The Osirian Legacy: Chapter Seven

Previously in “The Osiran Legacy” —

Cleo Shea, femme fatale and Nazi stooge, is brutally murdered by her Nazi accomplices, but is now reborn by some ancient, unholy force!

Captain Zeitflur, leader of a squad of Nazi commandos in the Brazilian Amazon, is blinded by the exhaust of an Osiran escape pod, but now can see the world through blood tinged vision and is possessed of the need to revenge an ancient confrontation!

Kraushaar, half-man and half-machine, has taken the Doctor prisoner, and with the able assistance of Katherine Kael, is attempting to decipher the Osiran command console, but feeling time is of the essence, has pushed a button!

Marcus Brody is baffled, as always!

Bernice Summerfield is trapped on Mars, suffering deja vu, with Marcus Brody and Indiana Jones in an Osiran temple, and wishing she had a fine English lager of the 25th century!

Indiana Jones is having the adventure of a lifetime, though this time it may cost him his life!

The Doctor is having difficulty recalling the rules to the Osiran version of chess!

And now, Chapter Seven…

Kraushaar was an impatient man. Patience, the ability to wait, was for those without goals, his father had always told him. If you hope to be anything, if you hope to make a name for yourself in the world, you have to be willing to reach out and seize your destiny. His father knew of what spoke, having been a general in the Prussian High Command during the French war of 1870, spearheading the drive that took Paris, something that no one at the time had truly believed possible. Kraushaar himself had fought in the trenches in France, but his impatience there had nearly killed him twice; trench warfare made no one heroes, only corpses. But after the war came the disillusionment of the peace, and he found himself in Munich where he fell under the spell of Adolf Hitler. He was there at the Munich Putsch, he spent his time in jail as a result, and when he came out, he was a committed National Socialist. Always a militant man, Kraushaar advocated a hard line to Hitler in those early inner councils. He had been the one to want to move quickly into the Rhineland. He had been the one that pushed first for the taking of Austria. But the others — Himmler, Goering, Goebbels — they hated him, his drive. Then, the accident. The one that had changed him, made him better than any of the others. He was testing an experimental fighter aircraft, designed and built by one of his several companies especially for the Reich’s war machine. His designers told him the plane was not yet ready, that there were control problems and it could fly wildly out of control, but Kraushaar cared little for their advice. He had taught himself how to fly, and he knew better than anyone how to handle a mere airplane. It was his impatience that made him what he was, his desire to show that he knew best. That made him the true Ubermensch. The plane went into a flat spin and crashed into the ground as he tried to bring it in for a landing, and he had barely ejected from the plane in time. His ground crew found him, his body horribly wrecked and burned. The dreams of racial purity, they were only a mere smidgen of what true power could be. The surgery had taken nearly a year to complete, using technology that he knew the Reich could never have produced on its own, nor could any other country, for that matter. What were its origins? Alien, no doubt. Not nearly as advanced as any of this Osiran technology in the pyramid, but it would do for a start. He had the vision, after all.

This fool, the Doctor, this little man with his silly hat and his meaningless gibber, stood staring at the glowing geometric figures set in the wall. Surely it was as obvious to him as it was to Kraushaar that by pressing one of the figures that one of the two doors on either side of the panel of figures would open. His patience had finally worn thin, and he announced, “Enough, Doctor, of your delaying tactics.”

“No, you don’t understand,” the Doctor said. “If you press the wrong switch, we might all be killed.”

An obvious delay tactic, Kraushaar decided. “Or, we might achieve our destiny.” If the Doctor would not make the decision, he surely would. He reached out with his clawed hand, his mechanical hand, and jabbed at the rightmost of the pictograms. As he touched it, the other figures faded, their lights dimming to darkness, and the pictogram he had pressed sank into the wall. “What?” he said.

Suddenly the room plunged into darkness. “Fool!” cried Katherine Kael. “Who knows what you’ve unleashed!”

Kael was behind him, he could tell this from her the direction of her voice. Also behind him he heard a tsking sound, most likely coming from the Doctor. “Quickly, Kraushaar, if you wish us all to live!” the Doctor exclaimed. “You must press another of the tiles!”

Even with his robotic eye, Kraushaar could see nothing in the chamber; the blackness enveloping them was so all encompassing. As he raised his human hand to reach out to the panel, he heard a crackling sound from above and a glow began to fill the room. “No,” he heard Kael exclaim, “it can’t be!” His head snapped up, and directly above him the ceiling of the chamber was illuminated with a discharge of pure electricity. Like miniature lightning bolts, a hundred discharges danced across the ceiling.

“Doctor!” he shouted over the rising din from the electrical discharges. “What is the meaning of this!”

The Doctor too was staring straight above their heads. “That panel is a logic puzzle in four dimensions. Not only does it work in space, but in time as well! Pressing the first tile is the key, but the second must be pressed at the precise moment afterwards as determined by the solution to the puzzle.” The electricity above their heads grew more excited as the Doctor spoke. “Does that mean that the sequence isn’t the only component of the key?” asked Kael.

“Exactly that,” said the Doctor.

“But,” she asked, “what is the next tile, and when do we press it?”

“Kraushaar,” said the Doctor, “which tile did you press?”

“Only if you swear to help me truly, Doctor.”

“I promise you, Kraushaar. Now, which tile?”

Kraushaar sighed. “The third tile in the second row.”

“From the right or the left?”

“What does this matter?” shouted Kraushaar.

“What does it matter? It matters that you live or die! Now, which is it?”

“From the left,” Kraushaar admitted.

The Doctor began mumbling. “Three, two, three, two, three, two.” He paused, then snapped his fingers. “Yes, that is the key! Kraushaar, when I tell you, press the fourth tile in the first row.”

Kraushaar looked at the dimmed panel. “No, Doctor, we press it now,” and his robotic hand smashed through the panel.

As Indiana Jones’ hand pressed down on one of the buttons on the console, the door slid open with a whoosh, revealing a large, brightly-lit chamber. Indy, Marcus Brody, and Bernice Summerfield entered the room tentatively, looking about and taking note of the doors ringing the room and directly opposite from where they entered the room what one might take for a large map.

“Why, look, it might be a map to this place,” Benny announced.

Indiana Jones scowled, the mystery of Bernice Summerfield deepening in his mind. She knew too much, much too much to simply be explained as a mere “time traveller,” whether or not he believed such a thing was possible. “What makes you think that?” Indy asked. “For all we know, it could be some elaborate tale of woe.”

Bernice pointed to the map, where there were three blinking dots. “See the three small red dots? That’s us,” she asserted.

“How do you know? Or is it one of those future things?” said Indy sarcastically.

Bernice fell silent, giving Indy the chance to survey the room around him. Marcus Brody had wandered off slightly to the left, and Indy came up beside him. Indy tapped him on the shoulder. “What’re you thinking, Marcus?”

Brody’s face was filled with awe, and a slight smile crossed his face. “Your father would be amazed, Indy, simply amazed. But,” and he smiled widely and enigmatically, “you have to give these Osirans low points on decorations. They simply have done nothing with the place.”

Indy pushed his fedora back slightly and scratched at his forehead. “Yeah, for Martians with megalomaniacal dreams to outweigh Hitler’s, you’d think they could build more impressive buildings.”

A door at the far end of the room swished open, and a servitor mummy entered the room. The sound snapped Indy and Marcus out of their reverie, and they turned to look squarely at it. Perhaps nothing in Indy’s many and varied experiences could have prepared him for this moment. The mummy was tall, nearly seven or eight feet in his estimation, with the head adorned with an ancient Egyptian royal headdress and fashioned simply in a toga-style garment. As it raised its hand, Indy noticed something else, that it held a miniature white pyramid. What was the meaning and significance of this, he wondered?

The mummy spoke. Or, Indy assumed it was the mummy speaking; Bernice Summerfield, whatever her talents, was probably not a ventriloquist and certainly did not have the low, booming voice that he heard. “YOU HAVE TRESPASSED THIS SACRED VESSEL OF THE OSIRIANS. YOU HAVE DARED TO ENTER A PLACE PRIVILEGED ONLY FOR THE HIGHEST LIFE FORMS. YOU HAVE TRIED TO ENTER THIS HOLY PLACE, AND ARE NOW CURSED TO SUCCEED. YOU SHALL SOON JOIN THE DEAD IN THEIR FINAL RESTING PLACE.”

