BOOK DETAILS

The Good Fight

The Good Fight

by Dan E Hendrickson

ASIN: B077WR44RD

Publisher Navworks Press

Published in Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Mystery & Thrillers, Mystery & Thrillers/Mystery, Literature & Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers/Crime Thrillers, Literature & Fiction/Action & Adventure

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Book Description

The Good Fight is an action crime drama about a family and their automotive business. The family is struck by tragedy and the business is targeted by sadistic evil people who want take everything from that family including their lives. Two are left, a grandfather and his grand daughter Danielle. They need to come together and fight back. But they might not see the attack until it is too late.

Sample Chapter

Prologue

Thirteen Years Ago As the hot summer sun sets over the Texas-Mexican horizon, Commander Jacob Edwards, Captain of a United States Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutter, First Responder, stands on the dock at Station Brazos, Texas, talking to Chief Roberto Garcia, his father in-law, about his daughter, twelve year-old Danielle and how much of a little fireball she is, always getting into trouble, and never satisfied with anything but first place. “She’s just like you and Jim,” Roberto says with an exasperated but friendly chuckle, “just the girl version.” Jacob adds, “Oh, she’s got her mother’s artsy-crafty side; look at all that dancing she does. I swear if I have to sit through another hour and a half of watching other people’s kids perform just to see mine do something for two and a half minutes, I’ll explode.” Roberto gives a big Latino sigh and says, “But you go to karate tournaments and swim meets and shout your brains out for two hours, and then Mary and Danielle have to drag you away at the end when you’re telling all the coaches and instructors how you would have done it better.” “Yes, you’re right,” Jacob admits. “Mary loves Danielle’s dancing, and I love all the rest.” “Well believe me, Jacob, I have raised three boys and one girl, and you have to spread yourself thin to support everything but it’s worth it,” Roberto says. He clears his throat and wipes the beginning of a tear from his eye, “I apologize, Jacob. I refuse to think that my little girl is never going to have another child.” Jacob puts a reassuring hand on his father-in-law’s shoulder, “It’s okay, Pops, we have accepted it and are quite content with our little spunky monkey.” Jacob’s radio chirps and his second-in-command, Lt. Commander Phillips, says, “Sir, we have a distress call coming from a cruise ship that just left Cozumel about forty minutes ago. They are under attack by a party of unknown assailants.” Jacob gulps, looks at Roberto with astonishment, “What do you mean under attack, and what unknown assailants?”

“Well sir, it looks like pirates. Probably the same ones that have been harassing smaller yachts and boats farther south,” says Phillips. The questions start to fly, “Are they in international waters yet and is that ship one of ours or is it flying another flag?” “The cruise ship belongs to a European company sir, but eighty percent of the passengers are U.S. citizens.” “Have the Mexican authorities responded yet?” “No sir, seems to be some squabble about jurisdiction and such. What do you want to do, sir?” Jacob throws up one hand looks at Roberto and then answers, “What do you think? We’re going to go help that ship, get ready, and I’ll handle HQ.” “You need some help, son?” Roberto asks. Putting his hand on Roberto’s shoulder, Jacob says, “Pops, you know your whole crew is swim rescue and that ship is not even out of Mexican waters yet.” Mimicking his gesture, Roberto responds, “Well maybe some fell overboard and need our help. Besides if I let my little Mary’s man go into harm’s way when I could have helped, I could never look her in the eye again.” Jacob knows when to back down to his father-in-law, “Okay, Roberto, I’ll think of something to justify taking you along.” Chief Roberto and Commander Edwards round up their crews and head for Jacob’s United States Coast Guard Hamiltonclass cutter. They board the 378 foot ship in what seems like milliseconds as Jacob gives the order to launch. The First Responder has a top speed of 29 knots, but he prays he can get at least 31 knots if he maneuvers right. Commander Jacob Edwards hates pirates and it scares the hell out of him that someone in the Gulf thinks they can take on anything as big as a cruise ship. Petty officer John Bliss scampers up the main deck stairway to the outside front view of Jacobs’ ship, out of breath and completely out of his depth, “Sir, I have three sector commanders trying to contact us and all of them want to speak with you, ASAP!”

