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Winter 1997

Defiance

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Anton's thoughts were on his wife, Louisa; she would have to be there when they docked. He suddenly felt anxious and pulled himself out of the chair. He needed to make the call.

In the chartroom Anton turned on the radio, switched the channel to the marine operator and listened for traffic. The channel was quiet in the middle of the night. He reached for the mike. "San Pedro marine operator, this is the fishing vessel Defiance, the fishing vessel Defiance, whiskey, alfa, echo, three-nine-one-six, come in please."

Anton paused. Then, with startling clarity, a woman's voice: "San Pedro marine operator, back to the vessel calling." Anton repeated the name of his vessel and the call sign, then gave her his brother-in-law's phone number. "Please stand by," said the operator.

Anton put the mike down on the chart table near the untouched sandwich. Then he went forward, quickly looked around at the sea, then into the radar. He could hear the operator making the connection. Pete's phone began to ring. Anton went back to the radio.

"Hello," Pete said.

"This is the San Pedro marine operator. Will you accept a call from the fishing vessel Defiance?"

"Yes, operator."

"Defiance, go ahead please."

"Pete, it's me, Anton."

"Yes, I know. What's wrong? Where are you guys? Over."

"Pete, Tony's been hurt. We're bringing him in. We'll be there in two hours."

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