Indy frowned as he heard this, for two reasons. One, the mummy appeared to be speaking in English, which would make no sense, given where he was (Mars) and how the mummy was attired (a mish-mash of ancient Egyptian and Roman); modern English would be, at the minimum, two thousand years past the mummy’s apparent era. And two, the mummy had no mouth, and thus, no obvious vocal apparatus. As Indy turned these two thoughts over in his mind, he noticed something else, that the white pyramid in the mummy’s hand began to glow from some sort of internal illumination as though it were heating up.

He heard a strangled cry, coming from Marcus’ direction. He glanced sideways and saw Marcus’ hands straining at his throat, as though he was finding it hard to breathe. Bernice Summerfield was doing the same. And Indy found it growing more and more difficult to breathe, as though the very life was being squeezed out of him. He gasped at first, but found no air drawn into his lungs, and the more he tried to breathe, the closer he felt himself coming to unconsciousness. The world began to spin and grow dark around the edges as he fell to his knees. Even from a crouched position, his right hand stole to the bullwhip at his side, and with Herculean effort, born more out of instinct than thought, Indy flicked his bullwhip out toward the approaching mummy. The end of the bullwhip met its mark, wrapping around the outstretched hand, and Indy gave a slight tug to the whip. The grip, however, slipped through Indy’s fingers as his oxygen-starved brain began to shut down, and he pitched forward, falling to the dusty floor, writhing in agony. He knew he had only seconds to live.

The world slipped away as it dimmed, the mummy with the glowing pyramid approaching, the dusty floor growing black. Unconsciousness came, and Indiana Jones, fighter though he was and always had been, welcomed it.

In Katherine Kael’s mind three things happened simultaneously. The first was that Kraushaar’s metallic fist plunged through the Osiran control panel and his arm went into the wall up to his elbow. The second was the Doctor tackling her around her waist and throwing her to the floor. And the third, and by far the most disturbing, was that Kraushaar exploded.

The electrical discharges that had centered on the ceiling found an outlet as Kraushaar’s fist destroyed the control panel, and with a blinding display of light and electricity the discharge linked Kraushaar and the ceiling, illuminating the room and burning the flesh and clothes from Kraushaar’s human half. “What?” exclaimed Kael from beneath the Doctor, but over the roar that Kraushaar’s electrocuted body made and the sound of one of the chamber’s support pillars collapsing to the chamber’s floor her cry amounted to little more than a whisper.

The sound in the chamber died out, and the Doctor stood tentatively, dusting off his jacket and pants as he rose. “I apologize profusely, my dear,” he said, “but time was of the essence.” He looked about, then said, “I will certainly give one thing to the Osirans, they know when emergency lights are necessary.”

Kael lifted her head and noticed that the Doctor was correct, the lights had returned after the explosion. She rolled over on her side before rising, and she caught a glimpse of the charred remains of Kraushaar. “Mein gott,” she said, covering her mouth, both from the stench of Kraushaar’s body and the ozone smell that filled the chamber. “What happened?”

“Well,” said the Doctor, “I’d say he got a bit more of a charge than he’d expected.”

Kael stood and confronted the Doctor. “You knew, didn’t you? You knew this would happen.”

The Doctor shook his head. “I suspected. The electrical discharges on the ceiling gave a clear sign, but then when Kraushaar completed the circuit by connecting with the circuitry within the panel, I knew that his fate was sealed, as ours might have been as well. Had Kraushaar been content to let me proceed as I had planned, none of this would have happened.” The Doctor went to the control panel and looked through the hole in the console. “Hmm,” he said, “a hyperwave transmitter. I wonder where it transmits? Probably never know now.”

The Doctor then looked at what little remained of Kraushaar. His arm still protruded from the wall, electricity arcing from the exposed electrodes at its end. As for the rest of Kraushaar, only his metallic parts remained, and the Doctor nudged them slightly with his foot, rolling the body over. He kneeled down and peered at the body and made a tsking sound. “I would have thought Dalek technology would have been a bit more resistant than that,” he said quietly. He bent down closer and prodded the robotic parts of Kraushaar with his fingers. “Hmph. Not Dalek after all. Just looks Dalek.”

“Daleks?” said Kael. “What are Daleks?”

The Doctor stood and looked at her. “A story for another time, I’m afraid.”

