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datatime: 2022-10-04 05:33:22 Author:qHtMbfmP

That's why I recruited you. Not just for your submersible. It's time you returned to the real world.

Jack had never seen Mark Houston look so worried. I'll do my best to help, he said sincerely. Just ask, and I'll do it.

His former commander sighed and lifted his hands in surrender. You are a goddamn piece of work, Jack. He stood up. The briefing should be under way shortly. I suppose you understand the importance of our work here.

Jack reached out and clasped the large man's hand. Then Charlie lowered the acrylic dome over Jack's head and screwed it into place. Once done, Charlie gave Jack a thumbs-up and dove off the sub, joining the marine biologist in the water as Jack finalized his checklist.

Houston released him and headed toward the door. I have a few last minute details to address, but help yourself to the sandwiches, Jack. The egg salad is especially good. Real eggs, not that powdered shit. The admiral gave him a tired smile, then left, closing the door behind him.

Jack shook his head. Listen, I appreciate your concern. I really do. But I'm almost forty years old, not a child to be coddled. Whether you believe it or not, I'm happy in my current life.

Check and check. Diving now he said dryly. He engaged the thrusters, the sub humming under him. He took on ballast and the Nautilus began to lower into the surf. The water line climbed up the dome, swamping over Jack's head.

Close enough. We at least come to port every now and then.

I see you at least keep abreast of current events out here, Houston teased lightly, but his voice quickly grew sober again. His brows knit with worry. Washington is screaming for answers. Before Nafe can be sworn in, we need to put the fate of President Bishop to rest. Already rumors are spreading. Some are claiming terrorists-Arabs, Russian, Chinese, Serbian, or even the I.R.A. Take your pick. Some are saying it's all a hoax. Some say it's a conspiracy tied to JFK The admiral shook his head. It's a friggin' mess. For order to be restored, we need concrete answers. We need a body we can bury with the usual pomp and ceremony. That's why we're here.

Jack shook his head. Listen, I appreciate your concern. I really do. But I'm almost forty years old, not a child to be coddled. Whether you believe it or not, I'm happy in my current life.

Jack nodded, standing also. Of course. It's Air Force One. The President.

Alone, Jack sank into one of the seats. He wiped his damp palms on his trousers. The gravity of the situation began to press on him. For the first time in a decade, he sensed the eyes of the world again looking in his direction.

What about the Vice President? Lawrence Nafe?

Charlie worked atop the submersible as it floated behind the Fathom, stomping around, visually checking seals, while Robert, in mask and snorkel, swam under the ship. Jack had done his own check, but his crew were taking no chances. Check everything twice, he had drilled into them.

Jack just stared, dumbfounded.

Close enough. We at least come to port every now and then.

I see you at least keep abreast of current events out here, Houston teased lightly, but his voice quickly grew sober again. His brows knit with worry. Washington is screaming for answers. Before Nafe can be sworn in, we need to put the fate of President Bishop to rest. Already rumors are spreading. Some are claiming terrorists-Arabs, Russian, Chinese, Serbian, or even the I.R.A. Take your pick. Some are saying it's all a hoax. Some say it's a conspiracy tied to JFK The admiral shook his head. It's a friggin' mess. For order to be restored, we need concrete answers. We need a body we can bury with the usual pomp and ceremony. That's why we're here.

Jack looked up at the Jamaican geologist. I'm going, Charlie.

'It's more than just the President, Jack. We've lost Presidents before. But never under such circumstances, in the middle of a worldwide catastrophe. As much as the rest of the world disparages the United States and its foreign policy, it still doesn't stop them from looking to us for leadership during a time of crisis-and now we are leaderless, rudderless.

'It's more than just the President, Jack. We've lost Presidents before. But never under such circumstances, in the middle of a worldwide catastrophe. As much as the rest of the world disparages the United States and its foreign policy, it still doesn't stop them from looking to us for leadership during a time of crisis-and now we are leaderless, rudderless.

Jack had never seen Mark Houston look so worried. I'll do my best to help, he said sincerely. Just ask, and I'll do it.

Jack had never seen Mark Houston look so worried. I'll do my best to help, he said sincerely. Just ask, and I'll do it.

'It's more than just the President, Jack. We've lost Presidents before. But never under such circumstances, in the middle of a worldwide catastrophe. As much as the rest of the world disparages the United States and its foreign policy, it still doesn't stop them from looking to us for leadership during a time of crisis-and now we are leaderless, rudderless.

Houston released him and headed toward the door. I have a few last minute details to address, but help yourself to the sandwiches, Jack. The egg salad is especially good. Real eggs, not that powdered shit. The admiral gave him a tired smile, then left, closing the door behind him.

Around the Fathom, the other search ships were spread in a wide circle. Off to the south, the Gibraltar filled the horizon. Overhead, & Sea Knight helicopter buzzed by. All eyes remained on Jack and his tiny sub.

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