Into The Shallows, A Clive Cussler Story From the Oregon Files
With a course laid on the Oregon cut a swath through the waves, it's power and propulsion system operating to maximum efficiency thanks to Jaz Quint. Captain Cabrillo prayed in the depths of his heart they had all made it; the Quints back to their magical like home in the sky and Gale and Mark to start a new life far different from the one they left. The captain returned to his operations center to monitor the ships progress. Enthusiasm was in the air now, a new spring in the crews step, hope had taken the place of despair.
Onward throughout the afternoon the Oregon raced. It's goal was a mere speck on the radar, but that small speck meant everything to them. Closer the two points on the radar converged. There was an audible gasp when it came into view. It was no longer like a squall line, more like a small green tinted cloud hovering on the oceans surface. "Is it big enough to get us through?" Linc stated, his voice tinged with fear. "That's all we got." exclaimed the captain. There was not only the fear they might not get through but a newer more terrifying thought that just part of the ship might make it. Caught between two spaces in time the Oregon would be torn apart.
The Oregon traveling at a fast clip moved into and out of the green mist. No sooner had the big ship slipped through when there was a loud report behind them. This loud report occurred when the time anomaly closed, like a cannon shot or much more like air rushing into a vacuum. This time the transit through the cloud was very short and subsequently no loss of power. There was pandemonium in the operations center when a technician screamed, "I got the Internet!" This was followed by others confirming the ships return from the past. High fives and hugs were rampant amongst the crew. The Germans however, felt fear and trepidation. They were forever cut off from their past. This would be their new world. Such a severe cultural and technological shock made them afraid. Some wept openly for their long departed families and friends. A few, just a few, openly greeted their new world.
A technician looked at the time date and announced they'd been gone close to 3 months. Somehow they'd picked up 53 days. Helmsmen Stone stated that the instruments showed them at the same point they had crossed into the anomaly, not an 800 mile skip. Captain Cabrillo was relieved and slumped into a chair, both physically and emotionally exhausted. His rest was momentarily for a case agent from CIA headquarters at Langley appeared on the screen.
He had a dour stiff expression. Captain Cabrillo sat up. Linc stopped what he was doing and joined the captain. "You've been gone close to 3 months. We had sea and air searches out looking for you." He said in anger. Two other CIA men stood behind the case agent. They didn't seem pleased and had the look of supervisory staff. Captain Cabrillo and Linc exchanged quick glances; this did not bode well.
The captain tried to explain what they had just gone through. The CIA man didn't even try to listen. "This is what is going to happen." He said sternly, "We have a Federal Arrest warrant out for you and your crew. You are wanted for stealing secret Chinese government documents and property, all in violation of international law. Your are hereby ordered to report to the nearest US Navy base where your ship will be impounded and the crew arrested pending trial." There was silence in the Operations Center. "The fix is in." Linc said under his breath. "GO TO HELL!" Shouted Captain Cabrillo in full voice. There were many cheers of approval. The CIA man went to say something and was cut off at mid sentence when the captain severed the com link.
"Helmsman Stone, set us a course for Rio at full speed. We aren't that far away. No extradition from Brazil. Also we've got a corporation branch office there, as well as, our own docking space." The captain stated still shaking with anger. Linc just shook his head. "I guess we're the scape goat for this whole affair. Probably cooked up between State and the Chinese." Captain Cabrillo then added, "Well this sort of thing comes and goes. A new administration, a new CIA head. That sort of thing. They need us more than we need them."
"Hell Rio ain't that bad. We've got literally tons of gold. I'm thinking of donating those Bf 109's and spare engines to Duxford Flying Legends. They'd sure love 'em." Captain Cabrillo stated. "I got an idea captain, Linc state with a smile, "The lobby of our corporate office in Rio is kind'a sparse. That Chinese escape pod would sure dress it up." "Yes!" The captain said in agreement.
Days later the Oregon docked at its private docking facilities in Rio. The crew looked forward to putting their feet on dry land and enjoying the sights. The new crew members, the Germans, now with up to date Swiss documentation also went ashore. Their eyes glazed over at the new world before them.
High in the Andes a thick blanket of pure white snow covered the craggy bare ground. It also covered much more. Bodies, shrunken and withered with time. Bodies of both native and German Waffen SS, scientists and native chiefs all lay intertwined, united in death. The Germans lay with their rusting automatic weapons and the natives with old lever action 30-30 carbines. There were even a few rusting machetes amongst them.
The wind howled as it turned and twisted through long abandoned buildings. So much effort to establish a base high in the frozen sparsely populated Andes, in an area bordering both Peru and Brazil. What would have brought them here, what secret was hidden here? Why would the natives of the area risk everything to drive the devil foreigners from their sacred ground? Perhaps the secret lay in a nearby dark cold tunnel.
Perhaps a creature lurked their, a creature that feed off human flesh. Perhaps not, It might harbor some wonder of science, a new mineral, a plant or even a hoard of gold. There was only one sentential now, a sightless shriveled corps resting against the entrance to the cave. His steel helmet fallen away, his uniform rotted by time. He knew, he knew the secret.