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THE CREATURE WITHIN 18: DOLPHINS & SEALS

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THE CREATURE WITHIN 18: DOLPHINS & SEALSCHAPTER 18: DOLPHINS & SEALSI was being pulled by the alpha dolphin, my body slightly above his on his right side at a depth of about 15 feet. I looked to the right and behind me, then to the left, before glancing behind to verify the position of the two Navy Seals on each side, each holding the dorsal fin of a dolphin. Behind me, a single female with her calf followed closely. We were just passing through the inlet to the target cove making our planned approach on the designated target. Despite my nerves at being at the critical point of a first true attack mission depending on my skills that would determine the success of the mission, my body and mind were tingling more from excitement of the adrenalin rush of the situation.Once I had the three male dolphins under relative control, everything else came together very quickly. The dolphin pod came together at the island cove. The remainder of the pod consisted of three females and one calf. Dolphin pods are frequently small in size, but many pods can come together on occasions and number in the hundreds when food sources are plentiful. This pod came together with the alpha and I found the females taking to the training without issue. In fact, they didn’t train at all, I realized. They seemed to pay no attention to my signals, but reacted quickly to the movements of the alpha and other males. Although we only needed five dolphins for the mission, we had six. As it turned out, the calf was a surprisingly good addition to the group.The pod reacted to me so well, that I took them out into the open sea almost immediately where we dove to great depth and swam together for nearly a mile without problems in following direction or staying as a tight grouping. Immediately after, I communicated with the Seal team, indicating that we were ready to move to the next part of mission training. The five Seals, including the boat handler, arrived the next morning to the cove and our mission training began in earnest.With the Seals coming, I began wearing a bikini, which might have been confusing for the male dolphins, but they were to learn soon enough that the next couple days would be entirely spent on mission coordination and assault planning and technique. They were long and grueling days, but I was always aware of the reality that what was to come would not be computer planning or simulation, but a real mortal danger situation. Once it was established that the dolphins would accept the male Seals, the preparation and contingency planning went into full action.Which brought us to the point we now found ourselves. We made several approaches to the target, always avoiding contact but establishing the presence of the dolphins. As was my initial premise, the key was ‘training’ the guards and those monitoring the security devices to discount indications from a water approach. We did that by starting with visual observation of the dolphins near the entrance and gradually becoming more obvious. The first time we penetrated the cove, it was only me and two of the males. I stayed near the bottom wearing a weight belt while indicating for them swim in circles and even jump to draw attention. The first few times were of short duration. Over a couple of days, the entrance to the cove covered all the guard cycles, but especially the early morning. We were benefited by the unexpected presence of women at the site. As it turned out, the target made a habit of travelling with a couple women to entertain him and his men. We discovered during these trials that the women seemed to be naked for the most part so we had a pretty good idea what their presence meant. This played in well with our planning, although complicating my participation. They played an unwitting advantage for us, however. One of the earlier times I took the dolphins into the cove, the women were found on the beach sunning. When the dolphins were spotted, they squealed with delight, making a fuss of excitement that drew even the target to watch. This was when the presence of the calf turned into its own advantage. The sight of the young dolphin imitating its mother drew delight from all the witnesses. These observations were made and recorded by the Seals on the boat cruising past at a distance outside the cove inlet.As the final plans were discussed and established, the main point of contention among the Seals was the initial approach. Once successfully inside the cove undetected, the next critical element was exiting the water undetected by anyone inside the buildings; the main house where the target would be and a separate building where the guards and help were housed. The approach would be just at sunrise, putting the new sun on the horizon and providing additional difficulties in identifying the approach. The initial plan had considered a first assault with a bow, at least that was my initial smart-ass response to the problem in the simulation. The planners liked the idea, but the Seals were less enthusiastic putting the initial assault into my hands. They were to bring the same bow and arrows I had been training with under Adrian’s tutelage. However, when I opened the crate, the weapons were something different. Mary and Steve had designed and created a replica of my Hoyt Gamesmaster Recurve bow using a metal and