Chapter Twelve “The Lewis List”: Reconnaissance

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Doc Savage and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks of Lester Dent, Inc.
Characters copyright © Lester Dent or their respective owners. All Rights Reserved.

(Derek’s Note: Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! May you find the peace that comes from His Presence as you gather with family today! A reminder that I am posting these “Rough Chapters” as a blessing and to solicit comments and critique. Please feel free to comment on my blog. And, if you like my writing, you can purchase my first book “Those that Remain” on Amazon Those that Remain )

 

Chapter Twelve – Reconnaissance

Arthur’s dinner suggestion had no sooner been spoken when Mr. Slowey appeared at the door and began to herd everyone to the bar. Arthur’s statement that he was buying was due to the fact that he had brought enough food to the Eagle and Child to feed – seemingly – the entire city of Oxford.

“The Mother recognizes the unique nature of the situation we all find ourselves in and would like you all to know that she is going to take care of everyone’s needs. And, that starts this afternoon with a small token of her appreciation for your participation.”

Mr. Slowey’s wife could be heard in the kitchen giggling and gossiping with Margaret Carter…who volunteered to help cook for everyone…as she prepared the large Lamb roast and all the trimmings. And, Mr. Slowey was pouring his best bitter, scotch ale and stout.

Tecumseh sat at a table close to the door with The King, while the Inklings and William Stephenson stood at the bar watching and talking about Arthur as if he were Aslan Himself. Sherlock and Challenger were deep in a discussion with Bass Reeves about the uneasiness they were feeling with their current situation and the seemingly nonchalant attitude of Tecumseh and Arthur. Joan of Arc sat alone in the center of the room sipping a small glass of Kopkes port as she seemed to be in a state of shock over everything that had taken place. Doc Savage was nowhere to be seen, with his absence noticed only by Bass Reeves.

Doc Savage quickly pulled Mr. Slowey’s great coat over his shoulders and his slouch hat over his head to disguise his remarkable features and disappeared out the back of the kitchen as everyone was trying to get comfortable. “I’m not hungry.” Thought Doc. “There is something going on here that I can’t put my finger on. All my instincts are shouting at me, and I’m not going to discover what that is from inside the pub. And, anyone with a desire for stealth can only mean trouble. Obviously, our unique group has been assembled for a purpose. And, we are being monitored. But, by who? And, what is that purpose?”

Doc emerged out the back of the establishment and turned into the small alleyway. Quickly Doc walked down the alley in the opposite direction from St. Giles street and worked his way around to the north of the pub to a position behind a butcher shop at the end of the block to observe the street. A quick once over showed nothing out of the ordinary. People strolled down the street window shopping or attending to appointments at the various businesses along the street. Many of the buildings held shops on the ground floor of the building and apartments above, and this is where Doc began to focus his attention. Slowly and methodically he began to scan the upper story windows along the street. Some of the windows were obscured by the branches of the trees that lined the street. His instincts were telling him that the most logical place for someone to observe the comings and goings of the Eagle and Child would be from directly across the street in the small pharmacy. And, his patience and observational skills paid off as the glint of a pair of binoculars showed behind the open window of the second story window. Then down the street a few houses down from the pub stood two men dressed very much in a style that Doc surmised to be out of place. They were dressed as longshoremen on the streets of a University town. Most of the people walking the streets were of a much better class of citizen as they were the wives of the professors and staff of the various Colleges that make up the University of Oxford. “Why would two dock workers be standing around on the streets of Oxford?” Doc thought to himself.

Doc walked slowly bending slightly to disguise his height, until he came to the pharmacy. Slowly he turned to see if the two men almost directly across the street were watching. But, their attention was on the front of the Eagle and Child and not their compatriots hiding place. Taking a quick glance through the front windows of the establishment, Doc jumped up and grabbed the edge of the second story window of the room next to where he had seen the binoculars. The window luckily was open and Doc was in the room quickly and silently. He was in a converted store room for the pharmacy as shelves of bottled remedies and supplies lined the walls and a number of tables in the middle of the room designed as work tables for the process of filling prescriptions.

Normal background noises of a home and the quiet hum of the business below accentuated the clinical smells of the chemicals in the room. The door to the room was closed and to the right and where it should lead to a staircase. Doc assumed that the other room was directly across the hall. He removed the great coat and the hat placing them on the window sill. Slowly turning the knob to the door, Doc heard a muffled voice coming from across the hall…speaking Serbo-Croatian. Doc intuitively knew that he was listening to a native Bosniak giving instructions to the men across the street. He hesitated for a moment as the realization of how he would know that after being alive for only the last hour or so, followed by another thought that told him that Doc Savage was the master of more languages than any man currently alive. The thought continued and became louder and insistent, “It’s how your life was written Clark. You have many skills and strengths that you and the others will need to draw upon in the future. Be strong and courageous!”

