May 2006 Archives

Mac MacKinnon and the Race for El Dorado

Chapter 1: Radio, Dan, and Mac

By Dwayne MacInnes

Rebecca Strong carried the suitcase that contained her belongings up the dirt road to the whitewashed wooden hangar situated near a yellow grass field that served as an airstrip. A tall wooden tower stood next to the hangar, as to its purpose Rebecca could not guess. The young woman continued to walk toward the opening in the 100-degree New Mexico summer. The heat was dry and stifling. Rebecca was sweating heavily; her damp chestnut hair clung to her head.

Rebecca was here to meet her father Dr. Hugo Strong, who was a rather well known archaeologist from the University of Chicago. He was currently studying some Anasazi ruins in the area. The archaeologist had requested if Rebecca was available, that she could spend some time working in the field with him during the summer. This would be the first time the two spent any time together since Rebecca's mother died nearly three years ago during the Spanish Flu epidemic.

Dr. Strong took the death of Rebecca's mother particularly hard. Fortunately, some of Hugo's close friends saved his career when the archaeologist took to heavy drinking. With the Prohibition Act, drinking was dangerous, just being in possession of liquor landed one in jail. Hardly something the University would look kindly on regardless of his achievements.

Nevertheless, Rebecca was excited to do some fieldwork with her father. She doubted that she herself would ever find anything thrilling again after her mother's death. But, then last year with the passage of the 19th amendment, the world appeared to open up for a young woman. With the right to vote, Rebecca was sure that even new opportunities would soon unfold for her. Being in the field with her prestigious father was an adventure never dreamed of before and it was just one example.

Nervously, Rebecca approached the open hangar doors. She did not know what to expect. She had only seen aircraft from a distance before. This too would prove to be another adventure. She heard a voice talking from inside, but there was only one side to this conversation.

"Must be talking to himself," Rebecca mused.

The young woman poked her head around the doublewide doorway. Inside she saw a yellow 1920 HCS Stutz Roadster II parked on one side of the huge open room. Behind the car there were tools hanging on the wall with various metal drums on the floor next to tall standup locker. On the opposite wall from Rebecca, there was a door. A sign hung from its knob that said "Gone Fishing". Across from the yellow vehicle, was a man in tan coveralls wearing headphones over a ball cap and sitting in front of what looked like the wireless telegraph she had seen once on board a cruise ship. He appeared to be speaking to it instead of tapping at telegraph key, as one would expect.

Stutz Roadster

"I roger that Sparky, over and out," the man replied.

"Uh...excuse me," Rebecca stammered, "I'm here to meet a Mr. James MacKinnon."

The man spun around in his wooden swivel chair and glared at the intruder. Rebecca felt uneasy, as the man looked her over as if she were a piece of merchandise. The man himself was in his early twenties, had short blonde hair, and wore small round glasses. He was obviously of German heritage.

He stood up and placed the headphones on the table containing his electronic device. The stranger could not have stood more than five and half feet tall and could not have weighed more than 120 pounds. If he planned to attack her, she felt she had an even chance of beating off any advances.

"I'm sorry, you must be Miss Strong," the man began. "I am Dan Edwards. I've just been informed," Dan motioned toward the electronic device on the table, "that Mac should be here in about half an hour."

Rebecca stood there for a couple of uncomfortable minutes staring at Dan. The young man just stared back at her.

"Uh...may I come in?" Rebecca finally asked.

"Oh! I'm sorry, please do," Dan rushed over to help Rebecca with her luggage as he ushered her into the hangar. He then pulled her over to a chair next to the table he had been sitting at and then he poured her some warm water from a pitcher.

Rebecca took the chair and swallowed down the water. She never thought that warm water could feel so good running down her parched throat. She then looked over at the device that contained most of the table.

"That is a radio," Dan exclaimed with obvious pride and excitement. "I was just communicating to an airfield over at Tucson which also has one."

The look of surprise on Rebecca's face was obvious. Dan cleared his voice preparing to launch into one of his favorite topics.

"Did you know that on Christmas Eve in 1906 Reginald Fessenden read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke, played ‘Silent Night' on the violin and then wished everyone a merry Christmas in the New England area? Imagine the surprise on the faces of the ships' telegraphers at sea when they heard this over their headphones instead of Morse code." Dan chuckled before continuing.

"After the Great War a lot of us set up our own little broadcast stations to communicate with each other. In fact, just last November 2nd the first commercial broadcast station KDKA in Pittsburgh began broadcasting. Certainly, you must have heard of it?"

KDKA Radio

Rebecca nodded she had heard of it, but hearing of something and actually seeing were two different things. She looked more intently at the radio set on the table.

Dan picked up the headset and set it against her ear. Rebecca gasped in amazement as she heard voices talking to each other. She did not understand everything that was said with all the "Rogers", "Overs", "Copies", and "Outs" she heard.

Dan pointed to the microphone that sat on the table in front of the device. "It is into this that I am able to talk to my fellow ‘Hams' as they call us."

Rebecca was about to ask another question when she heard an airplane approaching from overhead. Dan grabbed Rebecca by the arm and pulled her toward the open doorway.

