Raiders of the Forbidden Valley
Chapter 10: Tooth and Claw
Indy's eyes widened as he saw the tiger's gaping jaws. The sudden movement of the creature caused him to stumble backwards. A momentary lapse into clumsiness saw him trip over a raised curb and fall onto an ornamental lawn, crushing a sign to the penguin enclosure as he landed on it. The tiger, already committed on the leap, sailed over Indy's head and landed lightly on the grass behind him. The archaeologist and adventurer turned around and scrambled to his feet. The great cat turned around quickly and swiped a huge claw at his prey. They sheared through the tough tweed material of his coat and ripped his shirt to shreds, but miraculously the claws barely scratched his back. He picked up a bench and started fending the tiger off with it. He wished vainly that he had his whip with him - but unfortunately he had left it in his hotel room.
"Nice kitty! Settle down." Indy spoke soothingly - hoping that the tone of his voice would have much the same effect on the tiger as it had on the horse.
The tiger opened its jaws and roared. The sound reverberated around the zoo and the rest of the animals started hollering out in panic. Indy realized that the cat fully intended to eat parts of him.
"That's the trouble with Chinese food. After you've finished it you want some more!" Indy muttered nervously and started backing away slowly - the cat padded forward matching his steps. Indy was aware that if he tripped this time then the tiger would have him. However he didn't want to take his attention off of the beast - fearing that it would jump on him as soon as his concentration lapsed.
A low growl rumbled forth from the tiger's throat.
"Don't panic buddy!" a nasal voice yelled out. Indy was aware of movement to his left and if he had dared to take his attention from the tiger he would see that there were four of NYPD's finest approaching the scene. Each one armed with a rifle. "You're gonna be just fine!" the voice continued.
The tiger looked at the cops. This further invasion of its new found territory angered the animal greatly and it roared in defiance.
The cops all raised their guns and fired in unison.
The mighty tiger was decimated in the hail of hot lead that tore its majestic body apart. Indy winced and looked at the creature as it fell onto the lawn and lay still, blood staining its pelt and running onto the grass.
The cops all lowered their guns in unison. The smallest one approached Indy, cocking his cap backwards and giving a ratty grin.
"You're lucky that one of the zookeepers missed his buddy. He came into investigate and saw the tiger killing a Chinese man and called us. I guess they're gonna have to buy a new tiger for their cages. But I betcha some rich broad's gonna be able to buy herself a nice tiger skin coat - it won't keep the rain out being that it's gonna be full of holes," he laughed. Indy looked at his face and punched him right in his idiotic mouth.
The small cop fell onto the ground and Indy was suddenly aware of three rifles being pointed straight at him.
"Freeze, you dumb bastard! You are under arrest!" one of his saviors bawled out.
Indy looked at the cat and shook his head sadly.
Twenty-six miles off of the coast of New England
The "Black Orchid" was and old tramp steamer that had plied its trade in the South China Seas during the 1920's and 1930's. It had seemingly been torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1941, and had beed lost at sea with all hands. The Japanese had been searching for this ship ever since a platoon of their soldiers had been killed trying to liberate wealth from a fortress on the outskirts of Nanjing in 1937. One of the men killed had been a distant relation of the Emperor Hirohito, but the connection had been close enough to ensure that the fortress' owner - a mysterious business man called Qwam Sung Ho, was on top of an extensive list of "enemies of the Japanese people." Ironically, Hirohito had also placed a certain Indiana Jones near the top of the list after incidents in Manchuria and Egypt had culminated with Japanese military intelligence losing one of their most accomplished spy masters.
The Black Orchid had, however, not been destroyed. Its sister ship had been sunk by the Japanese sub two hundred miles off the coast of Hawaii and a crew made up of innocent Chinese fishermen had all been drowned.
Qwam Sung Ho had lost no sleep over this incident.
Qwam Sung Ho had not slept since 1911, a fortunate after effect of the elixir of longevity made from the spring waters and ash tree leaves that the Norse explorers had brought to China hundreds of years ago. Sung Ho had used this to his advantage - taking the extra time he had to wipe out his opponents and enemies.
It is debatable whether he would have lost any sleep even if he did not indulge in the practice.
The Black Orchid was anchored in the dark waters of the North Atlantic. Twenty six miles away was the sleepy but sinister fishing village of Innsmouth. There had been quite a few dark and lurid tales of the mysterious and evil incidents that had happened throughout the years in Innsmouth. Sung Ho had other reasons for weighing anchor here.
Mae Ling sat in a wicker chair - she drew languidly from a cigarette. The smoke travelled down through the inner tube of an ivory cigarette holder. She smiled and closed her eyes as the sweet perfumed smoke filled her lungs.
The cabin she was in was bare and its metal walls were uncovered. There were three of her fathers elite Dragon clan assassins dotted at three corners of the room. Her chair was in the remaining corner.
Two people were bound to chairs in the middle of the cabin. These men were two of the remaining members of Humes student expedition and had been stolen from their hotel rooms in Innsmouth early that evening.
"Jonathon Park and Sammy Pim, I am honoured to have you as my guests." Mae Ling looked at her captives. They were both wretched-looking individuals, her guards had been beating on them since they had been brought on board. Mae Ling stood up and smoothed her satin dress. She walked towards the bound men and took a last draw from her cigarette.
