Cocaine smuggled into British Columbia through Port Alberni on Vancouver Island is discovered by Inspector Lorne Wood setting off an extensive investigation into the source and method of transportation.
The RCMP and CSIS collaborate with the Secret Service, Santa Barbara Police and the LAPD to dismantle the Southern California drug lord orchestrating the expansion of her business.
Retired Secret Service Agents, Rebecca Simpson, Jessica Fukishura, Elisabeth Peltowski, Jason Spencer and Jackson Pennington are seconded by the LAPD to join the investigation and expose the Canadian connection.
Martial arts, exquisite cuisine and wine are the hallmarks of the agents’ success as they confront homophobes and drug couriers while establishing a permanent residence for homeless teenage girls.
Four RCMP officers portray themselves as do four of writer Jonathan McCormick’s former students.
The Chica de Oro slipped back into Cojo Bay off the tip of Point Concepción just north of Santa Barbara, after unloading her million-dollar cargo and headed south.
Her retreat was to have been executed covertly; the crew was ignorant their departure was observed from the cliffs. The watchers recorded the cylindrical vessel slide through the surf and disappear into the choppy waters; her exodus shrouded by the late-night coastal fog. She left much as she arrived, minus her cargo but with the addition of two, six-inch long cylinders magnetically attached to her hull, their presence unknown to the operators.
The cargo submarine was the proud development of Adrian Achterberg, the son of a WWII German boatwright who gained fame within the Nazi regime for his U Boat designs. Adrian had learned the trade quickly under his father’s tutelage, acquiring his own notoriety within the boat industry for his steel fabrication brilliancy.
Never considering himself a Colombian, in spite of his Medellin birthplace, Achterberg harbored considerable resentment against western powers for what he felt was an unfair treatment of his father who fled Nazi Germany on the tail of the Nuremberg Trials, fearing reprisal for his role in the development of the deadly submarines which killed hundreds of allied sailors, destroyed millions in cargo and a wealth in lost vessels.
“The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril.”
When the cartel approached Achterberg at his shipyard with the request to design and build a twenty-meter submarine capable of carrying a thirty-metric-ton payload and four crew members, capable of thirty-knots submerged and an air supply for ten days, he asked few questions, taking delight in the opportunity to retaliate against the Canadians and Americans whom he blamed for his father’s decades of anguish, while reaping several million dollars for his efforts.
His creation was pure marine genius and so eclectic in appearance, few would have made a connection between the sub and its use in nefarious activities. It didn’t have a coning tower of a traditional submarine, nor did it have any of the outer fittings usually associated with subs. The surface was smooth, almost glass-like to the eye and touch. The exterior was coated with photonic crystal, an acoustically tuned material off which sonar waves bounce, or more accurately, bend off the hull, to loop back around to the vessel’s surface again and again, never returning to the source of the sonic pulse, thereby creating the impression the ping did not meet a solid object, as in contacting a submarine. The cargo space was generously spread throughout to provide adequate balance, particularly during submersing and surfacing.
Power was created with lithium batteries, designed by a British Columbia firm, which were less than half the size of conventional power supplies and rechargeable from a diesel engine, so quiet that it was undetectable by Coast Guard hydrophones. The hybrid system was designed jointly by Ontario and Nova Scotia firms created for commercial, law-abiding vessels.
Achterberg borrowed NASA and International Space Station technology to design a system to recycle crew urine, sweat and breath to create a water source and the electrolysis of water to generate oxygen, the power for the process provided by the lithium batteries. In the case of an air supply failure the sub would rise just below the surface and extend a tubular air intake, just long enough to absorb a twelve-hour air supply.
Back-up emergency air supply with autonomous breathing devices was available for each crew member, along with a vessel escape hatch from which they could surface while scuttling the vessel and cargo in case of a total system failure. The sub lacked radar to detect patrolling ships and planes, so their reconnaissance was strictly visual, necessitating as short a surface time as possible.
The cartel lost millions from a recent joint operation involving the Canadian HMCS Saskatoon and the US Coast Guard Hamilton off the coast of Central America. The drug financiers were committed to eliminating the catastrophic losses.
The twenty-meter/sixty-five-foot submarine was protected from interdiction from Canadian and American Navy by the Germanischer Lloyd. The two-person, mini submarine was equipped with fixed pontoon tanks on each side and a raised glass bubble conning tower. The interior remained unlighted for the entire length of the voyage save for the few control switches and buttons which created an eerie perspective of the stealth, low-profile vessel.
The scout sub carried four mini torpedoes to be deployed if, by unforeseen circumstances, a Canadian or American naval vessel became aware of the Golden Girl, the English translation of her name, the Chica de Oro.
The mini sub had state-of-the-art maneuverability and with its speed could advance, retreat or hide in an underwater cavern on an encroaching enforcement ship, then sneak up behind it once it passed the cavern.
“I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea.”