"That'll be Mac now," Dan said as the sound of the plane's engine increased overhead. "We can meet him out on the field."

As the two ran out to the field, Rebecca looked up to see a biplane banking toward the field. Rebecca just stared in amazement as the plane descended toward the ground. Soon the aircraft bounced as the landing gear touched the ground. The pilot slowed the aircraft as it approached Dan and Rebecca. The roar of the engine was like nothing Rebecca had ever heard before. Soon the engine coughed as the pilot shut it down.

Rebecca noticed that the plane had two seats. She thought it was strange that the pilot would sit in the furthest one back. It was not long before the pilot jumped out of the cockpit and alighted on the ground.

The man stood at about six feet tall wore a brown leather jacket and a matching helmet. He had a white silk scarf around his neck. He wore khaki pants and brown leather boots that reached over his calves. As the man approached the pair, he raised his flight glasses from his eyes revealing the pale blue irises.

Mac MacKinnon was smiling charmingly when he approached Dan and Rebecca. He pulled off his gloves and slapped Dan on the arm in a friendly manner.

"Dan, my boy, looks like our trip to Mexico will pay off handsomely if I get our cargo to Denver."

"Great Mac, what is it this time? Cerveza, Tequilla?"

"Yes, and yes," Mac laughed as he removed his leather helmet revealing his short brown hair.

"I see that our guest has arrived," Mac turned toward Rebecca who was just standing there in awe. "You must be Miss Strong, you can call me Mac. I see you already met the boy genius Dan ‘the Ham'."

"Please, I'm Rebecca."

Mac nodded and led her back towards the hangar. "Let's not bother Dan as he unloads our cargo and tinkers with the plane. I believe we have some business to conduct."

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Here is another one from the archives. (Don't notice that they have all been the same picture of Hank! Thanks!) Soon, there will be newer pictures and different ones of Hank! Enjoy! Hank at Pisa

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Time Flies

Starting Over

By Douglas E Gogerty

Jim was not sure what he was going to do. He was totally unprepared for this rejection. He was completely counting on continuing his work in Texas. The thought had never even occurred to him that they would not want him.

After a long reflection, Jim decided to go back home to Great Falls. He knew he would always be welcomed there. He wanted to go where he knew he would be wanted. If nothing else, he could help his dad out in the hardware store.

However, it never came to working retail. Shortly after he returned home, he learned of an opening in the math department of the University of Great Falls. He applied for that job, and was offered it shortly afterwards. He jumped at the chance. It was not exactly what he wanted, but it would be a good start.

He was a quality researcher, but he did have some teaching experience. He would miss his research, but being in the classroom would be a welcome change.

He taught introductory calculus and physics. He rather enjoyed the experience. Although his first love was research, the interaction with students was a refreshing change of pace. He was a well-liked and respected instructor. He earned the respect of his students and colleagues. He could have spent a long time in this situation.

He did spend five years in Great Falls; however, he deeply wanted to return to his research. Thus, near the end of the fifth school year, he looked for a position at a major research institution. He looked into places where he could continue his research on the time/space continuum. He wanted to learn more about the glass he helped discover.

This is how he ended up teaching in Washington D.C. It was a long way from both Texas and Montana, but this university needed a quality instructor. They had heard of his research, and how it had been neglected. This school believed that Jim could bring them some prestige, as well as, bringing a greatly needed instructor. This would also allow Jim to start again with his research, and continue teaching.

From his notes and with newly discovered materials, Jim began the process of manufacturing a new piece of glass. In his 5-year absence, other researchers perfected the manufacturing processes for a few different ceramic superconductors. These could be ideal for his research.

Furthermore, the range of temperatures that could be reached by the film covering the glass had increased. However, they still did not reach ideal low temperatures to enact the superconductors. Thus, Jim scrapped the film all together. Instead, he decided to imbed small tubes in which frigid or hot liquids could travel. This may affect the view, but temperature control would be greatly simplified.

Now that the temperature could be controlled by the temperature of the liquid, the glass became even more portable. In fact, Jim and his graduate students created a time viewing device that looked like a telescope. This could be mounted upon any vehicle that could supply the glass with the different temperature liquids. In fact, if the time was known before hand, the exact temperature liquid could be transported with any vehicle including a bicycle.

The advanced battery packs provided a constant voltage and amperage. Thus, only temperature was used as a factor. While this did at times restrict which views could be seen, it made the calculations vastly easier.

The portability of the device was a tremendous help for their research. Further, when they constructed the prototype, they intended to use a lens mounting structure. Thus, they could connect the device directly to a video recording device.

Dr. Millard was allowed to hire three graduate assistants. One student would be assigned to his academic class and the other two were to help with his research. He hired Irene Katerin and Luther Suxel to assist in his time/space research and Lo Wai to handle the classwork.

Lo had the most difficult task because Dr. Millard had a very ambitious research project. He would handle some of the teaching load when the other two TAs were doing field research with Dr. Millard.

