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Title: Hawaiian Sea Hunt Mystery - A Biff Brewster Mystery Adventure
Author: Adams, Andy
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hawaiian Sea Hunt Mystery - A Biff Brewster Mystery Adventure" ***

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[Illustration: “_This is it. It’s got to be._”]

                            A BIFF BREWSTER
                           MYSTERY ADVENTURE



                                HAWAIIAN
                                SEA HUNT
                                MYSTERY


                        [Illustration: Compass]

                             By ANDY ADAMS


                      GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS
                                NEW YORK

                     © GROSSET & DUNLAP, INC., 1960

                          ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
                PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



                                Contents


  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE
  I Peril in Paradise                                                  1
  II A Disturbing Call                                                 5
  III Worried Twins                                                   11
  IV Aloha!                                                           18
  V Detective Biff                                                    25
  VI The Letter                                                       33
  VII An Important Find                                               41
  VIII The Police Call                                                51
  IX Mysterious Message                                               61
  X Starting a Search                                                 70
  XI Wharf Rats                                                       76
  XII Bomb Away                                                       87
  XIII A Near Miss                                                    97
  XIV Storm!                                                         108
  XV Men Missing                                                     117
  XVI Held Prisoner                                                  123
  XVII A Dangerous Dive                                              130
  XVIII Exploring the Depths                                         141
  XIX Reunion                                                        152
  XX Dawn Attack                                                     160
  XXI A Human Fish                                                   166
  XXII Check-Out                                                     175



                       HAWAIIAN SEA HUNT MYSTERY



                               CHAPTER I
                           Peril in Paradise


In the tropical, jungle-like garden behind the hotel, a man stood
absolutely motionless. The broad trunk of the coconut palm tree behind
which he lurked protected him from being seen by anyone on the hotel’s
wide, sweeping porch.

The tense set of the man’s features showed his growing impatience.

The broad porch ran around all four sides of the white, sprawling Royal
Poinciana Hotel on Waikiki Beach, in Honolulu, Hawaii. The porch was
called the “deck,” and it had been designed to resemble the promenade
deck of an ocean liner. It was an open porch, or deck, with brightly
colored floral-patterned umbrellas spreading welcome shade. The deck was
spotted with lounge and captain’s chairs, and its teak-wood floor was
marked off at regular intervals with shuffleboard courts.

The fore deck, that part of the porch running across the front of the
hotel, overlooked the beautiful beach and its rolling, coiling breakers.
Chairs and tables scattered on it were occupied by people waiting for
the noon meal. On the rear deck, overlooking the carefully planned,
luxuriant jungle-garden, only one couple could be seen.

“Will they never leave?” the man muttered to himself. He looked at his
watch, then carefully peered around the tree, looking up at the deck
jutting out from the hotel’s second floor.

Just as he did so, the couple got up from their chairs and walked
leisurely away, heading for the other side. The man waited until they
rounded a corner and were out of sight. Then he moved swiftly.

His linen-clad figure was a white flash against broad green leaves as he
dashed for the steps leading up to the now unoccupied porch. Once on the
deck, he moved casually, as though he were just another tourist. He
walked softly on crepe-soled shoes, making not a sound.

Nearing the center of the porch, the man pressed his back against the
white-painted wall, almost blending into it except for his dark, swarthy
face. Now he moved sidewise, crab-like, until he reached a partly opened
latticed door. He stopped, pressing his head against the slight crack
where the door was hinged.

Moments passed. Then he heard the sharp jangling sound of a telephone
ringing from within the room beyond. Next he heard the soft pad of feet
on thick piled carpet as the room’s occupant crossed the floor to take
the call.

Now the prowler abandoned his extreme caution. He looked through the
partly opened door. He saw the back of a man sitting at a telephone
table. The prowler carefully pulled the door open and slipped into the
room. Its occupant had the phone’s receiver to his ear.

“On your call to Mr. Thomas Brewster in Indianapolis, Indiana, sir,” the
operator was saying, “they are ringing that number now.”

The prowler crept closer until he was within an arm’s length of the
seated man.

“Yes,” the man said into the telephone. “I’ll hold the line.” With his
free hand he pulled a well-used pipe from his jacket pocket and stuck it
in his mouth. Then he patted the table for matches. He opened a drawer
and felt in it.

The prowler watched his prey anxiously. He was an old man, with shaggy
white hair hanging down almost to his collar.

Unable to find a match, the old man had just started to turn when the
operator spoke again.

“This is Honolulu, Hawaii, calling Mr. Thomas Brewster,” she said. A few
seconds passed. “Here’s your party, sir.”

The prowler stood there, arms raised, the fingers of his cupped hands
spread like talons just over the old man’s shoulders.



                               CHAPTER II
                           A Disturbing Call


“I’ll get it! I’ll get it!”

It was the voice of eleven-year-old Monica Brewster.

“You always do,” grumbled her twin brother Ted. “I never do get to
answer the telephone. Not when _you’re_ in the house.”

Monica wasn’t listening. She was flying into the kitchen to answer the
steady ring before her mother could lift the phone from its cradle. Mr.
Brewster’s study was nearer, and there was a telephone in there, too.
But Monica knew that her father was in the study, talking to her older
brother Biff. She was sure the call was from her friend Betsy, because
Betsy generally called her about five o’clock in the afternoon. Monica
didn’t want her father interrupting her talk with Betts. Daddy didn’t
approve of long phone gabs.

Moments later, Monica came bursting through the living room. Her
excitement was at a pitch as high as her voice.

“Daddy! Daddy! The call’s from Honolulu! Someone’s calling you from
Honolulu!”

“Take it easy, sis, or you’ll explode.” Biff grinned as he saw the
eagerness on his sister’s flushed face.

Thomas Brewster picked up the telephone. He listened briefly, then
cupped his hand over the mouthpiece and spoke to his older son.

“Close the door, Biff. _Behind_ your sister.”

Biff got up from his chair and gently ushered Monica, protesting, out of
the study. When he turned back, he was startled to see that an
expression of worry clouded his father’s face.

“Yes, Johann, I agree.” Mr. Brewster gave the name its Germanic
pronunciation, “_Yohann_.”

Biff could only distinguish a mumble of words coming from nearly four
thousand miles away.

“Well, Johann, don’t you take any chances yourself,” Mr. Brewster
continued. “Wait until I get there.... Danger? There’s always danger
when the stakes are as high as those we’re playing for.... What!” Thomas
Brewster’s frown deepened. “Perez Soto? You say Perez Soto is there? I
don’t like that one little bit. The letter, though, you have that safely
hidden?”

Again the speaker at the other end took over the conversation. Biff
could hear only a scramble of sounds coming from the telephone. He saw
his father nod his head absently. His brows knitted into deeper thought.

“You think your room was searched?” he exclaimed. “Had you hidden the
letter?”

Biff watched his father intently. Mr. Brewster listened attentively to a
long reply. At last he said, “That’s bad, Johann. Very bad. We’ll have
to make the best of it, though. All right, Johann.... Yes, leaving here
tomorrow ... Northwest Airlines.... Take off from Seattle early the next
morning, Wednesday, at five A.M. Be in Hawaii about eight o’clock your
time.... You’re stopping at the Royal Poinciana, aren’t you?... Hello
... hello ... Johann?” Thomas Brewster waited a few moments. “Hello....”
Then he hung up and turned to Biff. “That’s funny. He didn’t answer.
Maybe we were cut off.”

“Maybe the three minutes were up,” Biff suggested with a smile.

“That’s not as funny as you think, my boy,” his father chuckled. “Dr.
Weber’s a peculiar man about some things having to do with money. A call
from Honolulu to Indianapolis means nothing to him. But if the operator
told him his three minutes were up, he’d hang up quickly. He obeys what
he thinks are the rules.”

Biff laughed. “Isn’t Dr. Weber the famous scientist? I’m sure I’ve heard
you speak of him.”

“That’s right, Biff. He’s a staff consultant for Ajax. I’ve worked with
him before.”

Biff nodded his head. “I thought so.”

Thomas Brewster was the chief field engineer for the Ajax Mining
Company, headquarters Indianapolis, Indiana. His job took him all over
the world, to many of the strangest and least known spots on the globe.
Whenever it was possible, he took sixteen-year-old Biff along.

“One of my reasons for going to Hawaii is to meet Dr. Weber,” Biff’s
father continued now.

“You mean the Engineers’ Conference isn’t the main reason?” Biff asked.

Thomas Brewster shook his head. “No. Oh, the meeting is important, all
right. But I doubt if I would have gone out there for that alone. Dr.
Weber wrote me over a month ago. Said he wanted to meet with me and Jim
Huntington. He said it was very important. But he didn’t go into
details. I imagine he didn’t want to put too much information on paper.
Afraid it might be seen by eyes other than my own.”

Biff was thinking. “It seems to me, Dad, that I’ve heard you mention
this Mr. Huntington before, too. Am I right?”

“Probably. I hadn’t heard from Huntington for a long, long time. But he
did some work for me in the past.”

“What’s going on, Dad? And what was all that about a letter?”

Thomas Brewster sighed. “Oh, the letter. Forget you _ever_ heard about
it. Dr. Weber told me Jim Huntington was lost at sea sailing up to
Hawaii from New Zealand. Got caught in a terrific storm, and his sloop
sank. He was able to send a radio signal of his position, but Weber said
a sea and air search has failed, so far, to discover any trace of
Huntington or his sloop.”

“Gee, that’s really too bad. Do you know why he wanted to see you and
Dr. Weber?” Biff asked.

“I have an idea. And if what I think is true, then Jim Huntington’s loss
is a very real one for the whole world.”

“I heard you mention there might be danger—” Biff stopped. A spark of
excitement flashed across his face. His blue eyes lighted up.

“Danger, Biff? Well, we’ve been in tight spots before. You, in China,
and with me in Brazil.” Tom Brewster paused, then said slowly, “There’s
always an element of danger in the work we do for Ajax.”

Biff, his face serious, nodded his head. He was thinking of Hawaii, our
fiftieth state. What danger could there be there?


The telephone operator at the Royal Poinciana Hotel on Waikiki Beach,
Honolulu, looked up as her luncheon relief came into her small room.

“Hi. Am I ever glad to see you! I’m just about starved. I’m on a diet.
Not for much longer, though. Hey, something funny’s going on. That old
gent in suite 210. Made a stateside call just now and didn’t hang up
when he finished. Imagine! He left the phone off the hook. I’ll tell a
bellboy to hop up there when I go out.”



                              CHAPTER III
                             Worried Twins


Although he didn’t want to show it, eleven-year-old Ted Brewster was
just as excited as his sister over the call from Honolulu. He slipped
quietly over to the door of the study. He wanted to know what the call
was all about. He got there just in time to see Monica ushered firmly
out as Biff closed the door behind her.

“Who was it, sis?” Ted demanded.

“Don’t know.” Monica shook her head. “It was just the operator saying
she had a call from Honolulu for Mr. Thomas Brewster.”

“You’d better go out and hang up the phone in the kitchen,” Ted ordered.

Monica left the room and returned almost immediately.

“You didn’t listen in?” Ted asked suspiciously.

“Course not! I have very excellent manners. No lady would listen in.”

“Ha,” Ted sneered. “_You_, a lady? A ’leven-year-old-lady!”

“I’m older than you,” Monica replied.

“Ten minutes older. Call that older? I don’t. And don’t tell me you
never listen in. How ’bout yesterday? When I was talking to Peteso? I
suppose you didn’t try to listen in then.”

“That’s different. You’re only a kid.”

“A kid!” This was too much. “And what about you? You think you’re so
grown up.”

The twins glared at one another. Then, without any reason, glares
suddenly turned to smiles, followed by unexplained, uncontrolled
laughter. Neither one of the twins could stay angry very long. When
their giggles died away, they strained their ears toward the study door.

“Sure is a long call,” Ted said. “Hope nothing’s gone wrong.”

“Gone wrong? What could go wrong, Ted?” Monica’s voice showed her
concern.

“I don’t know. But I sure hope that call doesn’t mean we’re not going to
Hawaii.”

Now Monica was really worried. “Golly, I just couldn’t bear it. Not to
go!”

“Me, too. Biff gets to go everywhere. When do I get to go anywhere?”

“Or me?”

The two sat in silence, thinking how cruel the world was to
eleven-year-olds. The Brewsters’ summer cottage on Vineyard Lake—that
was nothing. Their speed boat and water skis, they seemed like nothing,
too. And their Christmas trip to Florida, visiting their
grandparents—what were all those things compared to going to Hawaii?
They had been to many places in continental United States, but neither
of the twins had ever been out of the country. Well, even if Hawaii was
now part of the U.S., they preferred to think they were going to an
exotic new land.

That was why, when their father had told them just a week before he was
going to take the whole family with him to Hawaii, the twins’ joy knew
no limits.

They had known their father was going to Hawaii for a three weeks’ stay.
He was to attend an international conference of mining engineers. He was
even going to deliver one of the most important speeches at the meeting.

Biff Brewster was the oldest of the three Brewster children. He had gone
with his father on several of his explorations. But Biff was sixteen, an
age Ted could hardly wait to reach. Biff even had his driver’s license.
To Ted, this was the highest goal anybody could hope to reach.

The Brewster family had been having a cookout in their backyard when Mr.
Brewster made his wonderful announcement.

“One more week, and it’s off to Hawaii,” he said.

“Is Biff going?” Ted asked.

The children’s father had smiled and turned to Mrs. Brewster. “Let’s
pack the small fry and take them along, too.”

“What!” whooped Ted, his hot dog hitting the grass and his lemonade
spilling all over his shorts as he leaped to his feet.

“And me? Me? I’m going, too!” Monica hurled herself at her father, her
arms circling his neck.

“Easy there, princess. I’d rather have this food inside me, not on the
outside.”

Thomas Brewster put his daughter down. He looked into her eager,
upturned face. Her hazel eyes sparkled. She had never looked prettier to
him, and Mr. Brewster had always thought her the fairest princess of
them all. Copper-colored hair framed her oval, pixie face. The summer
sun had bronzed her clear skin. Keeping up with her brother Ted had
given her a straight, sturdy figure. A nuisance at times, when her
spirits shot higher than Pike’s Peak, she was the darling of the family,
and had to be squelched only three or four times a week.

“What about it, Ted?” Mr. Brewster said teasingly. “Think your sister
ought to come along, too?”

“Sure, Dad. Sure.” was the quick reply. Monica flashed a loving look at
her brother.

“All right, if you say so. Okay by you, Mother? And you, Biff?”

“You mean we’re all going?” A look of disbelief crossed Mrs. Brewster’s
face.

“That’s right. Time we all had a vacation together. I won’t be too busy
at this meeting. And I’m sure we’d all like to visit our fiftieth
state.”

Biff followed his father’s words without speaking. He surely felt good,
though, about what his father was saying. Biff knew how envious his
brother and sister were of the trips he had made. This time, they were
going along, too. The whole family! They’d have a swell time. Dad was
really tops.

A smile softened Biff’s strong-featured face. His blue-gray eyes lighted
up. He moved off the deck chair where he was sprawled and walked over to
drape an arm over his mother’s shoulders. He was taller than his mother,
with broad, square shoulders. For a sixteen-year-old, Biff was big and
husky. He had to be, to have come out of his many adventures unharmed.

“Won’t it be swell, Mom!” he said. “Dad couldn’t have done anything to
make Ted and Monnie happier.”

Now, looking at his father’s worried face, Biff wondered if the call
from Dr. Weber might mean a change in plans. He hoped not. Not only for
his own sake, but for his brother’s and sister’s. It would be a
wonderful rest and vacation for Mother, too. Biff wished he knew more
about his father’s real reason for the trip.

“Dad, will that call make any difference about your taking us on the
trip with you?”

“I don’t know,” his father said slowly. “Dr. Weber’s call puts the whole
trip in a new light.”

“Gosh, Dad, Ted’s and Monica’s hearts would be broken.”

Tom Brewster stood up. He went to the door without replying. When he
opened it, his two younger children swarmed all over him.

“That call from Honolulu? What was it about?” Ted asked.

“Tell us, tell us!” chirped Monica.

Mrs. Brewster had entered the room. She looked at her husband
questioningly.

The twins looked at their father. He ruffled Ted’s hair and patted
Monica on the cheek.

“We’re still going, aren’t we?” Monica said in a small, hopeful voice.

“I guess.... Yes, we sure are.”

Squeals of delight filled the air. But Mrs. Brewster, reading the
expression on her husband’s face, knew that the trip was no longer just
a pleasure jaunt for him.



                               CHAPTER IV
                                 Aloha!


The blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, fourteen thousand feet below,
sparkled under the slanting rays of the rising sun. Sleepy-eyed
passengers aboard the Northwest airliner yawned, stretched, and brought
their reclining seats to an upright position. Two stewardesses hurried
back and forth along the aisle of the plane, carrying breakfast trays of
chilled pineapple juice, slices of golden yellow papaya, and steaming
coffee.

The younger members of the Brewster family, Biff and the twins, had been
awake from the time of take-off, although their mother had insisted they
try to rest. Mr. and Mrs. Brewster still lay stretched out with their
chairs in a reclining position, but now they showed signs of coming out
of their fitful sleep.

“How much longer, Biff? How long till we get there? You’ve been to
Honolulu before,” Monica said.

“Only for a short stopover on my way to Burma,” Biff replied. He looked
at his watch. “I’d say we ought to be there in an hour. Maybe a little
longer.”

The Brewster family had boarded the plane at six o’clock that morning,
their flight having been delayed on take-off for an hour by a
low-hanging bank of fog. The big plane’s four jet engines and a
favorable tailwind had pushed it through the sky at a speed of over 600
miles per hour.

Thomas Brewster leaned over the seat in front of him where Ted and
Monica were fussing in low tones over whose turn it was to sit next to
the window.

“Morning, children.”

“Morning, Dad.”

“My, you’re surely wide awake for such an early hour!” he said.

“Early? Gee, Dad, it’s after ten o’clock,” Ted replied, looking at his
wrist watch.

Mr. Brewster laughed. “Guess Ted doesn’t know about setting his watch
back. You set yours right, Biff?”

Biff nodded his head.

“What do you mean, set my watch back?” Ted demanded.

“Difference in time, Ted. With daylight-saving time further complicating
matters, it’s three hours earlier in Hawaii than it is in Seattle. So,
if your watch says ten, then it’s only seven o’clock in Honolulu. People
are just getting up there.”

Ted, although still puzzled, turned his watch back three hours.

Biff came to the seat where Ted and Monica both had their noses pressed
to the plane’s window.

“Scrunch over, small fry. We’ll be raising Diamond Head soon. Your big
brother will point it out to you.”

The plane zoomed through the air, racing the sun to Alohaland. The
“Fasten Seat Belts” sign flashed on.

“Won’t be long now,” Biff said. “Ought to see Diamond Head any minute.
Look ... just over the right wing. See that sort of dark blur? That’s
Oahu, the island Honolulu is on.”

Minutes later, Diamond Head rose majestically into view. The plane sped
over the yawning crater of the extinct volcano, then bore to the left
out over Honolulu Harbor. It turned back north, coming in low, and then
settled gently down on Honolulu’s International Airport.

[Illustration: _Diamond Head rose majestically into view_]

The plane rolled to a stop, doors opened, and landing ramps were wheeled
into place. The twins, hardly able to contain their excitement, were
first at the exit. Biff, his mother, and his father were right behind
them.

Outside, a band played the familiar welcoming song, “Aloha.” Native
girls, in hula skirts, with fragrant flowers in their hair and brightly
colored necklaces of more flowers around their necks, swayed to the
rhythm of the music.

Monica danced down the landing ramp. At its foot, a hula dancer stepped
forward and placed a lei, a beautiful necklace woven of flowers—around
the excited girl’s neck. Ted got the same treatment. More leis for Biff
and Mr. and Mrs. Brewster, until the whole family wore fragrant chains
of flowers up to their chins.

“Oh, Mother!” exclaimed Monica. “It’s everything I ever dreamed of! Just
like I’ve read about and seen in pictures.”

It was a gay, exciting sight. The warm air, the gentle breeze, the
music—a real Aloha, a real welcome. The spirit of Hawaii took over at
once. Everywhere, happy people became happier. Gaiety filled the air. A
soft scent of flowers cloaked the new arrivals.

The crowd milled about the gate leading to the terminal. It seemed there
were hundreds of people all trying to pass through at once. The Brewster
family clung together, Monica clutching her mother’s hand.

Thomas Brewster looked carefully over the crowd.

“I don’t see Dr. Weber,” he said to Biff. “I thought surely he’d meet
us.”

“Maybe he’s just late, Dad.”

Ted came up and touched Biff’s sleeve. “Look, Biff, see that man over
there?” He pointed.

Biff looked in the direction Ted indicated.

“See, Biff, he’s taking pictures. He took several of you and Dad. I was
watching him.”

Biff’s eyes met those of the man with the camera. He was a swarthy man,
short, wearing a rumpled white suit.

“Gee, I guess Dad must be some sort of a celebrity, taking his picture
and all,” Ted said excitedly.

Biff didn’t think that was the reason. The man didn’t look like a
newspaper photographer on an assignment. His eyes shifted as Biff stared
at him. The man made no attempt to get “just one more shot,” as official
cameramen are apt to do. Biff started toward him, determined to find out
why the man seemed to be so interested in photographing Mr. Brewster.

Seeing Biff approach, the man drew back, fading into the crowd. By the
time Biff had forced his way to where the man had been standing, the
picture-taker had disappeared.

Biff frowned. He hadn’t liked the man’s appearance, and his slinking
away made Biff even more suspicious. Why had he taken the pictures? How
had he known which of the arriving visitors was Mr. Brewster? Biff shook
his head. The answer to that question might have some connection with
the call his father had received from Dr. Weber.

He had better tell his father about the incident, Biff decided. He
rejoined the family and was about to speak when Mr. Brewster raised his
voice.

“Over here! Over here, Mr. Mahenili!” He waved to an approaching man who
in turn waved back, calling, “Aloha, my friend. Aloha!”

It was Hanale Mahenili, a native Hawaiian with whom the Brewster family
was to stay during their visit to the islands. Mr. Mahenili was the
Hawaiian representative of the Ajax Mining Company.

Introductions were made, and with the smiling Hawaiian leading the way,
the party entered the airport terminal.

Passing a newsstand, Mr. Brewster halted quickly. He strode to the
newsstand and snatched up a copy of the _Honolulu Star Bulletin_. Biff
stepped to his father’s side and read the eight-column headline over his
shoulder.

