O P E R A T I O N A L E X A N D R I A
Safiya Sabuka and Musa Bomani are both seasoned scuba divers.
Their diving charter motored out to the coordinates Safiya had forced out of Ahmed Saleh, before he expired. The sea was flat calm, ideal for diving and setting out a grid on the seabed, should that be necessary.
"Punch it," said Safiya to Musa. Musa pushed the twin throttles all the way forward. The deep V monohull lurched forward, to a throaty roar from the onboard diesel engines, the wash disturbing the millpond sea. The boat was relatively small and not particularly suited to commercial diving, but that would give them some degree of cover, in appearing to be sport divers.
In not too long, the GPS pinged to tell Musa they'd reached their destination, accurate to around 3 meters. The depth sounder indicated just four fathoms, or seven meters. This was almost snorkel depth for some of the sportier frogmen.
"We're here," shouted Musa to Sabuka. She gave the international signal for OK, holding up her hand with thumb and forefinger pinched together, and the other three fingers raised.
Musa shut off the diesels. Sabuka had disrobed and was squeezing into a wet suit, wearing only panties and bra. Musa tried not to notice her shapely contortions, remembering that she was a deadly assassin, if rubbed the wrong way. Something of a black widow spider in human form. He treated her with great respect.
Seeing Musa looking as far away as possible, Safiya said, "It's okay to look today Musa. I'm in a good mood."
Musa smiled. He knew what that meant, if they made progress today. But he focused on the task at hand. He too wanted to find the elusive Queen, before the authorities realised what they were up to.
"Can you synchronise my watch with the onboard receiver, please."
Musa placed a sack of spikes and another of weighted rope portside, near the boarding ladder, then linked Safiya's dive watch to the receiver on their boat. By this means anyone onboard could monitor the tagged diver.
Another bit of essential kit was an air lift pump, linked to a compressor by long, thin, flexible hose neatly coiled in front of the little petrol compressor. This was stashed to one side of the boarding ladder.
All suited, with facemask and a single air cylinder firmly strapped on, Safiya shouted to Musa to stay put, then picked up a sea-scooter and flipped backwards into the blue-green Mediterranean sea.
The water was cold on her face, as the air bubbles dissipated and she regained her balance. Then all thoughts of discomfort disappeared as she spotted numerous artifacts strew on the ocean floor below. She noted her position on her trusty Garmin Titanium T2 dive computer, sonar connected to eight meters depth, with GPS and cylinder capacity warnings, for when she was tempted to overstay her underwater welcome, and run out of air.
With the thrust from her scooter propelling her along without the need to flipper, she had soon covered a lot of seabed, mentally noting the most promising features and recent seabed disruption. But knowing that the mind plays tricks at depth.
Visibility was excellent.
She did a return run, then surfaced. "Musa, Musa," she shouted.
Musa leaned over the side to get eye contact. "We're in the right place. We may need Mr Kessler's expertise sooner than we thought, Safiya voiced, somewhat out of breath from excitement. And we're gonna need Panama.
"Righto, I'll radio to let the Baron and Rudolf know. Panama is waiting with him just off Taposiris. They have an inflatable."
"You'd better come in, when you are ready." Musa gave her the divers OK signal. He then dropped the two sacks of equipment over the side.
Safiya got to work, establishing a grid pattern, ten meters by ten meters, pushing spikes in as she went. Musa swam up, clipping the thin weighted rope into slots in the ground spikes. It was going to be a long day. Safiya was particularly interested in a mound with a very small cave-like, triangular, entrance. This object was in the centre of the grid pattern, with room to work around it. They soon ran out of spikes and rope. But had marked what needed to be marked.
Map of the Egyptian coastline, Alexandria and Abu Qir.
Map of the Egyptian coastline, showing Taposiris-Magna (red), Alexandria and Thonis-Heracleion road route.
Back onboard, Safiya fired up the engines and very slowly motored so that she could see the grid pattern on the fish-finder, floating the boat just ahead of the spikes using her best guess. Then stopped the engines again and dropped the bow anchor, so leaving the stern handy for equipment.
Moving astern, Safiya threw the air lift tube over the port side, watching that the thin air hose did not tangle as it sunk. Noting when the hose payout slowed, indicating it had struck the seabed.
"Okay Musa, if you start the compressor and feed the line to me if I need it, I'll signal when to stop pumping. All good?"
"I have done this before," said Musa, with a resigned look on his face. He preferred being at the other end of the equipment.
