TALE FOUR
Is Atlantis Just A Really Private Resort

    I knew that I was in big trouble the moment that I entered Graves' office.  I knew this because stacked on his desk was a huge pile of books, which weren't the ordinary kind of books that you would expect to see stacked on a professor's desk.  Absent were the dusty tomes written by obscure scientists who had been dead for at least twenty years, or the scientific journals that clutter many a teachers library.  Instead there were paperbacks, many of them sold as fiction (one was even a best seller).  Another giveaway to the imminent prospect of trouble was the fact that they all related to one subject . . . Atlantis.
    Atlantis: Huge Hoax or Land of Wonder by Frank Kelch was there lying next to Tamara Arkel's In Search of the Atlantean Race.  Of course no list of lost continent text would be complete without mention of the 1979 Flugelmeyer Award for Crappy Literature Where The Hell Is Atlantis, by Stane Laforce.  This wasn't too bad, Graves could have been on one of his reading binges (it's a disease you know), but this was compounded by a series of grafittied maps and globes that were dispersed throughout his office.  Words like "here" and "maybe" were among the marks on the charts.  These memos were amplified by arrows drawn in blinding fluorescent yellow pen.  There were pins stuck in them with little red flags on them; but this could have been discounted to mere curiosity.  I might have been clued in by the SCUBA gear and spectrographic sonar equipment lying around the office but I figured that it was normal for Graves to have these kind of things lying about.  What gave it away was the fact that Graves asked me, "Have you ever heard of Atlantis?"
    "Sure, everyone has. Is this some twisted song title for your album.  Why do you ask?"
    Oops!  Sometimes I never learn.  Knowing that I was trapped, I went to the refrigerator and grabbed several beers.  From there I deposited my body in the loving arms of the La-Z-Boy Atomolounger.  You know the chair I am talking about folks.  The chair, that even on its lowest setting, has the ability to gently ease you into blissful reminiscences and sometimes short-term memory loss.  Oh yeah.
    "In all honesty Benson, do you think Atlantis is a lost city filled with technology far beyond ours or just a really private resort?"
    I didn't answer him because it wouldn't have mattered anyway; Graves was already calling the people he needed on the hyper-mega, trans-universal radio designed specifically to leave messages of pain and suffering for his associates.

SEÑOR BATISTA CHAQUITA

    I was at the London Book Exposition doing a book signing for my new novel Ancient Map-Making Made Easy when the pager Graves uses to contact me with went off.  I tried to ignore it because a press conference happened to be going on at the same time and I wasn't having a good time.
    "Mister Chaquita, Donna Carlyle from the New York Review of Meaningless Stuff, in your book you include maps to the Lost City of Tenichinzzi.  Do you honestly believe that this place exists?"
    "Si.  Otherwise I would not have put it in my book," I replied.
    "Harold Lyman of the National Examiner . . . Is it true that you are associated with noted millionaire, history teacher, and amateur archeologist Aarron Graves?"
    I knew it!  There are a lot of advantages to working for Graves; gaining more knowledge of the past and the great pay come to mind but there are certain disadvantages as well.  One is the prospect of dying early as well as the bad press from those who don't take Graves seriously.
    "No comment," was the best response I could muster.
    "Is it also true the Professor Graves claims to have found Noah's Ark, The Fountain of Youth and most unbelievable of the three, a city that doesn't have a convenience store in it?"
    "I wouldn't know Mister Lyman . . . and it was a catamaran not an Ark."
    It was at that point that a flurry of questions erupted from the press.  I was starting to get angry with these press people especially this pencil-necked reporter from the Examiner.  What made it worse was that he kept pushing me to greater heights of anger.
    "How can the general public seriously buy your book knowing that it is written by a man who's credibility is marred by his unfathomable support of an eccentric like Graves?"
    As I have known Graves he has shown that he really, without a shadow of a doubt, hates reporters.  I was starting to feel the same way.
