Story: "The Treasure of Tarbok"
Author's Note: I wrote this after being inspired by the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles on how much of a brother/mentor Lawrence is to Indy as he's growing up. If anybody doesn't believe me, I highly suggest looking at "My First Adventure", "Daredevils of the Desert", and "Winds of Change". Also, I don't own any characters from the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and though Indy is portrayed as interacting with historical figures the incidents are purely fictional.
P/L: [c.1917 // Palestine] After reuniting with Major Lawrence, Indy sets out to help locate a rumored munitions dump in the Turkish-held city of Tarbok yet finding the weapons cache may prove to be more costly than either Indy or Lawrence thought.
I. Palestine: 1917 - The Charge:
"Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!"
"La hawla wala quwata illah billah!"
Light from the setting sun cast the rocky region in a soft glow and at once the scorching desert air began to cool. Golden sand sparkled in the fading light, a lamp beckoning the hardened soldiers towards their aim. Where the dunes began, the city of Tarbok was close at hand. "Allahu Akbar! In sha' Allah!" At last the Bedouin were about to free yet another city from the Turkish rule. All that was needed now was the gentle patience that had been their guide through the desert and then the city could be theirs.
A deep tawny creature with stamina that was only rivaled by the person who mastered her pulled up alongside a young Belgian officer and greeted its fellow dromedary with a soft bellow. Its rider, dressed in a brilliant white tunic with an equally radiant kufiyya to protect his head from the harsh elements of the desert, hardly looked like he had ever been an Englander much less an officer in the British army. But this was the dressing of Major Lawrence and nothing made him feel more apart of this revolt than being allowed the great honor of wearing this desert garment.
To the young Belgian Captain, the Major spoke with a cheerful smile, "It won't be long now before we are in Tarbok. Are you ready Henry?"
Young Indiana Jones sat nervously on the saddle of his camel and adverted his gaze from the near-distant city wall to his friend. In a voice that reflected the look of anxiety on his face, Indy replied, "We are about to charge a city guarded by machine guns and possible mortars and if we fail to take the city we will be forced to spend yet another day out in the desert without any water..." He drew in a sharp breath before letting it out nervously, "I am about as ready as I'll ever be."
"We cannot fail this Henry," said Lawrence quietly. He studied his young friend's expression and saw the uneasiness resting in his eyes. Compassion filled the Major for their task was not an easy one and even as they were about to take this city, Lawrence could not help but still see that little boy in Indiana Jones. In a way, seeing this fear in Indy gave Lawrence even more reason to be firm in his directions.
"You know your task Henry and it is not a difficult one," continued Lawrence, his tone gentle despite the distinct authority of a superior officer that resounded in his words. "Upon my command we will charge. When we have secured the city we must find that munitions dump because if it is not there,"
"Then to Alf Darar we go," finished Indy with dry humor. He swallowed hard and looked back towards Tarbok. "Ned, I won't let you down. We are going to find that munitions dump and your Bedu will have their city again."
Lawrence chuckled before he added, "And gold. At least, that is what they are hoping for."
"Yeah but those machine guns and other firearms will certainly help give your men more means to fight," said Indy as he once more looked to his friend. He couldn't help the growing fear in him. Seemingly years had passed since Indy had participated in a charge and in fact, the last time Indy could recall taking part in one was in Uganda. Had it only been a few months since that event?
"Indeed it will."
The sound of Lawrence's voice drew Indy back to the present. So much he wanted to erase the fear lingering in his soul and trust that the "fighting de luxe" tactics of his friend would see them all safely into Tarbok and that they would find the cache quickly. Everything depended on time.
"Indy..." The Belgian Captain again was forced to bring his attention back to his friend. Lawrence was staring at Indy, a small compassionate smile rested on his lips, "It's time so play up and play the game! Stay with me and I will see you in Tarbok."
Fixing the black agal adorning the headcloth, Indy secured the coils in place as he replied, "Stay alive Ned."
The British Major nodded solemnly, "And you as well Indy."