                  Dr. Weber, Famous Scientist, Missing



                               CHAPTER V
                             Detective Biff


Thomas Brewster read the startling story hurriedly. Biff read along with
him. The story was sketchy. There were few details. Dr. Weber had been
scheduled to open the first session of the mining engineers’ conference
the previous afternoon. The meeting had started, but Dr. Weber failed to
appear. When the meeting ended, and Dr. Weber was still missing, the
police were notified.

“Do you know anything about this, Hank?” Mr. Brewster asked Hanale
Mahenili. “Hanale” was the Hawaiian form of the proper name, “Henry.”
Among his business associates, Mr. Mahenili liked to be called Hank. His
Hawaiian friends called him Hanale.

“Yes, my friend, I do,” Mr. Mahenili replied. “It is most sad, most
frightening. In fact, I was the one who discovered his disappearance.”

“When and how?” Mr. Brewster’s voice showed his concern.

“Yesterday afternoon, at the opening of the conference.”

Tom Brewster turned to his wife. “Martha, why don’t you take Ted and
Monica over to that bench and sit down? We’ll only be a minute. Biff,
you stay with me. I want you to know what’s going on. Sorry, Hank, but I
didn’t want my wife alarmed. Please continue.”

Biff felt highly pleased that his father wanted him in on whatever was
happening.

“Well, Tom, when Johann failed to appear at his place at the speakers’
table, I thought at first he might have been detained, perhaps held up
by traffic. Or that he might have been napping after lunch, and had
overslept. He’s an old man, you know. And not too strong.”

“Yes. I know. We’ve all been worried about him. He still tries to do too
much for a man his age.”

“I waited about fifteen minutes,” Hanale Mahenili continued. “Then I
left the head table to go to his hotel. He’s been staying at the Royal
Poinciana. On my way there, my fears that he had become ill increased.”

Mr. Mahenili paused, as if ordering his thoughts.

“Yes, yes. Go on.”

“At the hotel, I rang his room. There was no answer. I went to the desk,
and they told me they believed the doctor was still in his room. He
hadn’t left his key at the desk, which was his habit every time he left
the room.”

“I’ll bet you were really worried then,” Biff said.

“I certainly was, young man. I called for the manager, and we went up to
Johann’s room. The manager had a pass key, and, after knocking, we
entered his suite.”

“And no Johann Weber,” Mr. Brewster said.

“That’s right, Tom. He has a two-room suite. He wasn’t in either room.”

“Was there any evidence that the room had been searched?”

Mr. Mahenili shook his head. “It was hard to tell. Papers on his desk
were in a disordered mess. Two drawers in his bureau were pulled out,
with clothing messed up, and a few things strewn on the door. But you
know how careless Johann was. He was never one for neatness and order.”

“But it could have been someone else who had searched the desk, and
pulled out the drawers,” Mr. Brewster said.

“Yes, it could. There was no way of telling definitely.”

“Sir,” Biff said. “Were you able to get any idea of when he had last
been in his room?”

“No, Biff. We weren’t. I was coming to that. We questioned the elevator
operators and the desk clerks. Both night and day clerks. None of them
could remember when they had last seen the doctor.”

Biff’s brows were knitted in questioning thought. “Sir, I’d like to make
a suggestion, or, rather, ask you this. Do you know if Dr. Weber usually
had his breakfast in his room?”

“Why, the idea never occurred to us.”

“Good thinking, son,” Mr. Brewster said.

“And were the maids asked if his bed had been slept in the night
before?”

Henry Mahenili gave a shrug of helplessness. “I’m afraid, young man,
that you’re a far better detective than I am. No, the maids weren’t
questioned.”

“Well, then, Dad—”

Thomas Brewster interrupted his son. “I’m right with you, Biff. Our
first stop in Honolulu had better be the Royal Poinciana Hotel.”

“My car’s right outside. Your luggage should be off the plane by now,”
Mr. Mahenili said. “The hotel’s on the beach—Waikiki Beach. I’m sure
your family will enjoy seeing the most famous beach in the United
States.”

“Gee, that’s great,” Biff said. “Ted and Monica will flip. And so will
I. After all, we’re tourists.”

“All right, let’s go.”

Luggage and family were assembled and placed in Mr. Mahenili’s open
convertible. The Brewsters were in for a thrilling ride.

Leaving the airport, Mr. Mahenili turned onto a dual thoroughfare called
Ala Moana. They crossed the Ala Wai Canal nearing the famous Waikiki
Beach section.

“On the right,” Mr. Mahenili pointed out, “is the Kapaiama Basin.”

Yachts of every color and description lay at anchor in the beautiful
harbor. Some were moving out into the main harbor of Honolulu.

Everywhere the Brewster family looked, they saw flowers. One street
would be lined with trees bearing white flowers. The next street would
be one of red flowering trees, or yellow, or deep blue.

The car turned off Ala Moana onto Kalia Road. They saw the gleaming dome
of the Hawaiian Village. To their right now, they could see the
beautiful hotels standing like sentinels guarding the beach. Then Mr.
Mahenili turned the car into the spacious Garden-of-Eden-like grounds of
the Royal Poinciana Hotel. Mrs. Brewster and the twins walked down to
the beach. Biff, his father, and their Hawaiian friend went into the
hotel.

The manager of the Royal Poinciana received the two men and Biff in his
office. Biff looked at his father.

“Go ahead, Biff. This was your idea.”

“Sir,” Biff said, addressing the manager, “I wonder if you could find
out if Dr. Weber usually had his breakfast in his room since he’s been
here?”

“Easily, young man. Won’t take a minute.” The manager picked up the
telephone on his desk.

“And would you ask if he had breakfast there yesterday morning?”

The manager nodded his head and spoke into the phone. He asked both
questions Biff had suggested, nodded his head, and replaced the phone on
its cradle.

“No real help there. Sometimes he called for breakfast service;
sometimes not. Yesterday morning, room service reports, there was no
call from Suite 210-11—that’s where Dr. Weber was staying.”

“Well, one more thing.” Biff continued his role of detective. “Would the
same maids who were on duty yesterday be on duty this morning?”

“I’ll check that with the floor supervisor. I think I know what your
question will be—had Dr. Weber’s bed been slept in?”

Biff smiled. “That’s right, sir.”

Again the manager placed his call and asked his questions.

“The floor supervisor will call back as soon as she’s checked. Only take
a minute or two. While we wait, let me extend my welcome to Hawaii to
you. I regret that this most unfortunate situation has come about. But
I’m sure Dr. Weber will be found.”

“Thank you,” Thomas Brewster said. “I hope you are right.”

The telephone rang.

“Yes. Yes. I see. Thank you.” The manager replaced the phone. “The
supervisor says the maid who takes care of that suite said Dr. Weber’s
bed had not been slept in Monday night.”

Biff looked from his father to Mr. Mahenili. Nothing was said for a
moment. Then Mr. Brewster spoke.

“Any more questions, Biff?”

“No, sir. Can’t think of anything else, Dad. Not now.”

“Well, we have established the fact that Dr. Weber must have disappeared
sometime on Monday,” Mr. Brewster said.

“That was the day he telephoned you, wasn’t it, Dad?” Biff asked.

“Yes. I talked to him late in the afternoon. Here, that would have been
around noon, Hawaii time. I know he was calling from this hotel. So, we
can pinpoint his disappearance from sometime between noon Monday, to
early Monday night. The doctor always retired early.”

“Thank you very much for your cooperation, Mr. Pierson,” Mr. Mahenili
said. With Biff and his father, he arose and left the manager’s office.

They walked out into the bright sunlight and across a broad patio,
hedged in by flame-colored flowers. The beach of Waikiki was right in
front of them. As they walked toward it to find Mrs. Brewster and the
twins, the swarthy man with the camera who had been at the airport
earlier, stepped from behind a palm tree and watched them go.



                               CHAPTER VI
                               The Letter


Hanale Mahenili had driven only a short distance from the Royal
Poinciana when Monica, in the rear seat of the convertible, let out a
howl.

“Monica! Whatever in the world!” her mother said.

“My lei! My lei! I left it on the beach!” Monica wailed.

“Knew you would,” her brother Ted said, in his I-told-you-so voice.

Mr. Mahenili turned to Tom Brewster and smiled. “That’s easily taken
care of. We can get them anywhere along here.”

He pulled the car over to the curb in front of a charming hotel
constructed of red and white coral. Just to the left of the entrance to
the hotel’s palm-studded grounds, sat an old woman surrounded by flowers
of every color and species. The woman was seated in a high-backed chair,
made of coconut fronds, with her feet in a tub filled with pink, red,
and yellow buds. A flame-red hibiscus was stabbed in her topknot. She
was a plump Hawaiian woman, dressed in a flowered _muumuu_ the island
adaptation of the mother-hubbard dress introduced many years ago by New
England missionaries.

The old woman’s brown, deeply lined face cracked into a smile as the
Brewsters got out of the car.

Mr. Mahenili spoke to her in the musical words of the native Hawaiian.
The old woman’s deft hands grasped a long, slender lei needle, and her
hands seemed to fly as she swiftly threaded at least a hundred flowers
into a beautiful garland.

“This lei,” Mr. Mahenili explained, “is being made of the plumeria. You
see,” he picked up one of the flowers, “it has five petals. Smell it.”

Mrs. Brewster took the flower. “My, that’s lovely! It seems to me I’ve
been smelling this lovely scent ever since we’ve been here.”

“You have. This blossom is highly perfumed. It makes our island the
sweetest smelling place in the world.”

The old woman had finished. She arose and draped the newly made lei
around Monica’s neck. “For the _nani keiki_,” she said.

“That means for the ‘beautiful child.’”

Monica blushed, but her smile showed her pleasure.

“Thank you,” she said, dipping her head.

Mr. Mahenili handed the woman some money.

“_Mahalo, mahalo_,” she said.

“And now she’s saying, ‘Thank you,’ to us,” Hank Mahenili explained.

Half an hour later, following a thrilling ride up the twisting road
running over the _pali_, the cliffs, of the Koolau Mountain range, they
dropped swiftly down to sea level again on the north side of the island.
A short run along broad, curving beaches, and they arrived at the
Mahenilis’ beach-front home on Waimanalo Bay.

The warmth and gracious hospitality of the Mahenili family made the
Brewsters feel at home immediately. The Mahenilis’ son, Likake, fifteen,
and Biff were old friends within an hour of their meeting. Little
Wikolia Mahenili was just Monica and Ted’s age, but quite a bit smaller.
She considered the twins her personal property and showed them around
with great pride.

There was only one cloud to mar the Brewsters’ sky-high happiness. Dr.
Johann Weber was still missing.

Late in the second afternoon of the Brewsters’ stay in Honolulu, Biff
and Likake were swimming when Biff saw his father come down to the beach
and hail him.

“Let’s go, Li!” Biff called, and the boys rode a breaker back to the
shore.

“Hi, Dad. You want me?” Water dripped off Biff’s tanned body. Likake,
his round brown face with its usual eager expression, stood beside him.

“I want you to get dressed, now, son. I’d like you to come to the dinner
and evening session of our meeting,” Mr. Brewster said.

“You bet, Dad. Wouldn’t miss it for anything. This is the night you
speak, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” Tom Brewster smiled. “But that isn’t the main reason for my
wanting you there. I’ll tell you about it later.”

“Okay, Dad. May Likake come along?”

“Surely. Mr. and Mrs. Mahenili are coming. The little ones will stay at
home.”

Likake had gone on ahead.

“What’s it all about, Dad? Something to do with Dr. Weber?” Biff asked.

“Not exactly, Biff. But I think there’s going to be a man at the dinner
tonight I want you to get a look at. There could be a connection between
him and Dr. Weber’s disappearance.”

“Is it that man, Perez Something-or-other—the one you mentioned when you
got that phone call at home?”

“He’s the man, Biff.”

Biff’s brows were knitted in thought.

“Dad, there’s something I’ve been wanting to do,” Biff interrupted. “Is
it all right if I do a little snooping after you speak? You’ll be at the
reception and dance. I’ve got an idea. And Likake said he’d help me.”

“Snooping, son? When trained detectives are on the job? This is a
vacation, and I want you to enjoy it. But there’s no reason why you and
Likake can’t nose about a bit. Don’t do anything foolish, though.”


The dinner was over. Biff had tried not to stare too hard nor too long
at the husky, shifty-eyed man at the next table. Perez Soto! Biff sensed
the sheer physical power of the man, and he shuddered involuntarily.
This was no opponent to treat lightly. He couldn’t help thinking: Biff
Brewster, take warning!

The chairman rapped for order. Guests at the head table were introduced,
then the chairman turned to Thomas Brewster.

“We are very happy tonight,” the chairman said, “to have so
distinguished a speaker with us. You all know him. You all know of the
many contributions he has made in our field. I refer, of course, to the
chief field engineer of the Ajax Mining Company, Mr. Thomas Brewster.”

Mrs. Brewster smiled proudly at her husband.

Tom Brewster arose. His talk was short, direct, and crisply delivered.
He received an ovation when he concluded.

Biff looked at Likake and winked. The two boys slipped away from the
table unnoticed.

Outside the hotel, Biff asked, “Which way?”

“The Poinciana’s just a short walk from here. We’ll go in the back
way—through the garden.”

“You’re sure it’s all right? This bellboy is a good friend of yours?”
Biff inquired.

“Sure. I know Hale real well. His brother, Kioni, and I go to Kamehameha
School. That’s a school only for boys and girls of Hawaiian ancestry.
We’re almost like blood brothers.”

The night was moonlit. Palm leaves rustled under a gentle breeze. The
steady murmur of the surf was clear in the night air.

Biff and Likake reached the garden of the Royal Poinciana.

“Hale told me he would fix it so the deck door of Dr. Weber’s room would
be open. Come on,” Li said.

The boys walked boldly through the hotel’s garden. Biff knew better than
to try to hide their presence. To do so would attract attention, and
that was just what he didn’t want to do.

They mounted the stairs to the hotel’s second floor, and walked along
the deck until they reached Dr. Weber’s room.

Hale had done his job. The door was open. Biff entered the room. Likake,
his heart pounding, was right on his heels.

The room was faintly lighted by the moonlight from outside. Biff paused
in the middle of the room to allow his eyes to become accustomed to the
dim light.

Then he started his search. Ever since the call to Indianapolis, Biff
had wondered about the letter mentioned during the conversation. His
father had said, “Forget it,” but Biff hadn’t been able to. The letter
_had_ to mean something. Where would a man like Dr. Weber hide a letter?
Biff asked himself. He felt certain that Dr. Weber had been kidnaped,
but he didn’t think the abductors had the letter. If they did, then why
were they holding the doctor?

“Course, I could be all wrong,” Biff told himself. But he didn’t think
he was.

“Likake. Li. Come here,” Biff whispered and was startled to hear Li’s
voice right back of him.

“I am here. Right with you.” Li sounded scared, Biff thought.

“Okay. You take the bathroom. It’s a letter we’re looking for. I’ll take
the bedroom, then we’ll both search this room.”

The boys made a swift, but thorough search. Nothing in the bathroom.
Nothing in the bedroom.

“Now where do we look?” Li asked.

“You take that side of the room. I’ll start by the hall door.”

Biff’s search started at the telephone table. Nothing in the drawers.
But there wouldn’t be, Biff told himself. Too obvious a place. He
started to leave the table, and, glancing down, saw that the table must
have been left in the same condition it had been in on the day of the
call. Crumbs of tobacco were scattered on the tabletop. Several burned
matches were in an ash-tray. The doctor’s tobacco pouch lay at the base
of the lamp. Biff picked it up idly, looking about the room for the next
spot to search.

Standing there, swinging the pouch by its draw-string, he thought he
heard paper crackle. He stood motionless, halting the swing of the
pouch. He strained his ears. Nothing. He tossed the pouch back on the
table. Again he heard the slight sound of paper crinkling.

Biff snatched the pouch up again. He opened the pouch. His hand darted
in it and dug deeply in the tobacco. Paper! His fingers weren’t wrong.
He withdrew the paper and held it close to his eyes. It was a letter,
all right.

“Biff! Biff! Look out!” Li shouted.

Biff turned just in time to see a figure leap at him.



                              CHAPTER VII
                           An Important Find


Biff sidestepped quickly. His attacker’s charge struck him a glancing
blow, spinning him around. He stumbled backward, almost losing his
footing.

In the dim light, Biff saw the man turn and crouch, ready to charge
again. This time, Biff met charge with charge. The man came at him low.
Biff hurled his body at the attacker even lower. He threw a
bone-crushing football block at the man’s knees. The attacker was
upended, his head striking the floor, his legs flying upward as if he
were diving.

Biff leaped to his feet.

“Come on, Biff!” Li called from the open doorway.

Biff sprang for the door, hurdling over his attacker lying on the floor.
He felt sure he had cleared him when a hand snaked up and grabbed Biff
by one ankle. Biff crashed to the floor, stretched out, his head
pointing toward Li, who was standing in the doorway in dismay.

Rising on one knee, Biff tried to jerk his ankle free. The man held on
with a viselike grip. Biff thought fast.

“Here, Li! Catch!” He tossed Dr. Weber’s tobacco pouch to his friend. It
fell at Li’s feet. “Grab it, Li! Grab it, and scram. I’ll be all right.”

Li bent over and snatched up the tobacco pouch. He stood in the doorway,
hesitating.

“Don’t wait!” Biff called fiercely. “Get out of here fast.”

Li, shocked by the sudden violence, was confused. He felt he should stay
and help his friend. But Biff had ordered him out. Apparently the
important thing was to escape with the tobacco pouch. He turned, shot
through the door, and ran swiftly, silently, along the porch.

Biff now turned his full attention to freeing himself. He knew he would
have to make his getaway fast. Someone in the hotel was certain to have
heard the sounds of violence coming from the room. This was no time for
an investigation. Biff knew that he was as much of a prowler as his
attacker.

The attacker changed his tactics. Now he wanted to get free of Biff.

“Oh, no, you don’t,” Biff muttered, and threw his arms around the man’s
legs. He knew that Li was now the attacker’s prey. Li and the tobacco
pouch.

Biff held on. The man, struggling to remain upright, struck down
savagely at the base of Biff’s skull. Biff rolled, avoiding the
paralyzing blow.

The attacker, freed of Biff’s grasp, leaped for the door. Biff was on
his feet, right behind him. Reaching the door, Biff saw the man dash for
the steps. Instead of following immediately, Biff decided to wait a
moment. Surely Li had gotten clear. Li knew the grounds of the hotel
well. He’d be able to avoid capture, make a clean getaway with the pouch
and its valuable letter.

When the attacker was out of sight, down the stairs, Biff stepped out
onto the porch. He straightened his jacket. He wanted to look like a
guest of the hotel if anyone stopped him. From behind he heard the
sounds of someone banging on the corridor door.

“The time has come,” he said to himself, “for me to make my departure
from this charming hostelry.” He walked unhurriedly toward the stairs.
Once there, though, he dashed down them, taking three steps at a time.
In moments, he was concealed behind a spreading poinciana shrub.

Biff stood silently. He strained his ears for any sound, the sound of
either Li or his attacker. Only the soft rustling of palm fronds came to
his ears. He decided to move out. Taking great care to remain in the
cover of trees and shrubs—the moonlight was brilliant—Biff moved
cautiously through the garden. He decided against returning the same way
he and Li had come. He felt sure that his attacker had followed them
from the hotel where his father had spoken. The man might figure the
boys would return to the hotel. He’d be waiting for them there, Biff
reasoned.

“Sure hope Li figures it the way I have,” Biff told himself.

Biff walked in the opposite direction. He came to the edge of the
garden. The street was only a few feet away. A few feet, but those few
feet were open space, no cover, unprotected from the view of others.

“I’ll just have to chance it,” Biff said softly. He planned to dash
across the opening, run down the street, and hope to find a cruising
taxicab.

Biff tensed. He thought he heard a noise behind him. It sounded like a
small twig snapping. He turned his head slowly. He didn’t want a second
attack from behind that night. Now he felt positive that someone was
moving in the shrubbery nearby.

Then he heard it, softly, barely audible above the noise of the rustling
leaves and nearby surf.

“Biff!”

Biff let out his held breath in a deep sigh of relief.

“Right here, Li,” he called.

His Hawaiian friend emerged from behind a tree and joined him.

“You all right, Biff? You hurt?” Li asked anxiously.

“Me? No. Not even shaken up. But how about you? And the tobacco pouch.
You’ve still got it?”

Li nodded his head, extending a hand with the pouch in it.

“Swell, Li. Great. How did you get away? Did that guy try to follow
you?”

“He tried to follow all right. But I fooled him. I kept just far enough
ahead of him so he could hear me. I made little noises.” Biff could see
Li’s grin in the moonlight. “So I could lead him away. I wanted to be
sure you got away okay.”

“Pretty smart, Li. But how did you finally shake him off?”

“I led him way to the rear of the garden. Then I quit making any noise.
I moved like a cat, circled around, and headed for here. I sort of
figured you wouldn’t try to get back to the other hotel.”

“Good figuring. You and I are going to make a great team. But I think
we’d better get out of here fast before ‘Nosy’ figures the same way we
did. Where would be the best place to get a cab?”

“Just follow me.” Li turned, and instead of heading for the street, he
plunged back into the garden. He led Biff along the edge of the garden,
until they came to a low hedge fence, the rear boundary of the
Poinciana’s grounds. Li leaped over it, Biff following. Then the
Hawaiian boy cut to his right, and in a few moments, they jumped another
hedge into another formal garden.

“Where are we now?” Biff asked in a whisper.

“This is the garden of the Aloha Hale—that means Aloha House. It’s a
small hotel. We can find a taxi right out front. Come on.”

They moved noiselessly through the garden, and emerged on the lighted
street just to the left of the hotel’s entrance. They were lucky. A
taxicab was waiting at its stand. The boys quickly hopped in.

Biff sat back. Relief came to him, and he suddenly realized how much his
recent exertions had taken out of him.

“Wowie! Am I ever glad to get out of that.”

“Me, too, Biff. Where do we go? Back to the hotel, or home?”

“To your house. I told Dad we’d take a cab back.”

Li gave the driver instructions.

Biff looked at the luminous dial of his watch.

“Jeepers! Do you know it’s been two hours since we left the hotel! Seems
like only minutes.”