    Luckily for the National Examiner I responded to the beeper.

MISS MERCEDES CHANCE

    Rich people like to throw lavish parties.  In my study of psychoses I have concluded that this is a wealthy persons attempt to feel that they are being generous to others; a guilt purge, you might say.  Of course these "others" are usually rich themselves so the whole thing seems kind of pointless to me.  I had been invited to one of these parties (mainly due to the fact that I had modeled for Mister Anton Garcia, a renowned, as well as rich, fashion designer) and I wasn't having a good time.
    You see, arrogant snobs who think they are above everyone else because of their money rather than their knowledge really annoy me.  In fact it was only because I respected Anton that I didn't hurt these people.  I had been asked a lot of the typical rich type questions like "So what corporation are you CEO of," "How much in taxes did you pay this year," or "Are you anorexic too?"  The answers that I gave them usually caused them to conveniently have to go somewhere else.
    Fortunately they were saved by the fact that my beeper went off, telling me that an adventure was in the works.  The message said that Graves needed my help in finding out if Atlantis was just a really private resort.
    It was there that I discovered that Aarron is well known among the rich set.  Unfortunately his reputation isn't high in their regard due to the fact that he shows none of the classic rich traits like blatant flaunting of wealth, news scandals, and divorce trials.  He is also not well liked because he still tries to do some good for the public in a realistic way instead of building low rent apartments for a tax write off, or donating $100,000 to the Foundation for the Rehabilitation of Millionaires Who Are in Prison for Income Tax Fraud.  Also, they dislike the fact that he is arrogant because of his knowledge not his money; which is why I admire him.
    Being that I have a huge thing for Graves I was irritated at their attitude.  Now unlike when I deal with devil worshippers, mutants, or religious fanatics I can't just pull out an Uzi and wipe out a pack of undomesticated rich types; I have to be subtle.  That's why I have a doctorates degree.  As a psychiatrist I am trained in the various mental tactics used to overcome ailments and this training can be applied to the defeat of foes.  I will be the first to say that gunfire doesn't solve everything.
    I pulled out a hand grenade.

PROFESSOR VINCE HOZLER

    "Now class, continuing with the topic of the effect of progress on archeological finds, we are going to use Abu Simbul as an example.  The building of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt created a dilemma for the designers of the dam.  If it was built it would have caused the monument to be submerged forever making a great historical landmark inaccessible to the public.  If the dam wasn't built the growing population of Cairo and surrounding cities would have been in dire straits for a power source, irrigation for farmland, and a great place to swim.  This was on the required reading list, so Mister Bender, what was the solution to the problem?"
    Now Bender isn't one of the brightest students of Archeology, but I kind of hold a warm fuzzy for him because he reminds me a lot of me when I was in college.
    "What does the band that sang Money for Nothing, have to do with it," asked Bender?
    The class found the statement confusing but I got the joke; and even though it was funny it wasn't what I was looking for.  It scares me to think how I got my degree.
    Now there are some teachers who believe in asking questions of those students who don't raise their hands because they probably don't know the answer.  There are others who ask the ones who raise their hands because they think that the student who doesn't know the question thinks he won't get picked.  I pick the students who raise their hands because I know that she's right.  I say that she's right because she is the only one who ever raises her hand and may I add, knows the answers.  Graves is already looking to hire her (Between him and the CIA recruiting young minds the only talent left are those who major in Journalism or Hotel Management).  By the way, her name is Dana Trent.
    "They relocated the external site pieces sparing it from destruction."
    "That is correct, but . . ." I was interrupted by Graves' beeper.  He is always interrupting my classes which, may I add, is one of my pet peeves.
    "Class dismissed."

DOCTOR NAGASAKI CHEN

    A lot of people laugh at my inventions but I don't let it bother me.  Someday there will be a need for combination coffee maker/satellite navigation systems or fusion powered toasters.  Of course I don't always spend my time inventing useful items.  I also work on trivial things to pay the bills like bionic prostheses, artificial hearts, and a way to keep stray animals out of your garbage.
