| 
  • If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Get control of your email attachments. Connect all your Gmail accounts and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio will automatically organize your file attachments. You can also connect Dokkio to Drive, Dropbox, and Slack. Sign up for free.

View
 

Into the Empty Quarter

Page history last edited by Kevin McHale 2 years, 2 months ago

back to The Legacy of Tamerlane or the Index

 


Friday, January 27, 1933

 

     Three days of travel on large, slow, noisy airliners (the best in the world, however) brought us to the Heliopolis airfield near Cairo in the late afternoon. Once again, Romanescu had already left! He arrived in Cairo by airplane on the 20th (the same day Our Heroes rode into Kabul, Afghanistan), and departed on the 22nd -- his declared destination was the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula -- an area still entirely largely unexplored! -- by way of Italian East Africa. His latest aircraft were three Ju-52/3m transports, in Romanian civil markings -- in fact, part of LARES, the state-run Romanian airline. 

     Or of course he could have been lying about his destination ... perhaps it was high time to put Romanescu's name on some wanted posters, for crimes such as kidnapping, gun-running, white slavery, and smuggling.

 

Cairo weather on 27 January 1933

     Winds from south or southeast, 2 to 4 miles per hour. It was cool and overcast, the temperature at 8 a.m. was 41° F, with humidity of 71%; a very slight amount of rain fell before dawn, not quite enough to record. The forecast was, "On the coast fresh to strong west to northwest winds, inland moderate to fresh south to southwest winds. At times much medium cloud. Rain in the north and in the Delta. Remaining cold. Further outlook:  cold weather continuing."

 

     We checked in (twenty minutes after landing) at Shepheard's Hotel to console ourselves at the Long Bar; Clive White was well-known to the staff there.

 

 

Charles Michael Palairet, Esq., C.M.G.

E.E. & M.P.

H.M. Legation

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA

27th January 1933

 

Your Excellency,

 

     I am pleased to report the rescue of Miss Qua Lin Worthington, the British subject kidnapped on November 1st of last year. At Constanta, her captors put her aboard the S.S. Dariev Nivasa, an old steamship of dubious nationality. The vessel was 'brought to' in the Red Sea on the 10th of November by the Royal Navy, and the captain and crew arrested. Besides Miss Worthington, there were other captives of Greek, Armenian, and Chinese nationality. The captain and crew face charges at Aden of kidnapping, gun running, smuggling, white slavery, and various lesser crimes.

     Miss Worthington was of course quite shocked by her ordeal, but is in good health now. Please inform her family of her safe recovery.

     The man responsible for her abduction, Romanescu, is still at large. He is apparently of Romanian origin. We remain in pursuit, and hope to apprehend him soon.

     Myself and Ms. May have been ably assisted by Captain Algernon DeLacy, Mr. Clive White and some other stout companions. We would like to mention with praise the strenuous and skillful efforts of the captains, officers and crews of H.M. destroyers Bulldog and Brazen, in the pursuit of the slave-ship; and the members of RAF No. 1 (Indian) Group in supporting our subsequent pursuit of Romanescu.

     Please pass my apologies to Mrs. Palairet for our absence from the usual holiday occasions at the Legation.

 

     Yours,

 

F. T. Willoughby

 

Letter being sent par avion by Willoughby to the British legation in Romania.

He asked Our Heroes for any comments ...

 

     Just after we had settled into our comfortable rooms, a Royal Navy officer with an armed escort appeared, with orders for Captain DeLacy to report to Alexandria for consultations. DeLacy was soon aboard a train headed north along the Nile ...

 

On this day, unknown to us at the time, Romanescu departed from Asmara, flying across the Red Sea to Sana'a, and then onwards into the Empty Quarter.

 

Saturday, January 28, 1933

 

     Captain DeLacy returned to Cairo very early in the morning to meet with the rest of Our Heroes. He was under orders to travel to London, and would be flying out via Imperial Airways immediately, but came by to give us the latest information on the pursuit of Romanescu.

     The mysterious agency employing DeLacy had placed an aircraft with crew at our disposal:  a six-year-old Savoia-Marchetti S.55c seaplane, converted at some point with "little wheels" (Kevin's phrase) to make it an amphibian. A British flight crew (pilot, co-pilot, engineer, navigator/radio operator) and four Royal Marines (a sergeant, corporal, and two privates) would accompany us, all in civilian clothes with false papers attesting to their lack of governmental affiliation. A supply of rifles, ammunition, a light machine-gun, extra fuel, water, desert-trekking equipment, and a portable shortwave radio were included. The airplane was marked as a civil craft.

 

Savoia-Marchetti S.55C

     A wooden-hulled seaplane, with two hulls. Engines are two Isotta-Fraschini "Asso 750" of 800 HP each, in a large nacelle above the cockpit; at cruise speed each engine used 30 gallons of fuel per hour. Cruise speed is 145 miles per hour, top speed is 173 miles per hour; ceiling is 16,400 feet (only 13,500 feet if fully loaded). Takeoff speed is 70 miles per hour. Range at cruise speed with maximum fuel load is 2796 miles; with maximum cargo (2200 pounds), range is still a respectable 1243 miles. Fuel tanks for 1000 gallons (6000 pounds) of gasoline are fitted; the bomb bays can each hold a 100 gallon fuel tank, for a total of 1200 gallons of fuel (7200 pounds). The wingspan is 79' 9", length is 55' 11"; maximum takeoff weight is 18,200 pounds, empty weight is 11,000 pounds. Cockpit equipment includes a Sperry artificial horizon, and two radios with a range of up to 2000 miles in short wave (or 500 miles for long wave). The crew for "long range flights" consists of two pilots, a flight engineer/mechanic, and a navigator/radio operator.

     In airline service, seats for 8 or 16 passengers were fitted, and a steward was carried in each hull. More often, baggage and mail was carried in one hull, and passengers in the other (the connection between the two hulls leads through the cockpit).

     The military patrol or bomber version carried a couple of open-mount machine guns, and two gunners.

 

1933 map showing the Rub' al Khali; the red line shows Romanescu's travels during this episode

 

     Willoughby visited the High Commission for Egypt and the Sudan (located along the Nile Corniche, two blocks south of Shepheard's), to collect information and to get a letter of introduction so he could cash a check at the local branch of Barclay's Bank. Funds were needed, and the Government was notoriously slow at reimbursement (if any payment was ever made at all).

     Our Heroes looked at maps, packed our bags again, and pondered what Romanescu was up to. We took the evening train to Alexandria, where our flying boat awaited.

 

In Germany, Gen. Kurt von Schliecher resigned

as Chancellor and was succeeded on January 30 by Adolf Hitler.

Parliament was dissolved on February 1st, and a new election was set for March 5.

 

Choudhary Rahmat Ali published a pamphlet (at Cambridge, England)

calling for the creation of a separate Muslim nation, Pakistan -- the first appearance of that name.

 

Sunday, January 29, 1933

 

     Just before dawn (6:48 a.m.) Our Heroes' airplane lifted off from Alexandria harbor, and winged its way south the Massaua, the coastal port for the Eritrean province of Italian East Africa.

     The 1200 mile flight took eight and a half hours, arriving at Massaua at 4 p.m. (there was a 1 hour time zone change). We landed in the harbor and tied up to a pier. For some reason, after we disembarked, the flight crew took off again and flew to (somewhere else, it wasn't clear why or where).

     We took rooms at the best hotel. Nora Cullin, Bill Davis and Qua Lin Worthington decided to try the native (Eritrean) food, and ventured forth around sunset. A minor event was an attempt by a small African boy to steal from Nora's purse; more disastrous was a case of gastroenteritis contracted by Qua Lin Worthington.

 

gastroenteritis

  • causes:  caused by various viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

  • symptoms:  a combination of diarrhea, vomiting, and cramps. Symptoms present 12 to 72 hours after contracting the disease.

  • transmission:  improperly prepared foods, contaminated water, or close contact with infected persons.

  • prevention:  sanitation and hygiene; there is no vaccine.

  • treatment:  intravenous fluids for serious cases. The use of oral rehydration therapy ("oral saline") is not known at this period by Western medicine.

 

Monday, January 30, 1933

 

     In the morning, Miss Worthington's unfortunate disease made itself known. She wasn't going to be traveling for at least a day or two.

