Secret of the Lost Ark
by Michael A. Aquino
It is easy to miss the freeway exit to the Oakland Army Base, since it appears just past the Bay Bridge toll plaza, and so it wasn't until another fifteen minutes of backtracking had elapsed that Dennis Mann drove into the bewildering maze of buildings comprising one of the U.S. Army's remaining World War II storage and shipping depots.
This assignment had been an accident. He had been supposed to go to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for another six-month tour at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, but at the last moment the funding hadn't come through. Instead his management officer at the St. Louis U.S. Army Reserve headquarters had offered him a three-month tour with an Intelligence and Security battalion headquarters at the Presidio of San Francisco. Although it promised to involve nothing more exciting than routine staff actions, he had accepted. He liked San Francisco and had friends there. And, as he observed to his wife Karen, he wouldn't mind even a brief respite from New York weather.
The INSCOM headquarters building - an aging concrete bunker - appeared at first glance to be both unimpressive and uncomfortable. It did hold the distinction of being "the last building before Hawaii", as the duty captain who greeted him described it. "Glad to have you here, sir. Sometimes we think we've been forgotten, particularly now that PSF is slated for closure in the next year or so. Oh, and I was supposed to give you this when you checked in -"
"This" proved to be a faxed order reassigning Mann to a two-week temporary duty as Classified Storage Control Officer at Oakland Army Base across the San Francisco Bay. Mann scowled. "For this they task a lieutenant colonel?"
The captain looked at him uncomfortably. "I guess they couldn't find anyone else at short notice, sir. Way I understand it, there was a CWO over there who had to leave on a family emergency. A replacement's coming, but until he gets here, someone with TS clearance is needed, and we got tasked, and the CO said -"
Mann cut him off with a nod. Give the Reservist the odd job. On the other hand, he mused, it might be a pleasant - and quiet - two weeks. Certainly this mournful concrete block on the seacliff didn't have much going for it. He finished his in-processing, then returned to his rented car and headed for the Bay Bridge.
He had never been to OARB before, and as he drove slowly through it, he decided that he hadn't missed much. Perhaps back around the time of World War II the base had been a center of activity. Now it was clearly a neglected installation, ready for the budgetary chopping-block. Its most striking feature was a row of seven long warehouses, evidently originally designed to store material from the nearby docks. Now the docks were little-used, and the giant warehouses, their paint peeling with age, appeared to be simply utilitarian: places to store furniture, old vehicles, and the like. Except, it seemed, for Warehouse Six.
Warehouse Six had a barbed-wire fence around it. The wire was old and rusty, but still quite serviceable. Metal warning signs, also brown with rust, appeared at regular intervals along its perimeter. Mann had seen such secure buildings many times in his career; they no longer held any magic or mystery for him. He parked the car in a grassy lot with only one other car in it, strolled over to the gate, and pressed the buzzer mounted on one of its side-posts. After a moment or two a door in the warehouse creaked open, and a sergeant came out, walked over to the fence, saluted, examined Mann's ID card through the wire, and opened the gate. Mann followed him out of the glare of the sunshine into the building.
Suddenly it was cool and quiet. The only light came from a small, glass-windowed office to the right of the door; the rest of the warehouse, unlit, seemed to stretch off into infinite darkness. The sergeant motioned him into the office and poured two cups of coffee from a small pot on a hotplate.
"What *is* this place?" said Mann. "I've never seen anything like it."
"Deep storage, I guess," shrugged the sergeant. "I really don't know what they've got in there - just that it's old classified stuff. There's an inventory binder over there" - he nodded at the shelf alongside the single desk - "if you're curious. But it doesn't say much - just box numbers mostly. And almost everything is in a box, which at least will make the sign-over easier." Plainly the sergeant was not unhappy at the prospect of relinquishing the claustrophobia of the warehouse to someone else.
Ultimately it took the two of them over three days to inventory the building's contents. There were hundreds of crates, conexes, shrouded and banded pallets, and assorted containers whose only common feature was a size too big to fit into a filing cabinet. A few of the items were in fresh metal or plastic packaging, but most were in simple wooden boxes whose steel bandings were as rust-covered as the outside fence.
As the sergeant had said, no contents were identifiable [Mann had hoped for at least one UFO tailfin poking through a boxtop]. As he leaned back in the chair in what was now his office, he wondered what sort of hidden treasure he now guarded. Certainly nothing of contemporary importance. This was obviously a repository for things forgotten or near-forgotten, protected from the incinerator or trash-heap only because some minor bureaucrat had once immortalized them with a security classification in the days before automatic downgrading had been instituted. Probably a good many of the container descriptions themselves, wherever they originated, had long since been destroyed as unnecessary. He grimaced. He had seen a sight like this at the end of the film _Raiders of the Lost Ark_ but had never expected to encounter it in actuality.
Well, he mused, maybe I've got the real Ark in here somewhere. That at least would be something. He recalled idly that in the movie the Ark had been crated and assigned a serial number. He had picked up the paperback version of the story; perhaps the number was cited in there. On a whim he picked up the phone, requested an outside line, and made a collect call to his home in Utica where his wife, Major Karen Revay, would now have arrived home from her own office.
Karen chuckled sympathetically as Dennis told her of his surprise assignment, then asked him to hold while she went into the next room to rummage in the bookcase. A few minutes later she was back on the line. "Here it is," she said. "Let's see ... O.K., here on the last page - Got something to write with?"
Mann jotted down what she recited to him: TOP SECRET, ARMY INTELL, 9906753, DO NOT OPEN. "Doesn't sound very promising," he commented. "MI used to be 'Army Intelligence and Security', which was 'AIS', not 'Army Intell'. On the other hand, I do have a number of entries in the log with seven-digit numbers. Let you know if I come across anything that hums or glows in the dark."
"If you do," she remarked, "don't open it; it's probably one of the Manhattan Project's early failures." He laughed, gave her a telephonic kiss, hung up, and turned to the binder.
The number was there. Next to it, however, was the phrase "Lockheed P-38 components (exp)".
Mann looked again, just to be certain. He started to call Karen back, then hesitated and replaced the receiver on the cradle. Better take a look at the container first. He ran his finger over the chart showing the number sequence breakdown by location, then threw the light switches for the warehouse and walked out into the central aisle and down the seventh branch aisle to the left. He peered down into the dusty stacks of containers. And there it was: 9906753. It was an aging wooden crate about ten feet long by four feet wide and high.
There was additional stenciling on the crate, partially obscured by the surrounding clutter. Mann tugged three other boxes aside, grimacing at the puff of dust raised in the process. He brushed off the lettering with a hand and read: WARNING-VIBRATION SENSITIVE and, on the top, ONLY THIS SIDE UP.
Mann stared at the crate for a few moments, then walked back to the office. He made himself a cup of coffee and thought about what he had found. Then he dialed the number of Peter Rivera in Oakland.
Rivera was home. He listened without interruption while Mann told him about the crate. "This is weird," he finally said. "What are you going to do now?"
Rivera thought for a moment. "Well ... I guess we could try to find out whether there's anything factual about the _Raiders_ story. Why don't I do a little research and maybe meet you for lunch somewhere?"
"Treasure Island Officers Club? How about twelve-thirty?"
"You got it."
By one o'clock Dennis Mann had dispensed with two Perriers and several handfuls of popcorn before Peter Rivera strode into the O-Club's bar and threw himself into the next chair. "Sorry I'm late," he said. "I've been on the phone more-or-less constantly since we spoke."
Mann signaled the waitress and ordered fruit salads for them both. Then he turned back to Rivera. "So - Find out anything?"
"Yes and no. Call Lucasfilm and start asking questions about _Raiders_ and they quickly decide that you're just another kooky fan. Refer you to fan clubs and such. On the third call I got a different operator, and told her that I was a grad student at Berkeley doing research on Hollywood imagery. That got me to another lady who had apparently worked as an assistant to the Raiders screenwriter.
"First thing she told me was that Raiders was wholly and purely fictional. Said that the basic plot had been brainstormed by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg in Hawaii in 1977. Then the screenwriter - Kasdan, I think his name was - made up most of the names and fleshed out the scenes. Lucas had a dog named Indiana, and the character was originally going to be 'Indiana Smith'. Someone pointed out that was too close to 'Nevada Smith', so 'Smith' became 'Jones'."
"Was Lucas from Indiana?"
"No, he's from right here in California - Modesto or one of those places."
"So why did he name the dog 'Indiana'?"
Rivera shrugged. Then he took the point. "You think that there might be a real Indiana Jones somewhere - someone whom Lucas had in mind as a model for the film?"
"Let me think this through. Now ... Almost certainly there's not going to be a real person by that name, or the press would have picked up on it at some time during the publicity for the three movies. But let's suppose that 'Indiana' is a nickname. Suppose that there's an actual professor of archaeology somewhere named 'Smith' or 'Jones'. Suppose that there's some truth to the story and that he told it to Lucas at some point and said that it was O.K. to use it as the basis for a film as long as his privacy was preserved."
"So what now? You can't very well call every college in the country asking for 'Indiana Jones'."
"I won't have to. Still have a card for the UC library? Good. They can access the National Technical Information Service datalink there. Get them to do a name search by campus for anyone named 'Smith' or 'Jones' in an archaeology department. Archaeology is a small field; not too many places have a department like that. We can rough out his age bracket as being, um, perhaps 45-70. We might take a chance cross-referencing with 'Marion' as a wife's name, assuming that he might indeed be married to the Marion Ravenwood of the film."
"Not much hope there," said Rivera. "Lucasfilm said that 'Marion' is the name of Kasdan's grandmother-in-law and that 'Ravenwood' is a street in Beverly Hills. But I'm going to Berkeley later on today, so I'll drop by the library and run the other stuff. Call you tomorrow if I get anything."
They turned their attention to the salads.
Two days later Peter Rivera found a message on his answering machine from the University of California library. A small roll of computer paper was waiting for him at the office. He trotted across Sproul Plaza, perched on the edge of Ludwig's Fountain, and read impatiently through a list of useless "Smith"s. Following them were only four "Jones" responses:
JONES CHARLES S ALASKA STATE U AGE 52
JONES HARRY I U NORTH CAROLINA AGE 65
JONES PAUL J DARTMOUTH COL AGE 47
JONES SUSAN F U CHICAGO AGE 58
Well, what do you know, thought Rivera. He headed for the ASUC building and a pay-phone.
That afternoon Dennis Mann called information in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and asked for the number of Harry I. Jones. He dialed it and got no answer. He tried again an hour later and decided to let the phone ring longer than usual. After about twenty rings it was indeed answered by an obviously irritated voice: "Jones. What is it?"
"Professor Jones?" said Mann. "Harry Jones? Dennis Mann. Lieutenant colonel with the Army out in California. I've found a crate out here with the number 9906753 on it. Would that mean anything to you?"
For a moment there was silence on the other end of the phone. Then: "How do I know that you're who you say you are?"
"Easy," said Mann. "Call the Oakland Army Base and ask for Warehouse Six. I'm the only one here."
"I'll do that," said Jones and hung up.
A minute later the phone on Mann's desk rang. This time the excitement in the voice from North Carolina was barely concealed. "Where is it? How big is it? Are there any other markings on it?"
Mann described the crate to him. "I have a sort of problem. This is a classified storage facility ..."
"That's not going to be a problem. I've got a clearance. I'll have Langley pass it to you. Listen, I'm coming right out there. Whatever you do, *don't* open it. Have you told anyone about this?"
"A friend of mine. He traced you through the NTIS. For awhile we thought you were George Lucas' dog."
"The dog was named after *me*," said Jones. "But that's not the best part. Would you believe that Kasdan hit on Marion's name by accident? Waltzed into San Anselmo and said 'Marion' and George thought he'd found out about us. But it was just a coincidence. So far just George, Steven and Harrison know. And now you, but I'd appreciate it if - "
"It's not going anywhere with me," said Mann. "I'm not even sure this is really happening."
"It's happening," said Jones curtly. "Well, *maybe* it's happening. First I need to look at that crate. Can you pick me up at the San Francisco Airport tomorrow?"
Dennis Mann couldn't get away from OARB the next morning, but Peter Rivera volunteered to drive to the airport. He did a double-take when he saw a man and a woman walk into the terminal who might have been doubles for Harrison Ford and Karen Allen except that they were visibly older. They smiled at his discomfiture.
"Dennis is stuck at the base for another hour, but he's going to meet us at my place if that's O.K. with you."
"That'll be just fine," said Indiana Jones.
Over coffee in Peter Rivera's loft Jones elaborated on his comments over the phone. "You guessed right about my telling the story to George Lucas when he was a kid, but of course there's a lot of stuff in _Raiders_ that has nothing whatever to do with what actually happened. The South American temple bit, for example, and most of the general chasing around. But we did find the Ark in Tanis, and we did get jumped by an Ahnenerbe team - that's the research branch of the SS, which had several archaeological expeditions under way in the late '30s. And they did tie us up and open it up. But there was no one named Belloq; he was just another dramatic device for the film. And the second and third movies were pure fantasy. Made me wish I *had* gone after the Grail. I do have some ideas about it."
"But our run-in with the Ahnenerbe was very odd," broke in Marion, "because we don't know exactly what happened then. We both remember becoming faint and then blacking out. When we woke up, the Germans were gone, we were untied, and the Ark was just sitting there. Indy wanted to open it, but I asked him to wait until we got it back to the museum. And of course we never got it past Washington. But no, we never saw the Ark 'do' anything. We assume we were given some sort of hallucinogen at the time. But we're still not sure."
Jones stood up and walked over to the window of the loft. Then he turned around and stabbed a finger at them. "Some things just don't add up. If the Ark were the real thing, and if we - the Allies - got it - and this was before the war, mind you - then why the Axis successes and Allied defeats in the first several years of the war? Why, if we had it, would we just crate it up and bury it in a warehouse? And here, listen to this ..."
He went over to the table, rummaged in the old leather briefcase he had brought, extracted a battered book, thumbed through it impatiently, then began to quote:
"When one says that God provokes the lightning, that's true in a sense; but what is certain is that God does not direct the thunderbolt, as the church claims. The church's explanation of natural phenomena is an abuse, for the church has ulterior interests. True piety is the characteristic of the being who is aware of his weakness and ignorance. Whoever sees God only in an oak tree or a tabernacle, instead of seeing him everywhere, is not truly pious. He remains attached to appearances - and when the sky thunders and the lightning strikes, he trembles simply from fear of being struck as a punishment for the sin he's just committed.
"From now on, one may consider that there is no gap between the organic and inorganic worlds. Recent experiments make it possible for one to wonder what distinguishes live bodies from inanimate matter. In the face of this discovery, the church will begin by rising in revolt; then it will continue to teach its 'truths'. One day, finally, under the battering ram of science, dogma will collapse. It is logical that it should be so, for the human spirit cannot remorselessly apply itself to raising the veil of mystery without people's one day drawing the conclusions.
"*The Ten Commandments are a code of living to which there's no refutation*. These precepts correspond to irrefragable needs of the human soul; they're inspired by the best religious spirit, and the churches here support themselves on a solid foundation."
"Who said that?" inquired Rivera. "Is that one of your books?"
Jones glanced at Marion, who smiled. "Hardly," he said. He closed the book with a snap and tossed it on to the table. "This is _Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944_, translated by Cameron and Stevens from Martin Bormann's own transcripts. What you just heard were Adolf Hitler's private remarks to Lieutenant General von Rintelen on the evening of October 24, 1941."
Dennis Mann let out a low whistle. "Well, what do you know? That's something the history books seem to have omitted. This from the supposed mastermind of the 'final solution'? Why would he say that about a *Hebrew* artifact - particularly if it were in enemy hands?"
"And why," added Marion, "did the United States never announce its possession of the Ark - which presumably would have given Washington the same prestige and spiritual authority or whatever that Berlin was seeking to acquire? And why did the Germans abandon it, if they did? Why leave it to us? Why leave us alive?"
"Why indeed," said Mann. "Unless ..."
"Unless?" prompted Marion.
"Unless there's something wrong with it," he answered slowly. "Unless when the AIS people got their hooks into it, they found something they didn't expect or didn't like."
"Or maybe it was something that they *didn't* find," said Marion. "Well, Dennis, now it's up to you. Are you going to let us have a look at it?" She paused, then added, slowly and deliberately, "We have waited for over forty years."
Mann stared at her. "I received both of your clearances today - Yes. Yes, indeed. What about this evening unless the two of you are too tired from the flight?"
He turned to Rivera. "I hate to tell you this, Peter, but there's a security problem. Whatever the crate may be, it's still classified. And the whole warehouse is a restricted area. I can't get you in."
Rivera laughed. "That's O.K. I'll just go up on the roof here and wait for the explosion and the light show. But I've got something here which might come in handy ..."
He went into the next room, then returned with a camera and two metal containers of film. "Got this from John Felczak last week," he explained to Mann. "Infrared-sensitive film -"
Rivera was interrupted by a knock at the door. He hesitated a moment, then opened it, whereupon a girl darted by him into the room. "Hi, Rebecca," he said to the space where she'd been a moment before.
"Listen, I'm sorry to be in-and-out so quick," she said as she examined his book case, "but I only have a few moments and wanted to pick up that tape you had for me - ah, there it is. Hi, Dennis! See you guys later -"
As she was almost through the door, she noticed their two visitors. She stared at them for a moment, then shook her head slightly at the crazy notion which had passed through her mind, and waved goodbye to Peter. He closed the door and shrugged.
Dennis Mann laughed. "Yeah, try to explain this!"
"We've had that problem before," said Marion. "Particularly at the time when the first movie came out. We got pretty good at amateur disguises. And North Carolina isn't exactly where you'd expect to find, ah, celebrities either. But then I guess we're *not* celebrities, because no one thinks that we actually exist as real people."
"Let's keep it that way," commented her husband. "Well, since we've some time to kill before this evening, let's do lunch at the Berkeley Faculty Club and then stop at the library. There are some items there I'd like to take a look at.
Shortly after eight that evening, after dropping Rivera back at his home, Mann took the Joneses down to the base. It was already dark, and the entire post seemed to be deserted save for an occasional passing car or truck. There was no moon, and no nearby streetlights, and Warehouse Six was visible only as a looming shadow behind the barbed-wire fence as Mann punched the code into the alarm system and led them inside. Once in the building, he threw the switches to turn on the inside lighting and led the way down the vast main corridor. A moment later the three of them were standing before crate 9906753.
Mann handed the band-cutter he had brought from the office to Indiana Jones. "Seems to me that the first cut ought to be yours," he said.
Unexpectedly there were tears in the old archaeologist's eyes. "Thanks," he said awkwardly. Then he addressed the rusted bands with the pincers. One by one they snapped apart, and then - with an an apprehensive look at one another - the two men set to work more carefully with crowbars. There were wrenching, tearing sounds as the wooden slats gave way, and suddenly the top came free from Jones' crowbar and the sides fell to the floor with a crash that echoed throughout the cavernous warehouse. Waving the cloud of dust away, the three of them stared at the sight before them.
The oblong box that rested quietly amidst the slats of the crate bore only a remote resemblance to the dazzling artifact from the _Raiders_ movie. Its sides and top were indeed covered with what appeared to be gold, but the surfaces were plain and unpolished. There was no ornamentation save for two massive gold rings on one end-panel and a rather crude filigree design worked into the center of the lid. At each end of the lid were indentations as though at one time something had been attached to them. The impression Mann received was of very rough workmanship - and of some rough handling, as evidenced by the absence of the other two carrying-rings and points on the corners and sides where the golden sheets had been cut through, revealing a brownish-yellow grained wood beneath. He looked questioningly at Jones.
The archaeologist nodded at him. "That's it, all right. That's the Ark. The real one."
"Indy," said Marion, "what about the statuettes - the ones on the lid? Someone's taken them off."
"Yeah, I noticed." Jones bent over the box, peering around it and finally lifting up one end to look underneath. "Not there either," he said with irritation, but as he set the Ark back down there was a dull clang from the inside.
Jones' expression changed. "Bureaucrats," he said scornfully. "They didn't want the crate any bigger than necessary, so they took the cherubim off and put them inside. I can't *stand* it."
He bent down again and grabbed one end of the lid. "Get the other side, will you?" he nodded at Mann. "Let's slide it off and set it down over there."
Seeing Dennis' hesitation, Jones laughed. "This isn't the damned movie. Nothing's going to happen ..." - he suddenly turned and winked at Marion - "... I think!"
Mann still hesitated. This was too much, too fast: a kind of crazy nightmare. And the ghostliness of their surroundings didn't help either. But a moment later nothing had changed, and it was still very real. He sighed and took hold of the other end of the lid. Gingerly the two men raised it - it was lighter than it appeared, due apparently to the age and dryness of the wood - and set it carefully down on one of the nearby crates. Then the three of them turned back to the Ark and peered inside.
No explosion or other manifestation of an angry Hebrew god rose up to annihilate them; the Ark was as tranquil as before. Its inside was also covered with the plain, beaten gold sheets, but within the cavity were two objects wrapped in white cloth. Their shapes were too irregular to be those of the famed stone tablets. Jones carefully lifted one of them out of the Ark, unwrapped it - and suddenly there was the glitter of an entirely different order of gold craftsmanship.
The object that he held up before them was about two feet long and a foot high; it was a crouched, semi-humanoid figure with its head and face concealed by its two outstretched wings. It was evidently fashioned from pure gold and was carved and polished to jewel-like perfection. Noting the sudden expression of confusion on Mann's face, Jones held the statue towards him and nodded with evident pleasure: "I think you've just noticed what we did forty years ago."
"That's not Mesopotamian," said Mann. "That's *Egyptian*. The wings, the kilt - What's an *Egyptian* statue doing on the Hebrew Ark?"
"We asked ourselves the same question in Tanis," said Marion while her husband set the first statue down and began to unwrap the other one. "But like you we weren't expecting such a discovery. And unfortunately we were interrupted by the Ahnenerbe before we could try to come up with an answer. Indy, show him their faces."
Jones tilted the statues back so that Mann could see beneath the canopied wings. Once again he shook his head in surprise. "Horus and Set. Those are Horus and Set. What does this mean? And you knew about this and didn't say anything about it - didn't write it up or make any statement? Do you know -"
"Of course we do," said Marion. "But we didn't have the Ark - or the cherubim. Who'd have believed us? After the Army took the Ark away, it was as though a door were shut in our face. No one would tell us anything about it, or even admit to having it at all. I can't tell you how many people we tried in Washington."
Mann shifted his gaze back to the Ark. "What about the Ten Commandments?" he said. "Weren't they supposed to be inside? Where are they?"
"Not here at any rate," said Jones, "Unless you've got another box here labeled, um, 9906753-A."
Mann laughed. "I'm afraid not."
"One of two things must have happened - assuming that the tablets were in the Ark when Marion and I got it out of the Well of Souls: Either the Germans got them while we were out cold, or the same people who took our two little friends off the lid stored the tablets in some other place."
"But it doesn't make sense that they'd separate the tablets from the Ark, which is equally important," objected Marion. "They wouldn't have removed them from the Ark just to be able to put the statues inside."
"I'm going out to the car," said Mann. "I'll be right back."
Moments later he returned, carrying a socket adapter, a small DC transformer, and two long electrical cables. The Joneses watched with interest while he connected the transformer to the nearest overhead light socket, then attached one end of the cables to the transformer and the others to one of the metal attachments at each end of the Ark. He switched on the transformer after cautioning them not to touch the Ark while the current was on. Then with Peter Rivera's camera he took a series of infrared photographs of all of the outside and inside surfaces of the box. Finally he switched off the current, and disconnected the apparatus. "Well," he said. "What now?"
Indiana Jones scratched his chin. "For the time being the Ark might as well stay here. But first I want to take some measurements of it. And I want to take the cherubim with us. I'll go ahead and sign a receipt if you want."
Mann laughed. "A receipt for some Lockheed P-38 parts? O.K., I'll write it up."
It was but the work of a few more minutes to nail the crate together again around the now-empty Ark and reband it. Just for good measure Mann smeared a little oil on the shiny new bands, then sprinkled some dust from the floor on them. "Instant age," he observed. Finally crate 9906753 was restored to its niche. The three of them made their way out of the warehouse.
The next morning Dennis Mann picked up Indiana and Marion Jones at their hotel, passed by the fotomat to collect the prints of the film he had taken, and continued on to Peter Rivera's home.
To Rivera they recounted the events of the previous evening. Jones had brought along the two cherubim statues in an old leather suitcase, and when he unwrapped them Rivera let out a low whistle of awe. He reached out to touch one of them, then drew back his hand at the last moment. Mann smiled. "Me too," he said.
Marion Jones was carefully taping four of the photographs together. "Look at this, Indy. Hieroglyphs. On the inside of the Ark."
Jones took the photos from her. "So that infrared trick really worked. Incredible. You -" he addressed Mann and Rivera "- have a great future in archaeology. Marion, have you got some paper handy?"
