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

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Chapter 9

Meanwhile, back in Vinny's hut Indy was pacing back and forth, wondering what was taking the man so long. Lauren was standing in a corner, repelled by the filthy surroundings as much as she was by the man that inhabited them.
"Sorry about Vinny, Lauren," Indy said at last.
"Oh, it's not your fault. He is, well, quite a jerk. Is he really your friend?" she couldn't stop herself from asking. She couldn't imagine Indy interacting with the slimy man any more than necessary.
"To tell the truth, no. He's a black market dealer, a coward, and a greedy little, well," Indy cut himself off. Lauren would undoubtedly be appalled if he used bad language. "I once helped him. Not intentionally, but that was how it worked out. Still, his sudden burst of kindness surprised me. I had thought I might have to convince him some more." Indy returned to pacing sullenly back and forth.
Finally, there was a knock on the door and Indy strode over to answer it.
"That's not Vinny," Lauren warned him, but Indy opened the door anyhow, his other hand on his whip. The police chief was dressed in raggedy old clothes, and he affected broken English.
"I Vinny's assistant," he explained. "He tells me to go quickly you." So this was the famous Dr. Jones, the chief thought. He was tall, taller than he was, and somewhat handsome, though he looked ragged and tired. He had beard stubble on his face and held a whip, like cowboys in the movies. Somehow he had been expecting someone more…well…dryer and more intellectual looking. But all that mattered was that he was going to turn him in, and was going to get a promotion for it!
Indy had never heard an Italian speak English quite so strangely before, but he motioned that Lauren follow him and walked out of the hut towards the speedboat that was waiting by the small harbor. The tall man started the motor and they stepped onto the deck. Strange, Indy noted. He didn't see any crates of fuel lying around. What was going on? Who was "Vinny's assistant"? Vinny didn't have any assistants! As they flew out into the ocean with the tall man at the controls, Indy tapped his fingers against the side of the boat nervously. He couldn't make out exactly what was bothering him so much, but he didn't feel safe.
Lauren stood beside him, gazing out at the boats in the ocean. This was terribly thrilling! It was early evening, and the sun was setting, painting spectacular shades of orange and pink across the sky. The wind was blowing her hair back, and the ocean water felt cool against her skin as it flew up to meet her. It was perfect. An adventure, just like in the movies! The only thing she could ask for was…music! Just as she thought that, jazzy melodies began coming out of the cabin. This was paradise! She gazed at Indy, noting he didn't seem quite as euphoric as she felt. In fact, he looked downright concerned. But Lauren didn't spend too much of her time wondering why. Somehow liberated from the self-consciousness that plagued her at any school party or dance, she began swinging her hips to the music and spinning around the deck. She almost wished Indy would turn around and watch her. For once, she felt as though she could dance, or had something to dance about!
But Indy was quite preoccupied. In the distance, he had spotted a large destroyer. It even looked like a flagship of sorts. He grabbed a pair of binoculars that hung from the side of the cabin and gazed through them. Yes, it was. Just as he'd suspected - standing on the deck, looking in binoculars back towards him and speaking on a radio, was the General who had spoken to him at the military base. How had…Indy whirled around and looked at the cabin, dropping his binoculars slowly in realization. For the so-called assistant was speaking on a radio as well. That's what the music had been for. So they wouldn't hear his conversation. Vinny had turned them in! Indy dropped the binoculars, and the lenses in them shattered, sending shards of glass flying about the deck. Indy stepped on one and crushed it angrily. No wonder he'd been so courteous!
Lauren had stopped her energetic dancing, realizing something was wrong. She ran over to Indy, watching as he gazed out into the ocean. He seemed to have forgotten her presence.
"We're in trouble," he whispered to her, noticing her at last. "A secret police officer is steering this ship straight towards that giant thing over there." Lauren gasped and glanced at the "assistant" steering the speedboat. All her excitement faded, leaving a bitter aftertaste of nervous energy. "Don't worry. I've got him," Indy continued, "trust me." Lauren watched as he pulled out his whip and strode over to the cabin and knocked on the door. The chief slipped his radio in his pocket and opened the door, but before he knew what hit him he was pushed up against the wall, his gun pointed at his head. Lauren ran over towards the scene, but kept her distance. What was he going to do? It didn't even matter, really, she thought, because their puny vessel was no match for the mammoth destroyer regardless of what they did. She looked around, her eyes stopping on a rocky cliff nearby. They couldn't go there - but where else could they go?
