The Inside Passage (Ted Higuera Series Book 1)

BOOK: The Inside Passage (Ted Higuera Series Book 1)
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Also by Pendelton C.
Wallace

 

 

Christmas Inc.

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Warning:
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Blue Water & Me, Tall Tales of Adventures With My
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Blue Water &
Me is a high-adventure true story of author Penn Wallace's magical first summer
fishing with his father, Blue Water Charlie, at age eleven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Inside Passage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By

 

 

Pendelton C. Wallace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are
used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to
actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely
coincidental

 

 

 

 

Copyright
© 2014 Pendelton C. Wallace

 

 

 

 

All rights reserved. No part of
this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written
permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical
articles and reviews. For permission, contact Victory Press at
www.pennwallace.com
.

 

www.pennwallace.com

 

Cover Picture: Samuel Gaffney

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

Most writers start
out by thanking their family for the support and understanding to write a book.
I’m no exception. During the period when I was writing
The Inside Passage
,
my wife, Connie, was fighting valiantly against ovarian cancer.

I got up at 4:30 every
morning and wrote for two hours before I went to work. When I got home, despite
her illness, Connie always had wonderful meal ready. She never once questioned
the time that I spent writing and always encouraged my work.

A lot of water has
passed under the bridge since then. Connie, sadly, is no longer with us. But I
owe her much. As do I my daughters Katie and Libby.

I must thank my
writers group, The Legion of the Plume, for helping me advance my art. They sat
through endless iterations of this story. They made suggestions, they found
errors. What I liked best is that they got to know my characters better than I
did. “Harry would never do that,” they would say. Or “Meagan needs to change
during the course of the book. Where’s her character arc?” I am deeply
indebted.

Susan Aaron Moller
has been my best friend and editor since grad school. She proof-read all of my
papers in school and willingly subjected herself to all of my writing since
then. She has the patience of a saint.

I have to thank
Mama. She has been in my corner from the beginning. She encouraged me when the
night seemed the darkest. I would not be publishing my third book without her.
Muchas gracias.

I need to send a
special shout out to my sister-and brother-in-law, Marti and Sam Gaffney. They
were our sailing buddies as we explored the Inside Passage. At the time, we
didn’t know that this would be material for a book, but they were with us every
step of the way. I even used one of Sam’s photographs for the book cover.

And finally, I
have to thank you, the reader. Without patrons, artists don’t last very long.
The fact that you read and enjoy what I write drives me onward. Like Thomas
Jefferson, I believe that a free society must read to maintain its freedom. You
are all freedom fighters.

 

Pendelton
C. Wallace

12/20/2013

On
board the sailing vessel
Victory

La
Paz, Mexico

Author’s
Note

 

Two important
things happened to me in the summer of 2006.

First of all, I
took my sailboat, the
Audacious,
north to the Broughton Islands on
Canada’s Inside Passage. The Inside Passage is the protected waterway that runs
behind Vancouver Island and a myriad of other islands to allow deep-water ships
to make the trip from Seattle to Alaska without venturing out into the harsh
North Pacific Ocean.

I was enchanted by
the Broughtons. This was the forest primeval. We went for three days at one
stretch without seeing another human being or any signs of civilization. The
little settlements up there (I can’t really call them towns.) are
floating
in the water. The government prohibits construction on the islands, so people
have built communities of houseboats complete with fuel docks, restaurants and
little stores.

I knew I had to
write a book about the Broughtons.

When I returned to
civilization, I noticed an article hidden in the back pages of the
Seattle
Times
. Seventeen young Canadian men connected with al-Qaeda had been
arrested for plotting to blow up the Parliament building. Then they planned to
capture the Prime Minister, take over a television station and behead him on
live TV.

The RCMP (The
Royal Canadian Mounted Police) did a masterful job of infiltrating the group
and setting up a sting. The attack was stopped, but what if the Mounties hadn’t
acted in time?

I continued to
follow it in the Canadian Press. What would make a group of Canadian citizens
turn against their country? These young men were all born in Canada to parents
of Arabian and Persian heritage. They all had college degrees, some of them
graduate degrees. What sort of religious beliefs or discrimination could have
been bad enough for them to take up arms against their home country?

The story
intrigued me. I wanted to explore the minds of the terrorists. To figure out
what made them turn against their home land.

