Standing in for Dad Ch. 22


Here is a rough deck layout. Remember, it is 1.5 football fields long and over 3/4 field lengths wide.

The tender saddled up sideways to a set of stairs at the stern of the yacht and we disembarked onto a 40 foot wide stairwell with plenty of crew to help with the bags and stabilize us as we moved from the tender to the ship.

Upon walking up to the second deck everyone was aghast at the space. The At 200 feet wide and 100 feet deep, this open deck area was enormous. And that didn’t include the submarine and tender sets on each end (one tender was in the water still).

Rows of sunbathing chairs, a massive hot tub, lots of casual seating and a gorgeous 30 place table made from light cherry stained, matched, AAA grade, waterfall bubinga wood panels with a deep, high gloss, urethane finish. The table was lined in dark teak and the deep cushioned chairs were made of dark teak. There were smaller, matching, 6 person tables scattered around the overhang.

The two submarines were TRITON 3300/6 subs configured for 4 passengers and a pilot for increased comfort. They were capable of diving down .6 miles beneath the surface which was more than enough to enjoy most of the world’s reefs.

The deck was light teak and looked to be of real wood panels. The walls matched the table and the whole expanse spoke of true decadence.

I looked at the family, whose mouths were on the floor, and said, “I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore.”

Mom merely whispered, “No shit.”

The manufacturing rep walked up, introduced himself to us and began his introduction of the ship, “This entire ship’s communications are hardened fiber optic and the entire ship is made of cross layered Carbon Fiber. She can be controlled by the Bridge, by individually highly secured tablets, or from the armored safe room in the 4th deck master suite. Each and every room has multiple hidden cameras as well as being wired for sound. And there is 360 degree exterior coverage with proximity alert…that includes underwater coverage.”

“The hull at the waterline and below is reinforced with an inner layer of 2 inch thick Titanium with the hull and outer walls above the waterline with 1 inch thick Titanium that is laminated with 1.5 inches of carbon fiber. This lady has a 7.5 foot waterline and the bow of each hull is raked at a 60 degree angle to cut through the waves with minimal resistance. Each individual hull is made to semi plane on the water at high speeds and built in air cavities in their bottoms reduce water friction at any speed.”

“The hulls have a special coating of Aluminum, Boron and Magnesium along with titanium boride which results in a substance that is just the third hardest material in the world coming after diamond and cubic boron nitride. This coating makes the hull more slippery than Teflon and nearly as hard as diamond. It almost eliminates marine growth of all types and allows the Yacht to slip through the water like a ski boat, which is only a very slight exaggeration.”

“This hull is made to be beached without any harm to the outer layers or structure of the ship.”

“The Yacht doesn’t actually have engines. Instead, she is powered by stacks of 10,000 KWH combined heating and cooling gas turbine generators; each of which is activated individually as power or air conditioning needs dictate and they are fully computer controlled. These turbines provide air conditioning, heating, and hot water to the Yacht.”

“They run at nearly 98% thermal efficiency, and have a combined output of 1,000,000 KW. These generators provide the electrical energy to run the ship as well as the two dozen state of the art, proprietary, 4,000 HP electric motors that are connected to 6 hydraulic transmissions which turn 6 internal variable pitch water jet type screws (four motors per transmission, one transmission per screw, three screws per hull, two hulls). This girl can go from stationary to full throttle in 5 seconds flat.”

“The main fuel tanks are underneath the crew spaces in each hull, along with the two ancillary tanks in front of the engine spaces. They hold a combined 287,250 gallons of fuel which can power the ship for 94 days at 8 knots or 30 days at 20 knots or 8 days at 60 knots. As a comparison, your typical marine diesel has a thermal efficiency that tops out at around 51%. This propulsion system has an overall thermal efficiency of approximately 80%.”

“Total screw output can range from 500 to 96,000 horsepower with overwhelming redundancy and vital component isolation between the three hulls. Each exterior hull has hydraulic thrusters distributed in the bow, amidships, and stern respectively and the ship has no anchors as it is kept within 1 meter of its position through GPS integration with its propulsion and positioning systems.”

“The water plant is in engineering and is capable of providing 6,000 gallons of water a day. There is a 3 day holding tank of fresh water.”