He sat down at the dining-table and, peering carefully at the photographs, began to make notes. After watching him for a few moments, Marion tugged two books from the satchel she had brought with her. "While he's working on the translation," she said, "we found some tidbits at UC yesterday that you might be interested in hearing. We of course knew about the Egyptian design of the cherubim from our original discovery of the Ark. Until now there seemed to be little use in pursuing the matter, but your call" - she nodded at Mann - "made the difference. So yesterday we were looking for the link, as it were. This first book is _Religion in Ancient History_ by Brandon - Religion Department at the University of Manchester. Very bright guy. Indy knew him in graduate school. Listen to this:
"Seraphim are mysterious beings; they clearly derive from a very primitive stage of Hebrew culture. The word 'seraphim' means 'burning ones', and it is evident that originally they were supernatural serpents with a burning bite. Indeed, as the curious episode in Numbers 21:6 indicates, they were once worshipped. The bronze serpent that was then made was called a saraph, and it continued to be a cult object in Judah down to the reign of Hezekiah (716-687 BC).
"Equally mysterious are the cherubim. According to 'Psalm 18:10', they transport Yahweh: 'He (Yahweh) rode on the cherub and flew; he came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.' Their association in this passage with storm-clouds appears more clearly in Ezekiel's account of the vision of Yahweh which he had when an exile in Mesopotamia (593 BC): 'As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness round about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: They had the form of men, but each had four faces, and each had four wings. As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man in front; the four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle at the back. Such were their faces. And their wings were spread out above. (Ezekiel 1:4-5, 10-11)
"In the instructions given in Exodus 25:18-20 for the construction of the Ark of Yahweh, which was the chief cult-object in the original Temple of Jerusalem, Moses is directed: 'You shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.'
"Specialist opinion today is inclined to think that the cherubim were similar to the winged sphinxes found in Phoenician art - their images adorning the Ark are also reminiscent of the winged figures of the goddesses Isis and Nepthys that protect the shrine of Tutankhamen.
"It would seem, therefore, that in the pre-exilic period, as Hebrew religion emerged gradually from its primitive polytheism, many supernatural beings, of diverse origin and status, were recognized alongside of Yahweh. Since at this stage the idea of the Devil had not emerged, these beings were sometimes regarded as emissaries of Yahweh to bring evil as well as good on men - which they did, most notably, on Saul and Ahab."
"You see the problem here," said Marion. "We're actually trying to make sense out of a religious artifact that, at least where the cherubim are concerned, is not Hebraic at all, but rather Egyptian in origin. Also dating back to a historical period before Yahweh or Jehovah became a single god for the Hebrews.
"Then there is the secondary problem of the Exodus itself. Archaeologically it never happened - at least not in the way it is described in the _Bible_."
She set the Brandon book down and took up the second one. "John Romer's _Testament_. Brilliant piece of work. He's a British archaeologist who's spent most of his professional life in the field in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Wrote this as a study of how the present-day book we know as the _Bible_ came to be assembled over the centuries." She flipped through the pages, then quoted a passage to them:
"Hard evidence of the Exodus event in the preserving deserts of the Sinai, where most of the biblical Wandering takes place, is similarly elusive. Although its climate has preserved the tiniest traces of ancient bedouin encampments and the sparse, 5,000-year-old villages of mine-workers, there is not a single trace of Moses or the Israelites. And they would have been by far the largest body of ancient people ever to have lived in this great wilderness. Neither is there any evidence that Sinai and its little natural springs could ever have supported such a multitude, even for a single week. Several 19th-century vicars recognized this fact within a day or two of the start of numerous expeditions in search of Moses' footsteps. 'Escaping from the rigours of an English winter,' as one of them says, 'in a land of the flock and the tent to which our only guide was the _Bible_' they quickly realized that the biblical Exodus was logistically impossible and that the _Bible_ was a most ambiguous guide to that desolate region. The biblical description of the Exodus, then, flies in the face of practical experience. Indeed the closer you examine it, the further it seems removed from all of ancient history.
"Fortunately it is easier to discover the age of the book of Exodus than the route of an Exodus journey - and all the indications are that this was a very long time after Rameses City had descended into ruin. For running alongside the ancient theme of creation and re-creation is the no-less-powerful theme of a liberation from slavery and of Jehovah's revenge upon the slave masters. And it is in this account of Israel's enslavement that the Exodus story departs from the reality of the world of Genesis and Exodus. Slavery on such a scale and of the type described in the Book of Exodus did not exist in ancient Egypt, nor anywhere in that ancient world, where mankind was set inside a holy order in which everyone from a pharaoh to a bonded peasant was at the disposal of the gods and the state. In such a world modern conceptions of slavery and freedom, even of ownership and buying and selling, have little meaning. Furthermore explicit documentary evidence from ancient Egypt shows that foreigners who lived in that country, either as prisoners of war or as peaceful immigrants, were carefully and quickly integrated into the general mass of the population. Ancient notions of race and culture were very different, and Exodus' theme of liberation from oppression is entirely inappropriate to ancient reality."
Marion closed the book. "So not only do we have an Ark of extremely mysterious design. It is also supposed to be one of the central features of an event which, as far as we can tell, never took place. Yet here it is. Now -"
"Got it!" said Indiana Jones, pushing back his chair and walking over to join them. "Fantastic. Some of the glyphs were too blurred or indistinct, but enough came through. This is just fantastic." He waved his notes at them. "Are you ready for this?"
"and ... Self-Become-One has said ... firstborn son of the great house of Men-maat-Ra, son of the Sun, Ptah-meri-en-Seti, Life! Health! Strength!, bear away from Khem the sacred Sam-taui ... preserved by these nomads with ... I adjure thee ... writing reveals itself, to return the Sam-taui to their most holy"
"Most holy what?" said Mann. "Don't tell me ..."
"'Fraid so," said Jones. "That's where they stop. The rest of the writing is presumably on the other tablet, which left no impression on the gold. But no matter. We'll worry about that later. This is tremendous. Do you know what this means?"
"What's the name of that Pharaoh?" inquired Rivera.
"Sorry, I was giving you the literal translation. It's Seti I of the Nineteenth Dynasty. Now let's see how good a detective you are." He passed the notes to Rivera, who looked over them carefully.
"Well, the writer refers to himself only as Seti's firstborn son - but not by name. Maybe he had some reason to conceal his name? Maybe to pose as a non-Egyptian, to blend in with these nomads he's talking about? Of course: *Moses*. That's why he's come down to us with that name; it's just the Egyptian hieroglyphic for 'son'."
"Like 'Thutmose - Son of Thoth' and 'Rameses - Son of Ra'," nodded Mann. "So this is proof that Moses was not only an Egyptian, but in fact a prince of the royal house - the crown prince in fact."
"You got it," said Jones, beaming at them. "I'll bet that my movie double, Harrison Ford, never stopped to think that the root of his first name is the hieroglyphic for Har or Horus, which makes him 'Son of Horus'. Anything else occur to you?"
"Hmm," said Mann. "The Sam-taui are obviously those two statues of Horus and Set. And they weren't just any statues; they were two unusually important ones. For whatever reason - perhaps a political crisis or threat of invasion - it was felt necessary to get them out of Egypt in some manner that would ultimately preserve them without revealing their actual significance or value. What better way than as 'ornaments' for a mock-sacred treasure, the tablets of the Ten Commandments - which Moses also used to record this message."
He got to his feet and paced back and forth, getting more excited. "He must have carved the commandments on the front of the tablets, which is all that he showed the Hebrews. They never knew what was on the back, nor could they read the message even if they did see it. And Moses made certain that they wouldn't see the hieroglyphs by decreeing that the tablets were to be locked out of sight in the Ark and not touched henceforth. Even the Hebrew priests who were permitted to open the Ark could see only the Hebrew writing as they looked inside. And that's why what was on the back of this tablet impressed itself into the gold lining of the Ark."
"How about that 'Self-Become-One'?" added Rivera. "That's got to be Xepera, the self-created scarab, right?"
"Or," said Jones, "you might translate the hieroglyph into ancient Hebrew as 'I am that I am' or 'I will be what I will be'. But let's not jump immediately to a simple conclusion." He rummaged again in the leather satchel, took out a third book. "Massey's _Ancient Egypt_," he explained. "Massey was an interesting guy. Spent years in research at the British Museum around the turn of the century, and published six books on his work. He also lectured extensively in both England and the States. Many of this century's best archaeologists began their careers as students of his. Unfortunately for him, he more or less exposed Judaeo-Christianity as being merely a plagiarism of far-more-ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian legends. That didn't go down too well with the contemporary religious establishment, which is why he's been, in a word, suppressed. But there isn't an Egyptologist worth his salt today who doesn't know Massey's work. Here's the part I was looking for:
"Ages before the Hebrew Pentateuch was written and ascribed to Moses, the one god had been worshipped at On or Annu as Egyptian under the title of Atum-Ra. If he was made known to Anhur by revelation, whatsoever that may imply, the revelation was Egyptian. This is the god who was one by nature and dual by manifestation: one in the solar mythos as the opener/closer of the netherworld; one in the eschatology as Huhi the everlasting father, and Iu the ever-coming son as prince of peace; the one god, called the holy spirit, who was founded typically on the human ghost. This is the living (Ankhu), self-originating, and eternal god. This is he who was to be lifted up as god alone in his ark or tabernacle on the mount of glory - that is, as Ra-Harmakhu on the double horizon or in the dual equinox; the deity who gave the law on Mount Shenni through the intermediation of Anhur or Ma-Shu, the son of Ra.
"In the so-called 'destruction of mankind' the solar god resolves to be lifted up in an ark or sanctuary by himself alone. This sanctuary is carried on the back of Nut, the celestial cow. 'There was Nut. The majesty of Ra was on her back. His majesty arrived in the sanctuary. And his majesty saw the inner part of the sanctuary.'
"This creation of the sanctuary for the one god Ra upon the mount is followed in the Hebrew book. Ihuh says to Moses, 'Let them (the children of Israel) make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the dwelling and the pattern of the furniture thereof, even so ye shall make it.' 'And they shall make an ark of acacia-wood.'
"The two together, the sanctuary and the ark, constituted an ark-shrine of the true Egyptian pattern. As Egyptian, the ark of Ra-Harmakhu represented the double equinox in the two horizons. This was the 'double abode of Ra' in the dual domain of light and shade, the model of the Jewish arks or tabernacles that were to be erected equally in sun and shade. The part open to the rays of light was exactly to balance the shade or veil of the covering, and not to have more sun than shade (Mishna, Treatise Succah). This was in accordance with the plan of the Great Pyramid in relation to the luminous hemisphere and the hemisphere of shade at the two equinoxes.
"The sanctuary of Ra was a figure of the heavens. The Hebrew ark was a portable copy, a tabernacle fitted for an itinerating deity.
"It was the Egyptian custom to represent the heaven in miniature as an ark of so many cubits. There is an ark of seven cubits, one of eight cubits, another of four cubits, in which the god was 'lifted up' or exalted.
"Inside the ark there was a shrine for the deity, with a figure of the god within the sanctuary. As water was the primary element of life, the nature-powers were held to have come into being by water. Hence their images were placed within the shrine that was carried on board the papyrus bark and borne upon the shoulders of the priests.
"These tabernacles, consisting of a boat and shrine, were the sacred ark-shrines of Egypt. Thus the beginnings were forever kept in view. The ark-shrine on the water represented by the boat became a type of heaven as dwelling-place of the Eternal. Thus an ark of Nnu was constellated in the stars and pictured on the waters of the inundation. The ark of Atum-Ra was depicted with the solar orb on board, which was always red.
"In the religious mysteries, as already shown, an ark of four cubits imaged the heaven of four quarters, or, as the Egyptians phrased it, of four sides. As we have seen, there was an ark of seven cubits for the heptanomis, and one of eight cubits for the octonary. This ark-shrine of eight cubits is to be built for the god to float in after there has been a great subsidence of land in the celestial waters. So likewise in the 'destruction of mankind', when Ra becomes the supreme one god, he orders an ark or tabernacle to be made for his voyage over the heavens. The inscription was engraved in the chamber of the cow that was herself a form of the ark as the goddess Nut."
"So the Ark is an Egyptian device used to transport the Sam-taui," said Rivera. "So where does that leave us?"
"Go ahead a few thousand years," answered Jones. "What happened to the Ark when Marion and I first found it?"
"I don't follow you."
