THE TEMPLE OF DOO
Tula We Go!
The red line tracking the green van headed west, then north toward Mexico City. The sheer size of the large Mexican capital necessitated a deviation. Then the van and red line swung around the city and headed for the state of Hidalgo. Shaggy and Scooby napped in the back, leaving the archaeologists to chat during the long drive.
Velma sought to break the silence. “I thought I knew Paul Darnand pretty well, but I guess not. I just saw him as a wealthy man who put his riches toward the cause of science.”
Fred bit back the temptation to issue a series of obscenities, but realized that he was talking with a friend, not an enemy. “Paul’s source of wealth is interesting. He and his brother Joseph served in the French army during World War I. At the end of the hostilities, Joseph moved into the import-export business. Paul got involved in archaeology and politics, financed with his brother’s wealth. Paul used his political position to push for France to reestablish his country’s former glory, by attaining symbols of power and weeding the country of what he calls ‘undesirables.’ That’s probably a code phrase for Jewish people.”
Velma’s puzzled expression told Fred he’d need to explain more. “Paul got his start collecting items from Charlemagne, Louis XIV, and Napoleon. Such items are designed to push for French nationalism, an ideology shared with his brother. Once his countrymen had their appetites whetted by their conquests, he moved into other pursuits.”
“But why did he search so long for the ‘Dead Sea’ scrolls? Aren’t they Jewish?”
“Yes Velma, but he wanted them researched. Had he found that they were important to the Hebrews, he would have destroyed them. A lot of his diggers’ wives become widows when he conducts an expedition.”
Velma shook her head. It hurt to hear how a man she admired, even developed a slight crush upon at one point, could be such a ruthless monster. She wondered how someone could use her profession for such evil. What if an item as important as the Mayan artifact fell into his hands? They
had to succeed.
“So tell me about the Toltecs,” Fred glanced over at his colleague. “They must be some pretty tough hombres to have swiped this artifact from the Mayans.”
Velma wrinkled her nose in mild irritation. “Well, thanks to the writings of people like Juan Carlos, most people have this impression of the Toltecs as nothing but a band of ruthless warriors,” Velma began, as though she were back in a classroom at Hanna College. “Their defeat of the Mayans certainly didn’t exactly improve their reputation.” She paused for a moment. “Sorry to keep droning on here guys.”
“No problem, like, it helps to pass the time,” Shaggy yawned.
“Actually, it might help learn about the Toltecs,” Fred reprimanded his younger colleague. “Our search for clues in this temple would be better if we knew more about this people who held this artifact.”
Velma let a small smile secretly cross her lips, before continuing. “Few know that the Toltecs were mostly a group of scientists and artists, who sought to expand their knowledge, rather than be hostage to superstition.”
|The rest of the group looked at her with raised eyebrows. “Well, that’s how I put it in my journal article” the young professor remarked. “Anyway, they called their master scientists ‘Naguals.’ These leading Toltecs once had their capital located at Teotihuacan, but moved to Tula later about 970 A.D.”
“Why did they move?” Fred inquired.
“It seems as though the Naguals feared that some might discover their knowledge and use it to harm others,” Velma said, with a slightly ominous tone. “Call it a theory or even a hunch, but I’m willing to bet that they took the Mayan artifact and hid it so no one else could use it to destroy others.”
After about 40 miles of driving past Mexico City, the van approached the village of Tula de Allende, a more modern Mexican town built near the former Toltec capital. The area lacked the ancient grandeur of its prior days. The fields looked as though the crops had a habit of failing. There was too much poverty, too many shacks instead of houses. The town square had not been cleaned in some time. It seemed hard to believe that the former descendants such a large part of the region hundreds of years ago.
“This is the Valley of Aahuac,” Velma continued like a tour guide. “Today it is known as the Valley of …..”
Her voice trailed off when she saw the two men and the dog staring up ahead at a very significant speed bump in their plans. Plumes of smoke were rising from a nearby valley shielded by three hills. A small plane flew between two of the mountains, searching for a valley landing strip.
Shaggy spoke in a quivering voice. “That’s not where we’re going...I hope.”
Scooby stared in amazement. “Razis?”
“Yeah, it’s them.” Fred bit his lip. Once again, Darnand and his allies had shown up to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Every time he thought he had the edge, the Frenchman got there first. This time, however, he wouldn’t end the adventure sitting in a bar, whining to any drunk who would listen to his tail of woe like a fisherman who lost “the big one.” Now people like Daphne would get hurt. Countries like his own would soon be kissing Hitler’s boots.
Sensing his disappointment, Velma clasped his arm softly, to avoid hampering his driving. “Hey, this doesn’t mean the end of our story. Darnand beat us to Chichen Itza, but we learned about Tula first. We don’t know if he’s found the artifact yet.”
Fred’s expression didn’t change as he coasted the van to a stop by the side of the road. Velma spoke softly to him. “Listen, I know it’s tough, but you’re our leader. You’ve got to think of something now, or we don’t have a chance.”
She’s right, he thought. This mission was way too important to give up on now. After stepping into what passed for a hotel, Fred spoke to the group. “Okay, here’s the plan” he said after a few minutes of deep thought. “Shaggy, you take Scooby, prowl around Tula de Allende, and see what the locals can tell you about our European friends up there. Velma, you stay in this hotel and bury yourself in those books until you figure out some clues about this Toltec temple that we’re looking for.”
“What’re you gonna do?” asked Shaggy.
“I’m going to sneak up to the Nazi camp at Tula and see if we can get some answers.”
Velma noted her displeasure with her words and tone. “What kind of plan is that?
“You told me to come up with a plan.”
“I didn’t tell you to go on a suicide mission!” she hissed. “One of these days, you’ll get killed looking for fortune and glory.”
“Maybe,” he grinned. “But not today. Trust me”
Fred crept closer to the tents. They were made of a green fabric, held up by two wooden poles and a few stakes. A pair of cots and rather spartan effects told him that many of these were soldier tents, which wouldn’t reveal much. He had to find a more important location that would tell him how much the enemy knew. Luckily, there were few guards posted around the camp. He wondered why, hoping it wasn’t a trap. The ancient ball court was filled with soldier gear and these living accommodations. As he reached the edge of this ball court, he saw it slightly overlooked the former center of Tula. There, Nazi soldiers and men with dark skin and little clothing swarmed over a large pyramid like ants over an unattended picnic basket. To the right of this group, another set of dark-skinned natives were aggressively digging near another ball court, supervised by the German officers in light gray uniforms. No, they were still looking, he concluded. Unless Velma could figure something out, however, it looked like only a matter of time before Darnand and the others would find the artifact.
As his gaze returned from the lower ball court to his present position, he noticed a white tent that was much larger than the soldier tents he had just moved above. Since he needed answers, he headed straight for this new target, hoping it wasn’t well guarded. As he stooped down to enter, he noticed the fine accommodations, table, and bed. It definitely had to be Darnand’s. As he perused the table for maps, charts, a journal, or something that would give him a clue as to what his rival was thinking, he heard a noise coming from the far side of the tent. His eyes widened with amazement.
She rocked the chair back and forth and struggled against the ropes that held her. All she could do was make muffled sounds. He bent down next to her and pulled the scarf from her mouth. He was rewarded with a passionate kiss and an “Oh, thank you!”
“Are you okay? Are you hurt?”
“No, I’m fine. My….I thought you were dead!”
A smile crept to his face. No, I’m very much alive now.”
“I’m just sick of being stuck here all day with nothing to do but wait bound and gagged. I’m also sick of that Frenchman. I think he’s got a thing for me.”
Fred paused. “Do you know why there aren’t any guards around?”
Daphne stopped struggling at her bonds and began to ponder the question. “No…other than the fact that Darnand and his toady German general seem to think you guys are dead.”
Now it was Fred’s turn to think.
“What’s wrong? Cut me loose!”
The confident archaeologist suddenly acted very uncomfortable. “Uh, Daphne, I, uh, have to do something that I, uh, really don’t want to do, but, I er, have to.”
“What are you talking about?” Her eyes narrowed to slits.
“I’m going to have to leave you here. Sorry.” He turned to walk behind her chair.
“You jerk! Cut me loose now…mmmph!”
Fred sighed. “I really hate to do this, but if I get free you, Darnand is going to know we’re alive, and we’ll never get the artifact. He’s got more men and time on his side. Our only chance is that we have the element of surprise. You’ve got to sit tight until we get the artifact. Then, I’ll come back for you.”
The reporter’s eyes blazed with fury at him. “I promise I’ll rescue you,” Fred pleaded. “Trust me!”
With that, he ducked over to the table, jotted down a few noted from Darnand’s table, then ducked out of the white tent, ignoring Daphne’s muffled cries to be untied. He hated to leave her like that, but he didn’t really have a choice. He only hoped she’d understand later.
When he returned to the hotel in the darkness, he found Velma waiting for him in the hotel room. A lamp on a table provided the only illumination. “I’m so glad you made it back alive. I was getting really worried. Shaggy and Scooby were here earlier, but they’ve gone off to the Cantina for a bite or two…or more.”
“Did they learn anything?”
“They found out that the Germans hired a number of the locals to help with the digging,” Velma replied. “They also found out that the Germans brought a group of indians from the Yucatan.”
“Toltec descendants?” he inquired with a growing fear.
“No, but they seem like a fierce bunch with the bow and arrows and their darts.”
“Evidently, they contain a substance that will knock you out cold,” Velma said in amazement, as if such concepts were new to her. Fred had seen their type before. “They’re Quepoya warriors…a rough lot. We’ll have to be careful.”
“Learn anything from the books?” he inquired.
“Actually, I learned a great deal. I’m willing to hypothesize that the Toltecs didn’t hide the artifact in any of their obvious temples. They were masters of knowledge and deception. It wouldn’t surprise me if the location was well hidden.
Fred sat down and reread the passages Velma noted for him. In a quiet voice, she asked “Now, what did you discover on your little field trip?”
||He paused for a moment, realizing that she would persist until he answered truthfully. “Well, I saw our friends combing the main pyramid and plowing up a ball court, but they seemed to be guessing…”
“Well, uh, I found Daphne.”
“Where is she?”
“Er…still up there. She’s tied to a chair in Darnand’s tent.”
Velma stared in disbelief. “And you left her in their clutches all alone?”
Fred bristled. “Hey, it was a tough choice! I hated to leave her at their mercy, but you know that had I freed her and brought her back, they’d blanket the place looking for us. They still think we’re dead, so they aren’t expecting us here – there weren’t even any guards.”
Velma pursed her lips. “I suppose you’re right.”
Fred’s slumped into a chair. His head drooped slightly and his eyes glanced up at her. “Promise you won’t tell Shaggy and Scooby.”
“Shaggy and Scooby will be the least of your worries once Daphne gets free.”
Fred reluctantly nodded. “Well, as long as they haven’t done anything serious to her so far, they aren’t about to start.”
As the sun crept below the mountains surrounding Tula, Darnand marveled at the view, wondering if such a view prompted the Toltecs to relocate their capital to this valley. His thoughts of the ancient people were interrupted by the stern face of General Von Tramp, who was heading toward him, clearly agitated.
“I just finished communicating with Mein Fuhrer. He demands immediate results.”
Darnand sought to soothe the officer. “Archaeology is not an exact science. Why it took Howard Carter…..”
Von Tramp snorted. “I am not interested in one of your stories. There are schedules to be maintained. Our leader plans to invade Britain soon. We need the artifact now…tonight!” A smile began to replace his scowl. “Maybe the girl could help us. She was with the others when the discovered the location was Tula. Maybe with a little…persuasion, she could remember something else.”
Darnand turned on his partner. “Leave the girl alone. She is part of my compensation for finding this artifact.”
Von Tramp brushed off the man’s challenge. “Let me remind you, Herr Darnand, that you do not yet possess this artifact, so she is not yours.”
|Darnand sneered. “Your methods are better suited to combat. I, however, have other ways of persuasion that are more effective on fields other than those of battle.”
“Have it your way,” Von Tramp snickered. “But, remember this. If we do not have the artifact by tomorrow, war will be declared on this arrogant American!” He spun on his heels, then marched back to the officers by the ball court, yelling at them in German to resume the digging.
Darnand ducked under the flap and moved inside the white tent. There was the redhead fastened to the chair, still shooting him a defiant stare. But he would know how to handle this. No woman had yet refused him.
He strode over to her and untied the gag knotted at the back of her head. After letting her catch her breath, he handed her a cup of cool water. For that, he received a mumbled “Thanks.”
“My lady, I am so sorry for your predicament. It was not my idea to have you held like this against your will.”
You know, that’s the second time someone’s told me that today, she almost said, then thought the better of it, given that such a statement would alert Darnand to the presence of Fred. This slimy Frenchman tricked you out of one important answer during this mission. She would watch what she said and did to make sure she didn’t do it again.
“It was Von Tramp’s idea. You know how Nazis are,” he said, with a sigh. “Once we find the artifact, they will leave and there will be no reason to keep you bound and gagged like this. You will be free to do what you like.”
Yeah right, the intrepid reporter thought. I’ll be free to make a Nazi salute or I’ll be dragged off to some prison. Yet she kept these thoughts to herself. The Frenchman’s naturally trying to turn on the charm to get something from me. Well, two can play at this game.
“Oh, Doctor Darnand, I’m so…” she took a deep breath, as though to accentuate her chest “…grateful to hear you say those words. I feel like damsel in distress, waiting for my hero rescuer.”
Darnand nearly choked on his own glass of water. “You know…Doctor Darnand…or may I call you Paul,” the redhead flashed her pearly whites. “Could I get you to help me with something?”
“Anything, Mademoiselle Blake!”
“These ropes are kind of tight. I fear I might swoon if I don’t get them loosened just a teensy weensy bit.”
The vision of Daphne swooning occupied much of Darnand’s thoughts. “Perhaps, if the Nazis are not watching, I could actually untie you and let you share dinner with me.”
“Oh, Paul, I just couldn’t resist.” Daphne turned slightly and mimicked sticking a finger down her throat and gagging.
“In fact, I had a solider fetch a present for you from Mexico City,” Darnand smiled. “It is the finest in this country.” He handed her a rectangular slender box, which contained a long white dress. Oh my word, it looks like a bridal gown she thought with displeasure. “Oh, Paul, thank you so much. It is just gorgeous.”
“I would very much like to see you wear it tonight.”
I’ll bet you would, she mentally snarled, but then reverted back to character. “I would love to model it for you.”
She grabbed it, ducked behind a screen, and exchanged the adventurer outfit she wore for it, taking care to make sure he wasn’t creeping around the screen. When she took a peek, she saw him unbutton his shirt and splash cologne all over his chest. I really hope I don’t swoon now, with all that he’s slapped on, she thought, with a repressed giggle. “I’m ready when you are, my gallant rescuer.”
“He finished buttoning his shirt and walked toward him. “Daphne, you are beautiful.” He clasped his hands in hers. She playfully pulled away.
“Not now,” she cooed. “Dinner before pleasure. I haven’t had anything to eat all day.”
He stumbled through bringing the food to the table, nearly dropping plates with nervous anticipation. “Say, Paul, do you have any of your country’s wine?”
“Of course, Daphne. I never leave home without it.” He handed the bottle to her. “It’s my family label!”
“Thanks, Paul!” she beamed. A split second later, he saw stars, then darkness. The redhead reporter stood over him in triumph and beamed. “You know, some guys can’t hold their alcohol!”
||She wanted to duck out immediately, but knew that the sight of a woman in a white dress prancing through the camp at night would draw unwanted attention. Plus, it wouldn’t do her much good in the Mexican countryside. So she hastily exchanged the dress for her adventurer’s outfit, then ducked out of the tent and weaved among the maze of soldiers quarters, hoping to avoid Nazis or others in the darkness. But a few minutes later, her hopes were dashed when she felt the familiar strong hands grab her and pin her arms behind her back. Otto dragged her back to Darnand’s tent, where General Von Tramp was helping the French archaeologist get to his feet. She thought for sure it was the end, but Von Tramp seemed more amused than anything.
|“Oh yes, you really charmed this one. But, Herr Darnand, it seems that you are the one who was swept off your feet!” He laughed while Otto retied her to the chair and produced the scarf to silence her again. “Tomorrow, you shall tell us everything we know. We have ze ways of making you talk.” Daphne shuddered in fear.
Will the Temple of Doo ever hit the big screen?
Will Harrison Ford play Fred Jones?
Will Nicole Kidman play Daphne Blake?
Will Jeanine Garofolo play Velma Dinkley?
Will Brendan Fraser play Shaggy Rogers?
Will Jean Reno play Paul Darnand?
Will Jurgen Prochnow play General Helmut Von Tramp?
Will Arnold Schwarzenegger play Otto?
Who will play Scooby Doo?