Updated: Jan 7
The fake flames crackled inside the large fireplace. It was perfectly placed by the entrance door. The room was spacious and furnished sparingly with only a custom-made glass table carried by spiral legs in metal that seemed to spread out like spider legs on the white floor. The walls were entirely made of extremely strong clear acrylic and they revealed the rich underwater world, twenty nautical miles beyond The Pedro Bank. A large white shark swam only meters from the exterior hull of the luxury yacht. Endlessly hunting for prey.
Behind the table a man was having breakfast. He was wearing a white linen shirt with the sleeves rolled up all the way past his elbows. The strong arms were covered by white hair. and he wore a black Apple series 6 smart watch. His shoulders were slim and the neck was unnaturally long. The jaws that bit down hard on the single-fully roasted fish, worked with precision and devoured the unlucky tuna that had been caught among the hundred others of its species earlier that morning. The juice from the fish was running down past the man's lips and he periodically whipped the sharp chin with a black napkin. He was drinking coconut water from a crystal glass. The man's eyes were almost completely black and this feature made the white in his eyes stand out even more. His head was large and the curly red hair was cut very short. The new black jeans fit him fell and he was comfortable. The man was listening to the German composer Karl Heinz Stockhausen's Mantra and the sounds from the musical piece filled the room with strange vibrations. He was only 1.67 cm in height and this made his long neck appear to others even longer than it really was. The blue sandals revealed the grizzly white feet covered with red hair. His gold rimmed aviators fit his face well and the red moustache underneath the small nose was trimmed. The long fingers picked up another part of the fleshy fish. There were three big screens on the far side of the room opposite from where he was sitting. The CBS news flickered away with no sound added. The headline showing read: Is Covid-19 a conspiracy? The other screen showed the global stock marked and the third screen was connected to a wireless keyboard. The Kali Linux system he operated on had been modified by himself and was only one of the powerful tools that he commanded. He was a world class hacker. His iPhone 12 Max in gold was silent for the moment but this rare occurrence would not last long. The other five Android smart phones of his had different functions and were also kept in a symmetrical neat line by the right side of the keyboard. He fed on information and his network was as vast as the Caribbean ocean he currently sailed. In a glass cage by the left side of the room the scorpion had started to move. The Death Stalker was hungry. His cage had all the comforts a deadly scorpion might need. The yellow scorpion was six cm long and was moving out of his little cave now. It was feeding time. The man looked at the scorpion in the cage and rose slowly from the chair. He went over to a silver cabinet behind from where he was sitting and picked up a big tweezer. Then he opened another small cage that was shaped like a box. The small funnel web spider was fast but the tweezer locked it's grip around it's body and lifted it out of the box. The man carried over the scorpion cage and dropped it through the hole on the top that ventilated the cage. The spider landed gracefully and took in the surroundings. The spider did not move but used all it's senses. The man watched in silence as the scorpion became aware of the meal that had arrived. The yellow brown insect moved stealthy to arrive in a position from where it could launch an effective attack. In size, the insects were evenly matched but the scorpion was the deadliest of it's kind in the world. The scorpion had survived three weeks from when it too had been dropped into the glass cage. The spider's powerful fangs were moving now. The glass cage was three meters long and two meters in height, giving ample space for the deadly battle soon to commence. The spider also commanded venom, deadly to primates but not to his adversary. It could however stun the scorpion into submission and crush the adversary with the mighty fangs. The spider also commanded more speed than the scorpion. But the venom in the scorpion's single stinger could kill the spider with just a couple of stings. The hairs on the spiders body were dense. It suddenly sprang into motion and tried to climb the wall of the cage but it could not get a firm grip and gave up the attempt. Meanwhile, the scorpion was moving in silence. The cage was built with small rocks, twigs and other things that mirrored a natural habitat for insects. The spider settled down and it's legs groomed the other legs in a rhythmic motion. It had started to build a small web. Nothing happened for the next five minutes. Then the spider laid out a small web that was almost invisible. It went backwards and slowly hid behind a larger stone. The scorpion was driven by hunger. It knew that something had landed in the cage. Slowly it approached the spot where the funnel spider had landed earlier and then stopped. It seemed unsure of the correct action to take. The man was watching very closely. His dark eyes absorbing every small movement from the two small predators. He could see both insects very clearly from where he was standing. The scorpion then suddenly moved very fast forward and then got stuck in the small web. It used it's small fangs to bite through the small amount of web the spider had laid as a trap. The scorpion broke free from the web in seconds but that was all the spider needed to get the upper hand. While the scorpion was desperately fighting to escape from the small web, the spider had climbed above the scorpion and was now watching from the top of a small wooden trunk. Suddenly it sprang upon the scorpion. The spider had the element of surprise and one of the powerful fangs bit the opponent when it landed