Tom Brewster and Hank Mahenili were still up when the boys reached home.

“Well, we were beginning to wonder what had happened to you two,” Tom
Brewster said.

“Plenty, Dad,” Biff said, smiling.

“It looks like it.” His father was looking at Biff’s rumpled white
jacket. One shoulder of it bore a smudge where he had landed on the
green carpet of Dr. Weber’s room.

“We had a little adventure,” Biff said. “More than we expected.”

“You’re all right, Li?” Hank Mahenili asked, a worried look on his face.

“Sure, Dad. It was Biff who had the fight.”

“Fight?” Tom Brewster stood up. “Just what happened, son?”

Biff gave his father and Hank Mahenili a fast fill-in on the night’s
adventure.

“But we got what we were looking for,” he concluded. Biff reached in his
jacket pocket and pulled out Dr. Weber’s tobacco pouch. He took out the
crumpled letter.

“This has a New Zealand postmark on it. I think it’s that letter you
talked to Dr. Weber about when he called you back in Indianapolis. I
haven’t read it, though. Thought you might not want me to know what’s in
it.”

Thomas Brewster took the letter. He read it rapidly, then reread it. His
frown showed how deep his concentration was. Without a word, he handed
the letter to Mahenili. The Hawaiian read it.

The two boys watched their parents. Finally Biff spoke.

“Is it important, Dad? I thought it might be.”

“Very important, Biff. Wouldn’t you say so, Hank?”

“Unbelievably so.”

Biff looked questioningly at his father.

“This _is_ the letter Dr. Weber mentioned; the letter he received from
Jim Huntington. It tells of a find Jim made in New Zealand—a fabulous
mining discovery.”

“And that’s why he was coming here to meet you and Dr. Weber?” Biff
asked.

“That’s right, son.”

“Then whoever it was attacked me tonight, or kidnaped Dr. Weber, would
know where the find was, too?”

“Not exactly, Biff. They’d know of it, but not where it was. Huntington
was bringing samples of the ore, and details of its location, with him.”

“That information, then, must still be in his sunken sloop,” Biff said.

Tom Brewster nodded his head.

“We’ll have to find it, won’t we, Dad?” the boy asked eagerly.

“We’re surely going to try.”

There was silence for several minutes. Everyone’s mind was filled with
thoughts.

“Dad.” It was Biff who broke the silence. “Don’t you think we can read
good news in my finding this letter?”

“How do you mean, Biff?”

“Well, wouldn’t you think from this that Dr. Weber must still be alive?”

“Why do you say that, Biff?” Hank Mahenili asked.

“Well, sir, whoever grabbed him, since they didn’t find the letter, must
figure Dr. Weber knows what Mr. Huntington discovered, and they’re
holding him until he tells them about it, or tells them where the letter
is. They couldn’t know that the location isn’t described in the letter.”

“But how would they know anything about it if they hadn’t seen the
letter?” Li piped up.

“They have their ways,” Tom Brewster replied. “The doctor probably told
someone else about Huntington’s coming here. Not that he would have said
why. But Huntington’s explorations are well known. Whoever kidnapped Dr.
Weber would know that a meeting between Dr. Weber, Huntington, and me
could lead to something of tremendous value.”

“And what is that, Dad? Can you tell me?”

“I could, Biff, but I don’t think I will—not yet. The fewer people who
know what Huntington discovered, the better. And it would be safer for
you, too, not to know.”

“You mean, Dad....” Biff paused.

“Yes, Biff, you’re in this now right up to your young neck. It could
easily be figured that you now know as much as Dr. Weber, since you
found the letter. That makes you a target, too.”

Biff found it difficult to swallow the lump which had suddenly come into
his throat.



                              CHAPTER VIII
                            The Police Call


“Did you get a good look at your attacker, Biff?” Tom Brewster asked his
son.

“Gee, Dad. He came at me too fast. And it was fairly dark in the room.”

“I was wondering. Perez Soto—you know, the man I pointed out to you at
the dinner—well, he wasn’t at the reception afterward. I thought he
might have followed you boys.”

“I don’t think so, Dad. Perez Soto is a good-sized man. Husky. This
fellow I had the hassle with was smaller, I think.”

“And that Mr. Perez Soto,” Li added, “he was wearing a white dinner
jacket. This man wasn’t.”

“He could have changed, son,” Hank Mahenili pointed out.

“Li’s right, though,” Biff said. “I think we both will agree that it
wasn’t Perez Soto.”

“All right, boys. Better get to bed. It’s late, and tomorrow’s going to
be a big day.”


It was a big day, and it ended with a bang.

The engineering conference had wound up the night before with the dinner
at which Biff’s father spoke. This day, the day following, Hanale
Mahenili had invited a selected group from among those who had attended
the conference to a _luau_ at his house. The prospect of going to the
_luau_, the traditional Hawaiian feast, especially one cooked by a
native of the island, was exciting.

Hank Mahenili had been up early to get things under way. He was going to
supervise the cooking of the _luau_ personally. It took all day to
prepare a _luau_ properly, and when Hank Mahenili did something, he did
it right.

Biff and Li helped with the early preparations. They dug a deep pit in
which a pig would be roasted.

“Anything else we can do, sir?” Biff asked.

“Not now, Biff,” his Hawaiian friend replied.

“Then how about a swim, Li?” Biff inquired.

“Want to try real surfing this morning?” Li asked.

“Do I! Let’s go.”

Since Biff had arrived, the boys had swum before breakfast, after
breakfast, and practically all their free time. Li was an expert
swimmer, especially under water. At first, Biff became worried when his
new friend dived and seemed to remain under water long past the safety
point. But always, Li’s laughing face would break the water just when
Biff was about to dive for him.

Biff and Li hit the water and swam out into the ocean with powerful
strokes. Biff was just a bit faster than Li. They took the plunge first
to loosen up their muscles and became accustomed to the water. Next they
tackled the surfboards.

Li swam most of the way back under water.

“You still worry me, Li. I don’t know how you can hold your breath that
long,” Biff remarked as the boys walked up the beach.

“Just practice, Biff. I’ve been doing it since I could walk, I guess.
Dad tells me I could swim before I could walk.”

The boys paused to watch an outrigger come plunging toward the shore
atop a long, rolling wave.

The outrigger was being paddled furiously by two Hawaiian boys. On one
side of the canoe, its outrigging extended out in two arching arms,
connected by a buoyant float of _wiliwili_ wood to give the slender
canoe more stability.

The canoe ground ashore, and its laughing passengers scrambled out.

“All set, Biff? Ready to make a real try at it today?”

“By me that’s fine. I think I almost got the knack of it yesterday.”

“When it comes to you, it comes all of a sudden. You just sort of feel
it.”

“I hope I feel it today,” Biff said, laughing.

The first day, the boys had swum out to where the long rollers formed,
and had ridden them in, their bodies held stiff. Li wanted Biff to
become accustomed to the waves. Then they had started with the
surfboards.

The two boys walked across the beach to two long, brightly painted
surfboards made of _wiliwili_ wood. They carried the boards out into the
ocean until they were waist deep. Then, sprawling on the boards, they
paddled off shore several hundred yards.

“Okay, we’ll try it here. Head your board toward shore,” Li called.

Biff slowly turned his board until its pointed bow was aimed at the
beach.

“Okay. I’m ready.”

“Let the first few waves pass until you get the feel and lift. Then,
when one comes that feels good—that’s the only way I can explain
it—start paddling like crazy.”

Biff followed instructions. He felt himself being lifted by the first
wave, then a second. Now came a huge roller, raising both boys high
above the trough left by the preceding roller. Biff started paddling
furiously, still lying face down on the board. He felt the wave grab it.
The board picked up speed, riding right at the crest of the roller. He
had made it!

Li was right alongside. The boys were speeding shoreward at nearly
thirty miles per hour.

When the roller broke on the shallow shore, Biff was tossed off in the
foaming breaker. He grabbed his board and held on until the wave
smoothed out.

“Gee! That’s the most thrilling ride I’ve ever had!” he exclaimed.

“You did great, Biff,” Li said. “But just wait. If you think that was a
charge, wait till you ride the board standing up. How about it?”

“Let’s go!” Biff agreed promptly.

Out they went again. Again they waited for the right feel of the roller.
Biff felt one take his board. He was speeding shoreward. He looked over
the water at his friend. He saw Li rise to a knee crouch, then slowly
straighten up until he was standing straight, head held high.

Biff tried it. He got to his knees. Carefully feeling for his balance,
he started straightening up. “I’ve done it,” he said triumphantly to
himself. He looked shoreward just in time to catch a blinding splash of
salt spray. He blinked his eyes, and the next thing he knew, he was
floundering in the water.

Li, seeing what had happened, leaped off his board, turned it, and came
paddling back to Biff.

“I meant to tell you. When you get up, hold your head high, and back.
Then the salt spray doesn’t hit you in the eyes.”

“_Now_ you tell me,” Biff said, laughing. “I’m going to make it this
time.”

They started out even. Li got up first. Biff took seconds longer. He was
more careful this time. The tough part was straightening up from a
crouching position to an erect one, then placing one foot ahead of the
other, and getting a good balance. Biff arose slowly, slowly but surely.
He made it. The two boys rode standing up, only a few feet separating
their two boards.

Li turned to Biff and grinned. Then he clasped his hands over his head,
making a handshake of congratulation. He was so thrilled at seeing Biff
make it that he forgot about himself. This time it was the expert who
spilled himself into the water.

Biff rode triumphantly into shore alone.


The _luau_ was ready. The guests had arrived. Li burst into Biff’s room.

[Illustration: _Biff got to his knees, carefully feeling for his
balance_]

“_Wikiwiki_, Biff! Hurry. Everything’s ready.”

“I’m wikiwiki-ing just as fast as I can.”

“Here, put on this _aloha_ shirt—all the _kanes_ wear them. The
_wahines_, the women, wear _holukus_ or _muumuus_. You call them
mother-hubbards, only ours are brightly colored with big flowers printed
on them.”

“What do the kids—what do you call them—_keikis_? What do they wear?”

Li laughed at Biff’s pronunciation. “How many times do I have to tell
you that _every_ letter in a Hawaiian word is pronounced? Here’s how you
say ‘children’ in Hawaiian: _kay-ee-keys_, with the accent on the first
syllable.”

“Okay, _Li-ka-kay_.”

“Gee, that’s the first time you’ve said my name right. You stick around
long enough, and you’ll be a real Hawaiian!”

“What’s your name in English, Li?” Biff asked.

“Richard.”

“Okay, Dick—let’s go.”

The _luau_ was being held in the garden in the rear of the Mahenilis’
home. Under gaily striped awnings, long tables had been set up. They
were decorated with fragrant-smelling ferns, flowers, pineapples and
bananas.

At each place setting, there had been placed a _niu_, a coconut with its
top slashed off, still containing the _wai niu_, or coconut water, which
would be sipped with the meal.

Hank Mahenili stood over the _lua_—the hole Biff and Li had dug earlier
in the day—making sure that the _puaa_ was done to a turn. A _luau_
isn’t the real thing without a roast pig.

“All ready, everyone,” Hank called out, and started cutting pieces of
the pig. The meat was so tender it fell apart. Hank placed the meat on
_ti_ leaves, and servants carried it to the tables.

“What a meal!” Biff said, finding his place beside Li. “Never saw so
much food.”

In addition to the _puaa_, there was a _umeke_, a small bowl, of
_poi_—taro root pounded to a paste. There was a dish, called _pa_, of
_lomilomi_—salmon, which didn’t look a bit like salmon, since it had
been shredded and kneaded into a salad. There was also a dish of _moa_,
chicken cooked in coconut juice, and another _pa_ of _opihi_, a small,
delicately flavored shell fish.

This wasn’t all. There were _pas_ of _i’a_, fish, and sweet potatoes,
called _uwala kalua_.

“If I eat all this, I’ll explode,” Biff said.

“Here, have some of this,” Li said.

“What is it?” There was a suspicious look on Biff’s face.

“It’s delicious. Called _limu_.”

Biff took a small bite. His face lit up. “It’s good. But what is it?”

“Seaweed,” Li said and burst out into laughter.

“Honestly. _This_ is seaweed?”

“That’s right. Not the kind you know, though. This is an edible
seaweed.”

“I’ll say it’s edible. Give me more.”

Everywhere one looked, Mahenili’s guests were devouring the food.
Strange though some of it looked, no one could deny the food’s
succulence. People were falling to as if they hadn’t eaten for days.

Biff took one final bite and sat back.

“Couldn’t eat another thing if I had to. Don’t think I’ll ever want to
eat again.” He looked at his friend and smiled. “_Mahalo, aikane_.
Thanks, friend.”

Biff’s attention was attracted by a Hawaiian, not in _luau_ dress, but
in business clothes, coming across the garden. He saw the man approach
Mr. Mahenili.

“Who’s that?” Biff asked, nudging Li.

Li looked, and his face became serious.

“Golly. That’s Mr. Kapatka. I wonder what he’s doing here.”

“And just who, _aikane_, is Mr. Kapatka?” Biff asked.

“He’s the chief of the Honolulu police.”



                               CHAPTER IX
                           Mysterious Message


“I’m sorry to interrupt your festivities,” Chief of Police Kapatka said
to Mr. Mahenili.

“That’s all right, Kioni,” Li’s father replied courteously. “We’re at
the end of our _luau_, and I know you’ve got your job to do. Just what
is it? You have word of the missing Dr. Weber?”

“Well, the answer to that has to be both yes and no. Actually, I’m here
to see one of your guests. You have a Mr. Thomas Brewster staying with
you, do you not?”

“Why, yes, we do.”

“And his son?”

“Yes, Mr. Brewster and his family are staying with me on their visit to
the islands.”

“I’d like to speak to them,” the chief requested.

Hank Mahenili excused himself and crossed the garden to where Mr. and
Mrs. Brewster stood chatting with other guests.

Biff and Li had watched the police chief talking to Li’s father. Now
they saw Mr. Mahenili and Mr. Brewster coming toward them.

“Come along, Biff,” his father said. “Police want to talk to us.”

Li tagged along, the deep brown eyes in his bronze face wide with
curiosity.

“I’m Thomas Brewster, Chief. And this is my son, Biff. Has Dr. Weber
been found?”

“No, Mr. Brewster, unfortunately not.”

“But it is Dr. Weber you want to see us about?”

“In a way, yes. Let me explain. An hour ago, we had a call from Wailuku,
that’s the capital of the Island of Maui. An emergency case had been
brought to the hospital there—a man suffering from a deep stab wound.
The man was identified as a certain Juan Tokawto. He has a police
record. A minor criminal, in and out of several scrapes, but a bad
character. A man for hire.”

“Yes. But what has that to do with me, or my son?” Mr. Brewster asked.

“I’m coming to that, sir. Tokawto was found unconscious. At the time the
police called from Wailuku, he was still unconscious, so they hadn’t
been able to question him. They did find in his wallet, though, a
picture, a small photograph—two photographs, in fact. They identified
the man in one of the photos from a picture that appeared on the front
page of our Honolulu paper yesterday.”

Chief Kioni Kapatka paused. He apparently enjoyed building up suspense.

“The photograph in our paper was one of you, Mr. Brewster. It appeared
the day you spoke at the mining engineers’ meeting.”

“I know. But I don’t see—”

“The small photo found in Tokawto’s pocket was also of you, Mr.
Brewster. Of you and a lad whom I presume to be your son. This boy,
here.” He looked at Biff.

“Remember, Dad? I told you about that man at the airport snapping
pictures of you, of you and me. Ted spotted him first,” Biff reminded
his father.

Thomas Brewster nodded his head. “Well, Chief Kapatka, I can’t imagine
why any criminal would be carrying a picture of me and my son.”

“But remember, Mr. Brewster, I said that man was carrying two pictures.”

“Yes.”

“The other picture was that of the missing Dr. Weber.”

The police chief’s last statement struck the group like a bombshell. For
moments, nothing was said. The chief broke the silence.

“I’m sure that now you will see the connection,” he said.

“Yes,” Thomas Brewster replied. “There must be one. But just what? Have
you any ideas?”

“Only this, Mr. Brewster. The man Tokawto must have been hired to keep a
close check on your and your son’s movements. I suspect he was in
Honolulu yesterday. He must have learned something—something of value to
someone.”

“Say, Dad, I wonder if that man could have been the one who—who—” Biff
paused. He didn’t want to reveal to the police chief that he had gone
into Dr. Weber’s rooms at the Royal Poinciana without authority. “You
know, Dad. The man I had that little scrape with.”

“Could have been, son.”

The police chief looked at Biff with renewed interest. However, he
didn’t press Biff for a fuller explanation.

“It is my belief, Mr. Brewster,” Chief Kapatka continued, “that when
Tokawto went back to Maui, he thought his information was worth more
than he was being paid. His attempts at getting more money were rewarded
by a stab in the abdomen.”

“Some reward!” Biff interjected.

“But why the Island of Maui?” his father asked.

The police chief shrugged his shoulders.

Biff touched his father’s arm. “I have an idea on that, Dad,” he said.

“Let’s hear it, son.”

“Wouldn’t you think that perhaps Dr. Weber might be on the island, or on
a nearby one? And that whoever kidnaped him must have his headquarters
there?”

The three men considered Biff’s idea.

“You could be right, Biff. Do you agree, Chief?”

Chief Kapatka nodded his head in agreement.

“The police on Maui have asked that you come to Wailuku. They want you
there when Tokawto has recovered sufficiently for questioning,” the
chief said. “_If_ he recovers,” he added.

“We’ll go right away. Can you come along, Hank?”

“Certainly. Let me explain to my guests.”

Biff felt a tug on his sleeve. It was Li.

“How about asking if I can go, too, Biff?”

“Sure. You can help us.” Biff turned to his father. “Dad, Li ought to go
along, too. He speaks Hawaiian, and he and I might pick up some valuable
information. Would you ask Mr. Mahenili?”

Thomas Brewster nodded his head. “You better go pack a small bag. We may
be there for a day or two. Hop to it. We want to get over there
quickly.”

Biff and Li went into the house.

“We’ll get there soon, Biff. We’ll take the Inter-Island Street-Car
System.”

“Street-car! What are you talking about? Street-cars running across the
ocean!”

Li chuckled. “That’s what we call the Hawaiian Airlines. They make so
many flights each day, it’s just like standing on a corner waiting for
the next street-car.”

And it was. When the boys and their fathers reached the airport, they
learned there was a plane taking off within fifteen minutes.

The flight to Kahului, the principal airport on Maui, took only thirty
minutes. They arrived just as dusk was spreading over the Valley Island,
as Maui is called.

The drive from the airport to the capital of Maui, Wailuku, was a short
one. The police were expecting them.

“We’ve just been talking to the police in Hana,” the Wailuku police
chief said. “Tokawto is still on the danger list. They haven’t been able
to get anything out of him.”

“Then this Tokawto isn’t here?” Tom Brewster asked.

“No. He’s in Hana, a coastal town about sixty miles from here.”

“Shouldn’t we start right down there?”

“You can, of course, Mr. Brewster. However, Tokawto’s been placed under
heavy sedation. There’s little chance that he’ll do any talking tonight.
I’d suggest you spend the night here, then drive down early tomorrow
morning.”

“Oh, yes, Tom,” Hank Mahenili said. “You don’t want to miss the drive to
Hana. It’s a truly beautiful and thrilling experience.”

The sixty-mile drive was one of continuous curves. The road snaked
around cliffs, dived down to sea level, then climbed back up another
cliff.

The party checked into the Han-Maui Hotel, then left for the police
station.

Tokawto had come out of his sedation, but was still in such serious
condition that his words seemed a meaningless jumble during his
conscious spells.

“I don’t know if he’s going to make it or not,” Mr. Brewster said in a
low voice.

Biff stepped to the wounded man’s bedside for a closer look.

“That _is_ the man who was snapping pictures of us at the airport, Dad,”
he declared.

“Do you also think he’s the one you had your tussle with?”

“He could be,” Biff said slowly. “I’d say he’s about the right size. I
didn’t get a close look at his face, though.”

Tokawto moaned. He opened his eyes. He looked at Biff, and a frown of
recognition crossed his face. He stretched out one hand and spoke.

“Ka Lae,” he said, and repeated the two Hawaiian words: “Ka Lae.”

“What does that mean, Hank?” Mr. Brewster asked.

“Ka Lae is the name of the southern tip of the Big Island-Hawaii.”

“I think he was trying to tell me that,” Biff said. “I’m sure he
recognized me, and is trying to tell us that we ought to go to Ka Lae.”

Biff’s father nodded his head. “I think you’re right, Biff. Those words
have a meaning for me, too. I’ll tell you about it later. Back at the
hotel.”

They walked the short distance back to their quarters.

“Hank, do you think we could charter a boat here for a couple of days?”

“I’m sure we can. You’re going to Hawaii?”

“Yes. To Ka Lae. But, I want it thought that we’re just off on a fishing
cruise. No need for anyone but us to know our real reason for going.”

“Do you think Dr. Weber might be being held on the Big Island?” Biff
asked.

“I think it quite likely, Biff. But there’s still another reason for us
to take a good look around Ka Lae. That I’ll tell you about when we’re
on our boat at sea. Would you mind hopping up to my room and getting my
sun glasses, Biff? Then we’ll go see about a boat.”

Biff took the stairs to the second floor three at a stride. Li was right
behind him. Biff scrambled through his father’s bag, looking for the
glasses.

“Hey, Biff. Look at this!” Biff, glasses in hand, turned to see Li
pointing to the mirror of the room’s dresser. He walked over for a
closer look.

On the mirror, written in soap, was a message:

                              “JW for Cs”



                               CHAPTER X
                           Starting a Search


Biff wasted no time in getting back down to the lobby of the hotel. He
told his father about the message written in soap.

“Just the letters, you say—_JW_ for _CS_?” Mr. Brewster exclaimed.
“Let’s go back to my room. I want to see them for myself.”

The Brewsters and the Mahenilis went up the stairs. As they neared Mr.
Brewster’s room, they noticed its door was open.

“Now what can that mean? More trouble? That door was closed.” The
question flashed through Biff’s mind, but he did not speak.

The door, it developed, had been left ajar by the maid, but it was what
she was doing that upset Thomas Brewster.

They entered the room just in time to see the maid wipe the soap message
off the mirror.

Thomas Brewster started to speak, but he realized that she was only
doing her job. When the maid left the room, Mr. Brewster questioned his
son closely.

