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"The Search for Atlantis" is a celebration of curiosity and courage, a testament to the idea that every legend holds a grain of truth waiting to be uncovered. It is a thrilling adventure that will captivate anyone fascinated by history, mystery, and the unyielding human spirit.
Chapter 6 – Something.

In the quiet of the early morning, the gentle hum of the Dive Dutchess' operations was the only sound accompanying Nick as he monitored the drone's latest run. It was the fourth grid search of their expedition, and fatigue was beginning to set in. Lindsey had retired for some rest, entrusting Nick to oversee the final stretch of this drone mission. He promised to wake her as soon as the drones completed their sweep.

Nick sat before the computer, methodically reviewing the incoming images sent from the underwater drones. "Trash, trash, trash," he muttered under his breath, his voice tinged with fatigue as he swiped each disappointing image aside. The repetition was mind-numbing, but his diligence paid off when something on the screen made him pause abruptly.

"What the fuck," he exclaimed, his voice a mixture of shock and excitement. He quickly grabbed the drone controller, his fingers moving with practiced ease as he commanded the drone to retrieve the unexpected find. Energized by this development, he continued to scan through the remaining images with renewed vigor, sending retrieval commands four more times as his anticipation grew.

As the signal indicated that the drones had completed their programmed grids, they began the process of collecting the items Nick had marked. Pacing back and forth, Nick could barely contain his excitement. Each minute felt longer than the last as he awaited the return of the drones.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity but was only about thirty minutes, the cranes whirred into action, lifting the drones out of the ocean and back onto the deck. Nick hurried down to unload the baskets, quickly discarding the usual trash into the metal container designated for such waste. Then, his eyes caught sight of them, five golden coins, each as large as an outstretched hand, shimmering with an ancient luster.

He carefully lifted the heavy coins one by one, holding them up to the dim light of dawn that was beginning to pierce through the early morning sky. Each coin was emblazoned with distinct markings that Nick recognized immediately—these were Atlantean. The symbols etched into their surfaces were unmistakable, and there was no doubt left in his mind about their origin.

With a mixture of reverence and excitement, Nick carried the coins back up to the wheelhouse. He laid them out on the table, examining each one closely, confirming their authenticity and significance. He quickly saved the images from the drones to the ship’s computer and then covered up the coins to hide them.

With a triumphant smile plastered across his face, Nick headed down to the cabins to wake Julie and Lindsey. The discovery was too significant, and the moment too exciting, to wait any longer. He wanted to share this incredible find with them, to celebrate the proof of their quest that lay gleaming on the table above.

In the dimly lit room where Julie was resting, Nick gently approached her sleeping form. He bent down and softly kissed her, stirring her from sleep with a tender murmur. "Julie, wake up," he whispered close to her ear.

Julie stirred slightly, her voice groggy and laced with sleep as she mumbled, "What time is it?"

"Almost 5 AM," Nick replied, his voice low and slightly apologetic for the early disturbance.

She frowned slightly, a touch of grumpiness in her tone. "Too early," she protested sleepily.

Nick chuckled softly, an understanding smile on his face. "Maybe, but I haven’t slept yet," he confessed, his excitement about their findings overshadowing his need for rest.

Julie opened her eyes fully, looking up at him with a mix of concern and curiosity. "Why not?" she asked, her voice still thick with sleep.

"I wanted to keep searching for that cave," he replied, his determination evident even in his weariness.

Julie slowly sat up, wrapping her arms around him in a comforting hug. "Nick, if you don’t sleep, it isn’t healthy. Your body won’t be able to keep up when you do find that cave," she cautioned gently, her concern for his well-being clear in her tone.

Nick nodded, taking her advice to heart but eager to share his discovery first. "I want to show you something, and then I promise I'll try to get some rest," he said, his voice filled with a compelling blend of excitement and fatigue.

She kissed him softly, acceptance in her gesture. "Okay," she agreed, then slid out of bed. Her body was bare, revealed in the soft light, and she smiled playfully at him. "I was hoping you would have joined me last night," she teased.

Nick’s smile broadened, his eyes briefly taking in her form with appreciation. "I really should have," he agreed, his tone light yet regretful.

