Rebel Treasure fifty seventh post

Rebel Treasure fifty seventh post

ON TOP OF THE IRONCLAD
Battered, but determined, Rance has worked his way up to the top of the casement. Crawling to the hole left by the detached cylinder, he peers down into the darkness. He sees nothing. Grabbing the edge of the opening, he lowers himself full length before dropping to the deck below.

UNDERWATER
The force of the water is eroding a larger opening and gushing into the passageway carrying the subterranean river, filling it completely.

The water commences to swirl, forming a vortex.

THE IRONCLAD BRIDGE

SADUSKY
Maybe, if we float free, we can maneuver her.

ABIGAIL
Maneuver her where?

BEN
(to Abigail)
He’s thinking of lining her up with the entrance to the lift chamber.

RILEY
Maneuver, how? There’s no engine in this beast. Not even any oars.

SADUSKY
Let’s do something!

A shudder runs through the deck, and all nearly topple.

INSERT
The keel of the ship settles into the center of one of the catwalks and is left teetering on the edge of a section that slopes down to the burgeoning hole.

BACK TO SCENE

ABIGAIL
We’re no longer rising? That’s good isn’t it?

Riley catches sight of the forming whirlpool through the slotted windows.

RILEY
Oh, oh!

Ben follows his gaze.

BEN
The decision is about to be made for us.

He bolts for the ladder, calling back:

BEN (CONT’D)
Get everyone aft, now!

FORWARD DECK
All of Sadusky’s agents and Morgan’s soldiers are seated on the deck, backs toward him, when Ben rushes up.

Rance, standing guard, trains one hand gun in their direction, and turns another on Ben.

RANCE
Ah, Mr. Gates. Please have a seat.
(sees the red map-case)
I’ll take that.

BEN
We can’t stay here!

RANCE
I agree, but for now–

Rance hands one gun to the Third Soldier and takes the map-case from Ben.

BEN
(seeing the others approaching)
No! Don’t!

Too late.

[next pt 58]

Rebel Treasure forty eighth post

Rebel Treasure forty eighth post

PASSAGE – DEEPER UNDER THE CAVERN
Riley flashes the miner’s light down the passageway, illuminating a series of side passages.

RILEY
Eeenie, meenie, minee…

A shout floats out of the smallest passage right next to him.

RILEY (CONT’D)
Uhn, uhn. It’s Ben’s turn to climb down the dirty rat hole.

There comes a BANGING of rock on metal and the sound of VOICES. Riley sighs and climbs up and into the tube-like tunnel.

STONE DUNGEON
Sadusky huddles with some of his men out of sight of the main door and the only light.

AGENT DAWES
There’s nothing in that direction but a long tunnel and a dead end.

SADUSKY
Damn! What’s keeping Howie and Stewart?

AGENT DAWES
Maybe it’s good news.

Agent Howie emerges out of the shadows and into their circle.

AGENT HOWIE
We found something.

DUNGEON OFFSHOOT
Sadusky and his men trail behind Agent Howie.

AGENT HOWIE
We were just at the point of turning back, then all of a sudden these lights turned on. So Stewart went on ahead and I came back for you.

The tunnel widens and forms a chamber with an exit of the tube tunnel at the other end.

RILEY
Agent Sadusky, am I glad to see you!

SADUSKY
How’d you get here? No, that’s not important. Can you get us out of here?

AGENT STEWART
(from around the corner)
We’ve almost got this grill loose.

SADUSKY
And I suppose Mr. Gates is with you?

RILEY
Sort of. I’ll take you to him.

FORT AREA
Guards hem Ben and Abigail together in the central area, while Rance and his soldiers fan out to check all the nooks and crannies of the fort.

Up on the tower above the guard house, one of two soldiers examines the Gatling gun.

SOLDIER ONE
Hey, this thing is loaded!

SOLDIER TWO
That’s not what we’re looking for.

SOLDIER ONE
What are we looking for?

SOLDIER TWO
Some kind of wheel or valve or something.

SOLDIER ONE
What’s it do?

Down below, a third soldier comes running from the other guard house.

SOLDIER THREE
I think I found it!

