austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Give me luck and a happy landing / And a tailwind good and strong

Ace Drummond Chapter Thirteen, ``The World's Akin'' (huh?), opens with the discovery that Ace Drummond is not dead.

Comic Relief Mechanic Jerry gets out of his scrape with the police by their remembering it's after the cliffhanger. He runs from the monastery to the ``archaeologist'' cave of the Kings that's the other indoor set this serial. The crashing and burning in the airplane Drummond survives by not getting killed in the crash, although his suit jacket is noticeably disheveled and his tie is very nearly mussed, although he dodges that bullet. He grabs another plane, and also a cute little pistol out of one of the mechanic's drawers. Meanwhile, Drummond is informed that International Airways Board of Director Winston is the new red herring for who's The Dragon, what with his resigning after a fight over policy.

The Dragon remembers he has a death ray that can be used against planes, and some of them start crashing. In retaliation, at the Cave of the Kings, Jerry starts breaking stuff, making The Dragon --- wearing goggles and facing away from the camera --- confronts him. I'm quoting the dialogue here because, boy, is it dialogue. Unfortunately I can't reproduce the oddness of the line readings, or how Jerry's face attempts every expression possible, like if you cut down a Star Trek episode to nothing but DeForest Kelly's reaction shots:

Jerry: Well, well, if it isn't ol' boogeyman himself.
The Dragon: You do well to smile. We have a saying in Mongolia: he who smiles at the grave's edge takes happiness into the world beyond.
Jerry: We have a saying in America too, y'know: don't count your chickens before they're hatched!
The Dragon: You'll never leave this place alive!
Jerry: [ Garbled; possibly 'See here' ] If you rub me out you're just giving Ace Drummond one more reason to kill you!

As The Dragon tells Jerry he shot down Ace Drummond, Ace Drummond comes in, and The Dragon runs off, trapping Drummond and Jerry in the cave for a ``long long time''.

Back at the monastery Dr Trainor promises not to reveal the location of the jade mountain until Ace Drummond gets back. The High Lama and his side lamas come out to look at the dispirited parade while Peggy Trainor dresses her father as one of the monks. The Dragon climbs out of the secret tunnel that I'd have blocked off by now and announces he's taking Peggy and Dr Trainor captive, but ... Dr Trainor turns out to be Ace Drummond, expecting him! It's a trap! ... So maybe they were right not to block off the secret tunnel this time.

But with the gun on him The Dragon is revealed to be subordinate monk Chang Ho, unfortunate enough to be holding the red herring hot potato when the final reel came on-screen. The High Lama is very disappointed in this, but Ace Drummond explains that Ho is actually a white man passing himself off as an Oriental monk with forged documents because ... I'm not sure why, exactly, except the off chance that there'd be a jade mountain somewhere nearby, and how many of those can there be? Also, Drummond realized this because ... I'm not sure why, exactly, except he keeps tabs on the white guys impersonating Oriental monks of vaguely defined religions, and how many of those can there be?

Anyway, The Dragon leaps into the secret tunnel, and there's a scuffle and chase around the monastery. Following the rules The Dragon climbs to the highest thing in the area, but he escapes to steal one of the International Airways planes --- taking off, Drummond notes, with the wind at his back. With insufficient windspeed he crashes into the monastery just like Drummond and Peggy Trainor did at the end of the third installment or so, but this time the crash is fatal.

Wrapping things up, the International Airways directors, proud to the point of smugness at having completed their air routes and thus secured world peace (I guess) ask only that as Drummond returns to the United States he take with him TimmyBobbyRusty so he can return to school, which TimmyBobbyRusty thinks is swell. Comic Relief Mechanic Jerry, getting back from wherever he went when the story forgot him, is in a faintly sailor's uniform sort of thing, as the chief pilot for Dr Trainor's company digging the jade mountain. ``I guess if uniforms have anything to do with it I'll be a greater pilot than Lindberg'', says Jerry, who really knows his way around an awkward not-quite-non-sequitur.

And so we close with shots of airplanes doing things, and folks in the monastery waving up at the airplane where Peggy and TimmyBobbyRusty look on with not-quite-believing looks at Ace Drummond. Between rather rapid cutaways of the clipper ship flying above the clouds and superimposed on scrolling maps that aren't going in any direction, Drummond sings a few lines of ``Give Me A Ship And A Song'', and that is our serial for this adventure.

No idea what the title means for this, other than maybe they ran out of titles about the same time they ran out of serial installments.

Trivia: Wilbur Wright and (Army) Lieutenant Frederic Humphries made the first recorded night flight on 22 October 1909 at a College Park, Maryland, air field. It lasted for 42 minutes, under the moonlight. Source: Taking Flight: Inventing The Aerial Age From Antiquity Through The First World War, Richard P Hallion.

Currently Reading: Dark Lord Of Derkholm, Diana Wynne Jones. Huh. So she did make a novel of The Tough Guide To Fantasyland.


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