Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran, Part 1

London, England. Early 1990’s

INT. A HOTEL. NIGHT.

Open with the camera panning a handbill from top to bottom with the announcement of “Archaeological Technique and Advancement of the Nineties: Is the Future in the Past?” As the list of speakers is scanned, towards the bottom is one name that the reader lingers on momentarily, Dr. Henry Jones, ret. Then the camera pulls back revealing an elegant easel, braided ropes leading to a dining hall and finally a lush and busy lobby. A voice is heard off camera, gradually the volume is increased as the camera pulls back to display the magnificence of the hotel.

                                         V.O.

… and that is why this new world, techno gadgetry is no match for honest to goodness work! Get your hands dirty! Follow your gut instincts, not some blasted computer print out from an infra-red camera perched miles high in a satellite! Archaeology has always been about getting the feel of the land and the ancient people you are involved with. It is like a romancing, a love affair, if you will.

CUT TO: A man is standing at the podium of a convention hall, the banquet has been well under way and it is obvious that the guests are tired. It is an elderly INDIANA JONES dressed in a rumpled suit and wearing an eye patch. His silvery hair and the lines on his face show he has led a long, fulfilling life. He is pounding his fist on the podium which sends the sound system screeching. The banqueters are amused at the speakers subsequent uneasiness. Another MAN, smartly dressed, is warmly tapping him on the shoulder as a signal that he time has come to end his speech. He cuts in front of the microphone.

                                         MAN

And it is my gut feeling that this ancient people is about to call it a night! (Laughter from the audience) Thank you, Dr. Jones, who visits us all the way from Midwestern University, U.S.A! (Applause)

                                         INDIANA JONES

Hmmfph!

Leaving the podium and turning towards his seat Dr. Jones looks out into the audience and squints but cannot see clearly. He shakes his head and finds his seat then sits down. The chairman is thanking the hotel and the sponsors of the evening, there is more applause and laughter. The camera pans the crowd of conventioneers and finally rests on two middle aged oriental men. They are standing towards the rear and privately talking amongst themselves. CUT TO: Several people gather their belongings and stand to shake hands at the speakers table, patting each other on the back and exchanging little barbs. Dr. Jones is sitting alone murmuring to himself.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Young punks, let that machinery do their thinking for them!

He looks out at the audience again, as if searching. The camera does a brief montage of the banquet hall guests breaking up then returns to the spot where the two men were talking, this time they are joined by a third man wearing a straw hat. He is also a middle aged oriental. The other two men slightly bow to show him respect. They all have their eyes on Indy.

CUT TO: Indiana Jones rises slowly, placing his trademark fedora on his head and gathers his top coat. The chairman makes his way to him and shakes his hand enthusiastically. He is cordial and makes his excuses then turns to leave. CUT TO: Conventioneers are thinning out as Indiana Jones leaves the banquet hall. A man steps out from behind the billboard easel as Indiana Jones walks past. It is one of the orientals, who merely stands and watches as Indy makes his way towards the front desk to inquire of any messages. The desk clerk informs him there are none; he turns for the elevator, stops and sees another of the orientals, the FIRST MAN, standing nearby. He backs up slightly and pauses…

                                         INDIANA JONES (murmuring)

My enemies have passed through the generations to confront me.

Another look and the man has gone, Indy cautiously makes his way to the elevator, waits and then enters when it arrives.

                                         ELEVATOR OPERATOR

Up, sir?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Hmmfph!

The elevator doors close.

FADE

EXT. OUTSIDE THE HOTEL. DAY. Dr. Jones is leaving his posh surroundings in favor of visiting a corner vendor for coffee and a pastry. He meets an elderly VENDOR who greets him warmly.

                                         VENDOR

G’morning, Yank!

                                         INDIANA JONES

What’ new in the world, Nigel?

                                         VENDOR

Well, it appears you Yanks are at it again, I’d say. Drug half the world in with you to boot!

                                         INDIANA JONES (confused)

It’s a bit early, Nigel. What exactly are we Yanks up to?

                                         VENDOR

Why, it’s war, of course! Desert Shield has turned into a full blown, bloody war! You mean you weren’t aware?

He hands Indy a London Times with the headline, Operation: Desert Storm. Indy is incredulous.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Nigel, I was not aware.

CUT TO: From behind the figure of a man comes into view, it is the same STRAW HAT from the previous night. One of his companions approaches from the opposite side.

                                         VENDOR (noticing STRAW HAT)

Well, what will be yours this morning, lad?

Indy looks up from reading the newspaper and is startled when he recognizes the men have him surrounded. Dropping the paper on the sidewalk he hastens towards the hotel. STRAW HAT comes from where he stood, bends and picks up the paper, stands to read the headline and smiles.

                                         FIRST MAN

Dr. Jones!

Indy’s pace quickens but he is having difficulty with his stride. The men begin to follow.

                                         STRAW HAT

Dr. Jones! Wait!

