Desert Sands....

It was hot, unbearably hot. Jack trudged over the burning sand, the sweat pouring from
his
skin. "Of all the times to fall of a horse" he said out loud.
All he could see was sand, heat waves floating off the surface. " That's the last time I
try
sleeping while riding. Dang horse, couldn't wait for me to get back up before running off.

Wait till Em hears about this, the retorts she'll make. What's the matter Jack, can't stay
up?"

Jack had been moving nearly 48 hours with out any rest. After stealing the invasion plans

from Napoleon's army headquarters in Egypt, he headed west into the desert. Emilia
waited in Tunis with a fleet of British warships ready to engage the French.

"I wish I was back in Palau-Palau, drinking rum and chasing the girls in The Drunken Pig.
Darn this job, it gets in the way of enjoying life." Jack muttered.
"Where is that horse? Here horsey, come back to Jack" he called.


Emilia waited along with the Admiral Fitzroy of the British fleet. Where is that twit, she
thought. Probably at an oasis, making lewd comments at a sheik's harem.
"I am sure he will be here soon, Admiral Fitzroy. He probably has taken shelter from a
sandstorm or is avoiding pursuers by circling around them. Won't be long at all," Emilia
said sounding a little less certain than she did several hours before.

"He'd better show up soon, we need to sail before the full moon to surprise the enemy"
the Admiral intoned. "If not we could be sail into an ambush or miss them completely."


Jack stumbled and fell. "Water, water, my kingdom for a bucket, no a cup of water" he
moaned. Why did it have to be so hot in the desert?
Two pair of eyes watched his slow progress. "Stupid infidels, trying to cross the great
desert with no water, camels. Soon the buzzards will have a feast." said the first.
"No, this is the one wanted by the French soldiers. He has something of great value they
want back.
How could we turn this to our advantage and drive the invading French out?" mused the
second. "Wait a while and see if he is found, if not then we will take him"


Meanwhile Captain Brogard called for a halt in their search for the thief that stole the
invasion plans. "We will stay here at the oasis, water the animals and troops. We resume
searching in the morning."
"I wish I was with my twin brother in his posting," remarked Capt. Brogard
"to be able to sit on the beach watch the sunsets, surrounded by beautiful native girls!
Not in this heat, surrounded by nothing other than sand, French troops and nothing for
kilometers in any direction."

"Lieutenant De Gaulle, post the guard to watch out for the Bedouins. I
am turning in for the evening"

In his tent Captain Brogard opened his portable desk removed paper, pen
and began to write.
"Dear Maurice Jean, I received your letter last week and had to laugh at
the exploits of this
Daring Dragoon. He sounds like a disreputable character. It is lucky for
him I am not there to
subdue him. This vision of heaven you keep writing about, Emilia, I
would like to meet her.
Perhaps one day I'll travel to Palau-Palau and will be able to meet her.
Let me continue this
later, it's been a long day. Your twin brother, Robere Lucien."

At last the temperature started to drop. Jack felt better, "Lucky me, finding the water
skin after it fell from the saddle" he thought. "Now all I need is the horse"
"Gee it's beautiful here under the stars, wish Em was here to see them"
As the temperature dropped Jack started shivering. He decided to dig in the sand and
cover himself. He hoped it would keep him from freezing, "Who would of thought you
could freeze in one of the hottest places on earth" he muttered.
Just a little while away, the two desert nomads made camp. After evening prayers, and a
humble meal, the second nomad made the short trip to see whether Jack was still there.
Climbing up a dune he pulled out his telescope and focused it on a lump of sand. He saw
a head protruding and
had a thought that the stranger had been found and relieved him of his head. He sighed
with relief when Jack moved his head. Returning to camp he conferred with his partner.
"The stranger is still there, he burrowed into the sand to stay warm. The French are
getting closer. We need to seize him in the morning"
"I still say kill him and bargain with the French. Surely they won't care if he is dead.
They will kill him anyway," said Achmed.
"No, my brother" replied Kafir. "We kill him, we lose. He may have hidden what was stolen,

dead he can't tell us where it is."