but the scorpion instinctively unleashed the stinger that moved so fast that the spider had no time to avoid the strike. The sting hit the spider on upper body and penetrated the shell. The venom was quickly pumped into the spider. The scorpion retreated into a classical stance. It's yellow body followed the spiders every move and the large stinger above was a constant threat to the wounded spider. The scorpion was also hurt. The spider fang had crushed the left front leg of the scorpion. The spider advanced on the scorpion but the venom was working fast and the movability of the spider had slowed significantly. The man smiled. Who wouldn't win? He shifted his stance as he felt the yacht starting to move and then turned his attention back to the deadly fight. The moving vessel the man owned was a Deluxe Yacht called The Seabreeze, 180 meters long with a top speed of 32 knots during optimal conditions. The unusual shallow draft of only 4.4 meters and the powerful beam of 20.2 meters was a feat of superb engineering and was launched in April 2012 by the German Wanzarim Yachts. The yacht was manned by an experienced crew of sixty marines. All of them individually handpicked. Another twenty people were added to maintain the service posts on the luxury vessel. The security team consisted of twenty hardcore fighters. The daily security drills were now commencing on the main deck and the hardboiled crew were being pushed to their limits by the commander of the battalion. They were black brigades. Special ops collected from Afghanistan, USA and China. They worked together as one single organism. Michael Mcgrady was their commander. He stood tall on the deck. He wore no shirt and his skin was black as a panthers hide. He smoked a cheap cigar while he watched his crew perform the endless physical tasks he drilled them through every morning before their breakfast. The sun was slowly rising and the temperature was comfortable. Mcgrady watched the brigades reload their rifles and then fire at the targets set far out at the sea. The wind was tricky in the morning hours and the ever changing conditions kept them on them toes. He personally checked every practice target and kept a written log on each member of the Black Brigade. It was imperative that they were at their best at all times, given that they could be called upon to carry out missions at any given moment. Mcgrady was a black south African and a former sergeant major of the south African army. He specialized in terror tactics. He had proved a mastermind in international operations in the early 80's. He had then retired with his wife in 1995 and enjoyed a quiet life in the Maldives but after she had been diagnosed with the terminal cancer in 2010 that ended her life, only half a year later, Mcgrady had received the offer to lead the Black Brigades by a mysterious company only months after the funeral. The money was simply too good to pass up so he had agreed on the job offer. The work had kept him from loosing his mind to grief and he was forever grateful to his employer for giving him purpose in his darkest hour. Mcgrady looked at his watch. It was time. He shouted encouragement to his crew and then went downstairs in the yacht. He passed the kitchen which by now was busy and his nostrils flared when he inhaled the smell of the shrimps that were being prepared for lunch. He then opened a door that required a keycard to enter and took the narrow steps in efficient strides. He entered a big hallway that led to the personal chambers of the owner of the boat. He then pressed a buzzer and waited. The door opened and he walked into the big room. The man was standing above the insect cage and watching the scorpion fight again. This was a daily routine and Mcgrady had seen it happen countless times before. He also had learned to wait until spoken to. The Scorpion had retreated even further and was simply waiting for the venom to immobilize the funnel spider, but the spider launched one last desperate attack. It went sideways and jumped with effort on top of the scorpion. The spider got stung again but managed to crush the outer shell on the scorpions body and now the scorpion was badly hurt, bleeding yellow juice. The spider continued to tear into the scorpion and the finally bit of the stinger. from the scorpion's rear. The scorpion had finally lost the fight and the Victor, the scorpion, was now eating it's brain. The man turned towards Mcgrady. Yes? Here is the report. My crew is in top shape. The man took the papers from Mcgrady's hand and sat down behind the table. Mcgrady was still a bit puzzled by the fact that a top international hacker demanded his intel written on paper. He asked : Who did you bet on this time? The man looked up at Mcgrady and smiled that ugly smile that Mcgrady knew all too well. I bet on the spider! Why did you? Because the sooner or later they all die from fatigue. The scorpion does not usually battle Australian spiders and it has been wounded several times in it's battles the last days. It was getting weak. The spider on the other hand is not immune to the scorpions venom but only a very large dose would kill it.
The man spoke in a flat cold voice. Yes sir! Mcgrady did not smile. The man shuffled the papers into a neat pile on the shiny glass table and continued: I will call upon you later today. I have a mission for you! After Mcgrady left, the man turned his attention to the computer screen and looked at the face of the old man that filled the big screen on the wall. It was the face of John Martin. Then he noticed the email and opened it. The Brander failed! What's next? The signature was PT.
The man replied: I will take care of this on my own. You have failed again. Payment will not be transferred! Then he sent another email to a different recipient: Proceeding with Nexus capture as planned! Will keep you updated on progress. After the mail was sent the man left the room and was soon up on the main deck. He looked into the blue horizon and grinned as Seabreeze was sailing towards Jamaica.