Indiana Jones and the Sword of St. George by Susanna Chapter 1

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Chapter 11

"Wake up, Lauren," Indy whispered, letting her down, "we're here."
"Where?" she asked dazedly.
"At an Italian military base, of course. Where else would we be heading?" he answered sarcastically.
"What? Why are we at an Italian military base?"
"Correction - we're outside an Italian air force base, but we're about to go in and pay 'em a visit," Indy explained, watching as a plane took off from the base. "And perhaps we might even leave with a souvenir or two. We are tourists, remember." Lauren was beyond being surprised at anything Indy said, so she didn't even bother asking him if he was serious.
"But how are we going to get in?" she inquired instead. Indy smiled at her in response and told her to wait there before venturing out into the clearing. Guards always patrolled the outside in pairs - all he had to do was wait for two of them to come along. Just like clockwork, so they did. A pair approached Indy, neatly marching around the perimeter of the base. Springing on them out of the dark, Indy quickly knocked them both out with swift, powerful punches, and then rapidly took their uniforms, leaving them in their undergarments. He ran back to Lauren, carrying the uniforms.
"Take your pick, but let's change quickly." Lauren reached for the slightly smaller uniform. Not very sanitary, she observed, but ingenious thinking on Indy's part. She averted her eyes as Indy started stripping off his clothing, evidently not caring whether she was there or not. She walked further into the wood and rapidly changed. It was a bit big, warm, and, most of all, sweaty, but it would have to do. Tucking her long hair into the cap, she marched out, holding her old clothing in a wrapped up by her side. Indy was still putting on his shirt, rubbing his arm, which was hurt from his fall on the cliff.
"What happened to your arm?" Lauren asked, noting his pain.
"When I slipped," Indy replied, "I hit against a really jagged piece of rock. But it's nothing, really. Just help me with this shirt and it'll be fine." Lauren stepped towards him and carefully helped him on with the shirt. She couldn't help but look admiringly at Indy's bare chest - he was very strong, she realized. And so handsome! Oh, she liked him so very, very much! Blushing at her thoughts, she turned away as soon as she finished helping him. He was her professor! What was she thinking? "All right. Here we go," Indy said at last. "Just follow me and don't say anything." They marched out of the woods, trying to imitate the mechanical march of the Italian soldiers. Indy walked slowly, as not to leave Lauren behind.
"Now just look straight ahead," he whispered to her as they neared the gates, "and keep your head up. March!" She did so as best she could, but her feet trembled as she glanced at the armed Italians by the gate. How could they possibly believe her? Could they really think she was…She kept her face straight up, hoping with all her heart that it wouldn't betray her identity. Every step felt like she was lifting herself up the cliff again, and again, and again, but she pressed on, dust flying up as she stepped. Minutes later, they were standing behind a wall, safe from the guards' glances. Indy straightened his Italian cap, looking at the waiting planes.
"Nice job, Lauren," he whispered. "Here comes the tough part. See that plane, in the front. We're gonna march over there and get in it. I'll go first." Lauren's eyebrows rose at his audacity, but she felt encouraged by her success in fooling the guards. It couldn't be all that bad if they had thought she was one of them! I mean, really! Indy marched over towards the plane, and she followed like a shadow. Did Indy even know how to fly a plane? He'd better know! Indy stepped up the ladder into the plane's cockpit, signaling that Lauren wait outside. A minute later he stepped out, an unconscious Italian in his arms. He ceremoniously deposited the man in a crate full of bananas that was waiting to be loaded onto another plane before stepping back into the cockpit.
"We've been lucky. It's dark, and not many people are around," he told her.
"Do you know how to fly?" she queried nervously.
"Umm…a little," he responded, "but don't worry. I'll just learn it as I go along." Lauren's mouth dropped open. "Just kidding," he added belatedly. Lauren wasn't so sure about that, though. Still, he started flipping switches and the plane hummed to life. Indy carefully steered it towards the runway, hoping it wouldn't get noticed. Uh oh. There was a line of planes waiting for takeoff, and Indy knew the Italians would contact him inquiring about his destination. Boldly, he slammed the engines into full power and cut in front of the other planes waiting in line. Tough luck, guys. Lauren gasped as angry Italian phrases commenced sputtering out of the radio. Indy immediately disconnected the radio, and slammed the plane forward, expecting the worst. Other Italians approached the plane and began firing desperately at it - one bullet hit the side of the cockpit, but failed to shatter the glass. Lauren gripped the handle of the seat tightly, closing her eyes.
"Here we go," Indy said, breathing deeply with relief as the plane pulled away from the firing Italians below. Lauren finally opened her eyes, only to see that the lights of the base were far below them, twinkling like multicolored stars in a sky of dust. She felt a sense of exhilaration, of freedom, as she looked down at the ground below. They had done it!
Or had they? For as soon as Lauren began to relax, indeed almost falling back asleep, Indy spotted other Italian airplanes lifting off the ground in pursuit.
"I had a feeling this would happen," Indy grumbled, maneuvering the plane back and forth to escape the enemy planes. Lauren woke from her daze immediately, once again gripping tightly onto the side of her seat. "Don't worry. It's dark, and I turned the radio off, so they'll have a tough time spotting us," he continued, "Besides, this plane is the fastest one they've got." Lauren still couldn't help clenching her hand on the side of her seat. How did Indy have any idea where to go? It was pitch-black outside, and the instruments seemed too confusing to be anything but a hindrance.
"Indy, how do you know where to go?" Lauren queried when they finally left the other planes behind.
"Umm…you see…that's a little problem. I can't quite figure out which of these reads the heading," Indy replied, scrutinizing the control panel.
"Little? Little problem?" Lauren replied incredulously. "Next thing I know we'll have crashed and you'll say we've had a minor glitch!" Indy chuckled appreciatively, but Lauren hadn't been expecting that response.
"Just kidding." Lauren's mouth dropped open and she punched his arm, hard. He had no right to scare her like that! "Ouch!" Indy exclaimed, shaking his already injured arm. "Sheesh! You didn't have to hit me that hard!"
"Sorry, I didn't realize…but you deserved that! Really, are we going the right way?" she asked again.
"Well, at least, I hope I'm kidding. I think I've figured out which of these records our direction, and we're heading in exactly the right one. If we don't run out of fuel, we should be there in a few hours." Lauren relaxed, slumping back down in the uncomfortable seat. It was a pretty small plane, but as Indy had pointed out, it was fast.


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