“Captain, we are detecting something” said the sonar operator as he concentrated on the sound that he is hearing on headphone.
The captain came closer and sensed that the Japanese River Boat might be back. However this time the sonar picked up two vessels moving on the surface. One of the vessels was larger than the other. The captain was getting worried – he should have made the order to leave the area earlier. He only had expected to confront only one vessel but now facing two vessels and that complicates things even more. The captain ordered a coded message to be sent to Sergeant R’s team and asked them to get ready for an armed confrontation. The two vessels were heading towards the extraction coastal area. The captain decided to withdraw the U Boat to deeper waters where it will be easy to launch torpedoes if the situation needs it.
The two vessels were from the Japanese Imperial Navy, one was the same River Boat that made the pass a couple days earlier at the extraction point. Another, a larger boat was a destroyer. As the destroyer took position in the deeper waters, the River Boat inched closer to the coast. The Japanese was now very suspicious the area and decided to return with a larger, stronger force. The U Boat had positioned itself between the location of the River Boat and the bigger destroyer but made sure that the U Boat had positioned at attacking position.
It was almost evening by the time the River Boat had inched closer to the coast but did not go further to drop any landing teams. It remained at the position whilst training its huge floodlights at the dense jungle area. They were looking for any movement and if one is detected, the Japanese River Boat was ready with 2 machine guns. The observation team looked at the dense jungle closely but nothing moved. It was an eerie silent and nothing else was heard except for the sounds from the jungle and the laughter of soldiers on board the River Boat. No one knew why the River Boat did not attempt to land any armed landing team at the coast. Perhaps it was because it was getting dark and the Japanese did not want to rush into an ambush. Or perhaps they have been ordered not to land until a bigger force arrives. Whatever the reason, the coast was clear from any Japanese forces for the night.
When Sergeant R got the coded message from U X, he swings into action. The explosives around the submarine and the interior were quickly activated. The hatch was covered back with mud and river sand and all tracks of any human existence were systematically erased from any discovery. Leaving two sentries at a hidden spot near the coast, Sergeant R and his men retreated to the deep defensive spot in the jungle. The defensive spot which was built and improvised since the day they arrived now is well sheltered from elements of nature and jungle and if they need to do a shoot out with the Japanese forces, the area allows them to hold on until help arrives or until they have taken down a high number of soldiers. They have enough ammunition and food supply to last them for days. Further they have setup enough personal landmines around this defensive area to put off any surprise attacks from other side of the jungle.
It was almost midnight when the sentries noticed that the River Boat started to move away from the coast. Soon, it disappeared into the darkness of the sea. The sentries however did not move from their positions and remained alert for any attacks. But there was none for the night. This movement has also been spotted by the captain in the U X and he was wondering what the Japanese next move was. It appears to him that the Japanese have found the right spot but he wondered why the Japanese have not landed a force in the area for that would have been the most logical thing to do. The captain got word from the sonar operator that the destroyer also had moved away from its positions but it did not go far. But the range that it moved away was more than enough for the U X to surface at periscope level and attempts to rescue its men at the coast. The captain messaged the Sergeant R on what he had planned and asked the team to be ready to be extracted. The team carried the items that they have extracted so far from the submarine and that included the components of the submarine torpedoes which have been dismantled by the weapons officer.
The River Boat had moved far enough to pose any real threats but the captain knew that it will double back to the extraction coastal area, so the team need to move fast. The captain ordered the team to return back to the U X with all their gears and tools. They are going to leave this area before the Japanese moves its forces to this area. The window for travel was limited and it was made even harder by the fact that they need to bring back their tools and gears back to U X. The only thing that they will leave behind is the explosives rigged all around the submarine and the interior and also the personal land mines that have been set around the extraction area. The extraction of the team started rather slow for they had to be careful not to make any loud sound and keep an eye for any Japanese forces that might be laying in the dark. One of the Sergeant R’s men was the first one to go with some of the gears and tools and was followed closely by the weapons officer. Within an hour, most of the team members had returned to the U Boat leaving Sergeant R and one of his men at the coast. They had to double check on the extraction area for one last time before leaving the place for good.
