“"I believe you," said Ramos. "But your husband knows of who I am. He and I had a business transaction agreed. I have my side partially met - but unfortunately not your husband. "
"Listen, Ramos," said Indiana. "I do not know which crooked business Stanley has entered into with you, and neither does it interest me. But it is between you and Stanley - do it with him and not with his woman. Marian does not know about Stanley's business. "
"I am almost inclined to believe you, Dr. Jones,” answered Ramos. "You see, I've been using Professor Corda work for a while and think I know him quite well. But what should I do? I've spent a lot of money and effort. I also have obligations. My business partner expect that I comply with them. Professor Corda has something that belongs by right to me. "
"Then you look for him and ask him about it," Indiana said. "I -"
"I..” interrupted Ramos," have a principle, Dr.Jones, of which I never leave. I always get what what I want. Nobody robs me. Do you understand what I
At least Indiana believed it as a swift icy showers ran down his back. He gently sat down and tugged at his bonds to test their strength. As soon as he did a sharp pain cut into his wrists and he understood that he was not tied with rope, but with a thin wire. Any attempt to break his bonds would just cause pain or further injuries.
"Let us talk like reasonable men, Mr. Ramos, "he said. Ramos came closer, followed by his two shadows. Indiana could finally see that he was as crippled
and deformed, as he had previously thought. His face was an ugly, evil dwarf and his eyes were milky white balls without pupils. He was blind.
"I listening, Dr. Jones," he said.
"I do not know with what kind of business you and Stanley had concluded, and it does not interest me, "said Indiana. "But I give you my word that Marian has nothing to do with it or know about it. "
"Who says I doubt it?"
"Your men were in Cordas House,” went on Indiana. "And have no doubt they thoroughly searched it. If they have not found what they were looking for then why does it serve to have us caught."
"I know," Ramos said with a smile.
Indiana looked at him confused. "I don’t think I understand - "
“I think you understand very well, Dr. Jones, "said Ramos. "As I said before I know Professor Corda. I think he would not return to the aid of his wife. Not even for what I want from him. "
"Why make this attack," asked Marcus.
"A fair question, Mr. Brody," said Ramos. "I'll be glad to answer. You see, I have inquiries to make, not only about Professor Corda, but also you and Dr. Jones. What I want from you is simple: Professor Corda has gone since yesterday morning and in spite of all efforts to find him it has come to nothing. But, I think there is someone among who will succeed. "
"I do not even know where he is, "said Marian. Ramos smiled and shook his head. "I speak not of you, my love, "he said. Then he turned back to Indiana
and looked out of his sinister, blind eyes at him. "I think we have understood each other."
Indiana stayed silent.
"What are you talking about?" Marcus asked, confused. This time it was Indiana, who responded to Ramos'
"He wants me to find Stanley, "he said. “And I guess you’ll both will be staying here until I'm back. "
Ramos mockingly clapped his hands. "I see, I have not mistaken you, Dr. Jones, "he said, smiling, "And I'm pretty sure that you will continue not to disappoint me especially since I am giving you exactly three days to find Professor Corda, before I begin to start cutting the fingers and toes off your friends. Each day, one piece.”
Marcus sucked in his breath sharply, and Marian gave a faint cry. Indiana looked at the blind piercing criminal. Ramos was still smiling, but it was the coldest, wickedest smile that Indiana has ever seen. Threats like this he had often heard, prehaps even worse. But he knew that Ramos said his words seriously.
"Three days is too little," he said. "I -"
"Three days," interrupted Ramos. "And the rest of today- I do not want to be petty. And if you are still not inspired, be advised that I am with Mrs.Corda and will continue to cut, after your friend is in pieces, if you are not back. "
"He's bluffing," stated Marcus.
"No, he’s not " Indiana said quietly.
"I do not. In fact, Mr. Brody,” said, Ramos quiet. "I assure you that I never lie. But I expected this reaction. I need only to convince you that I am serious - "
He half-turned and gave the two men behind a signal. "Bring him here."
The two disappeared for a moment in the dark and when they came back, they introduced a third, squirming Shadow between them. As they came nearer, Indiana saw that it was Rogers. As he and Marcus and Marian were probably restrained from the hands and feet, Rogers also wore a gag, so tightly that he hardly breathe. He struggled as violent as he could, is eyes were large and wide with fear but it was to no avail against the grip of the two gangsters.
Ramos turned around and looked in the direction from where Marcus' voice had come. "You think I am bluffing? "He smiled coldly. "Bring him closer."
"No," said Indiana. "Why -?"
Rogers reared up again with desperate force, for he too has heard Ramos' command. But his defense was futile. While the giant guy held him alone, the smaller gangster pulled a knife from his jacket, flicked open the blade out and with an almost leisurely movement buried it into Rogers heart. Rogers fell motionless to the ground when the crooks grip went slack.
Marian turned away with a whining sound, while Marcus and Indiana staring in bewilderment. "Why?"
“Why did you do that? That ... that was pointless, Ramos." Indiana finally said.
"Perhaps," Ramos said quietly. "But it focuses you, Dr. Jones. Anyway, It is not particularly sorry for him. He was a creature that had deserved death long ago. "
Indiana stared at him stunned. It was not the first time he and death had met. It was not even the first time that he witnessed a murder. But he had rarely seen a man killed in cold so casually, totally pointless and a unnecessary show of force.
He heard Marcus's breath behind him with Marian's slightly faster and with her struggling to hold in the sobbing but he did not turn to them instead he stared Ramos. And even though the blind eyes of the criminal's could peiceve nothing but eternal darkness, Ramos seemed to feel his eyes because after a while he twisted his lips into a thin, evil smile.
"I see we have understood each other, Dr. Jones," he said.
