Rebel Treasure fifty eighth post

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ABOVE THE IRONCLAD
With a final teeter, the ship falls forward onto the catwalk and begins to skid down this “track” straight for the swirling water.

BEN (O.S.)
Hang on! It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The ironclad picks up speed and from the moment it impacts the water, the current takes hold and sucks her down and through the hole.

Her forward momentum puts her sideways to the current in the river tunnel, which proceeds to roll her over on her side.

FORWARD DECK
Bodies tumble en masse as the ship heels over. Only two manage to grab onto something solid. Ben and Rance have hooked onto the capstan and are now being hoisted in the air as they hang on.

Water gushes in from every crevice and gap in the outer shield, which drenches the two and threatens to wash them from their perch. Rance, having lost his handgun, tries to maul Ben and loosen his hold. But the steepening pitch of the ship carries Ben away from his reach.

But as the ship rights itself, Ben lets go with one hand, and strikes Rance full force in the face. And as the stunned Rance looses his grip, Ben retrieves the map-case and Rance bounces from the capstan.

THE ANTE-CHAMBER TO THE CAVERN
Is now smaller, the opening having been sealed by the bunker buster bombs. And a sea of water now covers the railroad tracks.

Out from the tunnel the ironclad serenely and regally floats on the smooth surface.

FORWARD DECK
Sadusky’s agents have things well in hand with agent Howie brandishing the Navy Colt revolver over the prisoners.

TOPSIDE OF THE IRONCLAD
Ben and Abigail, Riley and Sadusky check out the destruction from this higher vantage point.

Riley looks back from whence they came, and calls his companions’ attention to the golden hue of the water.

RILEY
I think I’ll take up panning for gold.

Ben looks off into the distance.

Final Jeopardy music.

INT JEOPARDY GAME SHOW SET
Applause. Ben smiles.

ALEX TREBEK
Ladies and gentlemen, we have with us today, Mr Benjamin Franklin Gates of Baltimore, Maryland.

More applause. Ben humbly lowers his gaze.

Abigail blows him a kiss. Riley, Sadusky and Dean Cargile join in the applause.

ALEX TREBEK (CONT’D)
Mr. Gates, we have you here today to offer our apology. We were wrong and you were right. We are going to reinstate your winnings and by so doing, we hope, your reputation.

From the back of the auditorium, the Pompadou sisters emerge. Marguerite holds up a salvage document and waves.

CECI
Riley Poo!

FADE OUT.

THE END

[PS – alternate beginning]

Rebel Treasure fifty sixth post

Rebel Treasure fifty sixth post

INT FORT AREA
A series of dull booms becomes a flashing ROAR, as the combination of explosions punch through a section of the dome. Spider web-like cracks spread in every direction. Then, pieces of the dome fall inward, bit by bit, until it becomes an avalanche, leveling the walls of the fort and anything in its path.

CATWALK
Everything around Rance quivers and shakes. He drops to his seat and wraps his arms and legs around a railing support.

POV RANCE
In contrast, overhead all looks steady and solid, until a jet of water spurts out from the area around the descending cylinder. The stream grows in volume and the ironclad’s descent slows.

DECK OF THE IRONCLAD
All aboard the ship have lain down on the deck in an attempt to secure themselves against being thrown about. The ship stops with a jerk.

RILEY
What was that?

Ben bounds to the gunport to look out, where he sees a veritable waterfall spilling down and filling the hollow areas around the silos.

BEN
Everyone! We’ve got to cut ourselves loose from the spiral staircase.

To make his point he springs to the latches holding the cylinder to the deck and commences swinging away with the fire ax. Abigail waves the others over to a tool box and passes out wrenches, saws, hammers, etc., to all comers.

CATWALK
Rance watches in disbelief as the water level rises up along the sides of the silos. A lot of hammering and similar noise fills the air above his head; and he notices the ironclad start its descent again, but this time swinging towards his end of the catwalk. He leaps to his feet and runs.

