Benjamin Ulysses Maitland-Abyss & Chips BOOK SIX

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Chapter 20

Ben and his underwater friends were making their way around to the ledge where they first met. The light was fast leaving this side of the Loch so having four underwater swimmers move right underneath the boats was disguised rather effectively and the bubbles from Ben’s air tanks mixed with the rotating blades from all the boats disturbances in the water. Ben turned to his friends underwater and over the noise of the boats engines he took out his mouth piece and spoke to them...‘I need to talk to the boaties, be right back.’

He pointed to the surface and Zillath, Cleodora and Lanthe nodded then ducked quickly into the Dx4H to wait for Ben to return. Ben surfaced behind all the boats and yelled at them to release one line at a time so he could tie it to the submarine and then on his command they would all pull at the same time. Hopefully with the joint effort of all the boats pulling and dislodging the sub it would be easy to bring it to the surface and have it rest once again on a ledge closer to his home. One by one each captain threw Ben a line of rope and chain and he dove back into the Dx4H handing it to his army of Merrow helpers who eagerly and easily attached the life lines to the right places on the submarine. All Ben had to do was return to the surface and collect the next set of lines to deliver under the boats from excited boaties and their crews on the surface.

All boats were excited with the exception of the crew of the Crushed Asian.

D-Mac had his worries with his two cash paying travellers who were totally infuriated that there were so many other boats who looked like they were after the same thing they were. D-Mac was the last boat in line with the rope and chains and Verandah and Sorehead attempted to unleash the fishing nets as well. As fast as D-Mac rolled them back up the two brothers unrolled them again.

Ben checked his watch to make sure he had enough air left to be able to give each boat the impression he was doing all of this by himself. Every time he surfaced the yelling and language on the Crushed Asian seemed to increase in volume. This boat was going to be a problem and its crew even more of the cause. D-Mac was harmless enough but Ben did not trust his travelling passengers as far as he could throw them. There was something definitely wrong about how they held themselves and the manner with which they communicated to D-Mac and Ben. It was not civil at all and had a sinister feel to it that gave Ben the creeps.

Ben went under again and followed one on the chains down into the darkness. Hand after hand he pulled his way down with the rope tied around his stomach and the chain attached through one of the links to rope. It was not an easy task. Ben felt a hand in the darkness touch his shoulder and he knew he was down deep enough to stop and untie the rope with the chain. The light on the surface was all but gone and now a small lantern held by Zillath filled with glow worms was the only way of fastening the ropes and chains to the sub.

There was worry in her face. She wasn’t sure that the ropes and chains would be enough to lift the rusty old sub off and out of harm’s way. Ben did the math and was sure that the ropes could hold the weight and the chains were the fail-safe addition to make sure it wouldn’t drop if the ropes let go.

It was nearly time to get all the boats to pull at once just as the screaming on the Crushed Asian had reached fever pitch. Ben was more than concerned now and he felt his legs go very cold all at once. He replaced his mouth piece and ducked under the water. From the shallow light of all the boats he could make out the white figure of Zara who began talking to him as soon as the bubbles disappeared.

‘Ben there is trouble a foot, those guys on D-Mac’s boat know about the treasure inside that submarine and are going to try to sabotage your attempts to retrieve it, so please be very careful.’ Ben nodded and she saw the concern in his eyes through the goggles and then he ducked down one more time to check the lines before surfacing and giving the command to begin the retrieval proceedings.

D-Mac’s boat and lines were the last to be bought to the sub and his boat was never good at the best of times so he took the right flank to be neither a hindrance nor much of a help to the other boats. He was involved as part of the team but not as much as Sorehead and Verandah would have liked. It was beginning to rain in earnest, which is nothing new in Scotland, but this made the decks of all the boats become extremely slippery, especially on D-Macs.

Ben checked the sub from tip to tail and then bowed to Zillath in respect. All the lines were in the best places and the knots holding the sub were amazing. He had two more lines to connect and these would prove to be the hardest of all. Ben had 15 minutes of air left in his tanks and he wondered with all the continual diving and surfacing he had given his body if had enough time to get over the debilitating bends ...from being underwater for such a long time.

Ben surfaced near the Crushed Asian and yelled to be heard over the screaming of the passengers. D-Mac threw the rope and chain in the direction of Ben and then tried to settle his angry passengers. Ben took the rope and chain down to the sub and when he felt a very firm hand on his shoulder he relinquished the rope from his waist and returned to the surface to give the command to begin the very slow process of bringing up the old sub.

All was ready except the tension on D-Macs boat was about to explode overboard.......along with D-Mac in the process.

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