Indy continues to hurry briefly stops alongside of a building to catch his breath then presses on. The men are gaining on him.

                                         STRAW HAT

Dr. Jones! Dr. Jones! Indy! Wait!

Indy pauses when he hears his nickname, but then clutches his chest and falls to the pavement, unconscious. The shadows of the men cross over and darken his face.

FADE

INT. A PRIVATE STUDY. DAY. A hand takes hold of a fountain pen and begins writing.

February 14th, 1945.  Dear Henry, Having a lovely time, wish you were here. Would like you to attend the Dance of Aldebaran. Please R.S.V.P. ASAP. Sincerely, A. P. Lovett

The hand lies the pen down and then picks up the note as if to pause to read it. The other hand’s fingers are drumming absentmindedly on the table top and then they reach for a letter opener fashioned after a small sword. The fingers toy with the handle for a moment as the note is placed back on the table…

FADE

INT. A BAMBOO HUT. DAY. The Philippines, 1944

The side view of a military uniform with a sword in place, a man’s hand is resting on the handle, fingers drumming lightly. A Japanese OFFICER is slowly pacing around a PRISONER bound to an upright post sunk into the dirt floor of a thatch and bamboo hut. There are other soldiers present watching the OFFICER drilling the PRISONER.

                                         OFFICER

Who are you, why are you here?

The prisoner mutters beneath his breath, head down, seemingly exhausted. His back is to the camera.

                                         OFFICER (yelling)

WHO ARE YOU? WHY ARE YOU HERE?

                                         PRISONER

I’m an archaeologist.

                                         OFFICER

You are with Mac Arthur?

                                         PRISONER

No, I’m not…I’ve already told you…

                                         OFFICER (slapping the prisoner)

You lie! You are a spy sent to map our defenses! Where is Mac Arthur?

INDIANA JONES reacts to the slap on his face.

                                         OFFICER

Would you like to know how we make lying American dogs talk?

The Japanese officer draws his sword and places the tip to his prisoner’s throat. The blade point lightly goes from ear to ear on the prisoner, stopping at the second ear.

                                         INDIANA JONES

I can only tell you what I’ve already told you. I’m an archaeologist; my name is Henry Jones, Dr. Henry Jones. I’m on an expedition for a private university.

                                         OFFICER

University? I attended an American university. I went to UCLA, that is why I speak English so good. (laughs) So tell me, Dr. Jones, are you not aware that there is a war going on?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I’m aware.

                                         OFFICER

Why would American archaeologists come to Luzon Island when they are certain to meet only death and destruction?

                                         INDIANA JONES

That is exactly why I AM here, to find something before the entire island is destroyed.

                                         OFFICER

And this something that you search for, would it be treasure? gold perhaps?

He turns to his soldiers and says in Japanese, “This man is a treasure hunter!” and they all laugh.

                                         INDIANA JONES

No, no not gold, well…. I dunno maybe… it’s the scepter of Rajah Saliman. He ruled the island before the Spanish arrived.

                                         OFFICER

Scepter?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Miguel Lopez de Legaspi gave it to him in 1571, supposedly to guarantee his ruler-ship of Luzon Island. Of course, then the cannonballs started flying… it’s supposed to be buried here!

                                         OFFICER

This treasure… it contains gold and jewels? diamonds perhaps?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I’m not sure…

                                         OFFICER

Then you are a liar, Dr. Jones! You are a spy for Mac Arthur! You will tell me what I want to know! (in Japanese, “Fix bayonets!”)

The soldiers immediately attach their bayonets to their rifles and then snap to attention.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Mac Arthur isn’t within 500 miles of here!

                                         OFFICER (in Japanese)

Surround and cover him!

The soldiers obey and aim their bayonet points at Indy’s midsection. The Officer’s sword begins to draw blood from slicing at Indy’s ear.

                                         OFFICER

You will tell us Mac Arthur’s position or you will die… slowly and without honor, Dr. Jones!

                                         INDIANA JONES

I can’t tell you what I don’t know, for chrissake! You’re wasting your…

Just then an explosion is heard and the soldiers are startled, machine gun fire is nearby. The soldiers and their officer run to te window as more explosions are drawing nearer. They begin firing out the window. “It’s the Americans!” The sound of the battle draws louder as the Japanese officer turns his attention to Indy.

                                         OFFICER (screaming at his prisoner)

Spy!

He raises his sword and turns to rush towards Indy but in that instant the explosion of a mortar round erupts into the hut, taking a portion of the exterior wall where the soldiers and their officer had been returning fire. The impact throws Indy flat on his back, dislodging the post from the ground. Debris is scattered everywhere and as the smoke clears the soldiers are dead. The officer is wounded. Indy comes around and struggles to his feet, cradling the butt end of the post in his tightly clasped hands. He bends over in an attempt to throw the post off but he is still loosely bound to it and cannot free himself completely. The officer comes to, realizes what has happened and reaches for hi sword. Both men stand and face each other, the post Indy is carrying sticks several feet above his head. The officer moves in for a better position.

