Indiana Jones surveyed the late morning light peaking over the palm trees of the uncharted island in the South Pacific that he found himself on, and calculated his chances of success in reaching his goal. He was a daredevil at heart and decided to go for it, thankful for the protection offered by his weather-beaten leather jacket and brown Stetson fedora. With the stealth of a jungle cat and the silence of a python, he slowly entered the lair of his prey and reached out, his fingers twitching slightly as he got closer and closer until...
"Don't even think about it, Doctor Jones!" a muffled female voice mumbled back at him. It was followed by movement and eye contact with the owner of the voice. "Don't you have your own pen?"
Indy offered her his most charming smile and shrugged. "I think a monkey took it last night."
"There are no monkeys on this island, Doctor Jones," the woman replied, looking rather pretty in the morning with her long brunette hair all tussled and hanging down, instead of her usual bun, hidden beneath her safari hat.
"Okay, my dog ate it. Either way, Miss Grant, I need to borrow yours for my-"
"Oh, now it's a request to 'borrow' it, rather than steal it right out of my tent without my permission?"
"Well, I didn't want to bother you- wanted to let you sleep in," he replied, confused as to why his nicest smile wasn't impressing her. He'd seemed to be getting her attention since they'd met in San Francisco for this exploratory quest.
"How do you know I wasn't just resting with my eyes closed?"
"Well...the snoring for one thing," he replied.
She pouted with annoyance, and told him, "Nevertheless, I suppose you think you could slip in here and grab my personal property at all hours of the morning without waking me up because I could use all the 'beauty rest' that I can get?" Julia Grant yawned, stretching in his sleeping bag.
"No, no, it's too late for that," he answered innocently, making her gasp at him in shock and indignation. He panicked and stuttered, "No-no-no! What I mean is, it's almost noon, and the men and I were already packed up and we didn't want to wake you up because you were just sleeping so soundly-"
"She's awake now?" Lieutenant Banner asked, poking his head into Grant's tent. "Good! All that snoring was scaring the fish!"
"Wha-? How dare you!" Grant snapped, throwing her pillow at Banner's head.
He ducked it with a playful chuckle, and poked his head back in to joke, "It's true! We haven't caught anything all morning for breakfast, and now you're scaring the lunchtime crowd!"
"Get out!" she shouted, throwing her clock at him, which Indy had to duck, as well.
He asked quickly, "Forget him- now about that pen-?"
"OUTOUTOUTOUT!" she shouted, kicking her legs inside her sleeping bag like an upset little girl.
Indy did as she ordered, backed up and saw a dumb big grin on Banner's face. "Thanks! Now how am I supposed to write up my report?"
The sailor from the cruiser USS Danforth just shrugged his broad shoulders, and laughed, "Not my problem, Doc! Me and the boys are just here to hold yer hand, not do your homework for ya!"
Jones grimaced at the lack of help from his 'team'. He had managed to acquire passage to this unimportant little rock in the middle of the South Pacific via an American naval warship, and had come ashore with Lt. Banner, a small team of three sailors and a lady reporter from an American science journal called Scientific Achievement Quarterly. Truth was, they'd all gotten 'in the way', in one way or another with his scouting. Banner was treating this like shore leave, the younger sailors (or 'grunts' as Banner liked to call them) were confused or showing signs of preferring to be somewhere/anywhere else, and despite a science background, reporter Julia Grant was desperately trying to maintain her San Francisco-based routines, which included, unfortunately, sleeping in late after drinking too many shots of brandy before turning in at 2 am.
She also appeared to own the last surviving pen on this trip, and without it, his own journal would go days before anything could be entered into it, and that just wasn't fair.
An hour later the group was back on the trail of an object that was of great value to the American government, which might help them deal with the rising troubles in Europe and the Japanese Empire, should they find themselves fully entrenched in a war with either power. From old maps acquired by Indy from less-than-trustworthy sources, a golden tablet from a long-dead civilization offered a map to a power source unlike anything ever encountered or built by Man. A power source that could supposedly keep a city, a modern-day city and not an island village, running for years. What that power source was, Jones didn't know, which was why he found himself on this insignificant, nameless island with his motley crew.
They'd crossed a pair of rivers already, and could see the main hill or low mountain of the island loom before them. What appeared odd about the 'mountain' was that it was crooked! Instead of rising in a straightforward triangular fashion like the average mountain or volcano, this behemoth was actually tilted almost 45 degrees, and presented an interesting subject for Julia's camera. So much so, she used up a roll of film just on their approach to the island, leaving just one roll for the actual expedition.
However, the closer they got to this mountain, the more peculiar it seemed, looking almost as if it didn't belong here, and wasn't a natural geological formation. Jones looked up at it, pushing aside a fuzzy branch of leaves as he did so, which made him stop in his tracks, nearly making one of the younger sailors bump into him.
"Hey! Look at this," Jones said, halting Banner's movements up ahead. The sailor sighed and turned around, looking bored. "Notice anything strange about this branch?"
Banner barely looked at it, showing his lazy side as he shrugged, "So?"
"The leaves are crystallized!" When Banner shrugged, Indy grimaced and shook the branch. The leaves, which had looked green and healthy, suddenly shattered into bits and fell to the ground like handfuls of snow flakes. That got Banner's attention! And everyone else's for that matter.
"How could that happen?" Banner gasped. "I'm sure that's not normal!"
Indy smirked at him and sarcastically offered, "You think so?" He looked about him, and shook other branches, but only one other crumbled to dust. The others maintained their solidity. "Let's keep going."
Those three words would cost the lives of two sailors...
The SSRN Seaview was travelling to a recently-charted island, which hadn't been on their maps just a couple years ago. It was discovered by the American navy, by a fluke- unusual energy readings led them to find it in the middle of nowhere, but they didn't explore it.
That was where Seaview came in.
As the sleek submarine travelled at a fair speed towards their goal, Captain Lee Crane, Admiral Harriman Nelson, Executive Officer Chip Morton, and Chief Sharkey were having their morning coffee at the bow of the ship near the wide viewports, the trickle of bubbles up along their tall sloped frames and the scattering of fish their visual signals that the vessel was in motion amongst the deep blue expanse. They had made it a working breakfast, going over reports and anything else that required their attention, including a helpful suggestion from the Chief, himself.
"Uuh...all in favor of...*ahem!*...the Chief's suggestion?" Nelson harrumphed, trying to hold down a loud laugh, if only to maintain a sense of dignity for the meeting and his reputation as a strong and serious officer. "Lee?" he asked, addressing the Captain of the Seaview.
"Um...no," Crane voted quietly, almost sounding embarrassed.
"Chip?" Nelson asked the First Officer, his stare nearly burning a hole through the blond man's head, even though he wouldn't have said 'yes' for a million dollars.
"I vote 'no', sir."
"And I definitely vote 'no', as well," Nelson announced, faced Sharkey with a tight grimace, then softened like a friendly uncle as he saw the downcast, disappointed look of Sharkey. "That's three against, Chief. Sadly we will not be painting racing stripes on the hull of the Flying Sub!"
Sharkey shrugged, and added a lame, "Okay, fine. I was just thinking of making it look a little more, I dunno, cooler, I guess."
"'Cooler'?" Nelson nearly demanded, his gruff by-the-book no-hippie-jargon-allowed character replacing his smile.
"Well, yes, sir! It's just that she's such a sweet ride, and considering how fast that baby can go in the air, well, it would just look so...cool if she had more stripes..."
"No, Chief. No thank you."
"She's the 'Flying Sub', Chief, and she belongs to the Nelson Institute for Marine Research...not the Indy 500 or NASCAR!" Crane smiled at his friend and shipmate.
"Oh, oh, oh! What about, sir, if I may suggest...lightning bolts? That would look sooo-!" Sharkey was about to elaborate, but the three astonished faces staring back at him killed that idea instantly. He sat back in his chair, cleared his throat, forced a serious look on his face and held up a file as he instead said, "On the other hand, perhaps we should look into this report regarding a new freezer unit for our dairy supplies?"
Nelson smiled tightly and replied, "Yes, I think that would be a better use of our time, Chief."
Sharkey went on to make his report, subtly pushing aside his file folder of his own artist conceptions for the Flying Sub's proposed new paint job, which also included a proposed rendering of 'FS-1' on it's curved hull, with a fireball and flaming tail trailing behind the name.
The Seaview was just in view of the island through the periscope when Kowalski called out from sonar that an object, most likely another sub, was heading directly for them at flank speed. Crane and Nelson approached him, and could read the scope themselves to see that their crewman was correct.
"There's not supposed to be anyone else out here but us," Nelson mused. "In fact, Washington cleared all traffic around here so we wouldn't encounter any distractions."
"Incoming object at 130 degrees ahead! Two torpedoes incoming!" Kowalski snapped, clutching his headphones.
"Hard right rudder!" Crane snapped, even as he yanked the radio from its clip on the periscope stand to bark into it, "Forward torpedo room; load tubes one and two and prepare to fire!"
The Seaview banked to starboard, the underwater missiles missing her flank by several yards as she outran them.
"Two more fired at us!" Kowalski cried out.
"Hard to port! Down 10 degrees bubble!"
The Seaview dipped down and turned, the torpedoes missing her once more, even as the two ships got closer to one another.
"Torpedo room; fire one and two!" Crane ordered into the microphone.
From beneath the curved fins at the front of the Seaview, a pair of torpedoes sped out like twin undersea devils, and even as a murky shape began to form beyond the tall windows of the observation area, the fuzzy shape was swallowed up by a pair of explosions, and a expanding cloud of water and undersea fire.
"Impact confirmed! We got 'em!" Kowalski confirmed.
Nelson and Crane hurried towards the windows, and watched as the fuzzy object bubbled and exploded from decompression and weaponry detonations within her hull, her form sinking as she died before their eyes. Crane squinted at the blurring lines and commented,
"I'd swear she was an older class of sub- much older than what's in use these days. Not sure who, though..."
"I think I can see her shape- what's left of it, too," Nelson watched, as the murky depths swallowed the enemy sub until she was beyond view out of the Seaview's huge portholes. "Either way, she's finished. The question is...who would want to keep us away?"
Without answers, Nelson was forced to continue on towards the island before them.
The small group of Jones, , a young sailor going by the name of Red Man', and reporter Julia Grant looked down at the two still forms of Hillsfield and Andrews, with Grant the furthest from them as she shook in her safari boots. Indy was bent over them, examining the two young sailors from the Danforth, and sighed,
"They're dead. Both of them. Didn't go in a very nice way, either."
"Must you be so flippant?" Grant accused, her back turned away from the scene.
"I wasn't being jokey, sister!" Indy snapped at her. "They didn't just die in their sleep- they apparently ate some poisonous fruit and it's left them-"
"I don't want to know!" she interrupted, barely able to hold back a rush of tears- Hillsfield had been the one to escort her aboard the ship, and had even given her a tour. The thought of him dying horribly and for no good reason was almost too much to bear.
"So what do we do, ?" Banner wanted to know. "Get back to the ship?"
Jones stood up, offering the dead men one more sad look before he told Banner, "No. We go on."
"How can you do that?" Grant cried out. "Two nice men are dead, and you still want to hike in the forest?"
"I'm not here for my own amusement, Miss Grant, and I'd appreciate it if you could see the big picture! We were sent here on an important job for the government- and a country that's being pushed into war by that lunatic in Germany! If I can help find something to help our side against him, I'll damn well do it! No matter what the cost!"
They covered up the bodies of the two sailors for pick-up later, but their faces weren't forgotten by any of the men that had seen them up close- twisted in pain, mottled purple splotches and scabs formed on their flesh, mutated pieces of fruit in both of their crystallized hands...
Further up the hill, the trio found a huge glowing rock that still emitted pock holes of steam, and gradually rose higher and higher above the island trees, until one side displayed a huge yawning cavern, like a cave or grotto as big as Yankee stadium. Indy felt something touching his boots, and jumped back as he looked down and saw a small snake, perhaps two feet in length walk past him! He leaned down, his mouth agape as he recognized it as a snake, but it had sprouted tiny, caterpillar-like legs.
"Holey, moley," Red Man sighed, his beady eyes wide. "We don't have those back home in Connecticut!"
"They don't have 'em in Jersey, or Boston, or Texas, or anywhere, kid," Jones said, watching it walk away, minding its own business.
Grant lunged forward and managed an awkward photograph of the thing, but caught little more than the last few inches of it as it disappeared amongst some foliage.
"Oh, poo! You could have caught it for me to take a picture of it, !"
"With those many legs, it probably would have managed to outrun me, missy," Jones replied. "On the other hand, you could take a picture of...that!" he told her, pointing over her shoulder.
She thought he was pulling her leg at first, but then Jones had suddenly yanked out his bullwhip and slapped it in the air just a few feet from where she'd been standing. She squealed in surprise, but Banner and Red Man watched as the leaping creature was intercepted by Indy's whip, sending it flying backwards against a tree, where it recovered and clung to, breathing heavily. Grant leaped back and behind Red Man, as the object of Indy's curiosity, a small lizard with tusks jutting out from its lower jaw and the eyes of an insect was watching her from the tree close to her.
"W-w-wh-wh-what's that supposed to be?" she cringed.
"I think it used to be an iguana," Indy mused.
"'Used to be'?" she asked, worriedly.
Jones nodded, watching the thing remain where it was, possibly thinking if it ignored the humans they would ignore it back. "Almost as if it evolved into something different."
"Evolution doesn't exist!" Grant tutted.
"Okay, then it's the baby of an iguana and a bug that made whoopie!" Jones smirked.
"Redman, stop staring and lead the way, okay?" Banner ordered, sounding annoyed. "And stop trying to peak up Miss Grant's shorts!"
"That's 'Sir' to you, mister!" Banner snapped.
"Sir, I never-"
"Do I have to report your conduct to Captain Spencer, mister? Lead the way."
The youngest member of the team hefted his backpack and turned around, choosing a likely direction, even as Jones noticed the obvious enjoyment Banner was taking in taunting his lone charge. Feeling bad for the kid, Indy followed behind the young man, with Grant behind him, and Banner taking the rear.
"Don't let him get to you, Redmond," Indy mumbled to the sailor. "Even low-ranking officers get their heads chewed off by superiors, and I have a feeling Banner's got very little of his noggin left from his own experiences."
"Thanks, Professor. Oh, and just for the record, my name's not 'Redman' or 'Red Man' or 'Redmond'. Lt. Banner and others aboard the Danforth just like to call me that 'cause of my red hair. My real name's-"
"OOH, not again?" Grant complained. The group stopped and checked out what she was looking at, which turned out to be a sickly green goop on her shoulder. The men smiled at her and her bad luck at finding herself under a branch where a bird had seemingly done its business on her, until Indy took a closer look, and lunged at her. "Doctor Jones, really?" she snapped, trying to push him away.
"I'm not trying to make the moves on you, lady, just trying to help you!" he snapped, yanking her forward so her could use a large leaf to wipe off the green slime. The others watched as he did so, and were as surprised as Grant was when he wiped it off and tossed the leaf onto the ground. Where the muck had dropped was now a burn mark in the material and a quarter-sized hole, showing her bare skin.
"What was that?" she gasped. "What kind of bird-?"
