Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran, Part 1 (continued)

EXT. SOMEWHERE IN THE HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINS. NIGHT. The camera reveals a cabin crusted with snow and ice. The moon is full and reflects off of the landscape. Gradually the moon climbs to where an aquamarine aura is momentarily seen in the distant horizon, then it disappears. CUT TO: INTERIOR OF CABIN. The camera shows gear stacked against the wall, along with weapons and supplies. A flag bearing a swastika is among the items shown. Men are huddled around a stove that is set in the middle of the room, they are disgruntled and weary. Conversing in low tones and grunts, finally one stands and approaches the stove, the others fall silent. This one is an officer. He finds a coffee pot then pours the hot liquid into a mug.

                                         FIRST VOICE (off camera)

The moon is full tonight, Captain.

The officer nods a response but does not look to identify who has spoken. He holds his steaming cup as though it strengthens him.

                                         SECOND VOICE (off camera)

As it has been for the last six months we have been here.

Again, the Captain chooses not to identify who the speaker is.

                                         THIRD VOICE (off camera)

We have failed, as the others before us have failed.

The third voice seems to arouse the Captain, but still he does not address anyone in particular.

                                         CAPTAIN

Out Furor will not concede defeat, we must not concede defeat! If we fail others will take our place to the glory of the Fatherland!

                                         THIRD VOICE (off camera)

We are no closer than we have ever been! This place does not exist, we die for nothing!

The men are emboldened by the darkness, they murmur their support of the last voice and are restless. The Captain seems oblivious to their insubordination, he answers as if in a dream.

                                         CAPTAIN

It is here, Lieutenant; our information is accurate, of that you can be sure. But as with every treasure, the value is often appraised by it’s difficulty to be found.

The Captain lights a cigarette from a nearby hanging kerosene lamp, takes a thoughtful draw into his lungs and then unhooks the lantern and slowly allows it’s light to flash across the faces of the men accustomed to the dark. They wince, partly because of the light, partly from being exposed by the light. One man stands and approaches the Captain, who has replaced the lantern and returned to gazing into the stove’s fire. This one is an officer as well, though younger. He is not as controlled as the Captain and speaks disrespectfully.

                                         LIEUTENANT (3rd voice)

Accurate? We started out with more than 20 men, now there are 12 of us. Instead of prolonging life these mountains take it away! Who would place Utopia in the midst of this forsaken region? God would not be so cruel! We should leave, return to our homeland and our families!

                                         CAPTAIN

And what would you return with, Lieutenant Shueller? No proof, only fear? What honor is that for your friends and fallen comrades, your family and homeland?

                                         SHUELLER

At least I would be alive. (a murmur of agreement from the shadows)

From the darkness steps another man, dressed as a CIVILIAN. He raises his hands to the warmth of the fire. His presence makes the Lieutenant uneasy.

                                         CIVILIAN

You speak of God, Lieutenant? As if God would conceal anything from our glorious Furor? If we live, we live to serve the Furor and should we die, it is to the glory of our Fatherland! Or have you forgotten this, Lieutenant Shueller?

Shueller shakes his head and is sullen. The Captain turns his eyes to the civilian.

                                         CAPTAIN

We are all tired, PROFESSOR STROMBURG, all of us. I’m sure the Lieutenant meant no disrespect to our Furor.

                                         PROFESSOR

Tired, Captain? or half out of your mind with fear? Consumed by it, reeking of it, to the point of hysterics because we are about to unveil a power you cannot possibly comprehend?

                                         SHUELLER

I fear no man! Least of all you, Stromburg. Our Furor’s interest in this place does not bother me in the least! Though I am sure he has been blinded by those wild stories of yours! Superstitions and myths you have made him believe that go against human reason and nature. Man living hundreds of years in a paradise hidden in these mountains, ha! But I am not so easily convinced.

Professor Stromburg begins turning his hands while rubbing them near the warmth of the stove. The aquamarine stone of a ring glistens. He is amused at the younger man’s rantings.

                                         PROFESSOR

I am not interested in your convictions, aside from your loyalty to our cause. You close your mind to the possibility of things much grander then you could imagine and so you are a fool, as the world is full of so many fools. Shangri La exists. As each of us dreams of a better place, so it must exist. And we are close, foolish one, we are very close to finding it.

                                         SHUELLER

Just so many words! Words that killed three of us this morning! Words that will kill us all if we don’t go back! You chase a dream, a myth! Men will only continue to die trying to prove it!