Indiana had understood. And anyway, against his better judgement, he tried again.
"Listen, Ramos' he said insistently. "We do not know where Stan is. But I give you my word that I will tell you if I find it out. Please do not hurt Marian or Marcus. I will find Corda, I promise you. "
Ramos laughed softly. "How stupid do you take me, Dr. Jones?” He asked.
"I -" began Indiana. But he did not continue to talk because Ramos made a lightning-fast, almost invisible movement with his left hand and gave Indiana a slap that left him helpless only to fall backwards and onto the concrete floor . Indiana could only see a range of colourful stars dancing before his eyes, and the taste of his own blood filled as it filled his mouth.
"Remember, Dr. Jones," said Ramos. "Three days, expected to start early tomorrow.”
Location: Neuchâtel, Switzerland (Canadian from Montreal)
I keep forgetting that I have 1 or 2 of the Hohlbein novels but can't remember which titles. My Indy collection isn't near me at the moment but will check in a couple of weeks. If "El Dorado" is one of them, you guys can count on some extra help.
Otherwise...Looking forward to more, Punisher & Junior!
Wow, thanks a lot! It's great to finally be able to read the german novels. I was having a hard time finding then to buy (But I don't speak german, yet), coming to the raven and seeing this, was a real happy surprise.
Even though the events of the last days actually were depressing Indiana awoke again this timw with the worst headache of his life. Bright sunlight stung like needles into his eyes as he raised his eyelids and in the back of his head sat a hideous dwarf swinging a Blacksmiths hammer. Indiana guessed that it was the same dwarf as the night before because it already had been the same fist that hit him in the same manner to transport him into the land of dreams.
After all, he thought sarcastically that he had a good chance that it couldn’t be worse. If he and Ramos' giant baby still met several times in the same way, he would certainly soon have a cornea in the neck. Cautiously, he tried to sit up. The pounding in his head lessened but now, at least, he registered knowing where he was - not in Ramos' warehouse, but in his own, totally devastated living room.
He groaned and raised his hands, hid his face for a moment between his fingers and waited for the dull, rhythmic rumble between his temples to finally subside.
But it did not happen, and after some further seconds, he finally understood why. The hammering was not in his skull, but it came from outside the doorway. With a movement of his head he looked up with a raging pain, a violent dizziness and thought for a moment.
Indiana was much too dazed to even think hard about it and thought who of could be standing there in front of the door knocking so frantic. Staggering more than walking, he dragged himself to the door and needed two attempts to grab the knob and flipped it upside down, and pulled it open to a small crack.
A split second later, the door was completely thrown open, and Pat and Patachon marched in.
While they were a little easier on Indy they stomped around the devastation with mixture of distrust and ill-disguised glee. Reuben beat Indy to shutting the door and with a loud bang Indiana's skull appeared too fully to burst but he challenged himself on.
"Good morning, Dr. Jones," Reuben said with an ironic emphasis.
"What should be good this morning?" Mumbled Indiana. He
raised his hand, pressed his thumb and index finger for a moment
against his eyes in subduing the pain as without that he could not continue.
"That must indeed a wild party last night," Henley said sarcastically. He turned and looked at Indiana challengingly. "Or did you have a visit?"
"You know it is the visitors that interests us?" Reuben said to Indiana. Indiana gave the two a dirty look, feeling his way into the kitchen and tried with trembling hand to set the gas stove to set in motion in order to brew a cup of coffee.
Reuben saw him a moment to this, then shoved him with a silent shake of his head aside and lit the flame with a little gold lighter that he took from his pocket. Apparently, he had come to the conclusion that Indiana had a good chance at that moment to blow up house in the air.
Indiana smiled gratefully, somewhat forced and took a tin with pre-ground coffee from the cupboard and tried in vain to to open the clasp with his trembling fingers the. Reuben shook his head again; he took the tin from Indiana and took over this work.
Indiana looked him with to growing astonishment. "Why the sudden kindness?”
"Sit down, Dr. Jones," said Reuben. "Start from the beginning… "
Indiana gave up an answer, did what the FBI agent had advised him and dragged himself into the living room.
The clearer his mind became, the more clearly he understood the extent of the devastation his home had fallen into. It was not just the signs of a fight he saw but with exception of the couch, on which he had awoken, for the most part all the furniture was overturned and broken.
On the shelves was not a single book and even pcture that had not been torn from the walls. Obviously, Ramos' men had a destructive free rein and this was what was left behind.
"You do not look well, Dr. Jones," said Henley.
"If I look like, how I feel," muttered Indiana, "Then I must look awful."
The "do" in fact, Henley replied, very seriously. "Should I will call a doctor?”
Indiana resistance at the last moment of temptation, to shake his head, and left it with a muttered "No."
Henley drew his eyebrows together, put his hands in the pockets and looked around with a frown further.
“Ramos?”, finally asked.
Indiana still hesitating for a few seconds but then realized it would be pointless to continue to play the ignorant.
"What do you know of Ramos." he said.
"Probably more than you, Dr. Jones," answered Reuben, at that moment he came from the kitchen balancing three cups of coffee. He put the clanking load on the table down and then looked for a place to sit down, and continued after a pause: "If you have told us the things you know, everything would have been saved along with your headachess!"
"Perhaps," Indiana confessed sheepishly. "I think it is time to apologize.”
"Forget it," said Henley. He smiled wryly. "No problem, we are accustomed to most people being suspicious of us. Apparently, this is the fate of all police officers. Not many understand that we are on their side."
Indiana hand was unsteady with the cup of coffee, the one Reuben had poured out him, he took a hearty drink and waitedcfor the stimulating effect to take hold.His headaches were likely to get worse, but the thinking was a little bit easier now. At least lucid enough to admit that he is - to put it very carefully- had been a fool.
