Piranha

Piranha by Clive Cussler

Book: Piranha by Clive Cussler Read Free Book Online
Authors: Clive Cussler
didn’t use up all our luck on that one,” Mike said.
    â€œMy daddy always said, ‘Luck never gives, it lends,’” MacD replied. “Let’s get this done before we have to pay it back.”
    â€œAmen, brother.”
    MacD pushed the door open and they stole across the hall. They didn’t run into anyone else before they reached the door of the pump room. There was too much ambient noise on the opposite side of the door to be sure that the room was empty.
    He cracked the door and, from his limited viewpoint, saw no one. He was tempted to continue inside slowly, but two voices somewhere behind them speaking Spanish made time a luxury. Even if the men simply passed by, he and Mike would surely be seen.
    They moved through the door and immediately realized their luck was about to run out. Linda mumbled a curse in their ears because she could see the same thing they saw.
    Two crewmen were hunched over a display, both with their backs to the door. Neither of them had heard MacD and Mike enter, and Mike, realizing that the door was closing quickly enough to be heard over the background noise, jammed his hand between the door and jamb to keep it from making a sound. He grimaced in pain but stayed silent. MacD moved the door enough for Mike to pull his hand away and then eased the door latch closed with nary a scrape of metal. MacD silently thanked the crew for being diligent enough to keep all of the hinges well oiled.
    The two crewmen still hadn’t noticed them, but one turn of the head and their presence would be known. They were only twenty feet from the purge valve that MacD and Mike needed to access. There was no way to reach it without being seen. Knocking them out wasn’t the answer because it would reveal that intruders were on board.
    They retreated behind a vertical pipe as big around as an oak tree and kept an eye on the two men from their hidden vantage point. All they could do now was wait and hope the crewmen would go on to other tasks in another part of the ship.
    Five minutes went by. Then six. Then seven. The crewmen didn’t budge.
    â€œThis isn’t working,” Linda whispered, knowing they couldn’t respond. “If we wait any longer, the ship will get under way before you can do the job. Let’s see if we can get them out of there.”
    Three loud bangs reverberated through the hull. Linda had reactivated the beatbox.
    The crewmen’s heads snapped up and twirled around, looking for the source of the noise. One of them raised a walkie-talkie and fired off rapid Spanish, shrugging and pointing to the display as he spoke. Whatever the problem was, it obviously wasn’t in the pumping system because they had been monitoring it when the bangs were heard.
    The crewman lowered his walkie-talkie and gestured for the other man to follow him out of the room. The door slammed shut behind them, leaving MacD and Mike alone.
    â€œHow did you know that would work?” MacD asked as they dashed over to the gas purge controls.
    â€œI didn’t,” Linda replied, “but it was the only thing we had. They’re probably certain the problem is in the engine room now.”
    Mike, who couldn’t hold anything with his injured right hand, removed the canisters from his pack with his left. “What if the captain decides to turn back?”
    â€œThat’s a chance I had to take. Unless his gauges are telling him something else, we’ll hope that he’ll assume the noise is incidental and report it to the maintenance crew when he arrives at his destination.”
    While Mike stood watch at the door, Linda talked MacD through the injection process. With her guidance, he attached each of the six canisters to the valve junction in sequence and in five minutes the Corrodium bacteria was multiplying inside the
Sorocaima
’s holds.
    Like campers in a national park, they planned to leave no trace. MacD checked the work area to make sure it

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