Chapter 25

Surfacing

“How much longer are we going to wait?” Parker complained for at least the third time. Caleb pulled back his sleeve and glanced at the faintly luminous hands of his watch. They had been waiting down here at the edge of the water for over an hour.

“If they’re not dead yet, it could be as much as another hour. If they haven’t surfaced by then, we know they’ve drowned.”

“We’re out of coffee and I need to piss.”

“We can leave any time you want.”

“Do you think they are dead?”

Caleb rolled his shoulders and cracked his neck. Maybe it was  time to find a new job. Babysitting this executive might pay alright, but he had spent nights freezing his ass off in the Afghani wilderness while listening to the chatter of gunfire from down the valley that were less stressful than this.

“What do you think?” Parker demanded.

How the hell did an impatient ass like Parker get promoted? Caleb thought. He must have had some sort of dirt on the company brass. He said, “No idea.”

Parker shoved his door open and climbed out of the truck saying, “I’ll be back. When we’re out of the mine I need to use your phone to call in a reservation at a decent restaurant.”

“Whatever you say, boss.”

Parker slammed the truck door and walked awkwardly towards the pile of supplies that Delvare and Lucas had left at the edge of the water.

“Really?” Caleb muttered, as Parker unzipped his pants and urinated on the pile of supplies. “What a childish…”

That was as far as Caleb got before the water beside Parker erupted in spray of white. Something large and metallic glinted briefly in the light of the truck headlamps before slamming into Parker, causing the man to cry out and drop to the floor of the cave, clutching his abdomen. Beside him a small compressed air canister skittered across the tunnel floor and bounced off a wall somewhere in the darkness beyond the headlamps.

“Shit!” Caleb shouted. He leapt from the truck and drew his gun in a single fluid motion, then crouched behind the front wheel of the truck and glanced around the headlamp at the scene before him.

The dark shape of a man clad in a drysuit emerged from the water only feet from the shore, clutching a heavy rebreather pack in front of him. The man swiveled his head from side to side, taking in the scene above the water, then ran to the corner of the truck opposite Caleb, snatching at the backpack Parker had urinated on as he ran past.

Parker screamed in pain or rage as the man moved past him, but remained curled in a fetal ball.

Caleb was impressed. He knew that the man who had spirited Jeanne Delvare away from the club, and then helped her elude capture on the crowded streets of New Orleans was no fool, but this rapid assault using an improvised weapon was truly impressive. Whoever this Oliver Lucas was, he was more than the average art thief or diamond smuggler. Of course, professional admiration of the man’s talent would not stop Caleb from killing him today.