They all looked up and were ready to jump away at the first sign of the dangerous droppings, until Indy saw something up in the trees that caught his eye. With a baseball-sized rock, he whipped it up into the tree and dislodged a smouldering melon. The 'fruit' landed with a thud and a splotch, looking like it had been decaying for days. However, once they looked at it, they watched in astonishment as the fruit dissolved and decayed at an amazing rate, actually leaving a small burn mark in the grass where it landed.
"This place is just too dangerous!" Banner noted. "We should leave," he said, removing his walkie-talkie to contact the ship.
"Maybe you're right," Indy mused.
"What? Without all the facts? What kind of story will I have forScientific Achievement Quarterly if we just leave now?" Grant complained.
"The kind that we'll all be able to read in our old age! Make contact, Lieutenant."
Banner tried again and again, but he received no response. There was a light crackle of distortion, but even Redman's radio seemed to be working properly- just receiving no response. So distracted were they that nobody noticed the slithering snake that came upon them from behind. With blinking human-like eyes, the snake coiled and leaped forward, embedding its fangs into Banner's calf. The sailor cried out in pain and fell to the ground, screaming for someone to get the creature off him.
Jones was on it in a second, grabbing the reptile close to the head and squeezing it roughly his shaky hands in an effort to make it release its hold on the sailor, before he realized just what he was doing.
'A snake? Why are there always snakes wherever I go?' he shouted in his mind, his fear and loathing of the creatures momentarily forgotten in an effort to help Banner. It finally did let go of the sailor, and seemed to lose all fighting instinct as Indy held it at arm's length from him, his skin crawling from the contact. He cringed at the sight of the unusual pair of eyes that looked back at him, and flung it as far away as he could, before he knelt down to check on Banner's status.
"It's burning! It's burning!" Banner groaned, clutching his leg in agony, prompting a little empathy in Redman, despite his nearly-daily taunting of the young sailor back on the ship.
"We should get some water on it!" Grant suggested. "Somebody might even have to suck out the poison!"
"Poison? From a snake on this island?" Indy asked, sceptical. "That might be lethal to both people!"
"We can't just let him suffer!" Grant nearly cried.
"That's why we'll get him to the water! Redman, help me carry the Lieutenant to the bay over there," Indy instructed.
Knowing that taking Banner in that direction took them further into the island, and away from the other side where they came ashore (and the Danforth offshore) was secondary to all concerned. If necessary the boat would just have to circle around the island to pick them up on this side.
As the Seaview approached their island target, Kowalski quietly called Sharkey over to his station, making the hairs on the back of the Chief's neck stand on end. If the expert sonar operator was getting his attention it might be something important.
"Okay, Kowalski, whatta ya got?" the Chief asked, leaning over the younger man's shoulder to stare at a clear sonar scope.
"Uh, nothing, yet, Chief. I was just-"
"You called me over here for nothin'? What's the deal, 'ski?"
"I was just, you know...wondering how the meeting went?"
"The meeting with the Skipper and the Admiral this morning, Chief. How'd they like the drawings for the new paint job on the Flying Sub?"
"You knucklehead!" Sharkey sighed, standing up again, and rubbing his face. "Don't do that to me! I thought you were picking up something on your scope! You're on duty now, mister, so keep your mind on your job, willya? We talked about it and the Admiral nixed it, so that's that."
"Did you tell him about my idea for lightning bolts on it?"
"Whatta ya talking about, 'ski? You think I'd be nuts enough to mention lightning bolts to Admiral Nelson? Of all the ridiculous, silly ideas! Just drop it, okay? The Flying Sub's staying the way it's already painted, and that's that! Sheesh! Lightning bolts on the Flying Sub! Yea! Right! That's be the day!"
Sufficiently chided, Kowalski went back to work, and the Chief returned to the glass chart wall to check on their position, and release a subtle sigh, glad he didn't have to relive that awkward part of the meeting, and secretly disappointed that the submersible wasn't going to get a new paint job.
Kowalski noted a metallic object at the bottom of the sea dead ahead, according to his sonar. Nelson had left for his quarters to ask Washington if they were, indeed, alone in these waters, which left Crane and Morton to deal with the sighting. Crane had the submarine descend so they could get a good look at the object, which turned out to be what he expected.
"Poor devils," he mused as the sonar reflected back the murky shape that was looming before them outside of the observation windows. "Must have been down here a good thirty years or so. One casualty of so many during the war."
Morton nodded, paying a respectful silence to the wreckage of the sunken vessel that hadn't seen the light of day in three decades. "I wonder who she is? And if anyone knows she's down here?"
"Have the bow cameras take images for the record, Chip, to try and get her nomenclature. She might be any number of ships listed as missing from the war, and now that we've found her she might be of interest to someone, or the crew's families, even after all this time."
Travelling dead slow near the sunken warship so as to get the optimum number of photographs taken of her, the Seaview continued on, eventually coming upon a tall undersea range of mountains that gradually penned the Seaview into a wide trench that led directly towards the island.
The group had made it to the water, and soaked Banner's leg which had now gone numb somewhat, but at least, strangely enough, he was no longer in pain, although he was sweating like he'd run a marathon. Indy remained by his side, while Grant and Redman explored along the narrow beach, the reporter taking several pictures of the eerie grotto and the bizarre mutated jungle growth.
"Hey, Miss Grant! Want to take a picture of this tree with me beside it? Maybe make an extra copy for me to send home to my folks?"
Grant looked up and saw a palm tree that looked like it was growing in several zigzag directions, looking more like some sort of avant garde artist's rendering than something that could grow in real life. Unlike anything any of them had ever seen, Grant pulled out her bulky camera from her bag, and aimed it at the young man who was leaning on it with one arm, and serious look on his face as he used his other hand to point at it, in the very unlikely event that nobody noticed how strange the 'tree' was!
Redman immediately began to lose his footing...
Julia immediately dropped her camera, and stuttered out a warning, only to watch the young sailor fall backwards. She ran towards him, all thoughts for her own safety thrown out the door, even as she found herself leaping, flying through the air, her arms outstretched, and just a second or two in time to grab his wrists. Redman gasped and released unusual squeaks and squeals as he dangled over the edge of a cliff, jagged rocks thirty feet below beckoning him to fall onto him, and embrace his inevitable death.
But Grant would not be denied. With fistfuls of vines in his hands, Redman remained on the edge long enough for Julia to twist around, use a couple jutting rocks for leverage and pull Redman up by the wrists. His own legs kicked and fought for purchase, even as the clumsy Redman lunged forward, landing on top of the lady reporter with a grunt and rapid-fire wheezing from the sailor.
"Y-you-you-you saved my-my life! Thankyouthankyouthankyou!"
"Urgh! Yerwelgom!" Grant grunted with a cringe. "You'realsoveryheavy!" she wheezed.
"Oh! Sorrysorrysorry!" the red-faced Redman gasped, and immediately jumped to his feet, helping her up.
She dusted herself off, but there were several stains on her safari outfit that would remain there until it was properly washed. They both looked at the edge of the cliff and watched as the edge caved in a little more.
"It's almost crystallized, too," Grant noticed. "Too heavy for its own weight..."
"And then there's this weirdo tree," Redman added, drawing her away from the bizarre object. "M-maybe just...take a picture of the tree by itself," he suggested, still beet-red from his ordeal, and looking more like a clumsy fool than an American naval crewman.
She picked up her camera and watched as a couple pieces felt off it, damaged beyond her ability to fix, the lens shattered against a rock when she'd dropped it. No more pictures of the trip for her magazine, but at least she had her first batch in her duffle bag..
Through the forward windows of the super-sub, Nelson, Crane, Morton, and the helmsmen watched as a glowing fog approached them that was bracketed by tall sea walls. It hadn't even seemed to be there just a minute ago, but like a wall that glowed brighter and brighter from the illumination of a flashlight brought closer and closer to it, the dense, bright underwater fog seemed to rise in brightness the closer the ship got to it, her forward searchlight seeking out the anomaly.
The sea walls prevented a course around it, and even though Kowalski's sonar insisted there was nothing there, it was upon the Seaview before Crane could order a full reverse. Control panels began to spark and short-circuit from unexpected feedback and the overhead lights flashed off and on, even as the crew began to feel dizzy, and lose their footing from the shuddering beneath their feet. Nelson wiped his face, shaking his head, as Crane tried to focus on the strange light outside the observation windows, the undersea turbulence like nothing either had experienced before. Morton gripped the side railing of the periscope pit, while Sharkey clutched the back of Kowalski's chair, shaking his head, trying to clear his sudden vertigo.
"Eeemergennnncy surrrrfacccce!" Crane heard himself bark out, although it sounded very deep and rundown like a record played too slow.
The control room seemed to be smothered within a blinding white cloud inside the ship itself...
Jones and Redman were talking about how Miss Grant saved his life, when Banner cried out in agony as he if he were bitten by another snake, but instead was just rolled up into a ball below Grant, who seemed powerless to help him. Banner was down and rolling on the ground mumbling gibberish, even as Indy and Redman joined them, with Julia offering,
What's happening to him? He was fine just a second ago!"
"It might be a snake toxin in his system," Indy suggested. "God, I hate snakes! Redman, get on the radio again and keep trying to bring the Danforth over here!"
Jones and Grant were hovering over Banner, gently examining his wound through his torn trouser leg, pouring more antiseptic on it when something drew their attention out towards the expanse of the sea.
Suddenly from the bay came a rush of bubbles and foaming water, and then the sea exploded from the surprise appearance of a great blue/grey object bursting out from the sea. At first Indiana thought it might be a whale or some other kind of weird island animal, until his eyes focused onto the object before his startled party.
It was a submarine! And what a submarine it was! It had smashed out from below the surface at a spectacular 45 degree angle, travelled several yards forward, and gradually lowered its blunted, portholed nose back into the water, as her long-finned aft section came to the surface, bringing the amazing ship back into a horizontal angle. She travelled a few more yards across the surface of the bay, and came to a stop, water gushing out of numerous ballast tanks along her upper superstructure. Her bow was bulbous, unlike the pointed boat-like noses of regular submarines, and she wasn't painted black or navy blue like other subs Indy had seen before. And even though she possessed no obvious guns on her hull or her conning tower, there was no telling what weaponry she possessed.
"Hide! Hide!" Indiana insisted. "That might be a Japanese sub!"
"It must be one of ours!" Grant insisted, while he helped pull a groaning Banner into the cover of some foliage. "The Japanese navy can't possibly have something like that in their fleet!"
"Better safe than sorry, kid! I don't see any kind of markings on her or even a flag, so it could be some sort of secret weapon! Keep yer head down" Indy insisted.
Redman assured him, "I'd know if that was an enemy sub, Doctor Jones. I know it's one of ours. I don't know how I know- I just do."
"If it is American, I hope we have a lot more from where it came from! It's pretty snazzy by the looks of her, and looks like she could make mincemeat out of any U-boat!" Indy commented with a grunt, as he dragged a moaning Banner into cover.
He couldn't explain it, but Redman felt drawn to the mystery sub, as if he had to get aboard and learn all of its secrets, even though it was scaring the hell out of him.
"Damage Control reports repairs are under way- even though nobody knows what just happened," Crane told Nelson. "All they know for sure is that we encountered an electrical field that shorted out a lot of circuits."
"Well, we're here and still in one piece. Let's go ashore and see if we can get some answers."
"You're sure you're up to it, Admiral?" Crane asked, noticing that the older man was still getting back color into his weather worn features.
"I'm fine, Lee, I'm fine. You, me, and Sharkey are going ashore. Break out a raft detail."
Indy, Redman, Grant, and Banner continued to keep down, hidden in the foliage as they watched a raft from the unusual submarine approach their island, but were soon able to relax as they realized that the men seemed to be Americans, if their uniforms were any indication.
"Sorta looks like American uniforms...but I dunno..." Indy mused behind some trees, his eyes locked on the raft carrying the three men come closer and closer to them.
"May I remind you, Doctor Jones, that we haven't been able to reach our transport, the Danforth? All we get is static, so I think it's best that we go meet these men and let them know that we're here and might need their help- at least to use their bigger radios to call our ship." the reporter whispered urgently.
Indy paused and asked Redman what he thought, which only pissed her off.
"Why're you asking him, Doctor Jones? No offence, Redman-"
"Um, like I said, my name's not 'Redman'-"
"Is it because I'm a woman? I'll have you know, Doctor Jones, that I attended the best schools as I-"
"You might be a little older than Redman, missy, but-"
"Older?" she virtually shouted. "I'm twenty-three!"
"I'm twenty-six," Red offered, lamely.
"Girly, if you're twenty-three I'm a monkey's uncle! You're twenty-seven if you're a day!"
"Well! I never-!" she grumbled, indignant.
"Anyways, I'm asking Redman because of his naval experience, not because he's a guy!"
"Oh. That's okay, then, I suppose," she pouted.
"So...Redman...what do you think?"
The young sailor blushed again and blinked rapidly as he replied, "Um. Jeepers. I, ummm...What do you think?"
Indy sighed and buried his face into the sand with a groan of "Why me?" He pulled off his hair to scratch an itch and wipe some perspiration from his forehead. "There's also something else we need to consider before we go blowing our cover."
"Which is?" Grant challenged.
He gave her a stern look and said, "That it might be those guys that ran into the Danforth and send her into missing-in-action territory!"
The trio of Nelson, Crane, and Sharkey came ashore, with the Chief relieved to finally stop rowing. Why hadn't Kowalski or Riley been bamboozled into coming with them and doing all the hard work? Instead it was up to him to jump into the water and drag the raft to the beach after the Admiral and the Skipper had jumped out, but the heavy rubber raft and its supplies were still as heavy as his lumpy brother-in-law! Maybe it was punishment for suggesting they repaint the Flying Sub? Darn that nutty Kowalski!
"Do we know what we're looking for?" Crane asked.
Nelson retrieved a Geiger-counter and listened to it crackle and chirp as he aimed it in several different directions, before homing in on one way. "Possibly whatever's creating that reading. Let's go."
Loaded up with their equipment the men from the Seaview travelled across the beach and wound their way up a hill that would lead them towards the hidden group of Indiana Jones and party. They took notice of the weird palm trees along the way, noticing how some were growing yellow coconuts, or had collapsed into a bizarre upside down 'U' shape, as if the top of the tree couldn't support the weight of the foliage and fruit it bared. When Crane pointed at the crazy zigzag palm tree up ahead that just minutes ago Redman had leaned against, the hidden team knew they had to think fast.
"They're coming this way," Grant said, stating the obvious. "I say we go meet them."
"They're armed!" Indy reported, looking through a pair of binoculars.
"Then again, they're not Japanese, are they," the reporter countered. "If they're not American, could they be Australian or New Zealanders, considering our distance from those countries?"
Indy lowered the binoculars and stared at Grant like she was crazy. "If the New Zealand navy has a submarine like that, Miss Grant, then they're years ahead of us! Naw, it's looking like it's one of ours. I don't know how, but..."
"I agree with Miss Grant, sir," Redman spoke up. "If only to get the Lieutenant medical help, we need to meet them, preferably not all hunkered down hiding in the grass like this, so we don't arouse their suspicions."
Talked them into meeting the approaching sailors, Indy helped Banner up, who was now looking pale and was sweating profusely, his expression clearly showing that he didn't know where he was. Talking his other arm, Redman helped lug the older sailor down the hill as Grant led the way.
"Ahoyyy! Helloooo!" Grant called out cheerfully, waving her safari hat in the air, the long pink ribbon wiggling below it. "Could you help us?"
