Erin and I couldn’t relax. We found the boat to be everything we wanted. I noted the bottom paint was just done. The engine just serviced. The fuel tank was full. We had solar panels blocking some of the bench area to sit inside. It was in very good shape for a 20 year old boat. It's not an Oceanis I told Erin. What she said? Some call it one but it's also 46’ feet not 45. It will serve our needs she said. I can’t believe you pulled this off she said quietly. You are trying not to think too much.
Our heads were about to go to a very dark place. I could sense it and so could she. We were about to dwell on what was lost in America. We had siblings, our dogs and our home? Our friends all gone. It was about to get ugly when a blast in the distance got our attention. Then gunfire, lots of gunfire, massive amounts of shots being fired. There was a war going on. It was about 2 pm. There was a battle going on in Dublin. I couldn’t tell exactly where and saw nothing that suggested it was close. It didn’t sound close. It wasn’t that far away; it wasn’t far enough away.
The broker we dealt with was standing at the top of the docks. He was looking to the south east and I kept focusing that way too. We got our bags and I stopped. We unloaded some of the clothing and anything we didn’t need. New plan I said. If we get separated this is where we meet. If we get separated we meet here and we wait here for the other. If you have to leave here after being separated leave a note. There was a pad and pen found in a drawer on the boat. We were in agreement. This battle was waging still. It was now five minutes strong and getting seriously more intense. It wasn’t letting up at all. There were blasts or major explosions, there was fully automatic weapons and probably even handguns. Erin finally found the answer on her iPad. Dublin news alert she shouted out. Avoid Elgin and Route 118 areas of the embassy row. US Embassy under attack by military forces not of Ireland. Police are quardening off the area.
Oh my God, I couldn't believe it. Jim, she said, they said the attacks in Germany and France included assaults on our embassies. What the hell? US interests were not military bases or just military bases but all government facilities? I think so. We should go there, she said. Do what I asked? We don’t have a gun. I know but it's the only connection we have to America. There are Americans. I don’t know what we can do, she said, but we have to go there. I nodded in agreement and with our lightened packs we quickly headed up the gangway. Then in dawned on me.
Erin, stop, I said. The River Dodder, it's only a block and a half from the round. The “Round” is the name we gave the embassy because it was circular. The River Dodder is on the other side of the embassy from here, we can use the zodiac, and go by water. Ok, she said, lets go. The zodiak honda motor started right up. Its small 5 gallon tank was full. We’d have to go the opposite direction to turn into the River Dodder, but then it was a quick ride up. I asked Erin to keep a keen eye on the banks for anything troubling.
The boat ride was only about 7-8 minutes and we were fortunate enough to tie in and land under Route 118 just before a convoy of military trucks crossed it. I could see them in reflections of a neighboring building. There were sirens but no shooting. No blasts. The trucks roared off. There had to be 20 of them I thought. How many I really didn’t know just a lot.
We climbed up by Ulster Bank. There were cops everywhere. They had the whole intersection shut down. Erin and I moved North to Ballsbridge College a half a block up. We worked our way past the campus and managed to walk openly across the street where restaurants and retailers were all closed. We passed through beside the pizza parlor and then had to climb a fence or two in some commercial back areas to get back over to the middle of Pembroke Road or Route 118 as I knew it. I could now see the embassy. There was some smoke coming from the front, but that didn’t really have my attention. The soldiers on the ground in front of it is all I could see. My tunnel vision was in full force. There were numerous men down. The steps and doorway to the embassy seemed covered with blood and several bodies. We were about 100 yards away.
The cops had the intersection behind us closed. They were looking back not towards the embassy. The next group of cops were at least 300 yards up near the Bank of Ireland. They were not looking our way either. Lets go I said, and Erin and I began the run across the four car lanes, tram lane, and sidewalks to the embassy grounds. No one yelled. No one said a word. It was likely the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.
We managed to reach the first soldier. He was wearing combat gear, belt and his rifle laid about four feet out from him. He was shot so many times there was no chance of life. I didn’t even bother with a pulse looking only at his mouth and chest for any hint of movement. I noticed his belt had a full magazine to the M-16 rifle still in its canvas pouch. The pouch held for magazines and there was only one. He died in a pile of his own brass I could see it all around. I gathered th rifle, dispatched the partially loaded magazine and loaded the full one. The chamber was loaded and it was in semi automatic mode by selector. Come on, I said to Erin, as a cop finally saw us and yelled out. We rushed past more bodies and slid through several horrible ponds of blood to the front doors and finally into the embassy.
Inside it was worse. There were people down everywhere. No one was moving. There were soldiers with weapons out. There were men I could only imagine were once Diplomatic Security Services. They were trained to hold out for help would come. This battle only lasted a few minutes I couldn’t imagine why they didn’t last longer? The damage to the doorway, inside the smoke from explosive ordinance, it was starting to be more clear. They were wiped out by a superior military force. 20 trucks I assumed. If I was wrong they were hit by a 500 to 1000 man army.
A downed DSS agent had a Beretta 9mm near his hands. The gun was empty. Brass was about. He died trying I knew. I found a magazine pouch. He’d never reloaded. Then I saw the M5P laying several feet away; it was empty. He probably used the MP5 to its fullest and was left to his Beretta. I loaded the pistol and handed it to Erin. She was familiar with it and checked to see it was loaded.
There must be a safe room, I told her, hopefully an Ambassador or someone is alive. We climbed over bodies at a checkpoint. There are no enemies here, Erin noted? She was right. Whoever these people fought; none were left behind. There were dozen of blood stains. These people did kills or hurt some of those opponents, but the bodies were all gone. We had to find someone alive.
We circled through, literally, the first floor in 15 minutes and never saw a live soul. The five story building was not that massive for an embassy. We climbed the stairs and went through the second floor. There were more dead. It was gut wrenching as many were not armed. They’d be lined up on a wall and executed by gun. Third floor we found people dead in their offices. Most had no weapons. Most were shot several times. This was just horrible. It was only getting worse. The top floor was residences and we found no one. I hoped someone would be hiding, but no one.
Erin and I backed down to the bottom floor by elevator. There was power to the building and the elevator ran. The bottom floor had been a secure area with lots of gates, lots of racks blocking entrances and most of them were mangled with explosive blasts. There were some soldiers here and some DSS agents; all dead.
We climbed back up the stairs past more bodies. How many Erin, wondered out loud, how many are dead? I don’t know. We were close enough to the entrance to see a swat style team approaching. It was the scariest moment of the day and it was quite a day. They stopped when they saw us and announced themselves. Dublin and Irish National Police. Dublin and Irish National Police. Please lower your weapons? I wasn’t able to do that looking at the dead.
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