Episode 2 Larra's Mayan Adventure Chapter 1 The Crystal Skull

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    TOMB HUNTER
    The Adventures of Larra Court

    Episode 2
    Larra’s Mayan Adventure



    By L’Espion [email protected]


    Chapter 1 The Crystal Skull
    Frankfurt, March 1934

    A tall dark-haired beauty strolled slowly through Frankfurt zeppelin terminal. She was accompanied by three other females. One was a small dark-haired child, about eighteen months old, who was being carried by a young black woman. The other was a striking redhead about twenty two years old. All of the adult women were extremely attractive. The two white women carried themselves with an air of authority. It was obvious that they were used to having things their own way.


    “Modern women,” muttered Hauptsturmfuehrer Kurt Schroeder. “So confident of their abilities.”


    He approached the four females. “Fraulein Court, I presume,” he said in English. I am Hauptsturmfuehrer Schroeder. I have been sent by Reichsfuher Himmler to meet you.”


    Larra Court held out her hand in greeting. To Schroeder’s surprise she replied in perfect German. “Ah, Hauptsturmfuehrer Schroeder,” she said with a bewitching smile. “So kind of you to meet us. I am afraid that the Graf Zeppelin was delayed due to high winds.”


    Schroeder found himself completely smitten by the beautiful woman before him. Larra Court was very tall. Schroeder guessed that she was about 180 centimeters in height. Her hair was black mixed with streaks of copper and was arranged in unusual ringlets that flowed down her shapely back, somewhat like pictures Schroeder had seen of some African women. She was dressed in a jacket and a white blouse that showed off the curve of her bosom. Her hourglass figure was evident. But perhaps her most striking features were her blazing violet eyes, which seemed to burn right through him. They were set above high cheekbones that held a hint of the mysterious orient. An aquiline nose, a ruby-red mouth and a strong chin completed a picture of such intense beauty that it almost hurt to look at her. It was then and there that Schroeder decided he had to have her.


    Larra regarded the heavyset Schroeder expectantly. He was a handsome young man. Blond-haired and blue-eyed, she guessed he was about 25 or 26 years old. He stood about the same height as Larra’a five foot ten inches, but was massively built. He must have weighed about 100 pounds more than Larra’s well-muscled 135. “The perfect archetype of Adolf Hitler’s Aryan superman,” she thought. His smile was engaging and friendly, yet there was something about him that Larra found disturbing. She could not quite put her finger on it. Perhaps it was the black SS uniform he wore and the death’s head skull on his cap. These were symbols that were clearly intended to impress if not intimidate anyone who saw them.


    Schroeder found himself stammering a reply. “I…I… am…I am afraid that I do not know your companions.”


    Larra gestured to the tall black woman holding the white infant. Dazzled by Larra, Schroeder now realized that she too was a woman of statuesque grace and comeliness. “This is my maidservant, Sarah. She is holding my son, James. She understands no German, but speaks some English.”


    Larra then turned to the redhead, a woman who would have been considered radiantly good-looking on her own had she not been standing next to Larra Court. “And this is my associate, Amy Price. She has been of inestimable value in my research.”


    Schroeder bowed to all three beauties. “Welcome ladies,” he said. “Please accompany me. The car is waiting. I will have your luggage picked up and taken to the train station.”


    With that, Schroeder turned and led the trio to a Mercedes limousine parked outside the airport. Within a few minutes they were being driven into central Frankfurt. Schroeder conversed with the women as they traveled. “It is regrettable that as of yet there is no Zeppelin terminal in Berlin. That will come soon I expect. In the meantime, I expect you will find the rail journey there pleasant enough. You are booked first class.”


    The rest of the conversation revolved around idle chitchat regarding the summer weather, the convenience of air travel, and other pleasantries. Both Larra and Schroeder were somewhat guarded in their choice of topics, seeking to keep back any information that they thought might be useful to the other.


    Larra was deeply curious about the nature of her invitation to Nazi Germany. The new German regime had been in power only a short time, but its reputation for ruthless brutality was well known among informed members of the world community, and Larra was certainly one of those. She and Amy had been ready to leave for Central America on a project she had been researching for over a year, when she had received an intriguing message from the office of Reichsfuhrer Himmler. It had piqued her curiosity to the extent that she had left her home in Montreal and flown to New York where she had, with a little bit of bribery, booked passage on the Graf Zeppelin. Now she was in the heart of Germany and heading for the headquarters of a man known for his idiosyncrasies and dogmatic racist ideals.



    The train ride to Berlin was uneventful. The women had been booked into a sleeper car, so the trip was comfortable enough. Larra and Amy used part of the time to organize some of their research. Much of the trip, Larra spent playing with her infant son. James wasn’t able to respond much at his age, but he had all the endearing qualities that were possessed by most babies. Occasionally while playing with her son Larra’s hands would go to a diamond ring suspended from a chain about her neck, and her eyes would mist over a little. At times like this she would hand the baby to Sarah and sit quietly for awhile, seemingly lost in thought. On one such occasion she noticed Amy watching her.


    “Yes,” she said quietly, “I still miss him deeply. James will always be a part of me as long as I live. He lives through my memories and through his child.” And here Larra caressed the dark hair of the infant.


    They were met on arrival in Berlin by one of Himmler’s attaches. Larra and Amy were whisked to his headquarters by limousine, while Sarah, baby James and their luggage were taken to Berlin’s best hotel. On arrival at the Himmler’s headquarters Larra and Amy were taken directly to Himmler’s office and, accompanied by the ever-present Schroeder, were ushered into the presence of the Reichsfuhrer.


    Himmler’s office was an imposing high ceilinged room paneled in rich wood. Sitting behind a massive desk was Reichsfuhrer Himmler. He was flanked by two armed SS guards. “I wonder if he fears attack from all of his visitors,” thought Larra, “or are they there merely to intimidate his quests?”


    The Reichsfuhrer himself was not an impressive presence. If it had not been for his uniform he would have passed unnoticed in any crowd. What Larra saw before her was a mousy little man, several inches shorter than herself. He wore wire-rimmed spectacles and sported a thin mustache on his upper lip. A rather weak mouth and a receding chin finished off the picture of this specimen of the master race. Yet, Larra knew that she was in the presence of one of the most powerful members of the new German order.


    Himmler did not stand to greet her. Instead he fussed with some papers while one of his orderlies ushered her and Amy into two comfortable chairs in front of his desk. After they were seated the Reichsfuhrer looked up and addressed them. “I am pleased, Fraulein Court, that you have seen fit to respond to my letter. I expect that you are curious as to why I asked you to come all this way on such short notice.”


    “I have been somewhat curious, yes,” replied Larra. She shifted in her chair a little and noticed Himmler’s eyes flicker momentarily across her bosom. She had left the top three buttons of her blouse unbuttoned exposing a liberal expanse of her perfect white breasts. She had found that when dealing with men it was often easier to influence them with her body than with her logic.


    “I have learned from my sources that you are on an expedition to the land of the Maya in search of a fabled lost city,” continued the Reichsfuhrer, getting to his feet and beginning to pace back and forth behind his desk. “Please do not bother to ask how I know this, it is enough that I do know.”


    Larra raised her elegant eyebrows slightly, but did not reply.


    Himmler leaned across his desk. “You, Fraulein, have developed something of a reputation for discovering sites that were thought to be merely legends. It turns out in this case that your proposed expedition intersects with the interests of the Third Reich.”


    Larra kept her face expressionless. “Please explain, Herr Himmler.”


    Himmler beckoned to Schroeder and moved across the room. “It may be easier to show you what I mean than to explain,” he said, and taking a key from his pocket he unlocked a cabinet built into the dark wood paneling of the room. Inside Larra could make out two wooden boxes, each about a foot square.


    Himmler and Schroeder picked up the boxes and carried them to the desk. Larra noticed that both men took as much care with the boxes as if they were carrying crates of eggs. Their curiosity piqued, both Larra and Amy leaned forward in their chairs.