    The day that Graves contacted me I happened to be working on a piece of delicate machinery with my trusted lab assistant Henry.  This extremely complicated piece of machinery happened to have a lot of pulleys, sprockets, and gears on it so that if your tie, sleeve, or finger inadvertently happened to get caught in one of these pieces the whole machine would instantaneously explode (as well as ruin a good tie).
    Normally I give a safety brief to anybody in the vicinity of my inventions, but in my excitement to test this invention I failed to warn Henry of the machine's inherent dangers.
    KRAKA-BOOM!!
    As the flaming parts rained down in the room I checked to see if Henry was okay.  I discovered that Henry had remembered to wear his face shield and gloves and had spared him the painful disfigurement often associated with dangerous/explosive experiments.  More importantly, I was saved the trouble of having to find a new trusted lab assistant.
    I also discovered that another strange phenomenon had been created by the explosion of my hydranium powered gauss laser car alarm.  Staring me in the face was a stationary temporal field (otherwise known as a time portal).  I knew this because as I looked through the door-like opening I saw a bunch of medieval dudes hacking at each other with swords.  But to fully enjoy this discovery I had to answer Graves' beeper because it was beginning to annoy me.  He said that he needed my help in figuring out whether or not Atlantis was a huge hoax or just a really private resort.  Of course I knew that this was true because I had seen it on an episode of The Love Boat.
    Returning to my failed experiment I realized that the field had closed leaving only a battered shield on the floor to taunt me in my misery.
    DAMN!  I knew I should have made schematics of it.

LARRY "BULLSHIT" HAYNES

    I fly commercial helicopters in Manhattan as part of a charter service.  In fact I've flown helos all the way back to that nasty little war in Vietnam.  But compared to New York I'd rather be back in the bush blowing the crap out of Wang Chi's in Ho Chi Minh City.  Most of my customers are big business types who have made it where they are by stabbing other people in the back and generally treating them like dirt.  This annoys me to exceptional levels and I often get urges to fly my bird right into the World Trade Center.  I have worked with Graves for a while and he is a big business type but I have never seen him stab any of us in the back . . . He comes right to our face and tells us we are going to get maimed.
    But that is only part of the problem; the other part is the fact that the city has real strict rules governing the piloting of aircraft over the city.  I mean, as if a large airliner crashing in the Bronx is bad.  I am not allowed to fly fast and am not allowed to buzz those stupid punk rockers on 42nd street.  To top it off I am not allowed to land in Central Park (which I would give my left testicle to do) so my flights are really boring.
    Have you ever seen the movie Wall Street?  Well the guy I was flying looked a lot like Michael Douglas (except the dimple).  His name was Victor Thomas and he was getting on my nerves.  He was bragging about how he had raided a huge pharmaceutical firm then sold it just to crush the CEO.  I struck up a conversation with him telling him that I had a friend named Graves who was a millionaire.  This made the man sit up and shut up real quick like.  In fact I happened to notice a few beads of sweat rolling off his brow.  It was at that point that I was starting to enjoy the flight.
    I asked him if he knew him and he said no.  This was obviously a lie due to the fact that the temperature in the cockpit rose twenty degrees and his mental projection of Graves toward me nearly caused my brain to implode.
    BEEP. . . BEEP. . . BEEP. . . BEEP. . .
    "What was that," he asked in a startled sort of manner?
    I could have told him that it was a low fuel warning just to scare him a bit more but I figured that it would be better not to kill the guy.  I told him that it was merely Graves trying to get hold of me and that he shouldn't worry; Graves only wants me to come help him find Atlantis.  As soon as I said it I realized I should have gone with the low fuel gag.
    "You must land me right now Mister Haynes.  If you don't I am going to have a heart attack and my lawyer will slam the second hugest lawsuit in the history of the planet on you."