Nelson, Crane, and Sharkey were shocked to find people waiting for them, especially since nobody was supposed to be in the area.
"Then again, somebody had to man that sub we destroyed," Nelson cautioned. "Looks like they left somebody ashore."
"Keep your sidearm handy, Chief," Crane mumbled, even as he smiled up at the approaching group and smiled back so as to not provoke the newcomers.
"You got it, Skipper."
The closer Nelson got to the motley group, the weirder he began to feel, as if there was a ringing in his ears, like a reduction in air pressure as one travelled higher and higher in altitude. But that would be the least of his questions as he got within ten yards of the people. As Crane and Sharkey kept walking, Nelson stopped in his tracks.
No! It wasn't possible! It had to be a trick!
Amongst the group of three men and one woman a face, the youngest one present, was as well know to him as the one he saw looking back at him when he shaved! The one that he used to shave when he was in his twenties!
"Hello!" Julia Grant called out. "We need medical help for the Lieutenant! Are you Americans?"
"Yes, we are," Crane offered. "I'm Captain Crane. What happened?"
"Snake bite," Redman told them. "But I gotta warn you, the animals here-"
"-like something from-"
"-like something from-"
"-a Jules Verne story!"
"-a Jules Verne story!"
Everyone looked between Nelson and Redman, as the older man had uttered the exact same words from the young sailor word for word at the same time. He was also staring hard at the shocked sailor, looking as uncomfortable as if he were in the presence of his stern father...which wasn't far from the truth!
"H-how'd you do that?" Redman asked.
Nelson gritted his teeth and kept his thoughts to himself, suspecting an elaborate trick from any number of previous enemies, until he beheld Indy. His mouth opened in surprise, but he couldn't find his voice. Then he looked closely at Grant and Banner, and images returned to his mind like an old movie he'd just realized he'd seen long ago, but had forgotten he'd already watched.
"Admiral?" Crane prompted. "Something wrong?"
"No. No, it's okay, Lee," he assured him, and stepped forward, offering his hand to the man in the fedora. "Doctor Indiana Jones...isn't it?"
Indy cautiously raised his hand, and shook the Admiral's hand. "You know me?"
Nelson finally managed a smile and replied, "Your reputation...these days...is known from here to, well, the literal ends of the Earth. Very pleased to meet you. I'm Admiral-" Nelson said, abruptly silencing himself, before quickly adding, "That is to say, you can call me 'Admiral', but for the purposes of our mission, I can't reveal my name."
Indy shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Okay. 'Admiral' it is. This is reporter Julia Grant from the magazine Scientific Achievement Quarterly, our injured man is Lieutenant Banner of the USS Danforth, and this is Redman."
The shy, young sailor vigorously shook his head and corrected Indy. "Can I just clear something up here, Doctor Jones? 'Redman' is just a dumb nickname from my shipmates. My name is Harry Nelson!'
That caught Crane and Sharkey's attention, and now that they looked closely at the kid, real close, they could tell that there was a resemblance, if only through decades of aging and experience, but it was undeniable...
...they were standing before the 27-year old version of Admiral Nelson!
All three of them at the same time realized what that would mean...
Crane stepped forward, "Admiral! Have you met Doctor Jones...before?" he asked stressing 'before' in a way that seemed odd to the stranded group.
"No, uh, Lee. This would be my first time, but he's world famous...these days."
"That's all well and good and thanks for the compliments, but we really need to get Banner over to your ship's sickbay. He was bitten by a snake unlike anything I've ever seen before" Indy told them. "In fact, this whole damned island is unlike anything I've ever encountered!"
Nelson realized that they'd passed through a time warp and that he was standing in front of himself, only 33 years younger! And it might be that same time warp phenomena that was mutating the island into all shapes and sizes. He could remember certain details of the expedition from long ago with the renowned Doctor Indiana Jones, but definitely had no memory from that time of meeting his older self- his present-day self, that is! They were just lucky that there was enough of a dissimilarity between the two ages that there was only a general resemblance between the two Nelsons. If young Harry Nelson was wondering if he'd wind up looking like Admiral Harriman Nelson he wasn't showing it.
Crane introduced Chief Sharkey to Indy's team and asked him to call the Seaview and send over another raft, one with the Doctor aboard so he could treat Banner and decide if he should be taken back to the sickbay aboard ship. He casually pulled Nelson aside and asked him if he could remember what happened next.
"That's just it, Lee- I don't recall meeting us, the present day, 1974-us. That undersea cloud was obviously a time warp of some kind...and now we're living in 1941! Even when I stand too close to 'myself'' I feel a strange, dull buzzing in my head."
Crane was worried that Time had changed all around them without them realizing it, which concerned Nelson greatly.. They had to be extremely careful if they weren't going to alter Time as it should be- even though that was going to be incredibly difficult, considering he didn't remember how Time was supposed to play out.
Indiana approached them and explained the goal of their search on this weird island.
Sharkey joked, "To find the World's Biggest Pineapple?"
Indy explained that it was to find something unusual, powerful, and inexplicable, but so far they'd only found the results of changes brought on by this mysterious energy source. With the help of Nelson's Geiger-counter, the Admiral suggested they remain on the island to look for it together, as that was their mission, too.
"Since when does the United States Navy look for ancient objects of power?" Indy wondered.
"Who says it's ancient?" Crane countered.
"Who says it's not? I've been tracking this thing off and on for over a month, and there's been native talk that weird things have happened in and around this island for generations."
"Maybe because of this asteroid crashing down on this island, splitting it in half a century ago," Nelson suggested stepping forward.
"'Asteroid'?" Indy asked. "Are we back to the Jules Verne stuff again?"
"The radiation from that rocky grotto section up there, Doctor Jones, is what's triggering our machine," Nelson replied, adding, "And most likely mutating the plant and animal life here while it's at it."
"'Radiation'?" Indy squinted, not familiar with the word that described the invisible energy.
Julia stepped forward, her forehead creased with concern as she asked, "If this radiation can change animals and plants...can't it change us?"
Crane shook his head, saying, "I'd guess that the changes began a long time ago, after years, decades, of exposure. We should be safe while we're here. And if you like, we can offer you radiation pills to combat an ill effects you might begin to experience."
"'Radiation pills'?" Jones asked, incredulous. "Just how many miracles are aboard your super sub, guys?"
Unknown to everyone, Banner's DNA was undergoing a rapid change, and his flesh was quickly turning green and leathery like a reptile, just as the whites of his eyes were growing yellow, and his round pupils altering into snake-like slits. As Nelson and Crane tried to re-direct Indy's inquiries, and pretend to fit in to 1941, Banner's mind went blank and the words of the people around him descended into gibberish as his brain lost the knowledge of speech. Gasping from the strange air around him, a dark instinct for survival overwhelmed his changing mind, and he attacked the group, knocking down Nelson, and leaping on top of young Nelson. Crane lunged for the mutated sailor, and was thrown back into a crooked palm tree, Sharkey tackled the mutant man, getting him off of the Admiral, but was pushed off and discarded. Banner got to his feet, roared at Captain Crane, and was ready to pounce until he was shot and wounded by Crane's pistol.
They all recovered and cautiously stood back from the injured, mutated Banner.
"Okay...now we really are in a Jules Verne story!" Indy gasped, regaining his breath.
As the group looked down at Banner and wondered what to do next, they were unaware of hidden eyes watching their every move.
Unknowingly for the men from the Seaview that were rigging another raft to go shore with Doc and some medical supplies, two silent rafts had slithered across the surface on the opposite side of the bay, out of view until it was too late. Guns with silencers took out a pair of deck hands before they knew what happened to them, their lifeless bodies splashing down in to the water, as their shipmates turned to see what the commotion was nearby. A dozen men in uniforms from the past leaped onto the hull of the Seaview, and quickly outnumbered those gathered, including a bewildered Doc.
The boarding team held the few remaining Seaview deckhands at gunpoint, and took their clothes to meld in with the sailors inside the ship. While a pair of them quickly moved through a corridor en route for the engine room, the rest gradually entered the submarine through a gangway adjacent to the control room. Without any warning that something was wrong, Morton was unprepared as the group of soldiers arrived en masse within the control room, guns drawn.
The invaders quickly took control of the Seaview's control room, shooting a deckhand near the computer, and wounding Sparks in the arm in his own radio shack cubby hole. That was bad enough, but even worse was that Morton couldn't believe that they were surrounded by men dressed up like 1940's Nazis! His mind was going crazy, trying to make sense of the unexpected situation, as a tall German soldier (the leader, perhaps?) approached him.
"I am Major Rheinhausen. You command zis ship?"
Chip played it cool, and would bluff as much as possible to keep the men safe. "I'm its commanding officer, yes." A small lie- he was the acting commanding officer, thanks to the Admiral and Lee being off ship.
"I see. You vill command your men to obey my every order. The slightest evidence of treachery vill be met with immediate death. Am I clear?"
"You are," Chip snarled, thinking that this man and his followers were nutcases clinging to a dead nightmare of the past, but he knew he had to play along if he didn't want anyone else shot. "Let me get medical attention for my radio man," he insisted, worried for Sparks, who was sitting on the deck, clutching a bleeding arm, as Riley hovered over him.
"A little pain is good for der shpirit. Identify yourself."
"Commander Chip Morton. And just who are you supposed to be? And why're you here? Washington arranged for just us-"
"Washington, vhat do I care for Washington?" Rheinhausen waved off, sounding bored. "Der glorious Fuhrer possesses global domination- vhy should he ask permission from capitalist pigs?"
"'Der Fu-?" Chip began, confused, only to be cut off by his enemy.
"Zis submarine ees impressive, I shall give you that. No doubt a shecret veapon that will look quite nice in our Nazi Marinewerfte, vhere ve vill build many more just like her for the glorious Third Reich!"
"'The Third-?" Chip stuttered, incredulous. They thought this was 1941? Unless they were all escapees from a loony farm, in the middle of the Pacific, these guys really seemed to believe it! Maybe that white fog had something to do with it? Maybe, as crazy as it seemed, it had been some kind of weird tunnel to the past! An undersea time warp? Why not...the adventures of the Seaview had found them encountering the most inexplicable situations, people, and creatures imaginable.
He would keep the true year of.1974 a secret from these Nazi's, so as to keep the future a secret from them.
"Zee submarine is an experimental craft, no?"
"Yes," Chip stated, trying to sound defeated. "It's the only one of its kind." Not far from the truth! The only one in 1941, let alone 1974!
"Sehr gut," Rheinhausen said, actually smiling. And why not? This was the greatest prize the Nazis could have ever possessed, dwarfing any accomplishment during the entire war. "Ze Baron vill be most pleased, and get some credit for his most opportune time to confront the fabled Doctor Jones, but I vill get the lion's share of credit, and no doubt, a lions commendation and promotion!"
He spun on his heel and ordered his men to keep their guns trained on Chip, while others pushed Sparks out of the way from the radio, and instructed one of his men to contact someone called 'Von Kreuk'. After several awkward seconds as the out-of-date soldier tried to comprehend sophisticated controls, a static-filled response was heard on the speaker.
"You vere successful, Major?"
"Jawohl, mein Baron! She is apparently a proto-type- one of a kind, mein Baron."
"Sehr gut, Major. Maintain control of it- I suspect ve vill be needing it to leave zis island, anyvay. Von Kreuk out."
"Missing a ship?" Chip smirked lightly.
Rheinhausen pistol-whipped him in the face, sending him flying back into the periscope pit, where he regained his balance, and wiped a trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth.
"Schweinhund! I could kill you vhere you shtand, and the Baron wouldn't care! Ve need your ship- ve don't need you. Nor do ve need our own submarine vhen ve have yours, but zat is none of your concern."
Rheinhausen barked out orders in German for his men to assume their posts at the various stations, and told them to locate their sub on the sonar. Morton kept his mouth shut, a chill running down his back, as he considered what had happened just a while ago, namely the exchange of torpedoes that saw the other submarine destroyed.
That brought up two distressing facts; one- if that was Rheinhausen's ship, then it was imperative that he not find out that the Seaview blew it out of the water. And two-
- the Nazi sub had been destroyed prior to entering the time warp, which meant it had time travelled, itself, into the future of 1974!
Sharkey handed the binoculars back to Crane, after the captain asked what the hold up was regarding the rescue raft.
"See for yourself, Skipper- there's nobody on deck now!"
"What?" Crane asked, focusing the glasses onto his ship, and sure enough, the upper superstructure, which should be buzzing with activity and Doc was clear.
"They were there just a few minutes ago when I looked, and now...nothing!" Sharkey said, squinting off into the distance, even though his 20/20 eyesight would never have been able to discern figures on top of the ship from this far out.
Crane stared at his sub through the binoculars, then stiffened, gritting his teeth. An involuntary "Oh,oh," from him garnered the attention of everyone present.
"What is it?" Indy asked.
"Take a look for yourself, Doctor," Crane said, offering the high-power futuristic binoculars to the archaeologist of the '40's. Nelson didn't like the man from the past touching their future equipment, but it happened before he could stop it. "To the left of the conning tower...in the water."
That bothered Nelson even more, and he regretted having the glasses handed to him, even after Indy said, "Looks like a couple bodies. Or maybe...floating wood or something?"
"Merely ze work of my men, Doctor Jones," a German-accented voice said from behind everyone, forcing everyone to spin around and look.
From amongst the bushes and trees arrived a tall, cloaked man of middle age, a smug, twisted smile on his Aryan features- and why not? He was flanked by a half dozen men- German soldiers of the 1940's to be specific- and everyone of them had machine guns trained on Indy and Crane's parties. A sudden movement to remove any pistol in any holster by Indy or Nelson, or anyone else, would surely be met with a storm of bullets.
"Von Kreuk?" Indy sneered, recognizing the man before them. "I should have smelled you from a mile away! Except I thought that stench was from monkey poop on the next island over!"
Von Kreuk actually chuckled, removing his leather gloves, and adjusting his monocle. "Very drool, Doctor Jones. I assume you got your sense of humor from those same monkeys, which would be your parents!"
Indy rolled his eyes. "If that's your attempt at humor, I don't think Jack Benny has anything to worry about! That barely made sense!"
"And neither does the accusation that I smell like monkey poop, Doctor. What matters is that I have been observing you quite closely, taking note of movements, tapping into your telephone calls, tracking you all the way here, following you for a month, Doctor Jones-"
"What's the matter? Can't come up with your own hobby?" Indy challenged with a sneer.
"Again vith the jokes, eh, Jones? No matter. Entwaffnen Sie diese Männer!" As the German soldiers leaped forward and disarmed Jones and Nelson's teams, Von Kreuk added, "My men and I could have kept watching you even longer, had you not gotten curious about that very interesting submarine in the bay, or needed a doctor for that...thing."
Everyone looked down at the shivering, delirious form of Banner- or rather the creature that Banner had become. The rewriting of his DNA was staggeringly rapid, and he was more reptilian than human now, seemingly oblivious to everyone around him.
"The same animal bite that turned Lieutenant Banner into that creature could happen to anyone of us, Kreuk-" Crane warned, only to be silenced with a raised hand from the sinister visitor.
"Baron Von Kreuk, sir," he corrected, and snapped his heels together as he added, "In the service of the glorious Third Reich!"
"The only way to save that man is to bring him aboard our sub out there," Nelson insisted.
"Really?" Von Kreuk frowned, disinterested. "Let us remedy that now."