Lieutenant De Gaulle posted the guard and retired to his tent. He thought about that
day's chance meeting with Sheik el Hussein and his bodyguard. They were, hesitant in
replying whether they had seen a lone man on a horse that day. There were other tracks
that had crossed the thief's
tracks, turned and followed them before turning away. Could these have been the
Sheik's? "I'll talk
to Captain Brogard in the morning before we set out."

It was an hour before sunrise, Sheik Kafir el Hussein and Achmed arose and broke camp.
They
headed toward that lump of sand that contained Jack.
"Yes baby, do it again, Jacky is ready" mumbled Jack lost in a dream. Gee this gal was
strong as he felt himself being pulled up, she even brought a friend as he felt two pair of
hands.
"Give me a kiss, babycakes" Jack said to the face seen through a pair of blurred eyes.
"what the... You're not... just who are you?" he croaked.
"Quiet infidel, you will not speak to the Sheik in an insolent tone or I will slit your
throat, you cur"
With that Jack was gagged, bound and passed out. "Put him on the other camel,
Achmed, let's be going. If that French patrol finds us with him, we are dead. I am not
ready to see Allah yet.," said the sheik.

That morning as the French were breaking camp, Lt. DeGaulle approached Capt. Brogard
"Captain, a moment of your time if I may."
"Yes lt. What do you want?"
"That Sheik and his companion we ran into. I think they were hiding something. They
didn't
see anyone or any tracks,
but were heading along from the tracks we were following. Isn't it odd they saw nothing.
They
were heading east. The Arabs know
the desert, if a grain of sand is moved they know it. The tracks were camel, looked like
there was three sets. They had three camel."
"H'mm, I think you may be correct Lt. be sure all canteens are filled and each trooper has

all the water he can carry. We need to ride hard to catch them." "Bugler, sound
assembly!"

Jack woke up looking at the ground moving. "Jeez, I had too much to drink last night.
Gotta wake up" he thought "and what's the smell"


Emilia checked with the provost guard, no one had come into the fort during the night.
Jack
might have made to the town late but would have brought the plans to the admiral as
soon as he could.
He knew how important they are.
She hurried to the admiral's quarters, feeling dread over Jack's not showing up. Entering
the drawing room Emilia fidgeted while waiting for Admiral Fitzroy. "Good morning, Emilia
how are you on
this fine morning?" the admiral asked.
"Admiral, Jack hasn't shown up. I am getting worried"
"This Mr. Styles of yours, he's American correct? He may be playing for time, you know
showing up at the last moment."
"He may be an American, sloppy and boorish at times but when it's important nothing will
keep him from... he may be hurt or has been captured." Emilia replied.
"I would like a squad of your marines to help me search for Mr. Styles, Admiral Fitzroy"
Em asked.
"Hmmm, is it something you have to do? It is very dangerous for a woman in the desert."

"Yes, Jack would do no less if it were me" Em stated.

"Very well, Miss Rothschild. A squad of marines it is. Just one condition, if there is fighting
you are to stay out of the way or I will order them to place in chains and send you back
under guard.
Please send in Captain Watsworth on your way out" Fitzroy commanded.

Emilia prepared for the search, packing a small bag with clothing and several of her
inventions. She returned to the Admiral's quarters and met the squad of marines.
"Lieutenant Ambrose at your service, Mrs. Rothschild" said the officer,
"If you are ready, shall we proceed? we need to secure our guide."
As they rode out of the city, the leut made a stop at a coffee house, went in and came
out
with a swarthy little man. "Mrs. Rothschild, may I present Abdullah, tracker, guide and
finder of lost antiquities. He knows every dune, oasis and hiding place between here and
Egypt" Lt. Ambrose
said by way of introduction, "we will find your associate and be back before you know it."

