Mac MacKinnon and the Race for El Dorado

Chapter 9: Johann and Wolfgang

By Dwayne MacInnes

Dr. Hugo Strong and Rebecca moved into the apartment attached to the back of the hangar where Dan and Mac lived. The apartment was small, containing only a kitchen-dining room, two cramped bedrooms, and a living room housing a sofa that Dan now used as a bed. Dan had insisted that Rebecca take Mac's room and Dr. Strong move into his while Mac was searching for the zeppelin.

The three would crowd around Dan's radio in the hangar as he communicated with Mac every evening about his progress on locating the zeppelin at the Grand Canyon. Other than experiencing a wonderful aerial tour of the picturesque landscape, Mac had nothing further to report. Finally, they decided after ten days that Mac return to their airfield in New Mexico.

Dan was at his usual position at the radio when Rebecca walked into the large open room. Dan threw his headset onto the desktop in frustration before he realized that Rebecca was standing behind him.

"Oh...sorry," Dan stammered in surprise noticing Rebecca watching him.

"What's wrong?" Rebecca asked as she took a chair next to the desk.

"Nothing. I'm just experiencing some technical problems with my set here," Dan lied.

Rebecca gave Dan a piercing glare showing that she obviously did not buy his story. "Is there something wrong with Mac?"

Dan sat back in his chair and blew air out of his mouth. "Yeah, Mac should have been here hours ago. I just called McCurdy's airfield and he isn't there. In fact, Mac left in the morning as we planned."

"Maybe, Mac stopped off for dinner or something on the way back," Rebecca tried to comfort Dan.

"That's not like Mac. He is very punctual. Do you remember the last time he was late? He was lucky he was able to land the plane after he ran into that flock of birds."

"Mac is a very accomplished pilot. I'm sure he has a reason for being late. Who knows he may have even found the zeppelin."

"That's exactly what I'm afraid of," Dan replied sourly.

"Any news about Mac's whereabouts?" Dr. Hugo asked surprising both Rebecca and Dan as he walked up behind them. The archaeologist was holding a sandwich that he offered to Dan. "Rebecca and I have already eaten."

"Thanks," Dan replied as he accepted the food. Dan then repeated his fears to the doctor.

Rebecca and Dr. Strong began talking about some of the artifacts that were at the dig while Dan consumed his meal. The three were so busy discussing Dr. Strong's finds that none of them noticed the man walk into the hangar.

"Pardon me," the stranger asked.

The three companions turned around simultaneously to see a man dressed in a gray business suit and holding his hat in one hand and a walking stick in another. The man stood at about six feet tall, had blue eyes and gray hair with a Van Dyke beard and mustache that was also gray. He had to have been in his late forties or early fifties.

"I am sorry to interrupt," the man said in a British accent with a hint of German as he heavily rolled his r's. "I am Johann von Hutten, and I am afraid I need your help Herr Doktor."

Von Hutten revealed the German Luger that he had concealed under his hat. Two other large men now entered the hangar. One was armed with a rifle the other was also holding a Luger.

Dan, Rebecca, and Dr. Strong all raised their hands as the intruders pointed their weapons at them. The two thugs walked over, grabbed the archaeologist roughly, and began to lead him away.

"Wait!" von Hutten ordered. "If I am not mistaken this is Herr Strong's daughter. Bring her along. I'm sure she'll help us persuade the fine doctor to cooperate. As for the mechanic... as these American's say, 'dead men tell no tales.'"

Before long, the thugs tied up and gagged Dan in a corner of the hangar. The Germans had left with their prisoners leaving Dan by himself. Instead of just shooting him there, the Germans had cruelly set up a bomb consisting of several sticks of dynamite and a clock that sat in front of Dan.

The poor mechanic could do nothing but watch and listen as the clock relentlessly ticked off the few remaining minutes before ending his life in a violent blast. His arms tied securely behind his back around a pipe secured him to his corner. The bomb was out of reach of his kicking legs. Dan frantically twisted and struggled to loosen his bonds. However, it was fruitless he was expertly trussed up.

The zeppelin rose slowly up into the night sky. A locked crewmembers' cabin contained the archaeologist and his daughter. Johann von Hutten looked down upon the small airfield from the flight deck of the zeppelin.

The helmsman stood at the wheel listening to the orders of the captain. Johann knew the captain well; he was a very accomplished pilot and a high-ranking member of the Stein Ritter. Wolfgang, none knew his last name, had shot down over hundred allied aviators during the Great War. Now, this strange man commanded the last of the military's zeppelins that he had custom made and had remarkably smuggled out of the Fatherland without anyone knowing.

Wolfgang had come to von Hutten to offer his assistance in locating El Dorado. It was no secret that Johann was the great grand nephew of Philipp von Hutten. Like Philipp, Johann burned with a desire to find the elusive El Dorado. All Wolfgang wanted was a share of the treasure in order to rebuild Germany.

Johann smiled as he watched the airfield shrink below them. It looked like the last obstacle was about to be permanently removed. First, they shot down that pilot earlier today and now the mechanic was about to come to his end.

Johann looked up at the clock on the wall of the bridge. Any second now, the bomb should go off. Von Hutten peered out the window once more in time to see the flash of the explosion. The dampened roar of the blast reached his ears a second later.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on June 28, 2006 5:51 PM.

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