THE TEMPLE OF DOO
The Plane in New Spain Falls Like Rain
“Are you going to be okay out here all by yourself? Maybe Shaggy should stay with you.”
“Forget it Fred,” the redhead snapped in a tone that indicated she didn’t like being treated like a little girl. “I can handle myself. There’s a long pre-flight checklist to complete. Besides, I’ve seen your room. I’ll bet Shaggy didn’t pack before we left.”
All eyes shifted to the gangly graduate student, who slunk down slightly. Even Scooby snorted in disgust.
“See you in half-an-hour, Daph” said Velma as the van drove back toward Merida, leaving the rural airstrip behind.
Ignoring the fact that she was now all alone, Daphne launched herself into a series of checks and adjustments to her plane. In fact, she became so engrossed in her work that she failed to hear the boots crunching softly on the grass behind her.
Before she had a chance to react, a black gloved hand clamped was clamped over her mouth while another strong arm pinned her arms to her side. Despite her struggles, she found herself face-to-face with a Frenchman in a white outfit and fedora. Next to him was a stern-looking man in a light gray uniform with a officer’s cap. He broke the silence. “Know her?”
The Frenchman removed his hat to reveal his thick
black hair. “I am familiar
with who she is, General Helmut Von Tramp.
She is a star reporter for the New
York Chronicle, an American newspaper,” he replied, saying American
with a definitive sneer. I’m
quite sure this woman is traveling with the so-called famed archaeologist
Doctor Fred Jones. It means
the Americans must be trying to acquire the Mayan artifact.”
“Excellent analysis, Herr
Darnand,” Von Tramp said in a halting tone, as if he struggled with the
English language. “What
should we do with her?”
Darnand studied her from head to toe, as he would analyze a rare painting or historical object. “Bring her back to the camp. We need to learn what they have discovered. We will deal with the others to ensure that they do not reach the artifact first.”
The plucky reporter struggled, but it was useless. The giant bald man with the mustache had her in a firm grip. Others grabbed her kicking legs and carried her to the waiting truck. Darnand turned and faced Von Tramp. “General, this next task is your area of expertise,” he said gesturing with his head toward the plane. Then he returned to the black touring car, which followed the truck back in the direction of Chichen Itza.
A few minutes later, the green van arrived at the airstrip. Daphne’s blue Lockheed Vega was parked where it had been a few minutes ago, but the redhead was nowhere in sight.
“Daphne! Oh Daphne!” Fred yelled out to an unresponsive jungle.
“Rere’s Raphne?” Scooby inquired.
“Could she have been attacked by a wild animal?” said Shaggy, with a brittle voice.
“I doubt it,” said Fred. “We’d find torn pieces of clothing or something like that.” He did notice a large number of footprints near the cabin. Their indentations resembled soldier boots. “Nazis!” Velma whispered in a mixture of shock and anger.
|“If they’ve abducted her, they haven’t gone far.” Fred gritted his teeth. “I’m gonna go back to Chichen Itza and….” He paused.
“And what?!” Velma exploded. “You want to go back and get yourself killed taking on Nazi stormtroopers? Then what good would you be to Daphne?”
Fred stopped. The glasses-wearing, brainy archaeology professor did have a point. Charging the enemy may not help the abducted reporter. “So what do you have in mind?”
“I know it sounds hard, Fred, but we have to go on to Tula without her.” Velma said, surprising herself in saying the words. “There’s nothing we can do for her here. But we can get the artifact first, and then come back for her.”
Fred huffed angrily, leading Shaggy and Scooby to slink back toward the van, unwilling to confront their angry leader. “Look, Fred, Daphne’s a big girl. She can take care of herself,” Velma said, attempting to soothe the blonde archaeologist. Besides, they kidnapped her for a reason. If they wanted her dead, they would have killed her here and left her – but they didn’t. We’ll come back and rescue her – I promise.”
Fred said nothing for awhile, gazing in the direction of Chichen Itza. Velma began mentally asking herself questions. Was that really a good idea? Did she just want Daphne out of the way so that she could make a move on the hunk leading her group? Or was a rescue attempt more of a suicide mission at this point.
“Okay, Velma,” Fred concluded. “You win. But we’ll need to go back to Merida to hire a pilot to replace Daphne.”
The van reluctantly pulled away from the airfield. As earlier, the green vehicle’s movements did were watched with care.
Martinez spoke first. “The Americans have left. Now we can steal their plane. This will bring us more money than anything we’ve done before.”
“Agreed” said his partner Portillo, moving out from the jungle and across the field toward the beautiful plane. “When we sell it, we’ll live like kings.”
As they approached the cabin door, Martinez asked “Do you know how to fly this plane.” He sounded unsure of himself.
“Of course,” Portillo smiled. “I once flew a Curtiss Jenny. This one shouldn’t be much trouble.”
Luckily, the former owner had done an excellent job of preparing the plane for takeoff. Portillo took the controls, started the aircraft, and led it charging down the runway, narrowly eclipsing the trees at the end of the landing strip. He smiled as the Vega climbed higher into the sky. It was the last thing he ever did, for he, Martinez, and the plane exploded in mid-air.
A short distance away, General Von Tramp lowered the binoculars. A smile crept across his face. “Herr Darnand,” he said glanced over his shoulder. “I would like to inform you that your rival, Doctor Jones, has just perished in a tragic plane accident.”
The Frenchman smiled. He was glad that his rival was dead. Too many times, he had come close to reaching an item before the Frenchman did.
The smile soon vanished. He would miss his enemy. No one else would provide the same challenge as the American archaeologist. But as he pictured the American, his thoughts returned to his beautiful captive in his tent. Soon, he would have the Mayan artifact.
Der Fuhrer would compensate him well; perhaps make him the leader of the Vichy French government. And he now had another treasure in his possession.
Von Tramp clapped the Frenchman on the shoulder. “Herr Darnand, it is time for me to interrogate the woman. I can break her in ten minutes, ja? Time me!”
Darnand shook his head. “General Von Tramp, your methods won’t get anything out of her. She is a spirited, patriotic American who would rather die than tell you anything useful. Let me try first.”
Fred slammed on the brakes as he saw the blue plane lurch into the sky above them, then disintegrate. Pieces rained down, narrowly missing the van. The others reacted predictably, showing fear and horror. Shaggy broke the silence “Could…could that have been Daphne?”
“I don’t think so,” said Fred, truthfully. “She wouldn’t have just taken off like that without trying to get in touch with us. It might have been bandits trying to steal the plane.”
Velma’s look of horror was replaced with a smug smile. Fred reacted angrily. “What’s so great about this, Velma?” Our plane’s been blown up. It’ll take awhile to reach Tula by road.”
“I know” replied the brunette. “But this actually works to our advantage. That bomb was obviously meant for us. Had we hired a pilot and tried to take off in Daphne’s plane, we would have been the ones killed.”
Fred nodded. “Furthermore,” Velma continued, “whoever planted that bomb now thinks
we’re dead. We can still make it to Tula, get the artifact, and rescue Daphne while they think we’re in a million pieces.”
“Hey,” Shaggy said. “That’s a good point!”
Fred had to agree. Looks like Velma know a lot more about field action than he originally estimated. He would get that artifact and rescue Daphne without Darnand and the Nazis knowing about it. He swung a left on a road that would take him to Tula, away from Merida. The red line across the Mexican map followed his van’s move.
The Frenchman entered his spacious tent, pulled Daphne’s gag from her mouth, then faced her. “Hello Ms. Blake. How are your accommodations?”
Her answer dripped with sarcasm. “What kind of man are you – binding and gagging an innocent girl? Fred made it sound like you were some kind of tough guy, but now I know better now.”
“So Doctor Jones is leading the American expedition?” Darnand said with a twinkle in his eye. Daphne could just kick herself, if her legs weren’t tied to the chair.
“And he must be searching for the Mayan artifact?”
“I’ll never tell!” snapped Daphne.
“I am sure you will not, my pretty,” Darnand smiled. “But let me guess. Were you planning to fly to Uxmal? Tulumn? Teotihuacan? Perhaps Tula?”
At the mention of the Toltec capital, Daphne’s eyes momentarily widened with fear, before returning to their usual defiant stare. “So you were heading to Tula. I can deduce from your expression that the Toltecs stole the item from the Mayans and took it to their ancient capital. And I have your lovely eyes to thank.”
Daphne nearly screamed her response. “You’ll never lay your grubby hands on that artifact. Fred Jones is twice the man you are. Besides, he’s got Professor Velma Dinkley with him, and she’s twice as smart as you.”
Darnand’s eyes narrowed, yet a few seconds later, they broadened again. He even sported a smile. “Otto, please return the lady’s scarf to her.”
The large, muscular bald man who originally grabbed her stepped forward with her light gray scarf. He folded it twice, then pulled it over her lips, tying the ends behind her hair. Her eyes blazed at him with fury.
||“I forgot to mention one thing, Daphne,” Darnand chuckled. “Did you hear that loud explosion a few minutes ago? That was the sound of your precious plane exploding. Your friends must have found the bomb General Von Tramp placed on board. It seems as though neither Doctor Jones nor Doctor Dinkley will reach Tula first.” He walked past her and joined Otto as they left the tent.
Daphne sat there stunned. Fred, Velma, Shaggy, Scooby…dead? She could hardly believe it. She had been in tight situations but she always wriggled out of trouble with help from others. Now her friends were dead, and she wasn’t going to be rescued. The slimy Frenchman and his thug Germans would find the Mayan artifact. They would rule the world. And it was her fault, because Darnand tricked her. Tears of sadness and frustration welled up in her eyes, flowed down her cheek, and soaked her scarf.
Will Darnand and Von Tramp find the artifact first?
Will Hitler rule the world?
Will Velma now make the moves on Fred?
Will Shaggy and Scooby threaten to blow up the artifact with a bazooka?
Will Daphne EVER stop being a damsel-in-distress?