Chapter 17: City of Stones

1626 Words
Near Gulf Of Mexico, 2013, March 28 On a warm sunny day, in the middle of the ocean, the Cordoba floated upon the bouncy blue waters while three divers prepared to jump into the water. Bishop and her team watched anxiously as the divers descended into the deep ocean. She had an iPad in her hands which showed the live feeds from the divers body cameras attached on their heads. Mike - her assistant and intern curiously peeked over her shoulder to keep track of the divers movements. Bishop's heart started to pound as the divers kept swimming deeper and deeper into the dark waters below. She moved towards the railing of the boat with her iPad fearing she might lose the signal. Mike followed her with his notes almost stumbling upon some ropes. The other team members were Rhodes - a 27 year old nerdy biologist, Rico- a 28 year tech geek, Nina- a 27 year old talented Ukrainian oceanographer and Johnson- a retired Navy seal- who handled security for the whole team. Mike was the nervous looking awkward and shy 22 year old graduate who interned for Bishop and helped her with her various projects. Bishop bit her nails as the divers slowly swam deeper and deeper into the dark sea. She could see various types of marine and aquatic life on their cam- feeds but she was waiting for something big, something that would change her life and her career forever. Prof. Bishop Mary Bridges- she was a 32 year old acclaimed historian,linguist and a college professor with a degree in classical music, living a quite and peaceful life in the city- until the day two men in suits from the government approached her claiming that they need her help to uncover a mystery that lies at the bottom of the ocean. At first she refused, saying that there were better people than her who could help them but they told her that there was none with her 'skill set' and that she would be the ideal candidate for the job. She was quite flattered and accepted the offer- besides the pay was too damn good! "Thank you ! We have also taken the liberty to pick a team of professionals for you…", they said. It has been two days in the ocean with her team of professionals and she desperately needed to find the mysterious anomaly underneath the ocean. The captain of the Cordoba- a small cruise boat -walked up to her from behind and tried to take a peek at the live feed. "Find anything missy?", asked the captain. "Still 50 metres to go Mr. Swanson...", replied Bishop. "Ah well I might as well get some rest... me legs been aching like anything..." , replied Swanson and went back to his cabin. Digby Swanson was a veteran british sailor who has been sailing ships since he was a teenager and has been captain of the Cordoba for twenty odd years. A short humble and polite man who now gave tours on his cruise boat, some say he was a decorated world war veteran but he barely spoke about his early life. Bishop went back to her monitoring but suddenly the feed went black. She panicked and called Rico for help who said that there must be some kind of magnetic interference underneath the waters thats stopping the feed. Arielle didn't care about this techno mumbo- jumbo and asked Rico to fix it while she walked up and down the aiske with her hands on her hips. She looked towards the sky- the sun was shining brightly and the sparkling waters below reflected the sun rays like tiny diamonds. The ocean stretched from one corner to another like a blue capet of water and it made her feel like she was lost in an endless loop of ocean. Suddenly Rico called her - the feed was working again. She ran and grabbed the iPad and saw this bizzare sight that seemed like it was from a fantasy movie.There was this shipwreck- old and ancient- only a part of it withstood the pressure of the ocean the other parts lay there scattered on the ocean floor. She saw on the feeds of the three divers that almost a half of a huge ship- probably the front half lay almost untouched through time. It seemed as though there was still a cabin inside. She marvelled at the decorated exterior of the wreckage- it was probably painted white with intricate carvings, like a royal ship or most probably a burial ship- like in many ancient cultures where people send off their deceased into the ocean on decorated ships and set them ablaze. Arielle waited for the most important part now- the big reveal - is there anything inside the wreckage? The feed went black again as the divers went to take a look inside. "Ugh! ", Arielle cried out in frustration. Half an hour passed and one of the divers came out onto the surface. "There's a bloody coffin inside... no treasure!", he said. Arielle's eyes lit up with excitement as she heard the news. "Bring it up!", she yelled back at him. The diver put back his mouthpiece and gave a thumbs up and dove back. Fifteen minutes later the three divers pushed up a ten foot long coffin onto the surface. Johnson and the captain tied a chain on it and pulled it onto the boat. Everyone on the boat gathered around the ancient moss ridden sarcophagus and wondered who or what's inside. Arielle immediately had it taken into the cabin and ordered that no one was to try to open it until they reached ashore. Her job was almost complete, this was what they trusted her to do. But she knew finding the sarcophagus was the easy part, opening it was a different matter altogether. It was 3 pm in the afternoon now and her team started to examine the sarcophagus. It was made of some kind of metal alloy and there was no rust on it despite the fact that it was underneath the ocean for about a thousand years. Arielle had instructed Rico to scan the sarcophagus with his thermal imager to see if they could get any clue as to what's inside it. Nina and Rhodes were busy brushing away the dirt, sand and the moss from it. After a few minutes of scanning Rico reported that surprisingly his imager couldn't penetrate the interior of the sarcophagus which deeply puzzled him. The thing was huge- ten feet in length and about four feet in height. It was made of some kind of black metal alloy and once the debris was cleared the surface looked smooth and good as new, as if it was underwater for only a few hours. But curiously enough there seened to be no openings on it and it seemed like it was just one solid block of metal. Rico estimated that it must weigh around ten kilograms, which was weird when compared with the size of it. Nina struck the surface slowly with a small hammer and the whole thing started to ring like a bell for a few seconds. She was shocked and thought it wasn't wise to mess around with it and left it to be examined by the others. Arielle observed silently and then asked her team to pack their equipments and get some sleep- it was time for them to head home. "Take us home Cap'n!", she told Swanson. "Aye aye missy! Home it is...", replied Swanson and steered the boat back towards civilization. It was only 6 hours before they reached home but Arille couldn't wait to find out what was inside the sarcophagus. Once ashore she had to meet her employers and hand the artefact to them. As the boat steered towards land she saw the sun setting on her left - an orange hue painted the waters of the ocean and far away she could see dolphins plunging out of the waters and diving back in. Her thoughts went back to the day she received the file containing heavily redacted details of this bizzare operation- "A mysterious shipwreck some hundred miles off the gulf of Mexico has been discovered... This underwater wreckage is reported to contain a powerful artefact that can help shape the future of the world...The location... Much has been debated about the contents of what lies beneath and many of our scientists have indicated that it contained "the source"... If it is what we believe it is then opening it won't be an easy task ... Secrecy must be maintained and our regular task force can't be deployed ..." Arielle felt that she needed some proper sleep before they reached the shore. As she walked towards her room, she could still hear the sound of the dolphins from afar - maybe they miss her already, she thought and lied down on her bed. The sound of the waves crushing underneath the boat and the cold wind of the ocean made her fall asleep soon... About 5 and a half hours later Arielle was woken up by the sound of the boat horn. She got up from her bed and went into the captain's cabin. " Fifteen minutes to land missy... pack ye bags!", said Swanson slowly steering the boat into the harbour. Arielle quickly went back into her room and started packing her bags. The others had already finished their packing and were coming out from their rooms with their belongings. Mike followed suit and came stumbling out of his room with his huge bag of notes and belongings. Arielle could see cars and armed millitary men waiting on the harbour and she prepared herself for another long journey to their base.
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