coating that would resist the effects of salt water which couldn’t be avoided in our underwater approach. The arrows were also of a metal composition. The effect was a combination that reacted nearly identically to the bow I was used to, but the arrows flew truer. My initial performance for the Seals convinced them that it could work as they challenged me with various targets, approaches, distances, and surprises. The crate also contained some new technology … explosive arrows. The arrow had a bulge behind the point. By twisting that bulge, the explosive was primed. The bow had a button just above where my thumb would be placed. Pressing that button sent a signal that triggered the explosive. We tested the performance and potential. Such an option wasn’t a part of the plan, but the Seals insisted that mission adjustment on the fly were a part of any mission.So, once we were inside the cove, I released my hold on the dolphin and began swimming on my own. To my right and left, the Seals were doing the same, fanning out to their positions in the water. We were all wearing communication units that had us in touch with each other and with the boat a quarter of a mile outside the cove. After releasing the dolphin, I signaled for it to rise to the surface. As he did, the others followed. We knew the alarm would be tripped by our approach through the inlet. We also knew that the guard stationed nearest the beach would be alerted to verify the anadolu yakası escort disturbance. From previous test approaches, we came to count on his relaxed attitude in anticipating the dolphins.But, we still had to exit the water safely. That was where the naked women being present came into play. They, the Seals, decided I should approach naked. When I first became visible, it would present some confusion to the guard. The women were all native Columbian, so my long, black hair and deep tan would look appropriate. The guard’s first reaction would be to associate me to one of the women before questioning to himself how she could have gotten into the water without being noticed. The hope, however, was that the momentary delay, that split second, would be all I would need. We practiced the initial moment until I was weary of the routine action.But, now was the moment of truth. We had code names that were all we were known by to each other for security. I was ‘Cat’ (my tattoo), the leader was ‘Able’, then ‘Bart’ (he always quoted the Simpsons), ‘Frog’ (French parents), and ‘Prof’ (short for professor … he was always reading serious stuff). Able came over the comm unit in my ear, “Ready, everyone?”Then we all sounded off with our code name, “Cat is go.” I removed my fins. I was in a crouch in water just deep enough to cover my presence. I knew that the others were doing the same thing. The Seals to my left would be approaching the building housing the guards. The two on my right, including Able, would be going directly to the main house.When he was satisfied, he gave the command, “On my mark. Three … two … mark!”I stood and walked casually, but deliberately with the bow in my left hand hanging at my hip, already notched with my first arrow. The quiver of arrows on my back might be confusing, but we trusted seeing a naked woman rising from the water would distract him properly. The combination of all these elements proved to be sufficient in giving the edge we were hoping for. The other alternative was that he immediately started shooting and the mission be jeopardized from the start. Instead, with the next step of my left foot, I took position with the bow rising and my right hand taking hold of the string and arrow notch. My left arm went rigid while the right drew back the arrow until the string was pressed into my cheek and the arrow immediately released to the target. While all that was happening as a matter of muscle memory, my eyes ascertained the target wasn’t wearing a protective vest so my small target was his upper body mass center, which provided a target with some leeway but also some vital organs.With one eye recording the arrow hitting the target as planned, I was already scanning the main house for the anticipated next targets coming from their routine, circuitous perimeter watch. We anticipated, and planned for, the entire guard attitude to be numbed by the long night of watch and expected change of shifts, and we were rewarded with exactly that behavior. I knelt in the shallow water as practiced to minimize my profile for the next targets, releasing the next arrow as the guard rounded the back corner of the main house. My attention then shifted to the other building. This was the one we feared the most. The time and attention on the other two left this one to his own for critical moments, but he, thankfully, proved to be the least disciplined of the three. He rounded the building from the back with his weapon hanging loose from the strap around his neck while lighting a cigarette. I don’t think he noticed the other guards on the ground or me in the water.I quickly notched another arrow and scanned the scene in front of me. I quietly reported, “Targets 1, 2, and 3 down.”I continued covering the scene as four Navy Seals rose from the water and sprinted for their positions at their respective buildings. I was surprised when I saw Able turn his head to me and deliver a smile. These were professionals of the highest order, far better trained and experienced than the men they were attacking, and he took the brief