Indiana Jones and the Serpent of Evil
Chapter 2: The Calm Before the Storm
The revelry of the fund-raiser continued on late into the night until the party-goers broke apart into tiny groups and left. Congratulations and thanks were passed onto Marcus throughout, and as the final attendees shuffled out the door at 1:00 am, he fell back into a chair, exhausted.
Indy, also weary, sat down opposite his old friend. His tie and collar button pulled undone, he thoughtfully swirled a tumbler of scotch. "It's not getting any easier, is it Marcus?" he said after a minute of silence.
"Mmmph. No argument there Indy." The older man paused to yawn. "I'm afraid the museum's future looks rather grim. Your intervention this evening won't work a second time."
"Well, next time I'll come up with something different." Indy kicked back the last of his scotch, rose and walked to Marcus' side, resting a hand on the older man's shoulder. "I'll find something, Marcus," Indy promised. "I've got some leads. As soon as I drum up some investors, we'll have the Museum back on the front pages in no time."
"Yes," Marcus chuckled, "I know you will. Ahhh, I envy you Indy."
"Ten. . . fifteen years ago I'd have had the chutzpah to follow those 'leads' myself."
"Heh." Indy smiled. "You know as well as I do, Marcus - you're not a field man."
Marcus raised an eyebrow. "You don't know me half as well as you think you do Indy. It's true, though. I have neither the constitution nor the wherewithal to chase around the globe, much as I'd like. But, I do have my strengths. . . . "
Indy nodded politely and squeezed his friend's shoulder, then moved to the bar. where he rinsed his glass and refilled it with soda water. "Have you heard from Dad?" he asked suddenly, not bothering to turn around.
Marcus looked back at him and spoke over his shoulder. "Yes, actually. I received a letter last Thursday. Says he's run into some trouble in France. . . no details of course. Your father's always been rather 'hush hush' about his research, you know."
"Yeah, I know. Ever since. . . . " Indy grimaced and let his reply die in his throat. Marcus frowned, hesitating before committing to the suggestion forming on his tongue.
"Indy, perhaps you should go to him. Make sure everything's all right."
Indy shook his head. "Marcus, it would take God himself to get me on a plane to Europe just to see Dad."
Marcus clucked his tongue in disapproval. "Henry's not immortal, Indy. Don't wait too long to resolve this. . . discord."
"Marcus," Indy sighed heavily, "I'm too tired and too drunk to argue about this again."
"I know," Indy said, cutting the line of conversation short with a wave of his hand. "But I think it's time I head home. I suggest you do the same. I'll come over for lunch tomorrow and you can bring me up to speed on whatever recent Museum business I should know about. Then I've got to run to the University. Classes start in two weeks, you know."
Nodding, Marcus clapped his hands on his thighs and stood, groaning. "All right, Indy. But don't think I'm done with you on this."
Indy chuckled. "Marcus, if you stopped trying, I'd assume I was dead. Now get some sleep."
And with that, Indy drove home and fell into an exhausted slumber, little realizing that he would never again be as safe in the weeks to come. . . .
Indy struggled with his twisted sheets as the phone jangled in concert with his throbbing arm. "Yeah!" he said finally, jamming the mouthpiece to his face. "What is it?"
"Indy, it's twelve thirty!" Marcus' voice crackled over the wire. "You must get here as quickly as possible."
"Ahh, I'm sorry Marcus. I slept through my alarm. Can't we meet for dinner?"
"No, my boy, I've got news that can't wait. Shower, shave and pack your bags. I'll meet you here at 1:30."
"But Marcus-" the line went dead as Marcus hung up. Indy stared at the phone for a moment, perplexed, then cracked a smile and pulled his recently emptied bag from beneath the bed.
Marcus was on the phone, pacing as Indy entered his office. "Yes, of course, Alejandra," he said and then paused, listening to the voice on the other end.
"Yes, I understand perfectly. You have my word on each of the issues we've addressed." Marcus motioned for Indy to take a seat and covered the mouthpiece with one hand. "A mixed bag, Indy," he whispered. "Good news and bad."
Marcus waited silently, again listening.
"Certainly, Alejandro," he answered, "we'll have a representative with all of the proper paperwork there tomorrow afternoon."
"Yes. Thank you, my friend. Give my love to Luisa. Good-bye." Marcus hung up the phone and rubbed his hands together thoughtfully.
"And that was?" Indy asked.
"That was a good friend of mine - Alejandro Zamora." Indy shrugged and Marcus continued. "He's the assistant curator for the Madrid Museum of Antiquities."
"I see. And this has something to do with my racing down here, I hope?" Indy asked.
Marcus nodded. "Oh, yes. For the past year, Alejandro has been in contact with me to discuss the possibility of housing some of his museum's pieces. He's been very aggressive about doing so ever since the failed mutiny last year. He fears for the safety of his museum - at least until that damnable civil war of theirs ends."
"Marcus, this is great!" Indy smiled broadly. "Why didn't you tell about this earlier? It's the answer to all our display problems."
"Well, to be honest, I'd thought the matter a dead-end. You see, the museum's curator, Carlos Vagario, wouldn't have any of it. Regardless of the jeopardy his pieces may have been in, Vargario demanded that they stay in Madrid. So, I gave up hoping months ago."
"I see. So the good news is, he's changed his mind, and you want me to fly there to select and inventory the artifacts we'll agree to house and display until the war's end?"
"Mmmm . . . something like that, yes."
"So what's the bad news?"
"Vagario was murdered two nights ago. The remaining museum staff have all received death threats ordering them to relinquish every last artifact to The People - meaning, I suppose, the Nationalist insurgents - or face similar fates."
"I get it. The Nationalists think the history and heritage of Spain should be in their hands and not those of the formal government. Probably some nice propaganda pieces in there as well, I'll bet."
"And that's what you want me to fly into?"
"Indy, you are the only one I trust to see to it that those pieces arrive here safely."
Indy mulled the proposition over for a time and then looked up to where Marcus stood, patiently waiting for his answer. "They would make a nice addition to the West wing, wouldn't they?" he said, grinning slyly.
"That they would, my friend. That they would."
"And I'll just bet-"
"There's a ticket to Spain waiting for you at the airport."
Site Author: Micah Johnson
Page Author: walker
Created: May 20, 1999
Last modified: October 2, 1999