The Captain now moves to stand between the two men, he is fully alert now and in full command.

                                         CAPTAIN

Then we die, Lieutenant, to the last man if necessary.

                                         SHUELLER

Is your loyalty so blind?

                                         CAPTAIN

I am a soldier, Lieutenant, as are you. (turning to face the darkness) As are we all! (facing Shueller) We serve the Furor, our duty is to the Fatherland. Our search is for it’s success for generations to come.

                                         SHUELLER

Can there be any glory in dying in these mountains, a thousand miles away from our homeland?

                                         STROMBURG

We Germans must adjust to many climates, Lieutenant, because the glory of Germany will be know worldwide.

The Lieutenant moves back into the shadows with the other men and sits down again. Professor Stromburg seems amused by the conversations outcome.

                                         STROMBURG

I will forget your words, Lieutenant Shueller, I will forgive your slander and tolerate your ignorance. Perhaps you will live to see and be convinced, perhaps not. But one thing remains certain, Shangri La will be found, it is our destiny!

                                         CAPTAIN (turning back to gaze at the fire)

Let us hope we are not too late.

The Captain then turns back into the shadows and sits down, leaving Professor Stromburg alone by the light of the lantern. The Professor rubs his hands with the warmth of the stove, then as if by discovery, removes the ring with the blue stone and examines it lovingly.

                                         STROMBURG (whispering)

Eternal life can never come too late, CAPTAIN VON HAUS

Kissing the ring he returns it to his finger then smiles wistfully into the coals of the fire.

FADE.

MID-WESTERN UNIVERSITY. DAY. STUDENT ACTIVITY ON CAMPUS. CUT TO: A CLASSROOM IN PROGRESS

A discussion between Indy and one of his students is interrupted by a bell, the students rise and file out. As they exit they meet headlong into an older gentleman, MARCUS, a colleague of Indy’s and a close friend. In the hallway a janitor is seen entering the adjoining room as Marcus enters and the students are leaving. Once inside and alone with Indy, Marcus is bubbling over with enthusiasm. Indy is clearing off the blackboard.

                                         MARCUS

Henry! Henry, is it true?

Indy turns around to see his old friend. He raises his fingers to his lips, gestures to Marcus to sit down then steps out into the hall to look up and down to see if anyone is out there. Satisfied that they are alone, Indy walks back in and closes the door. Marcus is anxiously waiting.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Marcus!

                                         MARCUS

Henry, is it true? I’m about to bust! I can hardly believe it after all these years!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Easy, Marcus, this can’t be leaked out, at least… not yet!

                                         MARCUS

Then it is true?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I received the note by Currier this morning. No one else knows except Dad, and now, of course… you.

                                         MARCUS (amused)

Your Father never could keep a secret!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Well… he’s kept one, so far.

                                         MARCUS

Oh yes, The Cup of the Christ! He’s a better man because of that one drink, let me tell you.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Yes… well, we’d have all done well to drink from that cup, Marcus.

He rolls his neck and rubs the back, like he’s ridding himself of a cramp.

                                         MARCUS

Hmmm… Yes, well… what of it, then? What of the note? Could it really be him after all these years?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Alexander P. Lovett.

                                         MARCUS

Lovett, Henry! After all this time, is it really possible?

                                         INDIANA JONES

It would appear so, Marcus. It was dated less than two weeks ago.

                                         MARCUS

And what of the crash… ? and the others, did he mention what happened to the others?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Presumed crash, Marcus, there never was any proof of that.

                                         MARCUS

But what else could have happened, Henry after all this time? What was the message? How did Lovett explain over 10 years of silence?

Indy moves away from behind his desk and walks around in front of it, sitting on it’s top and leaning closer to Marcus.

                                         INDIANA JONES

That’s just it, Marcus, he didn’t explain… he didn’t really say anything out of the ordinary.

                                         MARCUS

Didn’t say anything….? Well, what about IN the ordinary? Henry, people don’t just drop off the face of the Earth for a dozen years and then make contact acting as if nothing has happened to them!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Alexander P. Lovett does. Marcus, are you forgetting who we’re dealing with?

Marcus sits back and muses for a moment, then nods in agreement.

                                         MARCUS

Quite the pair, you two were!

                                         INDIANA JONES

He’s the one that got me started in all this.

                                         MARCUS

But YOU stayed, he left and didn’t say a word.

                                         INDIANA JONES

That was a long time ago, Marcus.

                                         MARCUS

But still, Henry… communicating with you after all this time and the note says nothing?

