In my NATO thriller, The Bonner Prediction, one of my main characters is Louie-the-dog, a Cane Corso trained for both attack and defence. Here he is in action, and it ain’t for defence.
“Hey! Old man! Stop the fuck there!”
The voice comes from behind General Bonner. He does as he is told, reasoning that if his fate was solely to be shot, it would have happened by now. He also assumes he would have been shot if the voice had seen his machine pistol. He can’t remove the strap from around his neck, but he does shove the weapon under his jacket. He pulls up the zipper then lets his hands swing by his side.
“Are you one of the army guys?” The General does not turn, does not provoke.
“Holy Jesus Invincible.” The earpiece snaps immediately into authority. “Everyone quiet down out there. General, give us clues.”
“They’re swarming all over the ship.” The General makes no motion.
“Never mind me” The voice does not come closer. “Who the fuck are you?”
“Ship’s pilot.” General Bonner guesses the voice is in one of the few pockets of darkness. “They’ve called me to take this ship out of the harbour.”
“Who called you?”
“But it’s leaving tomorrow.”
“Not any more.”
“Where’s your uniform?”
“They got me getting ready for bed.” General Bonner turns around, putting a hand up to shield his eyes. “With a beer in my hand. Said there was an emergency.”
“Where’s it going?”
“The ship. Where are they sending it?”
“I don’t know.” General Bonner sees a form on the far side of the second tier of containers. “I’m just getting it out of the harbour. I disembark at Herring Cove.”
“Why aren’t you in the Wheelhouse?”
“I always pace out the size of the deck.” General Bonner laughs. “I call it walking the dog.”
“Bess!” The earpiece knows that she has heard but what if there is that one in a thousand chance she has not.
“Louie can never get down the stairways fast enough.”
“Then a diversion.” The earpiece wonders how quickly he can get a sharpshooter in place.
“I was just going to the Wheelhouse.” General Bonner touches one of his legs. “Thank God they have an elevator, or this bum knee would be going through hell.”
“Is there an elevator?” Bess takes Louie’s leash from her pocket.
“Yes!” Major Kennett pinpoints it on the Wheelhouse schematic. “It’s on the dock side, at the rear of the central core.”
“Who’s up there?” The voice in the shadows steps closer, but does not come into the light.
“Some ship crew and a dozen army.” General Bonner keeps rubbing his leg. “With more coming, if what I heard is true.”
“Can you get me off the ship?”
“I stand in the Wheelhouse for an hour.” General Bonner chuckles. “I don’t know the rest of the ship.”
“I’ll take you hostage.”
“Good luck with that.” General Bonner speaks for his audience. “They are not going to negotiate with you, son. They want this ship out of here.” He raises his voice. “I can be replaced.”
“Louie and I are in the elevator.”
“Can you get him into the light?” Colonel Bonner has already positioned the best sharpshooter among the commandos. He is in a corner window of the wheelhouse. However, he has expressed concern about the thickness of the glass. It might interfere with the trajectory.
“You think I’m fucked?” The voice is both frightened and angry.
“There’s always over the side.” General Bonner points.
“It will probably kill me.”
“Yup.” General Bonner takes a few steps forward. He stops and spreads his hands. “There is always surrender.”
“They’ll execute me.”
“Not in this country.” General Bonner takes a further few slow steps before stopping. “What have you done, son? Have you rigged the ship to sink?”
“To blow up.”
“Jesus – when?” General Bonner makes some forced laughter. “I’ll get off with you.”
“There’s no where to go with this bomb.” The anger flashes. “Fucking CURACA.”
“What?” General Bonner has found a spot where the deck lights are not directly in his eyes. “We get off and run like hell.”
“It’s an A bomb.” The voice is strident. “Fucking Atomic. There’s no place to run.”
“Calm down, son.” General Bonner puts his hands up in front of him, palm out, as if stopping a car. “If it’s true, that’s what I’m here for. Get the ship out to sea. But you better give yourself up.”
“CURACA is on this ship.” The voice moves forward. “He’ll figure some way to stop these soldiers.” His words race. “That’s why I stayed behind. He’s fucking crazy.” The figure steps into the light. “You’re my only chance to get off here.”
“Then your chance of escape is a dog’s dinner.”
“Louie is loosed!”
Bess’s voice is overtaken by the opening of the metal door. General Bonner goes to the zipper of his jacket as the shooter turns toward the sound of a growling dog. The shooter raises a hand to again shield his eyes as he raises his weapon. General Bonner frees his machine pistol just as Louie barrels past. The shooter manages a scream as he both open fires and turns to flee. General Bonner has the shooter’s wide back as a target when Louie leaps for the man’s weapon arm and hauls him down. General Bonner lowers his pistol as Bess runs past, her own revolver drawn.
“Stand down.” Colonel Bonner says this directly into the marksman’s ear.
Louie has the shooter’s arm impaled as Bess runs forward. She kicks the man’s weapon out of the way. The shooter is screaming and rolling and trying to cover his head. General Bonner strides forward and kicks the man in the face.
“I told you to jump.”