Doc glanced out the window as he prepared to open the door and noticed that Bass Reeves was now standing outside the pub and had his eyes on the two men down the street, and had gained the attention of the men.

Doc realized that things were going to escalate quickly. So he opened the door and came face to face with the man in the other room. He was a small man in the process of removing a headset attached to a German Army Torn.Fu.d2 portable radio set. He had set up his radio in what looked to be the chemist’s bedroom. The radio set sat on the floor underneath the window sill. Laying on the beside table was a Luger pistol, and leaning against the wall next to the window and radio was an MP 40 machine pistol.

The man took one look at the giant bronze man and froze, which Doc took advantage of and struck like a cobra. Doc’s left arm reached out and grabbed the man’s neck and shoulder applying precise pressure to the baroreceptors on the the right side of his neck and he dropped as dead. Doc caught the man and laid him on the bed unconscious.

Doc stuffed the luger in his pocket and draped the machine pistol over his shoulders then looked out the window, and instantly jumped through the open window with the luger in his hand, shouting a warning to Bass Reeves who would know nothing about automatic weapons.

The two Bosniaks were reaching for their MP 40 machine pistols that had been concealed beneath their greatcoats. Bass Reeves glanced up and to his left as Doc catapulted from the window, and saw the movement of the two men his curiosity had been focused on in his peripheral vision, and muscle memory took over and the Colt Peacemakers materialized in his hands and steadied upon the two targets.

At that moment is seemed as though someone kicked an ant’s nest.

 

 

 

Chapter Nine: Darkness Prepares

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Chapter Nine

Darkness Prepares

Slowly the Soviet S-2 submarine surfaced into the moonless midnight off of Dornoch Firth in Northern Scotland. S-2, at darkened-ship, was essentially invisible to anyone beyond a few hundred yards. A hatch forward of the conning tower opened and out climbed a shadow darker than the night. Barely discernible, even with eyes accustomed to the darkness, the figure stepped off of the deck and plunged into the sea.

One hour later the figure emerged on the sandy shore near the A9 bridge over the firth. The man took his time removing the dry suit he wore revealing carefully chosen clothing designed to mark him a common man, rough woolen pants and shirt, covered by a handmade wool pull-over sweater, watch cap, and very worn boots. The man found a piece of driftwood and buried the dry suit close to the waterline so when the tide came back in, the evidence of his excavation would be obliterated.

The man walked along the sand towards the town of Tain, avoiding the A9. Eventually, he found himself at the Glenmorangie Distillery and walked up into the compound where a man stood next to a Crossley Atlas lorry.

“Took ya long enough! Benny! Yer, lucky the night watchman is easily bribed here. Ever since we was wee bairns you were late.” Jamey Hudgens jerked his thumb to the lorry as if to say get in, and turned to walk around to the driver’s side. But, before he could move an Ottoman Janbiya appeared in Benny’s hand and Jamey’s head toppled from his neck and fell to the ground next to the front right tire of the lorry.

“Sorry, Jamey. MI5 will just have to find another rat to do their biddin’! But, thanks for the lorry, Mate!” He squatted next to the body of his childhood friend and wiped his Janbiya on his clothes and slid it back into a very non-ceremonial sheath under his sweater and whispered, “Alluah Akbar.” Standing up Sturmbannfuhrer Benjamin MacBeth spat on the dead informer’s severed head. “I may be late me boy, but ya be deid! Thanks for not making more of a fuss. I’ve an appointment with a seaplane to keep…if’n ya don’t mind.”

Benny climbed into the lorry and quickly drove from the distillery and onto the A9 headed for Tain, where he turned towards the ocean and a rendezvous at Loch Eye. As the lorry trundled down the highway, Benny continued reciting the words in his head, over and over. “The King must die, Long live the King.” Five minutes after leaving the distillery Macbeth slowed along the eastern edge of Loch Eye as if looking for something…or someone. Eventually, two men dressed similarly to Macbeth stepped out of the brush near the outlet into Burn Arboll, carrying large and heavy duffel’s. The two men quickly deposited the duffel bags into the lorry. They made two more trips into the brush until the back of the lorry was half filled. Once that was accomplished the two men climbed into the back and quickly made beds for themselves as Macbeth drove off and proceeded to return to the A9.

Neither Salah Kahn or Hilal Cady had made the effort to sit up front with Macbeth as they had made his acquaintance in Germany and wanted nothing to do with the man. They were content to sleep in the back and would be happy when they would link up with their brother Bosniaks already performing reconnaissance on their target. These men were accomplished Nazeri assassins but wanted nothing to do with whatever it was that lived behind the eyes of the man driving the lorry.

