Deep Storm

Deep Storm by Lincoln Child

Book: Deep Storm by Lincoln Child Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lincoln Child
Tags: Fiction, thriller, Library
information to yourself.”
    â€œOf course. But why?”
    Asher bounced the ball off the floor, caught it, squeezed it thoughtfully. “We wanted a reason why nobody could leave the Facility in a hurry. A security precaution against information leaks, espionage, that sort of thing.”
    â€œAnd all this talk of proprietary atmospherics, of a long acclimation process, and an even longer cool down, provides a nice cover story.”
    Asher gave the ball another bounce, then tossed it into the corner. Any pretense of game playing had now fallen aside.
    â€œSo those rooms I had to wait in when I first got to the Facility. They’re completely phony?”
    â€œThey’re not phony. They are functional decompression chambers. Just with their atmospheric functions turned off.” He glanced over. “You were saying you know why you were chosen for the job.”
    â€œYes. After seeing the readout from the hyperbaric chamber, I finally put two and two together. It’s what I did on the USS
    Asher nodded.
    â€œI’m surprised you heard about that.”
    â€œI didn’t. The mission is still classified. But Admiral Spartan knew about it. He knew all about it. Your skill as a diagnostician, your past experience dealing with—shall we say?—
medical situations under extremely stressful circumstances are unique assets. And since for security reasons Spartan would only allow one person access to Deep Storm, you seemed the best choice.”
    â€œThere’s that word again: security. And that’s the one thing I haven’t figured out.”
    Asher threw him a questioning glance.
    â€œWhy all the secrecy? What, exactly, is so vital about Atlantis that you need such drastic measures? And for that matter, why is the government willing to front so much money, and such expensive equipment, for an archaeological dig?” Crane waved an arm. “I mean, look at this place. Just to run something like the Facility must burn a million dollars of taxpayer money each day.”
    â€œActually,” Asher said quietly, “the amount is rather higher.”
    â€œLast time I checked, the bureaucrats at the Pentagon weren’t big on ancient civilizations. And agencies like NOD usually have their caps out, thankful for whatever crumbs the government will toss them. But here you’ve got the most sophisticated, most secret working environment in the world.” He paused. “And that’s another thing: the Facility is nuclear powered, isn’t it? I’ve been on enough boomers to know. And my ID badge seems to have a radioactive marker embedded in it.”
    Asher smiled, but did not reply. It was funny, Crane thought, how closemouthed the man had become in recent days.
    For a minute, the squash court was filled with a tense, uncomfortable silence. Crane had one more bomb to drop, the biggest of all, and he realized there was no point delaying it any longer.
    â€œAnyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about all this. And the only answer I can come up with is that it’s not Atlantis down there. It’s something else.” He glanced at Asher. “Am I right?”
    Asher looked at him speculatively for a moment. Then he nodded almost imperceptibly.
    â€œWell? What
down there?” Crane pressed.
    â€œI’m sorry, Peter. I can’t tell you that.”
    â€œNo? Why not?”
    â€œBecause if I did, I’m afraid Spartan would have to kill you.”
    Hearing this cliché, Crane began to laugh. But then he looked at Asher and his laughter died. Because the chief scientist—who always laughed so easily—wasn’t even smiling.

    At the uttermost frontiers of Scotland—beyond Skye, beyond the Hebrides, beyond even the tiny battered chain of islands known as the Seven Sisters—lies the archipelago of St. Kilda. It is the remotest part of the British Isles, rough hummocks of brown stone

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