“Now this is important, Biff,” he said. “Can you remember exactly how
those letters were written? I mean, were they all capitals? Or was one
or more of them in lower case?”

“Lower case?” Li looked puzzled.

“He means small letters, Li. Now let’s see, Dad. I’m almost positive
that the _J_ and the _W_ were capitals. How about you, Li? Is that how
you remember it?”

The Hawaiian lad nodded his head.

“And I think I’m sure about the C. It was a capital letter, too. Right,
Li?”

“Gee, I think so, Biff.”

“But what about the _s_, Biff? This is important,” his father said.

Biff frowned. He closed his eyes trying to recreate a mental picture of
the soap scrawl. “Dad, I can’t be absolutely sure, but I think the _s_
was a small letter.”

Biff looked at Li. Li could only shrug his shoulders.

“I think your memory is probably right, Biff. You have a pretty good
one, and besides, it fits,” Mr. Brewster declared.

“I’m completely mystified,” Hank Mahenili put in. “All this talk about
letters, capitals, and small letters. What do they mean, Tom?”

“Well, first, I think—I hope—they mean that Dr. Weber is definitely
alive. That’s good news. They must also mean that he’s being held
prisoner. Not so good. The doctor is old, you know, and just how much he
can stand at his age is doubtful.”

“If he’s alive, we’ll find him,” Biff cut in.

“But the letters, what do they mean?” Hank repeated his question.

“The _J_ and the _W_, I’m sure, stand for Johann Weber. The _C_—capital
_C_—and the small _s_, is the chemical symbol for cesium.”

“Cesium!” Understanding came to Hank Mahenili. Any informed engineer
knew the importance of this element.

“Just what is cesium, Dad? And what is it used for?”

“Technically, son, its atomic number is 55, and its atomic weight is
132.91. Its use?” Mr. Brewster smiled. “I’ll tell you this, we’ll never
get to the moon without it.”

“You mean it’s used in rocket propulsion?” Biff asked.

“That’s right, Biff. It’s a high-thrust, long-life rocket propulsion
fuel. Most costly.”

“More than gold?” Li asked eagerly.

“Much more, Li. If you and Biff had about ten pounds of it between you,
you’d have your education paid at any college you wanted to go
to—M.I.T., Cal Tech—any of them.”

“Wow! Must be worth more than a thousand dollars a pound, then,” Biff
said, his voice filled with amazement.

“It is, Biff. The refining process is what makes it so expensive.
Scientists and explorers—like Jim Huntington—have carried on extensive
searches to locate a field where the purity of the ore is high—higher
than in those fields we now know about.”

“And Mr. Huntington—he thought he had made such a strike?” Biff asked.

Before answering, Tom Brewster went to the door. He opened it cautiously
and looked up and down the hall.

“I don’t want any eavesdroppers or spies lurking around.” He had lowered
his voice until it was little more than a whisper.

“Now I’ll fill you in so you will all know what we’re up against.” Hank
Mahenili, Li, and Biff crowded close to Mr. Brewster. They didn’t want
to miss a word.

“That letter you found the other night, boys, is important. Not as
important as Dr. Weber’s abductors think it is, but it does tell of a
cesium find Huntington made in New Zealand. He felt it to be a
sensational discovery.”

“High-grade ore?” Biff asked.

“Yes. In his letter to Dr. Weber, Huntington told of the find, of his
belief in its high degree of purity. He was bringing a sample, and a map
of the location, to Honolulu. Dr. Weber was to assay it. Then, if it
proved out as expected, Ajax Mining was to move in on the deal and
exploit the field.”

“And Mr. Huntington never got here,” Biff said.

“That’s right. That call I received from Dr. Weber—you remember, Biff.
The doctor had just arrived in Honolulu when word of Huntington’s loss
at sea became known. There was an extensive sea and air search, but
nothing was found, no sign of the sloop’s wreckage, and, even more
unfortunately, no slightest sign of Huntington.”

“How could that be, Mr. Brewster?” Li wanted to know.

“It is thought that Jim Huntington’s sloop must have split its seams
open in a heavy squall, Li. Huntington apparently stuck by his boat and
went down with it.”

“Isn’t it supposed to have gone down somewhere off Ka Lae, Dad?”

“That’s right. But there’s a lot of ocean off the southern tip of the
Island of Hawaii.”

Biff was frowning with concentration. “Ka Lae,” he said. “Those are the
two words Tokawto mumbled to us this morning.”

“And that’s where we’re going,” his father said.

“You think Dr. Weber is being held somewhere near there, while somebody
tries to locate the sunken sloop?”

“I’m sure of it now, Biff.”

“Who do you think his abductors might be, Dad?”

Thomas Brewster looked at Hank Mahenili. “Any doubt in your mind, Hank?”

“Not one bit,” the Hawaiian answered, shaking his head. “Perez Soto.”

“He’ll make contact with us again,” Biff’s father said. “He doesn’t know
exactly what is in this letter Biff found. His message—the one written
on that mirror, is telling me that if we want to see Dr. Weber alive
again, then I’ll have to tell him where the cesium strike is located.”

“And that information is at the bottom of the sea,” Biff said soberly.

“Yes,” Mr. Brewster said. “We’ve got to do everything we can to try and
spot that sunken sloop. Dr. Weber’s life depends on it.”



                               CHAPTER XI
                               Wharf Rats


Biff’s father had concluded his conversation.

“Now you all know as much as I do. Now we move into action. Biff, you
and Li will be our ground forces. Li’s father and I will take over the
naval side.”

“You mean we’re not going to the Big Island with you?” Biff was
dismayed.

“No, Biff. I want you and Li to roam about Hana. You both had a good
look at Perez Soto. I’m sure you could describe him. Make a few
inquiries. See if anyone of his description has been in Hana recently.
Hana is a very big place. I’m sure he was here yesterday—probably met
with Tokawto, to Tokawto’s misfortune.”

“We’ll check on him, too. We’ll stop by the police station,” Biff
replied.

“Hank,” Mr. Brewster went on, “our job is to rent a boat. A yawl, about
thirty feet. Biff and I can sail, and I’m sure you and Li have handled
boats all your lives. I don’t want a captain or a crew. Just a boat.
Think we can rent one here?”

“I’m positive we can, Tom.”

“All right then. Boys, you start your investigation. You’re pretty good
at it. But be careful. Meet us back here in time for lunch. I hope we
can sail tonight.”

Biff and Li went to their room and changed into shorts. Then they went
out to explore Hana.

The mid-morning sun was bright. The sky was clear. It was a beautiful
day on the Island of Maui. The boys covered the small business section,
stopping in a few stores, and asking if anyone had seen a man answering
to the description of Perez Soto. They were becoming discouraged as noon
approached.

“Let’s go to the police station, Li. See how Tokawto’s condition is,”
Biff suggested.

They learned that the wounded man was still much the same. It would be a
close thing if he lived.

Leaving the police station, Biff had an idea. “Look, Li,” he said,
frowning. “We’re going about this thing all wrong. If Perez Soto
kidnaped Dr. Weber and took him to Hawaii, he’d have to have a boat,
wouldn’t he?”

“Sure, Biff, sure.”

“Then let’s head for the docks and find out if anyone looking like Perez
Soto has rented a boat in the last week or so.”

“Good idea, Biff.”

They headed for the waterfront. Suddenly Biff turned to his friend.

“Don’t look back, Li,” he muttered, “but I think we’re being followed.
Just walk along as we’re doing now. When we get to the middle of the
next block, you leave me. We’ll shake hands, then you cross the street.
Go into one of the stores. Find a place where you can see out but can’t
be seen from the street. Keep a sharp lookout.”

Li’s face showed his excitement. “I get you, Biff. You want me to see if
someone keeps on following you.”

“That’s right. I’m going to continue on down the street another few
blocks. Then I’ll cut back and meet you in front of one of those stores.
Look sharp, now.”

The boys solemnly shook hands. Biff clapped Li on the shoulder. “Be
seeing you,” he called loudly when Li had reached the middle of the
street. Then Biff continued his “sight-seeing” walk along Hana’s main
street.

He desperately wanted to look behind him, but he knew that to do so
would spoil his plan. He walked three blocks, stopping every so often to
stare into a window. If he was being followed, he wanted to give Li
plenty of time to spot his pursuer.

Toward the end of the street, where the business section left off and
the residential section began, Biff cut across the street, then started
slowly back to his rendezvous with Li on the opposite side.

He saw Li in front of a small store, standing under a brightly colored
awning.

“Well, did you see anything?” Biff asked.

“I think so, Biff. But I don’t know for sure. There was a man, maybe one
hundred feet behind you. Every time you stopped, he’d stop, too, and
sort of step into a doorway, in case you looked back, I guess.”

“Then I was being followed!”

“Gee, Biff. I thought so at first. But then this man turned into a side
street before you reached the end of your walk.”

“How could you tell that, from inside that store?”

“Oh? Well, I stepped out on the sidewalk, so I could see better. Once
you got down to the next block, I couldn’t see you through the window
any more.”

Biff smiled. “I was being followed, all right, Li.”

“But how can you be sure? This man didn’t keep on following you.”

“You know why, Li? Because when you stepped out on the sidewalk, the man
spotted you. He had seen you with me, and knew you had planted yourself
in the store just to check and see if he was following me.”

Li’s face fell. “Gee, I’m some detective! Charlie Chan would box my
ears, as he was always doing with No. 1. Son. I’m sorry, Biff.”

“Don’t let it get you down. Let’s go find out about boats.”

If Li had flunked his first detective test, he more than redeemed
himself on his second.

At the waterfront, the boys spotted several signs announcing boats for
hire.

“Let me see if I can find a _kamaaina_,” Li suggested. “I could talk to
him. He might even know my family, then I could find out a lot.”

“Go ahead, Li. Good idea. I’ll take a walk out on that dock and wait for
you.”

Biff stood on the end of the pier, scaling small sea shells into the
water. He could see Li going from place to place. At a nearby dock, Li
took much longer than at the other places where he had inquired. Biff
could see him talking to an old Hawaiian, bent of body, wearing a floppy
sun hat. He saw Li look in his direction and signal for him to come
over.

Proud excitement shone from Li’s face as Biff came up.

“I’ve got big news, Biff,” Li exclaimed. “This _kamaaina_ has told me
just what we want to know. He’s an old man, speaks no English, but he
says he knew my father’s family many years ago.”

“Yes, but what about Perez Soto?”

“I’m coming to that. The oldtimer says he didn’t rent any boat last
week, but at that dock up there—” Li pointed to a dock about one hundred
feet down the shore—“a _malihini_—that means a newcomer—rented a big
power boat about five days ago. He can’t remember the exact day. He’s
old, I guess, and kind of forgetful. But he thinks it was on a Monday.
That would be—”

Last Monday! That was the day Dr. Weber had disappeared!

“Good going, Li,” Biff exclaimed. “And you described Perez Soto?”

“I sure did. And the _kamaaina_ says he thinks it was the same man. The
man came to him, first, but he didn’t have any boat big enough to suit
this man.”

“Well, Li, I think we’re getting somewhere. I want to try one more thing
before we go back. I want to make sure I was being followed. I think
it’s important to know if any of Perez Soto’s men are still in Hana.”

“Why would they be,” Li demanded, “if Perez Soto and the doctor are on
the Big Island?”

“Don’t forget about Tokawto. I’m sure Perez Soto would want to know if
Tokawto recovers enough to talk.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’ve got a trick up my sleeve. If someone is following me, it might be
because he thinks I might still have that letter.” Biff took out his
address book and tore paper from the back of it. “You know he might be
just stupid enough to think I was still carrying the letter with me.”

“Guess he’d have to be plenty _lolo_ for that, Biff.”

“Plenty _lolo_? What does that mean?”

“It means dumb or stupid,” Li replied.

Biff grinned. He took a pencil and scribbled a word on the paper. Then
he stuck the paper in his hip pocket, on top of his handkerchief.

“We’ll walk over to that boathouse,” Biff said. Halfway there, he
stopped, pulled out his handkerchief, and wiped his forehead. As he did
so, the paper fell to the ground.

“Come on,” he muttered. The boys entered the boathouse. They pretended
to examine the boats, allowing themselves several minutes.

“Guess we’ve given our pursuer long enough, if we are being followed,”
Biff decided.

They came back out of the boathouse and retraced their steps. At the
spot where Biff had pulled out his handkerchief, he stopped again, and
looked carefully about him.

“We’ve been followed, all right. The paper is gone,” Biff said to Li.

“What did you write on that paper, Biff?”

“‘_Lolo_,’” Biff said, and the boys burst out laughing.

Time had slipped by much faster than Biff and Li realized. It was
midaftenoon when they got back to the hotel.

“Guess I’ve been so excited I forgot about eating,” Li said, “but am I
ever hungry now!”

“I could eat my way through another _luau_, Li,” Biff agreed.

At the front desk of the hotel, they found a message from their fathers.

“_We’re checking out the boat_,” Biff’s father had written, “_and
getting supplies. Wait for us._”

Biff and Li had a late lunch, took a small siesta, then had a refreshing
swim in the hotel’s pool. It was growing dark when Mr. Brewster and Hank
Mahenili came back.

“We’ve got the boat, Biff. And it’s a real honey. As trim a craft as
you’d ever want to see.”

“Where is it, Dad?” Biff wanted to see the boat.

“Tied up at the municipal wharf. Know where that is?”

“We sure do. We were down there this afternoon. I wonder how we missed
you.”

Biff then told his father and Mr. Mahenili what he and Li had learned.

“I felt sure it would be Perez Soto. And he rented a powerful cabin
cruiser?” Mr. Brewster asked.

“That’s right, Dad. Li’s _kamaaina_ friend thinks it was the Monday Dr.
Weber disappeared.”

“It all adds up. We can’t get to Hawaii fast enough now.”

“Are we leaving tonight?” Biff asked.

“About ten o’clock. Have to wait until then for supplies to be
delivered.”

“Gee, is it all right if Li and I dash down to the dock and look at the
boat?”

“Sure. You’ll have time. But don’t stay too long. We’ll be having dinner
in an hour.”

Biff and Li started for the door.

“Hey!” Mr. Brewster called. “Don’t you think you ought to know the
boat’s name? It’s the _Easy Action_.”

It was growing dark when Biff and Li reached the dock. There was the
trim craft, painted a bright white, with a golden arrow trimming its
sides. Its two masts swayed gently from side to side in the gently
rolling water.

“She’s a beauty, all right,” Biff said to Li as they approached the
boat. “Come on, let’s go aboard.”

Biff felt Li’s hand on his arm, restraining him.

“Hold it, Biff,” Li said in a whisper. “I think I saw someone on the
boat. Let’s duck behind these pineapple crates.”

[Illustration: _They peered intently at the yawl’s portholes_]

The boys secreted themselves. They peered intently at the yawl’s
portholes. There was barely enough light to see.

“There, did you see that!”

Biff nodded his head. They had seen a white-clad figure flash by one of
the portholes.



                              CHAPTER XII
                               Bomb Away


For several moments Biff and Li remained absolutely quiet and
motionless. They knew someone was on the boat. But what was he doing?

“Could he be one of the men bringing supplies to the boat?” Li whispered
at last.

Biff shook his head. “No. I don’t think so. You’d see activity on the
deck, too, and a truck somewhere nearby. No, we’ve got to investigate
what that character is doing.”

“I’ve got an idea, Biff.”

“Let’s have it, Li.”

“Well, look, you know how well I can swim under water. Suppose I slip
into the water on this side of the wharf. Then I’ll swim under it, and I
can come up right beside the boat. I’ll move along from porthole to
porthole and see if I can find out what’s going on in the boat.”

“Sounds okay to me. Good thing we changed into shorts. Be careful not to
make any noise.”

“Me, Biff? I’ll be as quiet as a fish.”

He was, too. There wasn’t even the faintest “ker-plop” as Li lowered
himself over the edge of the dock and sank into the water.

Biff waited tensely. From behind his stack of pineapple crates, he could
get a good view of the starboard side of the yawl. He could see right to
the water line and the four portholes just above it.

Moments became minutes, and it seemed to Biff that the minutes were
stretching out much too long. Had Li met some obstruction beneath the
dock? Biff’s worry was increasing. Finally, he noticed a circle of
lightly rippling water near the bow of the boat. In the center of the
circle, he could just spot Li’s head.

He watched as his friend slowly raised himself by the boat’s starboard
gunnel until his head was even with the porthole. Noiselessly, Li
dropped back into the water and took two strokes toward the stern. Now
he peered into the second porthole. He repeated the process at the third
porthole and moved on to the fourth. The fourth must be the one, Biff
figured, that was in the small compartment where the yawl’s auxiliary
engine was located.

Li took a longer time at this porthole. Biff watched him intently
through the growing darkness. A slight movement on the boat caused him
to raise his eyes. He gasped.

Directly over Li stood a man with a small nail keg raised over his head.
He was ready to smash it down on Li’s head.

“Li! Look out! Duck!”

The Hawaiian boy submerged just as the keg struck the water at the exact
spot where his head had been.

“Jeepers,” Biff thought, “I hope Li got far enough under.”

The keg hurler was running along the deck toward the boat’s bow. Here he
could leap on the dock and make his getaway.

Biff went into action. He jumped from behind the crates, reached the
boat in six fast strides, and leaped aboard just as the prowler reached
the bow.

Biff grabbed at the man. His arms encircled him, and Biff in turn felt
the man’s arms squeeze him in a bearlike hug. Biff exerted every ounce
of his strength, trying to force the man over backward, trying to free
himself of the man’s crushing grip.

He heard a noise from directly behind the man. Looking over his
shoulder, Biff saw the dripping figure of Li scramble aboard. Li didn’t
hesitate. He threw himself at the man, striking him just at the knees
from the rear. “Clipping,” flashed through Biff’s mind. Unfair in
football, but in a fight like this there’d be no fifteen-yard penalty.

The impact of Li’s body forced the man to release his grip. As he did,
Biff stepped backward. His feet became entangled in a coil of rope. He
lost his balance, toppling backward. His feet hit the raised gunnel, and
the next moment he was flying through the air. He felt himself falling,
a sickening feeling, as if he were falling from a great height. He
wasn’t, though. He was falling from the bow, six feet to the water. But
he was falling backward and had no time sense of the distance.

He hit the water with a splash. His broad back smacked the water with
the noise of a loud handclap. Biff could feel his back sting from the
impact.

He turned over and looked up. There was the bow of the boat, directly
overhead. There was Li, looking down at him.

“You all right, Biff?” There was a strange sound in Li’s voice. For a
moment, Biff was angered. The strange sound was Li trying to hold back
his laughter. Biff’s sense of humor came to his rescue. He must have
been a funny sight, thrashing around in the water on his back like a
beached porpoise.

“Yep. I’m all right,” he called. “I’ll swim to midships. You can give me
a hand up.”

Once back aboard, Biff’s first concern was about the prowler.

“Oh, him,” Li said. “When you made your backward bellywhopper, that guy
took off. He raced down the dock. He’s long gone by now.”

Biff rubbed the small of his back with his left hand. “That hurt. And
here you are laughing at me.”

“You were funny, Biff,” Li laughed. “And that sting won’t last long.”

“Guess you’re right. Hey, let’s see if we can find out what our visitor
was doing on board.”

First the boys explored the deck of the boat. They opened the sail-chest
and inspected the sails. They hadn’t been touched. They carefully
examined the yawl’s rigging. Both knew that an important rope could be
cut just far enough through so that it would hold in a mild wind, then
snap in a heavy one, just when it was most badly needed. No evidence of
any tampering with the rigging.

“Let’s go below. That’s where the prowler was when we got here. He must
have been doing his dirty work down there,” Biff said.

A careful search of the cabins, each with two berths, revealed nothing.

“Hey, look at this!” Li called. He was in the engine compartment, a
small space between the forward cabin and the galley. “Doesn’t it look
to you as if this has been moved recently?”

Li pointed to the wooden cover which housed the engine. It was sitting
slightly askew.

“We’ll take a look underneath.” Biff took one side of the housing, Li
the other.

“Careful now. Heave gently.”

They removed the housing.

“Must be a flashlight around here somewhere. Have to have one if we’re
going to find anything.”

Li found one in the tool chest.

Biff took it and directed its beam of light on the top of the engine.

“Nice little engine. A four-cylinder Indian Marine. Ought to shove us
along around eight or ten knots.”

He placed the light’s beam over the engine, inch by inch. Suddenly he
brought the light’s rays to a fixed spot. Biff bent low.

“Never saw anything like this on one of these engines. Take a look, Li.”

Li bent down beside Biff.

The boys were looking at a crudely made object, resembling a small tin
can. It was roughly attached just below the engine’s carburetor.

“Let’s get out of here,” Biff said, swallowing. His throat had become
dry and tight. “That thing’s a bomb—a homemade bomb.”

Li was already heading back to the cockpit.

“Alloo there! Ship ahoy!” came a cry from the dock.

Biff and Li burst on deck just as his father and Mr. Mahenili started to
step aboard.

“Stay back, Dad! Stay back! There’s a bomb on the boat!” Biff yelled.

Breathlessly, the boys told their fathers of spotting the prowler on
board, of the brief tussle, and the results of their investigation.

“It’s a good thing we came down,” Tom Brewster said. “You were late. We
thought you might have run up against something.”

“We sure did, Dad,” Biff assured him.

“I’ll have to investigate. Can you tell me exactly where this thing you
think is a bomb is located?”

“You’re not going on board, are you, Dad?” Biff asked, his voice filled
with anxiety.

“I think it will be all right. I have an idea that bomb isn’t intended
to go off while the boat’s still in harbor.”

“But, Dad, it might,” Biff protested.

“Biff, I’ve handled dynamite and other types of explosives in my work. I
was also in the bomb demolition service in the army. I can handle it.
You stay back, though, all of you, until I give you an all-clear. Now
just where is this thing you found?”

“Directly under the carburetor,” Biff replied.

“Here, you’ll need this.” He handed his father the flashlight.

They watched Mr. Brewster’s head disappear as he moved down the steps
from the cockpit to the first cabin.

“I think we’d better follow your father’s orders, boys,” Hank Mahenili
said. “We’ll put a little distance between us and the boat—just in
case.”

The three moved an anchor rope’s length from the stem of the boat.

The minutes went by. The waiting became almost unbearable. Biff couldn’t
control the feeling of fear gnawing at the pit of his stomach. Any
moment, he expected to hear the dull thud of an explosion. He expected
to see the boat burst open, sending wood and debris flying through the
air.