"Who is this Ramos?"
Reuben also took a sip of coffee and made a face that Indiana could not say whether it was a grimace on the drink or the name he had heard.
"A pretty bad guy, "he said.”We still do not know very much about him - but what we know, that's enough."
"If, there is such a thing here, the uncrowned king of the underworld" Henley added. "There is not within a distance of fifty miles a crooked business in which he has not kept his fingers in it. Ranging from marijuana to a hired contract killer. You can have everything from him - if you can pay. "
Reuben put down his cup and looked at Indiana seriously, almost worried. "You're lucky that you still have your life, Dr. Jones, "he said.”If even half right, what we know about Ramos, a human life does not count for much. "
"I know," said Indiana.
The two FBI men exchanged a puzzled glance.
"You saw him?" said Henley. Indiana nodded.
"Then you have something ahead of us," added Reuben, "We do not even know how he looks."
"Oh, you're not missed much”, muttered Indiana rescued by another sip from his cup before further talking further.
"What does he want from you?" asked Henley.
"The same as you," said Indy. "Knowing where Professor Corda is. "
"Have you told him?" said Reuben.
"I do not know," said Indiana irritated.
"And of course you had not told him, if you knew, "Reuben said mockingly.
Indiana stared at him. "I might." He replied. Reuben's face darkened. "Why?"
"Because he has Marian," said Indiana. "And Marcus Brody.”
For a few seconds, it was very quiet. Reuben looked suddenly
very carefully, while Henley was honestly concerned.
"What do you mean?" Reuben asked finally.
"That is exactly what I said," growled Indiana. "His men have kidnapped and Marian Corda and Marcus. He has given me three days to find Stanley Corda. Or he they will kill them both. "
"Kidnapped?" Reuben is reassured again. Indiana was a little confused. The FBI man did not look at all frightened, or at least affected from, but almost pleased.
"Yes," confirmed Indiana. "Why do you ask?"
"Because that gives us the opportunity to act differently” answered Reuben's in Henley’s place. "Forget not - we're FBI agents. Our powers are nevertheless restricted. But, in a case of kidnapping we can go to local police. We are your friend along with Mr.Corda, so do not worry. Where's the phone? "
Indiana gestured with a nod to what was once where his desk had been. “Somewhere over there?” he said.
Henley stood up and began to sift through the cluttered torn papers and books on the telephone. Indiana watched him a moment before he turned back to Reuben.
"What does a man like Stanley Corda have to do with Ramos?”
"We’ve ask ourselves," said Reuben. "We ..." He hesitated. After a few seconds he looked at his colleagues almost helpless and the silent dialogue with their eyes did not escape Indiana, Ruben then nodded to Henley almost imperceptibly, Reuben took a deep audible breath and began again.
"We'll be very frank with you, Dr. Jones. In any case, as far as we can. This is not just for a few stolen art objects cleared from a Pharaoh's grave. We not even clear on any details, but it’s quite possible that it is a matter of national interest concerns. I must therefore be absolute and you undertake not to disclose. "
"Why this sudden confidence," asked Indiana, without respond directly to Reuben's words.
The FBI man was now but a little embarrassed. He cleared his throat. "After our last meeting we have inquiries. Jones, "he said.”We now know who you are and especially what you are " He smiled a little embarrassed. "I think we can trust you.”
Henley had finally found the phone and began to dial the number; Reuben drank another awkward sip of coffee before he went on. "Whatever Professor Corda found or discovered or stolen or whatever it must be a big deal."
Indiana ran his hand over his aching neck. "That’s the impression I had."
Reuben shook his head. "I mean big in the literal sense, "he said. "Henley and I were not completely inactive in the last days. We still do not know what role Ramos plays in this whole affair, but we nevertheless know what Professor Corda wanted from him. "
"And what is it?" Said Indiana, as Reuben did not continue to speak out.
The FBI man shrugged his shoulders. "If I am right "he said," equipment for an expedition.”
Reuben nodded sadly. "He had a dozen pretty bad boys from Ramos, "he said.”Mercenaries, to be exact. I assume you know this kind of men - types that do anything for money. "
Indiana was silent, confused. Mercenary? He found, however, it hard to believe Reuben. Could this be Corda? What the FBI agent has claimed sounded incredible. Stanley Corda was probably a thief, but not one to get an armored party in order something to rob. But then he realized the error in his thinking.
They said yes. He does not have an anytreasure. What Corda had found the old king was not grave, but El Dorado, the fabled land of gold. Perhaps it was so, that every man has his price.
Henley had dialed the number and started silent, in a very firm voice, where Indiana could understand exactly what he said.
"If you know it all, " He turned to Reuben," then you know maybe
Stan wanted to go. "
"Sure," said Reuben. "He has book himself, his twelve Companions and the equipment a sea crossing to São Paulo. For the twenty-first. "
"That's in one week."
"I know," replied Reuben slightly impatient. "But Corda has been missing for two days. Along with the men, he has hired. and all the equipment. Apparently he has not dared to contact Ramos. The arcade and everything else served only the purpose to deceive him about his true goal. "
"But thirteen men and a whole truck full of equipment cannot "just disappear”, said Indiana.
"Exactly, Ramos apparently thought the same too," replied Reuben. "But he was mistaken. It is like they have been swallowed by the earth. "
Henley had finished his phone call and came back.
"Less than three hours from here,” He said. "We found Mrs. Corda and Mr. Brody, so do not worry."
Indiana was not quite so optimistic. If he had grasped the one thing at his first meeting with Ramos, then, that this man was also very intelligent. He was one hundred percent convinced that his house was watch by Ramos.