Quickly Indy pulled up part of the cloth over his nose, leaving only a narrow slit between the bottom of the kufiyya and the mouth covering for him to see. By now the sun was just shining down on them from an angle just above the top of their heads. The blazing rays would be in direct view of the Turks, an ingenious move that Indy knew that the great Baron von Richthofen would be most proud of.
He readied his camel and held tight to the reins. The Bedu were lined up for the charge, their faces lit with enthusiasm. For them these raids were more than just ways to gain wealth but a chance at prestige through the leadership of their own under Major Lawrence. For gold and for fame...fortune and glory. With heads held high and excitement bathing the evening air, the Bedu began a steady march forward upon Lawrence's signal.
With the light blinding the Turks, the element of surprise was in their favor. Lawrence looked down the assembled line and made certain that they were ready before he lifted his hand high into the air. Beside him Indy sank lower into the saddle and prepared himself for the sudden launch. The moment the Major's hand fell the camels lurched forward. At first the camels trotted, keeping the ranks in tight formation. But as the camels neared the start of the dunes their pace quickened as their strides lengthened.
Lawrence lead the way, part of his kufiyya billowing behind him like it was his own tribal banner. Keeping in pace with his commander and friend, Indy urged his camel on. His heart pounded painfully in his throat and his eyes squinted with the wind rushing past him. At nearly forty kilometers per hour the camels thundered past the first set of dunes.
Nothing would have terrified the Turks more than the sight of camels barreling at them from the rocks but as the sun sank lower into the sky the outlined figures were drowned in the blinding light. For only a brief moment could the men on the lone machine gun see the line of the Hejaz. For a moment the man was inclined to raise an alarm but when he rubbed his eyes and looked again he could not see the silhouettes anymore. A mirage?
Closer and closer Tarbok came. The pounding of camel hooves against the hard desert soil filled Indy's ears and the rhythm of his own dromedary began to form the rhythm of his heart. They were nearly upon the outskirts of the city and the blown-out section of the wall could be clearly seen now. The soldiers guarding it were looking in their direction, panic etched onto their faces.
Nothing could be seen from their point of view. Only the sound of dozens of heavy feet pummeling the soil could be heard. One of the men shaded his eyes and saw the outlines of the camels. In panic he fell against the back of his foxhole, yelling to their German Commanding officer, "Askeri! Askeri! Dikkat! Dikkat!"
Shielding his eyes, the German officer saw the Bedu racing towards them. He yelled, "Schießen! Schießen!"
The camels were now passing fifty kilometers per hour and were still gaining speed as they raced through the opening of the rocks. Indy kept his camel right alongside Lawrence, his gaze focused entirely on the city.
"Henry, first one past the wall gets the best meal!"
A chuckle broke the throbbing in Indy's throat. He yelled to his friend, "Then you best start thinking about what you're going to cook because I am going to pass that wall first!"
"You're mad Henry!" laughed Lawrence, "You've been on a camel for only a few days at this pace! You'll never beat me!"
"We'll just see about that!"
The machine gunner pulled back the charging handle and immediately set the weapon into action. Bullets flew at the incoming Bedouins. Turkish soldiers behind the sandbags and broken bit of wall began firing at the charge but none of this could deter the Hejaz. On and on they pushed, Lawrence and Indy vying for the lead. As the defense of Tarbok intensified several of the Arabs were struck and knocked off of their camels. The line pressed on despite the loss.
"First one over Henry... first one over!" shouted Lawrence enthusiastically despite that Indiana was starting to pull ahead of him.
"You bet, it's going to be--"
A bullet from one of the rifle bearers struck Indy in the upper left chest. For a moment Indy remained on his saddle, a look of astonishment was written on his face. His body swayed slightly as if caught in suspended time. A second round clipped Indy's shoulder and the young Belgian officer tumbled out of the saddle. He hit the ground and disappeared under the cloud of dust and camel feet.
"Henry!" The sound of the machine guns could not drown out the sound of Lawrence's anguished cry. His camel plowed into the line of Turkish soldiers. Not even the German officer's cry of, "Zurückweichen!" would give Lawrence a reason to breathe a sigh of relief. His camel pushed onwards, leading the Bedu as they plunged into the city of Tarbok.