 

 

 

Chapter Six The Lewis List: The Savage Doctor!

Doc Savage

 

Chapter Six

The Savage Doctor!

“Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better, that all may profit by it. Let me think of the right and lend all my assistance to those who need it, with no regard for anything but justice. Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage. Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens and my associates in everything I say and do. Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.” -Doc Savage

 

(Derek’s Note: Writing a Mashup Novel that mixes fictional characters with historical characters can be a challenge, as I tend to get off on bunny trails about how that fictional character might think about suddenly becoming flesh and blood. Plus, the idea of how three characters such as in this chapter how they might relate to each other and the perception of their situation. Enjoy! Please feel free to comment or critique!)

 

The voices in his head were competing to be heard. Monk, Ham, Renny, Long Tom, Johnny…and a strange low guttural human growl. Vertigo kept Doc from being able to distinguish where the voices were coming from. His eyes were dazzled by the spinning colors and judging from vertigo he realized he was caught in some form of a whirlwind. The voices were there, but nothing else. After a few moments to analyze the sensation of spinning through the colorful whirlwind Doc recognized that just beyond the colors was what looked like a countryside.

The brilliant colors and the speed of the whirlwind began to dissipate and the Man of Bronze began to settle to the earth. Clark Savage, Jr., better known as Doc Savage America’s most enigmatic and yet philanthropic crime fighter, realized that he was alive in the real world! These were his first thoughts! The recognition of his unique situation; a fictional character taking on flesh! Doc knew who he was, and the flood of sensory input as a fictional body became a physical body was almost overwhelming. But, Doc’s fictional training took over and his mind gained control of this new experience. As Doc was floating to the ground, his heightened senses began to take in everything. Directly below and to the right was a row of houses facing a wide paved tree-lined street. And, from the names on the businesses Doc realized he was descending onto a British street.

Settling to the street Doc looked to see if his powerful six-foot-five-inch frame – Doc was wearing his riding outfit; khaki breeches, immaculately shined calf-high riding boots, and a long-sleeved cotton shirt under a leather hunting vest – or his unorthodox arrival had attracted any attention. There were a scattering of people walking the street, but no one seemed to notice him…except for a rough looking horse-shaped face surrounded by a great black mane of hair staring from the window of the establishment directly in front of his landing spot. Doc looked up from the face and saw the name of the establishment, “The Eagle and Child”. “Something about that name,” Doc thought. Doc queried his cavernous memory and found a reference to a group of writers in Britain called the Inklings that used this pub as their meeting hall. “But, why am I here? And, why is that man the only one to notice my arrival?” Doc thought.

Barely, had the thought finished when the door to the Eagle and Child opened and out stepped the largest and oddest looking large but small man Doc had ever seen.

The man reminded Doc of his friend and compatriot Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Blodgett “Monk” Mayfair, who’s arms resembled those of an Orangutan. But, this specimen standing here was a darker and more sinister looking individual. His head was a size larger than the normal homo sapiens specimen and had the remarkable resemblance to a horse. Long and prodigious nose, huge penetrating dark brown eyes, and a huge mouth that held a grin that seemed to be attempting to decide whether it wanted to be a smile or a grimace. A body that was almost as wide as it was high and again the jet black hair that cascaded over the monolith of a head.

“George Edward Challenger’s my name.” The mini mountain offered as he gave a short quick bow and extended his hand. “Might you be the great philanthropist Clark Savage, Jr.? No need to answer that my good man, I already know it’s you. Only one individual in this world would fit the description of the person standing before me. Considering you have arrived in this place in a manner similar to my own a few moments ago. I can only assume that some poor fellow or tribe needs the services of the world’s greatest minds.”

Doc looked Challenger up and down, smiled and took the offered hand. “Yes, you would be correct Mr. Challenger. I am indeed Clark Savage. And, I would have to agree with you if only on the point that this is a remarkable situation we find ourselves in. Because, if I am correct; you sir are an imaginary character straight from the imagination of one Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”

“Oh, we are going to match attitudes are we, my rebellious yank? You would be correct! Except that for a juxtaposition to your observation, I seem to be as real as you. And, I would remind you my good man that you also are a figment of the imagination of an author that writes a style of fiction that if placed next to the achievements of my creator, yours would be considered of an inferior rank.”

Doc looked Challenger in the eyes and a strange trilling sound rose up from the ground and enveloped the two men as they engaged in the time-honored tradition of a “Stare Down”. Dark brown eyes drilled into and were consumed by gold flaked eyes. Each the outlets of two of the greatest imaginary detectives written into fiction in the history of literature.

The stare down was only interrupted by another voice in close proximity clearing its throat.