moment to give me his approval.Now that they were taking the next steps, I was to retreat to deeper water and remain crouched on one knee with only my head exposed. I would be nearly invisible but still able to provide surveillance and cover support if it became necessary, but the element of surprise would soon be unnecessary. The next target was for the two at the main house to take out the man monitoring the defense systems where it was presumed to also contain communications. They didn’t want an emergency distress call to go out that might bring reinforcements or an alarm that warned the target so he could enter the saferoom. The other two took positions outside the other building. They were not entering that structure, but to remain in protected positions to keep anyone from exiting by accident or from alarm.They were each armed with silenced, assault-style rifles and hand guns holstered to their thighs. Each were wearing body armor over their upper bodies with their mask and breathing apparatus hanging from around their necks on their backs, just like I was. The fins contained air pockets in the heels of the boot so they floated at the surface vertically and could be found and retrieved later.The scene was tense and eerily quiet after Able and Frog disappeared inside the main house. I saw something change at the other building, but before I fully registered the what it was, I saw a man falling after exiting the doorway, the door closing behind him. He came out in shorts, holding his shirt, and rubbing his eyes. All I heard was the distinctive ‘phewt’ sound. Surprising to me from this experience, the silencer is not the quiet, soft sound you hear in movies. The silencer softens the sound but doesn’t eliminate it, which was why they wanted the initial kills to be completely silent to eliminate the potential of others hearing it since the entire mission hinged on capturing the target alive and retrieving documents and hard-drives.Almost at the same time, I heard, “Comm room cleared. Report.” I heard no shots from inside the house.Bart responded, “Someone came out. Handled, but don’t dawdle in there.”My job was to continue scanning the scene from a further back perspective.Everything was quiet, again, but everyone was tensing with the realization that the rising sun would mean more men would be awakening.Then, “Target has been secured. Two women secured with cuffs and gags. Retrieving data. Ready for us in two minutes.”The mission parameters were to minimize the kills, when at all possible. That was good by me, except my initial participation in the mission were the only required kills. Everybody involved ataşehir escort in the planning was concerned about that, but everything that had happen to me indicated I would be fine. And, as I assessed myself as I waited for their exit, I found only a calm, controlled attitude as I knelt in the water with bow ready.“Ready to exit with target and equipment. Report.”Prof replied, “Quiet.”I reported, “Clear.”“Cat, fins and breathing?”“Ready.” I had my fins retrieved and had retrieved the fins for Able and Frog. I had an extra breathing piece strapped to my ankle, which I now had looped over my forearm for the captured target. He would not have a mask, which should encourage him to keep his eyes shut tight against the salt water.They burst out of the main house, their captive stumbling between them as they nearly pulled him off the ground between them. Frog’s weapon was slung from his neck and he was muscling a large duffle bag in his other hand. I moved forward into shallower water, laying out the fins, then muscling the captive onto his face, giving him just enough slack to keep his face turned to take in air above lapping water.A short burst of fire came from the other building, making small, vicious splashes in the water around us. That was rewarded with heavy, suppression fire from Bart and Prof. I glanced that way while forcing the breathing apparatus over the captive’s head and jamming it roughly between his teeth, tightening the strap around his head. The other building had a door in the center and a window on either side of it. Bart and Prof were setting a steady, brutal barrage of fire into all three.I picked up my bow and turned to verify the progress of Able and Frog with their baggage. They were just going underwater. I turned to check on Bart and Prof, still hearing their steady cover fire.I announced the status, “The package is in the water.”Bart and Prof changed their tactic to extraction. Bart continued to lay down heavy fire while Prof sprinted back toward the water edge where he stopped, took his position on one knee and began putting down suppressive fire while Bart sprinted to join him while replacing the magazine in his weapon. I was nearly underwater when I heard the situation change.Bart announced, “Prof is hit. Repeat, Prof is hit.”I stood back up and moved to shallower water. I removed three of the explosive arrows and primed all of them. “Get Prof!”Bart continued to fire his weapon as he moved to Prof, taking him by the arm and pulling him into the water. Holding two arrows in my bow hand, I fired the first arrow into the door, the second into the left window and the third into the right. I turned and ran in the shallow water, my fins slapping my back. I pressed the button on the bow and the three explosives ignited together. Then, there was another explosion to my right. I turned and saw the boat moored to the dock erupting