DECK OF THE IRONCLAD
With several attachments now loosed, the deck is listing and down by the bow.

SADUSKY
Just two left.

BEN
Hold off a sec. This is real dicey. Everyone forward we’ll let our weight do the work.

They all move forward away from the creaking cylinder.

ABOVE THE IRONCLAD
The ship hangs off center to its normal plane. With a tearing of metal, she slips free of the cylinder and falls to the catwalk, taking it at an angle, wrenching it from its anchors and forcing breaches in the tops of the silos.

The contents of the breached silos slide out into the water.

CATWALK
Hanging on for dear life, Rance rides the bouncing catwalk. Then, the section to which he clings, flips to the vertical, the upper end over the rear of the ironclad. Seeing his chance, he drags himself up and over the top and onto the deck outside the casement.

THE IRONCLAD BRIDGE
Ben, followed by Abigail, rushes to look out the forward slits. Riley and Sadusky join them from below. The water is rising rapidly and consequently contributing to the disintegration of the silos. The ironclad slides further forward, meeting the water and raising the bow.

RILEY
Looks like we’re on our way back up.

ABIGAIL
We’ll be crushed.

THE COUNTERWEIGHT
Snaps loose from its chain and plummets into the water. It strikes the out-of-position catwalk and caroms into the chamber wall, punching a hole through to the underground river on the other side.

[next pt 57]

Rebel Treasure thirty seventh post

Rebel Treasure thirty seventh post

EXT DECK OF THE SALVAGE SHIP
With a French frigate stationed off her port, denying her access to the sea, the salvage ship sits in the center of a circle of rubber dinghies manned by FRENCH SPECIAL OPS.

Ben rides the lift up and over to the deck. Riley and Ceci reach out to guide him in.

RILEY
Sorry, Boss. There was nothing we could do.

A cadre of special ops have command of the wheelhouse. Ben looks around for Marguerite and finally sees her chained to the deck, looking disheveled.

CECI
(pointing to the CSS Gray Whale)
There’s your submarine, She rises.

Another team of French SAILORS swarm over the still dripping Confederate vessel.

Captain LeClerc lifts his mask.

CAPTAIN LECLERC
Property of the French government, from now and to perpetuity.

Over the side and onto the deck strolls Agent Sadusky.

SADUSKY
(to Ben)
You’re one hard guy to catch.

BEN
I see you had help. So, who gets us?

SADUSKY
Lucky me. I had my paperwork in first.

INT JET LINER – DAY
Ben and Riley, shackled and with two GUARDS apiece are escorted through the front hatch into the first class area. Two more GUARDS follow with their luggage. Their guards halt at the last two seats in first class and motion for them to sit down. Those with the luggage pile it in the seats across the aisle. Ben sneaks a peek through the curtain at economy class.

BEN
(whispers to Riley)
The plane’s empty!

Sadusky stops at the hatch, signals to the pilots, enters and secures the hatch himself. All smiles, he takes a seat, and the plane starts to move.

SADUSKY
Well, boys, ready for a little trip?

BEN
(jerks his head at the coach area)
No witnesses?

SADUSKY
Exactly.

RILEY
We’re doomed. This can’t be happening.

BEN
What gives, Sadusky?

SADUSKY
Maybe, no “watchers” is the better word. This has all been for their benefit.
(to the guards)
Go ahead take off their restraints.

The guards move quickly to comply.

BEN
Where you taking us?

SADUSKY
Check your e-mail lately?

BEN
No. Have you been reading mine?

Sadusky nods to one of the guards, who hands Riley’s laptop to Ben.

Ben logs in and a message is waiting for him from Abby:

ABIGAIL (V.O.)
Dearest – just a quick note – here’s the rest of the decryption. Lon talks about a cave in New Mexico and a gigantic vault. I’ve run into someone who is familiar with the area and has volunteered to take me there. Her name is Mrs. Slidell–

Ben grimaces and reads on.

ABIGAIL (V.O.) (CONT’D)
So, give Riley my love. You know you have mine already, but I send it again anyway. See you soon.

BEN
This was two days ago.

SADUSKY
No further news – we lost her.

BEN
You were following her?

SADUSKY
No. An asset from another agency down there spotted her and phoned it in. When he learned of our interest, he kept a eye out. They whisked her away right from under his nose.

BEN
Any leads at all?

SADUSKY
No, I was hoping you might.

Ben opens the e-mail attachment.

[next pt 38]

Rebel Treasure thirtieth post

Rebel Treasure thirtieth post

EXT CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT – NIGHT

The airport tug tows the 757 to a halt at its parking bay and immediately SECURITY OPERATIVES swarm in from all points of the compass, covering each section of the plane and all the hatches or possible means of egress.

INT CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT – RAMP

Uniformed and plainsclothes SECURITY PERSONNEL fill the ramp forming a gauntlet through which the passengers of the flight from Dulles are forced to pass one by one.

With the final passenger departing, HENRI LAZCAR, an officer from Interpol, speaks into his phone.

HENRI LAZCAR
Peter, your package did not arrive.

EXT NATIONAL ARCHIVES – WASHINGTON DC – DAY

An agitated Peter Sadusky holds the door for Agent Dawes and passes it off to the next two agents in line.

ABIGAIL’S SECRETARY’S OFFICE

The SECRETARY, on her feet, faces down the four FBI agents ringing her desk.

SECRETARY
I am sorry, Mr. Sadusky, but Mrs. Gates has left on a trip.

SADUSKY
How long ago?

SECRETARY
Is this official business?

Agent Dawes’ cell phone rings and she steps away from the group.

SADUSKY
Seriously official. We’re at the point of issuing a fugitive warrant for Mrs Gates too.

SECRETARY
Oh, dear. But I’m sure she’s in the air by now. Her flight was scheduled to leave ten minutes ago.

SADUSKY
Where to?

SECRETARY
Canada. She’s scheduled to speak tonight at a symposium.

Agent Dawes rejoins the group.

AGENT DAWES
That was Sileski in the office. Benjamin Gates’ name has just come up as a “person of interest” in the case of a body discovered in Oklahoma.

SADUSKY
So we add murder to the mix. I tell you all hell is breaking loose in this case.
(to a YOUNG AGENT)
Take her statement.

Unceremoniously, Sadusky, Dawes and the third agent take their leave, leaving their comrade talking to the secretary.

INT COACH OF AN INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT – NIGHT

Ben, laptop open, plays a game of solitaire.

PILOT (O.S.)
The seat belt sign is now lit. Please buckle up and return your trays and seats to the upright positions. We are on approach to Bern Airport, Switzerland, and about ten minutes out.

Ben obeys the order and pokes Riley awake.

BEN
Your program really delivered the goods.

RILEY
Good. Where to next?

BEN
To Paris by train where we’ll pick up a car. Then Nantes.

EXT PARIS – GARE DE LYONS – DAY

Ben and Riley gawk in amazement at the miniscule car they’ve just rented.

RILEY
What a cute little French car! Where do we put the luggage?

BEN
I think we’re supposed to sit on it.

ACROSS THE STREET

Rance has angled his rearview mirror so he can keep watch as they fold themselves into the tiny vehicle.

INT THE CUTE LITTLE FRENCH CAR

With a TOOT of his horn and a GNASHING of gears, Ben pulls away from the curb and speeds away from the station.

RILEY
Let’s see what’s on the radio.

BEN
You sure? I wonder if this car has the power to run both the engine and the radio.

Riley punches the button and Ben backs off on the gas, resulting in an immediate slowdown. He gets the look he wants from his friend and with a laugh stomps on the accelerator.

EXT THE CUTE LITTLE FRENCH CAR

As the car picks up speed and pulls away, we hear their radio blaring the traditional French ACCORDION MUSIC.

Then, a button is punched, changing the channel and FRENCH RAP pulsates, as we fall behind the cute little car.

BEN (O.S.)
I don’t think so!

Another button is punched and COOL JAZZ, French-style, issues forth, as we fall further and further behind.

Until we are in the front seat with Rance who has them in view, traveling in DEAD SILENCE. He is a dark shadow passing through the French countryside.

INT. THE CUTE LITTLE FRENCH CAR – LATER

Ben looks up to the rearview mirror and the road behind them is completely empty.

RILEY
Nantes, next exit.

A sign also appears for Mont St Michel. Riley longingly stares at it as it passes by.

RILEY (CONT’D)
Ben?

BEN
No. No time. Now we need to find a cemetery, somewhere to the south. But let’s look for an internet cafe first and check in with Abby.

[next pt 31]

Rebel Treasure twentyninth post

Rebel Treasure twentyninth post

INT WAITING AREA – DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Abigail peers through the glass at the climbing plane.

SADUSKY (O.S.) (a shout)
Mrs. Gates!

Agent Sadusky and his assisting agents swarm to where she is.

SADUSKY (CONT’D)
Was your husband on that plane?

She steps away without a word, Sadusky follows her.

SADUSKY (CONT’D)
He never notified my office that he was leaving the country. He’s broken the condition of our little agreement.

ABIGAIL
It was an emergency, I assure you.

Agent Dawes joins the group.

AGENT DAWES
(to Sadusky)
Flight 22 to Paris.

SADUSKY
(to Abigail)
You know I could have that plane turned back.

ABIGAIL
Somehow I don’t think you really want to do that.

SADUSKY
That’s right. No sense inconveniencing upstanding citizens. But your husband is going to find a warm reception for him and he’s going to wish we caught him here.

INT COACH OF AN INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
Riley’s laptop BEEPS once and Ben opens one eye. Since his friend doesn’t stir, he reaches over and lifts the lid.

In a corner of the screen a box flashes the text: “Plan B working. Abigail.”
And below that another message:
“Key found. Show results? Y/N”

STEWARDESS
(whispering over Riley)
Care for a beverage?

BEN
No thanks. I’m settling in for a good read.

Across the aisle Rance watches the laptop with interest. He sports a high turtle neck, the better to hide his tatoos.

INT THE CSS GRAY WHALE – DAY

LON (V.O.)
Her exterior, magnificent as it was, did not prepare me for what she contained inside.

Lon follows Ross from station to station on the operations deck of the vessel. There is an air of quiet efficiency, maintained by the crew, hand picked by Ross.

ROSS
We’ll confer later and assign your men to suitable positions.

Jimmy enters from aft.

JIMMY
Lon, this ship has two engines, one forward and one aft, each drives a propeller.

ROSS
They make her quite fast.

LON
How fast?

ROSS
Say 25 knots.

Mr. Clay descends the ladder onto the operations deck. Ross notices him and goes immediately to him.

ROSS (CONT’D)
Mr. Clay! Glad to see you. Have you any news about my payment?

CLAY
We’re very close, Mr. Keenan. I should think by tomorrow.
(He pulls Lon aside)
Well, Captain Turner. How do you like her?

LON
She’s a wonder, but frankly I’m concerned. I am not fully convinced that she’s seaworthy.

CLAY
Count on it Ross knows his business. But for now, I have another project.

LON
I knew it! We’re errand boys again!

CLAY
And a very important errand. I don’t think you’d be surprised to hear that we are losing the war.

Lon registers shock.

CLAY (CONT’D)
Come now, you’ve heard the news. It’s all bad. We need to take measures for the future of the cause.

LON
You mean – a guerilla war?

CLAY
Yes. Not immediately, but eventually, and we’ll need to be prepared.

LON
More gold.

Clay nods.

CLAY
We are going to take everything we have here in France out.

LON
How much?

CLAY
Three and a half million, minus what we owe for this vessel.

LON
I mean, how much does it weigh?

CLAY
I’d say a couple of tons.

LON
We can easily swap it in for ballast then.

[next pt 30]

Rebel Treasure twentysecond post

Rebel Treasure twentysecond post

PARKING GARAGE RAMP
Ben and Riley slow to a trot, and Morgan finally catches up to them.

BEN
Good! With three of us, we should corner him. I’ll slip behind him from the exit here. On my signal, you two charge him from the front.

They split up to their designated positions.

RILEY AND MORGAN
stop at the entrance and look back. Morgan motions for Riley to stay and goes out to peer around the corner.

MORGAN’S POV
The black pickup rests by the curb. Rance is just entering the vehicle and fires up the engine.

Morgan sees Ben burst out of the exit and make for the tailgate of the truck. Morgan steps out to break into a run, but trips and falls, entangling Riley’s legs and bringing him down too.

EXT. BEN AND THE TRUCK

The truck revs and slams into gear. Ben pours it on and just manages to hook his hands onto the tailgate.

The truck fishtails out into traffic with Ben clinging on. He manages to get his feet on the bumper, and with a heave, catapults himself over the tailgate and into the truck-bed.

Traffic, stopped at a light, forces Rance to slam on the brakes, which slams Ben feet first into the cab. As Ben looks up he catches a glimpse of the close-cropped Rance. A tatoo of twin SS lightning bolts graces the back of his neck.

Ben casts about the truck-bed and comes up with a sharp sliver of metal. He hangs over the side and punctures first one rear tire, then the other. As the tires flatten and settle on their rims, Ben hops down and runs forward, just as the light changes and Rance begins to move.

Ben hears a low HISS, and is shocked to see the tires re-inflate, and the door handle he was about to grab, slips from his grasp, as the pickup roars away.

Riley and Morgan join Ben.

RILEY
Did you see that?

MORGAN
Who was that guy?

RILEY
You’re beginning to sound like me.

BEN
I don’t know. But I’m going to find out.

INT. FBI HEADQUARTERS – AGENT SADUSKY’S OFFICE – DAY
AGENT SADUSKY reclines in his chair with his feet elevated on his desk, a wet paper towel draped over his eyes. Ben arrives at the open door and knocks politely. Sadusky swings his feet to the floor and removes the towel.

BEN
Rough day on the job?

SADUSKY
Just doing my impression of blind justice. What to you want, Gates? You here to confess?

BEN
Confess to what?

SADUSKY
What you did with all that treasure, of course.

BEN
I told you all I know. And you know I didn’t take anything.

SADUSKY
Well, come in and take a load off.
(Ben seats himself)
Just so you know, I’ve run out of suspects so I’m going back through my list and checking it twice, and you’re pretty close to the top in the naughty department.

BEN
Bring it on, I’ve nothing to hide.

SADUSKY
So what are you here for?

BEN
I want to report some strange goings-on.

SADUSKY
If this is some UFO sighting, you’ve got the wrong department.

BEN
No, this is a KGC sighting. Have you ever heard of the Knights of the Golden Circle?

SADUSKY
Okay, I’ve heard of them. Aren’t they some defunct Southern group?

BEN
Yes. But I’m beginning to wonder if it might have resurrected itself. Some friends and I were checking out leads to a buried treasure in the Smoky Mountains and were assaulted by men in helicopters. And one of them followed us here to D.C.

SADUSKY
In a helicopter?

BEN
No, a pickup. And one that was decked out with re-inflatable tires.

SADUSKY
Impressive. What connects these incidents to the KGC.

BEN
The treasures are purported to have been buried by them. And if it were still around they would understandably be interested in protecting their caches.

Sadusky turns around to his computer terminal and starts a query.

SADUSKY
It says here that some of our agents out west are tasked with keeping a watch on some neo-Nazi types going by that acronym.(he types some more)
I’ll report your sighting to them.

BEN
Neo-Nazi fits. I got a look at one of our assailants. He had an SS tattoo on his neck.

SADUSKY
I’ll keep an eye out. In any event I’ll be calling.

[next pt 23]