Dressed in desert garb, Emilia looked like a Bedouin guide in the company of the marines.
They headed north to a road filled with traders and headed east.
"This fastest way" cackled Abdullah, "much faster than through desert, all travelers follow
road, bandits in desert kill anyone they meet"

As they traveled along they questioned every caravan they met. Always asking the same

question, getting the same answer, no.
It was getting late when Abdullah led them to an oasis, there near a caravan was Jack's
saddle. Emilia saw the saddle and ran over with Ambrose and Abdullah following behind.

"It's Jack's, I recognize the saddle and saddle bags!" she cried "Where did you find them?"

The caravan leader looked at her with a confused expression and replied in Arabic.
"I don't understand, don't you speak English?" Em frantically asked.
The lt and Abdullah came up next to Emilia. "Mrs. Rothschild, lets go over here and check
the saddle" the lt said leading her away. "Why do you want me to go, I have to find out
what he knows" Em cried.
"He won't tell you anything, let Abdullah talk with him. Stay here and observe" Ambrose
said. "The Arabs won't deal with a woman, especially a foreign woman. Let Abdullah and
myself find
out what he knows." Ambrose said and returned to where the two men stood talking.
Emilia sat next to the saddle, checked it and the bags over and watched the
conversation.

After what seemed like a lifetime the Lt headed towards Emilia. He sat next to her.
"The Arab found the saddle and bags on a dead horse yesterday night. He says there
wasn't a
body near, just one set of tracks to where the horse was. He might be lying,
he could have dispatched your friend with no one the wiser. He did see a troop of soldiers
at an oasis the night before.
Sounds like the French are looking for Mr. Styles. We will rest here and set out in the
morning."

"Sergeant, set up camp we stay here and head out at first light."

After traveling all day the small group stopped at a deserted outpost, in a blind canyon.
Jack was taken and placed
in a small room and the door was closed and locked. The two figures drew water from the

well, hobbled their camels and laid out their prayer rugs knelt and prayed.
"Where am I now?" Jack wondered as he examined the room, riding on a camel watching
the ground sway really
disoriented him. "I hope they part with some grub and drink."

Presently the door opened, a robed figure entered with a lit candle, sack and water skin.
"Here eat and drink this" he said dropping the sack and gourd in Jack's lap, pulling a knife
and cutting Jack's hands free.
"I am Sheik Kafir el Hussein, you are my captive, you will answer my questions or I will
cut your tongue out and give you to the French soldiers looking for you."

"Why should I, how do I know you won't anyway" replied Jack in between drinking the
water and eating the contents of the sack.

"You don't, it is in your interests to tell me what you stole from the French. They want
you dead. I wouldn't mind but it might be useful in driving the French out of my
homeland."

"Sounds like we want the same thing" Jack replied.

The door opened, the second man said something to the Sheik and departed.
"It would appear the French are headed this way, keep quiet and you may live to see the

dawn." the Sheik said as he left the room, barring the door behind him.

To the east, over a large dune the French patrol stopped. Capt. Brogard dismounted and
called for his Lieutenant.
"Lt. DeGaulle, set up camp here. Post guards, we don't want to lose our mounts!"
On the top of the dune the two figures watched the French set up camp.
"Let me ride to get the others" Achmed hissed quietly, "we return and kill the infidels!"
"No my brother, stay here. Keep watch. I'll go and get the captive to talk, and then we
leave him for the French to find. We will beat the invaders." Hassien replied.

Jack had finished the food and water, untied his feet and was looking for a way to get
out of the room. He heard steps, sat down and pretended to sleep. The door opened and
the Sheik entered with his sword drawn. Jack opened one eye and gauged the distance
between them. When the sheik prodded Jack with the sword, he kicked out and caught
the sheik, knocking him down.
Jack leapt on the other man and tried to get the sword. The sheik swung the sword, the
pommel hit Jack and stunned him.
"I should kill you now" hissed Hassein, "the French are nearby, blocking the way out. You
think you can escape and get past them on foot? FOOL"
"Hey, you would do the same. I'd gotta get to Tu.." Jack said trailing off as he saw Capt.
Brogard standing in the doorway.
"Well what have we here, captor and captive or partners?" Brogard commented slyly, "too
bad your comrade tried to sneak past my guards. Throw the other in here with these two
and secure the door, post several guards. If they attempt to escape, kill them"
"Well I'll be a ... what's Broggie doing here?" Jack wondered, "Last I saw him was on the
dock with Crouqie in Palau-Palau."
"Who is this Broggie?" asked Hassien as the guards shoved Achmed into the room.
Achmed had been brutally beaten, his face bloody and starting to swell. "Achmed, my
brother, why couldn't you wait" Hassien asked softly in Arabic.
"Here is some water" Jack said passing the water skin to the sheik.
"Tell me about this Broggie" asked sheik Hassein as he worked on Achmed.
"Well it's like this..." began Jack.

