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

“You’ll get the bends,” Kurt said.

“I don’t know what you’re trying to say,” Kurt replied.

He’d written one word. It was easy to read.

When you attacked—they set bomb.

Kurt began to see the pattern. These guys wanted the relics. But if they couldn’t have them, they were determined to keep anyone else from getting them. “Show me.”

Kurt maneuvered closer, grabbed onto the encrusted wood of the vessel and took a closer look. Digital timers on them displayed an alarming number—2:51—and dropping.

Kurt tried to squeeze through the wreckage to get at the bombs, but he

couldn’t fit. He reached down and grabbed for it, but his fingers swiped at nothing. They were at least a foot or two beyond his grasp.

“Joe,” he called. “I could use a little help.”

Joe and the Turtle arrived just as the timer hit 2:00. The ROV had a manipulator arm, which Joe quickly extended, but it too was coming up short.

“We’d better get out of here,” Joe said. “I can drag these guys off.”

“Too late,” Kurt replied. “We’ll never get far enough. Considering the amount of C-4 down there, I’m pretty sure we’d be crushed by the shock wave like a submarine getting hit with a depth charge. We need another option.”

“Excellent idea,” he said.

The vacuum was still on, drawing in a small amount of water. Kurt stuck it down into the framework of the ship and opened the valve.

On the first try, it sucked the big square block of explosives, which became stuck against the nozzle’s opening. He drew the excavator back toward them and, once it was clear of the wreck, Joe pulled the charge free.

It was a simple enough process to pull out the electrical leads. Joe stopped the timer as well, just in case.

“Forty seconds,” he said, gazing at the number frozen on the screen. “Let’s be quick about the second one.”

Kurt was already lowering the vacuum again. He aimed it toward the second bomb, but instead of getting stuck on the end of the nozzle as the first one had, the baseball-sized charge vanished up the tube.