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   Chapter 39 Job offer

The Story of the Mimosa By Paul Kater Characters: 11747

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04

Over breakfast the group talked about their options. Most of them had to come from Maurizio as he was the local guy, but the former postman and now renegade member of this eclectic band of people was not very certain what to do and where to go. "The problem is that Italy is a very populated country. Everywhere are villages and towns, they will see us anywhere we go, " he explained over his coffee-cup. "If we want to be undetected we should go far away." Everybody at the long table agreed with that; the problem was just that they needed a specific far away to go to. "I wish I could see what goes on on the ground with the tank, " Maurizio then said.

Barthomeu said he'd be able to accommodate that with the strong cameras that were mounted on the ship, so after finishing up he and Maurizio went to the bridge. The Italian man stared at all the equipment in its strange colours and shapes, but he then focussed on the wall-mounted monitor where a rather clear image appeared of the area where he had sabotaged the military machine. Lots of people had appeared there now; the beach was filled with cars too.

"That does not look good, " he said. "If all those are military we're going to be looked for more than I care for. Can you take us up north along the lake?"

Barthomeu nodded and activated the engines. Smoothly the ship then glided along, leaving Bardolino behind. Maurizio saw it happen with a pique in his heart, but he had chosen this path. There was no turning back now.

They had not gone very far when Zopierama, Jirdie and Carmolo came into tha cabin where the bridge was. Barthomeu explained the situation while Maurizio kept an eye on the monitor. Soon, he knew, they would reach Riva del Garda, the largest and most northern city on the lake. Before then they would need a solution. Everything was then interrupted by a raging noise that suddenly thundered along the ship. Whatever it was that made the noise also made everything on the bridge shudder, including the people. Everyone except Barthomeu hurried outside.

Maurizio saw two large, noisy fighter jets disappear in the distance. "We have a real problem now, " he officially decided.

The problem was indeed very real. Two Dassault Mirage III jets had lifted off from a nearby airforce base with instructions to intercept and identify the unidentified flying object that was sighted and moving over Lake Garda at an altitude of 2.5 miles while heading north. The pilots of the aircraft were glad to have a break from their monotonous routine of not doing much, so when that call came in from a military unit that had discovered someone had messed up the tank they had stationed to keep the object under control, they had laughed because of their airforce supremacy. It was hardly surprising that people were able to screw up a tank; they'd have a much harder time doing that with these jets.

Giancarlo and Gianfranco, the happy pilots, had quickly pinpointed the strange object on their radar screens. Radar was a luxury that did not exist for long yet so they were among the lucky few in their ranks to have these precious toys.

"I see them, Giancarlo, " said Gianfranco.

"I saw them first, Gianfranco, " Giancarlo replied, as usual.

"Whatever. Let's do a fly-by first and see what it is. And take some pictures, " Gianfranco ignored the stab. He knew he'd seen the object first and that was what counted. He pushed his throttle a bit more and closed in on the strangely shaped object first. "Damn it, Giancarlo. It

e sauntering back. They were obviously enjoying the incredible sight that was around them. As the former postman approached them, everyone got to their feet except Rebel for her hurting ankle.

"Were you talking about me?" Maurizio joked and slurped from his cappuccino.

"In fact we were, " Marcolo surprised him.

"Oh. Are you tired of me already?" Maurizio wondered. He hoped it was not true. Being tossed overboard here would not be nice. Come to think of it, being tossed overboard from 2.5 miles high over a lake wouldn't be nice either.

"Not at all, " said Rebel. She looked around at the others. "Should I tell him?" The others nodded as they grinned. "Okay. We really appreciate how you handled things just now. With the jets and all that, you know. So we want to offer you a job."

A cappuccino cup almost fell to the wooden floor. "A job?"

"Yes. We want to ask you to be the captain of this ship."

"Cap..." the word got stuck somewhere behind Maurizio's teeth.

Barthomeu looked at the man. "You did not hesitate. You made decisions and told us what to do."

"Like a true captain, " Carmolo nodded.

"And you did the right things, even with the mirror, " Nilsie said. He had taken the mirror from Ninnie and held it up. "That was an incredible idea and mathematically amazing."

"Well, I would call it dumb luck, " Maurizio said, not used to such praise.

"But you did it. And you fixed that military equipment and you kept us out of the way of those aeroplanes, " Zopierama reminded him. "You acted like a captain, taking charge, making decisions that we couldn't, doing the right thing. And giving us weapons." She patted the gun belt she still wore around her neck, slung across her chest and under her left arm to make it more comfortable.

Maurizio looked at the small woman and the gun belt which looked kind of silly on her. It made him proud. These people trusted him. He wasn't certain if he could repeat all the things he had done just now, but if they thought he could, he would certainly give it a try. "I think I need to fetch you all some more prosecco, " he said. "I am honoured. Thank you."

Jirdie let out a howl that didn't make any sense but it was picked up by some of his Clan members and a moment later they carried Maurizio around the deck on their shoulders. "We have a captain!"

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