"Sure," said Reuben, has he shared his Indiana’s concern.
"You see stand on the street. Two fools in an old Ford, imagining themselves to be invisible. "
"And you do nothing?" Marveled Indiana.
Reuben smiled. “On the contrary. Why should we? As long as they do not know that we know, they are not dangerous.”
"Ah," said Indiana.
"We let them two observe," said Henley add explanatory. He looked at the clock. "They should be gradually making ready Dr. Jones. His lecture begins in a less than an hour. As long as Ramos does not know that we are working together and that you have to behave quite normally. "
Reuben stood. "We are going now," he said. "Or yet better - throw us out. But so that these two idiots over there can see it. "
"We do not want, that our friend Ramos still thinks that you would "work with us”, said Henley added. He smiled, but his eyes remained as cold as glass, and Indiana was reading an unspoken question in it.
He did not answer.
So, he threw them out of the house, quite flamboyantly, as a blind man could not fail to understand that they were not his friends. And even he was not sure if the anger in his voice and gestures was only played.
He had choked down another cup of horrible coffee that Reuben brewed until it finally became clear that it was Saturday therefore no lecture to be on time. But the idea of spending hours with nothing more to do than wait for the phone to ring or the FBI Men to come back was almost unbearable to him.
Also, he simply knew there was little salvation for Marian and Marcus with the methods of Pat and Patchon. He did not doubt the abilities of the two FBI agents but he felt that they would fail with Ramos. The man was more than a criminal. He was crazy, a maniac without a shred of conscience, not only crippled physically, but mentally.
He was dangerous at the same time as being highly intelligent but in a subtle way that not even Indiana could clearly describe with words. Even now, an icy shiver ran down his spine when he thought of his encounter with the blind man.
Still, it had never been his style just to sit and to put his hands in his lap. He had to do something. But what?
Indecisively and rather nervously he went to the door, pushed the curtain over the narrow window and looked out into the street. He spotted Ramos' men immediately. They were still there and behaved as clumsy and obvious as Reuben had claimed. This seemed strange to Indiana. Ramos would have not sent fools to tailing him and would have made sure that the men understood their job. These two Idiots over in the car behaved so awkwardly that he would have to be blind not to notice them. Unless, he was meant to see it.
Once again he let his attentive gaze on the road wander. He found nothing unusual until he saw that perhaps Ramos had sent a third man to watch him but if that was the case his behavior was very much smarter than the two in the car.
Indiana slid back the curtains again and looked away into his totally devastated living room. He was suddenly not sure if all this devastation was really just an expression of mere vandalism.
Ramos's men had actually beaten it all to pieces, what was to be found anyway as if you looked more closely you’d realized that this room was just like the rest of the house except for the last time it was searched.
But, why? And most importantly, for what?
He knew the answer even before he thought it out completely to its end and almost at the same moment he knew what they all had previously overlooked. It was almost laughable.
With Indiana drove to the university followed so closely by his keepers as he might have expected them to mount him. The two crooks did not even bother in anyway to be inconspicuous. At one point Indiana had to stop at a traffic light just barely resisted the temptation to get out and propose the two join him in his car for simplicity.
When he had covered half the distance to the university he eventually saw the second follower. It was a grey van with the a laundry sign on the side. It was at such a distance that it was able to follow unobtrusively. Indiana was not even sure whether there was actually a second tail-team but the car remained behind him and his "shadow," even as Indiana deviated from the most direct path to arbitrary circle a few blocks. As he pulled back onto the main road, he discovered the combination of cars in a half-mile distance in the rear view mirror.
He parked the car on the road outside the university but this time did not resist the temptation to wave friendly to the two idiots who followed him before he took a large step beyond the "Authorized Access Only!" sign.
Shield away he walked across the carefully manicured lawnapproaching the university building. He figured for a moment that the audacity of his pursuers wouldn’t go so far as to following him into the complex. Indiana looked back as he walked up the stairs to enter the building and saw the gray van driving at walking pace across the street only to disappear around the next bend.
This was the Saturday before the summer vacation and it was foreshadowed on campus but there was still a great deal of coming and going. Students roamed the hallways in large and small groups, gossiping or seeking the library or the reading rooms and as Indiana moved quickly he tried avoiding meeting some of his colleagues.
Twice it gave him some trouble. The first was not being drawn into conversation and the second was where at the last moment he needed to make a lightning-quick right turn to flee into a deserted classroom as Grisswalds figure appeared at the top of the stairs.
Eventually, he reached his destination of Stanley Kordas empty office. And this time, for once, luck was on his side - even twice. Kordas office was empty and the immaculately tidy desk of his secretary revealed it had not been touched.
Indiana threw a glance back up the hallway pulling the door behind him and then began quickly and thoroughly searched Stanley Kordas desk. He took a long time to do so because the dozen drawers were packed to bursting. But his initial optimism soon became weaker and finally struck disappointment because he found nothing that helped him continue.
It looked like the contents of his desk were at best limited and Kordas work exclusively for the university. Finally he gave up disappointed, tidied up as best he could and went back to the door. He stretched out his hand to the latch, pulled it back again and turned around again, this time to the secretary desk.
He found immediately what he was looking for and it was almost too easy. On the top sheet of the opened schedule book it showed the current date, a telephone number with the words Dr. Benson and timed noted at 2.30.
Excited Indiana stretched out his hand to tear the paper, but then changed his mind and looked in the drawer for a sheet of paper and a pen to write down the phone number and name of the doctor.
He had no knowing that he had helped his cause but he suddenly remembered two things, which he given little attention to: Reuben's remark that several ‘Stan's customers were sick’ and Marian's hardly noticeable wince as Marcus told them of her of it.
