We opened with Marcel Cointreau, or “the Fox”, as his criminal alter ego is known being trapped by the monks of Jyekundo after he had “pumped” one of them for information. Locked inside the guy’s cell, they had to think of a way out. With an excellent Larceny test, he was able, over the space of 15 minutes or so, to peel a section of the door frame away with his swordcane, and get to the latch and open the door.

While he was at that, his ever-faithful but mouthy friend Pin-Li Chen waited at the bottom of the steps to the monastery. Night feel and Chen was starting to get impatient when he heard movement in the trees near the steps up the mountainside. Tracking the nose and doing well with his stealth, Pin-Lee spotted five men in dark clothes climbing the side of the mountain, expertly, until they were near the gate to the monastery. Hoping to upset whatever was afoot, he warned the monk guarding the gate, but this drew action from the dark strangers. One of them silenced the monk before he could raise the alarm with an expert shot from his silenced pistol. More shots forced Pin-Lee to leap over the side of the steps, where he eventually found the ropes the others had used to help them in their ascent. As he climbed back up to meet the men, he noted they were messing with the large wooden gates…he could hear them speaking in German.

As this was happening, O’Bannon the Sky Rat arrived at the Chinese army encampment outside of town where Dr. Zelansky — the American “scientist” they’ve been working for — had been recovering from the attack by Chinese monks on the Nazi camp the night before. The poison was finally wearing off and Zelansky was brought up to speed on the questioning of the monks that were taken captive. His response to hearing that a new playing in Tibet is the ancient monastery of Shianking — the supposed birthplace of the world, itself! If Shianking is involved, they must be ready to head out to its location in the Kunlun Mountains bordering the Soviet Union.

The trip is impossible, O’Bannon pointed out — Rudy, their Douglas Dolphin seaplane only has a range of 680 miles…that’s about the same range as the mountains, on the other side of the Tibetan Plateau; the chances of carrying enough fuel to return is highly improbable. But the Nazis have a Boeing 247D — with a range of 750 miles that could be extended with extra fuel bladders. It might be enough to get them there, and most of the way back to a Chinese outpost. Also, the owner of the plane would be unlikely to just hand it over…

They head back to Rudy only to see an explosion on the side of the monastery! Quickly, they head for their plane. They need to gather what they need and get to the Boeing before the Chinese army locks the place down! On approach to the plane, however, they see movement outside the rear door… Veitch has been cracking the codes their nemesis Obersturmbahnfuhrer Werner keeps his notes and communiques in. He has learned the Germans have cracked the issues with their “saucer” using standard airplane motors, but that “crystals are essential” to the weaponry, and finding a way to Atlantia — the former Hollow Earth now orbiting the sun 20 degrees behind Earth — to collect more is imperative.

That’s when the grenade, a German “potato masher” comes through the door. With some style point expenditures, Veitch caught the grenade and hucked it back at the German, only to have it explode in the toilet of the plane (but absorbing much of the blast. His assailant then opened up with his Steyr MP34 submachinegun, grazing Veitch. By this point, O’Bannon and Zelansky were close enough to take shots at the man. With a lucky hit from his Webley, O’Bannon dropped the Nazi, who used the shallow river to get under the plane and to the other side, out of sight.

Veitch recovered his coilgun from the nose of the plane, while O’Bannon circled around to find the bad guy. Zelansky, exuberantly, rode his horse into the river, shouting a warning to Veitch that allowed the young man to avoid a burst through the fuselage, and return it with his coilgun — shredding a hole in the fuselage and the Nazi. Whatever is going on, the truce between Werner’s men and the American-led team is over. Gathering up their gear, O’Bannon instructs Veitch to get Rudy up and head for Chengdu, about 180 miles south on the Mekong; the plane can just make it. He and the others will meet him there. O’Bannon and Zelansky, armed with Veitch’s Tommy gun and the dead Nazi’s Steyr, head back for the Boeing, hoping to pay the owner off…or take the plane.

In the monastery, the Cointreau and his new friend, Ni-Sung the Vril, head for the exit, fighting a monk here, outrunning a few there. In the main audience chamber, in front of the massive Buddha statue, they are surrounded. The tulku, Chudak, tells them they cannot be allowed to find the Eye of Shambala…Cointreau throws a conveniently placed brass Buddha at the tulku, who catches it and throws it back. Cointreau (spending style) catches it and knocks down one of the monks in their path through the front doors to the main courtyard. With monks in pursuit, they dash into the coutryard…only to have the gates explode from the charge Werner’s men placed.

Cointreau finds himself momentarily disoriented, thinking he’s back in the Great War at the Battle of Armiens…but no, Werner’s men are using submachine guns and drop a few of the monks, intimidating the rest into surrendering. Without pause, Werner walks up to the tulku and stabs him in the neck with a hypodermic needle. He has one of his men pick up the man and they retreat, with Cointreau and Ni-Sung in tow. Pin-Lee meets up with his friend, and they head back for Rudy, while Werner’s assault group heads back for the plane. Below, they can see the entire Kuomintang camp is up and readying for action.

On the way back, they run into O’Bannon and Zelansky. Cointreau heads for Rudy with Ni-Sung, while Pin-Lee jumps onto the back of Zelansky’s horse to help stop Werner and take the plane. The horses allow them to catch up quickly, and O’Bannon is nearly kiled by a burst from Werner’s gun. The other Nazi fells Zelansky’s horse, but not before Pin-Lee rolls off and rushes that second bad guy. With a fantastic roll, he walks up the guy’s chest, kicks him unconscious, and lands gracefully…only to find Werner has him in his sights. Before he can shoot, however, Zelansky blasts Werner with the MP34. With O’Bannon badly trailing with a shot in the ribs, they catch the other Germans as they are dumping the tulku into the 247D. Before the bad guys can get a shot, and thanks to a lot of style points, Pin-Lee charges them, and with a shoulder roll past them, pulls the pins on two of their grenades.

BOOM! All three bad guys are down.

Pin-Lee boards the plane and then ruins his bad-ass streak by biffing the intimidation test vs. the pilot, Ma Cho. Just as he is about to blast the martial artist, O’Bannon gets to the door and offers to pay him to get them all out of here. the nazis are gone and the Chinese army are fast approaching! Ma doesn’t need convincing. They hop in and launch.

Oh…and they have the tulku, who is shot up with something that has addled him and made him prone to talking — about the location of the Eye of Shambala, and the danger they think it represents: the last person to be able to activate it did so shortly before the “Ghost World” (Atlantia) emerged from the Earth. Only those with ancient blood can do this. They fid out he has a device that can detect these descendants…some kind of crystal. the fear of Shianking — once a mystical center of learning, but now rumored to have been corrupted by dark forces.

Aboard Rudy, Veitch takes off, but the river has dropped since they landed and a few style points get the seaplane off the ground, but they rip up her undercarriage and tear off a pontoon. They can’t do a water landing, but they can crank down the landing gear for a terrestrial landing.

Two hours later, the planes are on the ground and they formulate their plans: Zelansky offers Ma twice the value of his Boeing to take Rudy back to Shanghai and deliver the intelligence they’ve gathered (and the plane to the Sky Rats); he gladly sells! They strip the Boeing for room to put in extra fuel, repair Rudy so it can get home, and send the tulku with Ma so as to buy themselves time — because they have a destination now: Zelansky knows where the Eye of Shambala is hidden! During their preparations, they learn something even more stunning — the crystal the tulku had glows when Veitch is near it! He has ancient blood!?! Now they not only know where the Eye is…they have the key to open it!

 

 

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