    Himmler took a second key and unlocked the box he had carried. The side of the box facing him swung down on its hinges so that its contents were hidden from the two women. Seeing he had their attention the Reichsfuhrer turned his attention to the second box and unlocked it as well. Then reaching into the first box he removed an object swathed in velvet. Gingerly he placed the still covered object on top of the open box, using it as a pedestal. By now Larra and Amy were bursting with curiosity, but they kept their composure. It was best not to give anything away in front of this man. Himmler seemed to enjoy teasing the two women, because instead of revealing what was under the cloth-covered object, he went to the second box and repeated the process of removing and placing a similarly covered object on top of the second box.


    Turning to the two captivated women like a magician addressing his audience he announced: “Now I think you will see something that will amaze even you Fraulein Court!”


    With a bit of a flourish Himmler pulled the cloth covering from both of the hidden objects simultaneously. What was revealed took Larra’s and Amy’s breath away. Glittering on top of each pedestal were two skulls. But these were not normal archeological treasures; these skulls were composed of glittering crystal.


    With an astonished gasp both Larra and Amy rose to their feet. “I had heard of such treasures,” exclaimed Larra, “but I never thought to see two! Especially here in Berlin.”


    Himmler seemed quite pleased with the effect he had created. His face beamed with a sort of cheesy smile.


    Larra bent over the scintillating objects before her. She had never imagined anything in the shape of a human skull could be so hypnotically beautiful. Each skull was formed of flawless quartz crystal and was perfect in every detail, right down to the number of teeth in each jaw. Tentatively she reached out and ran her hand over the surface of the closest skull. The skull had been polished to an exquisite smoothness. As she ran her hand over the gleaming surface of the skull an electric thrill ran through her body. “They are ethereally beautiful, Herr Reichsfuhrer,” she breathed, “but what is your purpose in showing me these marvels?”


    “Let me show you something Fraulein,” replied Himmler, moving to the windows of the room.


    Pulling on the cords holding the drapes Himmler drew the curtains covering the windows. Outside, it was a bright sunny day and the rays of the sun streamed in. Larra saw that Himmler had chosen the time of her appointment with him carefully. The skulls on the desktop were perfectly positioned to catch the sun’s radiation. As the sunlight struck each skull their crystal structure amplified the sunlight and projected it in an intense beam that blazed out through the eyes, flooding the room with an intense brightness far beyond that of ordinary sunlight. Momentarily blinded, both Larra and Amy staggered back from the desktop, shielding their eyes. Hurriedly, Himmler tossed the velvet cloths over the skulls and the skull-enhanced brilliance disappeared.


    Himmler stammered an apology: “I…I…Frauleins… I am sorry. I forgot that you would be in the path of the skulls' intensity. Please forgive me. Are you alright?”


    Himmler rounder the desk and placed his soft white hands on Larra’s arms and shoulders. Nodding to Schroeder he indicated that the curtains should be closed. As the room descended into its former gloom Larra and Amy found that they were able to see once more.


    Larra shrugged off Himmler’s hands. “Can you see, Amy?” she asked, anxiously, ignoring the Reichsfuhrer and turning to her friend.


    “I’m fine,” replied Amy, sitting down and rubbing her eyes.


    Larra turned to Himmler. She was furious. “Is this why I was invited to Berlin?” Her words were cold as ice and cut through Himmler’s stumbling apologies. “I could have stayed home and found ways of my own to destroy my sight!”


    Himmler turned bright red. This was something that Schroeder had never seen before. “I…I…” he attempted, and then recovering his composure he turned to his orderlies. “Out, out! I will converse with my guests alone. Schroeder, you stay.”


    “Please accept my apologies for my careless actions Fraulein Court. I was unacceptably stupid.” Again Schroeder was amazed. Himmler never apologized to anyone.


    “Enough of this show,” admonished Larra. “I admit that I am impressed. Why did you want me to see this?”


    “Please sit down, ladies,” said Himmler, returning to his desk. “As you have seen, these skulls are possessed of a certain power. I believe that they have the potential to be a weapon of unparalleled energy. I know that you, Fraulein Court, have exhibited a certain skill in discovering antiquities that were hitherto thought to be imaginary. I have read of your adventures in Africa. You are to be congratulated on discovering that which was considered only a myth.”


