Dakota Smith's Oriental Adventures, Part 7: Debacle at the Docks
It is a quiet morning in the riverport town of Hoi An, French Indochina.
The freighter Dionysius is expected to pull in at the main pier at any
moment. Coolies are stacking the cargo and stores to be loaded upon
arrival. In town, various groups of Western archeologists are laying
low, scanning the river anxiously. Dakota Smith has booked passage on
the freighter for himself and his two companions. Hidden in their
luggage (or being carried by them?), is an ancient artifact -- the Tears
of the Buddha.
Dakota is not so naive to think he will get on board the freighter
without a scrap. First, the French authorities -- represented by
Inspector of Antiquities Pierre Fournereau -- don't want such a valuable
artifact to leave French territory. Next, the British and Irish
archeological teams may want to seize it for themselves. Plus, Dakota
knows that it has been too long since his arch-rival, the German
archeologist Von Jaeger has reared his ugly head. And finally, perhaps
most dangerous, the Order of the Fire Coral has been dogging his
footsteps since he arrived in Indochina. To think they would not make
one last attempt to recover the Buddhist artifact would be hopelessly
optimistic. Masters of disguise, they could be anywhere in Hoi An.
His good friend Harold Fortwine grunted and point to the far jungle. The
black smoke of an approaching steamer could be seen rising above the
treeline. Chairs scraped as Dakota and his companions headed for the
door. It was now or never. As Dakota Smith and his companions left the customs house on the town
square of Hoi An, Dakota grumbled, "I got a bad feeling about this.
Harold, Dolly, keep a sharp eye out!" All around them, the river port
bustled with activity. Coolies were on the wharf loading and unloading
the freighter. Dakota saw their baggage among the items being carried
aboard on the backs of the IndoChinese laborers. He patted his satchel
which contained the prize from this expedition. The famed Buddhist
relic, "The Tears of the Buddha" -- which legend said had magical
Shouting on the pier drew the Americans' attention. The freighter's
bosun was cursing mightily at two of the coolies who had apparently
dashed their loads to the dock and stood glaring and pointing at the
Americans. With a sinuous movement, they whipped off their peasant garb
and assumed a fighting crouch. "Uh-oh," Dakota muttered as he noted the
red and black uniforms they had been wearing underneath -- the
unmistakable gear of the Order of the Fire Coral.
Dakota dashed for the cover of a line of wooden barrels beneath the
harbor master's wooden observation tower. Dolly walked determinedly
towards the pier when she saw one of the agents kick her luggage into
the water and laugh. "Dolly, no!" Dakota shouted, unholstering his
pistol. As he took careful aim at the agents on the pier, he caught
movement out of the corner of his eye. A warning shout from Harold
Fortwine, made him turn. Chuckling and cracking their knuckles, three
more agents walked out of the door of the customs house. He recognized
the bald, muscled Tat Ko and the masked female, Jazh Minh. "This could
be bad..." he called over to Harold.
The hairs on Dakota's neck rose up when he a familiar voice call out,
"I'm afraid, my dear Dakota, it is about to get much worse..." The
American whirled and saw creeping up behind them Von Jaeger, his stooge
Otto Tulmann, and the evil old with Fraulein Blucher. "Harold! Dolly!"
he yelled. "We're surrounded...make a break for it!" Jazh Minh and one
of the Fire Coral agents rushed him and he fired off shots quickly. He
heard Harold cursing as he jabbed and boxed with Tat Ko. There was a
blaze of gunfire from the Germans and he heard Dolly cry out and a thud
as she fell hard at the foot fo the docks. There was nothing Dakota
could do for her as he dodged the kicks and punches of the martial
Dakota grimaced as Jazh Minh vaulted away, thinking "That wench's kicks hurt!"