Indiana was so busy with his own thoughts, that he was neither registered the sound of the door, which opened behind him without being heard and also steps that approached that got three feet behind him without falter.
"What are you doing, Dr. Jones?" Indiana felt as if bitten by a tarantula and turned around tensing up expecting an attack. But standing behind him was not neither Reuben or Henley nor any of Ramos' mob.
Nevertheless, it was the unpleasant figure of the dark-haired Grisswald in a tailored gray suit-clad.
"What are you doing?" Grisswald looked in his annoyance as his eyes wandered back and forth between Indiana and the paper in his right hand
"I asked again, Dr. Jones”' repeated Grisswald.
"Nothing," replied Indiana abruptly.
"Nothing?" Grisswalds frown became deeper. Accusingly, he pointed with his index finger to Indiana's right hand, which Indiana sought to hide the little note in vain from his sight. "It does not seem like nothing."
Indiana relaxed a little and pulled back slightly grimacing. “This is private”, he said.
"Private, how so?," Grisswalds anger ebbed and made a supercilious smile. "If your attention has so far escaped, Dr. Jones, you are here on the university campus. Nothing, and I emphasize nothing, that happens here is private in anyway.
He stretched out his hand demanding. "Please, give me the note."
"I said, it is private”, Indiana insisted stubbornly.
"And I said -" Grisswald was not able to bring the sentence to an end because in the open door behind him suddenly appeared two figures. If Grisswald saw able to see his own face and the startled look, as Indiana did, it almost seemed quite comical.
Grisswald fell back in terror against Indiana and quickly raised his hands to shoulder height. His dismay was not so much the sight of the two men in the doorway rather than the sawn-off Shotgun aimed at him.
"What ...?" Croaked Grisswald.
"Shut up!" Interrupted one of the men with a poke of the Shotgun.
Indiana instantly recognized him as one of the two men who had followed him in the car. The dirty sawed-off double barrel of his gun that was brandished into Grisswalds face was turned around into Indiana’s stomach. "You will personally hand me your treasure, right?" he asked, smirking.
His index fingers fumbled nervously around the trigger and in vain Indiana took one step back, to make it to the side and get out of the direct line of fire. It did not work. Behind him stood the desk and Grisswald in front who stood still on his feet with his heel nailed to the floor. The pain of the blow almost brought Indiana to tears.
"Who ... who are you?" Croaked Grisswald. "What comes a -? "
There seemed to be a curse as this morning no-one was quite able to be bring a sentence to an end. The guy with the Shotgun shook his head withsilent sighs then made an almost casual motion and rammed Grisswald with barrel of his gun into his stomach.
"So?" Continued the gangster with a defiant gesture, "What do you have, Jones?"
"It serves you nothing," said Indiana. "What is this, robbery? I've given my word to Ramos - "
He was interrupted. "Maybe you think Mr. Ramos cares?” the man with the gun said grinning. "Give it to me, already!"
"But we might…" The two thugs suddenly turned around to be stunned, as Grisswald before because now they were the ones staring directly into the barrels of two large-caliber pistols from the corridor focused on their faces. The accompanying hands sticking out of the dark blue sleeves, tailored suits, the two strikingly large, broad-shouldered veiled figures.
One of the men shoved them into the room, where he made sure that Grisswald and Indiana was between him and the two gangsters while the other aimed his gun on the forehead of the man with the shotgun (which incidentally was still directed on Indiana's stomach) and with a free hand, he pulled a small leather pouch from his pocket and popped it up. It contained a card the same as Indiana had from Reuben.
"FBI?" asked Indiana mock surprised.
A fleeting smile crossed the face of the agent and went as fast as it came as with a skilful movement, shut the leather folder and let it disappear back into the same pocket.
"Special Agent Reuben was of the opinion that it is safer if we take a little care of you”, he said with a head movement towards the two gangsters, he added: "It looks look as if he had been right."
The gray van thought, Indiana? So, he had been wrong.
"What did you find, Dr. Jones?" Said the FBI man.
"It's really nothing," said Indiana. "I'm not even sure - "
He stopped mid-word, as a huge shadow appeared from behind the FBI man with an equally huge arm and wrapped it around his neck holding a huge knife to the tip to his throat.
"A single wrong move, buddy," said a voice, which sounded just as uncouth and rough as the corresponding body looked, "and I put you to it."
It was Ramos's bodyguard, ten foot - two giant, with his fists several times that of Indiana who had the unpleasant acquaintance of them.
For half a second every movement in the room froze.
The diameter of the giants knife was so firmly pressed against the throat of the FBI agents, that a single drop of blood from his skin oozed and seeped into his collar, while the pistol remained firmly aimed at the front of the gangster who in turned kept the shotgun on the Indiana's stomach. The second FBI agent and the other gangsters were clearly helplessly and wondering whether it was a smart move to pounce on their opponents.
"If you do, I'll shoot your buddy," said the FBI man. His voice was raspy because Ramos' bodyguard had turned his head so far that he he could hardly breathe. The giant grinned and scratched his skin a little more. "Whose going to care!" he said.
"I," said Reuben, who tiptoed behind the giant raised his weapon and struck him in the neck with all his strength. The giant stumbled forward, dropped his knife - but only after he made a long bloody incision into the skin of the agents neck. The agents gun was then discharged with a deafening bang when his finger instinctively curled up around the trigger. The bullet missed the face of the second crook by an inch, so frightened he jumped into Grisswald, his companion and the second FBI agent hitting the trigger of his own guns.
The two loads whizzed so close to Indiana over that he thought he felt their draft and turned the desk behind him in a heap of ruins. He then tried to burst out of the tiny officer as incredible chaos continued.