                                         OFFICER

It would appear, Dr. Jones, that you will die without honor after all!

He lashes out with his sword but misses, Indy staggers beneath the weight of his post that is throwing him off balance. The officer strikes out at him again, the blade glances off of the post as Indy again evades him. Finally cornered, Indy appears helpless, The officer moves forward to the kill, measures the distance with the length of his sword. He pauses to smile and ceremonially bow then draws back for a vicious thrust. Indy suddenly realizes his post has a greater length than that of the sword so he quickly “bows” to the officer, striking him on top of his head and rendering him painfully unconscious.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Touche’

He falls to the ground and allows the post to roll off from behind him. Freeing his hands from the rope, he places one hand to his ear. He looks wide eyed at the blood from it, and then drops into the corner exhausted. CUT TO: Outside the bamboo hut and the aftermath of the battle, Indy is standing with his hands free while American soldiers are securing the compound. Other POW’s have been released and they are making their way to medical personnel. Indy begins walking in the direction of the other prisoners until he is intercepted by an Army CORPORAL.

                                         CORPORAL

Dr. Jones?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Yes?

                                         CORPORAL

Dr. Henry Jones

                                         INDIANA JONES (annoyed)

Yes.

                                         CORPORAL

Sir, the commander has requested you accompany me.

                                         INDIANA JONES

What?… what for?

                                         CORPORAL

Sir, we are still trying to verify your reasons for being on Luzon Island at this time. Meanwhile, please consider yourself a guest of the United States Army.

Two Military Policemen flank either side of Indy as an escort.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Verify my reasons…? Look, I’m an archaeologist from Mid-Western University. I’m an American. I’m searching for an artifact, a relic that is 400 years old, which I hope to discover before this entire island is blown to the bottom of the Pacific. What else is there to verify?

                                         CORPORAL

I’m sorry, sir, I have my orders. Aren’t you aware that there’s a war going on?

                                         INDIANA JONES (muttering)

I’m aware.

Just then a cry comes out from one of the soldiers searching through the rubble of the bamboo hut. Other soldiers quickly gather around. One of the men shouts over to the Corporal.

                                         SOLDIER

Corporal, you’d better check this out!

Leaving Indy with the M.P.s, the Corporal trots over to the area where the mortar round struck the hut. After a few moments of examination he motions to Indy.

                                         CORPORAL

Er, uh… Dr. Jones, could you come here for a moment, please?

CUT TO: Indy and the M.P.s walk over to the spot where the Corporal has squatted outside the mortar’s crater, the other soldiers part to either side as he approaches to see the remains of a skeleton with the rotting garb of an island emperor, still half buried in the side wall. Cradled in the bony fingers is a bejeweled scepter protruding through the dirt. Someone whistles softly while Indy reaches out to softly touch the prize.

                                         INDIANA JONES

The scepter of Rajah Saliman!

Indy is grinning with astonishment as the Corporal shakes his hand and the others slap him on the back. In the background a military Jeep pulls up carrying two soldiers with sub-machine guns, a driver and a Mac Arthur looking figure. He steps out and after briefly looking over the compound he approaches the group surrounding Indy, who is still marveling over his find.

                                         GENERAL

Dr. Henry Jones?

                                         INDIANA JONES (without looking behind him, exasperated)

YES!

Standing up and turning to face his addressor, Indy realizes to whom he had been speaking to and grins sheepishly.

FADE

EXT. SAN FRANCISCO HARBOR. DAY. A military skiff approaches the shore carrying two men, an ENSIGN and Indy.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Ah, it’s good to be back in the States!

                                         ENSIGN

Where you back from?

                                         INDIANA JONES (rubbing a pain in the back of his neck)

The Philippines

                                         ENSIGN

That hot bed? What were you doing there?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I’m an archaeologist.

The skiff arrives at the dock ans is greeted by more seamen.

                                         ENSIGN

What would Mac Arthur want with an archaeologist?

                                         INDIANA JONES

No, you don’t understand. I wasn’t with the Army, I was on an expedition for a University.

Indy is disembarking as he speaks, the seamen tie off the craft, Indy steps up on the dock and offers a salute.

                                         ENSIGN

Expedition? University? Are you guys crazy? Aren’t you aware that there’s a war going on?

                                         INDIANA JONES (walking away, miffed)

I’m aware.

FADE

(to be continued…)

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2 Responses to “Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran, Part 1”

  1. Chantal Says:

    Ok, I wasn’t sure I’d like this….I’m not an Indiana Jones fan, although I do like Harrison Ford. But I’ve never gone to see the movies, I just caught parts of some of them when I used to babysit my nephew (who was a BIG Indy fan). But I’ve read this post….and now I’m hooked! It’s intriguing and well-written, and Dr. Jones is dashing, even in his curmudgeoness…..

    This is great, and I look forward to reading the next part. Thank you!

  2. chirchi965 Says:

    U are at it again…great writing !!!

    take care

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