This is a possible near future or "alternate time line". All diving has been put under a tight naval / industrial control. Enforcing this is one of the duties of the inshore branches of the Sea Patrol. If you don't want this sort of thing to become reality, watch out for authoritarianism and officialdom creeping up on your favourite hobby.

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THE SEA PATROL

On the waterfront

I had a manual waterfront life since I left school and was brought up without the all-too-common paperwork and office mentality. Like many such men, I was used to heaving goods about and doing things instead of recommending and holding meetings and paying people to do things. I and some of us were also in a docks security callout squad, where we learned to be hard efficient thugs when sorting out such nuisances as tinkers and gipsies and vagrants that intrude to steal or sleep in odd corners, and freelance press telling lies to get in and wasting people's time being nosy to get copy to sell. One day after the police and the council kept making excuses and doing nothing, we flamethrowered out a large tinker camp on waste ground behind the docks, and the thieves fled leaving all their vehicles and never came back: 15-foot propane flames worked much better than paper court writs. Police usually merely tell them off for being naughty, and "turning the other cheek" and "good advice" accomplish nothing.

I also worked on or around dredgers sometimes, mostly the usual big dredgers made for deepening big docks and seaways, and of no unusual concern. In later years people designed and made a variety of small dredging craft, some submersible, for dredging in odd corners and recovering lost items.

Some of us let ourselves be guinea-pigs for someone's experiments in what is called "gene therapy". We got a fair amount of money for it. It did not cause any bad effects. It left us permanently immune to cyanide, but the results of that are another story.

The public get in the way, even underwater

Meanwhile sport scuba diving got bigger and bigger, with more and more participants and sorts of kit, and exotically-named sport diving boats (including some named after Star Trek spaceships). It started soon after 1945 with a few men "playing at frogmen", and started to grow big in 1953 when a National Geographic Society article about Cousteau's work started a big public demand for aqualungs. Official attemps to stop this trend were non-existent or too little and too late. The BSAC formed. Cases multiplied of sport diving interfering with other water use; these had to be sorted out here and there down the years with assorted patched-up agreements. The common public dived where they liked with no effective law or licencing or logging. For very many years the BSAC's policy about rebreathers was "Here be dragons." and to curtly forbid their use; but after world Communism fell in 1989 the Ministry of Defence stopped requisitioning every diving rebreather patent that came, and sport rebreather diving got away, and sport divers who changed over to them became harder to detect and could dive for longer. They treated diving as a great thing to do; but a sport dive is merely the shell of a dive, without the important center part, which is useful work done underwater by the divers.

We and other work harbour workmen had enough and too much of sport divers using our harbour without permission for diving or for launching boats, and of losing work time rescuing sport divers who got into difficulties, and of shifting sport divers out of the way of work. To some of us, particularly in recent years when we can start to see the end of the world's fossil fuels and metal ores, boats and diving, and vehicle use in general, should be for work and the armed forces only.

Something in the wind

Some went further than merely complaining over drinks in the evening. UKIFA (UK Inshore Fishermen's Association) was originally an ordinary trade association that worked through the law courts and passed on recommendations and suchlike. But UKIFA got tired of words achieving nothing, and turned to action. 18 sport scuba divers from Lichfield BSAC went to an out-of-the-way beach in Devon for a week camping and diving. Early on their first morning they were roughly woken by an unofficial inshore fisheries patrol squad in identical boilersuits with UKIFA badges on and riotsquad gear surrounding their tents. The squad batoncharged, and roughly arrested the scuba divers and charged them with shellfish poaching and "unauthorized scuba diving".
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The sport divers did not resist long. They strained at gags and handcuffs watching a corporation-type rubbish-collecting truck breaking up and compacting and swallowing their diving gear and inflatable boats and boat-trailers and camping gear. The squad efficiently beat them up and left. Afterwards, they told the police, who found nothing; the local policeman was from a fishing family.

In the months after there were at least ten similar cases, and also two traceless group diver disappearances. Clearly some inshore fishermen had got tired of official inaction about sport divers taking shellfish and getting in the way, and were taking the law into their own hands when they could. Three of these incidents were arrests by a small fast ex-naval craft which they had got hold of somewhere and converted into a patroller, and, for the first time but not the last, arrested sport divers saw their equipment summarily vanishing down a destroy hatch.
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The nation's sport divers thought that soon culprits would be found and a few prosecutions aided by sport diving clubs' solicitors would break up this and any other self-appointed action squads and scare the rest off, and put a stop to this threat to their hobby.

Small dredgers, some of them submersible and with particular special design features, sold surprisingly well, many to customers who did not say who they were. Sometimes they said that merely they could not afford anything bigger, but some of the real reasons were otherwise.

The Coast Defence Act was passed, on a general theme of worries about terrorism and need to protect fisheries and valuable submerged wrecks. Scuba diving clubs' lawyers picked over its wording and expressed concern. The individuals and committees who they contacted, reassured and rhubarbed and referred findings about while public will to do anything about the matter gradually faded away in a general atmosphere that nothing dangerous would happen.

We get ready

A naval van came round in the night and picked me up. In it were others who had been picked up. We were taken to a large fenced-off disused docks area, where we met many others who had been picked up. We found who each other were. Waterfront workmen, out-of-work deepsea and inshore fishermen, ex-naval men, navvy types, nearly always workman types with plenty of muscle hardened to rough conditions and marching about in heavy boots. First a medical checkup. Then we each had a truth-drug-aided interrogation, and as a result of what came out some of us were thrown out as unsuitable before they could learn anything secret.

The interrogation found that three in my group were sport divers; they were discarded without knowing what they had been called up for. We do not take men with a background of sport diving or sport boating, if better can be had: sport diving too often causes a pleasure-seeking casual attitude underwater, hard to overwrite with a proper disciplined work attitude. We are not a refuge for men addicted to sport scuba diving who are looking for a legal way to get back to pleasure use of fins and a breathing set. But I was in.

Then men came in boilersuit-type uniforms that I had not seen before. They told us we were now trainees for a new armed body called the Sea Patrol. That was the first that I saw of the uniform and badge that is now mine, yellow anchor between magenta uppercase letters S P without serifs on blue background, and at each corner a dark spot representing a rivet holding it on. That badge now darkens the dreams and waking life of fuel-wasting pleasure sea users and sea smugglers and shellfish poachers and unauthorized wreck-pickers. The miscelleous variety of civilian clothes that we had come in, were dumped in a skip, and we did not see them again. I put on my issue Sea Patrol underclothes and boilersuit-type uniform and riotsquad helmet (we do not use a forage cap or similar) and boots.

I remember too well the training and the marching and such like, as any army-type recruit can tell, as we were turned from miscellaneous civilians into a hard efficient patrol and control squad. We learned to keep up all day the standard Sea Patrol hard-marching hobnail-booted jogtrot in step. Many civilians think they are fit because they do a little jogging, usually in those soft light shoes called trainers, but they have not tried 40 miles of it in heavy boots and a thick tough boilersuit and a heavy packful of kit. There was no concession for those of us who had lived in trainers and took badly to heavy strong stiff boots which made a hobnailed marching noise every step. Our relatives were told that we were safe, and suchlike, but we were not allowed to communicate out. Two of the trainers were UKIFA men, and it came out that the UKIFA had had secret help from officialdom.

And some of the kit was a surprise. One day on the fort's quay one of the trainers showed us a two-handled gun-like tool nearly two feet long. Its body was a 5-inch-diameter cylinder with rounded ends, with a thick barrel a bit over 5 inches long. "Teargas squirter likeliest or something." I thought, "I know one thing that it won't be: it's well enough known why they're impossible in the real world, and never mind that small radioactivity warning sign on it to look scary.".

"Now look at this, all of you!" he said. He picked it up and aimed it up a wall at an old wall plaque that was out of reach for us to remove it without scaffolding. A hot beam came out of the barrel, shown by a luminous track in the air. The plaque came off in a shower of sparks as if blowtorched. It left melted holes in the brickwork. Some of us made surprised noises. He explained: soon before, a Government secret new discovery in laser design had turned rayguns from space story stuff into all too efficient effective reality. They soon became a common personal gun among us.
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In the temporary training base, the kitchen kept chickens and ducks to turn food waste into meat and eggs. There was a pond for the ducks to use. Spring came, and frogs and toads gathered in the pond to breed and make a racket croaking importantly and laying slimy spawn everywhere, as they did for many years before we came there. And the ducks, which were big domestic ducks and not small wild-type park lake ducks, went into action, diving or on the surface, cleaning out the pondweed and whatever lived in it. They routinely easily caught full-sized frogs and toads and quickly shovelled and pumped them down their throats to be dissolved.
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Sometimes we watched this small-scale version of submersible grab-dredgers at work and thought that ... some day ...

A day came. The Sea Patrol Enabling Order empowering us was issued, as allowed by the Coast Defence Act. In all our bases we were ordered to get ready, but we were not told what for. At all our bases, we set off. A van left me and nine others and our kit near Staddon Fort near Plymouth in Devon. And nearby at Fort Bovisand, and all across the country by the sea or inland, sport divers dived and planned their next unproductive pleasure dives, seeing no change to years of doing as they liked. Even so, many have lived in comfort and felt safe, not knowing until too late that a nearby mountain was a volcano.

Into action

In Devon, near Plymouth. An indeterminate motor-type noise from northeast over the high ground of Staddon Heights quickly grew louder, and woke a few of the late-wakers sleeping off the day before's pleasures and lusts of the flesh, as our heli-backpacks carried us over secure walls and gate and into Fort Bovisand diving and miscellaneous holiday centre's main yard. Our thunderflashes woke the rest. Our uniforms and badges showed them that we were something serious as we ordered everybody to stay in their rooms and not to talk to anyone. People complained about armed forces exercises and stunts messing about, shortening our tempers already. People tried to telephone out to check on what was happening, but we had blocked the lines and jammed the mobile phone and CB radio frequency ranges. Someone said he recognized me from the docks where I used to work. More of our men came by land and sea. On the road south of the gate, some early divers on the quay alongside the road ignored us, thinking we were some ordinary police visit, but they soon found otherwise.
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Past the fort gate twenty Sea Patrol men charged out of a lifting-sided personnel carrier. Heavy hobnailed issue boots with steel toecaps ran across the quay's tarmac instead of unfit or half-fit trippers' flimsy city shoes and trainers. More early morning sport divers were batoncharged down and roughly stripped of kit and handcuffed behind their backs. Two of our men wore their old UKIFA uniforms, to show who we supported. We hard riotsquad-trained efficient waterfront thugs under an army-type command were doing a job that twenty years of meetings and duly proposed discussed seconded voted-on minuted motions had failed to do. We aim to stay that way and not become paper-shuffling officials and findings-referring committee men. In Anglo-Saxon times, when a matter was decided by the board, "board" meant a wooden shield in battle, and we think the same, except ours are polycarbonate. A Sea Patrol man with a backpack jetpack with folding wings searched the area from above.
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The BSAC gateman's early morning wake-me-up coffee went flying as I and another burst into the gatehouse. He acted officious, so we dragged him out and beat him up. He cooperated after that. Our commander was right when he chose hard waterfront men first and not procedure-minded types. We took over the gate and let in our men who had come by land or sea. Our commander became the base commander.

People still tried to comunicate out, but could not. Half-fit civilian scoobydoos kitting up for pre-breakfast dives tried to argue with us and waved bits of legalism at us and asked "Oi, do you mind?" and suchlike. We overpowered them easily.
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We knew that other men like us were taking out many other sport diving centres and diving club premises across the country before they could evacuate kit and records. Naval men came with us. This was the first the public or the public media heard of us. The newspapers were told not to scream headlines about it but to describe the events quietly in inside pages; similarly the television and the radio.

Five civilian police were there for something, and tried to arrest a few of us, but we are better trained than them. One of them got part of a radio message away before I knocked the radio out of his hand. We secured the office paperwork and herded everybody found onto the main yard until we could make somewhere to lock them up. We started to match them with the place's holiday center records, and sort those who were clearly not there for diving from the others. Orders came through the police system telling the police to let us do our work: our command could not tell the area's police earlier because too many of them sport scuba dived and their sympathies would be divided and we could not risk leaks.

We were busy everywhere. We made a start on stripping out and refitting the place from a holiday center into a hard Sea Patrol base. We had to get the new boat and diving licencing systems set up there and working as soon as possible. In Napoleon's time the place was a naval fort to keep undesirables out of Plymouth harbour. Underground there is a large and draculous amount of dark tunnels and storerooms intended for storing cannon ammunition safely deep away from enemy shot; we had plenty of use for them to store our heavier kit when lorries brought it from our temporary storage and training bases. Rock-boring drills made stone dust as we fixed heavy prison-type doors that we had brought with us and turned some storerooms into cells.