    “Thank you,” replied Larra somewhat mollified. “But I…”


    “Please let me continue,” interrupted the Reichsfuhrer. “We believe that there is a third skull; the missing skull that is necessary to develop the full power of these mysterious artifacts. We think that you, Fraulein Court, have the necessary skill to locate and retrieve the third skull. To that end, we are willing to share our information about its possible location.”


    “So what you are saying,” interjected Larra, “is that when you found out I was headed to Central America you thought that I might be of service to the Reich.”


    “That, Fraulein,” replied Himmler “is the situation exactly. We would like to use you to help us and in return, you would once again achieve another archeological triumph.”


    Larra thought carefully. Himmler’s fascination with the occult was well known, so she was not surprised that he might be dabbling in ancient relics as a part of that obsession. She was not sure, however, that she wanted any involvement with his misguided delusions. Still, if he had any information that might be of use to her in her archeological adventures… She was tempted.


    “I would like a day to think it over,” Larra said finally, “but before I agree I would like to be sure that I am not simply wasting my time. I would like a quick look at what information you possess. I assure you that if the material you hold is genuine I will not use it for my own purposes, whether I decide to join you or not.”


    “What is this?” replied Himmler, incredulously, “You offer me nothing, but want me to reveal what sources of information I have?”


    “Those are my terms,” Larra replied coolly. “I interrupted preparations for my own expedition to come here. The least you can do is show me whether or not the trip was worth the investment.”


    Larra’s determined tone seemed to convince Himmler. “Alright,” he replied. “I will let you study some of my sources for five minutes. That should be enough to show you whether or not it is genuine, but not long enough for you to learn too much.”


    Himmler nodded to Schroeder, who produced a sheaf of yellowed documents from a cabinet beside the one that had housed the skulls. Schroeder strode to a side table and carefully spread the documents over its surface. Larra and Amy crossed the room to the table. Quickly, Larra began to leaf through the mass of material. Occasionally she stopped to study a piece of yellowed paper more intently.


    “Five minutes,” Himmler announced. “Have you seen enough to convince you?”


    “The documents seem genuine,” answered Larra. “I will give you my answer tomorrow. Thank you Herr Himmler.”


    Larra moved to the center of the room. Clearly the interview was over. Himmler seemed annoyed at the way Larra seemed to have taken charge of the interview. It should have been him terminating the interview, not Larra! Nevertheless, he realized that there was not much more to be said.


    “Hauptsturmfuehrer Schroeder will escort you to your hotel,” Himmler scowled. “Heil Hitler!” With that, Himmler waved them from the room.


    The limousine ride to the hotel was uneventful. Schroeder engaged in small talk with the two women. When they reached the hotel Schroeder escorted them into the lobby. Schroeder bowed to the two women. “Ladies, may I request the honor of having dinner with you this evening?”


    Larra hesitated. She knew she dared not trust anyone connected with Himmler, but a dinner engagement might be a way to obtain needed information. Schroeder seemed pleasant enough. “I would be delighted,” she replied.


    “Excellent,” Schroeder replied, clicking his heels. “I will be here at seven to pick up you and Fraulein Price.”


    A few minutes later Amy and Larra were in their room. Sara was playing with James in a corner of the room. Amy opened her mouth to say something, but Larra stopped her by putting her finger to her lips. Quickly Larra strode to the bathroom and turned on the taps in the ornate tub. “I expect the room contains listening devices,” she said. “But we should be able to speak in here.”


    “I was going to ask,” stated Amy, “why you consented so readily to Himmler’s plans? Surely you don’t think we can trust him?”


    “No, that would be the farthest thing from my mind. My main concern is getting out of Germany with my child and my friends. Once Himmler showed me his information on the missing third skull I was committed. There is no way that he will let us out of the country with the knowledge of his little scheme unless he believes we are part of it. By coming here I have put all of our lives in danger.”


    “Do you really think he would harm us?” Amy whispered.


    “A man that has already been responsible for the deaths and imprisonment of hundreds of his own countrymen would certainly not stop at eliminating a few foreigners. We must pretend to cooperate until we are out of his power. Meanwhile I suggest we rest. We have a dinner engagement with one of Himmler’s stooges in just a few hours.”
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