With a snap of his fingers and a point from one hand, a flock of birds screeched and flew away in terror.
Most likely by the combination of the machine gun fire and the high-pitched scream of Julia Grant piercing the air.
A soldier appeared before Rheinhausen and saluted. "Sir! Engine room has been commandeered! Crewmen have been quartered and locked within ze main cargo hold. Ve now control the vessel."
"Very good, Lieutenant," Rheinhausen smirked, returning the salute, before looking down at Morton, who was being held at gunpoint at the same table at the bow of the ship where the senior officers had had their meeting just a few hours ago. Stationed at other posts were several German soldiers, who were slowly acquainting themselves to the operations of the ship, although nobody could figure out what the computer was for, thankfully. Truth be told, Chip knew he could barely instruct them about its uses and functions, but that might be a major secret that was to remain hidden from the invaders- not to mention the nuclear weapons aboard Seaview. From this point in time it was still years before the first primitive atomic device would be detonated, so their existence would be the primary secret to be guarded.
"You didn't have to do that!" Crane shouted, livid. "There was no reason to kill Banner!"
"All I know is that you'll be sorry when the Danforth shows up and makes mincemeat of your little tugboat/U-boat if it dares to show its face," Indy told his nemesis.
"Do you think so?" Von Kreuk challenged him lightly, supremely confident. "I should think that is a wager I would win quite easily."
"Oh? And why's that?"
"Because, my dear Doctor, your quaint little warship would require quite the voyage to the bottom of the sea to visit!"
"Oh, no," Grant whispered, her face turning white.
"Jawohl, my dear. She is resting comfortably under vater with a sizable torpedo hole in her side, courtesy of..." he replied, leaning in towards Indy and adding, "...my leetle tugboat/U-boat, Doctor Jones!"
Jones gritted his teeth and lifted a hand to wave before his face, saying, "Geez, Little Adolf, cut down on the sauerkraut wouldja?"
"Amusing to the last, Doctor Jones." He looked at the Seaview through the strange binoculars, and handed them to Nelson with his same insufferable sense of superiority. "Quite an improvement, no?" Nelson looked back at his ship through the glasses, but allowed himself the sight for barely a second, his well-known rage building within him by the second, his face turning red. As an added indignity, some of the Nazi boarders displayed their damned Nazi flag prominently on the Seaview's periscope.
Crane almost ...almost...felt sorry for Von Kreuk and his men, now that they'd triggered the hot-tempered Admiral's infamous lack
of anger management. Von Kreuk smiled sadistically, and said triumphantly, "It is ours now. Der Fuhrer vill be most pleased when he sees it...after I have brought it safely into a German harbour! So tell me; vhat do you call her?"
"Seaview," Nelson told him, careful to leave out the quasi-military designation of 'SSRN' before 'Seaview."
"Sea View. Seaview," Von Kreuk said, rolling the words along his tongue, until he frowned as if he'd just swallowed something bitter. "Nein, nein, zat vill not do. She must be referred to using the language of the Fatherland. She vill be now known as zee 'Seeansicht'.
Zat vould be 'Seaview' in German, for those of you ignorant of our Aryan language. Sounds much better in our Father-tongue, no? Seeansicht! Zee glorious Seeansicht!"
"Sounds like a cross between a sneeze and a hiccup," Jones smirked.
Nelson visibly cringed at that thought. If that was allowed to happen then Time really would be re-written! Just one torpedo from the Seaview was powerful enough to sink a World War II American aircraft carrier! The Germans were only now, in 1941, formulating ideas of how to build an atomic bomb- the Seaview would hand over several thermonuclear warheads to them just by being brought to Germany! And if that happened, there would be no United States of America, let alone, Earth of the year 1974, that they knew of, to return to.
He turned to face Crane who was quietly drawing his attention, as the Captain told him, "Sir, while you were in your quarters, we came across the wreckage of a destroyed warship. It must have been the Danforth. That makes you the sole survivor of that ship, so do you remember getting home to report it destroyed?"
Nelson grimaced and told him under his breath, "No, Lee. My memory is that the Danforth was listed as missing, not destroyed. I think I was the sole survivor...but I can't remember how I ended up that way. I can only remember that after the Danforth I served aboard the USS Colorado."
Crane nodded, satisfied that the Admiral's answer wasn't one of a bad memory, but caused by the time warp they'd travelled through. Who knew what kinds of effects it could inflict upon someone's mind? All he knew was that he had to make sure the younger Nelson came to no harm, or else there would be no older Harriman Nelson to found the Nelson Institute of Marine Research or create Seaview.
Under guard by Von Kreuk's men and their machine guns, Indiana Jones had little choice but to allow his supplies and gear to be taken away from them, and most annoyingly his journal with all of his findings and research. He stared hard at Von Kreuk, hoping the German couldn't read English, but he soon found out he'd be out of luck.
"Hm. Mm-hm," the Baron mumbled, flipping through the pages. "Yesyesyes, I know all zis. Jones, you really are a mess vhen it comes to making up to date records, aren't you?"
Indy smirked at him, and replied sarcastically, "I wouldn't say that- you should hear how well I can sing Tommy Dorsey songs!"
"Not those kinds of records, Jones, I'm talking about your journal records."
"Oh, those things. That's because I got a better system for keeping track of them, and that's right up here!" Indy answered, tapping his temple.
"I zee. And you vill share them vith me?"
"No chance in Hell, Little Adolf."
"I should like to keep zis civil, Doctor Jones, but if you force my hand, I vill do so."
"Learn it yourself, Baron," Jones sneered. "I'm on my archaeology time now, not my college classroom."
The Baron frowned, and nodded glumly, looking defeated. With the speed of a mountain lion, he reached out with convincing speed, grabbed Grant by the hair and threw her to her knees, still clutching a handful of her brunette locks. The reporter screamed and yelped in pain from being thrown to the ground, scuffing her knees on the rough surface. Crane, Nelson, Sharkey, Indy, and young Nelson all took an involuntary step forward to help, but were just as quickly halted in their movements by the machine guns trained on all of them. As such, the Baron's frown returned to a confident smile.
"You see, Jones? I have you vhere I vant you. Defy me and zis pretty little lady is a pretty little dead lady, and so much shark bait. Do you really vant that to happen?"
Indy's face was red with outrage, but there was nothing he could do. Truth was, he'd be almost as powerless had Redman, or rather, Harry Nelson, was threatened. Unarmed, they were at the mercy of these creeps.
"I hate you Nazi types," Indy growled, his only outlet to say what was on his mind.
Von Kreuk smiled and shrugged his shoulders, then threw a punch into Jones's stomach. It hurt, but it surprisingly didn't double him over. In fact, it hurt as little as a little girl hitting him, and Indy let him know it.
"That's all you got? Heck, Fritz, you need to eat your spinach or something! That practically tickled.!"
His German superiority and masculinity insulted, Von Kreuk's face bunched up in indignation, he snapped his fingers, and Indy felt a painful slam from behind against his left thigh, which easily dropped him to the ground alongside Grant. Indy caught his breath from the slam, as Von Kreuk bent over and taunted him with a light-toned,
"Koo-chee-koo, Doctor Jones! Not so painless was that one, no? Much more from vhere zat one came!" He rose and stared hard at Nelson, Nelson, and Crane. "More for all of you if you defy me! Now...identify yourselves for me."
Nelson took the lead and revealed their names, and that some of them served aboard the submarine off shore, lying that they were Doctor Jones back-up vessel.
"It is an American naval craft? Under vhich fleet?"
Nelson shook his head, "You wouldn't have heard of it, it's top secret. We're part of the First Elvis Fleet, under Vice-Admiral Johnny Cash, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Pacific Office of Deep Sea Marine Research and Island Oceanography." Crane held back a smirk from the gibberish, and looked away so the Nazi wouldn't notice.
"I zee. And zis 'Admiral Cash' sent you here?"
Nelson nodded. "We were sent to take over for the Danforth, and ferry Doctor Jones and his party home when they were finished here. There was no reason for you to kill those men!"
"Somebody stands in the way of the Third Reich and ve push them aside," Von Kreuk replied, casually, waving a hand to one side.
"I trust you von't shtand in our way, Admiral?"
"You're in control."
"Yes...I am!" Von Kreuk chuckled, shoving Grant aside, so that she could stand beside the Admiral. "I'm pleased that ve undershtand one another. So, Doctor Jones, vhat do you make of this place? The closer ve get to the grotto the weirder and more aberrantthis place becomes, no? The crumbly plants, the strange lizards, your dead sailor man over there?"
"Yea? So? We've only just encountered those things, so I haven't had to time to write them down, let alone speculate as to the cause, anyway."
"As a scientist, don't you question why it's happening? If it's connected to why you're even on zis island to begin with?"
"Like I said, you interrupted us before we could explore deeper."
"Following you suggests you vere heading towards the center- that grotto area up ahead," Von Kreuk surmised, looking into the forest. "Ve might as well pick up from vhere you left off, no?"
With his armed soldiers ordered to direct the group back on track, Von Kreuk followed Jones, Nelson and the rest into the forest. The afternoon sun was beginning to heat up the island, making the soldiers uncomfortable and reduced a few to huffing and grunting.
Indy looked over his shoulder as he begin to ad-lib conversation.
"Been awhile since I've been in such a dry, hot place. Yep, this is better than deserts I've been to, like Egypt or the Sahara, but not much, eh, Admiral? Makes a man pretty thirsty, especially if he's lugging heavy equipment. Thirsty and probably hungry...considering the abundance of fruit we're walking by...ignoring."
A subtle raise of the eyebrow caught Nelson's attention, and although he didn't know what Indiana Jones was getting at, he agreed. "I know what you mean. Some of these islands have the sweetest, freshest fruit you could imagine. Picked right off the tree or bush, it doesn't lose any of its freshness which would occur during shipping to the United States."
"Yeah, yeah," Indy nodded, holding a branch aside for Grant to pass through, saying, "A man needs his vitamin C in a place like this. All this hiking, having a so-called breakfast of stall bread and lukewarm coffee-"
"Heyyy!" Grant complained, pouting once more. "I made breakfast for you lugs this morning!"
"I know, I know, it's just that as far as this fruit is concerned-"
"Who cares about fruit!" Grant complained, interrupting Jones. "I went to alot of trouble making breakfast for you guys yesterday!"
"This isn't the time, missy! I'm talking about the fruit!"
"Who cares about fruit? Who even eats fruit?" Grant argued, raising her voice, indignant, until Indy stopped in his tracks, to sneer back at her.
"I'll tell you who, lady! My uncle...Hillsfield Jones and my cousin, Andrews! Remember them from the pictures I showed of them this morning?" Grant opened her mouth and realization dawned on her, her face turning red from embarrassment as she realized what Indy was up to.
She looked back at a curious Von Kreuk and nodded furiously. "I love fruit. I eat it all the time! I can't get enough!"
Indy could only roll his eyes as Nelson and Crane looked at his reaction, still unaware of the deaths earlier that day.
"How good for you," Von Kreuk said, dismissively.
Jones thought that he'd lost his opportunity, until a gagging, panicked sound emanated from the back of the line, and not one, but two Nazi soldiers clutched their throats and fell to the ground. Covered by a pair of soldiers that weren't in distress. Indiana Jones and the team from the Seaview watched as the men died almost instantaneously from biting into juicy fruit they'd picked behind Von Kreuk's back.
"Essen Sie nicht die Frucht! Sie ist giftig!" Von Kreuk barked out, warning his men that the fruit was poisonous. He ordered the remaining soldiers to relieve the dead men of their weapons, paused, and then swung around to see Indy smirking back at him. With his eyes bulging with anger, nearly losing his monocle as he did so, Von Kreuk snapped a yellow-colored fruit off a tree, walked over to Jones, and held it before him. "You enjoy fruit so much, Doctor Jones? Have this one."
"Look it was just a careless accident-" Nelson began, only to have Von Kreuk shout him down.
"You knew! You knew it vas poisonous, didn't you?"
Jones shrugged, turning away slightly from the offered fruit. "So what? So shoot me."
"I von't need to shoot you, Doctor Jones...I only need to feed you, apparently! Eat it." When Indy didn't reach up to take it, the German Baron snapped an order that all weapons were to be trained on Jones. "Eat it, Doctor Jones...or die in a hail of bullets."
"Baron, you don't have to do this!" Crane charged, grinding his teeth. "It was an accident! They probably would have eaten something here even without the Doctor-"
"Shut your lackey up, Admiral! You have five seconds to bite into zis fruit, Jones. Five...four...threee..."
Indiana nervously reached up and gently took the fruit into his hand, swallowing hard as he imagined his life passing before his eyes, all too aware of the guns and the eyes centered on him. He knew he couldn't make a run for it, couldn't say no to Von Kreuk's offer of death, and that a hail of bullets might be a lot more painful way to kick the bucket.
"Nooo! No, stop! Don't make him eat it!" Julia begged, jumping forward, only to be held back by young Harry Nelson.
It distracted everyone momentarily, but not enough for anyone to make a charge at the soldiers, thanks to the Admiral, Crane, and Sharkey being on the other side of the trail, furthest away from the Baron's men.
"Eat the fruit, Doctor Jones. Or else..." he told her, taking aim with his own pistol at the lone woman in the group, "...she dies from a bullet in the brain, just before you die from zat fruit."
Julia struggled lamely against the worried Redman, but Indy just shook his head to tell her not to fight or get into trouble because of him, then looked Von Kreuk in the eye.
"I'll see you in Hell, mister!"
Slowly he opened his mouth, his teeth making contact with the skin of the fruit, Von Kreuk staring viciously, unblinking at him in anticipation, smirking victoriously as Indy took a small bite, tasting the most sour papaya-like fruit he'd ever eaten. His eyes bulged and he began to gag and clench his eyes from sour juice he swallowed. He groaned and doubled over, clutching his stomach before he fell to the grass, hearing Julia frantically call out his name, her voice laced with outraged tears. He twitched and shivered, groaning a few more times, before he released a final choking sound, and lay still.
For good measure Von Kreuk kicked him in the ribs, but Indy's body remained prone and silent. Satisfied, he smiled at his men, and ignored the frustration in the faces of his prisoners.
"Let zat be a lesson to all of you; I vill succeed and you vill obey me. None of you are indispensable! Not even you two, despite your value as hostages from your ship out there," he said, indicating Crane and Nelson. "Move along now. Continue to the center of ze grotto. Schnell, schnell!"
As they travelled through the brush and endeavored to find pathways that they could walk, Nelson commented to Crane under his breath, "Time is changing around us, Lee. We have to be extremely careful what we do here."
"I understand, sir."
"Not as much as you think, Lee. You see, Indiana Jones is dead now...but I know for a fact he lived well beyond 1941 in the correct history!"
That sent a chill down Crane's spine. How much else was Time warping around them?
The soldier appeared with a clipboard from the bowels of the Seaview, gave Rheinhausen a Nazi salute and reported.
"Sir! Ve have examined zis vessel and have found numerous examples of technology zat ve don't understand! There are vords on consoles and machinery that none of us know ze meaning of! The equipment is many years in advance of even our latest warships, and it is heavily armed vith handheld veapons- much more than any civilian ship should have."
"How do you explain that, Commander?" Rheinhausen challenged Chip, who only shrugged and answered,
"Dangerous times. You pirating of this sub is proof of that."
The soldier continued, "And, sir? Ve have quartered off most of ze crew, but ve think some have escaped our grasp. Ve are presently hunting zem down."
