I bought a book on the world's greatest treasures and I couldn't help but write this. ^^
"In September 1622, a convoy of treasure ships set sail from Havana Harbor in Cuba on course for Spain." Neal's brow was furrowed lightly as he struggled to recall the information.
Hughes smirked slightly. For all of Caffrey's intellect – he still looked like an adolescent visiting his dad's work place, the way he leaned in his chair like that.
"Among these ships was the Atocha." Neal closed his eyes and interlocked his fingers behind his head, a small smile on his face. "And it was filled with Conquistador loot. Gold, silver, Venezuelan pearls, Columbian emeralds – the whole deal."
Jones gave a low appreciative whistle – but Hughes quickly silenced him with a stern look.
"Caffrey –" Hughes wished that the criminal would jump when he said his name like the rest of his employees did – with the exception of Burke. But no. The supposedly reformed conman remained just as he had been – the poster child for insubordination. "Why did you say that it is impossible for them to have recovered the treasure?"
Neal made no move to reply and Hughes felt his frustration grow. Apparently Burke could sense it to, because he rapped his pet conman on the head sharply with a folder – causing the blue eyes to fly open quickly.
Was Hughes the only one that saw the mischievousness in those eyes? He had to be. Damn, he worked with idiots…
" Neal – stop daydreaming." Peter ordered. "Why can't they have recovered the treasure?"
Neal leaned forward, a large grin on his face. He looked like a bloody clown… "They claimed that the found all of the treasure, right?"
Jones looked at his notes and nodded.
Neal's silly grin widened. "That is impossible. The ship sailed headlong into a hurricane – killing 260 people in the process. But the Atocha didn't sink instantly. It hit reefs known as the Quick Sands and was carried west by the current. It finally settled on the ocean bed, the hull of the ship trailing gold and silver coins, precious stones, and jewelry across miles of ocean.
" Occasionally…" He reached into his coat pocket and tossed a small gold coin into the air before catching it again. "Scattered pieces were found by treasure-hunting divers. Besides – a man named Mel Fisher already found the wreck of the Atocha in 1985, bearing a cargo worth over half a billion dollars."
Caffrey leaned back in his chair, tipping his hat over his face as he did so. But it still didn't cover that silly little grin of his. "Apparently – whoever has claimed to have found the treasure didn't do their research."
Hughes fought the urge to laugh – it would ruin his reputation – but… Hell. The kid sure could grow on you.