Indiana lurched to reach the door, but he only made a few paces, because Ramos' bodyguard was not completely out of action and was already back on his knees wrestled silently but with Reuben. The gangster with the shotgun who had tumbled against Grisswald was having trouble getting to his feet again because the Dean clung to his legs while the second FBI agent and the last crook behind the desk were in a furious scuffle.
Indiana could not tell which of them the upper hand - he saw only a fist now and then, a leg or another body part pop up from behind the desk and hearing the sounds of a fierce struggle.
"Jones," shrieked Grisswald. "Help me!" His voice broke almost in panic. The gangster he held had tried to break away with but Grisswald clung with sheer force of desperation to his knees, pulled and tugged on it and struggling madley. Finally, Grisswald bit heartily in the calf. The boy howled with pain and tried to knee Grisswald in the face with an abrupt movement but missed and completely lost his balance.
For a moment the gangster stood with wild flailing arms and in an almost grotesquely bent backwards way, he dropped his rifle, completely overturned and fell heavily to the ground. Indiana moved with a lightning-like movement to him, dragged him on collar half up, and struck a blow on his chin and the gangster rolled his eyes, dropped back and fell into unconsciousness.
Grisswald groaned and lifted his head as Indiana arrived at his side. At first his view obscured by an bleeding nose
"Are you all right?" inquired Indiana anxiously.
Grisswald nodded, then his eyes widened amazed when he saw the unconscious man over his legs, "Him hath caught it,” he muttered, stunned.
Indiana nodded then suddenly ducked because he caught movement out of the corner of my eye as Something big, screaming and squirming flew violently over him, bounced against Kordas visitor's chair and smashed it. Indiana turned around to look. It was the FBI Agent who had wrestled with one of the gangsters. He reappeared behind Kordas desk in shock that incapacitated hin and then was quickly brought down by the other crook but he stumble helpless falling forward towards the unconscious gangster. As he fell, at the last moment, his wildly flailing arms landed on the crook and knocked the majority of his teeth out
But this delay was enough for Indiana to flank the crook and grab his throat. Brutally, he pick him up, punch him in the face but the crook simultaneously crushed his knee between Indiana legs trying kick away his feet from under him.
"Hey!" Shouted Grisswald.
The gangster turned startled eyes, and Grisswald struck his fist under his chin but immediately jumped back in a cry of pain and clutching his hand. For a fraction of a second the gangster was distracted and within the tiny fraction of time this allowed Indiana to blow him in his stomach with his knee and another in his stomach.
Whist groaning aloud the gangster he bounced back and fell directly in front of Grisswalds feet. The Dean, wide eyed, stared down at him, looked at his swelling knuckles and kept shaking his head.
"Well something like that!" Grisswald muttered, confused. "That is …"
"Careful!" cried Indiana.
Indiana threw himself with arms outstretched onto Grisswald and pulled him off his feet, only a fraction of seconds before Henley hit the floor. Ramos' bodyguards had grabbed the agent and flung him across the room. Indiana and Grisswald clung to each other and fell to the ground. Grisswald began to scream again and to lash out and so it took some time for Indiana to release him from his grasp and move again.
Reuben and Henley looked at their opponent has he started to recover with amazement because neither Reuben’s blow with the pistol handle or a sustained attack had taken the giant out of action. The giant staggered, his movements had lost some of its elegance and speed and but he still had the strength of an ox - and now he fought like a wounded ox, which probably made him even more dangerous.
Henley was semi-conscious and moaning in the rubble of a bookshelf where the giant had thrown him. Reuben tried in vain to get his gun so that his opponent be stop but the blows rained down so fast from the giant with such force he had all the trouble to protecting his face from the worst hits and helpless tried to backed away from the raging giant.
Indiana leapt at the giant with outstretched arms to him to push him off his feet. The giant tottered, but he did not fall but only to shake that Indiana, who clung to him with arms and legs, was thrown wildly back and forth.
But at least the surprising attack gave Reuben the breathing space he needed to get out of the reach of the giants fists and get his weapon.
"Do not move anymore," he cried. "Put your hands up!” The giant froze for a half a breath, then lifted the arms at shoulder height and slowly took a step back. the giant did not seem to notice
Indiana who still clung to his back with arms and legs to him,
"Back," ordered Reuben while he wiped with his left hand the blood from his face, nose and split lip. "Go back! Don’t make a wrong move! "
Ramos's bodyguard took another step backward, stretched his arms in the air and pulled the the six-armed lamp off Kordas desk without any effort to throw at FBI agents.
Reuben escaped the missile with a desperate movement but while maintaining his balance fell heavily on his hands and knees. The gun slipped from his fingers and flew noisily away. The giant jumped again growling angrily at him and kicked his face. He would have undoubtedly have Reuben’s neck had not been for Indiana who still had both arms behind wrapped around the giants neck and moved him back forcefully. Even this was too much for the giant.
The giant gasped in pain and rage, staggering backwards and trying to swat the pesky opponent off his back. His fingers ran over Indiana's shoulders and neck and leaving burining scratches on Indiana’s skin. Indiana only doubled his efforts.
Reuben rushed himself in the air, clenched his fists and stormed a straight kick into the giants gut. For the second time this made him semi-conscious and he began dropping to his knees. The movement finally robbed Ramos's bodyguard of his the balance. Helpless, and he fell like a stone.
Indiana had the feeling of being under a collapsing Skyscraper when the giant hit the ground. Colorful Stars danced before his eyes. He could hear (and feel much more clearly), how his ribs cracked and every bit of air his lungs were pressed. Still clinging Indiana continue to muster all his strenght.
Ramos's bodyguard threw himself furiously back and forth, trying to push his weight against the ground to squeeze Indiana but at the same time Indiana pressed with all his force both thumbs against the carotid arteries.