We gave the non-diving prisoners 20 minutes to go back to their rooms under escort and pack and get into their cars, but we confiscated all mobile phones. Some bleated that they did not have cars but had been relying on buses or taxis. My commander told a personnel carrier to take them to the Staddon Fort road junction where we were setting up our outer checkpoint gate. Some bleated that they could not afford or find replacement beds for x nights until their booked coaches or plane flights left. He told them that that was their problem. Those who were there for diving were held for questioning.

North of the fort on the flat hilltop of Staddon Heights a naval construction squad's heavy excavators loudly blasted diesel exhaust upwards as they rid Staddon Golf Course of bunkers and rough (golf language for sandy hollows and patches of brambly long grass and scrub) and buildings to make a landing for aircraft. I overheard a sharp walkietalkie message telling someone to "@#$& the tweetybird nest, carry on.". Later, airfield control changed from a man in a tent with a walkietelkie via a Portakabin to a proper control tower, and someone brought kit to gas out the rabbit warrens to stop rabbits from damaging the airfield; and rabbit droppings attract mice, which attract owls, which cause birdstrike risk for aircraft.

We sorted through the boats moored below the wall to choose which to use as temporary patrollers until more proper patrol boats came. After a week we called a naval scrap-carrier craft and loaded on it all the civilian cars that were still there.

The base is reached by dead-end lanes without villages from the nearest through road, and only we and a few farm men needed running entry permits to pass our outer entry gate at the lane-junction at Staddon Fort. It is handily across the estuary from Plymouth navy base. Our base perimeter includes the Bovisand Lodge valley bottom, and we sealed the long entry lane from Staddiscombe. South of Bovisand Lodge the base area includes the north slope of Madam's Hill, which is first in our list of names to be changed when a Sea Patrol man does something worthy of being commemorated in a placename.

The big cleanout went on. We had inherited an assortment of buildings: the fort, blocks of new bedrooms nearby higher up the fort hill, caravans, chalets, scattered farm buildings, and a strip of holiday lettings along the shore south of Bovisand Bay. We cleared at least 15 skiploads of civilian luggage type junk out of them so they could be used as temporary barracks, until we could replace the less suitable of them later with purpose-built barracks.

We processed seven tons of sport diving gear that we found there, which had been visitors' property and for staff use and for sale. What was of types authorizable as Sea Patrol frogman issue and in good condition, was kept, and of the rest, the cylinders and lead went in scrap skips and the rest vanished into the base's boiler furnace, summarily without time wasted getting a court order for each shovelful. In the offices, several tons of the diving centre's paperwork had to be taken to a secure area to be sorted to look for evidence and the starts of "papertrails" leading to whoever might have diving gear with or without wanting to furtively keep using it.

Of the prisoners, those who were found in land clothes in possession of diving gear were thoroughly questioned and then let go without their diving gear and anything diving-related. Those who we found wearing diving gear were charged and tried by the base commander under the new diving control laws, which had become active at midnight that night. Most were fined heavily. Five who went obstreperous or refused to recognize the court were sent to prison. Anything to do with diving on them was seized. But the staff and visitors involved in the diving explosives training courses which the place ran before we took over, were held for detailed investigation.

It was similar at many places. At Ellesmere Port in Cheshire we cleaned out BSAC national headquarters and efficiently destroyed the central command of the sport diving organizations in Britain. A narrow twisty approach road and the usual clutter of parked cars did not help us. We restricted nearby private address residents to their back rooms. We ordered the nearby canal boat museum to shut and its staff and visitors to stay inside away from facing windows until we were finished.

Meanwhile an issue oxyhydrogen blowtorch with backpack cylinders made a quick end of the building's front door lock, and we went in. Its burglar alarm racketed until one of us quietened it. Three men bolted down a fire escape and found it guarded. We arrested all found in there and marched them at our pace to our prisoner transport. Beside the building's door we excavator-shoveled a car aside to make room for a transportable incinerator, but could do nothing right then about a pillared car shelter and a large solid brick dustbin enclosure hindering large vehicle access. Then a long cleanout job and search for hidden rooms and spaces. The paperwork seized there told Sea Patrol command plenty about where to look for the country's stock of sport scoobydoo gear. In the same area there was a large sport scuba gear shop to clean out: we sorted out cylinders and weights and other large unburnables, and anything of use to us, and piled the rest on the boat museum car park, where one of our issue backpack propane flamethrowers finished the job.
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When we were finished arresting and searching we pulled out of the office. We kept the shop for a while as an amnesty surrender and destroy point for unauthorized diving gear, then left it; both are now private houses.

We burst in on the noisy comfortable chorus-croaking frog-pond of fuel and metals expensive water sports like the riotsquad breaking up an open-air pop concert. Before we came, inshore patrol and control was fragmented between harbourmasters and coastguards and inshore fisheries patrols and harbor police; we incorporated and assimilated those, and we have more powers than they had. The UKIFA men retrained with us and they are now part of the Sea Patrol, but we let them display their old badges if they want to. Wise opinion had long been drowned by financial interests and town pressure groups who were hard set on their hobbies above all other things, and knew little of where leisure kit and finance business kit comes from or what it costs the world to make and use it as fuel and metal ores gradually got scarcer. But we have power to override such people. Their solicitors' letters and speeches at business meetings had no more effect on us than most speargun spears have on our kevlar-reinforced uniforms and frogman's drysuits.

We settle in

We keep order at sea. We have stopped pleasure boat boatyards and marinas from wasting fuel and materials. We do all inshore rescuing now: many fewer calls than before, as in recent decades more than 6 out of 7 lifeboat and rescue helicopter calls were to careless trippers and pleasure craft, and too many to sport divers. Stopping unnecessary car use on land, we leave to the onshore authorities. But what many people tend to know us for mostly is the collision between us and a massive well-organized sport diving set-up which was running with no sort of licencing or law or logging. The public had several hard lessons in what matters and what does not matter as the Sea Patrol shoveled up and digested the massive over-financed demonstrative sport diving organizations as a pond-dredging duck swallows a large struggling frog and pumps it down to be dissolved in its onboard destructor.

The frog squirmed hard as it was swallowed. People tried to swamp us with numbers. Sport divers made many demonstrations on land, and the riot police routinely broke them up. The Navy formed an auxiliary part-time naval diving branch, under full naval discipline and control, and many tried to join it, and some of those who were suitable were let in.

Sport divers planned a big demonstratory dive-in at Torbay in Devon with over a thousand divers in the water in one place. We let them come, and then helped by naval men and docks security squads surrounded them by land and sea before most of the demonstrators could dive. As we batoncharged, our issue boots supported our ankles and stopped foot slipping as we ran over rough ground and strewn sport diving gear. My flying bodyweight behind my left boot's hobnails came down on a sport diving regulator second-stage and crushed it against rock and trod firm and did not turn my ankle or slip and bring me down. At the next step my right boot's heel-iron broke a stab-jacket's hard backplate. The navy and docks men worked with a will, seeing a chance to get clear use of their sea back after many years of having to work round intruding uncontrolled random civilians. Then we front-loader shoveled 25 tons of seized unauthorized civilian diving gear onto lorries and dumped it in our destruction compound at Fort Bovisand.
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We let go those of them that could certainly prove their names and addresses, minus anything connected to diving that we found on them. The rest were held for trial.

Breathing set diving is now back at last in its proper role as work and for the armed forces. It was too long since 1953 when a National Geographical Society magazine article about Cousteau, and in French-speaking countries a film by Cousteau, started the public wanting scuba gear, and diving gear makers got in first before anyone could pass laws about it. Never did Cousteau make it clear at meetings or in books that he owned the patent on the first type of aqualung and so stood to line his pocket for every aqualung sold. Although Cousteau and his first several associates were French naval men and should have known better.

At least in Britain Siebe Gorman the diving gear makers kept aqualungs scarce and expensive as long as they could and kept rebreathers away from the public. Laws about sending money out of the country kept foreign-made kit out of British sport gear shops. But that was about as far as it went. The sport divers soon bypassed it with converted Calor bottled butane gas regulators and ex-RAF pilots' oxygen cylinders. After a while Calor redesigned their butane regulators and that stopped that unsafe conversion. But it was too late and a firm in Hexham in Northumberland designed round the Cousteau-Gagnan patent. The Navy should and would have requisitioned the patent, but the firm patented it as an industrial breathing set and the Navy's patents checker did not notice it; the sets got into the shops and time passed and sport diving got big.

Our kit

A warning to people who still hope to swamp us with numbers and make us a dead-letter and get back to dive-as-you-like. We have more and much better kit and training than you.
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We coordinate well with the other official sea users.

We use these : an old design revived with improvements such as a transparent streamlining cover.
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We have experimented with different sorts of issue baton.
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This is a job that we would not have had to do if back in the 1950's the world's governments had put breathing set diving under a proper naval / industrial inspectorate and control. Also scuba cylinders: as far as the Sea Patrol is concerned, compressed gas cylinders are a sort of explosive and should have been put under explosive-type controls from the start. It was acceptable when firemen could expect only factories and workshops and garages to be likely to have cylinders on the premises; but widespread uncontrolled sport diving changed that.

An early inshore operation

Inshore fishermen complaining about shelfish poaching soon found work for us.

We knew we would be busy with Easter coming bringing the country's scoobydoos out of hibernation. And nothing was helped by an incident in Bretonside (a street in Plymouth). Four policemen saw an off-duty Sea Patrol man who seemed to be alone.

"Grab that `seep'! He's wanted for assault on divers before that law of theirs came out.". (That slang name for us had already got about.)

They jumped on him, but he got a radio alarm out. "You never let us in your base, but you aren't above the civilian law any more than soldiers are in peacetime." one of the police said angrily, "#@%$ new bunch throwing your weight around. Assault on divers, theft of kit. You were only a fisherman then, never mind `UKIFA' on your oilskin. Unless your fancy Enabling Law is retrospective.".

More Sea Patrol men came to help him, then more police. It ended in a standoff and phone calls between Fort Bovisand and Plymouth central police station, and then between both places and estminster. No more such incidents happened.

One lot of `weekend Cousteaus' soon found the hard way that we can fly, from boat to shore to land behind them to stop them escaping inland with their gear. They did not resist or hide stuff as we arrested them. But it was a remote site and we had to leave the seized kit while we searched the area, so a Sea Patrol issue backpack oxyacetylene torch and propane flamethrowers put the junk out of further use while a man flew up to reconnoitre.

This is another thing that we were set up to stop. So many people dived for pleasure that people tended not to notice three divers taking a waterproof chest out to a large boat, not thinking to query why the load was not taken overtly and faster on the surface or loaded in a public port.
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Easter by the seaside

By now we were well known of via the newspapers, but people still thought that we would go away or slacken off after a while. The busy time came. I set off with the rest when the first order came in. I had a heli-bckpack, and a new issue weapon: an electromagetic-powered gun that fires 4-inch nails, point first and spinning: refill from a hardware store, recharge from the electricity mains, does not need specialized ammunition.

The squad attacked. Another fortnight's camping getting in the way in the sea and taking stuff ended on its first night. This diver's camp was big and demonstratory as a challenge to the new laws with many placards and speeches wanting the old conditions restored.
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"#34 go after them that's doin' a runner while we destroy this lot in case they double back for it while we're chasin' 'em." the sergeant ordered one of our helibackpack men.
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We were helped by a callout squad of dockers and lightermen riotsquad-equipped by a waterfront factory which had its own idea of design for a riotsquad helmet. Those helmets solidly protected their faces as the hard efficient trained waterfront thugs batonchanged across the sport divers' camp from both sides through a barrage of thrown objects, trapping its occupants. Heavy hobnailed work boots with steel toecaps and insteps trampled down tents and crushed kit items. It did not take long to make the half-trained city types start abandoning their gear and running. Soon all were caught and handcuffed, and the searching and siezing and beating-up started.
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As we loaded up prisoners, on the beach my backpack oxyhydrogen blowtorch quickly melted out the mechanisms of all the unauthorized sport scuba diver's breathing sets. The fanciful decoration on the cylinders did not distract me as my hot oxyhydrogen flame seared through yet another confiscated aqualung's regulator.
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As sometimes happens, some of the sport divers tried to draw us away while others recovered equipment, but too late. There is no point in the Sea Patrol keeping it for official use, as we already have so much of it and this sport-type equipment is of so many incompatible types. We emptied all cylinders, sorted out big unburnables such as cylinders and weights, shoveled and forked the scoobydoo kit and camping kit into a heap, which one of us burnt with a propane flamethrower.
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Back at base we set to work converting some sorts of the sport scuba sets to industrial breathing sets. Underwater extras such as second regulators and weight pouches no use on land went straight into the burn skip. The regulators were fitted into on-land-type fullface masks with curved faceplates; both were designed not to work at more than a few feet depth of water pressure. For use out of water we replaced the inefficient scooby cylinder strap-clamp by two strong metal screwed band-clamps. The diving harness with its built-in-lifejacket, blocking access to work garment pockets, was cut down to a plain strap harness. The first that I handled was a "wings"; this was easy: following instructions I removed the flotation bags and threw them into the burn skip. The next was a stab-jacket; with heavy hand-held shears I cut the bulky lifejacket-type bag down to strips as shoulder straps and a cross-strap, in that case causing a two-colored effect. The next was also a stab-jacket, but with internal full harness straps, which made the job easier. All cut edges were heat-sealed to stop the woven nylon from fraying.
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Small fast craft have their uses. In the next cove was another group who had ignored the amnesty period to surrender all unauthorized diving gear; they had a surprise when their next diving season started.
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"Oi you, drop that camera and 'oppit! " I ordered a nosy bystander; later back at base we found this picture in his camera.
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Nearby two more had chanced it, but we caught them, and their kit was soon on its way to join the rest on the way to our destructor.
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Another carful came late and found a Sea Patrol squad in new camouflage uniforms cleaning up after arresting the rest of their club at their favorite dive site.
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In the middle of this, two authorized work divers chose a not very suitable time to carry on as usual. Our men recognized them in time, and an ultrasound gun on low power activated their licenced issue sonar-transponders. "Uhh, it's that two from the ferry firm mending their moorings. Leave them.". We advised them to go back on land until the next day.
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One of our helicopters spotted another lot nearly.
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Some sport diving clubs had an inflated idea of their importance. "This lot of weekend bubble-blowers won't rule any waves from now on." its pilot said as he reported it and gave a description.
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This view has shown many sport divers that they will not dive again. Our base office said "They've got a research permit.". But one of us checked up on them anyway, and we found what we found.
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We escorted them to a nearby beach for pickup. Onshore, one of them suddenly pulled a loaded speargun out, but our issue weapons and training decided the matter as usual as our squad-leader's Mossberg Mariner pump-action shotgun (patrol issue with a pistol grip and no butt) disposed of him.
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While flying away from that, we saw a large cabin cruiser going along the coast. We caught up with it. It turned and dodged, but I kept up with it and shot a window out, and another man fired a teargas grenade in, and the boat stopped. We boarded it.