"Kill anyone that offers resistance, Lieutenant."
"Jawohl, mein Kommandant!"
Rheinhausen stared at the list and sounded out a couple unnerving words. "'Nu-clear'. 'Nuc-lee-arr'. 'Bow las-ser re-act-tor'. Was ist dieses? What do these vords mean?"
Despite a nervous shiver running down his spine, Morton kept his famous poker face neutral and shrugged nonchalantly, "Just names of equipment- nothing special."
"But vhat are zay for? Vas ist...'las-ser'?"
Morton could only be thankful that he was dealing with a Nazi who obviously had little science knowledge, or at the very least, was so far behind in time that the meaning would be lost on him as much as on a cave man.
"It refers to the, uh, town that it was built. Er, Lasser, North Dakota. It just-just shows the voltage. Voltage in the wiring of the central ballast machinery."
"Mm. And vhas ist 'nuc-lear'?"
That sent another chill up Morton's spine. Imagine the damned Nazis with nuclear weapons! All of Seaview's numerous nuclear missiles! It was like watching a monkey play with a bomb that would be triggered the moment his finger accidentally touched the trigger! He lied, "It means 'new', as in 'brand new', 'untested', you know? Just a new kind of...gear mechanism and...tubes. Look, you've seen this sub from the outside and it looks kind of unusual to you, doesn't it?"
"Well, then...when she was built, she was given new words to describe all of the same old parts on any other submarine in the Navy. Just fancy names to make her seem special. It was all an ego trip for the Navy brass."
"'Ego...trip'?" Rheinhausen asked, confused.
Morton sighed and rolled his eyes. "Don't tell me you Nazis don't have egos? It means...some one who is vain, and full of self esteem that they look down on others The men that built her wanted to look all important and wanted to be famous by renaming old equipment to single her out, you see? Ego trip." Morton was actually pleased with his convincing lie, that he finished it with a frown that told the German that even as the Exec, he was lumped into the group of people that the egotists looked down upon.
Rheinhausen tutted and smiled derisively, "You Americans! So vainglorious, so blind to the superiority of ze Fatherland. No matter. You vill know, eventually."
The grotto began to emit its own light even as the group ventured further inwards, even though the high ceiling provided by the gigantic hollowed out rock wall should have blocked out any light from the sun. However, streams of light were emanating from the very walls casting unusual shadows everywhere, and it garnered Von Kreuk's attention.
"Vhat do you make of zis, Admiral?"
"You actually care about my opinion?" Nelson growled.
"As senior officer of zees men I might as vell as you your opinion. Jones is dead, and zat makes none of you an expert."
Nelson looked up and around and sighed, replying, "Well, what I'm about to suggest might sound...fantastic, strange to you..."
"Well, by the shape of this rock wall, and the strange glow from it, I would have to suggest that this was originally a meteor or asteroid from space that crashed here long ago, possibly splitting the island in half from the force of the impact."
"A shooting star?" Von Kreuk smirked. "You have a gifted mind for Zukunftsromane, Admiral. Er, rather, science fiction, I believe you American refer to it."
"Then why don't you explain it, Von Kreuk? None of what we've seen has any earthly explanation!"
"Really, Admiral? A shooting star lands here and makes fruit poisonous or crystallizes it? It makes lizards shprout bat-like wings and snakes develop the ability to bark at my men?"
Nelson and Crane looked at one another- Von Kreuk had witnessed some pretty strange stuff at the same time as Jones party! The Admiral continued, "Don't you know anything of radiation, man? The invisible energy discharges of...no, I suppose not. It's probably too soon for your people to know of that."
"'My people', 'my people, vhat is zat supposed to mean?" Von Kreuk sneered, indignant. "The Third Reich is composed of ze greatest minds in ze vorld, Admiral! I have a superior intelligence, myself, coming from royal blood, so do not seek to insult me! Whatever zis, zis thing is, it might be as you say, from shpace. Zat vill be for our German scientists to deal vith later. For now, ve vill press onward. Towards that glowing area up ahead."
"You're sure you want to do that, Baron? If it's the heat of the asteroid, it's going to be the most dangerous area. It could alter all of us physically, as it altered the fruit and animal life," Crane warned.
Von Kreuk chuckled, "Do not vorry, Admiral. The moment you shprout wings I vill have my men shoot you vhere you stand to spare you the metamorphosis!"
The lone sentry posted by the conning tower door of the mysterious submarine noticed one of Von Kreuk's guards returning to the ship, via a raft. It seemed strange, since it didn't look like one of their rafts that they'd used to go ashore with the Baron, and the ones that they'd used to board the submarine were still tethered along the starboard side, hidden from the view of the island. With a lone man aboard it, rowing towards the captured submarine, the sentry barked out,
"Wer sind Sie? Identifizierenen Sie sich! Warum kommen Sie hier zurück?"
When he got no response he aimed his machine gun at the occupant, even though he was in the same kind of German uniform that he, himself, wore. The man was rubbing his stomach and grunting out words, which he could just make out as,
The sentry understood the weak pleas for 'help', and that the man was saying that he was 'sick', so he dropped his weapon onto the hull, and helped the helmeted German soldier up to the deck of the ship. He offered encouragement as the soldier ascended a side ladder bolted into the hull of the submarine, and was expecting to get a good look at the newcomer until the visitor gave him a vicious headbutt with his helmet.
Knocked delirious, several more punches were landed his way, robbing him of his breath as they crashed into his stomach, and consciousness as the last few hits wracked his nose and jaw. Seeing stars, the sentry collapsed, but didn't feel the hands of his enemy catch him and lie him onto the hull. The visitor descended the ladder again, tied the raft to a moor hook, and lugged a sack onto his shoulder as he climbed back up the gangway, and quietly entered the sub.
Nelson was getting a headache from the radiation, and it wasn't doing his stomach any good as he worried himself sick about the consequences. Most likely, they could all stand a little exposure, but the longer they were here the harder it would be for even late 20th century medicine to help them.
He observed the angst on the face of his younger self, envious of how many years and adventures still awaited his younger self- provided they weren't killed by the Nazis in this twisted version of Time. As much as he tried, he couldn't for the life of him remember these events occurring this way. He had a vague memory of an island expedition with the fabled Indiana Jones, months of taunting from older officer , and the listed-as-missing status of his old ship, the Danforth, but that was all! How could this be? His memory was still sharp, and jam-packed with facts and experiences before and after Word War II, so why was it failing him here and now? Was he living in an alternative time and place? Was History being rewritten around them just because of their entry into 1941?
That would be the worst possible news, considering he had heard of numerous incidents that had pitted Doctor Jones against the Germans, and he usually always won. But now that he was dead... He looked at his earlier self and the morose-looking reporter, Julia Grant, and saw nothing but hopelessness on their faces.
"Listen to me, both of you," he whispered to them as they trudged through the forest, "Despite how things look, don't give up hope. Never give up- we'll get you out of this."
"How?" Grant whispered back, her voice cracking with the strain, her memory inundated by the memory of watching Indy keel over and die right before her eyes. "We're not officially at war with Germany, but what use could we be to them other than temporary hostages? I know how bad the Nazis are, Admiral- I have connections in Britain, and those reporters haven't seen anything like this horrible Third Reich."
"All I'm asking is you trust my men and I. We've been in tighter spots than this." Grant nodded, accepting it as little more than a weak attempt at optimism, but young Nelson looked at older Nelson, somehow under able to look away. It had the older sailor on edge immediately. "Something, sailor?'
Young Harry Nelson looked away from the Nelson of the future, and stumbled across his words with, "Oh, uh, no, no, sir, not really. Guess my mind's kinda all worked up. I didn't mean any offence."
"None taken...son," Nelson replied, smiling slightly at his addressing 'himself' as 'son'."
"It's just that, sir, that- well...I swear we're related!"
Nelson stiffened and looked over his shoulder. Von Kreuk was keeping a subtle eye on him and Crane up ahead, and more than one machine gun was trained on both of him. He mumbled to his younger self,
"Not likely, son. My family is-" he began, stopping himself from telling young Harry the present day-1941 location of his parents and brother which would match young Harry's. He had to throw him way off course if this was to continue. "That is...I'm adopted," Nelson lied. "Born in...Britain, about 60 years ago, before my family moved to the United States."
"Oh. Okay," young Nelson frowned, noting that it didn't match his own upbringing. "Still...you could actually be an old uncle of mine, sir, with features like yours."
Nelson smiled and gave him a nod. "I'll take that as a compliment, young man."
He desperately wanted to give advice to his younger, enthusiastic self, to tell him where to turn left instead of right, to right wrongs that he'd experienced in life, but he knew only too well that that would screw up Time even worse. If he did so, he might not invent the Seaview and that would create a paradox- no Seaview, no trip to this island- no trip to this island, no possibility of meeting his younger self.
He would have to play out events here in 1941 as they unfolded, and hopefully in the end be rewarded with an explanation as to why everything was so topsy-turvy.
Von Kreuk cried out for everyone to halt.
The next thing everyone knew, one of the soldiers was collapsing, writhing in pain- and it wasn't because of poisonous fruit.
Kowalski was getting antsy all squeezed-up inside one of the Seaview's numerous air ducts, but it couldn't be helped. If he was going to avoid these crazy nutjobs that thought they were next generation Nazis then he would have to bide his time and take out one at a time. Unfortunately, he'd lost his way and had overshot the arsenal, so he was still unarmed. Footsteps down the corridor caught his attention, and he caught his breath, listening hard... One man...walking slowly, he judged.
He saw that he was correct as a German soldier cautiously walked past the vent he was hiding in, and very carefully pushed open the grill behind the soldier, relieved that it wasn't on a squeaky hinge. Gingerly he swung his feet out, then at the last moment leaped onto the floor, his momentum making him land in a crouching position which aided in his springing up to jump the startled German.
The soldier dropped the bag he was carrying and grunted from the right hook Kowalski levelled at him, but just as quickly shrugged it off, and caught the sonar man's arms, and twisted him down to the floor long enough to bark,
"Hang on, buster! I'm not-"
But Kowalski wasn't having anything of it! This man, and all the others were intruders that had to be dealt with extreme force. He kicked upwards, breaking the hold of the German, then rolled on top of him, only to discover that the man was as hard to hold down as a bronco bull. He expected the soldier to grab his gun, and shove it in his face, and try to punch his lights out, but a piece of Kowalski's mind registered that he was being restrained- that the German was fighting a defensive battle.
"I'm an American!" the German huffed, in a clear American accent. "I'm not one them! Hold your horses, kid!"
Kowalski stopped struggling, his hands clutching the lapels of the German uniform, while the soldier in the uniform looked down at him, imploringly, as if he needed to be believed. And since he knew a German accent when he heard one, it confused the hell out of the Seaview crewman.
"I'm Indiana Jones, part of an expedition brought here by the USS Danforth. I've already met Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane- and they're being held prisoner by the real Germans on the island!"
He got off Kowalski who let go at the first words of trouble for the Admiral and Skipper. The fake German even grabbed his forearm and helped him to his feet, picking up his bag as well.
"Skipper's in trouble? How'd you get here? Why are you here?"
Jones nodded, and pushed Kowalski into a supply room, gently closing the door most of the way behind him as he explained, "I'm here 'cause I cheated death. Something's made a lot of the fruit over there poisonous, and I was forced to eat one by Baron Von Kreuk. Lucky for me it wasn't poisonous. On the other hand," he said as he lifted up his bag, "some of these might be! It's the only way I could think of cutting down the numbers on your submarine without the hassle of a gunfight."
Kowalski nodded, then his eyes widened under his heavy brow line as he gasped, "You want to poison the intruders with lethal poison?"
"These are Nazis, mister- they play for keeps. They've already killed , and sunk the ship my expedition came here aboard. And something tells me that it'd make that creepy old fascist in Berlin real happy to bring this super-boat to him- if only to keep all this nifty American ingenuity out of his hands."
Kowalski nodded, his mind racing. It seemed crazy, but this guy, this Indiana Jones, seemed to think he was dealing with Nazis, real 1940's-era, World War II-type Nazis, even going so far as to mention a certain infamous fascist in Berlin. He'd been at the sonar when the Seaview had passed through that white undersea mist and rocked and rolled. Could they have gone back in time? As ludicrous and scientifically crazy as that was, Kowalski had years of bizarre, inexplicable experiences under his belt. This was just one more for his memoirs!
"Okay, I'm with you. I know where some of the guys are being held. we can't go to the control room- Mister Morton, our Exec, is being held there, and he's all alone. Everyone at the stations, including my sonar, is manned by a...Nazi." It left a bad taste in Kowalski's mouth, but for now, he'd play along, half-believing this nightmare.
Jones thanked him and got directions as to where they should go next.
Von Kreuk ordered his men back as they watched a soldier called Gentzler gasp and writhe on the ground, his mind overtaken by whatever strange malady had afflicted his body. Nelson, Crane and the rest looked on, too, helpless to offer help, as Gentzler gagged and stared up into the sky through eyes that no longer registered vision as the man had known it to be. Von Kreuk watched, startled and morbidly interested as Gentzler's skin mutated and became brittle and opaque, muscle and blood becoming evident by the minute. Grant screamed from horror and looked away, as young Nelson covered her face, but watched the metamorphosis himself. The soldier began to cry out and growl and moan like a panicked animal, his limbs thrashing and whipping about, until at last his hand hit a rock and actually shattered to bits like a snowball dashed against a wall.
Seeing the panic in the injured man's face, Von Kreuk took a machine gun from one of his men, and blasted away the screaming soldier, shattering him like a snowman. Sharkey and Crane looked away, but Nelson growled,
"Von Kreuk can't you see that this place is too dangerous to stay in? We've got to get off this island now!"
"You pitiful sad American! Such cowardice! Der Third Reich is going to survive a thousand years, but only through the sacrifices of her sons and daughters! And I intend to see that it does live for a thousand years vith vhatever sacrifices I need to make personally! Keep moving."
With several machine guns still pointing their way, the men didn't have much choice.
At gunpoint, Kowalski was escorted into the engine room where a number of Germans examined and operated the Seaview's controls. Indy was still masquerading as a German and kept his head down so that his helmet covered his features, and despite knowing very little German, he offered a generic, "Hey!". The invaders looked his way, and eagerly came over to dig into the bowl of fruit that it appeared Kowalski was being forced to feed them.
Indy backed off, keeping his face partially hidden by the helmet he wore, looking about the advanced engine room controls, and held his breath, even as Kowalski was shoved back by a German that cursed him out with, "Erhalten Sie weg von Ihnen amerikanischen Hund! Gehen Sie zurück zum Waschen meiner Aufladungen!" which made his fellow soldiers bark out with laughter...until one and then another began to gag.
The other two soldiers posted in the Seaview's engine room leaped forward and demanded to know what was happening to their comrades, but they'd already collapsed onto the floor, their life essences quickly succumbing to the toxic fruit. Kowalski was jumped by the two remaining soldiers, only to encounter resistance in the unexpected form of one of their own- even though it was Indy. Jones smashed his opponent in the jaw and gut again and again, driving him away from the seaman so that Kowalski could take on his own opponent. High school boxing and wrestling classes paid off for Kowalski, but his Nazi opponent wasn't about to give up, trading left hooks and devastating blows to the ribs and gut as each sought to outdo the other.
