LATER – THE SALVAGE SHIP – CLOSER TO THE ISLAND
Riley helps Ben twist the diving helmet into place. In the b.g., Marguerite hovers over the air pump, fussing with the gauges. Ben speaks through the still open faceplate.
Time to find out if Jacques Cousteau beat us to it.
Marguerite grabs Ceci and says a few words, all the while glaring at Ben.
Marguerite says she’s sending an air line and a patch down with you, and another is ready at your call, if you think it necessary.
Tell her thanks. I was just going to ask for one.
Riley latches his faceplate, and with heavy tread Ben clunks onto a steel grate platform. Riley takes a final check on the GPS heading.
The ship’s crane winches Ben and the platform up and swings them over the side. And with a wave of his hand Ben disappears into the water.
UNDERWATER OFF THE ISLAND
Ben lands in the midst of a field of sea grass. He gets his bearing and heads for the rise of the island.
He clears the sea grass and enters a jumble of large boulders.
Emerging from the shadow of a boulder, he spots her.
Omigosh!! There she is, boys! I mean guys – er – boy and girls.
There on a shelf close to the island rests the CSS Gray Whale.
BY THE CSS GRAY WHALE
So far I see only one hole. I’ll try this one patch and check along the other side.
Ben secures the lead patch to the hole, making sure the air hose feeds inside.
Okay, start pumping.
Roger. Be careful.
Ben keeps a respectful distance as he moves along her side.
Ah, you’re a beauty!
He stoops to examine a small fissure, issuing forth a stream of bubbles. A gleam of gold shines through.
A beauty with a charge account!
I meant the ship, not you.
Send down another patch. Make it a foot in diameter.
A flash of light pulses behind him, but when he turns nothing is in sight.
Another air line arrives with the patch, and Ben molds it into place.
All clear, you can start the new lines.
Is everything all right up there?
The air lines go taut and slowly the bow of the CSS Gray Whale breaks lose from the shelf and inches upward.
Houston, we have lift off!
All of a sudden the area is lit in a blaze of lights, and a dozen FRENCH FROGMEN, armed with spear-guns, converge on his position.
A startled Ben raises his hands in surrender.
As the CSS Gray Whale slowly rises to the surface in the b.g., CAPTAIN LECLERC, the lead frogman motions for Ben to follow.
Boys, I think we’re being asked to leave.