Day Seven Hundred Seventy Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I startled awake at an early hour, for a moment disoriented, left wondering where I was. That I was in a cavern was immediately apparent. But I must say I was flashing back to another time and another cavern – when Elijah and I were accompanied by the young bearded man, Stan.

I could not but conclude that he was somewhere near at hand, roaming about seeking our trail.

I arose and cautiously went outside. The sun’s morning rays were stretching over the eastern horizon, feeling their way around the mountain towards our position. Nothing else stirred, not even on the winding path just emerging from the darkness.

Elijah joined me and declared we would stay put for one more day.

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Day Seven Hundred Seventy One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have turned aside after a long day of ascents back and forth across the face of the highest mountain in the area. Definitely our last choice for a way out of the valley.

We turned aside because the way ahead is choked with snow and ice. And Tomas judged it to be too hazardous. Instead he thinks a nearby cavern will lead to a passage that will take us to where we want to go.

So, we made camp inside the mouth of the cavern while he chases down the flutter of air coming from somewhere further on.

Mei begged to be allowed to accompany him, arguing forcefully that no one should undertake this particular task alone.

We agreed.

Rebel Treasure fifty fifth post

Rebel Treasure fifty fifth post

EXT. IN THE AIR OVER NEW MEXICO
Six A-10 warthogs in echelon right formation advance low across the desert.

A-10 LEADER
At IP, coming around for our run.

A-10 WINGMAN ONE
Radar detected.

A-10 LEADER
Blind him.

A-10 WINGMAN ONE
Roger.

A-10 LEADER
I have the entrance, the rest of you up over the top.

INT. FORT AREA BY THE VAULT ENTRANCE
The doorway has just about cleared. Sadusky and his men have Morgan’s men disarmed and corralled.

Riley flicks his miner’s light on and enters.

SADUSKY
(to Agent Stewart)
You take the point with Riley.
(to their Neo-nazi captives)
You can remain here and take the consequences or come down with us and live.

They shrug and line up behind his men and enter the vault.

Sadusky brings up the rear, enters after his last agent, takes up a rope strung out across the fort to the guardhouse and gives a smooth jerk.

CATWALK
Rance has passed across the catwalk to the other end, looking for a way down. Finding none he paces the catwalk in frustration, trying to come up with a plan.

With a jerk of his head he looks back towards the ironclad and now has another factor to consider. It is now descending towards him.

DECK OF THE IRONCLAD
Riley and those following spill out onto the deck. Morgan’s men are herded over to one side and kept under guard. Riley runs to his friends when they appear from the forward section, and throws his arms around them.

RILEY
Am I glad to see you two!

ABIGAIL
Ditto here.
(looking around)
And a special welcome to you, Agent Sadusky.

BEN
(interrupting)
Not to be a stick in the mud, but I think we all better grab onto something solid.

EXT. THE APPROACHING A-10S
The lead A-10 slips back and vectors off towards the cavern entrance. Coming in low, it releases its munition, letting it fly at the target.

The other A-10s fan out side by side and bore in on the rock dome, release their payloads and scoot away.

As the fireball rises from the entrance, their five bombs are silhouetted against the conflagration.

Rebel Treasure fifty first post

Rebel Treasure fifty first post

VIEW FROM ABOVE THE IRONCLAD
The ship nestles down into a web of catwalks at the center of the silos.

CATWALK
One by one they spill out of a gunport onto the catwalk, Mrs. Slidell first. One of the silos overflows with gold dust, which catches Mrs. Slidell’s eye. Rance, though, doesn’t seem interested in any of it. He stands staring intently at the entrance far above them.

MORGAN
What’s the matter?

RANCE
I don’t know, and I hate that feeling.

In the b.g., Mrs. Slidell kicks off her shoes and steps off of the catwalk and over the rim of the silo onto the “golden sands.” Morgan turns from Rance in time to see his mother beginning to climb the mound of gold dust.

MORGAN
Ma! NO!! Come back!

His cry rivets all eyes in her direction. She stops to look back at her son, and plummets from sight.

HORATIO
Ma!

The three conspirators rush towards the silo where she disappeared. Ben seizes the moment and Abigail’s arm.

ABIGAIL
What’s happened?

BEN
Later!

He hurls her back into the ship and follows after her.

DECK OF THE IRONCLAD

BEN
She’s made a fatal mistake.

ABIGAIL
She’s dead?

BEN
Almost certainly. Remember what happened to that boy fooling around on top of that grain elevator?

ABIGAIL
Straight to the bottom?

Ben nods grimly.

ON THE CATWALK
Morgan charges his brother and slams him to the catwalk grate. Horatio looks up, stunned.

HORATIO
What are you doing?

MORGAN
You let her go out there!

Rance watches their exchange in hypnotic fascination. Horatio rises and kicks his brother’s feet from beneath him, then dives on top of him and they thrash about on the catwalk. Rance looks beyond them and catches sight of a safe like structure beyond the last of the silos. He leaves the two battling brothers and moves off to investigate.

DECK OF THE IRONCLAD
Ben and Abigail leapfrog from gunport to gunport locking them down. Between each one Ben casts about looking for something in particular.

ABIGAIL
How are we going to get her back up?

BEN
I’m working on that.
(pause)
I’m wondering if Riley might be up there with reinforcements.

ABIGAIL
You’re thinking the soldiers closed the entrance as a defense?

BEN
Yup.

He spots what he was looking for.

BEN (CONT’D)
You finish off securing the gunports. I think I found what I was looking for.

He pulls on a rope hanging from the ceiling and a collapsible ladder unfolds to the deck. No sooner does it touch down than he bounds up into the opening above.

Rebel Treasure thirty ninth post

Rebel Treasure thirty ninth post

EXT NEW MEXICAN DESERT – DAY
Riding above the haze of heat waves, a train with a dozen cars steams along the razor straight tracks, the only objects in the flat as a tortilla expanse. Two engines, one pulling the other pushing, propel the cars forward towards a distant mountain range.

AN ENCAMPMENT
Straddles the tracks, tents and piles of boxes laid out in neat rows, and to one side a newly constructed water tower. OVERSEERS, armed with bullwhips, watch over work parties of MEXICAN INDIANS that are unloading another train parked on a siding. With a BLAST from its steam whistle the two engine train slides to a stop near the water tower.

Louis emerges from a tent chewing on a cheroot. Seeing the train he reaches back in for his gun-belt, from which dangles his Bowie knife. He sees Lon in the cab of the first engine and waves.

LOUIS
Lon!

Lon dismounts from the cab as Louis walks up. He remains mute and unresponsive. Louis picks up on his attitude.

LOUIS (CONT’D)
Oh, so it’s that way, is it, Commander?

He salutes and Lon returns it.

LON
Tell me lieutenant, is everything shipshape here?

LOUIS
Aye, sir. As soon as you’ve passed we’re sending that train –
(points to the one on the siding)
back down the line and take up the tracks.

LON
Excellent.

LOUIS
And sir, may I see your manifest?

Lon hesitates briefly, then fishes the document from his inside coat pocket and passes it to Louis.

LOUIS (CONT’D)
(scanning the paper)
The last of the Mexican silver?

LON
Aye. See for yourself.

LOUIS
All right, I will. I’ll ride in the back.

CANYONS OF NEW MEXICO – DAY
Sunlight dapples the hilltops but does not penetrate down into the arroyo where the treasure train rolls alongside of a river that snakes its way at the bottom of the canyon.

POV OF THE ENGINEER
Ahead the twilight of the canyon gives way to sunshine. The sand under the tracks sparkles golden as it curves into a massive opening in a rock wall.

E/I ANTE-CHAMBER TO A CAVERN
The treasure train slows as it enters the cavern. Fanning out from the mainline are many branch tracks, and on them rest hundreds upon hundreds of boxcars, giving the whole area the appearance of a busy big city railyard. Work parties of blacks and Indians march along the side of the tracks under the watchful gaze of whip bearing overseers.

The track runs forward and hugs the wall passing by massive stalactites and stalagmites.

A STATION MASTER runs out of his depot, waving a lantern to flag them down. Lon steps down from the cab before it comes to a stop.

LON
What’s the problem, Carl?

STATION MASTER
The new circuit is finished, Commander. You won’t have to back out from the “bank” this time. Give us a moment to switch the tracks.

The station master seizes the rail switch and signals for his ASSISTANT to trip the other down the way. Jesse James appears from nowhere.

JESSE
Mind if I join you, Lon?

LON
Come on ahead, you can help me check off the list.

The treasure train veers off onto the branch line and puffs up a gentle grade and into the mouth of another cave whose lower stalagmites have been broken out, but whose “upper teeth” have been left intact, lending the whole the appearance of the maw of a vicious beast.

UNLOADING AREA
A fire brigade of WORKERS pass along box after box of Mexican silver from the parked treasure train. We follow the last of the boxes to the head of the line and find Lon checking the list under the vigilant gaze of Jesse. Two workers pry open the boxes with crow bars, then MOSES GRANT, a giant black man pours the contents of each one down a chute in the floor.

One of the workers lingers to peer down the shaft after the contents of the last box are committed to it.

JESSE
Don’t even think about it.

Their work done, Jesse and the OVERSEERS begin to collect the workers together and march them out. Lon lingers behind with Moses.

LON
How are Sissy and the twins?

MOSES
(grinning)
They be fine, mighty fine.

LON
Up to a little journey?

MOSES
Is it now? Tonight?

LON
Moses you are leading your people out of here. Tonight we execute the plan. Meanwhile, I’ve got one more thing to do.