"Oi, do you mind?" one of its crew said between coughing, "I'm taking some important business clients to Exeter and discussing business as we go.".

"What's the matter with the bus and the train?".

"They're always full, and we need somewhere private.".

"What business is it about?" I ordered the important-looking city-suited man.

"I'm not at liberty to say.".

"You will say.".

"I'm stlll not at liberty to say.".

"Liberty #@$%. Your business, all of it, or we arrest you for being awkward.".

"OK, OK, here's a spare copy of the documents. %&$# `seeps', newest bunch of uniforms along ordering everybody about. We weren't diving, if that's what you were after." he said, handing me an enormous bagful of papers.

By then a smell and a litter of glasses and bottles had showed us enough. "You'd have been a long time getting through all those papers in the state you're in. We'll have a blood or urine sample off everybody, now." one of us said, pulling out an automatic pistol-syringe and setting it to to suction mode.

Those common `natural function' words have an ominous sound to someone who has a licence that he does not want to lose. "Oh, now I can't entertain clients to their satisfaction, it seems.", and started on a long business speech and lecture on business manners to try to impress on us how world-vital his journey was. His voice got more slurred as adrenalin from the chase faded away.

He shut up when I unslung my nailgun and set its power and fired a 4-inch nail into the shiny cockpit lining near the dashboard. "Right, you're all under arrest, trying to evade Sea Patrol, being uncooperative, drunk in charge of a craft at sea, boat use not for authorized work. The law says you stay all hands sober at sea, all hands, not just the man steering. Entertain business clients on land." I ordered. We handcuffed all found on board and shoved them in the back. One of us drove it to Portland Sea Patrol base, whose commander tried the prisoners and seized their boat and told their work bosses that they were found drunk on duty.

Later that day we surprised and arrested more unauthorized sport divers as efficiently as usual on a beach. Originally designed as a light skintight spacesuit, this new protective gear has proved useful on the ground, such as when suspects resist arrest and there is a risk of being pushed into deep water or being exposed to fire or chemicals.
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In a Sea Patrol base

In our base they were marched out of the prisoner-transport and shoved into cells still in their wetsuits.
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They realized that the order of things at sea had changed, as they watched Sea Patrol men sorting out the cylinders and weights and other large unburnables and steadily shovelling all the rest of their club expedition's diving gear into a transportable incinerator.
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The message sank in. Diving is work. Diving gear is work kit. Not for messing about in for pleasure any more. The same for boats and cars and anything else that uses up fuel or raw materials.

"This is no good," a prisoner said. "having to sit in my wet wetsuit handcuffed in this draughty cell watching a Sea Patrol heavy steadily stoker-shovelling all our diving gear into that incinerator, and the diesel exhaust smell from that dumper which brought it all here. And where's my car?".

"Silence in the cells." the stoker ordered without turning round, "You should have thought of that before deciding not to apply for a diving permit. You'll get your car back if the commandant says so when he tries you lot.".

"But I need it for business. And my mobile phone's in it, I need it to contact my solicitor.".

"If you mean carrying yourself and a bunch of papers around, that's what the bus and the train are for. Silence, or disobeying an order goes on your charge list. And you're not contacting anybody. Commandant'll try you lot right here today while everybody's memories are fresh. Your pet solicitor won't be able to lock-pick through everything that's done to protect men's livelihoods any more: the law's been changed. And we won't have men taken off patrol to have to go miles inland as court witnesses any more." the stoker said as another many-colored shovelful, this time three wetsuits and two stab-jackets with attached regul ators and a fin and a mask, vanished behind the closing sliding furnace door.

During this, an auto-alarm sounded from the sea. A daring or foolhardy scoobydoo from the same club had come by sea and ventured onto sand near our base's quay to nose around and if possible get his inflatable back. No civilians were looking, so a Sea Patrol man's new issue raygun made sure that the boast on the inflatable was not true any more. The new weapon showed its effectiveness.
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Meanwhile the stoker finished and the suspects in the cells watched the incinerator which had digested their diving gear being craned onto a low-loader and taken away to the next place it was needed. Soon after, the squad came back from the alarm on the base's quay and soon found out everything they wanted to know .
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After this, truth drug soon extracted everything that the other arrested men knew.
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But many sport divers realized in time that their hobby has been stopped. Many of them had been here all too many times when this same place had been a popular sport diving centre, before the Sea Patrol requisitioned it.
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I checked my issue backpack oxyhydrogen blowtorch's gas pressures. Since the Sea Patrol was established, that handy take-it-anywhere gear-destroyer has reduced at least twenty surrendered boat trailers to pieces small enough for the metals skip and put hundreds of unauthorized cylinders and regulators beyond repair on remote sites before people could recover the kit before we could come back and load it and take it away.
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Much of the gear had been bought in the same place, when the place's dock sheltered diving day boats and liveaboards and not patrol boats and a variety of diver-catcher craft. Regardless of that, the next step was the shovelling out and sorting,
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and then the shovelling in. A man in the new Sea Patrol protective suit passed at a hard steady run.
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As we processed the results of these arrests, it got dark. A man in a backstreet-workshop-made amphibious power armour prowled around our base's quay, planning to be the sport divers' new defender against us. But such superhero-type methods tend not to work for long in the real world, and soon a night guard routinely disposed of him .
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Meanwhile, six divers in an inflatable got lost in currents after an unauthorized and unadvisable night dive. They chose the wrong landing to come into. A Sea Patrol squad's helmet lights showed what radar and sonars had already seen.
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The base commandant saw from his records that they, as well as those arrested earlier, had been caught at it once too often, and taking wreck and shellfish added to it. He gave an order. The demonstratory remarks on their diving suits did not help them in the end. And an opportunity to test their pneumatic rifles which they had made at their base, being practical-minded waterfront types accustomed to such jobs as making parts to mend dock machinery. The pneumatic rifles made much less gun bang noise to be heard outside their base's wall; their guns' propellant cylinders started as stab-jacket inflation cylinders from siezed unauthorized scuba gear. The back end of the cylindrical body holds the mechanism and the rest holds the magazine (with only bullets, as there is no need for explosive propellant).
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We have our version of that fairly new invention, the suction-excavator. With total half-a-ton suction power across a foot-wide suction tube, not much refuses to go inside. When cleaning a scooby-kit-strewn car park, in go full gear bags, cylinders, stab-jackets even if inflated, and anything smaller. I have seen assembled single-cylinder scuba sets vanishing inside whole bumping against the inside of the suction tube as they went up. A pile of diving suits vanishes inside with flop noises of rubber against steel. Only weights have to be picked up by hand. It often quickly sucks out the contents of a car's boot (USA: trunk) or the gear-filled back of a scoobydoo club's expedition van. Inside our version, big heavy items such as cylinders are sorted out, and the rest are shredded in a rotary breaker and end up as power station fuel.
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Sea Patrol 110-foot patrol boat: new kit and new crewman

A contact at Westminster phoned my base's commandant. "The new submersible equipment to collect metals and oxidizable organic matter from the seabed ..." said a naval-sounding voice.

I remembered what I had heard of earlier about the unexpectedly large trade in small dredgers, particularly submersible, and secret extra fittings for them.

"OK, I know, I got all the circulars. They told me what this kit is and what it can do. As long as you tell us first about all diving and boat use that'll happen in connection with it in my control area, and their sonar transponders' reply codes.".

I'm sending some of this kit to you to run. The income from what it recovers should help you to pay your bills, and - you will likely find other uses for it than ordinary dredging. It's on the way. And there's a relief man for your base coming in it, a Sea Patrolman Peter Ellingsley. Qualified frogman. With him around you won't be - shorthanded.".

"He better go to our boat PB7. It's at [coordinates].".

Sea Patrol 110' patrol boat PB7's skipper went up to his bridge to collect his heli-backpack and pneumatic rifle before the sub came, not knowing what other matters this contact may bring up.
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He went down again and out onto his afterdeck. PB7's side-scan sonar saw the sub come submerged and stop. Three minutes later PB7's sonar detected moving metal as a diver-lock opened, and then displayed a "diver found" echo and an alert signal, and after a second with it a valid ultrasound transponder code. A Sea Patrol frogman appeared swimming from the patrol sub towing a big dry-box of personal kit, and came up his diving ladder. He stood to attention dripping on the deck; the sun reflected a bit off his backpack-box rebreather. He saluted and gave his name as Sea Patrolman Peter Ellingsley.

PB7's skipper looked at him startled. Memory of school classes in comparative religion suddenly surfaced and caused a strong urge to do puja to Ellingsley. An inappropriate feeling, and a ritual that was not part of his own religion, but no wonder. He suppressed it and fought down his shock at Ellingsley's appearance and asked him what was happening. Ellingsley's rebreather had a fullface mask that shows only the eyes; we often use them. A dinner-plate-sized limpet mine hung from the left D-ring on his belt. He had an underwater ultrasound gun in one hand, an APS underwater rifle in his other hand, and his other hand was checking his bailout oxygen, and his other hand had just switched his mask to breathing from atmosphere and turned his main oxygen off and was free - hang on, lets count again - the skipper rubbed his eyes, and worked out how many months it had been since he had been near alcohol last - the previous Christmas but one, probably. So far his men had caught three boat-loads of drug smugglers, who each time were summarily disposed of with a lethal-sized injection each of their own drug, since they had enough of it on them for that; but there was no way any of it could have got onto or into him or any of his men; but the count still came to four.
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Ellingsley spoke: "Serge, I'm the relief man that base sent while Patrolman Eddington's off at court.".

"I thought we wouldn't get that #@%$ silly trick from the courts, taking men off patrol as witnesses instead of accepting their reports as true, and then the culprit pleads guilty and he wasn't needed after all." the skipper said.

"There were other charges in with the diving charge, and the arsehole's pet solicitor found out and appealed when he went to the ordinary court for them. I thought we wouldn't get that, defence lawyers interrogating us like criminals. Once when I was a witness, the court clerk wanted me to wear a poncho to hide my extra arms. Yes, I'm a `special model', Nature got things a bit wrong. My parents `rolled in the hay' in bushes in the grounds of a Hindu temple, that's not what those grounds were meant for, what did they expect might happen!? I won all the breast-stroke swimming races at school. Yes, the sub brought me, I've got orders from the sub's skipper to pass to you for you to help us to help find and sink that "floating gin palace" La Parisienne that's been living off everybody's nets and keep-boxes when it isn't smuggling, and now it's around here. The sub's skipper said that laparos is Greek for "abdomen", it fits, that `big belly' loose around here. I'm ready. if they try anything, they'll soon find what my ultrasound gun is for, and my APS.".