As Lauren gazed hopelessly out at the blue expanse before her, Indy tied up the secret police officer. "I don't know why," he growled, "but people are always giving me guns. Now, I'd like you to tell that General of yours," he continued with disgust, "to back off and meet you further down."
"B-b-but Dr. Jones," the man protested, squirming against his restraints, "he'd never believe that. Besides, he's watching us right now."
"Do it anyhow." The officer picked up the radio with trembling hands and began, under Indy's watchful eyes, to very politely ask to meet the General to meet him further away from the coast. At the end of his message, however, the officer uttered one strange word, and, immediately, Indy listened with horror as the General commenced yelling at him through the radio.
"Nice try, Jones! Congratulations on capturing one of my men. But as much as this may surprise you, I don't care about him." The official gasped and turned pale, and Indy smirked confidently at him. "And I'm tired of bargaining with you. It is, as you said, quite an uninteresting game when one player always gives the same answer. Still, I'll give you one more chance. Agree to tell me how to get at what I want, and I'll refrain from blowing your pathetic boat out of the water. Otherwise…and this time, you have no place to go," the General concluded menacingly. They were stuck, Lauren thought despairingly. What could he do but tell him? To have come so far only to…oh it was too terrible to dwell on, she realized, feeling bitter tears once again welling up within her.
"Go ahead," Indy responded cockily, "I can swim." The General cut off communications, and Lauren gasped at Indy's audacious answer. What did he think he was doing? There was no way they could escape alive if the General began firing at them. Indy tossed Lauren a life vest, and with trembling hands she put it on. "We're gonna have to go for a swim," he told her, "sorry. But what's a vacation in Italy without a swim anyhow?" he continued, chuckling. How could he be so calm? "Don't worry, darling. Now, just dive overboard and swim over to that rocky cliff, over there. Hide there, just in case they spotted you too. I'll be along in a minute."
"But what if…" Lauren began to ask.
"Just go," Indy said firmly. "Trust me." Lauren peered at the turbulent water, dreading it, and then she simply jumped overboard. She fought her way through the water, finally pulling herself up onto the bottom of the rocky cliff. He wasn't possibly planning to…the thought occurred to Lauren, but she quickly dismissed it. It was suicide - especially as it was already dusk and only a few glimmers of sunlight were left. Lauren watched fearfully as the huge destroyer began firing at the tiny speedboat. Why wasn't Indy getting off? What was he doing? Why didn't he hurry? Was he trying to get himself killed? Suddenly, the speedboat was hit, and it tilted dramatically to one side, sending Indy flying against the edge. He got up, quickly continuing his search for the tools he needed. He had a rope, and could only hope it was long enough, some spikes and a hammer, as well as his whip, but he really needed a lamp of sorts. The ship was hit again, and flames started rising up from the deck. Oh well, Indy thought regretfully, diving into the water and swimming hurriedly away from the burning boat. It would have to do. As he swam, he heard the sound of machine guns firing, probably at him. He dove underwater, finally emerging on the slippery rocks and hiding behind them.
"Indy?" Lauren whispered, hurrying towards him. "What are we going to do? Swim to shore? What about the ship?" She watched as the destroyer's powerful searchlights scanned the ocean, but then, with relief, she saw it turn back, apparently satisfied that Indy was dead.
"No way, we're already way too far out." He responded, gesturing towards the cliff. "We're going up." Lauren had already considered this, but couldn't believe it.
"We can't. I can't! It's wet, slippery, and dark. I'm not a mountain climber," she protested. She didn't want Indy to think she was a coward, but climbing that cliff would be insane!
"If you can suggest anything better," Indy said wryly, "I'd be glad to do it. But I've got this rope, and once I'm at the top, I'll send it down to you. I'm gonna to put some of these spikes in, and you can use those as well. It's really not that high, it's just steep." Suddenly Lauren felt like laughing. Not just laughing, but laughing hysterically. In fact, she even had to pinch herself to suppress the giggles that threatened to burst inside her. This wasn't happening. It seemed like a strange dream! But the sound Indy was making as he nailed a spike into the rock pulled her back to reality. He had already started up the imposing wet cliff, and in the semi-darkness she could already only see him as a blurry shape. Clink, clink, clink went the hammer. Lauren took a deep breath, trying to steady herself. What about Indy? He didn't have a rope! What if he fell?
"Indy? Please, be careful," she exclaimed. "What if you fall?"
"You know me. I'm a careful guy," he responded, turning back to the rock and struggling to pull himself up. The edges were jagged, hurting his hands as he grasped them, but they were slippery with water. In one hand, Indy held his whip, which he was also using to climb up the slicker spots. The spikes, hammer, and rope were in his khaki bag. Concentrate, Indy, he told himself. Concentrate!


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