Indiana Jones emerged from the forward hatch of the Philippine Clipper and joined the other passengers on a barge moored to a long, newly constructed pier that extended well over a hundred yards from the western shore of Wake Island. A young Chinese boy made his way among the passengers offering cigarettes from a tray that was almost as wide as he was tall. It was a perfect late evening so passengers lingered on the wharf, smoking and looking up at the rear of the plane where Grieves stood with several members of the crew inspecting the tail for signs of damage. After taking a quick look up at the seemingly undamaged aircraft, Indiana Jones searched out Andy Solemn who he found leaning against a railing on the far side of the barge away from the crowd.
Andy lit a cigarette and blew smoke away up to his right. “Us stewards are supposed to wait for the passengers to leave before we catch a smoke, but I’m in no mood for following rules after dealing with Grieves.”
Indy chuckled at the ornery old steward. “Andy, I need you to do me a couple favors.”
Andy straightened up. “Sure thing Doctor Jones.”
“I need you to send these cables for me.” Indy handed some cash and a sheet of paper to Solemn – and in doing so Indy shifted to block the exchange from the view of the group behind him. From under the brim of his fedora, he cast a skeptical eye back toward his fellow passengers.
Scanning the cables, Andy read under his breadth with the cigarette hanging from his mouth. “Art Weber, Dispatch Shanghai Airport, ‘Cable received, GFUC’ – and the second to Marcus Brody, National Museum, Washington, ‘GFUC’.” Andy looked up. “Indy, they may not want to send these if they think the cables are coded . . . especially after last night.”
Indy nodded. “I know, you may be right -- if you have a problem get Grieves, he’ll force the issue and see that the cables are sent.” Indy hesitated and then pulled a pocket calendar from his breast pocket and said, “On second thought, have the Marcus Brody cable sent to the Union Preservation Club in New York City.”
Andy took a pen from his pocket and added the second address. “Got it. Not that it’s any of my business, but what does ‘GFUC’ stand for?”
“It’s a simple instruction: going forward use code,” replied Indy with a wry grin. “Straight-up, I’ve got a bad feeling about this flight – and I’ve got to start being a Hell-of-a-lot more careful than I’ve been so far.”
“Well at least it’s not obscene,” chuckled Andy. “If things are getting serious, when are you going to explain all these crazy goings-on and how you’re involved?”
Indy turned serious. “Believe me, if you thought I jumped to conclusions on the Golden State, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Right now, there are a lot of loose threads that don’t make sense – nothing fits together -- but enough has happened for me to believe that things are not going to end well.”
“Not end well how?” asked Andy as he took a deep drag on his cigarette.
“I think there’s a chance we don’t reach Manila – which brings me to my next favor. I want you to get sick and not continue on with the flight.”
“Well if things are as bad as you say, then you need me on the Clipper.”
Indy put his hand on Andy’s shoulder. “I’ll manage it.”
Andy again exhaled up to his right. “But you think we’re heading toward big trouble before we reach Manila?”
“And you just happen to be on this flight on separate business?”
Indy nodded. “Important separate business – but I’m beginning to think that my being on the flight is making matters worse.”
“Can it ever be any other way?” Andy smiled. “Well then that settles it Dr. Jones, you need someone to watch your back. Traveling with you is better than watching a Charlie Chan film.”
Perplexed, Indy said, “Except Charlie Chan doesn’t get the Hell beat out of him every night. Andy this is serious business. People are already dead and things are just going to get worst.”
“This discussion is over, Dr. Jones. I’ll see to getting your cables away as soon as I finish my clean-up.”
Andy pulled back, tossed his cigarette off into the lagoon and ducked away into the Clipper. Indy crossed the barge and climbed the ramp up to the pier. At the end of the pier, Lake and Nora stood under the lighted signature station sign. At each Clipper stop, every pier was fronted by a two-sided sign that gave the name of the station, the station’s latitude and longitude, and the names of the next Clipper stop in both directions with the miles to each destination.
“Dr. Jones what say you to a little nocturnal adventure?” asked an animated Lucien Lake.
Indy cocked his head, as he crossed under the Wake Island sign and was joined by Lake and Nora as he headed toward the system hotel. “Is it legal?”
Nora laughed. “Legal yes – but humane? You’ll have to decide that for yourself.”
Indy looked puzzled. “The way this trip is unfolding, I think I should be sticking to the straight and narrow.”
“Perhaps more than you know,” said Nora. “Grieves is saying some pretty uncharitable things about you and if you’re not careful you may get implicated in the Cable Station murders.”
Indy stopped short. “I’ll can handle Grieves – there’s no connection between unpaid bills and murder . . . but in the meantime, what do you two have planned for a beautiful night on Wake Island?”
Lake slapped Indy on the back. “Well first we need provisions. I’ll see to the critical items . . . .”
“Meaning liquor,” interrupted Nora.
“Yes, meaning liquor, of course,” continued Lake, “And Ms. Crowe here will see about procuring the necessary ordnance for our little adventure.”
Again Indy stopped short. “Ordnance? Just what do you two have in mind?”
Chapter 6 Continued (and possibly one of the more bizarre scenes in Indy fan fiction):
Nora patiently kept her rifle fixed as she waited for her target to move back into the light. Indiana Jones noted her steady breathing, solid grip and the stock nested firm against her shoulder. He looked up and saw that she had been right to wait. Her target moved from behind the tree and into the light from the tennis court. Nora took another breath and as she exhaled she exerted pressure on the trigger. The shot rang out, causing Lucien Lake to jump and spill gin over his front.