“All passenger rooms have adjustable California King sized beds Girne Escort with en-suite restrooms sporting walk-in tubs/showers and fabricated stone counter tops with gold filigree fittings, large cedar lined closets, private televisions, individual blue ray players, high speed internet, the latest gaming computers, gaming consoles, and loads of storage.”

“Each room is insulated to the point of being sound proof and the walls sport rare wood panels such as waterfall bubinga, snake wood, figured maple, cocobolo, figured sapele, leopard wood, padauk and the like. All internal flooring is teak or high traffic, easy clean, marine carpeting.”

“But one of the most intriguing things about her is her self defense suite.”

“This girl has 2 sets of 2 groups of Mk 57 Peripheral Vertical Launch Systems, one group each in the bows of the outer hulls, that house 8 SM-6 Block IB missiles in each group. She also boasts 4 programmable VLWT torpedoes in four launch launch tubes with another 12 torpedoes in auto loaders in the bow of the center hull. And as a point defense grid she boasts 4 pop up 20 mm Vulcan Sea Whiz Gatling guns at the four corners of the Yacht.”

Dad asked, “How was this possible?”

The builder rep replied, “The ship yard had nothing to do with it. We built the enclosures to specifications supplied to us and the manufacturers of those weapons installed them. We had nothing to do with it beyond that. We didn’t procure anything. We were told it was a national defense issue and to keep our mouths shut. It was all very curious, too since we were paid extra to expedite the changes. Everything was installed only last week as the different manufacturers came in and took over. Everything they had was modular and fit right into the housings they had us make.”

Dad asked, “Did you see the Department of Defense Authorizations?”

The rep handed Dad a copy of the paperwork. I looked over his shoulder and it was all in order. Every order was even signed by the President of the United States and the Joint Chief.

Just then Dad’s special SAT phone rang. Dad looked at the Captain, “You are semi-retired Navy aren’t you?”

Captain Barns just smiled, “Not even retired, on special assignment.”

Dad motioned for the Captain and me to follow him to another room and he answered the phone. “Yes, Mr. President?”

“Ahh, there you are! I take it you have figured out we have some things to discuss?”

“One or two things, Yes-Sir.”

“Well, if you don’t mind, I would like to go with you on your week long shakedown cruise. I have the VP and our wives with us, would that be acceptable?”

Dad looked at me, “Your Yacht son, yes or no?”

I laughed, “As if. When can we expect you, Sir?”

You could hear the smirk over the phone, “ETA is ten minutes. We will just land on the pad on top and disembark from there.”

I looked towards Captain Barnes, “She ready to sail, Captain?”

He pulled up his pad and announced to the deck hands to handle the moorings and cast off as he turned and walked away to the bridge with a big ass smile on his lips.

Dad and I walked up to the factory rep and thanked him for his time as we walked him to the gangway which was raised and retracted immediately upon his departure. The Yacht immediately pulled away from the dock and began moving brusquely out of the small harbor. I looked at Dad, “He wasn’t kidding, this thing is quick and agile.”

Dad looked at me, “Sorry son, I didn’t know.”

I replied, “No worries, I kind of expected something. Being the owner of an ultra fast Naval littoral ship rigged for combat and disguised as a luxury Yacht wasn’t my guess, but, eh…life will be interesting to say the least.”

We then took one of the elevators up to the fourth deck where I went to the safe. After opening it I pulled out a Swiss bank card with two accounts. One had a balance of 3 BILLION dollars and the other only had 2 million. I showed them to Dad whose eyes popped out of his head. We read the note together, “It is the pleasure of our government to provide you with enough funds to operate your new Yacht. You will need to contact Guy de Picciotto, CEO of the Swiss Bank ‘Union Bancaire Privée’ to activate your accounts. Three sets of Debit cards are provided here for the working account and only you have access to the main account. Thank you again for your services.”

I looked at Dad, “So, the United States got a rogue Chinese psychopath to finance the build of a U.S. combat littoral ship made to look like a private Yacht and pay for her expenses for the indefinite future?”

Dad just shrugged, “Don’t ask, don’t tell. Let’s wait to see what the President has to say.”