The giant reared up again when he realized what Indiana had in mind. With an almost unimaginable effort he pushed himself to his feet, where he simply moved Indiana and tried grabbing the hands wildly, Indiana pulled hair to tear him away.
But his movements have been slower, and waving his hands rather aimlessly through the air. He staggered, made a cumbersome step and fell on one knee, then pushed himself once more into the air. But, Indiana continues to press his thumbs to stop the blood supply to the giants brain.
Indiana gathered all his strength within himself that he rear. So, with a cry of pain Indiana pushed harder. He knew that it would be safe, however his death sentence would be if he let go now and so he increased his pressure even more.
Ramos's bodyguard began to tremble. Indiana felt the strength of his limbs gave way. He stumbled, fell entirely to his knees and began slowly to tilt forward.
Suddenly, Grisswald this moment appeared in front of the giant, uttered an almost ridiculous-sounding scream and struck the edge of the hand against the neck - more precisely, against Indiana's left thumb, that was deeply pierced into the skin of the giant.
Indiana moaned in pain and instinctively pulled the hand back, but the giant already definitively lost consciousness and fell on his face.
Indiana faltered. He suddenly had trouble on to remaining on his legs. Seeking support, he took hold of the edge of the desk and grabbed it.
The room was spinning before his eyes, his bruised ribs hurt like hell and he tasted his own blood on his tongue. For a moment it threatened to muddle his senses. Helpless, he fell beside the giant on his knees and dropped down into unconscious.
As his senses became clear the first thing Indiana saw was Grisswalds face that bent over him anxiously.
"All right, Dr. Jones?" Said the dean. Indiana nodded trying to get to his feet and but it wasn’t to a third time did he manage it. The room spun wildly around him, and his bruised ribs hurt so
much, that he could barely breathe.
"That was damn close," said Grisswald. "Great, God! – You would have killed that monster if I had not of got between you both. "
Indiana was not quite sure whether he really understood what
Grisswald said. But he nodded as a precaution, ran his hand across his face and felt warm sticky blood. Painfully, he stumbled over to Reuben, settled next to the sink near him and crouched registering relieved that the FBI agent also looked beaten and dazed he as looked but not seriously injured.
"Are you okay?" said Indiana worriedly as when Reuben tried to get up he fell back straight down.
"Yes," murmured the FBI man. He slowly raised his hand and felt cautiously with gritted teeth fingers across his face as if he had to convince all it all still exist and was in the right place. "What was that? A steam roller? "
Indiana smiled briefly, but before he could answer yet. He saw a movement out of the corners of his eyes and heard a muffled moans. Ramos's bodyguard woke up!
Hastily, he leaned forward and began forage through Reuben's jacket. "What are you doing?" Said Reuben.
"Something" , said Indiana, He felt the moment of handcuffs, hooked under Reubens belt and held it with a triumphant: "These!”
Reuben looked at him puzzled and wanted to protest but
Indiana already turned around and crawled the short distance to the now less than half conscious bodyguard. On hands and knees he tried put the two steel rings around his wrists of the bodyguard. It did not work. The handcuffs were normal handcuffs but the wrists of the Colossus were just too thick.
"What are you doing, Dr. Jones? ' voiced Grisswalds behind him. Indiana ignored him and tried a second time to put the handcuffs on somehow - with the only the same result. However, this only made the giant groaning even more violently and began to move and opened his eyes.
"I asked you what you're doing!" Resounded Grisswalds voice again. He sounded so arrogant and official as usual.
The giant raised his head and blinked at the groaning Indiana.
Indiana dropped the handcuffs and pulled his hand into a single fist and hit the giant hard under the chin. He he proceeded to that deliver a second ten finger shuffle in another direction until Ramos's bodyguard lost consciousness. Indiana Jones fell back with a cry of pain throbbing with his hand pressed to his chest, and Grisswald audibly sucking air between his teeth.
"That sounds like everything," he became agitated. "Let the man alone, Jones! What do you think you are! "
Indiana continued to ignore him, looked almost desperate for something that could hold the giants hands. Finally he pulled though his belt from the loops. After he tied his wrists with broad leather belt tied together Indiana waited until the giant lifted his head, and immediately gave him another punch – with his right fist. With as close throbbing pain in his knuckles he knew it would take a week before he's even would be able to write.
Grisswald gasped as he stood on the verge of a heart attack "You must stop maltreating that man, immediately, "he snarled. "I will not tolerate senseless violence at my university! "
Indiana gave him a dirty look, got up and went quickly back to Reuben. The FBI agents was in a propped up, semi-kneeling position. He was still dazed but that was pretty even with Indiana at the moment.
"What the hell happened here?" Reuben murmured.
"I would also like to know,” Grisswald added. "I have questions for you, Dr. Jones." Accusingly he pointed with an outstretched index finger with a gun at Reuben. "And of you too!"
Indiana could not answer as he noticed giant on the ground to stir again. A tortured moan rang out and Indiana then sat up on the giant half. The leather belt with which his hands were tied creaked audibly and Reuben's eyes widened in disbelief.
"Just take the guy up," said Indiana. "The best we can do be will be to call reinforcements. Perhaps the
National Guard. "
While he spoke he was not sure if Reuben heard his last piece of advice for Indiana was already back on his feet and racing to the stairs.
Less than ten minutes later Indiana Jones was pounding two fists against the door of Dr. Benson's practice despite a small brass plaque that read ‘Closed weekends and during the holidays’. He then went to the next available address from the phone book where in the driveway of that house were two small cars. He had seen movement behind one of the window when he's old Ford with brakes squeaked a halt beside the house. Benson – or anyone - had to be home.
