Ian Jay served as a flight engineer and weapons systems technician in the Royal Australian Air Force for over 22 years. In that time he operated as a flight engineer on several different aircraft types including the C–130 Hercules, the HS 748 and the Chinook helicopter. He left the RAAF to take up a career as a logistics analyst with a major Australian aerospace company.
He lives in
‘To Do or Die’ (Prequel to ‘Maximum Effort’)
This novel is a work of fiction.
Any procedures, practices and policies mentioned herein are not intended to be representative of those that are employed by the Australian Defence Forces or any Australian Government agencies. Reference to operational units, bases and locations are used only to create realism and do not necessarily represent actual units and bases. In writing this work, I did not intend to present events or circumstances that reflect unfavourably on the Australian Defence Forces or any other Australian Federal, State or Local organisations.
All of the characters in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
For those who came in late… (Apologises to Mister Falk!)
This book continues on from my first novel, To Do or Die which featured as the central character, Derek (Macca) McKay. Macca is a Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules flight engineer. He rose to prominence after being recruited into a secret government organization called Sentinel and helping to crush an uprising on a neighbouring island nation, Costa Mauri by exposing an arms conspiracy. That operation was called Plan Copperhead and Sentinel’s operations leader is Army Major Jason Roberts. Following Macca’s discoveries during the incident on Costa Mauri, the leader of an illegal criminal agency known as Dawn was arrested and is now serving ten years in prison.
Macca is married
At present Macca is happily working as an instructor teaching the next generation of Hercules flight engineers the tricks of the trade.Look, in all honesty, get a copy of To Do or Die (Zeus Publications) and save yourself the pain of not knowing what the hell is going on!
‘Daddy, Daddy! I got one! Daddy look!’
I gave Steven’s rod back to him, the reel and line still looking more like a bird’s nest than fishing kit and crossed to the other side of the boat. Chloe was holding the blunt end of the Rex Hunt special with two hands and pulling up on the tip. It had a radius that even impressed me. Chloe indeed had one; the end was shaking like it was carrying 240 volts. I took hold of the handle.
‘Okay, don’t let go! I’ll help you. Wind it in. The handle darling, wind the handle. The other way.’ She got the drift and began to rotate the handle on the reel while I lowered the tip to reduce the strain.
‘Is it big? I think it’s a big one, Daddy,’ she chatted excitedly.
‘Probably, just keep winding,’ I replied looking overboard and searching for the first flash of silver.
Steven said, ‘Dad, when are you going to fix my tangle?’
‘Soon, mate. I’m helping your sister.’
Pete said, ‘Can
we go to that new spot at
I glanced at him
standing at the steering console, ‘Soon, Pete.’ He always wanted to move because
it meant driving and we did well two days previously at nearby
‘Oh Daddy, I saw it, I saw it!’
Steven wandered over poking me in the ear with the tip of his rod. ‘Hey, watch where…’ I started, then stopped as I noticed a second flash of silver.
‘Shit, shark!’ Pete yelled.
Chloe shrieked as the two-metre predator zeroed in on the trevally just breaking the surface. She let go of her rod and jumped back colliding with Steven and knocking him over. The sight of the shark startled me as well and I recoiled tripping on the retrieval net and falling backwards onto the two children. I let go of the rod going down. The shark then hit the trevally (according to Pete) and took it and the rod overboard. We staggered up and looked overboard. There was nothing to see, it was all over. We stood there for a moment letting our collective heart rates come down. Then Chloe said, her voice wavering, ‘Can we go home now?’
I looked at the three year old and smiled, ‘I think so. Waddya reckon, boys?’
Everyone agreed that we had fished enough and Pete started the engine and drove us back to the boat ramp.
Later, after I recounted my version of events to my wife Tracy, I wondered when I would go fishing again hoping it would be soon.
There’s an old saying that goes a lot like: Be careful what you wish for; it might just come true.
This was our
third holiday at Port Douglas on coastal
As you can imagine, Trace was not particularly impressed with this turn up for the books. The boys loved it and secretly, I did too. However, I felt I had better agree with Trace, for the time being anyway. After assessing what needed to be done to get the place liveable, we set about the renovation activity, McKay style.