I immediately called Guy de Picciotto, the CEO, who immediately answered his phone. “I see you are calling from an expected number, Sir. This is Mr. Guy de Picciotto, may I have you repeat the phrase, ‘Please name her, ‘Le Délice de Susan’ and offer my heartfelt thanks for Magosa Escort the gift’ so that I may verify your identity by your voice.”

I repeated the phrase.

“Thank you Mr. Walker. You now have full access to your accounts. The three cards you have are linked to the working account only. You will need to give me a call to transfer any funds from the main account as voice verification will be required. If you are under duress just use the name of the Yacht and we will act accordingly.”

“Thank you, Sir. You have been most helpful.”

With that done we ended the call and I gave Dad one of the cards. Dad and I took the one elevator that went up to the top of the Yacht just as Marine One settled down on the deck and the President, Vice President, and their wives departed with a small contingent of Secret Service agents.

We had gotten under way in 7 minutes and the Captain was with us; the XO taking the ship out to sea. I handed him a card since he was in charge of the ship procurement operations. I shouted above the rotor noise: “Use this card to pay for any procurements from now on, Captain.” A few crew members grabbed the luggage.

It was impossible to meet and greet with the blades whirling so we all just got into the elevator and went down to the Owner’s deck as Marine One lifted back off the deck. When the elevator doors opened, the whole group just took in the expansive place with awe.

The whole owners deck was paneled in highly figured waterfall Maple with a golden pecan stain that really brought forth the waves in the wood grain, The whole place looked like the wood had melted and was flowing towards the floor in rivulets. The walls had a thick, ultra hard coating of marine grade, ultra clear urethane that made you think the walls were behind a pane of glass. The walls were mesmerizing.

The President and VP took the two special guest suites and I put up the Secret Service members in the one of the balcony suites on the second floor…figuring they would hot bunk in shifts anyway as they watched over the two dignitaries.

Doc and DD took one of the VIP suites While Marion and Lisa took the other. Leesie and Dad took the other VIP suite.

Cathy bedded with us in the Master suite.

It seems both Seal Team Squads and their spouses came along. With the unmarried Seal Team members doubling up, we had just enough rooms for everyone.

Captain Barnes had filled out the crew with his original crew members along with some additional members…some of whom I suspected were specialists to maintain the self-defense platforms.

After everyone got situated the family and the President and VP met in the owners lounge on Deck 4. The President then started an impromptu meeting but I held up a hand to speak first. He was a bit flabbergasted at that but quickly smiled and relaxed as I asked my question.

Looking at the First Lady, I asked, “How have you been feeling?”

She positively glowed, “The President and I are expecting!”

Everyone seated around knew the baby was mine but to a person they played the charade; taking their leads from her statement. We all congratulated The President and his wife on their first and all the women started talking excitedly about the pregnancy.

After a bit, DD got everyone’s attention and reminded them the President was about to speak. The ladies apologized and smiled, knowing there was going to be a long discussion on the pregnancy later.

The President nodded to DD in appreciation and he began, “I assume you all need something of an explanation.”

Dad, Marion, Doc, and I all nodded.

“Well, more and more we have a need for a military staging vessel that doesn’t look like a military staging vessel so it can get into foreign ports. When we got wind that a Chinese National was having a private super-yacht built in the northeast of the States, well, we secretly took over the build and just let him finance the thing.”

“Our intention was to nationalize it and use it for our stated purposes. Then, the Chinese government just up and gave the thing to you. We thought about it and decided this was just perfect. They even paid for all the munitions and operating costs through those two accounts you have, Harry. By the way, here is a letter from the IRS stating that money is tax free.”

He handed me the letter and I immediately excused myself and put it into the safe…along with everyone’s Presidential ‘get out of jail free’ letters.

Upon my return, the President continued, “Harry, you being the owner, though, does create an issue. One that would be easily solved if you and your families became CIA field officers. Of course, that would mean a recall for Barbara and Leesie. It would be strictly black box, though.”

“Officially you would be a Traveling Ambassador of the United States, giving you and your Yacht diplomatic immunity in almost any country’s ports. She is fitted with the latest satellite communications Lefkoşa Escort as well as an ELF antennae in the keel of the central hull for the more clandestine communications you will have. Everyone’s pay rates would reflect your positions, of course.”

