Week 7, Next stop the Phillippines
We left the crew sailing for the Philippines on board the "Rona." We sail into the Philippines archipelago, sailing past Quezon City and Cavite towards Manila. We arrive in Manila Harbor, with Cavite in sight.
We see many ships: Spanish and oriental mostly. No German ships. This place is still under Spanish control. In another thirty years, the Americans will take it from them.
Mubato and the Preacher direct us to the proper wharf and we dock. The Preacher heads off to find the people who will buy our cargo, but not before Nate collars him to ask where he might find the local representatives of the Brothers of Jerusalem. The Preacher responds that there are mostly Catholics here, and that they are divided among the friars and the "Secular Priests." He doesn't know of the Brothers of Jerusalem, but he does know of a liberal Secular Priest named Father Jose who could probably direct Nate to the Brothers of Jerusalem.
The Preacher sets off for his rendezvous, and Nate sets of to find Father Jose. Tom goes along with Nate to keep an eye on him.
Alag finds an English-speaking urchin and asks to be taken to the General Store. Sophie and Chris go along too. They are led through lots of alleys to a little store run by an old Filipino gentleman. Later, we learn that they were taken there because the urchin thought that Alag said that he wanted to go to the General's store. This old Filipino isn't a general, actually he's a retired colonel, but that's close. Chris contacts Tom for some window shopping. Tom recommends getting a .45 Winchester rifle and .45 pistol and 100 rounds. Alag gets some knives and a marvelous katana.
They return all their stuff to the ship and set back out for more shopping, this time with Daewen and Lorelei. This time they find a silk shop with cheap silk. Much silk is bought, Chris commissions some clothes to be made, and they look at some more weaponry, but buy nothing.
Meanwhile, Tom and Nate walk toward Father Jose's place. An Hispanic peasant meets up with them and talks to them. Nate talks back in Latin to no avail. They find out that the gentleman is offering them a lift, which they accept.
Tom and Nate arrive at Father Jose's mission and look for Father Jose. They find many soldiers at the mission, talk to a monk (in Latin), pass by a soup kitchen and finally find Father Jose in a class teaching Spanish to a bunch of presumably Tagalog-speaking Filipinos. They wait.
All of a sudden, they realize that they've been hearing gunfire. So does everyone else and the soldiers run out. Two large ones stand guard at the door and speak curtly to Father Jose. Nate speaks to Father Jose in Latin, and find that the soldiers have told him to stay put for their own good, but he wants to go out.
Nate explains his quest to Father Jose. In case you've missed this, Nate is a follower of the Brothers of Jerusalem and feels compelled to be married by them. He rather wants to marry Sophie, so he rather wants to find the local mission of the Brothers of Jerusalem. Father Jose is rather distracted, as there are Filipinos rioting outside and storming the armory, which is next door to the mission. Things have been tense for some time now.
The guns get louder, in organized barrages. A battle is raging. Jose argues with the guards and is let out. He, Tom, and Nate head off to the roof. Yup, there's a serious battle going on. Jose is a lukewarm loyalist (to the Spanish), but has some sympathies with the Filipinos.
The net goes up. There is starting to be rioting in Manila, too. Troops head from Manila to Cavite, but some of them split off and head back to Manila to quell the riots there.
In Cavite, some rebels take refuge in the mission. Jose heads downstairs to defend the chapel. Nate tries to dissuade him, but fails, so he and Tom follow Father Jose downstairs.
Jose advocates negotiations to the soldiers, and they seem to listen. In any event, they don't start breaking out the stained glass windows and opening fire on the Spanish, which it looked like they were going to do for a while.
Nate decides for some peculiar reason that this is his opportunity to find out where the Brothers of Jerusalem are. They're at the other end of town. Oh, boy. The level of rioting picks up.
Tom and Nate head back to the roof to case a location to hide or escape from. They meet a Father Miguel who tells them that the rebels are claiming sanctuary in the mission and that the mission is surrounded by Spanish. The Rebels have taken the armory, but are losing most of the rest of their battles.
So Tom and Nate wait for dark. The Spanish place everyone in the mission under arrest. Once dark comes, Tom carries Nate piggy-back and via levitation to his precious little mission. They land on the stucco roof. If anything, the fighting is worse there, and Tom dissuades Nate from barging into a second-story window. They tie themselves to the roof and catch a little shut-eye.
Before dawn, gunfire starts again. Yup, there's more shooting here than there was around the Father Jose's mission. Great. Nate still wants to go into the mission of the Brothers of Jerusalem. Tom levitates him away and flies back across town, to the road to Manila. They walk to Manila, bickering all the way. Nate wanted to find a minister and Tom spoiled it.
Pfusand puts out a telepathy CQ and gets Tom. Once the rioting started in Manila, the Rona headed out to the harbor. Tom and Nate hire a rowboat to take them to the Rona.
That evening (the one of the day after the night Tom and Nate spent on a stucco roof), the Preacher swims out to the Rona. He's made contact, and once the rioting dies down, we can sell our cargo.
We wait another day. This day, Sophie looks Nate up and they talk about his little travels. She tells him that he really shouldn't have risked his life like that, and he really should have talked to her before barging off, because she's not all that keen to get married these days. They fight. Nate barges off before Sophie can actually tell him it's over, but he has a pretty good idea nonetheless. Nate goes and grumbles to Pfusand, who is quite sympathetic.