Despite the seemingly endless minutes that passed until finally
the sound of shuffling footsteps moved down towards Indiana's impatient knocking answered. He heard rattling inside a chain, then the door opened a small crack and a frightened, thin face with a dwarf rimless glasses peered out at him. "Yes?"
"Dr. Benson?, "Indiana began. The question was basically superfluous - he recognized the gray-haired old man, but once again he would have been able to match the name. He had seen him a few times at the university, and if he
recalled correctly, one or two of them in conversation
Benson nodded. He still looked a little frightened.
"Yes. What can I do for you? The practice is - "
"- Closed, I know," Indiana impatient he interrupted
Indiana had to control himself by not always looking at the road behind. His behaved was already striking enough.
"I know," he said again. "But please, allow me to come in.. ... It is very important. "
Benson made no move to open the door, but just stared at him with even greater suspicion.
"What is it?" He asked. "Why ..." Suddenly, his face lit up "Dr. Jones? Dr. Henry Jones? "
"Yes," said Indiana makes it easier. "The matter is extremely serious. I would really prefer it if we would not talk on the street. "
His words seemed right but brought the opposite of what they should as Benson looked back with distrust. Benson looked at Indiana who beaten and look piercingly for twenty seconds before he finally, with evident reluctance, resigned the door and removed the chain.
Indiana took advantage of the tiny pause and threw a rapid, reliable gaze in all directions. He had the paper with Benson's phone number still safely in the pocket, but he still expectedthe lead was not going to produce much. Probably, Ramos 'bodyguard’ would keep Reuben and his men busy for a while, but sooner or later they would have overwhelmed him and later still – not much later and it was guaranteed they would appear.
Finally Benson opened the door. Indiana struggled to control his anxiety. He wanted desperately to burst through the door and yank the doctor up and demand answers. Obviously the doctor recognized this struggle because he eyed Indy distrustfully. He took a long view of the road in both directions before he finally pushed open the door and motioned for Indy to enter the house.
“Let’s talk in my office, Dr. Jones,” Benson said.
“I’d rather talk here,” Indiana said sharply.
“Are you ill?” Benson inquired with astonishment.
“No,” Indiana smiled. “It does not concern me.”
“Then what is this about?” Benson inquired.
“It’s about Prefessor Corda,” Indiana answered. “Is it true you were treating him over the last few weeks?”
It was a shot in the dark, Indy knew. But Benson’s reaction proved his assumption was correct. However, it didn’t reveal as much as Indiana had hoped. Benson’s smile disappeared, and distrust and animosity filled his eyes.
“I must disappoint you, Dr. Jones,” he said. “As you know, I cannot discuss my patients.”
“I understand,” answered Indiana. “However it…” he hesitated. Something warned him he wouldn’t be able to deceive Benson. Even though the physician was old and jittery, his eyes were very attentive, and he was the kind of man who would be able to detect a lie right away.
“It’s a matter of life and death,” he finally said. “That’s the honest truth, Dr. Benson.”
“Nevertheless,” Benson persisted, “there is nothing I can tell you...”
“This is about Stan,” interrupted Indiana.
Benson stared, trying to understand.
“Not his illness,” Indiana continued.
“Why are you here then?” Benson asked, confused. “I don’t know anything about Professor Corda.”
“Perhaps,” Indiana said. “Nevertheless, did he not have a date with you? And he didn’t show up?”
“That’s right,” Benson removed his eyeglasses. “However…”
“Professor Corda has been missing for two days without a trace, Dr. Benson,” interrupted Indiana very seriously. “And I’m afraid his life is in immediate danger.”
For a second, Benson appeared frightened, then he smiled. “Certainly not. Although I can’t tell you what his illness is, this much I can say: it is not life-threatening.”
“Why were you treating him?” Indiana responded. “And why didn’t he show up even though he is not completely cured? I can’t give you details in order to protect you. I ask only that you believe me that it is vital that I find out.”
“That may be, “ answered Benson in a tone of honest regret. “However, I cannot tell you. As you said, he had an appointment with me and he did not show up. As for his whereabouts, I know nothing more than you.”
“However you may know where he had been prior to his disappearance,” answered Indiana.
“That is not a secret. Quite the opposite. We talked for awhile about his last journey. If I remember correctly, he said he was in Bolivia.”
“In…” Benson looked as if he were trying to remember. He seemed to consider for a moment. “I noted it somewhere in his file. If you can wait for a moment, I will get it.”
He shuffled off, and Indiana resisted the urge to follow him. When Benson has left the hallway and was out of sight, Indy withdrew rapidly to the door and opened it slightly for a look outside. The road was still empty, but he had to wonder how long it would stay that way.
A few minutes passed before Benson returned with the file in hand. He opened it up and removed the contents, flipping through the papers until he came to the sheet he was looking for: its upper half had a colored postcard attached to it. He noticed Indiana’s interest and smiled uneasily, then he took the sheet from the stack of documents and handed it to him. “He was in La Paz. He sent me a postcard from there. He spent about four weeks in a hotel there, you know.”
Indiana was disappointed. Although Bolivia was a small country, some small countries have the unpleasant attribute of being very large in terms of people. When it comes to finding one person, it can be extremely difficult. Still he reached for the sheet. There was nothing else on it except for the attached postcard and a hand-written greeting from Stan Corda to Dr. Benson. He studied the picture on the postcard: it was an exaggerated picture of a four-story hotel with nondescript color. He could not see the inside, but the false marble décor front gave him hope he could find it.
“Just about,” Benson confirmed. “He had a small accident in the jungle there, but he waited for it to heal.”
“In the jungle, you say?” Why was he in the jungle?”
Once again, distrust flashed in Benson’s eyes. “He is an archeologist like you, Dr. Jones.”