[next pt 49]

Rebel Treasure forty fifth post

Rebel Treasure forty fifth post

UNDERWATER TUNNEL
Ben has taken to the water like an otter. Riley, on the other hand, maintains the grace of a drowning cat.

Ben breaks the surface and feels his way towards the ledge. Riley follows suit, helped along by the taut rope.

LEDGE
Ben flops out of the water and bounds to his feet, braces himself and begins to pull on the line. However, it comes too easily as the line has gone slack, and he can see the form of his friend being swept towards the roaring waterfall.

Then, before he can react, the rope has reached its limit and drags him back into the water.

EDGE OF THE WATERFALL
The bottom half of a stalagmite parts the waters at the lip of the waterfall. Riley tumbles through the white water to one side of the stubby rock while Ben goes down the other channel, snagging a hand-hold on the other side.

Riley’s descent is arrested by the rope between them, momentarily, then begins to drop inch by inch.

BEN
Hang on, Riley! I think I’ve got you!

RILEY (O.S.)
Uh. You can let go now. I’m down.

BEN
What?

RILEY (O.S.)
I’m on terra firma. Pay off the rope and come on down. It’s a short drop.

Ben descends in a smooth, controlled fall, landing on his feet just to the other side of Riley. They splash over the ledge and climb up to the passage. Ben takes out the helmets and gives one to Riley.

BEN
Onward and downward.

THE RING TUNNEL
Abigail lumbers along in her Hummer, with Mrs. Slidell bringing up the rear. Her head swivels as she catches sight of a carving on the wall. She motions to Mrs. Slidell and they both slow to a stop. Abigail hops out and runs to the second Hummer. She halts in front and directs Mrs. Slidell forward onto a pressure plate, which is lined up with a carving of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

INT THE HUMMER
Abigail runs through the gears quickly and barrels down the tunnel.

ABIGAIL
Okay, pop the hood, then bring the keys and come with me.

MRS. SLIDELL
Are you going to tell me what we’re doing?

ABIGAIL
Getting us into the vault. Watch for carvings on the wall.

MRS. SLIDELL
Carvings?

ABIGAIL
Yeah. Like, maybe Jeff Davis or Robert E. Lee.

ANTE-CHAMBER TO THE CAVERN
Sadusky and his crew have fanned out in a semi-circle and press hard upon one of Horatio’s teams.

SADUSKY
You’re cut off, gentlemen, the game is up.

ONE OF HORATIO’S TROOPERS
You have no authority here.

A couple of Sadusky’s men chuckle under their breath at this. Then, from behind them:

HORATIO
He’s right. No one move!

Sadusky and his men freeze. Sadusky looks to his men and a red laser dot has settled on each of them.

HORATIO (CONT’D)
Put your weapons down, slowly!

SADUSKY
Stand down, men. They have the advantage.

STONE DUNGEON
Horatio and Morgan have herded Sadusky and his men into a stone cell, fitted with an iron grate.

HORATIO
(to Morgan)
And have our other prisoners “escaped” as planned?

MORGAN
(nodding)
I expect my team should be calling in any time now.

[next pt 46]

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 thirty fifth post

Rebel Treasure thirty fifth post

EXT WATERFRONT NANTES – POMPADOU SALVAGE – PRESENT
The trio piles out of the cute little French car and leave it on the street in front of the ancient stone building. It is recognizable as the same used by Ross Keenan, only a century older and more begrimed.

RILEY
(to Ben)
Looks like Ebenezer Scrooge lives here.

Ceci ushers them through the building to:

INT THE SALVAGE BOAT
MARGUERITE POMPADOU, a tugboat of a woman, rises from feeding a passel of mewing kittens. Her surprise dissolves when she catches sight of her sister.

MARGUERITE
Cecille? Qu’est-ce que c’est?

CECI
Allo, ma cherie soeur. Ce sont mes amis nouveaux.

Ben’s gaze falls on a painting mounted on the wall.

BEN
Riley! Look!

There in canvas and oils is a depiction of the encounter of the Gray Whale with the Preble. Ben is dumbstruck.

RILEY
Well, I’ll be!

CECI
Mon grande arriere grand-pere, he painted it.

BEN
Are there any other records?

