11. Dateline Unknown / Doogan Takes a Fall

Doogan here and I’m lucky to be alive!

Apologies go out to my faithful readers but this reporter has been out of circulation for a while. I am victim of circumstances beyond the control of even my esteemed publisher Mr. Hearst, who sent me on this assignment to find missing American Electrical Physicist, creator of Aluminium Helio-Vapor, Dr. Raullo Ortega. Regular subscribers will recall, when last I wrote, I was trapped inside a dark container of some sort with only my trusty Remington portable noiseless typewriter to keep me company.

The next installment of my adventure began when I was awakened by rough hands grabbing me by the scruff and unceremoniously dragging me from what turned out to be a large shipping crate. I was immediately thrust into a wind-blasted open doorway. My eyes, accustomed to total darkness, were blinded by the glare of daylight. Without a word, my masked abductors gave me kick in the posterior and I instinctively prepared to land in a gutter. Instead I found myself falling like a sack of hammers through the blue yonder.

Plummeting towards certain doom, I was just able to glimpse a very large aircraft receding in the distance. I found myself smiling at the irony of meeting my fate in this altitudinous manner, reminded of my second wife Leota who accidentally tangled my ankle in the rope of a hot air balloon during our honeymoon in the Pokinos.

Suddenly I heard a deafening roar and I was seized by a pair of strong arms which arrested my precipitous decent. Turning, I saw my rescuer was some sort of flying man wearing a backpack which spewed a jet of flame. At that moment my savior was struck hard by a falling metal object, which turned out to be my typewriter-obviously thrown from the plane immediately after me. Fortune smiled once again and I was able grab hold of my prized possession but the damage inflicted to my rescuer’s flying equipment was already done. His dented rocket began to sputter and we commenced to plummet once more. By the slimmest margin the flying man was able to re-start his engine just before the fatal impact and we careened into a swampy patch of ground, narrowly escaping death.

At this point in my narrative I must leave you gentle readers. Be sure, I will return to enlighten you with the next thrilling installment of my adventure. Until then, turn the lights off Ma and let the cat out. This is Doogan signing off.

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10. Dateline Gun-Xiang / Woo Witnesses Warlord at War

Cub reporter Jimmy Woo here and I cannot speak for Mr. Doogan but I remain alive.

I am reporting from the terrible battle of Gun-Xiang monastery where Notorious Warlord Chun-King has just suffered a crushing defeat at the hands (and feet) of the local monks. Despite the withering rifle fire and even Chun’s attempt to use a new armored gun carriage, the local brand of salamander-style kung fu has devastated the warlord troops as they made numerous bloody assaults on the walls of the monastery where-in the rebellious monks were making a heroic stand. Even from my distant vantage point I could see the monks demonstrating their famed skill of running across the vertical surface of the fortress wall, easily knocking back scaling ladders loaded with attacking soldiers.

In the guise of Chun’s staff doctor I have, for days, bandaged sprained necks and splinted broken limbs. During the course of the battle, Chun’s frustration at his own lack of progress actually began to inflict more casualties on his already beleaguered troops as the emotionally distraught commander repeatedly turned his machine gun on his own men in a vain attempt to drive them forward again. Needless to say, the sight of so many uniformed troops simultaneously retreating from two opposite directions was remarkable indeed.

As dawn breaks over the terraced landscape, Chun has decided to modify his campaign strategy and march south to attack warlord Daing-Po. China Station residents will recall that Chun has already defeated and disarmed Po and that Po now serves Chun but in the General’s own words, “I really need to kick Po around some more. It will be good for morale.”

As to missing American physicist, Dr. Raullo Ortega, pioneer of molecular disruption theory, I have uncovered another clue. It seems that the reason behind Chun-King’s campaign is a quest for something called the Promethean Vacuum Tube. My eavesdropping indicates that this item is the final component of a deadly weapon, that once complete, will give the Notorious Warlord control of all South Asia. It is my hope that this smuggled dispatch will alert the authorities before it is too late.

Until I write again, release your cat from confinement Mr. Doogan’s mother, and turn off your light. This is Jimmy Woo signing off.

9. Dateline Unknown / Doogan in the Dark

Doogan here and I’m lucky to be alive!

Your favorite news-hawk has suffered a setback. I have awakened to find myself locked in some sort of packing crate and it’s as black as Aunt Emma’s Christmas pudding. The only sound I can hear is a low drone of powerful engines. Otherwise, I am deprived of all possessions save for my trusty Remington portable, noiseless typewriter, on which I am presently tapping this dire dispatch.

My last recollection is of a pleasant preamble in the beauteous lotus gardens of Dr. Koo. My host was giving me the ten-cent tour of his exotic blossoms. The florid collection boasted many unique varieties, according to the Doctor, several of which were possessed of remarkable properties.  