“Agh, a spinal,” said Lake with distaste as the target flailed for a full four seconds and then went still in the sand.
Nora handed the rifle to Indiana. He pulled back the bolt and reloaded. “Will the miracles ever cease -- you can shoot too.”
“Now let’s see what you can do,” replied Nora as she leaned back against the railing. The three stood on a broad staircase landing, twelve feet off the ground on one of the three water towers that added much needed elevation to Pan American’s expansive Wake Island Compound. Indiana scanned the dark ground for a target and finally settled on a shadowy form darting from bush to bush way out beyond the tennis courts. He aimed and squeezed off a quick shot. The shadow went still. Indiana shot a cocky grin at Nora and settled back to let Lake take a shot. The red-faced Lake fumbled with the bolt of his rifle causing Indy to lean over and relieve the drunken Southerner of the weapon. “I think you should stick to your area of expertise.”
“Quite right,” said Grieves as he picked up his bottle. “Pity I don’t get to enjoy the benefits of my labor.”
“You mean chumming the bushes?” laughed Nora as she took Lake’s rifle from Indy. “I just hope that hamburger you spread doesn’t bring every rat on the island – we only have two boxes of ammunition.”
“We’ll just have to make every shot count then,” said Indiana as he fired off another round from his single-shot bolt action .22 rifle that found home in another short-tailed Polynesian rat.
“I’m surprised that you have no qualms with shooting rats,” said Nora
“Are you kidding?” chuckled Indiana Jones. “My father is a professor of medieval literature. As far as he’s concerned it was a rat that brought low Western Civilization and left it in the Dark Ages. This rat hunt is the first thing I’ve done on this trip that he would have approved of.”
Lake lowered his bottle. “They say that a hungry rat will crawl into a baby’s crib looking for a meal.”
Nora hit another rat. “At least the baby had a crib. When I was a baby my dad moved around so much that the only crib I ever had was a suitcase. He used to tell me I was destined to be a great adventurer because I slept in a suitcase.”
Indiana shifted his tender jaw. “Right now I could do with a little less adventure.”
Nora looked up from reloading her weapon. “I never thought about it, but I suppose that being an archeologist can be pretty rough. Say you’re hot the trail of some valuable artifact. I imagine there’s always someone out there looking to jump your claim or some competitor looking to beat you to the punch. Does much of that actually happen?”
“Sure, some of that goes on,” said Indiana Jones as he quickly reloaded in response to the increasing number of rats moving toward the tower.
“Not too many King Tut’s tombs out there, I imagine,” said Lake.
“You could be followed or worse. . .” Nora trailed off and bagged a fast moving rat out beyond Indy’s furthest victim.
“Well you sure can’t always trust to luck,” smirked Indy, without even pausing to aim he casually raised his rifle with one hand and shot a rat at twenty yards near the base of the tower. “You have to be sharp and plan for contingencies . . .for things that can and will go wrong.”
“Your ventures can take quite a bit of seed money?” questioned Lake.
“That’s one of the challenges. . . .” said Indy.
“And hence the unpaid bills?” said Lake as he took a deep swig.
“And hence the unpaid bills,” agreed Indiana.
Nora lowered her rifle and pointed toward a large shadowy mass moving in from the buildings. “Don’t tell me that’s what I think it is.”
Indiana didn’t pause from firing at a mass of rats that had swarmed the hamburger. “No whatever it is it’s moving too slow to be rats.”
“It’s like a moving blanket,” said Lake.
“First thing first,” said Nora as she took aim on the rat swarm below.
Indiana Jones and Nora Crowe kept on firing on the rats but their number swelled to well over a hundred rats milling about the base of the tower. Then the shadowy form broke onto the illuminated Tennis Courts. It was hundreds of crabs of varying sizes, crawling over one another making their way steadily to the base of the tower and rat swarm.
“What are they?” asked Nora as she reloaded.
Indiana Jones continued to pick off rats. “Hermit crabs. They’re omnivores and they’ll eat what they can.”
The hermit crabs converged on the rat swarm. While some crabs engaged the rats, some went to work on the hamburger and rat carcasses.
“Well no one at the hotel said anything about shooting hermit crabs,” said Nora perplexedly.
“That’s right,” said Indiana Jones. He shot a last outlying rat and leaned back against the railing, resting the rifle on the rail. “Pan Am only wants to clear this rat infestation off the island. I imagine Hermit crabs are the type of scavengers they can live with.”
Lake watched the melee below at the base of the tower. “Well the battle is joined and it appears that we’re stuck here for the duration.”
“No matter what it’s going to be an interesting walk back to the hotel,” grinned Indy.
“No rush,” said Lake. “Actually there’s something I wanted to take up with you two.” -- both Indy and Nora exchanged glances -- “I don’t know if either of you have noticed but since we boarded in San Francisco Grieves has been very possessive of a large satchel that he usually keeps locked in a wall locker in the rear compartment of the Clipper by the steps to the afterhatch.”
Both Indy and Nora shook their heads.
“Imagine that the satchel contained a large – very large in fact – quantity of dollars and pounds.”
“Does this satchel in fact contain a large amount of cash?” asked Indy.
Lake shrugged, looked uncomfortable for a moment then with a surprising sobriety said, “Indeed it does. I lay my cards on the table. I’m the type that seizes an opportunity when one presents itself. I am now presenting that opportunity as a joint venture to be undertaken by the three of us.”
Indy looked hard at Lake. “You didn’t happen to get curious about Madam Sinn’s trunks before the ‘thud’ on the flight into Wake?”
Lake shook his head in disgust, like he had eaten something rotten. “Heavens no – movie-types never have any money . . .or anything else of value for that matter.”
“So why would Grieves have that kind of cash?” asked Indy.
“My guess is that it's bribe money,” said Nora. “Both Grieves and Gwen have talked about how his real job is not just managing the Manila operations but to get landing rights for Pan Am in other cities. Out in the Orient, that will involve a lot of upfront payoff money to grease the skids just to get in front of the right people.”
“A reasonable explanation consistent with my own experience in the Orient,” said Grieves. He took another swig.
“I don’t like it,” said Nora. “So much has happened so far on this flight – Madam Sinn’s kidnapping, the murders on Midway – why would you look to pull a job now?”
Lake smiled and nodded his head. “That’s it precisely. Doubtless there are schemes and any number of our odd little party engaged in strange goings on – but the important thing here is that Grieves and the airline personnel can only handle so much. They are distracted, and Grieves is barely keeping it together.”
Indiana had remained silent, watching Nora the whole time. He caught her eye. “Just what do you think about the attempt to kidnap Madam Sinn?”
Author's note (if anyone is still reading this). A large, stubborn rat infestation was actually cleared off Wake Island in 1938 and some early clipper passengers used air guns to shot rats. One shoot resulted in two members bagging 60 rats each. The hermit crab infestation is historically accurate as well. I confess to using some dramatic license in the use of the .22's and the speed of the hermit crab's appearance. When this is over, I intend to post a listing of my sources. I confess the rat shoot is odd, but its historically accurate and I note that Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown contains a rat shoot scene. I guess this scene is proof positive that I have no real commercial aspirations here. And finally, no rats were actually harmed in the writing of this entry.
Last edited by Joe Brody : 07-04-2005 at 11:05 PM.
I'm still reading. I really like the last installment.
I think the setting for this last bit of dialogue is brilliant. The rat shoot is a very colorful and memorable change of pace after all the conversations that happen over food and drinks. (Given the setting of the story, that repetition is understandable. But still. )
Ugh, Joe that was a bit morbid, and a bit like Wildcat swap if you must know . . .
Originally Posted by roundshort
Joe, did you ever think of Indy on an Ice Boat adventure, where soemthing happens, like his supplies get stolen? Think about it
I think someone has to doublecheck their sources. I went home and checked my copy of Wildcat swamp and (while I may have missed it) I didn't find any reference to any rat shoot. Given the period of the early stories it wouldn't surprise me at all if there was one and I'd like to know if there was because I'd add it to my list to support what some may consider an off color episode.
Are you sure you're not thinking of a certain fox hunt that takes place during the course of said Ice Boad adventure?
Originally Posted by Deadlock
I'm still reading. I really like the last installment.
I think the setting for this last bit of dialogue is brilliant. The rat shoot is a very colorful and memorable change of pace after all the conversations that happen over food and drinks. (Given the setting of the story, that repetition is understandable. But still. )
I really appreciate the kind words. I agree that my major dilemma is that the first part of the journey is very dialogue driven, almost too much. And for a first draft all I can really do is get out serviceable dialogue and minimal description -- but I've got to say that I prefer a page of largely one-line (but hopefully interesting) dialogue to full page descriptions of scenes that tend to slow down the action. My challenge when I go to clean this up is to try to minimize and break up the dialogue. One problem is partially what I'm trying to do with all the talking is slip in clues and set up things for future action. As for the rat shoot itself, the setting for Lake finally showing his true colors was intentional. The link to vermin will continue with respect to his storyline. The rat shoot is my bug zapper from Blood Simple (if you remember that thread).
Final word on vermin, I see the red-line stories as playing with the conventions of an Indiana Jones adventure. So the rat shoot is my approximation of the obligatory Indy spider/bug/rat scene (yes I'm using rats again but it's historically accurate). With respect to other conventions there can't, for example, be a relic in an adventure-with-an-adventure. And since there's no relic that means there will be no supernatural element to this first part of Red-Line (but note, while I haven't fully outlined it, I am 85% certain that there will be some supernatural element to the second half as Indy works his way across Asia). As to the ongoing-action serial requirement, I've met that three ways: (i) obviously, Richter is straight continuity, (ii) Indy's problems with Eaton and Pan Am and the references to his trip to South America to get the Idol, and (iii) with respect to the Red-Line story itself, Indy's relationship and history with Andy Solemn. Lastly, I had what I hope was a somewhat humorous stab at Indy the dork (but on-the-prowl) academic on Ford Island. One notable element that is missing is that given the tropical climate, Indy will not be in Jacket, Fedora and using his whip. My intention is for these elements to slowly manifest themselves as Indy gets fully up to speed and starts to assert himself as he unravels all the intrigue around him.
Last edited by Joe Brody : 07-07-2005 at 10:24 PM.
End of Chapter 6 (more talking -- but its almost over)
“After the Lindbergh kidnapping, it’s hard to call any theory, even Grieves’ family grudge angle, implausible” – Nora shrugged – “I just think Madam Sinn’s traveling with such formidable companions is very telling.”
Flushed and near raving, Lake – with his hand clutching a bottle of gin – pointed back and forth between his eyes and Indy’s eyes. Slurring his speech, he said “Something is not right with that whole affair. You sir,” – Lake lowered his arm and pointed his finger into Indy’s chest – “are a true professional, which is why I want you for my little job. As a professional you recognize the utter folly of kidnapping a girl protected by armed guards on an isolated island.”
Indy nodded. “True, those kidnappers were anything but organized – they ran out of ammo out on the harbor.”
“Well I don’t think kidnapping is the first choice of any professional con,” observed Nora.
“Whatever they were, they were desperate,” said Lake. “I, however, am not. I will not go after Grieves’ satchel alone. What say you?”
Indy was silent for a moment. Then he crossed the landing and grasped the railing. “Now let me think this through. You can’t steal the cash now because Grieves will likely check the bag as we taxi across the harbor in Manila. As soon as we land in Manila, he’ll go up the pier and straight into the Pan Am terminal office where I bet there’s a safe. He will then come out and greet all the local color and see us off. When the satchel next comes out of the Pan Am safe is anyone’s guess.”
For the moment all the ill effects of Lake’s gin seemed to have disappeared. “Quite right, you’re quite right. So the problem then is when to do the pinch.”
Indy turned around, noted that Nora seemed perturbed, and said, “Well the pinch would have to be right there on the pier – after we get off the plane but before Grieves enters the Pan Am building, wouldn’t you say Nora?”
Lake nodded his head. “Exactly. I propose that the two of you take the satchel and I shall provide a distraction on the pier to retard any pursuit.”
Indy grinned at Nora. “Sounds good to me.”
Without committing to the project, Nora indicated that she wanted to head back to the hotel. Together the three gathered up their things and made their way to the bottom of the stairs as Lake talked details. The hermit crabs had carried the day, and only a few rats remained foraging around the bushes. The three took a wide detour around the battlefield.
Lake staggered on ahead, weaving his way though the low dunes and lush vegetation that marked the Island. Indy walked close beside Nora, content and happy to have time alone with her. It was late and quiet, Nora seemed content, confident and good as she idled along with her eyes looking down at the sand. She was all the more alluring because she seemed sincerely oblivious to the effect she had on men.
“Your marksmanship tonight was almost as impressive of your knowledge of the Chinese tea ceremony,” said Indy. “You wouldn’t happen to speak Chinese?”
In flawless Mandarin, Nora responded, “Wŏ hui Shuō Zhūngwėn (“I speak Chinese”) -- both Mandarin and Cantonese.”
“And I suppose you learned all this in Kalgoorlie?
Nora laughed and playfully bumped her shoulder against Indy’s. “Believe it or not I did grow up in Kalgoorlie. When a girl is raised by Chinese cooks and dishwashers in the back room kitchens of hotels and bars, the girl is liable to pick up a few things.”
Indy nodded and bumped Nora back. “Fair enough.”
“But evidently I never learned how to judge people.”
“How’s that?” Indy slyly mocked Nora by feigning a lack of interest as he looked all-too-casually around the grounds in the same way Nora had acted on the dance floor on Midway.
“I’m surprised that you’re throwing in with Lake,” said Nora with some disgust. “I figured you were above that sort of thing.”
Indy stopped. He had his sleeves rolled up and a rifle resting on each shoulder. His fedora was perched back on his head. Nora turned to face Indy, over her crossed arms she had draped Indy’s suit jacket.
“Listen,” Indy leaned slightly toward Nora. “You have never given me any reason to be straight with you, but I’ll tell you this: I don’t think Lake is ever going to get a chance to go ahead with his little scheme. Something bad is going to happen before this flight is over. I’m just glad that I finally know where I stand with one other passenger.”
Indy resumed walking toward the hotel. Nora kept pace. “So you’re telling me you’re going for the money if the opportunity presents itself?”
Sarcastically, Indy responded, “Wouldn’t you if you had the bills I had to pay?”
Nora stopped and called out, “You’re ducking the question.”
Indy wheeled around. “O.K. Let’s be straight with one another. Why are you on this flight and what’s your connection with Andrews?”
Nora stood dumbfounded. After several seconds she flung Indy’s suit jacket at his face and strode off toward the hotel without a word. With Indy trailing a few yards behind, they came up to the front lawn of an exact duplicate of the hotel on Midway. As they made their way to the front entrance a somewhat agitated Reverend Andrews walked out on to the front stairs.
“I was starting to get worried. I thought you were having problems with the rats.”
Nora brushed past the Reverend and as she passed through the screen door she glared back at Indy, muttering “You have no idea.”
* * *
Heavy footsteps outside his room caused Indiana Jones to stir awake. It was early morning, and Indy pulled a pillow over his head to deaden the inevitable early morning wake-up call from the ever polite but aggressive hotel staff. No knock came -- instead his door was thrown open and before he could react to the sound of heavy footfalls rushing into his room, Indy was tossed from his bed and pinned hard to the floor by several men.
From the floor Indy strained to see who had entered his room. At first in the dim light all he could make out was the boots of several men filling the room. Straining more, he realized that they were Marines, several of whom immediately set about up-ending the furniture and searching the room.
Resisting the hand that kept his head against the floor, Indy forced out, “What gives?”
The hand ground Indy’s face down into the sandy carpet and a knee dug deeper into his back. “Just keep your mouth shut Jack.”
A pair of polished dress shoes below a pair of well-tailored pants came into Indy’s view. Standing before Indy’s face Grieves said, “Search everything, tear out the walls until you find it.”
Grieves started to pace the room. “He had to have taken it last night. . . .”
At the mention of last night, Indy’s eyes grew wide and his stomach sank. Lake’s scheming had cost him. Again he strained against the hand on his face. “What are you looking for?”
An enraged Grieves crouched down. “Don’t play stupid with me . . . I don’t know how you could even entertain the thought of sneaking it on the plane. . . .”
A Marine standing by the bed pulled a bayonet from his belt and crouched down toward the mattress, prepared to thrust. A deep voice from the door shouted out, “Put Down that Bayonet! What the Hell are you thinking? You want to get us all killed?”
The young Marine looked confused but nodded toward the door and complied with the order. Confused, Indy tried to get a better view of the search. At least four Marines had tossed out his luggage, pulled out the drawers to his furniture and searched his bathroom. There was a nervous energy and intensity that went beyond the theft of money.
Again the deep voice boomed out, “Get Jones out of here and continue the search . . .but be careful. I don’t want anyone blowing up this hotel.”
Indy was yanked to his feet and dragged into the hall past a gruff sergeant. Out in the hall looked pleadingly at one of the Marines. “What did I steal?”
The Marine shot a look back at the Sergeant who still stood in the doorway to Indy’s room with his hands on his hips. Then, under his breadth the Marine whispered, “Someone took a lot of dynamite the airline had brought in to blast the coral out of the harbor . . .”
“You there!” The Sergeant shouted at the young Marine. “Keep your mouth shut.”
Indy relaxed against the wall, relieved that matters were not as bad as he had first thought. After several minutes Grieves exited the room.
“No matter,” said Grieves straightening his tie. “You’ll never get it on the plane.”
The young Marine let Indy go. Never taking his eyes off Grieves, Indy shrugged and bumped Grieves as he passed back into his room, knowing that he didn’t have a lot of time to get packed to make departure for Guam.
The Philippine Clipper’s departure from Wake Island was delayed while the passengers’ luggage was searched for the missing dynamite. Spread across the wharf, the frustrated travelers sat on their bags waiting for a Pan Am Agent to conduct an inspection prior to boarding. A steward walked among the passengers offering ice water to counter the heat rising from the barge’s briny sun-baked deck planks. A couple Marines sat idly up on the pier, smoking and looking down on the group.
Richter worked his way through the chaos to Grieves who stood in the shadow of the Clipper’s massive wing watching the search. “I understand that there is a city on Guam. Will I be able to go there once we land?”
Sitting on one of Madam Sinn’s trunks, Yang wiped his brow. “It sounds like Mr. Richter has need to visit yet another cable station.”
The sweating German glowered at Madam Sinn’s dour companion. “Mr. Grieves. Are you any closer to finding those responsible for jettisoning. . . . ” – Richter trailed off and cast a meaningful eye toward Madam Sinn’s bodyguards – “whatever it was that was jettisoned during the last flight?”
Grieves sighed heavily and flashed a hard look at Richter. Stifling his first, reflexive response, he said “We still don’t know what dented the tail. Anyway, it’s a ten hour flight to Guam and another half hour drive to Agaña. I can have a car take you to town but if you intend to dally there you’ll have to find your own way back in time for tomorrow’s departure.”
Richter gave a curt bow. “Excellent. That will be more than sufficient.”
The agent finished with Madam Sinn’s luggage and moved to Indiana Jones. Indy stood, hands on his hips, with his two bags before him. He kept his gaze fixed on Grieves. The Agent cracked open a satchel bag and raised an eyebrow as he unwrapped Indy’s [Smith & Wesson] pistol.
Indy gave a weak chuckle. “Go ahead and look: it’s unloaded and there is no ammunition.”
Without a word, the Agent shook his head and set the weapon side. Again, the Agent raised an eyebrow as he removed Indy’s well worn bullwhip.
The whip’s leather coils caught the eye of Gwen Grieves. “What is that?”
“Just a silly prop I’m certain,” said her father with marked disdain.
Indiana Jones shrugged. “Whatever you say . . .”
Richter, holding his cigarette between his ring and middle finger, took a drag and nodded toward the whip. “What purpose has a professor for such an implement?”
“It’s a field expedient,” replied Indiana Jones with a wry smile. “Care for a demonstration?”
Richter shook his head and crossed to where the whip rested on Indy’s larger suitcase. Treating the whip almost as if it were extremely fragile or completely foreign, Richter raised the whip, letting the coils fall to the deck. “May I?
Before Indy could respond, Richter, with cat-quick movements, cocked back and cracked the whip out across the barge, straight between Yang and Madam Sinn to where the tip snapped the hand of one of Sinn’s Bodyguards. The man dropped his cigarette and clutched his wounded hand. From above, the two Marines came alive, grabbed their rifles and started down the ramp. Madam Sinn shot a desperate glance at Indiana Jones. Together the bodyguards headed for Richter where they were stopped by Yang.
“Stop now!” Yang shouted to the bodyguards. “Let the German man be!”
The Marines relaxed as the bodyguards backed away. Richter gave into a bizarre, uncontrolled asthmatic spat of laughter as he coiled the whip. Yang smoldered and glared at Richter. Richter turned his back on Yang and tossed the whip toward Indiana. “My brother makes use of a near identical tool on occasion.”
“Lucky for him,” said Indiana as he caught the whip. He crouched to stuff the whip back into his satchel. He then snapped the satchel shut and -- to the Agent’s consternation -- he took the bag and headed onboard the Clipper.
The Agent shot an apprehensive look toward Grieves and called out to Indiana. “Sir, since San Francisco we have had passengers check all luggage.”
“Trust me.” Indy smirked back at the Agent as he climbed through the portal. “I can manage, thanks.”
Joe, I'm a latecomer to your work here, having spent the last two days reading up to the most current installment. This is outstanding stuff! I love the intrigue and interconnected storylines. The connection between Nora and the Reverend is a mystery I'm particuarly interested in seeing unravelled. The glimpse of Richter's sadism in the most recent installment was a nice touch. I'm eagerly awaiting more. Keep up the great work!
