by Capt. W. E. Johns



7.     ALARMS AND COMPLICATIONS  (Pages 92 – 106)


Worrals and Frecks have just finished their breakfast when there is a shout of alarm.  An R.A.F. flying-boat passes overhead.  Later in the day, a government patrol vessel approaches and the native crew are terrified of their boat being searched.  Worrals takes charge and tells the young white officer in charge that it is her boat and they are on the way to the other side of the Red Sea looking for pearls.  The officer asks both Worrals and Frecks to come aboard and sign his log to that effect.  On board, in a tiny cabin is – Melinos!  He is angry and says has been trying to find the girls.  “Your game’s up.  Markoff knows who you are.  The word has gone out to get you”.  “So what?” says Worrals.  Melinos clutched at his hair in exasperation.  “Don’t you realize that at this moment a thousand wogs are on the lookout for you, with their hands on the hilts of their knives?”  “Really?” sneered Worrals.  “Do you get hysterical every time something slips in your department?”  Melinos wants Worrals and Frecks to return.  He thinks that word has got out to Markoff that a hundred seers of charas has left government hands and, having been supplied with just that amount of just the same quality, he has put two and two together.  Worrals is having none of it and won’t call off the mission.  “We’re going on,” said Worrals.  “I’ve told you before, what we start we finish”.  Worrals and Frecks return to the native boat, where they are more popular, the crew having been saved from the consequences of any search.  Their journey resumes and in due course another native boat is sighted behind them.  It is trying to catch them.  Maki tell Worrals he knows the mark on the sail and that the boat belongs to Markoff.  He has sent it, no doubt, to warn their crew who they really are.  Worrals convinces her crew that the crew of the pursuing boat are pirates and taking a rifle she opens fire on them.  The captain of Worrals’ native boat takes their boat through a narrow channel guarded by a reef and they manage to get the pursuing boat to run aground.  In due course, Worrals’ boat also runs aground and they have to throw the hides overboard that had been used to camouflage the cartridge boxes.  This causes sharks to approach and makes the water boil with their frenzied activity.  Eventually they are able to get the boat off and they arrive at the shore which is their destination.  Their boat has been damaged by the incident.  The girls go ashore with Maki, who says the boat should be repaired by the time they are ready to go back.