In 2011 I was commissioned by a private collector to write and illustrate an original Indiana Jones story. My client, Adam, gave me carte blanche to tell any story that I wanted to tell. The resulting tale and accompanying illustrations were a joy to create.
This story was originally featured on my old TypePad website, which no longer exists. I am re-posting it here so that it can be read and enjoyed by those who may not have seen it back in 2011.
Get your John Williams score cued up...
"Indy, I'd like you to meet Cecil Porter," said Marcus Brody as he entered the school room of Dr. Indiana Jones. Indy shook the hand of the short, round, middle-aged man before him.
"What can I do for you?" asked Indy.
Cecil looked around nervously and began to open the satchel he carried.
"Dr. Jones, the man I work for has gone missing. He left me with specific instructions that should this ever happen, I am to seek you out and obtain your services."
"My services? Who exactly do you work for?"
"Nikola Tesla," said Cecil. "I am his personal assistant. He told me that you were the only man capable of helping him should he ever meet with foul play."
Indy laughed. "I've never even met Tesla. I'm not sure why he'd say-"
Marcus broke in. "My apologies, Indy. I met Tesla at a symposium a few years ago and we, um, well, we shared stories over a bottle of brandy. I'm afraid that I quickly ran out of my own stories and had to enlist yours to keep up with him. He was quite taken with them."
"I see," said Indy, scowling a bit at Brody.
"Mr. Tesla was working with the U.S. Government," said Cecil. "They wanted him to build a directed-energy weapon for them and he proceeded to design one, but they abruptly ended the project and stopped all funding after information got out that my employer was building a 'death ray'. Afterward, he was approached by a group of foreign investors about continuing the project, but Tesla refused to participate. He did not tell me why at the time. But he was sufficiently nervous about turning them down that he gave specific instructions to find you if anything should ever happen to him. I am authorized by Tesla to offer a substantial payment to you or to the the institution of your choice should you help us. And, of course, all of your expenses will be paid while in our employee, whether you are successful in finding Tesla or not."
"I don't know what Marcus told your boss, Mr. Porter," said Indy. "But I'm a teacher. I'm an archaeologist. I'm not the missing persons bureau."
Cecil pulled a leather-bound book out of the satchel and handed it to Indy, "I was told to give this to you, Dr. Jones. It is Tesla's journal. You may want to look at it before declining my offer."
Indy took the book and opened it. It was filled with detailed, handwritten notes and mathematical equations.
"Read the entry dated April 5th, 1933," said Cecil.
"Three weeks ago . . ." said Indy, flipping the pages to the journal entry.
Indy began to read and his eyes slowly widened as he did. He looked up at Marcus and then to Cecil. "I know of Tesla's work. I know what kind of research he does. So I need to ask . . . is he sane?"
"Quite," replied Cecil. "He is an eccentric, to be sure. But he is of sound mind and not prone to misrepresentation."
Indy turned to Brody. "You still have a friend at the University of Paris, don't you?"
"Yes, yes. Of course. Why?" asked Marcus.
"I need him to locate someone before I get there," replied Indy. He turned to Cecil and shook the man's hand. "This isn't my usual line of work, Mr. Porter, but I love a good mystery. And if Tesla is telling the truth in these notes, it could re-write the history books."
"So you'll take the job?" asked Cecil.
Indy smiled. "Make the check out to 'Marshall College'."
Indiana Jones arrived in Paris, France and met with Brody's contact, a man named Girard, who directed Indy to a small bookshop in the Odéon/Saint-Michel district. When he arrived, he found the woman he was looking for sitting in a chair reading from a book, as a small group of enthralled Parisians listened intently. The woman, mid-30s and quite attractive, wore a bandana on her head and had a wild mane of black hair. She spoke with a distinctive Russian accent that Indy had not heard very often.
Indy stood in the back of the bookshop and waited for the woman to stop reading. When she was done, the group of listeners politely applauded and she began shaking hands as the book reading event ended.
Indy was the last person to approach her. He extended his hand and she shook it.
"Maria? Hello, my name is Dr. Indiana Jones. I'm a colleague of Luc Girard."
"Ah yes, he brought me to the University recently to speak about my book. A nice but boring man. But he paid well, so I cared not," replied Maria.
"Right," replied Indy. "Well, I was wondering if I could speak to you about your writings. I'm interested in knowing more about your exile and flight from Russia."
Maria lit a cigarette and took a drag. "I have some time before my next appearance. Cafe de Flores. You're buying."
Indy and Maria sat at the outdoor Parisian cafe as the afternoon sun beat down on them. Maria smoked and drank her coffee.
"Have you ever heard of Nikola Tesla?" asked Indy.
"No. Is he a book publisher?" replied Maria.
Indy smiled. "No. He's an inventor, works with electricity."
Maria blew smoke from her red lips. "I'm already bored and the coffee is almost gone, Dr. Jones. What exactly do you want from me?"
Indy pulled Tesla's journal from his nap sack and set it on the table. "Tesla was approached by a foreign group recently and asked to create a weapon for them. Does the word 'Staret' mean anything to you?"
Maria looked at Indy, eyes full of dread.
"Yes. I know this word."
Indy shot a steely gaze at her. "I thought that might get your attention. Your father was a member of this group, wasn't he?"
"It was a cult. They dealt in the supernatural. From what I understand they dabbled in some spooky stuff. Exorcism, spirit plane transferrance . . . re-animating the dead."
Maria took a sip of her coffee. Her hands shook a bit. "Yes."
"Maria, where is your father?" asked Indy. "Where is Grigori Rasputin?"
Maria put out her cigarette and stood up. "Good day, Dr. Jones."
She turned and walked away. Indy grabbed Tesla's book and ran after her.
"Maria, I need your help," said Indy, catching up with her. "Nikola Tesla was working on some kind of weapon and the Staret cult were trying to get their hands on it. He wrote in his journal about the Starets making threats, promising to obtain his weapon one way or another. He believed that your father was the man behind them, the man giving the orders."
Maria kept walking, not even looking at Indy. "I want nothing more to do with you. Leave me be."
"Maria, Nikola Tesla is missing and the last entry in his journal was 'Rasputin lives'."
Maria stopped walking and so did Indy. She turned to face him.
"No, Dr. Jones. You are gravely mistaken. My father is dead."
Indy raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, yeah. Strangled, beaten, poisoned, shot, mutilated and drowned. That's what the history books say. It's what your book says. But what if what's on the books isn't true and there's a madman out there with a Tesla weapon? What will the history books say tomorrow?"
Maria looked at Indy with cold eyes. "This concerns me not."
She turned and walked away, leaving Indy standing alone on a Paris side street, holding the journal and shaking his head.
Maria approached the door to her small, third floor apartment and pulled out her key to unlock it when she noticed that the door was slightly ajar. Her breathing quickened and panic filled her eyes. She turned to run but instead came face to face with a well-built man in black. He had dark eyes and a long black beard. The man raised a revolver and pointed it at her.
"We have come to collect you, Miss Rasputin," the man said in Russian.
The apartment door opened behind her and another man emerged. He was dressed the same as the first man and looked almost identical, the same beard and eyes. The second man also carried a revolver. Maria saw a silver emblem on their chests. It was the symbol of the Staret cult.
Maria was terrified, but managed to remain somewhat composed.
"I don't know what you want from me, but if you touch me I will scream."
The first man grabbed her left arm. The second man grabbed the other one and pressed his gun to her ribs.
"Scream as much as you like. Your father's orders do not require that you be conscious when they are carried out," said the first man.
Maria's terror was now apparent on her face as the two men forced her to start walking back down the hall to the staircase that led to the ground floor.
As they passed the cross-section of another hall, Maria heard a now familiar voice say, "Let her go."
The Staret thugs turned to face Indiana Jones, who held a raised revolver at them. Without hesitation, they began to point their own pistols at Indy, but Indy fired his gun above their heads first, shattering a gas lamp on the wall behind them. The sudden explosion of gun and glass startled the dark men for an instant, long enough for Indy grab Maria by the arm and pull her into an adjacent hallway.
"Run!" exclaimed Indy, as they bolted down the hallway.
The two Starets quickly recovered and were close behind them. Indy pulled Maria into another hallway and turned a corner just as their pursuers opened fire, sending bullets into the walls just behind them. Indy led Maria on a circuitous route on the apartment floor, turning corners just ahead of the men following them. They circled around to the staircase and began descending. Indy fired up at the Starets, sending them diving to the floor and giving them just enough time to reach the ground floor. As they exited the building, Indy could hear the sounds of the Staret's feet as they ran down the stairs. The two Russian men would not give up their prize easily.
Indy and Maria ran into a cramped alley and quickly lost themselves in the Parisian labyrinth.