Dr. Millard and Irene and Luther spent two weeks in Dallas Texas on the end of the term research project while Lo taught Dr. Millard's classes. The three university researches wandered all around various parts of Dallas testing their device. They went to the grassy knoll and the book depository. They recreated the Zapruder film, but they got better images with their modern equipment. They captured Lee Harvey Oswald in the act. They found that there was no one in the grassy Knoll, and concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald did in fact act alone.

The team published their paper and went to several seminars showing their video and promoting their device. They attached Lo's name to the research to thank him for his support.

Jim was sitting in his office pondering the many things he would like to see, but before he made his decision, Irene rushed in yelling. "Dr. Millard!" she cried. "Dr. Millard, the police -- they have arrested -- arrested my brother!"

"What? Tell me what happened," responded Jim in the most compassionate voice he could manage.

"The police -- they have accused Bobby -- of murdering Hanna Forsythe! She was -- his girlfriend! That is why he -- he had that stuff -- that stuff of hers?"

"Irene, what are you talking about?"

"My brother Bobby -- he was arrested -- he is the main suspect -- Hanna Forsythe -- his girlfriend." Irene panted.

"Why do they suspect Bobby?"

"He had some of her stuff. They were going to move in together. They had a little fight, but he didn't do it. He couldn't."

"Calm down Irene. Tell me, when and where Hanna was killed?"

"The police say it was last night around 1:00 A.M. in her apartment."

"Where is her apartment?"

"I -- uh -- I think it's -- 1009 Aspen Drive -- but I am not sure."

"It's okay; I'll take care of it."

"What are you going to do?"

"Go to your brother. Tell him everything will be all right."

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Mac MacKinnon and the Race for El Dorado

Chapter 2: Jenny and the Roadster

By Dwayne MacInnes

Mac removed his leather helmet and jacket and tossed them onto the table next to the radio. He poured himself a cup of water and chugged it down in one go.

"When will you take me to see father?" Rebecca asked as the pilot seated himself down onto a chair near the table.

"We can leave in just a few minutes. All I need is the agreed upon payment," smiled Mac.

"I can't believe that you are charging $10 to take me to my father's camp," Rebecca said with a little disbelief. "I could buy a bus ticket for that amount or pay someone else to take me there for far less."

"Well, that is true," Mac chuckled. "But I am the only one who knows where your father is, and it is my business to transport cargo quickly and safely and that comes with a price."

"Cargo! I am just cargo to be transported quickly!" Rebecca angrily responded. Her sudden outburst caught herself by surprise. Yet she was even more surprised to hear Mac laughing.

"Not just quickly, but also safely," he pointed out. "As far as I am concerned, I've never been asked to deliver better ‘cargo'."

Rebecca blushed even though she still felt a little offended by the concept of being cargo. She was about to say something when Dan came walking into the hangar carrying a wooden crate. The sound of clinking bottles could be heard rattling around inside. Dan sat the crate down against a far wall next to the locker.

"Mac, I'll have the Jenny ready to go for your trip in the morning," Dan called over to the pilot. Mac only smiled and nodded toward Dan.

"Jenny?" Rebecca could not help ask. She knew that Mac's affairs were none of her business.

Mac laughed again, "I'm sorry. The Jenny is my plane. We used them as trainers during the Great War. It had a top speed of 75 miles per hour, but Dan wasn't happy with that." Mac pointed over to the bowing mechanic. "No, he modified her until she can do over 100 miles per hour. In fact, he did the same with my car over there." Mac pointed over to the yellow roadster. Dan just beamed with pride over Mac's praise.

Jenny Bi-Plane

"Speaking of which, I believe I have a delivery to make. But first..." Mac cut himself off and winked at Rebecca.

"Yes of course," Rebecca pulled out ten dollars and handed them over to Mac. Mac handed them over to Dan, who in turn stuffed them into his front coverall pocket.

In less than a minute, the yellow vehicle sped out of the hangar. Mac had the top down so that the air would flow over them. Rebecca felt the wind rush past her skin. It still felt quite hot, but it was not nearly as bad as when she was standing in it a few minutes before.

Stutz Roadster

Mac sped the vehicle down the dirt road at an astounding clip. Rebecca doubted that she had ever traveled this fast before. Not even on the train that brought her to Santa Fe from Chicago. The silence was becoming ominous as Mac drove along the desert road.

"How is father?" Rebecca asked watching the scrub grass and tumbleweeds fly by the side of the road.

"He appeared to be in quite good health the other day," Mac responded as he took a quick glance in his rearview mirror on the driver's side of the windshield.

"I mean has he gone back to drinking?"

"I don't believe he has."

"Mr. McKinnon, I know what your side business is. Please, I will not tell the authorities, but it is important that my father isn't involved in anyway. He almost lost his job because of his drinking after mother died."

Mac chuckled a bit, "You know I did offer him a beer once, but he turned me down. I swear I've never seen him drunk nor have a drink."

Rebecca's sigh of relief was audible over the purr of the Roadster's engine. Mac looked over at her and smiled. As he continued to drive, he looked in his rearview mirror again.

"Say, how would you like to see how fast we can take this car?" Mac asked cheerfully.

