THE TEMPLE OF DOO
Chapter Five: The Temple of Doo Waits For You Know
Fred and Velma frowned. They had decided to begin exploring jungle by the far side of the Northernmost mountain surrounding Tula, to avoid detection by the Germans and their allies. They had hoped a night time search would provide additional cover, but the darkness was not being cooperative. Yet their search was going to be hampered by direction, as Shaggy and Scooby provided the ripped pieces of a map of the town by lantern light. This was not going to be easy.
“No map, the Nazis control most of the town and good search locations…what chance do we have?” he muttered.
Velma shifted her eyes to look at him, then began with “I’ve been thinking about that problem for some time.” She wiped the sweat from her brow. Even sunlight was just beginning to creep over the horizon, the humidity had already presented a problem. “When I was in the Chichen Itza temple, I noticed that the object was located among the mountains. I assumed it meant that the artifact we’re looking for was in a temple in Tula itself, but I’m not so sure.”
Now everyone stopped in their tracks. “Whaddya mean…the temple and artifact aren’t even in Tula?” Shaggy said in a cracking voice.
Fred whacked his forehead in frustration. Scooby bellowed a “Roh Ro!”
“What I meant,” said Velma in a mollifying tone “was that it wasn’t in the capital. But it is here.”
Fred’s expression told her she’d need to explain. “The Naguals were scientists. They wanted to make sure the artifact didn’t fall into the wrong hands. They were masters of disguise. When the built a temple, they hid it here.” Shaggy pointed in the direction of the base of the mountain, earning a nod from Velma.
“Like I don’t get it man…” Shaggy began, but
Fred cracked a smile.
“The mountain is the temple?”
“Yes!” yelled an exasperated Velma, earning her a shushing from
the others. “All this time,
we’ve been tromping through the jungle looking for a stone structure.
Darnand and the Nazis are swarming over a building too obvious to
house such a sensitive item. It
has to be here.”
For the next half hour, they frantically paced the base of the
mountain. Their efforts paid
off; a small cavern soon stood before them.
With trepidation, the four stepped forward into the gloom.
Ancient vines covered the rock walls.
Thick spiderwebs frequently crossed their path..
|After pushing past several sets of webs, Shaggy exclaimed “Fred…you’ve got a spider on your back!” The famed archeologist glanced over his shoulder and casually brushed it off with his whip.
“Turn around Shaggy,” Velma cautioned.
Shaggy slowly turned around. His back was covered with hairy tarantulas. Fred brushed them off with several swipes. “Zoinks!” was all the graduate assistant could manage.
After the spider webs, the group found their progress blocked by a pit that extended from one wall to the other. “Ruh Ro” Scooby intoned in a deep voice.
Fred was undeterred. “Watch me.” He slung the whip over a fallen wooden beam, tugged it to ensure it was strong enough, then swung over with ease. “Coming?”
Velma hesitated. A little fieldwork never hurt anyone, she thought. She caught the handle of the whip Fred flung back toward her. Swinging across the pit was fun, but she landed on her fanny on the other side. Guess I won’t be getting any 10s from the judges, she thought. Her withering expression forced Fred to drop his smile.
“Coming?” he asked Shaggy and Scooby.
“Like no way, man!” Shaggy wailed. “You’re not going to get us chickens to cross the pit. We’ll guard…uh, the other side.” Scooby nodded vigorously.
Fred started to say something, but Velma gestured him forward. “We’re running out of time,” she whispered. “It’ll be daylight soon, and there’s no way we’re going to convince those cowards to come along.”
The two crept toward along the narrow corridor. “Stop!” Fred spoke sharply, but Velma’s foot touched a stone in the hallway that slowly began to sink. His flying tackle of her would have done a linebacker proud. She let out an “Oof,” but the arrow that would have hit her flew overhead harmlessly. He hoped he didn’t break any of her bones.
The archaeology professor shook her head. “Sorry,” she said. “I guess you’ve got a lot more experience dodging booby traps.”
Her statement was met with an affirmative response. “Yeah, Atahualpa’s throne room had a lot of these. I’ll bet the artifact itself is resting on a pressure pad. But I’ve got an idea.” He grabbed a small cloth sack, then filled it with as much sand as he could find. “If I replace the artifact with a similar weight, I might be able to fool the trap.”
“Be careful!” Velma added as Fred scampered across the stones like a spider monkey, occasionally jumping back to avoid a trap. Ahead in the gloom was a set of stone stairs, which led to a small pedestal at the top.
“Hey!” he called out. “The artifact is here.”
Resisting the urge to dash forth, he carefully maneuvered around two traps to reach the pedestal. His anticipation was replaced by a look of curiosity. The artifact wasn’t an amulet, a weapon, a necklace, a graven image, or anything like that. It was a papery rectangular object. He shrugged his shoulders, then peered inside.
“Can you see it? What is it?” Velma yelled. She knew she should keep her voice down, but her curiosity got the best of her.
“Uh, it’s a paper-like box with some crackers inside.”
“What in the world….bring it to me,” Velma answered, sounding very perplexed.
Fred held the cloth bag aloft, poured out some of the sand so that it would weigh as much as the box, then placed the bag next to the box. With cat-like quickness, he swapped the two.
He held his breath, but nothing happened. The famed archaeology doffed his hat in a victory-like salute, then sauntered away. Only then did he hear a grinding sound that sickened his stomach. The bag dipped down into the pedestal. The temple began to rock back and forth. Rocks fell from the sides and beams crashed down from above. He raced down the stairs and through the hall toward Velma, who stood there in shock, then spun around on her heels and ran down the hall as well. Arrows and darts shot out from the walls, but managed to miss the sprinting pair.
When they reached the pit, a white-faced Shaggy and trembling Scooby stared at them from the other side. “Throw me whip!”
“Throw us the artifact!” Shaggy stammered.
“Roh rime ru rargue.” Scooby barked.
Fred hesitated, then tossed the box to the two scared partners. He was rewarded with the whip, which was still slung over the beam. He gallantly handed the handle to Velma, but as she swung over the pit, disaster struck. The beam gave a mighty crack, then split in half. Fred gasped, but luckily Velma’s momentum kept her going just far enough to reach the other side. With few options left, he took several steps backwards, narrowly avoiding a falling rock from the side of the tunnel. Then, with a Herculean effort, he ran hard and leaped out over the pit. He just missed the side containing Velma, and slid down toward the hundreds of spikes at the bottom. Luckily, his scrabbling hands caught hold of a root, which he used to pull himself up. Velma’s outstretched hand grasped his, and the combination of his boots in several footholds and her amazing strength, helped him onto safe ground.
“Hurry,” she screamed. “A door is closing.
Sure enough, a door was slowly inching down, threatening to seal them within the temple, Velma ducked underneath the dropping door, while Fred dove and rolled underneath with inches to spare, reaching back only to snare his trusty hat.
“Where are Shaggy and Scooby?” he said after several dozen pants.
“I don’t know,” Velma shrugged. “They bolted with the artifact when the door started heading closing us in.”
The momentary silence was interrupted by a loud cracking sound. From above, a huge boulder rolled toward them. “Got a plan, Freddie?” Velma screamed.
“I do. Run!”
||Both ran for their lives as the boulder rolled toward them as though on a track. The two pushed through the spider webs as though it was mosquito netting, then jumped out the narrow entrance a split second before becoming a pair of pancakes.
Fred brushed himself off before glancing up at a pair of boots…soldier boots. He and Velma slowly raised their hands in response to the dozens of guns clicking. In addition to several soldiers, there were a few Quepoyan Indians with dart guns.
“Don’t worry,” Fred whispered to Velma. “I’ve got a backup plan. An old friend is coming to rescue us”
He glanced up and was surprised to see a figure similarly clad in a khaki shirt, pants and a fedora staring back at him. He did not expect to see the man so soon. “Melbourne O’Relly?”
Melbourne stood before him, but with a glassy-eyed expression. Slowly, he keeled forward like a falling timber. His back was covered with small darts.
“You killed him.”
A German officer spoke. “No, but he will have what you Americans call a ‘real hangover’ in a few minutes. Allow me to introduce myself. I am General Helmut Von Tramp of the Panzer SS.”
“The pleasure is all mine,” Fred shot back sarcastically.
“So Dr. Jones, we meet again” began the Frenchman, producing a triumphant smile. “What was once briefly yours is now mine. The artifact, if you please.”
“You can have it, if you can find it. My partner ran off with it.”
Darnand’s eyes narrowed. “What are you talking about?”
“We found the Mayan artifact alright, but it was just a box of crackers.” Now it was Fred’s turn to grin. “You can search us, if you like.”
A German officer stepped forward. “Oh, yes, Doctor Jones. We will…starting with the woman.”
Fred’s smile faded. “I swear to you, neither of us have it. It was just a bunch of crackers – nothing more!”
Von Tramp produced an icy tone. “We have ways of making you talk.”
Fred’s hand dropped to his side to reach for his holster, but Velma grabbed his hand. “No Fred, there’s too many of them!”
He dropped his head. His revolver only held six bullets, and there were at least thirty of the enemy. Velma was right, but he didn’t have to like it. Von Tramp reached down and took the pistol. He gestured to two soldiers. “Bring them to the truck.”
|Just then, an ear-splitting war cry shattered the morning sky, followed by a wolf’s angry growl. What looked like an angry army of man-beasts flung themselves upon the Germans and Quepoyans. Soldiers and warriors flew back or hit the ground. Others ran screaming into the forest. The few who fought their attackers clearly appeared overmatched.
“I think I figured out the secret artifact of the Mayans!” Velma exclaimed, as she picked up the discarded box. “The crackers were the artifact. They enable anyone who eats them to be fearless!”
“I guess Shaggy and Scooby ate the crackers!” Velma said with a laugh. “That would explain their berserk attack. Let’s help.”
||Fred jumped to his feet and punched a soldier in the face. He then moved to a dazed Quepoyan warrior, grasping him and hurling him to the ground. Even Velma got into the act, stomping on a German captain’s foot and kneeing him in the chest. Where once there were enemies poised to attack, the ground was littered with their bodies, as dazed as Melbourne O’Reilly.
After finishing off a large hulking German with a final kick, Fred turned to his partners. “Anyone seen Daphne, Darnand or Von Tramp?”
“Like no, man,” said Shaggy, as if coming to his senses.
“’Remme rat rem!” said a defiant Scooby Doo.
Just then, a sound broke the air with a deafening crash. A truck lurched from a concealed position and raced down a nearby road. Fred felt a lump in his throat. They had uncovered the secret of the Mayan artifact, and prevented the Nazis from laying their hands on it, but would not be a victory without Daphne.
“You fool – what are you doing!” bellowed Von Tramp. “The artifact is back there, not here. We must get it for mein Fuhrer!”
Darnand’s expression did not change as he whipped the steering wheel left to avoid a tree too close to the road. “Patience, General Von Tramp. As long as we have the girl, the artifact will come to us. We will get reinforcements from the base camp and Tula, and return…”
His discussion of the plan was interrupted by a door being wrenched open. Darnand’s could not believe his eyes as he saw a hand reach in, grab Von Tramp by the wrist, and pull him out the open door. He desperately tried to stay in the cab, but failed as the door swung shut again.
|The Nazi leader let out a yell as he hit the ground and bounced a few times until he came to rest at the base of a tree. The Frenchman’s surprise was compounded when he saw who had thrown his companion from the truck.
“You! But how…”
Daphne grabbed the roof of the cab, swung her legs up, then hit Darnand with a flying kick, leaving him quite disoriented. She punched him hard in the jaw, raised his head up, rammed it twice against the steering wheel, then thrust him forward with all of her might. He crashed through the shattered windshield, fell across the cab, and grasped the front of the truck. Only the hood ornament saved him, but even that slowly bent, then broke off in Darnand’s hand. He hit the road as the truck roared over him.
Daphne spun the truck around, then sought to finish off her former captors, but both had left the road. Satisfied that she had her revenge, she raced her vehicle back to the hidden temple..
“Daphne!” Shaggy explained.
“Hey guys!” she shot a grin of victory, though her smile faded as her eyes fell upon Fred.
“What about Darnand and Von Tramp?” Fred asked, hoping for a favorable response.
“I sort of tossed them from the truck.”
A whirring sound began to approach from the road. “That’s a motorcycle!” said Shaggy.
“Everyone, quick…to the van!” Fred yelled. Velma, Shaggy and Scooby followed, running hard. All four dove into their vehicle.
Velma looked around. “Where’s Daphne?”
Fred gritted his teeth. He was happy that the reporter had escaped her captors, but they had no time to dawdle. Women! Why couldn’t they focus on what was important? Why did they have to spend so much time grooming themselves and doing girly things?
A few seconds later, Daphne dashed up to the van. Velma opened the door and let the reporter in. Fred thought about demanding that she explain what happened, but he was more interested in racing away. Once the van got going, a motorcycle and side car would be unlikely to catch it.
As the van raced down the road, Fred looked into his rearview mirror and his stomach sank. His pursuers had taken the truck Daphne had driven back and were bearing down upon them. Several Nazis gripped the canvas on both sides, holding submachine guns and rifles in their hands. Darnand gripped the wheel, while Von Tramp aimed a Luger pistol.
The road veered around one of the mountains surrounding Tula. Fred gripped the wheel and swung the van to match the road’s hairpin turn. In the mirror, he watched as the truck reach the same curve. To his delight, the truck wobbled, then crashed through the guardrail. He stopped the van, got out and ran to the side of the road. He, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby watched the truck roll over repeatedly until it came to rest on the side of the mountain. A small fire began in the cabin, then engulfed the vehicle.
“Sorry I was a little late back there,” said Daphne as she and a dazed Melbourne O’Reilly arrived. “I figured they’d take the truck, so I cut the brake fluid.”
||Okay, maybe she wasn’t doing something silly back there, he thought. If this trip taught him anything, it was not to underestimate the opposite sex.
Epilogue: It’s Hip To Escape On A Ship
The five figures made their way down a narrow vertical set of stairs and moved through the cramped hold. “Velma, remind me to thank your friend Dr. Armando Gutierrez for arranging transportation,” Fred grinned. “It may not be first class, but this Costa Rican freighter ought to help us evade Nazi submarines.”
“Sure thing Fred,” Velma smiled, then shook her head.
“Too bad we don’t have the artifact to show General Donovan,” Fred sighed.
“True,” said Velma. “But there were enough left for me to analyze in the back of the van with my portable chemistry set. I may be able to replicate some of the crackers’ formula to provide at least a short-term aversion to fear.”
“Good luck!” Fred said as he turned toward his assigned cabin and Velma continued toward hers. As he opened the door, he was rewarded by the sight of the lovely reporter in a stunning gown. Wow, he thought. This might be my lucky night.
“Hi Daphne,” was all he could manage, not sounding as smooth as he had hoped.
“Hi Fred,” she responded in a sexy voice.
“Uh, are you still mad about me leaving you behind in the Tula camp?” He quietly prayed for a favorable response.
“Of course not, dear,” Daphne cooed a reassurance. “I don’t hold a grudge.”
|Fred moved around the redhead over to the mirror. He had to look his best. A short speck of dirt on his chin caught his attention. He moved closer to the mirror in order to brush it off. Suddenly the mirror swung from the bottom and caught him in the jaw as hard as a Joe Louis punch.
Throughout the ship Juan Santamaria, a loud cry of pain could be heard.
“Did you say something?” Daphne asked, as she headed out the door, doing everything in her power to repress a grin. As she strode out the door, Fred held his wounded chin, his eyes welling with tears of pain and disappointment. Guess we’re even now, he thought with a sigh
Velma tried to hide her disappointment. She had thought about getting a little closer to Fred, but when she caught sight of Daphne earlier heading to his room with a dress straight out of Paris, she knew her chances were zero. That’s why the knock on the door caught her by surprise. She moved to the door and asked “Shaggy?”
“Down at the mess hall with Scooby and Melbourne,” replied a girl’s voice.
“Daphne?” she asked with shock as she opened the door. The reporter nodded, then glided into the room with ease.
“I thought you’d be with Fred,” the archaeology professor said, explaining her surprise. “It just seemed that…”
“I just wanted a little payback for our leader’s decision to leave me at the mercy of the bad guys,” Daphne explained with a wry smile. “Fred’s generally a good guy, but he’s just going to be friend in my book. Say, what’re you working on?”
Now it was Velma’s turn to beam. “I saved the box and this last bite that Shaggy and Scooby didn’t eat. I’m using the microscope to analyze their molecular structure. Once I discover that, I should be able to make a limited form of the crackers.”
Daphne threw her head back and laughed. “Anytime we need Shaggy and Scooby to do something that requires them to be brave, we can feed them these crackers. What are we going to call them? Mayan artifacts? Toltec crackers?”
||Velma smiled at her new friend. “Actually, I was thinking of calling them ‘Scooby snacks!’”