SEA QUEST - Chapter 11 - 14 (µèÍ¨Ò¡µÍ¹·ÕèáÅéÇ¤ÃÑº)
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Three floors up Charhov could make out the faint sound of gunshots coming from below him. In his suite, he had an I-book laptop that was modified exactly for managers and for his other purposes. He had installed mini-cameras capable of tracking everything going on in room 1512 and could monitor anything that may go wrong from his plan. A plan that he and the Mission Operator had elegantly devised from secretly gathered intelligence to protect the scientists working for The Operation Sea Quest. The biologist who occupied this room was safe in another hotel and now he had the assassin threatened to undermine his project trapped in a room 15 floors up from the ground.
He closely observed from four camera viewpoints to see the assassin’s every action. However, there seemed to be something unplanned going on. The assassin was taking refuge behind the couch and it looked like he was taking something out of his jacket.
Charhov switched to a left camera angle, it was undoubtedly a white rope with a hook on the end. The assassin shot the chandelier causing broken glass spreading across the room. The two guards who were coming after him lifted their arms to protect their faces, and with that small opportunity, the assassin rushed out to the balcony. He attached the hook to the ledge, held up the hook at the other end of the rope, and threw it down so that it hooked itself to another ledge three floors down to the right. Then as the guards were stumbling towards the balcony, he climbed onto the ledge and jumped. K10 slid diagonally down the rope to the 12th floor and climbed into that room’s balcony. He went into the room and sprinted quickly out to the corridor, then boarded the elevator down and disappeared into the crowd in the lobby. The two guards followed to the room on the 12th floor. When they got there, there was no one to be found. Soon K10 was out of the hotel reporting his failed mission.
Charhov was still thinking deeply, he had protected another one of his scientists but the assassin was still at large. At this point, the assassin seemed unstoppable as he managed to find out where the scientist was, and he would have succeeded if not for the plan that Charhov set up. He thought it would not be long before the assassin found out the location of the scientist. At that moment, the bedside phone was ringing, he quickly left the living area, ran to the bedroom and answered.
“Mr. Charhov, I do think our plan worked.” It was the Mission Operator, speaking in his usual Spanish accent.
“The scientist is safe, but the rest of the plan failed, the trap didn’t work.”
“Then so, I believe we must then make a new plan, considering the assassin’s skills and weaknesses.” the Mission Operator spoke in a sinister way.
“His skill is definitely extraordinary, perfectly smooth, agile, and flexible to respond if anything goes wrong. I do not believe he has any weaknesses.”
There was a small pause then it seemed the Mission Operator was reading something from a file.
“There’s nothing my agents can’t get. Organization: DINA, Branch: Quick Covert assassinations, Operative: K10. He was well trained has quick response and quick thinking skills. Ah, look here, Mental and Physical health problems: extremely allergic to fine dust and smoke due to a fire accident in an industrial mine in 1979.”
“How did you get those information?” Charhov asked,” The DINA headquarters in Santiago is heavily guarded.”
“The point is, now that we have a list of his weaknesses, I think it is time to set the next trap.”
Brian woke up when the airplane started to lower altitude. As the plane got closer to the icy ground, the cabin started to buckle. A few hundred feet away he could see small streaks of light coming from the shacks and other larger buildings. Soon they landed on the runway which took sometime for the sliding plane to a halt. After awhile, everyone got to their feet and walked out the boarding stairs. The temperature outside was so low that as they exited the plane they felt that they would be frozen solid at that instant.
The San Martin Antarctic base is located on the Debbenham Island and connected to the mainland by a narrow peninsular. However, in winter most of the ground was covered by ice and snow and the small hills looked like an ice mound with radio towers penetrating to the surface. The sea of ice surrounding the base made the entire port seemed like an inland facility.
Founded in 1951 by Argentina, San Martin base was an important landmark situated on the Antarctic peninsular, simply because it was the first human settlement south of the Antarctic Polar Circle.
When the team got down, they were greeted by the base manager and the crew.
“Sir Francis,” he said,” Aren’t you too old for traveling?”
“Says who,” Sir Francis answered.
“Well, Antarctica is a savage place; the gear you brought might not be enough if accidents occur.” The manager explained,” It is winter and the temperature here could reach sixty degrees Celsius below zero. That means without proper equipment you could die in the cold in less than an hour. Please go to the main building to my left and receive all the necessary Antarctic gear.”
They were led into the thermal control storage shed and the man who led them asked them to write their clothing and shoe size (for boots) down on a piece of paper. It was not a very large storage room but it was densely pact with clothing and survival gear. There were two railings on the opposite walls that were used to hang clothing, and below it there were plastic drawers that kept all the other necessities of Antarctic exploration.
It was not long before everyone in the team got the equipment they needed. When the team gathered back at the preparation building the manager was readily standing in front of the microphone stand.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please check on the handout provided and make sure that you have all your gear. If not, please put your hand up.”
Everyone checked there equipment thoroughly.
