Chapter One Hundred Seventy-Two:
The strong current of Lake Okanagan pulled Hawk under. One of the adult Ogopogos found Hawk’s body and started tearing it apart.
“What is happening?” asked Bobby O’Conner to no one in particular.
“I would guess that one or more adult Ogopogos have come to get their young ones back,” said Dr. Phelge.
The Dream Catcher was taking more strong bumps from the angry, charging full- sized animals.
“What should we do Lionel?” asked Winston Standfield trying to keep his balance as the boat swayed wildly from side to side.
“There is only one thing we can do. We need to stay on the lower deck and let the small Ogopogos join their parents in the lake,” answered Dr. Phelge.
“What about Hawk and Razor? “asked John Richards.
“I haven’t heard any shots fired. So my guess is that the creatures have killed them,” Dr. Phelge said.
Blake Riley looked very troubled.
“Dr. Phelge we can’t just let these creatures go. We need to bring back a live specimen,” Blake said.
“There is no way that we can recapture one of the creatures. There are likely four of them out there right now. We’d have to get to the weapons box and start shooting at them. Even if this is possible our mandate does not include injuring or killing any of these animals,” said Dr. Phelge.
The young Ogopogos saw their parents and jumped back in the lake. All four creatures submerged into the depths of Lake Okanagan.
“We have failed in our mission,” said Blake. “We had captured two living specimens of Ogopogo and now they are gone.”
“It’s probably for the best,” said John Richards. “We were not meant to invade these creatures’ territory and to disrupt their lives.”
“All is not lost,” said Jack Kimberley. We have the best photo and video evidence of Ogopogo’s existence of all time.”
“When our video evidence is published it should stand as conclusive evidence that a powerful, unknown species lives in Lake Okanagan,” said Dr. Phelge. “We have not failed in our mission. We have made scientific history.”
Chapter One Hundred Seventy One:
While all the passengers and the two criminals were arguing about Ogopogo, Kyle Winter and John Richards got behind Hawk and Razor. Kyle gave a hand signal to Garry Phelge and Wally Standfield to move closer to them. Hawk and Razor were too busy arguing with Dr. Phelge and Winston Standfield. By this time the other Ogopogo had managed to break free from its netting and was climbing aboard The Dream Catcher.
Kyle had his group form a huddle.
“Look there’s only two of those guys. Let’s charge them from behind and get them to let go of their weapons.”
The two adult Ogopogos were not happy about their children being stolen from them. They were determined to get the smaller ones back. They were undulating rapidly towards the two boats.
Kyle, John, Ryan, Garry and Wally all charged the two criminals. They were able to knock down Hawk and Razor and the force of their attack caused their weapons to fall to the floor. Kyle grabbed Hawk’s revolver and Garry picked up Razor’s semi- automatic. The balance of power had shifted and the two criminals were now held at gun point.
Hawk raised his hands in surrender, but Razor ran for the steps trying to get to the main deck. John fired a shot that hit Razor’s right ankle. Razor managed to make it up the steps even though he had been shot.
When he reached the main deck, Razor was met by the open jaws of the smaller Ogopogo that had escaped from The Viper. The Ogopogo got its sharp teeth into Razor’s left arm and with one quick shake of its neck the arm was amputated.
A few minutes after this happened the two adult Ogopogos started charging The Dream Catcher. With both adult animals pounding the boat, the vessel began to shake and the passengers and Hawk were thrown to the floor. Garry dropped the semi- automatic and Hawk picked it up.
Hawk ran up the stairs to the main deck. He just had time to watch the smaller Ogopogo mauling Razor like a cat playing with a mouse. As he watched this horrifying scene the large tail of one of the adult Ogopogos knocked Hawk into the lake along with his semi-automatic rifle.
Chapter One Hundred Seventy:
Everyone put their hands over their ears in an attempt to muffle the piercing noise that the creature was making.
Hawk looked at the passengers.
“Who can tell me what kind of fish or animal is in that net?”