Kael looked at Kraushaar’s corpse and then at the Doctor. “How much energy do you think it was that did that to him?”

The Doctor shrugged. “One point twenty-one gigawatts. Give or take. One never can tell where the fourth dimension is concerned.” He looked around the chamber, then walked over to the panel and stared intently at it. “Well, I don’t think we’ll be making it through those doors anytime soon.”

A gun cocked. The Doctor spun around and looked at Katherine Kael, who held a gun aimed directly at the Doctor’s chest. “You have no choice. The mission is mine now, and I will not fail where Kraushaar did. I must have the technology beyond.”

The Doctor scowled slightly. “And how do you expect me to open the doors? The panel is gone, and cannot be repaired. We have no way to solve the logic puzzle now.”

Kael shook her head. “No, you have no way to solve the puzzle. Or, you think you have no way, but I have seen you work and I know you are far more resourceful than you let on, Doctor. What secrets do you possess, Doctor?”

The sound of a shotgun blast over their heads rang through the chamber, and the Doctor dove to the floor and rolled behind the pillar. “Drop the gun, lady!” shouted a voice, American by the accent, Kael decided.

Her gun fell noisily to the ground, and Kael raised her hands above her head.

Two men entered the chamber. One appeared to be in his mid thirties and the other looked to be near sixty. The younger of the men held a shotgun in his hands pointed at Kael. “You can come out from behind the pillar,” said the older man, and the Doctor stood and came around the pillar. “Now, you’d better have a good explanation, my friend, or we’ll turn you over to the local authorities for trespassing.”

Kael raised her hand to her forehead and exclaimed, “My rescuers! This man took me captive, and he killed my fiance!” as she pointed at the charred remains of Kraushaar.

The younger man shook his head. “Lady, you’ve got a funny way of telling a lie. Seems to me you were holding a gun on that fellow there” he indicated the Doctor by inclining his head “and no way in heaven was that thing there ever a man.” He paused and looked at the Doctor. “What’s your story, fellow?”

“I am the Doctor, and I must warn you, we are all in great danger.”

The older man cocked his head slightly. “Danger, you say? What kind of danger?”

As the Doctor opened his mouth to answer, the older man’s body disintegrated in a ball of fire. “Run!” cried the Doctor as he, Kael, and the younger man scrambled for cover behind the fallen pillar.

“What the hell is going on?” asked the man.

“An ancient evil has been unleashed,” the Doctor said in hushed tones, “and we may be powerless to prevent it.” Kael peered over the pillar and looked back to the entrance of the chamber. A man wearing a German uniform stepped over the charred remains of the older man. A look of surprise crossed Kael’s face as she whispered, “Zeitflur.” She went to rise and catch his attention, but the Doctor’s hand on her shoulder stayed her.

“He isn’t Zeitflur,” the Doctor said slowly. “Not anymore.”

[Extract from the Diary of Professor Bernice Summerfield]

Things happen. If I’ve learned anything in the time I’ve been with the Doctor, it is that. And that time travel is bad for one’s mental health, but in this business, travelling with the Doctor and all that rot, that can’t well be avoided. Oh, and that one’s physical health can take a beating, too, but I suppose that’s fairly obvious as well.

Sorry, I’m rambling. Near-death experiences have a way of doing that to a person. I have to admit, though, that if there were a room I had to die in, this particular room wouldn’t have been a bad choice. I don’t know what the ceiling is made of, but it is completely transparent, and the stars above Mars show with a brilliance that simply can’t be had in the 25th century.

I thought the mummy had us. Whatever it did, with that glowing pyramid it held, seemed to suck the oxygen right out of the room. Marcus was the first to collapse, then me, and finally Indy must have been the last to go down, because when I came to, I saw that he had managed to wrap one end of his bullwhip around the mummy’s hand.

I came to first. The mummy was where I had remembered it, but it didn’t look much like a mummy anymore. Someone or something had destroyed it, and judging by the parts lying scattered about, from the inside most likely. Did it self-destruct? Had Indy managed to hit the one switch on the mummy’s surface that would trigger an implosion? Or was it nothing that any of us had done, that someone somewhere else had managed this, either by chance or design? I suppose I’ll never know.

