Chapter Twelve “The Lewis List”: Reconnaissance

DOC-profile

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.

 

 

 

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Chapter Eleven The Lewis List: Reunions

Ebbinghous Battalion

(“Used with permission from the SOFREP website, a service of SOFREP, Inc.”)

Sturmbannfuhrer Benjamin MacBeth drove all that day and into the night. At midnight on the third day. He turned into a large estate in the small village of Great Rollright. There were a number of vans and cars parked in front of a large barn. And, he was immediately met by three men dressed in black clothes and carrying the brand new MP 40 submachine guns. He was welcomed by the three guards with the deference due their leader, and he quickly tasked the three men with assisting the two men in the back of the lorry unload the duffel bags into the barn.

The lorry was soon surrounded by a full Zug (Platoon = forty men), and the unloading was completed in short order. Macbeth was stretching his back and legs when Kompaniefeldwebel Delbart Tesch approached saluted and announced, “The men will be ready for inspection momentarily Major.” Benjamin turned and watched as the men organized themselves for review by MacBeth, their operational commander.

Macbeth quickly walked down the line studying every face. He had personally selected each of these men from the training program. A few – the Sergeants – he had groomed from their Hitler Youth days. This unit had grown together over the last five years, and Macbeth had driven his men relentlessly until they were the match of any SS Unit in the Whermacht. But, for the purposes of this operation, Macbeth had agreed that the men of the Ebbinghaus Battalion would augment his Kommandos. His men were the arbiters of purity, pure Aryan supermen. Where the Ebbinghaus Commandos – although highly trained and motivated – were a mixed breed of fighters trained for behind enemy lines operations. Indeed, many were not even German. His men were tasked with the tough jobs and the cleansing of the world for the purposes of the coming thousand year Reich. He was determined to prove that the Aryan race was the purest and highly developed race on Earth. And, he knew that training…and fear…was the way to excellence and victory. So he had taught these men to fear him. The looks on their faces as he stopped momentarily before each man released an intoxicating wave of satisfaction in his evil sadistic heart. It was the Ebbinghaus men that he was worried about. Mixing mutts with his supermen was unsatisfactory.

MacBeth harbored a pathological hatred developed as a young man for the British and the Royal Family in particular. Although his father – a Presbyterian Pastor – had taught him that his genealogy as a MacBeth could not be connected to the historical king of the north, he had convinced himself he was the rightful heir to the Scottish throne. His delusion became so pronounced he eventually rebelled from his father’s faith and sought out spiritual leaders who led him into occult rituals…human sacrifices…designed to give him supernatural power over his enemies. It was during one of these meetings at a midnight meeting deep in a forest in Bavaria where Macbeth met Heinrich Himmler.

Benjamin MacBeth was a born psychopath. A fact that Himmler recognized when MacBeth had joined the SA – the Brownshirts – early during the rise of the Nazi Party to prominence. Himmler groomed MacBeth and stoked his beliefs about his ancestors until he became firmly entrenched in the genetic purity philosophies driving the extreme Aryan ideas of the Fuhrer. Himmler’s control and influence over MacBeth were complete and gave Himmler a highly trained deadly tool that was now poised to strike at the newly crowned King George VI and others in the British government. Himmler had dangled the perfect motivational carrot in front of Macbeth, leading him to believe he would be the new king of an independent Scotland when England surrendered.

Macbeth reached the end of the line and proceeded to move to a position just a few feet in front of his Sergeants. Quietly he snapped his arm out in a salute and said “Heil Hitler” just loud enough for the Non-Comm’s to hear. Then looking at his second in command, Delbart Tesch, “Dismiss the men. And, get me some food Delbart. It’s been a long drive and you and I have much planning to do.”

“Yes sir!” Delbert answered. Then asked, “Should I have food brought out to the barn for those two men that arrived with you?”

MacBeth answered as he turned and walked away towards a large rundown estate farmhouse. “Negative, those two can take care of themselves. In fact, no one is to interact with our guests unless I specifically require it. Understood, Spiess?”

As Delbart turned and followed he answered, “Perfectly clear Major!” As Delbart followed behind his commander towards the farmhouse he noticed that where his shadow fell, it obscured the ground or the objects on the other side of the umbra. As if the shadow was not just the absence of light but the presence of something darker. Delbart’s skin crawled and thought, “Welcome back…whoever you are…”

 

 

 

Part of A Conversation with Michael…

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(Derek’s Note: Had a long session in the early morning with The Holy Spirit as He downloaded ideas for my current WIP. This is part of what I received. Please take this as tongue in cheek. It seems the Holy Spirit has a sense of humor.)

Michael the ArchAngel: “Lucifer was my equal in many ways. The most beautiful of all Creator’s creatures. His Music soared through the universe, and we all worshipped along with him.