That night after learning all they could from
the caravan leader, Emilia, Ambrose and Abdullah discussed what they had learned.
"Well our friend wasn't caught by the caravan, Abdullah tells me he is telling the truth.
Effel is a cousin of his wife's mother." Ambrose said, "He saw French troops just a day's
travel east of here."
"Are there any places to hide east of where we are?" Em asked.
"Few, very few. It is much rock and nothing" replied Abdullah, "there a outpost in a
canyon, it is said to be haunted. No one goes there."

"I think it's worth checking, if Jack made it this far he may have stopped there" Emilia
stated.
"We will check in the morning, Let's turn in we have a hard day ahead." Lt Ambrose said.

Early the next morning, Em and the marines set out looking and after several hours they
came to the canyon. "Look at all the tracks, must be a busy place," the Lt said.
"Sergeant, post a guard here, watch for any movement. Report anything to me we are
going to circle around and observe the post from the canyon wall."

Em, Ambrose, Abdullah along with several marines circled around the canyon. They
stopped away from the edge and dismounted. Crawling to the edge they peered down at
the post.
Emilia reached into her pack and pulled out a strange telescope, it had two small ones
side
by side. She looked thru and made some adjustments to the length.
Ambrose had his telescope out and looked into it "Blasted junk, the lens is cracked, I
can't see anything."

"I see soldiers around a building, look like french uniforms. Use my bi-telescope." said
Emilia.

"That's good. I see a squad on guard, the rest are under shade. What's this? A officer,
looks like a captain from the gold braid. Must have been very important papers you Mr.
Styles took." Ambrose
said giving the bi-telescope back.

Em peered at the scene below and gasped "Brogard, what is he doing here? If he finds
Jack...
Lt. Ambrose, I need to get closer. Can you create a diversion? I am going to see if Jack is
in there."
"Mrs. Rothschild, I can not allow you to get closer. My orders are to keep you safe and I
fear the admiral might think I have exceeded them by allowing you here. I will see if Mr.
Styles is there,
get the plans and send them on to Tunis. Then we can get him out." Lt. Ambrose said.
"Lieutenant, Jack would not give you the plans, would you give something important to
an unknown person?
I think not, let me go. Besides I need you to distract the French." Emilia pleaded.
"Very well, I think I will regret this. What do you want us to do" Ambrose asked after
several minutes of silence.


"...why he didn't recognize my face, I don't know. Maybe his hat's too tight. I wish I
knew why he was here." finished Jack.
"A worthy enemy, this Broggie. As persistent as a sand flea, with brains to match"
muttered the sheik as he finished cleaning and binding Achmed's wounds.

The door opened and Jack was ushered out by the guards. He was taken to another room
where Captain Brogard sat at a table with food and drink set out. "Please sit and join me
in a evening meal and some conversation"
"Sure Brogard, I'll sit but I won't talk" replied Jack.
"Have we met before? I do not recall your face. Since you know my name what is yours?"
Brogard asked.
"You know, Jack St..., just call me Jack" Jack replied bewildered. Surely Brogard was
playing with him. "Where's Crouqie at?"
"I do not know this Crouqie, Who is he? a partner? a comrade?" Brogard inquired.
"Just a friend. What brings you out here? Here for the dry heat?"
"No, looking for something that was lost. Perhaps you have seen it? Some papers in a
valise"
"Can't say I have. Any thing important?"
"Just the governor's mail. Letter's from home, personal correspondence"
"Sorry"
"What about your Arab friend, has he anything like this"
"Ask him yourself"
"Turn the papers over, I make sure you go free. Escaped but left the plans, err papers
behind. You live, the Arabs die and everyone goes home happy"
"No"
"TURN THEM OVER OR DIE!" Brogard thundered, "You have till dawn, GUARDS!"