I checked Marcus to make sure he was breathing; he’s clearly elderly, probably in his mid- to late-50s or early-60s, and adventures like this can affect people in ways they can’t imagine are aren’t healthy for them. He was breathing and regularly, and he seemed to be sleeping soundly, so I decided it would be best for him, given his age and the excitement of this adventure, that he could probably use the rest for the time being. If another mummy were to come bounding through one of the doors to threaten us, I’ll be sure to wake Marcus, but seeing that there’s no immediate threat to us (besides the fact that we’re stranded on Mars with no way home), I’m sure that Marcus will be fine.

Indiana was another story. I gave him a good shake, and he started mumbling about “Hem” and “Elsa.” I’m assuming these are people, but I won’t come out and ask Indy about them; I feel as though I’ve intruded on his dreams, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. The third shake I gave his shoulder brought him about, because he opened his eyes and looked at me, seemingly without recognition. “Come on, Indy,” I said. “You’ve got to get up.”

He yawned widely, then coughed loudly. He sat up, rubbed his eyes, and took stock of the room. He settled on the mummy, picked his hat up off the floor and set it wildly on his head. “What happened?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I was hoping you could tell me.”

He recounted what had happened before he passed out, which was largely what I’d thought had happened, and we both agreed that there was probably no way of determining what had caused the mummy to explode. He examined some of the mummy’s remains and thought that there was a faint ozone odor in the air (which, come to think of it, I had noticed and then dismissed), which indicated to him that there had been some sort of electrical overload in the mummy. Whether it came from the glowing pyramid or from something else entirely we couldn’t tell.

Perhaps the Doctor will know, when and if we ever get back to him. Chances are he doesn’t know we’re on Mars, thinking we’re still in the pyramid back in the Amazon. Chances are he’s the only one standing between the Nazis and the Osiran technology. There’s got to be some way out of this, but I haven’t figured out yet how. I know the Doctor will be here, five hundred years from now, but we didn’t find a message that I’d left behind for him, assuming I leave one telling what happened here. So, either we end up dying, or we end up rescued, though how and by whom I won’t even begin to hazard a guess.

I feel like I’m overlooking something, and I probably am. It’s the things that you miss that you have to worry about because they’re the things that come back to haunt you.

[End of extract]

Fifteen minutes after Marcus Brody awoke from his unconsciousness he and Indiana Jones turned their attention to the doors around the perimeter of the room. No control panels were readily apparent, so Marcus Brody picked a door that he felt promising. “Why this door?” asked Bernice.

Marcus bent down and pointed at the dust on the floor. “This door has been used recently. Someone has walked through here.” Indeed, Bernice saw, there were footprints in the dust. “It was probably the mummy.”

“How recently?” asked Indiana Jones, ignoring Bernice’s quip for the moment.

Marcus shrugged. “I couldn’t say, really. Could be yesterday, could be last year. Could be a thousand years ago, for that matter. It all depends on how much dust settles here and how quickly.”

Indiana Jones squatted down and examined the footprints. “Tell me, Benny, do you think the mummy would use a tread like this on his feet?” Indiana pointed at the footprint, and the tread was very clear and crisp. “If I had to guess, I’d say this tread was made by a rubber soled shoe.” He looked at Marcus and smiled. “I think that rules out a thousand years ago; this sole looks like it came out of a machine, and I don’t think they could manufacture shoes like this a millennia ago.”

Bernice bent down and looked at the tread, then went back and looked at the wreckage of the mummy. There was no tread on the mummy’s feet, but there was a clear tread mark on the floor by door. “You were right,” she said to Marcus. Turning to Indy she said, “How did you know?”

“When you’re an archeologist, you learn to notice little things like that. You never know when you’ll turn up gold like noticing that tread mark,” Indiana said with in sarcastic tone.

Ouch, Bernice thought.

Marcus continued to look at the floor, then motioned for Indy and Bernice to come closer. “I know this door must have opened — the footprints go into the door — and yet I don’t see that the door opened out into the room. There’s no disturbing of the dust in an arc pattern, nor do I see scratch marks on the floor.”

Bernice shrugged. “It’s probably like the other door, the one we came through. It slid into the wall; this one probably does the same.”

Indy studied the door, scratching his chin, examining the doorframe. “Yep,” he said finally. “You can see the scratch marks in the frame where the door slid to the right.” Bernice came to Indy’s side and looked where he pointed. “See,” he said. “You can see which way the door goes.”

