1958, near the Nahuel Huapi Lake, Argentina, South America
He crouched on the ridge of one of the hills surrounding the lake. Among the trees on the other side in the distance, he could make out the mansion, residencia Inalco, rumoured to be inhabited by one of the many high-ranking Nazis who fled to South America after World War II.
But that was not his target. He looked over his shoulder, and saw his nervous native guide catch up to him.
"Where is it?" the man asked.
"Down there, senor," the guide replied, handing him the binoculars and pointing.
The American looked at the area his guide pointed. He could just make out the cave entrance, hidden among the trees and vegetation.
"You sure the Nazis hid their gold and artefacts there?" the explorer asked.
"Positive, senor," the guide replied. "I helped them hide it there, 12 or 13 years ago. They paid me well. Made me swear to tell no-one."
"Well, you kept that promise well," the explorer muttered to himself. No matter. As long as he got what he came for.
"Right," the American explorer said after surveying the surrounding area, satisfied they weren't being followed or watched. "Let's go." He started to get up.
"Uh..." began his guide. He stopped and looked at him. "When they hid their gold, Nazis make booby traps to prevent others getting in. I'd rather go back." He held out his hand.
"Fine," the ageing explorer sighed. He fished into his pocket, and paid the guide for his work. The guide hurried off.
The explorer turned back to the task at hand, and started to walk (in a crouching position) down the hill. At the entrance of the cave – just tall enough for an upright man to walk in – he paused. He looked around. No evidence or signs of being followed or watched. No sounds. He looked into the cave, in which he could see nothing but blackness. He then pulled out his torch, went inside, and turned it on.
The guide went to the pre-arranged meeting place just a couple stones' throws away from the mansion. There, waiting for him, was a Nazi soldier, as agreed. The Nazi was smoking.
"Did you follow the plan?" the Nazi asked as he exhaled smoke.
"Yes," the guide replied enthusiastically. "He swallowed it hook, line and sinker, as Americans say. He should be inside the cave now."
The Nazi smile. "Excellent. Excellent."
"And now, my pay?" the guide asked.
"Oh, yes," the Nazi replied. He pulled out a gun and pointed it at the now-terrified guide. "Here's your pay." No-one heard the silenced shot.
The Nazi who lived in the residencia Inalco was sitting in his lounge admiring the view. Like many of his fellow Nazis, he had escaped here at the conclusion of World War II. He led the community of Nazis, who envisioned themselves as the Fourth Reich. The device next to him beeped. He reached over and pressed a button. "Was gibts?" What is it?
"Herr Jones hat den Köder genommen, mein Fuhrer.'' Dr Jones has taken the bait, my Fuhrer.
''Und der führen?'' And the guide?
''Ist tot.'' Is dead.
Dr Jones – Henry Jones, preferred name Indiana – made his way down the cave tunnel. He was extremely cautious about booby traps. Problem: if electronic, he might never see them. In time, anyway. He also had to worry about the possibility of security camers – which were actually invented by the Nazis. Did they have those? These were things his guide was simply oblivious about.
He felt a raised pebble he stepped on sink under him. He immediately dove to the floor – while a laser beam shot through the very spot he had been standing a moment ago, and began melting the opposite rock wall! That was close, Indiana Jones thought. The laser beam turned off after a few seconds, but judging by the state of the opposite wall, Indy had no intentions of ever being on the receiving end of it.
He stood up... and banged his head on a low-hanging rock, which immediately retracted into the ceiling. Indy didn't bother to hang around and started running. Spears began to shoot from the opposite wall, just missing him. I'm really not up to this! He thought. Not at my age! He ran to the end – and almost fell 15 feet. He teetered on the edge dangerously for a few seconds (more off the ledge than off it) as the last spear grazed his back and ripped his shirt. He quickly reached back and grabbed it, stopping himself from dropping. He quickly got a firmer stand on the edge.
15 feet below, was the floor of a large cave. Light naturally filtered through a small hole in the ceiling, although Indy still shone the torch around to make sure he wasn't seeing things.
He wasn't. The cave was filled with gold, jewels and other treasures and artefacts. The lost Nazi horde! But how to get down to it? And were other booby traps awaiting him?
Just then, Indy happened to lean against the wall. He felt something give way behind him and jumped (almost impaling himself on the spear in front of him). But instead of being yet another booby trap, a set of stairs appeared leading down to the floor below. With cautious steps, he slowly made his way down to the cave floor.
Once at the bottom, Indy again shone his torch around. There were a number of piles of gold. He noticed a number of gold bars with some sort of coat of arms on the top. He walked up to one, and took a close look. It was the Vatican coat of arms! That can't be right, Indy thought. The Vatican was never invaded, nor was it ever looted. How did the Nazis acquire their gold?
Indy pulled out his sack, and put a couple of the gold bars inside. Why not? I may be able to find something out about them, anyway.
Indy continued to look around for the particular object he risked his skin for. There were missing priceless paintings, silver and other jewels, and even what looked like the Crown Jewels (or else a close imitation). That's strange.
Then he looked to the centre of the room. There – on a pedestal, with the weak beam of light falling on it – it sat. Indy approached it cautiously, on the lookout for booby traps.
Satisfied there appeared to be none, Indy cautiously picked it up. The largish, clear crystal felt surprisingly heavy. He looked at it carefully in the light. He could make out the paleo Hebrew inscriptions. It was definitely the one. He now held in his hands one of the most important objects in the world. He put it in the sack.
It was then that Indy noticed the pedestal sinking. An alarm sounded, with lights on the ceiling flashing red. Idiot! He made a rush for the way he'd come... only to find the stairs retracting into the wall. He turned around just in time to see a nearby section of wall slide back, revealing several Nazis soldiers, who quickly trained their guns on him. Indy had no choice but to raise his hands.
''Guten tag, Herr Jones,'' the lead Nazi (the same one on the rock earlier) said. ''Now come quietly, and you will live longer. The Fuhrer would like to see you.''