Sergeant R messaged back the captain for permission to start the timer for the explosives around the submarine and in the interior. The submarine needed to be blown up before the Japanese gets a chance to study it. There is a bigger risk that the Japanese may crack the code for the nuclear reactor room and makes valuable discovery for themselves. Sergeant R asked his man to leave whilst he activates the timer to initiate the explosions which was in twenty minutes from the time the timer is set. Sergeant R was the only one left on the extraction area and once he has activated the timer, he ran towards the coast. U X need to be far away from this place when the explosions starts. Just as he reached the coast, he saw a bright light from the horizon – the Japanese destroyer was moving back towards the coast and this time, the destroyer fired its main guns towards the coast. He has been spotted! Sergeant R noticed that the U X was still waiting for him. Explosion started to rain on the coast and Sergeant R dodging the bombs managed to run to the water and started head to the U X which had surfaced to the periscope level. He was about to reach the U X when he saw that the River Boat was also making its way to the coastal waters. U X had to go now!
The captain had spotted the ships early but there was no way to warn Sergeant R who was alone on the coast as the radio has been brought back to the U Boat. Despite the danger of being hit by one of the destroyer’s gun, the captain decided to take a huge risk and waited for Sergeant R to get onboard. From the periscope, he could see that the Sergeant had made it to the coast and was heading towards the U Boat. The captain knew that he needs to give the sergeant the chance to board. They managed to pull Sergeant R from the diver’s hatch in time – the explosions started to light up around the U Boat and the River Boat had almost reached the coast.
The captain ordered an immediate dive and the U Boat to be rerouted to the deep ocean and towards the southern path of Malaya. They have completed their mission successfully and thankfully no life was lost during their time in Malaya. As the U X dived and headed to the deeper waters, the Japanese River Boat reached the coast and started to land several platoons of soldiers. They have been ordered to gain control of the coast and in the morning to organise a search of the area. They have been given brief information that foreign soldiers have been doing some extraction work. The Japanese High Command was interested to know what has been extraction and if possible to capture the team who been doing the extraction. As the River Boat was unloading the soldiers and their gears, the destroyer took a sentry position.
It was still night when the Japanese forces took full control of the coast and had set up a small base at the beach front. Several of the soldiers have started to venture deeper towards the jungle area whilst another team walked along the river bed to take up their positions. The explosive that has been rigged was still hidden but it did not take long for the Japanese forces to know about the personal land mines. Immediately several of the land mines started to go off when some unsuspecting soldiers has accidentally stepped on it. Bodies flew and some lost their arms and legs. Initially the body counts were high and immediately the soldiers were ordered back to their base at the beach front. They were ordered to wait till waiting before venturing into the jungle again and defuse the land mines.
Ten minutes for the timer to set off the explosives.
The U Boat was now travelling at a cruise speed and heading to the south of Malaya. The captain knew that once the explosions go off, the entire Japanese Naval Fleet will be on the lookout for rogue naval boat. In the meantime, the item that has been extracted has been properly stowed away in the special storage area and security around the area was tightened. The captain has not forgotten about the saboteurs – he knows that once they leave the waters controlled by the Japanese, the saboteurs will start acting on their work. Access to study the extracted items was limited and is only granted once permission from the captain has been granted. The captain did not want to take any more chances. The scientists and Sergeant R’s team was confined back to their quarters and the security at the entrance was increased. Only Professor Z objected to the security measures but the other scientists remained silent. Perhaps it is their opinion that it is pointless to confront the captain on security matters on the U Boat. Further the fact that they have items from the submarine to be tagged, logged and interpreted, the rest of the scientists felt that time is better spend on this rather than arguing with the captain on security measures.
For Sergeant R and his men, their quarters were the only place they want to be at this moment. They have not had enough sleep in makeshift shelter surrounded by dense jungle and a daily travel between the coast and the U Boat was tiring. Some of the men has been too exhausted to even consider about things that is happening on the U Boat. They went to sleep immediately and did not appear to be awake for sometime. Sergeant R has come to appreciate the leadership qualities of Captain Franz and his dedication to the safety of his men and the vessel that he commands. The fact that the captain decided to wait for Sergeant R to get onboard despite of the heavy bombardments from the Japanese destroyers says a lot about the captain.
One minute for the timer to set off the explosives.
The Japanese forces have decided to settle in for the night and assigned a couple of men to stand as sentries. Both the Japanese naval boats are now anchored just off the coast and keeping an eye on the horizon for any appearance of unidentified ships. The captains of both the ship decided that it is going to be a long night and there is nothing they can do for the night. They went off to sleep. The timer went off and triggers several loud explosions. The Japanese sentries raised the alarm and immediately the Japanese forces on the coast woke up and took up firing positions. Was the enemy launching a surprise attack? The ships’ captains were alerted and both the ships were put on high alert. They could not see any of the enemies but the explosives continued for several seconds and suddenly everything went bright. The nuclear reactor had blown up and caused a high nuclear explosion which kills everyone on shore instantly and destroys the ships off the coast. The impact of the explosion was so sudden that it could be felt under the water for several miles and U X was jolted off the course. As the U X was already in deep waters, it did not sustain any serious damages and were able to continue with its journey. There was no trace of the submarine after the explosion. The whole area has become no man’s land.