MARGUERITE
Pah! Old men’s stories! More crazies, fools in search of this submarine?

Ben places his gold ingot in the palm of her hand.

EXT THE SALVAGE BOAT – DAY
The basso profundo CHUG CHUG of the boat’s diesel engines reverberates across the waters of the river Loire. She easily overtakes and passes boat after boat.

ON SHORE
With binoculars held in one hand and a satellite phone in his other, Rance follows their progress and listens:

HORATIO (ON PHONE)
You are never to do that again. I told you to follow, not to go it on your own.

RANCE
But, sir, I thought…

HORATIO (ON PHONE)
I do the thinking. And now I’m going to have to call in extra help.

RANCE
But, sir, if you bring in the French…

HORATIO (ON PHONE)
They won’t know who they’re helping. Now, get back here!

Rance switches off the phone in disgust.

INT WHEEL HOUSE – THE SALVAGE BOAT
With a meerschaum pipe clenched in her teeth, Marguerite has full command. Swearing under her breath she reaches for the signal chain and yanks a couple of angry BLASTS on the horn. She mutters something else.

BEN (to Ceci)
What did she say?

CECI
I am embarrassed to say.

Marguerite addresses a question to Ceci.

CECI (CONT’D)
(to Ben)
She is asking about your qualifications to dive.

BEN
Tell her, I was trained in the U.S. Navy. I can handle it.

Ceci passes on the word, and gets a reply.

CECI
She says good. She has a lot riding on this venture.

BEN
Judging by those papers she had us sign I don’t doubt it.

At this, Marguerite turns from the wheel and grins.

EXT THE SALVAGE SHIP – OFF THE ISLAND
Riley looks up from a monitor and smiles at Ceci.

RILEY
Your sister has a nice remote.

She smiles in return and points at the screen.

CECI
Why are you heading it that way?

INSERT OF MONITOR SCREEN
A very rocky bottom swims by under the lens of the remote viewing device.

RILEY
This is the bearing we have from our source. He has been very accurate.

BACK TO SCENE

BEN
Hold it! Back it up and head down to the right.

Ben points at a dark area on the screen.

BEN (CONT’D)
(to Ceci)
Ask your sister to move us in closer.

[next pt 36]

Rebel Treasure twentyfourth post cut scene

Rebel Treasure twentyfourth post cut scene

Today’s segment is actually from the first draft and was removed from the third that I am currently posting.  It does not flow from last week’s, as you will see.  Last week’s and next were changed to fit together.  This post has the protagonists visiting the NSA museum to review the archaeological artifacts buried on their property by Lon and his  cohorts mentioned elsewhere in the script.

Hopefully you will find this alternate scene of some interest.

LATER
Ben takes his eyes off of the road ahead to check the vehicles following theirs.

ABIGAIL
Something to do with your “minor glitch?”

BEN
Just cautious, Hon.  There are some forces at work that we’re just not sure about.

ABIGAIL
Hence, your visit to the FBI?

BEN
Yeah.  I talked to Agent Sadusky. He had some intel that tends to confirm my suspicions.

ABIGAIL
So, you going to keep me in suspense?

BEN
Sorry, dear.  It seems that the KGC is still around and it looks like it has morphed into some type of neo-nazi outfit.

ABIGAIL
And they’re after you?

BEN
Let’s just say, at this point, our paths have crossed.

INT NSA MUSEUM OF CRYPTOLOGY – NIGHT
An UNIFORMED GUARD leads Abby, Ben and Riley to the front glassed-in entrance, unlocks the door and lets them in.  CONRAD TOOMBS, the curator, steps forward to greet them.

ABIGAIL
Dr. Toombs, may I thank you again for this courtesy.

CONRAD
Not at all, Dr. Gates.  From what you told me your husband may be able to clear up some mysteries attached to our little find.

He turns to Ben and has a moment of recognition.

CONRAD
Have I met you before?
(before Ben can respond)
I have it!  Jeopardy.  You missed that question on Confederate submarines.

BEN
Guilty.  But I live in hopes of vindication.
(he holds up the journal)
This may have the answers we both seek.

THE CALIFORNIA GOLD EXHIBIT
In a display case, upon a bed of deep red crushed velvet, several gold ingots of various sizes rest glittering under the yellow lights.

RILEY
What are those markings?

BEN
(before Conrad can answer)
Those are the assay marks, noting the weight and purity of that particular ingot.
(turns to Conrad)
Right?

CONRAD
Exactly.

BEN
But is this all there is?

CONRAD
Oh, no.  Forgive me.

He steps to the wall and opens a hidden cover and flips a switch underneath.  The wall behind the exhibit changes from opaque to transparent giving us a view into a room beyond.  There, stacks of boxes fill the room, some of which are open, revealing their contents.

ABIGAIL
Impressive!

RILEY
(pointing)
Are those the remains of the wagon that were buried with the gold?

CONRAD
Yes, we’ve arranged it in the configuration that we found it.

BEN
Can we go in and examine it up close?

For answer, Conrad pushes a button within the same control box and there is a HISS of air and panel slides to the side.

THE DISPLAY ROOM
As Abby, Riley and Conrad look on, Ben hops all over prodding into every nook and cranny.  He points to some coins.

BEN
May I?

CONRAD
Sure,  Go ahead.  We believe most everything here is from the California gold shipment that disappeared along the rail line here in May of 1861.

BEN
Most?

CONRAD
Yes.  There are a few odds and ends that date from later.

BEN
Like these coins.

RILEY
How odd!

BEN
Not really.  It just means that the KGC kept it in use as an active repository.

CONRAD
A repository?  Interesting!  That may explain this.

Conrad stoops to pick up one of the box lids and turns it over.

RILEY
(excited)
There’s our friend, “J J” again.

BEN
So it is.
(Abby shoots him a look)
I’ll explain later.
(to Conrad)
How is your security here?

CONRAD
State of the art.  That box outside controls more than you can see.

RILEY
(to Abby)
Pressure sensitive plates.  Light beam alarm system.  Heat sensors.  A fly would have a difficult time in here.

BEN
Is this the only board with any writing on it?

CONRAD
(nodding)
That’s all we’ve found, and we’ve been over it very carefully.

BEN
(to Riley)
It looks like Lon never returned to this site.
(to Conrad)
Why don’t you give me your e-mail and I’ll send you a copy of what I’ve decoded so far from this journal.  It’ll tell you how this all came to be here.

INT ABBY’S CAR

ABIGAIL
So, the outlaw Jesse James is tied up in this affair somehow?

BEN
Impressed?

ABIGAIL
Not really.  I’ve got ancestors that knew Blackbeard the pirate.

RILEY
I once met Ted Bundy.

BEN
Blackbeard the pirate, really?

ABIGAIL
(in a sudden revelation)
You’re still after that submarine, aren’t you?

BEN
Hot on the trail.

EXT – THE FREEWAY – FROM ABOVE
As Abby’s car heads towards the lights of Baltimore, a van comes onto the freeway in the opposite direction.

Horatio and Morgan are dressed as maintenance workers.

BEN (O.S.)
I’m getting real close to that part of the story in Lon’s journal.

MORGAN
You sure about this?

HORATIO
Nothing to it.  Piece of cake.  And it’s going to pay dividends in spades.

[next pt 25]

Rebel Treasure twentythird post

Rebel Treasure twentythird post

INT HQ OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE – HORATIO’S OFFICE
A single desklamp sheds its cone of light on Horatio and his desk full of work, when Morgan enters.

MORGAN
I’m back.

HORATIO
I see. Where’ve you been?

MORGAN
I dropped the boys off at the FBI building.

This brings Horatio to his feet.

HORATIO
Did you follow them in?

MORGAN
No, I couldn’t think of a good enough excuse. I tried to stake out the lobby, but Riley was there so I just left.

HORATIO
Just wonderful. More bad news.
(Morgan reacts)
Someone found the body of your trespasser.

MORGAN
Bound to happen, I was all for dumping him out in the boonies, but Ma figured what better place than his own property.

HORATIO
Well, just maybe it’s not so bad news now. Sooner than we planned, but–
She left the items you told her to?

MORGAN
I’m sure. You know Ma, she’s thorough.

HORATIO
Good. We’re going to call in the tip.

MORGAN
What, now? We haven’t found the central deposit yet!

HORATIO
Oh, but we have. We have a positive ID on an artifact.

MORGAN
You’re going to burn Ben and his friend?

HORATIO
Yup, right after we get back from taking back what belongs to the KGC.

INT ABBY’S CAR – NIGHT
Abby watches the boys load the trunk and then pile in.

RILEY
Dibs on the back seat!
(to Abby with a yawn)
Mind if I sack out?

ABIGAIL
(laughing)
No, go right ahead, just no snoring.

BEN
Watch it chum. She has this thing about snoring.

Ben slides in beside her. She looks longingly at him, but he just leans over and kisses her rather perfunctorily.

ABIGAIL
Such enthusiasm.

BEN
Sorry, Babe. I’m on autopilot.

ABIGAIL
And pure adrenaline. I think I’ll call the museum curator and postpone our meeting.

BEN
You called the curator?

ABIGAIL
You betcha. He’s coming in early tomorrow just for us.

BEN
I could kiss you.

ABIGAIL
You had better, that other was one lousy kiss.

[next pt 24] You may skip this one as it was cut, and the script before and after was changed. Just because it may be interesting.

[next pt 25] The flow goes this way.

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]

Rebel Treasure twentieth post

EXT. ROADSIDE MINIT MART – DAY
Riley fuels the SUV while in the B.G., Morgan places a call on a payphone. Ben paces back and forth in the foreground, cell phone in hand.

Exasperated, he takes it from his ear and presses the end button.

RILEY
No answer?

BEN
Line’s busy.

AT THE PAYPHONE

MORGAN
What do you mean we gave YOUR men a scare?
(pause)
I’ll say you did. I for one am going to need a change of underwear.
(pause, then sarcastic)
Well, I’m glad to hear you recovered the treasure, but you messed up the chance of our finding an even bigger one.
(pause)
Exactly.
(pause)
Yeah. I told them about you. Said you were a high mucky muck in the government and would look into the “incident.”
(pause)
I agree with Ma, these guys are going to lead us to the jackpot.

BACK TO BEN

BEN
Abby?
(pause)
We’re in Tennessee, on the way home.
(pause)
Just a little trouble.
(pause)
I’ve turned up Lon’s logbook.
(pause)
Yeah, I need you to look up a navigational coordinate.
(pause)
Somewhere in our backyard. Latitude North 39 degrees 7 minutes 0 seconds; Longitude West 76 degrees 46 minutes 10 seconds.
(pause)
Love you too!
(pause)
What was that?
(pause)
I found them in the log. It’s quite a story. You’ll have to read it.

INT MORGAN’S SUV – OUTSKIRTS OF D.C. – EARLY MORNING

RILEY
So without the California gold, how did Lincoln carry on the war?

BEN
Evidently, Lon and his friends weren’t aware that the California shipment also consisted of a huge amount of silver from the Carson City mines.

Morgan barks out a short but loud laugh.

MORGAN
The lucky bastard.

BEN
Lucky is right. That silver kept the government afloat and the soldiers paid.

Ben’s cellphone rings. He looks at the caller’s ID before answering.

BEN (CONT’D)
Hi, Hon.
(pause)
We’re almost home, but I don’t think we’ll get there until after you leave for work.
(pause)
Okay. Where is it?
(laughs)
Yeah, I’m sitting down.
(longer pause, then a low whistle)
Listen, maybe I’ll run by and see you at the office later.
(pause)
Don’t worry, Riley and I aren’t going to do anything crazy.
(pause)
Gobs and gobs.

Ben hangs up and Morgan and Riley are silent in expectation.

RILEY
Well? Where did Lon and his gang hide the gold?

BEN
Only if you promise not to do anything crazy.

RILEY
Cross my heart and hope to die.

MORGAN
What he said.

BEN
(laughing)
It’s at..or was at Fort Meade.

MORGAN
It was found?

BEN
Yes. Right on the property of the top secret National Security Agency. When they broke ground for their cryptological museum, they discovered it, wagon and all.

RILEY
What did they do with it?

BEN
They put it on display, of course.

He bursts into laughter, followed by Riley, then Morgan. Only Morgan’s eyes aren’t laughing.

[next pt 21]