“I think I know what it is Boss,” said Razor.
“Okay, what is it?” asked Hawk.
“It’s a pint size Ogopogo. I’ve been reading all Bobby O’Connor’s articles about the creature,” said Razor.
“I never believed in the legend of Ogopogo,” said Hawk. “But this animal is very creepy and looks like it could cause some serious damage to anyone who got too close to it.”
“These people aren’t dope dealers, Boss. They were on an expedition to find Ogopogo and it looks like they caught a smaller size specimen,” said Razor.
Dr. Lionel Phelge moved a few steps closer to Hawk. Hawk kept his revolver pointed right at him.
“Your partner is right, Hawk. We have captured a living specimen of an unknown animal. It is smaller and is probably younger than what is usually reported, but I believe it is an authentic Ogopogo.”
Winston Standfield spoke up next.
“The professor is right. This creature could be evidence of the greatest scientific discovery of the century.”
“Boss, this thing could be worth millions,” said Razor.
“That’s right. We may have found something much more profitable than heroin and cocaine. We just need to find a way to get our little treasure off this boat and into my SUV,” said Hawk.
Dr. Phelge became enraged.
“You men can’t take this creature! We need to take it to The University of British Columbia where it can be properly identified and studied.”
Within seconds, more of the passengers joined in and this discussion turned into an out of control shouting match.
When all this arguing was taking place aboard The Viper, the smaller Ogopogo on The Dream Catcher was becoming very agitated. It had already been trying to free itself from the net and its anxiety level increased with all the yelling and shouting going on aboard The Viper. The animal was using its sharp teeth to tear through the netting. Like the animal on The Viper it was also making an unworldly squealing noise. It took the Ogopogo a few minutes to get itself free of the large fishing net that had been holding it captive.
Chapter One Hundred Sixty- Nine:
“There’s one thing I forgot about. If you’re carrying a cell phone, smart phone, tablet or any other electronic communication device lay it down on the deck now,” Hawk said.
Most crew members had at least one digital device. Within a few seconds they were all on the deck.
When everyone had disrobed Hawks started going through the crew’s clothing. After completing this task he didn’t find anything that wasn’t already on the deck. Hawk grabbed a canvas bag that he found on the deck and began loading it up with the electronic devices and piles of clothing.
Many of the passengers started to shiver when a cold wind came off the lake. Most were trying to cover up their genitals with their hands. Some had turned many shades of red due to their embarrassment.
Hawk tossed the canvas bag into the ship captain’s cabin. While he was in the small room he conducted a thorough search for drugs.
As Razor backed up a few steps he almost tripped over a large wooden crate.
“Hey Hawk. You should check this crate out. It’s got a padlock on it.”
Hawk took his revolver and blew the lock off. When he lifted the crate to look inside he saw that it was filled with weapons and ammunition.
“So you’re all honest citizens out on a little pleasure cruise. Hey, Razor. These people have enough weapons and ammunition to start a small war. It’s just a matter of finding the dope now.”
Hawk decided that the next place he should search is the furniture on the main deck. He took out a long, sharp hunter’s knife and began cutting the chairs and sofas to shreds. When the deck was covered with stuffing Hawk didn’t find any drugs.
“Okay passengers. The next place I’m going to check is the lower deck. If any one of you wants to tell me where the dope is you can all put your clothes back on,” Hawk said.
He waited about twenty seconds while he looked up and down the line to see if anyone was willing to give up the goods.
“All right. No one brave enough to speak up? Let’s move the line downstairs Razor.”
When everyone was on the lower deck Hawk looked at something that really shouldn’t be there. He saw the large fishing net that held captive one of the Ogopogos. Hawk stepped back a few feet.
“Razor, what in hell is in that net?”
“I have no idea. I’ve never seen a fish that looked like that. It looks more like a huge snake with flippers.”
Surprized by all the activity the creature started to twist about trying to escape from the netting. As it was squirming around it started to make a loud, squealing sound that seemed to belong in another world.
