Ben has taken to the water like an otter. Riley, on the other hand, maintains the grace of a drowning cat.
Ben breaks the surface and feels his way towards the ledge. Riley follows suit, helped along by the taut rope.
Ben flops out of the water and bounds to his feet, braces himself and begins to pull on the line. However, it comes too easily as the line has gone slack, and he can see the form of his friend being swept towards the roaring waterfall.
Then, before he can react, the rope has reached its limit and drags him back into the water.
EDGE OF THE WATERFALL
The bottom half of a stalagmite parts the waters at the lip of the waterfall. Riley tumbles through the white water to one side of the stubby rock while Ben goes down the other channel, snagging a hand-hold on the other side.
Riley’s descent is arrested by the rope between them, momentarily, then begins to drop inch by inch.
Hang on, Riley! I think I’ve got you!
Uh. You can let go now. I’m down.
I’m on terra firma. Pay off the rope and come on down. It’s a short drop.
Ben descends in a smooth, controlled fall, landing on his feet just to the other side of Riley. They splash over the ledge and climb up to the passage. Ben takes out the helmets and gives one to Riley.
Onward and downward.
THE RING TUNNEL
Abigail lumbers along in her Hummer, with Mrs. Slidell bringing up the rear. Her head swivels as she catches sight of a carving on the wall. She motions to Mrs. Slidell and they both slow to a stop. Abigail hops out and runs to the second Hummer. She halts in front and directs Mrs. Slidell forward onto a pressure plate, which is lined up with a carving of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
INT THE HUMMER
Abigail runs through the gears quickly and barrels down the tunnel.
Okay, pop the hood, then bring the keys and come with me.
Are you going to tell me what we’re doing?
Getting us into the vault. Watch for carvings on the wall.
Yeah. Like, maybe Jeff Davis or Robert E. Lee.
ANTE-CHAMBER TO THE CAVERN
Sadusky and his crew have fanned out in a semi-circle and press hard upon one of Horatio’s teams.
You’re cut off, gentlemen, the game is up.
ONE OF HORATIO’S TROOPERS
You have no authority here.
A couple of Sadusky’s men chuckle under their breath at this. Then, from behind them:
He’s right. No one move!
Sadusky and his men freeze. Sadusky looks to his men and a red laser dot has settled on each of them.
Put your weapons down, slowly!
Stand down, men. They have the advantage.
Horatio and Morgan have herded Sadusky and his men into a stone cell, fitted with an iron grate.
And have our other prisoners “escaped” as planned?
I expect my team should be calling in any time now.
[next pt 46]