Jack was thrown back in the room with the sheik. "Well that went better than I thought"
Jack quipped, "now I need a place to stash these" as he pulled the plans from his boot.
"Is that what they are looking for?" asked Hassein
"You bet, I need to stash this and come up with a way out of here"
"psst...Jack, psst...Jack" came a familiar voice.
"Em, Em, that you? No, it can't be, I am hearing voices"
"If you are my friend, then I am hearing them too" the sheik said softly.
"Jack, back here. Jack" the invisible voice said.
Through a crack in the roof Jack saw a blue eye peering at him. "Em you up there? Get us
out of here."
"Jack, I am working on it. Do you have the plans?"
"Sure, sister. Whatever you are going to do hurry up, Broggie gave us till dawn, then he
shoots us."
"Hold on, when I signal you had better move" Em whispered. "See you shortly"

Emilia snuck back to where Ambrose and his marines waited, "He is there along with two
Arabs. Jack has the plans with him. Brogard plans to execute them at dawn. We need to
move tonight."
"An idea, Mrs. Rothschild, we ride into their camp and..." Lt Ambrose quickly outlined his
idea.


Leaving a couple of marines to shoot in the air, the rest rode towards the outpost. When
the shots began they took off at a gallop, riding as if they were being pursued.
Into the French camp they rode and dismounted. The French began to surround them,
then Lt. Ambrose
started shouting they were being pursued by a band of bandits. The French soldiers spun
and ran towards the sound of shooting.
"What is going on?" shouted Capt. Brogard as he spied the strangers and his men running
everywhere.

"Lt. Ambrose, his majesties Royal Marines, captain. I am escorting the sister of the British
Ambassador. We were set upon by bandits and I have lost several men. Might we stay
here for the night?"

"Bandits? You are safe here under the protection of the French Army. There is room for
you and you charge." replied Brogard

"Thank you, Captain ?"
"Brogard"
"Thank you Captain Brogard. May I present Miss Emilia Winterspoon, sister of the British
ambassador
to Crete. We were returning to Alexandria when we were ambushed."
"Captain Brogard, a pleasure to meet you" Em said.
"Mademoiselle, the pleasure is mine. I am honored to meet you. Sergeant, show Miss
Winterspoon to her room." Brogard replied.

Later Lt. Ambrose knocked softly at Emilia's door. Em opened the door and Ambrose
entered "That went rather well. I am surprised though why didn't he recognize you. I
thought that you and Mr. Styles had many dealings with him?"
"I am also, we have dealt with Brogard on many occasions. I wonder if he has something
planned for us all?" Emilia commented.

With a knock at the door came Capt. Brogard's voice "Mademoiselle Winterspoon, are you
awake? Do you need anything?"
Em opened the door "Capt. Brogard, I am fine thank you for inquiring. I must say you look
familiar, haven't we met before."
"I would remember if we had, have a pleasant night. Do not be alarmed if you hear shots
in the morning.
I have an unpleasant task to do then. You will be safe tonight, I, Robere Lucien Brogard,
promise this.
Good night." Brogard replied and went down the hall.
Em slowly closed the door, something wasn't right about Brogard, but what?
"We need to free Jack soon, he is to be executed at dawn. I have an idea, Lieutenant I
will need your help."

The sun slowly rose over the desert, Capt. Brogart and Lt. Degaulle followed the
execution squad and the prisoners as they marched towards posts set in the sand. Jack,
Sheik Kafir el Hussein and Achmed were tied
to the posts. Offered blindfolds they refused, Captain Brogard walked towards them. "I
will spare your life
tell me where the papers are."
"Drop dead, you bastard. Even if I had them I wouldn't give them back." Jack retorted.
"Very well, Lieutenant, proceed"
Jack watched the squad come to attention, he turned to the sheik "Sorry it turned out
this way. Looks like we are doomed. I wish I knew what happened to Em."
"Do not be sorry, I will speak to Allah about having you enter heaven with myself and
Achmed" replied the sheik.