Minutes ticked on. Each one seemed an hour to Biff. At last, he saw his
father emerge from the cockpit.

“I’ve got it. It’s all right.”

Biff ran to where his father stood. It may have been all right, but Biff
could tell by the beads of perspiration standing out on his father’s
forehead and by his soaked shirt, that it had been a ticklish job.

“It’s a bomb, all right. Perez Soto is playing for keeps,” Mr. Brewster
said grimly. He wiped his forehead. “It’s a simple thing, really. Anyone
with Perez Soto’s experience, or mine, for that matter, could make it.”

“But when was it set to go off?” Biff asked.

“That would depend on when and how long we used the auxiliary engine.
See this timer?”

The three leaned forward for a closer look, peering warily at the
infernal machine Biff’s father held in his hand.

“This timer, which is hooked up to the detonator, is fixed so it starts
in motion when the engine is started. It cuts out when the engine is
out. Very clever, actually, even though it is simple.”

“When would the timer fire the charge?” Biff asked.

“I’d judge after about an hour, perhaps two—no more—after the engine had
been running.”

“We’d be out in the middle of the ocean by then.” Biff looked at Li and
Mr. Mahenili. Both shook their heads.

“Worse than that, Biff, if I’ve got it figured right.”

“How, Dad?”

“Well, Perez Soto would know that we’d use the engine to get us out of
the harbor. Maybe a twenty-minute run. Then we’d go to sail. And we’d
use sail every minute we could. But then—this is the really devilish
clever part of his plan.” Mr. Brewster paused. He turned to Li’s father.

“Didn’t you tell me that there are some dangerous reefs off Ka Lae?”

“You bet there are,” Mr. Mahenili said. “And the water’s shark-infested,
too.”

“Well, to search the coast along there for Huntington’s sunken sloop,
we’d have to use the engine. Couldn’t take a chance with sail on those
ragged coral reefs.”

“I’m beginning to catch on, Dad,” Biff said soberly.

“I expected you would.”

“We’d have to use the engine, as you said. And right in the midst of
those reefs, and those sharks, _bang_! The boat would have blown up—”

“And that would have been the end of us,” Thomas Brewster said quietly.
He tossed the deactivated bomb overboard.

“Rest in pieces,” Biff said fervently.



                              CHAPTER XIII
                              A Near Miss


“Everything all clear?” Mr. Brewster called out from his position at the
tiller in the yawl, _Easy Action_.

“Aye, aye, sir,” Biff called back to his father. Biff held on to the bow
line, loosely circled over a piling at the dock.

“Cast off, then,” Tom Brewster ordered.

Biff flicked the rope, snaking it over the piling, as the _Easy Action_
was cleared. Biff heard the low growl of the reverse gear as his father
backed easily away from the wharf. A shift to forward, the engine revved
up higher, and the yawl headed out of the harbor at Hana.

It was a clear night, bright stars lighting up the skies over the
Hawaiian Islands. A slight sliver of a new moon could just be seen
rising in the east.

The yawl ran on its auxiliary engine for fifteen minutes, putting the
harbor behind it. When they were well clear, and in open sea, Mr.
Brewster cut the engine.

“All hands to,” he called. “Prepare to hoist sail.”

A yawl is a fore-and-aft rigged vessel. It has a large mainmast forward,
and a much smaller mast set abaft or behind the tiller, or wheel.

Hank Mahenili and his son Li had hold of the halyards at the mainmast,
ready to pull on the lines to raise the main and jib sails.

Biff would handle the mizzen or aft sail by himself.

“Heave away, me hearties,” Mr. Brewster ordered.

The three “hearties” heaved, and the sails slid up their masts, and
billowed gently out, catching a soft, warm wind. The sails were set and
trimmed.

“Okay, Biff, you take over now.”

Biff came into the cockpit and took the tiller over from his father.

“Keep her headed as she is now. The compass setting is for Upolu Point.
We ought to make it easily by daybreak, and then we’ll cruise the
western coast of the Big Island.”

“Heading for Ka Lae, Dad?” Biff asked.

“That’s right, Biff. Hank and I are going to turn in now. You and Li
handle the ten-to-two watch. Wake us up at two, then you boys can grab
some sleep.”

Li joined Biff in the cockpit.

The _Easy Action_ lived up to her name. She slid effortlessly through
the water, noiseless except for the soft swish of her bow cleaving a
path. The wind held steady. There was nothing to do but hold her on
course.

“Like sailing, Li?” Biff asked.

“It’s the greatest. I’ll take sail over power any day.” Li spoke as if
he were an old salt.

“Not so good for water skiing, though,” Biff said. “You need more speed
for that, quick speed, fast starts.”

“Oh, sure. But for a cruise like we’re taking, give me sail.”

The boys were quiet. The spell of the night settled over them. Li, Biff
knew, dozed off from time to time. He himself felt drowsy, lulled into
sleepiness by the slight rise and fall of the craft as it rode over the
swells.

Biff looked at the luminous dial of his watch. It was nearly twelve
o’clock. He nudged the sleeping Li.

“Hey, you’re supposed to be on this watch with me. How ’bout taking over
for a while?”

Li rubbed his eyes, stretched, and yawned.

“Aye, aye, Captain.” He took the tiller.

Biff stood up, stretched his body, then settled into a more comfortable
position. He fought off sleep, but knew he dozed now and again in short,
five-minute catnaps. He was never far from consciousness, though. And if
anything happened—say a quickening of the wind—he would have been alert
immediately.

At two o’clock, a widely yawning Tom Brewster emerged from the cabin,
followed by Hank Mahenili.

“All right, boys. We’ll take over now. Get some sleep. At this steady
pace, we’ll reach Upolu long before daylight. We’ll drop anchor, then
set out again at daybreak.”

Upolu is the northernmost point on the Island of Hawaii.

Biff and Li were asleep the moment they hit their berths. It seemed to
Biff he had only just gone to sleep when he felt his father shaking his
shoulder.

“Rise and shine, Biff. Almost daylight. We’re shoving off as soon as we
have some grub.”

Under a bright morning sun, the _Easy Action_ got under way again. Biff
was at the tiller. His father and Hank Mahenili, tired from their early
morning watch, dozed on the foredeck in comfortable captain’s chairs.

Biff and Li had their work cut out for them. The course set was a zigzag
one. They wanted to cruise as much of the coastline as possible in the
hope of spotting some sign of Huntington’s sunken sloop.

Biff would head the _Easy Action_ off shore, run out nearly ten miles,
then tack back in. For every three miles they progressed down the coast
toward Ka Lae, the southern tip of Hawaii, they covered nearly twenty
miles out and back from the coast.

A stiff morning breeze sent the _Easy Action_ skipping briskly over the
waves. They had covered a good distance by eight bells, twelve o’clock
noon.

Biff and Li took turns at the tiller. When Li was the steerer, Biff
stood on the highest point of the foredeck, near the ship’s bow,
scanning the waters on either side with powerful binoculars. When it was
his time to take over the wheel, Li took up the vigil.

They reached Kailua on the Kona coast as the sun, like a blazing ball,
settled into the Pacific Ocean to the west. They were halfway to Ka Lae,
the southern cape.

The party went ashore for a steak dinner at the famous Kona Steak House,
then came back to their boat filled with food and tired. All turned in
at once. No watch was set. None of them saw the black-hulled power
cruiser come in and drop its anchor nearby. Then the captain of the
cruiser, having spotted the _Easy Action_, weighed anchor and moved off
to an anchorage out of sight from the crew of the yawl.

The next morning the search was continued, the yawl weaving its way in
and out along the coast, drawing nearer to Ka Lae, nearer to the
position at which Huntington had last been heard from.

“I’ll take the tiller now, Biff,’” his father said. “Hank and I will
alternate. I want you and Li to keep a constant watch. Your young eyes
are sharper than ours.”

The _Easy Action_ spent the day crisscrossing a wide area of water
between the shore line and a distance outside the coral shoals, varying
from five to twelve miles.

Nightfall found them off Ka Lae, or South Cape. They anchored in thirty
feet of clear water, about a quarter of a mile off shore. They could see
the white combers lashing at the rocky formation of the beach.

“We’ll combine our evening meal with a council of war,” Tom Brewster
said, once the ship was made tight for the night.

“You figure we’re in the danger area now, Dad?” Biff asked.

“Huntington’s sloop is on the bottom of the ocean somewhere in this
area.”

“And Perez Soto is looking for it just as hard as we are,” Hank Mahenili
added.

“What about Dr. Weber?” Biff asked. “Do you think he’s aboard Perez
Soto’s boat, or do you think he’s being held on shore?”

“Hard to say, Biff. My feeling is that he’s being held on shore. A
captive on a boat could be too easily spotted at a refueling wharf.”

“Don’t you think, Dad, that we ought to divide up now?” Biff suggested.
“Two of us make a shore search for Dr. Weber, the other two cruise
around and try to spot the sunken sloop?”

“Good idea, Biff. We’ll do that tomorrow,” Mr. Brewster agreed. “Hank
and I will go ashore. You and Li conduct the sea search.”

That suited Biff and Li just fine. They looked at one another and
smiled.

“Now tonight, I don’t think it’s necessary to have a standing watch.
There’s been no sign of Perez Soto so far. But one of us ought to sleep
on deck. Any volunteers?” Biff’s father asked.

“Me, Dad.” Biff jumped at the chance. “I’d love to. Nice warm night. The
sleeping will be better under the stars than it will be in the cabin.”

“Okay, let’s all turn in. Big day ahead.”

Biff spread out a sleeping bag on the _Easy Action_’s foredeck. He lay
on his back, his eyes staring up and the millions of stars twinkling in
the sky overhead. The sound of the surf came distinctly. It was a
soothing sound, and shortly Biff was lulled to sleep.

Some hours later, he was awakened slowly. He heard the distant throb of
a powerful engine. At first, Biff thought it must be an airplane. But
then, as he became wider awake, he realized the throbbing came not from
the air, but the sea. It grew louder as the craft, whatever it was, drew
nearer.

Biff sat up, propping himself on one arm. Now there was no mistaking it.
A boat, one with a powerful engine, was rapidly approaching the _Easy
Action_’s anchorage. Biff stood up. He peered into the starlight night.
He could see the reflection of stars twinkling on the water’s surface.
Then he made out the outlines of a cabin cruiser throwing a fan-tail
white wake, heading fast toward the _Easy Action_.

“Fools,” Biff muttered to himself, “if they don’t change course, they’ll
ram us.”

He knew the white-hulled yawl was sharply outlined against the starlit
waters. Then he suddenly knew what was happening. The on-charging
cruiser was aiming at the yawl. It _meant_ to ram her.

Biff raised a cry. It was too late. His voice was drowned out by the
roar of the cruiser’s engines—Biff knew now that it was a twin-engined
craft.

Now the boat seemed on top of the yawl. Its bow, with a much higher
freeboard than the low-lying yawl, reared up menacingly only twenty feet
from the sailing craft. Surely it would crash them, ram them, send them
to the bottom of the sea, with Biff’s father, Hank Mahenili, and Li
trapped below.

Biff yelled.

At the last moment, the cruiser swerved sharply to the starboard, making
an almost right-angle turn. It roared alongside the _Easy Action_, not
ten feet separating the two boats.

As the cruiser made its fast, skidding turn, it threw up a tremendous
wave. Biff saw the wave sweeping toward the yawl. Then, tons of foaming
water cascaded over the _Easy Action_. Biff grabbed for the mainmast,
wrapping his arms around it in a death lock. He felt the wave tugging at
his body. It took all his strength to prevent being swept overboard.

The wave passed on over, tumbling gallons of water into the cabins
below.

Biff released his grip on the mainmast. He sprinted to the cockpit. It
was nearly filled with water.

“Dad! Dad! You all right?”

He started to plunge into the water-filled cabin and was met by his
father, Hank, and Li fighting their way out, gasping for breath, trying
to expel water from their choked lungs.

The black cruiser had sped away, the throb of its engines barely audible
now.

Everyone was all right. But what a mess! Bedding was soaked. Galley
equipment, pots, pans, dishes had been swept off shelves, some of the
pans bobbing like corks in the swirling waters inside the ship’s cabin.

Biff went into action. Maybe he could start the engine before the water
did its damage. He splashed through the water and reached the engine
compartment. He pulled open the door. It had held back the flood from
the engine room. Before the water could rush in and fill up that
compartment, Biff had the engine going. He quickly turned on the yawl’s
sea pumps. He stood there with his fingers crossed, hoping the engine
wouldn’t conk out. It didn’t. The heavy-duty pumps worked perfectly.
Already the water inside the boat was beginning to recede.

Biff joined his father, Hank Mahenili, and Li in the cockpit. They were
still dazed and only now beginning to breathe easily.

“I thought he was going to ram us, Dad.”

Mr. Brewster shook his head.

“I get it now,” Biff continued. “To ram us would have damaged _his_
boat—put it out of commission, even if it didn’t sink. He wanted to
swamp us.”

“And nearly did!” Mr. Mahenili said.

The steady beat of the pumps continued. They were rapidly bailing the
yawl out.

“Well, Biff, you know what we’re really up against now,” his father said
seriously.

“I think I always did, Dad. This Perez Soto will stop at nothing.”

Li sat quietly, but he was shaking as if from a chill. It was the recent
frightening experience which caused him to tremble.

“Tom, I’ve been in and around water, in and out of boats all my life.
But that was the nearest brush I’ve ever had with a watery grave.” Hank
Mahenili’s voice was solemn. “He’ll never get away with it,” he added
fiercely.

The next hour was spent in straightening up the water damage. Bedding
was brought on deck and spread to dry. Li was elected cook, to make
coffee and hot tea. Dawn was spreading before the _Easy Action_ was
shipshape again.

After a hot meal, Mr. Brewster took Biff aside.

“Biff, we’re not going to let last night’s incident change our plans.
Hank and I are going ashore immediately. You and Li put out and start
the search at once. We’ve got to stop Perez Soto before he stops us.
Come below with me for a moment.”

Biff followed his father into the cabin. He saw him open his bag. When
he turned around, he was holding a revolver in his hand.

“You know how to use this, Biff. You’ve practiced enough.”

“Yes, Dad.”

“You’re not to use it, except in the most extreme emergency. You’re to
use it only to repel anyone trying to board this boat.”

Biff nodded his head gravely. Mr. Brewster replaced the weapon and left
the cabin to join Hank Mahenili. Biff and Li watched their fathers as
they headed for shore in the yawl’s dinghy.



                              CHAPTER XIV
                                 Storm!


The boys watched the dinghy plunge into the surf near the shore. They
saw it picked up by a breaking roller, and carried on its crest to the
shore. They saw the two men pull the dinghy high up on the shore and
hide it behind some low, spreading growth.

“They’re taking no chances,” Biff said to Li. “We’ve got to be equally
careful.”

Biff’s voice held a grim tone. The memory of the night before was still
vivid in his mind. Li’s face was solemn, too, his round brown eyes
serious.

“You’re the captain, Biff.”

Biff smiled. He didn’t want Li to become too alarmed.

“Okay, my friend. Let’s put out to sea. I can handle the mainsail and
the jib. You stand by the tiller. We’ll hoist the mizzen after we’re
heading out.”

Biff ran the mainsail up, leaped to the bow of the boat, and started
hauling in the anchor on a hand winch. It took a lot of effort. The
anchor was heavy, and he had to raise it thirty feet. The _Easy Action_,
a spanking off-shore breeze in its sail, was already plowing through the
sea before Biff had the anchor safely stowed.

Once the anchor was stowed, Biff went back to the cockpit.

“How’m I doing, Biff? Heading the right way?” Li asked.

“Point her a little more to the southwest. I’ll raise the mizzen.”

Biff finished his seaman’s job and dropped down in the cockpit beside Li
for a breather.

“I’ll take over now, Li. You go forward and be the lookout. Take the
binoculars,” he suggested.

All morning they continued their crisscrossing course. The high noon sun
blazed down on them. The heat soon dried the bedding. Biff heaved to
long enough to carry the bedding below and make up the berths.

They had a sandwich, then stretched out on the hot deck for a brief
rest. The boat drifted.

“Where do you think we are now, Li?” Biff asked.

Li looked shoreward. They could just make out the coastline.

“I think we’ve rounded Ka Lae. Must be just off the black sand beach.”

“_Black_ sand?”

“Yes, Biff. The lava from Kilauea spilled down to the ocean. The surf
ground it up into a fine black powder, really finer than sand. That’s
why it’s called the black sand beach. It’s all along the Puna coast, all
the way up to Hilo—that’s a city on the west side of the Big Island.”

“I think we ought to change course, then. Head a point or two north by
northeast. Then we’ll wing back east and return to the anchorage.”

Li was at the tiller. He came about, and the _Easy Action_ was put on a
long reach, pushed briskly along by a southerly wind.

Toward the middle of the afternoon, Biff looked up to see Li coming aft.
Biff was at the tiller. He noticed a frown on his Hawaiian friend’s
face.

“What’s up, Li? You sight something?”

“No, Biff,” Li shook his head. The serious expression on his face had
deepened to one of worry.

“Then what’s your trouble? You look like you got trouble.” Biff smiled.

“I’m afraid we both may have,” Li answered. “Have you noticed it getting
any warmer?”

“A little, perhaps. Wind’s freshened a bit, too.”

“That’s it. I’m afraid we’re in for some Kona weather.”

“Kona weather?”

“Yes, that’s what we call a wind coming up from the Equator. Sometimes
it reaches gale force. Always there’s heavy rain.”

Biff looked astern. On the southern horizon, he could make out huge
thunderheads.

“Was there a Kona wind when Huntington was lost?”

“Yes. A big one.”

“Then we’d better get out of here fast. We’ll try to get back round Ka
Lae. The Point ought to give us some protection.”

There was no doubt now that a Kona wind was catching them. Biff changed
course again. He headed _Easy Action_’s bow west by north. The wind rose
rapidly. It whistled through the sails, making the rigging lines
vibrate. The sea began kicking up.

The wind drove _Easy Action_ before it. The yawl heeled far over, its
mainsail stretched taut on the starboard side. The yawl was fairly
racing through the water.

Suddenly they were struck by a torrential downpour. The rain hit the
deck in drops as big as half-dollars. The sky had blackened. The shore
was blanked out. Angry whitecaps dotted the water like blobs of cotton.

                [Illustration: Sailboat in heavy seas.]

“Take the tiller, Li,” Biff shouted above the roar of the wind and the
pounding of the rain. “I’ve got to get the mainsail down.”

Biff fought his way forward on the rain-slippery deck. He was pushed
along by the driving wind. He reached the mainmast. Its lines were
whipping against it, cracking like pistol shots. He loosened the
mainsail halyard. The wind grabbed the mainsail. Biff struggled to pull
it down. Suddenly there was a thunderous crack. The mainsail gave way,
torn loose from its halyards. It stretched straight out like a flat,
white canopy and flapped violently in the wind, which was now near gale
force.

There was no way to cut it loose. Biff let the line go. The jibsail was
still holding. Turning, Biff felt the rain and salt spray beat against
his face. He had to bend into a crouch to make any progress aft. The
salt spray stung his eyes, nearly blinding him.

Once he slipped and crashed to the deck. He could feel himself sliding
toward the starboard gunnel, now nearly under water because the yawl had
heeled over so far. A last-second grab at a mooring stanchion saved him
from going overboard into the boiling sea.

Biff pulled himself up slowly. He crawled on hands and knees and fell
exhausted into the cockpit. For moments he lay there, gasping for
breath. Then he saw the fear on Li’s face. Li held the tiller in a
viselike grip. Biff rose.

“I’ll take over,” he shouted.

Li merely nodded his head in assent, glad to relinquish the wooden
tiller handle. It was a fight to hold it steady.

From forward, the boys heard another crack, sharp as a shotgun shot.

“Jibsail’s given away,” Biff shouted.

Now their only control of the yawl was by the mizzensail. It was behind
them, making control of the boat most difficult.

“If the mizzen goes,” Biff yelled, “we’re done for!”

Just as he spoke the words, the mizzen gave way, torn from its halyard
by a sudden driving gust. At the same moment, the boys heard a sound
that sent an even greater chill of fear racing up and down their spines.
It was the roar of an angry surf pounding the shore.

They were being swept ashore. The boat would be dashed to bits. They
would be flung on razor-sharp coral!

“Get forward, Li,” Biff shouted. “Let the anchor go!”

The sound of the pounding surf came nearer. Biff prayed that the anchor
would grab and hold. He fought the tiller, trying to keep the yawl from
being swept ashore broadside. Then, suddenly, the yawl was lifted high
on the crest of a roller, as if handled by a giant. When it crashed down
into a churning trough of water, Biff’s grasp on the tiller was torn
loose. He felt himself being hurled through the air. Then he struck the
water with a thud, knocking the wind from his lungs.

Biff felt himself go under. Then he was lifted by another roller.
Surfacing, he gasped for air. His arms flailed the water. The waves
tossed him about, carrying him nearer and nearer the shore. Biff
struggled to ride the waves, to keep control of his body so that he
might avoid being dashed on the shore. He was hoping against hope that
this would be a sand, not coral beach.

After a seemingly endless struggle, Biff, kicking out, felt his feet
touch bottom. Nothing had ever felt so good before. His feet were
touching a powdery sand, now roiled up, but at least, it wasn’t a coral
bottom.

Biff found himself in waist-deep water. The shoreline was only a few
feet in front of him. He staggered through the surf, reached the black
sand beach, and threw himself face down on the sand. Every muscle in his
body felt as if it had been pounded, pummeled, pulled, and strained.

Then he thought of Li. He turned over and rose to his knees. He saw the
_Easy Action_. Her anchor had caught and held. She was pounding up and
down on the rough waters, but Biff could see that she was holding.

But where was Li?

Biff stood up. He went to the water’s edge. He walked out until the
water raced around his knees. Cupping his hands to his mouth, he
shouted:

“Li! Li!”

There was no answer.



                               CHAPTER XV
                              Men Missing


Biff stood on the beach calling out his friend’s name again and again.
His voice shook with effort, trying to drown out the noises of surf and
sea.

The wind was dying down slightly, but the surf was still too rough and
dangerous for Biff to try to reach the boat, which stood one hundred
feet off shore.

Biff’s eyes searched the beach, hoping to spot Li swimming ashore. No
such welcome sight met his eyes.

