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The Pharaoh's Secret (NUMA Files 13) Clive Cussler 2022/7/22 13:55:20

Joe studied the pipe. “I don’t know how much water you’d have to draw out of an aquifer to cause what Paul was suggesting,” Joe said.

“It’s a big pipe,” Kurt pointed out.

“Sure,” Joe said. “But not big enough.”

“How about nineteen of these?” Kurt asked. “According to their website, Osiris has nineteen hydroelectric plants online up and down the Nile. What if all of them are drawing water from the aquifer?”

Joe nodded. “Powered by the river itself. Ingenious.”

t’s all connected. The Black Mist, the drought—it all leads back to Osiris.”

Ten minutes later, the scenery finally began to change. “A light at the end of the tunnel,” Renata whispered.

Kurt had a feeling it wasn’t exactly the end of the tunnel, but at least it was another stop on the line.

For more than twenty minutes they’d been traveling in utter darkness, the only light coming from the soft glow of the instrument panel and the headlights of the tram up ahead of them.

“They seem to be slowing,” Joe said.

“Let’s not get too close,” he said. “If they stop, I don’t want them to hear us hitting the brakes.”

Joe slowed the car to a crawl. The vehicle ahead of them continued to reduce speed and then moved onto a siding, leaving the tunnel.

Joe stopped about a hundred yards from the opening and the three of them followed on foot.

When he reached the edge of the tunnel, Kurt peered around the corner.

What he saw surprised him. He looked back at his friends.

“Well?” Joe whispered. “Are we alone?”

“If you don’t count a pair of eight-foot-tall guys with jackal heads and spears in their hands,” Kurt said. “Anubis.”

“You mean the Egyptian god?”

Kurt moved aside so the others could see the details of the room, an overarching cavern with walls made of sand-colored stone illuminated by a series of lights connected to a snaking black cable. Egyptian art and hieroglyphics could be seen along one section, while another seemed to have crumbled. The two large statues stood beside the entrance to a hand-carved tunnel on the far wall.

“Where are we?” Renata asked.

“More like when are we?” Joe said. “We started in a modern hydroelectric plant and wound up in ancient Egypt. I feel like we just time-traveled back about four thousand years.”

Both the pipeline and the tunnel seemed to run arrow straight along a westerly line. Recalling the satellite photos of the Osiris power plant, he remembered there was nothing to the west but congested streets filled with block after block of storefronts, warehouses and offices. Farther out, it became apartment buildings and small houses right out to the desert, where . . .

“You might not be too far off,” Kurt said.

“That’s a first,” Joe said.

“Based on the speed of the tram and the time we were in the tunnel, I’d guess that we’re five, maybe six miles west of the river.” He turned to Renata. “I think you’re going to get your wish.”

“What wish was that?”

“To see the Pyramids up close,” he said. “By my calculations, we’re right underneath them.”