roberts commented, "Everything looks impeccable."

Karol smiled, "Thank you, Dr. Roberts. Dawid and Aleksy are a great help, especially when Ludmila is gone and I'm working or playing tour guide for passengers from the cruise ships. I have driven the road between Gdansk and Warsaw so many times that I could probably do so with my eyes closed."

We were interrupted by a clanging noise. Kate was hitting a gong. Karol laughed, "I guess we're being paged. Lunch must be ready."

Ludmila handed Karol, Brahim and me each a picnic basket. She also handed Amir and Khalid each a thermos. We started toward the mysterious pond.

As we approached, we were unprepared for what we saw. Allie was getting out of a beautiful pond and going after the ball that had escaped the playing area. The only problem was that he was absolutely naked. He saw us and waved and turned to his friends. "

"Hey guys, I think we need to get dressed, there are ladies in the area."

We watched as 10 naked boys climbed out of the water. Our five boys pulled on their swimming suits while the five visitors put on their clothes. Allie explained, "Dawid and Alexsy's friends didn't have swim suits, and weren't going to join us, so we decided that we would all swim nude; that way we were all in the same state."

Khalid started to laugh, "I must say that was certainly a creative way to solve the problem."

Jojo started to give the guys a difficult time. "Hey guys, I liked the scenery better the other way."

Allie stuck out his tongue, "Yeh, you would probably get so excited that you wouldn't able to eat your lunch."

Dawid interrupted, "Mom, do we have enough food so that the other guys can eat with us?"

Lulu nodded, "I assumed their might be a couple of your friends here, so I made some extra. I'm sure there will be enough."

It was a fun experience, just watching the ten boys having a blast. Dawid and Alexsy, by far, spoke the best English of the seven Polish boys, but I guess that was to be expected since Karol taught English.

As we were finishing, Allie approached Lulu, "Miss Lulu, thanks for the wonderful lunch."

The ten boys cleaned the area where they had eaten, and it was immaculate. Alexsy looked at his parents, "How soon do we need to leave to take Allie, Jim and John back to the ship?"

Lulu answered, "We should probably leave in about an hour and a half, since the ship is scheduled to sail at five."

Alexsy nodded, "We'll be out behind the barn, if you need us."

The ten guys ran toward the house as we started to gather the things. When we were approaching the house, Dr. Roberts spoke, "I'm sure that Ludmila and Karol have some things they need to discuss. Why don't we go see what the boys are doing?"

Editor's Notes:

That was nice of Doctor Roberts to think to give Ludmila and Karol some time alone together.

I think it is possible that a good number of the people that want to kill the guys have been taken out of the picture, one way or another.

As in all of E Walk's Stories, the people we care about have become very special to us.

I can hardly wait to see what happens next.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

, "Son, I'm really not trying to upset you, but Mr. and Mrs. Summers are of the opinion that there is at least one or two more crew members who might have been solicited by the people who want to harm you, on board. Mr. Summers, would you please explain to Mr. Waller and the Safis what you and Mrs. Summers found."

Scott Summers looked around the table, "Allie and everyone, there were four new crewmembers who joined the Paradise in Stockholm. The two gentlemen who have been isolated were two of them. Those two men were assigned as cabin attendants. The other two persons were assigned to the food and beverage department. They are a bartender and bar waitress. They are supposedly a husband and wife."

Allie put his hands on the table, "So, are you saying that we shouldn't drink anything for the rest of the trip? Just because four crewmembers got on together doesn't mean that they are all trying to hurt us."

Scott nodded his head, "Allie, ordinarily I would agree with you except that there are too many coincidences. First, all four people just happen to be from the same country. Captain Brower informed us that in all the years that he has been sailing, he has met very few crew-members from that country on the ships on which he has served."

President Michaels took over, "Gentlemen, we have very rigid standards that must be met before we hire any of our staff members for ships. What I am concerned about now as well as the safety of our passengers is the integrity of the personnel in our Human Resources Department. It appears that perhaps the people behind these unfortunate incidents may have either bribed or blackmailed some of our people so that these people could be placed on the Paradise. I have contacted the head of the Human Resources Department and he is looking into the matter at our Miami headquarters. "

Allie slumped back in his chair, "Dad, maybe Brahim and I should just go back to Algeria. I'm the person whom they are after. I'm the person who wounded the assailants. I'm the person who doused the lights at the pier. I don't want anyone else to be hurt."

