21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine:First Chapter
'A bird that you set free may be caught again. But a word that escapes your lips will not return.’
Jewish proverb.

The Purim Code
James Skinner

‘In March 1992, the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina suffered an attack by an Islamic terrorist group that claimed the lives of 29 people and wounded 242. A group called Islamic Jihad, supposedly linked to Hezbollah claimed responsibility. Although the investigations that followed were carried out by the local Argentine police, a member of the intelligence branch of the military, Captain Francisco Nuñez was assigned to the case at the request of the Jewish diplomatic mission. Of Jewish origin, with past secret service experience during the build up of the Falkland’s War and assisted by the 2nd secretary of the Embassy, Alona Berg, they begin to uncover the more dangerous and relatively unknown terrorist movement of Al Qaeda. Their personal liaison will conflict with the secrecy required from both nation intelligence services as they unravel the framework of the terrorist organization that threatens world human integrity.

Note: This future novel is a sequel to my original book, ‘The Goa File’ (on sale on that dealt with the ‘Dirty War’ in Argentina during he 1970’s that ended with the Falkland Islands conflict in 1982. In my first novel, Captain Nuñez was a young officer at the time working with Commander Di Martino as they uncovered the invasion plot by the Argentine government. After serving in the Navy during the war he returned to the Intelligence Unit directed by his old boss. His new liaison role with the Israeli Embassy will be piecing together information on Al Qaeda aided by Noel Schneider, an old contact in the CIA and Jerry Strickland, who is now the CEO of Metropolitan Oil Company in Bahrain. Both owe Nuñez a past favour! Once again, world leaders as well as events of the time period will enhance this thriller as it reaches its final climax.’

Chapter 1
Return - South Atlantic. 2nd of May, 1982.

Lieutenant Francisco Nuñez was still relaxing in the officer’s mess re-reading his week old mail when young Rating Pedro Jimenez appeared at the door, alongside the main starboard side corridor that was one deck below the water line. He knocked on the side wall and facing Nuñez, said, ‘sorry sir, but the Captain wants you on the bridge right away. He said it was urgent.’ Nuñez looked at his watch. It was 3 PM. He wasn’t due to relieve Lieutenant Fernando until later; in an hour’s time. He got up from the worn and stained sofa, replaced the letter in its envelope, tucked it, together with two others into his shirt’s side pocket and walked towards the rating. He saluted and without a word made his way to the bridge. He was the 3rd officer on the Argentine Navy’s battleship ‘General Belgrano’.
‘You were in intelligence, Lieutenant, weren’t you? What do you make of this?’ said Captain Hector Bonzo as he handed him a telex. It was un-coded and marked ‘Urgent’. Nuñez was hastily trying to adjust his tie as he briefly read the single liner that had just been received from HQ in Comodoro Rivadavia. He looked at his watch. The message was sent two hours ago. It read,

War had already broken out between Britain and Argentina after the Argentine forces that invaded the Falkland Islands on the 2nd of April. They had refused to abandon Port Stanley at the insistence of the international bodies that were now very much involved in the conflict. A great deal of political as well as diplomatic negotiations was carried out between Buenos Aires, Washington and London but to no avail. In the end, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher’s government ordered the full might of the British Navy to proceed at full speed to retake the islands, cost what it may. ‘I don’t give a damn what deals Reagan has with the Military Junta down there, no nation on earth will ever stop us from defending our people and our integrity,’ she had said to a silent Parliament the day she decided to fight for Britain’s honour. In the meantime, General Leopoldo Galtieri, the ruling president of Argentina was revelling in his recent and unprecedented conquest after booting out the small British garrison at Port Stanley and sending the British Governor Rex Hunt back to Montevideo. Once again the Argentine flag was raised on the British colony in the South Atlantic.

Before Nuñez had answered, Captain Bonzo continued, ‘you’re half American aren’t you?’ Nuñez nodded affirmatively. ‘Must hurt to see how the yanks are in on the act and supporting that bitch back in London!’ The captain resumed his original question, ‘well?’ Nuñez was cut short with an answer as a thundering explosion suddenly caused the ship to shudder throwing most of the crew on the bridge including Nuñez and the Captain on to the deck. The bow had been blown away. The lights began to flicker and no sooner had Nuñez gained his footing that a second explosion hit the ship three quarters of the way along blowing a hole right up through to the upper decks. As the smoke and screams began to expand, Captain Bonzo issued the fatale warning to all on board, ‘Abandon Ship!’
‘You can send that message off to the Admiralty now, Richard. Let’s get out of here,’ said Commander Chris Wreford-Brown on RN nuclear submarine HMS ‘Conqueror’. Back in London the following text was received read, ’16:17.05.82. Lat.55. Long.62. Three torpedoes, two impacts. Enemy vessel sunk. Proceeding full speed north by north east. Stop.’ The carnage had just begun.

