Day One Thousand One Hundred Twenty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Both Elijah and I agreed that today would be the day, and though we were prepared, we were not expecting deliverance in the quarter from which it came.

Tomas had returned and I confess my focus was totally on what he had to tell us.

He had neutralized the artillery quickly. Then he went beyond his assigned task and scouted the near elements of the army of the North.

As he described their configuration, a picture formed in my mind’s eye, and I saw Elijah and me easily trekking our way through to our destination.

Before I could even consider the “how” the Supreme Commander rolled in and asked if we could curse the army of the north for him.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Nineteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas was dispatched to the north this morning to pinpoint the whereabouts of the army of the world government – especially those units operating in the vicinity of Babylon.

The Supreme Commander wants to knock out the artillery that has been compounding his problems. And perchance head off any further instances of the purple fog.

Consequently, Elijah and I have been restricted to our building. All for our safety of course, but I have more a sense that it insures the return of Tomas.

Strange, for I thought that the Supreme Commander was more confident in the loyalty of Tomas than of ours.

Perhaps it makes little difference for at base we are all hostages.

And we look for our deliverance.

Rebel Treasure forty seventh post

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SUPPORT STRUCTURE – SOMEWHERE UNDER THE FORT
Ben and Riley wend their way through a vast network of wooden beams, all braced together, arranged around a central cylinder and attached at regular intervals to huge barrels. Ahead, Ben keeps in view, glimpses of a section of wall studded with iron ladder rungs.

BEN
Not long, now.

RILEY
Where are we?
(he stubs a toe on one of the barrels)
And what is this monstrosity?

BEN
A slightly larger version of what Lon used to float that ironclad over the shallows.
(smiles)
Our ticket to riches if we can figure out how it works.

They arrive at the ladder, but the lights on the ceiling continue on down another passage.

RILEY
What now, boss?

BEN
I’ll take the ladder, if it’s a dead-end I’ll come looking for you. And vice-versa.

THE FORT AREA
Morgan prods Abigail along, while Horatio leads the way through the gates and into the compound.

HORATIO
Welcome to New El Dorado, Mrs. Gates.

ABIGAIL
Where the skies are not gloomy all day.

HORATIO
I’m serious, we owe you a debt of gratitude.

ABIGAIL
Call me a skeptic, but somehow I don’t think you’re going to repay my “good deed” in kind.

HORATIO
Sarcasm is hardly becoming, Mrs. Gates.

Mrs. Slidell comes up from behind them, and reaches up to kiss Horatio on his forehead, much to Abigail’s horror.

MRS. SLIDELL
Do I get things done, or do I get things done?

Horatio draws her into a bear-hug and lifting her off her feet, swings her in a circle.

HORATIO
Yes, Momma, and all our dreams are becoming reality.

Morgan looks on, wishing he were a part of the celebration.

MORGAN
The South shall rise again!

HORATIO
Once we’ve set up our empire, nothing will stop us.

ABIGAIL
Spare me your nutjob rantings. I don’t see you in the vault yet. Or are you setting up this empire on credit?

Mrs. Slidell spins around and slaps her, then turns back to her less favored son.

MRS. SLIDELL
And what are you doing about this?

MORGAN
My men are on the way.

A CLOSET OFF OF THE GUARD HOUSE OF THE FORT
Ben emerges out of a trapdoor in the floor of the closet. He looks through the loophole toward the parked artillery. Some of Horatio’s men are packing explosives down through the avenue of cannons.

He walks to the door, and freezes when he sees Abigail in Morgan’s clutches.

THE FORT AREA
As Horatio directs the positioning of the explosive charges, Morgan guards Abigail. Ben saunters up.

BEN
(to Morgan)
I’ll thank you to take your hands off of my wife.

ABIGAIL
(excited)
Ben!
(then sputtering)
You idiot!

BEN
(to Horatio)
No, darling, the prize idiots are our friends here. They’ve just set charges on top of the largest deposit of gunpowder in the Western Hemisphere. And I don’t want you in the same state when it goes off.

MORGAN
You’re bluffing!

BEN
And I suppose you thought those cannons out there were just for show?

A confused Morgan looks to his brother. Horatio beckons to one of the soldiers.

It is Rance, all spit and polish in his combat fatigues.

HORATIO
What do you think, Rance, could this place be mined?

RANCE
Probably.
(looks at Ben)
But I’m willing to bet that he knows another way in. We just got to make him talk.

MORGAN
My thought exactly. We’ve got the leverage.

Morgan tightens his grip on Abigail.

HORATIO
We needn’t do anything rash…yet. Perhaps we can strike a deal.

BEN
Right! How about first of all you return that NSA museum gold…

HORATIO
Ah? You figured that one out?

BEN
And while you’re at it you can cough up that stolen shipment that I was blamed for.

HORATIO
Ever the smart one.

RANCE
Sure. And why not the French treasure trove?
(Ben’s turn to be surprised)
I see you didn’t know about that one.

MRS. SLIDELL
As you see we have a corner on the market, and you cornered. How about you keep your lives and join us?

Hesitation and a moment of decision.

BEN
Sure. Why not?

ABIGAIL
Ben! How could you?

Ben turns to Mrs. Slidell.

BEN
The way I see it, you owe me. Seeing how your carcasses could just as easily have been decorating the walls right now. And I do admit to being a little curious.

MRS. SLIDELL
Then you’ll help us?

BEN
Let me just get the lay of the land.

Though Mrs. Slidell beams with pleasure, Morgan and Rance look none too happy.

[next pt 48]

Rebel Treasure forty sixth post

Rebel Treasure forty sixth post

INT THE HUMMER
Abigail downshifts to slow the behemoth as the tunnel ahead goes into a long curve. Both women have flashlights in hand searching the walls as they pass.

MRS. SLIDELL
Stop!

Abigail slams on the brakes and comes to a complete halt beside another bas-relief carving.

MRS. SLIDELL (CONT’D)
Looks to me like Alexander Stephens.

ABIGAIL
Who?

MRS. SLIDELL
Jeff Davis’ vice president.

A loud CLUNK announces that the weight of the vehicle has depressed a pressure plate.

The section of the wall with the bas-relief carving slides open, and at the same time Abigail notices SOLDIERS emerging from around the tunnel to their rear.

ABIGAIL
And here come his acolytes!

Seeing the opening, the soldiers break into a run. Abigail slams the Hummer into reverse, heading straight for them. Then, brakes into a skid that lines up the vehicle with the entrance. And with their pursuers closing in and the gnashing of gears she squirrels the Hummer through the opening.

THE OUTER VAULT AREA
It is a short trip, for Abigail can’t stop in time to avoid hitting a capstan that runs the door mechanism. The crash sends it flying, and consequently slingshots the door shut behind them, right in the faces of their pursuers, and plunging them into darkness.

MRS. SLIDELL
Well, that was fun. Are we safe or stuck?

ABIGAIL
Safe from their huffing and puffing…for now.

THE CRYSTAL CHAMBER
Water can be heard gurgling somewhere in the dark alongside of the boys as they emerge from a passageway. They stop on a high ledge and watch the water cascade down into a pool that fills most of the chamber. To one side they discover an old wooden stair, and climb down to the lower level. A blank wall greets them on all sides.

RILEY
End of the line?

Ben flashes his light in an arc from side to side. The only obvious entrance is that by which they came, then it lights on stone steps cut in the rock and leading down into the water.

RILEY (CONT’D)
Not another underwater passage!

Ben spots something.

BEN
No. I don’t believe so.

He forges his way over to some machinery in a far recess.

Ropes run from the machinery up into the ceiling. Another huge, unwieldy machine stands nearby with octopus like arms radiating out of its core off into all directions. One pipe along the side hisses harshly. Ben takes a whiff.

BEN (CONT’D)
Gas. For gas lamps. They must have tapped into a natural source.

Ben closes a valve. The hissing ceases and a string of lamps overhead spring to life.

They gasp. The chamber glows an emerald green, accented with clusters of white crystals everywhere.

RILEY
Beautiful!

BEN
Lovely, yes. But not as lovely as my wife. I only pray we haven’t warned anyone that we’re coming.

They follow the path illuminated by the overhead lights, and discover another passage on a blind turn at the back.

THE OUTER VAULT AREA
To their surprise the girls watch as one by one lights begin to ignite around the periphery of the chamber. To their front rank upon rank of cannons stand their vigil around a massive stone fort at their center.

MRS. SLIDELL
Shall we head over there next?

ABIGAIL
You go on ahead. I’m going to make sure there isn’t another open door.

She sets off at a run, picking her way among the parked artillery.

She arrives at a niche in the wall that forms a well. At the bottom she sees another capstan like object and an open door. She bounds down the wooden stairs and seizes the lever release.

HORATIO (O.S.)
You’re too late Mrs. Gates.

Horatio steps out of the shadows, and as she turns to face him, Morgan grabs her from behind.

ABIGAIL
Run! Mrs. Slidell!

The brothers look at one another and smile.

[next pt 47]