“Someday this island may become a great nation but in this age it remains one of the dark places of the earth.” said Maynard Quinn. It was twelve days after setting off from New Babbage. The Leviathan’s Bane now carried the rescuers across the treacherous waters surrounding the great island of New Nublar. Captain Maynard, with barely a curse, proved he still had phenomenal skills of navigation by threading the glorious Leviathan’s Bane through razor sharp openings in the coral reefs and finding narrow channels through which he deftly steered the vessel. Finally they arrived at the base of a soaring cliff.
At hardly more than an idle, he brought the vessel right up to the sheer rock wall. The passengers stared with wonder through the windows discerning a dark underwater opening into the side of the cliff just ahead. How could the Leviathan’s Bane possibly fit through such a narrow passage? Within minutes, however, Captain Maynard had successfully surfaced the vessel inside an immense grotto.
“We will leave the ship here.” said the captain. “There is a foot trail just over there.” he indicated a path running along the edge of the water. “It leads to a small opening that will take us to the beach around a hidden lagoon.”
“What do we know of New Nublar Captain Maynard?” asked Junie just before biting the tip off the end a cigar then looking around for a light. It was early morning and the party stood upon the sandy beach surrounding the hidden lagoon.
“Not much is known about this cloud-shrouded land other than it is a repository for all that is nightmarish and horrid, that is if you are the type inclined to believe in superstition and local lore.”
“Bugger! if I don’t like the sounds of that.” said Gadget as he took advantage of some crates and barrels to set up a beach side bar.
“I agree with that Gadget kid over there.” said Emerson, “It seems so cliche to brush off superstition and scoff at local lore. That’s an open invitation to bad news.”
“Perhaps I might elaborate.” said Mr. Brother Lapis. “Thanks to captain Maynard’s fine library I have read a great deal about this mysterious island.”
“Okay, hold that thought.” said Emerson raising up his hand. “Before you start educating… Gadget, are you mixing drinks yet?”
“I am sir yes. Wots for you? And Miss?” Gadget looked at Junie. “Bourbon is it?”
“Actually it’s a bit early for that. Can you mix a good cocktail? I like my Old Fashioneds with lime peel and no blasted cherry.” said Junie.
“I ‘ave made a substitute cocktail Miss with wot were available to me.”
“Whatever you can muster Gadget. Make it so.”
“That sounds good.” said Emerson. “I’ll have an Old Fashioned too Gadget. And I wouldn’t mind taking Miss Ginsburg’s blasted cherry.
“It’s a substitute cherry Sir, on account of we aint got no cherries left.”
“Damn that’s unfortunate.” muttered Emerson.
Captain Maynard accepted a dark rum handed him by Gadget with a nod of thanks then checked his pocket watch. “Okay, it is 8:15 am. We have a full day ahead of us and I by nightfall mean to make the River Dharma, the great river that flows from the very heart of this accursed island to the sea. It is on the other side of that large hill. We must hike to the top, then cross over and down the other side. That is where we shall find the tiny village of Macondo. The steamship Mr. Lighthouse hired will be awaiting us there.
It was a much more arduous journey than they had initially taken it for. The rise, though not steep, was steady. It wasn’t long before the muscles of their legs began to burn. Three hours into the trek, as they neared the summit, Emerson, Junie and Maynard were beginning to rue those drinks they’d enjoyed on the beach earlier. During a break, it was Gadget who first noticed the stampeding approach of the most astounding prehistoric creatures any of them could possibly have imagined.
“I believe I recognize those from the books of Captain Maynard.” said Lapis. “They are gallimimus bullatus, an ornithomimid theropod that commonly ran in flocks of 50 or 60 individuals roughly 65 to 145 million years ago. Apparently they are quite bird-like.”
“65 to 145 million years ago! Do you take me for a fool Lapis” said Emerson rolling his eyes. “Prove to me the world wasn’t created in a lab 6 ½ years ago and that all our memories of a time before that haven’t simply been imagined and implanted by others.”
The undercover brother initially reacted to Emerson’s outburst with a look suggesting he wasn’t sure if the man were joking or being serious however he quickly determined it to be inconsequential one way or the other. He resumed with his elucidating commentary. “See the uniform breaks… just like the shifting pattern of a flock of birds evading a predator.”
“Ah gentlemen,” interrupted Junie, “I suggest we continue with this palaeontological discussion behind the shelter of that log. They appear to be…”
“Say it!” Emerson interrupted with a smile.
“Say what?”Junie cocked her head.
“You were going to say they appear to be… flocking this way.” Emerson nodded.
“No,” Junie laughed, “that was supposed to be Gadget’s line and you just took it… but you did manage to make it sound adorable.”
“Adorable? Darn! I was kind of going for precocious there.” Emerson leaned back and scratched his chin.
“Ah well,” Junie grinned, “your precocious is very…”
“Sorry to interrupt you two over there but you might want to RUN!” shouted Captain Maynard from the relative safety of the conveniently large log a mere 10 yards to the side. Lapis and Gadget had also made the run and were safely shielded.
Suddenly the flock of screeching gallimimus were upon them. Emerson and Junie grabbed hands and ran as fast as they could. About a yard shy of the log, they stumbled over an unexpected dip in the ground but unbelievably managed to maintain their footing long enough for Lapis to grab them and pull them to safety. Soon all were safe behind the shelter of the log.
About mid-afternoon, long after the last of the gallimimus had disappeared amidst the trees, the crew approached the bottom of the trail. About a hundred yards ahead were the rather primitive gates of the tiny village. The gates were open and several villagers waved them on. On the ramparts above, looking out over the top of the wall, several more villagers pointed and shouted in the direction of our crew.
“What are they trying to say?” asked Emerson. “It sounds more like a warning than a threat.”
They stopped, exchanging perplexed glances amongst themselves, when from the direction they had come, a horrific and terrifying roar demanded their attention. Turning at once they were faced with a giant beast of truly ferocious intent approaching astonishingly quickly at a full out run.
“Bugger if that’s not the biggest bird I ever saw!” Gadget muttered.
Lapis’s jaw dropped. “That is a Tyrannosaurus rex.” he said in a low voice. “The way I see it we have two options. We can all stay as still as possible and hope it does not see us as he needs motion to focus… or we run like bastards for that village gate.”
“I vote for option bastards.” said Junie over her shoulder as the company hastened to match her most sage retreat.
Within the relative safety of the primitive compound, after the gate had been shut and thoroughly secured, the crew had a moment to breathe a collective sigh of relief. While the villagers’ spears were not sufficiently weighted to pierce the prehistoric monster’s thick hide, they proved to be sufficiently annoying to send it back to the jungle.
With the stress of pursuit lifted the crew’s interest shifted focus. They began to consider their new hosts who carried a joie de vie revelry that was truly quite contagious. The natives, brightly dressed in southern isle style, sang and danced in welcome as they placed fresh vibrant leis about the necks of the new arrivals. It soon struck most members of captain Maynard’s crew just how sensually these islanders moved. It was almost hypnotic. The cadence of their speech had that bounce that sometimes leaves you in a trippy place.
But even amid all this colourful pageantry a wretched beige suddenly appeared; a sad cross between a scarecrow and a circus harlequin. As the children of Epicurus parted way for the gaunt stranger’s staggering approach, Gadget commented under his breath, “Looks like this geezer’s pissed right up like Emperor Crumb.”
“I know that man.” said Emerson to the crew. Then to the man himself, “I know you sir! And so to prove we both serve a common cause, are you not Sir Martin Medeski of Woodshire, former champion of the King and father of Queen Princess, the first of her name?”
“You speak to me of a former life! I serve but one cause now. What can I possibly say of he whose cause I serve?” preached the former knight with a distanced affect and manic fervour: “The man’s enlarged my mind. He’s a poet warrior in the classic sense. Sometimes you’ll say “hello” to him, and he’ll just walk right by you. He won’t even notice you. And suddenly he’ll grab you, and he’ll throw you in a corner, and he’ll say, “You can remember the value of Pi by counting each word’s letters in ‘Hey. I need a large container of leaves!’”
“Maah-loos! Maah-loos! Maah-loos!” The pretty villagers began chanting.