Most of that first three-week vacation was doing just that, and considering the help we had (three children more interested in the beach than the paintbrush) it turned out quite reasonable. The residence itself is a fibro two-bedroom shack. It has a compact (read small) kitchen and combined lounge/dining room. The Master bedroom is quite large and has the only built in wardrobes. The yard is also a decent size and, came complete with carport and an adjoining shed. Pete decided the shed would be his bedroom and he set it up for himself, sharing it with our fifteen-foot aluminium runabout, the Maccarel. I didn’t mind, it meant Chloe didn’t have to share with Trace and me. Steven and his sister bunked in the remaining bedroom. Pongo Junior, our three-year old German Sheppard, slummed it on the veranda.
So here we are, sipping cool drinks on a balmy tropical night looking at the house across the road. Well…our place isn’t exactly on the beach as we were lead to believe; we are one street back from it. Apparently, it was though, when originally constructed in the sixties.
Steven wandered out and said, ‘Good night.’ He was kissed and cuddled and sent to join his sister in the land of nod. Pete was already in the Pit down the back. Trace asked me to refresh her G and T and I had only just opened the refrigerator when she called from the veranda.
‘Derek. Come out here.’
I grabbed my stubbie, her glass with a liberal measure of Gin, the tonic water and carried the lot out.
There was a car moving slowly up our street.
‘It passed by once and is coming back,’ Trace said as I joined her at the handrail. I watched it approach our frontage, then slow and pull in.
Trace said, ‘That’s not who I think it is, is it?’
‘I think it is,’ I replied.
Our suspicions were confirmed when we saw Jason Roberts ease himself from behind the steering wheel.
I welcomed Jason at the front door and invited him in. As he reacquainted himself with Trace, I got another beer from the fridge. I joined them as the initial small talk was still progressing. Pongo Jr. had a quick sniff and finding him of little interest settled into his normal position beside Trace.
‘I had trouble finding the street.’
‘It’s hardly a huge town, Jason. I thought you Army boys could navigate,’ Trace commented smiling.
Jason laughed. ‘Actually, I used my training; I asked at the pub.’
‘So what brings to this neck of the woods, Jas,’ I asked handing him his beer and sitting.
‘Thanks,’ he said and took a long pull. Then he added, ‘I wanted to see you.’
‘You know we’re leaving in a couple of days. If you wanted to see Derek, surely you could have waited,’ Trace observed.
‘I wanted to check out Château McKay for myself, besides, I bear good news,’ Jason replied.
‘Oh yeah,’ I responded, sarcastically, ‘beware of strangers bearing gifts and good news.’
Jason smiled, ‘Guy’s relax, I’m not a stranger and the news is that you’re not required back at the squadron and you can have an extra two weeks holiday.’
Trace immediately looked my way. I showed no reaction as this was news to me, and I might add, I felt an immediate sense of concern. I said, ‘They sent you on that errand?’
Jason looked away and took another swig. ‘No, not just that. I needed to speak to you about something.’
‘Something?’ Trace repeated sounding suspicious.
‘Something that’s sensitive.’ He looked at Trace and then me and then to Trace again, ‘Eyes only.’
There was a pause as both Trace and I digested the statement. Finally, Trace said, ‘That’s another way of saying need-to-know isn’t it?’
Jason nodded. I felt a little ill. Trace stood, ‘The answer’s No, Jason.’ She looked at me, her eyes set. ‘Isn’t it, Derek?’ I managed a weak smile. I was feeling two emotions at that moment. One was the do the right thing and agree with the missus option. The other, was the one bastards like Jason Roberts used on weak men like me with great effectiveness; the feeling of anxiousness and excitement when an unexpected job comes up and you’ve been requested to be part of it. That was my Achilles’ heel. It’s a reflection of your skill and professionalism and I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Finally, I said, ‘I’d better hear Jason out. After all, he’s come all this way.’
Trace maintained her glare, then she nodded and said, ‘Okay Derek, you go along with this and you’ll be batching for those two extra weeks.’ She stormed inside slamming the sliding screen door against the jam.
Jason looked at me and half smiled. I said, ‘Don’t get cocky, Jas. I said I’d listen.’
‘That’s what Ripley said in Aliens.’
I smiled at the reference and I was surprised at Jason’s attitude. He knew he had me and that it would be me, not him that would deal with Trace. I decided that I’d listen to the story and then decide. No harm in that.
Jason leaned forward. ‘What do you know about the over water surveillance?’
I shrugged. ‘Fuck all.’
‘What about Project Gilbert?’
‘Never heard of it.’Jason sat back. ‘Well, you’re in for an education then.’
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