To his left, about a quarter of a mile away, Biff could see a formation
of lava rock jutting out into the sea. He thought his friend Li might
have gotten to shore on the other side of the lava promontory.

Biff ran down the beach. His pounding heart sank when he reached the
ugly, grayish-black rock, stretching out into the sea. Its side was
smooth, rising upward some thirty feet. There was no place Biff could
spot where he could gain a foothold to climb to its top.

Around the base of the lava cliff, the water dashed and swirled, making
it impossible for Biff to swim around to the other side.

Biff went back to the spot on the beach directly opposite the _Easy
Action_. He sank down on the wet sand, filled with despair. He felt
certain now that his good friend Li must be lost in the ocean.

Night settled over a lonely, saddened Biff. The rain had stopped. The
wind was dying down. The surf was losing some of its angry roar. Sleep,
a sleep Biff felt he could never attain, finally came to the tired,
worried boy. With it came release for his troubled mind.

By morning, the wind was gone. The sea was smooth, and the sky was blue
over Hawaii once again.

Biff saw the yawl rocking gently at its anchor. Its sails torn,
tattered, drooped from the masts like the banners of a defeated army.
There was no sign of Li.

There was only one thing to do. He must search the nearby coast for his
lost friend.

Biff swam out to the yawl. A quick inspection showed the _Easy Action_
to be a stout ship. She had taken on little water. Her seams had held.
Her masts had stood the strain. Biff took out the emergency suit of sail
and rigged them to the halyards. He started the engine, let it idle as
he raised the anchor, then put out to sea.

He ran on engine past the lava promontory, bringing the boat as close
into shore as he felt safe. No sign of Li.

Biff put back out to sea, raised the jibsail and cruised along the
coast, his eyes constantly scanning the shoreline. He didn’t know how
far down the Big Island he sailed, but he dreaded turning about and
giving up. Finally, he felt he had to. He had to get back to where he
had left his father and Mr. Mahenili and tell them the tragic news.

Biff came about. Now he sailed in the opposite direction. He rounded the
lava promontory, lashed the tiller, and went forward to raise the
mainsail.

Returning to the cockpit, Biff cast a final look at the spot on the
black beach where he had spent the night. His heart leaped. There was
someone on the beach, jumping up and down, waving madly. Li!

With a shout of happiness, Biff turned the yawl inshore. Li had already
dashed into the water, and was swimming toward the approaching boat.

Biff came about quickly, heading the yawl into the wind. Li reached its
side, and Biff pulled him aboard. He threw his arms around Li’s wet body
and hugged him in sheer happiness. Then he stepped back and sized Li up
carefully. Except for some scratches, and a deep gash on one leg, Li
looked fine.

“I thought you were a goner,” Biff said.

“Nope, old Davy Jones hasn’t got me in his locker yet.”

“What happened? Where’ve you been?”

Li grinned. “I fell overboard. I’d just let go the anchor when my foot
got caught and I went over. A current caught me and carried me away from
the boat. The anchor must have dragged for quite a distance before it
caught, because when I finally made shore, the yawl wasn’t in sight.”

“Where’d you land? The other side of that lava cliff?”

“Yep. And there was no way to get over it.”

“I know that. I walked down the beach to the cliff, but it can’t be
climbed from this side, either.”

Both boys were silent for a minute, thinking about their narrow escape.

“So what did you do, Li?”

“I started up the cliff, the side of it. I had to find some way of
getting over it, hoping to find you safe on the other side.”

“Yes, go on.”

“Well, it was growing dark. I slipped several times, cut myself, too.”

“I see you did. We better put some antiseptic on that cut.”

“I’ve already cleaned it out with salt water. Stung like the dickens.”

“We’ll still do some more doctoring. Now get on with your story,” Biff
ordered.

“Well, I knew I wouldn’t make it at night, so I found a protected spot
and went to sleep. This morning, I made my way farther up the cliff,
found a place where I could cross, and came over to this side.”

“And I was gone.”

“Yes, Biff. When I finally made it here, I could have died. No Biff. No
boat.”

“I was looking for you. I must have sailed two or three miles down the
coast, trying to spot you.”

“That’s what I finally figured out, Biff. I thought that since the boat
was gone and there was no wreckage on the beach, old E.A. hadn’t smashed
up. So, putting my two heads together, I also figured you must be safe
and had gone hunting for me. So I just sat and waited. Boy, when you
rounded that promontory, was I ever glad!”

“Me too, when I saw you jumping around like a crazy Indian!”

The boys smiled at each other. Their smiles turned to laughter, and for
a few moments they let themselves go in a wild laughing bout.

“I should have known,” Biff said, simmering down at last. “I should have
known that Likake Mahenili, champion swimmer of the Islands, could take
care of himself.”

“It was close, though, Biff.”

“I’ll say it was.”

Biff put the _Easy Action_ on a course for the spot where the dinghy had
been beached. They sailed through the morning and well into the
afternoon before they spotted their landmarks. Biff anchored the yawl.
Both had felt sure their parents would be waiting for them on the beach.
There was no sign of either man.

“What do we do now, Biff?”

Biff shrugged his shoulders helplessly.

“I don’t know, Li. All we can do is wait. It’ll be dark, soon. We can’t
search for them at night.”

“Biff, you don’t think that maybe Perez Soto—” Li couldn’t finish his
sentence.

Biff knew the worried thoughts which must be running through his
friend’s mind. The same thoughts were racing through his own. Had his
father and Mr. Mahenili been trapped by the enemy?



                              CHAPTER XVI
                             Held Prisoner


High up the side of Mauna Loa volcano, Tom Brewster and Hank Mahenili
turned their binoculars on the sea 10,000 feet below them and several
miles away.

The men scanned the coastline, inch by inch, searching for any activity
on the wide horizon.

“Can’t spot the _Easy Action_, Hank. Can you?” Tom Brewster asked.

“No. But look over there. To your right. Line up on that tall palm tree,
couple hundred feet down.”

Tom Brewster followed his friend’s directions. He adjusted his glasses.
As the focus became sharp, he spotted a black object, apparently a boat,
anchored off shore.

“Couldn’t that be a black power boat? Looks like it to me, Tom,” Hank
said.

Brewster studied the boat for a minute before replying. “I think it is.
I’m sure it is. That must be Perez Soto’s boat.”

Mahenili had turned his glasses in the direction where the _Easy Action_
should be riding at anchor.

“I’m getting worried about the boys, Tom.”

“Oh, they’ll be all right. They’ll be coming into sight any moment now.
Anything in particular worrying you? We’ve spotted Perez Soto’s boat.
They haven’t had any trouble with him.”

It was late afternoon. Hank Mahenili had turned his glasses to the
south, looking out over Ka Lae.

“See that cloud formation to the south?” he said. “It’s building up
fast. It could be a Kona wind coming up.”

“Maybe we’d better start down, then,” Mr. Brewster suggested.

The two men had descended only halfway down the side of the volcano when
the Kona storm struck. They had to halt. It was too dangerous to make
the steep descent in the raging storm, the same storm that had hit the
_Easy Action_ two hours earlier.

The high wind, ripping and roaring, whining against the side of the
mountain, was followed by a sheet of rain. Tom Brewster and Hank
Mahenili had to scramble for any cover they could find. They located a
small but deep depression, more of a pocket than a cave, and dived into
it. Water trickled in, wetting them, but it was better than being in the
open with the rain and wind lashing at them.

Shortly after nightfall, the storm lessened. There was no question of
trying to continue their descent.

“Have to make the best of it for the night,” Mr. Brewster said.

“What about the boys?” Hank asked.

“Nothing we can do, Hank. Don’t think I’m not worried. I am. But I do
trust Biff. He’s been up against many a tough situation and has always
come through. He will this time, too. And so will Li.” Tom hoped his
strong tone of confidence would be imparted to his friend. He knew that
the Mahenilis weren’t accustomed to running into the dangerous
situations that had been a part of his own life for many years, and
recently, had become almost a pattern for Biff, too.

Henry Mahenili was made of stout stuff, too. He also knew that, when
faced with a situation where there was no immediate out, the best thing
to do was to face up to it and hope for the best.

Tom Brewster changed the subject.

“I’ve an idea, Hank. I base it on seeing that black power boat anchored
off shore.”

“What is it, Tom?”

“I think that Perez Soto and whoever is working with him must be ashore.
I think they must have Dr. Weber with them. It would be too easy to spot
someone being held captive in as confined a space as a boat.”

“I’m with you in that thinking, Tom.”

“Tell me this, then. Don’t you think they must have a hideout somewhere
nearby? They wouldn’t want to be too far from their anchorage. They’d
want to be able to get to their boat quickly if any definite news came
about the location of Huntington’s sunken sloop.”

“There are all sorts of places around here, Tom. Lean-tos, shacks.
Finding one certain hideout won’t be simple. There’s also a lot of the
Mauna Loa, too. Don’t expect too much too soon.”

“I know. But I won’t rest until I’ve made every effort to find Dr.
Weber.”

“Well, Tom, if we don’t rest now, we won’t have the strength to continue
our search. Let’s try to get some sleep.”

“Good idea.”

They spent a restless night in their cramped, wet quarters. Daylight,
with a bright sun already sending up steam vapors as it dried the wet
mountain side, was a welcome relief.

The first thing both men did was to scan the shore line again with their
binoculars, searching for the _Easy Action_. Failure to spot her
increased the worry in both men’s minds. Neither spoke of the matter.
Each knew how greatly concerned the other was. But there was no point in
dumping one worry upon another.

“Come on, Hank. Let’s get back on down. The boys may be there when we
arrive.”

They started on down the side of Mauna Loa. At an elevation of about one
thousand feet, almost directly opposite the anchored black power boat,
they halted for a breather. They were only a mile or so from the shore.
Their intention was to cut to their left, now that the going was easier
at the lower altitude. The descent was no longer so precipitate.

They headed almost due south now. They stayed at the same elevation,
stopping now and again to sweep the coast line with their glasses. At
one halt, Tom Brewster placed a retaining hand on Mahenili just as he
started off.

“Hold it a moment, Hank,” Tom said in a low voice. “Hear anything?”

Hank Mahenili listened. In a few moments, he nodded his head.

“Sound like voices to you?”

“Yes. And angry ones.”

“Come along then, let’s find out.”

The voices seemed to be coming from a point below them, not too far
below, and just a bit to their right.

They proceeded most cautiously in the direction of the voices, careful
not to start any pebbles or small stones rolling downward. Easing
themselves down, the two men came to a ledge. It projected out like the
roof of a shed or porch. Tom Brewster got down on his stomach. He wormed
his way forward. The voices were coming, it appeared, from directly
beneath him.

Inching ahead, Tom Brewster came to the edge of the ledge. Carefully, he
craned his head forward and looked down. He saw the tops of two men’s
heads. A third man was stretched out on a makeshift bed of brush,
covered with a worn cloth.

The third man was Dr. Weber. The doctor’s cheeks were sunken. His color
was bad. He looked completely ill and worn out. Towering over the doctor
was Perez Soto. Thomas Brewster couldn’t see the other man’s face, but
he knew it must have anger written on it from the tone of his voice.

Dr. Weber groaned as he turned on his side. Brewster could see that his
hands were bound behind his back. His ankles were also lashed together.

“You old fool!” Perez Soto said. “Why should it make any difference to
you whether I get the cesium or Brewster gets it? You’re a scientist.
Bah! A scientist should put his science before all else.”

Brewster heard the doctor’s reply in a voice barely audible: “There are
certain things even a scientist places a greater value on—friendship,
loyalty, humanity.”

Perez Soto leaned over the old man, his arm raised as if to strike him.
Brewster had all he could do to keep himself from leaping off the ledge
onto Perez Soto’s back. But Soto’s henchman stood, gun in hand, by the
old man’s side.

“I give you this day, and no more, my fine doctor,” Perez Soto said. “By
nightfall, if you do not reveal to me the location of the cesium strike,
the world will lose one of its most eminent scientists!”



                              CHAPTER XVII
                            A Dangerous Dive


Biff and Li were up with the first rays of daylight. After a hurried
breakfast, they prepared to go ashore.

“Do you think it’s safe to leave the boat unguarded, Biff?” Li wanted to
know.

“No, I don’t. I know darn well that Perez Soto would like nothing better
than to find the _Easy Action_ with no one aboard and scuttle her.”

“What do we do then?”

“We take that chance,” Biff said grimly. “We’ve got to. Finding our
fathers is more important than all the yawls and all the cesium in the
world.”

Li smiled in agreement. “We’re going to be awfully wet when we get
ashore.”

The dinghy was still secreted behind beach brush. The yawl had no other.

“Couldn’t you kind of kick your way ashore, swimming on your back, Li?”
Biff asked.

“Sure, Biff. Why?”

“Well, here’s what you try to do. Jump overboard. Turn on your back.
I’ll hand you some dry shorts and sweat shirts. Hold them out of water
over your head and see if you can make shore that way.”

“I’ll try, Biff. But I don’t know. Getting through the surf isn’t going
to be easy. Probably get the clothes wet anyway.”

“We’ll try it. And if they do get wet, the sun will dry ’em fast.”

Li dived into the ocean. He plunged around like a porpoise for a few
moments, enjoying and getting the feel of the water. Then he turned on
his back and kicked to the side of the yawl. Biff handed down a bundle
of clothing, and Li propelled himself away from the boat with a powerful
thrust against its side.

Biff slung a pair of binoculars in a waterproof case around his neck and
slipped into the water.

Li’s progress was slow. His leg thrusts were those of an excellent
backstroke swimmer, but unable to use his arms, he couldn’t go very
fast. Biff stayed alongside him.

“I’m going ahead when we reach the shore breakers,” Biff called to Li.
“I’m taller than you. Maybe I can reach bottom, and take the clothes
from you before a wave rolls over you.”

It was a good plan. But the sea has a way of upsetting good plans, and
it did this time. Boys and clothes reached shore equally wet. They wrung
out their shorts and sweat shirts as best they could, donned them, and
headed up the southern slope of the Mauna Loa in the area called Kau.

They toiled upward, resting at regular intervals. It was hot, tiring
work. Their wet clothes clung to their bodies. Perspiration from the
effort kept their clothes damp. Even in the heat, Biff found himself
shivering convulsively.

“I’ve got a clammy feeling from these clothes. Guess that’s why I’m
shivering,” Biff said to his friend. He hoped it _was_ the damp
clothing, rather than fear for the safety of his father and Hanale
Mahenili.

By noon, the boys had climbed nearly three thousand feet.

“Let’s take a break,” Biff called.

“By me, fine. That was a tough climb,” Li answered.

Biff stretched out. Li remained seated.

“Let me have the glasses. Biff.”

Biff handed them over, shielded his eyes from the sun, and tried to
catch a catnap. He was just dozing off when he felt Li nudge him.

“Biff! Biff!” The excitement in Li’s voice brought Biff to a sitting
position in a hurry.

“What is it, Li?”

“Over there, see? About halfway between Ka Lae and that point to the
north—Kauna Point.”

“Yes. But how can I see anything without the glasses?”

Li unslung them from around his neck and handed them to Biff. “Now,
look. Follow the direction of my arm. About half a mile, I’d guess, off
shore. Almost exactly between Ka Lae and Kauna Point.”

“I’m following you, Li.”

“Move your glasses around in a tight area of a few hundred yards. See if
you spot a dark object on the bottom of the ocean.”

The boys were looking almost straight down. From his many flights over
water, Biff knew that from above, one could see through the water to
depths of forty to fifty feet with ease. The water acted as a magnifying
glass.

He moved the glasses in a tight circle. Then he spotted what had caused
all Li’s excitement. Lying on the bottom of the ocean was a dark object.
It was slender, about forty feet long, Biff judged.

“Do you think it could be, Biff? Think it could be a boat?”

Biff didn’t want to raise either his own or Li’s hopes too high.

“Couldn’t it be a coral formation, Li?” he asked.

“Gee, I don’t think so, Biff. There’d be more then one formation of
coral around. It’s mighty rare to find just a sliver stuck out somewhere
in the ocean.”

“Then it could be a boat! A boat on the bottom of the ocean.”

“Huntington’s boat?”

“Could be, Li. But let’s not get our hopes up too high.”

“Let’s go. Let’s get back to the _Easy Action_ and cruise over there.
We’ve got to find out.”

Before agreeing, Biff thought about his father and Hank Mahenili. Should
the boys continue the search? After all, the same storm that had forced
him and Li to spend the night ashore could well have caused the fathers
to take shelter. Perhaps their parents even now were back at the beach
opposite the anchorage, or even aboard the yawl. Biff made his decision.

“Okay, Li. Let’s go,” Biff said.

The boys reached the beach opposite the _Easy Action_’s anchorage in
half the time it had taken them to make the ascent. Downhill, all the
way.

“We’ll take the dinghy out,” Biff said. “Won’t do our parents any good
if the yawl isn’t here.”

Their haste matched the excitement growing inside them about their find.
Of course, both knew they could be in for a great disappointment. Biff
pushed that depressing thought out of his mind.

Li upped anchor while Biff got the engine started, then went to the
cockpit. Biff took the tiller and pointed the yawl’s bow directly out to
sea. With a careful eye, he measured the distance from shore until he
was sure he was about half a mile out. Then he put the helm of the _Easy
Action_ hard over to the starboard and cruised parallel to the shore.

“Think you’ve got that spot well marked in your mind, Li?”

“Sure have, Biff. Remember when we spotted it? There was a large, oval
patch of whitish lava just to the left of where we were resting. I’m
sure we can spot it from the sea.”

“Okay. You be the lookout. I’m going to keep this boat on as true a
course as I can. I think we’re just about as far off shore now as we
figured that sunken boat was. What do you think?”

“Looks right to me. What do you want me to do?”

“You take the glasses. Keep them turned on the Mauna Loa slope. Soon as
you pick up that oval lava patch, sing out.”

“Aye, aye, captain.”

Li went forward with the binoculars. He kept them trained shoreward,
aiming them about two thousand feet up the slope.

The distance to the spot the boys had in mind was greater than they had
thought it to be. They covered a lot of water. Biff checked his watch.
He hoped they could spot the sunken hulk before the light went.

“Land ho!” Li sang out and came racing back over the deck to the
cockpit. “Oval patch coming into sight, captain. Here, take the glasses
and see for yourself.”

Biff turned the tiller over to Li and took a look. That was the patch,
all right. It was off their starboard bow, still a good two miles ahead.
Biff revved up the engine, and the _Easy Action_’s auxiliary pushed the
yawl along at a good eight knots. In twenty minutes—Biff timed the run,
figuring the miles the yawl would cover at full speed—they were dead
opposite the lava patch. Biff cut the motor.

“It ought to be somewhere about here,” Biff said. “You shin up the
mainmast. I’m going to put the yawl in a tight circle, starting right
here, then I’ll increase the circle every time we make one full turn.”

While Li was climbing the mast to a height of about fifteen feet, Biff
ducked down into the cabin for a marking buoy. This he tossed overside.
Its metal weight plunged to the bottom and held. The red-and-white buoy
would be the hub of the circle he would put the yawl into. Biff started
the engine again.

“All set, Li.”

“Start the merry-go-round,” Li called back.

The _Easy Action_ made a tight circle. Biff edged the tiller away from
him, and the second circle was of a greater circumference. Biff eased
off on the tiller again. The yawl described a larger circle. If the
sunken hulk was in that area, there shouldn’t be any chance of missing
it. The water was clear, the sea calm.

Round and round they went. The bobbing red-and-white marking buoy became
a mere speck. Biff could barely make it out with his naked eye.

Half an hour passed; then another. The sun was slanting downward, not
more than two hours from its nightly dip into the Pacific.

“Hold it, Biff! Hold it!” came the excited shout from Li.

Biff threw the engine into reverse. He leaped forward and let down the
anchor. He turned and looked up at Li, who, shading his eyes, was
peering intently into the water off the yawl’s portside.

“I’ve spotted it, Biff. I’m sure of it. If I haven’t, well—you come up
and take a look.”

Li slid down the mast and Biff shinned up. He looked at the spot Li had
pointed out. For a time, his eyes were unable to discover any difference
as he squinted, looking down into the water. After several minutes, he
did make out a formation differing from anything around it. It was a
dark object. Biff could think only of a whale, or some other large sea
animal, lying on the ocean’s floor.

“You’re right, Li. There’s something down there.” He slid down the mast.
“But how are we going to find out just what it is?”

Li grinned. “That’s easy, Biff. You have on board your ship _Easy
Action_, Captain Brewster, none other than the world’s record-holding
free skin diver, Likake Mahenili.”

“You’re going to dive down there?” Biff said, awe in his voice.

“Sure. Why not?”

“Well, you’re not going to until we sound for the depth here. What’s the
deepest dive you’ve ever made, Li?”

“Forty-five, maybe fifty feet if I stretch it a little,” Li replied.

Biff got out the sounding line. This was a thin, strong rope. It had a
heavy sinker on the end. At intervals of one foot, it had a metal weight
to mark off the depth. Biff tossed it overboard. The line seemed to run
out endlessly. Biff was afraid the ocean’s depth here was going to turn
out to be too great for Li to try a dive. Then he felt the thud of the
heavy sinker touching bottom. He drew the rope tight.

“Here we go. Let’s both count the markers as we pull it up.”

Biff worked slowly, carefully. They couldn’t risk any mistakes in their
count.

When the sinker broke the surface, Biff looked at Li. “How many markers
did you count?”

“Forty-three. Does that check with your count?”

“On the nose, Li, on the nose. I make it forty-three too.”

“Good. I can make that easy. But, hey, how am I going to know if it’s
the right boat? What was the name of Mr. Huntington’s sloop?”

“The _Sea Islander_, Li.”

“Okay. Can you work the boat over a bit? I’d like to be right over her
when I make my dive.”

“All right, Li. Take up the anchor. Just enough to get it off the
bottom. Then let go the second I call.”

Biff went back to the cockpit. He pushed the engine’s starting button.
He had to go forward about ten feet and edge the yawl to the port about
fifteen. He shoved the tiller away, putting the boat to the port, and
went forward about twenty feet. Then he pulled the tiller to him, put
the yawl in reverse, and came back.

“Let ’er go,” he called out. He felt the anchor grab. It must be almost
alongside the sunken object.

Li came back to the cockpit, darted into the cabin, and came out with a
small anchor. It was a spare for the dinghy.

“What do you want that thing for?” Biff demanded.

“A weight. I’m going down with it. It will pull me down a lot faster
than I could swim. And forty-three feet is a lot of water.”

