Rebel Treasure thirty seventh post

Rebel Treasure thirty seventh post

EXT DECK OF THE SALVAGE SHIP
With a French frigate stationed off her port, denying her access to the sea, the salvage ship sits in the center of a circle of rubber dinghies manned by FRENCH SPECIAL OPS.

Ben rides the lift up and over to the deck. Riley and Ceci reach out to guide him in.

RILEY
Sorry, Boss. There was nothing we could do.

A cadre of special ops have command of the wheelhouse. Ben looks around for Marguerite and finally sees her chained to the deck, looking disheveled.

CECI
(pointing to the CSS Gray Whale)
There’s your submarine, She rises.

Another team of French SAILORS swarm over the still dripping Confederate vessel.

Captain LeClerc lifts his mask.

CAPTAIN LECLERC
Property of the French government, from now and to perpetuity.

Over the side and onto the deck strolls Agent Sadusky.

SADUSKY
(to Ben)
You’re one hard guy to catch.

BEN
I see you had help. So, who gets us?

SADUSKY
Lucky me. I had my paperwork in first.

INT JET LINER – DAY
Ben and Riley, shackled and with two GUARDS apiece are escorted through the front hatch into the first class area. Two more GUARDS follow with their luggage. Their guards halt at the last two seats in first class and motion for them to sit down. Those with the luggage pile it in the seats across the aisle. Ben sneaks a peek through the curtain at economy class.

BEN
(whispers to Riley)
The plane’s empty!

Sadusky stops at the hatch, signals to the pilots, enters and secures the hatch himself. All smiles, he takes a seat, and the plane starts to move.

SADUSKY
Well, boys, ready for a little trip?

BEN
(jerks his head at the coach area)
No witnesses?

SADUSKY
Exactly.

RILEY
We’re doomed. This can’t be happening.

BEN
What gives, Sadusky?

SADUSKY
Maybe, no “watchers” is the better word. This has all been for their benefit.
(to the guards)
Go ahead take off their restraints.

The guards move quickly to comply.

BEN
Where you taking us?

SADUSKY
Check your e-mail lately?

BEN
No. Have you been reading mine?

Sadusky nods to one of the guards, who hands Riley’s laptop to Ben.

Ben logs in and a message is waiting for him from Abby:

ABIGAIL (V.O.)
Dearest – just a quick note – here’s the rest of the decryption. Lon talks about a cave in New Mexico and a gigantic vault. I’ve run into someone who is familiar with the area and has volunteered to take me there. Her name is Mrs. Slidell–

Ben grimaces and reads on.

ABIGAIL (V.O.) (CONT’D)
So, give Riley my love. You know you have mine already, but I send it again anyway. See you soon.

BEN
This was two days ago.

SADUSKY
No further news – we lost her.

BEN
You were following her?

SADUSKY
No. An asset from another agency down there spotted her and phoned it in. When he learned of our interest, he kept a eye out. They whisked her away right from under his nose.

BEN
Any leads at all?

SADUSKY
No, I was hoping you might.

Ben opens the e-mail attachment.

[next pt 38]

Rebel Treasure thirty sixth post

Rebel Treasure thirty sixth post

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.

BEN
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.

CECI
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.

BEN
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.

BEN
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

BEN
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.

BEN (CONT’D)
Okay, start pumping.

RILEY (O.S.)
Roger. Be careful.

Ben keeps a respectful distance as he moves along her side.

BEN
Ah, you’re a beauty!

He stoops to examine a small fissure, issuing forth a stream of bubbles. A gleam of gold shines through.

BEN (CONT’D)
A beauty with a charge account!

RILEY (O.S.)
What?

BEN
I meant the ship, not you.
(pause)
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.

BEN (CONT’D)
All clear, you can start the new lines.
(pause)
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.

BEN (CONT’D)
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.

BEN (CONT’D)
Boys, I think we’re being asked to leave.

[next pt 37]

Rebel Treasure thirty fifth post

Rebel Treasure thirty fifth post

EXT WATERFRONT NANTES – POMPADOU SALVAGE – PRESENT
The trio piles out of the cute little French car and leave it on the street in front of the ancient stone building. It is recognizable as the same used by Ross Keenan, only a century older and more begrimed.

RILEY
(to Ben)
Looks like Ebenezer Scrooge lives here.

Ceci ushers them through the building to:

INT THE SALVAGE BOAT
MARGUERITE POMPADOU, a tugboat of a woman, rises from feeding a passel of mewing kittens. Her surprise dissolves when she catches sight of her sister.

MARGUERITE
Cecille? Qu’est-ce que c’est?

CECI
Allo, ma cherie soeur. Ce sont mes amis nouveaux.

Ben’s gaze falls on a painting mounted on the wall.

BEN
Riley! Look!

There in canvas and oils is a depiction of the encounter of the Gray Whale with the Preble. Ben is dumbstruck.

RILEY
Well, I’ll be!

CECI
Mon grande arriere grand-pere, he painted it.

BEN
Are there any other records?

MARGUERITE
Pah! Old men’s stories! More crazies, fools in search of this submarine?

Ben places his gold ingot in the palm of her hand.

EXT THE SALVAGE BOAT – DAY
The basso profundo CHUG CHUG of the boat’s diesel engines reverberates across the waters of the river Loire. She easily overtakes and passes boat after boat.

ON SHORE
With binoculars held in one hand and a satellite phone in his other, Rance follows their progress and listens:

HORATIO (ON PHONE)
You are never to do that again. I told you to follow, not to go it on your own.

RANCE
But, sir, I thought…

HORATIO (ON PHONE)
I do the thinking. And now I’m going to have to call in extra help.

RANCE
But, sir, if you bring in the French…

HORATIO (ON PHONE)
They won’t know who they’re helping. Now, get back here!

Rance switches off the phone in disgust.

INT WHEEL HOUSE – THE SALVAGE BOAT
With a meerschaum pipe clenched in her teeth, Marguerite has full command. Swearing under her breath she reaches for the signal chain and yanks a couple of angry BLASTS on the horn. She mutters something else.

BEN (to Ceci)
What did she say?

CECI
I am embarrassed to say.

Marguerite addresses a question to Ceci.

CECI (CONT’D)
(to Ben)
She is asking about your qualifications to dive.

BEN
Tell her, I was trained in the U.S. Navy. I can handle it.

Ceci passes on the word, and gets a reply.

CECI
She says good. She has a lot riding on this venture.

BEN
Judging by those papers she had us sign I don’t doubt it.

At this, Marguerite turns from the wheel and grins.

EXT THE SALVAGE SHIP – OFF THE ISLAND
Riley looks up from a monitor and smiles at Ceci.

RILEY
Your sister has a nice remote.

She smiles in return and points at the screen.

CECI
Why are you heading it that way?

INSERT OF MONITOR SCREEN
A very rocky bottom swims by under the lens of the remote viewing device.

RILEY
This is the bearing we have from our source. He has been very accurate.

BACK TO SCENE

BEN
Hold it! Back it up and head down to the right.

Ben points at a dark area on the screen.

BEN (CONT’D)
(to Ceci)
Ask your sister to move us in closer.

[next pt 36]