With that, Julie quickly dressed, and together they prepared to leave the cabin. Nick then made his way to Lindsey’s room and knocked gently on the door. "Lindsey, time to get up," he called out, his voice carrying a note of urgency.

He heard a muffled grumble from the other side. "The fourth grid is complete," he added, trying to pique her interest.

The door opened, and Lindsey’s tired eyes peeked out. Her hair was tousled, and her expression was one of sleepy curiosity. "Did the drones find something?" she asked, her voice tinged with hope.

Nick’s smile was broad and confident. "That they did. Get dressed, and I’ll make coffee for us," he promised, his enthusiasm barely contained.

With that, he turned and walked to the galley, his steps quick with anticipation. He busied himself preparing coffee, the rich aroma filling the small space, a comforting signal of the morning's start. As the coffee brewed, he reflected on the golden coins now waiting in the wheelhouse, the tangible proof of their quest that would soon spark new excitement.

Nick entered the wheelhouse just moments before Julie and Lindsey followed, each moving with the quiet morning energy that filled the space around them. He handed them each a freshly brewed cup of coffee, the rich aroma mingling with the salty sea air.

“So, while you were asleep,” he began, a hint of excitement in his voice, he turned the computer screen toward them to reveal the images of the findings. The screen displayed five images of gold coins, each gleaming under the artificial light.

“Fuck,” Julie exclaimed, unable to mask her surprise as she took her first sip of coffee.

Lindsey leaned in for a closer look at the coins, her professional curiosity piqued. “Are they Atlantean?” she asked, her voice tinged with both hope and skepticism.

Nick nodded affirmatively. “They are,” he confirmed, and with a flourish, he removed the cloth that had been covering the actual coins on the table. Both Julie and Lindsey gasped at the sight.

“Fuck,” Julie repeated, her eyes wide as she took in the detail of each coin.

Nick smiled at their reaction. Lindsey, intrigued, traced her finger over the intricate markings engraved on one of the coins. “What do they say?” she asked, her gaze fixed on the mysterious ***********.

“I haven’t had the chance to translate them yet,” Nick admitted, pulling out his notes on Atlantean text. His eyes were tired but gleamed with the thrill of the discovery. “I really need some sleep, so if you could start on grid five, and maybe start translating these, I can review everything when I wake up,” he suggested, a yawn breaking through his words.

Julie kissed him softly, her admiration for his dedication evident. “Where were they found?” she inquired, peering over at the map displayed next to the coins.

Nick pointed to a location on the map that was closer to grid six than five. “Should we start grid six first?” Julie pondered aloud, thinking strategically.

Nick shook his head, his decision firm. “No, I was tempted at first, but if we want to be thorough, we should stick to the system,” he advised, emphasizing the importance of their methodical approach.

Julie nodded, understanding the wisdom in maintaining their planned sequence. “Wake me when you start on grid six,” he requested, his voice softening.

“Sleep well,” Julie whispered, her voice tender. As they moved toward the hallway, Nick paused, a serious look crossing his face. “Lindsey made an offer to me last night,” he confessed quietly, his voice barely above a whisper.

Julie searched his eyes, her expression calm. “Did you…?” she started to ask, no judgment in her tone, just quiet inquiry.

“No, I didn’t. I have you, and I would never betray you. That’s why I’m telling you,” he replied earnestly, his commitment clear.

“I love you,” Julie whispered back, relief and affection flooding her words. “You’re not upset?” he asked, needing the reassurance.

Julie shook her head, a slight smile playing on her lips. “No, she was testing you, something we girls do sometimes to ensure our men are loyal. I know how tempting she can be, she is super hot,” she explained, her understanding and trust in him evident.

She kissed him once more, a playful glint in her eye. “Next time she offers, it’s only because I said it’s okay. Then, you have my blessing to fuck her,” she teased, winking at him mischievously before turning back towards the wheelhouse.

Nick stood there for a moment, dazed by the whirlwind of emotions and the depth of their connection, before he finally made his way to the cabin to catch some much-needed rest.

Julie stepped into the wheelhouse with a knowing smile, her eyes glinting with curiosity and amusement. She found Lindsey adjusting the ship’s controls and without preamble asked, “He turned you down?”

