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 nineteenth post

EXT. STONE RAILROAD BRIDGE – NIGHT
The train slows to a stop on the stone bridge. Lon drops from the cab and runs back and unhooks the baggage car. He motions to Jimmy, who moves the train forward and stops.

Then, Romeo rides up on the far side of the bridge and there pickets the horses. He meets Jimmy by the engine and together they walk back to join Lon by the baggage car. Jimmy passes out huge crowbars, which they use to tip the car off of the tracks. It hits the water with a tremendous splash and there she rests on her side.

LON (to Jimmy)
All right then.
(motions to the train)
Let’s give the Yanks something else to keep them busy.

Jimmy races forward to the cab, opens the throttle, and jumps back out. As they watch, it picks up steam and chugs away into the night.

And from a place of concealment, the trio watches the cavalry troop split in two. One section rides back to the bridge, while the other chases after the train.

FIELD IN MARYLAND – NIGHT
Lon swings down from his horse and points out to the far side of the field, etched silver in the light of the moon.

JIMMY
Are you sure?

LON
(holding up a sextant)
As sure as the sightings that I took last night.

ROMEO
I don’t see the wagon.

A window appears to open in the ground itself, and a square of yellow lamplight beckons to them. Jesse steps out from under a tarpaulin, bearing aloft a kerosene lantern. Behind him the wagon rests below ground level in a hole.

JESSE
About time you got here. Give us a hand with the shovels.

LON
Let me get a souvenir first.

JESSE
Why not? We all got ours.

The petty officer and Jesse each hold up a golden ingot. Louis prepares to start shoveling.

LOUIS
Sure seems a waste of all our effort. I can’t see how all this is doing the Confederacy any good.

Lon selects a shiny gold ingot with “1860” stamped on it.

LON
It’s all temporary. Maryland is going to secede; and soon General Harper will be marching over from Harpers Ferry and forces will be coming up from Alexandria– we just need to remember where we left it.

JESSE
But what if Maryland doesn’t go out?

LON
Well, then, I guess, at least we denied the gold to the enemy.

The petty officer, Jimmy and Romeo all chuckle.

[next pt 20]

Rebel Treasure eighteenth post

Rebel Treasure eighteenth post

MONTAGE OF THE CAPER
(As described in the past and as it happens.)

LON (V.O.)
Like clockwork–

Romeo follows behind the regimental cook with an arm-load of firewood.

LON (V.O.) (CONT’D)
One of us – my servant – will hire out to the 13th New York. He’ll go between us and Jimmy here–

Jimmy sees a copy of the order and its details, which he reports to Romeo and Romeo passes the information on to Lon.

LON (V.O.) (CONT’D)
He will help as they transfer the gold from the dock to the railroad depot. And just before they leave–

Romeo appears with Jimmy at the open door to the boxcar and shouts up to the platoon of soldiers.

ROMEO
There’s been a holdup, we’re going to get to eat before we leave after all.

All the soldiers hop down from the car except HIRAM, one of the guards, who shuts and bolts the door behind them.

HIRAM
(through the door slot)
Bring me something, Smitty!

LON (V.O.)
Jimmy will go forward and slip up into the engine cab, and announce the departure. And then we’ll take the train!

Lon helps Jimmy bound and gag the ENGINEER and FIREMAN. In seconds, Jimmy has the train underway.

LON (V.O.) (CONT’D)
Meanwhile, Louis, with the prior help of Romeo will have secreted himself in a box inside of the rail car.

The guard, sensing the movement of the car, sits down on the box.

INSERT
inside the box, Louis, his knife at the ready, presses up on the lid and it won’t budge. He’s trapped.

LON (V.O.) (CONT’D)
As I said it should all come off like clock work.
(pointedly to Jesse)
And we’ll meet you and the wagon at the water-stop.

EXT WATER-STOP – NIGHT
In a cloud of steam the train glides to a stop, with the railcar door on a level with the bed of the wagon driven by Jesse and Jonah the naval petty officer. Lon hails him from the cab.

LON
All secure?

JESSE
Aye. The telegraph wire is cut. And won’t no one be bothering us.

He chuckles and exchanges a sly look with the petty officer. Jimmy hops up to the bed of the wagon and tries the door. It won’t budge.

JIMMY
Come on, Louis. Open up! You can’t keep all that gold for yourself!

HIRAM (O.S.)
Who goes there?

INSERT
the guard has his rifle held at the ready. Behind him, boxes have been stacked on top of the box with Louis inside.

JIMMY
(to Lon)
It’s Hiram. I guess he must have discovered Louis.

Lon  joins Jimmy.

LON
You may as well open up, Hiram. We don’t want to hurt you.

HIRAM (O.S.)
No, sir. I won’t. I can’t let you in.

Jesse strides over to the door and pounds on the wood.

