The wind rushes past…
Rex: >shouting over the wind< “I’ve been working on isolating the lateral spatial transducers… Let me try something! If we calculate the point at which we hit Terminal Velocity… and then reverse the apogee… Hang on tight!”
The baguette-wielding crowd is amazed to see the falling pair of people suddenly >poof< out of existence, reappear several feet above the ground and resume ‘falling’ upwards to a height even taller than the tower. At this point gravity stops their “upwards fall” and Rex activates this TVM again and they >poof< back to a level just above the hedge, and with a small “crunch” they land gently. The crowd takes a collective drag on their collective cigarettes. (Paris is indeed the best of all possible cities…)
Clara: “Perhaps you should take a seat and explain.”
Before Rojas can say more than: “Given the circumstances…” the lot of them are tossed back and forth as the tower begins to shake.
Back on the ground, the remaining be-robed minions have begun chanting and gesticulating again. One of the legs of the tower begins to break free from the ground. The crowds step back a pace or two, the cigarettes burn a little brighter in the gasps of terror, and there is a general crunching as baguettes are dropped to the ground and trodden unceremoniously underfoot.
Jack: “What the hell is happening?”
Rojas: “My associates have apparently executed the contingency plan.”
Jack: “And that contingency plan is?”
Rojas: “Ripping the tower loose from its moorings.”
Jack: “To what end…?”
Rojas: “So one of you will be kind enough to escort me to the bottom.”
Jack: “Through the air-I’d be willing to take that trip.”
Rojas: “After you, Senor…”
Jack plucks the jaunty hat from off Rojas’ head and flings it over the side. Wrapping him with a spare piece of cable, Jack drags Rojas off to the stairs. Molly and Clara keep their guns trained on him as they move towards the elevator. As they pass the hostages, Jack and Clara explain that they should wait until the tower stops shaking before attempting to take the stairs down.
As they glide gently down, Clara takes the opportunity to grill him further.
Clara: “What was your group looking for?”
Rojas: “Something of interest…to some people.”
Clara: “And where is this object…now?”
Rojas: (chuckles) “With the rest of the pirates’ treasure of course. That IS of course why Miss Petrenko was hired. I could have saved a lot of resources if the job had been done right…. Now I’m sadly behind schedule. And that woman with the oven in her chest appears to be ahead of us.”
Rojas: “It seems we’ve arrived.”
Jack: “I understand somebody ordered tapas?”
Minions: (outside of the hedge, still gesticulating) ???
The group decides to head to the car and muscle Rojas into the car, as he says “Don’t worry-I can take it from here.” As they begin to drive, the footing comes completely loose. Rojas sighs. “You did want this to stop, no? Well, thank you, it’s been lovely.” Resignedly, they pitch him out of the car.
Using the communicator device, Jack attempts to contact Rex and Alex and they are reassured that everybody survived.
As they drive to pick up Rex and Alex, they hope to take down a few more be-robed minions. Alas, said minions seem to dissolve into the hedge, and the hedge itself sinks back into the ground as though it never existed at all. The crowds, slightly dazed from the clouds of cigarette smoke hanging in a haze over the ground, stagger off to find new baguettes and possibly have a lie-down.
Without even attempting to find poor Pierre Pierre, they race to the nearest telephone. Nigel has finished locating the old cave formations which harbor the treasure and Rex has located a bathysphere.
Clara: “One more piece of new technology we can trash. Woo!”
The Intrepids then race south to il de Re. At the bathysphere, they are greeted by the inventors of the bathysphere, William Beebe (an American biologist) and explorer Auguste Piccard, and a Swiss-born Belgian physicist Jacques Piccard.
Auguste Piccard: “’Allo! Look at what we have built!”
Clara: “Lovely-how fast does it go?”
Auguste Piccard: >blink blink<
Clara and the inventors discuss important things like “What to do if someone starts bleeding from the eyeballs” and “Brakes-when they fail” They also mention the sudden appearance of “smokey bubbles…” as though someone were already down there.
Alex: “Blackheart! She’s already down there.”
Clara: “Let’s go.”
As the bathysphere descends, there’s a lot of creaking hissing and popping of ears as they begin the descent. With little trouble, Clara is soon piloting the ship like a pro. Soon the cave formation is in sight, and Clara deftly maneuvers the ship into the cave, docking in a cavern which is apparently filled with air.
In the distance, they can see light flickering-apparently flame.
Jack: >hushed< “Do exactly as I say…” >stealth, stealth, stealth<
Everyone else: >stealth, stealth, stealth<
Amidst the lichen, they see treasure scattered everywhere. Jack surreptitiously slips a few things into his pocket.
As they move closer to the lights, they notice the sound of voices (yes, plural). One is clearly the Baroness asking: “Who dares…?”
Peering around the corner, the group is not entirely surprised to see an unharmed ‘Rojas’ standing there as well. His image flickers, and he says: “Professionally, I’m known as… The Warlocke…”
The Baroness, unimpressed, produces her gun.
Blackheart: “I WILL NOT BE DENIED. I NEED THIS STAFF TO GET THE CAMBRIDGE CRUCIBLE!!”
Warlocke: "The Cambri- Wait, what? Stop for a moment. You need Newton’s Crucible from his time at Cambridge?
Blackheart: “Yes. And you won’t stop me.”
Warlocke: “Wait. Stop. Talk to me a moment. There were 4 Cambridge Crucibles. Do you need a particular one?”
Blackheart: “Well…the Second would be best, but I have a deal going to get the Third one in exchange for this Staff.”
Warlocke: “I can get you the Second Crucible. Make a deal with me. The Second Crucible for the Staff.”
Blackheart: “You’re a liar. Merkeson has the Second Crucible, and he won’t trade with anyone.”
Warlocke: “Merkeson owes me. He owes me big. He will trade with me, and I will trade with you. Make the deal.”
Blackheart: “I can’t trust you. You will betray me.”
Jack’s knife flashes in the darkness, aimed at the staff.
In the distance, there’s the sound of rumbling, as though of cannonfire.
Jack: (telepathically to Alex) “I swear to God if this involves time travel I am marching straight back to the bathysphere and clinging to its hull until I die.”
Alex: (telepathically to Jack) “I’m just going to intimidate them all with my boomstick until they make me their queen.”
In the next few minutes, the Baroness and Rojas are both successfully shot twice. The rumbling continues, still distant, but fairly ominous nonetheless. The water also appears to be rising in the cave.
As the bullets continue to fly, The Warlock grabs the staff just as Molly shoots it, splintering it into a thousand pieces.
The Warlock: “No, you fool!”
As he is thrown backwards by the magical force, a strange wind blows through the cavern.
Clara: “To the bathysphere!”
Alex: >grabbing one of Molly’s guns< “Not while Blackheart’s still breathing…”
Jack tackles the Baroness, plunging with her into the water. She flails ineffectively at Jack’s face, as her horrible heart slowly succumbs to the water. Alex grabs her legs and pins her further down. Molly and Clara race for the bathysphere.
When Rex, Alex and Jack emerge from the water it is without the Baroness.
Clara: “Where is she?”
Jack: “She was drifting downward – nobody could survive that…”
Glances are exchanged, as are sighs.
As the cave begins to crash down around them, they race for the exit, pausing only periodically to grab handfuls of jewels along the way.
The next voyage of the bathysphere is successful, though upon reaching the surface they find an intense storm has come out of nowhere, preventing them from heading towards the mainland any time soon. Madame Leschende is thrilled to see everyone, especially Clara, and hosts a lovely fishermen’s feast in their honor…
Thus ends the Case of the Silver Jaguar.