THE GREAT WHITE RED ALERT
The Nous Venons was cruising on the surface between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock. Nearby Geyser Rock was teeming with sea lions. Their noisy barking sounded above the quiet motor of the sub. The channel was shallow and Tyler was keeping a close eye on the depth finder as he drove. Brutus was sitting on his haunches next to Alena. His tongue hanging out of his mouth looked like a small slab of bacon. He seemed to be hypnotized by the hand sweeping around in the green face of the radar screen. Alena was busy monitoring the video Arky was sending back, looking for anything that hinted of pirates. Jakob was at the conning tower, a raised viewing area on the Nous Venons. He scanned the horizon with powerful binoculars.
Arky was flying 60 meters over the water, following the twisting, turning coastline, in and out of the many small bays along the way, his lens constantly swiveling and focusing. He was programmed to zoom in on any watercraft—and there were plenty: small fishing vessels, ordinary pleasure boats, and several cage-diving boats, their decks filled with excited tourists hoping to dive with great white sharks, Alena could see nothing that looked out of place. The coast was beautiful: long, empty strands of beaches, rugged cliffs, patches of shining blue water, an occasional small village, or isolated house.
“Look at those swells,” she said, thinking of the beaches back home. “Wouldn’t it be great to be surfing right now?”
Brutus let out an excited yelp.
“What?” Alena said.
The dog barked again, now standing, tail quivering, looking at the radar display.
“The radar!” Tyler said. He patted Brutus. “Way to go, boy.”
Alena watched the hand sweep around. A large blip appeared. “It’s big, whatever it is. Too far away for Arky to see.” She called up to Jakob, “Jake, you see anything due east?”
Jakob focused the binoculars and scanned the sea off their star¬board, or right, side. “Sea’s a little rough. Hard to make out much. Wait! Something’s there. Maybe eight or ten kilometers away. Might be a ship. Doesn’t seem to be moving. Can we ask Arky to do a flyover?”
Alena opened a communication channel to the craft, “Arky?” she said.
“Hello, Alena Worthy.”
“Hello Arky. We need to make a small change.”
“Change. Good.” Alena entered new instructions, and Arky veered off toward the unknown vessel.