"I need some information and I think that either of you gentlemen might be able to help me." She looked at Park with pitying eyes.
"Piss off, you bitch," Pim hissed. He was from the East end of London and had been one of Dougal Kirkmuir's best friends.
Mae Ling turned to him and smiled.
"Each time you displease me I shall be forced to cause pain." Pim glared defiantly at her, she stubbed her cigarette out on Park's shoulder. He yelled out in pain. "However, the pain will not be on you but on your companion." She looked at Pim, pleased by his fearful expression.
"Now tell me gentlemen, where is Alexander Hume hiding?" both men looked at her - their expression indicated that they were unwilling to answer her questions. Mae Ling moved to the door of the cabin and pressed a button.
A few moments passed and a fourth Dragon clan soldier entered carrying with him tow objects that looked like small brass replicas of bear claws.
The men's eyes widened with fear.
"There is a convention in pulp novels that we Chinese are proficient torturers. We are attributed with all sorts of vile and painful tortures, including one called "bone scraping." This action involved the torturer cutting through the victim's skin and using some blunted object to scrape the bone beneath the patients wound. It is excruciatingly painful and can be a protracted and agonizing torture. This stereotype is old and tired, but the interesting thing is stereotypes only become stereotypes because there is and element of truth in them." Mae Ling examined one of the bear-claw devices. "Now Mr. Pim, where is Dr. Hume hiding himself these days?"
Indy stood outside the police precinct house feeling humiliated and embarrassed, it had started raining just as he had been released from police custody and the cold water was dripping down his back. He had reluctantly called in a favor owed to him by an old friend and acquaintance. A seemingly idle playboy who had quite a bit of influence over the police commissioner.
"Indiana you really do have to learn how to behave yourself in Manhattan." The tall handsome man looked at Indy with sharp intelligent eyes. His hair was sleek and black, however above his temples a touch of grey was creeping in.
"I know Lamont," Indy protested, "but those idiots could have tranquilized the tiger. They didn't have to kill it."
His friend laughed and it seemed to echo throughout the street. Lamont Cranston smiled, the street lamp above him cast a shadow over his face.
"I will not bail you out again, Indiana. I am all for calling in favors now and again but this is getting ridiculous." Lamont smiled and scratched his long and proud nose with an elegant finger. Indy looked at this friend's ring and surmised it was probably Tibetan in origin.
"Crime does not pay, Indiana. It bears a..."
"Bitter fruit, Lamont. I know you've told me this before." Indy looked at the yellow cab which idled behind his tall friend.
"Very well, Indiana. Can I get Moe to drop you off anywhere on the way to my club?"
"No thanks, Lamont. I'll walk, I need the air." Indy watched as the tall man nodded and climbed into the back of the cab.
"Goodbye, Indiana. The Cobalt club, please, Moe." Lamont shut the door and the cab drove off into the night. Indy watched it go and felt a shiver run down his spine. Lamont Cranston was a strange and sinister man, but also a good and trustworthy friend.
He turned and thrust his hands deep into his pockets. With a deep sigh he began the long walk to Marcus' hotel room.
Mae Ling approached her father's cabin with trepidation. Her quest for information had cost both men their lives and her father had definitely wanted them both alive. She knocked gently on the door - the silence from within was oppressive. The guards on either side of the door watched impassively as she gently opened the door.
Qwam Sung Ho was sitting with his back to her.
"Father?" she said softly, he made no attempt to turn around. "Father, I now know where Hume is... he is at Niagara Falls."
Her father sat silently staring at the wall, his breathing was deep and rhythmical. Mae Ling moved forward and approached her father.
"I had to torture both men quite vociferously. They... they did not survive the ordeal..." She braced herself for the inevitable onslaught. It did not materialize.
Mae Ling walked around to face her father. What she saw gave her a thrill of excitement and fear - for the first time that she could remember Qwam Sung Ho was asleep. Her eyes widened but a small smile played across her mouth. Perhaps this would spell the end of Qwam Sung Ho. She had been waiting for this moment for years.
She had helped Indiana Jones escape his doom in their base under the River Clyde - giving him cryptic clues that would help him stop the death trap and topped that by throwing him his whip and revolver. She had recognized in Indiana Jones a man who may be able to kill her father leaving her to become the most powerful figure in the Chinese crime world. A plan that had started years ago when she had been little more than a child. She had seduced Lao-Che's son and persuaded him to kill his father. If Jones hadn't interrupted her plans then she would have persuaded Kao Ken to kill her father, too, before throwing him to the guards. However, Jones had arrived looking for the remains of Nurhachi - but she had not given up her plans.
Her father knew even then that he was running out of time. He had drunk the ashes of Nurhachi after the Namjing incident - vainly hoping that these would aid in his revival. It was a foolish and empty idea.
He was dying, but she was not prepared to wait.
Indiana Jones would kill Qwam Sung Ho and then she would take considerable time and pleasure avenging her father's death!
She smiled and shivered with delight as she imagined her plans for Susan Kirkmuir and Indiana Jones.
Site Author: Micah Johnson
Page Author: Hannibal King
Created: July 13, 1999
Last modified: October 4, 1999