Indy Meets the Indy Boys
a Halloween Fic-HH/Indiana Jones Crossover
by Lady Atropos
Indiana stumbled forward two more steps. The night was freezing here; for God's sake, why couldn't the African desert make up its mind?! The Namib-possibly the harshest environment on earth. Oh, but it'll be worth it this time, he reminded himself. He shook his head, squinting his eyes and tightening his weathered cheeks as a cascade of sand sifted from his hair. 'How did that get there?' he thought bemusedly. He glanced down at the sand at his feet, and saw a haunting sight-a low gray form writhing its way across the desert. It was small, but definitely alive somehow, without having either definite shape or any distinguishing features. Indy approached with caution, but not fear. He didn't believe in the paranormal, but he also didn't want any unaccounted-for factors screwing up his operation. This time, the prize was just too big.
But what was the point of a prize on the other end when he had no idea where he was in the desert? He kicked the sand, eyes still locked on the gray form, as if he were trying to get a little of his own back. Sand wasn't about to kill Indiana Jones! He kicked it again. He had run out of water yesterday. Soon he would be delirious. Maybe he thought he actually *was* hurting the desert. Shaking his head once more, freeing himself from his hypnotic fury, he scanned the horizon eagerly, and saw-more sand. His eyes alighted once again on the creature he had sighted earlier.
The gray form wended over the undulating dunes, like a ghost over water. Indy pulled the brim of his fedora down a little harder on his forehead with one hand, and set off after it. The thing skittered eerily through the desert, as if it had some destination in mind that the rest of the world did not know about. Indy, his impatience growing, started his aching body into a run, with a small animal grunt of effort. The gray form grew closer in his field of vision. With a desperate dash, he was upon it, the small, grimy thing in his hands, squirming for dear life and biting his fingers.
It was nothing supernatural, after all. It was a mole-a blind, eyeless mole, grotesque in is own right. The smooth head sniffed around, long snout jabbing Indy until he dropped the creature, overwhelmed by its ugliness. It writhed a bit in the sand, then skittered off into the early desert night. Indy could see the sliver of light where the sun had just set on the horizon. That must be the west. He moved in that direction now, chasing the sun.
Cold sweat running down his dusty face, dryness parching his throat, Indy crawled over two more dunes, cursing the Namib Desert every agonizing step. His ragged Oxford shirt clung to his back, and his shins were bruised and lacerated, exposed to all the gating of the sand he dragged them across, his kaki trousers rolled up to the knee. Damn, but the sand was still hot! His pulse pounded in his ears, relentless as the sands.
At the top of the second dune, Indy stopped, stomach on the earth, if that poisonous ocean of dust could be called earth, and lay his face down. He remained like that for he knew not how long-there was no time in this place where he was about to die. He lifted his face one last time to gaze at his tomb, to glimpse surroundings of the last mission that had beat him, and saw in the West
The ocean. The dune he was on dropped off in a steep escarpment right into the sea. The gray waves pounded the narrow shore below, eroding slowly the very cliff he was perched on. There must be hellish weather down there; something was making the waves reach unreal heights. Whitecaps flashed with an astounding fury before they broke and scattered along the coast. The sky was clear, but the winds here were anything but gentle.
Indy saw that he had no way of climbing down this escarpment, but, fortified with a new hope and strong again like his usual self, his mind turned to the prize he was pursuing, and the possible ways of getting at it in lieu of the new development. With the shining goal in mind, his common sense was restored, and despite the lack of water that his body suffered from, he began to stride along the ridge, searching for a place to descend. Finally, the dune began to decline, and Indy, keeping an eye on the West and the ocean, strode down it with quickening steps. He fell down on his knees and rolled that last one hundred yards.
When he raised his face, he knew he was where he had meant to be all along, and the sight of the place filled even his usually stolid interior with awe. Scattered haphazardly on the rugged, wind-torn beach were the hollowed-out carcasses of all manner of ships; the fragile, rotten shells of tall ships were littered about as well as steamers and ocean-craft of a more modern variety. Shipwreck Beach-the treacherous winds and currents of the stretch of ocean just over the horizon left many victims to be carried away and hoarded here.
Indy knew just the wreck he needed; an old, 19th century sloop with the name 'Castilla' spelled out in faded, crackled paint across her narrow stern. Indy padded towards this ship, his joints creaky like an old man's. 'Not the years' he mumbled to himself profoundly, consoling himself to feeling worn down when he really wasn't. Or at least, trying to console himself. He had used this phrase many times to himself. "It's the damn mileage!" he finally stated clearly aloud to the sand lizards skittering over the moldy planks. Well, it was a definite combination of years and mileage that had done it for this vessel.