JESSE
You open this door, soldier, or we’ll burn you and the car to the ground. You hear me?

HIRAM (O.S.)
All I hear is a lot of noise.

Lon puts a calming hand on Jesse and motions to Jonah.

JONAH (saluting)
Sir?

LON
Let’s get our gear set up.

Jonah, Romeo, Jimmy and Lon soon have a tripod erected over the railcar, and a series of pulleys are hooked to its roof. And to Jesse’s amazement they commence hauling away, and lift the roof right off of the car.

Jimmy makes to leap up to the top of the railcar wall, but Lon holds him back, and a shot RINGS out.

LON (CONT’D)
Now! Before he reloads!

Lon and Jimmy clamber over the top and soon subdue Hiram and release Louis.

LOUIS
(coming out of the box)
Let me at him!
(brandishing the knife)
When I’m through with you–

Lon jerks him back and takes the knife away.

LON
You’re wasting time. We have things to do.

EXT. WATER-STOP – LATER
Louis places the last of the boxes onto the stack loaded in the wagon. Lon shuts the door.

LON
Jimmy! Get the engine ready. Jonah! Jonah you go with Jesse. Romeo you’ll take the horses and follow after us.
(to Jesse)
We’ll meet up at the property.

The sound of pounding hooves rumbles in the distance.

FURTHER BACK DOWN THE TRACK
A company of cavalry pulls up with the water stop in view.

CAVALRY SERGEANT
There she is!

But the train is clearly pulling away and picking up speed.

CAVALRY LIEUTENANT
We’ll cut across to the toll road and cut them off by the stone bridge!

[next pt 19]

Rebel Treasure fourteenth post

Rebel Treasure fourteenth post

INT. HEMSLEY’S TAVERN KITCHEN – NIGHT
The kitchen bustles with activity. Romeo is seated at a crowded servants’ table. Lon talks with his childhood friend and family slave.

ROMEO
Bless me, but haven’t you grown. And such a gentleman.

LON
I’m not the only one. Look at you, you’re taller than me.

A SERVING GIRL delivers a steaming platter to Romeo. She smiles at him coyly and drops a curtsy before dashing away.

LON (CONT’D)
How are things to home?

ROMEO
Mostly the same. Though Sissy done had her twins.

LON
Twins?

ROMEO
Yes sir. A boy and a girl. And there’s gonna be a powerful cane crop this year.

Romeo takes a bite of food.

LON
I can’t wait to see home again. It’s been a long time since we sat around the sugar house together.

ROMEO
Oh, we’re not a-headed home.

LON
What?

Romeo puts his fork down, realizing that he’s said more than he should.

ROMEO
Now, I shouldn’t have said anything about that. It isn’t my place. Massa Clay–

Before Romeo finishes talking, Lon is on his feet and out of the kitchen.

HEMSLEY’S TAVERN
The CLATTER of silverware and the BUZZ of voices lend a cheery tone to the busy tavern. Mr. Clay occupies a cozy table in the corner by a roaring fire.

LON
What’s going on? Romeo tells me that we are not going home.

Clay eats a spoonful of the chowder while waving to Lon to take his seat. Without ceremony, Lon plops down and tries to wait for his answer, but loses patience.

LON (CONT’D)
Did my father send you to encourage me to resign?

Clay looks around for eavesdroppers.

CLAY
Please, Mr. Turner, a little discretion.

LON
Are you going to answer my question?

CLAY
First, let us eat. I am famished.

LON
And I, sir, am famished for the truth!

Clay drops his spoon into the bowl and pushes it away.

CLAY
All right then. No. Your father did not send me to influence you. But he did send me–

LON
For what?

CLAY
I see another uniform in your future, Mr. Turner.
(pauses as his words sink in)
I am authorized to offer you a commission, when the time is right, in the Navy of our new Southern nation.

LON
And why would I not be going home, then?

CLAY
Quite simply, we have a mission for you.

The interest and excitement on Lon’s face glows almost as bright as the fire behind him.

LON
Where?

CLAY
We think you should take a tour of the Caribbean. There are some sons of the South serving in the U. S. Army down in Panama, and we want you to contact them and make a similar offer.

Lon grows thoughtful, dropping his eyes to stare at his bowl of chowder.

LON
Would this new nation have an interest in acquiring a shipment of gold?

Clay’s eyebrows rise in surprise, and he leans forward.

LON (CONT’D)
I have heard that every spring a shipment crosses Panama on the way to New York from California. I could keep my eyes open.

CLAY
Do that! A nation runs on the yellow metal. I shall contact my fellow “knights” and we’ll see what they can do to help. I have a feeling that you are going to go far in your profession.

The blaze from the fireplace illuminates the pin on Clay’s lapel – a golden circle.

[next pt 15]