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.
SEÑOR BATISTA CHAQUITA
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
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.
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.
MISS MERCEDES CHANCE
"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
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.
PROFESSOR VINCE HOZLER
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.
"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?"
DOCTOR NAGASAKI CHEN
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.
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.
LARRY "BULLSHIT" HAYNES
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.
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
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
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
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.
MERCEDES: The Bermuda Triangle.
HOZLER: The East River during a Longshoreman's strike.
HAYNES: Damn! He took my answer.
CHEN: The Sargasso Sea.
CHAQUITA: 35 degrees, 15 minutes north; 54 degrees, 11 minutes
"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
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
"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
"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 . . ."
"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
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
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:
GRAVES: Food source, Kelp?
ITCHYFINGER: To some extent, but figuring that they use a UV system
for cloaking I would hypothesize that they also use its beneficial
rays for farming within the city.
GRAVES: Then they would need a chemical fertilizer.
ITCHYFINGER: Definitely, a nitrate would be the most logical choice seeing
that it would be the easiest to gather. It would be stored
in its concentrated form, highly volatile may I add.
GRAVES: Storage location?
ITCHYFINGER: Somewhere away from the general populace but in close proximity
to the agricultural area. It would be most likely underground.
GRAVES: And knowing how engineers, politicians, architects as well as pulp
magazine sci-fi writers think, Where would this storage facility
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,  How were we going to escape captivity to implement the
plan, and  How we were going to escape the outcome of his plans.
ITCHYFINGER: Why near key engineering spaces, power stations and fuel dumps
so that if an explosion occurred everything would be destroyed.
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
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
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
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
"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
"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
"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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