Footprints in the Sea Volume 3
The Enchanted Island
Copyright©Frances Penwiddy 2015
The characters in this novel are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental
Footprints in the Sea is not suitable as reading matter for minors.
Chapter 46 Please note the chapter numbers begin where Vol 2 ended.
The Enchanted Island
Having completed her operation in England, Charlotte and Will return to their island in the South Pacific. There is a rush to familiarise themselves with the progress made in their absence, make new friends and renew old acquaintances.
Whilst Charlotte is doing this, she makes her first of a chain of discoveries, a hoard of laundered currency and packages of uncut heroin!
Then a trip to the scientific laboratories on the south side of Charlotte Island leads to the second discovery; over twelve thousand miles away from where they should be, evidence of an early settlement is discovered with English Celtic Iron Age roundhouses, altar stones and jewellery dating back to a time before the first Roman invasion of Britain!
Shortly after this and whilst on her honeymoon with Will, Charlotte finds a letter written by the settlers who built their original house and two or three days later a hidden casket with more connections to the past!
But there are other discoveries to come. Is there a touch of magic involved? Charlotte becomes suspicious that this might be connected to her meeting in Berkshire with Penelopeia, ancient wife of Odysseus, the Greek hero of Troy and are the water sprite Undine and Goddess Artemis figments of her imagination, the early signs of a mental breakdown or visitors from another dimension?
Perhaps it is a reaction to the events of the past eight months, shipwrecked, marooned, her sexuality confused? Then a battle for her life on the high seas and the biggest shock of all; discovering that all her life she had been intersexed, a male and female sharing the same brain and body and all of this followed by the recent string of astonishing discoveries. Is that too much to ask of a person with XXY chromosomes?
Will and I sat at a highly polished, rectangular table on either side of Sir Wilmot Martindale the representative from the Governor General’s office. Running down from our table were two others at which sat a rear admiral from the New Zealand Defence Ministry, a senior civil servant from Home Affairs, another from the Environmental Office and at the second of the tables were a government constitutional lawyer, a chief scientific advisor from the New Zealand Antarctic Survey team and the police chief superintendent in charge of the drug investigation with a representative from the Crown Prosecution Service at his side.
“This meeting has been called to discuss two matters of which one is most urgent and the second, though very important will not suffer from being delayed if it becomes necessary,” began Sir Wilmot, “Charlotte Broughton and William Devonshire are known to you and you have already been formally introduced at the reception we held earlier so as they are currently the recognised chief executives and have sovereign rights over Charlotte Island I would ask them if we may proceed with the more urgent business and that is the incident involving the MS Pacific Wanderer and the motor cruiser operated by the South American drug smuggling operation.”
He looked at me and I nodded, “This is being handled by Mr. Devonshire so I will defer to him.”
“Right.” Will began, “Miss Broughton and I have both made our statements to Chief Superintendent Stone’s officers and so, I believe, have Doctor and Mrs Williams. I cannot speak for the other witnesses on board Pacific Wanderer at the time of the action so I think it best at this stage if I ask him to present us with an update.”
I left the meeting after we had gone into the details of the court case and left Will to negotiate on our behalf when they got down to the business of the island’s status and its relationship with New Zealand. I knew the rough details but as for the nitty gritty of protocols and relationships with other nations, I was lost. I understood that New Zealand would speak on our behalf on the international stage and had undertook the responsibilities of defence and stuff like that and we had agreed that The Queen as Head of State of New Zealand would also be the Head of State for the island and that the Governor General of New Zealand in her capacity of the Queen’s Representative would need to appoint somebody to represent her. That would be a person who would need to live on the island, but I had ideas about that so wasn’t unduly worried.
I was woken from my thoughts as I walked through the reception area of the Governor General’s office. “Commander Broughton, I’m your escort when you are alone.” A tall, rather hard looking character offered me an identity wallet with his picture and a badge from the Governor General’s office but as tough looking as he was he was a good looking man.