    Never being one to argue with someone who could ruin me at a snap of his fingers I took my bird down.  The police would understand that this was an emergency landing and how painful legal battles are.
    Funny that I happened to land in Central Park.
    As the ambulance pulled up and the EMT's took charge of the executive he gasped a desperate plea, "Please don't let Graves know that I am alive again."  He then proceeded to die.  I hope I say something more profound when I die like, "Tell Gina that I lied about the vasectomy," or "I hid the million dollars in locker number . . . argh."
    Next stop . . . Deep Six Explorations Ltd.

    We had all met on the docks in New York city at a semi-reputable place that catered to people searching for things that were lost in the ocean.  The owner boasted of nearly getting the Titanic contract and complained about being underbid on the Bismarck deal but he was quite proud of the fact that he had found the boat they used in the first Jaws movie . . . reputation was obviously not a factor in this case.
    We all got on this boat that resembled one of those rickety Cuban refugee rafts and put to sea.  For some odd reason that damn tune from Gilligans Island kept humming around in my head.
    In the crew's galley everything seemed to pitch and roll.  The food Chen and I were eating rolled across the table.  Vince pitched his lunch on the floor.  Mercedes rolled with laughter at Vince's pitching.  Haynes rolled a cigarette with the tobacco he had in a pouch.  Chaquita rolled something that wasn't tobacco (I'm no Narc).  Graves who was unaffected by the storm rolled open a map.
    Trivia time!  I could smell it a mile away (or was it Chaquita's smoke).  Unfortunately I couldn't get away fast enough and was trapped like a small rodent.
    "Okay!  Name me one of the least traveled sea lanes in the Atlantic Ocean?"
    See.  I was smart enough not to answer.

    "Right!"
    HOZLER/HAYNES/CHANCE/CHEN/CHAQUITA:  "Really?"
    "No fools!  Chaquita was right the rest of you were just close.  35.15n, 54.11w is the sea path that is the least traveled by every merchant fleet in the world except Ireland.  The only reason the Irish use it is because they are poor navigators.  Only a total of 132 ships have passed through that area since the beginning of mankind. Of those 132 only 55 have arrived at their destination.  That was until four years ago when an ancient Phoenician galley mysteriously appeared and anchored off the coast of Lebanon.  Unfortunately it was destroyed by a U.S. Missile Frigate that mistook it for a Libyan Aircraft Carrier."
    Graves flipped through a few pages of Grayson's Complete Guide to the World and More then stopped on a page explaining the data of the region.  "You see, this one area of the ocean has the highest concentration of unnatural weather phenomenon on the planet.  Multicolored lightning storms, freak rain squalls on clear days, and calm winds during hurricane class storms are all common to this area.  The ocean currents in the surrounding area go around in a circle, and seagulls have been seen flying in the area.  All of these facts point to the obvious answer; there is some land mass in the area that is not visible in our spectrum of sight.  This land mass either uses an ultraviolet or infrared cloaking device to bend the light waves thereby hiding it.  It is the device cloaking this land mass that is the obvious cause of the atmospheric disturbances."  Graves paused to close the book, "Or it might just be a huge coincidence."
    The scholarly types of our group concurred with Graves seeing it as the obvious answer.  Haynes and myself felt differently because it was just too unbelievable . . . "Bullshit!"
    It was a long trip to 35.15n, 54.11w not only because of the distance but due to the fact that everybody in the party were in bad moods.  This tenseness was added to by the fact that the Captain of the boat was a class A cranky salt.  Apparently this man was born on a ship and instead of his parents making him take piano lessons he worked on ships.  Being in his late 60's, this guy hated just about everything on the planet.  These facts point to the obvious fact that people were not meant to stay together for long periods at sea.