Indy's challenger found himself thrown into a control panel, where he found a handy spanner wrench that looked like it was big enough to smash an elephants skull. Jones reached out for the closet tool he could just see out of his peripheral vision, but it turned out to just be a chunky magic marker pen, which he tossed aside in frustration, as the Nazi jumped for him, slamming the tool against a water pipe behind Indy's head. The adventurer ducked and deaked out the German, who swung wildly with the powerful-looking tool, smashing it again and again against metallic objects that made it obvious that he was playing for keeps and would use it on Indy's head over and over until his skull was so much mashed potatoes.
Kowalski got in close with his enemy, trying to pull his arm back to judo-flip him, but the German swung a heavy closed fist onto the back of the seaman's neck, making Kowalski see stars and release his grip, which allowed the German to twist him around, and fall on top of him, adjusting his grip so that he clutched onto Kowalski's throat to choke him. Indy saw an opening, backed up as the Nazi charged him, then dropped to the deck at the same time as he tripped the German with kicking legs, so that he fell into a bank of exposed electrical wiring. With the metallic wrench making contact with the electronics, the German was electrocuted instantly, and continued to have lethally high voltage run through his body long after he perished.
Indy's helmet found the German's face with the force of a champion footballer, knocking out the other Nazi, who released his strangle-hold on Kowalski, even as he lost consciousness. Kowalski gasped and squeaked out a 'thank you', allowing Indy's helping hand to get him back to his feet.
"Okay, kid, that's four down. And who knows how many more to go. Mostly armed, too, so we'll have another go at using the poison fruit on 'em."
"Nah-nah-nah-nah!" Kowalski groaned, shaking his head, and rubbing his throat. "That didn't work out too well. And besides, it's pretty darn inhumane."
"Nazi's ain't human!" Indy argued.
"Yea, yea, I agree, but all we gotta do is get them off this ship with a gun pointing at them. This senseless killing doesn't have to keep going."
"Okay, buster, if you can think of a different fancy plan, then go right ahead. We've got the engine room, so think of something to do that helps us, while I lock up the creep with my helmet-print on his forehead."
Sharkey was carrying the Geiger-counter and it was crackling like crazy. He just stared, incredulous, at the determination of Baron Von Kreuk forcing them forward. If he thought they'd have a chance against the Nazis, he'd jump the Baron right there and then if it meant everyone would safely get off the island, but there was no guarantee of that at all, considering that poor Seaview had been boarded by these Nazi nutjobs. And frankly, even one machine gun-toting bad guy made up for a lack of numbers. The Seaview party and young Admiral Nelson and the lady reporter outnumbered the trio of Germans left, but they kept their weapons trained on the good guys.
Young Harry Nelson quickened his pace to walk alongside Admiral Nelson, who withheld a smirk of envy and recognition in his younger self, recognizing that same look of determination in the eyes of the young man he once was, which had propelled him throughout his career and led him to the admiralty. It was that self same determination that threatened to bend Time into something unrecognizable with his words.
"Admiral," Harry whispered to him under his breath, "I'm going to jump the Baron. I'll grab his gun, and hold him in front of me, so that the Nazis won't shoot anyone."
"You can't!" the Admiral angrily hissed under his breath.
"We can't just keep going, sir!" Harry hissed back, his famous anger rising. "We gotta fight back!"
"We will, sailor, but not here, not now!" Nelson chided his earlier version.
"Begging the Admiral's pardon, sir, but frankly...are you outta your mind?"
Had it been anyone else- Kowalski, Patterson, a younger version of Lee Crane, Nelson would have grabbed the man's lapels and shaken some sense into him. Instead, since it was himself he grimaced and cursed under his breath, "Now look here, crewman! We're prisoners at the moment, but I still outrank you and you will obey my orders! I'll have you busted down so low that you'll never make it to admiral!"
Harry made a weird face, partially confused, partially sufficiently put into his place, so that he only mumbled a lame 'Yes, sir' to his older self, and walked a little slower so that he was on pace with Julia Grant again. Whispering again, he said to her, "No go. Old guy's a coward."
"Or logical. We might have guns pointing at us, but it's their numbers that are dipping, thanks to this place," she told him, only to recall the painful memory of Indiana Jones dying before her eyes. Considering the stories she'd heard about the Nazi regime in Germany, she almost hoped she would join him, rather than be brought back to that terrifying country so far away.
"A glowing spot up ahead!" the Baron cried out, excitedly. "Quickly! Head that way!"
Nelson, Crane, and Sharkey exchanged worried looks amongst themselves, as they imagined a glowing, white-hot nuclear furnace awaiting all of them, with no survivors left to tell anyone the fate of the expedition. As it was, what they found was stranger than fiction. Embedded within some island rocks was a glowing metallic object, which itself was smothered by the same alien rock that it had crashed upon Earth within. As tall as a grown man, the metal object looked like a cross between a trumpet and a geared clock, showing some of its functions moving back and forth, winding, clicking, through exposed areas. At the top was a wide funnel shape, where the music from a trumpet emanated from, but this was no musical instrument, if the soft, ghostly humming it was making was any indication.
"Vhat...is it?" the Baron asked, intrigued.
"We can only guess to its function," Nelson mused. "But it's clearly not of this Earth."
"Oh, come, come, Admiral! Again vith the shience fiction ideas! Zis is not a Buck Rogers comic shtrip! Zis is real life!"
"Okay, then you tell us what it is if your supremely intelligent Nazi brain is so much better than any of ours?" Nelson challenged.
The Baron walked closer to it, paced from side to side, running a thumb across his lower lip as he examined it. Finally he clicked his tongue and slapped his sides, saying, "Vhat does it matter vhat I think it is? Der Fuhrer vill be most pleased vith zis recovery, no? Zis vas vhat Doctor Jones was so determined at acquiring, was it not, my dear?" Grant frowned and looked away, choking back a tear at the reminder of the dead Indy. Von Kreuk shrugged his shoulders, and smiled as he cleaned his monocle and returned it to his eye, saying, "All zat matters is that ve dig this up and bring it aboard the Seav--, or rather..heh, heh! Der Seeansicht. You vill assist, using the shovel from the late Doctor Jones' supplies." he insisted, handing the shovel to Nelson as an added indignity. When the creator of the Seaview didn't budge, Von Kreuk raised his own pistol at him and growled, "Shoveling vill be most painful vith a bullet in your knee, von't it, Admiral?"
With logic like that, Nelson swiped the shovel from the German with a stare that could kill, and took a couple steps forward. Suddenly, the alien object began to wail and vibrate like it was alive, forcing Nelson to step back, unsure of how to proceed. He took a few steps forward, and again the sound from the artefact began to rise in tempo, until he stepped back.
"Did you hear that?"
"Yes, Admiral," Crane replied, at the same time as Sharkey nodded, while surprisingly Von Kreuk sneered,,
"Hear vhat?" He cast a look back at his men, but they shook their heads. Even Harry Nelson and the female reporter looked confused. "There vas no sound! Dig!"
Nelson approached once more, this time getting as close as two feet from the artefact when it whined and whistled even louder, as if it was giving him a warning.
"You must have heard that?" Nelson asked, stepping back and getting exasperated.
"There is nuzzing happening, Admiral!" Von Kreuk practically yelled, his face turning red.
"Lee; you try. You approach it this time," the Admiral ordered.
Crane took the shovel, and slowly approached the alien object embedded within its alien rock, and just like his superior officer, the thing released a warning wail of eerie sound that was about as welcoming as the rattling of a rattle snake's tail. He turned away and saw Von Kreuk and his men looking back at him, seemingly waiting for something to happen.
"How is it you and I can hear it and not them?" Crane wondered.
"I...have a theory. Sharkey?"
"Check it out."
"Me, sir?" the Chief asked, meekly.
"I need you to confirm a theory. Don't touch it, just walk towards it."
"Uri, okay, sir, but just in case it goes off like the Fourth of July, just try to give my Grandma a call to let her know I died a hero, okay, sir? Grandma Sharkey is kinda proud of the long family line of Sharkey's that've made a name for themselves, goin' all the way back to the Civil War and, well, if you-"
"Chief! Move it!" Nelson hissed.
The Chief did as he was asked, although he approached the object empty-handed, and shuffled as slowly and nervously towards it as he felt inside. None of them knew what it was, so if it was actually some kind of motion-sensitive bomb... He stopped when the object began to whine and vibrate, making him freeze in place, like the time that idiot Patterson pulled the pin on a grenade and didn't realize it!
"That'll be all, Chief. Back off," Nelson commanded, but Sharkey was frozen in place, his big blue eyes popping out, his face becoming drenched in sweat. Nelson growled again, louder, "Chief! Move...away!"
Sharkey understood him this time, so the sailor stepped back quickly, practically kicking up enough sand to mimic a spinning auto tire. Nelson then hated to do it, but he gently asked Julia Grant to walk towards the object. The ashen-faced reporter looked at him, her face full of confusion.
"Heyyy! Why me? I'm a civilian! And we're supposed to be on the same side, me and you! We're both Americans, aren't we? Why don't we get one of those Nutzies to take a hike?"
"Please, Miss Grant, just do it. Again, I don't want you to touch it, just get a few feet from it."
Grant's face soured, and with enough questions and confusion to keep them talking for hours (since she didn't hear what the Seaview officers heard, but was all too aware of their nervousness), she stepped towards the rock-embedded object. Nelson, Crane, and Sharkey struggled to hear something, anything, but the object remained completely silent. Nelson asked her to step back beside Harry Nelson, who then stood protectively in front of her.
"What do you think, Admiral?" Crane asked.
Under his breath, Nelson answered, "The only scientific answer is that this object, whatever it is, somehow senses the paradox of us being here, in 1941. We don't belong here, and on some level of perception that we can't imagine...that thing seems to know it, and it's reacting to us."
"Enough talk, Admiral! I already commanded you to dig that object out! Do so, or more bodies will drop dead!" Von Kreuk snapped.
"That's just it, Baron; we can't prove it, but the three of us hear an alarm or warning sound when we go near the object. The only solution is for your own men to dig it up."
"Oh, ja, ja, you vould like zat, wouldn't you? My men drop their veapons, and you jump them. Is that the pinnacle of American ingenuity, Admiral? If zo, then Der Third Reich vill have an easy time erasing your United American States from ze map."
Nelson swallowed as numerous machine guns pointed his way, and felt helpless to argue further. The Baron already displayed a bloodthirsty side and he was more than willing to execute whomever stood in his way. The Seaview had already been captured, and he wasn't absolutely required to operate her- but he was needed to keep her out of Hitler's hands, so he relented.
Taking a few more steps towards the object, he heard it whine and cry out louder and louder in a warbling, eerie resonance that seemed to make his brain feel like his head was being placed in a vice within an oven. He grimaced from a rising sensation of pressure and pain in his skull as he got closer and closer to it, ignoring its alien threats. Once in position, he tapped the edge of the rock with the shovel, finally releasing a splatter of sparks that everyone witnessed this time.
Nelson looked back at Von Kreuk, who only ordered him to continue. Nelson had an idea, thinking that if he could just direct those same sparks and a release of energy towards the Baron then they might just be able to launch a counter-attack. Holding his breath, he adjusted his grip on the shovel from one that was meant for digging to one more in line with smashing over a head, only to have a familiar, youthful voice cry out from behind,
"Admiral! Don't do it!"
A second later, young Harry Nelson had leaped forward, and was fighting for control of the shovel with his older self. Nelson shouted at his younger version to not be a fool and to leave him alone, until their hands made contact with one another. The resulting flash blew both of them backwards, and brought forth a scream of alien origin from the object that everyone heard. Von Kreuk stared at the artefact, his mouth open, unsure what to do, believing that both the motionless Admiral and the young sailor on the ground were now dead, while his men backed away nervously.
Sharkey was at Nelson's side in an instant, despite Crane warning him off, but the old friend of the Admiral went unharmed as he dragged the limp body of the old man away from the wailing, vibrating object. Crane jumped forward, and pulled young Harry Nelson back, even as the object began to glow, and discharge electrical current from one point of its alien form to another.
"Skipper, I don't like this at all! That thing's gonna blow!" Sharkey warned, his eyes bulging even bigger than before, if that was possible.
"You don't have to tell me twice, Chief! Pick up the Admiral and let's get the hell outta here!"
Sharkey hefted the limp sailor onto his back with a fireman's carry, just as Crane stood up with the younger Nelson draped across his shoulders.
"Nein, nein, nein! Shtay vhere you are, Crane! Ve vill vait and see-"
"Yeah, Fritz? You and what army? Your grunts have hightailed it like rats on a sinking ship!" Sharkey shouted, swinging his head to one side to indicate Von Kreuk's left side.
The German Baron glanced to one side, and found himself alone with the Americans. He grasped his pistol with both hands, aiming straight at Crane's head, even as his legs began to twitch and feel like jello, as the alien noise penetrated his soul, and the light around them began to illuminate every grain of sand in ways he'd never experienced before.
"Ve shtay here! You vill dig zat thing out, und then I vill-"
A shape charged at Von Kreuk from one side, and he couldn't react in time to prevent himself from being tackled by Julia Grant. They landed in a jumble, but Von Kreuk struck his head against the edge of the rock that the alien object was embedded within, which knocked him out instantly. When Crane and Sharkey stared at this brave woman from the 1940's, who had seemed so meek and appeared to belong in the concrete jungles of office buildings and not the South Pacific, she stood up, dusted herself off, and smiled lamely, shrugging,
"I grew up with four brothers who liked football!"
That seemed to be enough to satisfy their curiosity, and allowed Crane to take charge and lead everyone out of the grotto and away from the dangerous alien object. Even a thousand feet away, and back towards the beach the warbling could be heard, almost as if it was inside their heads, while previously-darkened areas of the jungle glowed ominously. The beach was also not a place that they wanted to be, after all.
"Oh, my God...the raft is gone!" Crane groaned, seeing the sanctuary of his ship off in the distance, but without any way of reaching her.
Kowalski had found two compartments that had been used to stuff dozens of the Seaview crew inside, and they were more than happy to be released, if only so that they could breathe again. Patterson was amongst them, as was Doc, but Kowalski only trusted Patterson to be of any help for the inevitable shoot-out in the control room. He told the rest of the crew to get to their stations, and if they saw any intruders they were to be rounded up, handcuffed and brought to the deck of the ship outside to be dropped off onto the island.
"What the hell, Kowalski?" Indy growled, confused, discarding the wretched German uniform so that he could wear his regular clothes instead. That uniform had been pretty hot with his shirt and leather jacket underneath, not to mention his bullwhip tucked into his shirt across his back. "You're going to let those men live to see another day? They're too dangerous to be allowed to live!"
"Yeah, well, I'm not about to play God in 1941, and I don't know if they're supposed to live or die, Doctor Jones, so I gotta take that chance."
"Nobody knows if they're supposed to live or die, kid! What're you talking about?"
Kowalski hesitated and was tempted to reveal the very important detail that he and the Seaview were from the future, and killing just one German soldier might change history as Kowalski and the crew knew it, but instead he replied, "That's how we roll here on the Seaview, Doctor. We're not going to play judge, jury, and executioner."
"Have it your way, Kowalski, but I think you're making a big mistake!"
In the control room, a helpless Chip Morton watched with interest as a warning at an engine room station called out an alarm. Rheinhausen and his assistant checked it out, even as one of his men tried to translate the meaning. They waved over Morton, who slowly approached them at gunpoint with a third Nazi.
