Maximus took the rear position, his Cutlass held steadily before him with Hayden at the front and Carlos in the middle.
Maximus’ hope was he was taking them in the direction of topside. Their goal, to return to the boiling lake to retrieve the remaining gear of the Thornes. He had no intention of leaving this island empty handed.
Hayden knew immediately it was not the same route they had taken when they first arrived. But he kept that to himself.
Once Maximus felt they had covered sufficient distance, safe from his voice carrying back into the main cavern, he had activated his cell to call back to Canada.
After several long minutes of arguing, Hayden and Carlos could tell Maximus was trying to keep control.
“You’re breaking up, Mr. Darby.” Maximus shook the phone and put it back to his ear. “No I don’t care how many times you say, ‘I advise against this.’ I’m not prepared to tell you where we are until we secure the find.” He listened for fifteen additional seconds. “I’m the CEO, not you. All I want you to do is guard the helm until I and Maxima return.”
As Maximus was focussed on his call, Hayden silently communicated to Carlos with mouthed words. ‘We need to distract him and take him out.’ He winked. ‘I’ll try to put him off his game.’
Carlos nodded his understanding, suppressing a smile knowing Hayden was planning to aggravate Maximus as he loved to do.
Maximus raised his voice. “I could care less what shareholders think. Maxima and I hold the majority stake between us anyway. Once we bring back our discovery, a few million dollars in stock drops will be pennies in the bucket. Trust me. If the public thinks we’re out gallivanting on their dollars, they’ll forever choke on those words.”
Hayden was suddenly glad he had not taken stock options instead of cash.
Maximus hissed. “By adding the adjective ‘seriously’ before ‘you advise against’ hasn’t changed my position.” He replied snidely into the phone. “Be assured, when we return, the world will bow before us on their knees.”
Hayden rolled his eyes.
Maximus disconnected the phone and tossed it into his jacket pocket as they cleared the next cave corner.
“How do you get reception this deep in the earth?” Carlos queried.
Maximus waved the sword, but aimed the tip down. He pulled it back a few inches as he walked. He seemed pleased to have a question he could answer without fighting with someone. “As Maxima and I descended into this God forbidden rock fortress, we dropped a few cellular beacons at corners and bends, all which lead to a large satellite antenna we planted topside.”
Hayden found that difficult to believe considering how deep they were. “A few cell beacons can bypass nearly two miles of sedimentary rock? I find that a little far-fetched.”
Maximus offered a satisfied smile. “Our phones are also powered with neutrinos to enhance the signals.”
“I beg your pardon?” Carlos stated with confusion, never having heard of it.
“Neutrinos.” Maximus replied, a little excitement leaking into his voice. It was obviously something Maximum Pharmaceuticals had either discovered or achieved recently. “They’re a weak negative charge with essentially no mass, which allows them to travel through almost anything. By allowing the cell signal to travel using the neutrino, solid rock and matter is no longer a hindrance. A university in the states pioneered the idea. We simply capitalized on it.”
Hayden interjected. “I remember hearing about neutrinos in the university. It was the talk of the radiology labs as they did a lot of my carbon dating.” He thought about it. “Neutrinos are supposed to be very difficult to generate. The simplest way is using decaying radioactive matter?” He spoke over his shoulder with a bit of dismay. “You don’t actually have radioactive material in your phone decaying do you?”
Maximus shook his head. “Don’t be a fool. It’s in the beacons I placed.”
“What about the environmental damage that could cause?” Hayden asked.
Maximus shrugged. “A few dead animals or cancer ridden birds at most. A call that never drops is worth far more.”
“Sounds like a million dollar idea.” Hayden threw out sarcastically. “Why not go with that and leave this evil little island to itself.”
“Why not have both?” Maximus smiled. “In my world, there are no limits.”
“Or morals.” Hayden replied.
Maximus growled. He would have jabbed Hayden with the Cutlass, but Carlos stood between them, so Maximus pushed it forward into the bease of Carlos’ spine.
Carlos sensed it coming and hopped forward before the skin could be pierced. He was biding his time and knowing, soon, very soon they had to make their move or they would have no moves to make.