Chapter 2. Opium
“I thought Grandpa Possible died during the Korean War.”
“Well, you see Kimmie-cub, that’s the official version. The truth is, your uncle Slim’s father was killed in action in World War Two. He was a casualty in Operation Market Garden. And his name wasn’t ‘Possible’, it was Johnson; James Timothy Johnson. He was nineteen when he died, about five years younger than your Nana.”
“Then Uncle Slim is actually-“
“My half-brother… I understand this is a lot to take in. If you’d rather wait until we get home…”
“No, I want to hear this now. You can tell me on the way home, though. What’s this all about? Why have I not heard any of this before?”
“Well…it…it’s kind of a long story.”
“Then I’d like to hear it. In fact, I’d like to hear it from Doctor Jones if he doesn’t mind. Doctor Jones?”
“I should probably go home, your father can tell you ev-… yes, well, I have certainly seen that look before. You aren’t going to let me go until I’ve told you my story… no, don’t answer that. I can see it in your eyes. It’s the same stubbornness I saw in hers… a lot… OK, well, where to begin? …When I first met your grandmother, she…no, I suppose I should work my way up to that… It was early 1946. I was in the Solomon Islands at the request of a wealthy British collector. He’d uncovered a legend; rumors of an ancient dagger…”
Doctor Henry Jones Junior – Indiana to those who knew him – sat at the wheel of a United States military transport truck on a narrow, one-lane road that twisted through the jungle terrain about twenty miles east of the village of Tangarare, on the island of Guadalcanal, in the group of islands known as the Solomons. It was April of 1946, three years after the pivotal battle that had taken place on that island; the battle that turned the tide of the War in the Pacific.
He had ‘rented’ the truck from a less-than-scrupulous sergeant by the name of Fuller at the U.S. military base on the north end of the island. Though the war had ended the year before, U.S. forces were still attempting to withdraw from various island bases throughout the South Pacific, and since Guadalcanal was one of the minor installations, it wasn’t high on the priority list.
The truck came equipped with extra fuel cans, some bedding, four days worth of food and a couple of spare tires in the back. Indy was surprised to find the supplies, since his ‘rental’ fee was really more of a bribe to get Sergeant Fuller – who was in charge of the motor pool - to look the other way while he borrowed the truck. Had he taken the wrong vehicle? Should he turn back? Indy didn’t want to risk returning to the base without his prize.
And today he was close. He could feel it.
Research and investigation had brought him to the Solomons, and specifically to the village of Tangarare. Tales told by the village elders had brought him up this road.
Indy took his hat off, wiped his sweaty brow, and put it back on again. As he was in the tropics, he simply wore his khaki shirt and canvas pants with the familiar satchel slung over one shoulder. His customary leather jacket lay on the seat next to him. And though he had his jacket off and his sleeves rolled up, there was no power on earth that would make him remove the hat. That brown fedora was just as much a part of him as was the revolver in the holster clipped to his belt, or the coiled bullwhip that lay on his jacket next to him.
Though fate seemed to saddle him with companions for some of his adventures, today Indiana Jones was working alone, and that was the way he preferred it.
The single lane road was pitted and rutted with endless potholes and mud bogs. Indy was surprised to find the truck had made it this far. But there was something odd about this trail that wound through the jungle toward the mountain in the distance. Though the road was rough, it wasn’t impassable. In fact, it looked as though it was used regularly.
Indy got another surprise when the road emerged from the jungle, crossed a wide river over a rickety wooden bridge, and began to traverse the side of the mountain in long, straight switchbacks. He had planned on continuing up the mountain on foot, since his map showed the trail as ending at the river. But it looked as though the bridge would be able to handle the weight of the truck, so Indy shifted to first gear and slowly made his way across. On the far side, he stopped, got out of the truck and peered up the slope, squinting his eyes into the mid-morning sun. The day was too bright for him to get a good look at the road ahead, but he thought he saw a some patches of snow on the upper slopes.
That was impossible, however. In these tropical regions the mountains were barely four thousand feet above sea level. Not even high enough on a cold day to get snow.
Indy put the truck into gear and began climbing the mountain road, barely able to make the hairpin turns whenever the road switched back toward the other direction.
His destination was near the summit. The village elders spoke of a shallow grave near a certain stand of trees. They also spoke of a great evil that would descend from the mountaintop from time to time and make off with one or two of the village women. For an inexperienced person it would have been difficult to sift through the legends and derive fact from folklore. But Indy was a man who could decipher even the murkiest mythology and superstitions. Every story had an origin, every tale a foundation rooted somewhere in the truth; sometimes that truth was buried amidst the ruins of old beliefs and traditions.
The truck climbed higher, the air grew cooler and the white patches drew nearer. On one northern switchback, as he swung around the hairpin turn, Indy looked down to see the river hundreds of feet below; the sheer cliff dropped all the way to a large, green pool fed by a waterfall. Small clumps of trees protruded from various locations on the face of the cliff, some of which stuck out horizontally, lying straight out to soak up the tropical sun. As Indy completed the turn, the wheels of the truck slid into two deep grooves in the road; ruts that had been forged by repeated driving during the rainy season. And whatever had driven up and down this road, it was heavy. Indiana almost didn’t need to steer, the shallow parallel trenches were deep enough that the truck practically guided itself up the long, straight incline.
Once he made the next hairpin turn, the same thing happened; the wheels slid into two grooves in the road and the truck practically steered itself as it climbed ever higher.
After close to an hour of climbing at an almost maddeningly slow pace, Indy finally got the answer as to just what those white patches were; flowers. More specifically, they were poppies. Fields of white blossoms were on either side of the road. No doubt they thrived in the cooler temperatures and drier air of the mountainside, whereas they would not grow very well down near sea level.
Indy didn’t notice the people at first. They were standing stock still and did not move, all eyes staring at him. Some were standing in a group near the road, others were in the field. It took another moment for Indy to make a rather significant discovery; they were all Polynesian women, most likely from the village below.
Without noticing, Indy allowed the truck to slow down until it finally sputtered to a complete halt, the engine dying out altogether. Indy’s eyes scanned out across the fields as dozens of other eyes returned his gaze.
Then, a loud series of cracks. Several gunshots rang out, and a voice bellowed in English:
“What the bloody hell are you all standing around for? Get back to work!”
At the sound of the shots, all the women immediately resumed what they had been doing.
Indy ducked, instinctively unsnapping the holster on his gun. But the words spoken in English had aroused his curiosity. He set the handbrake on the truck, opened the door and stood up to get a better look at who had spoken.
He was a tall, blonde man wearing the tattered remains of an Australian infantry uniform. Indy noted that he carried a service revolver as well as an Austen Mark One series submachine gun; standard issue for Australian infantry during the war. He stood, suspiciously eying the truck, his gun pointed halfway between Indy and the ground. Taking this as a positive sign, Jones decided to play it friendly.
“Good morning!” He said in his most casual tone, as if he were meeting a colleague at a lunch counter, “I was wondering if you could help me.”
The Australian walked through the field, careful not to tread on any of the poppies and walked right up to the truck.
“Depends on what kind of help you’re looking for, mate.” The man replied equally as casual, though an undertone of menace in his voice was not lost on Indy.
“I’m Doctor Jones, I’m a professor of archeology at Marshall College, here on an expedition. I’m looking for the grave of a seventeenth century British sailor, and my research led me up this mountain. Do you have any idea where that grave might be?”
The man shifted his weight, but the gun lowered so that it was pointing straight at the ground now. Indy let out a silent sigh of relief.
“I’m afraid I don’t,” the man said scratching his head absently, “But Raynard might know something about it. You can give me a lift up to the main building and we’ll go talk to him.”
Indy nodded and gestured toward the passenger side of the truck. As he sat back down in the cab, he realized his gun had been hidden from the Australian by the partially open door. As quickly as he could, he undid the holster and slid the gun under his seat, getting it there a second before the passenger door swung open.
“You some kind of lion tamer, mate?” The Australian eyed the whip.
Indy forced a relaxed chuckle, “It does actually help me deal with unruly animals, and it’s lighter than a gun; plus it never runs out of ammunition.”
The Australian laughed a loud, obnoxious laugh, “That’s bloody brilliant! I should talk to Raynard about getting a couple of those. Might help keep the girls in line, eh?”
Indy smiled but his eyes were hard and mirthless. His suspicions about this place had just been confirmed.
“My mates call me ‘Ding’”, The Australian stuck out a filthy hand, “Kinda like ‘Dingo’.”
“Indiana,” he replied, shaking the hand and hiding his disgust.
The truck cranked to life and Indy drove it on up the slope, through the fields of white poppies and around a shallow curve coming to rest on a wide, flat surface that had been partially dug out of the mountainside. At the far end was a large building with several pipe-style chimneys in various locations. Smoke was coming out of all of them. On this side were parked a military transport truck similar to Indy’s as well as two jeeps, though all the insignias that indicated their status as United States military vehicles had been removed or scratched off. A large-caliber machine gun was mounted to the back of one of the jeeps.
Attached to the larger building was a smaller addition with one window facing outward. A longer building rested against the partially dug out portion of the mountainside. It had no windows and only one door at the far end. All the buildings were made of ramshackle corrugated tin sheeting and looked as if a good stiff breeze could knock them over.
Without asking, Ding reached over and tapped the horn a couple of times.
Three men walked out of the large building, while one emerged from the attached portion. Two of the three men from the large building wore tattered American military uniforms, as did the one who walked out of the attachment. The remaining man wore an Australian uniform.
“What are you on about, Ding?” The man who had exited the attachment asked in an annoyed American accent, “Who is this?”
“This bloke’s Dr. Indiana Jones, from the States!” Ding practically gushed, “He’s an archeologist. Says some ancient Brit sailor’s buried up here somewhere and he wants to have a look.”
Indy took one more quick glance around, got out of the truck, and stepped up to the annoyed American. He gambled on a hunch, “You Raynard? Fuller told me to keep an eye out for you when I got up here; said it was best to check in with you before I went looking around.”
“You know Sergeant Fuller?” Raynard’s eyes narrowed a tad.
And the unseen round of poker began. Indy wondered who would be the first to call whose bluff.
“I only met him when I arrived at the base. I told him where I wanted to go, he gave me the use of the truck and told me to stop in and check with you gentlemen before proceeding.” Indy lied. Fuller hadn’t told him a thing because Indy wouldn’t tell him where he was going.
“He ‘gave you the use of the truck’?”
Indy chuckled and put on a sheepish expression as though he’d been caught telling a fib, “I suppose you could say ‘rented’.”
Raynard chuckled, “The man’s a thief all right. So tell me about this grave. If there’s buried treasure I may have to go along with you.”
Indy shrugged, “Sure, you can go along if you like. I’m afraid you’re likely to be disappointed, though. No treasure or anything like that. I’m hoping to find a journal this person might have kept on his voyages through these parts. His name was Silas Gardner; he was the first mate on an expedition that was never heard from after he died. My colleagues and I are hoping his personal journal might shed some light on what happened.”
“You mean like course heading, last known whereabouts, conditions of the ship, things like that?” Raynard queried.
OK, this guy isn’t stupid, Indy thought to himself. He forced a wide grin to his face and exclaimed, “Exactly! Tell you what; my colleagues and I are really only interested in the journal. If Gardner was buried with anything of real value, like a pocket watch or any gold pieces, you fellows can have ‘em. You know, for your troubles.”
Raynard’s men turned hopeful eyes toward him, but his expression remained impassive, as though he was thinking it over. Raynard glanced around almost warily.
He’s already got the dagger, Indy thought to himself, But he doesn’t want me or anyone else to know it.
It was called ‘Cook’s Dagger’, and there was supposed to be a curse on it.
When Captain James Cook sailed from Tahiti for the final time in 1777, he did not go with the good graces of king Tu; one of the more powerful chiefs in the Tahitian islands. Tu was embroiled in a tribal war at the time of Cook’s visit, and asked the British Sea Captain to sell or trade firearms to him. Cook refused, telling Tu that Britain did not wish to take sides in the conflict.
Though he did not show any outward emotion at the news, legend asserts that Tu was furious. Just before Cook sailed away on his ship, the HMS Resolution, King Tu presented Cook with a gift; a ceremonial dagger with an ornately carved bone handle and a thick, sharpened shard of conch shell for the blade. Legend further asserts that Tu had his chief shaman put a curse on the dagger so that anyone who carried it would suffer grave misfortune for the rest of their lives.
Whether or not the curse was real is, of course, a matter for debate and speculation.
What is not in dispute is the fact that Cook did indeed suffer from a string of misfortunes after leaving Tahiti. From those islands, he sailed north, eventually reaching the west coast of North America in 1778. He spent the better part of a year mapping the shoreline from what is now California all the way up to what is now Alaska. His first bit of misfortune was something of a blunder that has stained his otherwise impeccable record of exploration. Because the Straits of San Juan de Fuca were so narrow, Cook’s survey team missed it altogether, and the Puget Sound - third of the three largest natural harbors in North America – would later be discovered by a Spanish explorer. Discovering the Puget Sound would not have been remembered as a monumental accomplishment, but because Cook missed one of the largest natural bays in the world, it was considered a monumental blunder.
Then things got worse. Cook attempted to sail his ships, the Resolution and the HMS Discovery, through the Bering Straits only to be turned back by ice that almost destroyed his vessels. It took months to get out of the frigid seas and both his food and his crews’ morale ran low. Food supplies were exhausted several days before they were able to get back to the lower Alaskan coastline (and what is known today is Cook’s Inlet). Cook ordered the crew to slaughter and prepare two walruses, despite everyone’s knowledge that walrus isn’t edible. And while most of the crew abstained from the meal, Cook fell to with a hearty appetite. He developed a permanent stomach ailment so severe that it affected his disposition, causing him to be a constantly angry man, given to fits of rage and lashing out at his crew for no justification whatsoever.
After re-supplying on the Alaskan coast, Cook sailed south to the Sandwich Islands (today known as Hawaii) where, On February 14, 1779 he was clubbed and stabbed to death by a mob of natives after he lost his temper and tried to administer severe punishment to several native boys who had stolen a longboat.
After his death, many of Cook’s possessions were given to the senior officers as keepsakes of their beloved captain.
The dagger was given to the master and commander of the HMS Resolution; William Bligh.
It was a fairly uneventful trip back to Britain for Bligh, and for several years, his life was relatively free of misfortune. He married in 1781, and fought in a few battles, though he never really came close to death or harm.
Bligh’s problems began in 1787 when he was appointed captain of the HMS Bounty. To this day, no one is quite sure exactly why his crew mutinied against him, setting him adrift (without the dagger) in the middle of the vast Pacific ocean with barely any food or water. Many believe he was a harsh taskmaster of a captain, but there has never been any record before or since of his temper or tyrannical personality. Others say the crew became too enamored with the women of Tahiti and did not wish to leave when their six month stay was at an end. Whatever the reason, poor leadership certainly played a factor, because after his miraculous journey with eight crewmen adrift in the longboat – a journey in which they drifted more then 3500 nautical miles – Bligh was sent back to England and endured an embarrassing public inquiry into the mutiny. Some years later, Bligh was made Governor of New South Wales in 1805. While serving in that position, the citizenry rebelled against his plans to tax local sales of rum. They overpowered the militia and imprisoned Bligh for three years. Bligh died penniless and alone in England years later.
Onboard the Bounty, the dagger was taken into the possession of James Turner, a gunner’s mate who had participated in the mutiny. When the remaining crew of the Bounty reached Pitcairn’s island, Turner was already ill with scurvy and died in his sleep having never set foot on the island itself. There were rumors that he’d been murdered, but they were never proven.
The dagger was taken by Gunner’s Chief Robert Warwick. Warwick was a temperamental character prone to drinking and bouts of rage. He barely survived many fights and several attempts to kill him, though he sustained very severe injuries along the way. Warwick was finally killed when he resisted the crew of the HMS Pandora who had come to Pitcairn’s island seeking to bring the mutinous Bounty crew to justice.
Cook’s dagger was then taken by Pandora’s captain Edward Edwards, a particularly cruel and vicious man who’s eagerness to see the crew of the Bounty hanged impaired his navigational judgment. The Pandora ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef, killing 31 of the crew and 4 of the prisoners, seriously injuring Edwards himself. The survivors were forced to live aboard the grounded vessel far out in the middle of the ocean until the HMS Hector spotted the foundering Pandora and recovered the crew and prisoners. Edwards attempted to bribe the captain of the Hector in agreeing to a story that the Pandora was forced aground by a storm. His choice of payment; the dagger.
Edwards’ was publicly court-martialed by the captain of the Hector, the dagger was taken from him, and he was brought home to England where he suffered from ill health the rest of his life.
And finally, Cook’s Dagger came into the possession of the Hector’s First Mate; Silas Gardner. On a routine supply stop in the Solomon Islands, Gardner and a hunting party wandered too far into the jungles of Guadalcanal and were unable to find their way back to the beach. The captain of the Hector sent out search parties for several days, but eventually gave the party up for lost and sailed home for England.
The hunting party, hoping to get their bearings, reached the summit in time to see the Hector sailing northeast. Attempts to build a signal fire were unsuccessful and the men had to watch helplessly as their ship slowly moved out of sight.Unfortunately for Silas Gardner, he was blamed for the party’s misplacing itself and killed with his own dagger – Cook’s dagger – and was subsequently buried with it where he had fallen.
A simple wooden cross was erected to mark his grave.
“Interesting, only his name is carved into the cross.” Indy straightened up and removed his spectacles, “It’s too bad this grave is so shallow. I looks as though wild animals probably got in here at some point.”
Raynard, Ding and the other two men nodded.
Indy didn’t need spectacles for anything other than reading, but he felt it would help lend an air of scholarship about him as he conducted his little expedition. He knew once he’d mentioned the possibility of wealth, Raynard’s men would want to come see for themselves. And while Raynard probably would not have otherwise allowed it, he had a motive for wanting his men to come up here and find nothing. Finding nothing meant they wouldn’t be asking any meddlesome questions.
The biggest problem Indy had was whether or not Raynard was going to allow him to leave the mountain alive after all was said and done. Indy knew the other man was not the type to just let a person walk away after seeing what Indy had seen, despite the fact that he hadn’t even been inside the buildings.
It wasn’t too difficult for Indy to put two and two (and two) together. Fields of white poppies, plus slave labor from the village below, plus chimneys with smoke in a climate where one did not need heat equaled opium farm.
Indy cursed himself for not listening more closely to the village elders. He was only interested in the whereabouts of Gardner’s grave, and already knew of the legend of the curse of Cook’s Dagger. But he assumed the elders were speaking of that curse when they talked of an evil that descended from the mountain and carried away the women of the village.
These guys were probably deserters, either when the war ended or even as far back as the battle on Guadalcanal itself. Raynard was probably the brains of the outfit, since Ding and the others didn’t seem to posses a great deal of intelligence.
Because of the temperate climate, the growing season was basically perpetual. Raynard probably had a crop-rotating system so that every few months, something could be harvested, processed, and then shipped out via truck. But shipping the processed opium to the base was too risky. Very likely there was a sea plane that made regular visits somewhere at the closest point on the coast and the product would go to Australia for further distribution or directly to the opium dens in Indonesia.
Since the nearest law enforcement was in the capital city of Honiara, about ten hours away by rugged jungle roads, the operation was too remote for authorities to deal with properly. And though these men were likely wanted by the United States and Australian militaries for desertion, this was not within their jurisdiction. Action on the part of the U.S. Military would have been a politically sticky situation unless they had real justification. Unfortunately the existence of an illegal narcotics operation wasn’t enough. Tensions were mounting between the United States and the Soviet Union and the two governments were already feeling the need to tiptoe around each other.
“It doesn’t look like your journal’s here either, mate.” Ding observed.
“No,” Indy feigned disappointment, “Either it rotted away because he was buried too close to the surface or those wild animals got to it.”
There was no journal, of course, but Indy wasn’t about to let the men know a potentially priceless artifact was the real reason he’d come up here. And neither had there been wild animals. Raynard had found the grave and probably unearthed it in a haze of opium-induced curiosity. It had to be Raynard who was in possession of the dagger, Indy was sure of it. One of the other men would have mentioned its existence if they knew about it, and they likely would have fought over ownership of the prize if Indy had told them what it was. No, either Raynard found the grave by happenstance, or more likely, heard the legend from one of the village women. He was probably trying to figure out how he could ship the dagger somewhere in which he could exchange it for money or something valuable. Best guess: give it to the pilot of the seaplane and cut him in on the deal.
“No pocket watch or anything like that,” Ding further observed after rooting around what was left of the skeleton.
Indy put his spectacles back on. Not only was he trying to project an air of scholarship, but one of weakness as well. If he came off looking and sounding like a run-of-the-mill college professor, then they wouldn’t see him as a threat.
“Well, that sure is a shame,” Indiana huffed, “My financial backers are going to be real disappointed. You know, I’ll probably just go back and tell them I was never able to find the grave at all. If they knew I had found it but came home empty-handed they’d be less likely to finance my next trip. Then I’d have to go into the tropical flower business like you gentlemen.”
“Tropical flower business?” Ding guffawed, then shut up when Raynard shot him a glance.
“Well, sure!” Indy enthused, “That’s what I figured from your fields of white flowers. You know I got a lady friend back home and I give her roses all the time. And does she appreciate it? She sure doesn’t. She’s always telling me to buy her a… gosh, I don’t even know what they’re called… orchids? Anyway, I went to the flower shop one day to get her a couple of those, and just one cost more than a dozen roses. Yes sir, you must do pretty well for yourselves here.”
Indy locked eyes with Raynard for a brief second and watched as the other man completely relaxed.
“Tropical flowers… yeah. We do all right,” Raynard said nodding. “Will you be heading back tonight?”
Indy looked up at the sky. The clouds overhead were already lined with pink.
“Boy, I sure hate the idea of driving down that road in the dark,” he worried, “Would it be OK with you fellows if I just slept in my truck and left in the morning?”
“I don’t see why not,” Raynard said, smiling for the first time since Indy arrived. To his surprise, Raynard actually winked at him, “But you’ll have to keep our tropical flower business a secret. If the government of the Solomons found out, they’d charge us heavy taxes and we’d be put out of business.”
Indy chuckled and told the truth for perhaps the first time since he arrived, “If the government of the Solomons knew I was grave-robbing, they’d have me arrested… or worse.”
“Well, if that does happen, we’ll spring ya, mate. Raynard here can fly you out on the next delivery of…flowers.” Ding cracked.
All of the men except Raynard laughed in response to this. Indy hesitated for a split second and then laughed as well. Raynard glanced at him when Ding said ‘fly you out’, perhaps looking for some sort of indication that Indy was more than he claimed he was.
Of course! Indy mentally berated himself for guessing wrong, Raynard IS the pilot. He drives the product to wherever the plane is tied up and flies it out himself, that way he can oversee the transactions on the other end. Then he returns with a plane-load of supplies and hauls it back up the mountain, splitting the profits with his men. When he heads out on his next run, he’ll be selling the dagger himself.
It took about a half hour to descend back to the compound and the daylight was almost completely gone by then. The men joked and laughed with Indy who nervously laughed at all their attempted witticisms.
When they returned, the women had come in from the fields and were preparing an evening meal around an open flame. Indy noted with some disgust that the men even made them do all the cooking, and he suspected they were probably used for darker purposes as well.
His suspicions were confirmed later that evening, just as he was bedding down for the night. Torchlight appeared at the open end of Indy’s truck.
“Jones? You still awake?” it was Raynard, and he wasn’t alone.
Indy put on his spectacles and poked his head out the back of the truck, “I sure am Mr. Raynard. What can I do for you?”
“Actually, I think there’s something I can do for you.” Raynard’s tone had the slightest tinge of menace. “This is Bessie. I thought you could use some company for the night. You know, help you forget all about that frigid lady friend of yours back home for awhile.”
Raynard lowered the torch a little to reveal a young Polynesian woman, probably not much older than twenty. She had a vacant look in her eyes which she kept cast downward. She wasn’t frightened. Her fear had long ago been worn away. She simply looked numb and emotionless.
Indy feigned a nervous chuckle, “Oh, well, I certainly appreciate the gesture, Mr. Raynard. But I really should get an early start in the morning.”
“Bessie here will help you fall asleep,” the menace in Raynard’s tone was more palpable.
The man was trying to get Indy to do something that would ensure his silence when he left in the morning. Indy realized it was the only way he was going to get off the mountain alive. He decided to play into Raynard’s confidence.
“Well… Bessie seems a little advanced in years, if you take my meaning.” Indy tried to sound sleazy, but wasn’t very good at it.
“I know exactly what you mean.” Raynard responded with a knowing smile. “I’ll be right back.”
Indy noted Raynard was quite good at sounding sleazy.
Jones sat in the truck and watched the other two walk toward the long building with no windows. He wondered what he would have done if he’d been able to get the dagger without Raynard knowing. Would he have walked away; just an archeologist minding his own business? Was he just here for the dagger while anything else that happened was simply incidental?
Raynard was back before Indy could arrive at a conclusion.
“This is Matilda,” the man said with a dark smile, “She still puts up a bit of a fight but I think she’ll be more to your liking.”
The girl Raynard referred to as ‘Matilda’ was clearly younger than ‘Bessie’. Indy didn’t even want to guess how much younger. She was very frightened, and her eyes kept darting back and forth between the two men.
“That’ll be just fine!” Indy barely managed to force a smile, “You have yourself a good night Mr. Raynard!”
He reached down, pulled the girl up into the truck and dropped the rear canvas flap, cutting off Raynard’s view. He heard the other man chuckle, then watched as the torchlight faded and disappeared.
Indy struck up a match. The girl had crawled all the way into the truck and was huddled up in a corner near the cab, her knees pulled up to her chest. Indy moved toward her. The girl whimpered and curled up even tighter.
He knew most of the Polynesian dialects, though this particular one was somewhat derivative. It was part of the reason he had so much trouble communicating clearly with the village elders.
“Do you understand what I am saying?” Indy leaned in close and whispered right next to the girl’s ear.
Her breath quickened and she whimpered again. Indy repeated the question.
“Yes.” She finally managed to whisper.
“Good,” Indy replied, “I want you to listen to me very, very carefully…”
“You’re leaving now?” Kim asked her husband, incredulous.
“I’m sorry,” Ron shrugged apologetically, “I really do want to hear the rest of this, but if I don’t talk to Wil today, he’s going to move forward on the IDOL situation with another agent.”
They were all sitting in the living room of the Possible residence. Even the twins were listening in rapt attention to Indiana’s tale (after all, he was their grandfather as well), as was Kim’s father; who apparently hadn’t heard this part of the story before. Veronica was upstairs on Kim’s old bed taking a nap, while Rufus sat on Kim’s desk and watched over her.
Kim got up and followed her husband to the front door.
“Ron,” She whispered urgently, “I just found out this man is my grandfather on the same day we laid Nana to rest. I know this whole IDOL situation’s got you bothered, but I’m asking you to put family first here.”
Ron smiled and looked into her eyes, “That’s exactly what I’m doing, sweetheart.”
She returned his gaze with a quizzical one.
“Your brother is in a lot of trouble,” Ron continued, “I know you’re finding out a lot of serious stuff today. But in truth, Kim, that’s in the past. Jim’s future is at stake here. If there is some way I can help save it, then I need to be out there, and today’s the only day Wil has off. Tomorrow he starts up a new work week and he’s going to assign another agent to this because I didn’t come back with the IDOL. I need to go and convince him to let me stay on this.”
Kim said nothing but Ron could see in her eyes that she understood. She wanted him at home, to be with her while she learned some rather startling things about her heritage. But Jim was in trouble… she was conflicted.
“If this weren’t about Jim…” She began.
“…then I’d be here listening to Dr. Jones’ story.” Ron finished, “But it is about Jim, and he’s just as much family to me as my brothers would be if I had any.”
Kim nodded. Ron squeezed her hand, kissed her forehead, and whispered “I love you” before slipping quietly out the door.
Twenty minutes later he was in Wil Du’s den. The director of Global Justice was in the middle of watching his newly-purchased Speed Racer DVD boxed set with his wife, Justine. Normally he reserved his days off for spending time with her. He had a standing policy never to see an agent or discuss work at home. But since it was Ron, and this was something of a family matter for him, Wil made a rare exception.
“Can I get you some coffee or anything, Ron?” Justine’s tone was courteous, but a little cold.
“No, thank you Justine,” Ron answered politely, despite the fact that he could use a cup of coffee. Sometimes it was better to give the right answer and go without something he wanted. Marriage to Kim Possible had taught him a lot.
Justine nodded then left him alone with her husband.
“Sorry if I got you in trouble, Wil,” Ron said quietly.
“I’m not in trouble. And she’s not mad at you either,“ Wil explained, “She just doesn’t want me setting a precedent of working on my day off. Frankly, I agree with her. I’m guessing this is about the IDOL.”
Ron nodded, “Something’s been bugging me for the last few days; something I didn’t put in my report.”
“You left something out of your report?” Wil asked in a very serious tone. He got up and retrieved his laptop, accessed GJ files, and pulled up Ron’s account of the mission.
“Not deliberately,” Ron assured him, “But there’s something that’s been bugging me about the whole Zapruder issue.”
“Something other than the fact that he was a double agent?”
“Well, yeah. In retrospect it makes sense that he hung back during the confrontation with the security guards.”
“He was hoping they’d finish you off, then he could go after the IDOL.”
“Right. At one point he complained about me destroying the security console. I think he intended to shut off all the security and defensive systems, then put a sleeper dart into me and take the IDOL for himself.”
“OK… and it says here you asked him to eliminate some of the guards with this sleeper dart gun of his. He told you he had a limited number of shots.”
“Yes,” Ron said nodding, “And I’m having a hard time believing Justice Internacional would design a one-time use weapon.”
“Once you destroyed the security console, Zapruder needed you to get the IDOL first before he could make a move.”
“Because some of those defensive systems were still active. He didn’t know how he’d get through them, so he decided to see if I could overcome them, and I did. But back to those security guards…”
“Zapruder translated what they were saying for my benefit, but when I was behind the security console, one of them shouted something, presumably at me.”
“Yeah,” Wil nodded, “That’s right here in your report.”
“But I could swear that guard shouted something in Spanish.”
Wil looked up at him, “Spanish? You’re sure?”
“Almost positive.” Ron said firmly, “And since Brazilians speak Portuguese…”
“You think they were plants?”
“I think they and Zapruder were plants. Zapruder infiltrated Justice Internacional while Locke brought those guards in and had them placed on staff at the Hovito Corporation.”
“So you think Zapruder was working for Locke.” Will concluded, “But since Locke was supposed to be working for Arianna, why not just go in and take the IDOL at his leisure?”
“Because Arianna would come after him. Locke couldn’t come to Middleton and steal the IDOL himself; he’s a double agent and very high on GJ’s wanted list. We’re keeping a sharp eye out for him, especially here in Middleton. He enticed Arianna with the idea that she could steal the IDOL and maybe sell it, then convinced her to use her relationship with Jim to get close to it. Locke knew we’d be coming after the IDOL, and that we’d have to disable the exterior surveillance cameras.”
“Which is why he was waiting for you outside.”
“Yeah. With those cameras disabled, there’s no way she would know Locke made off with the IDOL… and there’s no way she’d trust us if we told her she was double-crossed by someone working for her. She’d think we were trying to set her up.”
“You don’t think he’s going to sell it...”
“After going to all that trouble? No way,” Ron said emphatically, “He’s after something bigger. But I have no idea what it might be.”
Wil sat back and looked thoughtful, “I should be putting you on administrative leave, you know. You genuinely don’t think Jim’s been compromised?”
Ron grinned, “Not in terms where his loyalties lie. If Locke has betrayed Ariana, then Jim’s role in this was only to be distracted while she came to steal the IDOL. He is in love with her, and that can do weird stuff to a guy.”
“Yeah,” Wil agreed, “Believe me, I know what it’s like to be subjected to feminine charms and wiles, and eventually succumb to them.”
Ron bit his tongue and kept this mouth shut. There was a running joke going around Global Justice that Wil Du must be part Eskimo because he liked a frigid climate. The idea of Justine being a seductress went against everything her personality seemed to indicate, at least in public. But then again, Ron saw a side of Kim in the bedroom that he never even dreamed… anyway, it was none of his business.
“Alright.” Will said after a couple of minutes’ thought. “You can stay on it. I’m taking a huge risk with this, Ron. Now it’s my career on the line if you fail. But you seem to have a knack for these kinds of assignments. Your operative status is still ‘Deep Field’, but if you screw up just once, we’re all going to be looking for work in the near future.”
Ron stood up and shook his boss’s hand, “Thanks, Wil. I won’t let you down.”
Wil nodded and returned the handshake, “Well, Justine says you guys did save the universe awhile back. I suppose that deserves some sort of credit.”