The APS is a Russian-made rifle designed to be used underwater. It fires a steel bolt 4.75 inches long, far longer range than a bullet underwater and much more powerful than a speargun. Neither "Jaws" nor suspicious frogmen stand a chance against it. Ellingsley went below. We searched and radar-scanned for La Parisienne.
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The big demonstration

Soon came another big demonstratory "dive-in" trying to restore old conditions. PB7 went on to a combined action with another patrol boat and two Sea Patrol submarines cleaning it up. The Sea Patrol often has one answer to that sort of deliberate attempt to challenge authority. That was the first operation that our new two types of submarines were on.
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Our new 60-foot SGD16 patrol grab-dredgersub went into action.
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An emergency radio beacon started somewhere. My skipper dratted the interruption and went towards the signal. We heard and then saw three divers adrift in sport-type kit and no licence-proving sonar transponders. We have other jobs than being the lifeboat service. We were well away from nosy eyes. The skipper saw their lobster hooks and gave an order. Our Sea Patrol issue electromagnetic-powered nailguns disposed silently and efficiently of the shelfish poachers whether they were in difficulties at sea or not.
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Our other handy bit of new kit cleaned up below later. A Sea Patrol `chariot' went in action against a large liveaboard that had joined the demonstration. The chariot's pilot successfully planted a limpet mine despite heavy marine growth on the nonmagnetic fibreglass hull, while his mate's ultrasound gun made sure that a sport diver from the craft did not interfere.
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Two of our men with Siebe Gorman CDBA rebreathers, toughened by years of docker's work, made their standard hard arrest of two more unauthorized sport divers.
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Meanwhile nearby, a lone diver was efficiently treated the same: "You unauthorized #@%$ surface and get in our patrol boat NOW!".
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Two more of my men were the last thing seen and photographed by yet another pair of shellfish poachers: "Those scoobydoo gag-mouthpieces so we'd have to surface them to question them. They always say they're just in for a dip. All I know is: it's that sort of bunch again and yet again no permit." one of them said as their Sea Patrol issue high-powered ultrasound guns went into action.
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"It's all right, I just came along to watch" came a radio signal from a small powerboat that we challenged. However, to us, hanging about on the edge of trouble is the same as taking part. "#37, check out small craft at [coordinates]." our squad-leader ordered. A Sea Patrol man with a heli-backpack flying at wave-skimming height found the sort of thing that he thought it would be. (Notes at bottom of image file)
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The shoal of demonstratory-minded scoobydoos at last seemed to be getting fewer. Behind my squad leader came reinforcements and a good reason why unauthorized sport divers in brightly colored kit should not hang around around there. That sort of dredging kit cleans up all the rubbish that gets in the water in its area. It has onboard an advanced derivative of the fuel-cell, which routinely recovers separated metal oxides, and energy of oxidation to run on, from many sorts of rubbish and dredgings. It can use surplus energy to make boat motor fuel from water and the carbon dioxide that comes out of the oxidation.
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Meanwhile on shore and in shallow water where the demonstration's boats had sailed from, there were four hundred more unauthorizeds in an aggessive mood. Our electric shock batons stopped an attempt to rush us. "'Oppit." one of us said, "This stuff of yours goes straight in our base destructor. You shouldn't 'ave been diving 'ere in the first place. It ain't free-for-all any more. This is a work 'arbour, not for all sorts to skylark about. And that's why our issue of these things 'ave long sharp 'lectrodes to get through you clever lot's fancy insulating diving suits.". The electrodes went straight through a drysuit and a Thinsulate and down went yet another clever civilian in the middle of waving bits of legalism about as we continued to load up prisoners. Seeing my standard issue propane flamethrower helped to tell them to quiet down.
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A teargas grenade stopped some shellfish poachers from escaping in a boat while we loaded up the seized diving gear and the prisoners. The noisy croaking frog that some of us compare the sport diving organizations to, for many years had been heard far too loud above the needs of people who work on the sea, but at last it had vanished inside the dredging duck's closing flat beak and was being pumped down its throat for disposal.
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Nearby underwater a search crew patrolled over a litter of dropped gear and the usual dock debris and clutter.
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We seized so much kit that we were thankful that we had brought a transportable incinerator to the site. It was a long job, but we got to the end of it. It was not too much for the Sea Patrol to handle. All seized kit including boats can be destroyed on site.
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All the demonstrators were taken back to our bases. We have our own ways to take a few of them to be tried by our base commander that evening.
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"OK, the ride's over. Time to see what the commander decides.".
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Inevitably, between the excitement, time, and times, and half a time, passed with not much happening. Not much lifeboat work, indeed, because before we came most lifeboat calls were to careless trippers. But small jobs arose. Three trippers were caught by tide at the base of a cliff near Watchet: a helibackpack squad lifted them out, and put them on the hilltop, and demanded proof of identity, and billed them for our time. An inshore fishing boat's engine failed. Some licenced shellfish divers were after scallops and blundered into a smuggling operation, and an underwater fight started, until a Sea Patrol suction-dredger-sub investigated the noise, fired low-powered ultrasound to look for authorized transponders, sucked them all up, and let the shellfish divers out again, but not the smugglers.

Our Bank Holiday weekend underwater

A message came at last to a Sea Patrol patrol submarine:

"Diving liveaboard `Mariana' operating at [coordinates]. About 100 feet long, white superstructure with swept-back styling, blue hull. No record of a permit for it.".

"Another??" the sub's skipper answered, "I suppose that as usual it's hoping that if it acts friendly and carries on same as before the new laws'll go away like an ignored wasp and become a `dead letter'.".
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Inside the submarine its crew got ready. It surfaced by the suspect boat. Two of its crew with heli-backpacks quickly seized the liveaboard's bridge and heaved-to while the sub secured itself to it and a full boarding party secured it and herded its crew and passengers at gunpoint into a back room, which they then nailed shut with their nailguns. Three frogmen were ready to go after any unauthorizeds who went in the water, but were not needed. The usual search seized the usual assortment of sport scuba gear of many types that the Sea Patrol had no use for directly or for converting and no desire to stuff their living space full of it to cart it all back to base. They left two men on board to sail the Mariana back to their base for its contents to be processed there.

"Do you mind!?" the Mariana's captain complained as they did this, "We've got an inflatableful of divers out and I'm not going to leave them out here. We aren't doing any harm. And it was us made many of those boating and diving and accommodation facilities at various diving centers which you lot seized and turned into hard efficient disciplinarian patrol and arrest bases.".

"Yes, I know you scooby-doos did. Using up fuel unnecessarily, getting into difficulties and making extra work for the rescue men, poaching wreck and shellfish, and suspicious frogmen could do all sorts of things in front of everybody and people wouldn't bother to report it because it would likely be yet more underwater trippers. Handy our base is for us that you scooby-doos made for us, near Plymouth navy base, has its own harbour and pier, hills behind to stop binocular and amateur astronomer telescope spying from roads and farmland behind, at the end of a cul-de-sac lane so only its own men and a few local farm men need passes to turn off towards it from the main road. You lot are still under arrest. We'll pick up the inflatable.".

In a few minutes the inflatable would reach the dive site and a pleasant wreck exploration off the south Devon coast. They did not know what had happened and had not paid much attention to newspaper articles about new laws. They had been diving there so long that surely the new laws didn't apply to then. To their total shock the 60-foot patrol submarine UPC35 , with a flat top deck and no conning tower, surfaced beside them.
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Its Sea Patrol badge told them all too clearly what its purpose was. Its markings reminded them too well of what had happened to what had been a main sport diving center. It had followed the outboard motor noise all too easily. Two hatches in its deck opened, and a man in a riotsquad helmet and a boilersuit-type uniform and a police-type kit belt came out of each. One had an APS underwater rifle. The other had a lit oxyhydrogen cutting blowtorch fed from backpack cylinders. There was no point doing anything but surrender to it. The sport divers were stripped down to their diving suits, loaded into the sub's brig, and ordered to take their diving suits off. The sub's skipper did not want his living space to be choked full yet again with seized unauthorized diving gear for several hours until he got back to base. He gave the usual order. They took the inflatable in tow and sorted out the cylinders and weights and slung the rest down a hatch into the sub's dredger clip-on's pump feed and let the pump do the job. The powerful heavy-duty centrifugal pump routinely ground up tough woven nylon and stab-jackets' hard backplates.
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A passing Sea Patrol `chariot' crew saw it eject the shreddings for the dredger-sub DSS34 to clean up later.
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A little later the prisoners were transferred at sea to the Sea Patrol surface patrol boat PB7, whose onboard fragmenter ground the inflatable into hand-sized pieces.
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DSS34 and the patrol sub were still with PB7 when another order came in over PB7's radio.

"Proceed to a cove at [coordinates] and put an end to a group of inland city types 's inflatable-borne weekend plans. Estimated 30 of them and at least 3 inflatables and RIB's".

"Uhh, Easter and like frogs they're all coming out of hibernation. I thought this'd be a busy few days." said PB7's skipper, and passed the order on. Both subs can run any way up and the combined operation at sea soon did the job.
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During this a naval minesweeper-type craft was on exercise a few miles away. On its captain's intended exercise area he yet again saw civilian-type RIB's and a flag that he knew, and bubbles moving about, and a mounted telescope showed cars with trailers on a beach. "Not again." he sighed and resignedly went to ask headquarters for somewhere else for the exercise; then he remembered. He gave an order that he had been planning and longing to carry out for many years. "All spare men, action stations, launch all boats, clean out that `pond life'!". By now many naval men were hard efficient diver-busters, and they cleaned up quickly. Four men with heli-backpacks flew to land and stopped escape inland. The civilian surface craft were caught after short boat chases and a few shots into motors.

The minesweeper dropped a fishing-type trawl over its stern and caught many of the submerged civilian divers. The minesweeper's Clearance Divers arrested the rest in short underwater scuffles in which their naval CDBA rebreathers and tough drysuits proved much better than cumbersome heavy bulky civilian air scuba and soft wetsuits. In recent years a new naval work diver's rebreather had come in, so bulked with safety features and automation that even fit navy men preferred not to climb diving ladders wearing it; but navy command knew what was coming and brought the CDBA back. The minesweeper hauled its trawl in and emptied it onto its aft deck. The netted fish became dinner. The unauthorized civilian divers' gear was summarily stripped or cut off and slung in a hollow used as open storage. The minesweeper came up to my unit's boat.

"Please take 34 prisoners off us. Where's that CN34 that the UKIFA runs? We could have used 'im 'ere.", its skipper radioed, "Got 'is grinder jammed on a wad of air sport scuba set backplates again?".

"We're busy and nearly full." my skipper radioed back, "You'll 'ave to take them to Porthkerris." The Sea Patrol has a secondary base there: yet another seized and converted scoobydoo centre. It now has a new easy access road instead of the steep awkward access road that it had in BSAC times.

"CN34 'ere. Never mind accusin'." a signal came in, "We were modified a while ago to auto-clear that sort 'o jam. Same as CN74 doesn't get a subskimmer jammed with its thruster-arm crossways at the bottom end of 'is flexible intake any more.".

"If there's one thing that I'm thankful that that grab type can do, it's swallowing RIB's and large diver-riders, which a standard as-issued suction sub can't, but it's got to break them up outside, with a lot of time and noise and then it can't always." the skipper said, "Once a scooby club made a sort of attempt at a chariot. A lot of wood in it. It worked, not as good as ours. CN74 just got it by one end, crushed its seat-tops and 'planes down in its grab, down 'is intake it went. Crunch, gone, motor and all. 'E ground it up and recycled it without trace like all the other rubbish that gets in the water round 'is patch. I saw a training video of it. 'E said there's no feeling quite like swallowing an inflatable.".

"I know. I've seen 'im crush a scooby club's RIB on its trailer into a bale and get it down in one plenty o' times. Noisy job. A size 3 FSPB [= Fast Submersible Patrol Boat] can scoop and tank a RIB and 8 divers in it in one in a few seconds, and the noisy part 'appens inside in soundproof." CN34 said, "At the start the Sea Patrol said to keep all RIB's that they seized, but there was so @%& many they were `making geography' wi' them. A few days one o' you `seeps' on a Protei magnetic clamped 'isself to me to get a lift. That was in that gully I cleaned out before. Good thing 'e 'ad a strong clamp to 'old on with, 'cos I 'ad the job to do again.". His voice was synthesized but had the correct rough waterfront accent and mannerisms.
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The skipper looked at his radio direction finder. "What are you doing there that far inland??" he asked, setting his radio tight-beam in that direction for privacy.

"I'm cleanin' out one of those scoobies' "frog ponds" where they train inland while the sea's rough and cold afore their sea divin' season starts.". CN34 said, "The works made me an 'andy set o' clip-on land wheels. They got a real right shock. I ain't 'alf stowin' my dredgin's-tank full plenty o' times, all the scoobydoos comin' out of 'ibernation and straight to the nearest breedin' water like frogs, think these inland lakes are out o' my reach till they get good enough to chase around pinchin' shellfish and wreck. And boats go in: they made an 'andy bolt-on boat-breaker for me. I got there at night. It felt strange draggin' myself about overland. More moon than I liked the idea of, but nobody saw us. There's a cottage by where I 'ad to go to get in the lake, a couple live there, they used to sell snacks and so on to scoobies, but the Sea Patrol dug up an excuse to take them in for questionin' overnight. There was no point 'is `Fido the Offensive' shoutin' like that, nobody 'eard, and in the end the cur found what my man's nailgun was for.".
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The skipper answered: "Their "good enough trained for sea diving" isn't good enough by my reckoning. Our divers have a 3-week hard fulltime course for a starter, and more for specialities, that's weapon and tool use and how to arrest suspects underwater and such like. And they dive all through the year when there's work or action for them. Not just one evening a week and half of it drinking and general conversation. We don't recognize sport diving qualifications, and we never have.".