“She is also impervious to listening devices and all of the portholes and windows are bulletproof with an additional precaution of ballistic film on both sides of the glass. This girl is one of the safest ships on the ocean. A great place for a community of operatives and several young families to raise young ones. What say you all?”

I looked around and everyone nodded their agreement, even Doc and DD. “I want Doc and Cathy to be the ship’s medical team and I want DD to be our in-house counselor. That a problem?”

The President smiled, “Not for me.”

The others let me know it was an exciting proposition.

“One thing, though. I want to be the highest rank on this ship and I want a SES ES-5 rating with everyone else here at a level 3 rating. Also, I need a letter from you saying I have complete autonomy over this vessel and its crew while they are stationed on this vessel. I don’t want any military or bureaucrat pissing in my pond.”

The President balked a bit at that one. The Vice President then spoke up, “He is only right in wanting to protect this vessel from anyone who might think this operation is a red herring. Our party will not always be in power. I think it is a reasonable request.”

“Good point, Okay, done. We have an accord?”

Everyone around the room nodded and agreed.

Sue then asked, “So what is my job?”

I looked at her, “You will be the Diplomatic Liaison Officer.”

“Cool! I fully intend to liaise with our politicians later today!”

Most everyone laughed and agreed that was definitely on the agenda.

With that, we guys got into the elevator to go meet everyone on deck 3. The ladies restarted their pregnancy discussions and they were having a grand time as the elevator doors shut.

The President and VP both walked out onto Deck 3 and the place was full of Seals and Secret Service agents, all having a grand time. One of the Lieutenants saw the President and hollered, “ATTENTION ON DECK!” and everyone jumped.

The President laughed and said, “As you were! I am here on vacation and I don’t want to have to deal with military protocol while onboard. While here, just relax and let me be one of the guys. VP, you agree?”

“Fully, Sir.”

The two then went around and said hello to all the groups on the deck, the President addressing them and their spouses by name, impressing the hell out of everyone there. After a bit, the two sat down at a poker table with some of the enlisted men and played some blackjack. It took a while, but eventually the two were accepted as equals in the room and everyone had a great time just being human.

Captain Barnes showed up and the President had him join in the poker game, the table being large enough for 12, “Captain, I need to let you know that Harry here is now an ES-5. He also has full autonomy over this ship and its crew while stationed on this ship. Consider that a Presidential order. Do you see any problem with that?”

“Not at all, Sir. I have been around Harry enough to know he will accept my guidance in my area of expertise.”

I responded, “Captain, I absolutely defer to you on the running of this ship and I would value your counsel on any operations we have.”

Captain Barnes nodded his appreciation and looked at the President, “As I said, no issues at all, Sir.”

After a few hands, the President called the LT over and said, “LT, I am about to get up and go back to my quarters. If you holler everyone to attention I am going to slap you upside your head, copy?”

“Crystal clear, Sir.” he laughed, “Have a great evening, Sir.”

We all got up from the table and the place went silent for about 3 seconds, waiting for the command that didn’t come. After that, the room resumed. But, it was obvious to everyone the President earned some brownie points with all the military personnel there.

We next visited the Bridge and the XO started to acknowledge the group when the President quickly countered, “Chill, just here to enjoy the view. Please treat me as just another guest while I am here.”

The XO smiled, “As you wish. Is there anything you would like to know, Sir?”

“Well, where are we headed?” the VP asked.

“Captain Barns and I thought you might like to see some atolls and do a bit of fishing. We are on our way to the Blue Hole over in Jamaica to do some sightseeing and a bit of fishing off the reefs.”

“Oh! That is excellent! Visiting the Blue Hole and fishing in Jamaica are both on my bucket list!”

“We will do our best to make your vacation worth the name, Sir.”

The President asked, “How fast will this lady fly, XO?”

“She is rated for a sustained 60 knots, Sir. But we suspect her top end is closer to 80, though we would be stressing her to do so.”

“What are we doing now?”

“We are doing 15 knots, Sir. We figure that is the sweet spot for fuel and speed.”

I then asked the XO for the ship’s audio system. “Captain Barnes, you have any issues with me proclaiming a clothing optional, free use, cruise?”

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