Indy has started pacing about in front of Marcus and as his friend finishes his question, Indy stops as in afterthought, reaches inside his coat pocket and produces a piece of paper.

                                         INDIANA JONES

It isn’t even a message, really, more like a post card… or no, like an invitation.

                                         MARCUS

A post card! How like him! eh…, what kind of an invitation? Henry! Are you going to tell me what Alex says or aren’t you?

                                         INDIANA JONES (reading from the paper)

Having a lovely time, wish you were here. Signed A. P. Lovett.

                                         MARCUS

Having a lovely time?… What? that’s it? There’s nothing else?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Well, you know Lovett, everything is LOVELY WITH LOVETT!

                                         MARCUS

Oh yes, I’d quite forgotten that little bit of odd humor. But Henry, that is all he’s said?

                                         INDIANA JONES

That’s about it… and the date… February 14th, 1945

                                         MARCUS

Valentine’s Day!

                                         INDIANA JONES

Oh, yes… I hadn’t made that connection.

                                         MARCUS (puzzled)

But…, you’d said it was like an invitation?

Indy leaves his desk and walks towards the window, peering out past the trees on campus, off into the sky…

                                         INDIANA JONES

I was leading up to the last part… He writes something familiar to me and yet I can’t quite place it.

                                         MARCUS

Henry! Why are you being so vague? What has Lovett said to you that has you so melancholy?

Indy turns away from the window and returns to standing in front of Marcus then leans back on his desk top again.

                                         INDIANA JONES

He said, “Would like you to attend the Dance of Aldebaran. Please R.S.V.P. ASAP.”

Marcus is momentarily speechless, like he is absorbing what Indy has just told him.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Marcus.

                                         MARCUS (after a long pause)

Yes?

                                         INDIANA JONES

There is one more thing, not from the note, but more like a verbal addendum… given to me by the Currier.

                                         MARCUS

Verbal? Henry, I don’t understand. You’ve received a note from a man presumed dead for the past dozen years who asks you to attend some shindig but adds something only spoken to you by the Currier? Good Heavens, could this become any more bizarre?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I’m afraid it could.

                                         MARCUS

Well, now I’m not sure I want to know… (sustained pause.) Oh Henry, of course I do! What on earth did the Currier tell you?

                                         INDIANA JONES (looking off towards the window)

What on earth, indeed… more like where on earth… It wasn’t that I was being told anything, but more like a phrase I’d dimly heard in the past but never thought I’d have it said to me in earnest.

Marcus is on the edge of his seat, Indy is having a hard time composing himself and is bracing for the reaction of his friend.

                                         INDIANA JONES

“Descend into the Valley of the Blue Moon.”

                                         MARCUS

Descend? How? From where?

                                         INDIANA JONES

I don’t know, that’s all there is to it.

                                         MARCUS

Odd. Do you suppose he is talking about this dance of Mr. Al-de-bu-ran?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Aldebaran, Marcus. I don’t know… there is so much about this note that seems familiar but I can’t seem to get a handle on it.

                                         MARCUS

I suppose you’ll have to go to the University on this one.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Yes… and I thought the Philippines would be my last…

                                         MARCUS

Retire, Henry?

                                         INDIANA JONES

No, Marcus, just tired. I had told the board and the President that I wanted to spend more time on campus. It really is a younger man’s game. Last time out I think I discovered that the hard way. (begins rubbing his neck and then runs his thumb around the scar behind his ear.)

                                         MARCUS

Hmmm… speaking of the President, how is the old boy?

                                         INDIANA JONES

Ornery as ever!

                                         MARCUS

But I’m sure he was tickled to hear about Lovett!

                                         INDIANA JONES

So tickled that he won’t let me sit this one out. Guess I’d best shuffle on up to the Grand Pooba’s office.

Indy rises to go and Marcus stands with him, touching Indy on his elbow.

                                         MARCUS

It was good news, Henry, knowing Alex is still alive. What a story he’ll have to tell, eh?

Indy pats his friend on the shoulder as he opens the door, enabling them to leave.

                                         INDIANA JONES

Lovett never had difficulty telling a story, Marcus. Knowing whether to believe it, now that was the difficult part.

Both men leave the classroom and head out into the hall, closing the door behind them. The door adjoining to the next room opens and the janitor peers out, thoughtfully holding pen and paper in hand.

(to be continued…)

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One Response to “Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran, Part 1 (continued)”

  1. Number One Fan Says:

    Enthralling. Looking forward to Part 2……

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