With no martial artists in his face, he turned to face the
Germans...too late! Both Von Jaeger and Otto Tulmann opened fire. Dakota
felt a searing pain and fell to the dirt. That jarred his wounds even
harder and he blacked out. His last thought was for the Tears of the
Budhha. Had it gone flying out of his satchel when he spun to the
ground? Meanwhile, Harold was holding his own, bludgeoning Tat Ko with
his boxing skills. Dolly, though, also in a heap near the pier. Fraulein
Blucher growled in disdain as she saw Jazh Minh somersault backwards
and landing on her feet. She rushed the martial artist, ignoring Von
Jaeger's warning. Just as she began her roundhouse swing, Jazh Minh's
foot connected with the bridge of her nose. The gray haired matron
There was a gasp among the archeologists and the agents of the Fire
Coral as the Tears of the Buddha flew from Dakota's satchel and landed
several feet away from his unmoving form. One of the agents dashed in
and picked it up. He was gunned down by Von Jaeger and again the Buddha
went flying. Tat Ko rushed over and with Neen Wa stood over it and dared
the Westerners to make a move towards it. Surprisingly, Von Jaeger nor
his goons never tried to grab it. Instead, the were venting their anger
on Dakota and Harold, blazing away at them and ignoring the Fire Coral.
The Irish and British teams were closing in, but they also seemed leery
of making a run at it.
Meanwhile the Irish and British teams were creeping stealthily through
the town square towards the pier. Despite previous bad blood, they
ignored each other for the most part this game. Both had valid chances
to make a grab for the other's minor plot point (they could recognize it
by passing two Cunning checks when within 12"). Neither took it. The
Irish did close in on the French who were slinking down the road towards
the freighter. They joined Otto Tulmann in blazing away at Pierre
Fournereau and Dr. Lambert, who was carrying the French artifact. The
French fire was accurate, though, and they gave better than they
Surprised at their luck to be ignored by the Germans, Tat Ko nodded at
Neen Wa to pick up the Tears of the Buddha and make a dash for it. Tat
Ko charged the British Maj. Speke-Eastman who blocked the path leading
over the bridge and into the jungle. Neen Wa took advantage of the
distraction and raced over the bridge, stowing the idol in his robes.
Neen Wa's flight wasn't unobserved, though. Harris McLeod, the portly
representative of the British Museum tut-tutted to himself. "Now, here,
laddie. We can nae have yee fleeing with such a prize, can we?" The
Scottish laird lined up the fleeing agent in his sites and squeeze the
triggers of both barrels of his gun. There was a cry and a flash of
silver as the idol flew from Neen Wa's lifeless body and tumbled into
the jungle. Moving faster than you'd think possible, Harris followed the
path of his fatal shot.
Harris heard footsteps behind him on the bridge as he pounded towards
the Tears of the Buddha, which he could see glinting from beneath a
swaying fern. He hoped that it was Speke-Eastman behind him, and sneaked
a glance over his shoulder to see. An evil hiss in front of him froze
him. Swaying above the idol was the hooded body of a cobra, who's nest
must have been disturbed the idol's tumble through the vegetation. "Och,
good god!" Harris yelped, then swung the barrel of his rifle over his
head and pounded the snake into the jungle floor. Reaching tenderly for
it, he confirmed the cobra was dead before picking up the gleaming
On the pier, Pierre waves off Dr. Lambert aboard the departing
freighter, carrying the minor plot point that his team had secured. His
main goal was to ensure no other Westerners escaped aboard the
freighter. It was a shame that the British slinked off into the jungle
with the Tears or the Buddha. However, they were not out of French
Indochina yet. There was always a chance that his gendarmes would find
them and capture it. Something would have to be done about the agents of
the Fire Coral. How could an archeologist work here it they constantly
had to watch for a knife in their back from their sinister hands!
so, Dakota Smith's Oriental Adventures first story arc comes to an end.
It was quite the adventure and the players seemed to really enjoy it.
Each league seemed to have its moment in the sun. Would Harold be able
to gather the wounded Dakota and Dolly and nurse them back to health?
Would the Americans return empty-handed to Portland, Oregon? Or are
there more adventures to be had in French Indochina? After all, only the
French Dr. Lambert was on board the freighter when it sailed from Hoi
An. The others would all need to find a different way home...
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