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This document is part of the Ocean Girl Archive — Last update: 2010-01-16 — sourcemeta

Source: 1, DeviantART
Author:Judith “Stormdance” Kenyon
Copyright:Archiving permitted by author

2. The Door in the Sea

On ORCA Brett and Cass watched the pyramid on the video screen.

“Totally impossible.”

“Totally.” Cass agreed. “But there it is.” It was impossible of course. People couldn’t dive that deep, not even submarines until a few years ago. And something so huge could hardly have been dropped whole from the surface.

Neri pushed herself away from the pyramid’s side to get a better look at the whole structure. She passed the minifin—and it began to shake.

“Aw no not again!” Jason tried to get the sub turned but again he had no control. He started cursing the machine when Neri got between them and the pyramid and everything started working again.

“I think we had better get out of here, before that happens again.” Winston said.

“Yeah.” Jason managed. He flashed the sub’s main lights to let Neri know they were leaving. She waved, and stayed close to the minifin until it was well clear of the pyramid. Then Winston and Jason returned to ORCA and Neri found that she felt too thoughtful to play so she returned to the island.

The pyramid waited.

Charley? What is that place? Jason says, ‘pyramid.’ Neri sang the shape as a whale would see it, then clicked out the English word.

Old. Generations old. No reason to go close. Maybe the sperm whales… The name was a one-word description of blunt heads and sharp teeth. Sperm whales could dive that deep, to find cold water in the tropics.

Neri surfaced and looked around. There was nothing but water in all directions, then Neri saw a sea snake come up to breathe and then Neri noticed more, floating and basking. “Pyramid,” She tried the word aloud- it was hard to say- and ducked back under to continue, lets me come close. Not others.

Charley whistled that he didn’t know, but Neri remembered the spaceship, the panels that lit up when her hand touched them. Was the pyramid the same? …ocean planet?

Whale song drifted across the water, a long series of unconnected thoughts. Same sound, like spaceship. Older. Something of us also. Danger? Always. But… no choice.

Charley understood, he always did. Neri saw the island in the distance, straight ahead. She never got lost in the ocean. Yes, ‘pyramid’ is something of me.

The minifin docked at ORCA. Winston climbed out while Jason ran through the procedure to shut the sub down. All systems showed green; no damage from the bizarre shockwaves the pyramid had thrown at them. Those readings, along with the camera images and a record of the journey, were recorded on the black box. Jason got the disk out it and tucked it in the pocket of his uniform. ORCA’s main computer would analyze the information and edit Neri out of the images. This time they’d probably have HELEN erase the pyramid too. They didn’t want to tell the world yet, and have scientists swarming all over it did they? Not until they knew more about it…

Lost in thought, Jason finished the job and climbed out of the minifin. He missed seeing Louis’s father waiting outside.

“So the voyagers return. Long trip, for just checking beacons.”

“We, ah–“ Winston began.

“I’ll take the disk please.”

Jason could hardly disobey a superior officer. He handed over the disk and traded panicked looks with Winston.

Officer Danson would see the pyramid, and Neri!

The traditional image of Egypt was completed by a train of pack camels along the horizon—and rudely interrupted by Elly and Shelby’s range rover. The two agents were scowling over their laptops and a little tracking antenna.

“If you can just hold the signal for thirty seconds—“ Elly broke off as the screen went to static.

“Lost it! Damn!” Shelby’s hair was standing up; he’d run his fingers through it so many times. “We traced the waves to the Cairo area all the way from outer space, why can’t we find it within a three mile radius!”

Elly gave the only answer she could think of. “There’s some very fancy local equipment blocking the signal.”

“Look, it’s six am. Let’s call it a night.”

“Oh give me another hour, I think I’m pretty close to cracking it.”

“I say we forget all your high tech gizmos and start kickin’ in a few doors.”

Elly had to grin. “There’s only a few thousand doors between here and Cairo. Just where do you suggest we start kicking?”

Shelby saluted with his canteen: as close as he’d ever come to admitting that had been a truly dense suggestion.

Neri knelt on the beach, smoothing a pile of sand into a pyramid. She looked out to sea…

They had time for a quick chat with Brett and Cass, long enough to remind each other what was on the disk but not to think of a way to keep Officer Danson from watching it. He probably already had, while they were talking.

Then the intercom screen lit up. “This is Acting Commander Danson. Officer Jason Bates, Doctor Winston Seth, report to the bridge immediately.”

They sighed and went to face the music.

“A blatant breach of discipline! And an obvious attempt to conceal information. The log of any minifin journey is sacrosanct. Well, would either of you care to explain?”

Jason couldn’t think of a thing to say. Winston began, “Well, ah, in our defense…”

“Doctor Seth, what are you trying to tell me?”

“Well sir, what I think he’s trying to say, since you’ve probably already looked at the disk you would know the details as well as we do.”

“And you know as well as I do that this disk has been erased.”

“…erased.” Jason said after a stunned pause. His insides started to thaw with relief.

Officer Danson played the disk and only static came up on the screen. “Nothing here from start to finish. Why, gentlemen?”

Jason had trouble not smiling. From that point he and Winston told the truth: they had no idea why the disk was blank. The HELEN computer could do it, but not without a command, and without HELEN nobody should be able to change a black box disk. Even Froggy probably couldn’t do it.

Officer Danson interrogated them until he got tired of hearing that they didn’t know and it was supposed to be impossible to erase the disk. Then he let them go.

The next day Jason got a few hours free and went to tell Neri what had happened. They waded in the lake and drank cocoanut milk out of the bowls that Patty had sculpted for Neri. They were beautiful bowls, made of brown clay and shaped perfectly to fit their hands.

“So I said we didn’t know. The disk should be impossible to erase, it’s protected.”

Neri said uncertainly, “I think the… pyramid… keeps secrets.”

“You mean I could somehow erase a disk?”

“I do not know. But I know I feel great power from it.”

Jason shook his head, “Can’t believe it. Pyramids…”

“Are there more of these pyramids?”

“Some. Not in the water that’s for sure.”

“Tell me of them.” Neri’s eyes were bright, strangely intense.

“Well I don’t know a lot.” Jason shrugged, “They’re found in different countries. They’ve been around since ancient times.”

“I can learn more?”

“HELEN’s database should have something.”

Neri stood up. “I will go to ORCA. We will ask HELEN about the pyramid.”

They took the boat back, but Neri only rode halfway before she dived overboard to swim with Charley. Still she arrived first and had time to change into her ORCA uniform and towel her hair before Jason came down from the pontoon to meet her.

“I called ahead—Winston’s got everything out of the history books ready to view.”

“I want to know everything.”

Brett came out of his classroom and joined them. “You’re really keen on this pyramid aren’t you? Like it’s got some kind of pull on you.”

“Perhaps.” Neri chimed.

“Oh–“ Brett grabbed Neri and pulled her down a side hall. “You don’t want to meet that guy.”

So Jason was the only one Louis saw. “Hello Jason. Hope your little trip in the minifin was worth it.”

“Worth what?”

“Spoiling your mother’s chances of promotion.”

Jason didn’t rise to the bait. He just walked past Louis to meet Brett and Neri around the next corner.

The secretary showed Dianne into the office and left her to wait. She straightened her uniform jacket and rubbed her hands on her pants, nervous. There was something familiar about this room, a familiar smell…

“Hello Dianne.”

That voice— “Paul?”

“Good to see you again.” He said quietly.

“You’re the new commander in chief of ORCA operations?”

“It came as something of a surprise to me too. How’re the boys?”

Dianne managed, “The boys are fine. Now listen Paul—“

“Whoa,” Paul said, “Business first. Sit down.”

They did, and Dianne tried to gather her thoughts. Of all the people she’d never expected to see here—! And she wasn’t unhappy to see him, not nearly as unhappy as she should be.

“Well now, I’m glad you decided to apply for the position.”

“If I’d had any idea…”

“I deliberately didn’t tell you. Didn’t want to influence your decision.”

Dianne muttered, “That was thoughtful. Might’ve put me off- my ex husband as my new boss…”

“Well we’ve processed all the applications. The job’s yours, if you want it.”

If she wanted it—and wanted Paul back in her life.

HELEN displayed pictures of pyramids. The step pyramids of Mesopotamia and Central America, China and Mongolia. Finally the great pyramid of Egypt, with three smaller pyramids in its shadow.

“Egypt.” Neri tried out the word.

HELEN ran out of pyramids and brought up other information about Egypt. Neri couldn’t read quickly so she just looked at the pictures, of modern-day Cairo and of ancient art treasures in museums around the world.


Jason leaned to look at the screen. It was a photo of a statue. A woman in robes, with a sash across her chest and a crown that might have represented a flower or flames. “What is it?”

“I see her in my dreams.”

Jason scanned the text “It doesn’t say anything about who she was.”

Neri touched the screen with one finger. “I know her Jason. She is part of what we find in ocean. She is very important.”

“No.” The girl with black hair said, “No, no, no.”

“You are repeating yourself.”

They stepped around a group of students carefully dusting off a section of painted wall. The man scowled at them, believing that worthless compared to what he was doing.

“I want to make it clear I will not continue much longer!” The girl snapped. “You’re using me like some kind of tame…” she spat a word in some language other than English.

“No one else can locate the passageway into the pyramid, you know that as well as I. When the way is finally found it’ll be too precious a secret to share with—mere employees.”

“How do I know your information is correct?”

The man’s voice had gone hard and cruel. “If you were going to doubt me you should have started long ago—long ago and far away.” They came out to the wide rock shelf over the canal they were searching.

“We could be looking for years!” she exploded.

“Or it could be this very afternoon.”

“It is very hot.” The girl said arrogantly, “In afternoon.”

He had no patience with it. “Well, do we continue? Or is our quest not worth it?”

No answer, but the girl turned, her hair and robe flaring. She started down to the canal, hissing as her feet burned on the hot stone. Her voice drifted back, strident and angry, “I hate this place! You never warned me about the flies.”

Her companion said sourly to no one, “For that you have my apologies.”

He heard an unfamiliar engine noise and looked up, reaching for his binoculars.

Elly stopped the land rover and stood up, looking across the sand at the bright pyramid.


“The Egyptians call that one the pyramid of mystery.”

Shelby sneered. “Everything in this stinking desert is a mystery.”

“They say it’s the oldest of the ancient structures. Five thousand, maybe ten thousand years old.”

“Almost as old as I’ll be by the time we finish these triangulations.”

Elly’s awe was undampened. “And it’s completely solid. No chambers, no treasure, no dead pharos, nothing… In a way that makes it the most interesting of all.”

“Fascinating. Y’know if I’d wanted a history lesson I’d have hired a tour guide back in Cairo.”

“I mean who built it? Why was it built?”

“Who knows. Who cares? Is the new diagnostic program making any difference? What do you think kiddo?”

“I think we’ve narrowed the field a bit.” If Elly was disappointed in her partner it didn’t show. She started the motor and they drove off to narrow the search area further.

It hadn’t taken Neri much pleading. Jason had been unnerved by that statue, and Neri’s strange words. So Neri left, from the surface this time, and Jason and Brett went to try and steal the minifin.

It wasn’t hard. The head tech, Dave, liked them and was willing to be fooled into leaving the two boys alone in the submarine bay. Of course he ordered them not to go anywhere. Of course they jumped into the minifin the moment Dave left to check their authorization.

“We had to go sooner or later.” Bret said as Jason got the sub started. “And this is the only way we can get down there and it’ll be easier now before Mum gets back. And admit it, you’re dying to know what’s down there!”

Jason couldn’t argue. “Ok, here we go.”

The trip to the pyramid went by surprisingly quickly, and Neri met them at the edge of the chasm. She swam lazily in front of the sub and there was no sign of the force field they’d encountered before.

They were almost in sight of the pyramid when the radio chirped on. “This is Acting Commander Danson. Jason and Brett Bates, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, return at once! Do you hear me? Return at–“

Jason turned off the radio. Too late to go back now. Or too early, before they’d seen the pyramid.

In their floodlights Neri ran her hands over the carvings on the pyramid. She gestured Jason not to come any closer and kept searching. Finally she touched a triangle shape that lit up under her fingers.

The carving sank back into the stone and then a whole section of the wall was rumbling and folding away. A wide bay opened up, more than big enough for the minifin. Neri hesitated, hovering in the opening and looking into the darkness beyond. Then she ducked, caught water with her hands, and swam in.