But, then he lied…

The Creator stripped Lucifer of his great power and left only the lie. Now he is the master of lies, of prevarication, of the grey areas between truths. It’s all he has now. Unless his lies can convince you, humans, to give him your power.

Truthfully, the angels all mock him now. Indeed, his nickname is “Lucy”!

He was given one job to do, the highest honor. He chose to Lie.”

 

 

 

Chapter Eight “The Lewis List”: Tecumseh

Chapter Eight

Tecumseh

Tecumseh

(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?

 

 

 

 

Evil Incarnate

1200px-570_Wewelsburg

(By Harald Köster, Bochum, Germany – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=539611)

(Derek’s Note: The above picture is one of the sites where Heinrich Himmler indoctrinated his SS troops into his ideology. The Wewelsburg was the most important site in Himmler’s pseudo-Germanic religious doctrine.)

 

Chapter Seven

Evil Incarnate

 

Heinrich Himmler held the jewel-encrusted chalice in his left hand, his forearm draped with a red and black trimmed towel depicting a black eagle clutching a black swastika inside round wreath. His adjutant Hermann Gauch followed behind with a tray with five brand new Totenkopfrings. Lined up in front of Himmler stood five of the largest “Aryan” officers Gauch had ever seen. Each of these new officers was hand picked by Gauch himself. Prime specimens, pure Aryan genetic examples of Nordic superiority. And, now each would take the blood oath and vow fealty to the Fuhrer, even unto death. Herman noticed the zeal with which Himmler was imitating the role of a priest in administering the cup of blood for the five initiates. Holding the chalice just so that the initiate’s lips could reach the cup, but not allowing them to grasp it. As each of the initiates leaned forward to sip the blood Himmler would rotate the cup and wipe the cup with the towel. The initiates all towered over Himmler and needed to bend down to the chalice. And, to a man these men kept their eyes fixed on Himmler. Their gaze one of adoration and expectation.

Gauch, watched as each man enthusiastically vowed to give his life in defense of his Fuhrer. The level of fanaticism exhibited on the faces of these men – each so physically similar as to seem brothers – a testament to the efficacy of the indoctrination these men had gone through over the last few years. But, these five were different. They had been selected at an early stage of their development. Each had risen through the ranks of the Hitler–Jugend and their development monitored personally by Gauch. These men were the continuing realization of a dream. The creation of an elite team of assassins within the ranks of the already elite Schutzstaffel called the Einsatzgruppen.

Sitting in the main ceremonial hall against the wall near the huge blazing hearth, were the special invitees for tonight’s ceremony, family members, and party functionaries. Plus, three men, mostly unknown to many in the leadership of the Nazi Party, from Turkey. Standing partially hidden in the rear of the room, they watched intently as the men were given their rings. These three men were Nizari’s. A sect of Islam most considered extinct. But, now reborn amidst the chaos of a coming world war. This ceremony was not so different from their own. The same level of devotion and intensity existed in the eyes of these young men as in the eyes of their troops in Syria.

Herman Gauch had encountered the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem on one of his expeditions to retrieve archaeological artifacts in Iraq. Himmler’s effort to prove the validity of his theories of Aryan history in Eastern Europe and the Middle East resulted in extensive travels for Gauch over the last few years. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini had prophetically realized the need for the tactics of strategic elimination of his enemies. In essence, the need became apparent for a specialized team of assassins, whom the three in shadows was an example of. Husseini understanding the value of calling upon history to supply inspiration, decided to resurrect the infamous Azeri Ismaili sect early in his tenure as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. “Once in Power, Never to relinquish!” Husseini reminded himself every morning at dawn prayers. He intended to not only stay in power but to be the instrument for the removal of every vestige of Jewish influence in his Palestine. Gauch recognized an asset with similar goals as his mentor and boss Heinrich Himmler. Although Husseini had declined the offer to visit Berlin, he had sent the three assassins to Berlin as a gesture of future good relations. These men were led by a man they were calling their Imam; Imam Sabri Demir. The other two – Salah Khan and Hilal Cady – were ethnic Bosniaks, and Imam Demir was a Syrian.

Gauch kept his eyes on the Imam. The Imam seemed an enigma and exhibited a one track anti-semitic mind. The Bosniaks hardly spoke and allowed the Imam to do the communicating. Gauch was impressed by the level of training the three Nazeris exhibited and grateful for the subtle skills of infiltration and quiet death they had taught the Einsatzgruppen trainees. But, still there existed a mutual distrust as the understanding became more and more apparent that only their mutual hatred for the Jews was keeping this alliance together. His thoughts were interrupted by the realization that the Imam was staring back, and as their eyes locked a darkness descended on the fringes of Gauch’s peripheral vision. Darkness with movement, as if there were something behind the darkness. And, a coldness that brought a shiver to Gauch’s already darkened soul.

