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datatime: 2022-12-04 07:35:41 Author:XswaIlVf

Miller said nothing. There was nothing more to say. He broke contact with Chaco and hurried back to the silent group of students, who were staring down into the sinkhole with dread.

In a voice frantic with desperation, Chaco had informed him that the Peruvian navy was caught unprepared for an emergency. Their water escape and recovery team was on a training mission far to the south of Peru near the Chilean border. It was impossible for them to airlift the dive team and their equipment to the sinkhole before sundown. Chaco helplessly shared Miller's anxiety over the slow response time. But this was South America and speed was seldom a priority.

"Good luck to you, Juan. I'll stand by the radio at this end."

Miller said nothing. There was nothing more to say. He broke contact with Chaco and hurried back to the silent group of students, who were staring down into the sinkhole with dread.

"I will, I promise you," Miller said grimly.

Miller said nothing. There was nothing more to say. He broke contact with Chaco and hurried back to the silent group of students, who were staring down into the sinkhole with dread.

One hour and forty-five minute had passed since Shannon and Miles had entered the sacrificial pool. Any attempt at rescue now seemed an empty gesture. Nothing could save Shannon and Miles now. They had to be dead, their air used up long ago. Two more victims added to the countless number who had disappeared into the morbid waters through the centuries.

In a voice frantic with desperation, Chaco had informed him that the Peruvian navy was caught unprepared for an emergency. Their water escape and recovery team was on a training mission far to the south of Peru near the Chilean border. It was impossible for them to airlift the dive team and their equipment to the sinkhole before sundown. Chaco helplessly shared Miller's anxiety over the slow response time. But this was South America and speed was seldom a priority.

"Good luck to you, Juan. I'll stand by the radio at this end."

"When did they enter the water?"

"Can you send the dive team ahead by helicopter?" asked Miller.

Chaco caught his breath, closed his eyes for a second. "Doesn't sound good, my friend. This is not what we planned."

"Keep me informed of any new developments."

"All we need now," he muttered to himself, "are two dead archaeologists in the pool."

"Can you send the dive team ahead by helicopter?" asked Miller.

"How long did they plan to stay down?"

Where had it come from? Miller wondered, his spirits rising. It obviously didn't have the markings of the Peruvian navy. It had to be a civilian craft.

"The nearest naval facility is at Trujillo. I'll alert the base commander and go from there."

Chaco caught his breath, closed his eyes for a second. "Doesn't sound good, my friend. This is not what we planned."

"Keep me informed of any new developments."

"All we need now," he muttered to himself, "are two dead archaeologists in the pool."

"It's still early." Chaco sighed. "So what's the problem?"

In an expectant hush everyone around the rim of the pool listened. The faint thumping sound of a rotor blade beating the air came toward them, growing louder with each passing moment. A minute later a turquoise helicopter with the letters NUMA painted on its sides swept into view.

The tops of the surrounding trees were whipped into a frenzy as the helicopter began its descent into a small clearing beside the sinkhole. The landing skids were still in the air when the fuselage door opened and a tall man with wavy black hair made an agile leap to the ground. He was dressed in a thin, shorty wet suit for diving in warm waters. Ignoring the younger people, he walked directly up to the anthropologist.

"I will, I promise you," Miller said grimly.

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