Doc and Challenger turned to see another man standing close at hand with his arms crossed over his chest. He was wearing an expensive obviously tailored tweed wool suit under a tweed greatcoat, that the man began to remove and casually give a once over. Satisfied as to the quality of the greatcoat the man looked up at Doc Savage and George Edward Challenger, with the same piercing gaze that the other two had been employing with each other.

The man stepped closer and the other two detected an indifference to the trivial in the haphazard manner his clothes – although expensive and clean – hung on the incredibly thin frame. There before the two men stood a veritable scarecrow. But, each could feel the charisma emanating from the visage of the man. The man was wearing a soft cloth cap which barely touched the high forehead and seemed to form merely an exclamation point at the top of his long thin nose. This man’s face was as thin as Challenger’s face was broad, and held grey sunken eyes of someone with a bird’s appetite.

The man raised his cigarette to his mouth, extended his hand and said, “Sherlock Holmes at your service! I must say that I am more intrigued at this moment than I can say I have been in my many adventures. Considering I seem to have been granted the dubious pleasure of gaining a corporeal body. And, the opportunity to meet my alter ego that my creator has audaciously seen fit to bring to life. It escapes me, however, why both of our presences would be required, when one of us should be sufficient for any situation that my mind could conceive.”

Holmes looked from Challenger to Doc and allowed a civil if perfunctory smile to transform his haughty features. “And, you must be none other than the famous, if somewhat larger than imagined, Clark Savage, Jr. So, our mutual and momentary befuddlement aside. Have either of you had a thought as to why we are outside the hauntings of that group of stuffy academics known as the Inklings? I have never found much use for Fantasy writers. There are enough fantastical goings on in this world without creating more to distract those of limited mental faculties.”

 

 

Chapter Five: Lester Dent

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Chapter Five

Lester Dent…

(Derek’s Note: Lester Dent (October 12, 1904 – March 11, 1959) was an American pulp-fiction author, best known as the creator and main author of the series of novels about the scientist and adventurer Doc Savage. The 159 novels written over 16 years were credited to the house name Kenneth Robeson.)

Lester Dent – author of the famous pulp-fiction series Doc Savage – finished describing his famous character for his next installment in the series – The Submarine Mystery – and leaned back in his chair. “Good old Doc!” Lester thought. “But, I think you need to change. Just like I am growing old, my old friend. It’s time for you to grow older also. No longer will you be completely infallible. You need to become more human, same weaknesses, same propensities.” Lester leaned forward and reached out to the page with Doc’s description; …giant of a man. Trained from birth to be an expert in multiple disciplines. Deductive reasoning of his mind trained to a razor’s edge, body trained beyond Olympic standards. His bronze skin stretched over perfectly proportionate muscles, Doc stands closer to seven foot than six. Close napped hair a shade darker bronze than the skin framing golden flake eyes. An imposing awe inspiring giant of a man…

Lester began to pull the page from the typewriter. But, as his fingers touched the page the words began to vibrate and bounce upon the paper, bulging on the page pushing themselves off of the paper. With a definite popping sound they jumped into the air and ignited. Slowly the words began to swirl before Lester’s eyes, gradually picking up speed and scrambling themselves until the only thing visible to Lester was a miniature fiery multi-colored tornado. As the tornado began to pick up speed Lester stepped back in amazement not sure of what to do next. And, as the last syllable of his question disappeared from his mind, the tornado began to advance towards the bookshelf. Eventually, the tornado stopped before the bookshelf causing the books and knick-knacks to rattle and jump where they had been carefully placed by Lester’s wife Norma.

Lester stepped closer to the tornado to get a better view of what it was doing, and realized that the tornado was whistling. But, not just whistling, it sounded like Doc’s trademark trilling sound. Lester watched as the tornado began to pull books from the shelf and opening each one the words were “peeled” from the pages. Faster and faster the books began to fly from the shelf until volume after volume were suspended in the air while their words were stripped from the pages.

“Norma!” Lester called somewhat weakly. “Norma, come here please! I need you to see this! Please hurry!”

Lester could hear Norma walking quickly down the hall as one final book came off of the shelf, and he realized which books the tornado was pulling from the shelves. These were all the Doc Savage novels – his first editions – Lester could see that the words were gone. Each book was now empty! Every printed word of every first edition of his novels had been consumed and now were spinning in the ever expanding kaleidescope of a tornado right before his eyes.

Norma came around the corner from the kitchen almost at a run and almost ran right into the tornado, which startled her so much that she screamed at the top of her lungs and slipped on the throw rug in front of the book shelf. This caused the tornado to disappear, and sparked action on Lester’s part to keep his wife from falling on her derriere.

Lester dragged a struggling wife over to his typing chair, set her securely upon it, and turned to look at the heap of blank books on the floor before the shelf. A sense of incredulity set itself upon Lester and he whispered to himself. “My Books…”