“I’ll say it is. You all ready?”

Li nodded his head. He had changed into brief, skin-tight swim trunks.
He walked over to the starboard side of the yawl. He took some wooden
matches and hurled them into the water.

“What’s that for?” Biff asked.

“I want to find out if there’s much flow here. If there’s any current. I
have to judge my dive by the current.”

They watched the matches. They seemed to bob up and down in the same
place. Li had tossed them about ten feet from the yawl. As they watched,
they saw the distance between yawl and matches closing. It was closing,
all right, but slowly.

“Know all I have to, Biff. Very slight current. Nothing to worry about;
nothing I have to figure on particularly. Here I go.”

Before Biff could even call “good luck,” Li, the small anchor held in
front of him, plunged into the water.

The wait for Li to surface began.



                             CHAPTER XVIII
                          Exploring the Depths


When Likake disappeared beneath the surface, Biff glanced quickly at his
watch. He tried to remember the record for a person’s holding his breath
while under water. Was it three minutes? Four? He remembered reading of
some Polynesian divers in Bali who had remained submerged for six
minutes.

How long could Li hold his breath? Biff looked at his watch again.
Already the sweep hand had passed the two-minute mark.

Biff began to worry. The seconds ticked by slowly, as if held back by a
magnet. The three-minute mark was approaching. Surely Li couldn’t hold
out much longer. Biff’s eyes kept shifting from the water to the sweep
hand of his watch. Three minutes! Still no sign of Li. Biff made up his
mind. He was going in after Li. He slipped off his watch and peeled off
his shirt. Just as he was preparing to dive, Li’s head broke the
surface.

[Illustration: _How long could Li hold his breath?_]

For several moments, the Hawaiian boy lay in the water, head back, body
floating. He needed time to recover. Biff could see his chest heaving up
and down beneath the two inches of water covering it. Finally, Li turned
his head. He looked up at Biff and smiled. He turned over, and with one
powerful stroke, propelled himself to the side of the yawl.

Biff’s eager hands helped heave Li overside.

“You all right? You were sure down long enough!” Biff said.

Li nodded his head, his chest still moved in and out as he took deep
breaths, exhaling them slowly. Biff was dying to find out what, if
anything, Li had learned on his dive, but he didn’t want to press his
friend.

Li let out a “H-a-a-a-a-a. Boy! Guess that’s the deepest I’ve ever
dived.”

Biff couldn’t stand the suspense any longer.

“And what did you find? Was it a sloop? Was it the _Sea Islander_?”

“Yes to both questions, Biff.”

“Whoopee! Eeeowie! We’ve found it! We’ve found it!”

Biff grabbed Li by the shoulders and whirled him around.

“You sure, Li? You’re positive it’s the _Sea Islander_?”

“I’m sure, Biff. There was a life preserver still attached to the side
of the sloop’s cabin. I could make out the letters spelling the boat’s
name. And those letters sure did spell out _Sea Islander_.”

“What condition’s she in?”

“Well, I couldn’t tell much. She’s heeled over on her starboard side, I
think. Not all the way. Her mast is broken off, as far as I could tell.
Some of her ropes are still attached. I brushed against them both going
down and coming back up.”

Li had stretched out on the deck of the _Easy Action_. Strength was
flowing back into his body. Staying submerged as long as he had takes a
lot out of a person physically.

“Well, Li. I think we’d better get back to our original anchorage. Your
dad and mine must be back there by now. If they’re not, well, we’ll have
to forget about the _Sea Islander_ and really look for them. We may have
to go for help.”

“Before we go, though, Biff, I’d like to go back down to the _Sea
Islander_—”

“Again? What in the world for?”

“Not all the way. But don’t you think it would be a good idea if we
could attach a marker to one of the loose lines? Then we’d be able to
spot this location easily.”

“Good idea, Li. How near the surface do those loose lines come?”

“Oh, I’d guess twenty, maybe twenty-five feet. Won’t be much of a dive
this time. Not after going down over forty feet.”

“Okay, Li. You lie there and rest. I’ll rig a marking buoy.”

Biff went below and took out another buoy from the yawl’s captain’s
chest. This was an all-white one. He attached a short length of nylon
rope to the buoy, and a metal clip to the other end of the rope.

Returning to the deck, he showed it to Li. “How will this do? I figure
you can tie a fast knot in one of those loose lines, then just snap this
metal fastener below the knot. Then it won’t slip off.”

“Swell, Biff. I’ve got my breath back now. This won’t take a minute.”

Li took the buoy. A frown came over his face.

“What’s the trouble?” Biff asked.

“Well, with this buoy, it’s going to make it tougher to get down. The
other time, remember, I had the help of a weight pulling me down—the
dinghy’s emergency anchor. Now I’ve got this buoy, which will be working
against me. I don’t know—”

“I’ll fix that.” Biff went astern. He pulled in the dinghy which was
tied to the stem of the yawl, hopped in, and cut its anchor.

“Here you are, Li. That cleans us out of dinghy anchors. They go fast on
a day like this.”

“Marked down. Special sale.” Li grinned in reply. He stepped to the side
of the yawl. Holding buoy and anchor in front of him, once more the
Hawaiian boy jumped feet first into the blue water.

Biff looked at his watch again, but he wasn’t worried this time. Li was
only going down twenty feet. Feeling quite happy over finding the _Sea
Islander_, Biff whistled a popular tune. He looked up at Mauna Loa,
wondering where his father might be at the moment. He glanced down at
his watch. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Unless he had misread the time
of Li’s submersion, three minutes had already passed.

Biff swiftly went into action. Li shouldn’t have taken more than two
minutes—not that long—for this dive. Biff’s body split the water. He
pulled himself downward. The water pressure at the depth of fifteen feet
was already exerting abnormal pressure on his chest. Still he pulled
himself downward. He had to. _I’ve got to find Li_, he told himself.

At twenty feet beneath the surface, with his lungs screaming for air,
Biff’s hands touched Li’s head. The Hawaiian boy was fighting
frantically to free one leg from a rope entwined around it.

Biff used Li’s body to pull himself the four feet farther downward to
reach the rope. He tore at it, felt it give, and Li’s leg was free. Biff
placed his hands on Li’s body and gave it a powerful thrust upward.
Then, barely able to hold his breath any longer, he spread his hands,
palms downward, pushed with all his might and shot toward the surface.

When Biff broke the surface, gasping for breath, he looked for his
friend. There was Li, only a few feet away. But from the position of his
head, lolling to one side in the water, Biff knew the boy was
unconscious. Tired as he was, his own lungs aching from the recent
strain put upon them, Biff swam to Li’s side. At first, all he did was
support Li’s head, keeping his nose and mouth from going under water.

After a few moments, Biff kicked his way to the side of the yawl. He
felt the need of support, too. With one hand holding on to the _Easy
Action_ amidship, he held onto Li with the other. Biff had no way of
knowing as yet whether Li had swallowed so much water that his lungs
were filled. He kept the word “drowned” out of his mind.

When he had regained his strength, Biff let go of the yawl. Treading
water, he took Li’s head in both hands and drew it right up to his own
face. He placed his cheek against Li’s nose.

Thank heavens! He could feel Li’s breath on his face.

Biff pulled himself and Li back to the side of the _Easy Action_. He
placed Li directly against the side of the yawl. He released him and at
the same instant, pulled himself quickly onto the deck. Then, belly
down, he leaned over and was just able to grasp Li under the arms. With
a powerful tug, he pulled the still unconscious boy onto the deck.

His first action was to turn him over and administer first aid. He
raised and lowered Li’s body to expel any water that might still be in
his lungs. Then he placed Li on his side, his face turned toward the
deck. He watched Li’s troubled breathing become easier.

Biff sank back with a sigh of relief. His friend was going to be all
right. A tremendous weariness swept over Biff. He hadn’t known how near
to the point of exhaustion he had brought himself. For the next half
hour, both boys lay on the deck regaining their strength.

The slanting rays of the setting sun were casting long shadows on the
slope of the Mauna Loa. Biff sat up. He didn’t know at first what had
caught his attention. He stared at the side of the volcano. He saw it
again. A quick flash, a bright reflection. It disappeared. Biff kept his
eyes trained on the spot. There it was again. He turned. The sun was low
on the horizon, but still bright. He realized that the _Easy Action_ was
directly between the setting sun and the flash of reflected light he had
spotted.

What could it be? Was it his imagination?

Biff felt Li stir beside him. The Hawaiian boy opened his eyes. A feeble
smile touched his lips. He tried to speak.

“Take it easy, Li. Rest a little longer.”

Li closed his eyes.

Biff looked again at the spot on the Mauna Loa where he had seen the
flash. It came again, then disappeared.

Biff heard Li’s faltering voice behind him.

“You saved my life, Biff.”

Li was sitting up now. Biff felt embarrassed. What was there to say? He
turned to his friend, and the smiles they exchanged expressed more than
any words could possibly do.

“What happened, anyway, Li?”

“It was my own fault, Biff. I guess I panicked. I got down easily. Found
a loose rope. But I had trouble staying submerged while I tried to tie a
knot. So I made a quick slip knot and hooked it over my leg to hold me
steady while I tied the knot to fasten the clasp to.”

Biff frowned. “You mean you sort of anchored yourself to the _Sea
Islander_?”

“Guess you could call it that. Anyway, it took longer than I figured.
Once I had hooked the buoy on the rope, I tried to free my leg from the
slip knot. My body pulling on the knot had tightened it. The wet rope
made the knot even harder to undo. That’s when I panicked, I guess. The
more I worked on the knot, the tighter it seemed to get. Then I sort of
blacked out. I don’t even remember you’re coming down to rescue me.”

“Thank goodness I got there in time!”

Li put his hands over his face. His shoulders shook. Biff realized the
boy was crying. He said nothing. Better to let Li get the shock out of
his system. He continued to watch his friend carefully. Li had come
close to death.

Li, after a few moments, removed his hands and grinned. “Sorry, Biff, I
guess I’m acting like a baby.”

“Nonsense. After what you just went through, well—Say, I want you to see
if you can see what I just saw—if you can follow all that ‘see’ and
‘saw.’” Biff wanted to change the subject, stop Li from thinking about
his narrow escape. He also wanted to check the flash he had just seen.

“Look over there, Li. About two thousand feet up the slope of Mauna
Loa.” He pointed with his arm. “I’d swear I’ve just been seeing light
reflected. Seems like a mirror pointed into the sun—you know, the way
kids sometimes signal to one another.”

Li raised his eyes. Both boys saw the reflection come at the same time.

“I see it, Biff. There it is. Now it’s gone.”

“What do you think it could be, Li?”

“Like you said, maybe a mirror or—or glasses.”

“That’s it! Glasses. Someone’s got binoculars trained on us. And we’re
right in the path of the setting sun. Someone’s watching us through
binoculars.”

“I’ll bet you’re right. It’s probably my dad and yours.”

“Hey, I sure hope so.” But even as Biff spoke the words, another idea
came into his head. “Or, Li, it could be Perez Soto.”



                              CHAPTER XIX
                                Reunion


It was Perez Soto.

The swarthy adventurer was standing on a lava ledge not far from the
spot where Biff and Li had sighted the sunken hulk of the _Sea Islander_
earlier in the day.

Through his powerful binoculars, he had watched every movement the boys
had made. He had seen Li’s first and second dives. His glasses were of
such powerful magnification he could even see the exultant expressions
on the boys’ faces. He knew they had made an important discovery, and he
was certain what the discovery was.

A crafty smile came over his heavy features as a plan formed in his
scheming mind. He would go back to his hideout and get his henchman,
Madeira. Then, quickly to his power boat, the _Black Falcon_, and head
for the dot on the ocean where he had seen the boys.

He had little thought for Dr. Weber. The thing to do now, and do it
fast, was to get out to the sunken _Sea Islander_ and stake his salvage
claim. In the case of a lost boat, or a sunken one, it was “first come,
first served.” The important thing, though, was not only to take the
claim, but remain in possession of it.

With his glasses still on the _Easy Action_, he saw one of the boys
raising the anchor. He saw the yawl set a course toward Ka Lae, leaving
the sunken sloop abandoned.

Too bad about Dr. Weber. Maybe someone would find him, maybe they
wouldn’t. Perez Soto didn’t care. All he wanted to do now was to
establish his salvage rights, and do so in the shortest possible time.

He stepped back from the ledge and started walking rapidly toward his
hideout.


Thomas Brewster and Hanale Mahenili watched with torn emotions as Perez
Soto threatened and tormented Dr. Weber. Both men wanted to act. Both
knew, however, that to do so would not only endanger the doctor’s life,
but would also jeopardize their chances of rescuing the old man.

The morning passed. Perez Soto continued his threats. But the old doctor
held firm. He refused to answer any of his captor’s questions.

Madeira, Perez Soto’s henchman, kept his snub-nosed revolver steadily
pointed at the doctor. Brewster and Mahenili didn’t dare try to jump the
kidnapers.

About noontime, Perez Soto took the gun from Madeira. Madeira prepared
some food by lighting a small fire and heating up some stew he took from
a can. The smell of the steaming stew rising to the cliff where Brewster
and Mahenili were hiding, sent sharp pangs of hunger rumbling through
their stomachs.

Shortly after Perez Soto and Madeira had eaten, Perez Soto, as if having
an afterthought, poked a spoonful of food at the doctor’s mouth. The
doctor turned his head away.

“Look at that, Hank,” Brewster whispered. “I think the doctor wants to
die. He’s refusing food.”

“Perhaps he feels that death is preferable to any more of Perez Soto’s
threats and demands.”

About two o’clock, Perez Soto entered the cave which he was using for a
hideout and emerged minutes later with a pair of binoculars slung over
his shoulder.

“Guard the old man well,” he ordered. “I’ll be back before sunset.” He
strode off.

Brewster whispered to Mahenili. “I think our chance will come now. We’ll
let Perez Soto get well on his way, then we’ll find a way of jumping the
guard.”

The time came more quickly than either man could have hoped for.
Madeira, his stomach filled with stew, could be seen to yawn. They saw
him shake his head to ward off sleep. Apparently feeling that there was
little threat of Dr. Weber’s attempting to escape, the guard checked the
ropes binding the doctor’s hands and feet. He sat down nearby, propping
his back against a large boulder, the gun in his hands.

Brewster and Mahenili watched every move. They saw the guard’s head nod
forward. They saw him bring it up with a jerk and shake his head from
side to side in an effort to remain awake. They saw the process
repeated. For the third time, the guard’s head dropped forward. This
time, it stayed there.

“Now’s our chance,” Brewster said to his friend.

Mahenili nodded in the affirmative.

Brewster measured the distance between himself and the sleeping guard.
The drop from the ledge to the ground in front of the cave was a good
fifteen feet. From where he would land, Brewster would still have to
cross a clearing of ten feet before he could reach the guard. The noise
of his landing would certainly arouse the guard. Before Brewster could
cross the opening to close with him, the guard would have time to raise
his pistol and fire.

A plan shaped up in Thomas Brewster’s mind.

“Hank, here’s how we’ll have to do it. You crawl back. Make your way to
the rear of the guard if it’s possible. Creep up as near to him as you
can. Keep me in sight. When you see me leap from this ledge, you spring
forward. Try to take him from the rear. Hurl a rock at him, anything.
Just try to give me enough time to leap across that clearing and grapple
with the guard before he can fire. Once I get my hands on him, I can
handle him.”

“But if you can’t see me, Tom, how will you know when to leap?”

“It’s now two-twenty-two. I’ll make my move at exactly two-thirty. I’ll
just have to trust that you’ve been able to get behind the guard. Go
along now, and good luck.”

Brewster kept shifting his glance from the sleeping guard to the minute
hand on his watch. It seemed that the large hand would never reach the
half-hour mark. But it did.

At exactly two-thirty, Brewster stood up. He jumped. He went to his
knees and rolled when he hit the ground, fifteen feet beneath him. It
was a fall he had learned in his army training, one designed to prevent
a broken ankle.

He leaped quickly to his feet. The guard, awakened, stood up. He was
still groggy from sleep and confused. He could hear sounds from behind
him, and here right in front of him, a large man was charging him.

Brewster hit Madeira with a jolting right cross before the guard could
think straight. He hit the ground with a thud. Brewster was on top of
him like a hungry tiger making a kill. From the rear, Mahenili sprang
into the arena, spotted the pistol still in the guard’s outstretched
hand, and kicked it away.

The fight was over. It had been an easy victory.

In minutes, Dr. Weber was freed, and his bonds were used to truss up the
guard. As an extra precaution, Brewster used his handkerchief to gag the
guard. He didn’t want him calling for help. No telling how near Perez
Soto might be.

“Dr. Weber, my friend.” Brewster leaned over to help the doctor to his
feet. “How are you? Are you injured in any way?”

“Mostly my dignity,” the doctor grunted gruffly.

“Are you able to walk? We must get away from here before Perez Soto
returns.”

“Hurrumph!” the good doctor hurrumphed indignantly. “You youngsters seem
to think I’m an old dotard, dying on my feet.”

Mr. Brewster had to smile at being called a youngster. But he was a good
thirty years younger than Dr. Weber.

“Of course I can walk!” The doctor took two steps, and would have fallen
if Biff’s father hadn’t caught him.

Dr. Weber glared up at his friend. “Release me. All I need is for the
circulation to be restored to my legs. I’ve been tied up most of the
time.” The doctor was stubborn. He gingerly raised one leg, then the
other. He flapped his arms against his sides. He cautiously took another
step, glancing out of the side of his eye to see if Tom Brewster was
prepared to help him.

The doctor’s vitality was amazing. Brewster got him some water. He
forced him to take several mouthfuls of the stew, now cold, but energy
giving nonetheless.

“All right, now,” the doctor said. “You lead the way. I’ll follow.”

Brewster started off on a path leading down to the coast. Before doing
so, he signaled to Mr. Mahenili to stay close behind the doctor, ready
to catch him if he should fall.

Their progress downward was slow. Brewster halted every hundred yards,
sometimes more often where the descent was difficult, to allow the
doctor to regain his strength. Brewster knew Dr. Weber must be going
along on sheer nervous energy. His frail body just wasn’t young enough
to take such punishment. But Biff’s father knew also that it is amazing
to just what great limits the human body can go when forced to do so.

It was dusk when the three men stumbled onto the beach opposite the
_Easy Action_’s first anchorage. Thomas Brewster looked out over the
ocean, and his heart leaped with joy. He saw the yawl coming into its
anchorage, Li in the bow, ready to drop the anchor, and Biff at the
tiller.

“Hi, Biff! Hi, Li!” he called.



                               CHAPTER XX
                              Dawn Attack


Shouts of joy rippled across the water from Biff and Li to their
fathers. The boys hopped into the dinghy and sent it fairly flying over
the waves to shore.

The first thing to do was to get Dr. Weber on the boat. The old man’s
stout, fierce spirit seemed to leave him once he reached the anchorage.
He had exhausted his reserve strength. He was near the end of his
remarkable endurance.

The others were ferried to the _Easy Action_. Dr. Weber was bedded down.
Hot soup was prepared for the aged scientist, and shortly he was
sleeping like a baby, a quite wrinkled baby, true, but his sleep was as
sound and peaceful as that of a one-year-old.

Biff quickly filled his father in on what had happened. He saved until
the last the discovery of the _Sea Islander_.

“But I think maybe Perez Soto has spotted her, too,” Biff had to add in
conclusion. “I think he must have spotted us when Li was diving.”

Thomas Brewster turned to Mr. Mahenili. “That must have been why Perez
Soto went away, giving us the chance to rescue Dr. Weber.”

“I’m sure it was,” the Hawaiian answered.

“Now what we’ve got to do is get back to the _Sea Islander_ before Perez
Soto does. We’ve got to hook on to the sunken boat somehow. Then we’ve
got to get into her cabin and locate that metal box with the cesium
sample and the map showing where the field is located.”

Brewster paused. He had to think this thing through clearly now. There
could be no mistakes, no more risks. They would have to get a
professional diver.

“Hank, where is the nearest town to here—a place where you can hire a
professional diver? Someone with an aqualung?”

“I imagine Hilo would be the nearest place.”

“How far is that from where we are?”

“Oh, I’d say roughly seventy-five miles.”

“Any way of getting there, aside from walking?”

“Sure, Tom. I would have to walk inland until I reached the Wamalahoa
Highway—that’s the road which circles the island. I know I could rent a
car or taxi at Honupo Landing. Not much more than an hour’s drive from
there into Hilo.”

“Right. What do you say to this? We’ll put you ashore right now. You get
to Hilo. Hire a skin diver and get back here as early tomorrow morning
as you can. We’ve got to get back to the _Sea Islander_ right away. How
far up the coast is she, Biff?”

“An hour. Maybe a little more. That’s pushing the yawl at full speed.”

“All right. Biff, you row Mr. Mahenili ashore. Li and I will make ready.
Get back fast.”

“Aye, aye, sir.” Biff grinned at his father. It was good to have someone
else make the decisions for a change. And when Biff’s father went into
action, he did so with a snap and precision that commanded respect.

It didn’t take Biff long to set Mr. Mahenili ashore. The dinghy was
quickly secured once the boy returned, and the _Easy Action_ headed up
coast at full throttle.

“Think we can find the place in the dark, Biff?” his father asked.

“It will take a bit of doing, Dad. But we set a marking buoy over the
_Sea Islander_, attached to one of her halyards. Good thing we did, too.
We’d never be able to locate a boat on the bottom at night.”

It took more time than they had calculated to locate the marking buoy.
They had to cruise the area for more than an hour before a shout from Li
told them they had found it.

“Now the problem is,” Mr. Brewster said, “how are we going to hook our
anchor into the sunken ship? Once we do that, there can be no doubt as
to our salvage rights.”

“How about this, Dad?” Biff suggested. “Let’s drop the hook until we can
feel her just touch bottom. Then we can run back and forth over the _Sea
Islander_ until we feel the anchor’s points sink into her side.”

“Good. Excellent suggestion.” Biff’s father acted at once. He brought
the _Easy Action_ about and aimed her bow directly at the marking buoy.
They felt the anchor drag as it struck the submerged sloop. But on their
first pass the hook didn’t catch. Mr. Brewster reversed his course. This
time the hook sunk into the side of the sunken _Sea Islander_ and held.
Mr. Brewster revved up the engine, and the _Easy Action_ tugged at her
sunken sister.