After 911 I
brooded on what would be al-Qaeda’s next target. It occurred to me that the
cruise ship industry was particularly vulnerable. There are thousands of
innocent people aboard and virtually no security from outside attacks.

These events came
together in the pages of
The Inside Passage
. Taking poetic license, I
moved the terrorists from Ottawa to the west coast. Of course, I had to add
sympathetic heroes and stretch the truth enough to fit my story line.

The first reaction
I got from most of my early readers was “This is pretty farfetched. This really
couldn’t happen.”

Well it did, all
of the terrorist acts depicted in this book actually happened. They were culled
from hundreds of stories in newspapers and magazines. Terrorists really did
attack Fort Dix, New Jersey. They really tried to blow up the jet fuel lines to
JFK airport that run under thousands of homes.

Enjoy my fiction,
but remember: this stuff is real and it happens every day. I fear the Patriot
Act, but am grateful to the men and women who protect us.

 

 

 

Pendelton
C. Wallace

12/20/2013

On
board the sailing vessel
Victory

La Paz, Mexico

Chapter
1

 

The Johnstone Straits, Canada,

August 14, 2006

They edged into
the mouth of the funnel. Once committed, there was no turning around.

“I hate this part
of the trip.” The stocky helmsman sat in the starboard captain’s chair, his
right hand on the joystick that controlled the ship’s direction. Buttons, knobs
and switches covered the armrest of the chair, everything within easy reach.

 Outside the
windows, mist swirled across the water. “I don’t know why the company insists
we take the Inside Passage. It’d be much safer, standing out to sea.”

Standing next to
him Tom Paget, in his officer’s uniform, scanned the water with a pair of
binoculars. “The passengers are paying for scenery. If we stood offshore, all
they’d see is water.”

This trip wasn’t
new for Tom. The ship was.
The Star of the Northwest
was the largest
cruise ship in the world. Taking her through the narrow Johnstone Straits was like
forcing a basketball through a garden hose.

To port, the snow-capped
peaks of Vancouver Island floated above the morning mist. To starboard, heavily
wooded West Cracroft Island dropped rapidly to the water. In front of them
Hanson Island blocked their way, a narrow channel a couple of hundred yards
wide the only safe, deep water.

“Cut our speed to
one half.” Paget lowered his binoculars and gazed at the almost mystic view
below him. From the bridge deck of
The Star
he was high above the water.
While the morning fog rapidly dissipated, it still obscured his view of the
pass.

“Hey, Mr. Paget.”
The radar man looked up from his screen. “I got something.”

“What is it?”

“Looks like a
small boat. Port bow. Crossing our course.”

Paget scanned the
swirling mist to port. Maybe he did see something. “Cut speed to one fourth.
They probably don’t see us yet.”
How could they not see a floating city?

“I got ‘em.” The
helmsman pointed. “Damn, they’re cutting it close.”

What’s wrong
with those idiots?
The faded blue sailboat was running under power. They
were cutting across
The Star’s
bow. It was going to be close.

Paget reached up
and pulled five long blasts on the ship’s whistle. “They’re not responding.”

“Shit, Mr. P. They
don’t see us.” The helmsman’s fingers tightened on the joy stick.

“I got another
one.” The radar man looked up again. “Bigger, must be a fishing boat or
somethin’. Comin’ out from behind Hanson Island.”

Paget looked to
starboard. A large green fishing boat emerged from the fog. Without a moment’s
hesitation, the sailboat spun on its keel and headed towards the fishing boat.

“At least the
stupid bastard’s getting out of our way,” Paget said.

The sailboat
continued on a collision course with the fishing boat. They were out of the
cruise ship’s way, but still of mild interest to the officer. Paget watched the
arrow of water between the two boats narrow.

“Holy Christ.”

Someone on the
fishing boat opened fire on the sailboat.

Paget pasted the
binoculars to his eyes. On the foredeck of the fishing boat, two dark, swarthy
men kneeled behind the bulwark and fired with automatic rifles.

The first shots
flew wide of their target. Bits and pieces of fiberglass and wood flew from the
sailboat on the second burst. The third burst hit its mark. The forward part of
the sailboat’s cabin dissolved in the hail of gun fire.

Paget stood frozen
to the deck.
What in the hell is going on?

A gray-headed old
man popped up from behind what remained of the sailboat’s cabin and returned
fire. Chunks of the fishing boat’s bulwarks flew in the air. The two men with
rifles ducked down.

