Day Seven Hundred Twenty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The speck on the horizon has taken on a more recognizable form. Buildings spread out in a line, conforming, I surmise, to the presence of a river or some other feature out of our sight.

The Captain bubbles over with excitement at the prospect of fresh fruit. For he believes he sees groves of trees grouped around the approaches to the city.

Tomas stayed awake late last night smelting the gold from the satellite components. This morning he showed us the results of his labors – four small, shiny rectangles of the precious substance. One for each of us if we wanted to divide them up.

We will make a short day of it. We prefer to enter tomorrow in daylight.

Day Seven Hundred Twenty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Captain went out hopeful but returned disappointed. Tomas had found a downed satellite, from which the Captain wanted to recovery some batteries, but it was too smashed up. Overall, it was little more than the ‘smudge’ it appeared to be from the distance.

Still, Tomas brought back some broken components and he was rewarded this morning when he finally cracked open the casings revealing many parts fashioned from gold.

We allowed him the time to extract the precious metals, but denied his request to return to the site for more.

We pressed on towards another mountain range bordering the northern edge of this desert.

And crossed a wide swath that must have been the track of the massive army.

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 thirty sixth post

Rebel Treasure thirty sixth post

LATER – THE SALVAGE SHIP – CLOSER TO THE ISLAND
Riley helps Ben twist the diving helmet into place. In the b.g., Marguerite hovers over the air pump, fussing with the gauges. Ben speaks through the still open faceplate.

BEN
Time to find out if Jacques Cousteau beat us to it.

Marguerite grabs Ceci and says a few words, all the while glaring at Ben.

CECI
Marguerite says she’s sending an air line and a patch down with you, and another is ready at your call, if you think it necessary.

BEN
Tell her thanks. I was just going to ask for one.

Riley latches his faceplate, and with heavy tread Ben clunks onto a steel grate platform. Riley takes a final check on the GPS heading.

The ship’s crane winches Ben and the platform up and swings them over the side. And with a wave of his hand Ben disappears into the water.

UNDERWATER OFF THE ISLAND
Ben lands in the midst of a field of sea grass. He gets his bearing and heads for the rise of the island.

He clears the sea grass and enters a jumble of large boulders.

Emerging from the shadow of a boulder, he spots her.

BEN
Omigosh!! There she is, boys! I mean guys – er – boy and girls.

There on a shelf close to the island rests the CSS Gray Whale.

BY THE CSS GRAY WHALE

BEN
So far I see only one hole. I’ll try this one patch and check along the other side.

Ben secures the lead patch to the hole, making sure the air hose feeds inside.

BEN (CONT’D)
Okay, start pumping.

RILEY (O.S.)
Roger. Be careful.

Ben keeps a respectful distance as he moves along her side.

BEN
Ah, you’re a beauty!

He stoops to examine a small fissure, issuing forth a stream of bubbles. A gleam of gold shines through.

BEN (CONT’D)
A beauty with a charge account!

RILEY (O.S.)
What?

BEN
I meant the ship, not you.
(pause)
Send down another patch. Make it a foot in diameter.

A flash of light pulses behind him, but when he turns nothing is in sight.

Another air line arrives with the patch, and Ben molds it into place.

BEN (CONT’D)
All clear, you can start the new lines.
(pause)
Is everything all right up there?

The air lines go taut and slowly the bow of the CSS Gray Whale breaks lose from the shelf and inches upward.

BEN (CONT’D)
Houston, we have lift off!

All of a sudden the area is lit in a blaze of lights, and a dozen FRENCH FROGMEN, armed with spear-guns, converge on his position.

A startled Ben raises his hands in surrender.

As the CSS Gray Whale slowly rises to the surface in the b.g., CAPTAIN LECLERC, the lead frogman motions for Ben to follow.

BEN (CONT’D)
Boys, I think we’re being asked to leave.

[next pt 37]

Rebel Treasure thirty fourth post

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INT THE CUTE LITTLE FRENCH CAR – DAY
A tight fit would be an understatement, without the luggage Ben and Riley have squeezed Ceci into the back, but she may as well be in front it is so close.

They disgorge onto a boulevard with a bridge ahead. Then cross the bridge to the island in the middle of the river that runs through the city.

CECI
Did you know that Nantes was once a slave trade port?

RILEY
No kidding?

CECI
Oui. The ships had their home port here on this island. I know all about it because my sister, she has a salvage business that she runs here. There is her ship.

She points to the salvage vessel, moored along a quai.

EXT ST BERTHOLD’S CEMETERY – DAY
Ensconced on a concrete bench high above the main cemetery, Rance watches the comings and goings of visitors, many clutching flower bouquets. His interest piques as Ceci comes in view, leading Ben and Riley. Rance drops his gaze to a scrap of paper at his side.

INSERT
A rubbed etching of the Deveer vault inscription looks back at him.

BACK TO SCENE
His brows knit in puzzlement.

CECI (O.S.)
This left and then right.

RILEY (O.S.)
This is too weird. It’s like a little city in here.

BEN (O.S.)
It’s called a necropolis. A city for the dead.

Rance repositions his earpiece.

E/I THE RIVIERE CRYPT

BEN
Here it is!

The marble walls of the crypt gleam in the sunshine, but the iron grill gate looks forbidding with a huge lock. Ceci slips a huge iron key into the lock, and the gate swings open at her mere touch. They fall silent and step cautiously into the crypt.

With the crunch of grit and rubble beneath their feet, they are greeted by a scene of destruction. Clearly the stone ornamentation of the walls have been hacked off and the results strewn about.

BEN (CONT’D)
Whoever did this did a first rate job.

CECI
And it is fresh. See, nothing worn yet.

RILEY
I don’t know, maybe they were just frustrated.
(he points to the open vault)
Look!

Ben peers into the long narrow vault.

BEN
No gold here. If there had been it’s long gone now.

RILEY
As clean as a bone, but no bones!

CECI
Gold?

BEN
(nods)
We’re a couple of unlucky treasure hunters.

RILEY
A dead end, then?

Ben sifts through a pile and comes up with two slabs that he puts together. They form the faceplate for the vault and the DeVeer inscription can be read.

BEN
Knowing Lon, I’m sure he had a deeper plan in mind.

RILEY
DeVeer sure ain’t here!

BEN
For a guest in a borrowed tomb, he has quite a prominent spot. I wonder why.

CECI
I could consult the cemetery records.

RILEY
I’d say that it appears to point up river to the east.

BEN
But the phrase “not here” could be a clue, as in not that direction.
(he stops and slaps his forehead)
Wait a minute, he’s a sailor and to veer is move off onto the other tack. Take the GPS bearing of the center of the chamber and reverse it.

He whips out his laptop and positions it on the central dias and powers up.

RILEY
Hey, I didn’t notice this before, but it looks like this other vector runs through that island on the river that we crossed.
(peers closely)
And intersects with this line on the other side of…

BEN
…the island at the mouth of the Loire. And under water, naturally!
(looks at Ceci)
Think we could hire your sister’s boat for a little job?

[next pt 35]

Rebel Treasure seventeenth post

Rebel Treasure seventeenth post

EXT. ANNAPOLIS HARBOR – DAY

Five vessels ride their anchors out in the Roads, tended by a flock of small boats plying back and forth, transporting soldiers and supplies to shore.

Three more vessels crowd the dock, each disgorging their contents into the mountains of cargo heaping up on the wharf. A line of freight wagons do their best to cart things away but it’s a losing battle.

U. S. NAVAL ACADEMY WHARF

Jimmy, attired in the uniform of the New York State militia, wanders among the hubbub and chaos of the wharf. At last he arrives at the object of his curiosity, the base of the gold ship.

At present, no workers are busy unloading her. About to take a step toward her empty gangplank, he stops and retreats when he notices Romeo and Lon at the top.

GANGPLANK OF THE GOLD SHIP

Lon turns to the CAPTAIN of the vessel and extends a hand in thanks.

LON
You’ve been most gracious, Captain.

CAPTAIN OF THE GOLD SHIP
Not at all, it was the least that one could do for a fellow officer. I wish you success, sir. Up with the Union, down with the rebels!

Lon smiles, bids him goodbye and he and Romeo begin their descent.

LON
I will head straight to the Helmsley Tavern and will meet you there later. Meanwhile you will be about your business?

ROMEO
Yes, suh. I will seek out the harbor master and offer–
(with a grin)
my services.

A STREET IN ANNAPOLIS
As Lon threads his way through the throng of people, Jimmy keeps him in view. Besides LABORERS and PEDDLERS, most are SOLDIERS like Jimmy, in a multitude of militia uniforms.

On the corner near Helmsley’s Tavern, Lon stops and wheels around. Jimmy pretends interest in a shop sign, when he looks back, Lon is nowhere in sight. Then, before he can take another step, he is seized violently from behind and spun around.

LON
(forcefully)
I’ve had enough of your sneaking–
(recognition dawns)
Jimmy! What the devil are you doing here? And in that uniform!

JIMMY
Oh. Hi, Lon. You know I’ve fallen on hard times when you find me in the garb of a soldier.

LON
What happened?

JIMMY
It wasn’t too long after you left that I bilged, failed the February exam.
(Lon sympathizes)
I wound up at my grandfather’s in Brooklyn, and then Sumter came along–

He looks downcast. Lon puts a comforting arm around his shoulder.

LON
Still have a hankering to be a pirate?

INT. HEMSLEY’S TAVERN
Lon enters with Jimmy and immediately encounters the PROPRIETOR.

LON
My name is Turner. Someone may have been asking for me.

Lon holds out his hand, and they grip one another’s wrist. The proprietor gives him a curt nod in reply.

PROPRIETOR
Yes. I’ll send for the gentlemen. You can wait for them in here.

He motions them into:

A PRIVATE ROOM – HELMSLEY TAVERN

JIMMY
So, I’ve told you all about me, where have you been these last few months?

LON
A-sailing the bounding main.

JIMMY
Ah! Checking out the gold ship!

LON
Among other things.

JESSE JAMES enters, a man of medium height and build. At first he is all smiles and cordiality until he notices the uniform that Jimmy is wearing. With that realization his hand drops and his smile twists into a scowl.

Before he can say a word, Louis Toussant follows him into the room. He swiftly crosses to his friends and initiates a round of back slapping. With this display, the older man relaxes his animosity.

LOUIS
Well I never thought I’d ever see you two again. And together too.

LON
(to Jesse)
You can rest at ease, sir. You’re among friends. Mister?

JESSE
You can call me Jesse. Jesse James from Tennessee.

LON
A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. James.

They exchange a wrist hand shake, and Lon introduces the others.

JESSE
Is the shipment really here?

LON
Yes, we accompanied it from Panama. But from here on in, it’s under a closer guard than we expected.
(looks at Jimmy)
But we’ve figured out some ways around it.

LOUIS
Do you have access to any arms?

Jimmy looks startled. Lon answers.

LON
They shouldn’t be necessary. Not the way we’ve planned it out.

JESSE
(pats his waistband)
Well, I’ve got us covered, if things get rough.

LON
I don’t think we have a worry, it should all go like clockwork.

[next pt 18]