David Segarra stared out at the floating debris, a glistening of diesel on the surface of the water. A few shattered pieces of fiberglass and shredded canvas. A champagne bottle bobbed nearby. That was all that remained of the yacht and its passengers.
“How could they be so stupid?” Dumont whispered. It wasn’t clear if she meant the Althouses or the Russians.
Segarra allowed himself a brief moment of sorrow for the lives lost, especially young Khori and his dream of finding his parents. He felt a separate pang for Malik, who had sacrificed everything for his brother, just to see the boy’s life thrown away as an inconvenient pawn. A cloud drifted across the sun, deepening the shadows.
He let his gaze wander over the faces of the others. Hammond had gone sheet white and was staring at the point where the yacht had been, shaking with shock. McBride looked only marginally better; he opened his mouth and then closed it again, for once with nothing to say. St. Claire was stone faced, but a quiver in her lip betrayed the emotion beneath the surface. Dumont pulled her hair back and stared out at the debris as if wishing to find some other explanation for what they’d just seen. Then her brow creased in thought.
“You know . . .” Dumont rubbed her eyes, stared at the far horizon. “I keep turning this over in my head and although I can’t explain it, I think Olivia is right. Time is funny here.”
Segarra squared his shoulders and turned toward the submarine, water running down the black sides as the lagoon emptied. “Take them back to the camp,” he snapped at St. Claire. “Get the gun. No one leaves.” There was a chill as they all realized that he’d echoed the message from the sub.
“What are you going to do?” asked Hammond.
Segarra was not used to being questioned at a moment like this, but then, there was a lot about this week that was not what he was used to. He took a deep breath. “I’m going to the submarine.”
“Are you crazy? He just blew them out of the water.” Hammond’s words fell out in a tumble of fear and grief. “You can’t—”
“Go with St. Claire!” Segarra turned and began walking along the coast of the lagoon. It would finish draining in just a few minutes, and he wanted to be there when it did. He could hear St. Claire nagging everyone to come along, but he didn’t turn back. This was not open to discussion. Dmitri Kalesnikov had turned this into a combat encounter. He was the enemy.
The soft patter of footsteps took a moment to register. Segarra turned and saw Malik coming up from behind. He shook his head. “Go back to the others, boy.”
“Not your boy,” snarled Malik. His eyes were bright with anger and pain.
Segarra felt for him, but this was neither the time nor the place. “That’s an order.”
“No.” He kept walking. “I want to see the man who murdered my bredda.”
Segarra reached for his shoulder but Malik brushed him off, kept walking. “With or without you,” he said.
Segarra recognized the same steel in Malik’s posture as he felt in his own. “Let me do the talking,” he said, relenting. There was no response for a moment, and then Malik nodded without stopping.
It left Segarra with no choice but to walk straight up to the submarine. The guards were already climbing out of the hatch, each one stopping as he got clear and pointing an automatic weapon at them, allowing the next one to climb out and move farther. Three others climbed out and moved to the rear, toward their encampment. As the last of the water drained, there were more than a dozen men atop the submarine and two more coming down the gangplank. They stepped in time down to the sandy floor of the lagoon and lifted their weapons, saying something in Russian. Probably halt or we’ll shoot. Segarra ignored them.
“Dmitri Kalesnikov!” he shouted. “Come out here and face me like a man.”
The men kept their guns raised as they conferred. One called down the hatch. Another sailor clambered up from the makeshift encampment at the shore of the lagoon. Segarra noticed for the first time how lean the soldiers were, the sharp edges of their cheekbones and the tired look in their eyes.
They straightened as another man came up the hatch, running a hand through his hair; judging from the reaction of the guards, he was clearly of high rank. As the man strode down the gangplank, Segarra recognized him as the officer who had taken St. Claire to the medical bay. The XO. No sign of Dmitri.
“You should leave,” the man said in a tired voice.
“I’m not leaving until I speak to Dmitri.”
“Captain Kalesnikov,” corrected the man, carefully pronouncing every syllable. “He is busy and does not wish to speak to you.”