Safiya grabbed a hot coffee and a candy bar. Then climbed down the boarding ladder and disappeared beneath the waves.
She was driven. All he life she' been excavating on digs, but never had such an important assignment, where she was the lead.
Up top, Musa started the petrol compressor.
Down below the curvaceous Egyptian located the air pump, walking on the seabed to the mound that sent a tingle down her spine. There was a small triangular opening, where fish were swimming in and out. She opened the air valve and watched as an air stream developed. Then she carefully vacuumed beach in front of the triangular opening.
Slowly the triangle enlarged. Safiya's heart began pounding with excitement.
As the air rises in the tube, it generated a suction at the lower nozzle, like a chimney stack. This fascinated her. It was like gravity in reverse.
The trick with these suction tubes is not to dig in too hard, or they stall. It required a lot of energy from Safiya to keep the nozzle operating efficiently, not allowing it to dig itself in.
Onboard, Musa could see the plume of sand and pebbles drifting inshore, but away from the dig site.
Down below, Safiya could now see into a chamber. She turned the air valve off, reaching for a high power LED torch. Shing the torch around inside, there was quite a bit of sand wafting in and out of the entrance. But she could see Egyptian symbols carved into a pillar inside, linking this structure to Cleopatra.
Safiya surfaced. "Musa, Musa," she shouted. Musa leaned over the stern to see Safiya with the broadest grin to have blessed her features.
"I'm guessing you've found something. Right?"
"Get Panama here, as quick as he can. Please." Safiya never said please.
"He's already en-route, about 30 minutes into the journey. Rudolf is staying at the camp. Preparing. So about another 30 minutes should do it."
"Great Musa. Love you." Safiya was still grinning from ear to ear as she submerged.
"Love you too." Safiya was only joking. Musa was not.
Safiya shone her torch around, as visibility had cleared a bit. The chamber was fairly big. She opened the air valve, and the compressor onboard kicked into life as Musa saw the reserve pressure dropping.
She worked away, now with quite a large entrance, big enough that she squeezed inside the chamber, working from within to empty out the accumulation of sand from over a thousand years of wave action.
Then she saw a doorway past the entrance. Her fervor increased. She had to clear the doorway to gain access to the inner chambers. Her diving watch signaled air was running low. At least at this shallow depth, there were no decompression issues. Provided she surfaced slowly and sat above for fifteen minutes. Just to be sure.
Safiya surface and clambered on board, somewhat impatient. Musa gave her a hot chocolate drink and an energy bar.
Panama arrived, tied up his inflatable and leaped on board.
"Hi muscles," said Safiya. Musa nodded acknowledgement.
"I found you at last. There's a lot of sport boats in this area. What's the urgency, Fräulein?"
"I think I'm onto something. I may need your strength."
Panama flexed a bicep. "Gut, Ja."
"Ja. Gut." said Safiya. "You too Musa." Musa felt sexually threatened by the amazing power and build of Panama. But he was a useful ally, not to be messed with.
"If you will get on the pump Panama, to clear as I go, I'll excavate and explore deeper in. There is an interesting chamber below. Musa will take care topsides. Please Musa. Oh, and we may need the lifting bags."
Musa smiled, he felt appreciated. "Horses for courses." He recalled that the lifting bags were in the forward locker."
Safiya and Panama jumped into the turquoise Mediterranean water feet first, and swam down the few meters, Safiya in the lead. She was an athletic swimmer.
Panama picked up the suction pump. He looked over to Safiya, waiting in the entrance. She gave the thumbs up, and Panama open the air valve and started vacuuming the sand aside. Safiya switched on her headband light, taking in the carvings, but really focused on the painted doors.
The doors were jammed shut. Safiya cleared all the sand and growth from around the frame and floor. The doors still would not budge. She tried her diving knife, using it like a mini crowbar. Up and down the seam. The doors groaned a little, but remain tightly closed. She kicked the doors, to no avail.
Panama was working fast to keep the chamber clear of particles backwashing in. Safiya signaled to him to quit and help her.
Both of them rammed the doors. They moved a little. They rammed them again. They moved a little more. Panama worked on the left door. Back and forward. It cracked, then crumbled a little, but moved, and finally swung freely.
Safiya entered the chamber as swiftly as a mermaid. Her diving light was not bright enough. She reached for her tethered diving torch. Two hundred lumens filled the beautifully decorated chamber. Gold ornaments lined the walls, with figures of temple cats and Anubis on either side of a black granite sarcophagus at the far end wall, in the middle.