“Mr. Paget,
what’re we gonna do?” The helmsman followed the scene below them with as much
horror as his officer.

“Ah. . . get on
the horn. We better call the Coast Guard.”

Things were
happening too fast. A third man appeared on the deck of the fishing boat. He
opened fire. The firing from the sailboat stopped. The two boats closed
rapidly. The sailboat was going to ram the fishing boat.

“Jesus God. You
got the Coast Guard yet?”

“I got ‘em now.
Just reportin’ the shootin’.”

Paget grabbed the
microphone from the helmsman’s hand. “Mayday, mayday mayday.” He shouted at the
top of his lungs.

The scene below
him had turned from one of mild interest to one of immediate threat. On the
stern of the fishing boat, a cloud of white smoke exploded from a long steel
box. Paget saw the white missile emerge from the launcher. He traced the trail
of smoke in its wake as it arched though the sky towards them.

“This is the
Star
of the Northwest.
We’re being attacked.

 

****

 

Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington

June 2006

 “Graduating
Magna
Cum Laude
, Christopher Hardwick.” The dean’s voice boomed over the
loudspeakers.

Chris Hardwick,
Ted Higuera’s best friend and roommate climbed the steps to the stage.
Man,
that guy has it all,
Ted thought
.
Not only was Chris tall, rich and
good looking, he was graduating at the top of the class. Everything came so
easy for him. Ted had to fight and claw for everything he got.

The rain of the
past week melted away to bright sunshine for graduation day. Husky Stadium had
perhaps the best view of any college stadium in the country. Sunlight danced on
the waters of Portage Bay and Lake Washington just beyond the stadium, Mount
Rainier towered over the snow-topped Cascade Mountains.

The docks to the
east of Husky Stadium were crowded with the yachts of the rich families coming
to watch their pride and joys graduate. Electricity stronger than anything Ted
had felt at his four years of home football games tingled in the air.

“Eduardo Higuera.”
The voice boomed again.

Ted looked out
over the sea of caps and gowns seated in folding chairs on the stadium floor,
the crowd of families and friends in the grandstand beyond. Mama was somewhere
up there. He hadn’t found her yet, but he knew she was beaming with pride.

He was the first
one in his ‘hood to make it out. He scored a football scholarship at the University of Washington when some higher ranked
tonto
had decided to go to Illinois at the last minute. Graduation from college was not just a source of pride for his
family. His whole neighborhood, all of his relatives, in LA and in Mexico, had their hopes pinned on him.

 “Hey man, move
it.” The guy in line behind Ted gave him a little nudge.

“Don’t push man, I’m
on my way.” Ted came out of his reverie and climbed the steps. That old
I’ve-got-the world-by-the-balls grin spread over Ted’s face. This was the
moment he’d been waiting for all of his life.

 

****

 

Windsor, Ontario, Canada

The line was long
and the wait dreary. A light mist fell from the gray sky, the windshield wipers
made a quick swipe every thirty seconds or so. Ahmad Fazul felt his heartbeat
quicken as they approached the front of the line.

“What’s the
purpose of your visit?” the CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) agent asked. The
way he looked at the four Muslims in the car made Ahmad’s breath come a little
faster, his palms sweaty on the steering wheel.

“We’re on
holiday.” Ahmad tried to appear calm.
This guy’s going to make trouble for
us.
“We’re going to Detroit.”

“Where are you
from?”

“Toronto.”

“Citizenship?”

“Canada. All of us.”

The agent stared
into Ahmad’s eyes. Ahmad looked away.

Why am I nervous?
We haven’t done anything wrong.

“May I see your
passports please?” the CBP agent asked.

The agent reminded
Ahmad of the Pillsbury Doughboy. Ahmad handed him passports for himself and his
three friends.

The CBP agent took
the passports, glanced at them and turned to the computer terminal in his
stall. He scanned the bar codes, then stooped to Ahmad’s window again. Ahmad’s
fingers drummed on the steering wheel.

“This will just
take a minute, sir. If you’ll just be patient.” The agent stepped out of his
booth and walked across to the main building, still studying the passports.

Now what? What
can the problem possibly be?

“What’s taking so
long?” Mohammed asked from the back seat.

“Racial
profiling.” Ahmad was used to “special” treatment. “Four Muslims in a black
sedan. You know they’re going to cause us trouble.”

