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Fish Story


By Paul M. Barrett

The Crimson yesterday received the following dispatch from naval warfare correspondent Dix Wistling, now stationed amid the ongoing submarine crisis in the Baltic Sea.

MUSKO TOP-SECRET NAVAL BASE, Sweden--It's anything but a secret these days that the Swedes are unhappy about reports of foreign submarines cruising casually in and out of their nation's best protected military port.

Noticeably more irritable since a Soviet sub parked on a sand bar several miles south of here last year, Swedish naval officials have vowed to force any future intruders to surface "even if the entire population of Stockholm has to rent snorkels and go down to get them."

The same officials have recently alluded to revolutionary techniques due to be unveiled next year that would virtually guarantee success in future sub hunts. One admiral likened the new strategy to "pulling the plug in the bath tub--only bigger." He declined to elaborate.

Meanwhile, new information has become available on the discovery of the latest sub-surface invasion. A Swedish fisherman claimed to have first sighted a foreign vessel in the Musko port nearly four weeks ago, days before the navy began its fruitless depth-charge barrage and sonar search.

In an exclusive interview, fisherman Floyd Flintstong described his eye-to-eye confrontation with an unfamiliar periscope:

Flintstong: "The periscopes get tangled in my nets all the time, but this one I didn't recognize."

Crimson: "You often fish in this top-secret naval base and radar station?"

Flintstong: "Oh, sure, I work at night, when they can't see me. This submarine, though, this was big. You could retire on a fish that big."

Crimson: "You saw the submarine itself?"

Flintstong: "Of course. I indicated quite clearly that they a better get to the surface and untangle my nets, or they could expect trouble from Fjord Flintstong."

Crimson: "Did you find out where the sub was from?"

Flintstong: "I asked, but none of them spoke Swedish. They showed me their passports, and it seemed like they were from Canada. Must have been French Canadians, because I couldn't understand a word they were saying. I told them to go away, that they were scaring the fish. They seemed to get the message, and before I knew it, they were back inside that darned thing and gone. By the end of the week, half the airforce was flying overhead with the helicopters and the gun boats. I haven't caught a thing since. There's probably not a fish between here and Finland."

Naval officials here expressed skepticism over Flintstong's story, but refused to confirm or deny the possibility that the alien submarine might have been manned by French Canadian rather than Soviets, as had previously been assumed. "Everyone's under suspicious," commented Capt. Sven Jorgansfut.

The United States has reportedly reacted to warnings from the Swedish embassy about a Canadian threat by scheduling joint NATO naval maneuvers on Lake Ontario. "With the level of unrest rising among French separatists in Quebec," explained a Pentagon spokesman, "the least we must to do it secure Rochester and Buffalo."

Flintstong, who has relatives in Buffalo, warned that naval traffic in the Great Lakes will "ruin the fishing there, too."

"I've known for years about the submarines," explained the disgruntled Swede. "If you ignore them, they go away."

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