World aquatic life cycle. Similar to a flying saucer descending from the heavens, the blue light source illuminating the water is attached to a small submarine, the Triton. Shaped like a bubble, a transparent pressure hull is attached to the engine, allowing the operator to have an unsurpassed field of vision. Meanwhile, gazing out from the inside of the bubble and controlling the mini-submarine is none other than Jack Sterling—a rambunctious young man in his early 30s, who runs a small salvage and boat recovery service called Cast Away Towing.
Jack’s clientele—which primarily consists of insurance agencies—inspired this name. They hire Cast Away Towing’s services to search for, find and recover recently reported capsized boats. Marine insurance fraud is the most common occurrence with respect to insurance claims, as ship-owners willfully cast away vessels, which are inevitably grossly over-insured.
From a wannabe ship owner’s perspective, it all starts with the itch for freedom. To go out on the ocean whenever they like. Instead of subscribing to a financially minimalist lifestyle, and due to the fact that they are unsavvy investors, whether it be a fishing or sailing boat, they do not realize the upkeep until it’s too late. From paying for registration, docking fees, insurance premiums, and regular maintenance to winter storage, the vessel ends up being like a second mortgage, forcing them to work longer, with no time to enjoy the boat on the ocean. Discovering that the resale values are not as high, nor are used boats quick to sell, owners are left with few options to avoid getting behind on their payments. However, most boats carry All Risk policies, which provide coverage for a broad array of calamities, from theft, vandalism, lightning, fire, grounding, sinking, or even loss to the seas.
Now for most of those options, it would be too hard to get away with the fraudulence, but with the reality that the world is covered in water, the vast ocean allows for a limited ability to recover one of these vessels, presenting a quick way out of debt.
The next step that usually follows is looking for that right opportunity to cast it away to the bottom of the ocean, never to be seen again, in the hopes of receiving a sizable check.
For native Floridians, tsunami season happens to be one of those opportune times. Every year during tsunami season, Jack sees increased revenue, as multiple reports come through of boats sinking to the briny deep, despite whether or not a storm actually accosts the coast.
Perhaps Jack does this because he likes the thrill of the hunt and the mystery of figuring out what really happened. Are lost items truly lost? Or maybe it’s the sense of unfinished business sitting on his shoulder.
One of the drawbacks of this job is that he makes more enemies than friends. However, Jack Sterling’s work is not all dealing with insurance companies and con artists within the deep ocean. On occasion, he finds himself in more of a humanitarian role, responding to calls from those who are in need of rescue—whether they are lost at sea or are facing mechanical issues that require a tow. A part of his talent comes from his almost obsessive interest in marine archeology.
Others insist that he is just an underwater treasure hunter, finding sunken history from long ago, but these excursions take time and usually require extensive funding. Like a knife through melted butter, the Triton maneuvers through the ocean water, focusing on the task at hand: gallantly searching for something that was lost in the ocean a short time ago.
Through the pit of darkness, the external mini-sub lights come across a silver reflection, bouncing light back on the right side of the hull while catching Jack’s attention. With a yaw rotation, Jack banks right and begins a gradual descent. Being 3,000 feet below the water surface, a fiber optical cable tethered to the Triton secures his position.
A live, high-resolution video feed broadcasts his excursion and can be transmitted up to the surface station. The video screen records what he sees through his transparent hub of a bubble. The lights of the mini-sub come to rest on the propeller of the stern of a yacht that is turned upside down. While it has recently been resting on the surface, signs of the ocean beginning its process of engulfment are evident.
Just as Jack’s eyes open wide, a crackle, followed by squeals, comes across the transmitter like digital two-way radio.
On the other end of this underwater communication device is Dymitry. “Come on, Jack. Tell me, how awesome am I right now? We found the shipwreck, didn’t we?”
“We?” Jack quips.
Dymitry quickly jumps back on the radio. “Aw, Man! Don’t go there. You know it was my algorithm that calculated this location. You are not getting all the credit for this one. Come on. What do you think? It’s the Fly 460, isn’t it?”
Jack pauses. “Well…you could always swim down here and see for yourself.”
“Ha. Ha,” Dymitry laughs out sarcastically. “You know how that would end. So, tell me, Jack, exactly how many sunken 2018, forty-six-foot luxury yachts made by Sea Ray happen to be sunken in this area?”
Jack chimes in, and without a doubt responds, “Statistically speaking, there are over three million sunken ships, and—”
Dymitry cuts off Jack in frustration. “Okay, now you’re just screwing with me. I’m telling you, we found her. Do you realize how much I will be able to sell this software for? You know, you just might be looking at the next Zuckerberg. So don’t mess with me.”
Jack rolls his eyes and smiles. “Yeah, scratch that last request of coming down here. I don’t think the ocean is big enough for your head.”
“I know what you mean. No amount of space can contain my awesomeness.” Dymitry shrugs and stares into the video monitor, looking at the vessel. “Hey, I know it’s a fiberglass body, but I’m pretty impressed with the lack of corrosion on that ship.”
“We are crossing over from the twilight to the midnight zone, the land of the sand and silt. Basically, it’s a desert down here.” Jack moves his head back and forth, trying to get a good look at the back of the ship. “Hey, Dymitry, with the ship being upside down, I can’t seem to make out the name. It appears to be buried in the sediment. I’m going to maneuver the Triton up to starboard and see if I can find the hull identification number.”
“You got it.”
“Oh, and Dymitry?”
“Great job on the software. I do think you’ve really gotten something there.”
Dymitry smiles to himself. “Thanks, man.”
Jack maneuvers the joystick and propels the Triton forward. “Now, why it took two years, I will never know.”
“You could have done it yourself... oh wait…you need me,” Dymitry mutters.
Dymitry is right. Jack has only one employee, his best friend Dymitry Jones, who has always been great with computers. They met as kids back in the summer of 1996. Jack had once again been shipped off to camp, as his father had gone on a long fishing expedition. Sometimes Jack resented his father for forcing him to interact with other kids. Emotions were never his strong suit, but now that he explores the seas, it helps him to understand his father’s ambitions.
Camp Little Bear. Jack cringes at the memory. The camp is located in Osceola National Forest in Florida, and is best known for its hardwood forests, swamps, and black bears.
Keep in mind, though, no one had ever seen a black bear at the camp, especially during the daytime. However, one could tell they had been around, as campers would occasionally wake up to ransacked garbage cans, most likely due to bears rummaging through them in the middle of the night. For the most part, the bears would stay away from camp. Now, there would be some disgruntled counselors who would often say this was on account of having monstrous ten-year-olds running around, hopping and hollering enough to scare the bears away.
Every year, they would see a rise in parents sending their hyperactive kids, accompanied by their prescriptions for Ritalin. Jack had fun watching the freaks, although he was certain they all had the same opinion about him. The year Jack and Dymitry met, it was an unusual summer, and a group of unsupervised kids snuck out of camp activities to go zip-lining across the lake. The zip line, a pulley suspended on a rope that was mounted around a tree which grew on the edge of a cliff, then sloped down to another across the lake, was a daring and fun experience for the campers.
For some ten-year-olds it was the height on the cliff that was the thrill. For others, it was being suspended twenty-four feet above the water. It was the kind of height that could cause heads to spin. Jack lost all sense of balance, just before the two of them vomited the remains of their lunches.
Nonetheless, the kids could not help but want to have a little bit of adventure when the counselors were not looking. With the camp’s issues with staffing, it was easy to get away from observing eyes. Jack was among those stowaways. He was actually quite an intelligent and mature boy for his age since he had gone on far more adventures with his father in his short ten-year lifespan than his peers could have ever imagined.
Unfortunately, having been forced to come to summer camp, Jack thought he would make the most of it and take a stroll with the others up to the zip line versus participating in the scheduled bug collecting that the counselors and the other campers were off doing. Patiently waiting his turn, Jack couldn’t help noticing Dymitry, a beanpole African-American kid, often teased in school for being a nerd and his love for video games.
Dymitry was there on a dare to be the first one to go down the zip line. Everyone knew he was afraid of water since he had a reputation for skipping swim class in school whenever he got the chance. Now, while Dymitry was the type who did not really care what the others thought, he was experiencing his own feelings of vertigo, but they did not have anything to do with heights. No, his issue lay with the presence of a ten-year-old girl named Jasmine—Jasmine Pinkerton to be exact. In fact, if it were not for her daring him to jump on the zip line, he probably would not have even come.
Dymitry had reached that age where puberty was kicking in. He began taking notice of girls, and, especially when it came to Jasmine, he could not refuse the chance to grab her attention. No one thought he would actually go through with it on account of his fear of water.
Being a video game junkie and having his own flair for adventure, Dymitry wanted to prove to Jasmine that he was not afraid. In his mind, this was no different than his new video game, Crash Bandicoot. He had confidence with a controller in his hands, imagining that if he just gained three Aku Aku masks he could achieve invincibility, allowing him to dash across the zip line to avoid a bottomless pit and attain his Wumpa Fruit. However, in the real world, as he grabbed the zip line, ready to jump, he momentarily glanced down. He just stood there at the edge of the cliff, frozen in time, staring at the water. At that moment, he realized that, unlike a video game, he only had one life.
Jasmine, standing with her arms crossed, cried out impatiently, “Well, are you going to go or not?”
Just then, the sweet sound of her voice filled the air, quickly soothing his fears, and brought him back to his blithesome self. Holding on to the zip line with one hand, Dymitry smiled, and with one hearty push of his feet, he kicked off the edge and went sliding down, feeling no regret. He still looked back at Jasmine in the hope of catching a twinkle in her eyes, reflecting admiration for this profound act of courage. Not five seconds down the zip line, as he turned back from looking at her, he caught a glimpse, not of the water below, but the fear-wrenching sight of what was at the other end of the zip line awaiting him.
He gazed onward, holding on to the pulley for dear life, yelling, “Oh, crap! A bear?”
The other kids looked up quickly and saw a black bear, which just happened to roam out of the forest two feet from the other end of the zip line. Out of sudden fear, the kids start to scream, and the noise vibrated across the lake, causing the bear to look over and see Dymitry heading right toward it. Lurching into defensive mode, the black bear raised up on his hind legs and roared out a sound that curdled in everyone’s ears. Dymitry was only getting closer as the zip line was closing in straight for the bear and what appeared to a ten-year-old boy’s jaws of death. He was quick to realize his invincibility game mode was about to end. The bear used his front paws to come down on the tree, shaking the entire zip line and jostling him back and forth as he continued to approach the bear.
While he was still only halfway across the lake, fear seemed to have struck the bear, as he saw the human was not slowing down and was only getting closer. Out of a sense of fight or flight, the bear jumped off the tree and hot-footed back into the forest. In doing so, the bear’s claw unintentionally caught on and slashed the end of the rope tied around the tree, causing the rope, zip line, and Dymitry to plummet into the water. Tears coursed down the children’s faces.
The children were all paralyzed in horror and focusing in on the water, like a deer gazing into headlights. They were afraid and unsure of what to do.
Jasmine turned to the other kids and yelled, “Someone, go and get help.”
One of the children took off running toward camp, while the others who remained would forever remember the longest thirty seconds of their lives. The water appeared motionless, as there did not appear to be any sign of Dymitry. Knowing he could not swim, they all feared the worst. All of a sudden, they saw ripples of water and someone rising to the surface, gasping for air. However, it was not him.
During the chaos, no one had seen that Jack Sterling had jumped off the twenty-four-foot cliff and swam underwater toward where Dymitry had fallen. Jack often had good foresight, which he had developed from previous excursions with his father, and having a quick intuition for knowing when things were about to go south.
It was actually during the roaring of the bear when Jack had jumped. Cradled in his arms, he held Dimitry’s head above water, above where he had rescued him from the bottom of the lake. Dymitry had bumped his head when he fell, rendering him temporarily unconscious. Jack pulled him ashore, and, akin to an experienced paramedic, he began to give Dymitry mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while the children made their way to the other side and looked on.
Jasmine crouched down toward Dymitry.
“Is he dead?” Jasmine asks worriedly.
“No,” said Jack.
Expressions of fear transformed to relief as Dymitry lurched forward, coughing fervently and regurgitating water. While he lay there, dazed and confused, Jasmine ran over and hugged him.
“I’m sorry, Dymitry. I will never ask you to do that again.”
Dymitry looked toward Jack, seeing his grin. Dymitry just smiled back and gave him the thumbs up, realizing his act of courage for Jasmine had paid off. Unknown to him that day, he would grow up and never be content in a long-lasting relationship, always wanting the next girl who came along—even if that girl was Jack’s long-term girlfriend, even though that was an attempt bound for failure. However, the one person he always remained loyal to was Jack.
With a bump on his head to prove it, Dymitry would always remember that Jack Sterling had saved his life that day, leading them to become the best of friends. As such, they remain so today. A beacon illuminates in the dark as the Triton glides up the starboard bow. The lights finally arrive on the HIN identification. The last number is covered with sediment and mud.
Jacks pulls out two smaller joysticks that control two mechanical arms, which protrude from the mini-sub and wipe the residue from the side of the ship. “Hey, Dymitry. It’s upside down, but looks like the hull identification number, and says…4…6…0…F…L…Y…5...0...4.”
“Yahoo?” The radio breaks into a musical number as Dymitry sings, “Money, money, money, money, MONEY?”
Jack looks at his clipboard with his work orders on it and then tosses it behind him. “Damn, it’s a match?”
Dymitry says, “What are you so negative about? We struck gold. The software works, and we are going to be rich, my friend.”
Jack, engaged in his expedition, ignores Dymitry and makes his way to the vessel’s hull. As Jack moves past the outside windows of the bridge, the Triton’s lights shine upon the single sideband radio, which had been turned into a home by a group of red sea crabs—as they scurry out of the light like cockroaches running over a kitchen floor, more of the unit is revealed. Jack is suddenly reminded of hearing the call that came through that day.
“Mayday, mayday?” The captain was anxiously crying his lungs out as his vessel went down.
He was aboard the Fly 460, made by Sea Ray. It was a forty-six-foot luxury yacht that had been caught in a vortex of winds that engulfed it from all sides. The captain could not tell his exact location, except that they were fifteen miles off the coast of Florida. He had expressed that the hull and navigation were severely damaged, and that water was continuing to gush in.
The coast guard responded that they were currently searching for him, and encouraged him to stay in contact with them as long as possible. It was also reported that all the passengers on board the Fly 460 had been evacuated, due to the heroics of its captain, Andrew Gibbons. He gave the phrase ‘the captain goes down with the ship’ a whole new meaning.
As he stayed on board to give the last life jacket to a remaining passenger, the courageous captain was left with no option for escape. Jack listened to the horror unfold across his sideband radio. It was early September 2017, and Jack and Dymitry were heading back to shore. They happened to be on the same frequency when the transmission came through and had just saved a couple of storm chasers who had ignored the warning signs and ended up getting trapped in their sailboat. Hurricane Irma was in full swing, and all boats and divers were prohibited from going near the water. But, for Jack, the sea was his spiritual abode. Hearing the captain’s call and knowing it was devouring his ship with no chance of helping him was too much for him to bear.
The captain had called out his HIN number as 460FLY504, so they would know they had the right ship, should it ever be discovered. The Fly 460 sent out one last horn call for help—one not unlike that of a lion, the king of the jungle, who gives out one last glorious cry after getting shot by a hunter. A few moments later, the Fly 460 and Captain Gibbons sank to the depths of the ocean, leaving nothing in its wake.
The mystery remains because none of the passengers were ever found, and their identities still remain unknown. The coast guard searched for days, but came up emptyhanded, almost as if Captain Gibbons and the Fly 460 were nothing but mere ghosts trapped in radio transmission. Captain Gibbons had left behind a six-year-old daughter and a wife, who had assumed he was at work and had no idea he had even been out in the ocean, and thus no idea whom he had taken with him. As the story goes, none of the boat’s passengers or captain was ever seen again, and the ship was thought to be lost forever, until now.