Imam Sabri Demir held Herman’s gaze and smiled.

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…”

 

 

 

Bass Reeves

Bass Reeves

Portrait of U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves | Courtesy of the National Park Service at Fort Smith

(Derek’s Note: Bass Reeves, U.S. Deputy Marshal


“Maybe the law ain’t perfect, but it’s the only one we got, and without it we got nuthin” – Bass Reeves


Born to slave parents in 1838 in Crawford County, Arkansas, Bass Reeves would become the first black U.S. Deputy Marshal west of the Mississippi River and one of the greatest frontier heroes in our nation’s history.)

 

Chapter Four

Bass Reeves

The Saloon door opened out stepped Cole Younger, Jesse James, and Belle Starr. Late Summer Sunday afternoon in Okmulgee Indian Territory cast a drowsy spell over the three after a successful day of gambling and drinking. The sun setting to the west burned through the dust raised by wagons leaving town. The dusty orange light casting long shadows across the doorways of the shops on Moore street. The young messenger boy skipped ahead to the west on Moore street. They shuffled along the sidewalk following the boy, sent to collect the three, towards the stables where their horses were being tended to. Supposedly, one of their horses had come up lame and the livery hand wanted to discuss what could be done for the horse.

Cole turned to Belle…who had his arm, “This is probably just an excuse to sell me a new one Belle. Most likely he had us marked as big spenders and this is just an excuse to make his pitch and sell off one of the nags left behind by someone unable to pay their bill.”

“Just keep this short Cole. I think Belle and I would like to get to dinner sooner rather than later.” Jesse complained.

Belle glanced back at Jesse, who was walking behind the pair and smiled. “I’m hungry too Cole. Just buy the horse so we can go eat.”

Cole looked back at Jesse. “Who says it’s my horse, friend?” Motioning towards the rapidly disappearing messenger boy. “That squirt didn’t say whose horse was lame. And, since you weigh more than I do, it’s probably your’s! And, if that’s the case, Jesse, you can pay for your own dang horse!”

The walk from the saloon to J.W. Griffin’s establishment took only a few minutes. Jesse walked through the doors of the stable and stood for a moment to allow his eyes to adjust to the gloom inside the building. As Cole and Belle followed through the door, the hairs on Jesse’s neck rose. “Somethings not right here…” Jesse thought as a stable hand stepped around the edge of one of the stalls and approached. Jesse glanced at Cole and noticed the look of concern on his friends face. The stable hand was tall and lanky. His shoulders formed a triangular block with the man’s hips, and as he stepped closer Jesse saw that the man was black. And, although his hat obscured the top part of his face Jesse instinctually understood the man he was facing was the legendary lawman Bass Reeves, and he was reaching for his Colt Peacemakers.

Jesse, Cole, and Belle began to draw their own pistols when the big lawman disappeared in a blink.

Bass Reeves, drew his Colt Peacemakers. Finally, months of preparation had come to fruition. The famous outlaws Jesse James and Cole Younger, and accompanying Younger was the cherry on top, Belle Star. Reeves was famous for the speed of his draw. Many times evil-doers had gotten the drop on him, only to find that was their last action on Earth. As the guns left their holsters the gloom of the stables disappeared and Bass found himself standing at the end of a busy city street in the bright sunlight.

Bass slowly took a deep breath. He was standing in the middle of an empty cobbled street bordered on both sides by shops and houses all attached to each other in a neat row. In front of the shops stood tall elm trees that filtered a warm but comfortable sunlight. Turning around Bass could see a large town down the road comfortably nestled by trees and ancient landscaping. Not a speck of dust anywhere to be seen.

Bass turned to look the other direction and came face to face with an automobile carrying two white males in the front and two young women; one perhaps a child, in the back. Their mouths open aghast at the giant black man holding two deadly looking Colt Peacemakers in the middle of the Oxford Street.

“Hells Bell’s good Lord Jesus! Something tells me I ain’t in Okmulgee anymore!” Bass exclaimed as he holstered his pistols.

 

 

 

 

Intrepid & Lieutenant Carter

id_austin_10_full_2

 

1937 Austin 10 Cambridge. Photo: Courtesy David Marsh, Victoria, Australia (Dave’s Austin 10 Web Site)

(Derek’s Note: William Stephenson was Winston Churchill’s choice to head up his global intelligence gathering operations. He was also the one that recommended William “Wild Bill” Donovan to head the OSS during WW II. He will be Knighted during the war for his efforts. His code name was Intrepid. He is also attributed as being the man Ian Fleming modeled 007 after. Margaret Peggy Carter is better known these days as “Agent Peggy Carter” Captain America’s sweetheart. Margaret Carter started out in the British Army assigned to Bletchley Park and eventually went to Special Operations Executive and thence to MI6. Here she is in transition between Bletchley and SOE and functioning as William Stephenson’s Adjutant.)