The remains of the rigging hung in tattered clumps from the crooked yardarms, blowing like unbrushed hair in the stinging wind of the coast. Whatever monster wave had finally finished this boat off must have contained a supernatural fury; it had managed to drive the ship far up the sandy strand, so that the 'Castilla' was easily the most prominent among the stretch's wrecks. The poor bastards on board must have died a terrible death. No wonder the myth was that the ship's cargo had been cursed-an ancient Mayan artifact, plucked by Spanish colonists, to bring back to Spain as a quaint souvenir, from the village that had been in possession of it for over 1,000 years. The ship carrying it-the 'Castilla'-had met with bad luck, no, the worst luck almost immediately. She was captured by the British just as she entered the Atlantic, and then even the British had had a hard time with her. Mysteriously straying off course and overshooting for St. Helena, the ship, prisoners, and prize crew had sailed her in desperate wandering until they were well due East of where they ever should have been. Just as they neared the treacherous Shipwreck Beach, two untoward circumstances had converged to bring about her demise; the Spanish prisoners revolted just as a hideous storm hit. The details must have been gruesome indeed; the one man who had survived to tell the tale was more than half-starved and completely insane from his long desert wandering, and would recount no more. He was said to have startling sapphire eyes that roamed the horizon incessantly in his final madness. The man, as it turned out, must have been some sort of an epileptic; he died in a fit a few days after being found before disclosing any more of the secrets behind the tragic accident.
Indy climbed deftly and swiftly up whatever jagged appendages of wood or eroded holes in the side of the ship he could lay a grip in, and was swinging into one of the gunports in an amount of time that would do a professional athlete proud. He headed straight down, into the hold, not needing to navigate a route to a companionway in the unfamiliar ship because a black chasm opened up below him that emptied right into the place he was looking for. He picked himself up off the shattered barrel he had crashed down upon, and loudly swore, quite a few curses. Some of them were uncalled for, but the majority of them weren't. A dune-hued sidewinder slithered over his feet. He issued a high-pitched grunt and jumped back. Snakes!
Indy looked at his new surroundings. He could see pretty much most of the ship from his vantage point; it was really only the skeleton of a ship, with large gaps in the fragile decks that allowed his to see all the way to the sky in many places. There was one thing that puzzled him above all else-the lack of human skeletons. True, most of the men could have been expected to be carried away by the sea, but he believed there would have been ones strong enough to hold on, like the lone survivor, and they would have left remains. There most definitely were none.
Indy disregarded that eerie thought as his eyes alighted on the prize he sought; glittering in the very stern of the hold was a little lump of a translucent, glowing material. On approaching, it materialized into a crystal skull; one of the thirteen fabled ones that would, at the end of the earth when reunited, disclose all the secrets of the human race back to the very beginnings of man. Indy was going to be famous when he got this back to the university!
Indy recalled thinking in a vague sort of way about the power of the Mayans just before his fingers curled around the glittering smoothness of the surreal cranium. He threw his head back and laughed as soon as it was in his hands, a hysteria of triumph and exhaustion and thirst. Then the steady shriek of the wind through the ship grew higher in pitch, and the timbers groaned, and to Indy's sheer horror the great vessel began to lurch and the side of the ship dissolved before his eyes
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"We must rally our men and try to keep the Dons under the hatches. It's the only way with our small amount of people INDIES TO ME, DAMN YOU, INDIES TO ME!" Horatio was mad with battlelust and sick with the erratic motion of the ship, or maybe the looming failure that danced before his eyes. Archie nodded his fierce assent, and continued the cry in Horatio's stead as the British sailors fought their way valiantly to their officers. Horatio's mind spun, even though his tactical ability remained; what he couldn't figure out was how they had gotten here. He knew he was a good navigator, or at least a lucky one-that was the only thing that he was sure about himself in regards to true ability. So how did he make such a gross mistake and send them past St. Helena and into this storm, a mistake that will now surely cost the lives of all aboard, even the rebelling Spaniards. Horatio whipped out his freshly loaded pistol just in time to shoot a prisoner before he got to Archie. Kennedy looked back quizzically at Horatio, and then, with one of his swift, exhilarated smiles, plunged into the fray again.
Horatio could not see most than twenty feet off the side towards the horizon from the quarterdeck, so clouded was the atmosphere with the spray from the terrible wind. He must see a chart, or he would risk another error in his handling of the ship, and the voyage would be lost irretrievably. The Dons were backing down into the bow of the 'Castilla,' and he could risk the trip to the great cabin and spare the men to work the sails. But he must have a chart. He cursed himself for not having studied it more thoroughly-it was another careless omission to his mind that was so unlike himself.