"O.K., look at it this way: We got to keep the Ark, but without the tablets. The Germans must have drugged us, then opened the Ark and removed the tablets - which are what are supposed to be important about it, remember? - and taken just them to Berlin. Presumably the team - it was rather more of a commando outfit than a research group - couldn't translate the hieroglyphs on-site, or just didn't bother to.
"Why they didn't take the Ark and the Sam-taui as well I don't suppose we'll ever know. Maybe they didn't have time or the transport facilities. Anyway, by the time the hieroglyphs were deciphered, the Ark was in the United States, out of their reach. There must have been hell to pay in Berlin that day!" He laughed.
"Now we have a most interesting situation. The Germans couldn't reveal the truth about the tablets, because then the U.S. would know the significance of the statues. As for the Ark, well, my guess would be that it was opened up once we got it to Washington. When nothing was found inside, the powers-that-be decided that revealing that fact might be a bad blow to Judaeo-Christianity - or even might be seen as an anti-Semitic scheme to discredit the biblical account. Remember that the whole Western world was pretty touchy about the Jews in the pre-World War II period; it wasn't just a German trait by a long shot.
"So that's why the government just buried the Ark in your warehouse. A religious hot potato, if you will."
Marion waved her finger in the air. "Now a whole lot of other things are beginning to fall into place," she said. "Rameses II - presumably another son of Seti I - moved the Egyptian capital to Tanis during his reign from 1290 to 1223 BC. Tanis remained the capital through the XXII Dynasty begun by Pharaoh Sheshonk, the biblical 'Shishack' who raided and sacked Jerusalem in 928 BC. That's in I Kings 14:26. If Sheshonk knew about the Sam-taui through court or temple archives, that might explain why he went after the Ark - to get the sacred Sam-taui back to Egypt. Certainly there's no reason why he should have gone through all that trouble to enshrine a presumably false, foreign Jehovah in the Well of Souls where we found the Ark. That would have been an affront to the Egyptian gods.
"But what he was actually enshrining was the Sam-taui, together with Moses' ingenious device to preserve them. And the "Staff of Ra" that you used to find the Well, Indy; that must have been the 'Staff of Rameses'. I'll bet you anything that the story of the Sam-taui's concealment was recorded on the original shaft of that staff by Moses' younger brother - for the eyes of future pharaohs only. Rameses must have had the Well and the Map Room built in his new capital against a time when the Ark would be returned. Evidently Sheshonk had reason to think that the time had come to bring it back."
"So now we have to get our hands on the Ten Commandments - or, more precisely, on the rest of that inscription," said Jones. "That means we're off to Germany tomorrow. You interested?"
"I'm afraid I'm out," said Rivera sadly. "I've got too many things holding me to the bay area right now. But I certainly want to know what happens."
The Joneses looked at Dennis Mann. "Right now I belong to the Army," he said. "But after a couple of weeks -" then paused as Indiana smiled and waved a piece of fax paper in front of him.
"Forgot to tell you. I took the, ah, liberty of having your orders amended. You're now on casual status, assigned as escort officer to a scholar with a sensitive security background traveling overseas. That's me. You don't mind?"
Mann laughed. "Obviously you've got what is commonly called clout."
"Ha," said Marion. "It's just that he creates so many problems for so many high-ups when someone isn't keeping an eye on him!"
"My reputation must be improving," commented her husband. "This time I asked for and got two escort officers. We'll pick up the other one when we change planes at Kennedy."
The next morning Dennis Mann and the Joneses flew from San Francisco to New York's Kennedy Airport and transferred to a Lufthansa flight for Frankfurt. Waiting for them at the gate was the other escort officer.
"Dennis, what's this all about?" said Karen. "These orders came in yesterday. Who's this 'Professor Harry Jones'?"
Mann beamed at her, then brought her over to Indy and Marion, who put on a good show, he thought, of innocence in the "arrangement".
Karen stared at them, then turned to him and said, "Good god, it's *Harrison Ford*, isn't it? And you," - she looked again at Marion - "you're Karen Allen from the _Raiders_ movie, right?"
Dennis chuckled. "Well, something like that, dear. It's a long story. I'll tell you on the plane."
It was close to noon the following day when the 747 finally touched down at Munich. An hour later they had secured an Audi from the local Hertz office and were speeding out of the city on the Salzburg Autobahn. Until now Indiana Jones had deflected questions as to their precise destination, but now it seemed that he was ready to talk.
"The fastest route would be over into Austria and back into Berchtesgaden," he said. "But since your passports haven't reached the consulate yet and we don't have time to argue with the Austrian border people, we'll cut down 306 and catch 305 into the town. Marion, after we pass the Chiemsee on the left, take the right exit for Inzell."
"Berchtesgaden?" said Mann. "That means the Obersalzberg, right? So we're going to Hitler's old home in the Alps? Why there as opposed to Berlin?"
"I considered Berlin," Indiana answered. "Believe it or not, there is a way down into the Fuehrerbunker even though the Soviet engineers blew up the main and emergency exits. Underground escape passage leading from a false wall in Hitler's quarters to a concealed trapdoor in an old building a block away. Remind me to tell you all about that sometime," - he smiled as Dennis' and Karen's eyes widened - "but my nose tells me that he wouldn't have taken a - talisman - like the Ten Commandments there. He may have worked in Berlin, but his heart was here. He used to point out the window of the Berghof at the Untersberg - that's the mountain wherein Charlemagne is reputed to be sleeping, waiting to rise again, sort of like King Arthur from Avalon." Jones pulled one particular paper from the folder on his lap and switched on the map light of the Audi. "Here, this is Martin Bormann's transcript of some of Hitler's remarks during the evening of January 2, 1941:
"When I go to Obersalzberg, I'm not drawn there merely by the beauty of the landscape. I feel myself far from petty things, and my imagination is stimulated. When I study a problem elsewhere, I see it less clearly; I'm submerged by the details. By night, at the Berghof, I often remain for hours with my eyes open, contemplating from my bed the mountains lit up by the Moon. It's at such moments that my mind is illuminated."
"If he acquired the tablets," continued Indiana, "I'm betting that he hid them there. Now the Berghof itself - his official residence at Obersalzberg - was blown up during an Allied air raid in April 1945. Even so its shell remained standing for another seven years. Then the Bavarian government got nervous, thought it was attracting a bit too much attention as a shrine, so to speak, and had it razed to the ground on April 30, 1952 - coincidentally the anniversary of his reported suicide in Berlin. Today there is nothing left but the old garage, and even that is almost completely overgrown by brush."
"You think he hid the Ten Commandments in his garage?" inquired Karen.
Jones laughed. "No - Marion, there's the turnoff - Now then: Hitler may have lived in the Berghof, but he had another place there for personal contemplation. About twelve miles up a winding road from the Berghof is the Kehlstein mountain. The road leads to a tunnel that goes to the center of the mountain. There Bormann had an elevator shaft cut through the solid rock all the way to the peak. At its apex he built a special retreat for Hitler - the Adlerhorst or Eagle's Nest. It's not exactly Neuschwanstein, mind you; Speer referred to it as 'ocean-liner modern'. Probably because he didn't get to design it. But the air raid missed it entirely, and then it was judged too much of an engineering marvel to destroy. So today it's a restaurant for tourists, if you can believe that."
"I can believe that," nodded Mann. "But I have another question to put to you: Why do you think that Hitler had the tablets? If they were taken from you by the Ahnenerbe, perhaps Himmler kept them - at the Wewelsburg, for instance."
"I considered that too, but I don't think so. You have to get into the minds of these people. Himmler was a mystic, true, but he had a very strong phobia against anything Jewish or Hebraic. He wouldn't have sent an Ahnenerbe team after something like the Ark of the Covenant on his own - or, if he had, the team would simply have had orders to obliterate it.
"But Hitler, as per his own words, had a sense of historical respect for the tablets. He would have wanted them intact. And that's the way they were taken from us."
As the afternoon blended into a beautiful Alpine evening, they descended into the small valley containing the colorful village of Berchtesgaden. The Audi followed the Achen River halfway through town, then turned onto a narrow but well-paved road leading toward the foothills of the Obersalzberg. "We're going to the General Walker," said Indiana to Marion. "You'll see the sign up ahead. They've already got a suite for us."
"Clout," observed Dennis to Karen.
She grinned back at him. "Clout indeed. When I was last over here, I once tried to get reservations at the Walker and was told that you had to make them months in advance. So I stayed in town at the Berchtesgadener Hof - which turned out to be a very nice place."
"It should be," said Indiana. "Despite the Platterhof's - that's the Walker's original name - location right in the Obersalzberg complex, many of the VIPs preferred to stay in Berchtesgaden, which was certainly a more relaxed environment. Your hotel is where they stayed: Chamberlain, Rommel, Raeder, Himmler, Goebbels ... Plenty of important ghosts to keep you company at night."
Karen gave him a look. "Thanks, Dennis will do." Jones' eyes twinkled.
Marion pulled the Audi into the General Walker Hotel's parking lot. "Ghosts or not," she said, "I for one am thoroughly jet-lagged. I haven't had a good night's sleep since we left Chapel Hill, Indy. And I'm willing to bet Karen is bushed too. Tomorrow we're going to sleep late, then breakfast in front of a nice warm fire, then lounge around on the featherbeds while you big strong men go running around in the - brrr! - refreshing Alpine air."
"Listen to the lady who hates cold mountain air," retorted Jones. He glanced at Dennis and Karen. "If I hadn't arrived like the fairy prince to sweep her off her feet, she'd still be freezing her ass off in the Himalayas. That's gratitude for you!"
"Right," said Karen. "The way I saw it, she swept *you* off your feet."
"Minor detail," said the archaeologist. "That's what I get for telling all to a kid named Lucas. Oh, well, let's get the bags inside before we all freeze."
As the Joneses and the Manns dropped off to sleep under the featherbeds of the General Walker, it was still only late in the afternoon in the District of Columbia. At 5:12 a shiny black Lincoln pulled off the Parkway into the tree-shrouded access road with its unobtrusive sign saying, simply, "CIA". [The sign had been put there by orders of John Kennedy, whose driver had been unable to find the unmarked turnoff on the new President's first official visit.]
The limousine continued past the controlled-gate checkpoint and finally glided to a halt in front of the gleaming white building housing the Central Intelligence Agency. A stocky, dark-haired man in the pin-striped suit that is the Washington diplomatic uniform emerged from the car and walked up the steps to be met by a similarly-attired - but obviously Ivy League - official who quickly escorted him into the building and through the lobby checkpoints. They walked along the hall into the left wing, past several doors bearing numbers but no identifying signs, and finally entered one of them: a small office evidently used for a variety of interview purposes.
"Well?" said the visitor, taking one of the chairs and crossing his legs.
His host frowned. "I don't like this, you know. The decision's out of my hands, but only because your government has confirmed that you'll not take any action unless it's first approved by us. That is understood?"
"Yes, quite understood," said the visitor impatiently. "Now what can you tell me about Jones?"
The CIA official shrugged and lit a cigarette. "Not much, I'm afraid. He called one of our people here a couple of days ago. Weird request. He wanted travel arrangements in Germany, and carte blanche orders for an Army lieutenant colonel and his wife - she's also an officer: a major - to accompany him. He didn't say why, and of course our person didn't ask; he just approved it because of Jones being who he is. But of course it came up on the computer, and that's why you've been told about it."
"Who's this Army officer?"
"Just a Reservist who was assigned to San Francisco for a two-week tour. When we called the unit out there, all we were told was that he'd been assigned to watch some warehouse facilities at another base in the bay area. I can't see there's much to make of that."
"I expect you're right. Where are they now?"
"All four of them - Jones' wife is along too - took a plane to Munich. We booked them into the General Walker at the Obersalzberg. But there's nothing sensitive about that place today; it's just a recreation site for the armed forces and a tourist-trap."
"You think they went there to go skiing? Indiana Jones?"
"Like I said, your guess is as good as mine. Anyway we were supposed to tell you if he left the country, and so we have."
The visitor stood up. "All right then. Come on, I'll buy you a cup of your lousy coffee in the unclassified cafeteria before I go."
Twenty minutes later, as the Lincoln purred back towards Washington, the man in the back seat activated a cellular phone, pressed a scrambler switch, and said: "This is MOSSAD 4310. Jones must have found it. The CIA locates him at Obersalzberg in Germany. Yes, the General Walker Hotel. Send someone to watch him, and keep me posted."
