Sunday, June 22
Part 9 of Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra...
Previous parts: I
Catherine had pestered Indy, begging him not to leave her alone. It was dark and cold, and the jeep was uncomfortable. Begrudgingly he'd let her accompany him, down into the depths of the pyramid. He'd decided that the downward passage was most likely to produce results. The other tunnels might have been cut later, after the pyramid's initial function had ceased. Down was the way to go.
The oil soaked rag produced a smelly, smoky light. It flickered, making the narrow tunnel walls appear to be closing in on them. Catherine tried not to think about the 6.5 million tons of stone over their heads.
They emerged into the unfinished chamber. At the far end of the room stalagmites of stone loomed in the shadows - the limestone that had never been chipped away by the workmen. If there was a clue here, Indy didn't know where it was. There were no inscriptions, no wall paintings, just bare stone.
"Just as bare as I remembered it," said Indy.
"Then why did we come down here?" asked Catherine.
"This is the earliest part of the pyramid," said Indy. "If any part of the pyramid's interior existed when that stone ring was made, then this is it. If the chamber had originally been meant for some other purpose, and was enlarged later but left unfinished, then the part nearest the door would logically be the earliest. Any passageway would have gone left or right, east or west. The pyramid's entrance is on the north side, so a tunnel that led west would lead out away from the plateau. A tunnel east, however, would end up underneath Khufu's mortuary temple."
"But there's nothing left of the temple," said Catherine. "Just the courtyard's black basalt pavement."
"Right, it's been demolished down to the bedrock. And where are we at the moment?"
"In the bedrock?" said Catherine.
"Exactly," said Indy. "We're ninety feet under the plateau."
"I don't see what that has to do with anything," said Catherine.
"Just because it's been demolished down to the bedrock doesn't mean there's not something underneath it," said Indy.
He walked over to the east wall. Holding the torch in his left hand he ran his fingers over the limestone, looking for evidence of a secret door.
"It's solid rock!" said Catherine.
Indy ignored her. Systematically he searched every inch of the wall, before coming to the conclusion that she was right. If there was a door there, he couldn't find it.
He looked over at Catherine. She was sitting on the lumps of limestone, examining the amulet around her neck. It glistened in the torchlight. She looked up at him, and removed the necklace.
"It was found with the stone ring," she said.
Indy carefully took the proffered amulet. He turned it over, marvelling at the workmanship.
"A wadjet eye," he said.
"Symbolising both the vengeful eye of the Sun god Ra and the eye of the god Horus," said Catherine.
Still holding the amulet, Indy walked back to the wall he'd examined so carefully. He held the amulet up, watching it move from side to side.
"We could do with Ra's help about now," he said, jokingly.
Then there was a metallic whooshing noise. Rings appeared from above and hovered around him, before shooting back to wherever they'd come from. Indy had disappeared.
Catherine stood, alone in the pitch blackness. Indy had been holding the torch. She tried to push back the overwhelming sense of panic that was threatening to overtake her.
She found her way to the wall, to where she guessed Indy had been standing.
"Indy?" she cried, her voice trembling slightly.
Following the walls, she found her way back to the passageway.
Well, another week is over. The F1 (French GP) wasn't the most exciting ever, though Raikkonen's melty Ferrari was a bit of added drama. I tried to do some paint stripping in the bathroom but I think it needs the whole room redoing to look good. D'oh. John visited this weekend, which was nice. (I hate that word, but it makes me think of The Fast Show
.) A bit of Warhammer 40K painting has occurred. I went to a 'Historic Environment Summit' at work, which was not as exciting as it might have been. Hum... what else... I bought Sonny J
's album 'Disastro', it's very good. The tracks you may have heard are Handsfree
and Can't stop moving
. And also Coldplay
's, which is not as good as I'd hoped though I really love the title track, Viva la Vida
. I tried to help Firefox break the World Record for downloads
, wonder if it'll be verified? I love Firefox 3, incidentally, particularly the 'smart location bar'. I expect Internet Explorer will copy it before too long. Which reminds me, oh the hilarity of the Bill Gates leaving video
Thursday, June 19
Part 8 of Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra...
Previous parts: I
Catherine had been watching all day, and no-one had shown up. Slowly the Sun crept down from its zenith, sinking over the pyramids. Indy had spent the day deep in thought, barely speaking a word to his companion. He hadn't come to many conclusions. If the Germans didn't turn up, he'd have to come up with an original plan. He hated coming up with plans. The responsibility was awesome, especially with Catherine and her father involved.
