INT THE HUMMER
Abigail downshifts to slow the behemoth as the tunnel ahead goes into a long curve. Both women have flashlights in hand searching the walls as they pass.
Abigail slams on the brakes and comes to a complete halt beside another bas-relief carving.
MRS. SLIDELL (CONT’D)
Looks to me like Alexander Stephens.
Jeff Davis’ vice president.
A loud CLUNK announces that the weight of the vehicle has depressed a pressure plate.
The section of the wall with the bas-relief carving slides open, and at the same time Abigail notices SOLDIERS emerging from around the tunnel to their rear.
And here come his acolytes!
Seeing the opening, the soldiers break into a run. Abigail slams the Hummer into reverse, heading straight for them. Then, brakes into a skid that lines up the vehicle with the entrance. And with their pursuers closing in and the gnashing of gears she squirrels the Hummer through the opening.
THE OUTER VAULT AREA
It is a short trip, for Abigail can’t stop in time to avoid hitting a capstan that runs the door mechanism. The crash sends it flying, and consequently slingshots the door shut behind them, right in the faces of their pursuers, and plunging them into darkness.
Well, that was fun. Are we safe or stuck?
Safe from their huffing and puffing…for now.
THE CRYSTAL CHAMBER
Water can be heard gurgling somewhere in the dark alongside of the boys as they emerge from a passageway. They stop on a high ledge and watch the water cascade down into a pool that fills most of the chamber. To one side they discover an old wooden stair, and climb down to the lower level. A blank wall greets them on all sides.
End of the line?
Ben flashes his light in an arc from side to side. The only obvious entrance is that by which they came, then it lights on stone steps cut in the rock and leading down into the water.
Not another underwater passage!
Ben spots something.
No. I don’t believe so.
He forges his way over to some machinery in a far recess.
Ropes run from the machinery up into the ceiling. Another huge, unwieldy machine stands nearby with octopus like arms radiating out of its core off into all directions. One pipe along the side hisses harshly. Ben takes a whiff.
Gas. For gas lamps. They must have tapped into a natural source.
Ben closes a valve. The hissing ceases and a string of lamps overhead spring to life.
They gasp. The chamber glows an emerald green, accented with clusters of white crystals everywhere.
Lovely, yes. But not as lovely as my wife. I only pray we haven’t warned anyone that we’re coming.
They follow the path illuminated by the overhead lights, and discover another passage on a blind turn at the back.
THE OUTER VAULT AREA
To their surprise the girls watch as one by one lights begin to ignite around the periphery of the chamber. To their front rank upon rank of cannons stand their vigil around a massive stone fort at their center.
Shall we head over there next?
You go on ahead. I’m going to make sure there isn’t another open door.
She sets off at a run, picking her way among the parked artillery.
She arrives at a niche in the wall that forms a well. At the bottom she sees another capstan like object and an open door. She bounds down the wooden stairs and seizes the lever release.
You’re too late Mrs. Gates.
Horatio steps out of the shadows, and as she turns to face him, Morgan grabs her from behind.
Run! Mrs. Slidell!
The brothers look at one another and smile.