“How are we going to get the door open?” she asked.

Indy shrugged. “We’ll have to try and slide it ourselves.”

Marcus frowned. “Indy, are you sure that’s wise? We have no idea what’s on the other side.”

Indy looked from Marcus to Bernice and back. “I don’t see that we have much choice. We know someone — someone human — made it through the door, and not that long ago, so we know that it can’t be that dangerous on the other side.”

Indy took one of the arms from the mummy and wedged it into the door jamb. “Benny, Marcus and I are going to push against the door, and I want you to pull on the arm, giving us some leverage to help us push on the door.”

Marcus and Indy took their positions on the door, ready to push, and Bernice took the mummy’s arm in hand. “On the count of three! One! Two! Three!” Bernice pulled on the mummy’s arm and Marcus and Indy pushed on the door in the opposite direction, opening a crack of two inches between the door and the frame. The arm had fallen free, and Bernice quickly jammed the door into the crack, holding the door open slightly.

“Well,” said Indy, “another push and we should be through.”

Marcus took a deep breath and leaned over. “I’m not sure I’ll be much help to you, Indy. You and Miss Summerfield will have to manage it without me.”

Indy set his hand on Marcus’ shoulder. “We’ll manage. Don’t you worry about that.” He paused and looked deeply at Marcus. “You feeling all right?”

Marcus smiled. “Well enough, but the old heart can’t take too much more excitement like this.”

“We’ll get you through it, don’t worry,” said Indy. “If we didn’t, I don’t know how I’d ever explain it to Dad.”

Indy and Bernice then turned their attention back to prying open the door. On the third attempt, the door was open sufficiently for the trio to squeeze through the door and into the corridor beyond. Bernice toyed with the idea of taking the mummy’s arm with them in case they needed it for a club, but in the end decided that they would be best served if it continued to prop the heavy door open. The corridor was lighted dimly, and they could see barely in the twilight. Up ahead, perhaps a hundred yards, they could see a bright light, possibly illumination from a distant room. They trotted down the corridor, taking note of as much as possible but also not tarrying for fear that another mummy might be on their trail or hiding in a nearby alcove. When at last they reached the end of the corridor they found themselves in another chamber, this one as large as the last, but containing something very odd.

Ringing the walls of the chamber were giant glass tubes, perhaps sixty or seventy. Each tube was filled with what appeared to be water, and suspended in the water in many of the tubes was a human being. Each human had breathing apparatus over their mouths, and each appeared to be sleeping.

Bernice whispered, “Hibernation cylinders.”

“What’s that?” said Indy.

Bernice gestured wildly in confusion. “You put someone in them and they hibernate. Like a bear.”

“Damnedest thing I’ve ever heard,” said Indy. He paused for a moment. “Tell me, lady, and I want a straight answer, is this another of your ‘future’ things?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Look, I think you’re pulling some sort of scam. I don’t know what it is, and I don’t know why, but I don’t think you’ve told me a straight thing yet.”

Bernice spun on Indy, her face flushed with anger. “What? You think I could create something like this?”

“It’s crossed my mind, yeah,” he said, matching Bernice’s anger.

“Damn it, Indy, what would I have to gain? And how could I have done all this?” She paused, seeing that Indy had no quick answer for her. “Whatever made you think that?”

Indy fell quiet. “First, you’re the only one to know anything about the Osirans. Second, you seem to know everything that’s going on, and Marcus and I have been through enough adventures together to know that the person who knows the most usually has something they’re hiding. Third…”

“Third..?” Bernice prompted.

“Third,” said Indy as he reached over, gripped Bernice’s shoulders and kissed her full on the lips. Bernice’s first instinct was to push away, but her second instinct, of drawing him in, outweighed the first. His hands moved from her shoulders and wrapped around her back, pulling her in to him.

After a few moments they broke apart, and Bernice said, “How was that the third reason?”

Indy shrugged. “I had to say something.”

