Chapter 3 - Rumors and Guesses

“All we have right now are rumors and guesses,” Jakob said.

It was twenty-four hours later. Jakob had joined the twins aboard the Sea Worthy. Transformed from jet back to hydrofoil, the boat was anchored outside Gansbaai harbor near the tip of Danger Point, southeast of Cape Town, South Africa.

“Let’s start with the rumors,” Tyler said.

“The money’s coming from Hong Kong,” explained Jakob. “Some restaurants have banded together and hired a rogue captain and a crew.”

“Any names?” said Alena.

“All we’ve heard is ‘Poison Flower.’

“Not a restaurant I’d eat at,” said Tyler.

Jakob gave a small smile. “Might be the name of the ship,” he suggested.

“How are they catching the sharks?” asked Alena.

“We don’t even know that. But over the past month or so the cage-diving companies have found the bodies of sharks that have been finned. Up around Quoin Point, several dozen have washed up along the beach. All the great whites have been decapitated as well so their jaws can be taken and sold.”

The twins were sickened by the senseless slaughter. Part of the Foundation’s work is to get the world to pay attention. Sharks are not the monsters that movies try to make them. They don’t breed quickly or often. Very rarely do they attack humans. When they do it’s usually either a case of mistaken identity, or the human has done something foolish. Outlaw hunters, or pirates, kill many of the sharks and “fin” them. They haul the fish up on deck and cut off their fins while they’re still alive. The helpless animals are not even kept for food; they’re just dumped back into the sea to die. The brutal practice continues despite the fact that it has been outlawed in many countries.

“Is it happening around Dyer Island?” asked Tyler.

Dyer Island and Geyser Rock are just a few kilometers off the coast of Gansbaai and are the best spots in the world to dive with great whites. That’s because Geyser Rock is home to fifty thousand or more Cape Fur seals—the favorite food for white sharks.

Jakob shook his head. “We’ve been patrolling up and down the coast—Cape Town to Struisbaai—and haven’t spotted a thing. It’s like they know we’re coming.”

Alena and Tyler looked at each other. “Sounds like a job for Arky,” Alena said.

Tyler nodded. “I’ll go wake him up.” He headed down to the lab.

Rumors and Guesses

The Sea Worthy’s laboratory was packed with high-tech equipment including computer-controlled machines to make just about anything (such as diving gear for a dog), a high-definition video editing system, biological and chemical analysis equipment, and a scanning electron microscope. If Tyler needed it and didn’t have it, he could get it. The Foundation wanted the team to have the best equipment possible.

A large aluminum container was standing against a bulkhead. Inside was a bright titanium tube. It looked like a missile, except that it had a round top made of thick Plexiglas. Behind the Plexiglas was a camera lens. Long wings on either side were extended on takeoff. The tail looked like the tail of a small airplane. There was a control panel with lights, buttons, and an LED screen that was now dark.

Tyler pushed a button. After a moment the LED screen lit up with the word “HELLO” in bright green letters. As Tyler watched, the camera lens came to life. It swiveled, stopped, and focused on the boy. “Hello, Tyler Worthy,” said a computer-generated voice.

“Hello, Arky,” said Tyler. “How are you?”

“All systems. Are go,” Arky said.

“We have a mission for you,” said Tyler.

“Mission. Good.”

That was Arky’s way of saying he had heard and understood.If you haven’t already guessed, Arky was pretty smart—for a machine. Arky was a nickname and much easier to say than Autonomous Aerial Reconnaissance Craft. The machine could be programmed to fly just about anywhere and send pictures back to the ship. Tyler flipped a switch to open a port in the deck above. A hydraulic lift slowly raised Arky up to the deck, ready for his mission.

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