She and Ned were terrified when they realized that they were being taken out of the country with no chance to call for help. They tried to keep calm and figure out some way to outwit these men.
The prisoners listened attentively when the men resumed their conversation. One said, “I had no idea when we went into shipping stolen cameras with Gimler and Sacco that we could make so much money. I don’t know why we ever bothered with the small amount we got out of the Crocodile Ecology Company.”
The other man said, “You forget, Williams, that we needed a cover. I’d say we just got out of there in time. That nosey girl detective and her friends are just too smart.”
In spite of their predicament, Nancy and Ned smiled at this remark.
Williams said, “Nothing to worry about now, Captain Frederick, We’re rid of the bunch.”
The men talked about what they were going to do with all the money they had made.
Frederick said, “I’ll show those relatives of mine in Mexico what I can do, even if they thought I was a no-good.” He laughed raucously. “How easy the whole operation was! We stole a lot of cameras from the factory in Connecticut and bought a whole lot of others cheap on the black market. And sold them at a three hundred percent profit.”
Nancy and Ned almost suffocated in the lockers but did not dare miss a word. They learned that the cameras were shipped out at night to a freighter going south. Then they were transferred to The Whisper, which carried them to the submarine. Then The Whisper returned to the key, which was home base. Whenever the submarine came there, the periscope would be hoisted. If any visitors were on the island, an alarm would be sounded and the sightseers sent away.
Williams said, “It’s too bad we couldn’t fill that order for five hundred cameras. If the buyer in Mexico had only given us a little more time, we wouldn’t have had any trouble.”
The men were silent for a while, then Williams said, “We won’t be tying up for some time. I think I’ll put away this rope we’re not using. It’s in the way.”
He stepped to the locker in which Nancy was hiding and yanked open the door. The girl detective tried to slump to the floor so she would not be seen, but it was impossible.
Upon spotting her, Williams cried out a volume of expletives. He reached in roughly, grabbed Nancy’s arm, and pulled her out into the passageway.
The captain also exclaimed and then said to Nancy, “How did you get here?”
She did not answer.
“I said, how did you come aboard this sub?” the captain demanded.
Still Nancy made no reply.
“I’ll make you answer!” Frederick cried out, exasperated, and grabbed hold of her with both arms. He was so strong that she thought he would crush her ribs.
At this second a voice said, “Let her alone!”
The sub’s captain let go of Nancy and stared at the young man. “Who are you?”
Ned said nothing. By this time Williams and Frederick were jabbering loudly and arguing with each other about what they should do with their stowaways.
“We can’t take them into Mexico!” Williams said.
“You’re right,” the captain agreed. “What do you suggest? That we go topside, open the hatch, and push them out into the water?”
Ned spoke up. “You’d better not do that,” he said, then decided to try a bluff. “Did you know that we’re being followed by helicopters?”
The men looked stunned. Williams rushed to raise the periscope above the water. After turning it in various directions, he said, “I don’t see any helicopter.”
The captain, angry, yelled at Ned, “You were just trying to bluff us. Well, we’re not going to fall for it.”
After a pause Williams said, “I have an idea, Captain. We both like money. Whv don’t we hold these two snoopers for ransom?”
Captain Frederick thought this over and finally agreed it was not a bad idea. “Just how can we work it?” he wondered.
“I’ll think of something,” his fellow officer said. “Give me time.”