    The only people that were able to even talk to the Captain were Graves, Haynes, and myself (being that we all served in the military at one time or another).  Of course these conversations usually ended up in Captain Kain (that was his name, I swear) saying, "All naval officers are idiots," "Ground pounders have to take out loans to get IQ's," or "You were a Damage Controlman Benson, snipes are fags!"  But when Kain got out of hand with his tongue lashings Graves simply reminded him that it was an ex-idiot who was paying him . . . This would shut him up for a few hours.
    Needless to say this lasted for three days and other than what I just said absolutely nothing happened . . . Unless you want to count being attacked by dudes riding dolphins, blowing conch shells, and firing their laser tridents at us.
    I remember it clearly.  The water was choppy for a second then it wasn't.  Red and blue bolts of lightning blazed around us and then all power on the ship went out. We all went topside because it was dark inside.
    It was spooky but as usual I was distracted by something trivial.  Floating in the water was an unusual amount of sea debris that is rarely seen so far away from land.  My attention was caught by a grimy doughnut shaped item bumping along the side of the boat.  I grabbed a boat hook and five minutes later (due to my vast nautical experience) I hauled it into the ship.  Using one of the rags that were spread around the ship I wiped away the crud on one side.  I was in the dark over what I had discovered so I asked Graves what the Monarch of the Seas was?
    "An American flagged ship filled with about 700 immigrants that vanished without a trace in 1866, why?"
    "I think I found a trace."
    Graves snatched the object from my hands.  "You've done it Benson!  This old life ring proves that something strange is going on in this area."
    Oh, and the funky weather wasn't proof enough.
    "Think about it people, this ship was lost in 1866, 119 years ago.  Regardless of how slow it moved it would have reached land decades ago!  This proves that something not natural is acting like a shoreline in this area."
    The Professor pulled a pair of sunglasses out of his jacket pocket, put them on and slowly began to scan the horizon.
    That was when we saw these pale green men riding dolphins swarming around our ship.  They were shooting beams of red light from their tridents and were doing a really good job of destroying the vessel.  Mercedes had pulled out her Atomic Death Blossom Launcher and took bead on our attackers.  She armed the weapon but before she could pull the trigger Graves grabbed the weapon.
    "What are you doing Aarron?  These guys are trying to kill us!"
    "Mercedes have I ever been wrong about my theories before?"
    "No."
    "Then trust me on this one.  If they had wanted to kill us they would have blown us up with that Particle Projection Cannon that they have mounted on the top spire of the castle."
    "What castle and how much damage can this Particle Projection Cannon do?"
    "The one on our starboard side and if you can imagine the effect throwing a rock through a pane of glass has then picture this having the same effect on a 35 meter thick slab of reinforced diamond/titanium, dura-carballoy steel folded a thousand times."
    "Oh." She began took look antsy and said, "Uh . . . Aarron. . ."
    Wait a second!  How could Graves have seen a castle when the rest of us were totally blind to anything except our immediate demise at the hands of trident-wielding free-style swimmers.  I mean sure Graves wears glasses but even Chen hasn't invented Ray Ban's that scan the ultraviolet spectrum.
    "Uh . . . Aarron . . ."
    "Actually Mister Benson, I have.  I have also developed extended wear contact lenses in blue and green but they aren't quite ready yet.  I brought the prototype shades with me however . . . Aarron happens to be wearing them this very moment."
    I hate when I think aloud.
    "Uh . . . Aarron . . ."
    Graves proceeded to tell us that our best bet was to put on our life vests and jump over the side before one of the beams from the laser tridents hits the fuel tanks and sends us waiting for our next incarnation.  It sounded logical to everyone except Captain Kain.
    "Uh . . . Aarron . . ."
    "No way Graves this boat is my livelihood!  Sure I haven't had much business lately but the U.S. government is working up a package to look for the Spanish Galleon Antonio de la Pendecho and I have a good chance of getting it."
    "Uh . . . Aarron . . ."
    Graves asked him how much his business was worth and Kain told him that it was over $200,000 (which I found hard to believe).  Graves took out his check book and wrote a check for $300,000.  Handing it to Kain he welcomed Deep Six Explorations Limited as a subsidiary of Grave-Diggers International and told him to get ready to swim.
    "Uh . . . Aarron . . ."
     "What is it Mercedes?"
    "Well there is only one drawback to the Atomic Death Blossom Launcher . . . Once the warhead is armed the warhead has to be fired; there is no way to stop it from exploding."
    "Then fire it somewhere it won't kill the Atlanteans.  Anywhere but . . ."
    VOOSH! KRAKA-BOOM!
    "What were you going to say Aarron," asked Mercedes?
    "I was going to say anywhere but starboard otherwise you'll hit Atlantis but the whole thing is pointless now."
    This was certainly an understatement considering that the tactical nuclear explosion had apparently disabled the cloaking device giving us all an excellent view of the ancient lost city of Atlantis.  Rather than being an island it was a huge floating city hovering about 231 feet above the ocean.  It was magnificent to say the least and as Graves had said there was this huge cannon mounted on the highest spire of the castle that dominated the city.
    The making of the city visible had convinced the Atlanteans that the kid gloves were off.  They proceeded to aim at their target instead of just firing in its general direction.  This target happened to be us.
    About seven point three seconds after we all dived in the water the fuel tank of the ship exploded.  Floating in the water visions of our dying in the cold Atlantic danced about my mind.  I could picture some nice family in Massachusetts having a picnic at Martha's Vineyard finding our rotting corpses washed up on the shore after being lost at sea for three years.
    Of course this was a huge overexaggeration on my behalf.  The water was a pleasant 75 degrees which I found confusing because we were still within the region where icebergs were still seen.  Graves told me that it was most likely due to the residual energy of the nuclear explosion from Mercedes' weapon.  That and the generation of heat from the now inoperative ultraviolet cloaking system hiding the city.
    Of course now that I look back on it we wouldn't have been in the water for very long because the Atlanteans encircled us and trapped us in nets.  From there we were promptly knocked unconscious and taken back to the city.  The latter part of this observation was based on the fact that when we woke up we found ourselves shackled and put on showcase in the Royal Hall of Atlantis.  We knew that it was the Royal Hall because some guy sat on a throne calling himself . . .
    "King Krackon and your names?"
    As always Graves nominated himself speaker for our group.  I imagined him angering the King and causing the Particle Projection Cannon to be aimed at us for immediate execution.
    "I am Professor Aarron Graves, Ph.D., and these are my associates Miss Mercedes Chance, Professor Vince Hozler, Doctors Nagasaki Chen and Earnest Itchyfinger, Señor Batista Chaquita, Mister Craig Benson, Larry "Bullshit" Haynes, and Captain Artemus Kain.  We have come here to put to rest the outrageous theories surrounding the lost city of Atlantis."
    The King laughed at Graves and said, "What outrageous theories are these Mister Graves?"
    Graves laughed back, "That's Professor, and the theories range from this place being a really private resort to it being a complete myth."
    "And what have you concluded?"
    "Well if this is a resort blowing up tourists boats is certainly considered bad for business.  I sway more to the Shang Ri La theory."
    The King seemed impressed by Graves, "Ah, the belief that there are hidden centers of knowledge and technology and that the inhabitants of these places choose to avoid the rest of the world in fear that their discoveries would be used for ill purposes."
    "You said it, not me."
    "Professor, it seems that you are a man ahead of conventional thinking and I admire that.  It is a trait rarely seen in today's people."
    "Actually I read it in an issue of The Shadow."
    "A scientific paper?"
    "No.  A comic book."
    "Well Professor Graves . . . You are exactly right in your theory.  Unfortunately, because you are right I cannot allow you to leave Atlantis.  Sorry but those are the rules."
    Graves said, "I understand" and gave him one of his smiles.  To those who do not know Graves this smile seems completely innocent.  But to those who do, this is his devious "I figured that this would happen and I have already taken it into account" smile. This smile always spells trouble for us.