Jacob smiles a bit—three sector commanders. A shitstorm is about to erupt. It’s best to report to his sector commander only. “Give me Captain William Harrington at Corpus Christi, and you tell New Orleans and Key West to contact him in five minutes.” He grabs the com, listens to Harrington bark, then says, “Yes sir, I know how delicate this one is but they are not in international waters yet and the Mexican Government is playing politics. By the way, Captain, I commandeered Chief Roberto and some of his crew to help with any water rescues.” Harrington doesn’t like it. “Damn it, Jacob, you have a complement of two hundred sixty-seven with a full swim rescue unit on board.” He was ready for this, “Yes, but no one knows these waters better than Roberto, and besides I couldn’t stop him.” Will sighs. Yes, Mary’s dad can be even more stubborn than his son-in-law at times, and especially when it comes to family. “Okay, don’t worry; I’ll smooth your requisition of personnel over somehow. You’re less than one year away from becoming a full Captain and probably getting one of those new security cutters when they come out, make sure you don’t go off halfcocked. You run this one by the book; everyone will be watching.” “Will, if we don’t respond in force, lives could be lost and we’ll be the ones caught with our pants down. Those people don’t have anyone else to help them. I have to overtake with extreme prejudice. Those pirates have never taken on anything like a cruise ship before. They’re going to be very scared and very dangerous. Besides, if we do this right, Mexico will back us up and the brass will have nothing but a victory to brag about.” “Okay, but keep your temper in check. I know how you feel about these guys, but the whole world is watching. Overtake them, arrest them, and try not to kill anyone.” “Aye aye Captain, Edwards out.” Jacob hands the mic back to the chief. He knows he needs to tell Will soon that he’s going to turn down that promotion, retire, and go help his dad build the business in Manheim. It’s time to give Mary and Danielle a more stable life, and he knows his parents want him and his family home. Honestly, he’s just ready to go home and kick some ass in the auto auction business again.

But right now, he’s got a big problem to take care of, and he hates pirates—damned despicable pirates, drugs, human trafficking, rape, smuggling, and now hijacking cruise ships. They mostly stick farther south near Central America and South Mexico, attacking little yachts, fishing boats, even a few minor port raids, but nothing like this. What the hell are they thinking now? Though not usually the praying type, Jacob decides right now it’s best. “God You know me, I’m not into combat, never been, but I can’t stand to let bullies get away. Please just help me stop these guys and keep those people safe, and don’t let anything happen to mine or Pop’s crew. Thanks Lord.” “Amen,” says Roberto as he walks up from behind. He puts a reassuring hand on his son-in-law’s shoulder, ready to face down hell with this man if he has to. The First Responder makes 31 knots and no one can explain why, but Chief Roberto bows his head and says, “Gracias el Dios.” Under the cover of night, at approximately 11:46 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Commander Edwards’ ship storms into one of the most bizarre scenes that either he or Roberto have ever witnessed in their combined maritime experiences. Just twenty miles off the port of Cozumel, a Caribbean cruise ship is surrounded by three other ships, an older refurbished cutter, a large barge, and a small cargo ship. Each ship has what looks like multiple assailants pointing every hand-held weapon imaginable at the defenseless cruise ship. On the cutter, there looks to be an old-style World War II cannon. “Sir, there is a smaller long-range high-powered yacht docked to the Cruise ship and at least twenty armed pirates on the upper deck. It looks like there are least fifty hostages on their knees being held at gunpoint," says Lt. Commander Williams, looking through his binoculars. Jacob looks at the situation with the practiced eye of a maritime commander who has nineteen plus years of experience on these waters. First, he has to deal with that cannon, and next, make sure those pirates on that upper deck don’t kill anyone. “We need to place ourselves between that cannon and the cruise ship,” Jacob orders. It is dark on the water except for the five boats all facing one another.

Bliss comes running up the stairs again and says, “Sir, I have sector Key West on the line but it is not the sector commander, it’s the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard and he wants a word with you right now.” “I’ll take it in private,” he says and steps off the command deck holding the com. “Yes sir, Admiral, Commander Edwards here.” Rear Admiral James Harrington, Vice Commandant of the United States Coast Guard answers, “Edwards, you’d better be holding your dick in both hands right now because you just stormed into a diplomatic nightmare. Not only is the Mexican president blowing up the commander’s and chief ’s phones, but so is Cuba, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, the Cayman Islands, and Jamaica. They’re all threatening some sort of retaliation if you start an international incident down there.” Jacob endeavors to hold his temper in check as he responds, “Well sir, there is the small matter of a certain cruise ship being held hostage by modern day pirates with the largest group of ships I have ever seen being used by any of those scum bags since I have had the privilege of hunting their sorry asses. Not to mention almost fifteen hundred passengers on board and about eighty percent of them are United States citizens.” Bliss sticks his head around the corner and says, “We have three long range network news choppers approaching us from Miami. They want to know if you want to make a statement.” Harrington immediately interrupts, shouting, “Don’t tell them a fucking thing Commander; I’ll handle the press from here. Look Edwards, you’re all alone on this one. We can’t get the Navy involved until at least one of these countries asks for help. The Coast Guard does have some jurisdictional privileges granted by all these countries to protect them from stuff like this, however Mexico is being really squirrely about this one. They won’t send any help, and they keep warning us to be very careful how we escalate the situation. Apparently, there’s a party going on for the eighteenth birthday of the Mexican President’s daughter on that ship. They picked up a bunch of VIP kids in Cozumel and we’re getting calls from all over the Caribbean by scared parents asking about them. You’re walking a tight rope, Commander, and we are all watching very closely.”

