The other came at him with his knife and he prepared for an engagement, but he wasn't worried. He had never lost a knife fight, whether in the field as a former SEAL or in some of the bars he often frequented. This was not going to take long.

He waved the other over and despite the dense buoyancy of the water that made his movements less fluent than on land, his speed was unmatched. His enemy lunged at him with his knife, slicing through the water with remarkable and surprising precision. He was impressed, but nonetheless less resilient with his own strikes, falling back on years of training.

Suddenly a small torpedo was fired from the U.S. Coastal Guard's mini-sub and the explosion rocked the area around them. An eddie current from the explosion pushed the other off balance and Luxen was able to get the advantage. He grabbed the other's knife hand, so he couldn't fight back, and then took his knife and sliced the man's wetsuit across his chest from end to end. Bubbles of excess oxygen use emerged from the other's scuba mask and the man grabbed his chest as streams of blood began to exit the wound underneath.

Furthermore, with the man temporarily distracted, he grabbed hold of the man's breathing hose and said, "Nothing personal, buddy," and cut it through. The tube whipped around sporadically, oxygen escaping. The man struggled to save it, but it was futile. The man eventually keeled over and began to float aimlessly, most likely dead.

Death was enviable, he thought, just like taxes. But there was something about this man, something that looked familiar to Luxen. He looked closer through his scuba mask and recognized a familiar face. Immediately, he shared his oxygen with the man. The man gasped as oxygen once again filled his lungs.

The man took a few deep breaths, and then looked strangely and then surprised at the man who had first tried to kill him, but now was saved his life. He then recognized an old friend and acknowledged that identification with wide-eyes. Luxen nodded, and mouthed: "Me." He then took the mask back to take a couple of breaths.

"Long time no see," he said to the other, the sound of his voice reverberating through the water so the other could hear, "…Flint."

He exchanged the mask with Flint again and Flint took a couple of more breaths. "I thought you were dead," Flint said. "I figured you faked your own death. We never did find a body in the abandoned car at the bottom of that cliff." Flint suddenly produced a pair of handcuffs and locked one around Luxen's knife hand. Luxen was stunned. "Under the authority given to me, you're under arrest!" He then snatched the knife away from him.

They exchanged the mask back and forth as they spoke to each other. "I knew I shouldn't have saved you," Luxen said. "But the nukes are still mine!"

Flint looked around to find that the sea-ray with the nukes had disappeared. "Where is it, Luxen?!"

"Find it yourself," he said sharply. "You were smart enough to find me in this murky soup, so put that intelligence to a greater purpose. By the way, how did you find me… sonar, satellite surveillance?"

"A fisherman was taking a late night stroll on a fisherman's worf earlier this evening in the town of Maine, and spotted some suspicious activity near the dock, probably as you were getting ready to depart, and reported it to the authorities. We knew the nukes were in the area, so we figured they were here. Looks like we were right, but we are they, Luxen? Where did your little band of water rats take them?" Flint raised Luxen's knife to his throat. "Tell me, now!"

"We were in the same platoon together, you tell me what I did with them," he said evasively. "You always knew what was happening, William. Read my mind. Didn't you claim who were part psychic?"

"I'm not going to play games with you, Drake, we're taking about nuclear weapons here, and the fate of the world," he said. Luxen shrugged his shoulders. Flint then lowered the knife and cut the straps that attached the regulator tank to Luxen's back and took it. "See how long you can hold your breath for, Drake. I think your longest record was just under four minutes."

Drake looked at him shocked.

If Luxen could see his old friend smiling behind the mask, he would have.

Suddenly, both men were privy to a series of horrible, blood-curdling screams, heard via the communication relays inside their earpieces. Both men froze, startled, by the loudness and nature of the cries. "What on earth?" Flint said. "Lt. Barren, report?"

"Sharks, Commander, lots of them!" the Lt. reported.

-- tbc