After navigating the maze for some minutes, they came to an alley that opened up back onto the main street. As they turned a corner to exit the alley, Indy stopped Maria and pulled her back. The sound of boots on cobblestone could be heard. Indy peeked around the corner to see the two Starets, revolvers in hand, still searching for them.
Indy looked at Maria, shook his head and pointed back into the series of alleyways that they had just come through. Maria sighed and they both started back into the maze.
After running for ten minutes, Maria stopped to catch her breath and Indy kept watch as he reloaded his revolver. Maria looked up at Indy and suddenly her cold demeanor was gone.
"They were Staret," said Maria.
"Yeah," replied Indy, still watching for the men chasing after them.
"My father sent them."
"I gathered that."
"Dr. Jones, you must believe me, I thought that my father was dead. I saw his body. He was dead."
Indy raised an eyebrow. "Then who is kidnapping scientists and sending men after you?"
Maria had no answer. She simply shook her head. Indy looked down at her and realized that she was genuinely confused. The world as she knew it had been turned upside down.
"Help me, Maria. A man's life is at stake and if your father has his hands on that weapon, your homeland is in danger," said Indy. "And hell, if not for those reasons, then think about this . . . after all of this is over, there might be another book in it for you."
Indy winked. Maria smiled.
"I know many in the Russian exile community. They can help us get to Siberia," said Maria. "If my father is still alive, I may know where to locate him."
Indy took off his hat, wiped his brow and whistled. "Siberia, huh? Good thing I packed a scarf."
"How long is this road?" asked Indiana Jones. He looked out into the snowy night and all he could see was an endless dirt road that extended into the distance.
"One must have patience when traveling across Russia, Dr. Jones," replies Maria with a smile.
Indy sat behind the wheel of a Studebaker convertible with the canvas top pulled back. Maria sat next to him. She took a drag on her cigarette and blew smoke out into the cold, night air.
"Can you hurry it along with that thing? It's a bit chilly," Indy scowled.
"It wasn't my choice to pull the top back. I've never met anyone who didn't smoke."
"I have enough life threatening bad habits. I don't need another one," he replied.
"So be it, the top stays off," she said. The faint impression of mountains came into view in the distance. "There. We're almost to the mountains. We're close to the place my father used to meet with his Staret comrades."
"He used to take you with him? You saw the Staret ceremonies?"
Maria nodded. "Yes. I was just a child. I did not understand the meaning of what I saw them do, the secret rituals. Only later did I realize that my father was dealing with the dark arts. As I got older, the rumors of his true nature began to reach my ears. When he was murdered, I was devastated, but . . . I saw it also as a liberating event. I could finally have a normal life."
"So you fled Russia," said Indy.
Maria took a long drag on her cigarette and exhaled. "Yes. Never to return. Or so I thought."
The car approached a fork in the road. One led left and up into the mountains and the other led right, off into the snowy plains. As they neared the split, Indy saw a wooded sign with hand-written Cyrillic letters that read, "Mountain Pass - Dangerous - Proceed With Caution."
Indy turned to Maria and grinned. "Let me guess . . ."
Maria nodded. "Yes. Into the mountains we go. And Dr. Jones . . . the sign does not lie."
Indy turned left at the fork and began driving up the circuitous route into the mountains. The road narrowed to a little more than a car width. The makeshift wood and rope markers on the edge of the road gave little comfort that they would stop a car from skidding off of the icy surface into the valley below.
The car approached a sharp turn and Indy could feel the wheels begin to spin on the ice below. They began to slide toward the edge of the road and Maria instinctively moved away from the open chasm.
"I see it, I see it-"
Indy yanked the wheel as hard he could and hit the gas at the last minute, sending the car veering away from cliff edge.
Maria lit another cigarette. Her hand shook violently.
"How much farther do we have to drive on this lousy excuse for a road?" asked Indy.
"Not far now. We're close. The caves my father used to meet with the Staret cult are hidden in these mountains. He stole from the Romanovs for years to pay for his activities there. They never knew that they were being used for such things, but my father-"
Maria's eyes widened as the car drove past an opening in the cliff wall and she saw two black, flat-topped cars hidden inside. She looked back to see the headlights of the cars turn on. The vehicles pulled out onto the road and began speeding toward them.
"I saw em'. Hold on."
Indy hit the gas and the Studebaker began to speed up and veer from side to side as it slid on the icy road. The flat-tops increased their speed, as well. Maria looked back just as one of the pursuing vehicles slammed into the back of the Studebaker. Maria screamed.
"They're trying to push us off of the road!" she exclaimed, taking a drag on her cigarette.
"Very observant!" yelled Indy, as he valiantly worked to keep the car on the safe side of the mountain pass. "Reach into my satchel and get my gun."
Maria pulled Indy's revolver from his satchel. "Do you expect me to use this?"
"No," said Indy, taking the cigarette from her mouth and throwing it out of the car. "I expect you to drive."
"What?!" she exclaimed.
Indy took the gun, pulled Maria into the driver's seat and put her hands on the wheel. He climbed over her into the passenger area, sat up and began firing his revolver at the lead flat-top. Maria veered wildly from side to side, taking out a section of wooden markers and nearly sending the car into the ravine below.
Indy fired at the lead car again and it started to slide toward the edge of the road. The car smashed through the barrier and fell into the abyss. The second car pulled away just in time and sped toward the Studebaker.
Indy fired his last two bullets at the second car, but they had no effect. "I'm out!"
Suddenly the Studebaker hit a patch of ice and Maria pulled the wheel hard left, sending the front end smashing into the rock wall . The car's momentum carried it forward on the ice and it began to spin out of control, skidding toward the edge of the cliff face.
Indy and Maria looked at each other.
"I'm so sorry, Dr. Jones," she said,eyes full of tears.
"I know," said Indy dryly. "And I'm sorry about this."
Maria's eyes went wide. "What are you-"
Indy had seconds to act. He tucked his revolver into his pants, opened the passenger side door and grabbed Maria. Just before the Studebaker careened over the cliff, Indy threw himself and Maria from the sliding vehicle onto the icy road. They landed with a thud and slid a few feet, stopping just short of the edge of the road.
Maria grimaced in pain. "You maniac! You imbecile! You-" She looked up as the second flat-top skidded to a stop within inches of them, nearly flattening them. A small squeak of shock was all Maria could muster at the sight of the fender that was inches from her face.
Indy stood and pulled Maria to her feet as two Staret thugs exited their vehicle. The driver was brandishing a revolver and pointed it at them. Indy reached to unhook his bullwhip from his belt just as the second Staret came around behind him and struck him in the back of the head with the butt end of his tommy-gun.
Blackness overtook him and he lost consciousness.
Indy awoke, opened his eyes and cringed as the pain from the blow to his head came screaming back into his senses. He looked down to see that he was tied to a chair with rope.
"Dr. Jones?" Maria's whispering voice came from behind him. He craned his neck as far as he could to see that she was sitting in a chair and that they were tied up back-to-back.
"Yeah, I'm here."
"Thank heavens," said Maria. "I did not know if you were alive or dead."
"You seem to have a real problem with that, don't you?" Indy quipped.
Indy looked around and saw that they were sitting in the middle of a large, underground cavern. To his left was a collection of electrical equipment and various tools. A makeshift workshop of some kind, he thought. Among the tools he saw that his belongings had been tossed onto a pile of unused metal parts. His satchel and bullwhip were there.
To his right stood a wooden train trestle, set high above them with stairs leading up to a platform which sat next to it. The trestle and tracks disappeared into a tunnel. A train sat on the tracks and on one of the flatbed cars sat a strange, metal device. It was made up of two orbs and some coils and had an emitter on one end. Indy had never seen anything quite like it, but he instinctively knew that it could only be one thing; a Tesla designed, directed-energy weapon.
Indy thought it was odd that the entire area, from the workshop to the trestle, was set upon a floor of wooden planks.
He heard another voice come from behind him, speaking in Russian. "Your holiness, he has awakened."
A man in Staret attire came into view and he proceeded to climb the stairs to the trestle. He manned the train and began to prep it for use.
Indy saw two more Staret thugs come into view. They were forcibly holding onto another man, who wore manacles on his wrists. The man wore a light gray suit, had white hair and a moustache and looked terrified.
Indy looked at the older man and said, "Are you hurt, Mr. Tesla?"
Tesla's fright turned to confusion. "Do I know you, sir?"
"Your assistant sent me."
Tesla smiled. "Aaaah, Dr. Jones! The archaeologist who spends his off hours adventuring in the far corners of the wild world! I see Dr. Brody was not simply telling tales out of school, as it were."
"The same", replied Indy.
"I hope this wasn't too much trouble for you," said Telsa.
Maybe he is insane, thought Indy. He looked down at the ropes binding him, "No, not at all."
"Enough of this! It is time to depart," proclaimed a deep, graveled voice from behind Indy. The voice spoke in Russian and had the sound of a rusted car engine trying to start.
Indy saw a tall man move into the light from behind him. He used a cane to walk and had a slight shake to his gait. He had black hair and a beard streaked with twisted strands of silver. The man turned to face Indy and Maria and looked down at them with wild, sunken eyes that did not seem to blink.
"My daughter has chosen not to join me in my mission to return greatness to this land to remove this stench of hypocrisy from this new Russia. This . . . Soviet," proclaimed Grigori Rasputin. "I am disappointed, but clearly she has been corrupted by the West. Her treachery has been noted and I have no more use for her."
Maria turned away from her father. A tear fell down her cheek.
"As I have no use for any of this," continued Rasputin, gesturing at the cave and its contents. "Including you, Dr. Jones."
Indy looked at the face of Rasputin and saw that it was pale, almost completely white. He looked like the walking dead and perhaps he was, thought Indy.
Rasputin turned to the Starets. "Put the scientist onto the train. We leave now."
The Starets pulled Telsa away and up the stairs to the train trestle. The shoved him into the train's caboose and locked the door. They then moved forward to man the flatbed that held the weapon.
Rasputin walked over to a table in the workshop area and picked up a canister of gasoline. He then crossed the cavern and pulled a lit gas lamp off of the wall. As he walked to the stars leading to the train, he casually emptied the gasoline onto the floor. He climbed a few steps, stopped and turned to look down at Indy and Maria.
"When the elixers of life brought me back to this world, I awoke in the fire that my persecutors had intended for my final departure from this world," he said. "I leave you both with the same punishment."
Rasputin threw the lamp onto the floor and the gasoline erupted in a fireball. Indy and Maria both instinctively turned away from the heat. The wooden planks on the floor quickly began to burn and the flames started moving toward them.
"Farewell, daughter," Rasputin wheezed, his eyes widening even more than than they had been.
Rasputin climbed the stairs to the trestle and the Starets pulled him up onto the train. Indy and Maria watched as the train began to move and then disappeared into the tunnel, leaving them surrounded by flames.
As the train locomotive began to churn to life and move the cars forward into the tunnel, Indy felt the ropes that bound him start to loosen. Suddenly they were pulled away from him, freeing his arms. He stood up and turned around to see Maria holding the rope in one hand and her cigarette lighter in the other. Indy saw that some of the rope ends had been burned and torn.
Maria smiled. "If you insist on allowing yourself to get into these situations in the future, Dr. Jones, you may want to take up smoking."
"Or invest in a lighter", he replied.
"It's a good thing that my father loves the sound of his own voice so much. He never noticed me burning through the ropes."
They both looked at the flames that crept along the wooden floor, getting closer. "Get to the stairs," barked Indy.
Maria threw the ropes to the ground and ran to the wall of the cavern, where there was a space between the wood flooring and the rock wall. She crept around the flames and jumped to the stairs, quickly climbing them to a safe distance from the fire. She looked back and saw that Indy was not behind her. He was in the workshop area, where he had already collected his whip and satchel. She watched as he began to search through the collection of tools that lay about.
"What in blazes are you doing?!" she screamed. "We have to get out of here!"
Indy turned to face her and held up a pair of bolt cutters. "Found em'!" he exclaimed. He put the bolt cutters into his satchel and ran straight for the flames between him and the stairs. He vaulted them easily, landing on the first few steps and joining Maria in ascending to the top of the trestle.
They both looked down into the tunnel where the train had traveled. They could see it moving away from them.
"We have to stop that train," said Indy. He turned and looked at the other side of the cavern where the tunnel continued in the opposite direction. He saw a handcar on the tracks and smiled. "Come on," he said, pulling Maria toward the small man-powered vehicle. As they approached the handcar, Indy leaped onto it and reached down for Maria's hand. Maria stared at him incredulously.
"Are you mad?" she asked.
Indy pointed to the see-saw pivot on its base. "It takes two, sweetheart," he replied.
Maria sighed and took Indy's hand. He pulled her up onto the car and she scowled at him. "Very well. But never call me 'sweetheart' again, agreed?"
"Deal," said Indy, moving to the rear position on the car. They both took hold of the see-saw handles and began to pump up and down. The car started to move down the tracks and into the tunnel.
As they moved down the tracks, their speed increased and they moved closer and closer to the moving train ahead of them.
"We have to go faster!" yelled Indy.
Maria shook her head. "Is there any conceivable way we can catch up to it?"
"That train is heavier and will take a while to get up to full speed. As long as we keep moving, there's a chance."
As they pumped the see-saw and slowly narrowed the distance between the handcar and the train, the sound of the locomotive became deafening, as it echoed off of the rock walls.
They were just meters away now, nearly matching the speed of the train. The handcar approached the caboose and Indy could see Tesla inside through the door's window. The caboose had a small platform on its end and a ladder that led to the roof.
"Almost there!" yelled Indy. "When we get close enough, you're going to have to reach out, grab the ladder and climb to the platform."
Maria looked terrified, but nodded.
"Wait . . . wait . . . now!" exclaimed Indy.
She craned her neck to see the ladder behind her and quickly reached out, taking hold of a ladder rung. She pulled herself around the ladder to the platform and looked back at Indy, now alone at the handcar see-saw. The small vehicle began to slow down and the train started to pull away. Indy let go of the handle, ran a few steps and jumped into the air between the car and the caboose. He caught hold of one of the lower rungs and his feet began to drag on the tracks below.
"Dr. Jones!" yelled Maria, reaching down and grabbing onto his jacket. She pulled him up and onto the platform and he caught his breath.
"Let's not do any more train jumping today, okay?" he said.
"Agreed," she replied.
They both looked up at the window of the caboose. Through the glass they saw Tesla, looking at them with a slight smile on his face. He raised his manacled hands and waved.
Indy stood up and approached the door. He twisted the doorknob and found it locked. "Get back!" he yelled through the glass. Tesla nodded and stepped away. With one swift kick, Indy opened the door.
"I'm so glad you could both make it on board!" Tesla exclaimed with a smile. "There's a madman who wants to use my weapon to wreak havok all over the Russian countryside. Can you imagine?" The scientist laughed a bit.
Indy looked at Tesla and realized that the man before him was a little more than the 'eccentric' that his assistant had labeled him. He may be a genius, thought Indy, but like all geniuses, he's also touched in the head.
"You don't say," replied Indy, pulling the bolt cutters from his satchel and breaking the manacles that bound Tesla's hands. "Then we should probably stop him."
Telsa smiled like a child. "Quite, quite."
Indy started to load bullets into the chamber of his revolver. He looked out the window at the other end of the caboose. There was another flatbed car with some kind of cargo tied to it between the caboose and the flatbed that held the weapon. Indy could see a Staret thug standing at the end of the weapon, but he could not be sure if there was another guard at the front of the weapon.
"I'll take care of that goon. Hopefully there's only one on that car," said Indy. "Tesla, you get to the controls and disable your weapon."
"What about me?" asked Maria.
Indy handed her the revolver. "You make sure that no one stops us."
Maria took the revolver and stared at it. "I've never fired a weapon in my life, Dr. Jones."
"Just point and squeeze," he replied. "And try very hard not to hit me."
She sneered playfully at him. "I'll do my best."
Indy looked at them a moment then turned and kicked open the other door of the caboose. The sound of the locomotive covered the sound of the door splintering and Indy managed to run halfway across the first flatbed before the Staret warrior noticed him. Indy leaped over the gap in the cars and came down on the Russian with a clenched first to the jaw, sending the man's head smashing against the side of the weapon. He was startled, but not out for the count. Indy grabbed the man and casually threw him from the train car onto the tunnel floor below them.
Tesla stood on the other flatbed staring in disbelief at Indy's theatrics. "Impressive, sir! Most impressive." He jumped from one flatbed to the other.
"Thanks," replied Indy, handing Tesla the bolt cutters. "Now eighty-six this thing before 'Rasputinski' can't use it on anyone."
Maria approached them, standing at the edge of the other flatbed and shrieked, "Look out!"
Indy turned just in time to see another Staret coming at him from the other side of the weapon. The man raised his revolver and fired at Indy, but missed and hit the weapon, sending sparks flying. Indy and Tesla ducked behind the rear orb of the metal contraption as Maria raised her revolver and fired three shots at the other man. None of them hit him, but in his attempt to evade the bullets he lost his balance on the edge of the flatbed, panicked and dropped his gun. It landed on the tracks below. Indy saw this fortuitous turn of events and ran straight at the Staret. They began to struggle, each one attempting to throw the other from the train. Maria raised her revolver and aimed to fire, but Indy was blocking her shot completely. She jumped to the other flatbed and knelt down next to Tesla, who was bent over the weapon's controls at its rear.
Tesla held up the bolt cutter and looked at it with a perplexed expression. "What on earth does he expect me to do with this?" he asked, casually tossing it from the moving train. He began adjusting dials on the control panel before him. Maria heard a strange humming sound begin to come from somewhere inside the weapon.
Maria looked around the corner of the machine just as Indy grabbed hold of the Staret thug and punched him square in the face, sending him flying from the train. Her eyes went wide as she looked above Indy to see her father standing over him on the coal car.
"How dare you!" shrieked the mad Russian.
But Indy was not concerned with Rasputin, because his attention was drawn to the electrical currents that were now shooting between the nodes atop the weapon.
"Tesla, what are you doing?!" yelled Indy at the scientist.
"Preparing to test my weapon," he replied calmly.
"Test?!" exclaimed both Indy and Maria.
He is insane, thought Indy. If I get out of this alive, I really need to make sure that check clears.
Indy ran to the back of the flatbed and looked down at Tesla. "I said disable it, not fire it! Turn it off, now!"
Tesla stood and shrugged. "It's too late, I'm afraid. The firing sequence has begun." He looked up at the electrical arcs at the top of the weapon as they intensified. The nodes began to throw long sparks into the air.
Indy and Maria looked at each other in shock. They looked back at Rasputin, still standing on the coal car. He was ranting and screaming at them, but they could not hear him over the sound of the locomotive and the weapon, which now emitted an intense buzzing sound.
The train approached the tunnel’s exit and they could see the tracks continue onto a train trestle which spanned a frozen river.
Indy took the revolver and fired the last bullets into the device's control panel. It sputtered sparks and smoke, but the machine did not shut down.
"Dammit!" yelled Indy and holstered the gun. He scowled at Tesla.
"Why did you do this?" Maria asked Tesla, horrified.
Tesla looked back at Maria and Indy. He was obviously perplexed, simply stating, "Well, it needed to be tested if I am to know that it works." He looked up at the weapon. "Any second now . . . "
"Dammit," exclaimed Indy, pulling his bullwhip from his belt. He pulled Maria close to him and put her arms around his back. "Hold on. Tight."
"I don't like the sound of that," said Maria.
"You shouldn't. This probably won't work, but it's better than the alternative," replied Indy, glancing at the weapon as it began to pulse and hum, obviously preparing to fire.
Indy grabbed Tesla by the back of his suit jacket and he leaped from the train and over the trestle railing. Maria screamed, Tesla just stared at his weapon and Indy immediately sent his whip flying through the air and wrapping around the railing. It wrapped around a wooden beam and Indy tightened his grip on the bullwhip's handle.
Behind them, the weapon fired with a blinding flash of electric blue energy and light. The beam shot directly into the coal car and straight through it into the locomotive. Both train cars exploded and Rasputin disappeared in the blast. The fire and energy that was produced tore the trestle apart just below and the entire train began to fall from the tracks into the fire and wreakage below.
"It worked . . . " whispered Tesla, wide eyed.
"Hang on!" he yelled.
Indy, Maria and Tesla swung down on the whip and the momentum of the three bodies carried them up and over the trestle rail. They landed hard on the snow covered tracks.
Tesla stood up and limped a few feet toward the fire and smoke that filled the sky. "It worked, it worked," he repeated, as if in a trance.
Maria was out of breath and in a mild state of shock. "I thought you said there would be no more train jumping today," she said.
Indy stood, grimacing from newly formed bruises on his back. He helped Maria to her feet and she winced from some fresh pain, as well. "We're alive, aren't we?"
"I will say this, Dr. Jones . . . you are not at all boring." She pulled a pack of cigarettes from her jacket pocket, lit one and took a long drag. "This has been quite an adventure. What do you have planned for me next?"
Indy adjusted his hat and smiled.
"Cafe de Flores. You're buying."
Written and illustrated by Otis Frampton. All illustrations were drawn and colored in Photoshop CS4 using a Cintiq 21UX.
"Indiana Jones and the Siberian Death Ray" is a work of fan fiction.
"Indiana Jones" and all related characters & material are a trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd.