Join Date: Nov 2008
“I…had heard the commotion,” she defended with uncertain words. “And shots. I wanted to see what had happened.”
“You almost spoiled the entire thing,” said Reuben. “That was the second time you endangered yourself. I cannot keep watching over you like you are a child.”
“I know,” Marian said sheepishly. “I’m sorry!”
“I believe you. But it will do no good if next time there is no one to keep you safe. It was a stupid thing to do – the same for you Dr. Jones,” he added, diverting his gaze to Indiana.
Indy shrugged his shoulders defiantly. “Why? Someone had to distract Ramos and his gang, right?”
A mocking smile twisted Reuben’s lips. “You are right. But you rushed into the situation, and missed being shot by a hair.”
“It was a calculated risk,” Indiana said. “I was sure they would not kill me.” He lied.
Reuben seemed to want to argue, but saw that it would be futile. He turned his attention back to the blind man. “So you are Mr. Ramos,” he said. “I must confess, you are not what I… expected.”
Ramos defiantly pursed his lips. “Who are you?” He demanded.
“My name is Reuben. FBI. I could show you my ID card, but I see it would do no good. So you have to rely on my word.”
“FBI? You have no authority here. This is Bolivia, not America. You have no right to arrest me.”
“That’s true,” Reuben confessed quietly. “So we have a conundrum. Aside from that; we could leave you with the Aymara.”
Ramos did not answer.
“Although I am not so sure leaving you with them is a good idea. What do you think?”
Ramos remained silent, and Reuben stared at him angrily for a few seconds. Realizing the glare was lost on Ramos’s blind eyes, he continued. “I am not so sure the Bolivian authorities will treat you much better,” he continued. “As you said, Mr. Ramos, this is not America. The police in some of these South American countries employ shockingly primitive methods. I am sure you understand what I mean. I’m afraid that I will have to deliver you to them, however.”
Indiana watched Reuben, and was about to ask a question. The FBI agent made a rapid hand movement indicating for him to remain silent. Reuben continued after a short break with a slightly altered tone. “Why did you come back, Ramos? Why this second raid?”
“Why should I answer a single question from you?” Ramos replied defiantly.
“Well, there are several reasons,” Reuben continued. “One, for example, that I keep a gun in my hand aimed at you.”
Ramos laughed without humor. “Then it’s simple: shoot me – if you have the courage.”
“No,” said Reuben. “That would be too easy. I am afraid I must take you in, Ramos. Either to the Aymara or the Bolivian authorities. Unless…"
“Unless what?” asked Ramos, but Reuben did not continue immediately. He let the sentence intentionally hang in the air for several seconds.
“Unless you answer a few of my questions,” said Reuben. “And it would be better if you did not lie to me. Where is Professor Corda? Why are you looking for him, and what is he looking for here?”
Ramos remained silent.
“Think it over, Ramos.” Reuben said urgently. “And do it quickly. The men from that village you invaded are on their way here now. And I am afraid I cannot protect you from them.”
“You wouldn’t even if you could,” Ramos said. “But – are you telling me you will let me go after I answer your questions?"
“No,” Reuben replied seriously. “Certainly not. But maybe you should put some serious thought into the difference between Bolivian and American prisons, Mr. Ramos. It is likely a huge difference for a blind man.”
“No one puts me in jail,” Ramos said confidently.
Reuben ignored his response. “So? What do you think?”
“Leave him to me,” Marian said. Her voice trembled with anger. “I’ll make him talk.”
“Maybe that’s not such a bad idea,” Reuben mused, seeing he was getting nowhere with the man.
Ramos turned his face towards Marian’s voice. “I’ve done nothing with your husband, my dear,” he said. “And nothing to you. I have kept my word, right? You are free. And you, Dr. Jones – “ he turned to Indiana. “You should really think about whether you will leave me with these FBI officials. I give you my word that Marcus Brody dies if I am not back in our warehouse by sunrise.”
Indiana was about to reply, but Reuben interrupted him. “This will not help your situation, Ramos,” he said angrily. “Dr. Jones understands that I cannot consider Mr. Brody’s life. I’m afraid even you do not understand how big this is. It’s bigger than you, Ramos!”
The door on the boat opened in the distance behind them. “There’s no one,” Henley called a she stepped outside. “They must have beat feet into the jungle.”
Reuben frowned and said nothing, but threw a nervous glance over his shoulder into the brush. Indiana was not sure whether it was nerves or reality, but he thought he heard muffled voices of people sneaking closer.
“Decide Ramos,” said Reuben. “I do not promise your freedom. You will spend the rest of your life in prison – but it is up to you whether it will be an American prison or a Bolivian one. And think about your answer well. The people here do not particularly like Americans. And after what you’ve done here, I probably don’t need to tell you what they will do to you.”
“You…You’re not really going to make a deal with this…monster, are you?” asked Marian stunned.
“Are you listening, Mrs. Corda,” said Reuben. “I am just promising to keep him alive, nothing more. If we leave it to the natives and turn him over to them, we might not be able to find your husband.”
Indiana turned his head sharply. The voices and sounds from earlier were getting louder. He was no longer skeptical if they were real or not. Indiana recalled that only eight or ten men had fled into the jungle earlier, but whatever was moving through the undergrowth sounded more like an army.
And it probably was.
“You should probably get reasonable very quick,” Reuben said to Ramos, hearing the sounds as well. He directed his attention over to Indiana. “You take them to the boat, and quickly!”
“What are you going to do?” Asked Indiana suspiciously.
“I am going to get away from here,” said Reuben, “before it’s teeming with crazy natives looking for revenge. He gestured with his head toward the boat. “Hurry up. I will try and stop them somehow. And keep an eye on Mrs. Corda. I need Ramos alive, and I fear she may have other plans for him.”
Indiana nodded, then hurried them all toward the boat. Indiana took the need to watch Ramos seriously, even though logic said that a blind man would be foolish to escape into the jungle alone. Nonetheless, his eyes remained on the man every second of the way to the boat.
They scurried across the swaying gang plank to board the vessel, and Indiana made sure to remain in between Marian and Ramos every step of the way. They huddles into the wheelhouse, and Indiana worked fervently with Henley to get the boat started. Ramos’s men had been disarmed and tied up and were being guarded by the rest of Reuben’s men. They crowded into a room below deck.
Just as the small auxiliary diesel motor revved to life and began pushing them out into the river, the first Aymara emerged from the jungle. Reuben’s attempt to stop the natives had apparently failed miserably, because he was running in giant leaps and it was clearly evident he was fleeing in front of them. The small ship began to shake and move clumsily backwards. At the last moment, Reuben bounded across the gangplank, reached the railing and yanked himself over a hasty movement. He kicked the gangplank away. The closest Aymara fell into the river as the gangplank fell away. Two or three others tried to reach the vessel with a leap, but fell into the river arms flailing. Another made the leap and managed to grab the railing and tried to pull himself up. Reuben gave him a blow to the fingers with the butt of his gun, and the native toppled backwards into the dark waters. They were finally far enough from shore to get sucked into the flow and drive faster out to midstream.