2042: The Great Cataclysm

2042: The Great Cataclysm by Melisande Mason Read Free Book Online

Book: 2042: The Great Cataclysm by Melisande Mason Read Free Book Online
Authors: Melisande Mason
Tags: Science-Fiction, Sci-fi thriller
thumped the pincers at the end of his arm against the hull.
    Joe lowered one of the heavy crowbars into the exposed hole and tapped against the titanium hull to let them know he had found them. He then lowered the hydrostat ensuring the umbilical cord to the Platypus didn’t snag on any rough edges.
    Inside Bunyip they heard the faint taps muffled by the seven-inch thickness of the hull.
    ‘That definitely was not rocks!’ Nick exclaimed.
    They cheered, and Jeremy sparked to attention. ‘Holy mother …..’
    ‘Shhush!’ Nick padded his hand palm down in the air. ‘Sam will know to use the hydrostat so they’ll be able to hear us, but we can’t hear him. Sam! Can you hear me? Get the diver to tap twice to acknowledge. Over.’  Nick strained to listen. ‘Sam, get the diver to tap twice. Loud. Over.’
    Two soft taps sounded. ‘Okay. This’s going to be bloody difficult. How deep are we buried? Tap the number of metres.’ They counted off one, two. Nick’s heart dropped. Two metres of rock on top of them! His mind raced to compute the amount of time he felt it would take to remove the rocks.
    ‘Wolf says if the divers clear an area of rocks…’ he turned to Wolf. ‘How big?’
    ‘Six feet square should do it.’
    ‘….six feet square, Sam. Then we can get a signal for the Satcom. Relay and confirm with four taps. Over.’
    Smiles and backslapping accompanied the four taps. Nick knew they were safe and it was just a matter of time.
    They had five to six days of oxygen supply, plenty of water from the desalination system and emergency rations on board. They could hold out. It would be very uncomfortable and most of all for Jeremy.  A broken arm under these conditions was agonising, he needed medical attention and soon. Nick admonished himself for not having something stronger for pain relief and vowed to add it to the medical kit.
    Conversation had become stagnant, so Wolf began a lecture on Paleomagnetism - the study of the record of earths magnetic field in rocks, most of which went straight over Beau’s head, but intrigued Nick and Jeremy and helped to keep their minds off the passing of time. Beau patiently filled out a crossword puzzle Jeremy had printed off the computer, every now and then enquiring about an obscure question. After three hours he tried the radio. ‘Come in Sam. Can you hear me? Sam! Over...’
    Silence! He dropped the microphone and flung himself on the seat beside Nick and began chewing his fingernails.
    Nick removed the rubber tie from his hair, leaned forward and shook his hair loose. He grabbed some paper and started making small tight balls that he flicked across the sphere with the rubber tie. Wolf and Beau hurled them back and a full scale paper war started. Jeremy managed a smile, enjoying their antics, and occasionally when one came his way he hurled it back.
    The rubber tie snapped and with it the frivolity. Nick suggested they have a competition to see who could grow the longest beard declaring Wolf out of the race as he already sported a fiery red one.  He managed to raise some enthusiasm among the others for five minutes!
    Beau began checking his instruments again and they waited for a signal from the divers. Continuous loud bangs and deep rumbling noises deafened them, as rocks were laboriously dragged from the hull. Testing the radio every half hour gave Beau a focus and enabled him to keep his spirits up. Jeremy plunked away at Solitaire on his computer while Nick and Wolf discussed the seismic influences and their possible outcome.
    Emergency rations lost their appeal, and half eaten energy bars and paper cups filled the waste box. Nick fuelled by nervous tension, crammed his one-eighty-five centimetre frame into the small toilet compartment more times that he needed, emerging each time with hair dripping water.
    At five PM on the second day the radio crackled back to Beau. ‘Yo. Beau. D’you hear me? Over.’
    ‘Aahhh. Music from heaven Sam. Never thought I’d

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