In which a trail is lost
Deep sea salvage was definitely not a job the jet’s winch had been designed for, making it fortunate that the bay was actually quite shallow, Devlin watched the screen as the deflated, soggy, transparent sphere was lifted from the water, and he chose not to voice his opinion on what it looked like. Johnson watched his partners face and made a similar decision.
“There’s no one inside, could they have drowned?” offered Devlin.
“We won’t know until the divers go in, and that won’t be our job, but my gut says no, I think they got out, it’s definitely not far to shore from here”
“If you swim up the coast.” said Devlin, “If they went down the coast instead then its two hundred kilometers to the next decent beach.”
“Do you think that’s what happened?” asked Johnson
Devlin had the feeling that he was being tested, “I suppose it would simplify matters if it was. But no; I don’t think it will be that easy”
“Then the next move is to sweep up the beach.”
“Right, there’s no cover out here, if we go slow then we can’t miss them. At the very least we should see footprints.”
Johnson nodded and nudged the throttle forward, “And what do we assume if we find nothing?”
Devlin’s brow furrowed, “Either they went down the coast and drowned, or someone picked them up. But we don’t know if it was by boat or plane.”
“Plane is unlikely; it would need the ability to land on water to start with.”
“Nevertheless, it’s possible, especially if they arranged this in advance”
Johnson nodded, “So they’re either at the bottom of the sea, or literally anywhere. Two hundred kilometers of coastline is too much to search with divers so either way, they’re gone and we’re lost.”
The two men watched the monitors as their jet swept slowly up the beach.
“Are we going to give the old man his Zorb back?” Asked Devlin, after a long wait.
Johnson’s eyes didn’t move from the display, “Why?” he asked.
“Well, he only rented it to those two, so if we keep it isn’t that like stealing it?”
Johnson kept watching the display. “I don’t think those two intended to bring it back”
Johnson looked up and considered his partner carefully. After a very long pause he lowered his eyes to the monitor again, “If we don’t find them, then it can’t hurt to take it back for him. It’s not like we’re footing the gas bill”
Devlin nodded, looking relived, and let himself fixate on the screen again. Nothing more needed to be said, and the great ominous jet swept onwards.