THE HUNT FOR CELL-X


The Hunt for Cell-X

Terrorists attack, sinking an American cruise ship, and start an eruption of multiple terror attacks impairing peaceful life in the US, leaving mass destruction in their wake. The Secretary of Homeland Security, Hajji Al’ Hajji, selects Special Agent Jim Vandergelden, the deputy director of the CIA and a retired Marine Corps Colonel, as the commander of the Special Homeland Security Force. Jim is a battle hardened ex commander and a proven CIA operative. He picks his team members from the best the world has to offer. Colonel Vandergelden’s mission is to locate and destroy a secret Isis cell names Cell-X. They have infiltrated the USA and a reliable source alleges that Cell-X is developing weapons of mass destruction on US soil. The hunt is on…

 

Chapter 1

     The Cruise-Ship, Carnival’s Swale Jammer, sailed towards Malta with two-thousand passengers aboard. Ida and Allen Goldberg, a newly retired couple, relaxed on Deck watching the sun going down on the horizon. And what a sunset it was. When the blood-red sun dipped into the water, it transformed the skyline into an inferno that burned up the powder puffy clouds.
They were enjoying their long awaited dream, a Mediterranean Cruise. Allen had spared no money. He had booked the most expensive stateroom in first class.
Ida nursed her Piña Colada, and Allen enjoyed his Crown Royal on the rocks. They planned to get dressed up after the sunset and go to dinner. Sipping away on their drinks, the sun slid below the water leaving a spectacle of a full moon rising surrounded by a star-studded night.
“Okay sweetheart, let’s go and get dressed for dinner, and then we dance the night away.”
“That sounds like a plan Darling…” She was unable to finish her sentence. An earsplitting explosion rattled the ship. People tumbled around on the deck as the stern and bow rose out of the water and the deck started to sink below the water at amidships.
The turbulence had smashed Allen’s head against the wall of the bridge, and Ida slid down the deck disappearing below the waves. He lay lifeless on the deck. Children screamed and panicked, mothers called for their little ones, and Men, bleeding, searched for their families as the ship slid faster and faster below the water.
The crew tried their best to throw life vests into the crowd and inflatable rafts overboard. It was not possible to make use of the lifeboats because the ship was going down too fast. Strong swimmers jumped overboard and women pleated “Please catch my baby.” It was other chaos.
In less than ten minutes, the ship was gone. Debris, bodies, rafts overloaded with people floated in the calm water. The moonlit waves exposed a spine-chilling picture of death and pain. Surviving mothers tried to quiet down their babies.
Allen lay unconscious in a raft. The steward that had served them while they were on board saved his life. Now he tried to keep Allen alive. He was fond of this generous man that had treated him as if he were his equal.
Suddenly, Allen opened his eyes and looked bewildered. He grabbed the Steward’s sleeve, “W…what…what happened?” With fear in his eyes, he looked from side to side, and asked, “Ida…Ida…where is my Ida?”
“Sh-sh-sh…Mr. Goldberg, lay still. There was an explosion on the ship. You slammed with your head into the wall of the bridge when the ship broke apart. It sank; I was able to pull you out of the water. Help is on the way.”
“But where is my Ida? Is my Ida okay?”
“I’m sure Mrs. Goldberg is in one of the other rafts. She is going to be okay. She is a strong swimmer, I saw her doing laps in the pool this morning.”
A smile came over his face as he said, “Yeah, she was a big athlete in her youth. She won many swimming meets. Not like me, I swim like a led duck.” Trying to get up, he said, “What is she doing in the pool? We have to get dressed and go to dinner, I promised her to dance the night away.”
The Steward pushed him gently down. “Mr. Goldberg, please stay down. You are badly hurt. I am sure a hospital ship is on its way. They will take care of you.”
Again, he tried to get up. “But Ida, my Ida, where is she?”
“I will find her for you, I promise. As soon as they are going to pick us up I will look for her.”
****
Admiral Lloyd, commander of the 6th Fleet, stood on the bridge of his flagship admiring the sunset. As soon as nightfall would take over, the fleet would leave the homeport and sail into the open sea.
The com officer, storming into the bridge, suddenly interrupted his state of awe. “Admiral, Sir, I received an SOS from a cruise ship on course to Malta.”
“All right Lieutenant, let’s see what you got.” The Admiral took the print out and read aloud. “SOS from the Carnival’s Swale Jammer-Big explosion-ship is breaking up-sinking fast-requesting rescue-over.”
The Admiral whistled and ordered, “XO, prepare fleet for immediate departure. Dispatch at once the hospital ship including a rescue team, a two destroyer escort, and a patrol boat. Make sure that the Seahawks are ready for takeoff at a moment’s notice. Lieutenant Commander Maxwell is in charge of the operation.”
“Aye, aye, Sir!” The captain picked up the microphone and bellowed into the PA system. “No hear this, prepare to set sail at once.”
The proficiently drilled sailors hustled and bustled and thirty minutes later two cruisers, a rescue vessel, and a floating hospital ship left the port and sat course for the Carnival’s Swale

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