Next day, we sell our cargo and pick up some sandalwood to speculate with in Hong Kong. More shopping is done, picking up clothes and cloth ordered in the previous expedition. After four exciting days, we set sail for Hong Kong. We learn from a newspaper that the rebellion in Cavite was crushed and three secular priests, including Fathers Miguel and Jose were arrested. Later, they will be executed.
The women make clothes on the trip to Hong Kong. Tom teaches telepathy to Nate, Chris to Sophie. Sophie presents Chris with a present -- some sheet music and a new set of strings for the guitar he picked up. Chris is thrilled and starts working on expanding his repertoire. He asks her if they had any Cole Porter. She has, of course, never heard of Cole Porter and asks Chris who that is. He replies that Porter was an American songwriter of the period. They decide that he must not be around yet.
We arrive in Hong Kong, and sail around the island that will hold (in sixty years) M. Cat's fortress. We throw a tarp over the Naza. The island looks like there is a monastery on it. There are a bunch of people in saffron robes and others who look like tourists.
We go to the port and dock. Chris, Alag, Lorelei, and Sophie all go off on a shopping expedition (what, again!). To make a shopping story short, Alag finally finds the throwing stars that he scoured Manila for and a bunch of good throwing knifes, including a large Bowie knife. We buy all the high-quality throwing knives that we can get our hot little hands on. We even get a throwing sword for Pfusand. Nate finds a Remington re-bore of a cap-and-ball revolver to a .44 cartridge revolver. He buys that and another off-brand revolver. We are assured that this off-brand is a good pistol, and it looks it, but we castaways have really only heard of Colt and Remington, and those only from the movies and thriller novels. We also get another 350 rounds. Also, clothes shopping is done, more commissions outright and we hire work to be done with our cache of silk.
Wu and Cantrel go off looking for the 10th Dragon, the alleged dwelling place of this General Huay person. We're hoping that this Huay may be M. Cat who died sixty-some years from now. If he is, we may find a way back it the Pantope.
After some looking, they find a bar frequented by the sorts who might know. The right sort of people enter the bar and head upstairs. The bartender tells Wu and Cantrel only that the group that came in are "locals."
Scanning the place, they find a likely-looking fellow in the back, so they buy him another of what he's drinking and chat him up with a truth read. Cantrel decides after a while to take offense at something the guy says. He feints a punch and zaps him with a stun gun. Wu and Cantrel pick up the fellow and place him back in his chair. Wu unbristles the crowd that bristles instantly at fisticuffs. Then he rummages the guy's mind. He gets info. The "locals" really were Huay's men. At least, this guy thinks so. They also get enough information so that we can probably sail to Huay's island. They suggest to him that he doesn't remember any of this, but the suggestion doesn't stick. The guy kicks Cantrel (who lets it through) and Wu makes peace. They buy this guy (whose name is Henderson) another drink and chat some more before leaving.
We sell the Rona and her cargo. With the proceeds, we buy a junk, a skiff and have $75 extra. Don't laugh, $75 is a lot of money these days.
We move to the junk and are accosted by a man who is fascinated by the Naza. He starts sketching her, and we get paranoid. Chris converts his pencils to 23H lead, and Pfusand eats the sketch. He takes some more notes. We talk to him. His name is M. Hill Carter, he's a free-lance reporter. We ask him about the 10th Dragon. He tells us that the nine hills around Hong Kong are called the nine dragons, so the 10th dragon must be another hill, or perhaps an island. He also mentions a legend that there are dragons sleeping under all the hills here. They will all awake when the 10th dragon arrives.
Next day, we find in the paper that Carter has been mysteriously strangled and his body has been found near the docks.
Chris, Wu, and Sophie decide to go to the morgue to view the body. Wu and Chris go to see the body, Sophie stays in the morgue lobby. It's Carter, all right. Wu scrys the body and gets a vision of Carter coming out of a pub the previous night. Something whizzes by his head, and he is strangled from behind with a scarf, quickly and efficiently. Great.
They go to the newspaper that he worked for. Chris has been using the story that Carter is a distant relative of his sister's husband's family, and they all met the previous night, so Chris got concerned. Chris notes to Wu that Carter was English, he (and his sister's husband) are of some English decent, and it's been 1200 years. It seems quite inevitable that Carter is a distant relative of his sister's husband's family. They go to an editor, who tells them that Carter's family has been wired. "Which family?" asks Chris. "His father in London." is the reply. "Good, good." says Chris. Chris says he'll come back the next day for the reply.
After they get back to the junk, a policeman calls. The policeman knows a lot. Sounds to us like he's been talking to Henderson. We're warned not to go asking about the 10th dragon and not to drop dead on this guy's beat.
The next day, Chris and Wu find out that Carter's father has arranged for the body to be sent to London. Chris and Sophie are inclined to try to solve the mystery of Carter's death, but no one else seems enthralled by the chase.
So, we all sail off in the junk to tour the monastery (remember the monastery?). We end up being followed by our friend, Mr. Henderson. We all play cat-and-mouse with him, with his never (presumably) finding that we've seen him. As we leave, we mention the strange European man to the monks, who are puzzled and tell us that he's not with the monastery (oh really? tee hee). We leave.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.