austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Give me the open sky / Give me a ship to fly

Ace Drummond Chapter 3, ``The Doorway of Doom'', opens with the revelation that Ace Drummond is not dead.

Not for want of trying: he face-planted his biplane like the best of them. Some of The Dragon's underlings land to check that Drummond is dead, but he ran off to hide behind a fallen tree; seeing no body, they conclude, he's dead, leaving them in good shape to get ambushed right and what do you know? When Drummond gets back in the air one of The Dragon's flying henchmen immediately bails out, but the others give chase.

Comic relief mechanic Jerry drops his prisoner off at home and means to go back out, but there's some squabbling over whether he can bring a tommy gun. Harry Kee, who's not being at all set up to look like the bad guy, has some fussy issue about this. By now Drummond's almost back at Bai-Tal airfield, and Jerry shoots at him as he's in one of The Dragon's planes (they so need a handy ``friend'' identifier), but Drummond lands accompanied by a pretty cool wheel-well-based camera. The Dragon, speaking over the spinning propellers, orders his men back to base.

So it seems that The Dragon can just issue commands over any spinning object, including so far an electric fan, prayer wheels, a water wheel, and an airplane propeller. Have to admit that's pretty cool.

The prisoner denies knowing anything and Kee sneaks out several times over so the audience doesn't miss it. Just then, The Dragon comes on the electric fan and warns that kid nuisance Billy will never see the sun again. They all run after him, but Billy's just fiddling with the car. Yes, it's a trick. Drummond wants to know where's a car but Billy says a motorcycle's faster. Jerry drops everything, meaning yes, his tool chest from shoulder height, and they hop into the motorcycle and sidecar so they can catch the prisoner and have no way of getting him home.

The prisoner drives into the monastery, and Drummond and Jerry follow despite the guards being edgy. Again, the High Lama is cool with Drummond. Inside the monastery the prisoner gets shot, and Drummond picks up the gun so the monks can find him holding the smoking pistol. Drummond flees into a dust-covered room filled with antique trinkets and what do you suppose are the odds but there's a spinning prayer wheel inside from which The Dragon promises ``you have sealed your own doom'' and --- you'll never imagine this coming --- one of the walls starts sliding in to crush him flat. Remarkably, this is the cliffhanger.

Trivia: Biosatellite 3, launched 28 June 1969 for a thirty-day mission, carried a male pig-tailed monkey named Bonnie. Source: Animals In Space: From Research Rockets To The Space Shuttle, Colin Burgess, Chris Dubbs.

Currently Reading: There's A War To Be Won: The United States Army In World War II, Geoffrey Perret.

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