The professor looked closely at those who attended the briefing and waited for their responses. Some are still in a state of disbelief.
The captain finally voiced out.
“I have heard of vortexes in deep seas but it is a very rare occurrence – probably one or two in hundred years. There are stories that sea mariners have talked that sounded like this vortex. Sometimes the stories are so unbelievable that some dismissed it as myths or fantasy. Just like the story of the giant squid. But one thing for sure, any vessel that is caught in such vortex was never to be found again on the surface. They simply disappear into the vortex. No wrecks, no bodies. Till now, we have always thought that the vessels are simply dragged down to deep oceans” remarked the captain as he recalled the stories that he has heard when he was still in the naval academy and when he met some old sailors when he joined the active service.
“And now we have the best evidence to show that the vortex does not destroy ships but rather transport them to another era, another dimension” interjected the Professor Z with a face that in thought of many possibilities.
“True but we will never know how and when a vortex happens. Is random or happens when the right conditions happens. How the vortex does transport the vessels to another time and dimension?” queried Ernst, still in a state of denial of what he has heard from the professor.
“If we are able to find out how this sea vortex happens, think of the possibilities. We can send back armadas of ships back in time and conquer our enemies with ease. Or travel to the future and learn new things that will benefit the country” quipped one of the younger scientists, much to dismay of the older scientists.
There has been a silent consensus among the older scientists in the Third Reich’s science society that new science discoveries must be done for the betterment of the people and the country than for the military power expansion alone. It is a consensus that scientists like Professor Z hold dear to their hearts and find ways to achieve their goals. However the same sentiments is not shared by the younger scientists who been recruited by the Third Reich’s powerful military and who had provided what it seems like an endless funds for research and experiments. One such young scientists who hold this view strongly is a younger rocket scientist who been doing research on rocket powered bombs which he codenamed “V-1 rockets”. Such long hard conflict between the older scientists and younger scientists is no big secret and is a well known fact by the German High Commands. As much they dislike the stand taken by the older but experienced scientists, they still employ and fund the scientists’ research – the military still enjoys the benefit at end of the day.
“There is one thing I do not understand, professor” someone in the briefing room said quite loudly.
Everyone turned and saw that Sergeant R put up his hands and was looking at Professor Z.
“One thing I don’t understand professor. If everyone that was on the outside of the submarine has been killed by these pirates and those who locked themselves in the submarine died of hunger and lack of air, then how did the Romans knew about it and wrote it down in their records. If I recall, this information was received from ancient books dating back to the Romans’ times. And how did the word “nuclear” was mentioned in the same ancient records” asked Sergeant R, tired but still alert.
“That is a good question, Sergeant” said the professor who himself was not unsure on how to address this question.
“I have a theory” replied another scientist who specialises in ancient history.
The scientist who was middle aged walked to the front and looked at Sergeant R and smiled.
“When you brought up the logs from the coast and we started to interpret the logs, I started to think the same question. In fact, the more we started to interpret, I knew that something was amiss. Something did not make sense. At first I thought the logs must have been wrongly written by whoever who wrote it. Was it to misled whoever who might find the submarine in future? If yes, why they want to mislead? Yes, I am been thinking about it” said the scientist
“Then I realised that the persons who wrote the log had no intention to mislead anyone. The person was writing what they perceived it to be as true. And this is my theory on what must have happened” continued the scientist
“The logs said that many of the crew died whilst battling the pirates who seem to come on a larger number on the next day. If you think about it, there is no Roman base near the place we know now as Malaya. In fact, Romans never ventured far from their home in Rom and the Mediterranean Sea. But the Vikings did. We knew that the Vikings are expert sea-going people but one thing we had never knew was how far they travelled. It is possible that they may have ventured to places near Malaya and they could have been the pirates that the submarine crew encountered”
“We can only assume that the pirates that the submarine crew encountered were the Vikings. There is no records of local pirates that may have roamed these seas hundreds or thousand years ago. And it is also possible that the crew men, who the survivors thought had died, may have been still alive when the Vikings overtook them by force. They may have been seriously hurt and too weak to fight the more determined Vikings. Either that or the weakened crew men must have gave up the thought of fighting the Vikings after been living in isolation after their submarine have beached in this coast. They have no idea that they have travelled back in time. They must have thought that by agreeing to follow the Vikings, they could reach some civilisations where it would have been possible to escape”
“And it might be possible that these Vikings have reached some civilisations and there is no more advanced civilisations at that era than of the Romans. It is possible that the surviving crew men talked the Vikings into letting them go or perhaps escaped when the Viking ships passed by the Roman settlements or port. And this is how the records of the submarine, its location and the word “nuclear” might have passed on into the Roman records. And we all know that Romans were experts in maintaining records and official histories and many of this had survived the ravages of war and natural disasters over the years”
Sergeant R smiled back – he felt that the explanation given makes sense and it explains well how the Romans to got to know about the submarine. He thought of the fate of the survivors locked away in the submarine, fearing for their life and end up dying of hunger. If only they have ventured out and surrendered themselves to the pirates, they may still be alive. But again, it is just a theory that the pirates were Vikings and somehow they allowed the crew men to stay alive.
Captain Franz walked to the front and thanked the professor and his team to assist on deciphering the logs and manuals and assisted Sergeant R’s team to conduct better search of the submarine and get more information and tools back to the U Boat. Over the last few days, in addition to the logs, books and manuals, Sergeant R’s team have been bringing back tools, photos, personal artefacts of the crew and anything that is movable back to the U Boat and been storing them in the special storage area. They have also been photographing almost every inch of the submarine interiors, the control consoles and the layout for future references as well. A special room have been dedicated for the storage of the photography materials.
The pace of interpreting the logs and manuals picked up pace after the last briefing and the coded messages was being sent to Sergeant R’s team on almost an hourly basis. They are now even able to interpret the functions on some of the buttons on the control consoles. The reactor room still remains locked and the scientists have yet to obtain the key that will unlock the room. It is certain that who ever that locked the room had ensured that no one could enter it without proper authorisation. Certainly in the last few days of the survivors, the thoughts of the pirates entering the interiors and unleashing the containment of the reactor must have passed in their minds.
That night, Sergeant R’s team returned to the U Boat for rest and change of their gears. They have by now explored most of the areas in the submarine except for the weapons room and the nuclear reactor room which had remained locked till now. Both have been sealed tight and with special access key requirement to open it. It will not be easy to break the thick reinforced steel doors. There have been some suggestions by the team members to use explosives to blow up the doors but such idea has been quickly rejected by both Captain Franz and Professor Z. The captain feared that explosion inside the submarine will create a loud noise on the outside and certainly this will give away the current locations to the enemy or the Japanese forces nearby.
Professor Z on the other hand feared the outcome of a nuclear reactor leakage that may be caused by the explosion. The danger of radiation leaked have been emphasised several times and in strong words in several of the passages in the manuals and log books. The crew must have known what they are doing when they sealed tight the reactor room. It was too dangerous for Sergeant R’s team to blow up and enter the room. It could be fatal to them and to the rest of the crew members. They must wait unless his team have figured out a safer way to enter the nuclear reactor room. The safe way must have mentioned in the manuals somewhere. All they need to do is to find the answer in the manuals and log books that are yet to be interpreted.
It has been almost a week since they reached their final destination and found the ancient submarine. There has been interesting discoveries since then but the question have been raised – how long they can stay until the supplies run out and they need to leave the place for resupply.
Sergeant R and his team were back in the area of extraction – they are now managed to dismantle larger tools and equipment and packaged it in a water tight compartments to be brought back to the U Boat. Suddenly Sergeant R saw one of his sentries running towards him.
“Sergeant, a naval ship just ahead of the coast and its moving slowly with its gun trained towards the coast” said the men who been assigned to keep an eye for any intruders from the sea. Another man is keeping guard over the jungle area.
Sergeant R ordered rest of the men to stow away the items that they have extracted and to hide themselves in the jungle. There was no way to hide the submarine which was now partly exposed. But thankfully it needs one to be at the river deep in the jungle to be able to see this partially exposed hull of the submarine. If one is seeing the area from the sea, they will see nothing but just dense jungle. Sergeant R followed the man back to the coast and from a hidden place; they spied on the ship that was moving very slowly. It is obvious that U X have detected the ship from far and moved away to deeper waters to avoid any detection. Captain Franz had hoped that Sergeant R has taken the same precautions.
“It is a Japanese River Boat and they seems to be interested in this area” whispered Sergeant R to his man as they note the boat made second passing with the crew and the guns trained towards their location. Sergeant R wondered whether the Japanese had picked up their coded messages between the coast and the U Boat. He feared the Japanese would land a battalion of armed soldiers on the beach for further investigation. If that is to happen, then the partially exposed submarine will be discovered for sure and he and his men may need to fight their way out from their extraction area.
The Japanese naval boat made a third pass the area before heading back to the open sea. Sergeant R was relived when that happened but he had a strong feeling that this boat may return and this time, most likely with an armed landing team. Sergeant R waited until it got dark and ordered his men to gather at the coast. He messaged U X and received confirmation that there were no other ships detected in the vicinity. It was safe for them to come out from the hiding and did not waste time. They moved the items that they extracted from the submarine during the day as quickly as possible during the night. It took them several passes between the U Boat and the coast to clear the items. The Sergeant R’s men earlier have buried back the submarine in mud and river sand leaving only the hatch exposed. If the Japanese lands a small team of soldiers in the area, the plan was to bury the hatch as well and the men to hide away in the thickness of the jungle.
That night, a very exhausted Sergeant R sat down with the captain, Ernst and Professor Z. He was worried about the Japanese River Boat and he did not like the way it made several passes near their area. The captain also agreed that it was getting too dangerous to continue with the extraction and the supply was getting lower. They need to leave the area soon. Professor Z however objected. He is of the opinion that they have not extracted all that is important from the submarine. Besides, they still not cracked the key to unlock the reactor room and the weapons room. If they leave now and a Japanese team arrives at the place and discover the submarine, there is a great danger that the Japanese may obtain the technology first. It will be a terrible loss for the Third Reich.
There was very little time left for the captain to decide. He alone has the overriding power to decide whether they will stay and extract more or pack up and leave whilst they are still remained undetected by the Japanese. He was thinking hard and he knows that the safety of the U Boat and his men comes first all the time. Whilst he would liked to accede to the Professor Z’s request, he knew that unless the professor can confirm that his team will be able to crack the code to unlock the rector and weapons rooms by tomorrow, it would be impossible to stay. They need to leave as soon as possible, now that the Japanese is suspicious of the area that is being marked for extraction.
The captain asked for time off as he needs to think and decide. He promised to make his decisions known in the next two hours. There is still darkness available for Sergeant R to do something at the extraction area before the morning sun comes up. The captain excused himself and left for his quarters whilst Sergeant R and his men made use of the two hours break to have the meals and take rest. There will be no one sleeping for the night.