Chapter One Hundred Sixty-Eight:
“Here’s more instructions for you passengers. I want all the passengers from The Dream Catcher to start boarding The Viper. Razor, I’m going to have you keep an eye on any passengers that might not take my warning seriously. If you see any of them try anything shoot them.
“Okay passengers. First thing you’re going to do is form a line right along the railing of the deck. The next thing you’re going to do is to start taking off all your clothes including your shoes and underwear. I’m going to go through each and every item of your clothing. I want to make sure that no one is hiding any weapons or drugs,” Hawk said. “If you have any of these items I want you to slowly take them out now and put them in front of you.”
None of the passengers took anything out of their clothing.
The passengers hesitated a few seconds before starting to remove their clothing. It was as if they were all waiting for the first person to start undressing.
“I know you’re going to feel embarrassed, but I’m not fooling around here.” Hawk pointed his revolver up and down the line of passengers. Razor did the same thing with his semi- automatic.
“I’m going to count to five and anyone that has not started taking off their clothes will be shot. Do I make myself perfectly clear?”
The passengers all answered in the affirmative.
Chapter One Hundred Sixty-Seven:
As soon as the boats arrived at the shore with the two Ogopogos aboard they were met by two uninvited strangers. These two men, Hawk and Razor had been waiting for the expedition boats to arrive. They were big time drug dealers from Vancouver, British Columbia.
One of the leaders of the gang turned to toward the crew on the boats and got right to the point.
“My name is Hawk and my partner’s name is Razor. We’re here to pick up the cocaine and heroin. Where is it? We know that you have it on board.
Blake Riley got off the boat first and without showing any fear confronted the two men.
“We don’t have any drugs on board. We’re all honest citizens.”
“I don’t believe you. We were told that you people had drugs aboard by two friends of ours, Luc and Guy. We met them in a bar and we paid them for the information,” said Hawk as he pulled out a revolver.
Razor rotated his hips and turned from side to side to point his semi-automatic machine at the passengers of The Viper and The Dream Catcher. All the crew, except for Blake Riley, put the hands up to indicate their surrender.
“I think that you boys got some misinformation. Those two guys that you met in the bar took you for marks. I assure you that we don’t have any drugs aboard our boats,” Blake said.
“Let’s search the boats said,” Razor.
“That’s exactly what we’re going to do and if we find any heroin or cocaine there will be serious repercussions for you people,” said Hawk.
“Razor, start with the boat on your left. Check all the crew for weapons. I’ll do the same for the boat on the right. If any of you people try anything stupid we won’t hesitate for a second to kill you.”
Chapter One Hundred Sixty-Six:
“I know how you feel. I miss the kids over the summer months when they are with you,” said Susan. “It makes it a difficult situation for both of us.”
“You’ve changed over the last year, John. I can no longer push you around. Don’t take this the wrong way, but the old John I knew was kind of wimpy. You seem surer of yourself, more in charge somehow. I like the new John much better.”
“Thank you. I’ll take that as a compliment. I tend to agree with you. Before this expedition I kind of let people and circumstances walk all over me. I was much too passive. I had goals and dreams but I didn’t have the courage to carry them out. The truth is that I didn’t like the old John very much myself. I was too sensitive, too introspective and full of self -pity. I really didn’t blame you for divorcing me.”
“I don’t want you to give up your sensitive and caring personality John. I just wanted to see you show yourself as strong and capable of handling life,” said Susan.
“I have to admit that my own way of coping was escape, mainly through my writing. When I write I become someone else. The characters in my novels are strong and heroic, the way I would like to be. Also, when I write I can control other people and life and I got addicted to that feeling. I guess that I was living in my own fantasy world,”
“I don’t want you to give up your writing, John. I’ve read some of it. It’s very good. I just want you to spend less time writing and more time with me and the kids,” said Susan.
“I think I could do that,” said John with a hint of a smile crossing his face.
“John, I want us to try again.”