Before Rebecca could respond she was not interested in going any faster, Mac stomped on the accelerator. The yellow Roadster shot off like a racehorse leaving the gates at the Kentucky Derby. Rebecca held onto the door with a death grip. The blood completely left her face as Mac took turns at breakneck speed and shot down side roads that were merely trails.

How long they drove like this Rebecca did not know. Eventually Mac slowed the car down and his own sigh of relief became audible over the engine.

"Mr. McKinnon I thought you were to deliver your cargo quickly and safely," Rebecca commented sarcastically.

"Trust me I have your safety on my mind and please call me Mac."

It was not long before they pulled into a cavernous valley. Large pillars of rock, some with boulders on top of them, littered the landscape. The view was quite stunning and Rebecca swore she had never seen anything as breathtaking as this before. Mac pulled the yellow car up to a cliff that contained some pueblo houses inside its huge cavern.

At the base of the cliff was pitched a medium sized tent in front of a fire pit. Boxes of supplies were stacked near the tent. Shovels and pickaxes rested against the boxes. Rebecca's heart raced with excitement. She jumped out of the car before Mac had the Roadster a full stop.

A man with gray hair wearing a beat up brimmed hat stepped out of the tent. His closely trimmed gray beard made him look even more scholarly. Rebecca ran up to him and threw her arms around the old man's neck.

"Father, it's great to see you," she cried as tears ran down her cheeks.

Hugo Strong hugged his daughter tightly with a huge smile on his face.

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With this news item, Hank would like to offer his services again to help with the Hubble Space Telescope.

Hank Helping with the Hubble

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Time Flies

Solving the Crime

By Douglas E Gogerty

Jim knocked timidly on the D.A.'s door. "Come in, it's open," came a voice inside.

Jim peeked in, and saw a middle-aged man sitting at a desk. "What can I do for you?" said the D.A. behind the desk.

"Hello, my name is -- uh -- Jim Millard, and -- er -- well, I have some vital information -- with regard to the -- uh -- the Katerin case," Jim stuttered.

"I am a very busy man, Mr. Millard. What kind of information do you have?" asked Barney Masters impatiently.

"Doctor -- actually," interrupted Jim. He briefly described his experiments, and told him of the video he had made. "Let's see the video," requested Mr. Master.

Jim handed the video to Barney. The D.A. placed the video tape into the VCR. Barney viewed the tape with great interest. Dr. Millard was unable to enter the premises of the victim, so he shot the entire scene from outside her apartment. He made sure that the tower clock on the bank across the street was always visible in the video.

Jim fidgeted and averted his eyes. He knew his video was serious business. Jim remembered the feelings taking the video had evoked in him. He felt as if he was eaves dropping on someone else's life.

The video clearly showed Bobby Katerin leaving the apartment at 11:37 bank time. Irene was clearly visible in the window shortly afterwards. She looked as if she were checking to see if Bobby had actually left. Then a strange man enters the building at 11:52. When the man exists, he is covered in blood. He sulked across the street and entered the apartment complex on that side of the street. After a brief pause, a light goes on in an apartment in that building. The video then ends.

When the video ended, Barney said, "Well, that is very impressive; however, I do not think this video is admissible. The prosecution will argue that your invention has not been proven infallible which of course is the truth."

"Could you say you got an anonymous tip, to get the police into this man's apartment? I am sure they will find some important evidence in that apartment." stated Jim.

"We could do that..., but wouldn't that be a lie?" the D.A. said thoughtfully. "Well, no matter, we could get the wheels started on the warrant now."

"That is all I can ask," Jim responded.

"Furthermore, this case could start a precedent on the use of your experiments in law enforcement. These experiments could make my job a lot easier," added the D.A.

"I don't want to appear uncaring, but I don't really care to have my experiment used in this manner. You see, Bobby Katerin is the brother of one of my assistants. I am doing this as a favor for her. I did not even think about applications in this area. I was hoping it would be a purely scientific project, but I guess that is fairly selfish on my part."

"Your experiments could take a great deal of pressure off the court system. The possibilities in this area are almost endless..." Barney stated.

"I suppose if it would help, I could allow it to be used in this manner if it wouldn't interfere with my research," acquiesced Jim.

"We'll get the ball rolling on this case. Can I keep this video?" inquired Mr. Masters.

"It's all yours. I would appreciate all you can do for Bobby. Thanks again," Jim said as he left the D.A.'s office.

"Don't worry about Bobby, he's in good hands," Mr. Masters said as Jim walked down the hall.

He was not sure what to expect from all his efforts, but he was hopeful that it would result in Bobby's release and acquittal.

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Mac MacKinnon and the Race for El Dorado

Chapter 3: The Map, The Key, and Sir Francis Drake

By Dwayne MacInnes

After Dr. Strong released his daughter, Mac approached him and shook his hand.

"Good to see you, Doc," Mac smiled as he pumped the archaeologist's hand in a strong grip.

"Did you have any problems delivering Rebecca?" the old man asked.

"Not at all, it was a wonderful drive," replied the pilot.

"I would have enjoyed the scenery more if it wasn't passing by at a hundred miles an hour," Rebecca shot out.