     Mrs. Cullin and Bill Davis took the Eritrean Railway to Asmara, the provincial capital (pop. 47,000) and location of the main airport, in the morning. They were instructed to investigate -- not encounter! -- Romanescu. The 73 mile long trip took 4 hours each way -- the railway climbs from the coast to 7,600 feet above sea level! The locals spoke mostly Tigrinya, but quite a few knew Italian.

     At the airport, Davis and Nora discovered that Romanescu's three planes had departed three days ago, for Yemen. One of the planes was mostly filled with extra fuel; one had cargo and seats; and one had a "very nice" interior.

     The return train to Massaua arrived at the coast by 7 p.m.; we decided that Qua Lin Worthington would be able to fly the next day. We contacted the plane's crew, and arranged for them to be back in Massaua the next morning.

 

At Brussels, a manifesto from the Duc de Guise,

Royalist leader and pretender to the French throne,

called for the formation of a dictatorship in France under a monarchy.

      

Tuesday, January 31, 1933

 

     We flew to Aden, a distance of 428 miles, in three hours. There we learned that Romanescu's expedition had been in a battle at Sana'a, in the Kingdom of Yemen, three days ago. Nora Cullin quickly obtained a sextant, chronometer, and more maps, and we flew the 192 miles in another hour and a half. The landing on the runway at Sana'a was interesting -- the first time the pilots had ever landed this aircraft on dry land.

 

Sana'a

     Elevation 7500', population 30,000. The capital and largest city in the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen, and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is a major center for trade in southern Arabia, and sits astride two of the major ancient caravan routes across the peninsula.

     In the oldest parts of the city are many multi-story homes, with flat roofs. The economy is dependent on trade, and gemstone mines in the nearby hills. Orchards and vineyards surround the city.

     There are about 4,000 Jews living in the city, in the Jewish Quarter (al-Qāʻ).

     The only airport in Yemen is located here -- a simple dirt strip with two small hangars nearby, and a couple of trucks to provide fuel. A dozen other landing fields exist in the kingdom, but they don't have facilities of any sort. The royal family is very traditional, and doesn't own any aircraft. The "air force" consists of several Italian biplanes obtained in 1926.

     The kingdom is entirely sovereign and independent -- no doubt the reason Romanescu landed here.

 

     At Sana'a, we saw a burned-out airplane (a Bf-108 Taifun) and some damaged trucks.The authorities were a bit rattled by "yet another mystery airplane suddenly appearing" and we soon learned why:

     On the 27th, three airplanes arrived and landed. Some of the airport officials went out to greet them, and to approve their paperwork -- they were shot dead! By the time any armed policemen and soldiers arrived at the airport, Romanescu's planes had refueled themselves (from the airplane with extra fuel aboard, presumably). A short gunbattle ensued, in which the Dread Master's men used some sort of short-barreled cannon to destroy some trucks; they also had some automatic weapons. There were at least 8 of Romanescu's men fighting and refueling, plus pilots and Romanescu himself.

     After the Romanians left, the authorities contacted by radio various airfields the villains might have flown to. The next day, British fighter aircraft patrolling over the Empty Quarter saw at least one airplane landed in the sand, at 21º 23' 42" North latitude, 54º 50' 19" East longitude -- 784 miles distant from Sana'a. The Yemeni couldn't do anything about something that far away ...

     We spent the night in Sana'a, basically camped in the hangars at the airport. We talked via shortwave radio to the British authorities in Aden and Muscat, passing along the information we had gained. The British in Muscat were prepared to send bombers, and trucks with troops, to the place where the airplane had been seen; but we asked them to wait until we requested assistance -- or didn't contact them again.

      

Wednesday, February 1, 1933

 

     At dawn, Our Heroes took off from the Sana'a airport, with the sun shining in our faces. The trip to the coordinates of the landed (or crashed) airplane would take about five and a half hours -- we would arrive roughly at noon.

     After the plane swept the Empty Quarter for hours, Clive White saw something flying at the plane like a crazed bee, and the plane shuddered a bit. Others saw below them six planes (two going in for a landing). Two Junkers  (in Romanian ‘Liniile Aeriene Române Exploatate de Stat’ markings), 3 trimotors, one landing  no crashing. Two had a tent strung across the area between them. The crash-landing plane, which bellied in had German tail markings. 

 

"How to make planes fall from the sky." 

 

     As they were watching one plane fall out of the air, strange things happened to the Heroes' plane. One of the engines cut off even though it checked out as working. Nora radioed back to Sana'a, getting a rushed exchange through, until the frequency was jammed and radio transmission cut off.  The plane made a very rough landing and, no surprise, the little wheels attached to the sea floats broke off, shooting off wildly in random directions and sounding like rocks hitting the plane.   

     There were a few injuries, including Qua Lin's dislocated shoulder and concussion. Bill cast a healing spell to help her out. Corporal Richards was in a bad way with a crushed skull, and probably wasn't going to survive. The navigator had a bloody nose.  

     As they exited the plane they saw plumes of smoke over the horizon. Climbing to the top of a sand dune they tried to get a better handle on their predicament. 

     Looking through binoculars at the encampment they saw people working to put out the flaming plane. They also witnessed six people from that plane being marched into the side of a big sand dune. The guards were wearing white and black robes and carrying rifles. Others in the encampments looked to be Europeans in hot weather gear. There were cables running from the tents to a generator. There was a mess table and portable stove as well as 3 long thin tables with stuff on them.   

     Our Heroes abandoned their plane, carrying as many supplies as possible. Soon after they left, four of the robed men came to the plane. As the Heroes argued over whether they were enemies, one leaned up and managed to shoot a pilot. Bill returned the favor by shooting one of the guards in the head, and another in the gut. When all was said and done, two died, one was wounded, and one escaped. 

     We questioned the wounded guard. He said that there were 24 in the Master’s retinue. There were no monks -- the site had been empty for thousands of years. The Germans came of their own accord, looking for answers, but the Spanish archaeologists were called by the Master to help explore the site.  There were 5 servants (Nora’s 'Empty Ones don’t let them invite you for dinner). Their orders were to take the heroes for interrogation. He revealed that there was a radio jammer, and that the Master caused the planes to fall. Soon after the man died of his wound. 

     After searching the bodies we removed identical heavy tarnished silver chains that seemed significant. In creating a plan, White, Willoughby and Davis donned the robes … the stinky, stinky robes with bloodstains … with weighted belt cords; and stashed weapons underneath. 

     As they started walking toward the encampment, Qua Lin and Bill were startled as though someone was watching them and Qua Lin's bracelet glowed from within -- the Master was looking for them. 

     Our Heroes stationed one marine as a sniper; the others were sent back to the plane to attend to the wounded. 

     The gents in their fine robes escorted the ladies as 'prisoners.' As they approached the camp they saw a map table, a radio transceiver apparatus (the jammer?), and a strange instrument with a dial that was lit from within. Both bore markings from Boulle's companies. The stranger-looking of the two devices was labeled Réseau de Détection Positronic ('positronic detection array’) – this was the first evidence of Boulle's encroachment into this world. As they examined it, Bill, Qua Lin and Nora remembered seeing a similar instrument in Ephesus. The orrery there opened up a gateway (perhaps a German ‘hack’) into another gate complex. 

     In another blast from the past, the archaeologists were from the University of Salamanca, the same group that performed research in the Spanish village -- the village in which Fury found his obsidian sacrificial knife. 

     “Captive” Nora tried to get the Spaniards to help, but they only offered dinner after the interrogation. “Guard” Willoughby spoke ancient Greek to the archaeologists, who asked whether he was sti̱n plateía (‘on the square’). After a bit of show to avoid revealing their plan, Our Heroes entered the monastery. 

     There were six baked clay brick pillars at the entry that had been exposed to the elements for millennia.  The Spaniards had broken through a camouflage veneer to begin their excavation. There were carvings on the columns -- fine human figures, sailing dhows, and other figures, much more refined than Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

     After passing through the pillars we entered a passage carved out of rock. Cables ran from the generator powering lights every 30 feet. Off to the sides were four chambers:  one where Germans were prisoners, and one with several robed men who greeted the "guards" in Romanian. Fortunately Willoughby had learned to say "De sigur!" ("of course" in Romanian) and kept the minions from getting suspicious.  

