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We fell for an hour before either of us spoke, to each other, that is.
Mike, of course, was in constant contact with our controllers a thousand meters or so topside, speaking in the unintelligible techno-speak that pilots and astronauts adore.
Sitting beside him in the co-pilot's seat, I was trying to figure out why the hell I was there.
"Well, is it a spaceship?" I asked eventually.
"Is that why I'm here?"
He looked at me with that cute, puzzled hound dog expression I used to adore. Still do, truth be told.
I turned away to gaze out my port at the darkness through which we were plummeting. The black scene was lit by countless flashes of bio-luminescence from tiny, and not so tiny, undersea creatures hunting and being hunted in the dark killing field of the deep Pacific Ocean.
"A movie from last century," I explained. "A spaceship is found at the bottom of the sea, the military calls in the scientists to study it. It turns out disastrously, of course, but that's Hollywood for you."
"What are you talking about?"
I was babbling. I blamed it on jet lag, not having breakfast and on the pheromones Mike was pumping into the confined atmosphere of the submersible.
When I'd first seen him leaning against the bright yellow sub, my heart had leapt into my throat. It hadn't occurred to me he'd be there. I'd thought he was still in Antarctica exploring underneath what was left of the polar ice shelf.
"No spaceship," he said.
"Then why am I here?"
"I asked for you especially."
It was just as I'd thought. "Listen, Mike--"
He held up his hand. "Sssh. It's not what you think."
I glared at him. "And what do Ithink?"
"That I'm rekindling an old flame."
"Don't flatter yourself." The edge in my voice was colder than the sea water outside. I hadn't meant to sound like that and instantly regretted it. He grinned and, damn-it-all, a little flutter started somewhere just below my breastbone and skittered its way through my belly and collided with the juncture of my thighs.
"You're here because you, My Love, are the world's top exo-biologist."
"Flattery will get you absolutely nowhere."
"I wouldn't dream of hitting on a married woman."
The little gasp I gave at that point was because in six, or was it seven hours from now, I wouldn't be married any longer. I checked my watch; a novelty cartoon watch Mike had bought me many years ago to celebrate our first month anniversary. For some reason I'd never gotten around to throwing it away. The second hand no longer moved, but the others did just fine.
To be exact, I had six and a half hours of married life yet to endure. Rico, my soon to be ex-husband, had promised to deliver the duly signed paperwork to my lawyers. I'd phoned him after threatening to do bodily harm to the Naval officers who'd been hustling me out of the Capital Building. Nothing was going to stop me from getting divorced, not even being kidnapped by the military. I was sure Rico would deliver the papers early, so eager he was to be shed of me.
I glanced at Mike. He was busy with the controls, testing the manipulators that stretched out in front of our sub like thin skeletal arms; with elbows, hands and two clasping metallic fingers.
Mike couldn't know about my impending divorce, I was sure. His reference to marriage had just been a throwaway line.