After the Philippine Clipper reached altitude but before Indiana Jones could fall asleep, Andy Solemn crouched by Indy’s seat. Indiana removed his grey fedora and blinked away heavy eyes. “No coffee on the morning I could use it? What gives Andy?”
“I figure you’re making progress. You finally made it through the night without getting your head kicked in.”
“Sure, but I got roughed up this morning.”
“Getting roughed up doesn’t count. Doctor Jones, you’re one of the only passengers that has yet to check out the flight deck and I figure now might be the right time.”
Nora leaned forward from her seat across the aisle. “Can I go too? I would love to see the flight deck.”
“Well what say you Doctor Jones?”
Chagrined, Indiana stared at the seat in front of him for a second and then glanced back at Andy; noting the change for the serious in the kindly steward’s tone. Indy lifted his satchel from his lap and set it on the empty seat beside him. “You’re right. It’s time I get a better lay of the land.”
As the other steward set up for lunch, Indy and Nora followed Andy through the lounge and into the Galley. Andy asked the couple to hold back while he cleared the visit with the Captain. Andy climbed the steep ladder-like steps to the flight deck, leaving Indy alone with Nora for the first time since the night before. Both angled away from the other, trying not to look in the other’s direction. Indiana thrust his hands in his pockets and affected a keen interest in the afternoon’s salad course set out on the counter.
After Andy returned and gave the all clear, Indiana climbed the ladder to the flight deck and stepped aside to make room for Nora. Even though the forward walls tapered in, the flight deck was almost as broad as the lounge below and offered ample space to accommodate a massive radio console to one side of the cabin and on the other, space for a table and instruments for the aircraft’s navigator. With one hand on his headset, the radioman looked over at Indy, smiled, and gave the thumbs up. On the other side of the cabin, charts spread across the navigator’s table caught Indy’s eye but movement from above his right shoulder caused him to turn. Several steps up from the flight deck was a small but deep triangular space – just big enough for one man -- that Indy figured ran toward the back of the plane just below the wing. An exposed steel skeleton and the plane’s bluish rippled aluminum frame gave the space a futuristic appearance. Set back in the recess amidst wall-mounted instruments sat the chief engineer, dressed in his Flash Gordon outfit, intently making entries on a clipboard and looking out small windows that afforded a clear view of the plane’s engines.
“Doctor Jones, believe me the engineer’s throne room holds little appeal once you know it’s the only unheated part of the plane.” The Captain had left his seat by the controls and extended a hand toward Indiana. “We’re glad you could pay us a visit.”
Indy grinned and returned the handshake. “Even though Grieves thinks I’m the Devil incarnate?”
From behind Indy, the Navigator snorted. “Especially because Grieves thinks you’re the Devil.”
“Plus Andy and Gwen say you’re an O.K. guy,” said the Captain.
Nora looked puzzled, “What is the story with Grieves?”
“Since the flight from Hawaii, he has been bearing down on us” – the Navigator hesitated and looked at the Captain – “making us fly in conditions that we’d rather not. On Pearl, Grieves challenged the weather reports and insisted we fly on to Midway. Had we had our way, we would have spent another day in Pearl.”
“But aren’t those your decisions?” Indiana asked the Captain.
The Captain nodded. “Technically. But the thing about Grieves is that he’s one of Pam Am’s true experts in ocean flying. You name it, he can do; meteorology, night navigation, flying or engineering. If there’s ever a war, he has sealed orders to report to La Quarula Field in New York to run the Navy’s pilot training school. He’s that good.”
The navigator sat back and studied his map. “Well, it’s sure hard to second guess him. If we keep our present pace, we’re on pace to set a new record to Manila.”
“Do you suppose he’s friendly with Lindbergh,” asked Nora. Indiana turned and raised an eyebrow at the question.
“Well Lindbergh staked out this very route for Pan Am and Lindbergh is in tight with Trippe,” replied the Captain. “But I doubt the two know each that well. Grieves has always been posted abroad, either in the Orient or South America.”
The second pilot looked back over his shoulder. “With Grieves around, this crew is just a glorified extension of the Clipper’s autopilot.” The pilot hit a lever and joined the group. “I heard you two were on a rat safari last night. On my first stopover in Wake I set the record by bagging over forty -- how did you two do?
Nora shrugged. “We didn’t keep count, but we only had one box of rounds between us.”
The second pilot nodded. “Sure, there are 120 bullets in a box, sixty each. So how many did you two miss?”
With a straight face, Indiana looked at Nora. “How many did we miss?”
“I don’t remember missing any.”
“Neither do I.” Indiana broke into a wide smile and slapped the second pilot on the shoulder. The pilot started to laugh but was cut short by a terrible piercing scream from down in the passenger compartment.
Indy jumped down the ladder and raced back to the dim sleeping compartment where a rattled Madam Sinn stood with a hand clutched above her chest. Beside her, Yang glared at Indiana and pulled back the curtain. Inside the berth, exposed by a pulled back bed sheet sat Indy’s bullwhip.
“What manner of insult is this?” demanded Yang.
Dumbfounded, Indy stammered. “I don’t know how this could have happened.”
“This – after all the concern you have shown for my safety?” choked Madam Sinn.
Grieves came up through a group of passengers behind Indiana Jones and assessed the scene without a word. Yang grabbed the whip. “Mr. Grieves” – Yang flung the whip at Indiana – “this man is a degenerate.”
“Perhaps,” Grieves shook his head. “But he likely is not at fault here.” Grieves turned his head, shouted “Gwen!”
Indiana looked back into the passenger compartment where the nine year old girl sheepishly turned her head around the seat recently vacated by Indiana. Saying that he would deal with Gwen later, Grieves made his apologies to Madam Sinn and asked everyone to settle in for the flight to Guam.