Horatio clattered down the nearest hatch, and turning to stride into the great cabin, was accosted by a hidden Spaniard with an evil intention. The rebel punched Horatio in the nose so hard the vagabond was unable to do any more harm to the officer, for Horatio tumbled in a jumbled fashion down another companionway and into the hold. Fortunately, his fall was not too hard because he landed on a squishy creature also known as
Indy issued forth the second strangled grunt of the evening as he attempted to extricate himself from underneath the dark-haired man who had rained down upon him from nowhere. The dark man, very bony as Indy noticed while the Brit's elbows jabbed into his stomach in an attempt to scramble up, had blood streaming from his nose and sopping hair. The officer (as Indy discerned he was by the uniform,) wasted little time in recognizing Indy's presence by hastily loading and cocking his pistol. As he cocked the pistol, a particularly nasty wave hit the 'Castilla' and his hand jerked, firing before he had even had a chance to level it at his game.
Horatio felt a sear of pain over his left hand, still poised over the flint, and opened it to see that the powder had left a permanent stain on his hand. He had little time to think about that, though, as he was bent on arresting this man that he had landed on, assuming he was a crony of the one who had sent him down here. He threw himself on the strangely clad warrior, determined to fight him down by hand.
When Indy saw the dark man flying at him, he expected more of a fight than he got. Laying the crystal skull aside, he grappled for a short bit, and then with remarkable ease pinned the tall, scrawny young man to the transom. The first question that floated to Indy's mind was where the hell he was.
"Where the hell am I?"
The dark man gazed defiantly back at Indy.
"You are on His Majesty's lately acquired sloop of war, the 'Castilla,' Lieutenant Horatio Hornblower at your service." Indy couldn't help but laugh.
"Hornblower?! Hornblower?!" Horatio was puzzled by his accent, which was hard to trace to any particular region, though the man seemed to understand English.
"And may I ask what my opponent's name would be?"
"Indiana Jones, Horatio, hahaha!"
"Indiana that sounds like one of the ridiculous names the gentry give their pets. Indiana Jones, eh!" Indy gave him a sideways glance. The laughing halted on both sides. Each had other urgent matters to mind. Indy released the lieutenant as soon as he had ascertained that he would try no more violent assaults on him.
"Listen, I need your help. I shouldn't be here. I don't know how it happened, but I seem to have gone back to your time." Horatio was growing impatient. Whoever this stowaway was, he had all appearances of being stalk raving mad. "That skull" Horatio's eyes were directed by the strange, ragged man, Indiana, to the glittering object rolling about in the bilge.
"I have graver matters to attend to, Mr. Jones"
"Dr. Jones." Horatio's eyes widened in frustration at the further lunacy of his captor. Suddenly, both men looked up as the character of the battle noises above changed from fury to
High pitched screams of horror rent the wailing air, screams of Englishmen and Spaniards blending into one giant shriek. Indy and Horatio, Indy pausing to grab the skull, dashed up the companionway and up again through the hatch to see the most uncanny sight. Blue, translucent hands grasped the edges of the rails, and those hands pulled up dripping, ethereal sailors, with lank hair and fish eyes. Fighting had ceased in the presence of the dead. Whatever had brought Indy into this time had also opened the door for somebody else.
Archie stood at his station, his eyes wide as he saw the form of Jack Simpson slither aboard. He was living a nightmare; there was no way, the reasonable portion of his mind told him, that this could be happening, yet his brain seemed to be run by the superstitious portion, which screamed 'run for your life!" Only, where could he run to? Other forms followed this strange tormentor; familiar faces and unknown sailors lost to the realm of hell or whatever stronghold clasped them at the bottom of the sea. Lost no more.
These apparitions proceeded to glide throughout the ship betwixt her full complement of dazed and terrified live sailors of various nationalities, and climbed the masts, and sailed her like the living human beings they once were. None of the ghosts had any expression on their face, they simply set about all the tasks required like clockwork, and, despite their unreal appearance, completed each job in a very real way. Still shocked, Archie gaped as Simpson took the wheel, and steered the 'Castilla' around until she was pointed directly at the first land they had sighted in months-a sleek, dangerously shallow shore. The weather seemed to agree with the course Simpson set, for the waves grew in size to heights that neither portion of Archie's mind could grapple with. It was a struggle not to be overwhelmed and get swept away to die. Archie glanced at the phantom crew and wondered, if he did die, would he simply return immediately so to speed the others on the ship to their deaths?