• ANARE Field and First Aid Manuals
• windproof parka (garment derived from diving sea birds, it is both warm and water resistant) & pants
• waterproof parka and pants woollen jersey
• windproof mitts (ear muffs)
• woollen balaclava (a thin pull-over head and neck cover with eye slits
for winter usage)
• goggles or sunglasses
• sleeping and bivvy bags (emergency shelter)
• camp mat
• spare mitts and socks
• high energy food
The manager was getting ready to speak again.
“Since nobody had put their hand up, I will assume there are no problems. I must warn you, you must have all this equipment with you if you leave station limits or excavation areas.”
The manager walked to the side and one of the crew came to the microphone stand, he was a young man, even younger than Brian was.
“In winter, outside the station limits, the only mode of transport will be the Hugglund land cruiser, if you would follow me to the transport.”
The man led everyone to a large truck like transport. It had two sections; the front section had a tank like propulsion system, which was used for pulling the second cartridge. The team climbed on the second cartridge, sat down and strapped their seatbelts on.
Without hesitation, the vehicle dragged itself into the stormy Antarctic darkness at thirty miles an hour. As the cruiser drove on, the lights from San Martin base became less visible until the snowstorm completely blocked it from sight.
The snow that was being blown by strong winds outside the truck reminded Sarah who was sitting in the front seat of winter seventeen years ago. It was when she was still in college. The final exam was difficult, but in the end, she came through with a grade that she was more than satisfied with. So she called her parents to tell the good news, but no one answered her call not even her sister Dian who was always home. Soon she figured out they probably were at one of the ski resorts in Europe as they normally did every usual winter. So she gave up the attempt to contact them, and expected that her parents should be back by the time of her graduation day. However, when graduation day came, not one of her family members showed up. After a long attempt, she finally connected the call to her sister’s cell phone, and it was her mother who answered with the bad news. Sheshockingly told Sarah that her sister was dead and that she and dad had stayed with Dian at the hospital before she died.
It was a year before Sarah could get over her sister’s death. Amidst the sadness, her parents never told her how Dian passed away.
When Sarah woke up from her memory, she realized that two hours had passed, and they were now at the excavation site. When Brian got down from the vehicle, what he saw below the cliff in front of him really stunned him. It was not a copper mine as he originally thought. Copper and water was simply the definition of native South American words “Alt” and “Antis”. Together they make up what Brian saw before him, “Atlantis”.
Below the edge of the cliff was a ruined city, circular in shape with land rings that contained buildings and land rings that seemed to have once contained water. The entire area was lit up by countless powerful spotlights. Parts of the city were sealed within a plastic pyramid shaped frame and were covered by transparent material.
“As you can see,” said Terri,” The plastic is used to protect the site from strong winds.”
“Was this city on ground level, or did you have to dig it up?” Brian asked.
“It was buried under sixty feet of ice.” Gordon answered,” We had to use a Tesla thunder generator to melt the ice. It took two months, but sections of the city are not yet uncovered because when we came here it was frozen under a hundred feet of ice.”
“I think it will look even better at close glance. Let’s ride an elevator down to the site.” Sir Francis suggested.
Brian was surprised beyond his wildest dreams, and he could see that the newly arrived archeologists were no different.
They went into a shed that held the three main elevators. They went inside the elevator on the left and the door closed tightly. The air inside was warmer than outside and but Brian could still peer at the white lights shining into the sky through the elevator’s glass windows. The elevator descended slowly and soon they were at the bottom of the cliff. The doors opened and the air was freezing cold again.
Brian walked out and he could see hundreds of men and women doing their work in their Antarctic gear. The floor was laid with rubber to prevent slipping and to protect the archeologists from electrical leaks caused by the high voltage of Telsa voltage generator. As they strolled down the stone walkways, Brian saw the magnificent scale of each building, which was still mostly very well preserved.
“The entire site is more perfectly preserved than Pompeii, we speculate the ice had kept the city frozen in time.” said Terri.
“Are there remains of people who once lived here?” Brian asked.
“No,” Terri answered,” So far we haven’t found any human remains, we believe that the people who lived here received a warning of this cataclysm so they evacuated in time.”
Then Gordon walked up to them.
“But we can’t be sure of that,” he said,” because we have only been here for two months and only 30% of the site has been closely examined.”
“If the whole place is so huge and you employ so many people, how come hasn’t the news of this broken out?” Brian asked.
“You see,” Sir Francis spoke,” secrecy for the moment is our top priority.”
The stroll was taking its toll on all of them, even through the thick coating they could feel the cool breeze that blew from the mountain and down the cliff. Since staying out in the cold too long can cause hypothermia, Sir Francis took them into a large rectangular plastic and iron beamed building. Inside, the room was lit with ordinary electric wall lamps; from the looks of it, Brian could tell that this was the reclining room. There was no any furniture or objects except for a few racks for hanging clothes and lockers for keeping possessions.
“This is the thermal adaptation room; it’s about ten degrees warmer than outside. Rapid temperature change can induce problems to human health.” said Terri.
“In other words, a heck of a bad headache.” said Sarah.