    We were courteously escorted to our jail cells by a dozen burly Atlanteans.  Oh yes, they were well mannered but those pesky laser tridents were still being pointed into our backs.  Sure these cells were huge and luxurious and contained every convenience one could ask for, but it was a jail none the less.
    Once the guards had left, Graves pulled the sheet off of the bed and began drawing algebraic figures, geometric calculations, and hexadecimal algorithms on it.  We all watched him for about two point four seconds then Chen exclaimed, "Of course" and joined Graves in his math-fest.
    Once Graves and Chen had slowed down their work to a point where they were recalculating minor details, and remembering to carry the twos, Graves asked Itchyfinger a series of questions:
      With that Chen and Graves resumed making calculations and drawings.  Now even though I am no genius I could see the direction Graves was leading with his questions.  There were only two drawbacks to his plan, [1] How were we going to escape captivity to implement the plan, and [2] How we were going to escape the outcome of his plans.
    As soon as Graves folded the grafittied sheet and placed it in his coat pocket he told Mercedes to blow the door open.  I was caught slightly off guard because the guards had taken all of the weapons out of her purse.  I would soon find out that it takes a complete strip search to find all of Mercedes' weapons (though doing so may be hazardous to your health).  From her, well . . . cleavage, she pulled a small but powerful hand grenade, pulled the pin, and placed it by the iron door.
    The detonation shook the room and almost certainly made the guards aware of our intentions to escape.  When the smoke had cleared there was nothing left of the door, or the wall as a matter of fact.  Haynes and Mercedes were ready for the guards who started to enter the room.  One swift blow to the neck, another to the sternum, and one in the lower pelvic region dispatched the sentries.  Laser tridents were appropriated.
    "Where do we go now," I asked?
    Graves pointed to the sign on the wall: POWER CORE - FUEL STORAGE - NITRATE STORAGE: LEFT
    Scientist my butt, he must have seen the sign when we were brought to the cell.
    Within a few short minutes we were in the heart of the city of Atlantis.  On our left was a fuel tank labeled "PLUTONIUM FUEL TANK - Do Not Shut Off Fuel Supply Or Ultraviolet Cloaking System Will Cease Operation."  On our right was a huge tank marked "NITRATE STORAGE - Do Not Set On Fire Or The Whole City Will Be Destroyed" and in the center of the room was a huge piece of machinery labeled "ANTI-GRAVITY SYSTEM - Do Not Deactivate Or City Will Settle On The Ocean's Surface."  Not too obvious if I must say so.
    "Well, since we have already taken care of the Cloaking system we only have two things to deal with.  Mercedes, put that other grenade by the Nitrate tank (though I didn't ask where she had that one hidden).  Nagasaki, you and Haynes find the control panel to the Anti-Gravity unit and look menacing so they think you will deactivate it."
    It was then that the massed army of Atlantis arrived in the nerve center and I must say they didn't look too happy.  Leading them was King Krackon and he looked even less happy than the army.  Speaking in that loud type of voice that kings and used car salesmen use, he said, "Let me guess Professor Graves, you are going to either blow up the Nitrate or deactivate the Anti-Gravity field unless we let you go."
    "No not actually."
    Jesus!  My ulcer kicked in on full power when Graves said that but I'll have to admit it caught the King off guard.
    "You know as well as I do that once I was away from this area you would have had me blown to subatomic matter with your Particle Projection Cannon.  As well, since you also know that I haven't had enough time to build a remote detonating device.  You have no fear of my holding you at bay until I am out of range."
    The King looked confused, "Then why haven't I killed you yet?"
    Graves pulled out the bedsheet that he and Chen had been working on and answered the King's question, "You haven't killed me because you know I have a deal for you."