Lindsey returned the smile, nodding in affirmation. “He did,” she confirmed, her tone mixed with respect and a hint of admiration. “He told me I was hot and sexy but that he would never betray you by accepting my offer.”

Julie’s smile broadened at Lindsey's words, her heart swelling with pride for Nick’s loyalty. “And if you had the chance?” she probed further, testing the waters of Lindsey’s intentions.

Without hesitation, Lindsey responded, “I would definitely take him up on it and Fuck him. He’s cute, honest, works hard, and is dedicated to what he believes in. Pretty much perfect,” she admitted openly, her frankness a testament to the trust between the two women.

Julie nodded, accepting Lindsey’s candidness as they shifted their focus back to the mission. “Once the drones are in the water, let's translate these coins,” Julie suggested, signaling her readiness to dive back into their research.

Lindsey glanced at her, a slight uncertainty in her expression. “You’re not mad at me?” she asked, seeking confirmation.

Julie shook her head, her voice steady and reassuring. “No, you've always been honest with me, and I appreciate that,” she said, her understanding clear. Lindsey seemed relieved but still puzzled.

“So why did you ask?” Lindsey inquired, curious about Julie’s motives.

Julie’s smile turned thoughtful, her gaze drifting briefly toward the horizon before settling back on Lindsey. “Because I want you to have him too, but not just yet. If he proves that Atlantis is real, he deserves the reward of having both of us,” she shared candidly, her words reflecting deep consideration of their unconventional but strong bond. “If Atlantis turns out to be a myth, then I want us to be there to comfort him together. No matter what, I will always stand by his side. I’ve made up my mind; I will marry him. He just doesn’t know it yet,” she confided with a conspiratorial grin.

Lindsey laughed softly, her previous tension melting away in the warmth of their shared understanding. “So, you want us to be sisters?” she joked lightly, playing along with Julie’s plan.

Julie nodded emphatically, her eyes sparkling with excitement as she picked up a coin, ready to delve into translating its ancient markings. Lindsey chuckled, admiring Julie’s bold spirit, and set a course for grid five. Together, they prepared to tackle the next phase of their adventure, united by their friendship and their shared dedication to uncovering the truths hidden beneath the waves.

Nearly five hours after Nick had drifted off to sleep, Julie gently roused him with a soft kiss. Her whispered words, filled with excitement and anticipation, broke the stillness of the cabin. “Nick, baby, we’ve found something,” she murmured, her voice barely above a whisper.

Blinking away the remnants of sleep, Nick opened his eyes to meet Julie’s gaze. The affection and love he saw reflected in her eyes brought a warm smile to his face. “You are beautiful,” he whispered back, the sincerity in his voice palpable. In a tender gesture, he pulled her down to him, their lips meeting in a heartfelt kiss. Julie’s laughter, light and teasing, filled the air as she playfully responded, “If you want to fuck, we can, but we found something,” her tone mixing regret with excitement.

Nick returned her kiss with equal fervor, a playful spark in his eyes. “Okay, play later,” he agreed, the promise of their intimacy lingering between them. Julie smiled mischievously, giving a suggestive squeeze on his naked dick teasing, “That’s a promise,” sealing her words with another kiss.

Reluctantly parting, Nick quickly got dressed, his mind now shifting towards the discovery Julie hinted at. “What did you find?” he asked, his curiosity piqued as he followed her out of their cabin.

Julie shook her head, her expression serious yet filled with intrigue. “Enough to pause the drones,” she revealed, hinting at the significance of their find.

Nick, now almost fully awake and alert, processed her words. “In grid five?” he asked, his voice still tinged with sleep.

Julie corrected him as they walked through the galley, her steps purposeful. “No, in six. Grid five turned up another coin,” she explained, briefly holding up a finger to emphasize her point. She handed him a cup of coffee, the rich aroma mingling with the sea air.

Nick took the coffee, his mind racing with possibilities. “What the hell could be so important that you stopped the drones?” he asked, a hint of annoyance in his tone over the unexpected interruption to their systematic search.

Julie led him to the wheelhouse, where Lindsey was monitoring the ship’s systems and the data being relayed from the drones. The atmosphere was charged with a palpable tension, a sense of urgency and importance enveloping the space.

