JW Media Fanfic and Fandoms Site
Home | My Fanfic | Casualties of War | The Price of Survival | Second Chance | Interlude on the Bantu Wind | Homeward Bound | Anything Goes | Cup of a Carpenter | Repercussions | As Time Goes By | Great Expectations | A Civilization Gone With the Wind | The Past is Prologue | Keeper of the Flame | As Time Goes By -- Epilog | The End of the Beginning | Ask the Right Question | Death of an Enemy, Death of a Friend | The Politics of Embezzlement | DS Fest Trip to "Collinwood" (Seaview Terrace Newport RI) | Related Links
Homeward Bound

Originally printed in Fortune and Glory #2  published 1986

Marion Ravenwood left the companionway and headed toward the ship's rail, her footsteps echoing on the deck of the great ocean liner. The only other sounds were those of the waves nudging the side of the ship and faint murmur of voices from her bridge.  It was still a few hours before sunrise, and most of the passengers were still asleep on this, their last night out. Marion leaned her elbows on the rail and rested her chin in the pales of her hands. She squinted out through the blackness, trying to catch a glimpse of land, but it was still too dark to see. The only thing visible was a blur of green off at the far edge of the horizon: the Statue of Liberty, guarding the approach to New York Harbor.

Homeless and tempest-tossed is right, Marion thought sardonically, realizing how well the statue's inscription described her recent life. But that would change with their arrival in New York; then, their long trip from Nepal -- by way of Cairo, Liverpool, and a small island off the shore of Crete - would be over. After nine years, she would finally be home.

How many tires she'd passed through this port over the years, on her way to various digs. First, it had been with both her parents, then, after her mother's death in 1920, with Abner alone. This port was like an old friend welcoming her home.

But home to what?  Things had changed greatly since she'd left. Even understanding a newspaper was difficult, as they were filled with unfamiliar names. NRA, WPA, CCC, Nallis Simpson, Clark Gable, Shirley Temple, Francisco Franco, Amelia Earhart, the plight of the Oakies, crooning, swing music -- she had no idea who or even what these were, or why they were considered news. Garbo talked, there was civil war in Spain, and a crazy ex-housepainter was ruling Germany. For so many years, she'd longed to come home, but the break-neck pace of the last weeks had given her no chance to think about what this involved. There was so such to learn and re-learn, so much to which she had to adjust. It wasn't just starting a new business; after running the now-destroyed bar in Nepal - for which she intended to make sure the government compensated her -- that idea didn't bother her too such. Depression or no Depression, what she'd done once she could do again. No, what bothered her was her ignorance of the rules in this new civilization. In the world to which she was accustomed, ignorance was vulnerability, and vulnerability was dangerous - if not fatal.


She whirled, startled by the deep voice behind her.

"Take it easy! It's only me."

She lowered the arm she'd reflexively raised to defend herself.    "What are you doing awake at this hour, Jones?"

He smiled disarmingly, "Habit. I've spent too many years on digs. I end up waking up before dawn even when I don't have to. As long as I'm up, I thought I'd watch the ship come in. You, too?"

She nodded.    They leaned against the rail together, sharing a companionable silence. Furtively, she studied his face, half-shadowed by the ship's lights. For so long, she'd hated him, blaming him for wrecking her life when her father had dragged her off with him to Nepal.  Now, he'd bounced back into her life like a jumping bean, and here she was, for some unfathomable reason, falling in love with his all over again.


"Hard to believe it's finally over, isn't it?" he asked.

"Yeah. I've spent the last week looking for periscopes. I kept wondering whether or not we'd get stopped by another submarine before we'd made it across the Atlantic."

"Well, fortunately for us, there's a total difference between high seas piracy against a tramp freighter like Katanga's and piracy against a Cunard liner. There wasn't much risk, even if this is the sister ship of the Lusitania. Germany isn't at war with anyone yet, and Hitler probably wants to keep it that way. Core to think of it, the Nazis probably think we disappeared along with everyone else on that island. By the time they figure out that we're still alive, we'll be safely in America. All we have to do is turn the crate over to the Army people at the dock, and we're done. None too soon, for me. The most exciting thing I feel like doing for a while is mowing the lawn."

Marion turned to stare at him and snorted in disbelief.

"I don't enjoy getting shot at," he insisted. "After these adventures, a nice, quiet, small town'll suit me just fine."

"That probably won't last for long. You were always too restless to stay cooped up. It's all the same to me what you do once we get back -- so long as you don't forget about getting me my money.

An odd look passed over his face, then was gone again. How could I?" he answered sharply. "You've been reminding me of it constantly, ever since that dive of yours burned down."

"Dive or not, I made a good living from running that place. The message you got at the Embassy said they'd give me five grand, plus another five hundred for compensation, plus my travel expenses back to the States. They've kept their word about the travel, I'll give them that, and it must've cost them a bundle. But I'd better get the rest of my money, or they're not getting their Ark. Five hundred extra isn't enough to cover my bar - but I'll take that up with then when we get into port. Considering all we've been through, they're still getting off damn cheap, if you ask me."

"Relax, you'll get your money. Trust me.

"It's not you I have to trust; it's them. Besides, when it comes to money, I learned a long time ago not to trust anyone. I won't relax until I have it in my hand."

"I still don't think they'd try to stiff you. This thing is supposed to be top secret. They wouldn't take a chance of cheating you and giving you an excuse to tell some eager reporter everything you know. Fifty-five hundred may be more than I make in a year, but to the government, it's nothing. Hell, to a millionaire like Roosevelt, it's pin money. It'd be worth it to them to make sure we keep quiet. If everything that went on were to come out, it'd cause some spectacular diplomatic incidents. Besides, you worry too such. They owe me money, too, but you don't see me fretting about not getting paid."

"You didn't live hand to mouth for the last few years, either, scraping together just enough to stay alive. You get involved with things like this because you WANT to. It's a vacation from teaching -- and any time you want, you can go back to your nice safe little college in Connecticut. I wasn't that lucky. I had to fight and claw for everything I had, and I was doing damn well for it. Now, thanks to their little treasure-hunt, I've got nothing. They damn well owe me enough to get started again."

Indy's eyes softened as she spoke. From what she'd told him, he could imagine what her life had been like. His hand grasped hers, holding it and squeezing it sympathetically. "Well, if they do give us any trouble, I'll just sic you on 'em," he teased awkwardly. "They wouldn't stand a chance against a feisty girl like you. We managed to outwit a good part of the German army singlehanded. What're a handful of Washington bureaucrats compared to that?"

He paused to look at her. "You're so damned determined to get that money," he commented Have you decided what you're going to do with it, yet?"

    She shrugged.    "Not really. I know I'm going to use it to start some sort of a business, but I don't know what kind, yet. I don't even know where I want to settle down. I was thinking of going back to Chicago, but I'm not really sure. Since we left Nepal, I haven't had much time to think of anything but staying alive -- in case you hadn't noticed."

"Yeah," Indy replied ruefully, rubbing the healing wound on his left arm. "I've noticed." He hesitated, then continued. "You're welcome to stay with me while you're deciding what to do next."


"That'd be convenient for you, wouldn't it?" she challenged, her expression becoming hard and bitter. She abruptly dropped his hand and look him over contemptuously. "I pay my way standing up, these days."

  Jones' eyes widened in astonishment."That's not the way I meant it, Marion," he protested quickly. "You need a place to stay while you sort things out. The way you worry about money,  I didn't think you wanted to spend it all on a hotel.I'd do that same for any friend who was trying to start over in a new place."

"I'll bet you would. Somehow, I doubt you'd be making the same offer if I looked like Eleanor Roosevelt.I wish I could believe you, but I've been a notch on someone's belt too many times, Jones. I'm not letting it happen again."

"You're always so damned suspicious!" he exclaimed, banging the side of his hand against the rail in frustration. "Okay, you told me back in Cairo that you needed some time. I can understand that; things've been moving pretty fast. We've been playing it your way, not mine. And I thought we had this all settled back in Liverpool -- but now, I can't even offer to do you a favor without you suspecting ulterior motives!

"I've got years of reasons for being suspicious of 'friendly' favors," she snapped back. I hope I'm wrong, and if I am, I'm sorry. But we didn't settle anything back in Liverpool; you just assumed we did. We never discussed what we would do next, or even if there was a 'we' worth talking about." Her expression softened as she thought of the week they had spent in that port city, waiting for the next ship to America. After the dangers they had been through, it had been a welcome chance to relax and celebrate their survival, affirming life now that the danger of death was past. She had trusted him with her life back in Egypt -- not that she'd had much choice -- and he'd come through. Maybe she could risk trusting him now. "Maybe disappointed is a better word than suspicious. You don't seem to realize it, but we're on a two-way street, now." She looked up, directly into his eyes, her expression cold and determined. "You'd better start respecting my side of it, or I'll run you right off it -- and I won't look back."

Indy was silent for a moment, squelching the sarcastic reply he'd intended to make. There're some things you don't realize, either. I'm taking a big risk by letting you stay with me. Ever see a teaching contract? They have a charming little portion in 'em known as a morals clause. The days of flaring youth and free love are long gone. Nowadays, you have to be very discreet -- and an unrelated, unmarried man and woman living together in the same house isn't considered discreet. I could even be the image of a proper Victorian gentleman and let you use the guest room -- and I'd still lose my job, if anyone found out. If all I wanted was a conveniently available woman, it wouldn't be worth it. Not when there're plenty of willing co-eds around. I had a rough time finding this post after I care back from Germany, not to mention the fancy footwork I went through in order to keep it after the Crash. Sure, there're strings attached to my offer, but they're not the ones you think. You just have to rake sure no one knows you're living with me. The quicker you get settled somewhere on your own, the better it'll be for both of us."

The suspicion slowly faded from Marion's face as she listened. She turned and stared thoughtfully at the approaching lights of Manhattan Island. She wanted so badly to be able to trust him, but beneath the strong, self-confident exterior she displayed and her constant stream of barbed comments was a strong fear of being hurt again. If he was willing to risk his job to help her out, maybe they could meet halfway and make this work, after all. "If you're willing to take that kind of a chance, how can I turn you down? Okay, Jones -- you've got yourself a houseguest. Even five grand won't last long unless I'm careful about what I put it into. That town you live in -- Marshalltown, did you say? -- is as good a place as any to start looking to set up a business. Is there anything there but the College?"

"Not much, just the farms outside of town."

"How did you ever end up teaching in a place like that? After you got your doctorate, you were getting offers from all over. Abner said there's always a shortage of well-trained archaeologists."

Indy was silent, developing a sudden interest in a flock of seagulls up ahead. Inexplicable actions of prior years suddenly made sense. "That morals clause you were telling me about," Marion ventured. "Did Chicago have something like that?"

"Yeah," he admitted.

"Abner didn't..."

"No, but he was going to, unless I resigned and left quietly. He kept his word and protected both of us - in fact, he even helped me arrange to study in Berlin - but resigning like that, suddenly, is pretty hard to explain. A good college or university isn't interested in someone who'd take off like that, irresponsibly. And that's why Abner's fair-haired boy, one of the Oriental Institutes most promising archaeologists, is now a procurer for Uncle Sam. I didn't do any research or work on that dig; I just stole the relic someone else uncovered. Just like Belloq did. They didn't really need an archaeologist, just a graverobber crazy enough to take chances to get the Ark of the Covenant. A far cry from the dreams of the old days, isn't it?" he concluded bitterly.

 Marion didn't know what to say. They had both gone far since those "old days," idealism changed to cynicism 6y the realities of survival. She drew closer to him and rested her head against his shoulder, offering wordless understanding. He slipped an arm around her and started playing with her hair, which had been made even wavier than usual by the sea air. She started ahead at their destination, the tall white skyscrapers of midtown pinked by the rising sun. "Is it my imagination, or did those buildings get higher?' she asked.

"You're not seeing things. There's been a lot of building going on recently. See that real high one up over there, toward the northeast? It's where the old Waldorf-Astoria used to be. I read somewhere that it's supposed to be a hundred and two stories high."

As they'd been speaking, the ship had started coming back to life. The crew was involved in all the noisy hustle and bustle required to dock a large passenger liner. The pilot boat approached from the island, and the liner slowly care to a complete stop to pick her up. Soon, they were underway again, the tug maneuvering the Mauretania through the Verrazano Narrows and into the Hudson River. Here and there, scattered passengers had, like Indy and Marion, come on deck to watch the docking. Most, however, remained in their cabins. The Customs building would not open for a while, so there was no need for haste.

Tr    Their privacy disturbed by the sudden activity, the archaeologist and his companion moved

away from the bow, heading along the starboard side of the ship. The buildings of the Lower

East Side became more distinct as they grew closer. Marion gulped nervously. The tall buildings and crowded city were going to be hard to get used to after the vast open spaces of Nepal. Cairo and Liverpool had made her uneasy, yet this city was far larger than either of those; London had had a similar population, but did not have the sheer imposing appearance of New Yorks tall and crowded skyscrapers. She would get used to all that, too, she supposed, in time. She shot a glance at Indy, determined not to let him see how ill-at-ease she was. Huh? she said, aware that she had not heard what he had just said.

"I asked where you wanted to go first after we're done."

"Oh.  A bank, I guess, to get the money safely put away. Then there was a bookstore you mentioned..."

"Yeah, up on 18th Street. Barnes and Noble. If anyone has books that can help you catch up on things, it'll be them."

"Where did you want to go after we're done?'

"I don't have any special plans. Once you're done shopping, we'll just head on up to my place, or do a little sightseeing, if you want."

"Sounds good. How long do you think it'll be before we can clear through customs and get going?"

It'll be a while. We might as well get breakfast first. If the guy meeting us here is one of the ones I met back at Marshall, we'll need a good meal in us. I can't deal with fools like that on an empty stomach.

As they spoke, they continued along to the stairs leading up to the superstructure. When they reached it, Indy waved Marion on ahead. She hesitated, looking down ruefully at the skirt under her winter coat, then glanced mischievously at Indy, who grinned at her and went up first. His voice grew serious as they climbed. "I only hope whoever they send has the imagination in him to understand about the Ark. Marcus'll want to get started on researching it right away." Despite the dangers and his ambivalence, he knew it had been worth it. He couldn't wait to tell Marcus that the Ark of the Covenant was now his, the property of the National Museum of the Smithsonian Institute.

They had a quick breakfast, finishing not long after the ship settled into her berth at Pier 54. When they headed back to their cabins for their respective suitcases, the canopied gangplanks were already in place. Indy strode purposefully toward his cabin and pulled open the door to find he had a visitor.

"Dr. Jones. Congratulations on your successful search."

Indy acknowledged Major Eaton's greeting with a cool nod, then crossed to his bunk and picked up his valise. "I didn't expect to see you until we got out to Customs."

"After what you told us of your -- shall we say -- difficulties in keeping the Ark, it's essential that we get it to Washington immediately. At this point, the Nazis are probably not aware that we have it. We want it to stay that way for as long as possible. You have your claim check?"

Of course.  It's registered under diplomatic seal, as we agreed. You saw my report on what happened when it was opened. No use in risking it happening again because of an overzealous Customs inspector.

    "Ah, yes. Your report," the major answered, tapping his fingers against the side of his briefcase, looking annoyed. "Quite frankly, we find it somewhat unbelievable. The Wrath of God destroying the wicked sounds more like the finale of a bad Metro movie than an objective report on what actually happened."

    Indy favored the Army man with a contemptuous glance. "Suit yourself. All I know is what I saw starting to happen, and what was left afterwards. We'll have more substantial evidence once the National gets to research the Ark. When did you say it would be turned over to us?"

The large man looked skeptically at Jones. These wild stories about Nazis being destroyed 6y the Wrath of God were far outside the experience of a career Army ran. Eaton wanted nothing more than to resolve all these difficult loose ends as soon as possible so that he could report the success to his superiors. "I didn't say. You and Dr. Brody will be notified when we can make arrangements for that, and for you to get the other half of your settlement."

"Speaking of which..."

Yeah," came a low female voice at the now-open door. "I'd like to hear about the settlement, too."

Indy turned and shut the door behind Marion as she entered. `Marion Ravenwood, Major Eaton of Army Intelligence," he introduced. "This is the young lady whose business was destroyed because she dealt with us instead of the Nazis.`

"Damn right," she growled. "I'11 tell you right now that my business was worth far more than the yeti shit you're offering me. I lost everything helping you jokers, so the way I see it, you owe me the five grand I was promised for the Headpiece, plus another two grand for the thriving business you helped destroy. It was worth more, but you paid my way back to the States, so I won't ask for more.

"And what makes you think we'll agree to your terms, young lady?" Eaton demanded. "The compensation you were offered is quite fair, under the circumstances."

"Fair? Some bastard tries to rearrange my face with a poker, my business gets burned, I'm kidnapped and held prisoner -- not once, but twice! -- the Germans keep trying to kill me, and you think that all that's worth only five hundred lousy bucks? Like hell!" She stood with her hands on her hips, taking her opponent's measure before continuing. "How bad do you want the Ark? You see, I've got the claim check, and if you don't play ball with me, it goes onto the open market to the highest bidder. The money's nothing to you, anyway; it's not coning out of your pocket. Now, do we have a deal or not?"

We'll up our offer to one thousand. And I suggest you take it. I could always have the crate confiscated at Customs, you know."


"You wouldn't want to take that chance. It'd be too dangerous, in case our story does turn out to be true. And after all, there's always the newspapers. You confiscate it, and I'll sing to them. I'll take seventeen hundred,` she concluded, ignoring the angry glares she was getting from Indy.


"Thirteen hundred."

"Make it fifteen hundred and you've got yourself an Ark, Marion promised, taking the claim check out of her purse and dangling it temptingly in front of the Intelligence Agent.


    Eaton fumed. "Very well, we'll give you fifteen hundred, since you feel so strongly about it. Youll get the extra we've agreed on when you get the other half of your settlement. As I was telling Dr. Jones before you arrived, everyone involved will be notified of the date -- in a few days, possibly a few weeks. Our superiors wish to study the case before the Ark goes to the Museum. He reached into his briefcase and withdrew a roll of bills, paying each of them half of what they were owed, then giving them official vouchers for the remainder. Afterwards, he received the claim check from Marion before she hurried off.

Marion stared at the money in her hand, rubbing it slowly between her fingers, crisp and cool and crackling. The means to a new life. She looked up to find Indy shaking his head at her and chuckling ruefully. "That was some stunt you pulled, lady. Suppose he hadn't bought it?

Then I wouldn't've been any worse off than I was before. Besides that guy was lousy at haggling. He'd get skinned alive in the Cairo bazaar. Now, let's go find a bank so I can get this stuff safely stashed away.

Indy offered her his arm and they headed down the gangplank to the Customs building. As they were late in leaving the ship due to their business with Eaton, the first crush of arrivals had already passed through.  It didnt take them long to clear their few belongings through inspections; they were soon on their way over to 14th Street to catch a trolley.  This day had started very well, Marion thought with satisfaction.  The next few days and weeks would be far from easy, but she was off to a good start.  Not only had she improved her settlement with the government, but she had reached an understanding with Indy.  With some hard work and his support and friendship, she knew she would make it.  They would finish their errands in New York, then head on up to Indys home in Connecticut.  There, she would have some breathing space, a chance to think before making her decisions.  Once she found out what the town was like, she could decide whether or not to make it her new home.