David Segarra stared at the wide expanse of steel that stretched out beneath the dark vertical tower. He knew that shape, that particular configuration. But how in the world? Distantly, he heard Hammond prattling on about the Moon People. “That’s no moon,” he said, his voice hoarse. “It’s a sickle.” Crossed with a hammer. Above it in bright red was a star that needed no explanation.
“Soviets,” McBride said. “Why would that be here?”
“Because that’s a Soviet submarine,” Segarra said. “Papa class. One of the fastest attack subs ever built.” He never thought he’d get to see one in person. It was in remarkably good condition, too.
“The lost city of Atlantis, and a Soviet submarine.” McBride rubbed his hands together like he was trying to start a fire. “Well, let’s go make history.”
“Hold on a second,” Segarra said. “No one’s going down there.”
“Why the hell not?”
“First of all, because that’s a nuclear submarine.”
“What kind of nuclear?” Hammond asked.
“Two light-water reactors. Either of which could be breached if the sub crashed.”
“Come on, Vice Admiral,” McBride chided him. “Now you’re just making excuses.”
“Even if the sub isn’t hazardous, there could be anything in that city. It’s not secure.”
“I agree,” St. Claire said. “That water ran out too fast for a natural tide.”
“But this might be our only shot to see if anyone’s around,” Hammond said. “You know, like the Moon People.”
“There aren’t any Moon People,” Segarra said.
“Something scared Olivia.” Hammond pointed down at the city. “I’m betting it’s down there.”
Dumont was chewing her lip, the way she had when she was going through the disappearance reports on Water Island.
“What do you think?” Segarra asked her.
She blinked and looked at him, and then the others. “We came here to find answers, didn’t we? That looks like a good place to start.”
Segarra sighed. They had the majority, and he couldn’t think of a good reason not to explore a little. “We stick together. No one goes near the submarine.”
“Shouldn’t we look at that first?” Hammond asked.
“Recon 101, Hammond. A submarine, if it’s functional, has a finite capacity and a single egress point. But you could hide a small army in that city. So we’ll check the buildings first and save the sub for afterward.” He didn’t add that he’d prefer to be alone when he checked out the sub, to get a better idea of what they were dealing with.
McBride gave him a mock salute. “Yes, Admiral.”
Segarra pointed at Hammond. “This was your idea. You get to watch him.” He looked at St. Claire. “Got your sidearm?”
She patted an inconspicuous bulge in her shirt on the left-hand side. “Not all of us need to arm ourselves like cowboys.”
Segarra grunted, and started down the slope into the basin. I know I’m going to regret this.
Wet sand squelched beneath Michael Hammond’s feet, but he hardly paid it any mind. He kept his eyes on the city, hoping for something. He wasn’t sure what. Nothing moved in the buildings. From this distance, they looked all but abandoned. But this had to be the golden city those pilots had mentioned. Maybe they’d find some answers here. After ten yards, the brown ribbon of wet sand gave way to rough yellow coral.
“How long do you think it’s been here?” he asked.
“Since Atlantis sank beneath the waves,” McBride said.
Jeez, it’s like he’s already writing the book.
“I hate to burst your bubble, but those are fairly new buildings,” Segarra said. “Just look at the right angles, and the architecture.”
McBride snorted. “The Atlanteans were far ahead of their time, by most accounts. It stands to reason they could measure ninety degrees.”
“Wasn’t Atlantis lost thousands of years ago?” Hammond asked.
“And in the Mediterranean?” Dumont added.
“That’s Plato’s Atlantis, and he was writing about something that happened nine thousand years before him,” McBride said. “I’m talking about the Mayan Atlantis. An advanced civilization in the Atlantic that suddenly disappeared.”
“Oh right, of course. The Mayan Atlantis. My mistake.” Hammond rolled his eyes at Dumont, winning a smile.
“Joke all you want, but there’s precedent. In 2001, a Canadian exploration team took sonar images of a sunken city off the coast of Cuba. There were granite slabs cut at perfect right angles, and symmetrical pyramids. Signs of a major...