They came up in a chamber of columns. The minifin floated in a rectangular pool that cast twisting blue reflections on the ceiling. Neri stood at the edge of the pool to help them out of the minifin and onto the stone floor.

“What is this place?”

“And why are we breathing air?” Brett sniffed and smelled salt and dust, but the air was fine to breathe.

“This way.” Neri was already off through an arched doorway. Jason and Brett followed her.

The pyramid was built of blocks of smooth golden colored stone. It was warm under their feet and hummed with a faint vibration.

“Feel that?” Brett asked.

“Like some kind of power source.”

They turned a corner and found a small empty room with a sloped ceiling. There were no carvings here, but there were hooks high up as if tapestries were meant to cover the bare walls.

“I wonder what this place was used for…”

“Come.” Neri called. Brett and Jason followed her up a step into darkness.

It was a big room. Their flashlights caught reflections, and shapes they couldn’t see clearly. Brett waved his light around and suddenly saw-

“Whoa!” Brett stumbled down a step and got behind Jason.

“It’s just a statue.” Jason shone his light on it. Then he stopped, startled. It was the statue; the one HELEN had shown them. The woman’s calm face and the folds of her dress were carved of some gray metallic stone. In her hand, glittery golden against the gray, was an ankh.

“What’s that thing she’s got?”

“Ankh.” Jason said, “Sort of like an Egyptian cross.”

Neri stepped up before the statue and reached to touch it.

“Neri no—Neri, don’t!”

She put her hand on the ankh, beside the stone hand. And Jason found out why he’d been scared.

There was a watery rushing sound and blue lights came on around the room, then ordinary lights so they could see. The statue rippled like a heat haze and—a woman appeared, her image laid over the statue. She was a well-built lady with elegant features and thick brown hair. Oddly, she wore the same robe and sash carved into the statue.

The hologram rippled again, stood up, and spoke. Her voice fell like round jewels in the air.

“Do not be afraid Neri. You have done well to come this far. You stand at the beginning of your quest. This is your last chance to turn back.”

“I will go on.” Neri said immediately.

“Hey can we take a vote on this–“

“Follow your heart Neri, and the path ahead will become clear.” With these words the woman sat down again and her hologram vanished into the statue.

Neri stared at it, her eyes wide and stunned. After a long minute she blinked and turned to look at the rest of the room. In the center a blue spotlight illuminated a small carving of a pyramid. As they watched the light swung up, and they saw another triangle inset in the wall.

“Like the one you touched to get us in here.”

Neri moved towards it and stretched out her hand.

“Neri wait, I definitely wouldn’t touch that!” Jason said urgently.

“Yeah look what happened so far!”

Too late. Neri touched her palm to the carving then had to jump back as the wall began to shake and move. Low steps emerged, then the wall behind them began to—open.

Beyond they saw a whirlpool of blue light. Neri reached toward it, transfixed,


“Yaa!” Their feet were coming apart, dissolving into silver and blue lights. Brett and Jason had time to look at each other in panic, then they disappeared entirely.

Brett remembered a rushing sensation, then he was lying in dust with a flashlight shining in his face.

“Hey! You ok?”

“I think so.” Brett winced and sat up. “Where are we?”

“Not sure.”

It looked like the same place, the same room. Except for the cobwebs, the dry air with no smell of ocean, and- “The statue’s gone! That table with the little pyramid too.”

“This way.”

The walls were the same, but stained. The pool room was still there but the water was brownish and the minifin was gone. Neri looked around in confusion then jumped into the water. “I will go look.”

“We’re in a completely different place.” Jason said.

“Why not? Anything can happen in a dream.”

“This isn’t a dream.”

Brett pinched himself. It didn’t work.

Neri resurfaced in the pool.

“What did you find?”

Her face was clouded with confusion. “Is strange. I do not know how to say. Come. Is just a little swim, can breathe.”

The two boys jumped in.

They came up in a round space with walls of mud and stones, looking up at a circle of blue sky.

“We were under water…”

They climbed, back to back pushing each other up. Neri reached the top first. She pulled herself up and looked around at a place like nothing she’d ever seen before.

The golden pyramid loomed over them. In the other direction they saw sand, broken by reeds and the dark water of a small canal running down to join the great river.

“Egypt.” Jason said in disbelief. “We’re in Egypt.”