The next morning Dennis Mann rolled over, scratched his ear, and gradually focused his eyes at the bedside table. On it was an old clothbound book with some loose papers crammed into the back of it. The stamped title on the spine was too faded to read. He reached out a hand, flipped it open to the title page:
"THE VOICE OF DESTRUCTION
by Hermann Rauschning
G.P. Putnam's Sons
New York, 1940"
A note on a torn piece of paper fell out from inside the front cover. It said: "Chapts XVI & XVII - Understand the mind. Also Bormann's trans of H's pvt convs on 10/24/41, 1/25/42, 2/27/42. See you at 10. IJ" - and then below: "See red marks".
Dennis sat up and nudged Karen. "Hey," he said. "Wake up. Jones left a book here."
She rolled over and glared at him. "What time is it?"
"Um, half past eight," he answered. "But -"
"See you at eleven," she yawned and pulled the featherbed over her head.
Dennis considered whether to tug it back down, then thought better of it. He settled back, opened the book, and began to read from the memoirs of Adolf Hitler's confidant:
"Black magic, white magic - Hitler is the typical person with no firm foundation, with all the shortcomings of the superficial, of the man without reverence, quick to judge and quick to condemn. He is one of those with no spiritual tradition, who, being caught by the first substitute for it that they meet, hold tenaciously to that, lest they fall back into nothingness. He belongs also to the type of German who is 'starving for the unattainable'. For all those who have been unsuccessful in the battle of life, National Socialism is the great worker of magic. And Hitler himself is the first of these; thus he has become the master-enchanter and the high priest of the religious mysteries of Nazidom.
"Hitler's henchmen make more and more play with this quality of his of supreme magician, a quality supposed to outdistance those of a great statesman. And amid the ecstasy of his speeches, or in his solitary walks in the mountains, he feels that he does possess this quality ..."
He flipped through a few more pages ...
"Revolution without end: I must add a few words on the subject of this doctrine of Hitler's. Few know about it. Yet his political purpose can only be understood with this background of his ideas. Hitler is not superstitious in the ordinary sense. His interest in the horoscope and the cryptic elements in nature is connected with his conviction that man exists in some kind of magic association with the universe. The political element is for him only the foreground of a revolution which he pictures on the most stupendous scale.
"The story of apocryphal literature gives him the material for his doctrine. But what is of more importance than the doctrine is the will behind it. Hitler never tires of proclaiming, with endless variations on his theme, that the movement into which he has led the German people and the world is an unending movement, an unending revolution. This revolution embraces the whole existence of mankind. It is the liberation of mankind, which, according to Hitler's doctrine, advances a step every 700 years. This liberation is at the same time, for the great majority of mankind, a subjection to a new form of bondage. For the liberation is that of the sons of God. It is the revolution of the new nobility against the masses.
"He has gone far, if we recall where he began. Hitler the conspirator and paid propagandist has become the prophet of a new religion. Is this merely the megalomania of a sick man, or is it not, after all, the outcome of a logical process? A red thread may be plainly seen running through all the inconsistent, contradictory activities of this most extraordinary man. 'Activity is everything. Keep always on the move.' His natural restlessness finds expression in everything. But at the back of it there is not only his 'haunting hysteria', as he himself so significantly calls it. A world in full process of dissolution, and a people no less hysterical than himself could not but come under the leadership of a man of this sort.
"'Time,' he says, 'is working for us. I need but give them a kick, and we shall be free of the chains of a world that has outlived its day. All these things that seem so solid are rotten and ready for collapse.'
"All things do, indeed, seem to be inwardly rotting and in dissolution. In its dismay humanity seems to be abandoning itself to restless movement, perpetual change. And self-surrender to the uncontrollable impulse to wreak destruction seems to be the essence of the spirit that guides this insane adventurer. 'We do not know yet,' said Hitler on one occasion, 'the full scope of our objective. But we have it in our blood, and we are living it.' That is literature - bad literature. It dates from the outset of the present century. At that time there existed a sort of hysterical romanticism in Germany and Austria. It flourished especially in Vienna and Munich.
"It is not the first time that the sick fancies of a whole fevered nation have found concrete shape in figures that have worked havoc for centuries thereafter. Whole peoples have broken suddenly into an inexplicable restlessness. They undertake pilgrimages of penance, they are seized with an hysterical dancing mania. The present is one of these cases, A nation has become sick in mind; the circumstances may be investigated, but the root cause remains undiscoverable ..."
Mann pulled the photocopied transcripts from the rear of the book, laid the worn volume back on the table, and looked at the first of Hitler's confidential statements which Indiana Jones had highlighted with a red pencil:
"14th October 1941, midday. Special guest: Reichsfuehrer Himmler
"An educated man retains the same sense of the mysteries of nature and bows before the unknowable. An uneducated man, on the other hand, runs the risk of going over to atheism (which is a return to the state of the animal) as soon as he perceives that the state, in sheer opportunism, is making use of false ideas in the matter of religion, whilst in other fields it bases everything on pure science.
"But one must continue to pay attention to another aspect of the problem. It's possible to satisfy the needs of the inner life by an intimate communion with nature, or by knowledge of the past. Only a minority, however, at the present stage of the mind's development, can feel the respect inspired by the unknown, and thus satisfy the metaphysical needs of the soul. The average human being has the same needs, but can satisfy them only by elementary means. The person whose life tends to simplification is thirsty for belief, and he dimly clings to it with all his strength."
"24th October 1941, evening. Special guest: Lieutenant General von Rintelen, coming from Rome
"The microscope has taught us that we are hemmed in not only by the infinitely great but also by the infinitely small - macrocosm and microcosm. To such large considerations are added particular things that are brought to our attention by natural observation: that certain hygienic practices are good for a man - fasting, for example. It's by no means a result of chance that among the ancient Egyptians no distinction was drawn between medicine and religion.
"For a world population of 2,250,000,000, one can count on the Earth 170 religions of a certain importance - each of them claiming, of course, to be the repository of the truth. At least 169 of them, therefore, are mistaken! Among the religions practiced today, there is none that goes back further than 2,500 years. But there have been human beings, in the baboon category, for at least 300,000 years. There is less distance between the man-ape and the ordinary modern man than there is between the ordinary modern man and a man like Schopenhauer. In comparison with this millenary past, what does a period of 2,000 years signify?"
"Night of 25th January 1942
"It's striking to realize what a limited view we have of the past. The oldest specimens of handwriting we possess go back 3-4,000 years at most. No legend would have reached us if those who made and transmitted them hadn't been people like ourselves. Where do we acquire the right to believe that man has not always been what he is now? The study of nature teaches us that, in the animal kingdom just as much as in the vegetable kingdom, variations have occurred. They've occurred within the species, but none of these variations has an importance comparable with that which separates man from the monkey - assuming that this transformation really took place.
"If we consider the ancient Greeks, we find in them a beauty much superior to the beauty such as is widespread today - and I mean also beauty in the realm of thought as much as in the realm of forms. To realize this it's enough to compare the head of Zeus or Pallas Athene with that of a crusader or a saint! If one plunges further into the past, one comes again with the Egyptians upon human beings of the quality of the Greeks. Since the birth of Christ, we have had scarcely 40 successive generations on the globe, and our knowledge goes back only a few thousand years before the Christian era.
"Legend cannot be extracted from the void; it couldn't be a purely gratuitous figment. Nothing prevents us from supposing - and I believe, even, that it would be to our interest to do so - that mythology is a reflection of things that have existed and of which humanity has retained a vague memory ...
"It's against my own inclinations that I devoted myself to politics. I don't see anything in politics anyway, but a means to an end. Some people suppose it would deeply grieve me to give up the activity that occupies me at this moment. They are deeply mistaken, for the finest day of my life will be that on which I leave politics behind me, with its griefs and torments. When the war's over, and I have the sense of having accomplished my duties, I shall retire. Then I would like to devote 5 or 10 years to clarifying my thought and setting it down on paper. Wars pass by. The only things that exist are the works of human genius.
"This is the explanation of my love of art. Music and architecture - is it not in these disciplines that we find recorded the path of humanity's ascent? When I hear Wagner, it seems to me that I hear rhythms of a bygone world. I imagine to myself that one day science will discover, in the waves set in motion by the _Rheingold_, secret mutual relations connected with the order of the world. The observation of the world perceived by the senses precedes the knowledge given by exact science as well as by philosophy. It's in as far as percipient awareness approaches truth that it has value."
Mann glanced over at the clock, saw that he had an hour before meeting Indiana Jones. He was seized with a sudden desire to see what was left of the Berghof. He jumped out of bed, pulled on some clothes, and headed downstairs into the lobby. Outside he turned to the right and walked down an old access road that wound around the base of the General Walker past the ruins of an old guest cottage. When he thought that he had reached a point approximately above the ruins, he turned and plunged down the hill through the underbrush. After a few minutes he saw something flat, covered with grass and weeds. Scrambling down the slope to its right, he saw the exposed upper corner of what once must have been an arched doorway. Peering through it, he could see the dark expanse of the Berghof garage - the only structure still standing from the twice-blown-up structure. He slid inside, stood up, and looked around. The darkness and the quiet looked back at him. As his eyes became accustomed to the shadowed interior, he saw a tapestry of crude graffiti covering the inside walls.
He crawled back through the half-buried doorway, dusted himself off, and hiked back up the hill to the access road. As he re-entered the lobby of the General Walker, Indiana Jones beckoned to him from one of the armchairs.
"Act normal and keep your voice down," he said. "We're being watched. At the hotel entrances. Now we're going to casually walk back towards the suite, but be prepared to move quickly when I do. Got it?"
Mann nodded. The two men strolled through the inner door of the lobby, out of sight of the front door, then Indiana pulled Dennis down a hallway to the left. They hurried down it to its terminus: a locked metal gate at the top of a long downward flight of stairs.
Jones fitted a key to the lock, let them through, and secured it behind them. He led the way down the stairs, which seemed to go much farther down than a normal basement might require. At the bottom he proceeded through a second door, flipped a light switch, and closed the door behind them.
Mann looked with fascination at the tunnel which stretched out before them. "What *is* this place?"
"By late 1943," answered Jones, "the Germans began to appreciate their vulnerability to air-raids. Key industrial and governmental facilities began to be moved underground, or at least have sub-surface emergency bunkers. Obersalzberg received the same treatment. There's a network of tunnels under this hill that would do a family of moles proud. I, uh, borrowed the keys. I'm counting on our strange friends not being familiar enough about the building complex to know about the tunnels - at least until we've done what we have to do, which should only take us a couple of hours. As far as they know, we're still in the Walker. I've told the girls the situation. They'll maintain enough of a presence to cover for us. This way -"
They followed the main tunnel through a maze of twists and turns. Periodically small side passages and rooms branched out from it, but as far as Dennis could see the entire complex was completely empty of furniture or furnishings: just unrelieved concrete stretching off into darkness.
"We're passing the Berghof now," said Jones as they came to a cluster of side-tunnels. "This" - he indicated a dark doorway to their right - "was Hitler's quarters. But I don't think he ever had occasion to use it."
Finally they came to a steel door, to which Jones again fitted a key. They emerged into daylight shielding their eyes against the sudden glare of the Alpine Sun. A short distance from the bunker entrance was a paved parking-lot with a small gateway, ticket office, and bus by the uphill exit. Apart from the ticket-seller and the bus driver, they were alone. "Good," said Jones as he purchased two tickets for them. "I was hoping we'd be able to get a look around the Eagle's Nest before the lunch-crowd starts to arrive."
The bus ride up the road to the Kehlstein took only about ten minutes. The road terminated in a small paved circle, at the far end of which loomed the massive bronze doors to Martin Bormann's tunnel. The bus driver unlocked the doors and informed his passengers that they were welcome to go up by the elevator, but that the restaurant wouldn't be opening for another hour.
The tunnel, arched and lined with dressed stone, bored into the rock in a straight line for 130 meters. It terminated abruptly in a round, domed chamber and another set of gleaming metal doors flanked by candelabra. Within Mann saw one of the most lavish elevator cars imaginable: Its interior was worked completely in polished brass, offset by green leather seats and mirrors. A circle of clear lights atop the cabin enhanced the effect.
As Indiana Jones pulled the lever to send the car upward, he remarked: "We're going up another 400 feet into the Eagle's Nest. This place is something of an enigma. Took Bormann two years and 30 million marks to finish it. The usual story is that Hitler didn't like it because of the high altitude and only visited it a few times. I've heard otherwise, and that's why we're going up to take a closer look."
After about three minutes of what seemed to be a very slow ascent, the car door opened into a stone hallway, which in turn led to a large, semicircular room - the main reception and living area during the Third Reich, now remodeled into a restaurant. Three large picture-windows were located at the far end of the room, offering breathtaking views of the Alps and, far below, the town of Berchtesgaden.