in smoke and flame. I had forgotten that Bart or Prof were tasked with lobbing a grenade into the boat to eliminate anyone following us. I reached the other two, found their fins and followed them into the deeper water. I put my fins on, my breathing apparatus, then my mask before moving to the other two. I assisted Bart with Prof, securing his mouthpiece and mask, leaving the fins behind. Bullets were piercing the water all around us and I was now worried about a random hit.As I flinched from the bullets streaking around us, some large grey objects were suddenly rising up to us from just below. Dolphins! They had come for us. We each grabbed a dorsal fin, watchful of Prof, but he seemed to be hit in the leg and he gave a thumbs-up gesture. Within minutes we were outside the cove and in safety of the deeper water. The rest of the pod was milling around Able and Frog. On our arrival, Bart used hand signals to indicate that Prof was hit, but would make it. Our extraction was a quarter mile down the coast where the Dolphin Experience boat was waiting for us. At the boat, I signaled for the dolphins to continue without us. We were assisted into the boat by the fifth Seal, Strong. The extraction plan was modified by their command. They had intercepted a communication from the target site that indicated an attack. It was interesting that the signal didn’t initiate from the main communication room, since that was compromised by Frog. Command wanted to establish a diversion to cover the extraction of the target and his information. We huddled around the radio, understanding what they wanted from us. Able was concerned about me, but I assured him I was good with the change.Strong got back on the radio and contacted the harbor master where the Dolphin Experience was based. He reported hear sounds that seemed to him like gun fire and explosions. He gave a general location and asked that a report be given to the local authorities. He then fired up the engines and headed for the island. Along the way, Able came from the cabin below the bridge holding some cloth. He was smiling.“Thought you might like this before we encounter anyone else …” He was holding my bikini top and bottoms. Until that moment, I had completely forgotten that I was naked among these men. I know I blushed as I reached for the flimsy garment, but before I was able to grip both items the wind caught the top and it went sailing in the air behind the boat, floating on the water in the wake before it was quickly lost from sight. I was standing holding only the bottoms which tied on each hip. Able looked at me and put on an act, but his smile and the pleasure coming from the others showed that it was not nearly as accidental as he might have had me believe.I stepped into the bottoms, which consisted of a small triangle patch of material in front that barely covered what needed to be covered. The back was only slightly larger and I knew from past experience that my crack would easily show after only a few moments of active wear. But, it was the only thing I had to wear. I tied the ties on the sides a little tighter than normal hoping to somehow hold them in place.I looked at each of the guys who, without embarrassment, had been watching the entire show. I laughed and they joined me, “Well, I guess it isn’t as if you hadn’t seen everything I have …”Strong raced to the other side of the island where another boat was waiting. This boat contained three more Seals who took the captive and the equipment liberated from the house, Prof for medical attention, and all of the weapons, including the bow and arrows I had been using. Strong then took us back to the cove where the training had been done, where we inflated a raft, threw it over the side of the boat, then our fins, masks, and snorkels were dropped into the raft. Able, Frog, Bart and I were to remain ümraniye escort in the cove. We were to be a cover for Strong. He was to race back into the general area of the ‘sounds’ and wait for any authorities to arrive. It was suspected that the local authorities had been corrupted by the man we had just a*****ed. The story would be that we had fired Strong to bring to this cove for snorkeling in hopes of finding some dolphin. After leaving us with the raft, he went to check on another location he believed might also have dolphins. It was during that search that he heard the shooting and explosions with smoke.I immediately dove into the water to try snorkeling. After using the breathing apparatus, it took some practice to get the hang of snorkeling. I joined the guys in the raft which had been anchored. Strong left us some bottled water and sandwiches which we decided to enjoy on shore. The guys paddled us to the beach and we rested in the shade of trees near the water. After another hour past, we moved the raft back into the cove and made the appearance that we really were interested in snorkeling. The guys decided to at least be wet. I was enjoying the new experience, getting the hang of breathing through the snorkel, diving, then blowing the water out of the tube before taking another breath.I was surprised when the dolphins reappeared in the cove. I had just descended to the bottom, investigating a large conch shell. I had already brought three up to the raft and this one seemed even bigger and in better condition than the others. As I was inspecting it underwater, several shadows passed over me. I looked up to find the pod had returned to the