Amir stood and picked Allie up out of his chair, "Look roommate, if you keep talking nonsense like that, I am going to spank you so hard that you won't be able to sit down until we dock in Miami. Now sit and listen as we plan what we need to do."

Allie looked at Amir, "You sure are bossy for a General. We need to get Doctor Sorenson involved so he can have the proper equipment ready to test any drinks that are served to us before we drink them. We should also tell Albert, Daniel, Josef and Carlos what is happening so they can be looking for people doing strange things. I guess we need to have Andre involved too, since he is the person who usually serves us our drinks at mealtime."

President Michaels shook his head, "Alexander, you sure do a lot of thinking for a person as young as you are. Captain Brower and Officer Del Rio, why don't you meet with the people whom Allie has suggested. I am of the opinion that the people who are after Mr. Waller and the Safis have been advised to limit the damage they cause, because there are people of a number of different nationalities on board. The people behind this fiasco can not risk antagonizing too many countries. They appear to be running scared and that rather concerns me. We need to move swiftly to neutralize the threat."

Khalid stood, "Captain Brower and Officer Del Rio, I suggest that you meet with your staff without General Amir, Mr. and Mrs. Summers, President Michaels or me being here. I think it is important, however, that Allie, Brahim and Ed be here. In the meantime, I would like to have permission to interrogate the two people who are in confinement."

Allie started to interrupt but Khalid stopped him, "Allie, these people that you have identified all relate to the three of you. It is best that rest of us remain in the background for now. As far as most of them know, we eat at your table and nothing more. I have complete confidence that Michael and Daniel will do whatever we want. We have already checked them out."

Officer Del Rio picked up the phone, "General Khalid, I'll arrange for you to go talk to the two persons."

The Captain motioned for Pietro to come into the room. Captain Brower asked him to contact the persons whom Allie had identified and have them report to the bridge as soon as possible. "Tell them they don't need to be in uniform and to come as they are."

Allie chimed in, "Especially if they're naked."

President Michaels turned to Allie, "I'm glad to see that you still have a sense of humor, even in the face of adversity."

Those people who were not going to be present departed and the Captain went and got us each a soda that hadn't been opened and handed them to us, "These should be safe."

Allie questioned the Captain, "Are you sure? By the way, Captain, where are the other two people who boarded in Stockholm assigned so we make sure we don't go to where they're working?"

Captain Brower frowned, "I don't honestly know, but we'll find out before you leave here."

When everyone was assembled, the Captain explained what was happening. He looked at Dr. Sorenson, "Ted, do you have the equipment that you would need to test for foreign substances in the drinks that were served to Mr. Waller and the two Mr. Safis?"

"Not really, but there is a toxicology expert on board who might be able to help us."

The Captain nodded and looked at the other five crewmembers, "Gentlemen, we need you to be especially alert. There is no telling what these people might do to get to Allie, his brother and Mr. Waller. If you see or hear of anything strange at all, please contact Officer Del Rio."

Daniel spoke up, "Captain, I was coming out of Mr. Waller's cabin yesterday when two room stewards I didn't know approached me and asked which cabin the Safis and Mr. Waller were in. I told them I didn't know."

Michael started, "I was returning some clothes to the Waller cabin yesterday as two room stewards were walking by. They asked who was living in my cabins. I was beginning to get suspicious and asked what they were doing in my area anyway."

"One of them had the audacity to answer. 'We're just new on board and are trying to figure out where everything is. What do these big suites look like anyway? Could we look at one?'"

I looked at them, "I'll be glad to show you what they look like when they are vacated. We could all be fired if I were to take you inside one, especially if the occupants are in there. Now if you will excuse me."

I waited until they had gone before I entered Mr. Waller's suite.

I had to ask, "Michael and Daniel, would you be able to recognize the two persons if you were to see them?"

Michael nodded, "I had time to get a good look at them. I'm sure I could recognize them if I saw them again."

The Captain looked at Josef and Carlos, "Josef and Carlos, we don't think that they would try to do anything to the food because they wouldn't know what the three people would be eating."

Allie interrupted, "I guess we should probably eat our meals in the Lido Restaurant especially breakfast and lunch. Almost everything is already made and they would have no idea who was going to take what."