As they entered, Lindsey turned to greet them, her face alight with excitement and a touch of awe. “You need to see this,” she said, motioning towards the screen displaying the latest underwater images. The drone had captured something extraordinary, something that justified Julie’s decision to halt their methodical exploration.

On the screen were clear images of what appeared to be ancient architectural ruins, structures that seemed impossibly preserved beneath the waves. The detail was remarkable, suggesting a significant archaeological find that could redefine their understanding of the region’s history.

Nick set his coffee down, his earlier irritation forgotten as he absorbed the magnitude of what they were seeing. His mind buzzed with questions and theories, the scientist in him awakened fully by the potential implications of their discovery.

“This... This is why we are here,” he said finally, his voice filled with a mix of reverence and excitement. “Let’s get the drones started back up. We need to document everything.”

Julie nodded in agreement, her earlier playfulness replaced by a professional focus. “Let’s do it,” she said, her determination echoing Nick’s.

Together, they prepared to dive deeper into the mystery, the promise of uncovering secrets long hidden beneath the ocean driving them forward with renewed vigor.

The drones were relentless in their exploration, transmitting thousands of images back to the Dive Dutchess. Among these, about twenty buildings stood out, remarkably well-preserved under the weight of the ocean. The structures bore intricate markings, unmistakably Atlantean in origin, but interspersed among them were also distinct Mayan symbols, a testament to the historical interactions and trade between these ancient civilizations.

Julie, poring over the incoming data, suddenly called out in excitement, her voice a mix of surprise and thrill. “Look at this,” she urged, rotating her screen to share a striking image captured by one of the drones. Displayed on the screen was a pile of over fifty gold coins, a veritable treasure trove where Atlantean coins mingled with those of Mayan and Aztec origin.

“Holy shit,” Nick whispered under his breath, leaning in for a closer look. The visual evidence of such extensive cross-cultural exchange was staggering.

Lindsey, equally captivated, chimed in, her mind racing with technical possibilities. “Can we 3D map this out? The whole area?” Julie asked, her voice echoing the urgency to document this find comprehensively.

Without missing a beat, Lindsey activated a sophisticated mapping program on her computer, beginning to compile the detailed scans provided by the drones. “It will take a while to render everything accurately,” she cautioned, her fingers moving deftly across the keyboard as she calibrated the settings for a detailed 3D reconstruction.

As the rendering process hummed in the background, Nick reviewed the images with a critical eye. His extensive knowledge of Atlantean lore guided his analysis, and a realization dawned on him. “This is not Atlantis,” he announced, his tone firm and certain.

Julie and Lindsey looked at him, confusion momentarily clouding their excitement. “What?” Julie responded, her brows knitting together in puzzlement.

“Twenty buildings, that's not Atlantis. At most, this is an outpost,” Nick clarified, his eyes scanning the architectural styles and layout of the submerged structures.

Julie reconsidered the images on her computer, her mind aligning with Nick’s assessment. “Right, Atlantis would be hundreds of times bigger,” she agreed, the scale of their find put into perspective.

Nick nodded, his attention then captured by another intriguing detail on his screen. He turned his monitor around for Julie and Lindsey to see. “This is the entrance,” he said, pointing to a cave-like opening situated in one of the central buildings. The implication was clear: while they hadn’t found Atlantis itself, they had stumbled upon something potentially just as significant, a gateway or conduit to further undiscovered ruins.

The potential of this find to unlock more secrets of the ancient world was immense. It hinted at a larger network, perhaps a series of outposts leading to the fabled city itself, each clue weaving together a richer tapestry of Atlantean civilization. As the 3D mapping progressed, the team prepared to delve deeper into the mysteries unveiled by the ocean’s depths, their mission expanding in scope with each new revelation.

As the drones completed their meticulous mapping of the twenty buildings, they resumed their grid search of the surrounding area. The subsequent findings were staggering; the drones discovered four more coins scattered near the outpost, along with an assortment of weapons and armor. It was an archaeological treasure trove that painted a vivid picture of Atlantean life at the outpost, unlike anything previously documented in modern times. The historical narrative of Atlanteans living and interacting in this outpost began to take shape before Nick, Julie, and Lindsey.

Upon completing the mapping, the drones were instructed to start collecting the items that had been marked for retrieval. As they began their collection, Julie observed the pile of coins and artifacts amassed at the small outpost. “Can the drones take more pictures before they extract the coins from the pile?” she asked, wanting to document as much as possible before any disturbance.

Lindsey quickly updated the drone instructions to capture more detailed images. “What are you thinking?” Nick inquired, noticing Julie's particular interest in the coins.

Julie flashed a smile, her mind racing with possibilities. “I was thinking of sending them to Mom,” she confessed, excited about sharing their discovery.

Nick, however, shook his head firmly. “No,” he interjected. Julie looked at him, puzzled by his objection. “You have your proof, so why not?” she pressed for clarification.

Nick’s expression turned serious. “If this gets out, this place will be overrun by treasure hunters. Before we know it, the ruins will be ruined. They’ll dig, they’ll tear it down to find more. This needs to be preserved, protected,” he explained, emphasizing the need for discretion to ensure the site’s integrity.

Lindsey nodded in agreement, supporting Nick's cautious approach. Julie, too, understood and appreciated his perspective. Her belief in him was justified, he cared deeply about the mission, valuing the preservation of history over personal fame. She leaned in and kissed him softly. “You’re right, sorry,” she apologized, her respect for his judgment clear.

Nick smiled, reassured by her understanding. “No, I understand, but let’s keep a lid on it for now,” he suggested, hoping to safeguard their findings until a proper plan was in place.

As the conversation continued, Nick asked Lindsey to position the ship directly above the cave once the drones returned. Lindsey acknowledged with a nod, adjusting their coordinates accordingly.

Nick then jotted down some notes in his notebook, his mind lost in thought. Julie, curious, leaned in. “What are you thinking?” she asked gently.

Nick’s face lit up with a thoughtful smile. “Just trying to imagine what it looked like in its prime. How it stood as a beacon of civilization, a trading hub of the world, how it was the most advanced civilization in the world for its time,” he mused, his passion for history evident in his voice.

Julie smiled, intrigued by his vision. “Do you think the movies got it right? Magic flying stone, robotic magical guardians?” she queried playfully.

Nick chuckled, his laughter echoing in the wheelhouse. “Magic, no. But most magic can be explained by science these days. I do think they had machines, not magic-driven, though it must have seemed that way to other civilizations. If they had, let’s say, steam-powered machines with gears and moving parts, over nine thousand years before Christ, it would have appeared magical to those who had never seen such technology,” he explained, his eyes alight with the thrill of historical discovery.

Lindsey chimed in, her voice filled with wonder. “That would be something to see, though,” she remarked, sharing in the awe of such a possibility.

Their discussion was interrupted by the computer's beep, signaling the drones' return. Nick looked up just in time to see the cranes extend into the water, retrieving the drones.

Nick, Lindsey, and Julie worked together seamlessly as they delved into the task of emptying the submerged baskets they had retrieved from the drones. They meticulously extracted the about fifty ancient coins, each piece glinting with the tales of its past, and secured them in a sturdy wooden box. Julie, with careful hands, carried the box up to the wheelhouse, ensuring its safekeeping.

As she did this, Nick's attention was caught by something extraordinary—a sword that lay among the remnants of history. The weapon was reminiscent of a Roman Gladius in size and shape, but it boasted a strikingly unique blade of jade green. The hilt was crafted from pure gold, tarnished slightly by the passage of time and the wearing effects of the water. It was evident that the sword had lain in the watery grave for thousands of years, yet it retained an edge sharp enough that Nick nicked his finger upon a casual touch. "Damn, it's still sharp," he murmured in a mix of annoyance and admiration.

Lindsey, who had been quietly observing, was drawn closer by the allure of the weapon. "It’s beautiful," she remarked, her eyes reflecting the sword's emerald sheen.

Nick nodded in agreement, his eyes scanning the hilt where distinct markings caught his attention. They were clearly of Atlantean origin, intricate and enigmatic. "Damn, Julie was right," Lindsey exclaimed, her voice a blend of excitement and disbelief.

Nick, puzzled, turned to her. "About what?"

With a knowing smile, Lindsey replied, "That you’ll change the world."

Chuckling, Nick shook his head, his gaze still fixed on the ancient ***********. "No, I’ll just prove that there’s more to these myths."

Lindsey's smile widened. "And then some," she countered, her confidence unwavering.

Together, they collected the remaining armors and weapons from the haul, each piece as fascinating as the last. They arranged them carefully in a protective case and stored it in one of the ship’s storage rooms. The room, now holding relics of a forgotten time, filled only ten percent of its capacity.

"How many more rooms do we have?" Nick inquired, his mind already racing with the possibilities of future discoveries.

"Fourteen," Lindsey responded with a laugh, amused by his enthusiasm.

"Then let’s fill them," he declared, his voice full of determination and excitement.

They ascended to the wheelhouse, rejoining Julie who was now meticulously cleaning the coins one by one. Nick approached her, planting a quick kiss on her cheek before his curiosity got the better of him. "What do we have?" he asked, his eyes scanning the array of coins spread out before them.

"Counting the earlier finds?" Julie queried, and upon his nod, she continued, "Thirty-two Atlantean coins, seven Aztec, sixteen Mayan, and one Greek coin." She then paused, picking up another coin that stood out from the rest. "And this," she said, handing it to Nick.

The coin was unlike any other, about an inch in diameter, with unfamiliar markings and engravings depicting the sun on one side and a lightning bolt on the other. Nick's brow furrowed in concentration as he turned the coin over in his hand. "What the hell is this?" he muttered.

"I don’t know," Julie admitted, her own curiosity piqued.

"A sun and a lightning bolt," Lindsey whispered, leaning in closer to get a better look.

Nick's memory stirred vaguely, a sense of familiarity creeping in. "I've seen something like this before," he muttered, more to himself than to the others.

"Where?" Julie and Lindsey asked simultaneously, their voices laced with intrigue.

Nick shook his head, frustrated by the fleeting nature of his recollection. He pulled out his notebook and began flipping through the pages, each one filled with notes and sketches of different cultural symbols. "Greek, Roman, Turk, Nordic," he muttered as he searched for a clue that might unlock the mystery of the unusual coin.

Nick's excitement was palpable as he thumbed through the pages of his weathered notebook, each leaf filled with meticulous notes and detailed drawings collected from years of study and exploration. Finally, his eyes lit up as he stumbled upon the information he had been trying to recall. "Here it is," he declared, laying the notebook flat on the table for Julie and Lindsey to see.

The page displayed a series of detailed sketches and annotations about a little-known aspect of ancient mythology. "This is a Nordic god coin, representing an ancient deity associated with day and weather," Nick began, his voice tinged with the thrill of discovery. "But this deity predates the more commonly known Nordic gods like Odin and Thor. It harks back to a time of the Titans, who were gods themselves before the pantheon we are familiar with."

He pointed to the detailed sketches of the coin's markings—the sun and the lightning bolt. "These symbols are emblematic. The sun represents the day, and the lightning bolt symbolizes control over the weather. This deity was revered as a powerful figure, capable of commanding the sky and the elements."

Nick's narrative deepened as he delved into the historical context surrounding these ancient beliefs. "There's very little written about these pre-Odinic gods because when the Vikings began their era of expansion and plunder, much of the existing cultural heritage was lost. Their focus was on tangible wealth, gold, food, and yes, even taking women captives. But in their wake, they left a trail of cultural destruction. Books, manu***********s, anything deemed unnecessary for their immediate needs was destroyed. Much of what we knew about these earlier gods was lost in fires set to libraries and archives across the conquered lands."

Julie and Lindsey listened, captivated by the story unfolding from the ancient coin in their hands. The room was filled with a sense of wonder and a touch of melancholy for the lost knowledge.

"Given this context, finding a coin like this is incredibly rare," Nick continued, his voice lowering in reverence. "It's not just a piece of metal; it's a key to understanding a forgotten chapter of human belief. This coin could very well be one of the last remaining links to understanding the full spectrum of religious practices and deities worshipped before the rise of the Vikings."

Lindsey leaned closer, examining the coin's engravings under the light. "So, this tiny piece could tell us more about the religious landscape before the Nordic gods dominated the mythology?"

"Exactly," Nick confirmed, nodding. "Each marking, each symbol on this coin is a fragment of history, whispering stories of a time when these ancient gods ruled the minds and hearts of their followers."

The discovery of the ancient Nordic coin ignited a fervor among Nick, Julie, and Lindsey that went beyond mere archaeological interest. This rare artifact was not just a relic of the past; it was a tangible link that could potentially redefine historical understandings of ancient trade and cultural connections across vast distances.

As they examined the coin further, they considered its broader implications. If this coin was indeed from the era before the well-documented Nordic gods like Odin and Thor, it suggested a timeline that stretched back further than previously imagined, to a period before the conventional calendar system was even established.

Nick laid out the coin alongside the Atlantean and Greek coins they had already catalogued. The juxtaposition was startling. "Look at this," he said, his voice filled with enthusiasm. "If we can definitively link this Nordic coin to the same era as these Atlantean and Greek ones, we might be onto something groundbreaking. It suggests that there were active trade routes and cultural exchanges between Atlantis, Scandinavia, and Greece long before we thought possible."

Julie nodded, her mind racing with the possibilities. "This could mean that the world back then was far more interconnected than we ever assumed. These civilizations weren’t isolated by their geographies; they were united through commerce and the exchange of ideas."

Lindsey, always keen on the bigger picture, added, "And it’s not just about trade. Think about the shared knowledge, the technological and cultural exchanges that would have been possible. This coin could be evidence of a network of civilizations interacting with each other, sharing innovations and beliefs across what we now see as vast divides."

"The idea that the world was more connected in those ancient times than it is even today, with all our technology, is fascinating," Lindsey mused. "It puts into perspective how advanced these societies might have been, in their own ways."

Nick stood by the ship's controls, gazing intently at the computer screen with the picture of the ancient structure partially submerged off the coast. It was an enigmatic building that hinted at untold stories and hidden chambers, untouched for millennia’s. The thrill of uncovering its secrets had been building in him, and he was ready to take the next step in their exploration.

Turning to Lindsey, he expressed his need for more detailed reconnaissance. "Lindsey, could you get the smaller drone ready? I want to explore the interior of that cave within the building," he said with a sense of urgency.

Lindsey, understanding the importance of the request, nodded decisively. "I'll prepare it right away," she responded, her voice filled with determination. She swiftly moved onto the deck, her steps purposeful as she went to set up the sophisticated piece of equipment.

Meanwhile, Julie, who had been observing their preparations, approached Nick with a look of admiration mixed with concern. "Everything you claimed, it's all coming true. You're proving it right now," she remarked, her voice a blend of awe and apprehension.

Nick offered a small, knowing smile and nodded. There was a weight to his next words, a hesitation that hinted at the gravity of their discovery. "There is one thing though," he started, his voice lowering slightly.

Julie, sensing the shift in his tone, leaned in. "What?" she asked, her curiosity piqued.

Nick paused, his gaze shifting back to the ancient structure in the distance. "I don’t want to tell anyone," he admitted quietly.

"But your reputation?" Julie pressed, her brow furrowing with concern.

He shook his head, his decision clear. "It’s not worth it. If I show the proof, if it becomes public, someone will find this place. And they won’t come with the respect it deserves, they’ll destroy it, looking for treasure."

Julie nodded slowly, understanding the dilemma. The historical significance of their find was immeasurable, but so was the risk of its exploitation. "But your reputation," she repeated, still worried about the personal cost to him.

Nick stepped closer and kissed her gently, a reassurance that his priorities were different now. "If you believe me, that’s all I want," he said softly, his eyes earnest.

Encouraged by his resolve, Julie’s face lit up with a renewed enthusiasm. "Now why don’t we see what the drone will find in that cave?" he suggested, trying to steer their focus back to the task at hand.

She smiled and nodded, caught up once again in the excitement of exploration. Just then, Lindsey returned, stepping into the wheelhouse with the remote for the drone in her hands. The device was their key to peering into the past without disturbing the physical space more than necessary.

"You want the honor?" Lindsey asked, extending the remote towards Nick.

He accepted it with a grateful smile, feeling the weight of responsibility in his hands. "Absolutely," he affirmed, his eyes twinkling with the prospect of what they might discover.

Together, they gathered around the monitors, their breaths held in anticipation as the drone whirred to life and began its descent into the dark, echoing chambers of the ancient structure, poised on the brink of revealing secrets that had slumbered through ages.

Nick carefully adjusted the controls, his fingers nimble as he expertly maneuvered the drone through the submerged passage. The tension in the wheelhouse was palpable; Julie held her breath, her eyes fixed on the monitor where the drone's lights cut through the murky darkness, illuminating the ancient path ahead.

“How big is the opening?” Lindsey inquired, her voice a mix of excitement and technical curiosity.

Nick glanced at the 3D model images they had captured earlier, evaluating the dimensions. “About thirty feet by thirty feet,” he responded. Lindsey’s face lit up with the possibilities this presented.

“The sub will fit if we find something significant,” she remarked, her mind already racing with the logistical aspects of a larger exploration.

Nick nodded, his focus returning to the drone’s controls as he guided it deeper into the cave. The water was unusually clear, a rarity in such ancient submerged structures, allowing the drone’s light to reveal the contours and details of the cave’s interior with exceptional clarity.

“What’s that?” Julie suddenly asked, pointing to a faint outline appearing on the screen.

Nick adjusted the drone’s angle, directing it toward the anomaly Julie had spotted. As the image on the screen became clearer, he realized it was a sign, intricately carved in stone and remarkably preserved. He steadied the drone in front of it, his heart beating faster with anticipation.

He quickly pulled out his journal, flipping to the pages where he had meticulously documented the Atlantean alphabet from previous finds. With practiced ease, he began translating the in***********ions that appeared before them:

“Welcome to Atlantis.

Enter with honesty, leave with honor.

Welcome: Atlantis opens its gates to those with pure hearts and truthful spirits. Seek wisdom and prosper within our ancient realm.

Warning: Atlantis remains hidden to those with deceitful hearts or malicious intentions. Only the virtuous will find their way.

Blessing: May Atlantis enlighten and enrich the noble-hearted. Discover the secrets and grow in the light of our ancient wisdom.

May the honest thrive, and the treacherous learn virtue.”

As Nick recited the translation, Julie gasped, her emotions spilling over. “It is fucking real, everything you said is true,” she exclaimed, her voice a mixture of shock and awe.

Nick smiled, a sense of accomplishment filling him. “We found it,” he affirmed, his gaze still locked on the screen.

“See if the drone can show us more,” Lindsey suggested, eager to discover what else lay hidden within the cave.

Nick pushed the drone forward, and soon, a large golden gate appeared on the monitor, blocking their path about two-hundred-fifty feet further into the cave. “There’s no way,” he murmured, disbelief coloring his tone as he carefully scanned the gate, moving the drone up and down its imposing structure.

“Try pushing it with the drone,” Lindsey proposed, caught up in the moment’s excitement.

Nick looked at her, hesitant. “The drone might get damaged,” he cautioned, aware of the risks.

She nodded, acknowledging the concern. “It might happen, but one of those coins can buy ten of them,” she reasoned, trying to weigh the potential loss against the monumental discovery.

Nick frowned, a serious expression settling over his face. “Lindsey, I didn’t tell you, but we are not selling them,” he revealed, his tone firm. “In fact, we’re not telling anyone about this discovery,” Julie added, supporting Nick’s decision.

Lindsey looked at them, her excitement giving way to confusion and then understanding as she realized the gravity of their decision. This wasn't just a treasure hunt; it was a profound discovery that could change historical understanding, and they were treading carefully, aware of the ethical and moral implications.

“But this is a significant find, how can we just keep it hidden?” she finally asked, struggling with the notion yet respecting their cautious approach. The conversation that followed would delve deep into the responsibilities of uncovering such a world-altering secret. historic discovery, fame, fortune and all that,” she said, Nick nodded, “and what do you think will happen when it comes out that Atlantis is here?” he asked, she thought about it, “tourism, divers, archeologists,” she said, Nick nodded, “treasure hunters and greedy bastards.” He said, her eyes widened, and she nodded, “you’re right,” she said, “so we don’t tell anyone, Atlantis stays a secret,” he said, Lindsey nodded and so did Julie, “secret,” they said in unison,
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