Indy looked on, from behind the strange man, Horatio's, shoulder, and thought back again to the lack of bodily remains on the wreck of the 'Castilla.' Suddenly the solution hit him. "This is not supposed to be happening" he murmured to himself, and then turned to Hornblower and told him louder. Horatio, for some strange reason, now found it in himself to believe the man he had originally thought a lunatic, and nodded his assent. He knew, somewhere inside his skeptical interior, that this was a special case, and that this wasn't what was supposed to happen. None of his men were meant to die this way. But how could he save them?
As if reading the others' minds, Archie knew that this was not the true history of the 'Castilla.' There was some force onboard compelling these events to happen, compelling Horatio to mess up the navigation, compelling the Spaniards to uprise at just the wrong moment, and finally compelling the demons of the deep to return and finish the whole thing off. In other words, doom.
Then Archie saw the stranger standing behind Horatio, looking like a demon himself and holding a skull that glowed the same blue as the sea ghosts. Further behind Horatio and the stranger was the biggest wave that mankind has glimpsed with his waking eyes. And it was bearing straight down on their ship. Archie made the connection and moved fast, not fearing death in the least during his mad dash. His hat flew off as he crossed the deck, and tearing the skull from the stranger's weakened grip, flung it over the side and into the monster wave as hard as his arm was capable. As soon as the Mayan artifact fit the wall of water, the wave sunk into the sea, and not even a drop of it passed onto the ship. The wind died as abruptly, and the main was entirely becalmed. The ghosts were gone. Nothing but silence remained.
"Marines, get those prisoners belowdecks, now!" It was not a hard struggle for the British this time; the Dons gave up easily, all the fight gone out of them. Horatio felt an oppression lifted. He turned with an uncharacteristic smirk on his face. "From the future, eh, Indiana?"
Even Archie laughed at the stupid realization, laughing with relief. Indy was not so pleased with Kennedy, though.
"When do you think I'll get it back?" Dr. Jones asked sullenly.
"Oh, that lump of junk? Probably the same day the sea shall give up her dead." Archie replied wryly. "So what are you?"
"I couldn't tell you, I'd give away the ending"
"Ending of what, DR. Jones?" Horatio asked, feeling
strangely comfortable in the man's presence, and going so far
as to put a joking emphasis on the title of doctor.
"The ending of the story you're living right now. I'm not a ghost, just a wanderer."
"Then why, Jones, are you fading?" Asked Archie, now totally bewildered. Indy looked down, and couldn't see his feet. He was, indeed, fading from the scene.
"Because I don't belong here. Godspeed." And with that, Indiana Jones disappeared from that dimension. Horatio looked around. He found, to his surprise, that all the sails were set as they previously had been, and they were in no danger of running aground. A gentle breeze fluttered the hair on the nape of his neck.
"Quartermaster, set a course for due west. We are going to St. Helena." As Horatio set his eyes on the trim of the sails, his gaze wandered briefly to the shore where he had nearly met his untimely doom. He shook his head with amazement; littered on the beach were ships of all kinds that he could recognize, and some that he couldn't-tub-like ones that were too large and had no masts, but white sides and black columns tilting from their metal decks. And as a crown to the supernatural display, a great gray giant of a machine, with not even a column but a stout tower, and a perfectly flat, oversized deck crossed with mysterious grooves and chalk lines. Horatio blinked in disbelief, and when his eyes opened, the entire coast was gone.
Archie saw the strange ships, too, and all he could think was, "This was going to make one hell of a report."
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Indy came to, lying on his back on the Shipwreck Beach. He was quite a distance away from the majority of the wrecks, and couldn't remember when he had lain to sleep here, on the cold sand. In fact, he was convinced he hadn't lain down to sleep, but his mind drew a blank when he tried to remember what had led to his eventual prone state on this shore.
No crystal skull, after all his efforts! He would have to return to the university, with nothing to report except the nonexistence of the fabled ship 'Castilla.' He had come all this way, and the wreck he sought didn't even reside here! What a sham! Yet as he shook the dust out of his clothes, racking his brain for the approximate distance to the outpost he had been informed, before he left, lay not too far distant, his eye was caught by a flash of white on the horizon. For a wild moment, he thought he saw an old-fashioned sailing ship out to sea, but he shook the silly, superstitious thought out of his head. There weren't any ships of that kind sailing around these parts anymore!
Indy's eyes wandered once more, and alighted on a tangible object this time. Sitting on the sand was an unidentifiable dark blue lump. On closer inspection, Indy revealed it to be an antiquated bicorn hat, and, turning it upside down, the marvelous Dr. Jones found a slip of paper pinned to the inside of the peak. It read 'A. Kennedy."