Military Hospital. La Plata. 22nd of May, 1982.
‘It was touch and go with you,’ said Doctor Gomez as he checked in on Lieutenant Nuñez who had been flown back to the main military hospital in La Plata for further treatment. His skull had been severely fractured and both his legs had been broken. He had been in the intensive care unit for 20 days down in the naval hospital in Comodoro Rivadavia. Still under heavy sedation, he managed to burble, ‘where am I?’ Doctor Gomez went over to the bedside to take Nuñez’s pulse whilst he briefed him on his condition. ‘You’ll be here for a while yet, young man. The left leg is much better but the right one was nearly torn off. As for your head injury, only time will tell.’ As he was about to leave he noticed the look on a silent lieutenant’s face. ‘When the time comes, I’ll let your superiors go over the ordeal you’ve just been through; but not for now. You’re condition is still very critical.’

Retired Naval Home. Buenos Aires. 15th July 1982.
Lieutenant Nuñez had been transferred to the home and was still convalescing from his injuries. Although his left leg as well as his slight brain damage had been healed, he was waiting for a third operation on his right leg. He was still bedridden. The doctors were unsure whether Nuñez would ever be able to walk again. They kept him briefed on his condition yet due to the seriousness of his mental condition had refused any interrogation or visits by his commanding or other officers until he was stable enough. For weeks he kept mulling over the confused events during those fateful minutes on the bridge after the attack as the Belgrano began to sink. All he could remember was the after shock of the blasts, the Captain and one of the other crew members carrying him out of the bridge and then suddenly falling down a stairwell. The severe knock on his head as he landed a deck below knocked him unconscious. He had come out of his coma four days later still suffering from an excruciating pain in his head and numbness in his right leg. The aftermath at the time was still a blank.
A knock on the door brought him back to reality.
Admiral Jose Sorensen and two other officers entered the room. ‘Good morning Nuñez. Glad to know you are making excellent progress.’ After a series of verbal niceties, the Admiral continued, ‘this is Captain Serafín Bullock and Captain Francisco Ibañez. Both are from Naval Intelligence and both are descendents of American citizens.’ He opened his briefcase and handed Nuñez and envelope. ‘I’m not going to go over what has happened over the past few months as the end of the war has been painful for all us Argentines. No, I have something more important at hand.’ Nuñez was now confused. He was still uninformed about the events in the South Atlantic. He had been kept from any detailed information on purpose due to his delicate state of health although he was aware that the ordeal had ended sometime in April and that Britain once again had taken over the Falklands. The Admiral turned and addressed Captain Bullock, ‘suggest you put him in the picture, captain. He can check the details later,’ pointing at the envelope.
‘You are half American lieutenant, is that correct?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ answered Nuñez. The Captain paused and then asked, ‘what is your mother’s maiden name, lieutenant?’ ‘Howitz, sir.’ ‘I assume that you are therefore Jewish.’ A cold sweat began to flow through Nuñez’s body. ‘What are these men driving at?’ he thought. Seeing the look on his face, Admiral Sorensen interrupted the captain’s address and smiling at Nuñez said, ‘easy son, we need to confirm your unwritten credentials before you take a look at the contents. How do you feel about the state of Israel?’ Again Nuñez was confounded. Composed he chose his words carefully, ‘I believe they are a legitimately constituted state and a friend of Argentina, sir.’ Silence reigned for an interminable second. ‘OK, I’ll come straight to the point; did you know that Israel has declared war on Lebanon?’ Nuñez had heard something about it but was too preoccupied with his own ordeal to have taken any note. Without hesitation he answered, ‘yes sir.’ Again there was a pause. ‘So, what is your reaction?’ This time it was an impatient Captain Ibañez who butted in, ‘well?’ Nuñez finally reacted and in a strong tone said, ‘sorry sirs, but what the hell is all this about?’
The officers burst out laughing and then began to walk out of the room. Before they left, Admiral Sorensen turned and pointing at the envelope said, ‘you’ll find your orders in there. The doctors tell me that your brain is one hundred percent and that you should at least be able to move around in a wheelchair in about a month’s time. We’ll then contact you again. Welcome back to Intelligence, lieutenant.’
© James G. Skinner. October 2008.

The Goa File
James Skinner
Extract from his novel about the Falkland's War
The Goa File Part Two 1.4.2006
The CIA connection
Published in full by Cyberwit December 2006

More First Chapters


© Hackwriters 1999-2008 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibility - no liability accepted by or affiliates.