(Derek’s Note: Tecumseh was among the most celebrated Indian leaders in history and was known as a strong and eloquent orator who promoted tribal unity. He was also ambitious, willing to take risks and make significant sacrifices to repel the Americans from Indian lands in the Old Northwest Territory.)
William Stephenson and C.S. Lewis stepped out of the Austin Cambridge Staff Car and walked over to the giant black man holding the menacing looking six shooters. They noticed that the man was frozen as if he was afraid to move. But, his eyes were watching every move the two made as they approached, and the two guns tracked where the eyes were focused.
“Hello my good man, my name is William Stephenson of the British Government. You look as though you wish someone would tell you what is going on. Am I mistaken?” Stephenson and Jack were now standing directly in front of the man. “I think you can put those guns away, sir. We are most definitely not bandits and you are quite safe here in Oxford. Might we have the honor of making your acquaintance?” Stephenson extended his hand in an offer to shake his hand. That seemed to ignite a spark of life in the man, and he holstered the two peacemakers, and absent-mindedly extended his hand as his attention wandered down the street.
“Name’s Marshall Bass Reeves of the U.S. Marshall’s. Oxford? Ya’say? Well, if that ain’t a fine kettle of fish! This really is Oxford?” Bass turned around again as if to make sure he was not dreaming. “Dang sure a long way from Okmulgee in the Indian Territories. Wouldn’t happen to be able to let a fella in on how I got here?” With that question, Bass turned and focused his eyes upon the two men. Then he reached out and grasped their hands and shook them quite vigorously.
Jack offered an answer. “Well, Bass, unfortunately, we can’t explain that, other than to say that you are indeed in Oxford England. And, you seem to be caught up in the same mess that we are. So I suggest that you come with us. We were heading just over there at that establishment. So I would be honored to walk next to an honest to God U.S. Marshall.”
Stephenson walked back to the Austin and found that Margaret had taken his place at the wheel, and they drove the last few yards and parked near the Eagle and Child. As they passed Bass and Jack they noticed a small group of distinctive individuals standing near the entrance of the pub, one of which looked surprisingly like someone in a Sherlock Holmes costume.
Margaret looked at William and said, “Sir, it looks as if our little group has grown. And, if I am not mistaken we seem to have three men who only exist on the pages of books. That looks like Sherlock Holmes. The other has got to be George Edward Challenger, the other Conan Doyle sleuth. And, if I am not mistaken about my American literature, that is Doc Savage!”
Stephenson looked at Margaret and exclaimed, “Doc who?”
“Doc Savage! Sir! He’s a character from a series of American pulp fiction novels. My young cousin Teddy reads them. He’s addicted to pulp fiction novels. He sends away for them from America. I have to admit that I have read a few of them and they are surprisingly fun. But, if that is actually Doc Savage? He’s a good man to team up with Holmes and Challenger. Whoever is putting this altogether seems to have a flair for excellence Sir.”
“That’s just what I’m worried about Margaret.” William worried. “One, we have no idea why whoever it is who is bringing us all together. And, secondly, the level of talent being brought together seems to imply something bad is getting ready to happen. England doesn’t need one more thing right at the moment. What with that madman Hitler building his modern army over on the continent and Parliament dragging its feet to prepare for what can only be war. We don’t need an outbreak of fictional characters running around on the streets of Oxford or Bloody London for that matter. I don’t care what quality of men they are. When the press finds out that Sherlock Holmes or Doc Savage for that matter are actual people there will be a frenzy.”
William turned his attention from Margaret to the scene building momentum on the street in front of the Eagle and Child. He noticed that a number of the members of the Inklings were now emerging from the Pub. William recognized the ever-present pipe and swept back hair of J.R.R. Tolkein. There was the craggy-faced Owen Barfield, and there was balding and bulbous-nosed Hugo Dyson. Besides the members of the Inklings, other people were emerging from buildings all along the street. The amazing figures of Doc Savage and Bass Reeves were drawing people from their homes and businesses.
William, Margaret, and Joan disembarked from the Austin (Joan at Margaret’s encouragement), and walked over to the group, just as the sound of a supercharged V8 engine exploded from the alleyway next to the Eagle and Child. Everyone on the street turned in awe as a royal blue Cord Supercharged Phaeton convertible emerged behind the rumbling sound of automotive horsepower. The vehicle slowly maneuvered next to the Austin 10 staff car and parked.
The driver of the Cord stepped out and shut the door with a careful push and turned to the group. He was dressed in a well-tailored dark brown cotton suit with a golden lapel pin illustrating a sword super-imposed over the two letters “GC”. Under the suit, he wore a scarlet blouse and matching cravat. His jet black hair was long and braided and fell down his back, and his feet were covered with expertly crafted matching brown leather shoes. The man appeared to be an extremely wealthy and successful man. He was equal in size to Doc Savage and Bass Reeves and of obvious Native American heritage. He slowly walked out into the street with his hands behind his back in the manner of a man examining his surroundings. He walked past the group – silent now in the presence of such a remarkable figure – as if he were a general reviewing his troops. Then he turned to the group and in perfect American English asked, “Well, are we all here?”
Jack recognized that this must be the one called Tecumseh from the character list and walked up to the man to introduce himself. As he walked up to the man he thought, “A Lawman, a superhero, two detectives, a legendary woman of God, a female Army officer, Winston Churchill’s head of intelligence, and now Native America’s George Washington! What more could possibly happen? And, when does Arthur show up?”