“I’m in civvies so I’m Miss Broughton at the moment, well until I get married, then I’ll become Mrs. Devonshire and when they ratify the status of the island, I don’t know who I’ll be. Lady Devonshire, Empress Charlotte or just the Hon, Charlotte Devonshire, Lady Protector of the Sovereign State of Charlotte Island.”
He smiled and walked alongside me towards the doors, already being held open by a security man, “We have a car waiting for you and I will be nearby all the time until this court case is over.”
“What about Will, I mean Mr. Devonshire?”
“He’s ex special forces and only warrants an unmarked police car.”
I nodded, “He’s wearing lace-up shoes and can defend himself so he’ll be okay. What about the other witnesses?”
“All being taken care of.” I smiled a thank you at the security man to acknowledge his salute and allowed my guardian to steer me towards a Mercedes. He glanced around quickly, opened the door and I stepped in and sat on the offside of the rear seat and he followed but sat on the nearside of the seats facing me. “You’re returning to your hotel?”
The car pulled away and for a few seconds my guardian looked out of the rear window and then spoke into a button microphone on his lapel. “On our way to the hotel and all clear,” and returned his attention to me. “Sorry about the performance but it is necessary.”
“That’s okay, I had something similar in England. Is it really needed?”
“New Zealand attracts a large number of visitors and though our border checks are thorough, there’s always a small chance that somebody might slip through the net and we know they have one or two people working for them here even though they are only minor players. If we thought there was a real chance of an attempt on you, there would have been a police car in front and another behind.”
“The sooner this court case is over, the better.”
“You’ll still have a chauffeured limousine though because then you’ll be a visiting state dignitary.”
“That’s okay, it will save me the trouble of finding a cab at busy times.”
We arrived at my hotel and I allowed him out first so he could catch me when I swooned if a tough character approached us and he escorted me through to the hotel residents’ saloon. “I won’t be far away and if you do decide to leave the hotel, let the concierge know and we’ll bring the car round to the main entrance. There’s one of our blokes looking after Dr and Mrs Williams so I’m not needed in here,” and with a nod he walked off speaking quietly into his button microphone.
“Does Will know you’re seeing a tall dark handsome stranger?” asked Gwyneth as soon as I joined them.
“He wouldn’t care, he’s happier chatting about democracy, protocols and constitutions with his New Zealand mates, probably chatting about the Rugby World Cup as well.”
“And you got bored and ducked out of the meeting?” asked David with a smile.
“It wasn’t my idea. It was Wilmot, the man standing in for the Governor-General. I think it had something to do with the yawn I couldn’t control when the policeman finished talking.”
“And you protested?” grinned Gwyneth.
“Certainly not, Wilmot was most diplomatic and said, as I had other duties to undertake and if I was agreeable to the acting premier speaking on my behalf and on behalf of the Legislative Council he saw no reason to detain me unnecessarily as I had such a busy schedule.”
“Busy schedule?” asked David.
“Preparing for a state occasion of course. An important state occasion that will, over time, have considerable influence on the manner in which Charlotte Island affairs will be conducted.”
“Wedding dresses, weddings and bridesmaids,” explained Gwyneth.
“Ah yes, of course but you won’t have time for that today.”
“Tomorrow. Today I am caring for the needs of my loyal subjects, where are the other three and their loved ones?”
“Shopping of course,” Gwyneth caught the eye of a waiter, “Could we have another pot of tea please.”
“And cakes, a mixed selection if you would. And perhaps you would ask the tall gentleman sitting at the table close to the door, the man in the dark suit if he would like something.”
“Of course your Ladyship, will he be joining you?”
“I don’t think so, he’ll prefer to sit where he is, but ask him if he would prefer a sandwich instead of cakes.”
Gwyneth was grinning, “Your Ladyship?”