"Squad, attention"

"Ready"

"Aim"

"Captain Brogard, wait" cried a familar voice
"Lieutenant, wait"

"Captain, you can't execute these men. What have they done?" said Emilia.
"Treason, Mademoiselle Winterspoon, they have stolen important papers from the French
Government.
They refuse to return them, therefore the sentence is death."

"Lieutenant, Proceed"

"Squad, attention"

"Ready"

"Aim"

From behind the squad, a caped man, wearing a mask and holding a rapier spoke
"Ahem, rather unsporting isn't it chaps"
Brogard spun around "Who are you?" he yelled.
"The Daring Dragoon, whom else would it be"
"The Daring Dragoon? here? After him!" Brogard cried.
Jack looked on in astonishment as he saw himself begin to duel with the French troops.
Wait, I am still tied here he thought. Em ran up and cut them loose. "Hurry we must go"
and started running towards the string of horses.
They mounted and began riding towards the Dragoon and the French troops. Jack kicked
several French troops
that tried to grab him. He used the horse to chase the others off.
Brogard and the Dragoon were evenly matched. Neither was able to penetrate the other's
defense.
"You swine, I will have your head on my wall!" Brogard boasted.
"Not likely, you oaf." replied the Daring Dragoon in a British accent.

Jack rode up behind Brogard and knocked him off his feet. "Come on Dragoon, let's make
like a tree and leave!" as he rode by and the Dragoon swung up onto the horse.

They rode as if the devil were behind them as sporadic shots whizzed pass.

Heading west they caught up with the others they continued to increase the distance
between the outpost and them.
At the oasis, they stopped to rest the mounts. Jack and the Dragoon dismounted as
Emilia approached.
"Thanks for saving my bacon, Em. I thought we were goners" Jack quipped "by the way,
who's the imposter?"
"You are welcome, Jack. And this is..." started Emilia.
"Lieutenant John Ambrose his majesties Royal Marines. It's a pleasure to meet you Mr.
Styles. Thank you for the ride,
along with the cape, mask and hat" spoke the Dragoon removing the hat and mask.
" How'd you get my gear?"
"An arab found your horse and kept the saddle and saddle bags. I borrowed it from him. I
thought it might come in handy.
When we found you, I convinced Lt. Ambrose to impersonate the Dragoon while I freed
you." Em explained, "besides
you were not in a position to become the Dragoon. Imagine the Daring Dragoon appearing
in a locked cell. It would have
destroyed your cover and Lt Ambrose does make an attractive Daring Dragoon!"
"Ok sister, it makes sense but better looking? Here are the plans, I am happy to be rid of
'em" Jack said as he
rermoved them from his boot.
Sheik Kafir el Hussein strode up to the group. Jack made the introductions " Em, Lt.
Ambrose this is Sheik Kafir el Hussein,
Sheiky this is Emilia Rothschild and Lieutenant Ambrose his majesties Royal Marines. He
wants the same for the French
as we do, kick 'em out. If we share the plans maybe we can work on it together."
Lt. Ammrose and Sheik Hussein walked off talking while looking at the plans.

"Em, what's up with Brogard, think the heat got to him? He didn't recognize me."
"No, it not who you think it is" Emilia replied "it's his twin brother."
"Broggie's a twin? can't be, it's too, too, weird"
"Remember when Captain Brogard wanted to marry me? He mentioned that he would have
liked his brother to attend
though he didn't say twin brother."
"So what" retorted Jack
"Our Brogard is Maurice Jean, this one introduced himself as Robere Lucien. It the made
sense why he
didn't recognize us." finished Emilia.
They turned and started to follow the others.

Jack looked at Emilia watching Lt. Ambrose and Sheik Hussein " How can you think he's
better looking than me?"