“Come with us.”
“Why?” Harry said. “I told you my name is not Rich Larsen. I left him back on Ducie Island.”
“His boat is The Odyssey and this is The Odyssey.”
“We traded,” Harry said.
“I don’t think so.”
“Where are the plates?”
“Plates!” Harry said. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Are they on the boat?”
“I don’t know anything about plates,” Harry said.
Rich heard cabinet doors being opened and closed. Although the cash was well hidden, he still did not want to risk them finding it.
Rich stood and walked happily alongside The Odyssey. He reached over and slapped the roof of the cabin. “Hey, Rich, ole buddy, Rich Larsen, you at home.”
Rich jumped into the cockpit. Two men in their mid-thirties climbed up the companionway.
“Rich below?” Rich said.
“Yeah,” one man smiled.
“Are you Rich Larsen’s friend?”
“Yeah,” Rich said. “I’m Harry.”
“Well, Harry,” one man said. “We are here for the plates.”
“So you’re the guys he’s going to deliver them to,” Rich said.
“Do you know where they are?” one of the men said.
“Sure,” Rich said and hurried down the companionway.
Harry sat on the bench. “I guess this is payback.”
“Hey, Rich,” Rich said. “You don’t look so good. Get a little seasick.”
The two men climbed down the companionway. Rich opened the door beneath the sink in the galley. “They’re right down here.” Rich felt around until he grabbed hold of his pistol.
The two men moved into the cabin with Harry.
Rich pulled out his hidden pistol. He held it at the two men. “Get on deck,” he said to Harry.
Harry said nothing and hurried up the companionway.
“I want you to lace your fingers behind your head,” Rich said to the men. “Walk slowly up the companionway, to the deck, and off the boat.”
Slowly they walked past Rich. Nothing was said until the last man started up the steps. Rich warned, “If you have a weapon don’t even think about it.”
Rich followed. The men climbed off The Odyssey. When he stood in the cockpit he said to Harry, “Now, you get off.”
Harry leaped from the boat.
With the pistol and his eye remaining on Harry and the men he lifted the bench next to the helm and removed the door to the hidden compartment. He pulled out the AK-47.
“What are you going to do?” Harry said.
“Is that your seaplane over there?” Rich said to the two men.
“Yeah,” one of them said.
“So that we’re all clear,” Rich said. “This man is who he says he is. I’m Rich Larsen. The plates you are looking for are off the coast of Maine at the bottom of the ocean, and that’s a fact. If I could trust you, I’d let you search my boat. Tell White and Smithson their efforts are in vain. I have nothing for them. Just go.”
The men hurried away.
“Harry,” Rich said. “You’re nothing more than a crook. I could only hope you might learn something from this, but that is unlikely. I’m giving you a head start and your freedom. Just over the rocks behind you is the life raft from your boat—she’s anchored about 50 yards out. Get going.”
“The diamonds are on your boat,” Harry said.
“They’re not yours and they’re not mine,” Rich said.
“And who I got them from, they were not theirs,” Harry said.
“Where are the diamonds?” Rich said.
“A small wooden box under a cushion in the cabin,” Harry said.
“You better go,” Rich said.
“So you get the diamonds?” Harry said.
“Don’t worry about it,” Rich said. “You have your life.”
“I guess I should say thanks,” Harry said. “What would those two have done with me if they continued to think I was you?”
“To be honest,” Rich said. “I really don’t know.”
“You could have just hid until they took me away,” Harry said.
“I wasn’t prepared to live with that,” Rich said.
“I wish we would have met under different circumstances,” Harry said.
“I was kind of thinking the same thing,” Rich said.
“Those men will come after you,” Harry said.
“I have nothing to give them,” Rich said.
“Your life,” Harry said.
“Goodbye, Harry,” Rich said.
Harry smiled and snapped an informal salute.
Rich hoisted the AK-47 to his shoulder and aimed at the pontoons on the seaplane. He fired a volley of shots into each pontoon.
Harry called out from the rocks. “That will keep them here for a while.” He disappeared to the other side of the rocks.
Rich made a quick inspection of The Odyssey. Other than being a bit messier than what he was accustom, all seemed in order. The engine started beautifully and The Odyssey motored away from the mooring.
Just outside the inlet, Rich idled the engine. He located the box of diamonds and tied it tightly to a life vest. Rich eased the throttle forward and pulled within twenty yards of Harry paddling back to his boat. Rich tossed the vest close to Harry and his life raft.
“Your diamonds,” Rich said.
“Thank you, mate,” Harry said. “I don’t deserve this, you know.”
“Everybody deserves another chance,” Rich said.
Rich thrust the throttle forward and strapped the helm. The Odyssey headed toward the open sea. The sails were hoisted. He cut the engine and sailed east. Once he was out of sight of Adamstown, he circled the island on the south and headed northwest, toward the heart of Polynesia.