Watching the sun, he realised something. The sun, atop of the pyramid - that was the seventh symbol, the one that had to be significant since it was underneath the cartouche. One of the pyramids must have been there when the Stargate was made! Indy was prepared to bet it was the Great Pyramid, Khufu's pride and joy. It was always said to be the earliest, and there were things about it that didn't make sense. Perhaps the Stargate had been inside, somewhere. Perhaps there was an undiscovered chamber, a room that contained a device that accompanied the Stargate.
Indy pictured the pyramid's interior in his mind. There was the narrow tunnel, three and a half feet wide and only a little higher, that ran for three hundred feet down to an unfinished burial chamber. The passageway was incredibly claustrophobic. It wasn't something you could fit a Stargate through, if you wanted to take it outside and bury it. The descending tunnel wasn't really an option, although it must have been cut first.
The ascending tunnel wasn't any more spacious. It was enormously high once you reached the grand gallery, but you still had to go through a stretch of narrow tunnel. There were two chambers higher up the pyramid - the so called Queens' Chamber and the King's Chamber. Maybe you could have fitted a Stargate in them, but you couldn't have removed it.
He sighed. It was possible that all his theories were wrong. There was no way of knowing. He had no real data, apart from Catherine's photos. It was all conjecture.
He had to go into the pyramid.
Sunday, June 15
Part 7 of Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra...
Previous parts: I
The trip to Giza was uneventful. From the outskirts of Cairo they drove west to the plateau, where the mysterious Sphinx stood guard over the pyramids.
Indy drew the jeep to a standstill a little way away, so that no-one would notice their approach. It was only then that he noticed that Catherine was holding the photograph of the stone ring in her hands, studying it intently.
"I don't understand what it could be," she said. "I don't know what my father saw that made him so anxious."
"Where was the ring found?" asked Indy.
"Just over there," she said, pointing to a spot on the plateau.
Indy removed his hat and ran his fingers through his hair. It was grimy, like the rest of him. Maybe when all this was over he'd have time to have a bath.
"Take these," he said, drawing the binoculars out of his bag. "Tell me if the Germans turn up. Or your father. Or both. Okay?"
"Okay, okay," said Catherine.
Indy stood up, planted his hat back on his head, and strode round to the other side of the jeep. He bent down so that he was at eye level with Catherine.
"I'm taking these photos and I'm going over there," he said. "If you need anything, call me."
Catherine nodded, turning her gaze towards the pyramids.
Indy walked a little way away and sat on a lump of masonry protruding from the sand. He spread the photos out beside him and looked at them carefully.
He started with the coverstone. There were two rings of symbols, and a cartouche in the centre. The inner ring was written in the classic figures, but the outer contained the same strange symbols as the cartouche. He couldn't even begin to translate them without spending a lot of time on them. But he COULD translate the inner ring.
He ran his finger along the hieroglyphics, deep in thought. "A million years into the sky is Ra, Sun God, sealed and buried for all time, Star Gate." It made no sense! Presumably it was describing the thing buried underneath it, which meant the stone ring. Why would anyone go to such lengths to bury a stone ring? A Star Gate? What was a Star Gate?
Sighing, he picked up the picture of the Stargate. The symbols were the same as the mysterious untranslatable symbols on the coverstone. The six inside the cartouche were clearly there, and after careful examination he found something similar to the seventh symbol underneath the cartouche. Perhaps the symbols weren't a language. If the Stargate was a device of some sort, perhaps it was a code that had to be entered.
The more he thought about it, the stranger it all seemed, but Indy was capable of believing all sorts of crazy things. He'd seen the Ark of the Covenant turn Nazis into dust, screaming as they were transformed. He'd seen the Holy Grail heal his father from a mortal wound amidst clouds of steam. He'd seen things that few people would believe. Unfortunately the "few who believed" always seemed to include the Nazis.
If the inscription was to be taken literally, it was a doorway to the heavens. It was a portal to who knows where, a million years into the sky.
No wonder the Nazis wanted it.
Well apparently at least one person is reading the Indy story, so... yay!
More non-exciting things have happened since I last blogged than exciting things, but still. Thursday I went to a book launch at Charnwood Museum - an archaeology book about the excavation of barrows at Cossington. It was an entertaining enough way to spend an evening, it's not like I get out that much usually! Rob and Mat painted little Warhammer 40K men all evening, so they had fun too...
Friday was Hullabaloo, so didn't do much else really.
Saturday I cleaned the bathroom (my life is so exciting), then we went to Tesco (also very exciting). Most of the afternoon was taken up with going to Blackrock Depths in WoW. We still need to go back, it's a very big dungeon.