Jones leaned on one of the tables and looked around thoughtfully. "Here's where those tablets have got to be, if they're anywhere. They were supposed to have come from a mountaintop; I'm guessing that Hitler would restore them to a similar setting if only because of his strange regard for them. But where? There's this room, that little parlor over there - generally called Eva Braun's tea room - a couple of utility rooms back of the elevator, and a basement. We might examine that basement, but then again ..."
His eyes turned to the central feature of the big room: a massive fireplace constructed entirely of rich Italian marble. He approached it and peered inside at the bas-relief cut into its back wall. Then he sat down on the large flagstone "I get the feeling that I'm missing the obvious," he said irritably.
"Well," said Dennis, "Hitler wouldn't have hidden the tablets so permanently that he couldn't get his hands on them when he wanted to. This is clearly the focal point of the building - and of course he didn't imagine that it would turn into a restaurant either! But he wouldn't have wanted a place of concealment to be overly obvious ... Have you got that _Bible_ with you?"
Jones felt in the pocket of his leather jacket, extracted a paperback _Bible_, and tossed it to Mann, who flipped through the pages of Exodus looking for the selection which had suddenly occurred to him:
"20. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live.
21. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock.
22. And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by.
23. And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen."
"That caught my eye just the other day because its similarity to the 'two-sided' tablets," said Dennis. "Do you think that Hitler might have ... What about the hearthstones?"
Jones glanced down at the large dressed stone on which he was sitting. Then he stood up, knelt down, and took a closer look. The entire expanse consisted of three stones, each about four feet wide. He peered carefully at the mortar, then took out a pocketknife and pressed down with the blade. Nothing.
"These stones are too big to be moved anyway, but I have a hunch you're right about the fireplace; maybe there's a release or counterweight somewhere. Hmm -" He crawled into the fireplace, looked carefully at the design of the bas-relief, then said, "I wonder," placed his hands over the faces of the figures, and pushed. Then harder. Then he jumped back as the entire back wall of the fireplace slowly rotated upwards and back.
They peered into a dark cavity behind the hearth.
There was a sudden noise from the hallway. The elevator doors hissed shut; it had evidently begun to descend. "Oh, *great*!" snarled Jones. "That'll be the staff. Hurry! We've got only about six or seven minutes before that thing makes a round trip!"
But Indiana Jones was wrong. The brass elevator descended much faster than it ascended, and in only four minutes the doors opened again, revealing eight Germans who stared in confusion at the two Americans before them. Both Jones and Mann were covered in soot. Despite the coldness of the air, Jones' leather jacket was bunched under his arm, obviously wrapped around something bulky.
One of the Germans was suspicious. Had some decoration been stolen or another fragment of marble been chipped off the fireplace by these tourists. He gestured at the jacket and said, politely but firmly, "Was haben sie, bitte?"
"Hier? Nur eines Andenken aus Berchtesgaden," said Jones with a smile. He opened the jacket, revealing two stone tablets. "Die zehn Gebote. Eine Reproduktion."
The Germans glanced at the tablets and smiled back. Only Americans would bring a copy of the Hebrew tablets to this of all places. They dispersed to their tasks, whereupon Jones and Mann stepped quickly into the elevator. "Sometimes," remarked Jones as the brass doors hissed shut, "the truth is not only stranger than fiction; it is simply beyond belief."
They retraced their subterranean route to the General Walker; as they passed the archway to the lobby, Dennis saw slouched in a chair the same individual they had glimpsed in the entrance two hours earlier. "He looks bored," observed the archaeologist with some amusement.
"Well, Indiana Jones, you've finally got your Ten Commandments," said Marion. "Now what? How do you intend to explain all of this?"
"It's a little premature for explanations. Next thing to do is work out the full inscription on their backs."
"With those watchdogs downstairs?" asked Karen.
"Why not? If it's us they're watching, they have no reason to do anything as long as they're sure we're just killing time in this hotel. They know we're here, but I'm certain they can't know why we're here. I wasn't entirely sure myself. Marion, I'm going to need your help on these hieroglyphs."
A thought occurred to him. "Here's what I need the two of you to do," he said to Dennis and Karen. "Again we'll push our luck. Just go out, get into the car, and drive back to the Kehlstein parking lot. Don't take anything except your coats. If these guys are assigned to tail anyone, it's me, so the odds are they'll just assume that you're sightseeing and will continue to watch the hotel. We should be finished with the translation in about an hour. Then we'll take the bags, go out through Bormann's tunnel, and meet you at the lot."
An hour later Dennis was piloting the Audi back down the road to Berchtesgaden. "Wonder how long our friends are going to sit up there admiring the view?" said Karen. "Whoever sent them after us is going to be peeved when they come up with a goose egg. Anyway, you two look pretty pleased with yourselves. So what did the inscription say?"
"We got it all this time," said Marion. "Here it is." She opened her notebook and began to read:
"Recorded in obedience to the Word of Him Whose Seat is Behind the Constellation of the Thigh. I, Firstborn Son of the Great House of Khem, now renounce my name and my Coming Into Being to the Two Crowns that I may preserve the sacred trust of our guardianship against the coming times of peril and destruction.
"In this day I have come to the Great Temple of Khnum, wherein I have received the most sacred Sam-taui from the priests who watch over them according to the ancient Word. The Holy Fire of Khem shall diminish in the Black Land with the taking of the Sam-taui, and so our home will at last undergo its trial at the hands of those from the lesser lands. But if I abandon what it has been set forth for me to do upon the Earth, then Khem shall perish utterly because of the abominations that shall finally prevail even against the Great Temple of Khnum.
"With the knowledge of my brother who shall now be Ra-messu-meri-Amon in my stead, and because of what the Self-Become-One has said must be done, therefore I, Firstborn Son of the Great House of Men-maat-Ra, Son of the Sun, Ptah-meri-en-Seti, Life! Health! Strength!, bear away from Khem the sacred Sam-taui, that they may be preserved by these nomads with these tables of law in their savage tongue.
"I adjure thee, priest of time unborn to whom this sacred writing reveals itself, after the dark time has passed, to return the Sam-taui to their most holy places in the Temple of Khnum.
"If you who read this are not purified priest of this holy mystery, cursed be you unto the Tuat if you hinder this thing. Touch not the Sam-taui, nor disturb their place of concealment, nor speak of this matter, else the breath be drawn from your body and the blood from your body, and your flesh be consumed by serpents. I, the Son who is nameless, am he who writes this."
"I don't like the bit about snakes," remarked Indiana Jones.
"As it happens, I don't think you'll have to worry about the curse," said Dennis. "Let's just say that I am able to touch the Sam-taui and leave it at that for now." Jones looked at him oddly but made no response.
"Were you able to get through to your friend in Stuttgart, Dennis?" asked Marion.
"Yes, and the consulate people too. He'll have picked up our passports by now, and said he'd meet us this afternoon at the Munich airport. Said he'd take care of booking us on the next flight for Cairo."
"Cairo!?" said Karen. "Dennis! I thought I told you after Desert Storm that I would never go back to an Islamic country!"
He looked at her helplessly. "I know, but that is where the Sam-taui come from." He had a thought. "Besides that's where the Joneses are going, and we are on assignment to escort them ..."
Marion said, "I happen to agree with you, Karen. Remember, the last time I was there, I got trapped in a basket, tied up, and thrown into a pit of snakes. This is when the local males weren't busy just leering. No thanks to *this* guy" - she elbowed Jones in the ribs - "who was too busy running around playing with that headpiece he tried to steal from me in Tibet."
Karen laughed. "I'll match my year in Arabia and Kuwait against that any day. O.K., just this time. But this is it. You find anything else weird, please pick some normal part of the world?"
"Not too many of those left," said Dennis. "O.K., coming into the Flughafen ..."
As promised, Roland Winkhart was there to meet them at the Lufthansa desk. After greeting Dennis and Karen warmly, he shook hands with the Joneses in obvious puzzlement. Then he brightened. "I thought I recognized you. You're the two film actors from _Raiders of the Lost Ark_, aren't you? Harrison Ford and Karen Allen? Here are your tickets - for Dr. and Mrs. Harry Jones, as Dennis said. I saw Mr. Ford in the other two films too. Are you making another movie in Germany?"
Indiana Jones cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Um - We look a little like them, but we're really not those actors," he said. "I'm just a professor from North Carolina, and she's my wife, and we were just, uh, doing some research at Berchtesgaden."
"Well, we're glad to have you visit our country anyway. Dennis and Karen always know such interesting people. If you ever pass through Stuttgart, you must visit with me."
"We'll do that," smiled Jones. "As a matter of fact, I have been thinking of checking into something I had heard about the Externsteine ..."
"One thing at a time, dear," said Marion.
Unfortunately the Audi had been seen speeding down the hill from the Obersalzberg. Since that didn't seem at all like tourist behavior, the MOSSAD agent at the General Walker asked the desk clerk about the party in suite 3. When the clerk responded that they had checked out, the agent politely asked to borrow the phone and proceeded to alert his backup in Berchtesgaden. The Audi was followed to Munich, and note was made of the flight to Cairo. Then more telephone calls were made.
Dennis and Karen's first impression of the Arab Republic of Egypt was that it was uncomfortable: hot, humid, and noisy. The Cairo Airport seemed out of place: a bizarre marriage of the jet age to a society more comfortable with camels and the small sailing vessels that glided up and down the Nile.
Indiana Jones got them a rather alarming-looking taxicab, whose equally-alarming-looking driver maneuvered them nonchalantly through some of the most terrifying traffic Karen had ever seen. Dennis, perhaps more prudently, kept his eyes shut. "At least we know the horn works," commented Marion, "even if the brakes don't!"
The cab careened along the Sharic El Uruba and Sharic El Nahda expressways past the old Boulak railway station which, in an earlier age, had been Cairo's most fashionable point of entry.
"Take Sharic 26 July," shouted Jones to the driver over the general din, "and drop us at the Continental Savoy." He glanced over at Dennis and Karen. "26 July: named after the '52 revolution when they kicked out Farouk, not to mention the British. The Savoy used to be a posh hangout in the old days. Hardly that now, but it's got more atmosphere than the Hilton."
Karen recognized the Savoy immediately when the taxi finally screeched to a halt in front of it; its facade had been showcased in many films such as _Death on the Nile_ and _Sphinx_. But she also noticed a second reason why Jones had selected it: The famous terraces were overrun with scores of little shops and stalls. The hotel itself swarmed with Kenyans, South Africans, young Americans, and other non-Arab students and tourists who either didn't want or couldn't afford more modern accommodations.
The next morning they assembled on the Manns' veranda to decide what to do next.
"I don't know what to do next," said Indiana Jones. "I keep trying to figure this out as I go."
"We looked through a directory of antiquities this morning," explained Marion, "and there is no such thing as a 'Temple of Khnum' among the landmarks most commonly associated with the Nineteenth Dynasty."
"Khnum was an interesting and rather unusual god," commented Indiana. "His name means 'Creator' in a very literal sense. He created himself, as well as the heavens and the earth and all of nature, and the gods, and mankind. He was depicted as a ram or ram-headed man with horizontal, wavy horns, and was also associated with the elder Horus and with Amon-Ra. His cult center was located in Elephantine near the First Cataract of the Nile in southern Egypt. What makes the legends concerning him unusual is that he was said to have fashioned mankind and animals out of the mud of the Nile. You can see the parallel to the Genesis mythology of the Bible. But as Marion said, none of this squares very well with the Nineteenth Dynasty, which was a Setian dynasty following one of Amon-Ra."
"What about talking with someone in the Cairo Museum?" suggested Karen. "They might know of some association that isn't in the usual sources."
Jones sighed. "I guess that's all we can do. I hate to get them involved if I don't have to, however. Next thing you know they'll start nosing around for themselves. After the original Ark business back in the thirties I'm not exactly their favorite foreign archaeologist."
"So nobody has to know you're involved. Dennis and I will visit the museum and see what kind of Khnum-references we can turn up. You and Marion can be tourists this time, or go look up old friends or whatever. We'll see you for dinner this evening."
"Any luck?" inquired Marion over a glass of mineral water. Across the terrace at the Savoy the Sun was setting over Giza, and the famous outlines of the three pyramids were dramatically silhouetted.
"Nothing that jumped right out at us," admitted Dennis, taking another bite of the lamb and wrapped grape-leaf concoction that he had ordered. "Just as you said, Khnum is considered to be a somewhat minor god and not really in the swing of things by the time of the nineteenth dynasty."
