It was a long-held argument in the Segarra family that David was exactly like his grandfather—right all the time. It was never meant as a compliment. As a young man, when he’d asked his mother how being right all the time could possibly be a bad thing, she would only shake her head and say, You’ll see.
Now he did.
His rust-stained hands shook as he stared at the vessel number of the wreck—LHD-1, the USS Wasp. He’d been sent here to find this ship, and he’d done it. His suspicions about the slipstream and the movement of time on the island were confirmed with a single swipe of his hand.
“Shit,” Segarra said.
On the beach, Hammond and Olivia were watching him, their eyes shaded against the sun. He waved to let them know he was all right, eyed the slipstream to ensure he could make it back to land without becoming a bundle of bones in the tide, and dove into the water. Soon, strong hands pulled him to his feet, and Hammond watched as he dripped onto the sand.
“What were you thinking?” Hammond demanded.
“I’ll explain,” Segarra said, hands on his knees as he caught his breath. He straightened, eyeing the rest of the empty beach. “But I’m only doing it once. Where is everyone?”
“Dumont’s at the cave. I don’t know about St. Claire and Miller. Malik showed up this morning. McBride is probably searching for aliens,” Hammond said. “What gotten into you?”
“The need to be right all the time,” Segarra said, shaking his head. His composure left him and he began to shake as the slipstream kicked in, the current clearly visible as it tugged on the Wasp.
“Well, that’s certainly you in a nutshell,” Hammond agreed, taking him by the arm. “Let’s get you back to the camp.”
Eager to help, Olivia took Segarra’s other arm, though she was holding his hand and swinging their arms more than offering support as they made their way to the cave. St. Claire and Miller were resting near the cave mouth; McBride was just coming around the corner when they arrived.
“Guys,” he said, not noticing Segarra’s soaked clothing, “I’ve been thinking about Hammond’s tapes, and while I know you’re all thrilled that there’s a scientific explanation for what’s going on here, we are overlooking a key element. We agree that the US government built this thing as a weapon, right? So while the Bermuda Triangle might have man-made roots—catastrophic, bad decision-making roots, but still man-made—what we haven’t wondered is who is the weapon meant to be used against?”
They all stared at him.
“Aliens,” he concluded confidently.
“If you could zip your lip for one second,” Hammond said, “Segarra just took a suicidal swim and I’d like to know why.”
“McBride getting to you?” Dumont asked Segarra, earning a giggle from Olivia.
“I found the Wasp,” Segarra said, cutting straight to the point and earning everyone’s attention.
“What? Where?” McBride immediately started scanning the horizon.
“It’s been right in front of us this whole time,” Segarra said, pointing to the wreck. “Our mission was accomplished before we even landed. We just didn’t know it.”
Hammond followed Segarra’s gaze and let out a low whistle. “That messes with the head.”
“Mission accomplished?” Dumont repeated. “What about survivors? Or are we assuming they’re all still on board?”
“Skeleton crew,” McBride said, then ducked when Hammond threw a fistful of sand at him, and had the grace to blush when Segarra gave him a murderous look.
“There’s at least one,” Segarra said to McBride. “He took a shot at us.”
“You mean the hermit? Oh . . . that’s . . .” McBride paled, for once at a loss for words.
“That’s tragic, truly,” Hammond said, choosing his words carefully and eyeing Olivia as he spoke. “But where does it leave us? The Wasp is accounted for, along with the crew. We’ve found what we came for, in spades. So . . . what now?”
“We leave,” Dumont said. “There is literally no reason for us to stay here.”
“And literally no way to leave,” McBride shot back. “What Hammond said is true—we found what we came for, plus a few things we definitely aren’t supposed to know about. Do you really think if we get out of here that the government will let us go back to our lives?”
“I’m just going to focus on the getting-out-of-here part,” Dumont said. “That’s in my control. If you want to worry about conspiracies and cover-ups, knock yourself out. And I do mean...