Safiya beckoned Panama to assist, with additional light. On inspection the seal was intact. Cleopatra's name was carved into the lid, with other hieroglyphics. Safiya's heart was pumping hard. Could it be. Had they found the missing queen of Egypt. Or was this another decoy. The granite edifice was larger than most stone tombs. It was smooth, almost polished.
Panama could not budge the lid. Safiya stopped him. She signaled to return to the boat. Onboard, Safiya said: "We have to be very careful to preserve the inner sarcophagus, that is typically carved of wood and resin sealed. But will still allow harm to come to the queen's remains if we are not extremely quick."
Musa interupted, "I've opened a nested sarcophagus before, that sounds a bit like the one below, only a bit smaller. We'll need long crowbars and a club hammer to break the seal .... and a large lifting bag. With Panama and myself working together, to slide the cover slab to one side."
"Agreed," said Safiya. "Good plan."
"There will be a decorated wooden sarcophagus inside. And another carved box containing her vital organs. Assuming it is Cleopatra."
"It is Cleopatra," insisted Safiya. "I feel her." Safiya clasped her heart with both hands.
You," said Musa pointing to Safiya, "will rope up these two nested sarcophagi, and use the smaller airbag to transport to the surface."
"Agreed." Safiya Nodded. Panama grunted.
"Be as quick as you can, but be careful. There is no point being fast and damage the goods. Better to be smooth and deliberate."
The light of day was fading. The recovery team entered the sea again, fully equipped. A wind was getting up.
Panama and Musa went in fast to the end of the granite block. Musa used a club hammer and small crowbar to break the seal. He worked around the solid granite slab, methodically, steadily increasing the force applied and number of hits. Finally, a puff of granite dust came from one corner. Musa worked the small crowbar in and lifted the slab. Panama took over with a much longer steel wrecking bar. Seawater cascaded into the granite chamber.
Musa put a rope under the near end, clipping to the large airbag. He inflated it. Panama pushed with all his might, and the slab began to move back a little. Safiya joined in the pushing with Musa. The lid began to move more easily, and finally tilted over the rear edge.
Inside were two carved wooden boxes. One decorated in gilt with Cleopatra's face carved into it. Safiya roped the coffin and the other box to a small airbag, inflating it gently. The coffin lifted with the other box. With the granite lid disposed of, all three worked to guide the wooden sarcophagus out through the mausoleum, then into the open ocean.
They surfaced, to find an Egyptian patrol boat alongside. Two customs officers were shining torches into the cabin. Safiya signaled to Panama to stay submerged, taking the coffin lower in the water. She signaled to Musa to follow her and take her lead. The pair surfaced. Safiya was laughing playfully. Musa made to chase her. They clambered onboard the sport boat.
The customs officers asked what they were doing. "Safiya said, looking for treasure of course," as she seductively unzipped her wet suit. The officers were speechless, as Safiya removed her top, revealing her ample bust. "It's getting dark," she said. Removing her wet suit bottoms. She was only wearing panties.
The wind increased, with it the waves lapping at the boat hull. "Did you find anything?" asked one of the officials. "Just a lot of sand, but we saw some lovely sealife." Safiya was toweling herself down, rubbing her hair to keep the officers engaged. Musa had gone into the cabin to effect a change.
"Okay, you'd better be making for harbour miss. The weather is changing." Safiya put on a pair of jeans and a soft pullover.
"Was thinking the same thing officers." Musa began to raise the anchor and started the diesels. That was sufficient for the customs men to head to Alexandria. As this couple had obviously come up empty handed. The customs men did not know it, but they'd had a lucky escape.
As soon as the customs launch was a distance away. Safiya dived back into the sea. Jeans, jumper and all. Her and Panama re-inflated the airbag. Musa hooked the catch, and tied it alongside. Then all three hauled in the coffin and canopic casket, landing the artifacts as softly as they could on the open deck.
"Quick Musa, head for Taposiris." Musa spun the boat, heading first north to clear the headland, then west.
Safiya toweled Cleopatra's wooden sarcophagus, and canopic box. She hoped that any seepage would not be too damaging. She covered their treasures in an old canvas, roping them down. Then she got out of her wet things for a second time. This time without an audience.
Things were about to get even more interesting; with the opening of Cleopatra's wooden housing.
Notes: Port Said, about 160 kilometers away. Taposiris is base camp.