“That ought to set the anchor in her side but good,” Mr. Brewster said.
He cut the engine. “Try the winch, Biff. See if you can raise the
anchor. I want to make sure we’re really caught onto her.”

Biff did so. He put all his strength into trying to turn the winch. The
anchor was set. The _Easy Action_ and the _Sea Islander_ were joined by
a stout, thick hawser.

It was late. Everyone, feeling happy about their success, was ready to
turn in.

“Tired, Li?” Biff asked. His answer was a quick nod of his friend’s head
as Li headed below for the comfort of his berth.

“I’m going to sleep on deck again tonight, Dad. Perez Soto’s boat is in
these waters. I don’t think he’ll try anything tonight, but you never
can tell.”

“All right, Biff. I agree. We can’t take any chances with success so
near at hand.”

Biff rolled himself up in a sleeping bag and was asleep the minute he
finished zipping it up. Early in the morning, an hour or more before
sunrise, he was wide awake. He lay still, staring up at the sky. Stars
covered it like a million white dots on a field of navy blue. A quarter
moon, looking like an orange section, still hung in the sky.

A soft splash attracted Biff’s attention. He rose on one elbow and
looked in the direction of the noise. It came again.

“Could be a fish jumping,” he told himself. Adjusting his eyes to the
night, Biff peered more keenly toward the sound. He raised his glance,
and his heart started thudding. Lying at anchor, not more than a quarter
of a mile away, was the outline of a power boat. Biff was sure it was
the same one which had tried to swamp the _Easy Action_.

Biff crept noiselessly to the stem of the yawl. He went below. Reaching
his father’s berth, he shook him gently.

“Dad, Dad,” he whispered softly. “Wake up. I think someone’s trying to
board the boat.”

Thomas Brewster was out of his berth in an instant. Li, hearing the
noise, leaped out of his bunk, too.

Silently the three crept back to the cockpit. They raised their heads
over the gunnel.

“Listen, Dad. Listen carefully. I heard a noise; sounded like a fish
jumping. Right over there.”

The three strained their ears. They heard the sound again. Then they saw
what was causing it. A man was swimming toward the _Easy Action_. They
could make out his head moving slowly, but steadily along, coming toward
the yawl.

When the swimmer was some twenty feet from the _Easy Action_, the pale
light of the moon was reflected by an object the swimmer was holding in
his mouth. In the brief instant of the gleam, the object became clear to
them all. It was a long knife.



                              CHAPTER XXI
                              A Human Fish


“What do you think he is up to, Biff?” Li asked in a whisper.

The swimmer was nearing the yawl.

“With that knife in his mouth, I don’t think there’s much doubt about
it. Do you, Dad?”

“Depends on what you’re thinking, son.”

“Well, I think this is Perez Soto’s last, desperate effort to establish
his salvage rights to the _Sea Islander_. I’m sure that’s his boat over
there, just off our starboard bow. See it?”

The power cruiser, the _Black Falcon_, was sharply silhouetted now in
the lightening dawn.

“Perez Soto’s sent that swimmer over to cut our anchor rope,” Biff
continued. “Wouldn’t you agree, Dad?”

“You’re right, Biff.”

“Why would he want to do that?” Li asked.

“Well, if his man could cut our line, and we were still asleep, we’d
drift. Even in the slight current that runs in these waters, we’d drift
half a mile or more in a very short time. Once we were out of the way,
he could easily sink his own line onto the _Sea Islander_ and establish
his rights of salvage.”

The swimmer was now only ten feet from the yawl. Biff reached down and
pulled out a boathook, a long pole with a hook on one end, used to grab
a mooring when coming into an anchorage.

“I’m going to hook me a human fish,” he whispered.

Biff raised the boathook. He rested its hooked end on the gunnel. The
swimmer was now within hooking distance. Biff shot the boathook out. It
grazed the swimmer’s head. Feeling it, the swimmer dived. Biff prodded
forward with the boathook. He felt it catch. The pole bent just like a
fishing pole as the swimmer tried to get away.

“Got him, Dad. Got him!” Biff shouted happily.

“You sure have, Biff. You got him right by the seat of his swimming
trunks. Here, let me give you a hand.”

Biff pulled the pole, with his human catch on the other end, partly into
the boat. He and his father put their weight onto the in-boat end. The
pole became a lever, lifting their catch out of the water.

A funnier catch Biff, his father, and Li had never seen. It was Li who
started laughing first.

In the rapidly increasing daylight, they could see Perez Soto’s man on
the end of the pole. He was waving his arms, kicking his legs
frantically.

“He looks like a crab,” Li chortled.

He did. The man, caught by the seat of his swim pants on the hook, was
unable to reach back to free himself. He was suspended three feet above
the water, still kicking and squirming furiously.

“What shall I do with him, Dad? Throw him back?”

Thomas Brewster was laughing.

“I’ve used many a weapon to defend myself in the past, but a boathook
... this is the laughing end.” Both boys made an “ouch” face at the bad
pun. Mr. Brewster turned to Li. “Get a flashlight, Li. I want to make
sure who this human shark is.”

Li darted into the cabin and darted right back. He didn’t want to miss a
thing.

Thomas Brewster shone the flashlight on the hooked, would-be knife
wielder’s face.

“Just as I thought,” Brewster said. “It’s the man who was guarding Dr.
Weber. I heard Perez Soto call him Madeira.”

Madeira, in his frantic struggling, had dropped the knife from his
mouth. He was no longer any threat to the _Easy Action_ and her crew.

“Guess I might as well drop him back in the water, hadn’t I, Dad?” Biff
asked.

“Sure, son. Let him go. In the water he can free himself. Then you just
watch him head back for Perez Soto and the _Black Falcon_.”

“You’re not serious, Dad!” Biff exclaimed. “Isn’t it dangerous to let
them get away?”

But Biff didn’t have to drop Madeira back into the water. There came a
ripping sound. Madeira’s hooked swim trunks split. The water prowler hit
the water with a belly whopper. Pantless, he turned and swam away.

Biff, Li, and Mr. Brewster howled with laughter. When the laughter died
away, Mr. Brewster said, “To answer your question, Biff. They’re too
dangerous to keep aboard. We’ll have to leave them to the authorities.
They’ll track them down, now.”

It had grown much lighter. It was easy to follow the swimmer’s progress
back to the _Black Falcon_.

“He’ll go without his breakfast when he gets back,” Tom Brewster said.
“Perez Soto will be furious.”

“Speaking of breakfast—” Biff said.

“Me, too,” Li cut in.

They went below. All hungry. All happy, feeling that they were nearing
the climax of their Hawaiian sea hunt.

“Looks like easy sailing from here on in, Dad,” Biff said, munching a
piece of toast.

“Well, don’t get your hopes up too high, Biff.”

“Why not, Dad?”

“We still have to locate that metal box. We have no assurance that it’s
still in the _Sea Islander’s_ cabin.”

A frown of disappointment came over Biff’s face.

“I’m not saying it isn’t there, understand,” his father went on. “But
remember, the _Sea Islander_ has been on the bottom for several weeks.
The box could have been tossed around in the storm that sank the boat.
It might have floated out.”

“I never thought of that.”

The remainder of their breakfast was eaten in a concerned silence.

Biff and Li were cleaning up the galley. Thomas Brewster was talking to
Dr. Weber. The doctor had had a good night’s sleep and said he was
feeling fine. He chortled over the human fish incident.

Biff’s sharp ears caught the sound first. From a distance came a low,
steady buzzing. Biff ran on deck. From just off Ka Lae, he spotted a low
flying plane. It was coming directly at the _Easy Action_. In moments,
Biff was able to distinguish its lines.

“Dad, Dad!” he called. “There’s a seaplane coming this way.”

Li was on deck first, followed by Thomas Brewster and Dr. Weber.

They watched the plane. It came in low over the yawl, dipped its wings
in salute, then described a long circle to head into the wind. It
settled ducklike on the water and taxied toward the _Easy Action_.

One man stood up in the open cockpit by the pilot. He was waving his
arms.

“It’s Dad! It’s my father!” Li shouted excitedly.

“Well, it surely is. Li, when your father goes into action, he moves
fast. I never thought he’d come back in a plane. I thought he’d charter
another boat,” Mr. Brewster said.

The seaplane taxied to within ten feet of the _Easy Action_, its twin
propellers barely turning, just fast enough to give the plane headway.
Henry Mahenili stood up and tossed a rope toward the yawl. It fell
short. He pulled it in, and again the rope snaked out toward the yawl.
This time Biff caught it. He tugged on the rope, and the plane closed
the gap of water separating it from the yawl. Its nose bumped gently
against _Easy Action_’s starboard side.

“Give us about five feet of play, young man,” the pilot called out. Even
in this calm sea, he didn’t want to take any chances on the nose of his
plane being punched in.

“I can do better than that,” Biff called, knowing the reason for the
pilot’s concern. He went below and brought out extra boat snubbers, made
of foam rubber. He hooked them over the gunnel, forming a soft
protecting barrier between the side of the yawl and the nose of the
plane. Then he pulled the plane within two feet of the yawl, making it
easy for the plane’s passengers to hop from plane to boat.

Hank Mahenili was first aboard. He was followed by a muscularly built
Hawaiian. The pilot came last.

“This is Kamuela Mamola, the skin diver I hired,” Hank said, introducing
the muscular young man.

“Just call me Sammy—that’s what my Hawaiian name means. You got a job
for me?” the young man said.

“We sure have, Sammy,” Mr. Brewster said. “Right downstairs.” He
laughed.

“That line over the port side,” Biff said, indicating the line. “That’s
our anchor rope. It’s caught in the sunken sloop.”

“Good,” the diver said. “Then there shouldn’t be any trouble at all.” He
hopped back aboard the plane, dug around its cabin for a few minutes,
then reappeared with his skin diving equipment. This consisted of a
glass face mask, and a small oxygen tank connected to his aqualung.

Coming back on the _Easy Action_, he donned his equipment, touched his
hand to his forehead in salute, and slipped overboard.

Biff leaned over the gunnel. He saw the diver pulling himself downward,
using the anchor rope to guide him. It was the same as climbing a rope
hand over hand, only in reverse.

Bubbles from the aqualung kept breaking the surface.

“Never thought of this, Hank,” Tom said. “No one told Sammy what to look
for.”

“Oh, yes, they did, Tom. Me. I did. On the way over. I couldn’t give him
much of a description.”

“No, we don’t have much to go on. Just some kind of metal box.”

“That’s what I told him. I imagine it’s similar to the small locker-box
you keep semi-valuable papers in at home. That’s what I told him,
anyway.”

“We ought to know soon.”

Air bubbles dotted the surface near the port side of the _Easy Action_.
Five minutes went by. Ten. At fifteen minutes, worry began to appear on
the faces of those on board.

“Think anything could have happened to the diver?” Tom Brewster asked.

“No, Dad. Not as long as those bubbles keep coming up regularly. He’s
all right. If those bubbles stop, we worry.”

After twenty minutes, Biff saw the anchor rope tighten, as if someone
had pulled it from the other end.

“I think he’s coming up,” Biff said.

Everyone leaned over the portside of the boat.

Moments later, Sammy’s wet head broke the surface. He wrenched the glass
face mask from his head.

Disappointment swept over the boat. The diver was empty-handed.



                              CHAPTER XXII
                               Check-Out


“Don’t look so worried,” Sammy Mamola said. The skin diver looked up at
the disappointed faces. “I didn’t expect to bring up that box on my
first dive. Give me a little more time. I do think I may have located
it, though.”

Expressions of hope replaced the sad faces aboard the _Easy Action_.

“I need another tool,” Sammy said. “A short bar, two or three feet long.
If what I think is the box, it’s jammed, and I can’t free it without
prizing it. What have you got?”

Sammy was treading water, one hand resting lightly on the yawl’s gunnel.

“I’ll look in the tool box,” Biff said.

While he was gone, Sammy told them what he had found below.

“That boat sure took a beating. Everything in the cabin is smashed up.
She’s filled with sand, and other sea trash. I had to chase some fish
out, too. Especially a small octopus—didn’t want it squirting its ink
around, clouding my vision. I found what I think may be your box under a
mound of sand and broken sea shells. Couldn’t pull it out, though.”

“Any sign of—”

“No, Mr. Mahenili, no sign of the poor fellow who went down with her.”

Biff had returned.

“Will this do?” He held up a metal bar, about three-quarters of an inch
thick and thirty inches long. It was used to turn the engine over if its
electric starter didn’t work.

“Just the thing.” Sammy reached up for it. “Well, here I go again. Maybe
I’ll have better luck this time.” The diver submerged again.

All had been so interested in the diver’s activities and report that
they hadn’t noticed the _Black Falcon_. It was Li who spotted Perez
Soto’s boat.

“Look, Dad,” he called out.

The _Black Falcon_ had left its anchorage and moved over until it was
only two hundred feet from the _Easy Action_. Perez Soto was watching
every action aboard the yawl.

“Say one thing for that man,” Tom Brewster said. “He doesn’t give up
until the final chance is gone. If he sees us bring up that metal box,
he’ll still try to get it away from us somehow.”

“I don’t think he will,” Hank Mahenili said.

“What do you mean?” Biff asked.

“You’ll see.” Hank Mahenili smiled mysteriously.

Another fifteen minutes went by. A steady stream of bubbles broke the
surface. The diver was working. Thomas Brewster kept looking at his
watch. Biff and Li, lying on their stomachs, watched the area dotted
with bubbles. Biff, looking up, noticed Madeira frantically winding up
the anchor winch of the _Black Falcon_. Perez Soto was already at the
wheel, shouting at his henchman to hurry up.

“Hey, look at that,” Biff exclaimed. “Looks like Perez Soto has changed
his mind. He’s in a hurry to get out of here.”

And he was. The anchor of the _Black Falcon_ was barely out of the water
when Perez Soto jammed the throttle of the cruiser full speed forward,
and the boat leaped away, leaving a high, foaming wake at its stern.

“Now I wonder what made him change his mind?” Tom Brewster asked.

“I think I know the answer to that. Look over there.” Hank Mahenili
said.

They looked in the direction he was pointing. A low, gray boat was
coming along at a racing clip. Huge numbers on its bow identified it.

“It’s a Coast Guard cutter,” Biff shouted.

“That’s right, Biff. Now watch. We may see some fun.”

The cutter was after the _Black Falcon_. The cruiser was fast, but no
match for the Coast Guard cutter. She closed the gap between the boats
rapidly.

Perez Soto wasn’t giving up, however. He tried maneuvering, swerving the
_Black Falcon_ from one direction to another on a zigzag course.

The people on the _Easy Action_ heard the boom of a small cannon.
Looking at the cutter, they saw a puff of smoke from its forward gun.
Then they saw a splash as a shell dropped just in front of the
_Falcon_’s bow.

“If he doesn’t heave to now, the next projectile will be directed at the
ship,” Mr. Mahenili said.

But Perez Soto had had enough. He heaved to. The cutter came alongside,
and two Coast Guardsmen, guns in hand, boarded her.

“I imagine our troubles with Perez Soto are at an end,” Mr. Mahenili
said.

“This is your doing?” Tom Brewster asked.

Hank nodded his head. “Kidnaping. I reported Perez Soto as having
kidnaped Dr. Weber. He’ll be dealt with harshly. One witness against him
will be Tokawto. He’s recovering. It was Perez Soto who gave him that
stab wound.”

“Well, you really did get around in Hilo, Mr. Mahenili,” Biff said.

“I don’t like to leave any loose strings dangling. Incidentally, did Dr.
Weber ever tell you how he happened to be abducted from his hotel room?”
Hank asked Tom Brewster.

“Yes, he did. He was talking to me when he felt a sharp point in his
back. That was the call I took in Indianapolis, Biff. It was Perez Soto.
With a sharp knife at his back and Perez Soto threatening to use the
knife, there was nothing the doctor could do but obey instructions. They
walked out of the porch entrance and through the garden to a waiting
car. Madeira was the driver.”

Dr. Weber smiled at the group. “Perhaps I should have resisted, but—I
knew Perez Soto meant what he said. I went along, like a quiet mouse.”

An idea occurred to Biff. He dashed below. He was back in a moment. He
held out his hand to Dr. Weber.

“I just remembered this, Doctor.”

It was the doctor’s tobacco pouch and pipe.

“Bless you, my boy. Missing my pipe was the worst torture I endured
during my entire captivity.”

A shout came from the side of the yawl.

“You people up there still interested in a metal box?” It was the diver.
“Think this could be it?”

The Hawaiian diver held an oblong object above his head. Biff leaned
over the side and took it from his hands. It was encrusted with
barnacles, bits of shell, and slimy green seaweed.

It was a metal box. Biff handed it to his father.

“Get a screwdriver, Biff. We’ll have to pry the lid open.”

Everyone watched tensely as Thomas Brewster worked the screwdriver under
the lid of the box. A small lock held it shut. Finally, the lid sprang
open. Inside was a loose, dust-like substance, hardened in spots where
sea water had leaked in. There was also a damp piece of paper.

“This is it. It’s got to be. Take a look, Dr. Weber.”

The doctor dipped his hand in the box. He fingered the powdery
substance. He nodded his head.

“I can’t tell how this will run yet. I will have to test it. But ...
well, I think we’ve really got something here.”

Thomas Brewster and Biff were pouring over the map.

“The field’s well marked. Won’t be any trouble locating it if this
sample proves out to be high grade.”

The doctor was looking at the pilot.

“Young man, could you fly me back to Honolulu?”

“Sure. Only take an hour or so.”

“Well, Tom. I’d like to get back to my hotel. All my equipment is there.
I can test this sample immediately. I want to. Is it all right with you,
Henry, if I steal your plane and pilot?”

“Certainly, doctor. We’ll all go back to Hilo by boat.”

“Well then, when you get there, look for a message from me. I’ll have
run my tests long before you can get back by boat. Then I’m off. I’m due
at an international scientific convention in Switzerland early next
week. I’ll have to leave Honolulu before you get back.”

The doctor shook hands all around. His last words to the group were:

“Thanks for my pipe, young man.”

Biff grinned in reply. It was hard to believe that this was the same old
man who had been carried aboard not long ago.

The doctor boarded the plane, and in five minutes it was out of sight,
winging its way to Hawaii.

Tom Brewster took the tiller of the _Easy Action_. Li was at the anchor
winch, Biff at the mainmast, and Hank Mahenili at the mizzen.

“Hoist away,” Tom Brewster sang out as he felt the anchor pull free.

Sails rattled up their masts. The wind caught them, and the _Easy
Action_ was put on a course for Hilo.

It was a pleasant sail. Everyone was relaxed. There was little
conversation. All were happy to loll about the deck, resting from their
recent near escapes from violence and storm.

It was night by the time Mr. Brewster headed the yawl for a dock in Hilo
Bay. The boat was tied up, and in half an hour, the party entered their
hotel.

As good as his word, there was a message waiting from Dr. Weber.

“_Sample proves out cesium in purest state discovered thus far in world.
Looks like a sky-blue find._”

Tom Brewster handed the message to Biff. Biff read it and smiled at his
father. “Why sky-blue, Dad?”

“Dr. Weber’s mild little joke. Cesium means ‘sky-blue’ because that is
how it shows up on a spectrum test.”

The boy and his father stood silent for a moment, enjoying this moment
of complete peace.

“Dad,” Biff said, “this was supposed to be a vacation for Mom and the
twins. Can we still make it one for the _whole_ family? Have them fly
over here and explore this beautiful island?”

“Explore, Biff? Haven’t you had enough adventure for now? I’ll have them
come over. But for the rest of our stay, it’s going to be nothing but
fun and frolic. You agree?”

“Check, Dad. Check.”


                  _A Biff Brewster Mystery Adventure_

                       HAWAIIAN SEA HUNT MYSTERY

                             By ANDY ADAMS

Why is Biff Brewster’s father so eager to leave for Hawaii? Is there
more than just a mining engineers’ conference afoot? The elder Brewster
is strangely silent, and Biff can only guess at the cause of his
father’s sudden anxiety.

In this third exciting mystery adventure of the Biff Brewster series,
the entire Brewster family flies to festive, exotic Honolulu where a
startling newspaper headline involves Biff and his father in a
hair-raising race to locate a kidnaped scientist, a sunken sloop, and a
cache of precious Cesium, a rare mineral essential to rocket propulsion
and the conquest of the moon.

With the help of his new friend, Likake Mahenili, Biff soon learns that
more than sharpened wits are necessary to defeat the mysterious forces
working against them. The cunning of a ruthless rival engineer and the
violence of the reef-filled waters off the islands combine to challenge
the courage and stamina of the boys. Likake, an expert swimmer and
diver, teaches Biff the skills he will need to protect himself against
the defiant winds and tides which already have claimed the life of one
colleague.

A vitally important scientific project and a life are at stake as Biff
Brewster and his father crash headlong into the danger and breath-taking
suspense of their adventure in Hawaii.


                          _NEW!_ BIFF BREWSTER
                           Mystery Adventures

                             By ANDY ADAMS

                     [Illustration: Biff Brewster]

Biff Brewster, sixteen, is a tall, strongly built blond youth who lives
In Indianapolis, Indiana, with his parents and the eleven-year-old
twins, Ted and Monica. Because his mother and father believe that travel
is as important to education as formal schooling, Biff is encouraged to
travel to various countries during the vacation months. His experiences
in these lands, and the young people he meets there, form the basis of a
new series for adventure-loving readers. In every journey there is a
strong element of mystery, usually a direct result of conditions
peculiar to the region in which he is traveling. Thus, in addition to
adventure, these books impart carefully researched information about
foreign countries.

_Start reading one today_—

  (1) BRAZILIAN GOLD MINE MYSTERY
  (2) MYSTERY OF THE CHINESE RING
  (3) HAWAIIAN SEA HUNT MYSTERY
  (4) MYSTERY OF THE MEXICAN TREASURE
  (5) AFRICAN IVORY MYSTERY
  (6) ALASKA GHOST GLACIER MYSTERY


                    GROSSET & DUNLAP, Inc. Publisher
                           New York 10, N. Y.

                       [Illustration: Endpapers]



                          Transcriber’s Notes


--Copyright notice provided as in the original—this e-text is public
  domain in the country of publication.

--Silently corrected palpable typos; left non-standard spellings and
  dialect unchanged.

--Retained one typo from the original: “pouring” for “poring” for its
  comedic value.

--In the text versions, delimited italics text in _underscores_ (the
  HTML version reproduces the font form of the printed book.)





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Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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