    The King pondered on it for a moment then told his army to return to their posts.  This was odd but what was odder was that Graves told Mercedes to deactivate the grenade and for Chen and Haynes to step away from the Anti-Gravity device.  Then Graves and the King stepped into a corner and began conversing.  Graves was pointing at various aspects of the sheet diagram receiving nods from the King.  After a few minutes the King seemed immensely pleased and had a huge smile on his face.  The only part of the conversation I caught was, "And I'll have my lawyer Miss Marisol Braydon fly out here.  She will know all the legal channels that you need to go through to keep the world off your back."
    With that the King shook hands with Graves and we left Atlantis in an ancient Viking Galley (slaves included) without incident.
    As we headed towards Iceland (it was closest) all of us had a lot of questions that needed to be answered.  I was the first to ask, "How did you know that the King was waiting for a deal from you?"
    Graves leaned back in the hammock and spoke, "It was obvious, from the moment he explained the Shang Ri La theory to me that he was getting tired of being separated from the world. He of course realized that he had no choice but to stay hidden, because as he said, the inventions of Atlantis would be plundered by the world.  When we destroyed the Cloaking device, it made Atlantis visible to the whole world and the world would be soon knocking at his door looking for answers.  King Krackon was in a bind and I figured that he figured that I had the only solution to the problem."
    "And the drawing, was it a way to repair the cloaking device?"
    "No, that would have been a senseless exercise.  It wouldn't have changed the fact that people know Atlantis is there.  Don't you remember the main reason we came out here?"
    "To find out if Atlantis was just a really private resort."
    "Precisely! So Chen and myself drew up plans to turn Atlantis into a resort.  Think about it man; it is a vast metropolis in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  It would be the perfect place for a middle-of-the-ocean port of call.  Build a few fast food restaurants, movie theaters, brothels, casinos, bars and pawn shops . . . It would be veritable Las Vegas at sea.  The King would be a billionaire."
    Mercedes chimed in, "But that would still put Atlantis' technology in the hands of the world."
    "Exactly! That was one of my main objectives of the whole plan.  Knowledge is for the whole world to enjoy."
    "But wouldn't much of this knowledge cause an escalation in the world arms race greatly increasing the chance of nuclear war," asked Chen?
    "No.  One of my worries was the cloaking device but like many of your inventions Nagasaki they had no schematics of the system, and we destroyed the only model of it."
    "I've made it clear to Krackon that he would benefit most by staying neutral like Switzerland.  That way he'd avoid many of the problems associated with being a world power.  Oh sure sooner or later much of the city's technology will be copied but I will see that this occurs on an equal basis so that there is no loss of balance."
    "That's where your lawyer comes in," said Chaquita.
    "Yes.  She is very good.  Remember when Lee Iacocca was put on trial for planetary auto fraud?"
    "I never heard of that," I said.
    "Precisely.  Also some of my friends will be moving there not only to study Atlantis but to act as advisors.  The whole thing will be quite profitable for my company."
    As always the whole thing was completely simple, though as always it would take a few weeks for the information to seep into my brain allowing me to fully understand the whole thing.
    The only question left was from Haynes, "Graves, who the hell is Victor Thomas?"
    Graves perked his head up, "Mister Thomas used to be a very big corporate raider.  A few years ago he unsuccessfully tried to take control of my company but he's dead now.  He was killed in a mysterious rocket fuel manufacturing plant explosion in 1988 that I happened be the cause of . . . Why?"
    "Because he died in my helicopter the day you paged me.  He said something about not telling you that he was alive again.  I guess he survived the explosion."
    Graves looked disturbed.  Not disturbed in that "Uh Oh" sense but in the "Hmm" sense.  "Oh no Larry he was quite dead when the fire department arrived at the scene but that is irrelevant.  That man is beginning to get on my nerves.  I should have driven that damn stake through his heart when I had the chance.  Instead I had to go for the dramatic way.  I guess there is a lesson to be learned about following standard procedures."
    I was going to ask him what he was talking about, but that was when he said . . . .


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