Teams boarded the vessel to discover masses of cannabis resin hidden in the hull. The eighth appropriation during the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Darwin’s Middle East mission resulted in a 315-bag haul of cannabis with a UK street value of £18 million.
During the 12-hour operation off East Africa, the Aussie ship HMAS Darwin made the bust under the UK-led Combined Task Force 150.
Cannabis. Some people think it should be legalized. However, many years ago, I saw the harmful way it affected young people around me. Not only did it remove their ambition to compete for a livelihood, but they went on to explore other drugs. I'd say the law is right in placing a ban on any drug. (I know—prohibition didn't work with alcohol.)
The news story reminded me of a similar article I read several years ago. Some of my dear readers might remember how I use news stories for the visions my heroine experiences in the Moonstone series of novels. Here's an excerpt from a future book, Ever Changing Sea.
A buzz affected her perception. Here it came again. With a backwash of ambrosia Liliha traversed the descent.
* * * *
A mist covers everything. The veil lifts away in patches, allowing me to peer at the blue sea below.
Two ships race toward a faint strip of land on the horizon.
I dive lower in the warm, fresh sea air.
Men on the first vessel wear stained clothing. Uniformed men stand on the deck of the following naval warship.
First, I must work out who to help. I drift above the retreating boat.
Men shout instructions to each other. Several run toward equipment. Their foreign language offers no difficulties. I understand their meaning.
"We've got to reach the land."
"More power to the motor."
"I'm going as fast as I can."
"Try to dodge them."
The naval ship closes fast on their stern.
If the rough men have nothing to hide, they wouldn't need to evade the officials. I merge with a wiry man, who acts with authority, called Sing. Now, I see through his eyes and move with him.
He and his companions are sailing off the African coast in 'Hash Highway'. The ship carries over twelve tons of cannabis resin. Pride swells his chest with the fact that he carries enough pot to make thirty five million joints. Sing is anxious to claim his share of the money after the drug's sale.
In that moment, I know that I'm not here to help Sing's endeavor. I'll do my best to keep him safe while preventing harm.
"They're overtaking us." We thrust our shaky hands into the air. "Don't let them board."
The naval ship draws alongside and the men stand ready. Sing considers jumping, but fears what lurks below. Anyway, he paid a year's wages for this rough old boat.
I whisper, 'No need to end your life. These men will treat you fairly'.
"Let them come. They won't find anything," We call to a nearby man. "Just stay out of their way."
The Royal Marines lash the vessels together and seven men board.
An officer asks, "Where is your cargo?"
Sing says, "The timber is in the hull."
"Come on. Make the task easier."
We jerk our head. Their voices cut off. The tense crew murmur amongst themselves sitting on large coils of rope, smoking, while the officers begin a systematic search.
One official emerges from the hold. "There's nothing but timber down here." Several officers tap and prize up the old ship's boards.
Our heart hammers. Greed wars with Sing's fear of capture. He concentrates on how to get rid of them. Trying to look as if we have nothing to hide, we stroll over the deck, sit, and lean against the rough cabin, watching the men search.
I understand his intent. The wooden wall behind him hides a secret panel.
We assume a casual pose, cigarette smoke rising. Sing considers throwing some of his men over the side to the sharks. Besides causing a distraction, there'll be a bigger share of the reward where life is cheap and money is scarce. He means to be the king of the pirates, like he's read about in books.
The search slows. They've run out of options. One officer heads toward the naval ship. The others straighten.
Now I know what's going on, I rise above Sing, who smirks, sure of his deception.
How can I alert the navel men? There are no birds about to fly at him, and fish wouldn't do any harm. Unless I could find a shark and make him jump. Perhaps I should meld with one of the officers and suggest the hiding place. But that would take too long. Instead, I tickle Sing's nose. When he opens his mouth to sneeze I blow wood dust from the panel into his throat.
Sing coughs, a tickley hacking cough that makes him double over and gasp for breath. The officers glance over. Sing's coughs become frantic. "Water, water," he screams between gasps.
A rough looking crew member runs to the barrel, scoops a ladle-full and carries the sloshing liquid over. In his desperation Sing knocks the man's hand. The water spills and he gesticulates for more—red faced and choking.
An officer hurries across, grasps him under the arms and lifts him to a standing position. Turning Sing slightly, he bangs his back. Sing loses balance and his foot bounces on the panel, making a hollow sound. The officer gestures another over.
I meld with Sing again to find his adrenalin rising. They'll find his stashed drugs. No, they mustn't take away his chance to make money and establish himself in his lawless land. He's a pirate. He'll have girls lining up when he makes his fortune. Rather than let his chance slip away, he prepares to grab the knife inside his shoe. He nods to his men.
I can't allow him to take a life. When he reaches down, I soar above and stimulate another urge to expectorate.
Caught in a bent position with the knife in his hand, Sing coughs. The officer calls a warning. The closest naval man draws his gun and shoots Sing's hand before he can plunge the knife into the officer's flesh. The weapon clatters onto the deck.
#More officers run over and drag the protesting Sing away while others continue to tap the area. At last a naval man finds the loose section.
Three other officers hurry over and remove the panel.
"Look at that little lot."
"A significant find." They remove the packets and place them on the deck, and then signal to their watching comrades on the vessel. More uniformed men jump aboard.
"Get these men rounded up. They look as though they could do with a good feed."
Mission accomplished, I rise away.
* * * *
Liliha's eyes sprang open in the pottery. One problem solved, which she hoped would prevent countless other kids from a spiral into drug addiction. How easy her trips became now, how quick to meld with and then leave someone at just the right time. She wished her personal life worked out the same way.
So many people make money from growing and selling drugs. It makes me wonder how they would make a living any other way, or survive in society.
What are your views on the use of drugs?