By Dwayne MacInnes

Gulf of Aden: 0037 Hours

Cargo Ship Kohl

The German cargo ship plowed through the calm sea off the coast of Somalia. The moonlight cut through the slim cloud cover of the night sky to illuminate the phosphorescent wake the large ship left in its van. Only the heavy rhythmic thrum of the large engines propelling the ship could be heard in the quiet night.

Omar looked back over towards the two other skiffs he had prepared for this raid. With a total of 23 men armed with AK47s and RPG-7s he felt confident that they could overtake the ship before the crew could react. Omar glanced at the ship's name painted on the hull. The white letters told him that his victim was the Kohl. She was a large ship and appeared full of cargo headed for the Suez Canal.

Somali Pirate Skiff

Omar stood up in the souped-up wooden fishing boat and raised his arm holding an AK47. The men in the other skiffs watched anxiously as he then lowered the assault rifle towards the cargo ship. This was the signal. Without much noise all three boats powered up their engines and the frenzied purr of the pirates' skiffs' motors sliced through the still air as the small vessels skimmed over the sea.

With the expert arm of a former soldier named Nadif, a grappling hook was thrown and snagged onto the Kohl's rail. Omar smiled and grabbed the rope now secured to his skiff. He slung the AK47 over his shoulder and began to scramble up the rope. The rest of the men in his boat -- save the man operating the motor -- followed their leader upwards to the ship's deck.

Omar jumped aboard and quickly scanned the ship's large steel deck. There were crates of freight secured to the deck and a variety of equipment but no crew. He readied his assault rifle and began to head towards the helm. Two men followed him.

"Not a bad catch is it fisherman," Nadif smiled.

"The fish is not caught until it is in the boat," Omar replied quietly. "We only have a small amount of time before the crew becomes aware. Let us make haste."

Omar noticed that the pirates from the other boats were now aboard. They were now starting to break off into teams to secure the ship. So far the raid was going perfectly. "May Allah watch over us," Omar thought.

Silently like a jungle cat the three raiders climbed the stairs leading to the ship's bridge. It was strange that no one was about. Not even the occasional smoker enjoying the night. There was always someone on deck whenever Omar made his past raids. But again no two raids were alike.

Once the men were assembled outside the bridge's door, Omar glanced through the large windows. The interior was dark and he could not see much. "Damn," Omar thought. "They must be prepared."

"Nadif," Omar whispered to his lieutenant. "The crew must be on to us. The lights are out."

"Abdi has a grenade," Nadif responded nodding towards the third man. "We can hurl it through the door."

"Maya! No!" exclaimed Omar in a harsh whisper. "Don't be a habilaawe. That will destroy the bridge. No, you and I will cover the door while Abdi throws it open.

Nadif nodded in agreement.

Abdi flattened himself against the wall as he reached for the door's handle. Omar and Nadif kneeled down sighting down their AK47's barrels. Omar looked up at Abdi briefly and gave a slight nod.

As the door flew open, both Omar and Nadif fired their assault rifles in quick bursts spreading bullets through the bridge's interior. However, in the erratic flash from the AK47s' muzzles Omar noticed that the bridge was empty.

"Shee! Stop!" hollered Omar.

Nadif ceased fire and looked over at Omar. The pirate leader then walked onto the ship's bridge. It was empty. There was not even the helmsman. Before Omar could reflect further the ship came to a stop. "Dhurwaa, good," thought Omar. "Korfa and his boys must have reached the engine room."

Omar found the light switch and turned it on. The bridge was completely empty save for the three pirates. The wall opposite of the bridge door was riddled with the bullet holes produced by Omar's and Nadif's AK47s.

"Sayid," Abdi said. "Allah smiles upon us tonight."

"Indeed, yes," Omar smiled to the younger man. "We have captured the ship very easily."

"I believe the fish is now in the boat, kalluunle," added Nadif who pulled out a cigarette and lit it up.

"Haa ... yes, I am a fisherman and the fish is in the boat. However, we still need to clean it and bring to shore." Omar responded lighting up his own cigarette.

The three pirates explored the bridge as they enjoyed their cigarettes. A half-dozen pirates then burst onto the bridge.

"Sayid!" one said. "We heard gunfire is everything all right?"

"Relax Asad," Omar said. "We just thought we had an ambush awaiting us. As you can see the bridge is empty."

"Strange," Asad said.

"Haa it is strange that the bridge was empty," Omar said. "But Allah provides."

"Haa sayid," Asad replied. "However, Allah must have thrown everyone overboard because the ship is empty."

"This is naxis," Abdi said from the back of the bridge.

"How is it bad luck?" Nadif asked. "This is sanac, good luck."

"On a boat as the sayid will tell you, it is naxis when everyone is gone because a curse is aboard."

"Relax Abdi," Omar told his fellow fisherman. It was indeed an ill omen to find every one gone. But, Omar did not want to scare his band of rogues that was composed of fishermen, ex-soldiers, and a few boys. Most of them were superstitious. They could worry about naxis after the cargo was unloaded.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on February 25, 2009 5:31 PM.

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