Authors: Victor Appleton
Don’t Miss Tom’s Next adventures!
By Victor Appleton
New York London Toronto Sydney
If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
copyright © 2006 by S&S Inc
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
Tom Swift, Young Inventor;
and colophon are trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Designed by Lisa Vega
The text of this book was set in Weiss.
Manufactured in the United States of America
First Aladdin Paperbacks edition June 2006
4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3
Library of Congress Control Number 2005935356
“Something tells me we shouldn’t be doing this, Tom.”
It was dark—pitch-black, except for my laser flashlight.
I pointed it at the steel door’s lockbox, pulled out my coded key card, and prepared myself for action.
“Take it easy, Yo. Just trust me on this, okay?”
I don’t normally call people “Yo.” In this case, though, it fit perfectly. “Yo” is short for Yolanda—Yolanda Aponte, that is—one of my two best friends.
The other is Bud Barclay, who at the moment was standing right behind Yo, peeking over her shoulder at me.
“She’s right, Tom,” he said. This place is closed for the night. We’ve got no business being on the aquarium grounds, let alone inside the building!”
“Yeah,” Yo said. “You think, just because your name is Swift, you have special privileges?”
“Actually, yes. Swift Enterprises is a big contributor to the Shopton Aquarium’s fund-raising efforts. In this case, I called in advance and got special permission to visit after hours. See?” I smiled and held up my key card.
?” Bud asked. “Then how come nobody’s here to meet us?”
“They said they’d send someone down to escort us,” I admitted. “I don’t know why they’re not here on time, but now that we’ve dragged all this stuff down here, it would be a shame to lug it all back to the lab without trying it out.”
I had a big metal suitcase with me, and Bud was carrying a large plastic cooler. It’s hard to say which one was heavier.
“Besides, they gave me the key card, didn’t they?”
“So?” Bud asked.
“So, I took that to mean it’s okay for us to at least get started without them.”
It was actually fine by me that they hadn’t shown up on time. I preferred to try out my newest, hottest invention free from prying eyes.
I mean, you never know when someone might steal your great idea. Scientists are dedicated people, of course—but there are more than a few sharks in the water (
sharks in the water
The point is, ideas are more precious than gold and a lot easier to copy. Swift Enterprises—my dad’s company, where I have my own lab—is on the cutting edge of the idea universe. So secrecy is always key—and tonight was no exception.
“You haven’t even told us why we’re here,” Bud said, as I slid the key card into the slot. With a sharp click and a pneumatic sucking sound, the doors opened, and I stepped inside the darkened main lobby of the Shopton Aquarium.
“Come on in,” I said to my friends. “Hurry up!”
“What, you mean before someone sees us?” Yo raised her eyebrows suspiciously but shuffled in anyway. “I feel like a criminal.”
Bud was right behind her. “We’d better not get in trouble for this,” he said, looking left and right.
“Cut it out, Tom,” he said. “I’m on the edge of bookin’ right now.”
“Bud, Yo, they said they’d be here, and I’m sure they’ll show up eventually Don’t worry so much, okay? I have permission for us to be here. I promise you—I spoke directly with Dr. Harrod, the aquarium director.”
They didn’t look convinced. “Come on. Have I ever steered you guys wrong?”