I was giving one of the lithe lilies a deep sniff, as Dr. Koo had just extolled the virtues of it’s particularly potent perfume, when all of a sudden the world began to spin and my pegs gave out from under me. Coming to I find myself in the circumstances I have already described, packed and shipped to destinations unknown.

Now, if it were not for my ability to type in the dark, a skill I acquired during the frequent bouts of temporary blindness I suffered in the initial months of prohibition, this desperate document would be impossible. How I will deliver it to the wire services has yet to be seen.

I can also only hope that my friend Dr. Koo has somehow eluded a similar fate and is not this very minute also shanghaied by these mysterious assailants. A big cheese like Koo would be almost as valuable to kidnappers as an award winning American journalist.

Fear not however, gentle readers as I have been in tight spots before and somehow I always manage to get clear. I’m sure nixing this jam will be no different.

Until next time, turn the lights off Ma and let the cat out. This is Doogan signing off.

8: Dateline Boo Kong Uplands / Plantation Peril

Doogan here and I'm lucky to be alive!

Despite being graciously entertained by Dr. Koo and his staff here at the good doctor’s rubber plantation, deep in the vast Boo Kong jungle, I have been subject to several unusual encounters with local fauna. Now, I’ve found snakes in my bed before but after a close call with an especially large specimen of deadly tropical spider lurking in my sock drawer I began to get extra cautious.

My faithful Remington portable, noiseless typewriter came to my rescue, yet again, as I had just completed my last dispatch when I was assaulted by a nasty little monkey with an immense cane knife. The fiendish imp somehow managed to unlatch my window shutter, enter my room and was nearly on me before I took notice. Diving beneath my desk to escape the tiny brute and his waving cutlery I upset the typewriter and it fell with crushing force on top of the pint sized assassin, ending his murderous career in short order.

Dr. Koo politely apologized for the incident and explained that a rival plantation owner had experimented with trained apes as laborers and since the failed endeavor the vicinity had been plagued by marauding bands of knife wielding simians. I told my host to think no more of it and informed him that P.T. Barnum once had a similar problem. In fact, Lon Chaney wore his first makeup after receiving a prominent scar while working with Barnum’s monkeys.

I concluded my investigation of the plantation, no closer to finding any clues as to the whereabouts of vanished American engineer, Professor Raullo Ortega, the noted creator of cold rolled radium foil.

I am unable to return to China Station by aeroplane as the pilot who brought me here, Captain Wong, suffered a fatal accident when the bridge across Dr. Koo’s ornamental crocodile pool collapsed suddenly and unexpectedly. The Captain had just left Dr. Koo’s office. Wong’s mishap reminded me of a similar incident with my third wife Sonja, who accidentally elbowed me into an alligator pond, while we were playing miniature golf at the Sarasota Springs Honeymoon Haven. Newlywed memories aside, I’m now seeking alternative routes back to China Station.

Until next time, turn the lights off Ma and let the cat out. This is Doogan signing off.

7: Dateline Boo Yi District / Woo Visits Warlord

Cub reporter Jimmy Woo here and I can’t say if Mr. Doogan is alive or not.

Since leaving for Dr. Koo’s plantation, no word has been received from the esteemed representative of Hearst News Services. This reporter is keeping his fingers crossed in hopes of hearing that Mr. Doogan is safe.

Meanwhile, following a tip from my aunt in Boo Yi district, I investigated a report that the notorious warlord Chun-King had entertained missing American physicist, Dr. Raullo Ortega, creator of the Zenon Televisor, at his remote mountaintop fortress. Taking advantage of my Uncle’s apothecary business I posed as a common peddler of herbs and snake venom potions and made the difficult journey up country to the Cliffs of Death.

The infamous bandit is a renowned hypochondriac so I had little trouble gaining entrance to the foreboding compound though I knew there was a good chance I might never leave. The afternoon passed as I waited for Chun to complete his daily round of summary executions and extortion meetings with local farmers. When night came I found myself in the presence of this minor Genghis Kahn.  

Chun King inquired if I stocked bear bladder or crocodile organ. It seems that the notorious warlord’s energetic new wife (his sixth I understand) is posing a daunting challenge for a husband well into his middle years. I could not supply the General with the requested medications but I did sell him a vial of thistle oil that, according to my uncle’s sales manual, makes a passable substitute.

In the course of my medical improvisation I was able to surmise that Dr. Ortega had been at the compound. On a balcony visible from the General’s chamber there stood a strange glass and steel device, which resembled a cannon of some sort. A servant confided that a westerner supervised the construction of the machine. This person, the servant informed me, used a wheelchair and spoke in an odd metallic voice. I was secretly ecstatic as this description matches that of our lost scientist.

Unfortunately, the notorious warlord’s previous physician suffered a heart attack while being suspended by rope from the fortress walls by soldiers who were betting on how high a doctor would swing. I have been taken on as the official medical expert of Chung King’s staff. Further reports will be submitted when I can make arrangements with local smugglers.
Until next time, turn your lamp off Mrs. Doogan and allow your cat to roam free. This is Jimmy Woo signing off.