Brian could clearly feel that this room was slightly warmer than outside. There were three transparent doors at the far side of the room. Above it were printed signs that read; living quarters, kitchen and the last reading research and management of excavations. Through a small circular glass window on the wall, he could view a huge mountain of ice, and beyond that, there was a seemingly endless expanse of ice.
Brian remembered that the site was supposed to be on the Larsen ice shelf. He knew well the definition of an ice shelf, a large thick sheet of ice that expands over the sea. However, the entire site seemed to be surrounded by a gigantic ice shelf, so he was curious about the landscape.
“We were informed that the site was located near the Larsen ice shelf. It appears as we are smack right in the middle of one.”
“That’s quite obvious,” Gordon answered,” this is a continental shelf extending off the Antarctic Peninsula. It is just a shallow part of the sea that frozen over by ice. To simply say it, we’re more than thirty feet below sea level.”
The thought of sudden break of the ice and seawater gushing in and flooding the city broke into Brian’s mind. It would be a horrific scene.
“Don’t worry,” Terri said with a soothing voice,” we are like fifty miles from the sea. We’re safe here, even if we’re thirty feet below sea level.”
“And Mr. Right, do you want to rest or to examine our discovery more thoroughly?” Sir Francis asked with a changed voice and a large cough.
“I see the city but I find it quite impossible to well confirm that it is really Atlantis.” Brian answered.
Sir Francis looked at his watch.
“It’s twenty pass ten, in five minutes Mr. Friscit will be explaining the fundamentals of this discovery to the archeologists who recently arrived. You may join them if you like at the research compartment. If you would excuse me I will have to take my medication, the temperature here doesn’t do my health much good.”
Brian followed Gordon through the third door that led towards the research and working compartment. The path was a narrow tube like structure that continued for at least fifty feet. The floor was made of gray rubber and the walls were transparent plastic that curved outwards.
The transparency made Brian feel a small shiver to see how high up from the ground the tube was. The walls were so clear that it made Brian feel like he was walking on a thin fifty feet long wooden plank that bridged one tall building to another.
The walls of the tube were actually a sophisticated part of the temperature adaptation system. There were double layer plastic glass and between them, an empty layer where hot air from the inner facilities air conditioning flows through and minutely heat the tube. In turn making the temperature increase that people can comfortably adapt to.
Brian knew that the height of the tube made him feel a little nervous but he could see that Gordon was acting just normally. Brian guessed that Gordon was just familiar with heights since he had formerly been a bush pilot.
Nevertheless, in Gordon’s mind there was one apparent horrifying possibility. Although the city was obviously miles from the edge of the ice shelf, being a geologist he knew that there were circumstances the ice could break.
Many years ago in 1995 scientists and climatologists worldwide were shocked when satellites and researchers in Antarctica found that a 2000 square-mile portion of the Larsen B ice shelf broke off into the sea. The huge ice shelf dislodgement was caused by none other than Global Warming. Over the period of five years, the ice shelf lost 60% of its original volume. Therefore, it would not be impossible that a sheet of ice, 200 meters thick and less than fifty miles wide could break free into Weddle Sea on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Apparently, this was a problem the excavation team prepared to face. Thus, the excavation was scheduled to be completed in winter when the sea was frozen to prevent flooding.
At last, Brian and Gordon were at the last door. When Gordon pressed the button on the side, it opened. Brian found the air inside welcomingly warm. There were bookcases all around the large room and computers at the far end, to the left wall there were five other archeologists who were sitting in front of a projector.
Brian took a seat and Gordon motioned to the side of the projected image. He held up and pressed on a remote that was on the table next to him.
The archeologists sat, free from the astonishing feeling that first took them at sight of the city.
“I realize the site may be overwhelming,” Gordon started,” and that this proven myth may be greatly surprising. Still you are probably wondering how we know that this is really the lost continent and how the tales of this lost civilization sinking into the ocean could come at any point near anything rationale. Well, if you place the situation in the right ideas, you’ll find that the explanation of how and what really happened is more surprising than the fact that Atlantis has ever existed.”
Brian and the archeologists were now shifting their attention what Gordon was going to say next, what they hear would change their view of earth and its history, forever.
After parking his black motorcycle in the Santiago Sheraton Hotel parking lot, K10 motioned menacingly towards the lobby. His information had been revitalized and the new mission was to find and capture a CD from a scientist who was on the eighth floor of the hotel’s west wing. Room 805 was where he must find the target.
Again, miles away Graham and Alvaro were watching their assassin on a computer screen. The laptop was generating a map of the lobby and a vague thermal stat picture of everyone who was on the ground floor. K10 registered as a red dot tracked by a GPS transceiver. This was the second satellite and it would only pass over the transmission radius for about an hour. At the moment,, time was everything to Graham.
The Sheraton Hotel Santiago was where Charhov’s press conference was going to take place. There, was the most famous and luxurious conference hall in all of Santiago. Here Charhov will unveil the greatest triumph in his entire career.
As K10 entered the elevator and pressing the 8th floor’s button, he wondered if he would find any surprises this time.
To his disappointment, he would. In the elevator, three other men wearing suits stared at the assassin from the back. They were waiting to spring the trap.
To be continued.....
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