cove. Whether by chance or in hopes of meeting us, or me, again, I wasn’t sure. I brought the shell to the surface and announced to the guys that the dolphins had returned and immediately dove back down before hearing any response from them, if they even gave one.It was while I was playing with them, going to the surface frequently for air, that I noticed the shadow of another boat above. I watched from under the water as the boat came alongside the rubber raft.I kicked up to the surface and partially pulled myself onto the side of the raft. Hanging on the side of the raft, I saw that the Dolphin Experience was waiting a little way away. Able was talking to the officer on the boat, which was a Columbian Coast Guard boat. Able was answering questions about what we were doing and how we had gotten here when I came to the surface. My sudden, nearly naked, appearance stopped the conversation for a moment. Able then identified me and indicated into the water. One of the crew saw a dolphin and indicated it to the officer. He looked at the dolphin, then at me, then at the shells in the raft and the three men. The questions seemed to be intended to verify if the story Strong had provided would match what we told him as he asked separate questions of each of us. As long as Strong kept to the story, we would be fine.The officer seemed to be considering what he wanted to do. It might have seemed suspicious that our group just happened to be in the area when the attack took place. But, they would not have found any weapons or incriminating equipment on the Dolphin Experience or the raft. For all he could reasonably discern, we were, in fact, just tourist intent on enjoying some snorkeling and finding dolphins. He seemed to be deep in consideration about something, though.So, I decided to break his chain of thought. I sank back down into the water, which brought attention back to me by disappearing. Then, I kicked hard and shot up, grabbing the inside straps and kicking to gain a leg up on the side of the raft to get in. Frog was next to where all this was happening and he grabbed my arm and hoisted me up and into the raft. I sat on the edge next to him and indicated to the bottles of water. He opened it for me and I thanked him. Suddenly, the crew and officer were now facing not only a young woman in a skimpy bikini, but they now knew that the skimpy bikini was only the bottoms. I made no effort to conceal my breast, not that I could, and acted like this was completely normal for me and the group.That seemed to seal the deal. The officer thanked us and the boat backed away from us, apparently believing that we had more interesting things on our minds than shooting up a d**g lord’s safe house. Strong brought the boat in and we tied off to it before climbing into the boat. Able reported in to command and got further instructions. When he came back, he informed us of the final details to extraction. We were asked to spend the night in the rooms they had used while they waited to see if I could get the dolphins to cooperate. That would add to the cover story. Then, in the morning, we would take our duffle bags to the boat as if that would just be another day of snorkeling and dolphin watching. Strong would take us to a waiting boat twelve miles out to sea where a US Oceanographic ship would be waiting on the pretense of research. Another man, already contracted, would take the Dolphin Experience to another city on the coast and sell it.But, that meant we would be spending a night together. The options were intriguing to me and I was sure it was beginning to occur to them, also. On the trip back to the harbor, Bart suggested that we find the best restaurant in the village, since the government was paying for it. We all agreed, but another realization hit me. Everything I had brought with me had been in the cove and it was packed up before we left for the mission. All of that had been transferred to the other boat with the weapons and equipment. I looked at them all with concern. “I just realized I don’t have anything to wear.” I pointed down to the bit of cloth attached to my hips. “Everything was put onto the other boat.”The way they all looked at each other, it was clear to me that the successful ending of the mission was like a release of all the tension and formality that had previously existed. Now, the professional soldier part of them eased away before my eyes. Their attention to my exposed body was suddenly very different and creating very different options in their minds.Able, seemingly the leader regardless of the situation, addressed my concern. “We’ll take care of that Cat. There are some nice shops by the hotel.” He looked at others, then back to me. “Or, would you feel better sitting at the hotel by yourself?”I smiled, “No … no, I definitely don’t want to do that. This has been amazing and … I kind of don’t want it to end quite yet. Can I confess that I’m glad we are stuck here for the night?”They all smiled. Frog ventured, “Then, we’re all glad. I think we all have two question we are dying to know, though. One, what do those tatts mean; two, how were you able to get the dolphins to cooperate so quickly?”I chuckled, “You know the old saying, guys, ‘I think you need to at least buy me a good dinner first’ …” I gave them a suggestive wink.They looked at each other and smiled.* * * CHAPTER 19: BOUND BY TRUST will follow * * * Thanks for reading

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