“The nuclear reactor must have exploded” thought Professor Z as the U X was hit by several shockwaves from the explosion. In a way, the professor was glad that the door to the nuclear reactor was sealed tight. He could not imagine what could have happened if they have broken the code and gained access into the nuclear reactor room and by doing that, caused a chain reaction that caused explosions. Many good men would have been killed. With that thought, the professor retreated to his quarters.
The U X was now had sailed past the south of Malaya and was heading to the rendezvous point for the resupply off the coast of Siam. Supply has been very low in U X and this caused the captain to order rationing of the supplies until they are resupplied. It took them several days to reach the rendezvous point. Thankfully, the German supply ship was waiting for them. They have heard of the unprecedented explosion of the east coast of Malaya. There were rumours that two Japanese naval ships have been total destroyed and all the men had died. There were also rumours that many civilians in the vicinity areas have also been seriously injured by the blast. However, these rumours could not be confirmed as the Japanese forces in Malaya were not willing to provide the details. The incident is still under investigation by the Japanese High Command. But the captain of the German supply ship informed Captain Franz that everyone in the German High Command had a feeling that the explosion must have something to do with U X’s mission to the Far East although they are unsure what exactly caused the huge explosions.
The resupply of the U Boat was proceeding smoothly and Captain Franz received several messages from Berlin. Most of it was not important and limited to the information of the next resupply details for the U Boat. There was however one particular message that stood out from the rest. The message was from Admiral Kantz.
“There have been some new developments on the saboteurs in the last few days. The Gestapo have been tracking a double agent in Berlin and managed to intercept the communication between the agent and the Head of Intelligence for the Allied Forces in London. The message simply said “the professor will handle the matter in U X. Sent your ships to the coordinates that was transmitted earlier and you get the artefacts from an ancient submarine. You will also be able to capture the German Kriegsmarine’s latest U Boat which has been secretly developed by private contractors. Captain Franz is the captain of the U Boat”
The message continued “Gestapo have taken this agent in custody and presently interrogating the man for the name of the professor and the coordinate of the expected meeting point of the Allied naval ships. So far, the agent is not talking and we gather he will never give away this information even if he was tortured”
The message ended with this statement “So, captain, please be very careful – the saboteur is a professor but we do not know who preciously”
Captain Franz was glad that at least he is able to focus on a particular group and keep a close eyes on them. He was glad that Sergeant R and his men were no longer the suspects. He had trusted Sergeant R and knew that he will jeopardise the mission for whatever reasons.
The resupply was done and the U X was back laden with fuel and other supplies. Their next resupply will take place off the coastal waters of Ceylon. Captain Franz bid the German supply ship captain goodbye and ordered the U X to dive and head to deep waters. They need to reach next rendezvous point on time. Leaving Ernst to helm the bridge, Captain Franz headed toward Sergeant R’s quarters. He may need to get help from these specialised commandos to fend off a possible sabotage act. He found Sergeant R and his men fast asleep but when he called upon the sergeant, the sergeant had no trouble waking up.
“Sergeant R, I need to discuss something with you in person” said the captain as he led the sergeant to an empty meeting room next to the torpedo room. He told the sergeant on the events that had happened from the time U X was still docked in the base to the time he had received the message from Admiral Kantz. He also explained on the reasons behind the increased security measures but Sergeant R asked the captain not to worry about it. Now that intelligence reports from Berlin seems to be pinpointing one of the scientist as the saboteurs, the captain needs Sergeant R’s Special Forces skills to keep a close eyes on the group of scientists on board U X.
Having completing their mission in Malaya, Sergeant R was readily agreed to help out the captain and he will keep this a secret except to some of his men which will help him on this new tasks. The captain thanked but emphasises that the necessary security precautions have been taken to stop any more sabotaging. The captain being relieved with the sergeant’s promise then headed back to the weapons room to check on the progress of reassembling the submarine’s torpedoes by the weapons officer. The weapons officer has kept himself busy with the assembly since the time they left Malaya. In addition to understanding the possible usages of the various components within the torpedo casing, the weapons officer also chronicles the various components for future reference. Progress has been slow but having plenty of time at hand, the weapons officer worked on this on a very careful pace.
The captain left the torpedo room and was about to leave for his quarters when he faced the Professor Z with a revolver in his hands. He was pointing the gun at the captain and asked the captain to make his way back to his quarters. The professor followed the captain from behind with a gun firmly in his hands.