Ron laughed, then showed himself to the door. Wil was right, he was taking a big risk on this. He hoped he would be able to follow through, not just for Wil’s sake, but for Jim as well. Ron got into the Ninjet and cranked up the engines, already wondering how much of Dr. Jones’ story he’d missed…
Five o’clock in the morning, and despite the fact that this was a tropical climate, the man standing watch still got pretty chilly this time of night. The light in the east was just turning from deep blue to pale gray. Sunrise was not too far off.
His name was Roger Denham, he’d been in Ding’s platoon during the war. He had a wife and two kids back in Australia who had no idea where he was. The Australian Ministry of Defense listed him as ‘Missing in Action, Presumed Dead’. But marriage life had been stifling for Roger, and as soon as the war ended, Ding came to him with an idea a Yank friend of his had. Denham went along without thinking twice.
Sometimes, though, Roger had his regrets. He often wondered what his kids looked like these days, or if his wife had re-married. He tried not to think about it too much, but whenever it was his turn to stand watch, those thoughts would creep into his head during the deepest recesses of the night.
The purpose of the guard, of course, was not so much to keep anyone out, but to keep the women from escaping. Early on they’d often try to get away at night, and Raynard and a couple of others would have to go into the village and ‘acquire’ another worker or two. Women were easier to keep control of. They were much more easily intimidated, worked just as hard as any man, and they kept the men warm on the nights they didn’t have to stand guard.
Denham shifted his weight a couple of times just to keep his joints from stiffening up in the chilly air. He stood under the only exterior light, which cast a fairly bright circle all about him. It was difficult for him to see beyond that circle of light when the night was at its darkest. But this was mostly about being seen and less about seeing. If the women saw a man standing guard, they were usually too afraid to try and slip away.
Denham was just shifting the Austen submachine gun from one hand to the other when a whirring/whooshing sound came out of the night, just beyond the circle of light. A slim tendril of leather lashed itself around the weapon with a loud crack, stinging Denham’s hands in the process. The gun was violently jerked away from his grasp and sailed out of his range of visibility. He uttered a yelp and squinted his eyes against the brightness, attempting to see out into the dim early morning. He could just barely make out the form of someone beyond where the light reached. Whoever it was seemed to be twirling around in a circle, arms stretched out before him. Then Denham caught movement from the right in the corner of his eye. He turned his head just in time to see his own gun, still attached to the leather strand, sailing toward him. He didn’t even have time to put up his hands. The machine gun caught him on the side of the head with a blinding, skull-shattering impact, spun him halfway around, and sent him to the ground in a heap.
Roger Denham’s final thoughts were of his wife, his kids, and the words I’m sorry.
The machine gun fell to the ground next to Denham with a clatter. Indy jerked the whip toward him and the gun sailed though the air and into his grasp. He quickly detached the whip, coiled it up, and returned it to the clip attached to his belt.
Indy then strode over to where Denham lay, quickly checked to see if he was a threat, then stood up and smashed out the light with the butt of the machine gun. He turned and nodded at the truck. The girl – whose actual name was Aroa – crept out of the back of Indy’s truck and began making her way stealthily toward the door of the long building. Indy slung the machine gun to his left shoulder and, after a quick glance around to see that no one was coming out of the main building, Indy made his own way over toward the long one. He met Aroa at the door.
“Ready?” he whispered.
She nodded, frightened but determined.
Indy took a few steps back, drew a deep breath, then bellowed, “HEY! GET BACK HERE YOU LITTLE THEIF!”
Aroa reached up and began rattling the doorknob, as though she was trying to get into the building in a hurry.
Two tense seconds later, the door burst open where one of Raynard’s men, an American, stood just inside, pulling on his shirt.
“What is it?” he asked, confused.
“She stole something of mine!” Indy pointed an accusatory finger at Aroa.
The man glowered down at the girl. Aroa screamed but it wasn’t in fright of him. She pointed frantically at the main building. Indy glanced over quickly to see a sleepy, bewildered Raynard accompanied by Ding emerging from the front door. In an instant, Indy’s hand snatched the whip from his side and thrust it out before him. The other end sizzled through the air and lashed itself around the neck of the man at the door of the long building. Indy gave a hard yank, causing the man to stumble toward him. As Indy reached out to catch him with his right arm, his left brought the Austen submachine gun around. In one motion, Indy threw his right hand around the man’s neck, holding him in a deadly embrace and keeping him between Indy and Raynard. The machine gun came up and Indy unleashed a torrent of bullets in Raynard’s direction, sending the other two men scrambling for cover.
Meanwhile, Aroa slipped into the long building and began shouting something at the top of her lungs.
Indy dimly remembered her telling him there was one more of Raynard’s men in the long building besides the one he was currently holding hostage. Then Indy caught a flash of something bright in the corner of his eye. Raynard had turned and was scrambling to get back inside the main building; Indy saw it strapped to his belt.
There was no mistaking it. The blade was tucked inside the belt, while the dagger itself was held up by the bone handle.
All of this, of course, happened in the space of just a few seconds. Indy swung the gun toward Ding, who was just ducking around the corner, when the clip ran out. Without hesitating, Indy stepped back and swung the butt of the machine gun across the back of his captive’s skull, knocking him unconscious. Before the swing of the gun was complete, Indy had his revolver in his right hand and fired a few thundering shots at the retreating Ding. Both men managed to escape; Ding around the corner, and Raynard back into the building.
A commotion from the long building attracted his attention and Indy remembered the other man who was supposed to be inside. Holstering the revolver, he retrieved the whip and once more coiled it as his side while making his way to the door of the long building. There were shouts and screams coming from inside. Deciding the women had been through enough, Indy charged through the door, re-drawing the revolver as he ran. It was dim inside, one weak bulb hung from the center of the ceiling. Rows of bunk beds lined both walls, while three single beds were arranged near the door. This was where three of the men slept in order to keep an eye on the women.
Indy hurriedly surveyed the situation, then relaxed, holstered his gun, and grinned a lopsided grin.
Aroa had gone into the building shouting that the strange man had come to rescue them all, and that he needed some assistance. The women went after the remaining man with every sharp cooking utensil they could get ahold of, as well as some that weren’t so sharp. Every ounce of anger, every bit of fury at what they had endured at the hands of Raynard’s men had fueled their willingness – their enthusiasm – to bring down one of them. He didn’t last long.
“Can you find your way back to your village?” Indy asked Aroa.
“Yes!” She responded firmly, “Please, what is your name?”
“Indiana.” He responded with a grin.
Aroa and several of the other women attempted to say it but couldn’t.
“Were you sent by the gods?” Aroa asked seriously.
Indy shook his head, “I am just a man.”
One of the older women shook her head emphatically, “You are not like other men. But if you are not of the gods, perhaps you are one who comes from somewhere between heaven and earth. You will forever be known to our village as ‘One who walks the skies.’”
“Skywalker, huh? I kinda like it.” Indy said in English, then addressed them in their language, “Stay in here until I tell you to leave. I will make sure the men do not follow you. When you return to your village, do not go by the road. Find your way through the jungle.”
Indy crept to the door and opened it just a crack. His former hostage was still on the ground, but he could see no one else. Then, an engine sputtered and roared to life. Indy threw open the door in time to see Raynard in the cab of the other truck. He drew his revolver again and fired his remaining shots at the truck but only succeeded in breaking the windshield.
In an instant, Indy knew what was up. Raynard had ordered Ding and the other remaining man to keep Indy occupied while he made his way to the plane with whatever processed opium they had in the truck. The only way Ding would have agreed is if Raynard promised to return with a larger share of the profits, or some similar token. But Indy knew Raynard, because he’d known a hundred men like him. Raynard had no intention of returning, and if he made it to the plane, the dagger would be lost forever.
Indy sprinted across the compound as the truck turned and made its way down the road. Shouts erupted from the main building, followed by gunfire. He dove behind the first jeep, then climbed up into the back of the second, making a few adjustments to this or that as bullets hissed through the air over head or ricocheted off the metallic surface of the jeep. As soon as he was ready, Indy stood up, swung the mounted machine gun around and pulled the trigger.
Thunder and fire spewed from the nozzle of the weapon as hundreds of bullets pounded into the side of the main building, opening huge, gaping holes in the tin wall. Whoever had been firing at Indy from the front door was unable to get back inside in time and took several rounds before collapsing.
With Raynard on his way down the hill in his truck, and the unconscious man still lying near the main building, that left Ding as the only remaining conscious man at the compound.
“AROA!” Indy bellowed, “GO NOW!”
He didn’t need to say it twice. The women began pouring out of the long building and making their way along the wall to the near end, then around the corner and down the slope, heading in a direction that was decidedly away from the road.
Meanwhile, Indy, keeping a sharp eye on the main building, grabbed two fuel cans from his truck, opened them and tossed them into the other jeep. Then he reached in , pushed the starter button, and shoved the jeep into reverse. He climbed back up onto the mounted gun and continued firing as the other jeep rolled steadily across the open space and crashed into the wall of the main building. Indy then turned the gun on the other vehicle.
It only took about four shots to generate a spark, and within a second, a behemoth explosion blew the main building apart in a massive, orange ball of flame.
Indiana dove for cover, then jumped into the cab of his truck, cranking the engine to life. He backed the truck up half a length, jammed it into first gear, and kicked up dirt and gravel as his rear tires spun. He reloaded his revolver as he drove.
When he entered the road, Indy was just in time to see Raynard’s truck making the turn at the far end of the first long switchback. Indy floored the accelerator, shoving it through the upper gears into the highest one, and still he kept the pedal all the way to the floor.
Steering wasn’t much of a problem, as the deep grooves in the road kept the wheels going in the direction they needed to. Several minutes later, Indy stomped on the brake just before he got to the hairpin turn and the back end of the huge transport truck slid around to the right, through the turn, just barely staying on the road. Indy shoved it back into first gear and floored it once more. He could tell he’d closed a good chunk of the distance between himself and Raynard.
Just before Indy reached the second hairpin turn, he heard a loud staccato rattling accompanied by noises, hisses and a whistle or two. The passenger side rearview mirror shattered. Indy looked in the center rearview mirror, then cranked his head around.
Behind him was the jeep with the mounted gun, and it was firing at him.
The man whom Indy had knocked unconscious was behind the wheel. Ding was manning the gun.
Indy hit the brakes and slid the back end of the truck around to the left, just barely managing to stay on the road. Ding continued to fire but soon found the angle too awkward for the weapon to work properly and thus had to wait until they made it to the hairpin turn.
Indy was only two truck lengths behind Raynard now.
He worked the truck through the gears once more, keeping the accelerator pressed all the way down.
The rear window shattered. Ding had made it to the turn and was now only a couple of hundred feet behind him. Bullets sizzled through the air, impacted with the truck, blew out one rear tire. Indy decided to slow down just a little so he could-
The brakes were out.
Whatever stress he’d put them through by stomping on them through the last two turns had taken its toll. The brake pedal uselessly went all the way to the floor and stayed there. Indy reached over and shoved the passenger seat forward. It tilted up on hinges mounted to the front end of the seat. Indy glanced down quickly and, seeing what he wanted, reached over and grabbed the lug wrench that was stashed there. Without hesitating, he wedged it between the front seat and the accelerator, pinning the gas pedal to the floor. Then he took his revolver, shot three holes in the front window, and raised his foot, kicking out the windshield.
Indy quickly fired two shots at the jeep behind him, then dove out where the windshield had been and onto the hood of the truck. Shakily getting to his feet, Indy took two steps, launched himself off the front end of the truck, sailed through the air, and landed tumbling in the back of Raynard’s truck.
He scrambled over several wooden crates and made his way to the cab, used the butt of the revolver to smash out the glass and reached through, putting the gun to Raynard’s temple.
“Who are you?” Raynard screamed.
“I told you!” Indy bellowed back, “I’m an archeologist! And this-“
(He reached through and snatched the dagger from Raynard’s belt)
“-belongs in a museum!”
They were approaching the end of the long switchback. Suddenly there was a jarring crash as Indy’s truck slammed into the back of Raynard’s; still there thanks to the deep grooves in the road. Indy was sent tumbling backward. He got to his knees and put the dagger in his satchel.
Raynard instinctively hit the brakes, and Indy realized there wasn’t enough room for Raynard to get out ahead of the truck behind and make the turn. He got up, made his way to the back of Raynard’s vehicle and leaped back to the hood of his own. Indy flattened against the hood and shoved himself headfirst into the cab, yanking the lug wrench up and out. The truck immediately began to slow down a little, thanks to the transmission.
Barely any time left, they were almost out of road.
Indy scrambled through the cab and into the back of his own truck. Drawing his revolver, he carefully took aim and fired his last shot. The driver of the jeep was rocked violently backward, then slumped over the wheel. Ding forgot about the machine gun and immediately tried to remove the man from the driver’s seat.
Grabbing the canvas above his head, Indy pulled with all his strength, applying his entire weight to it. He fell to the floor as the huge canvas cover came loose in his hands. Snatching up the corners of the canvas, he bunched them in his fist, and then wrapped the slender end of the whip around the corners like a cowboy roping a calves’ feet together.
At the very second he was finished tying, there was another jarring crash as Raynard slowed down for the hairpin turn and Indy’s truck once more thundered into the rear of the other vehicle. The opium farmer and former military officer screamed as he stomped down on the brakes with both his feet and turned the wheel as hard as he could, but to no avail. His truck was shoved forward off the end of the road. Raynard went to his death with many things in his possession; dignity was not among them.
Ding’s jeep then slammed into the back of Indy’s truck and the two bumpers became entwined together.
Indy’s truck lurched sickeningly just as he leaped from the back of it onto the hood of the jeep. Together, his truck and the jeep sailed off the end of the road and out into the air. Indy shoved with his feet, launching himself away from the vehicles, while Ding’s own screams filled his ears. He thrust the canvas out away from him and tightened his grip on the handle end of the whip, which was wrapped twice around his right arm. As hoped for, the canvas billowed out as it caught air. Indy let out a yell; his arm was almost yanked out of its socket.
Crude parachute though it was, Indy still continued to descend at a breathtaking speed. Below him, Raynard’s truck plummeted into the deep green pool of the river that was fed by the waterfall. A second later, Indy’s truck and the jeep came smashing down on top of it. The last two vehicles tumbled over and settled into the pool, the back of Indy’s truck sticking partially above the surface, was turned on its side.
As was often the case for Indiana Jones, luck was with him. Had he landed on solid ground, his legs would have shattered, but he plunged into the pool not too far from the wreckage. When he surfaced, spluttering and coughing, he was just in time to see his hat as it wafted slowly through the air and settled on the far bank of the river. He swam over to the bank, hauled himself out of the water, coiled the whip and clipped it to his belt, then stooped over and retrieved his hat, replacing it firmly on his head.
Indy stood at the edge of the river and gazed at the wreckage, then around the banks of the wide pool. Ding floated by face down. There was no sign of Raynard at all.
Indiana Jones had cheated the Grim Reaper once more.
He made his way down river to the bridge, then followed the road back out to Tangarare.
Three days later, Indy emerged from the jungle at the U.S. military base on the north side of Guadalcanal, having been guided unerringly across the island by a grateful villager whose sister’s life was among those Indy had saved.
Sergeant Fuller was arrested immediately after Indy told his tale to the base commander.
“…Fuller had been supplying Raynard with equipment from time to time, and Raynard paid him to keep quiet about it, and their little operation. The commander had the base physician and a nurse drive down to Tangarare to make sure the women made it back OK. They did. Then he got the governor’s permission to send a squadron of bombers to destroy Raynard’s compound.” Indiana said with a warm, almost nostalgic smile, “I had Cook’s Dagger shipped to my friend Marcus Brody at the museum. From what I understand, it’s still there today, sitting in a display case next to the Cross of Coronado. I acquired that piece for the museum too, I’ll have to tell you that story some time.”
It was dark outside. Ron had come back and was able to pick up the missing details of the story as he listened. Veronica was awake, but still upstairs, playing with Rufus.
There was silence for a few seconds.
“I’m sorry , Dr. Jones.” Kim said, a little frustrated. She’d expected to hear about her Nana long before now, “But what does this have to do with my grandmother?”
“Now, I’m getting to that, you see?” Indy sounded a little snippy. He’d missed his nap that afternoon, “I stayed a for a couple of days at the base on Guadalcanal. The Army Air Corps sent a transport plane to pick me up. I thought I was bound for San Francisco, but instead I was taken to the island of Guam…”
Indy was roused from his sleep by a slight jarring motion made by the plane as it landed. He was surprised; either he’d slept longer than he thought, or they landed sooner than he expected. As it turned out, the latter case was true.
Indy peered out the window and saw palm trees and ocean beyond. They were still somewhere out in the Pacific ocean, on a very small island. When the plane came to a halt, Jones got up and walked toward the cockpit. He hadn’t seen the pilot for the entire trip. But whoever he was, Indy certainly was going to see him now. He wanted answers.
The door to the cockpit opened.
“Hey!” Indy said in a loud, annoyed tone, “This isn’t San Francisco! Where are w-“
From the cockpit stepped one of the most beautiful women Indy had ever laid eyes on. She was tall, had soft brown hair that would have fallen almost to her waist if she didn’t have it pulled up, with stunning green eyes, and full, almost poutish lips.
“I’m sorry…” Indy almost stammered, “I thought you were the pilot. Could I please talk to-?”
“I am the pilot, Dr. Jones, and no, you aren’t in San Francisco. You’re on the island of Guam. There is someone just outside who would like to speak with you.” Her face was a mask of stubborn annoyance, which wrinkled the bridge of her nose a little and enhanced her beauty.
“OK,” Indy said slowly, “Would you mind telling me how you know my name? I don’t think I’ve ever met you.”
“No, you haven’t, Dr. Jones.” She said sternly, “I am Lieutenant Marion Johnson of Army Intelligence. I was sent to pick you up at Guadalcanal.”
“All tight, Marion, then can you tell m-“
“Excuse me.” She cut him off, “But you can address me as either Lieutenant, or Lieutenant Johnson. Is that understood, Dr. Jones?”
Indy’s eyes narrowed. Beautiful though she was, he decided he didn’t like her much.
“Fine, Lieutenant,” He spat out the word, “Mind telling me what I’m doing here?”
“As I said,” She repeated, “Someone outside needs to speak with you.”
Indy shot her an annoyed glare and made his way to the exit. It was getting on in to early evening; they’d left Guadalcanal that morning. Indy kept his eyes on the stairs as he descended them. But as soon as he stepped on to the tarmac, he looked up and into the face of a man he disliked very much.
“YOU!” He bellowed and strode toward the man, his fists clenching.
His name was Major Eaton, and Indy had dealt with him before…
Marshall College, 1936
“Yes, Dr. Jones, we’ve heard a great deal about you.” Major Eaton of army intelligence said by way of introduction.
“Have you?” Indy ascended several stairs to a small stage and set his things down on the nearby table.
“A professor of archeology,” Eaton continued, “Expert on the occult, and… how does one say it… obtainer of rare antiquities.”
“That’s one way of saying it.” Indiana replied, “Why don’t you sit down, you’ll be more comfortable.”
“Now, you studied under professor Ravenwood at the University of Chicago.” Eaton stated plainly.
“Yes, I did.” Indy glanced over at his friend Marcus.
Eaton pressed him, “And you have no idea of his whereabouts?”
“Uh… just rumors, really, somewhere in Asia, I think….”
Washington D.C., 1936
“You’ve done your country a great service, and we thank you.”
“And,” Eaton tugged on his pipe and glanced up at Marcus, “We trust you found the settlement satisfactory?”
“The money’s fine,” Indy said curtly, “The situation is totally unacceptable.”
“Well, gentlemen,” Eaton ignored him, “I guess that just about wraps it up.”
“Where is the Ark?” Marcus asked emphatically.
Eaton stared at him for a second, “I thought we’d settled that. The Ark is somewhere very safe.”