     The minions told the gents that they should tie the women up in the same room as the German prisoners; Qua Lin began to quietly panic. Also in that room was a table with runnels, and a carved stone pedestal topped with a shallow dark stone bowl, similar to a Christian baptismal font. The Germans were all secured to crude, thick rusty iron rings high on the wall, and if the diminutive Qua Lin and Victoria were tied there, their feet wouldn't have touched the ground. 

     The gents quickly took out the guards but one slashed White with his weighted cord. The ladies worked to free the Germans, gave them weapons, and asked for their help. The Germans dashed outside, accompanying the panicked Qua Lin, to overpower and kill the remaining guards. They eventually departed in one of the planes, taking with them the electrical apparatus, and some of the artifacts from the archaeology tables. Fortunately Qua Lin stayed with the Spanish archaeologists. 

     As the group continued to the depths of the caves they heard (and felt) sub-audible thrums. A large crystal glowed and pulsed with the thrums, in the final chamber. There was a large pool of … something … and the back wall was covered by a large map of the world.

     As White rushed out to find Qua Lin, she met him coming back in the cave, but she seemed to be in a trance. He tried to redirect her back outside, but she resisted, obviously under the Master's influence. He tried to pick her up, but before he could her foot came down and there was a click. Four flames emerged from the floor. White grabbed her and carried her back to the others. Now he noticed that every ten feet on the wall or floor there were metal tent stakes with one of 4 different colored flags (red, green, yellow or white), marking spots with apparent triggers for traps.  

 

 

gotta do some formatting and verb tense changes from this point


 

 

     Farther along the hall there are large alcoves full of various sized jars of metal and pottery, full of marbles.  

     Two minions jump out at the Heroes and are shot. White tosses Qua Lin down and yells for everyone to duck. A powerful wind...a disturbing noxious cloud comes down the hallway. Victoria stands tall, taking charge while Bill dispatches another guard. 

     Victoria sees red spots in front of her eyes that turn into green beams. Monkeys! With Fezzes! 

     Qua Lin comes back to herself as a shotgun goes off next to her head. Victoria wants to run, but somehow stays rooted as a monkey fires a beam straight down the hallway, but fortunately only has a glancing blow on Bill. Then a Sand Demon forms blocking the entire hallway! 

     Nora tries to cut it down with her sword before it fully forms, but it looks chagrined, and *notices* her. Victoria sneaks behind to shoot at monkeys and drops one. Bill takes out his ray gun and aims at the sand demon. He misses but it goes through and miraculously hits a monkey. Another monkey shoots back and hits Bill several times. 

     Nora swings again at the whirlwind of sand and connects for a bit of damage. Victoria shoots through and wings another monkey. Bill shoots the sand critter with his ray gun. It turns to attack Nora, overturns, and collapses in a heap of sand. The heroes take out another monkey...one more drops. The last monkey pulls out a stick grenade. Bill shoots it, but too late--the grenade goes off, wounding Victoria and Nora. 

 

There is maniacal laughter issuing from the end of the hall, and the smoke and bad smell is sucked toward the end. Qua Lin does first aid on Bill, Nora and Victoria while White searches the monkeys: 2 batons, 4 stick grenades, 2 odd mausers and something like a Fury sawed off shotgun with 11 shells. Nora keeps a monkey fez. Qua Lin takes a shotgun, Bill takes the grenades. White keeps the wands.

 

A big map of the world, backlit, (jumbotron!) is on the back wall. It is very similar to the gate map in Spain. There are differences from the modern world: there is a land bridge between Morocco and Spain, no Black or Red seas (small white lights within them), a land bridge between England and France,  and the continents are a bit off. There is an island the shape of Catalina to the north of Funchal, Madeira and WSW of the Straits of Gibraltar, possibly Atlantis. There is an island the size of Ireland where the Maldives would be. Baja California is connected to the mainland at its tip, so the Sea of Cortz is an inland sea.

 

There seem to be more gates, and not in the same place as on the similar stone map in Spain. And there are lights, powered how? marking several locations. There are 29 diamond shaped markings on the map, and about 40 lights. 

 

As they approach they see a large pool full of something that pulses and on either side are panels of modern instruments. There is a row of 5 sarcophagi toward the back of the room. Romanescue is studying the map, and responds to his name with a distracted wave. 

 

Bill and Willoughby toss grenades. They are surprised when the grenades bounce back at an invisible wall in front of the pool. Three humanoids whose eyes are completely black come forward and two pull swords from their belts that quickly grow into scimitars over 6 feet in length. One pulls out a nasty volley gun from his back, like a pan’s flute of black powder muzzles.  

 

Nora warns them that guns will have no effect. White pulls out a monkey wand. Victoria commands them to stop so she can speak with Romanescue.  White thinks like a monkey and waves the wand, mumbling things that are censored. Somehow it works and one of the minions staggers back from the force of the green beam. Victoria hits with her pistol, to no effect. Bill shoots and hit a foot, but it again has no effect other than a slight splash. Willoughby shoots and again, no effect. Qua Lin shoots the monkey shotgun and does a blazing hit on the Napoleonic petrov guy, but gets knocked back several feet. 

 

The volley gun guy pulls his trigger as he is falling back. It makes a loud noise and creates a huge cloud of smoke (like 18 small black powder muskets going off at once). Bill took three of the shots and goes down.  Qua Lin rushes over to patch him up.

 

White tries again with the wand, but it doesn't work this time. Nora begins dancing with the guy with the 6 foot sword that came out of thin air. They trade shots and parry. Then Nora makes an acrobatic leap behind so that they others can take shots at him, while she distracts him.  Victoria pops one in the head. White takes the monkey gun and blows the arm off Nora’s dance partner sword guy.  

 

The other swordsman approaches Nora and swings, embedding his sword in the wall at neck height as she barely ducks. Victoria shoots and hits the first swordsman and brings him down. Willoughby hits the second swordsman, and so does Victoria. He drops, and Nora chops off the heads of the still writhing Empty Ones. 

 

Romanescue laughs and says "Until we meet again! I will see you in your dreams! MWAH HA HA HA!!" and jumps into the pool. He waves, and five rings glint on his hand. White shoots off his wand and it goes off, but it reflects on the invisible wall and hits Qua Lin.  

 

There is a flashing light on the map later revealed as Benevento, Italy, the oldest constantly occupied city in Italy and center of the Sammanite Empire. “The Site of Bad Events” is a close translation of the original Malavento, dating back to the Trojan War. The heroes conjecture that the pool transported Romanescue to that location, but still in the same world.

 

Modern control panels with dials are on either side of the pool: wire recording devices, magnetometers, and a Geiger counter (the Heroes have taken a good dose of radiation). The heads of the figures of each of the sarcophagi is composed of a different metal: red-gold, electrum, silvery-black, whitish-goldish, very gold with a deep purple patina. Inside are fifteen hundred year old remains.  

 

Back in the passageway there is a side passage that leads down to three additional levels, each with its own “pool” marked by black granite, the same size as the original in the top floor. There is a 3 foot diameter plinth with a slanted surface (like a lectern) with symbols and five 5 inch “buttons" arranged in a circle, each with a different metal (the same array of metals as the sarcophagi). The symbols are similar to Hyborean and proto-Phoenician.  

 

There are three rods made of a cloudy crystal, capped with metal, with greyish metal filaments within. Qua Lin touches a column and she drops, unconscious. Nora touches another and it goes clear, and sucks 5 points of Power out of her. A tunnel appears through the column. Bill takes a gander with his mica goggles and is blinded, and when he can see again he drops a Maria Theresa dollar through. It disappears. It seems that the Heroes have accidentally discovered another way to open a portal. They decide not to go through without Algy.  After about 5 minutes the portal closes.

 

Next to each of the "plinth lecterns" was a stone chest. Inside are five more crystal rods, each weighing about 25 pounds. 

 

The Heroes spend time taking poorly lit photographs (interesting—the map cannot be photographed) and cataloging the cave. They debate whether to dynamite the entrance to keep it out of the wrong hands, but realize that they may need to use it later. And the Spaniards? They decide to leave, and say that they will not discuss events here with anyone. Promise. They use another plane to take off…. The odd looking small one.

 

That leaves one very nice Junkers 52/3M airplane that has Nora salivating. About this time, Willoughby tells everyone that it appears that there is a sandstorm in the offing. They could put wraps on the plane to keep (most) sand out, but the safest course of action is to pack out and leave ahead of the storm. 

 

The Heroes wrap up very quickly as Nora starts the pre-flight checklist (in German). The takeoff is rough, but the landing in Muscat is a dream, especially after Miss May contacts the base to alert them that they were flying in a Romanescue plane. 

 

Some of the Loot:

 

  • 2 6-foot swords 

  • Necklaces 

  • Box of papyrus tubes 

  • stuff from romanescue's planes (maps, charts) billfolds, passports (look at visas to see where they've been--several soviet union stamps) 

  • wire recorders  

 

 

In his first speech as Chancellor of Germany,

Adolf Hitler addressed the Reichstag and was broadcast nationwide on the radio.

He declared that "Within four years, the German farmer must be raised from destitution.

Within four years, unemployment must be completely overcome." 

 

 

Thursday - Friday, February 2 - 3, 1933

 

     During the day at Muscat, Nora read the (scanty) documentation on the tri-motor, and improved her knowledge of German aircraft instrument markings, and the metric system. She prepared the plane for a long flight with the help of the RAF unit stationed there.

     Willoughby sent a brief, uncoded and vague telegram to Mr. Montagu of the Foreign Office, in London. It was mostly of the "we're still alive, the person of interest is still at large, more info later" variety.

 

Michael will compose the actual text later.

 

     We also questioned the two minions of Romanescu we captured. "He wants to bring darkness over all the world. He will open all the portals to all the worlds. He is the greatest of five leaders to come:  himself, Tamerlane, Xerxes", and two names Michael didn't catch.

 

Narrative from this point onwards is provisional,

partly to get travel times, air distances, etc. correct,

and to determine the likely date we'd meet DeLacy.

 

Saturday, February 4, 1933

 

     At dawn, we took off in the mighty German airplane, headed for Baghdad:

 

  • Muscat to Sharjah:  350 miles, 2 hours flight time

    • 1/2 hour to refuel, etc.

  • Sharjah to Basra, Iraq:  588 miles; 3 hours flight time

    • 1/2 hour to refuel, etc

  • Basra to Baghdad: 280 miles, 1.5 hours flight time

 

      We stayed overnight in Baghdad, at the Hotel Maude (used by passengers of Imperial Airways).

 

overnight in Baghdad 

     … At Baghdad, Imperial’s passengers stayed overnight at the Hotel Maude and had the use of the town’s three main clubs. In descending order of status, these were the ‘British’, the ‘Railway’ and the ‘Alwiyah’. The first was exclusively male and was used mainly by city gents. The other two had a mixed membership and offered facilities for swimming, tennis, squash, polo, pig sticking and shooting game. 

 

Sunday, February 5, 1933

 

    We flew again in the Junkers tri-motor airplane, from dawn to dusk.

 

  • Baghdad to Alexandretta:  517 miles, 2.75 hours flight time. 

    • 1 hour to refuel (this city wasn't on any major air routes)

  • Alexandretta to Athens:  692 miles, 3.5 hours

    • 1/2 hour to refuel

  • Athens to Brindisi:  360 miles, 2 hours

 

     In Brindisi, Willoughby mailed his official report to Mr. Montagu via the mail train (which left at 10:30 p.m., bound for Paris); he also sent a short note to the British legation in Bucharest. 

 

Monday, February 6, 1933

 

     Our Heroes waited at Brindisi; Mrs. Cullin worked on the airplane. 

 

Tuesday, February  7, 1933

 

     Our Heroes flew 150 miles from Brindisi to Benevento (30 miles northeast of Naples); we met Algernon DeLacy there!

 

 Parliament meets again on 7 February, after the Christmas Adjournment.

 

      Events coming up:  The fourth Test Match is scheduled to start on February 10th, in Brisbane.

 

onward to ... Confronting the Master

Comments (1)

Michael said

at 7:10 pm on Jun 19, 2015

Start of the next game!

You don't have permission to comment on this page.