Page 62

The Pharaoh's Secret (NUMA Files 13) Clive Cussler 2022/7/22 13:55:13

Both of them grabbed the weapon, Kurt locking onto the grip and the stock as his opponent grabbed the barrel. Kurt had a better position and pulled it free.

The two were locked together, spinning in a whirl of weightless combat. The light on Kurt’s shoulder reflected off the man’s mask. Blinding both of them, but still they grappled.

Only now did Kurt realize how much larger this man was than him. Grabbing onto Kurt’s shoulder wing, his attacker gained more leverage, and despite Kurt’s best effort, the bang stick began inching closer to his ribs.

The assailant had him dead to rights and he knew it. Kurt saw a lunatic’s grin on his face as he closed in for the kill.

And then a wave of light enveloped them both as a yellow blur came out of the dark and hit Kurt’s attacker like a speeding bus. Kurt reeled backward, thankful to see Joe in the Turtle pushing the man through the sea like a bull might a gored matador.

Joe didn’t stop until he rammed the man into the seafloor, crushing him under the weight and force of the Turtle and leaving him half buried in the silt.

Kurt dropped down to the bottom, grabbed the rifle again and waited for Joe to circle around.

The Turtle eased in next to Kurt. Joe’s smiling face was easy to see inside his helmet. “Would it be wrong to paint a dead bad guy symbol on the Turtle’s flank?” Joe asked.

“Not as far as I’m concerned,” Kurt said. “What took you so long?”

Joe grinned. “From out there, I couldn’t tell if you were just having fun or in real trouble. Wasn’t until I heard the rifles that I figured you were probably outgunned.”

Ironically, sound traveled a lot farther underwater than the projectiles or the radio transmissions.

“Have to hand it to the Russians,” he said. “They come up with some interesting firearms.”

“That ought to go nicely with your collection,” Joe said.

Kurt collected unique guns, gathered from all around the world. He’d begun with dueling pistols, had several rare automatic Bowen revolvers and had recently expanded to six-shooters from the Old West, including a Colt .45 he’d used to dispatch the last villain they’d faced.

“It will at that,” he said. “Though I have a feeling it’s going to get some more use before it becomes a display piece.”

“You realize we’re doing this backward,” Joe said. “So far, we’ve expended a great deal of effort to take the low ground. Not exactly classic military strategy.”

“With a little luck, they don’t know we’re here yet,” Kurt said.

They turned defensively at Kurt and Joe’s arrival.

“Better switch on the closed-captioning,” Joe said.

“It’s okay,” Kurt said, activating the display. “Guards dead. We’ll get you out of here.”

One of them pointed upward and scribbled furiously on his whiteboard.

Worse chicken scratch Kurt had never seen.

“How long have you been down here?” he asked.

Four fingers were held up.

“Four hours at ninety feet,” Joe said.