The warships had been targeted and destroyed quickly, but the
He searched through the ship’s gaping wounds for the source of that noise.
Dropping from the sky directly in front of him were two Aichi D3A dive-bombers, Vals, the same type the Japanese had used with deadly effect at Pearl Harbor and months later against the British fleet near Ceylon.
Pickett watched them nose over and listened as the whistling sound of their wings grew louder. He cursed at them and pulled his sidearm.
“Get away from my ship!” he shouted, blasting at them with the Colt .45.
They pulled up at the last minute and roared past, riddling the ship with another spread of .50 caliber shells. Pickett fell back onto the deck, a shell clean through his leg, shattering it. His eyes opened, gazing upward. He was unable to move.
Waves of smoke and gray sky rolled above him. He was finished, he thought. The ship and its secret cargo would soon fall into enemy hands.
Pickett cursed himself for not scuttling the ship. He hoped it would somehow go down on its own before it could be boarded.