"This lot ain't sport divers, with that kit." said the patrol sub's skipper, "They've got that armband insignia that we were told about. My dredging-set's breaker's never tackled a subskimmer before.", and radioed a picture of what he had seen.

"And it isn't going to now. Keep it. And those fancy rebreathers. We can use them if they're in good order. They look like CDBA's." said the surface boat skipper, "It's the first time we've caught men from that new international gang. We call them the GRG, that's `green red grey' from their insignia, till we find their proper name. I don't think it'll be the last. They'll be a harder lot than sport scoobies and better armed. Looks like we got the Sea Patrol and the new laws just in time. Looks like we'll be getting jobs that aren't such an easy `turkey shoot' as arresting sport divers.".
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"I've already seen some of the GRG's work." the sub skipper said, "Two of their frogmen grabbed a man out of a small powerboat in Christchurch Harbour in Hampshire. A security camera saw this happen. Not scoobies. A properly trained hard lot.
-"Don't tip the boat up, we need all 'is papers. Got'im. Sling 'im in the chariot's cargo carrier and away. Serve 'im right for going motorboating 'stead of staying at work."
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"Boss says enough to knock 'im out for sixteen hours till we get 'im to our lab. 'E's that "gene-genie" that genetic-engineered some o' the "seep" and navy stuff that's been after us. Then scuttle this boat. There nothing for frogman work quite like the good old 'andy British Siebe Gorman CDBA. Breathing tube all in front so nobody can grab it from be'ind. If you want to get a really light set to get through 'oles, leave the main oxy tanks off and dive with only the bailout. If you want a clean belly to slide in and out o' small boats, leave the bailout off and dive with only the main tanks.".
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- Luckily for us, they got a wrong man, who didn't know anything sensitive. And sport divers and ordinary work divers don't last long if the GRG runs into them on operation: handy silent underwater ultrasound gun: we use them also.".
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The minesweeper reached Porthkerris and unloaded the arrested civilian sport divers into cells along a quay. On order from the base's commander, the minesweeper's crew shovelled the seized scoobydoo gear into the sea, where a waiting suction dredgersub made a quick end of it. We went back to our base and found that Sea Patrol inland search squads had brought in several more tons of unauthorized kit from two diving clubs' basement caches. They had rid the load of cylinders and weights and tipped the rest down a chute into our destroy room.
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I remembered the long job I had destroying it in time to free our storage for the next bulk seizure. To a waterfront type who has suffered too much nuisance from sport divers getting in the way of work, bright-colored sport scoobydoo gear looks best vanishing into a destructor. Colorful eyes-and-nose masks and fins of many shapes and ornate stab-jackets and wetsuits slid off my shovel into the incinerator as I stoked steadily. After a minute I operated a control, and inside a propane flame started the burnup. My shoveling-fork pulled out tangles of regulator hoses and spiked up wetsuits, and heat and glare shone over me each time I stoked some of them in, and along with them some part of the recent century's general tradition of carefreely using up energy and materials for pleasure instead of keeping them for later for essentials. My heavy hobnailed boots crushed trailing second-stages and loose gauges as I had to walk further for each shovelful. As I picked up the last of the pile from a back corner, my sergeant came in and gave me new orders. My hands were full and he would have to wait for my salute. I shovelled the load into the hot all-consuming inside; second-stages and stab-jacket attachments and a wetsuit leg trailed outside until I pushed them over and in with my shovel's front edge. I looked round, at last saw no more seizures except a mask which my right boot had crushed, threw it in, shut the stoke hatch, and turned and stood to attention and saluted. To some of us who were inshore fishermen there is no feeling quite like shutting the stoke hatch behind the last shovelful of siezed civilian scoobydoo gear. I left the incinerator closed to digest its load while we went to rescue and arrest five careless civilians who had got into difficulty pleasure boating.

CN34 stayed in the quarry for a fortnight. It knows how to stay out of sight underwater, and nobody saw it and got away to tell of it. Its sonar was much better than light-sight in British-type low underwater visibility. Small submersible dredging kit changes much.

The wrong pipe

Time and ordinary jobs passed. One day our radar saw a cluster of boats, which we investigated. As we approached, we heard and then saw a scuffle and an argument onboard. Two men who smelled as much of cowhouse as of fishing were being restrained expertly by four inshore fishermen who we already knew as efficient at routinely capturing and processing unwelcome sport divers found by them among lobster pots. "@#%$ part-timers setting pots in our areas." one of the fishermen said, "They've got their farm pay to live on, we haven't.". Our commander interrupted the argument and arrested the two for unlicenced and locked them up below, and took their boat in tow for the rest of our patrol. As our commander was trying the two back at base for poaching, some licenced scallop divers came into our base and tied up, and one came ashore and ahoyed about until attended to. He reported live explosives in a wartime wreck, and gave the coordinates: thanks, another expensive risky salvage job for us before undesirables got hold of it first.

While he was giving orders about this on next day's morning parade, he noticed and pointed to something lying in a road by our seized kit processing building: "What are these!?".

"Seagull heads, sir. Look like two black-headeds and a kittiwake, sir.".

"Never mind the ornithology. Who did that and couldn't clean up afterwards?! And I said tar that piece of weather-boarding, not tar and feather it.".

We waited. The sergeant waited. Nobody moved.

"Oh, solidarity in the ranks, is it? At any other time, but this time I want to know who's been so #@%$ messy and gruesome like that bit in the #@%$ `Godfather'!!".

We waited. The sergeant waited. A storeman passing delivering goods interrupted: "Please sir,". We mentally dratted him for telltaling, but he continued: "it's a pair of wild peregrine falcons did it. They've got a new nest up above there. They nest on cliffs, and to them buildings are a sort of cliff. They pluck their kills and let the waste go everywhere. Untidy creatures. Sah.".

"And more when they've got babies to feed, I suppose. Pah! At least they'll keep some of the gulls and pigeons and starlings scared away. This is a Sea Patrol base, not a falconry centre or a birds' shithouse.". He pointed to one of us. "You, pick that mess up.". He pointed to another of us. "You, get a ladder and a propane burner and clean and re-tar that weather boarding.".

Some ex-Greenpeace men met in a back corner in an old warehouse.

"They won't give us a running work diving permit, won't even give us a boat use permit: our solicitor warned us that that new Coast Defence Act would likely lead to this sort of thing, and he was right." one of them said.

"Handy way to stop us from operating. OK, we'd been at it too much. Each bit of diver nuisance such as taking shellfish and crowding beaches pushed them a bit further. Us blocking outfall pipes was diver nuisance big-time and also sabotage. And this talk of energy and materials shortages coming making them want to ration things. We were thinking that things would carry on as they were and not looking at the big gradual trends. Then bang, at sea the Sea Patrol, and on land I soon won't be able to use my car any more without proving need for each journey. And my weekend and summer evening diving which I liked so much, vanished into Conway Sea Patrol base's #@$% kit-shredder and ended up as power station fuel. But I don't see why we should move our standpoint or stop for the #@$% `seeps'.".

"How's matters going with setting up that Dobeka Ltd. or whatever you were going to call it, that work diving firm, underwater contractors and searching for lost stuff and suchlike, as a cover for us keeping on going to sea? At least we can keep on keeping an eye in things.".

"The firm's set up, we've sold our boats etc to it, I'm one of its directors under a false name.".

Time passed. They started another bout of outfall pipe blocking. recent events faded out of their minds as the comfort of old routine returned. They had found about the pipe by following it overland from a laboratory-type building near the shore. Underwater, its end was well hidden among an old well-broken-up shipwreck.

CN34 can stay on site for a long time. His sentient computer-brain knew where to look for oxidizable matter and recoverable metals. He checked and sucked empty one of various deep holes where large amounts of kelp and light sinkable rubbish tended to accumulate. He checked a cove where tide and currents often accumulated driftwood. He knew places where rubbish was routinely tipped. He knew where there was deep silt full of organic matter where sewers had discharged for over a century. And he had other work.

He arranged himself carefully among underwater scrap left by a broken-up shipwreck. Once it has been the S.S. Cawnpore, carrying mixed cargo. The sort of thing that sport divers liked to explore. CN34 surveyed the area quickly by light-sight and sonar, but his brain was programmed to be work-minded and not tempted to explore when not needed. If any civilian divers poked about with one of those little hand-held sonars that divers can buy, they would not notice much wrong. Four divers with miscellaneous air scuba kit came past, with net bags full of scallops. But his sonar activated transponders on them: they were licenced shellfish divers, leave them. They knew that their transponders had activated, and were thankful that they had gone legal.

The ex-Greenpeace men found the pipe end. They used rebreathers: Dräger Atlantics this time, repainted all black. Underwater, the new menace seemed light-years away. By now they had designed a pipe-end-blocker that could fit on many shapes of pipe end. Soon the pipe would not discharge any more pollution for a while.

But such matters have now been seen to, and the divers were on a method and cause and line of thought that had run its time. The only organisms that ever came out of the outfall pipe were eggs and young from the fish and shellfish that were kept for breeding in the building. Things were different, and Greenpeace diver types had new enemies. One of them swept his small handheld sonar about and noticed that the wreck seemed to have a boiler too many. His fullface mask allowed talking, but it was too late to warn. Another pipe stabbed out at them from beyond the underwater visibility limit, which was about 15 feet. There was a blast of ultrasound and suction. Like many others since the law changed they vanished inside the steel-cased, hydroplane-steered, propeller-ended, rubbish and scubadiver digesting, impersonal-looking bulk of CN34, a Type DSS3 suction dredgersub.

Dock security

The blip o n the sonar screen showed the docker-foreman that an unidentified diver was in the dock. He sent in a docks patrol frogman with a Siebe Gorman Salvus short-dive rebreather and an electromagnetic-powered nailgun to intercept. The Salvus is very light and streamlined, and he was much fitter than most amateur divers, and he quickly close-hauled the apparent intruder and arrested him at gunpoint. It was me, and I also was armed, with a Russian-made APS underwater rifle.
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I am well trained what to do in mutual-gunpoint situations. I had a Type 2 bag-on-chest rebreather in pure oxygen mode. "Sea Patrol" I said, showing an identity tag. Both of us had mouth-and-nose breathing masks and could talk, "I take it you weren't running your sonar transponder.".

"Uhh, sorry." said the docks man, and then went to switch an ultrasound communicator on.

"Leave that switched off. I'm under orders to check everything. There was underwater activity that we weren't told about.".

"That was us. Some crates fell in the water. And yesterday our security chased two men off and they dumped stuff in the water and we had to get it back. They'd been prowling about several times or trying to get let in saying they were different things. They're from town, no steady jobs. That type.".

"And you sent men in without telling us. Watch out we don't suspend your harbour's running diving permit for a fortnight for that sort of slackness. This is just what we don't want: not being able to tell authorized from unauthorized when there's several of both about.".

"Foreman rang and you were engaged.".

"And obeying rules gets hostage to the `hallophone' and the ways it acts up. I thought you lot knew how to tell an engaged line that someone else is trying to get through. Commandant was busy about Dev-Null, that's one of our type DSS D7.1 suction dredger subs, he was in being serviced. He's just setting off again. Watch out when he's around.".

"Foreman said there were two other diver-type echoes further away.".

"We've seen them. Get back on land before that little breathing set runs out and tell the rest from us to report all your unreported dives properly.".

On my way back, I heard and investigated aqualung bubbling. I found the cause where he had sneaked in down a disused boat-stair. He was in the way of shipping. He had no sonar transponder. He was easy to see with the bright colors on his kit. "Yet another chlorine-breathing alien in for a look round". I thought irritatedly at his bright yellow cylinder. Another one who neither knew or cared about either us or the rules about gas cylinder colors. He floundered round heavily to try to face me: aqualungs are heavy and stick out and make the diver heavy and slow in turning. He knew so little that he made the scoobydoo `circle and point' "hallo" sign at me as if to another sport club member. My eyes showed no emotion through the small eyeholes above my efficient-looking rebreather-mask as I punched the scoobydoo's `pillbox mask' off, and pulled his mouthpiece out as I pulled my hand back. I ordered him to surface and get on land. I followed him.
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"Two more in the next dock northwards" I told the docks frogman as he changed his breathing set. He and three others dived again in the next dock along and made a quick hard arrest of five sport divers who were skylarking about in it. Again the Siebe Gorman Salvus industrial / short-dive rebreather was much more light and agile than sport gear in action.
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A docks security squad met them as a crane lifted then onto land in a cargo net. "I take it you know nothing at all about that powerboat which had been sunk in that dock the night before." I told them as the docks security callout squad cut the arrested men out of their wetsuits.