Bernice sighed and rolled her eyes slightly, out of shock as much as out of exasperation. “I’ll say.” She looked at Indy who pushed his fedora back slightly on his head, and said, “You’re Indiana Jones, hero of a dozen adventures, finder of the Lost Ark of the Covenant, discoverer of the Holy Grail, battler of the Sky Pirates. You found Merlin and Noah and the Ark. You’re famous, written up in hundreds of articles and dozens of textbooks. I studied you as a child, always dreamed of being half the explorer you always seemed to be.” She paused. “Am I wrong in that?”

“No,” Indy said quietly. He paused, then said, “If you hadn’t said something about the Ark of the Covenant, I don’t know that I would have believed you. Hell, no one knows about that.”

“Well, they do a few centuries from now.”

Indy smiled and looked about sheepishly. “A few centuries. You make it sound like I’m some kind of legend. An historical figure.”

Bernice nodded. “You are, though.”

“And how do your history books say this adventure turns out?”

Bernice shrugged. “I have no idea. This is the first that I’ve ever heard of this adventure. Living through it, instead of reading about it.”

“Somehow I knew you were going to say that. I imagine you’d rather have read about it, though.”

Bernice chuckled. “Yeah, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun.” Indy paused and looked back at the corridor. “Answer me this, then. The mummy in the chamber back there. Why was it I could understand him?”

Bernice was puzzled, but then understood. “Oh, you mean the fact that it was speaking English?”

“Yeah, just that.”

“If I had to guess, I’d say the mummy was beaming its thoughts directly into your brain, where the Broca language centers translated them into language you could understand. If you spoke only French and no English, you would have heard the mummy’s words in French, just as I heard the mummy in the vernacular of the 25th century.”

“You mean, you don’t speak English in the future?”

Bernice shook her head. “No, we do, but it’s a little bit different than what you speak today. Think about it, Shakespeare’s English bears a great deal in relation to the English of today, but it was used and spoken very differently. Languages evolve over time, both in their written and spoken forms, and despite the development of mass communications technology in this century and the next, the English language continued to evolve, though not to the degree that it did in the previous five hundred years. A good archeologist has to know the differences that languages develop over time. The Egyptians don’t use hieroglyphics anymore, now do they?”

“Then how come I understand you now? If English is so different in the future? That telepathy, too?”

Bernice shrugged. “No, practice. And I’m an archeologist, so I know the 20th century vernacular pretty well. Not my stock in trade, mind you, but I manage.”

Indy chuckled slightly. “So, your friend the Doctor? He’s a time traveler, too.”

Bernice nodded. “I couldn’t do it on my own, you know.”

Indy seemed about to say something when Marcus shouted, “Indy! Come quickly!”

Bernice and Indy ran to where Marcus was standing. He had wandered during their conversation and was standing before one of the hibernation chambers. “Marcus? What is it?”

Marcus pointed at the chamber. “Don’t you realize who that is?”

Indy looked at the chamber, a look of recognition crossing his face. “I’ll be damned.”

Bernice looked from Marcus to Indy. “What? Who is it?”

Indy turned to Bernice and said in hushed tones, “Professor Vasily Dobtcheff, one of the greatest Egyptologists of the nineteenth century.”

Kael looked at the Doctor, a puzzled expression on her face. “What do you mean he’s no longer Zeitflur?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” the Doctor replied. “Something’s taken possession of him. Look at how his eyes glow.”

Kael peered back over the fallen column and looked at Zeitflur’s face. She saw that the Doctor was correct; Zeitflur’s eyes smoldered with a blood-red glow. “What’s taken possession of him?”

The Doctor shrugged. “I don’t know,” he admitted.

The man with the shotgun looked from the Doctor to Kael and finally back to the Doctor. “Look, mister,” he said with a pronounced southern American accent, “what in hell is goin’ here? One of my best friends is dead, another’s missing, and why the hell are people exploding?”

The Doctor asked, “Who was your friend? The one you came in with?”

“I don’t rightly know. We all just called him Doc. He’s something of an expert on the natives, if you know what I mean.”

The Doctor chuckled slightly. “‘Doc,’ eh? Has a nice ring to it. You may call me the Doctor, and this is Miss Katherine Kael.”

The man stuck out his hand. “I’m Jock, and I’m looking for Indiana Jones.”

Kael looked at him. “Jock? The Amazon bush pilot?”

He nodded. “The same.”

The Doctor looked at Kael. “You know him?”

Kael shook her head. “No, but I can think of few other bush pilots as famous as Jock in the Amazon.”

