EXCERPT: SS INDIGO: Twelve's Company
SS INDIGO, Twelve's Company is author Willy Mitchell's sixth novel. A group of strangers receive a mysterious invitation from a highly secretive billionaire to join a luxury steamship in the Caribbean, they all have one thing in common.
Flick through the pages as the story unfolds of the last journey of the SS INDIGO.
Due for Release: Late 2021
The date is 15th July, 2003
"SAT In the corner of the St George’s bar, Fort George Hotel, Sir. James Parsons, Chairman of Watershed Investments, puffed on a cigar and ran his eye through the latest Financial Times keeping a close watch on his stock portfolio and the performance of his various companies and investments.
His now grey hair flicked over to one side revealing his vanity and memory of his youth. His Savile Row linen suit, leather boat shoes, his Polo Ralph Lauren red and blue striped shirt, his brimmed hat on the mahogany table in front of him, sat in the carefully chosen most secluded corner of the bar.
He laid the paper down in front of him and gazed out of the window at the old colonial city and its harbor, and wrinkled his face at the humidity, even at this time of night. His steel blue, grey piercing eyes glanced at his Patek Philippe timepiece, 9.00 pm Belizean time. It had been a long flight from London, via Dallas Fort Worth and into Belize International. Thankfully, he had stopped in overnight to see an old friend, Angus, in Highland Park, that broke up the trip nicely. Parsons had gotten in that afternoon and headed straight to the Fort George Hotel.
He went over in his mind all his executive admins research into the SS Indigo.
Launched in 1921 at a cost back then of $2 million, she was one of the largest and most expensive steam ships of the time coming out of the Great Lakes Engineering Works.
Originally powered by three Babcock & Wilcox boilers producing 1,500 horsepower to its quadruple expansion engines, after her refurbishment these had been replaced with more modern, even more powerful equivalents to propel her 1961 tonnage, 258 feet, and 35-foot beam at her cruising speed on 12 Knots.
She’d had an interesting history. The SS Indigo had caught fire and sank in New York in 1926, to be recovered and restored. In 1940, she suffered damage as she ran aground in the Great Lakes, and then was acquired by the United States Navy in 1942. After WWII she was retired back to civilian life and restored to her former glory, then changing hands several times before landing in the hands of Litions Industries.
Parsons had checked with Lloyds and the now weary steam ship was transferred in ownership at a sale price of $5 million. At the time, it had certainly raised some eyebrows in the boating community of who would buy such an antiquated ship and pay such a huge amount of money, never mind investing a further $60 million in its refurbishment.
The SS Indigo was now the personal ship of the secretive billionaire and for his leisure, entertainment, and for business.
From his pocket Sir. James Parsons pulled the printed-out email, a little tattered and dog eared from multiple readings over the past few weeks.
Sir. James, I am writing on behalf of Litions Industries of which you may have heard of. We would like to cordially invite you to a small group of select passengers to join the SS Indigo in Belize City, departing 16th July, taking in the sights of the Caribbean during which you will have the opportunity to learn of a world changing opportunity, to which your interest and involvement would be greatly appreciated. We are certain this will be of a high level of interest to you and to Watershed Investments. Please RSVP and we look forward to welcoming you on board the SS Indigo. Sincerely, Mr. N. Waring Litions Industries
Of course, he had heard of Litions, who hadn’t? Parsons deducted that he knew probably more about them than most, and even then, that wasn’t a great deal.
There were many rumors, several holding companies hidden in deep dark places with a web of legends of mysterious and well shrouded investments. Rumor had it that these included Yahoo, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and wild bets in a new electric car company, TESLA - but also in more mysterious places like the burgeoning cannabis industry with links to the oil fields of Russia, gold and diamond mines of Africa, Mexican retail operations, government, and military contractors, and beyond. Litions had many fingers in many pies.
Parsons had played it over in his mind over and over again, he still wasn’t sure why he was here in Belize. Was it his legendary nose for a deal and to be in the right place at the right time, or was it something else? He had more money than he needed already, set his family up for generations to come, he shook his head as he replayed the dilemma. It was just too much of a temptation to miss he had reached the conclusion and that was his decisions, his final decision, and Parsons always stuck to the decisions he made, no matter how sometimes difficult or unpopular they may be.
He could hear the distinctive Yorkshire voice that he had heard at the back of the British Airways First Class Cabin on the way down from Dallas. Parsons glanced over at the bar - the tall, gangly, balding, brash, and loud Yorkshireman was sat at the bar with a glass emblazoned with Belican Beer in front of him talking and gesticulating at the barman.
“Yer see the thing is where I come from is that yer bloody well know where yer stand, what yer see it was yer get. Not like some of them bloody hippies in California.”
It was by now an old story – Parsons, and the rest of the cabin, had heard his rants throughout the flight from Dallas about how a Napa property deal had gone south. He was apparently content to share his business with anyone who would listen, the air stewardess and now the barman included, no doubt the taxi driver from the airport too, and anyone else in earshot for that matter.
Parson had observed the lanky, six-two man in his fifties, with his puffer jacket, jeans and what looked like construction boots. He was one of those types that you kept a safe distance. Loud, brash, opinionated, and he noticed the Yorkshireman had an intimidating look about him. Parson was keen not to hold eye contact with him, and certainly not engage with him. It was clear from the outset that he was not his type and wanted to keep it that way – Parsons had made it a lifetime habit to avoid unwanted acquaintances, this was a first for him.
The barman, according to his proudly adorned name badge, apparently named Henry, just politely nodded, and apart from his cheek-to-cheek smile was left with a blank expression with no realization whatsoever what the Yorkshireman was speaking of. The Yorkshireman had no filter at all, and waffled on about his various business interests, mainly a landlord to hairdressers, a plumbing supply business and self-confessed intimidator of his tenants if they didn’t pay their rent on time, or if they didn’t rise to his whims.
Parsons took another puff of his cigar and refolded the email back into his pocket. They would be boarding the SS Indigo in the morning. Parsons would get a good night’s sleep, his usual eight hours, get through the jet lag and be bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning. He wanted to have his wits about him. His survival instincts were in overdrive, reminding him of the last time on Belize, jungle training as a young subaltern with the Royal Engineers.
Upon that thought, Parsons retired quietly to his room, leaving the Yorkshireman at the bar with his captive audience of one."
Willy Mitchell is an indie author, writer, and storyteller.
Mitchell's first title was Operation ARGUS, and then the sequel Bikini BRAVO where a group of former Special Air Service operatives enter the dark and murky world of maskirovka and discover the lengths that some people will go to for power and greed.
Cold COURAGE tells the epic tale of Shackleton's 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition and all that was happening in those extraordinary times.
Book four, Northern ECHO tells the story of two boys growing up during the punk rock revolution in the north of England, and how a dark secret keeps them apart until the end.
Gipsy MOTH is about his Aunt Nikki, her friend, and fellow Aviatrix, Amy Johnson, and Amelia Earhart on the other side of the pond during the golden age of aviation.
SS INDIGO is due to be released by the end of 2021.
All of Mitchell's books so far are novels, works of fiction, blended with real events. For further information or how to buy his books, visit his author website: