Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

THE BLUE

PHANTOM MURDERS

 
 
 

                  Week #2 of 3.



The original script is by Carlton E. Morse, copyright 1986/1992 with excerpts from the original.

The synopsis is written by Brian Christopher Misiaszek, original material copyright 2000.


Episode 6: Friday June 9th, 1950.

SOUND:(Clock Strikes Five)

The announcer recounts the events of the last episode, including how Reggie had dashed in to report one of the missing bodies had returned, sprawling wet on the deck in front of Dr. David's cabin.  But when the others returned to view the grisly site, all that remained was a wet outline where the body had lain.  At this point, Jack called a council of war.

JACK: (COMING TO MIKE) Matters aboard the Blue Phantom have reached a stage bordering on the ridiculous...These things couldn't happen to a group of normal, well-balanced people...They're insane...childishly insane...As I said, bordering on the ridiculous.

Jack Packard goes over the events of what has happened so far with Dr. Davids, Doc and Reggie.  He also tries to flatter Davids, telling him that he seemed the most normal and well balanced of the guests on The Blue Phantom. Despite the flattery, Davids clams up, repeatedly telling Jack that heknows nothing the others don't know already.  Doc tries to intercede, but silences with a look from Jack.Jacktakes another tack, asking Dr. Davids what kind of person would act insuch a bizarre and childish manner as the events up to now would suggest. Jack suggests it is being done in a way to heighten the atmosphere of terrornow stalking the ship, especially with the business of the reappearing corpse of the dead sailor, Pete.  Davids plays coy, and devil's advocate all at the same time:

DAVIDS:  I don't believe there was a reappearance.

REGGIE: But look here, old man, I SAW it.

DAVIDS: So you say...

REGGIE:  Now just a minute...I say I SAW THE BODY OF PETE LYING IN FRONT OF YOUR CABIN.

Jack stops the normally placid Reggie York from tearing into Dr. Davids, and cross examines his English pal himself.   Reggie satisfies him with his story, that he briefly examined the body, confirmed that the clothes were soaked as if they had been in the sea, and that no other part of the deck was wet (ruling out the possibility of a rogue wave washing the body back on board).  Reggie had only been gone for a few minutes to getthe others by the time the body of Pete had vanished again.  Just enough time for someone to have pitched it overboard and duck out of sight again, Jack noted.Davids asks, reasonably enough, where did the body come from if the previous searchfrom the A-One detectives had turned up nothing before?  The only alternative explanation was that the body had been hauled on a long ropeattached to their vessel, and dragged back aboard when their mysterious Someone wanted it again, somebody with a simple and child's mind...

DAVIDS: If your contentions are true, Packard, then your job of finding the murderer should be very simple...

JACK:      You think so...

DAVIDS: Certainly...find the person among us witha child's mind...

Doc immediately elects Captain Arnold Foster for the role, but Jack isn't so certain.  While superficially Foster is simpering and sniveling on the surface, UNDER the surface he felt their was a keen brain at work. Jack is more interested in the mind of the ship's scientist, Dr. Park, arguably the most intelligent man aboard ship according to the others. 

JACK: And therefore the most dangerous...There's such a thing as being too brilliant...

Doc asks him what he means, and Davids answers at Jack's request;  Yes, it's a known medical fact that over-developed brains sometimes break down...somuch so that the victim can drop to childish levels...Jack tries to introduce Ruth Foster into the list of possible suspects, and Davids immediately gets huffy again, stating that nothing bad about her will be spoken of in HIS presence.  Jack doesn't press the issue, and it's Doc who mentions Swensen the engineer, and Charlie the sailor as possibilities.  Jack is inclined to rule them out, stating they are too stolid and down to earth to imagine such weird happenings that have occurred so far. Suddenly,Captain Foster appears in the middle of their war council.  Startled, they take in his comments that he had been eavesdropping on their conversation,when he suddenly rolls up his eyes and faints dead away.  Chaos reigns for a few moments as people mill about shouting, catching Foster, finding him water, and so on, until he revives with a groan, and says:

FOSTER:(CHUCKLES) Gave you quite a scare, didn'tI... 

Foster mutters something that he hoped that it wasn't poison in the water given him, and that he would feel okay in a moment.  Davids comments on Foster's pallor and rapid heart beat, and confirms Jack's suspicion thathe was suffering from utter terror.Theyget him to sit up finally, and after a moment, he tells them to gather around for an important announcement.  After reassuring Jack that he feels like talking, he drops this bombshell:

FOSTER:   (CHUCKLES) You'll be amazed...My wife Ruth has been murdered...

DAVIDS:   (HORROR) In heaven's name, Arnold...

FOSTER:   (CHUCKLES) Uh-huh...uh-huh...

JACK:      Stop that noise and TALK!

FOSTER:   (CHUCKLES) Murdered...Murdered with poison!

(MUSIC:........ORGAN..."VALSETRISTE")
 
 

Episode 7: Monday June 12th, 1950.

SOUND:(CLOCK STRIKES SIX)


After the announcers spiel recapping the story so far, we find Doc and Reggiestanding guard outside the medical ward, while Jack and Dr. Davids are inside performing an autopsy on Mrs. Foster's body. 

REGGIE:  Well, well I'd be out here, than in there...

DOC:       Yeah, me too...What they want to go autopysin' HER fer anyway...They know durned well she died of the same thing that killed the Steward and Pete...

REGGIE:  Quite...Must make sure though...

DOC:      Yeah, I reckon...Nice job for Dr. Davids...

REGGIE:  Quite...Times like this I'm bally glad I never studied medicine...

DOC:      I didn't mean that...Jack thinks Dr. Davids was in love with Mrs. Foster...

REGGIE:  Oh, I say...

Thetwo are silent for a moment, thinking about what must be going on inside the medical ward, and inside Dr. David's mind. They start talking again, going futilely over the list of suspects themselves,wondering what order Jack has listed the suspects aboard The Blue Phantom. Doc's mind wanders back to Texas, and tells Reggie a story about Winnie-Mae and her youthful garter-snake pranks, until they spot old Charley, the seaman, wandering about on deck.Charley comes up to them, making a joke about the others looking for snakes. He seems inordinately happy, and he admits that his is in a good mood, despite all the death and mayhem that has been happening aboard the vessel. As before, Doc and Reggie are puzzled by Charley's odd happiness.  Doc asks him point blank about it:

DOC:I say what you got to be all-fired happyabout?

CHARLEY: (CHUCKLES): Because I'm gonna still be alive and kciking' when all the rest of you lubbers are in Davey Jones locker...

The others are aghast at this selfish manner, but Charleyis oblivious to their reaction.  He goes on to tell them a curious tale about another ocean trip he had been on where men died like flies for no reason at all.  When asked to elaborate, he cryptically commentsthat "Human beings are ornery critters when you get right down to it..." and wanders off, leaving Doc and Reggie looking at one another.

The door to the little medical ward opens then, and Jacksteps out. Jack tells them that Dr. Davids has finished the autopsy, and is now preparing the body of Mrs. Foster for burial at sea.

REGGIE: I say, what's the verdict?

JACK:     Snake venom.

Doc isn't surprised one bit by that item of news, but Jack tells him to never mind that, and to gather the rest of the folks aboard the Blue Phantom together in the little medical ward for a meeting. He wants the meeting to be held where he can keep his eye on Mrs. Foster's remains at all times. Since it is getting dark, he also tells Doc and Reggieto light up the deck and keep the lights burning.  Doc asks him ifhe knows what is going on, and if he has some "...honest to goodness information?"

JACK: I have...the whole history of this case from the beginning...Why this voyage was planned...why this particular group of people were brought together.

DOC:  Why we was hired to come along?

JACK:  Yes, even whywe are here.

Doc is burning up with curiosity, but Jack tells him he'll learn soon enough, when everyone else arrives. Suddenly the sound of pistol shot rings out!

Alarmed, they all duck for cover.  Jack's hat is knocked out by the flight of a terribly close bullet!  It was, fortunately for him, too high to cause damage.  The mystery gunman fired from around the corner of the aft cabin!

Doc is all fired up to rush the man, but Jack tells him to stay put.  Jack tells the Doc and Reggie that he probably knows the identity of the gunman, and tells them he can likely lay hands on him any time he wants. In the meantime, when tells them again to get the others.  Doc asks if it is safe for him to go out, and Jack agrees; its HIM the mystery gunman wants. But he reminds Doc and Reggie if anyone questions them, that they know nothing and that he has told them nothing. But they were to get everybody together and blow the lid off things.

REGGIE:   I say, but HOW?

JACK: I'm going to read the boys Ruth Foster's diary.

DOC: Ruth Foster's diary?...Is that important?

JACK: The diary of a woman who breeds murder?...What do YOU think?

(MUSIC:........ORGAN..."VALSETRISTE")
 
 

Episode 8: Tuesday June 13th,1950

(Episode 191: Oct 11th,1939).

SOUND: (CLOCK STRIKES SEVEN)

Finally giving up the hunt for the unknown gunman who had shot at him, Jack has finally ordered a conference. In attendance aresix of the eleven surviving persons who started the trip (with the exception of the seventh, Charlie, who had to stay at the helm) meeting in the main lounge of the Blue Phantom.

With Reggie guarding the door, and Doc watching the others, Jack tells the others to put their empty hands on the table. When the others ask why, Jack tells them all about the previous attempt to shoot him. WhenParks asks why Jack and the others simply don't search them, Jack simply states he won't go for that trouble, at least not right now.

Jack goes on to tell the others that the engineer Swensen is truly missing after the search they have done, and that it seems that four persons have been killed. Moreover, he has changed the location of this meeting from the Medical ward to the main lounge so that the body of Mrs.Foster would not be disturbed if all were present here. Despite Charley being absent, if he should leave his post at the wheel, the Blue Phantom would beginto wallow and they would know it at once. But the real reason that Jackhas brought them all together was to read them something that would explainthe real reason for this expedition and why somebody on board was a murderer; Mrs. Ruth Foster's diary!

Dr. Davids is outraged at Jack's intent, and denies that Jack has the right to view it. Captain Foster, however, has no problems with such a public reading of his late wife's diary. Jack asks why Davids is affronted by his intent:.

DAVIDS: What's written in that diary is sacred...Because she is dead is no reason why Ruth Foster's intimate life should be made a matter of public knowledge.

JACK: What's your opinion,Dr. Parks?

PARKS (indifferent) I say read it...Probably makes pretty dull reading, anyway.

Jack goes on to read aloud from Mrs. Foster's diary despite Davids' warning not to do so, when the lights in the main lounge suddenly go out!

For a few minutes there is the sound of general melee and confusion, with the crashing of furniture and the flying of fists,when the lights are turned on again! On the floor are found Captain Foster and Dr. Davids, choking each other!

Doc moves in, and separates the two from the fracas, and in doing so finds a pistol on the floor. Doc notes that the pistol had recently been fired, and that there is one round missing. Jack, after establishing that Parks hasn't moved from his seat, demands that Davids explain his actions. Davids says he thought he had been choking Jack, not Captain Foster, because Jack had been attempting to read aloud Ruth Foster's diary.To this, Foster replied:

FOSTER: (chuckles) Don't let him fool you...No...no...He was choking the man he wanted to choke...

After everyone else is seated, Jack resumes his efforts to read Ruth Foster's diary aloud again:

JACK: ...As I told you, thefirst information comes under the date November fourth, 1938...On thatdate she wrote here: "I wonder if Arnold would have married me todayif he had known that his Best Man swore to me last night that he would not live a year if I went through with the wedding."

The others speak up, and it comes about it was Dr. Parks who was Foster's best man! Another entry dated January 1st 1939 is read aloud by Jack, and it in she admits she was in love with Dr. Davids and not her husband! Doc muses aloud about this odd love triangle, where Dr. Parks was in love with Ruth, and Ruth was in love with Dr. Davids.

FOSTER: (chuckles) Interesting, isn't it...TERRIBLY interesting...

JACK: Yes, Captain Foster, and I'll think you'll find this next entry interesting also...March twelfth of this year: "Despite his millions Arnold Fosteris a groveling coward."

FOSTER: (angry, excited) No...no,that's not true...You're making that up...Ruth never said that...it's a LIE...

Foster is outraged, angry and scared at the words readby Jack from his late wife's diary accusing him to be a coward, but asJack indicates, its written down plainly for anyone to see. Trembling and shaking, Foster denies he is a coward, and is so agitated that he needsto be forcibly restrained by Doc back into his seat.

JACK: Thenext item of importance in the diary is dated June seventh...(reads) "Arnold knows about Dr. Parks' prophesy that he would not life a year and he knows beyond a doubt my feeling for Gregory Davids...I thought once tonight he was going to kill me--"

REGGIE: (low) I say-

JACK: (reads) "-but he was afraid."

FOSTER: (excited) No...no, not afraid...not afraid...I had a better plan...(chuckles) a MUCH BETTER PLAN...

JACK: Yes, Ruth Foster tells about it in our diary under a July seventeenth date line: (reads) "If Arnold carries out a plan he has devised there is going to be a real tragedy.He has fitted up his yacht, Blue Phantom, for a scientific expedition and has invited Dr. Parks and Gregory Davids to go with us...I've begged them both not to come, but they won't have it...Each one insists the situation is intolerable and that this voyage will bring a show-down."

Reggie interrupts Jack; while this plan for a show-down with his wife's suitors explains what the trip is all about, it doesn't explain why the three of them have been hired!

JACK: That's told in the next entry I'm going to read, dated September twenty-sixth, just a week before we sailed...It says: "Arnold has hired three soldiers of  fortune the last minute to make the voyage with us. He won't admit it, but I know his courage has failed him..."

FOSTER (excited) No...no that's not true...that's not true...

JACK: "His courage hasfailed him and he is taking these three men to protect him from Dr. Parks and Gregory."

FOSTER: (excited) Lies...Lies, I tell you...

Foster again becomes very agitated at the bald statements from his dead wife's diary. The others speak up in a clamor, and Dr. Davids even accuses Foster of murdering his own wife! Foster suddenly calms downat the accusation from his enemy, and begins chuckling again.

Jack reads further excerpts of Ruth Foster's diary. She seems sadly resigned to having everyone aboard the Blue Phantom drop dead one by one, including herself! She isn't certain who the murderer is, but she knows it isn't her husband, Captain Arnold Foster, since he is so frightened by the recent murders which do not seem to be part of his plans! Ruth Foster's diary continues with:

JACK: (reads) "SoI know Arnold has committed no murders. And I know Gregory Davids' hands are clean. He wants me for his wife and I know he does not want to cometo me with murder on his conscience or blood on his hands. If it isn't Arnold and it isn't Gregory, then it must be Dr. Parks."

PARKS: The woman's MAD...

JACK: No, I don't think Ruth Foster was mad, Dr. Parks...Listen to what she says...It's very logical...(reads)"Dr. Parks is the only man aboard with the cold, calculating mind capable of murder. He's the only man who has enough venom in his soul to do this"...You'll note, Dr. Parks, she used the word venom...(reads) "...and he said to me in so many words that Arnold would not live a year."

It is Dr. Parks' turn to be outraged, and Dr. Davids coldly asks Jack if this is the end of the grisly reading.

JACK: No...Just one more sentence...The last sentence she ever wrote. (reads) "I have sent Arnold to the medical ward for a glass of wine to make me sleep; sleep from which I pray I shall never wake."

And as Jack points out, an hour later, she was found deadin her bed, of snake venom but no marks of a snake's fangs!

Doc interrupts Jack's reading, to point out that Captain Foster is in an awful state, shaking and shivering. Doc tries to help Foster, but finds his helping hands thrown back abruptly:

FOSTER: Take your hands offof me...

DOC: (shrugs) Suit yourself...

FOSTER: Gentlemen...Listento me!...not one of you who think I'm a coward, will leave this ship alive.

SOUND (WIND AND BELLS)
 
 

Episode 9: Wednesday June 14th,1950

(Episode 192: Oct 12th,1939)

SOUND:(CLOCK STRIKES EIGHT)

An hour later finds Jack Doc and Reggie alone in a private council-of-war in their own cabin on the Blue Phantom:

DOC: Jack, why did you insistthat we bury Ruth Foster at sea, the minute you got through readin' her diary to everyone?

JACK: To prevent any more funny work with dead bodies.

REGGIE: I say, you mean having them mysteriously disappear?

JACK: Yes...as long as she was in the Medical Ward one of us three had to remain on guard. Now she's gone and we don't have that to think of.

Jack tells the others that he doesn't think that Foster isn't the murderer, but that he is being pushed to the brink, and may in fact go over the edge. Instead, Jack is betting that Dr. Parks is the murderer. He agrees with Doc that the revolver he picked up during the fight in the lounge was likely the same one used to attack him earlier, and he tells Doc to throw it overboard. Reggie is troubled, and asks Jack why he thinks Captain Foster could turn murderer if he isn't already one now. Jack answers:

JACK: The man's insane on the subject of fear...

DOC: Crazy as a coot...

JACK: Couldn't you tell from Ruth Foster's diary that he organized this trip just to prove to her and to Parks and Dr. Davids that he was not a coward as they believed.

REGGIE: But how would THATprove it?

JACK: Taking his wife out on a voyage with Parks, a man infatuated with her and who had predicted his death; with Davis whom his wife was madly in love? If he could do that and dominate these two men on the voyage, no one could ever say again he was cowardly.

REGGIE: Jove...So that was it.

JACK: But at the last minute he lost his nerve...His fear go the best of him and he shipped us three along to protect him, although he'll go to his grave denying it.

DOC: Yeah, he sure denies it all right...

JACK: And then the murders began to take place! He was in terror, but all along he's tried to cover up his fear with that silly chuckle and hand washing. None one really knew how great his fear was until I read what Ruth Foster wrote in her diary about it.

Jack admits to his friends he is now sorry he read aloud Ruth Foster's diary, which seemed to have busted things wide open. Not only did it name Dr. Parks as a killer and Dr. Davids as being in love with a married woman, but it also named her husband a groveling coward. And when Jack read aloud excerpts regarding that final point, something snapped in her husband. And now Captain Foster has one driving passion, either to prove to all still living aboard the Blue Phantom that he was no coward, or else closing their mouths forever...

Doc asks what the reading accomplished, and Jack admitted that while he did so to provoke Davids and Parks, they didn't react the way he thought they would. Jack also tells Doc and Reggie that when he later asked Captain Foster where the course of the Blue Phantom was headedfor now, he refused to say, and also refused to head the ship back towards port.

Reggie and Doc ask why they simply don't take over the Blue Phantom, and Jack tells them there is little they can do to force Captain Foster, unless they want to be charged with mutiny, and with Captain Foster's millions, he would be liable to make a lot of trouble for them.

Besides, only Charley properly knows how to handle the ship, and until they can win him over, they have little hope in steering the ship safely back to safety. Jack did manage to convince Charley that if they could prove Captain Foster was a killer, then he would be justified in taking Jack's orders,and not Captain Foster's.

DOC: Yeah, but looky here,feller, that means we've got to wait until he kills somebody...

JACK: I'm afraid it does...

REGGIE: But I say...The victim...Bally embarrassing situation for somebody...

DOC: Well it ain't gonnabe ME, dad-burn it...My motto's still, "Don't die on this trip."...

JACK: And see that you remembe rit.

DOC: You think I won't...If Captain Foster so much as LOOKS in my direction I'm gonna climb his frame quicker'n he kin say uncle.

Jack points out that they need to be wary of all the others now, and that it was all three of them against the lot. He also points out that there is one place aboard the Blue Phantom that appears to be the focal point of all the troubles they've had at sea: the ship's Medical Ward.

JACK: Yes...we can definitely link the medical ward with two of the deaths...Captain Foster saw Pete staggering out of the ward just before he fell dead in front of our door...

DOC: Yeah, and even Parks and Dr. Davids admit he was IN there...

JACK: Yes...And Ruth Foster in her diary said she sent the Captain to the medical ward for a glass of wine just an hour before she was found dead.

Jack and the others speculate that Captain Foster could have poisoned his wife's wine with snake venom. Doc in particular points out that Captain Foster could have planned on killing his victims by poisoning their food and fluids with snake venom, which could explain why no one was marked with fang marks!

Jack is dubious, but admits Doc's theory does fit together. But to prove they were killed that way, they would have to find the supplyof snake venom, proof enough for even Charley to believe! However, their plan has a problem; they have to find the supply before Captain Foster (or anyone else for that matter) hid it forever, and they have to prove it belonged to him. With lightning speed, Jack comes up with a plan to thoroughly search the medical ward without being disturbed:

JACK: Here, I'll tell you what we'll do...Doc, you've been poisoned...

DOC (alarmed) Hey,I ain't neither...

JACK: Listen...Reggie andI carry your limp body into the Medical ward and lay you out on the slab...

DOC: Jack, don't SAY things like that...

JACK: Will you shut up andlisten...We give out the report that you've been poisoned and I'm here administering an antidote...Reggie stands outside the door and keeps everyone away.

Doc complains about being the victim, but Jack tells him that since he is the lightest, he'll be the easiest for the others to carry.At first reluctantly, but then with relish, Doc takes on the role of being poisoned and literally collapses to the floor, moaning and groaning piteously (and unconvincingly!). The others pick him up, and carry Doc inside the little ship-board Medical Ward, and shut the door. Inside:

DOC (Chuckles) How'dI do fellers?...Sound like a guy full of poison?

JACK: Sounded morelike a cow mooing for her calf...

While carrying Doc, Reggie caught a glimpse of someone out of the corner of their eye watching them. At Jack's orders, he is to stand guard outside, while Jack rummages through the room looking for possible supply of snake venom.

Suddenly, there is a knock on the door! After motioning Doc to lie down again on the slab, Reggie cautiously opens the door.

It's able seaman Charley! He tells him that Captain Foster has just relieved him at the wheelhouse, and took over the handling of the ship himself. Charley is at first very curious about the "poisoned" Doc, but eventually tells Jack and Reggie the real reason he has come around to see them:

CHARLEY: Well that there Dr. Davids has got that scientist feller by the throat in the next cabin...

REGGIE: Dr. Davids has gotParks by the throat?

CHARLEY: (chuckles) That'sright...And he'll be a dead onion in another couple of minutes. (chuckles)

SOUND (Wind and Bells)
 
 

Episode 10: Thursday June 15th,1950

(Episode 193: Oct 13th,1939).

SOUND:(CLOCK STRIKES EIGHT)

Hearing that Dr. Davids and Dr. Parks were at each other's throats (and that Dr. Parks wasn't going to last much longer) Jack sends Reggie to take Charley with him and to break matters up. After they go, Jack tells Doc:

JACK: All right, Doc, get up off that slab and get ready for action.

DOC: Whatcha mean, ACTION...Ain't I s'posed to be poisoned...

JACK: Forget about that...Things are getting too hot to try to be subtle any longer...

Doc is miffed that all his "play-actin'" has been for naught, but Jack tells him to forget it. The two of them suddenly notice that the ship is beginning to wallow and roll, indicating that Captain Foster has left the wheel (that he took from Charley) unattended. They are about to check it out, when the door to the medical ward suddenly opens. It is Reggie, carrying motionless Dr. Parks, followed closely by Charley!

Together, they get Dr. Parks up on the slab, and Doc begins artificial respiration. Dr. Parks colour is poor, and Charley tells them it's no use, but Jack motions Doc to continue. As Doc is busy trying to revive Parks, Reggie tells them that he had to knock down Dr. Davids to get his hands loose from Dr. Parks throat, and that he had to drag him here before he died.

Contrary to Charley's diagnosis, Parks begins to revive.The colour returns to his face, and his heart and breathing are strong.At Jack's orders Reggie gives some medicinal wine to Parks who begins to improve.

Meanwhile, Jack questions Charley; why is the ship is tossing and wallowing, why is the ship being allowed to drift, and is this a proper way for a ship's captain to act?

Charley shrugs, and says it's captain's orders, and that was that! Jack is incredulous-with the fullsails the Blue Phantom is carrying, and with the ship wallowing in the trough the way it is-isn't that reason enough to disobey orders that willlikely kill them all? Charley still refuses, and grudgingly admits that he is afraid to cross Captain Foster, and that hecan be a very violent and dangerous man.

Jack checks on Dr. Parks, who looks much improved; his heart is steady and regular, but rather slow. He still hasn't fully woken up, and he is given a little more of the medicinal stimulant to (as Doc put it, to "Warm your insides") help revive him.

Jack turns back to Charley; after telling him he'll get Doc to guard and protect him at the wheelhouse, and to back him up with Reggie running the engines, Charley comes around to agree to head the BluePhantom back to the nearest port, orders or no orders. Dr. Parks has fallen asleep by now, and Jack locks him inside the Medical ward. Doc and Charlie head over to the wheelhouse, while Reggie and Jack headed over to the engine room after establishing a system of signals with the ship'sbell.

The engine room is dark, and it takes a moment for Reggie to find the light with the ship tossing and rocking. When he does so, Jack exclaims:

JACK: REGGIE, look...the engines...Look at this room...

REGGIE: (awe) Oh I say...The place is in a shambles...JACK, there's been a mad man down here...

JACK: A very cunning mad-man...Lookat these engines ...Someone must have got at them with a sledge hammer...

They go over the shattered room and find the ignition smashed, and wires and cables pulled out or cut. After casting his educated eye over the ruins, Reggie admits that there is little he can do to salvage this mess. Jack is quietly furious, and tells Reggie that this appear sto be more of Captain Foster's dirty work. Jack begins to speculate that the reason that Swensen the engineer disappeared was for him to get access to the engines, when there is a sudden sound of a door slamming shut, withthe sound of a key turning in a lock!

REGGIE: (fear) JACK...We're locked in...

JACK: We are...

REGGIE: But look here, it mustn't happen...that gives Captain Foster complete run of the ship...

Grimly, Reggie throws his strength towards breaking down the door to the engine room-and fails. They hear the sound of a ship'sbell, obviously Doc and Charley signaling them to start the ship's engines.Jack realizes that they can do the same only if they can ring their own ship's bell, and he and Reggie search the engine room to find the signal cord.

Meanwhile, back at the wheelhouse, Charley has gotten the ship back into the wind, and Doc is wondering why the others haven't started the engines when he had signaled Jack and Reggie to do so; could they be in trouble? Charley simply shrugs, and tells Doc that starting engines takes time. Suddenly they hear a ship's bell beginning to ring in a peculiar matter. First three short rings, then three long rings, then three short rings...

Doc suddenly realizes the meaning of the ship's bell; it's an SOS! Frantic, Doc tells Charley to turn on the deck lights, and that he would be leaving Charley alone in the wheelhouse while he goes to help the others. Charley grumbles that this wasn't the plan he agreed to, but obligingly turns on the deck lights. With the deck lit up, Doc catches sight of something sinister:

DOC: That's it...Heey...Heey Charley, LOOK.

CHARLEY: Captain Foster's down on the deck...

DOC: Yeah, and look what he's a doin'...Dragging Dr. Parks out of the Medical Ward...

CHARLEY: Gonna through him overboard, looks like...

DOC: No he ain't...(leavingmike) Not by a jug gull...

SOUND (DOOR OPENING...SOUND OF OCEAN)

DOC: (back)(Yells) CaptainFOSTER...Captain FOSTER...DROP THAT man...(pause)(coming to mike) Drop that man...You hear me...(strains) Here, give me that fella before I slap you cross eyed....(up) Heey you...Captain Foster come back here...Crazyas a loon...Well anyway I saved YOURS skin, Dr. Parks...(fear) Dr. Parks...Dr.Parks, what's the matter? ... (awed) Well spank me fer a baby...Dead!...Deader'na cat fish!

SOUND (Wind and Bells)


So ends the five episodes from the second weeksworth of The Blue Phantom Murders (also known as "The Blue Phantom"from the first run of this ILAM story).

I hope you'll enjoy reading them this 2000 US Thanksgiving weekend!

Stay tuned for further adventure on the high seas when I finish the final 5 episodes of this story!

::Brian::