The docks squad processed them and their gear with their usual hardness and thoroughness of heavy manual workmen who have had too much dose of pleasure-seekers getting in the way and taking stuff. Many Sea Patrol men have been recruited from among them. "That fancy-colored kit of theirs 'll look just right picked up on the boiler furnace stoker's shovel." the foreman said.

After that, the docks frogmen recharged their sets and went back to checking some dock gates underwater. The docker-foreman's propane flamethrower routinely burnt up seized kit as easily as it burnt off old paint or flyposters, or melted roofing tar when re-waterproofing a tool lockup.
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A report of unusual activity by some people who had landed from an unlisted pleasure-type craft, proved to be four men angling for sea bass to sell on the side in the market to pay bills.

After that, we drove half a mile inland in a inner city area behind the docks. We permanently closed Joe's Scuba Center down as we routinely seized and disposed of its contents and records. In the alley beside the shop someone's battered 3rd-hand car of doubtfully legal ownership and overdue licence plate would have to stay blocked in until our lorry and transportable incinerator had finished its work there. The labels on our riotshields made their purpose quite clear and were not office-minded euphemisms. A postman, and two Gas Board men with a van and officious petty queries, and two salesmen, and a succession of argumentative public wanting access or bits of property and money back, each in turn saw the squad's sergeant's propane flamethrower (his usual guard weapon) and decided not to take their matters further. The property's landlord and his three agents refused to be told but waved papers at us and tried to bounce us away, but our riotsquad training and shields and Sea Patrol issue pickaxe handles soon stopped them, and they joined the other prisoners at our base.
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A man bringing a load of hired sport gear back to Joe's had an unexpected meeting. He was yet another who did not read the newspapers and switched the TV news off after the headlines; but he "got the point" when he met me.
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We finished loading up and went back to the docks.

"Yet more suspicious echoes on our sonar." said the docker foreman.

"Call your men out of the water." I ordered him, for a moving patch of heavy swirling in the dock access channel water showed that the matter was being seen to. When the docks work divers had climbed up a boat ladder onto the quay, they went casual and talked about a meal, but my sergeant called them to attention.

"Silence. 'Ten-shun!. No, you hose your kit down and service it and refill your sets, and then you eat and idle about. Stop that fidgeting. 'Ten-shun properly! I'll not let licenced divers get casual. And, you called `Timmo': Don't swallow! Take your mask and hood off! Don't swallow!".

`Timmo' obeyed. Even for a licenced diver, being interrogated by the Sea Patrol is not to be treated casually.

"Face me and open your mouth full wide. Don't swallow!".

`Timmo' obeyed.

"Tongue to the left and up as far as it can go. Don't swallow!".

The tongue went over, but rather awkwardly.

"Tongue back to the right, in one go, and right up. Don't swallow!".

The tongue movement was again awkward, as if it was trying to drag something along with it.

"Back to the left, twice as fast. Don't swallow!".

During the movement, the sergeant suddenly produced a blunt forceps from inside his right sleeve and quickly jabbed inside with it. Timmo said "ow!" as the forceps caught flesh as they dragged something out.

"What's this?!" the sergeant asked.

"It's a dental work fitting that just came loose." Timmo said nervously.

"What's this?!" the sergeant asked.

"It's a lozenge that the doctor told me to keep in my mouth. I've got a condition.".

"What's this?!" the sergeant asked.

"It's - chewing gum." Timmo said, admitting defeat.

"Then why did you say it was those other things?".

"I need it. I've got to keep my juices running.".

"What does the diving training manual say about chewing gum!?".

"Er - er -".

"What does it say?!".

"OK, it says it looks sloppy and rude, it may make speech unclear when I very importantly need to be understood first go, it may get down my throat or into the set when I get into funny attitudes underwater, er, it looks sloppy, sorry, er er, it gets trodden into the carpet, it - I know how to keep chewing gum in my mouth.".

"Not well enough, judging by the bills people get to have chewing gum cleaned off things. What do the rules say about those two excuses?".

"That I mustn't come out with those excuses and they don't count. That if my mouth's dry I must wet it some other way that's safe, think of food or something but not if it'd distract me from attending to things, or it must stay dry.".

"But you weren't trying to fight that slovenly mouth habit and you thought you could get away with it. Your voice was unclear because of it being in there, and you having to repeat twice because of it before your foreman understood you, delayed important action. I'm reporting you to our licencing office for careless practice underwater and sloppyness in public. If you were one of my men I'd cancel your next leave and order you to use the time to write a 4-page report on the rules about this. OK, give me the rest of the packet and all the other packets. Ditto the rest of you.".

Our suction-dredger-sub Dev-Null went over a flat bottom past a rough concrete dock wall to the echoes. They were two men with sport-type air scuba and no sonar transponders. Above his rounded-cylindrical bulk his suction tube aimed and untelescoped as he routinely sucked them up without slowing. In a work cavity connected to his dredgings tank they proved to be the same two men who were chased away the day before. Interrogation found only that they were Donald Duck and Scrooge MacDuck and lived at Pondville. Dev-Null's sentient computer brain's attitude to matters was a rough waterfront mixture of dredger-skipper and naval officer, and for some time he had been out of patience with endless variations of that line of sillyness from interrogated suspects. As he emptied their cylinders into his engine's air intake and let his onboard recycler / destructor summarily finish the job, he called on modulated ultrasound for SDS43, who he had been told was in the area, and reported what had happened.
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"'Ere's DDS47 " said SDS43, sending an image,
"'E's that older make with the 'ose coming out straight up.
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Back to base 'e comes with Nantwich BSAC in 'is dredgings tank. That was the end o' that lot. Nantwich is a town in Cheshire. Not the place to need much work divin' doin', 'cept a few canals and salt-mining subsidence meres, so there's no #@% need to keep up all those divers and then there's no work for 'em so they muck about in other men's areas.

This is 'im and another a year or so back off West Africa cleanin' up a bunch that were pinchin' pearl shell all over the place, native divers taking everything till the reef was dead with old sport divers' cast-offs and such crude stuff as garden hose fed from pneumatic drill compressors.
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A naval suction dredger-sub came with us part way and turned off to Tenerife.
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This is it helping to clean up a big bunch that were nosing round a wreck. 'Owever far they go to waste fuel and metals, we find them. The men with us had to go inside the wreck after some of them. Grab some skinny-armed unfit %$# by one of 'is D-rings, and 'is flimsy sport mask comes off as easy as usual. All that fancy sport shop kit of theirs designed to look pretty and "cool", and to wear out quickly so he must buy another, rather than to do its job properly for as long as possible: to us it's merely expensive power-station fuel.".

We thought we'd cleaned the 'ole coast out, but a few lots still tried it on and a squad 'ad to go in on land. Phew it was 'ot there, lucky the squad's suits have a clip-on cooler. I reckon we didn't need our incinerator there, the weather there's that 'ot anyway. We 'andy devices with our onboard destructors clean up ALL the rubbish that gets in the sea in our areas. And where did yer get yer name?".
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"I was told /dev/null 's a place in a Unix computer and if yer send anything there it vanishes. That's why they chose my name." said Dev-Null.

SDS43 followed the noise and the signal. He turned left into a gully between rocks. He found three Sea Patrol frogmen, who went alongside him, two on a `chariot' and one with a Protei 5 diver-rider. "Thanks. This'll save us some trouble." one of them said to him. As they routinely swept the gully, they found what they thought they would find. The flaps over his suction pump's blowoff vents opened as his tube untelescoped and traversed to starboard as without slowing or turning he routinely quickly disposed of two suspicious unidentified divers.
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But they were not all the suspects on site. Two Sea Patrol frogmen with CDBA rebreathers swam side by side on a routine search. Their day seemed to be very much the same and boredom found a distraction. Their round mouth-and-nose masks under their eyeholes allowed talking, unlike sport divers with their gag-mouthpieces. Manchester and Leeds United football clubs, two local girls, the local takeaway food shops, in turn each passed through the agenda in the deep weightless silence out of sight of sergeants, leaving remembering to look above themselves as `any other business' to be attended to when they got around to it while danger came down on them from above. They jumped with surprise as SDS43's hard 2'10"-diameter suction tube tapped them on the shoulder and something with a loaded and primed compressed-air speargun in each hand vanished up it with a clang and a bubbling and a flap of bright-colored sport scuba shop rubber on steel.
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"Oi, I just sucked something off your back." SDS43 said, "When you get back to base, lets have a 16-page report on that discussion and what it concluded and recommended, and why it was more important than staying silent and alert when on patrol. We subs can signal each other without everybody 'earing it; you can't with your kit.". They attended to their job more thoroughly after that.

"DSS34 was more alert one time." said Dev-Null, "That was when we stopped a smuggling gang. `This #@%$ thing's had at least 20 of me mates.' one of them said. They'd got 'old of naval-type rebreathers an' backpack motor and propeller backpacks and even tried to take us on with an 'ome-made limpet mine. 'E detected them in time and knocked 'em out with 'is underwater ultrasound gun. They spoilt it. They 'ad good silent rebreathers, and one of 'em spoilt it by talking. Don't try it on.
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Yes, we can take on 'arder types than sport divers. Same lot as once boarded and searched some ordinary `weekend Columbus''s runabout thinkin' 'e was in another gang. `Next time don't run that stuff in our area. Then you're coming for a little swim with us out o' sight o' your fancy bunch on the surface.' one of 'em said. That's one of the sort o' thing we Sea Patrol were brought in to stop.".
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"There's no point them 'opin' they'll go unseen at night ." said SDS43 reporting this later, "Sport scuba gear bubbling noise goes a long way underwater. And dark and bad vis[ibility] don't stop dredger-sub sonar. Same 'olds with our manned patrol subs. Their side-scan sonar can see detail much further'n divers' eyesight underwater visibility limit.".
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"And we just got three." another signal came in, "That subskimmer we got off that bunch, has turned out handy already.".
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"You aren't the only body who do something about shellfish poachers.". said another dredger-sub from a few miles away, "I'm CN34, I belong to UKIFA, that's the UK Inshore Fisherman's Association. Before all your 'andy new laws and powers came in, there was a man 'ad some land by the shore. A diving gear shop 'ad 'im in their pocket. He kept lettin' sport divers use a deep inshore gully sheltered among rocks. Until one day. I phoned 'im yet again. 'E thought over the phone I was a 'uman, kept #@% offering me drinks to make me look the other way. He kept saying there weren't a scooby-doo in the county and certainly #%§$ all in 'is gully. There's a ridge between the gully and the open sea. There's a gap in it, that's dry or you'd only get a rowboat through it. But it was the 'ighest spring tide of the year. I slipped in through it and down and there were 17 of 'em at it in there taking stuff without a care in the world. I tanked the lot in a minute and an 'alf. Some of them went like a starfish, but that never works with me. I went the way I came and back to base. That was the end of that scoobydoo-ery. The trippers on shore didn't see anything.".
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"Not quite the end." I said, "We busted 'is cottage later. Enough kit for fifty scoobie-doos that 'e'd bricked up in a cellar in too much of an 'urry to dry it. Damp weather and we 'adn't the time to lay it out to dry. Our Big Burnup Machine needed some 'elp, there was too many wet wetsuits and damp stab-jackets and three fibreglass boats in its load. That sort of job's why our transportable incinerator's got that big propane tank to 'elp. I remember all too well the stale diving gear smell and mouse and rat nests when we were barrowing that lot out and shovelling it in. We're cleaning out all those furtive scoobie dens since the new law came in, even if we've got to go to the back end of Upper Cowshit Pasture Lane Ends Cottages to bust them.".
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"That was a neat bit of `gully emptying'! said Dev-Null. "I live up to my name. Every so often one a suspect tries funny tricks, but it never works. Such as when one tried to 'ug my tube and another was 'olding on inside . They try that sometimes. That's where the good old `formal and unconditional retraction' comes in. Retract the end segment, that means pull it right back inside the next, then that inside the next after if yer must, and in 'e went and knocked 'is mate loose and down they both went to join their chums in my tank. Nothing left of them next day. A gully emptier's a special tanker lorry the Corporation 'as. It 'as a pump and 'ose and tube a bit like mine. They use it to suck the muck out 'o the drain grid 'oles in the street.".
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"I 'ad the same " said CN34, "Yet another pair o' scooby-doos thought there was something valuable in a sunk speedboat and that their knives would win all fights. I got one more scratch on top of all the scratches and dents and scrapes I've got already off rocks and wreck and knives and spears as they vanished down my suction tube into my dredgings tank for processing. And they say the men've got two sorts of really fancy new kit coming to get at scoobies who try it on in out-of-the-way corners behind mountains and suchlike.".
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The others knew what CN34 did inside his industrial-looking dirty cylindrical scarred hull with its rear-end propeller spinning impersonally between four hydroplanes: Interrogate them. Remove large metals. Keep cylinders for a while to empty them into his engine air intake. If they had rebreathers, break open all absorbent canisters and flush the resulting `cocktail' safely out to sea through a vent. Then process them the same as all the rest of the rubbish that gets in the sea in his area. The next stage was silent because he had soundproof round his grinder. Pump everything into an advanced derivative of the fuel-cell, which oxidizes everything oxidizable leaving nothing but recrystallized separated metal oxides, and water and solubles and nitrogen and carbon dioxide, and electricity to power his motor. The warning notices on his sides made his purpose quite clear.

- Another dredging equipment designer came up with this. Some coastguard bodies use it. It is useful for various shallow-water work and security purposes. It is not fully a submarine, but it can up-end and make short dives. This version is 35 feet long (ignoring the rudder); its grab can reach 18 feet deep with its hull level, 40 feet by surface up-ending like a duck, and more by diving (up to about 55 feet with the stern end just submerged).
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Inland

We secured both ends of the back alley. Someone had carelessly left the pub's fire-exit ajar, which saved us some time and noise. As we and our dumper burst in , we found what we thought we would find. The barman reached under his counter for something, but thought better as I fired a 4-inch nail into his shiny bar top from 20 feet away and showed yet another argumentative type that my Sea Patrol issue electromagnetic-powered nailgun was not a cordless drill. Those guns make no bang, only a slight reloading click. Two men in wetsuits, one of them examining another wetsuit, and diving gear including assembled sport-type scuba sets without official stamps, showed what had been going on there undercover after it had been made illegal.

I challenged the barman as I arrested him: "Oi, bar-keep, so this is what all those `private function, keep out' evenings are!? You should have reported this lot to us, not just taken their money and kept quiet. You were sent our circular about the new diving control laws." I radioed for our prisoner van. We arrested everybody found there and cleaned the place out, including a cylinder-filler compressor hidden behind stacks of beer and food in the cellar, and went to our next call.
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The bouncer was a typical untrained heavy who had got a lot of his muscle out of the steroid-syringe. We routinely silenced and gagged and handcuffed him before he could raise the alarm. As I led my squad into the café, a picture on a wall behind its counter showed its owner's or manager's likely sympathies.
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I challenged the man behind the counter. One look at my backpack blowtorch and my second-man's submachine gun told him that he better press the buttons to unlock his fire-exit door and silence its alarm. The man with the heli-backpack who had landed to secure the fire-exit came in through it.

"Oi, if you're the mâitre d', you said you were booked solid for every time we tried to book this place for our dinner, but I don't see many customers in here now, and there weren't the other times we passed.".

"Er, their plane's late, the airport rang, they'll be coming.".

"And every time?".

"And you'd want the place exclusive, I couldn't put other customers in the spare seats. And too much risk you'd get a call-out at the last minute and I'd be left with all the food cooked and I'd have to give it to the Aunt Sally [= Salvation Army] or something like when next door booked some firemen two months ago. Sorry, I don't take bulk bookings from uniforms who may get called out. And where's my doorman?".

"Your bouncer's under arrest for obstructing and assaulting Sea Patrol. We have permanent right of entry everywhere except a few secret Armed Forces areas. Here's the list of what we're ordering. We'll be back with all the men in an hour for it.".

"Steak au poivre - crêpes suzettes - etc etc, what's all this fancy stuff you want!? You can see above my head what's on our list. I don't like waterfront thugs in riotsquad uniforms barging in giving orders, and I didn't like seeing nine tons of good nearly-new sport diving gear including mine and seven RIB's vanishing into your fragmenter at one of your surrender points, and no soundproofing to stop us from hearing it being ground up.".

We left the place and took the prisoners from the pub raid back to base. They proved to be persistent offenders, and the commandant gave an order.
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Four civilians up to no good in an alley described me and another Sea Patrol man as "Now it's bloody `seeps' working our patch. @#$ off back to yer own turf.", but our issue weapons quickly overpowered them. One of them wasted his time trying to club me over the head through my helmet while my companion shot him. We called the ordinary police to take the four off our hands and hid in the factory doorway until the businessman came. "Gotcha. Lets see what's in that case about why your idle paperwork-only office needs so many industrial breathing sets and what that workshop hidden in its basement's been converting them for.".
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Next, a man unwarily drying his diving gear spread out in a ground-floor conservatory after a dive in a flooded quarry found that remote rural corners inland with a thunderstorm coming are not off limits to us. Our dumper crew cleaned out a gear hoard from under the cottage across the road's hay and horse feed stack and then searched this house. Apart from large metals this lot vanished into our transportable fragmenter and ended up as power station fuel the same day.
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The rest of his bunch were away diving in a remote deep cold lake, but roadless mountains inland don't stop us.
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The jetpackmen skimmed over rough rocks and sodden moor, catching out the 23 unauthorized sport divers who had planned to finish and get away before anything could find them patrolling along steep winding cart tracks and paths only fit for mountain goats. The scoobies thought of scattering, but the moor was cold and hypothermia from exposure would have left many of them as raven food. They formed up and tried to drive at the obstruction, but a few tyres shot out stopped that.

I was in the personnel carrier's frontmost seat on the left side. We drove endless miles over bare grass and rock moor. We met little delay on the road, and stopped on the bridge. Now that the law has been changed, the driver of any vehicle caught in front of an official action vehicle in a traffic jam, can be tried in court for obstructing the police / Sea Patrol / fire brigade / whatever; repeats of this tend to concentrate people's minds as to whether each car journey is as necessary as supposed. The road went under the right edge of a mountain with its top in the low clouds and then turned right through a rock cutting and over a bridge over a small steep-sided stream valley. It was a long way from anything that looked sea-like, but we had a mission there. There was nothing but the stream and a few moor birds to hide the noise of what we were there for. A cold wind blew fog past but did not blow it away.
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We all jumped out and ran across the moor, silently following our squad leader's compass reading and satellite navigator. We found the scoobies by the remote lake. We charged. They were a more than usually rough lot and tried to resist with sticks and stones and diver's knives, and some accused us of being illegal vigilantes, but we quickly overpowered them as usual.

We broke up the unauthorized divers' gear on site. We piled up the burnable stuff. The vegetation and peat were much too wet to burn, so the squad leader's propane flamethrower and one of our men's USA army type liquid flamethrower put a quick end on site to the arrested men's kit and the cars that they had come in. The arrested scooby-doos thought they were fit because of intermittent easy weekend diving, but they soon found otherwise when we marched them out at our pace to the pickup point carrying their weight belts and cylinders to dump in a seizures hold in one of our vehicles. Yet another bunch's fuel and raw materials wasting current pleasure dive was their last. Our base commandant tried the arrested men in base that evening and we took them to the prison next morning.

By then we had new destructors that can safely consume everything including full cylinders, and the old heaps of seized and surrendered kit in our bases' storerooms and back-land were quickly power-shoveled into them.

As the men on the work said at the time:-

"That's the end of the road for that old big accumulation. Set exit grid size 1 inch and electromagnet out all metals. This lot's for power station fuel and I don't trust that place's workmen not to try to salvage bits. All the cylinders are empty."
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"And in goes that 'ome-made chariot we seized off Falmouth that time? Crunch crunch gone in 12 seconds, motor and all. This new fragmenter's really somethin'. In goes THAT and about time, after &%£#-knows-how many string-pullin's and silly solicitors' letters comin' 'ere tryin' to say it's research kit and nothin' to do wi' diving.".
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The destructor ran steadily, powered by generators running on wave movements and tide currents. The first-stage broke up oversize items such as boats, and pushed everything along. Anything caught between the rotating spiral impellers and the opposite spiral ridges in the inside of its casing was cut or broken apart. The mechanism did not slow or get wedged as it sliced a folded tough drysuit into five pieces and pushed them along. Inside the impersonal steel casing of the second-stage, opposite-rotating steel blades and perforated drums effciently reduced drysuits and wetsuits and stab-jackets and fins and tangled regulator hoses and remains of boats and everything else to half-inch-sized pieces.

"And what on earth's this?".

"Some sort of pressure suit. Likeliest for high flying. Police caught someone using it adapted for diving without a permit in a quarry-lake. They brought it 'ere with 'im.".

"Never bloody mind where it came from. Sling it in. The second-stage'll grind it up with everything else.".
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"And while we're at it, we better get rid of all those Aquaco diver-tugs, now the word's come through about them at last that they've decided that they are too underpowered for issue to us or the armed forces. I reckon we've got at least 500 of them 'ere.".
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Underwater again

Ten days later a university's research submarine had engine trouble and had to stop in a sheltered bay for repairs, and was harassed by underwater wreck-pickers and sightseers, but a Sea Patrol frogman on a Russian-made Protei 5 diver-rider went into action against them.
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Next day off Weymouth we had our second known run-in with the so-called `GRG' gang, as a squad of their frogmen vanished inside the industrial-looking bulk of the UK Inshore Fishermen's Association's dredger-sub CN34. That lot were known smugglers and general-purpose illegal activities men with a history of giving orders or else to people who used boats on the coast: some time ago much of its area's old big summer and weekend shellfish-poaching sport diver nuisance had vanished down his dirty scarred suction tube. A chariot was following a subskimmer. He approached from behind in sonar silence to avoid the 'skimmer surfacing and starting its outboard and running for it. He recognized the `GRG' insignia on the men's armbands as he came into light-sight range. He knocked the chariot's streamlining cover off and quickly cleaned out inside. The subskimmer's crew wore the same insignia. He knew how to tackle subskimmers. It heard the noise and swerved round to dodge as it ran for the surface, but his jabbing suction tube knocked the 'skimmer's thruster arm off as he took out its pilot first. A fleeing man's raygun boiled water and made a surface burn before CN34's ultrasound knocked him out.
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After 31 years of cleaning up rubbish and recovering usable metals and energy in his men's sea area, CN34 knew what to do as he efficiently demolished and tanked the little craft.
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The chariot proved to be properly made of metal, so he trailed a magnetic clamp on a line and towed the chariot back to base. Next morning the chariot had been repainted and no trace was left of this incursion.

Meanwhile we had got a new design of underwater craft, a grab-dredgersub with the grab component integral and an onboard recycler / metals separator /destructor. The top of its clamshell grab, and the surface that it rests against when stowed, have matching hinged hatches which open into a wide suction-aided intake passage leading to its onboard dredgings tank. GDS17, 30-foot version of this design, was on its way to a job looked in a 55-foot-deep gully that it knew. Bad weather had sunk a craft engaged in an inshore amphibious exercise, and the inevitables had come, allegedly only to look; but it had one order about underwater intruders. "Real right 'christmas trees' some of this lot are: this one's got a big movie camera, writing board, lobster hook, speargun, 6 wreck-hacking tools on his weightbelt, goodie bag with already a wreck-picked binocular in it." it noted as it routinely shovelled him up; he was the last of them. A surface boat picked up the abandoned inflatable later.
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New kit

Once again someone found that distance and bad roads do not stop us. I woke as usual in a barracks hut at our Fort Bovisand base. Before we were formed the huts had been holiday accommodation for yet more trippers. We marched to our usual mess hut. During breakfast the sergeant made two announcements.

"We have been sent another design of raygun to test its reliability and combat-practicalness. Codenamed `Valkyrie' or `V'. Handheld, needs both hands. Made by a firm called Royloo Ltd. About a yard long.".

"What, another?" someone in the ranks muttered. Ever since the weapons labs found that rayguns were possible after all, we have been used as a testing ground for nearly every new design that came out when we have plenty else to do.

"Our hidden camera at a quarry in South Wales saw some scuba divers in civilian-type kit arrive at 4.35 hours this morning already kitted for diving, but they left before our arrest squad could get there. That new kit that I showed yesterday should prevent that sort of delay that allows escape. Police road cameras are tracking their vehicles crossing Somerset:" and stated a map grid reference and issued orders. Several men left their food and ran into another building to kit up. After breakfast, the rest marched into a yard where a man in a Ministry of Defence laboratory uniform showed and explained some sanples of the new raygun.

Sea Patrol Sergeant Peter Ellingsley recorded in his logbook: "Arrived at Langton Cottage, Sutton Lane Ends.", and the time, "All the suspect vehicles are here, and some more cars and a van.".

A blasting noise of small jet motors outside disturbed the meeting from their dinner. Some of them looked out.

"What - !!!?" one of them exclaimed, "Somehow I don't think that's Kalki Avatar dropping in - and behind him a squad more of them flying in but without the anatomical extra bits. Uhh, that Ellingsley's been promoted, and I don't think we'll be doing any more scuba diving from here. Conserving energy and metals was a good idea, but it led to that new law about diving being for work and the armed forces only, and all our kit including my good made-to-measure drysuit 'll be power station fuel before tomorrow night. Put that shotgun down, Alec, you never resist the Sea Patrol with guns if you value your ... akkhh, too late, he's broken a window and fired a dose of that new antiriot gas in. ...".
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We pushed in and searched. Ellingsley's bulky electromagnetic-powered nailgun disposed of three farm dogs that went to bite us. We arrested and put restraints on 13 people in various rooms. Then another job to do again, another manury stable to search, another dusty musty horse feed stack to look under, as well as the house to search.

