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The Pharaoh's Secret (NUMA Files 13) Clive Cussler 2022/7/22 13:55:18

“What’s that all about?” Joe asked.

“Looks like the rapids of a Montana gorge,” Kurt replied.

The pilot shouted back to them. “Hydroelectric,” he said. “Osiris Power and Light.”

“Not a bad way to generate power,” Joe said. “You avoid all the problems inherent with big dams and all the ecological damage they do to the river systems while still getting electricity out of the deal.”

Kurt couldn’t disagree. In fact, a quick look told him the setup was similar to the generator system NUMA had used to light up the Roman trireme for excavation. But something was wrong. It took Kurt a minute to identify what it was. “So why is there a waterfall at the end of the channel?”

“I don’t see a waterfall,” Renata said.

“I’m not talking about Niagara Falls here,” Kurt said. “But take a close look. There’s a difference in the level of water coming out of that channel and the level of water in the river itself. Looks like several feet at least.”

Both she and Joe shielded their eyes to see what Kurt was talking about.

“You’re right,” Joe said. “The water is flowing down and out of that channel as if it’s coming down a spillway.”

“Isn’t that what happens with a dam?” Renata asked.

“Except there’s no dam here,” Kurt said. “By the laws of fluid dynamics, the water in the channel should be the same level as the water in the river. Not only that, the velocity of the water coming out of that channel should be slower than the river water because the channel water has to do the work of spinning those giant turbines. With a project like this, you usually have to deal with backflow, not a gusher at the end.”

“Maybe they’ve figured out a way to accelerate the water that we’re unaware of,” Joe said.

“Possibly,” Kurt said. “At any rate, that’s not our problem.” He turned back to Renata. “Where’s our friend now?”

“Maybe it is our problem,” Renata said, looking up from the screen. “He’s docked right beside the construction zone and is proceeding on land. Looks like he’s about to enter the main building.”

Kurt raised the small binoculars he’d brought along and looked over at the construction site. Even from this distance he could see a strong security presence. There were guards patrolling with dogs at their side, others checking cars that were arriving through the gated entrance. “It looks more like a military base than a construction site.”

“A veritable fortress,” Joe said. “And our friend Hassan has taken refuge inside.”

“Now what?” Renata asked.

“We dig up anything we can find on Osiris International,” Kurt said. “And if Hassan doesn’t come out soon, we have to find a way in.”

“That’s going to be a lot more difficult than sneaking into the museum in Malta,” Renata said.

“What we need is an official excuse to be there,” Kurt suggested. “Something governmental. Any chance your friends at the AISE could make a call for us?”

Renata shook her head. “We have about as much influence here as your country has in Iran. None.”

“I guess we’re on our own, as usual.”

“Maybe not,” Joe said, grinning broadly. “I know someone who might be able to help us. An Egyptian government official who owes me a favor.”

“Hopefully, it’s a big one,” Renata said.

“The biggest,” Joe said.

Renata remained puzzled, but Kurt suddenly realized what Joe was getting at. He’d almost forgotten Joe was a national hero in Egypt, one of the few foreigners to ever be awarded the Order of the Nile. He could probably get whatever he asked for. “Major Edo,” Kurt said, remembering the man who Joe had helped.

“He was promoted to brigadier general, thanks to me,” Joe said.

“Is that why he owes you a favor?” Renata asked.

“That’s not even the half of it,” Kurt replied for him. “You’re looking at the man who saved Egypt by preventing the collapse of the Aswan Dam.”