Jacob, holding the microphone a few inches from his ear rolls his eyes and says, “Thanks for all the strategic advice sir. I am sure it will come in handy in saving everyone’s—” BLAAM! Jacob’s ship reels back as if it had just run into something, he looks in the direction of the noise and sees one of the lifeboats on fire. “What the hell was that?” he yells, as another blast explodes a few yards off the side of his boat. Lt. Commander Phillips yells back across the deck, “Mortar shells are coming off the pirate’s cutter, sir. Looks like M2 Goon Guns, sir.” Harrington, frustrated, says in a loud, obnoxious, raspy voice, “What the hell is a Goon Gun, Edwards?” Jacobs glares at the mic and says, “It’s a rifled mortar weapon, sir, used in Vietnam, mainly on land but we’ve seen them before.” Harrington asks, not expecting an answer, “Where do they get this stuff Edwards?” Still looking at the mic Jacob yells back, annoyed, “I don’t know sir, maybe eBay? I have to go sir, we are under attack.” Harrington says, “Don’t you hang up on me boy!” CLICK. Jacob ends the connection and throws the com back to Bliss. He yells at his gunnery officer to crank up the OTO Melara 76 mm gun and target that cutter. Why the hell aren’t they using that cannon? he wonders. He decides that it must be fake, used to scare ships into surrendering so they can get close enough to make those Goon Guns a real threat. But Jacob knew there was nothing wrong with his cannon. The OTO Melara 76 mm was compact enough to be installed on relatively small warships and patrol boats. The gun’s high rate of fire and various specialized ammunition made it well-suited for many situations and therefore was one hell of a pirate deterrent for the United States Coast Guard Hamilton cutter fleet. Commander Jacob Edwards would make good use of it today. Jacob tells his second-in-command to target the rudder on that pirate cutter. He explains to Lt. Commander Phillips that he doesn’t want that thing escaping, that they’ve just drifted out of range of those Goon Guns, and that since the pirates fired on them the Navy can now get involved, so he wants them to stay put.

“Aye aye Commander,” says Phillips. He has the gunnery officer maneuver the 76 mm cannon to point directly at the assend of that old cutter and fire. They take a big chunk out of the stern, but miss the rudder. “Sir, the cutter is pulling away, shall we pursue?” “Negative Phillips, they are the Navy’s problem now, our priority is the cruise ship.” “Yes sir.” Roberto steps up to his son-in-law and says, “That cutter is getting out of here pretty fast, pretty souped-up for a pirate refab.” “Yes,” says Jacob, “there’s going to be a lot of unanswered questions after this one.” Just then, Jacob feels a whisk of air like a horse whip cracking by his left ear. He turns to see a bullet hole just inches from his head in the wall behind him. Roberto tackles Jacob and throws him down to the deck even as two more shots slam into the same wall just inches from one another. “Holy shit, was that sniper fire coming from the fleeing cutter,” shouts Phillips as he dives to the deck. Roberto looks at Jacob and says, “That cutter is at least a quarter mile away from us. Where are a bunch of Caribbean pirates going to get a world class sniper like that?” “Yes, where indeed,” Jacob responds as he looks over at the gunnery officer who gives the all clear. Phillips jumps up and hollers at Bliss, “You tell naval command that those bastards just tried to assassinate our skipper with very professional sniper fire.” “Yes sir,” says Bliss. “Lt. Commander, sir, the small speed yacht is pulling away from the cruise ship and all the pirates are leaving the hostages and running to the aft of the ship.” Jacob yells, “I want to be on that boat in five minutes Lieutenant Commander.” “You got it, sir,” Phillips yells as he maneuvers the cutter alongside the cruise ship while Commander Edwards, Chief Garcia, Lt. Maelstrom and a complement of twenty armed U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement personnel take a skiff over. Just as Jacob steps on the deck of the cruise ship, Bliss chimes in on his radio. “Sir, the crews of the barge and tanker have overwhelmed the pirates and are asking for help.”

