“A sub just surfaced, starboard,” Rich yelled into the cabin.
A moment later Yuri said coming up the companionway, “It is Soviet. It is time for me to surrender.”
“Not so fast, comrade,” Rich said, “stay below.”
Yuri backed down the steps. “Don’t be foolhardy with these men.”
The submarine settled within 100 yards of The Odyssey. From the bridge, three men climbed down a ladder; two in uniform and the other in loose-fitting white tropical wear.
The sub maneuvered close to The Odyssey.
“Ahoy,” the man in white said.
“Ahoy,” Rich said, “you need directions?”
“We have reason to believe you have a Soviet citizen aboard,” the man said. “We would like to have him.”
“I’m the only one aboard,” Rich said.
“Do you mind if we come aboard to look?” the man said.
“I’m the only one on this boat,” Rich said, “and I don’t trust you.”
“You must be hiding someone,” the man said. “You fired on our men last night.”
“You’re lucky they aren’t all dead, Boris,” Rich said. “That was a commando operation last night. For all I knew it could have been pirates. That was really stupid.”
“Our men said you shot an AK-47,” the man said. “Where did you get it?”
“You can buy them in almost any U. S. city if you know where to go,” Rich said.
“The people on the island you just left said you took a man with you,” the man said.
“I sailed from Hawaii almost three weeks ago,” Rich said. “I haven’t set foot on dry land since.”
“If we have to, we will force ourselves aboard,” the man said.
“You sound to me like an educated man, Boris,” Rich said. “The Soviets are to be commended for their study of psychology. I assume you have at least a basic knowledge. You see, I have been diagnosed a schizophrenic paranoid. Right now, I’m pretty lucid. Sometimes I think the Soviets have scrambled my brain and trying to control it. I don’t know what triggers it, but right now you are feeding every delusion I have ever had. I also have an anti-tank rocket launcher right in the bench in front of me. It can blow a hole in the side of that sub. Who knows what will happen if I have to get it in my hands. Don’t mess with a crazy guy. In my schizophrenic paranoid state, I’m prepared to take as many down with me as I can.”
The man smiled and gave an informal salute. “Krutoy paren,” he smiled.
“I hope you find your man,” Rich said.
The men climbed up the ladder to the bridge and disappeared inside. The submarine slowly changed course and headed into the north. Rich sat at the helm as if nothing occurred.
Yuri sat on the steps of the companionway.
“That was my brother,” Yuri said.
“You should have told me,” Rich said, “we could have had him aboard for a little family reunion.”
“He knows I’m aboard,” Yuri said.
“How can you be sure?” Rich said.
“Krutoy paren,” Yuri said, “he said Krutoy paren. It was what he called me sometimes. It means tough guy, unafraid.”
“Here, all along I thought he was tossing a compliment my way,” Rich said.
“He was,” Yuri said, “but he had to let me know that he knew I was aboard. He will not give up. I will have to deal with him later.”