The agent walked
back, his hand resting on his waist, close to the holstered pistol on his belt.
“Pull into space six up ahead, please. We need to ask you a few questions.”

“Why?” Ahmad
fought to control his anger. “What have we done?”

“Just pull
forward, sir.”

Ahmad noticed as
the guard’s thumb flipped the restraining strap off of his pistol. “It is
because we’re Muslim? I don’t see you pulling any white people over?”

“Sir, this will
only take a minute.” The guard’s hand now rested on the handle of the ugly
black automatic.

Ahmad endured
forty-five minutes of questioning in an isolated room while customs agents and
dogs searched his Chevy Impala. Finally, Ahmad and his friends were led back to
his car.  

“I’m sorry,
gentlemen,” the agent told them. “Mr. Said is on our ‘No Entry’ list.”

Ahmad turned and
stared at Mohammed.
What had he gotten into?

“That’s
outrageous,” Ahmad said. “We’ve done nothing.”

“We’re not going
to be able to allow you to enter the U.S.” The CBP agent held the door open.

 

****

 

Edmonds, Washington

The battered
silver Mitsubishi Mirage pulled into the circular driveway. Ted hopped out and
ran around to the passenger side to open his mother’s door.

“I don’t know,
Mama,” he looked up at the big house with yew trees lining the drive. “This
might not be a good idea.”


No
te preocupes, Mijo
,” she replied.
“Chrees, he wants you here and he
ees your best friend, you’ve lived with him for four years.”

 “I wasn’t sure
about Chris at first.” Ted closed the car door. “He seemed out of my league.”


Si
,” Mama
said. “But you did like we always taught you and didn’t judge him jeest because
he was
rico
. You’ve come a long way together.”

Before their
sophomore year Chris’ dad bought a house in the U District for Chris to live in
while attending school. When Chris asked Ted to move in with him, he jumped at
the offer.

“I’ve hung out
with Chris for four years,” Ted looked up at the imposing structure. “But I’ve
only been to his dad’s house a couple of times.”

“When I meet
Meester Hardwick at the graduation ceremony today he seemed very gracious.”
Mama, a small, dark, middle-aged woman, wore her years well.

It made Ted proud
to be seen with her. While Papa remained in LA to take care of the rest of the
family she took her first airplane trip to Seattle to see Ted’s graduation. 

Ted’s heart nearly
stopped when a willowy thirty-something woman with long black hair met them at
the door.

“Ted, you finally
made it. Please come in. I’ll find Chris for you.” Her voice was like velvet,
her emerald green eyes melted Ted’s brain.

Seeing Candace
took his breath away. She was like something out of a fashion magazine, a whole
different species from Mama and him.

“Candace,” Ted
unraveled his tongue and motioned the dark haired woman back. “I’d like you to
meet my mother, Roberta Higuera. Mama, this is Candace Anderson, Mr. Hardwick’s
fiancée.”

Old Harry made
out like a bandito
, Ted thought. Candace was closer to Ted’s age than to
Chris’ dad’s age.

“I’m pleased to
meet you, Meess Anderson.”
Mama extended her hand.


El
gusto es mio
.”
Candace smiled back. “And Candace, please.”

“I was so pleesed
to hear about your engagement,” Mama said in her singsong accent. “Eet’s good
to see that Mr. Hardwick ees getting on with his life.”

“Ted, Mrs.
Higuera,” Chris interrupted as he came into the foyer, a petite blond on his
arm. “Come in. Let me show you around.”

“Please,
Chreestopher, call me Mama.”

“All right. Mama,
I’d like you to meet Meagan O’Donnell. Meg, this is Mama.”

“I’m please to
meet you Mrs. . . Mama.”

“I’ve heard so
much about you, Meagan.”

Yeah
, Ted
thought,
but it sure ain’t been good.
He thought back to how he and
Chris first met Meagan at the Aquarius Tavern after a ball game. She
practically seduced Chris, right there on the dance floor. Chris must have had
a big dollar sign painted on his forehead.

“Mrs. Hi. . .
Mama, let me show you to your room.” Candace bent over to pick up Mama’s bag.
“I’m so glad you can stay with us.”

Ted came back to
reality.
Man, that’s one fine ass.

BOOK: The Inside Passage (Ted Higuera Series Book 1)
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