6: Dateline Boo Kong Uplands / Koo’s Rubber Plantation

Doogan here and I’m lucky to be alive.

Responding to a generous invitation from resident Mandarin magnate Dr. Koo, this reporter arranged for a visit to the interior in a continuing quest for information as to the whereabouts of vanished American chemist and inventor of Solium Distillate Rocket Gas, Dr. Raullo Ortega.

The first stop would be Dr. Koo’s rubber plantation, fifty odd miles up river and surrounded by a snake infested mangrove swamp known locally by the quaint title, ‘Evil Bog of Howling Devils’.

I was informed that the road to this honeymoon resort had recently succumbed to a major mudslide induced by a minor volcano. To spare the esteemed representative of Hearst News Services any discomfort during the journey, Dr. Koo generously offered to convey this reporter to his destination by private aeroplane.

High above the steaming bamboo hinterlands Dr. Koo’s pilot, an inscrutable fellow known as Captain Wong, probably hoping to keep his worldly passenger from being bored during the flight, decided to demonstrate his aerobatic talents with some impromptu high altitude stunt flying. A sudden inversion of the old box kite had this reporter grabbing for his seat belt, but, due to some unforeseen maintenance error on the ground, the harness was missing its safety clasp.

Faithful readers will recall my interview with the Great Waldo Pepper, during which a similar situation confronted this reporter. My barnstorming experience served me well because in short order I found myself dangling over the jungle with only my wrist lashed to the case strap of my trusty Remington Portable Typewriter that remained firmly wedged beneath my seat.

After several minutes of violent rolling, Captain Wong noticed my predicament and righted the aircraft. Upon our safe landing at Dr. Koo’s estate Captain Wong was profuse in his apologies…. to Dr. Koo, and this reporter sought out the nearest bottle of medicinal nerve tonic.

Until next time, turn the lights off Ma and let the cat out. This is Doogan signing off.

5: Dateline China Station/ Doogan Clears Boche Blimp

Doogan here and I’m lucky to be alive. Advisory to travelers in South Asia; water-buffalo may be afraid of a little boy swinging a stick, but they are not afraid of you and they’re faster then they look. Anyhow…

Its now certain that the zeppelin which passed over China Station, moments before the explosion of the British Legation Polo Clubhouse, was not responsible for the devastation that has the Anglo-Orient community desperately searching for a new venue to hold their seasonal presentation of H.M.S. Pinafore, which I’m told is performed by an all male cast (and with hobbies like that its hardly a wonder their empire is shrinking).

Captain Dussinger of the airship LZ124, expressed sympathy to Consul, Major General Ripperton, but he emphasized to this reporter, “If we Germans intended to bomb the British Legation, I assure you our aim is better then that.” This newest Zeppelin in the German Air Fleet is on the first leg of its trans-Asiatic geological survey.

With Jerry out of the picture, the mystery of the bombing only gets deeper but in the course of my investigation I did encounter one suspicious character. Snooping around the blast site, I knocked heads with a bird named Chan who was also nosing through the debris. He was accompanied by a young tough whom he insisted was his eldest son. And get this; Chan claims to be a detective from the Honolulu police force! I can only say that I found those flying simians from Oz more believable. Stealing a page from my book, Chan claims to be searching for vanished American astronomer Dr. Raullo Ortega, known for bringing the Van Allen Belt to the attention of Van Allen. He just better not try to pull any monkey business while Doogan has the watch.

Until next time, turn the lights off Ma and let the cat out, this is Doogan Signing off. 

4: Dateline China Station/ Zeppelin Alert!

Doogan here and I’m lucky to be alive- after a night of determined investigation in no less than five of China Station’s more liberal entertainment establishments.

The drone of powerful engines awakened this reporter from his gentle, gutter-side slumber outside of Lady Edna Beardsley’s famed Tropicana/Orient nightclub. With my finely tuned newsman’s eye for detail, it was apparent immediately that all activity on this normally hectic street had come to a precipitous halt and that locals and foreigners alike were craning their necks to the sky in an attempt to spot the origin of the noise.

As my blurred vision strained to focus I puzzled at the unusual silver tone of the morning sky but within seconds I realized that what we were witnessing was indeed the low passing of a titanic air-ship.

Within moments this leviathan of the sky had moved off over to the foreign quarter of the city and as people began conversing excitedly there was a huge explosion which shook the very ground on which I lay. Within seconds a plume of black smoke began to rise from somewhere within the foreign legations.

I am writing this dispatch from my room and as soon as I shake this pounding headache, I intend to delve into this singular event. It is entirely possible that whatever violent disaster has occurred, it could be somehow linked to the mysterious fate of missing American Scientist, Dr. Raullo Ortega, inventor of the cosmic beam annihilator. 

Until next time, turn the lights off Ma and let the cat out, this is Doogan Signing off.