"Was ist dieses? Vhat is happening?" Rheinhausen demanded to know.
Morton leaned forward and read the controls, debating as to how he should play this. He could make it a doomsday scenario, or reveal that it was nothing more than a steam-line break, meaning he could scare the hell out of them now with threats of destruction, or say it was inconsequential, and possibly allow the crew to perform some sabotage to stop these intruders, which was what he suspected.
"Oh, ah, just a secondary line break, across the...uh, tertiary rib across the portside hull. Nothing serious."
"Nuzzing serious?" Rheinhausen squinted, suspicious. "Vith zat kind of alarm?"
Morton shrugged and leaned forward, twisting a pair of dials that silenced the warning- actually shutting off the alarm signal to the computer chip in the console, while leaving the actual sabotage untouched. "Sure, sure. See? Here, it's gone. Fixed remotely. It's a new ship, but there are still bugs and kinks to work out."
"Vhat is 'bugs' und 'kinks'?" the German wondered, still displaying a frustrating amount of suspicion.
"You know, minor problems. Little adjustments. I shut off the valve that was sending steam to a section of the ship that didn't need it. Might need it for underwater travel, but the secondary bio-connocular system will kick in then. The ballast tanks will fill up, and the retro-rocket profusion will inundate the aft compartment tracker-marker switches, understand?"
Rheinhausen didn't, and why should he? Morton didn't understand what he just said! He also hoped Rheinhausen wouldn't ask him to repeat that! What he had going for him was that the Seaview looked so different from current 1940's submarines that it made sense that she would have parts with confusing, unfamiliar American names. Lucky for Chip, the Major believed him, even though he sent one man aft to check it out, cutting down the numbers to just Rheinhausen and five German soldiers manning the control room.
Out of the corner of his eye Morton noticed the tell-tale patch of red of Kowalski's uniform as he peaked through the top of the curved stairway at the bow of the ship. Kowalski backed off as he surely caught sight of the two Germans manning the forward helm and navigation stations, so Morton stepped towards the glass map near the aft of the control room, so that Rheinhausen and his two men would have to turn around and look his way.
"Major, can I ask what will become of the crew? We're really no threat to you."
"You vill be interviewed on a person to person basis, I should think. The more valuable amongst you vill be questioned further by the S.S., und the rest dispersed amongst our prisoner of war camps."
"Even though we're not technically soldiers?"
"You are enemies of Der Fatherland, and for that you vill-"
A wicked lashing sound like a whip echoed within the control room from the far end towards the observation windows suddenly, followed by a pair of cries of pain as the whip found its mark. Rheinhausen and his assistant looked around at the racket, and pulled out their guns, even as Morton jumped Rheinhausen from behind. Indiana Jones leaped off the curved staircase onto the deck, and swung his whip once more, slashing the two Germans at helm and navigation across their faces, making them cry out again, and tumble to the deck. Kowalski and Patterson jumped down from the curved stairs next, and as Patterson covered the injured Germans with his gun, Kowalski found his target, hitting the German at the sonar station in the shoulder, and fired two more shots that forced the last two Germans to duck and return fire.
Patterson added his own cover fire for Kowalski as the sailor edged closer, ducking beneath the periscope pit, as the German soldier that had manned the helm station rose despite the pain, and was ready to jump the blue-suited Patterson, until Indy's whip snapped out like lightning, wrapped itself around the soldier's arm, and yanked him into Indy's free fist, knocking out his lights for good.
Morton and Rheinhausen struggled amongst themselves, each with two handfuls of the others uniform. The Nazi fought like an angry gorilla as far as Morton was concerned, trying to drive Morton off his feet and onto the floor, but Morton twisted around and slammed the German into the glass map, cracking it from the sudden force. Rheinhausen ignored the shots being fired, and released Chip's collar to claw at his face, digging his nails into the Executive Officer's left eyebrow and orbital bone below his eye. Morton yelped with pain, and felt the world swing about 180 degrees, as Rheinhausen twisted him about and slammed him with unexpected strength into a starboard control panel, and just as forcefully into the glass map, sending Chip through it and onto the deck amongst a thousand glass shards.
A final two shots from a nearby gun ended Rheinhausen's life, as he stared wide-eyed and in shock as he momentarily felt a painful intrusion into his forehead, then dark shadows enveloped his soul and his lifeless body slumped against the radar station, eventually slipping down at an odd angle onto the deck. Morton's back felt like he'd been run over with a tank with sharp broken glass wheels, and struggled to find a position in which to regain his footing. Patterson and Kowalski were on him seconds later, each hefting up the Exec with one arm each. Morton thanked them and looked on with confusion at the newcomer with the whip.
"Pretty handy...with that whip, mister," Morton grunted.
", Indiana Jones, Indiana Jones, our ship's Exec, ."
The adventurer nodded and shook Chip's hand once, unsure why the young blond officer was suddenly staring at him with an expression approaching awe. Indy had to ask, "Something wrong?"
"Indiana Jones...the Indiana Jones?" Morton asked, still unable to disguise his surprise.
"Why does everyone around here act like that when I introduce myself?" Jones wondered aloud. "Yeah, that's me. Have we met before or something?"
Morton shrugged it off and just mumbled about reading the adventurer's exploits, but it was much, much more...
...Indiana Jones was Chip Morton's uncle!
The island was wrecking itself, as the ground began to shake intermittently, as it glowed more and more across its far side. It was almost as if it was experiencing a volcanic eruption, despite having no volcano present on it. Crane and Sharkey couldn't explain what had happened to their raft, other than one of the cowardly German soldiers that had abandoned Von Kreuk must have found it first and gone to the Seaview to escape the alarming light and sound show around them.
Then a welcome sight across the bay gave them hope.
Faint shouts of victory outside the Seaview whispered across the water to them, as they saw numerous men go topside across the hull of the sub, and up to the conning tower to tear off the enemy flag that had been posted across a periscope. Then the searchlight came to lift, and sent out an encrypted message to those on shore, revealing that the Seaview was theirs again. Crane and Sharkey shouted back at their shipmates, waving them in to hopefully elude to their need for a raft, since they'd been relieved of their walkie-talkies and all of their equipment.
It would be several worrisome minutes that they'd have to endure, checking out the unconscious forms of young Nelson and old Nelson, but Crane's men were experts at what they did, and a raft was sent out to recover the Captain and everyone else. As they were paddled back to their sub, Sharkey asked,
"What about Von Kook, or rather, Von Kreuk, sir? And all those German soldiers? Do we let 'em die on that island with that alien thinga-mabob?"
"Frankly, Chief, the whole concept of time travel and deciding what to do and what not to do makes my head hurt! If they were meant to come with us, they'd have found their way to the beach with us."
At least, that was what Crane hoped, and that he wasn't altering time by marooning the Nazis on a self-destructing island. However, they weren't out of the woods as far as being stuck in 1941, themselves, and he would have to deal with their American visitors next...
Julia replayed those words in her head, but they made less and less sense to her, although they did pique her interest greatly
"You can't be serious?" Indy practically exploded, upon hearing the news.
"There's no other way!" Crane insisted, his eyes wide and dead serious.
"The island's sinking out there, and you expect us to hop into a raft and wait to be rescued by somebody else?" Indy shouted, incredulous. "Why can't we leave on your ship?"
"That's just the way it has to be, Doctor Jones! I'm sorry, but I can't explain it any further!" Crane shouted back.
Without going into the whole time travel incident with the adventure-seeking explorer from 1941, there was the little fact that the time portal, if it still existed, was under the sea, back the way they came. If they travelled across the ocean to find a rescue ship, that would mean more witnesses to the submarine from the future, and a back-tracking voyage to where the portal was (hopefully) still located. It was simply too risky to remain in1941 any longer than they had to.
"How can you be so cruel and inhumane?" Grant cried, her eyes glistening with tears. "Even the Nazis were going to send us to dry land and Germany! We don't stand a chance set adrift in the high seas! It might take weeks for a ship to find us, and by then...all they'll find...all they'll find would be..." Grant trailed off, her emotions overwhelming her voice as she imagined a slow death.
It broke Crane's heart, but he was adamant. "My radio operator is presently sending out an S.O.S. for any ship to respond. We won't just leave you out there, but for reasons I can't go into, nobody from this year- or rather, this sector...can be allowed to see us. You've already seen too much, but we'll risk it with you."
"I haven't got a clue why you think this submarine is so special that she needs to be kept a secret," Indy snorted, and caught sight of Morton, who was suddenly embarrassed at being caught staring. "At least I won't have this fella sneaking glances at me every five minutes!"
Crane looked at Morton, who only shook his head and tried to look casual. Julia piped up with a tense voice saying, "At least...keep Harry in your sickbay. He needs medical attention."
Crane shook his head, knowing that that was the worst scenario! If anything, Harry Nelson was the most important person amongst everyone aboard the Seaview, and it was imperative that he remain in 1941 to live out his life naturally and eventually become the Admiral Harriman Nelson that they all knew. At present, both men were in sickbay under observation.
"I'm afraid that's impossible. He must go with you."
"Look, Captain, I don't give a damn about whatever secrecy you have to maintain, but you can't be sadistic and callous enough to send a woman and a sick man adrift on a raft in the middle of nowhere!" Indy barked, his face reddening from the very real eventuality of such a thing happening. Had he fought so hard to survive that this was what he'd been knocking himself out for? "If you do that you'll be as bad as Von Kreuk and his Nazis! Worse, in fact!"
That hurt Crane, but he knew he was doing the right thing, if only to ensure that History played out as he knew it. He looked solemnly at the deck, aware of Jones's piercing eyes and reluctantly shook his head.
"Who are you people?" Indy mumbled suspiciously and dangerously, looking at their faces and the equipment panels in the Seaview's control room. "Or maybe...where do you people come from might be a better question..."
Crane's eyes flipped open to observe the suspicion across Indy's face and that of Grant, who seemed confused by Indy's choice of words. Choosing his words carefully without sounding like a madman, Crane replied,
"Doctor Jones, you'll just have to trust us. We know for a fact that you and your party will be okay. Some things we can tell you and some we can't, but all I can assure you is...we're on the same side. And although it doesn't look like it now...we won't allow any harm to come to you or Harry Nelson. Or Miss Grant."
Indy barely accepted that, but he also recognized the futility of arguing further. His spirits were buoyed somewhat minutes later as Sparks called Crane from the radio shack alcove to inform him that an American warship was responding to the S.O.S. that they'd sent out. Crane, Jones, Grant, and Chip all stood to beside Sparks as he adjusted the gain on the radio.
"This is the U.S. to XYP-306...U.S. to XYP-306, come in. What is your situation?"
Crane took the microphone and before he snapped it on and handed it to Indy, he told him, "You're XYP-306, Doctor Jones. Let them know you're on a raft and you're the only survivors of the Danforth."
Jones took the microphone and frowned, "Can we be sure that we are the last ones?"
Crane nodded sadly, saying, "We spotted the wreckage on our way here. And Von Kreuk confirmed to us that his submarine already destroyed it."
Indy nodded and replied tightly, "This is XYP-306 to U.S., we read you. Request immediate pick-up of...last survivors of U.S.. Over."
"Say again, XYP-306! Did you say 'last survivors of U.S.'? Over."
"Affirmative, U.S.. I say again...my party are the last survivors. I'm Doctor Indiana Jones, and I'm accompanied by..." Indy paused as he looked into Crane's eyes to stab at them one more time with his words, "...a woman reporter...and an injured crewman from the Danforth. Request immediate pick-up. Over."
"Acknowledged, XYP-306. We're homing in on your signal. Maintain transmission, and we'll arrive shortly. Over and out."
Jones practically jammed the microphone into Crane's hand, and bumped into him to stand off to one side, his boots crackling as they walked across the shattered glass of the smashed map. A few minutes later, Patterson descended the gangway leading to outside and reported that the raft was ready for boarding, even as Jones's fury began to boil over, despite the prospect of rescue. Chip was desperate to go over to him and let him know that he'd be okay, and that his sister and brother-in-law would survive World War 2, and have a son, namely Chip Morton, but he couldn't.
Kowalski and a Seaview crewman named Parker arrived in the control room with Harry securely strapped to a stretcher, and were already engaged in a conversation as they entered.
"...has been one of the craziest things to happen on this ship, 'ski! Real Nazis? Who'd have thought it couldn't get any weirder, and then to find out that this is our Admiral Nelson when he was our age? Sheesh!"
"Yeah, the old sea dog looks a little more grittier these days, but-"
"Kowalski!" Crane snapped, but not in time, as the sailor finished his sentence with,
"-that's what a long life at sea...will do to you. Sir?"
"Less mouth, more action. Take up top."
"Aye, sir," Kowalski replied, unsure why Crane was so annoyed, since he believed that the people from 1941 were in on their true identities.
As Kowalski and Parker gently raised the strapped-in unconscious Harry Nelson up and through the gangway hatch, Crane watched them for a few seconds, then looked down to see Indy staring at him, obviously working a million miles a second as he began to put two and two together. Had it been anyone else, they probably would have shook it off, but Crane knew of Indiana Jones's experiences, and although this might rank up pretty high as one of the strangest ones, it was just another day in the life of an explorer that had bared witness to countless stranger occurrences. His lips even threatened to curl into a smile as he came to an obvious conclusion.
"Better get up top, Doctor Jones. The Midland should be here soon."
"Yeah...sure, Cap'n." he nodded, and stopped himself as he took the first step up the gangway to stare down at Morton, who was once again, looking up at him with an odd expression. "I didn't catch your name, mister?'
The Executive Officer paused and looked at Crane, who gave him a small nod of approval. "It's Morton, Doctor Jones. Chip Morton."
That finally made Indy break out into a relaxed smile, and with one final look around the elaborate control room, he ascended the gangway, which only left Julia Grant amongst the Seaview officers. She wasn't in on the facts, so her attitude hadn't changed.
"Wellll...thank you, Captain Crane," she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "It's not every day that a girl gets to watch an island sink into the sea...from the 'safety' of a raft just a mile away!"
Crane shrugged helplessly, and offered, "You'll be safe and sound very shortly, Miss Grant. Stick close to Doctor Jones. He's your ticket to safety, I'm sure of it."
Her red lips remained turned downwards, as she replied, "Oh, I'm sure he will be, until I get back to Hawaii, and then I'll be on my own. San Francisco has enough reporters, so on the bright side I might just stay on the islands."
"Hawaii?" Crane repeated, his nerves suddenly on edge, and his conscience fighting over whether or not to say anything more. There was never a choice, moments later. "Miss Grant!" She stopped climbing and stepped back down at the urgency in his voice. "If you'd please take one piece of advice and take it very seriously?"
"There's no 'maybes about this. I just wanted to warn...that is...I want you to be sure to not be in Hawaii this December. If you must remain in Hawaii just be sure to get Stateside by the end of November. It's very important."
She paused and waited for more information, but when Crane didn't elaborate, she sighed, "I'll think about it."
Julia Grant climbed the gangway and was gone, as Chip approached Crane and asked over his shoulder, "Was that wise, Lee? For all we know she..." but found he couldn't bring himself to finish the sentence.
"I might not know a lot about time travel, Chip, and how it's all supposed to unfold, but that doesn't mean I might not tamper with it where I see fit!"