Coming out of a dream state, Jack’s radio breaks the silence once again.
“Hello?” Dymitry asks. “Was it something I said?”
“Dymitry, Fly 460 is Captain Gibbon’s ship.”
“I didn’t connect the dots either. You remember during Hurricane Irma, that ghost call that came across the radio, that had all those passengers and a captain who went down with the ship?”
“Captain Andrew Gibbons? No way,” Dymitry responds on the radio with excitement. “Wait, I thought that boat was seriously damaged. I remember that dude was screwed. He had no clue where he was, except somewhere off the coast of Florida.”
“And yet here we are, currently off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula,” Jack says. “Aside from some pre-corrosion setting in, this boat lacks any real wave damage in the hull. Heck—the navigation system looks like it was probably working before it sank.”
“No, you must have the wrong HIN, and the work order doesn’t say anything about Mr. Gibbons. This belongs to a woman named Susan Rice,” Dymitry explains, perplexed.
“I’m pretty sure the hull identification number is correct. I can’t forget a thing like that. As for the name, maybe his wife went back to her maiden name.” Jack is silent, then speaks out, “The strangest part is all the cabin windows are open. Why considering the vessel was traveling through a heavy storm?”
Dymitry pauses. “So, another case of marine insurance fraud? That would explain why the underwater locator beacon wasn’t working.”
“Maybe, but every fraud case we ever dealt with in the past, the owner was still alive to try to collect the insurance money, not missing with his boat. Nor did they have any passengers, especially in this case, when the insurance is valued at over a million dollars,” Jack answers.
Jack continues to maneuver the Triton around, searching the sunken vessel, and looking for clues. “I would like to add that this fiberglass bottom is flawless. So how and why did it sink?”
Dymitry responds, “See, there you go. You just went way above our pay grade. It is not our responsibility or concern. We found the ship like the insurance company asked us to. I say let’s bag it, tag it, and let The Falcon reel it in. It is eMarine’s problem now.”
“You’re right, Dymitry. Let’s just get paid for once. Turn on the towing wrench and drop the line. I’ll find cable clips to strap it to. And stop calling my tug boat The Falcon, it’s degrading to her.”
“‘Degrading?’ You have me all wrong. It is the toughest hunk of junk on the sea,” Dymitry laughs as he types away behind his Mac laptop that also has a Millennium Falcon sticker on the front case.
Succumbing to the reality of things, Jack shrugs. “Let’s just get some money, alright?”
Outside, walking on the deck of a rusted old tugboat that belongs to Cast Away Towing, Dymitry talks into his Bluetooth headset, which he rigged to the communication device to broadcast wirelessly. He pumps his fist into the air. “All right, that’s what I’m talking about, MY MAN JACK!”
Dymitry turns on the tow wrench as a loud sputtering sound starts to knock around. He grabs a hammer and bangs on the top of the motor, causing it to clear up suddenly.
The Bluetooth headset is interrupted by the sound of Jack’s voice from many fathoms below. “Dymitry, be gentle with her. She’s all I’ve got.”
Dymitry chimed in, “Don’t let your girlfriend hear you say that, or you might find that statement to be true.”
“Alice isn’t the jealous type—”
“Probably because you lack emotions and there’s—how would you say it—zero probability of being interested in anyone?”
Jack rolls his eyes and continues, “She is the only one who understands the love that I have for both my vessel and her. She would never put any pressure on me to choose.”
Dymitry fake stabs himself in the chest and grabs the line from a massive, rolled-up metal spool. He wheels off the wire and drops it over the back of the stern while continuing to banter with Jack.
“Maybe that’s why you’ve been together for like…four, no, wait, five years, and you have yet to ask the big question…”
Jack was shocked at Dymitry’s response.
“I know you think you know Alice, but you don’t. Not like I do. She doesn’t want any of that. She just likes it the way it is. Simple…kind of like my tugboat.”
Dymitry gawks. “The Falcon is not simple. It’s in constant need of attention. She’s going to shock you one day, just like Alice, and leave you stranded out in the middle of the ocean.”
Cast Away Towing’s operations consist of a fifty-five-foot 1981 tugboat vessel, and the fancy, one person Triton mini-submarine that Jack is currently maneuvering. The boat seems to be a natural habitat for rust collections. It’s painted lime green, with a row of tires that hang off both sides of the vessel. These are used as bumpers to protect other boats when towing.
Inside, however, one can notice Dymitry’s handiwork, as the tugboat is decked out with fancy equipment, from 4k video monitors to Wi-Fi, sonars, and ultrasonic transmitters. There are even a couple of laptops and monitors, along with dozens of loose wires hanging everywhere. One would think it was a high-tech rat’s nest. Dimitry's personal favorite is the gold dice that hangs from the bridge’s front window. A lifting crane on the outside has been jerry-rigged to the deck of the ship, which allows the Triton to be lifted in and out of the ocean. The mini-sub and lift look out of place when considering the newness and the financial value of them both. Naturally, one struggles to afford such a high-tech piece of marine equipment as the Triton. Jack got some inheritance money from his father after his mysterious disappearance, and it only felt right to put it toward something both of them would have appreciated.
Having a passion for underwater deep-sea diving, and considering the insurance companies’ demand for people who can find lost vessels, Jack took the gamble and spent it all on the Triton, leaving nothing for a rainy day. While advised against it, he rigged the mini-sub lift to work on his tugboat. The Falcon, as Dymitry likes to call it, as he saw it akin to the Millennium Falcon ship, was the fastest hunk of junk in the marina. It was also the toughest hunk of junk in the sea.
Like the Millennium Falcon, Jack’s tugboat is also in constant need of repair, but he continues to hang onto it for several reasons. No matter what they pull or raise from the ocean, his vessel always comes through for him. Despite the severe weather the ship has seen in its lifetime, it continues to stay afloat and survive the toughest of storms. One time, Jack caught himself accidentally calling the boat after his father. While the discovery of what happened to his father may go unsolved, he cannot part with what he has left of him, especially while he feels his father is lost, not gone.
Down below, the Fly 460 now has the towlines wrapped through cable clips on the back of the stern, and Jack is using the Triton’s robotic arms to secure the last of the line.
“Ok, Dymitry, she’s all strapped in. Go ahead and lift her up slowly.”
With the press of an industrial button, the tow wrench gives a metal knocking noise back and forth as the old gears start to spin. The massive spool starts to turn slowly, rolling up the wire from the depth below. As the wrench gets warmer, featherlike clouds of steam begin to develop, slowly evaporating off the engine. Under the ocean, like a boot stuck in the mud, it takes that initial yank to free the vessel from its surroundings. It’s jerked out as the sediment shifts, allowing the stirring of any clinging sand and silt.
The vessel is lifted from the rear while slowly being pulled up to the surface in a vertical position. Jack knows this is probably not the best way to handle raising ships from the ocean, but most of these vessels recovered are considered dead boats anyway. The insurance company would rather leave them in the ocean if it were not for the need to physically have them for legal purposes in an attempt to prevent paying the hefty insurance claims. The issue of what to do with these end-of-life boats is that there is no money to be made in recycling or scrapping old boats.
Most of these recovered vessels or end-of-life boats end up being cut up and buried deep within the soil of a landfill. Jack knows, no doubt, despite the one-million-dollar price tag only eight months ago, the Fly 460 will join the ranks of tens of millions of other end-of-life boats headed for the dump over the next several years, potentially contributing to the global problem of toxic chemicals leaking into the ground. The Fly 460 was once thought to be lost forever, but now it has successfully left the scene, headed on a free elevator ride to the top. The sediment of sand and silt begins to slowly drift back into place. With little visibility, it is hard to tell what parts might have fallen off.
Jack maneuvers the Triton once more to skim the surface of where this vessel had once sat. As a watchtower, he searches for an escaped convict. The mini-sub’s lights peruse the bottom of the ocean floor, casting light on anything that might be of interest. Nothing of importance seems to be left behind, but a twinkle of a reflection is thrown back, catching Jack’s attention once more. Small bits of chrome and metal parts seem to still be scattered about. He continues his search until he crosses over it again.
This twinkle seems to hit him differently, as it reflects back with sharper light that seems to glow. It appears to be symmetrical. Out of curiosity, he decides to use the robotic arms attached to the sub and reach out for it, slowly grasping at it. The glow appears so small. He raises the arm toward his transparent bubble to get a better look. With the object in the robotic arm’s fingers, with it practically touching the acrylic bubble, he leans in. Sand falls off it, revealing a glistening gold coin.
“Are you seeing this? Dymitry?” Jack shouts.
With the tow wrench engine so loud, Dymitry decided to put on some even louder music while he continued to raise the Fly 460. Not paying attention to the video monitor, nor hearing Jack’s comment, he did not see the image. Down below, Jack is in amazement, as this gold coin shows more aging than the vessel that laid atop it. It was clearly not only any gold coin but also a numismatic, a 1944 coin to be exact.
Jack’s father had a coin collection he often showed off. He was missing most coins from the 40s, but Jack knew exactly what each looked like from listening to his father describe them.
This coin is undoubtedly from 1944. The giveaway is the inscription around the edges: CITTA DEL VATICANO. Resting in the center is a beveled image of the coat of arms of the Holy See and Vatican City State.
This religious symbol combines two crossed keys in the same position as the cross of St. Andrew. Traditionally, the gold one on the right alludes to power in the kingdom of the heavens, while the key on the left, which is normally silver when not on a gold coin, represents the spiritual authority on earth.
The cotters of the keys are pointed upward as if they were a representation of being in the hands of Christ. This is the official insignia of the Holy See, a representation that comes from the Gospel when the Apostle Peter was given the keys to the kingdom of heaven by Christ. It has long been a Christian belief that the Vatican Church is the eternal church of authority, as it was established in the 1st Century A.D. by Peter and the rest of the twelve Apostles.
Curious as to who is on the back, without hesitation, Jack grabs a spinner dial on the dashboard that controls the outside robotic arms. With just a flick of his fingers, he uses the mechanical armatures to spin the coin around, as if he were touching it with his fingers. As the coin flips around, time slows down as it comes into the light, and Jack is caught off guard.
The room spins, causing tingling to travel up his arms. Heavy emotional weight is put on his muscles. He can feel them weakening as the decompression sickness worsens. Yet none of these things are actually happening, as Jack is in a pressure-controlled mini-sub, but his mind is in such disbelief that it can’t grasp what he is looking at on the back of that coin.
He flips a switch on the Triton to turn on an additional external bright light to double-check the image. While this light uses unnecessary power and he is already getting warning lights of needing to surface, none of that matters at this moment, as he might have just found the discovery of the century. This would rewrite history.
If Dymitry’s new software could find lost ships based on last known locations, it would make the front page of Time magazine. The success of this news would throw his story to page fifteen and bury it among the obituaries. The only success Jack had ever seen in the past as a treasure hunter was on The Today Show for discovering a part of the Spanish San Miguel treasure. Jack never made any money from it, as he ended up donating the findings to his local museum. He always felt lost treasures should be shared with the world, versus kept in one man’s vault.
To Jack, everything is lost until found. This treasure, now found, left him pondering what to do or who to tell.
Inscribed on the back of the gold coin is not the image of an honored human silhouette he is traditionally used to seeing but is instead an image so terrible and so vile that it still represents evil and induces nightmares even today. It’s as large as the back of the gold coin itself, a symbolic representation of everything wrong in the world—the image of the German Swastika Logo.
Throughout the years, there have always been rumors of Pope Pius XII at the Vatican not only being a supporter but also helping Adolf Hitler rise to power during World War II as his financial backer. In return, Hitler had agreed to destroy the German Catholic political oppositions while betraying the Jews in Europe. This coin could prove it to be true.
Treating the coin like a glass egg, Jack controls the arms and puts the gold coin into an external basket that he is able to lock, making sure not to lose it as he flips some more switches and grabs the joystick to the Triton to begin the ascent to the ocean’s surface.