 

Chapter three

Intrepid and Lieutenant Carter

Between the families working knowledge of French and Joan’s ancient English dialect, dinner went reasonably well. Janie and Maureen set to making the Maid comfortable. But, bedtime came late into the night as Joan, Jack, Janie, and Maureen sat up listening to the story of how Joan came to be there. The initial shock of being transported to the future seemed to only momentarily disorient the teenager. Which to Jack seemed reasonable considering the things the young lady had gone through already in life. Here was a woman whom God had chosen to lead an army at the age of seventeen who no one would have ever imagined would do so.

“Typical teenager!” Jack thought to himself as he started down the hall to his room. “She no more looks to lead an army than I do! Tomorrow we will head to the college to see what this is all about. But, for now, I need some sleep…”

As the word sleep died in the consciousness, lights from a car swept across the drawn curtains in the unmistakable indication of a car parking in front of the house.

Jack shuffled to the study window and pulled the curtains aside to see who had arrived on his doorstep at 1:30 AM. As there was a full moon above, Jackie saw a woman dressed as a Second Lieutenant in the Army, followed closely behind by a distinguished looking gentleman wearing the kind of wool suit that would cost Jack a year’s wages on fleet street. “They must be lost…” He thought as he turned to greet the couple at the door.

“Hello, might I be of help? You must be desperately lost to be driving around at this time of the night.” Jack half asked and observed.

The young lady stepped up into the light that streamed from the front door and looked Jack in the eyes. “Yes, Mr. Lewis, you can be of immense help. Through some very extraordinary circumstances, we have been led to your doorstep.” The woman turned to allow the gentleman to step into the light. “My name is Margaret Carter, and this gentleman is William Stephenson special envoy to Winston Churchill. May we come in. I am afraid the circumstances require a level of urgency that has resulted in this unfortunate timing.”

Jack stepped aside and mumbled a quick, “Of course…” Jack led the pair into the study as Maureen appeared at the study door and offered them tea. Thoughts of why a member of Churchill’s inner circle would be in his study raising as much alarm in his mind as having a young Joan of Arc sleeping in the guest room. “Things are decidedly becoming more confusing, and less to my liking”, he thought as William Stephenson took his great coat off and settled into the overstuffed chair.

“Thank you, but as much as I would love to have tea, Mrs. Lewis, I am afraid I must decline, thank you though. Mr. Lewis, let me get right to the point of our being in your home at such a late hour. Late last night Mr. Churchill and I were in his quarters at Whitehall discussing…well…discussing important matters. We were in the process of sending Miss Carter here to the signals people with a package when the three of us had a very abrupt visitor…”

Jack smiled and interrupted, “Ah, Fred! That makes me happy that I have shared that unique opportunity with someone else. Especially, two gentlemen, and the lady, of such eminent reputations.”

“Yes, well…Fred…as he so effusively elaborated. Let us know that we had just become players in a situation where you, Mr. Lewis have been designated as the leader. Now you should understand. Both Winston and I are fans of your writing. I am quite fond of your recent book “Out of the Silent Planet”. So we were not altogether surprised by the Angel pointing at you as having the answer. Fred, however, led us to believe that something terrible is about to happen. However, Fred did not – in his abbreviated appearance – elucidate as to that terrible something might be. So, Winston being the man of action that he is decided that I and Miss Carter should come here to attempt to gain an understanding of just what the blazes is going on?” “What the blazes”, said with the force of a man accustomed to control and finding none in the current situation.

Jack looked at both of his guests and shrugged as he answered, “I wish I knew. Fred told me that I was to write the story. He didn’t say which story.” He turned to the typewriter and picked up the book. “He gave me this book. But, the story itself seems to magically appear as the story gets written. So I am afraid that the book itself will be useless as an answer to whatever kind of future it is that Fred has drawn us into.”

Jack stepped over to Mr. Stephenson and holding the book so that Miss Carter could also see. Pointed to the Character list. “So far, Mr. Stephenson, two of the characters have arrived.” Jackie pointed to Miss Carter whose jaw was now opening wide in surprise. “You Miss Carter, and – THE Joan of Arc. And, as you can see there are other characters on the list that – if I am inferring correctly – I have to say, will be nothing short of miraculous if somehow those names become real.”

Margaret Carter gave a short but audible gasp and turned to Stephenson, “Artur!? If that is the Arthur that is intended, then that has implications for current events!”

“Indeed Margaret.” Stephenson shook his head in agreement and looked up at C.S. Lewis. “He shall return at the hour of England’s greatest need! Sounds like something from one of your novels Mr. Lewis. No doubt exactly why Fred…and by extension…Fred’s boss chose you.”

Maureen – who had been standing quietly in the door – said, “We have an extra room for Miss Carter, Mr. Stephenson. If you don’t mind the couch…