Chip found himself smiling slightly, knowing that if he were in Lee's shoes, he'd have probably done the same thing. He proceeded to the periscope pit, clicked on the release latch, and raised the scope to his eyes. Through the lens he spotted the last of the rafts going ashore at the island, so he reported,
"The Germans have made shore, Lee. And the island seems to have settled down. Makes sense, since it exists in 1974." Morton snapped the handles up, and lowered the unit back into its pit, and said, "That was a tougher call, though. Leaving actual living, breathing Nazi soldiers on the island."
"Mm. But what could I do? Certainly not bring them to the 1970's with us. That might really destroy Time!"
"You vould be wise to ignore Time, Captain!" a familiar voice rang out from the aft section, prompting everyone to look at the rear exit with surprise. It was Baron Von Kreuk! His clothing was soaked- obviously from swimming to the Seaview and he was pointing a gun straight at Crane! "Shurprised to see me, Captain? You should be! During zat scuffle on the island there vas much chaos...und pain." Von Kreuk lowered his hand from the right side of his face and revealed a blistered scar across his cheekbone and into his ear on the side of his face that had fallen against the alien rock, burning it severely. "An unfortunate consequence of zat strange rock and object, but no matter. Ve shall remain here und my men vill regain control of this submarine-"
"That won't be easy...considering I've sent them ashore."
"I control my ship again, Baron. Look for yourself if you don't believe me. Up periscope."
Morton carefully unlocked the scope as Von Kreuk kept his weapon trained on Morton's head, as he climbed onto the pit and kept one eye on his hostages and one on the unit. He quickly glanced back and forth between the two, his face cracking into a frustrated grimace.
"Nnooo! How is it possible...?"
He would have little time to consider predicament when the Seaview suddenly lurched, sending him partially across the pit's railing as he lost his footing. Crane and Morton couldn't reach him, but fortunately Kowalski could, having just descended the gangway to the escape hatch up top. He dove on top of the German, and wrestled him to the ground, even as the Seaview chugged along and moved unnaturally. Kowalski took the gun and held it at Von Kreuk's head, who knew then that he was finally beaten.
"Status report!" Crane barked out. "Who gave the order to start engines?"
The helmsman replied, "No order given, sir! She's moving by herself! Like a big hand just reached out and took hold of us."
"All stop, aye!" replied the helmsman, only to find that his controls weren't even required. "It's nothing we're doing, sir! The engines aren't even on for us to stop them!"
"Then full reverse, man!"
"Full reverse, aye!" the sailor replied, activating the controls. Seconds later he shook his head. "No good, sir! We're still moving forward, just slower!"
"Skipper! Look at this!" Sharkey called out from another station. Crane and Morton approached him. "Recommend that we don't keep fighting this, sir! We've got stress levels all across the keel and the hull! If we keep fightin' this pull, we'll shred the Seaview like so much wheat!"
Crane recognized the alarm signals and barked out, "All stop! Engines off!"
Morton checked the sonar station, where he saw the image of Indiana Jone's raft recede behind them, as they travelled forward the same way they had come, when he put two and two together.
"Lee! I think it's the time portal that's pulling us in! It's the only explanation!"
"Then we'd better submerge now, or else we'll be right above the portal when it pulls us straight down in a million pieces! Helmsman; dive, dive, dive!"
"What about him?" Morton asked, incredulous and concerned that the Baron was being forced to accompany them.
Crane was torn between the safety of his ship and crew and the vicious Nazi from the past...there was no choice.
"He's coming with us. Lock him up in the brig, Chief."
"With pleasure, sir! C'mon, you!" Sharkey growled, thrilled to finally be pointing a gun at the defeated bad guy.
The forward windows showed the roiling surface foam rise to the top and finally disappear as the Seaview dove for their destination, which didn't go unnoticed...
"Well, Indy, that was a fine how-do-you-do!" Julia frowned as they watched the submarine set out for the open sea and quickly submerge. "I can understand if it was a top secret military submarine and they didn't want us to get a good look at it, but couldn't they have at least rendezvoused with the Midland for us? For all we know we'll be adrift for hours and hours and-"
Indy smiled and shook his head, and pointed out to sea. "I doubt it. Look!"
She decided to humor him, but her full red lips couldn't help but stretch out into a wide grin as she noticed the tiny spot miles away on the horizon, which was surely their rescue ship. At that moment, their unconscious raft-mate stirred and moaned out loud, raising a hand to his face, his mouth becoming active as he tasted the equivalent of morning breath.
"Uuhhh, golly. Somebody left...a window open or...somethin'..." he moaned, then finally opened his eyes. He stared at the two smiling people at him, but his mind couldn't register this sight with what he'd just been dreaming about, namely working on his father's old car back home. "Doctor...Jones? Miss Grant? What's-? Whatwhatwhatwhat?" he stammered, struggling to sit up, until Julia hushed him, so he wouldn't capsize them.
"It's okay, Harry, it's okay!" she assured. "We're safe! The rescue ship's just on the horizon, see?"
The confused young man was still convinced he was dreaming, but the sea air and the warmth of the sun demanded that he believe this to be real. "'Rescue ship'?" he repeated. "Who needs rescuing? Why're we here? Where's Lieutenant Banner? And Hillsfield and Andrews?"
Indiana Jones and Julia Grant looked at one another worriedly, each believing that the electrical shock he'd experienced had rattled him somewhat. "Kid, they're all dead, remember? Either directly or indirectly, Von Kreuk killed them...just as he sunk the Danforth."
"The Danforth's gone? What the hell are you talking about, Doctor Jones?" the young man wailed, beginning to panic.
Julia held him down and shushed him to retrieve some semblance of calm. "Harry, Harry, just relax, you're going to be okay. Don't you remember your trip to the island with us? Von Kreuk and his Nazis-"
"There're Nazis here? Where, where?"
"Take it easy, Harry, you've had a bad shock," Indy told him calmly. "We'll get you to the Midland's sickbay shortly. But, don't worry, Von Kreuk and his men are either dead or stranded on the island. You really don't remember going ashore?"
Harry Nelson, a.k.a. 'Redman', thought long and hard, but he could only shake his head, looking helpless and desperately trying not to panic at his lack of memory. He squinted at a memory o\f an old man...well, not as old as Grandpa Nelson, but close, with stern features and the strength of a war hero, but the face faded quickly from memory.
"I remember getting cleaned up and packing for the away mission...and then I'm out here...with you," he frowned.
Indy nodded sadly, and looked out to sea, where somewhere down there was an incredible submarine filled with mystery and a thousand questions that he wouldn't get answered...
...at least, he believed, not for many, many years.
"There it is!" Crane said, his voice rising in excitement. "Our doorway back!"
The sceptical part of Chip Morton put a damper on that by adding, "Or another trip even further back in time!"
Crane frowned and kept his hopes up high. "Continue ahead, one-quarter speed."
"One-quarter, aye," Chip acknowledged and relayed the order, even though the helmsman and navigator already heard the order, since they were just a few feet away from the senior officers.
Under the sea, the rock walls rose up on either side of them, while the murky depths retained the cloudy formation somehow, a clump of undersea cumulus clouds that couldn't possibly exist, let alone emit the kind of glowing they were displaying. Crane held onto the chart table as his ship approached the undersea time tunnel, Morton by his side, when Kowalski barked out,
"Sir! Sonar shows solid object dead ahead!"
Crane and Morton stared at one another, confused why the cloud formation would register as solid. The Skipper didn't hesitate as he barked out, "Maneuvering, engines all-stop!"
The Seaview slowed her approach, but not enough to completely stop her forward momentum as she gently impacted against the time portal, and slowly bounced off, finally coming to a stop. From the aft area of the control room a welcome presence appeared, but his true nature became evident moments later.
"Lee? What the devil's happening here? What's that out there?" asked Nelson, rubbing the back of his neck, having knocked his head against a bulkhead just prior to entering the control room, thanks to the soft impact.
"It's the time portal, Admiral. It won't let us pass through it!"
"'Time...portal'? What the devil are you talking about?"
"The portal that brought us to 1941, of course!" Crane told him, his eyes searching Nelson's face, only to see complete ignorance. "Don't you remember?"
"Remember what? I just came from sickbay, where the Doctor gave me some cockamamie story about receiving an electrical charge on a island expedition, but I don't recall that at all! The last thing I remember is...is...being on a raft in the middle of the ocean and...no. No, that's not right, that was just a dream I was having. What the...my last memory is...heading for the island. Nothing more."
"Well, either way, sir, that cloud formation out there is our only way home, but it's coming up as solid."
"Semi-solid now, Captain," Kowalski reported, checking his readings. "It keeps fading in and out. Or maybe my panel's shorting out..."
"Okay, Lee, I'll take your word for what you say is true, and you can fill me in later. But if that's the way out, then we'll force our way through. Set your speed at one-quarter and ramp her up to whatever velocity it takes to get us through."
Crane agreed and ordered the helmsmen to send them forward. The impact shook everyone off their feet, but trim was held enough so that they didn't fall side to side. Crane ordered half-speed, and through the windows it seemed as if they'd entered the cloud by several feet, although Kowalski confirmed that they'd traveled less than fifty feet into the cloud. With three-quarter speed, the Seaview trembled and stress creaks began to grab everyone's attention, especially the ones that made the forward windows groan with indignation and outside pressure.
"Engine room! Full speed! Give her everything she's got!" Crane ordered into the intercom.
The Seaview bucked and disputed that order, the unearthly sound of penetrating a time portal drowning out the usual mechanical and bleeping sounds of the control room. The interior lighting somehow became blanketed with a misty, brilliant light, as if their very existence was fading from view. Sounds died away to be replaced with a yawning, groaning cry of metal being rend asunder, even as gravity seemed to become a figment of their imaginations, as the Seaview seemed to pitch forward, scooping everyone off their feet, their ears encapsulated by the unsettling roar of a massive explosion...
Crane rolled over onto one aching side as his mind began to register bleeping, booping sounds that sounded strangely familiar. He was also aware that he was lying on a cold metallic deck, and that the view overhead seemed to indicate the ribbed ceiling and overhead lights of the Seaview's control room. The floor was no place for the Captain of the Seaview!
Painfully regaining his senses and rising to a sitting position, he found Nelson and Morton slowly sitting up as well, confusion and recognition on their faces. At least he wasn't the only one sitting on his backside! Moans and activity began to show that everyone had taken a tumble, and within minutes they'd ascertained that the Seaview was travelling at dead-slow speed- the question was what time was it?
Ordering the ship to surface, Crane was eager to find out that they'd crossed time once again, and preferably right back home. He checked the view from the periscope and his shoulders sagged somewhat.
"We're still near the island."
"Well...this time portal of yours that you're talking about might just shift us in time and not position," Nelson theorized. "The best way to confirm that is to get on the radio and contact home."
They made their way to the radio shack, their movements followed by the eyes of the rest of the crew manning their stations, eager to know as well. Sparks, sporting a sling from his bullet wound, but just as determined to see this mission through, adjusted his controls, and set it to the one frequency that he knew would establish their position quickly.
Amid static, a man's voice came over the airwaves, saying, "...of the Nelson Institute, we're receiving you. Repeat, this is Manning of the Nelson Institute. Seaview, do you copy?"
A roar of cheers broke out and Nelson and Crane shook hands before Crane leaned in and spoke into the microphone, "This is Seaview! Manning, it's great to hear from you!"
"And you, too, Captain. Your transponder signal dropped off the side of the Earth for most of the day, but we're picking you up now by satellite-feed."
"'Hours'?" Crane repeated. "So it's still September the First, 1974?"
There was a pause, before Manning replied, "Uh, yeah. Gonna be dusk in about an hour, but yes, sir. How'd you make out with that mission to that uncharted island?
An all-round sigh of relief came from everyone, as Nelson took over the microphone to tell his State-side radioman, "We're done here, Manning. We're on our way to Pearl Harbor, where we'll be off-loading a prisoner. Nelson out." He shut off the radio, and rubbed the back of his neck as he told Crane, "Okay, Lee...from the start; what's been happening around here?'
Crane and Morton smiled at one another, the details of their adventure hardly believable even to them!
Von Kreuk sat in the Seaview's brig, still looking unusually confident despite his patched- up facial injury, as if this was all a temporary bump in his plans, and his arrogant smirk at Crane and Nelson revealed it in all it's annoying glory.
"I give you credit for getting zis far, Admiral, but time is on my side! Very soon Der Fuhrer's wolfpack U-Boats vill be on your tail and blow you out of the water...after they have rescued me, of course."
"An unlikely possibility, Baron," Nelson said, returning the confident smirk with one of his own.
"Oh, don't base your luck on the value of your submarine, Admiral! She is a wonder, but she vill be destroyed if need be!"
"Anyone that could have done harm to her is now 33 years in the past, Baron," Nelson told him, the confused German looking back through a square opening with a set of bars at eye-level.
"Vhat...does that mean? You're talking nonsense, American dog!"
"That's 'Admiral Nelson' to you, Baron. But here's a news flash for you; your sick, twisted Third Reich died a much-deserved death 29 years ago! All of your cohorts were brought up on charges at numerous war crimes trials and found guilty...after your cowardly Fuhrer took his own life, rather than pay for his atrocities against humanity. But don't worry, Baron- even now there are still trials held for Nazi war criminals that turned into mice that tried to hide out, only to be found and brought to justice. A fate I'll be more than happy to bestow upon you when we return to base. Let's go, Lee."
The Seaview officers left Von Kreuk alone in the brig corridor, but it didn't stop him from sounding defiant.
"No! Nooo! You can't do zis to me! I'm am Baron Klaus Von Kreuk! I refuse to believe your fantasies, Nelson! Do you hear meee, Admiral? Nelsooooooonnnnn!"
Hours later while sleeping in his quarters, an urgent hammering on his door awakened Nelson. He threw on a housecoat and quickly tied it up as he answered the door, only to find a concerned Lee Crane, also clothed in his housecoat, on the other side.
"Admiral! Sorry to disturb you, sir, but I need you to come with me! It's Von Kreuk!"
Nelson quickly followed him out into the corridor and down one deck to the brig, with Lee only telling him that he had to see Von Kreuk for himself. When he did so, looking inside the brig cell, he withheld a startled gasp, and observed the ashen-faced Crane as he did so.
The Captain told him, "He's in even worse shape than when the security guard called me a few minutes ago. Admiral...how could this happen?"
They looked inside, their minds trying to wrap around the impossible sight.
Von Kreuk had, apparently, decayed to the point of becoming nothing more than a skeleton!
The German Baron was still clothed in the robe, t-shirt, and shorts he'd gone to sleep in, and one finger even still wore his ring on it, but there wasn't a bit of flesh or muscle or hair left on him.
"We just saw him a few hours ago," Crane mused.
"It was the time warp. It must be!" Nelson ascertained. Crane's look prompted an explanation, but the Admiral could only lamely offer, "For whatever reason it happened, Von Kreuk was a product of 1941, and was brought ahead 33 years into his future- a future he didn't belong in. And like an invading germ that doesn't belong in a body...Time seems to have dealt with him in the only way it could- by ridding him of his existence."
Crane sighed and shook his head. "What a way to go. Even for him."
Nelson reserved his comments to himself, having lived through World War 2, and believing that many of the Nazi leaders deserved this very same fate.
He took comfort in the fact that many of them were now, in 1974, were much like Von Kreuk- just inside coffins.
Nelson picked up Von Kreuk's monocle, which had fallen to the deck and cracked upon impact. Aloud he mused, "Time has a way of catching up to all of us, one way or another."