“What the? This just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Send a skiff to each ship and assess the situation and provide help as needed. And Phillips...” “Yes sir,” “...You cover their asses with that OTO Melara. If anyone tries anything, you start blowing holes in the attacking ship.” Commander Edwards and his compliment make it up to the top deck where the hostages are being held. Cheers, sighs of relief and exasperated cries are all that can be heard. Jacob’s radio chirps and Lt. Maelstrom, the security contingent commander, says, “We got them all sir, well they are saying one is unaccounted for. They did not even put up a fight. Frankly sir they are scared out of their minds.” Jacob responds, “We need to find that last pirate, there are fifteen hundred civilians on this ship and about one hundred-fifty crew; God knows where he’s hiding.” Phillips pipes in, “Sir, the cruise ship captain says that as far as he knows, he lost fourteen crew members and ten civilians and five Mexican security specialists when they were boarded. The pirates demanded to know the location of all the VIP’s that came on at Cozumel.” “And where would that be?” Jacob asks as lights start flashing in his head. “They are pretty close to where you are, sir. The girls wanted the party at the highest point on the ship. The captain would not let them do it outside, so they are in the banquet hall just below you, Commander Edwards.” Instantly, Jacob, Roberto, and three others run down the stairs and into the hall. They see about two dozen Latina girls all decked out in their party dresses who look like they have been crying for hours. At least two look pretty beaten up. They hear a loud scream from the kitchen and the sound of slapping and cursing in Spanish. One of the girls says in broken English, “It is Marnia, he take her last, say it is her birthday present. He already have me and two others today.” Jacob glared in the direction of the kitchen. Commander Edwards was known to have different fuses for different things, and the one for this disgusting act was not long at all. His vision

turns red as his temples swell with blood that pours into his face. He heads for the source of the noise. Roberto and the rest lag behind to assess the scene and calm the girls. Jacob kicks in the office door to the kitchen. There, laying on the floor with her clothes torn off and her face a bloody mess is Marnia Gonzalez, the daughter of the president of Mexico. Standing over her is a stocky Jamaican man with long braided hair and a totally shocked look that turns to pure horror as he stares into Commander Jacob Edward’s vehement and wrathful eyes. All Jacob can think as he slams his fists into the face and body of this rapist pirate is that the little girl this beast wants to maul looks very much like his own little Danielle. The pirate is a formidable fighter but he does not have a chance. Jacob, a true master at hand-to-hand combat, uses all his artistic ability on this piece of shit. When he is done he grabs the half-breathing bag of bruised meat and broken bones by his long braided hair and drags him out into the hall and up the stairs to the top deck. Roberto catches up to him and grabs him by the shoulder. He pleads with him to stop, but Jacob tells him and everyone else to stand down, “I am in command here.” Jacob spies the small ladder that leads to the little observation platform in the front part of the top deck. With one hand on the rails and the other clutching the half conscious pirate’s chocolate braided locks of greasy hair, he drags him up the ladder onto the little platform, picks him up to his shoulders and heaves him through the air into the dark Caribbean ocean some eight stories below. That is the last act that Commander Jacob Edwards will ever do as the captain of the Hamilton-class cutter, First Responder, United States Coast Guard.

Continues...

Excerpted from "The Good Fight" by Dan E Hendrickson. Copyright © 2017 by Dan E Hendrickson. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Dan E Hendrickson

Dan E Hendrickson

Dan Hendrickson was born in Sheridan Wyoming near the rustic Big Horn mountain range in 1962 to Carl and Helen Hendrickson. Dan went to school in the Sheridan School District graduating from Sheridan High School in 1981. He spent his athletic time participating in boxing, martial arts, wrestling and a little track. His father Carl owned a small eight lane bowling alley that he ran until Dan was 12 years old. After losing the business to the bank he was forced to go back to school and finish his masters in English. Dan picked up on his father’s love of the written word and enrolled in Casper Community College in 1982 majoring in journalism. Although he found that he had an aptitude for investigative reporting he decided that his desires lied in other areas. He went on to do much volunteer Christian ministry work throughout the United States most of his adult life and continues to pursue those endeavors to this day. During that time he gained another degree in Practical Theology and throughout his many ministry assignments work several secular jobs. Most notable were his auto detailing endeavors. He and his wife Cheryl have owned three different detailing businesses throughout the country the last of which they still run to this day. Recently he has returned to his passion of telling stories and has several books in the process of being published.

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