"We did find one oddity, though," added Karen. "We asked some questions about the pyramids, because we thought we might like to visit them tomorrow. So we asked the fellow we were talking with at the museum some questions about them. And he said, 'Do you know that there's an obscure link between Khnum and the Great Pyramid?'"
Indiana sat up and stared at her. "What *kind* of link?"
"As you know," she said, "the Great Pyramid is bare of any inscriptions. A rather conspicuous phenomenon in Egypt, where tombs, temples, and monuments generally are covered with hieroglyphs and artwork inside and out. When we asked how that particular pyramid had been traced to the Pharaoh Khufu, he said that Khufu's cartouche had been found scratched or painted roughly in one of the stress-relieving cavities inside. Usually assumed to be a quarry-mark, he said."
"And he said that only a few pyramid specialists are aware that there was another cartouche found there too: that of 'Khnum-Khuf'. He photocopied a passage from Flinders Petrie's History of Egypt for us - here it is:
"This raises a difficult question, to which no historian has yet given a satisfactory answer. Who was the person designated as Khnum-Khuf? That he was not a successor is evident by the name being used indifferently with that of Khufu in the quarry marks inside the Pyramid, and by his not appearing in any of the lists.
"The name is found in five places. The addition of Khnum cannot be merely a flight of orthography ... The two names being placed in succession in one inscription cannot be mere chance variants of the same. Either they must be two distinct and independent names of one king, or else two separate kings. If they were separate kings, Khnum-Kuf must have been the more important."
"Or 'Khnum-Kuf' could have been the name of a god, and so on. But no one really knows."
"As it happens, I can add something to that," said Indiana. "Khufu's cartouche by itself is almost worthless as a dating or identifying device, because like Imhotep he had become a semi-legendary figure by the later eras of Egypt. His cartouche was used as a charm or decoration on architecture right up to the Ptolemaic period. Furthermore, outside of one statuette about the size of your hand, no images of him have survived at all. The blunt truth of the matter is that the scrawled cartouche inside the Great Pyramid is probably nothing more than graffiti. We cannot date the Great Pyramid to him, nor even to the Fourth Dynasty, nor even to dynastic Egypt. It's simply one of those architectural phenomena which defies explanation. But because it's smack in the middle of Egypt, and because someone found some Khufu graffiti in it, it's become the accepted convention to call it Khufu's tomb. Asinine. That thing could have been erected in the Fourth Dynasty, or twenty thousand years earlier for all we know. The only certain fact about the Great Pyramid is simply that the damned thing *is* there. Right now -" and he waved his hand at the dark shape across the Nile.
"And it also has this 'Khnum-Khuf' cartouche in it, doesn't it?" said Karen. "Ever think that it might be your 'Temple of Khnum'?"
Indiana stared at her a second time. Then he gazed at the Great Pyramid. Then back at her. "Now that would be a long shot," he said. "But who knows? Let's trot out there tomorrow and take a look."
After breakfast the next morning a battered Renault took them down the east bank of the Nile past the ruins of the old Shepheard's Hotel on Sharic Corniche an-Nil to the El Giza Bridge and thence along the road that led out into the desert to the Giza Plateau.
The Manns had looked forward to a close-up view of the famous monuments, but they were destined to be disappointed. By the time the little car reached Giza, the winds had whipped up the sand to near-storm levels. They had to roll up the Renault's windows to protect their eyes, with the result that they were soon bathed in perspiration from the heat. Karen said evil things under her breath to Dennis. Indiana Jones, on the other hand, was pleased. "Looks like everyone has gone back to the city. Good. All we need is the usual crowd of tourists and guides getting underfoot."
And he was correct, for when the cab deposited them at the base of the Great Pyramid and drove off into the sand-clouds, it was apparent that even the so-called "guides" who normally cluster at the Pyramid's entrance to badger visitors into hiring them had departed pending better weather. The Americans scrambled up the first several layers of stone to the entrance of Al Mamoon's tunnel, still the most convenient access to the interior. By the time they gained the entrance, the full force of the sandstorm was howling across the entire plateau. They felt reasonably certain of not being interrupted.
By unspoken agreement they proceeded to the Ascending Passage, up to the Grand Gallery, and finally into the King's Chamber, where Jones set the case containing the Sam-taui and the tablets down on the floor. They paused to catch their breath. Dennis had expected to visit the Great Pyramid some day, but he had always supposed that he would enter it slowly and reverently. A mad scramble through the cramped passages of the monument on the heels of an impatient Indiana Jones was not what he had had in mind.
He and Karen peered over the edge of the dark granite coffer, then looked curiously around the room. Here on August 12, 1799 Napoleon Bonaparte had insisted upon being left alone. Much later, according to witnesses, he emerged from the Pyramid pale and trembling. At St. Helena, shortly before the end of his life, he had seemed on the verge of breaking his mysterious silence to Las Cases - but then shook his head and said, "No, what's the use? You'd never believe me!"
Here too, shortly before his infamous Cairo Working of 1904, Aleister Crowley had come with his first wife Rose to celebrate a secret magical ritual. According to Crowley's diary, the incantation had caused the interior of the King's Chamber to glow with an iridescent, ultraviolet light. What *was* this place? Were they now finally close to its secret?
Here, deep within the Pyramid, the howl of the storm could no longer be heard; the only sound was the hiss of the ugly florescent lights which had been added to the passageways and to the ceiling of the King's Chamber itself. But then there was another sound: the cocking of an automatic pistol.
Four pairs of eyes jerked round to the entrance to the chamber - through which there now emerged a short, swarthy man in an open-fabric shirt and jeans. In his right hand he held the weapon which had announced his presence. He peered at each of them in turn. Then, in a quiet but clear voice he nodded at Karen: "You - Bring that case over here."
She looked at him, then at Indiana. The archaeologist nodded slowly.
"Good," said the visitor. "Now listen very carefully. The lady and I are leaving here with the case. When we reach Cairo safely, I will allow her to return to the Savoy to await you. But if you hinder me in any way, or if I even see any of you emerge from this pyramid before we are away from here, I will kill her. Then, of course, I will also have to kill the three of you."
"What do you want?" said Indiana Jones evenly. "I can offer -" But the other shook his head.
"I'm not interested in anything you might have to offer, Doctor Jones, but rather what you have found for us at long last. A priceless national treasure - the tablets of the law."
"'Us'?" said Jones.
"Israel. Or, more precisely in my case, MOSSAD. You will be flattered to know that we have been watching you for many decades, against the possibility that you might come upon some lead like this. You know that we are very efficient, and you know what this means to our country. So no heroics, please. After all, you have done us a great favor. Perhaps you will even be properly honored for it - after the tablets are restored to us. They were, as you know, originally intended for us."
Inching slightly back from his side, Karen quietly released the catch of the suitcase.
"Now please remember what I have said. In an hour it will be safe for the three of you to leave this place. In the meantime, you may enjoy such an undisturbed tourist opportunity."
He smiled ironically and indicated the expanse of the King's Chamber with a contemptuous arc of the automatic. As soon as its barrel was no longer pointing at Indiana, Marion, or Dennis, however, Karen swiftly reached into the suitcase, drew out one of the tablets, and swung it at the agent. He saw it coming and dodged, but not quite fast enough. It glanced off his head above his left ear, spun out of Karen's grip, and landed with a sharp clack on the stone floor.
The MOSSAD agent reeled, dropped his gun, and sank to his knees. Blood dripped from the corner of his mouth. Then he collapsed unconscious.
Karen calmly kicked the gun over to Dennis, then regarded the large welt she had raised behind the agent's ear. "Indiana Jones and the 'temple' of doom?" she proposed.
Dennis groaned and rolled his eyes.
"Now we've got to do something with him," said Marion. "He's obviously hurt. We can't just leave him here."
"Why not?" countered her husband. "None of us is going anywhere outside during this sandstorm. We have no transportation. And I didn't see a phone on our way up here. Believe me, the moment the storm's over, there will be plenty of people swarming through the Pyramid who can worry about him. Oh, and nice shot, Karen!"
Ignoring the slumped form on the floor, he walked back over to the granite coffer. "Something look familiar about this to you, Dennis?" he inquired.
Mann looked at it, shook his head. "I don't frequent pyramids."
"Right. No, I mean its size and shape. As in the last week. As in your warehouse."
Mann realized what he was getting at. "The Ark. It's about the same size as the Ark."
"Let's see how much the same size ..." Jones produced a small measuring tape from his pocket and took a brisk sample of the coffer's dimensions. "Well, well, what do you know? Ninety inches by thirty-eight and a half inches by a little over forty-one inches."
"So, my friend, it's not just approximate - it's *identical*."
"You mean the Ark is an exact image of this coffer?" said Marion.
"That's right. Now I have to think this through. That was obviously an additional key to where the Sam-taui came from, for someone seeking to return them to Egypt. All of the gold and such on the Ark was just camouflage, like the Hebrew laws on the front of the tablets. So now what happens if we ..."
"If we put the Sam-taui back on top of this coffer. I wonder ..."
Jones opened the suitcase and carefully extracted the gleaming figures. He centered Horus on the south end of the coffer, then Set on the north end.
"Tsk, tsk," said Dennis. "Some Egyptologist. You've got them backwards."
Jones gave him an irritated look, then exchanged the location of the statues.
Absolutely nothing happened.
After a moment of anticipation, they looked at one another with mild embarrassment. "Where's Industrial Light and Magic when you need it?" commented Dennis.
Suddenly the florescent lights flickered out; evidently the still-raging sandstorm was affecting the power-lines. Marion groped for the suitcase to fumble for the flashlight it contained, found it, switched it on.
Jones said, "Turn it off, Marion."
"Turn it off. *Now*."
She did. Once again they were enveloped by the darkness.
But not quite.
As her eyes became accustomed to the dark, Marion saw two faint streams of light flowing into the King's Chamber. The air-shafts, she realized, the two air shafts that extended in a straight line to the outer walls of the Pyramid.
All of them followed the streams of light. Each one glanced off a wing of the statuette nearest to it, and then the two deflected beams intersected at a spot on the east wall. Jones ran over to it, marked it lightly with a pencil.
"Marion, turn the light on now. Let's see what we have here -"
The four of them clustered around the mark on the wall. It was about a foot above the floor, and perhaps two feet from the entrance. Nothing besides the mark itself was visible. Just the large expanse of stone.
With both hands Indiana Jones pushed against the stone. Nothing.
Then he reached out a finger and pressed it against the penciled mark. And jumped back as there was a faint creaking and scraping from behind the wall.
Slowly, with a grinding noise, an irregular pattern of stones began to move straight backward from the plane of the wall. After the section of stone had traveled about four feet, it came to an abrupt halt.
Cautiously the four ventured forward, and Marion directed the flashlight around the exposed cavity. On three sides were merely the surrounding stone; on the right side a ramp descended into the depths. Marion pointed the flashlight directly into it and drew in her breath.
An entirely different order of architecture leapt back at them. Instead of the rough-hewn granite of the known parts of the Pyramid, this passage was constructed of gleaming white limestone, polished to a mirrorlike brilliance. There were no side-rails, but every few steps were miniature reproductions of the two large Sam-taui, each supporting a highly-burnished metal disk. As the flashlight beam played down the tunnel, the disks caught its beam and played with it into the distance: a clever arrangement for enabling a single, small light source to illuminate the entire expanse of the passage.
Dennis started forward, but was stopped by a cautionary hand on his shoulder. "Let me take the lead. There may be traps, and I'm more familiar with what to look for."
"*I'll* say," added Marion.
Jones had another thought. "Take the Sam-taui. They might be necessary."
Dennis returned to the coffer and took one of the golden statues under each arm. The moment he touched them there was a snap and a hiss from the florescents as they flickered on again. He rejoined the party as they entered the passageway. The old leather case containing the tablets rested against the side of the coffer, forgotten.
The ramp continued at a mild incline for some distance, then switched back to the left. As soon as they turned the corner and the flashlight illuminated another row of mirrored statuettes, they heard a grinding noise in the distance. It was, they realized after a moment, the stone panel returning to the wall of the King's Chamber. Since they couldn't possibly return to it in time to pass through before it closed, they exchanged apprehensive glances and continued downward into the depths of the Pyramid.
