“Will he be okay?” Katerina’s anxious face looked at the motionless form of her brother, Dragovich.
Dr. Romanov looked up from his studies, “It depends. For unknown reasons, he’s gone into a coma and….”
Katerina anxiously said, “And?”
“Well, for some reason his body is rejecting all the antidotes I try to give him. There is only one left I haven’t tried. That is, if I can get it,” Dr. Romanov said.
“If you can get it?” asked Katerina, puzzled.
“Yes, you see, my scientists have recently discovered ancient Inca writings which indicate that a certain… something… cured a great many people a long time ago.” Dr. Romanov indicated three scientists sitting around a table.
Katerina was mocking, “So there’s a magical ‘something’ deep in South America, huh? Sounds like an old wives’ tale.”
“Unfortunately, we have no other option, but believe that this ‘something’ can and will cure your brother of his mysterious disease.” Dr. Romanov glared at Katerina, “Or do you have a better idea?”
For once, Katerina was at a loss for words. She had brought her brother to this hidden lab in the Sayan Mountains of Russia so that their father’s closest friend might help them. None of the doctors in Moscow had been able to cure his mysterious ailment and his condition continued to get worse daily.
“Sir! Sir!” One of the scientists was rushing towards them.
“What is it?” Dr. Romanov answered.
“Well sir, we have found another text describing the unknown object. We managed to translate it, and it reads:
“I, Father Matthew, have today found a blessing from God deep in South America. An unknown group of people have today cured me and my companions of a mysterious disease for which no cure was known, until now. They crushed a stone into a mixture and added it to water, then gave it to us as a drink. After many hand gestures, they drew a picture of this powerful substance being discovered in a mountain cave. There is no name for this substance. After much debating, my men and I tried to steal a native in order to get more of the substance. The natives then seized us and dragged us to a great alter. I write this now with my last strength. God help us all.”
“It ends there sir, the rest is so worn that it’s undecipherable.”
“How did you come across this information?” Dr. Romanov asked.
“Our undercover operative sent it to us right before….”
“Right before what?” Katerina asked.
“Right before we lost contact with her,” the scientist replied.
Katerina thought for a moment before saying, “I will go. I ask no help; it is my brother, not yours.”
“Then the least we can do is give you the necessary equipment and supplies,” Dr. Romanov replied.
“Very well,” Katerina answered.
“Follow me, then.” Dr. Romanov walked away.
Katerina followed him up a winding staircase to a large room.
“All the equipment is here,” Dr. Romanov indicated a large table, “There is also one of my recently made inventions, a state of the art insulated suit. It protects you from heat, cold, rain, water, and has a built in oxygen filter. It will filter contaminated air into pure, clean air. It will also provide oxygen for high mountain climbing.”
“Very good,” Katerina replied. Within the hour Katerina was flying over the Atlantic Ocean on one of Dr. Romanov’s enclosed hover jets, which could reach speeds of over 900 mph.
As she flew, Katerina thought of the dangers that lay ahead. Putting the hover jet on autopilot, she closed her eyes, and fell into a deep sleep. When she woke, she was flying through a jungle. The hover craft suddenly stopped. She was awed, looking up the rocky face of the Andes Mountains.
She pulled out her radio, “Dr. Romanov, can you hear me?”
Dr. Romanov’s raspy voice could be heard over the radio, “Yes, but barely. The deeper you go into the mountains, the fainter a signal you give off. Okay, well let’s get started. The rock’s signal is coming from up ahead, but be careful, we are also getting signals of other life forms in the area.”
Katerina zipped on her insulated suit, and started forward. She could see dark eyes peering at her from the undergrowth.
Dr. Romanov’s voice came, “The signal is coming from the cave in front of you.”
Katerina managed a quick word, “Understood.” Venturing into the cave, she was shocked at finding human skeletons all around her. There was one in the middle of her path. It was garbed in brown rags with a rusted metal cross about its neck.
“Father Matthew,” she breathed. The natives must have brought the priests to the very cave they sought in order to kill them. They were now the eternal guardians of the magical rock.
Dr. Romanov’s faint voice echoed in the cave, “It should be directly in front of you.” Katerina peered through the darkness. And there, on a stone alter, was a shining blue and green stone, dazzling and sparkling more than the sun itself. Katerina cautiously crept forward, hand extended. She did a quick thrust and grabbed it.
Immediately the entrance started to close. Making a mad dash, she jumped through the closing hole, seconds before she would have been trapped for life. She sprinted to the hover jet, hearing screams behind her. She jumped in, but not before an arrow struck her in the hand.
Flying away, she set the ship on an autopilot course, before slipping into unconsciousness. She woke to the worried face of her brother.
“Brother! How? Where?”
“You’re safe. The important thing is that you accomplished your mission with an hour to spare. Now how about something to eat?”
“Yes, please,” she stammered, “But why are you here?”
“The medicine worked much faster than Dr. Romanov thought it would and I’m expected to make a full recovery.”
Katerina looked suddenly scared.
“What is it?” Dragovich asked.
Your eyes, they’re red… and your, your hands, they’re as white as bone!”
“Don’t worry, I’m just recovering. Now how about that food? I’m really craving a nice, rare steak….”