The Doctor nudged Kael on the shoulder. “Keep a watch on Zeitflur. If anything odd happens, let me know.”

“What will be odd?” asked Kael

“You’ll know when it happens,” said the Doctor as he turned his attention to Jock. “How do you know Doctor Jones?”

Jock shrugged. “I’d seen him a couple days ago, and he wanted me to fly him into the jungle, but I was supposed to be getting married to a girl down in Rio. When I got there, she’d left me a note saying she’d met some German naval officer and they’d gotten hitched like that. Now, I realize a lot of that was my own damn fault; I hadn’t seen her in three months, ’cause that’s the way the piloting gig goes. So, with nothing to do, I figured Indy would be needing a way out of the jungle, and he’d given me some hints as to where he might be going. And when I came flying over the jungle canopy and saw the biggest damn pyramid I’d ever seen, bigger than those Inca pyramids, I knew that Indy must’ve been down there. So, I flew back and found old Doc, whose something of an expert on the parts, and we came back to see if Indy needed some help.”

The Doctor said, “I’m sure he does, Jock, but I can’t say for certain where he is.”

“Look, Doctor!” said Kael.

The Doctor peered over the pillar again and saw Zeitflur standing in the doorway to the chamber. Zeitflur seemed to glow, and his body looked as though it were possessed of a static charge with his hair standing straight on end. The glow grew more pronounced, and Zeitflur arched his back and spread his arms out perpendicular to his chest, then brought his hands around in front of him in a wide arcing movement, pointing directly at the sealed doors in front of him.

“Down!” cried the Doctor as he quickly shoved Kael down beneath the pillar.

“Doctor,” asked Kael, “what is going on?”

“We haven’t time for explanations!” cried the Doctor as he put his head and covered the back of his head with his hands. For the second time that day, the chamber filled with the sound of unearthly destruction.

A discharge of energy spat forth from Zeitflur’s chest and exploded against the shattered Osiran command console. The wave of energy shattered the wall, throwing debris and broken masonry across the chamber. Behind the fallen pillar, the Doctor huddled over Katherine Kael as the debris, both chunks of stone large and small and the resulting dust, from the explosion fell on him and Jock. The deafening roar of the energy discharge and the destruction of the wall barely drowned out Kael’s screams.

At last the din faded away and the Doctor stood slightly hunched over, brushing the dust off his clothing and hat. He looked at the remains of the chamber from his position behind the pillar. Both doors in the wall that Zeitflur had attacked had been obliterated, and Zeitflur himself was walking across the room, heading for the door on the left. The Doctor mounted the fallen column quickly and shouted, “Stop!”

Zeitflur stopped and looked at the Doctor. His voice had an unnerving reverberating quality that filled the entire chamber. “Who are you to stop me?”

The Doctor stepped forward over the pillar with Jock following closely behind, his rifle raised. “I am the Doctor.”

Zeitflur studied the Doctor closely, then turned attention to Jock and laughed. Jock cringed as he heard the laugh; it sounded no longer human, but had instead a purely demonic tenor, deep and menacing. “Your weapon will have no effect on me,” he said as he waved his hand, and the rifle flew out of Jock’s hands and clattered across the floor on the opposite side of the chamber.

“No!” cried Jock. He made to dive after the weapon, but the Doctor held up his hand, staying Jock.

“The Doctor is wise,” said Zeitflur. He looked at the Doctor again and smiled. “I will not underestimate you again, Doctor, not as these human fools have, for I can clearly see that you are not human.”

The Doctor shook his head. “How can you see, through those blood red eyes of yours?”

Zeitflur laughed. “I can see far more that you, Doctor. I can see beyond the surface of the universe and into what lies beyond. I have become more than human.”

“What is it you want?” asked the Doctor, keeping his attention and his gaze firmly on Zeitflur.

“I must fulfill an ancient prophecy. I must avenge an ancient wrong. Great forces are being unleashed, and soon death, destruction, and despair will travel to all corners of the Earth. I have a destiny to fulfill, and nothing will stand in my way.”

The Doctor stepped closer to Zeitflur. “And how do you hope to accomplish that?”

Zeitflur’s blood-tinged eyes betrayed no emotion as he raised his hands toward the Doctor. “By killing you first.”