Today was King's Church Leicester's first Sunday in its new home - the Leicester Tigers Stadium
! It was interesting, probably is an improvement on the school hall we used to meet in, I'm just not very keen on change. :) This afternoon we went to Rob's parents since it was Fathers' Day. I did some ironing. And cleaned my half of the bedroom. Nice. That's about it, I think.
Wednesday, June 11
Part 6 of Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra...
Previous parts: I
(Is anyone actually reading this?!?)
After a good night's sleep, Indy was ready to head out to Giza. Clearly the only way to resolve this mystery was to have a word with Professor Langford. Perhaps Langford would be able to stall the Germans once he'd told Indy what he knew, and Indy could beat them to it. It might work. There had been worse plans in the history of the world. But there had certainly been better ones.
He splashed his face with water from a jug. Catherine stirred. Lying there on his bed, her hair framed her face to perfection. She was beautiful, if a little headstrong. She was also a kid. What was he going to do with her?
She opened her eyes, confusion showing for a moment while she remembered where she was.
"Good morning," said Indy.
"Hi," she said, sitting up.
She pulled her hair back, out of the way of her face, and slid her legs off of the bed. Her bare feet just about touched the floor.
"Have you thought of a plan?" she asked.
"I'm going to go to Giza and see if I can find your father," said Indy.
"Okay," she said. "Can you give me a few minutes to get ready?"
Indy gathered up the photographs and stuffed them into his knapsack.
"I said I'M going. You're staying right here," he said.
Catherine looked indignant.
"I'm coming with you!" she said. "You don't even know what my father looks like!"
"You're little more than a kid," he said. "I don't want to have to worry about keeping you safe."
"I'm nearly twenty years old," answered Catherine. "I can take care of myself."
"Hey, I'm an old man and I can barely cope in the situations I end up in. You shouldn't go looking for trouble."
"I already DID go looking for trouble. And I found it. I have to find my father," she argued. "You can't leave me alone!"
"Well, I suppose you DID manage to get yourself put under armed guard last time you did anything by yourself," said Indy. "But you have to promise me you'll stay out of the way."
"I'll try to blend in with the sand," she said, sarcastically.
"You do that," replied Indy.
He sighed. Women always meant trouble.
If anyone cares, after extensive research (ha) I discovered what the fire on Sunday was - someone set fire to an astroturf pitch
. So now we all know. Apparently astroturf makes quite a lot of smoke...
In other news, I have become so annoyed with losing earbuds (so many of the little rubber ear bits have pinged into oblivion) that I have glued them together. They no longer match, but I bet they won't manage to escape now they have experienced the POWER OF BOSTIK SUPERGLUE!
Sunday, June 8
Part 5 of Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra...
Previous parts: I
They hid in the truck, behind the boxes, as it drove out of the University and into the city. When it stopped they jumped out and ran off into the crowd. Indy left his disguise behind, restoring his fedora to its rightful place on his head.
Wending their way through the busy streets, they came to a particularly dilapidated part of the city. Entering a building, climbing the stairs, Indy pushed open a door and invited Catherine to step into his room.
"What happened?!" asked Catherine, turning to Indy.
"What?" said Indy.
"Your room! It's been ransacked!"
"Ah, not exactly," replied Indy.
"Oh," said Catherine.
Indy cleared some of the papers off of the bed and sat down. Catherine looked around the room for a chair, but the bed and a table were the only furniture. Gingerly she sat beside Indy.
"You want to find my father," she said. "The only clues I have are these photographs."
She took a sheaf of papers out of her bag, and placed them on the bed between herself and Indy. Sorting through them, she removed a picture of a large stone ring.
"This was what started it all," she said. "My father uncovered it in 1928, on the Giza plateau. The excavation was run by a group of German academics, headed up by my father."
Indy looked at the photograph. The ring was unlike anything he'd ever seen. It was huge, made of some sort of dark, shiny material. 39 different symbols were engraved onto its surface.
"They're not hieroglyphics," he said.
"No," replied Catherine. "The only thing that had hieroglyphics on it was the coverstone it was buried under."
She handed him another photograph. It was a large circular coverstone, with hieroglyphics on it as well as some of the symbols that had been on the stone ring.
"Sealed for all time?" he said, looking up at Catherine.
"Father wouldn't discuss it with me," she said.
"Where is it now?" asked Indy.
"I don't know," said Catherine. "It was stored in Germany."
"Someone must have figured out what it's for," said Indy. "Your father must know. We'll just have to have a word with him..."
