N: The battle with the Brazilian Sky Pirates won, our heroes continued to Bombay, an exotic and popular destination for zeppelins traveling this part of the world. Crews from every nation on the globe arrived in the city daily with cargo, passengers, and information of every sort. Indeed, it was said that Bombay was to zeppelin intrigue what Istanbul was to political intrigue. With this in mind Captain Daedalus intended to try and gain an edge on Wotansraven for the upcoming legs of the race. Any suspicious activity by the Kaiser’s zeppelin fleet would be easily found out by the crew of the Pegasus. But information was not the only thing found in Bombay, it was also full of danger and excitement!
Lefty: Ha ha! I win again!!! I love jacks!
JD: Boy Lefty, you’re on a roll!! (kinda sarcastic)
Lefty: Johnny, I want to talk to you about something serious.
JD: What lefty?
L: I wanna learn how to write…just like you. Except, you know, with my left hand.
JD: Wow Lefty, I..I don’t know. The doctors say you have a pretty bad case of left-handedness.
L: I know, but pops said if I try reaaallyyy hard.
JD: Well, I guess we can try. Let’s go see if professor merriweather can make you a pen. One for left handed people!! He’s tinkering with the canning device he installed in the hangar bay.
L: Oh boy!!
(door and walking door)
JD: I don’t see the professor, but theres Mr. Winters. Maybe he knows where the he went.
W: Yes…yes..We will be there by 12, 12 o clock. No no I don’t have the
JD: Who’s on the radio mr winters?
W: Radio? Im not on the radio (clank) Immm counting, yes counting rivets. 7, 7 rivets!
JD: Ummmm ok. Have you seen Prof. Merriweather?
W: Yes, I think he went to the bridge. Now let me get back to my, umm, counting...
JD: Thanks Mr. Winters. Cmon Lefty.
L: Okie dokie.
(Walking, door on the bridge)
D: Give me the situation report Jeffries.
J: Well the damn pirates nearly put a few rounds in our reactor! That coulda been a right messy day. As it was they took out our port aft engine and our forward air compressor. We’ve managed to repair the compressor, and ill be able fix the engine when we get to Bombay.
JD: Can an atomic zeppelin explode?
BM: Well, conceivably, bullets wont cause a meltdown. But significant reactor damage can lead to one. Usually zeppelins get shot down or otherwise incapacitated before a reactor would be affected. But, there have been historical examples of reactor failure and catastrophic e--
D: That’s enough Barnaby. Basically, boys, it would take a bomb planted in the reactor area to cause that. And that isn’t about to happen.
JD: Well what if somebody…
(Radiogram machine starts beeping)
CT: It’s a radiogram Daedalus! Here.
FB: Well, whats it say?
D: Daedalus, meet me in Bombay at the Rajah’s Turban, you know the place –stop- have urgent information concerning your son’s demise –stop- please be discreet, my presence in Bombay is a secret –stop- come alone –stop- signed, the Black Falcon
CT: The Black Falcon!!? Well tits and firecrackers theres a surprise.
JD: Black Falcon? Who’s that???
D: The Black Falcon is a notorious, cold-hearted, mercenary pilot. He’ll take any job, if the pay is right.
Lefty: He sounds mysterious!
D: He is mysterious Lefty. He flies a black Fokker Albatross with silver trim. He appears out of nowhere, and leaves without warning. He’s a man without a name. Known only as the Black Falcon.
FB: All I know he wears some sort of mask to conceal his identity. Seems a bit queer to me. Don’t put much stock in masks myself.
JD: So are we gonna meet him Captain?
L: Johnny, the message said for only Captain Daedalus to go.
CT: Which you cant possibly be thinking about doing Daedalus. At least not without someone to watch your back. Bombay is bad enough as it is, without some costumed lunatic asking for secret meetings at known locations of ill repute.
FB: Ill repute? What kind of ill repute? Bad beer or loose women?
D: Continuing on. Agreed Coyne. Ill take you. and the boys.
JD: To a bar?
L: Oh boy!
D: Zeppelineers start young boys. My first bar was in Bombay too, and I don’t why yours shouldn’t be.
FB: And what, you just expect me to just stay here? While Coyne gets to go off and sample the local flavor??
D: First, there will be no sampling of “the local flavor.” Secondly, I have another mission for you. You, Merriweather and Alexy are gonna go and buy another plane to replace Cathcart’s.
BM: Oh how, how exciting! Glad to be of assistance.
FB: yes, cuz shopping is always fun.
D: Everyone clear on whats going on? We all need to be back by 1800 hours.
FB: Capn, Coyne and I need to have a word with you alone before we split up.
D: Alright. Lefty, Johnny, were leaving in 5 minutes, go wait for me in hanger bay. Don’t talk to anyone, and don’t tell anyone where we are going. The rest of you give coyne, flex and I a minute.
J/JD/BM: Aye aye captain.
(lots of steps and door closes, moment of silence)
D: Ok gents, everyone is gone. What’s goin on?
FB: Bettington, that son of a bitch, is trying to rig the race.
D: Really Flex? That’s it? Of course he’s trying to rig the race. That’s what he does, that’s how he makes money. We just have to make sure he doesn’t do it.
CT: Well to be more specific, in that bar in Kyoto, there were two Firm members talking about the race, they said that Bettington has inside men on both crews.
D: I wouldn’t be surprised. How else do you think he keeps track of the racers?
FB: But, but aren’t you concerned?
D: Flex, when you’ve flown around the world as many times as I have, nothing surprises you anymore. Besides I had a feeling it was Cathcart. In case you didn’t notice, we didn’t go back to look for him when he got shot down.
CT: well nonetheless, I think we should keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
FB: You’re one to talk about suspicious activity Coyne.
CT: Youre just jealous you don’t get to come to the Rajah’s Turban.
D: That’s enough. The meeting with the Black Falcon is of the utmost importance and we don’t have much time. Lets get going. Flex, I wanna see a new biplane in the hanger bay by the time I get back. Coyne, lets go get the boys.
JD: Lefty wait here, I need to run and get my slingshot.
(running off, lefty humming, more steps)
L: Why hello Mr winters.
W: Oh, oh well hello there young master dangerfist. Where are you going?
L: Were goin to the Rajah’s Turban!! Wanna come?
W: No, no i….i must a make a telephone call.
L: Ok, have fun.
W: no, you, you have fun!
(steps receding… running)
JD: Im back.
D: Lefty, Johnny are you ready?
JD: sure are Captain!
D: Alright, lets go to Bombay!
L: Oh boy!
(skip to Rajah’s T, city sounds)
D: This is the place. Keep a good lookout Coyne, boys. The Rajah’s Turban isn’t exactly a playground.
CT: Righto skip.
Bartend: Capt daedalus. Heres a key. You have someone expecting you upstairs.
D: Ill be back bit, you three stay here.
CT: What do you lads want to drink?
L: One rich chocolate ovaltine for me!
JD: Ill take a beer Mr Tarkington.
CT: Bartender! Well have two ovaltines, ice cold, and one pint of stout.
JD: I didn’t know you drank ovaltine mr Tarkington!
CT: its not for me Johnny.
Mysterious femme: are you the famous coyne Tarkington? Dealer in rare artifacts and priceless treasures?
CT: Could be, who’s asking?
MF: I am. I have a…certain proposition. That I would like to discuss with you.
MF: The Shiva’s Head.
CT: Im listening.
MF: perhaps we can go somewhere more discreet.
CT: Lads, ill be right back.
JD: But mr Tarkington!
CT: Can it Johnny, this is important! An opportunity like this doesn’t just come every day.
CT: ill be back in five minutes. Keep an eye on lefty.
Guilder voice: Meanwhile, upstairs…..
BF: Glad you to see you came alone monsieur Daedalus. Please, sit down.
D: Ok, falcon. I held up my end. Now lets hear yours.
BF: You don’t beat around the bush monsieur, I like that. What do you know about your son’s death?
D: reactor meltdown over the French alps, five years ago, killed him and the whole crew. Hector, my son, was on a French zeppelin, the Hyperion. They were racing baron von schmeck at the time. Somewhere over Mont Blanc it simply blew to bits. It cause quite a fallout, France nearly went to war with the Germans suspecting foul play. As it turned out, it was determined to be only a reactor failure and things cooled off.
BF: That’s official version yes. I assume you are also aware that the race was registered with the Firm?
BF: Good, zat’s a good start. But I have learned much more. Simply put, your son’s death was not an accident. It was the result of sabotage. Sabotage committed by an agent of the Firm. An inside man in the zeppelin.
D: Why would the Firm intentionally blow up the zeppelin? According to their rules that would cause a forfeit on the race and all bets rendered null and void. The Firm wouldn’t make any money.
BF: ah yes, but you are assuming ze Firm is what it claims to be. Lately, I have become, how do you say, intimately acquainted, with ze workings of ze Firm.
D: Well, how do I know you aren’t an agent of the firm? How do I know I can trust you? More importantly, how do I know you aren’t my son’s murderer?
BF: All valid questions my dear daedalus. I cannot reveal all, but I can tell you this, I am not your son’s murderer, and the sabotage of the Hyperion was not simply murder anyways. It was a plot to achieve a much more sinister objective.
D: What sinister objective?
BF: I will tell you; when the time is right.
BF: We will meet again capitan daedalus. au revoir
(Running, jumping sound, screeching tires and car peels out)
Guilder voice: Meanwhile down in the bar
Lefty: this is ovaltine sure hit the spot Johnny!
JD: yea, but I was hoping for a beer.
Lefty: you’re only 11 johnny.
JD: yea but im almost 12.
WM: And maybe if you cooperate you get to see that 12th ya little rippa.
JD: Wally McBruce!!
L: Oh no hes got a gun!
WM: you got that right. Don’t try anything chaps. Lefty, you’ll be coming me. Nice and quite like, we wouldn’t want my 38 to go off by accident now would we?
L: Ow my arm
JD: you wont get away with this!!
WM: And who’s gonna stop me? Youre not even 12, daedalus is upstairs, and coyne seems to have become otherwise engaged. Strange coincidence ey? Lets go Lefty. Oh and Johnny. Give this note to captain daedalus and give coyne me regards.
(steps, crowd gets louder)
JD: Leeefftyy!!! nooo
CT: Johnny! What happened! Wheres lefty?
JD: McBruce took him! They just left!
D: McBruce took who?
CT: Lefty. Quick, we might be able catch him in the street!
(running out street, screetching tires,)
L: Johnny! Help!!
(driving off die out, street sounds)
JD: I never got to teach him how to write.
D: Its ok Johnny, well get your brother back. Did Mcbruce tell you anything?
JD: he said to give you this. And he said to give you his regards mr Tarkington.
CT: That slimy, good for nothing, bloody aussie.
JD: What does the note say captain?
D: It’s a set of instructions. We’ll talk about them later. Let’s get back to the zeppelin.
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FB: Stay tight boys Bombay’s a dangerous place. Sure hope Daedalus hasn’t run into trouble with that masked falcon character at the Rajah’s Turban.
BM: Actually, I, I believe it’s the Black Falcon, Flex.
FB: Does it look like I care Barnaby?
BM: well, i
Alexander Ivanovich Makarov (AM): let’s get back to finding a new aircraft. Im thinking a Sopwith if we can find one.
BM: An excellent model Mr. Makarov. Here we are, Mr. Bottlacharia’s aeroplane bazaar and emporium. Ive been told he has the latest, in you know, aeronautic innovation.
FB: Umm sure, whatever you say Barnaby.
B: hellooo welcome to mr bottlecharia’s aeroplane bazaar and emporium! Purveyor in fine aeronautic machines and parts.
FB: Um yea, um we need a plane.
B: What kind of aeroplane do you need? Passenger or military? Perhaps you would like some tea while you wait?
AM: Ah spasibo! I would love some tea.
FB: NO! Alexy! Put that down, durned tea could be poisoned. You can never tell with chinamen.
AM: but Flex we are not in china. Try the tea!
BM: Oh oh I think ive found the perfect aircraft. Manueverable, but payload capable. An excellent balance.
FB: good lets buy it and get out of here before someone gets poisoned
AM: Mr. Bottlecharia, we’ll be taking the Sopwith Camel. Have it delivered immediately to the Pegasus at the zeppelin port. Hangar 7.
B: Of course right away. I hope the tea was satisfactory.