The flight landed against an orange-grey evening sky. The monotony of daily flights had worn down the passengers and crew who trekked up the pier toward the converted two-story former Marine barracks that served as the Pan Am system hotel on Guam. There was little discussion as Lake whistled a mournful version of Dixie. At the hotel, Indy chose to wait for the other guests to check-in, so he lingered alone out on the broad screened-in porch that ran the length of the building. Just as he was about to enter, he was joined by Grieves.
“There’s strange news out of Shanghai. It seems that the airport dispatcher there -- who I believe you know -- was found dead today. He had been severely beaten prior to his death.”
Indy balked. For a moment he was lost to the buzz from the insects outside and the stiffly end-of-day heat and humidity. “His name was Art Weber. He was helping me with arrangements for the next leg of my trip.”
“Do you suspect there’s any connection with your mission for Army Intelligence?”
“I knew Weber had” – Grieves paused as he looked for the right word – “peculiar tastes. So perhaps his death has nothing to do with you?”
Indy stepped close to Grieves. “Tell me what passengers sent cables while we were on Midway.”
Grieves took a step back from Indiana – then raised himself up. “I wouldn’t breach a passenger’s confidence because you have some wild, unsubstantiated suspicious that your activities are so important so as to have caused the deaths of all those men on Midway. And don’t forget, I have no access to the Cable Company’s records.”
Indy checked his anger. “So you’re just going to turn a blind eye again?”
Grieves turned and went to enter the hotel. He paused at the door. “Not at all. All I want to do is get to the end of this flight with the minimal disruption. And besides, I suspect you don’t really need me to tell you who sent a cable from Midway.”
[thanks Paden & Roundshort -- much will be made very clear in the next installment or two.]
Last edited by Joe Brody : 07-18-2005 at 09:33 PM.
“I knew Weber had” – Grieves paused as he looked for the right word – “peculiar tastes. So perhaps his death has nothing to do with you?”
Originally Posted by roundshort
Joe,what are you saying, he was chasing the dragon, or people were looking for Indy's flight route, e.g. nazis?
I'll leave the door open on that one. The Art Weber character has never made any sense to me:
Originally Posted by Joe Brody in the Character Summaries Thread
Prim Airport Dispatcher who secures unglamorous passage for Indiana Jones and friends out of Shanghai. On a set location worthy of Casablanca, Dan Akroyd’s cameo as a dressed-for-safari-Britisher keen on American vocalists is one of the Franchise's great incongruities.
. . . .and I admit I'm grinding an ax by having him killed. An opium addiction would be a fitting vice for a Brit in Shanghai (Britain made a fortune off the trade) -- but on the other hand it wouldn't surprise me that if Art Weber were alive today he would be a huge Liza Minelli fan.
I like Grieve's inference because it says something about the type of person that Grieves is and how he looks at people.
Last edited by Joe Brody : 07-19-2005 at 10:00 PM.
More good stuff, Joe. I remain very intrigued about the mystery involving Madame Sinn. I'm really curious to learn more about her shadowy situation. The new information on Grieves was enlightening. He isn't the most likeable character, but he is interesting.
And, wow, Weber's dead. (That wasn't a complaint. )
At a loss for how to deal with the obstinate Director, Indiana followed Grieves through the door and headed for the bar. Lake sat making the most of the time before dinner by lecturing the blank-faced Chamorros barkeep on the intrinsic value of the Gin Rickey. Indy tapped the bar and asked for whiskey but cut the man off when the barkeep reached for a glass. “I’ll take a bottle,” said Indiana Jones.
Lake looked up from his gin as Indy grabbed the bottle. “Take it from me -- drinking alone is nothing but trouble.”
Indy backed away with an empty smile. “Trouble I got.”
“Sir?” The barkeep called out as Indy turned to his room. “To who should I charge the bottle?”
“W.C. Grieves,” replied Indiana as he walked off to his room. “He’s first class.”
Lake raised his glass after Indy. “To Pan Am. Where first class is the only class!”
Inside his room, Indy set the bottle down on his nightstand and opened his satchel. He removed his pistol and gave it a quick once over. He then reached into the bottom of the satchel and removed the bottom panel. Working his fingernails along the edge he found a seam and ripped back the heavy cloth covering. Inside were three long rows of rounds for his Smith & Wesson. Indy loaded his weapon, pocketed some extra rounds and tucked the pistol into his pants. He then grabbed his bottle and headed out through the lobby.
Nora looked up from her magazine and frowned as Indy strode past bottle-in-hand. Without slowing, Indy popped open the screen door and went outside. From the bar, Lake raised an eyebrow toward Nora.
Indy walked down the drive from the System Hotel to the main road. He stopped at the gate to the Pan Am compound and put the bottle down on the waist-high whitewashed perimeter wall. He then climbed up beside the bottle. The main road was nothing more than a wide dirt track flanked by dense vegetation -- there were no buildings in sight, just a crooked row of weathered telephone poles. As the evening wore on, several vehicles passed through the gate – delivery trucks returning to Agaña, a car or two, and several primitive carts pulled by water buffalo. These primitive single-axle traps, fashioned from raw logs, carried various domestics and kitchen workers back home to their villages from jobs tending the Marines and other permanent party personnel. As the evening progressed, a stone-faced Indiana Jones sat unmoving next to the un-opened bottle as the brake lights or the lanterns hung from the water buffalo carts receded into the night.