Dr. Strong looked up at Mac in surprise. Mac nodded his head.

"I have some business to conclude with Mac here, dear. But if you go into the tent I'm sure you'll find some of the artifacts on the table of great interest."

Rebecca walked over to the tent. Both men watched her silently not speaking until she closed the flap behind her.

"Were you followed?" Hugo asked.

"I believe someone was trying to follow us. I took a circuitous route to get here and lost them some miles back there. I'll stay until after sunset then I will return to the airfield."

"Be careful. My package should arrive in Denver tomorrow. Bring it as soon as possible."

"I'll have it here the day after next, Doc. You better take extra precautions as well," Mac responded.

"Please follow me to the tent. Let me show you what I've uncovered," the old man motioned for Mac to enter the tent.

The two men stepped into the tent. There were two cots at opposite sides of the room. A blanket screened one of the cots from the rest of the tent. This was obviously going to be Rebecca's "room". In the center of the tent was a large circular stone tablet about two feet in diameter on a wooden table. Strange markings covered the tablets surface. Rebecca stood hunched over the tablet studying its features.

"This is it," beamed the archaeologist. "This is the holy grail of the New World."

"I'm sorry if I don't really understand, Doc," Mac said scratching his head. The stone tablet did not strike him as anything particular.

"It looks like a Mayan calendar," Rebecca added.

"Yes, it does. In reality it is a map," Hugo responded excitedly.

"Map?" Mac took a closer look at the tablet. He just could not see how the strange symbols represented a map.

"Not just a map, but THE map."

Both Mac and Rebecca stared at the archaeologist as if he had been out in the sun too long.

"This is the map to the fabled Lost Cities of Gold."

"You mean El Dorado?" Mac asked.

"Yes, and no," The professor began. "El Dorado really means the 'Gilded One'.

"About thirty miles northeast of Bogota lays Lake Guatavita. The conquistadors used to call it 'Lake El Dorado' because the practice of the local chief who would cover himself in gold dust from head to foot. He then would float out to the middle of the lake on a raft where he would throw in golden objects to appease the spirit of the lake.

"Several accounts of this have been written down by the likes of Oviedo, the soldier-historian Pedro de Cieza de Leon, and Padre Pedro Simon. Over the centuries, several golden objects have been retrieved from the lake and there were even attempts by the Spaniards to drain it.

"Over the course of a few years the name El Dorado became synonymous with the lost cities of gold. Many famous explorers from across Europe searched in vain for the cities of gold such as Hernan Perez de Quesada, Philipp von Hutten, and even Sir Walter Raleigh.

"Over time the search for El Dorado, as you call it, became a thing of folk-lore and legend like Atlantis, the Fountain of Youth, or Camelot. However, I believe that there is some truth to the story. I believe that before the Incas, Aztecs or even the older Mayan, Toltec and Moche there was a great culture in South America. I believe that this civilization lost to history spread its culture of goldsmithing, engineering, and religion across much of South and Central America. I also believe that this civilization was the story that the conquistadors heard from the natives which led them to believe in the Lost Cities of Gold."

"Excuse me, Doc, but how does that bring you to the Anasazi? Were they part of this great lost empire?" Mac interrupted.

"No, not at all. We know very little about the Anasazi it is only by coincidence that I am here."

"I don't follow you father," Rebecca piped up.

Crystal Skull

"In my research in the archives of Madrid I came across a diary from a priest named Rodrigo Martinez de Toledo. He talks about the conquistadors finding a crystal skull in what is now British Honduras in 1578. The skull he claims is the key to the legendary city of El Dorado. This sparked a renewed interest in the Spanish searching for the elusive city. Soon in Mexico a stone tablet," Hugo pointed down at the tablet on the table, "was found in one of the temples. This tablet predated the Aztecs, but the Aztecs held it to be very holy. Rodrigo claims that this tablet was a map that would lead to El Dorado."

"That's interesting, Doc, how did the tablet get up here and what about the key?"

"Yes, two things happened that altered the course of history. The first was that in 1579 the Spaniards put the crystal skull aboard a ship called the Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion out of Peru. She was to sail west and put in at Spain. Unfortunately, the ship met up with that seadog Sir Francis Drake. Because the Spanish ship actually carried cannons, it earned the nickname of the Cacafuego. Drake soon captured the ship and transferred all the treasure aboard his ship the Golden Hind.

"Drake fearing that he wouldn't make it back to England and hoping that if he did he would be able to persuade Queen Elizabeth to colonize what is now the Pacific Northwest, New Albion as Drake named it, buried the skull and some treasure in Washington State. Queen Elizabeth burned the records of Drakes passage and forbade him to speak of it. I found the treasure last year, and fear that if I reveal my find, cutthroat fortune hunters will come after me.

"The map was lost two years later when renegade Spaniards stole the map before it could be sent with the treasure fleet to Spain in 1781. The renegades fled north as far as they could before finally taking shelter in some Anasazi ruins. The Navajo tribe soon killed them off.

"That is exactly where I found the stone map. Soon I shall have the key," the archaeologist concluded.

"You mean you have translated the stone?" Rebecca asked.

"Yes, with the help of Rodrigo's journal. I have the map memorized, but I want you, Mac to have the copy that I made for safe keeping." Hugo handed Mac a journal that the pilot stuffed in his back pocket.

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Today (in the Greater Twin Cities Area) is Bike Safely to Work Day. You can ride as dangerously as you want the rest of the time -- and on your way home! Be that as it may, in honor of this stupendous occassion... Hank Cycling Tour de France

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Time Flies

The Letter

By Douglas E Gogerty

* * * * *
Dear Dr. Millard:

We at the Justice Department have been contacted by Barney Masters with regard to your
invention.  We are very much interested in learning more about your new technology.
We believe there are a great many uses for this technology in our country.  We have
been in communication with several agencies, and we feel that with your cooperation,
this technology could be quickly produced in enough numbers to be greatly beneficial
to our country.   In a few days, I will contact you and set up a meeting.  We will
discuss any arrangements at that time.

Sincerely

William J. Claxton
Department of Justice
United States of America
* * * * *

This letter came at quite a surprise to Jim. He did not know that District Attorney Masters had discussed the specifics of the Forsythe case with anyone. To get a letter from the Department of Justice was a big shock.

A few days after receiving the letter, Jim received a call from William Claxton. Mr. Claxton was very anxious to arrange a meeting. The two men compared schedules and the meeting time was set for 2:00 PM the next day. Jim handled the phone conversation as if he had been through it numerous times. Although this was a new experience for him, he was no stranger to arranging meetings. Thus, he would be prepared as always. He did not know what was going to happen, so he would try to be ready for anything.

Mr. Claxton arrived at Jim’s office at precisely 2:00 PM. The two men shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. Jim offered Mr. Claxton a chair, and William obliged him by sitting down in the overstuffed chair in front of Jim’s desk. Mr. Claxton began "Shall we get down to business?"

"By all means," replied Jim.

"Tell me about your invention," started Mr. Claxton.

"While it is a very complicated process, the invention can be described quite simply. It uses the properties of light to bend and twist it in such a way that we are able to view past events."

"It can look into the past?"

"It can. However, you can only view events that took place at the location in which you are viewing."

"I don't follow."

"Sorry. With my device, if I want to see what happened in my apartment two years ago, I can turn the device on here and see that. However, if I want to see what happened at your apartment two years ago, that cannot be done here. We would have to go to your apartment."

"So, you did not see the murder of Hanna Forsythe."

"I was not able to gain entry to that apartment, so I had to view events from the outside."

"That was enough to find the murderer?"

"Well, it gave them another lead that they did not originally have. When they followed that lead, they were able to gather much more evidence against him than they would have had they not suspected him."

"There is no precedence for use of your machine in law enforcement. Couldn't this pose a problem for future cases?" continued Mr. Claxton.

"Frankly, I wasn't thinking of my invention as a tool for law enforcement. In fact, it had never entered my mind. I was hoping my machine could be a research tool. It would be invaluable in finding about our history. With various versions of this glass, we have viewed events from long ago. However, there are likely limitations on how far back we can look."

"What have you looked into?"

"Our latest research was on the Kennedy assassination. We hope to publish our results next month."

"So, you were doing some law enforcement type research."

"I guess so... It could have several ramifications in law enforcement. If the government and the courts find it a valid and useful tool, I suppose I can support these actions. However, I do not want it to interfere with my own research."

"Is there an accuracy problem with this device?"

"Not as far as I have been able to detect," responded Dr. Millard. "We have made several tests with this regard. We have found no discrepancies."

"Of course, it will be up to the courts to decide the admissibility of evidence obtained though this method. This may take some time."

"I would assume that to be true."

"Have you contacted anyone to mass produce this device?"

"Quite frankly, that thought had never entered my mind."

"If we had one of our government contractors contact you about this very thing, would you be willing to allow that to happen?"

"Wow! I'd have to think about it, but I don't see any reason why I would object."

"This could be a great service to your country Dr. Millard. We are very interested in using this device in our law enforcement efforts," Mr. Claxton said as he arose.

"I'm glad you think so," replied Jim as he also got up from behind his desk.

Mr. Claxton gave a firm handshake to Jim and stated, "I'll have one of our contractors get in touch with you in a week or so. Think it over, and we'll be in touch."

"Thanks! I will," Dr. Millard said as he showed Mr. Claxton to the door.

After Mr. Claxton was gone, Jim sat back down behind his desk. His head was swimming with all of the possibilities of having the glass be used in daily police investigations. He could hardly believe it, and he sat behind his desk with a big smile for several more minutes.

After the euphoria wore off a bit, he got back to his regular duties. However, he felt he was on cloud nine for most of the day.

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Mac MacKinnon and the Race for El Dorado

Chapter 4: Mac Is Late and The Morion

By Dwayne MacInnes

Rebecca slept soundly inside the tent. She was dreaming of humming birds with propellers on their beak as they buzzed from flower to flower. The buzzing increased in intensity until she woke up. Sitting straight up in bed Rebecca strained her ears to the noise of the buzzing. It sounded much like that of Mac's Jenny except it sounded as if there were a fleet of them.

Rebecca was about to awaken her father when the noise suddenly stopped dead. The buzzing vanished as if it had never been. Rebecca returned to bed shaking her head. Could she have dreamt the noise?

* * * * *

The next morning Rebecca arose, the sun was already up and the air in the tent was starting to become stifling hot. Her father had obviously been up for some time by the smell of breakfast cooking outside. The smell of scrambled eggs, bacon, and coffee wafted into the tent. Rebecca's stomach growled in anticipation. She quickly dressed into some khaki shorts and a light shirt and joined her father outside.

Hugo was sitting on a crate sipping at his coffee in a tin cup. He was looking up at the cave dwelling above him lost in thought. A pan of eggs and bacon sat on another crate next to him and the pot of coffee percolated on the small campfire.

"Good morning, dad," Rebecca greeted as she helped herself to the food.

"Ah, good morning," Hugo quickly turned to meet his daughter's eyes with a smile on his face. "After breakfast I thought today I'd show you around the dwelling up there," the archaeologist motioned towards the Anasazi abode with his cup of coffee.

"That'd be great," Rebecca replied excitedly. The previous day they spent in camp looking at the artifacts that Hugo had retrieved from the ruins. Though they were incredibly intriguing, Rebecca was itching to see the actual site from which they came.

"Do you think Mac will be here today?" Rebecca asked. "He did say he'd have your package here by then."

"Don't worry," Dr. Strong chuckled. "Mac knows his way around this camp. He has actually spent a couple of days up there helping me dig. So I'm sure that if we aren't in camp he'll join us up at the pueblo."

* * * * *

Dan listened to the radio gravely. His contact in Denver said that Mac had left the airfield hours ago. However, Mac should have returned by now. It was way past noon and the delivery went off without a hitch. The Jenny had been in top form when Mac took off yesterday for Denver. What could be keeping him?

Dan had known Mac since they served together in the Great War. Even then, Dan was the crew chief for Mac's Sopwith Camel. Dan took great pride in the fact that Mac's aircraft never left the airfield with a fault; the return however was always a different story.

After the war, the two began their own express courier service with the Jenny and this airfield. Business was very good. Everyone appeared to need something expedited somewhere. Trains sometimes were not fast enough or did not have a route where the delivery needed to be.

Prohibition had become a boon to their trade as well. The smuggling a crate or two of some beer or tequila from Mexico to some resort in the area proved very profitable. However, Mac was always careful to smuggle very little and to pay off the right officials. Being too greedy attracted the wrong attention. That is the attention of either the law or the mafia.

Dan set the headset down on the table. He dreamed of the day when radios became small enough to fit in aircraft. Regardless, the only thing Dan could do now was to wait and worry.

* * * * *

The late afternoon sun filtered into the cave dwelling. The buildings of the Anasazi were remarkable. The pueblos were made of adobe and the cave in which they were nestled tended to offer some relief from the blazing desert sun. Rebecca was having the time of her life.

"Now look here," Dr. Strong pointed to a pit in the floor of one of the pueblos. "This is where I found the map. You can see the Spaniard's artifacts I retrieved." The archaeologist now pointed to a rusted conquistador helmet and a broken matchlock musket sitting next to the lantern that was illuminating the interior.

Morion Helmet

Rebecca picked up the helmet and looked it over. She had seen pictures of them in paintings. She could now see in her mind the conquistadors wearing them on their heads with polished breastplates on their chest while sitting atop a horse. It is no wonder that the Incas and the Aztecs held these men in awe.

"That my dear is a Combed Morion helmet. It is commonly associated with the conquistadores though they by no means were the only ones to adopt that helmet," Hugo lectured.

Rebecca had not seen her father so lively since her mother died. She smiled at her father as he continued to lecture her on the history of the artifact that was now in her hands.

"In fact, the English pikemen commonly used the morion helmet until the mid 1500s. Edward IV ..." Hugo stopped suddenly and looked around.

"What is it, father?" Rebecca asked as her father strained to hear something.

"Quiet, dear, I believe I heard something," he whispered.

Outside the pueblo, the sound of small rocks tumbling off the side of the cliff intruded into the room. Hugo reached into his satchel by his feet and pulled out a Colt .45 Peacemaker. Rebecca gave a small gasp as she saw her father cock the hammer back.

Colt .45 Peacemaker

Hugo put is finger to his lips and sternly looked towards his daughter. "Quiet, it is probably just Mac, but you can't tell nowadays what sort of person you'll come across here in the desert.

"Just stay here and lay low. I'm going to check it out," Dr. Strong said as he left the small room.

Rebecca pulled herself back further into the room listening to her father slowly walk around the cavern. The tension was almost unbearable. She could not remember ever being so frightened in her life. Rebecca had never seen her father use a gun. She did not even think until now that her father had one.

The seconds turned into hours, Rebecca could no longer hear the footsteps of her father or the mysterious interloper outside. The only sounds that reached her ears were the thump-thumps of her own rapidly pounding heart.

Then a muffled thud followed by winded groan escaping from a man's lips reached her ears. She could hear the sound of some feet scrabbling across the cave's floor.

"Father!" Rebecca cried without thinking of the danger she could be in. She started to rush out of the pueblo and ran right into the chest of a large man in the doorway. The brute shoved Rebecca backwards who fell ingloriously on her bottom near the pit.

"Gunter, I believe ve have anozer vun een heah," the large man said in a thick German accent.

A smaller man walked up next to the brute in the doorway. Looked Rebecca over in the light afforded by the small lantern in the room.

"Ja, ja," Gunter replied, "Johann said ve only need zee professor. Kill her."

Rebecca sat there frozen stiff as the two German men stood over her discussing her fate. She could not get her mind to act. Horror had her completely paralyzed.

The larger man pulled a Luger out of his holster on his side. Smiling he pointed the gun at Rebecca.

Luger

"Sorry, Fraulein," was all the smaller man said to Rebecca as she closed her eyes and started sobbing.

Rebecca heard the sound of the large man cocking the pistol over the two Germen thugs' chuckling and her own sobbing. Any second now, she knew that she would hear the sound of the blast followed shortly by her own death. She wondered if she would feel any pain.

Rebecca tensed up in anticipation. She screwed shut her eyes even harder. She clenched her fists into a death grip by her side. She violently flinched when she heard the double pistol report explode into the small room.

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Back again to the golded oldies. Here is Hank on the St. Louis Arch. Hank on the St Louis Arch

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Mac MacKinnon and the Race for El Dorado

Chapter 5: The Light and the Stein Ritter

By Dwayne MacInnes

"Rebecca?" a voice called out into the darkness. "Can you see the light?"

Rebecca swam around in the darkness. She tried to find the source of the voice. The voice was familiar. It was not her mother. She thought for sure her mom would have been the one to guide her.

"The light, Rebecca," the voice persisted. It was a man's voice. But, whose was it?

Rebecca searched around more in the darkness. She was surprised that there was no pain. That answered one question, she died before the pain hit, thank God. She kept floating in the darkness.

There it was a light in the distance. She willed herself to enter the light. As she approached the light, she found that there was a buzzing in her ears. She could taste the dust on her in her throat.

"What strange sensations to have when you're dead," Rebecca thought.

"Rebecca?" the voice continued. The voice was more firm and a face finally matched up with it.

"Mac!" Rebecca cried as she sat up throwing her eyes open.

"Welcome to the land of the living," Mac smiled back.

There sitting next to her with the small lantern in his hand was Mac MacKinnon. She was still inside the pueblo's room. Dan Edwards was escorting her father into the room. Dr. Strong was holding the back of his head as he walked weakly leaning heavily on the smaller man as he led the professor.

"What? How?" Rebecca began.

"It's a good thing we got here when we did. These fellows were about to execute you. Dan is as good with his grandfather's Schofield as I am with my old service piece," Mac said as he patted the Colt .45 automatic on his hip.

Schofield Revolver

Dan tipped his ball cap toward Rebecca, "I find using the revolver to be friendlier to us left-handers than the automatics." Dan was sitting Hugo down next to Rebecca.

Rebecca looked at Mac questioningly. "He means the automatics tend to eject the spent cartridges out the right side. If you are left-handed, like my friend there," Mac nodded over at Dan, "that can pump the shells into your face. Hot brass in one's face is not all that fun."

Colt 1911

"Sorry we were late. The Jenny was having some...er, engine problems and I had to set down in a vacant field and hitch hike back to the airfield," Mac apologized.

"So who are our friends there?" Mac asked looking over to the two dead men lying over by the far wall.

"I don't know," Hugo began. "They jumped me before I could see them."

"They're Germans," Rebecca said matter-of-factly.

Mac and Dan looked at each other.

"What would the German's be doing here?" Dan asked.

Mac quickly ran over to the dead men. He began searching there bodies. After awhile he looked over at the three people sitting next to the pit.

"It's worse than we thought," Mac said lifting one of the dead men's arms he pulled up the sleeve to reveal a tattoo of a shield that appeared to be made of stone. "It's the Stein Ritter."

"Ooh, that is not good," Dan replied.

"What's Stein Ritter?" the archaeologist asked.

"The Stein Ritter or Stone Knight is a secret Prussian organization. They may have been the ones responsible for the series of treaties that Europe signed that lead to the Great War. In fact, they may have been the ones responsible for assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand in order to start that war once the treaties were set up," Mac offered.

"Why?" Hugo questioned looking intently at Mac.

"Because they felt that they could come to power and through Germany rule much of the world. It was a near done thing until we Americans entered the war," Mac answered.

"No, I'm sorry, but why are they interested in my archaeological finds? Certainly they are not treasure hunters," the professor pressed.

"After the war, the Allies put terrible reparations on Germany. The Germans will be paying off England and France for decades," Mac continued. "Therefore, if the Stein Ritter can find El Dorado they'll be able to fund there own empire."

"My God!" Hugo cried. "The map and Rodrigo Martinez de Toledo's journal are back at the camp."

Mac jumped up and started running towards the doorway. "It is worse than that. I have the package in my car. I can only presume that it is the key."

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