(door closes, bells)
FB: Well send me to a Turkish prison, look who it boys. Baron von Schmuck
BVS: Verdammt, its zat dimwit zat Daedalus keeps on zeppelin.
FB: Who you callin dimwit???
BVS: I don’t see anyone who could meet zat description. But zat is irrelevant ja?. Herr Brawnman take me to your airship I have urgent business with your captain.
FB: Like hell I will you Hun bastard.
BVS: Please Herr Brawnmann, enough with ze insults I don’t have all day.
BM: perhaps we should consider taking him flex? His companions seem, relatively harmless.
K: Who are you calling harmless ja? You know noszing! My revolver is quite dangerous.
BVS: Klaus, vat have I told you about your revolver in city streets. Its quite impolite.
FB: Yea kid. Its impolite. What do you want with daedalus Baron?
BVS: Well, we seem to have misplaced Dieter. You wouldn’t happen to have found a child or know anything about it would you?
FB: Are you implying we lose kids or steal them baron?
BVS: No, I am not. I simply want to talk to Daedalus if you please.
FB: Im still not convinced.
AM: Flex, I see no problem with bringing the baron to captain daedalus. They are men of honor. Daedalus would want to us to bring him.
BM: Yes, im inclined to agree.
FB: Fine, but no funny business ya hear.
BVS: Herr Brawnmann, as more astute comrades have realized. I am a man of honor. Barons do not engage in funny business.
FB: Alright let’s go.
(vehicle sounds )
D: Flex! Good youre back! We lost Lefty, he was. Oh hello Baron
BVS: Guten Tag Kapitan. You were saying something about a misplaced boy I believe?
D: Whats he doing here Flex?
FB: He wanted to talk to you about a kid or something.
BVS: It appears as though for once our interests are aligned Daedalus. Dieter was kidnapped in Bangkok.
D: You think we did it?
BVS: of course not. We are men of action. Such things do not become us. However, I thought you might know something. As you are well aware the zeppelining world is not an overly large one.
D: It just so happens I might. Why don’t you come inside for a drink.
BVS: How very cordial of you. You certainly are better mannered than certain members of your crew.
(steps door, glass setting down sounds, pouring drinks)
D: I have a note baron. Here. Its from a character named wally mcbruce. You probably don’t know him. He’s a bad apple. Basically the note says to be in munich in four days time. We also have to keep up the race. If it appears as though we’ve unnecessarily deviated from course, Lefty will pay the consequences.
BVS: Well of course we must continue the race. Zat goes without question. I was cheated of victory in my last race against a member of the daedalus family.
D: I would leave my son out of this if I were you.
BVS: Its simply a matter of honor captain. I might add zat we have also received a note. We are to be in Marseilles in 4 days to retrieve Dieter. Zey vant a sizeable ransom as well.
D: Yes there’s a ransom for lefty as well. But it is of a more, personal, nature.
BVS: Tchja, it would be best to keep this quiet daedalus. This is possible yes? As you know the Kaiser is quite the hothead and the tension in Europe is palpable. Any implication of foul play in this race could have things spinning out of control. I might also add that these kidnappings seem to be very suspicious. Particularly as dieter’s transpired under highly dubious circumstances. Our diplomatic delay in Bangkok was, mann kann sagen, most irregular.
D: I agree. How much do you know about the Firm?
BVS: Fast nichts, very little. As a baron I try to stay clear of organizations of doubtful character.
D: Well I would recommend becoming better acquainted with it. Also, how well do you trust your crew?
BvS: Ze are highly trained professionals. Many of zem served with me in the Kaiser’s zeppelin fleet as well.
D: I suggest you sleep with one eye open. There is intrigue afoot and I think Dieter and Lefty’s disappearance was only the beginning.
BvS: I shall take your advice under consideration. Might I add that next time we should meet on Wotansraven. Let it not be said zat the Germans are inhospitable. Until we meet again, good day.
D: Very well. And now let race continue baron. May the best zeppelin win.
(steps, door closes)
FB: The new planes here captain, were ready to go!
D: good, prepare for takeoff, set course for Baghdad.
Collective: Aye aye captain!!!
(take off sounds etc)
Next time on Johnny Dangerfist!!
The Betrothal in Baghdad!!