As the stone panel shuddered to a halt, once more indistinguishable from the surrounding masonry, there was a groan from the MOSSAD agent. Then, fighting his way back to consciousness, he looked dazedly around him at the empty chamber. The lights continued to flicker on and off irregularly, testifying to the continuing fury of the sandstorm sweeping the plateau. But he did see the suitcase. Lurching to his feet, he staggered over to it, ripped it open, saw the two stone tablets. He had enough presence of mind to wipe as much of the blood from his hands as he could before reaching in and carefully picking them up. An involuntary shudder went through him; despite the pain in his head, he was uncomfortably aware that he was now holding in his hands the Tablets of the Law that Yahweh himself had forbidden to be touched. But they were what he had been sent to find; he had to get them out, get them to the embassy before Jones and the others came back. And now they had his gun. Clutching them to his chest, he reeled out of the King's Chamber and half-slid, half-fell down through the Grand Gallery and the Ascending Passage. He rested for a moment, his breath coming in painful spasms. Then he crawled up the length of the Descending Passage and out of the Pyramid through Al Mamoon's tunnel.
He was greeted by the full force of the sandstorm. He paused, wavering between the safety of the Pyramid and the fear that at any moment the Americans might discover their loss and come after him. Clenching his jaws against the throbbing pain in his head and the sting of the sand against his skin, he clambered down the stones to the desert floor. Then he took five or six steps away from the giant edifice into the sandstorm, sank to his knees, and relapsed into unconsciousness. The two tablets tumbled to the ground beside him.
They had now counted five switchbacks in the passageway; Jones speculated that by now they must have passed below the Great Pyramid itself and into the depths of the Giza Plateau. "In the King's Chamber we were about forty-three meters above the surface. We must be getting very close to the water-level of the Nile."
"What difference does that make?" asked Karen. "The plateau is solid, isn't it?"
Jones stopped and pulled his notebook from a pocket. "Since we eventually want to get out of here, and since I haven't the faintest idea how to open that stone door from the inside, let's hope that on this point Herodotus was right. Here's what he said in his _History II_:
"So the ten years were for this, and also for the underground chambers on the hill where the pyramids stand, which he made as a tomb for himself in an island, bringing a channel from the Nile."
"And this, further on down, where he's talking about the Second Pyramid:
"... for there are neither chambers under the earth beneath it, nor doth a channel come into it from the Nile, like that which floweth into the other through a conduit of masonry and encircleth an island within, where Cheops himself is said to lie ..."
"Records from the Fourth Dynasty are virtually nonexistent. The simple truth is that we aren't even sure there *were* Fourth Dynasty kings named Khufu, Sneferu, Dedefra, Khafra, or Menkaura. And even if there were, that still doesn't help us much with this particular Pyramid."
"But it's well known that the early Egyptians constructed a lot of pyramids," objected Marion.
"Not like this one. There are about thirty to eighty pyramids in Egypt - depending on how fancy a mound has to be to be called a pyramid. All of the ones that are even partially standing were built with much smaller stones and had elaborate stone infrastructures to keep them from collapsing. Only these three Giza ones don't; they're constructed so well that they don't need them.
"Incidentally an original burial has never been found in *any* Egyptian pyramid. I was here in the '50s when the Pyramid of Sekhemket was uncovered at Saqqara. Inviolated central chamber - sealed stone 'sarcophagus' like the one in the King's Chamber here," - Indiana nodded upwards - "again empty. So we're looking at the possibility that the other pyramids were copies of these three at Giza, and that even the chambers of the others were designed for something altogether different than mummies."
"That Herodotus business," mused Dennis. "That might explain why we're breathing fresh air here. If this were a dead-end into rock, we wouldn't have been able to take more than a few steps past the panel without passing out."
"Right you are, but at this particular point we might also be underwater. In Herodotus' time the Nile would have been about fifty-eight meters below the plateau bedrock. Today, however, the bed of the Nile is about ten meters above that; and the water-level is two to ten meters above the bed, depending upon the season."
"Great," said Karen. "So we hold our breaths and swim several miles underwater back to the Nile?"
"Doesn't figure that whoever built all this with such precision would not have anticipated changes in water-tables. I'm betting there will be some sort of air-trap to protect the island. If in fact there is an island."
"One thing is for certain," observed Marion. "We won't find out just standing here."
A few minutes later they did find out. Ahead of them they began to smell water, and then, oddly, the mirrored statuettes ahead of them began to reflect light from some source in the distance - first faintly, then with such strength that Marion switched off the now-unnecessary flashlight. Ahead of them they could finally see the end of the tunnel; it opened into a much larger space from which the light could now be seen to be shimmering with a blue-greenish hue.
Far above, on the Giza Plateau, the sandstorm had finally spent its strength. The normal daily population, impatient at the delay and lost tourist revenue, was hastening to return. In due course the unconscious form of the MOSSAD agent was discovered. An ambulance was quickly summoned. As a small crowd gathered to watch, oxygen was administered - and there was a burst of delighted clapping and cheering when he coughed and began to sit up. But despite the protests of the medics, he refused transport to Cairo until he found, as he haltingly told them, two tablets containing copies of the Ten Commandments which he had had carved by a local craftsman. The crowd obligingly fanned out to search, and after a few moments they were duly discovered and presented to him. He quickly examined them with an apparent casualness that belied the panic he felt inside. Then he sighed in relief. By good fortune both tablets had landed face-down in the sand. The sandstorm had cut deeply into their backs, razing them to a smooth surface. But the sacred laws on their faces were completely untouched. Wordlessly he clutched the tablets to him and gave thanks to Yahweh for this miracle.
And far below four human beings stood together on a stone balcony and marveled at the sight before them. The cavern that stretched before them was immense, at least the size of the Giza Plateau itself. It was clearly not the product of any human engineering; it appeared to be a natural formation of the surrounding rock. The platform upon which they stood had been constructed of the same white, polished limestone as the passage; at either side of it was a dark granite pillar - apparently the same deep brown stone as the coffer in the King's Chamber - about five feet tall. Atop each one was a circular platform of metal: gold on the right-hand pillar, silver on the left.
The waves of an underground lake lapped quietly against the edge of the balcony, which was only about a foot above the level of the water. Almost the entire cavern was embraced by this lake, which they could only assume came from the Nile by some hidden labyrinth of locks.
But what riveted their attention was what occupied the very center of the vast cavern. It seemed to be a small, circular island surfaced entirely with a rippling silvery metal. It looked like nothing so much as the top of a large sphere that had been almost completely submerged in the water. If so, the mild slope of the island suggested a gigantic size for the entire sphere and a correspondingly impressive depth for the lake in which it rested. But it was what was positioned on this unearthly, artificial island that overwhelmed all of the other features of the cavern.
In a loose ring encircling the apex of the island were statues of the principal gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt. But what statues! All were of some onyx-like, black stone. All were cut and polished to such perfection that the slightest light upon them sent bursts of prismatic flame glancing and sparkling from the figures as though they possessed a radiant energy of their own. They ranged in height from about thirty to fifty feet.
Within the ring of colossi, at the very apex of the island, was something unlike anything they had ever seen before or could even imagine to exist. Utterly silent, and neither solid nor gaseous: One moment it appeared as a nova-like starburst of flame, the next as a crystalline solid of ever-changing facets, with tongues of the flame playing gracefully over its shifting angles and planes. Because of its brilliance they were unable to look at it for any length of time; they could not see if it were attached to the island or simply floating in the atmosphere above it. It was the light which reached out to the ring of onyx statues, which illuminated the entire cavern in a blue/green aura.
How long they stared at this sight they couldn't guess. Finally Indiana Jones led them back from the edge of the balcony to the tunnel opening, where they huddled together, their hearts pounding and involuntary tears washing from their eyes. The sensation was exhilarating, overwhelming, and frightening all at once; it was as though their entire sensation of being had been multiplied a thousandfold merely by the sight of the island.
"Dennis," gasped Indiana, "did you see the tops of the two columns? The gold and the silver? They have to be the 'holy places' for the Sam-taui: gold for Horus, silver for Set. We've got to try it."
Mann tried to steady his own breathing. He placed his hands over his face, pressed against his skull, and drew air into his lungs. Then opened his eyes, stared back at the archaeologist, and nodded slowly.
Jones picked up the hawk-headed statue, Mann the one with the head of Set. Slowly they retraced their steps to the edge of the platform and carefully lifted the statues into place atop the two columns. Each settled into the center of the disk with a soft click.
The lake began to move toward them, foaming and bubbling around the edge of the platform. No, they saw as the four of them looked around; it was the platform itself which had begun to move, detaching from the tunnel entrance and gliding out towards the island. How long it took to traverse the entire distance they had no way of guessing; the closer they came, the more the fiery thing at its center seemed to reach out to embrace their minds. At the same time they were strangely without fear. Whatever was happening, they seemed instinctively to sense, was not a thing of evil.
Finally the platform lay adjacent to the island; days or minutes might have passed; they could not be sure. They did not care. Alive, their hair waving softly against their heads, their senses gorged in an entire universe of color, form, and sound, they seemed to float from the platform towards the center of the island. They could not tell if they were standing upon it or soaring in the air high above it.
The gods and goddesses were moving now, alive with them, and it seemed as normal and natural as their own ethereal state of existence. They were drawn to the center of the ever-changing polyhedron, bathed in its fire. Drawn deeper into its center, where the blue and green of the light softened to violet; drawn finally to its ultimate center, where the light surpassed all color in an endless, limitless darkness. For them time shot simultaneously backward and forward to infinity. Now their breath became the oscillation of the cosmos itself, expanding into millions of galaxies and slipping back through itself into a mist of plasma, then a mirror-image of its expansion.
They were spinning on a wheel, being shaped, the hands of Khnum gliding over the glittery, fragile things that marked their extension in time and space. Then, suspended, they saw the Sam-taui emerging from the indistinction before them. No, not the Sam-taui, but the onyx statues of Horus and Set.
And still no, because these were not the statues at all, but the very neters themselves, bolts of light and darkness flashing over bodies which could not be seen, hands which were not hands but eyes reaching out to touch them, see them. Their souls were sucked from their shapes, energized, purified, returned in a painful, beautiful perfection.
The wheel of Khnum spun. The wheel of Khnum spun.
And then it was over.
They were Created.
They lay on the island.
Blood ran from their eyes and ears.
As they struggled to raise themselves, their hands pressed against the silver metal with an exquisite sensitivity.
They managed to return to the platform. Above them the Sam-taui pulsed, and they covered their ears as the sound cut through them. Finally Indiana Jones and Dennis Mann - for they had begun to remember who they were, reached up without knowing why and removed the golden statues from the pedestals.
And then they fell to the cool stone of the platform and slept.
Karen awoke first. It seemed to her that she had been asleep a very long time indeed, but she felt nothing but the warm pleasure of dawn. Yes, it was a dawn; she could see between the two expanses of stone the first rays of the Sun as it rose over the Nile. She looked around her, saw Dennis and the Joneses lying beside her. She rolled over, nudged each of them in turn, and watched while they sat up and looked around them.
Then they looked up and saw a very large chin. And realized where they were: between the outstretched paws of the Great Sphinx.
There were too many things to say, so by tacit understanding they said nothing. They stood up, dusted themselves off, and walked forward - back to the world of Cairo and other things with shapes and limits.
That evening, as they packed in preparation for their return flight to the United States the following morning, they saw a news bulletin on television. The original tablets of the Ten Commandments had been discovered by the state of Israel. An ornate Ark of the Covenant was shown on camera; even so it was said that this was merely a temporary repository for the tablets and that an even more opulent Ark would be constructed to be their permanent home. A rabbi almost submerged behind an array of microphones explained that, unfortunately, the tablets themselves could never be shown to the public. But he and other privileged elders had seen them and could testify to their authenticity.
Dennis Mann shook his head. Indiana Jones gave a short, amused grunt. Karen and Marion looked at one another without comment. Then they all went down to the dining room for a very expensive dinner, during which a series of vaguely shocking toasts were proposed which utterly confused and mildly offended Mr. and Mrs. Fred Carson at the next table, a couple who had just arrived that afternoon from Wichita with a travel club and were looking forward to their tour of the Great Pyramid of Giza the next day.
At Kennedy Airport they separated, Karen going back upstate to Utica and her regular Army assignment, Indiana and Marion Jones transferring to a commuter flight to Raleigh, and Dennis continuing on to San Francisco. As he walked off the plane into the terminal, he was met by a very impatient Peter Rivera. "Well? What happened? What did you find? Have you heard in the news -?"
Mann regarded him for a long moment, then smiled.
"My friend, it was a long flight and the food was abysmal. I am going to treat both of us to brunch at the Airport Hilton, and then I will tell you an interesting story about Napoleon."
Site Author: Micah Johnson
Page Author: Michael A. Aquino
Created: July 24, 1998
Last modified: July 24, 1998