Finally around midnight, headlights broke down the road from Agaña. Indy flagged down the driver who leaned out his window with a questioning look. Ignoring the driver, Indy peered into the car and then wretched open the back door. Indy yanked Richter out from his seat and threw the German down into the dirt. Tossing some bills through the window, Indy hissed “Get lost.” As the car spun up a cloud of dust, Richter -- down on all fours -- leered up at Indy. A thin wicked knife appeared in Richter’s hand but before he could make any use of the weapon Indy stepped down hard on Richter’s hand. Indy ground his heel, causing Richter to howl with pain. Indy took a step back and unleashed a vicious kick under Richter’s chin. Disarmed and overmatched, the German took a beating without putting up any further resistance. Under the gate’s single exposed bulb, a grim Indiana circled Richter, who gasped desperately for breath. With his fists clenched and sleeves rolled up, Indy stepped in and gave Richter a hard punch whenever Richter came close to recovering.
Eventually Indy, covered in road dust and sweat, crouched down next to the beaten and bloodied man. Indy pressed his revolver against Richter’s temple. “What do you know about Art Weber?”
Hunched down on all fours, Richter buried his head into the dirt and sobbed. Indiana threw Richter down into the dirt and continued to circle the man. “Who did you cable from Midway?”
With his forehead still resting in the dirt, Richter could only shake his head. Indy stopped circling and kicked Richter hard in ribs. “On Midway, you snuck up and picked off that cable crew one-by-one.”
Richter looked up. “No. It was Madam Sinn’s men.”
Indiana kicked Richter again. “Now why would Sinn’s men kill the cable crew? Those goons” – Indy leaned over and picked up the thin blade from the dirt – “lack the finesse to do that sort of job. A person that uses a knife like this on the other hand . . . .” Indy hurled the blade deep into the jungle.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Maybe you don’t but you’re lying about Sinn’s men killing the cable crew -- they were all holed up in their room that night. If I had the time, I’d hand you over to the Marines but since you sent your friends to work over Art Weber for what he knows, I can’t afford any delay.”
Richter’s eyes went wide as Indy -- gun in hand -- pulled away. Indy looked back toward the Pan Am compound and grabbed the bottle of whiskey. He broke the seal, took a deep swig and pointed the bottle at Richter. “If I were you, I wouldn’t be on that plane tomorrow.”
Richter closed his eyes. With two quick steps Indy closed the distance on Richter and brought the bottle down hard on the German Agent’s head where it shattered in a spray of whiskey and glass. Richter sprawled out on the road unconscious. Again Indy looked around and dragged Richter deep into the bushes on the far side of the road.
Hoping to slip back into the hotel, Indy returned to his room through a side entrance. As he passed through his door a hand clamped across his mouth. However, this time it was not the strong, steady hand of a Marine. Reflexively, without thinking, Indy grabbed the arm and twisted it hard around the back of his assailant. With his attacker in front, Indy then charged across the room, hurtling his attacker’s head into the outside wall. His attacker fell limp to the floor. Gun in hand, Indiana switched on his bed lamp and fell to his bed stunned.
“I left you in Pearl Harbor.”
On the floor lay the missing kidnapper. He was in his early twenties and Asian. He was filthy and gaunt. He raised himself up on one elbow and locked eyes with Indiana Jones. “I am a friend of Madam Sinn.”
“Friend?” Indiana Jones laughed deeply and shook his head. “Friend, you were kidnapping her at gunpoint.”
“No.” The man shook his head with intensity. “We were rescuing her.”
Incredulous, Indy said, “Rescuing her?”
“Yes from Yang and those men. They are Japanese. Ruan Sinn has a baby that she left back in Shanghai. Her baby has been kidnapped, and those men are forcing her to give them cover so they can hijack the Philippine Clipper.”
Until now I chose to not provide any information (along with a bibliography of my source material) about the Clipper because I did not want readers to jump ahead, read about the plane's history and deduce where the story was going -- a hijacking attempt by Japanese agents years prior to World War II.
However, now that the cat is out of the bag, it is time to give some background on the plane. The drawing above shows the plane's layout. The illustration is small but please note: the forward galley leads back into the lounge, which gives way to a small passenger seating compartment. Unlike the plane used in Raiders of the Lost Ark there is no seating area or true upper deck in the Martin M-130. I have departed from the film in this respect and do not include any upper deck because it does not match the actual M-130 Clipper. If anything, I imagine the Clipper's seating compartment (broken in the image above by the crease) to be a bit longer, consisting of a couple rows of seats. The rear of the plane consists of the sleeping compartment, bathrooms and the stairs up to the afterhatch. Also, under the flight deck and nose of the plane was the storage/baggage area.
At the end of Part One, I intend to provide more background and other info on the Clipper, my sources, and Asia-Pacific in 1936.
Thanks roundshort & Deadlock, I really didn't know what to do with the last night on an island. I was leaning towards one more contact with Yang and Sinn -- but figured (i) there's been too much talking, and (ii) Art Weber rated some sort of reaction/retribution. I just gave free-reign to my Indy-Noir implues -- and consider the Richter beating (under the one light) to be the most noirish segment of the Part 1 of RedLine.
Last edited by Joe Brody : 07-30-2005 at 10:31 PM.
Keep the noir coming! I think this is an under-explored facet to the Jones character. But I think it is absolutely essential to a more mature rendition of Jones.
This is related: but I recently checked out one of the Max McCoy Indy books at the library... I had a bad feeling when I found it in the "Young Adult Paperback" session. This impending sense of cheese was quickly substantiated by the text itself.
So, Joe... from my extremely limited exposure to the world of Indy in print... yours is the most mature and intellectually satisfying stuff I've read. Keep up the good work!