“Of course, I’m a head of state now. The officials keep calling me Commander and most of the others are calling me Miss Broughton or Your Ladyship. Haven’t you seen the courtesy flags outside the hotel?”
“No, I didn’t take much notice.”
“There’s the New Zealand flag, the Stars and Stripes, The Union Jack, the Australian flag and right in the middle is the Charlotte Island Flag, it’s the same as the New Zealand Flag with a dusky dolphin in a curved leap in the middle of the Southern Cross. Will arranged it whilst we were in London and once it was approved by the College of Heralds and the New Zealand Government, they had some made. There’s one on Pacific Wanderer another big one at the island and a few others stored at the island in the cave. The Stars and Stripes is for Faye I expect and the Union Jack for you, Liz and Emma.”
David laughed, “I doubt it’s for us specifically, there are other guests from the countries you mentioned who are staying here and it’s normal practice for larger hotels to fly the flags of the nations represented in their guest list.”
“What about the Charlotte Island Flag, I suppose that’s for all of us as well. There’s Will and I, you and Gwyneth, and Liz, Emma and Faye they are all entitled to Charlotte Island nationality, they have lived on the island for three months which is what you need to do. All the others weren’t residents technically, they were servicemen in the navy.”
“Well whose the man you ordered tea and sandwiches for?”
“You bodyguard, didn’t you notice him?” They both shook their heads. “He’s the only one who looks like a bodyguard, we’ll know when he stands up and walks, he’ll have a limp.”
“Why would he have a limp, he can’t be disabled if he’s a bodyguard?” asked Gwyneth.
“It’s because he probably has a grenade launcher hanging down inside his trouser leg.”
There was the sound of laughter coming from the reception lobby and a worried assistant manager approached our table, “Lady Charlotte, Dr. and Mrs. Williams, some of our other guests have voiced their intention of joining you for tea?”
“Three men and three women, rather disreputable types, noisy, not the sort of people we might wish to share a table with?” I asked.
The assistant manager looked nervously over his shoulder, “I would not go so far as describing them as disreputable but they are certainly noisy and I suspect they are not members of the diplomatic corps.”
“I should hope not indeed. Are they drunk or just in a merry but sober mood.”
The assistant manager looked horrified, “Lady Charlotte I assure you that had we suspected they were drunk they would have been removed from the hotel or as guests, very firmly escorted to their rooms and told to quieten down or settle their bills and leave.
“Quite right but they can join us and if they continue to make a nuisance of themselves, I’ll have them executed under Charlotte Island Sovereign Laws. We will need a larger table though and ask them to leave their bags and packages with one of your people.”
“Are you sure they won’t disrupt you own tea?”
“Certain, none of them would dare upset me. You’d best lay a place for Premier Devonshire he may also join us later if he completes his business with the Governor General.”
He raised a hand and signalled one of the waiters, “Set the Queen Elizabeth table for Lady Charlotte’s party please and ask the Maître-D to see me.” He returned his attention to me, “For ten people, Lady Charlotte? You at the top and Premier Devonshire at the bottom?”
“Ten people I expect but that depends on the Premier arriving and just set it for an informal gathering if you would. We shall stay and have tea and then we must go to our rooms to rest and prepare for dinner this evening.”
“A table for ten again?”
“If you would be so kind.” And with a noticeable bow of the head he left to make the arrangements and oversee the setting of the Queen Elizabeth table. Gwyneth was grinning all over her face and David was chuckling. “You are really shoving your diplomatic clout about now.”
“And I’d better make sure my loyal bloody subjects behave themselves as well and you can stop grinning Gwyneth or I’ll make sure your Maid of Honour frock has a hem six inches above the knee.”
“If you do, me and Kate will get up and do the can-can half way through the ceremony.”
The complete version of Footprints in the Sea Vol 3 will be available on Amazon Kindle on or shortly before July 1, 2017 and can be accessed via the URL in the right hand column of the of the Big Closet Top Shelf home page;
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.