CHAPTERS: The chapters of this story are published live for collaboration development purposes, with a sequence derived from the Chapters below, supplemented with other (unpublished) writings as we progress. The final order for the proposed screenplay may be the subject of additional drafts to suit production of the final movie (producers/directors/actors). To be in a position to gain an idea of style and commercial value, please request a copy of our Kulo-Luna (draft) screenplay. See our terms and conditions. The script version of these Chapters will not be published, but will be available as with Kulo-Luna, on request.
PROLOGUE INNER CIRCLE OF SIX - Nazi funded medical human research laboratories Joseph Mengele's Fourth Reich escape to Brazil reserve plan.
CHAPTER 1. THE POISON ASP -
CHAPTER 2. WRATH OF THE GODS - The destruction of Thonis and Alexandria
CHAPTER 3. NEW WORLD ORDER - A Neo-Nazi plan to regenerate Aryan supremacy
CHAPTER 4. CYBERCORE GENETICA - Nano computer technology is purchased at an auction by a religious sect.
CHAPTER 5. INCUBUS -
CHAPTER 6. SPLICE -
CHAPTER 8. PANAMANIAN RUNNING MAN -
CHAPTER 9. THE AMAZON -
CHAPTER 11. SCOTLAND YARD -
CHAPTER 12. OPERATION ALEXANDRIA - Neo-Nazi occultists recover Cleopatra's sarcophagus from underwater tomb near Palace.
CHAPTER 13. KIDNAP - Charley is taken prisoner
CHAPTER 17. RITUAL SACRIFICE - The Baron prepares a drugged Cleopatra for ceremonial impregnation.
CHAPTER 18. SANCTUM INTERRUPTUS - John finds secret Nazi hideout near Alexandria, disturbs ritual - rescues Cleopatra, arresting conspirators.
CHAPTER 19. THE CHOSEN ONE - The reincarnated Cleopatra falls for her rescuer. John comes under her spell, despite her being a replicant.
CHAPTER 20. MILITARY INTERVENTION - The military detain Cleopatra to appease stakeholders, despite media & medical protests. Storm distraught.
CHAPTER 21. DÉJÀ VU - History repeats itself, military lock up technology as gross violation of human rights, John left disillusioned: FINALE FOR NOW
GRAPHIC BRIEF - SUGGESTED LAYOUTS/ FORMAT
CHAPTER 1. THE POISON ASP - Overwhelmed by grief, Cleopatra poisons herself with a cobra bite in her mausoleum
CHAPTER 2. WRATH OF THE GODS - The destruction of Thonis and Alexandria
CHAPTER 3. NEW WORLD ORDER - A Neo-Nazi plan to regenerate Aryan supremacy
CHAPTER 4. CYBERCORE GENETICA - Nano computer technology is purchased at an auction by a religious sect
CHAPTER 5. INCUBUS - Franco Francisco accepts offer of employment from Roberta Ferrara
CHAPTER 6. SPLICE - Klaus von Kolreuter perfects a method of gene manipulation
CHAPTER 8. PANAMANIAN RUNNING MAN - Marjorie Boyle videos exceptionally fast athlete, Sam Hollis investigates
CHAPTER 9. AMAZON QUEEN - Elizabeth Swann navigating river and docking at Manaus
CHAPTER 11. SCOTLAND YARD - London's secure DNA database is stolen
CHAPTER 12. OPERATION ALEXANDRIA - Neo-Nazi occultists recover Cleopatra's sarcophagus from underwater tomb near Palace
CHAPTER 13. KIDNAPPED - Charley is taken prisoner, John, Dan and CIA rescue her
CHAPTER 17. RITUAL SACRIFICE - The Baron prepares a drugged Cleopatra for ceremonial impregnation
CHAPTER 18. SANCTUM INTERRUPTUS - John finds Nazi hideout near Alexandria, disturbs ritual - rescues Cleopatra, arresting conspirators
CHAPTER 19. THE CHOSEN ONE - The reincarnated Cleopatra falls for her rescuer. John comes under her spell, despite her being a replicant
CHAPTER 20. MILITARY INTERVENTION - Military detain Cleopatra for stakeholders, despite media & medical protests. Storm distraught
CHAPTER 21. DÉJÀ VU - History repeats itself, military lock up technology as gross violation of human rights, John left disillusioned
The rights of Jameson Hunter and Cleaner Ocean Foundation to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. This website and the Cleopatra artwork is Copyright © 2022 Cleaner Ocean Foundation and Jameson Hunter.