Not many exciting things have happened over the last few days... David Coulthard came third in the Canadian GP this afternoon, so that was good! Yesterday we went into Leicester to do some shopping with my brother John, bought random things including lots of cheap fruit from the market for smoothie making! He also spent £100 on the Eldar
box set in Games Workshop! We had fun, though it was quite rainy. And we looked after Rex the dog, because Ali
went to London for the Synchronicity
guild meet. We watched Napoleon Dynamite
, which scored extra points because it had John Gries (Broots in The Pretender
) in it, but I didn't enjoy it hugely.
Incidentally, I bought a cheap box set on eBay of Chaos Space Marines
. Everyone seems to be playing 40K so I thought I'd buy some and see if I ever got around to painting them... What else... there was some sort of fire going on north of here earlier today, lots of billowing smoke. Don't know what it was. So not that great on the informative news front. :)
Saturday, June 7
Part 4 of Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra...
Previous parts: I
With the two guards safely tied up, Indy tried to explain why he was there.
"My Dad sent me a telegram about your father. He's being forced to help the Germans find something. Now I don't know what it is, but I'm gonna need some help if I'm going to get to it before them," he said.
"Oh," said Miss Langford. "I knew he was in trouble, but no-one would tell me anything. We moved to America when I was small. My father left Germany, ran away from the greatest discovery in the history of archaeology, because he was afraid. He was afraid for his life, and mine. But the more he studied the pictures of the artefact, the more he knew he couldn't let the Nazis keep it. So he came back."
"Okay," said Indy, "So what are YOU doing here?"
"Well, I hadn't heard from my father for months. I presumed he'd returned to Cairo, to Giza, since that was where he found the stone ring. I thought the University people here would help, but there was a German man in charge. He told me he'd find out what happened to my father, and then he put me under guard. He said it was for my own protection."
Indy grunted. Thoughtfully he ran his hand over his stubble.
"You're going to have to tell me everything. But first we've gotta get outta here."
He looked out of the window. Someone had parked a truck underneath the window.
"Grab anything you need," he said.
Catherine picked up a cloth bag and stuffed some papers into it.
"I'm Catherine, by the way," she said.
"You can call me Indy," said Indy, jumping out of the window onto the cloth roof of the truck. He held out his arms.
"Jump!" he ordered.
Wednesday, June 4
As you may have guessed, we went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
. Although it was good, I don't think they should have gone where they did. At least with the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail you have two artefacts people have been searching for for for thousands of years. The crystal skulls, on the other hand, are most likely C19th fakes. Wikipedia has quite a lot to say about it (what a surprise).
You'd be hard pressed to find proper archaeologists who believe in them. Although one thing you do learn when working in archaeology is that there are plenty of people around who believe really daft things..! Anyway, it all got a bit silly. But I still love Indy, so yay!
Part 3 of Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra...
Previous parts: I
The University was much calmer than the rest of the city. Cairo was such a bustling place, with its narrow streets and excitable vendors. The University was quiet and orderly, like academic retreats all over the world. Indy's problem was that he didn't look orderly. Not in the slightest. He needed a disguise.
He walked along the nearby streets, looking up at the washing lines stretched across between the buildings. Walking down into a side road, he reached for his whip. Moments later he had a small collection of Arab garments piled in front of him. The loose fitting clothes were ideal to hide what he was carrying underneath, and they'd be quick to discard if things turned nasty.
Having chosen a robe, he wrapped some cloth around his head, drawing it around his nose and mouth as if he'd been working out in the desert all day. He didn't know if the enemy were watching the professor's daughter, and he didn't know if the enemy would know who he was, but he wasn't taking any chances.
Striding purposefully into the University courtyard, he looked for the guest accommodation. The way in was guarded, and the guards carried revolvers. He hadn't expected anything less. Indy grabbed a box from the back of a truck, hefted it onto his shoulder, and kept on walking. He walked straight past the men guarding the door, nodding to them in greeting, and dumped the box in the first empty room he came to.
Readjusting the cloth over his face, he jogged down the corridor, then up the stairs. The rooms were spacious and airy, but most of them were empty. He crept along, keeping as quiet as he could. There were no sounds of pursuit. He had to find the professor's daughter before the guards wondered where he'd gone.
Rounding a corner, he saw two more guards at a door. It had to be Miss Langford's room. Indy reached into his pocket and drew out a battered packet of cigarettes. Slowly he walked towards the men, greeting them as he drew near. Holding the packet in his left hand, he offered the man nearest a cigarette. As the man took one, Indy punched him in the stomach.
The man bent over, groaning and clutching his stomach, but the second guard was paying more attention. He pointed his gun at Indy and gestured for him to move down the corridor. For a moment it looked like the game was up, but then the door they were guarding opened. A dark haired young woman stood in the doorway, and started to ask what all the noise was about.
As the second guard looked at her, Indy grabbed the vase on the windowsill and smashed it over his head. The guard staggered backwards before collapsing onto the floor.
Indy unwrapped the cloth from his face.
"Are you Professor Langford's daughter?" he asked.
"It depends who's asking," said the girl.
"Dr Indiana Jones, at your service," said Indy.
"You do know that they were guarding me," she said.
"Yeah, that was kinda why I knocked them out. It's about your father..."
Tuesday, June 3
Part 2 of Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra...
Previous parts: I
The room was hot, noisy, and full of sickly sweet smoke. It was not an ideal place to relax, but Indy knew that one of his old acquaintances from the University of Cairo liked to spend time there.
The Egyptian professor in question was becoming increasingly tipsy. Indy laughed at his bad jokes, knowing that he was bound to let something slip eventually.
"So, what are the foreigners doing here?" he asked. "Visiting the pyramids?"
"Doctor Jones, Doctor Jones... I have been sworn to secrecy," said the professor.
Indy knocked back some more of the evil smelling brew, grimacing as he did so. "Hey, I was stupid to ask," he said. "They'd never tell you what they were up to, would they?"
Indy gestured, trying to attract someone's attention. More of the foul brew was poured into his glass, and the professor's.
"Ha, of course I know," said the professor. He leant closer to Indy, whispering, "I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you." He let out a loud bark of laughter, and gulped down more of the beverage.
Indy forced a grin. "Sure," he said. "Well, I'll be sure to let Professor Langford know how good you are at keeping his secrets."
"Be sure to," said the professor, hardly aware of his surroundings, "And tell him I am keeping an eye on his lovely daughter. We at the University will not let any harm come to her. She is safe..." he trailed off, collapsing onto the table with a thump.
"A daughter?" murmured Indy.
Monday, June 2
I figured I'd post this story I wrote in 2003. It was an Indiana Jones/Stargate crossover (d'oh). I recovered it from the web archive and thought... well, why not? It has 16 parts, which seems extraordinarily long. Ha.Indiana Jones and the Ring of Ra
(A story I wrote in 2003)1939, EgyptPart 1
Indy pushed his hat up, wiping his hand across his sweaty forehead. It didn't seem possible that a couple of years earlier he'd been teaching Egyptology to a class of chattering students. His life had become increasingly complicated since finding the Holy Grail. He'd made a lot of enemies since being drawn into the affairs of the Nazis for a second time. He had no doubt that his continued existence owed as much to fate as anything else.
Tensions were high across Europe. Germany had invaded Poland, all out war was likely to break out at any moment, and Indy was stuck on the wrong side of the Atlantic. There was no easy way to get back to America. In the old days he'd have presumed Egypt would be safe, but even amongst the sand dunes there were signs of military activity. Even amongst the pyramids.
He sighed, pausing as he reached the top of the dune. Shielding his eyes, he looked out across the desert. He knew that if the worst came to the worst, British troops would soon be fighting amongst these dunes. Whether they would win, he didn't know. He did know, however, that their tanks weren't as good as those of the Germans. Superior weaponry isn't everything, but it's certainly important.
Indy reached into his bag for the binoculars. A line of vehicles was throwing dust up into the sky. He watched as they progressed along the horizon. Their presence meant he was close. The thing he was looking for had to be here somewhere.
He let the binoculars hang around his neck, and fished out the telegram that had started it all. Henry Jones was impossible once he'd got an idea in his head, even if it meant his son would end up stuck in a desert thousands of miles from home. At least by agreeing to help he'd kept his dad safely among his books...
Smoothing out the piece of paper he reread the message.
OUR FRIENDS AFTER ARTEFACT IN GIZA STOP PROF LANGFORD HELPING UNDER DURESS STOP MUST FIND IT FIRST STOP HJ
What was this artefact that he was supposed to find first? Why were a group of Nazi soldiers after it? And who was this Professor Langford? Obviously an old friend of his father's. If he continued to follow the soldiers, he'd always be one step behind them. He needed some leads.
The convoy disappeared into the distance. He had no doubt that they were heading back to Cairo.
Carefully, he put the binoculars back into his knapsack and headed back to his jeep. He needed a drink and he knew of a particularly fine watering hole in Cairo.
Perhaps it was time to do some socialising.