The Captain nodded, "That's not a bad idea for the time being, but I think between Josef and Carlos they can make sure that your food would be safe to eat. I still think that you need to be extremely careful as to what you drink? Andres, that's were you come in. We have a new bartender and bar waitress on board that we are suspicious of. You need to be extremely careful about what beverages you served to the Waller table."

Andres had a funny look on his face, "Sir, this is getting rather scary. I was informed today that I was going to be training a new bar waitress to be a sommelier. I thought it was odd that I would be told to train someone since I only became a sommelier about three months ago, myself."

The Captain scowled, "That is odd. Who told you that you were going to train this new person."

"Officer Duncan, the head of the beverage department, came to me and told me at lunch time, while I was working on the Lido deck since the dining room was closed. I tried to tell him that I was still learning myself, but he wouldn't listen."

The Captain took a deep breath, "Officer Del Rio, please take Albert and Daniel to see if the two people who are being detained were the same two persons who were snooping around Mr. Waller's suite yesterday."

Captain Brower turned to the three persons from the dining room, "Gentlemen, please be extremely alert when you are serving Mr. Waller's table from now on. Thank you for your help."

After everyone had left, Captain Brower shuttered, "Guys, this is getting rather bizarre. President Michaels, did you hear what the people had to say."

The President came in from a side door which we were to find out was the Captain's office. "Steve, I wasn't very pleased with what I heard, especially what Andres said. I think you should have Officer Duncan and the head of the food and beverage department, I believe his name is Officer Lazlo, up here immediately."

The Captain nodded his head in agreement. He picked up the phone and dialed a number, "Officer Lazlo, this is Captain Brower. I would like to see you and Officer Duncan on the bridge immediately."

While we were waiting, President Michaels was frowning, "This is getting out of hand. I am becoming more and more positive that there is some connection with the home office in Miami."

There was a knock on the door and the Captain motioned for the two officers to enter The Captain made the introductions, "I'm sure that you recognize the company's president, Mr. Greg Michaels. The gentlemen next to him is Mister Edward Waller and his friends Mr. Brahim Safi, and the handsome young man next to me is Mr. Allie Safi. Gentlemen, these are Officer Arturo Lazlo and Officer Rodney Duncan."

We stood and shook their hands and Allie surprised everyone, "President Michaels and Captain Brower, I think we should talk to them one at a time first, and then explain to them later why they are here."

President Michaels snickered, "Allie, your in charge. Please proceed."

Allie was undaunted, "Mr. Lazlo, would you please wait outside while we talk to Mr. Duncan?"

Officer Lazlo bristled but left. Officer Del Rio knocked and the Captain motioned for him to come in. Officer Del Rio didn't say anything but nodded his head and we instinctively knew that the two detained person were the people who had been snooping around our cabin

Allie started, "Mr. Duncan, would you please tell us why you assigned Andres to train the new bar waitress."

Officer Duncan was confused, "I was told by Officer Lazlo to have her assigned to Mr. Waller's table."

Allie continued, "I understand that the young lady's husband was recently assigned to the Paradise as a bartender. Where will he be working?"

"He will be working in the dining room over lunch and dinner and the rest of the time he will be roving to provide relief to the other bartenders throughout the ship. That is where Officer Lazlo told me to assign him."

Allie gulped, "Do the lady and gentlemen have names?"

"Yes, they are Carmen and Giovanni Santiago."

Allie sighed, "Thank you, Mr. Duncan. Would you please ask Mr. Lazlo to step in? Don't leave the area because I'm almost positive that President Michaels and Captain Brower will wish to speak to you again."

Officer Lazlo came in; he was acting a little too haughty as far as I was concerned. Allie started, "Mr. Lazlo, why did you have Carmen Santiago assigned to work with Andres at Mr. Waller's table. Isn't the signing of the bar staff Mr. Duncan's responsibility?"

Officer Lazlo looked at the Captain, "Captain, do I have to answer this kid's questions?"

President Michaels answered, "Mr. Lazlo, I strongly suggest that you do so, or you will be disembarking the ship in Gdansk and will be looking for new employment."

Boy was the wind taken out of Officer Lazlo's sails, "I did tell Mr. Duncan to have Ms Santiago assigned to Mr. Waller's table, and yes Officer Duncan normally would make the assignments. However, in this case, I received a message from the Human Resources office in Miami, telling me where the Santiagos should be working during this voyage."

Talk about a reaction. Both President Michaels and Captain Brower jumped up. Captain Brower started, "So you're playing the captain are you? Why wouldn't you bring such a message to me? I am in charge of this ship and the passengers' safety while we are at sea, not you, or the people in Miami and certainly not the Human Resources department. In case you hadn't heard, I report directly to the President, or Vice President, in his absence."

President Michaels started on Lazlo, "Did the person who sent the message per chance happen to sign it?"

Officer Lazlo nodded, "It was signed by a Mr. Dominick Pierce, Asst Director of the Human Resources Department."

President Michaels exploded, "Mr. Pierce is nothing more than a receptionist in the department. Allie, please ask Officer Duncan to join us."

When Officer Duncan joined us, President Michaels left no doubt who was in charge, "Captain Brower, tell these people what you want to happen."

The Captain took several of minutes to collect his thoughts. "Officer Del Rio, please have Mr. and Mrs. Santiago confined, and do not let them have any contact with the two other persons who are being detained. They are to have no contact with any passengers or other crew members. Search the cabins of the four people who are being detained, and see what you can find that might indicate who is behind this plot. Get the people who were here earlier to assist you."

Officer Del Rio departed and Captain Brower turned to the two remaining officers. You two people should be aware by now that someone wants Mr. Waller and the two Mr. Safis out of the way. Why would you not take precautions to assure their safety?"

Officer Lazlo spoke, "Sir, this is not the first time that I have been advised by Mr. Pierce where people should be assigned. For the past two years, we have been receiving messages about what to do with certain crew members. I'm sure other department heads have been receiving the same type of messages. This is the first time I've sailed with Captain Brower. The same thing has happened on the other ships that I've been on."

Mr. Michaels, looked at the two gentlemen, "If anything happens to Allie or the other two gentlemen, you will be out of a job so fast that you won't be able to see your head spinning. Allie, do you have anything else to say or add?"

"No Mr. President, but I do have a question for the two gentlemen."

"Allie, be my guest."

Allie had that devilish look in his eye, "You two gentlemen are more than officers in the same department aren't you?"

The two men started to turn red. Officer Lazlo asked, "Why would you ask a question like that?"

Allie pointed to their left hands, "You're wearing identical wedding bands that's why. Captain, did you know they were a couple?"

"Yes, Allie I did. The first day I boarded they came to me to tell me. I have no problem with them being a couple, as long as they keep their activities in their cabin. They aren't usually seen together so only someone like you would pick up on it. I suggest that we go get ready for dinner. I, for one, am starting to get hungry."

Allie hugged the Captain, "Good thinking, Captain, I be hungry too."

Editor's Notes:

Well, I must say that things are starting to get very complicated, and it would seem that at least some of the people who are out to get our friends, are now being detained. Let's hope they find any and all other people of the criminal persuasion, and safely lock them up.

I have to wonder if Allie is going to try to become a pirate, "I be hungry," sounds like something that Long John Silver might say.

Let's hope we don't encounter any pirates on the ship, or anywhere else, for that matter. "Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Rum, or something like that.

I am on pins and needles waiting to find out what happens next.

What was happening with Darryl and Tom? We didn't hear from them this time, at least I don't remember hearing from them.

I have never been on board a cruise ship. I would some day like to go on a cruise, somewhere. I have no idea where. I find it fascinating to notice that the Darryl in the story is very interested in geography. That was a subject that I never quite mastered. Hell, I never even reached the rank of grunt when it comes to Geography. I wouldn't know Kankakee from a canker sore, or Baltimore from a bald eagle. If I go to Maine, will I be able to find Bangers and Mash?

I used to watch Mash, every week. I think that show lasted a lot longer than the Korean conflict did.

Speaking of food; I noticed that a lot of food products have been packaged differently lately. We often get what is lovingly called TV Dinners, for when we don't feel like cooking anything elaborate.

Lately they have reduced the amount of food in the packages but left the price the same. The interesting thing is that they are deliberately trying to fool people into thinking they are still getting the same thing they got the last time they bought any packages.

Does anyone remember when a three LB can of coffee actually contained three Lbs of coffee? Well, I think I have said enough to get you thinking and maybe we can get someone to step up to the plate and address the fact that companies are pretending to keep things the same, all the while, they systematically reduce the number and weight of objects in the packages.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! I want more chapters!!!!!!

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher