A compass, two coins, and a key. The items sat on the ancient map in the center of Michael’s desk. As the latest in five generations of sailors, he kept telling people he was living his best life, yet he wasn’t so sure of late. He sailed into the Harbor the day after finding the bag in the bottom of a chest in the back of one of the caves his boss had him exploring.
His boss, Jordan Mitchell, was the CEO of an investment company that specialized in treasure hunting excursions. Michael enjoyed these trips as he was well paid and often received odds and ends that Jordan thought were worthless. Hence, how he had ended up with the little bag of trinkets. Sitting at the table waiting for the call from Jordan, Michael sat at the desk. He flipped the silver coin across the backs of the fingers of his left hand.
A voice broke into his thoughts. “Hey, captain. You got a minute?” His first mate, Joseph, asked from the now open doorway.
Michael looked up. “Sure. I’m assuming Roger has the wheel?” He asked.
Jospeh stepped into the office, closing the door behind him. “Yep. He’s got the shift until sunset.” He dropped onto the wooden chair across from his boss.
“What did you need to talk about?” Michael asked.
“The crew’s been talking about working for Jordan. We’ve been thinking maybe it’s not the best of ideas,” Joseph said.
Michael nodded. He had been thinking the same thing. The money was good, but of late, things had been feeling more and more illegal. He wanted more information about what his crew was thinking. Joseph seemed to act as the go-between for the crew. “So, what does the crew suggest?” He asked.
“That we stop taking jobs from him and see what else we can find. We’ve got enough money that each of us will donate for ship upkeep and supplies.” Joseph said.
Michael nodded. “Then I’ll tell him we won’t take any more jobs from him. But can I ask what about him has you creeped out?” He asked.
“The last few trips he’s sent us on have been too close to the law. He’s taking the antiques, and he isn’t giving anything to the governments he’s taking things from.” Joseph said.
“Thank you. I didn’t know that,” Michael said, standing from his desk and moving across the room. He picked up the satellite phone and dialed Jordan’s number. He watched as Joseph slipped out of the office.
Jordan answered the phone as the door closed. “Well, hello there Michael. You looking for more work?”
“Actually, I’m calling to sever our contract. My crew and I have moved in another direction.” Michael said, choosing his words with care.
In the next moment, the anger in Jordan’s voice felt like a physical blow over the phone. “You and your crew? Aren’t you making the money I promised?”
Michael did a verbal sidestep, trying to avoid a full-blown explosion. “It isn’t the money. We are just wanting more control over the hunts we take. We did set it up so that either side of the contract could end it.” He paced the room.
“That we did. But I’m not sure this is a good idea.” Jordan said.
“Good idea or not, we still want to end the contract,” Michael said. He was getting worried about what was going on. “So, thank you for the work,” he said, hanging up the phone and putting it back on the table. “That’s not going to end well.” He pushed a button on the wall next to the door.
There was a crackle through the speakers. He spoke with a confidence he wasn’t feeling. “Roger, can you come to the Captain’s cabin?”
The answer came across clearer than he expected it to. “On my way,” Roger said. Michael went back to his chair, sitting down and leaning his head back against the chair.
A few moments later, a knock rapped on the door. “Captain?” Roger’s voice came through the door.
“Come on in.” Michael said.
The door opened and Roger walked in. “What did you need, Captain?” Roger asked.
Michael sighed. “Just wanted to let you know I’ve cut the contract with Jordan. From now on, we will find our own jobs. I wanted to ask you to speak with me about anything you know that has been happening with the last few hunts.”
Roger sat down. “What did Joseph tell you?” He asked.
Michael smiled. “That the crew wasn’t liking the idea some of Jordan’s hunts were too close to the law. That he wasn’t handling the artifacts properly.”
“That sums it up. The last hunt was the worst. He wanted us to steal from the tombs we found under water. He wanted the things in those tombs for himself. We couldn’t do it.”
Michael nodded, his hand reaching for the little bag of trinkets. “That’s what I thought.”