"Oh no, these creatures again. They belong on the racing page, not as the real thing." one of our men said, "And that one's a stallion, I don't trust them any more than bulls, from what I've heard.". But he had to help us to shoo them out into a field and get the stable's tools. "I didn't join up to muck out stables after a load of manurous horses." he said, but his shovel hit something hard under the old straw and wood-wool litter. Under the ammonia-reeking old bedding and dried-out horse, er, deposit was a hatch in the floor. Under the hatch were steps leading down into an old air-raid shelter. We left two men to guard our jetpacks and went down, and found what we had come for. Ellingsley radioed base. While we interrogated the prisoners, our collection vehicles came.

"You're not putting our good scuba gear in that. At least we can keep it in memory of the old days." one of the prisoners said angrily, straining at his handcuffs, looking at the powerful-looking hopper-fed mechanism on the back of our compactor truck.

"We are." I said, "It packs tighter and the power station's solid fuel feed acts easier if wetsuits and stab-jackets and regulator hoses are broken up to at least hand size. This stuff's no use to us. We've got our proper issue frogman's kit. And the charge of not surrendering it still holds. Diving's work, diving gear's work kit, not for mucking about in for fun. And watch it grinding up this RIB: it's really something.", as a brightly-colored RIB vanished endways into the 8 feet by 3 feet wide hopper with loud crunchings as rotating blades inside a steel casing broke up hard fibreglass and tore thick rubber.

"A club in London had better sense." Ellingsley said, "They brought all their gear on a five-ton truck and sailed their four inflatables to our base in the docks in time during the surrender period and were let away without charges. The boats had names of wartime German battleships on them. Scoobydoos are like that. But all four went in our destructor just the same.".

We loaded them into our prison van and took them back to base. The lorry carrying the ground-up seizures turned off and went to a power station. One of our dumpers took more siezed scuba gear past holiday caravans which we had not yet cleared away, to our gear-scrapping workshop.
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When the base commandant tried them that evening, nine of them were found guilty merely of "knowing and not informing authority" and were fined and released. But four were persistent offenders against the diving laws with a long record of shellfish poaching and taking wreck and evading us, and our new pneumatic rifles each powered from a siezed stab-jacket's inflation cylinder settled the matter.
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We next went to Torquay for a liaison meeting with some French CRS riot police who came across from Brest in a patrol boat. Someone with yet another ex-Russian IDA71 tried to spy on the meeting, but our new kit stopped him in time before he planted listening bugs. He was one of the venturesome types who filled one of his set's absorbent canisters in Russian military mode with potassium superoxide, which releases oxygen as it absorbs carbon dioxide. That is dangerous stuff and we do not use it, as my issue raygun showed when I flew over him and shot his breathing set open to force him to stay on the surface.
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When I got back to base, Sergeant Ellingsley was mending a small rip in his drysuit. He stretched it out in both hands and used both hands to mend the rip. Seeing his arms still gave me that confused feeling: two plus two makes too many. Nature got things badly wrong with him.

"Man in a dinghy said 'e was birdwatching, showed a university `boat use for research' permit when 'e set off, but I was chariotting and surfaced and caught 'im 'auling someone else's [lobster] pots. Not diver. 'E went for me with a stick with a nail through it. Kevlar doesn't usually tear like this. 'E went aggressive and said 'e was #@&£ entitled to since 'e'd no living else, since we stopped 'im from taking trippers round the light'ouse and back. Didn't stop me from tipping 'is boat up and 'e went in. Then 'e lost all 'is bottle and went all `help mummy mummy I can't swim.'. I just got a call saying our Lancashire unit arrested a man at that university for selling `boat use for research' permits for money.".

"Likely we did." I said, "People have been using up far too much for far too long.".

"On the way back I went to an Indian [takeaway] for a curry and the man looked scared and started doin' puja to me till I told 'im not to. I keep getting that. I've 'eard what it's like for us in the Caribbean. #@%$ of a big job stopping ordinary pleasure boating there, as well as scoobydoo diving. We've got a base on Great Exuma island in the Bahamas. Used to be a fancy boat marina. On its back-land there's an 'eap the size of a coal tip of pleasure boats we've taken off people. Some of them with £$@# enormous motors just to carry a few people. The drug barons don't like it, there's much less boat traffic now for the cocaine runners to 'ide among.

These jetpacks are 'andy things over there. They can fly faster and farther than 'elipacks. Two teenagers in fancy leather jackets got 'old of a boat and 'ad a go at sailing, got caught in an 'urricane. Two of us with jetpacks managed to get them out through its eye. Real strange place, that great 'ole through the middle of it, blue sky and that great wall of cloud around. It's #@% 'igh and cold and thin air getting 'igh enough to get above the wind in an 'urricane. They got frostbite and 'ypothermia, tried to blame us. We dumped them in the cop station in Nassau.".
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The three new man-catching sentient-computer-controlled small missile-like planes called Autograbs flew into the Sea Patrol base.
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They sometimes span endways like some torpedoes do. The Sea Patrol men knew that that was not a control fault but to quieten the foreign diving marine biology expedition that was tanked in their holds. The expedition had no British diving permit or boat-use permit but had decided to chance it and set off in a small boat from a 200-foot ship that claimed it was a small freighter. One of our patrol boats had challenged them. They ran for it, and, as several times before, our boat lost them among rocks. But the Autograbs flew straight over the rocks and surf and reached them before they could get their red powerboat to land and hide onshore. One Autograb stowed the expedition's surface support men in its tank as the rest grabbed the surfacing divers. As it flew back to base to unload, the Autograb felt its tank contents struggling and hitting about with things, but its tank is bulletproof.
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The base's gear-breakers were busy afterwards. Some of the siezed scuba sets were converted to industrial breathing sets to sell to help pay the bills. The culprits were tried the same night by the base's commandant and went to prison - luckily. Some later Autograbs have onboard destructors.

Five of the arrested men were ordered to not idle paperwork or trading business but proper work, i.e. hard manual work, in a secure factory, and were overjoyed to be told that they would get their scuba sets back - until they saw what the sets had been converted into, with the usual design features to prevent use underwater deeper than about ten feet depth pressure: stab-jackets cut down to plain backpack harnesses, new cylinder-clamps, regulators set so they will not work at over 5 feet depth pressure, and in this case war-surplus gasmasks as fullface masks (Z & K don't waste much).
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And siezed twin-hose aqualungs often became this: out of water there is no need for a return hose.
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Or sometimes this: here is a use where was report of asbestos in the mortar in the wall.
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Meanwhile we identified their parent craft and set off by air and sea to arrest it.
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It was an ex-trawler about 120 feet long. By now we also had discovered the usefulness of our new backpack frogman's rebreathers. The boat's crew sealed themselves in. Our landing party blasted a sealed hatch and a bridge door open. The ship's crew resisted with guns. They had clearly been transporting the marine biologists as a cover or a sideline. After a sharp fight we took the ship over. Our frogmen threw rope ladders up and came on board; their breathing sets and diving suits protected them when the crew squirted chemicals at us. Sergeant Ellingsley got into the hold. Someone shot at him. He held onto a pipe with his first right hand while he fired an explosive grenade from his teargas grenade gun with his second right hand and first left hand, breaking the starboard engine's exhaust pipe. As the below-decks quickly filled with engine fumes, shouting and panic started and more men than we had expected baled out from many sorts of hiding holes and surrendered, or jumped into the water and tried to swim away. Three of them hid weapons and pretended to surrender to get near us armed; after that we shot all we found.

"We were only taking them for a swim." one of the prisoners bleated, "And we've still got men in the water, we aren't just leaving them.".

"I know, our sonar saw them and our hydrophones heard a mile away the din their noisy bubbly air scuba was making. We've cleaned them up.".
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As we approached their boat, I and some others had slid into the water, We got near them undetected with our silent efficient backpack rebreathers. Our ultrasound guns saw them long before their eyesight could have seen us in the typical low-visibility British seawater. I and my assigned companion Sea Patrolman Stephen Winterley saw that two of them each had a powerful-looking speargun in one hand and a long knife in the other hand. Better safe than sorry when arresting some character who has seen plenty of the steroid-syringe. We set out ultrasound guns to maximum power and aimed and fired, making no "bang" noise that others could hear. The two dropped their weapons and went limp and slowly sank. Something above me made an angry noise into his mouthpiece and grabbed at my breathing set, finding no projecting valve and connection assembly to hold. While he was trying in vain to reach over my rebeather's smooth hard rounded front end to find its breathing tubes, I rolled over, breaking his grip, much faster with my training and streamlined kit than he could manoeuvre about with his awkward bulky sport air scuba. He saw my ultrasound gun and seemed to decide not to go for either of his weapons. But I had seen a knife on his left leg, and I saw another weapon or tool tucked into his stab-jacket, and I am trained to do one thing in this sort of confrontation, and never mind risking the trick of pretending to surrender. By now I was back-downwards below him. I brought my right hand holding my ultrasound gun forwards as I set it to maximum power, and shoved him off with its muzzle against his chest in the gap between his stab-jacket's sides and its two front straps. Its ultrasound beam liquified most of his heart. Meanwhile Steve caught one of the scoobies and hauled him up to our boat to be landed and questioned, and on the way disposed of the last of the gang, who was using a camera. We found the above two images in his camera. Next day one of our dredger-subs went there and cleaned up below.

We cleared their boat and switched its starboard engine off and took it into Portland. We found no GRG matter on board. We found a common assortment of illegal goods, including drugs and stolen valuables. We found two underwater diver-lockout airlocks. We got a useful diving-type boat and a small helicopter out of it.

Soon after this, we got more type GDS16 grab-dredger-subs. some 30 feet long, some 60 feet long. It has an advanced derivative of the fuel-cell, which routinely recovers metals, and energy of oxidation to run on, from many sorts of rubbish and dredgings. It can use surplus energy to make boat motor fuel from water and carbon dioxide. And, well equipped with long-range advanced sonar, it is a useful underwater patroller. It looks impersonally much the same whatever is in its dredgings tank being tracelessly digested. It comes in various sizes.
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And in its purpose as described to the public: dredging.
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Its 30-foot version, intended as a small easily-transported demonstration model and to work in small corners, can submerge in water 10 feet deep, and get through a gap 7.5 feet wide, such as among rocks, in shallow water, and in harbors. It was bought in bigger numbers than expected by various official bodies.

When they are assigned to naval or para-naval units or work harbours and inshore fishing ports, their computer-brains develop a rough waterfront mentality like their human associates, as a shellfish poacher in a gully among rocks found the hard way: no trace remained next morning.
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This lot set off after shellfish and wreck in an inflatable boat but they did not come back in it. Many bunches of furtive 'weekend Cousteaus' have gone back away inland with their kit still dry when they saw a Type GDS16 floating awash nearby. A scuba club's committee shellfish poaching in a gully among rocks ignored the warning and found out the hard way: no trace remained next morning. A 30-foot GDS19 in one dive can easily stow a RIB-full of intruding scuba divers and the crushed remains of their RIB in its dredgings tank, and overnight tracelessly dispose of everything; it can operate upside down.
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Unlike semi-submersible dredger boats, they can stay out-of-sight underwater permanently except for sometimes a snorkel and a radar head and a periscope showing.
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Sport scuba clubs were not helped by that untidy undisciplined habit of theirs: too often the club's committee, instead of leading the club on dives and ordering "no unofficial diving", would treat themselves as a special "inner group" and go separately on deep dives in remote deep water. Such a group is often found in plenty time and tracked easily by the noise of their boat going miles out to sea to a remote diving site, and we or something catches them, away from civilians' nosy eyes, leaving their club "beheaded" without its leaders and most experienced members. There is no provable public knowledge (rather than suspicions and television discussion speculations and newspaper speculations) why until it is too late. Some less experienced members go on 'splinter group' dives in easy inshore waters and are seen and arrested, or rescued-and-arrested, one bunch at a time. If this leaves the club with no good trainer any more, some drift away from diving; and shellfish and submerged wreck are left alone, as was before public access to scuba gear came. Gradually sport scuba divers across the country take note and hide or surrender their kit, leaving no public mass lobby to prevent more diving control laws and regulations. Dredger-subs and similar cannot be abolished, because they are bringing in so much cleanly separated metals that have been lost or dumped in water down the ages. Breathing apparatus diving is now only for work and the armed forces, as it had been for most of history.

A 30-foot GDS16 on land legs accompanies two riotsquad-equipped inshore fishermen (one with a backpack propane flamethrower) to an action seizing and destroying unauthorized diving gear on coastal land. Hauling its scuba-gear-destroying bulk out of water upslope at human running speed makes its engine blow black smoke, but it does the job.
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And at a small diving center cleanup by a bay.
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Arrest and cleanup by a rocky bay. In goes an ex-Russian IDA71 rebreather: for us, a sign that they were up to something furtive and not merely swimming about for fun.
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