Max Rush / The Perils of Hector
Cold blooded killer. Hot blooded lover. As American as apple strudel. Sixteen year old Max Rush is a young man on a mission. A mission full of action, adventure and intrigue, as Max rushes headlong into danger in a race to save the world from an ancient weapon. A weapon so powerful it could herald the dawn of a Fourth Reich.
Nazi Berlin / 1944
The city at night. A sky lit by anti-aircraft batteries and filled with the sound of air raid sirens. Near Hochmeisterplatz. The dark interior of a parked car.
Maximillian Rorsch presses the barrel of the silenced Walther PPK into his father's temple and pulls the trigger. The lead slug takes bone, blood, and a blowout of mucilaginous brain with it, and punches a hole through the driver's side window of a black Mercedes sedan.
Fifteen year old Maximillian can see no alternative. Alive, Feldmarschall Albrecht Rorsch could prolong the defense of Germany, and the city of Berlin itself, by months, possibly even as long as a year. Claiming a million more lives, many of them innocent civilians, like Maximillian's mother.
An attempt to assassinate both the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt while they were meeting in the Iranian capital Teheran to discuss the planned invasion of Normandy (Operation Overlord) has failed. But the possibility that another attempt could succeed is very real.
A Germany with Feldmarschall Albrecht Rorsch in command could slow the Allied advance, giving the Nazis the time they need to complete Projekt Hektor. A weapon
that will not only alter the course of the war, but would give Nazi Germany absolute domination of the entire world.
Convinced he's doing the right thing, Maximillian puts the gun in his father's gloved hand, takes the black leather courier case that's between them on the seat, opens the passenger side door of the staff car, and walks into the night.
Occupied Berlin / 1945
An expanse of public square. Ruined buildings in the background. An American MP post in Potsdamer Platz. A sergeant sees Maximillian Rorsch approaching.
'Buzz off, kid.'
'Please. I'm an American citizen. My mother was from Boston. I was born there. I have my passport and birth certificate to prove it.'
Maximillian hands over his ID.
The sergeant inspects them and hands them back.
'They could be forgeries.'
'They're not. I'm telling you the truth. We were visiting my father's relatives when the war started. He was a scientist. The Nazis came and took him away. I don't know what happened to him, or where he is now. My mother was killed in an air raid.'
The sergeant turns and calls to one of his men.
'Brodsky! Escort this young man to MHQ. He says he's one of us. Let them sort it out.'
Cambridge Massachusetts / 1946
Some eleven months later, Max Rush is a high school sophomore living with his Great Aunt Freida in a four storey house of red brick and Boston Ivy; built when the Americas were still a British colony.
Aunt Freida hasn't exactly welcomed the responsibility of taking in a teenager she's never met, but in the short time Mas has been there her attitude toward him has warmed.
Max wonders (at first) how Aunt Freida can change her hair colour as often as he changes his underwear, which is every day, but the penny soon drops. His aunt has a large collection of wigs, all of them 100% human hair, all of them made in Italy, and all of them excellent quality.
Their relationship is strengthened further one rainy Sunday in September when Aunt Freida encourages a bored and restless Max to try on several of her wigs, and the two of them laugh themselves silly.
Aunt Freida's bedroom is redolent with Queen Anne furniture. Authentic (antique) persian rugs. Silk tapestry on one wall. Abstract art on another. Rain on the windows. Several wigs are arranged on plaster heads on a sideboard. As many again are scattered casually on the king-sized bed.
With the easy androgyny of youth, his brown eyes full of the promise of mischief, and a little artfully applied make-up, Max makes a convincing girl.
Aunt Freida might not be as rich as the Rockerfellers or the Vanderbilts, but her late husband Freddie has left her "comfortably cushioned". At seventy-something, Aunt Freida looks fifty, plays tennis four days a week, and is still a social moth.
'Age is just a number on a birthday card. The only number that counts is the one in your head. Think young to be young.'
Max (playing the coquette)
'I like being the age I am. It's a great age to be.'
Boston Massachusetts / 1947
Dinner guests gather in twos and threes under a crystal chandelier. Men in tuxedos. Women in evening dresses. Drinking. A happy buzz of conversation.
Max is introduced to his Aunt Freida's conspicuously homosexual friend Dr Emile Faust, Professor of Archaeology at Harvard University. Max, with his blond curls and youthful looks, has caught the Professor's twinkling eye.
Max likes girls. It's as simple as that. But if Professor Faust's physical displays of misguided affection sometimes cross the line, Max doesn't mind. It's easy enough for Max to casually redirect Emile's wandering hands.
Inside Dr Faust's office at Harvard University. A restless Max stands fidgeting nervously. The Professor sits behind his cluttered desk.
Max has his fingers crossed for a summer placement with a team of archaeologists and students who are hoping to search for the lost city of Ilios.
'It won't be easy. Just getting to Turkey will be exhausting enough. The weather there will be warm, if not downright unpleasant some days, and you'll be doing a lot of digging and shifting. Hard work, believe me. There won't be any hot showers or comfortable beds when we're in the field. And the food will be basic fare, at best. So, Max, do you still want to come?'
'Yes, sir. More than anything!'
'I'll see what I can do. But you have to remember, Max, that this is for students of the college, and you're still a sophomore in high school.'
'If you can swing it, Doc, you won't regret it. I promise.'
'I scratch your back and you scratch mine?'
Max shrugs and thinks, What the heck? It's worth it.
'Be careful what you promise, Max. I wouldn't want you to regret it.'
New York to Liverpool
The passenger ship Olympic crosses the North Atlantic in three days. From there it's Liverpool to London and London to Dover by steam-engine. From Dover to Calais by ferry. Then another train from Calais to Paris, to catch yet another train - the famed Orient Express - to Istanbul, Turkey.
Onboard the ship, Professor Faust's port-holed cabin is 1st class. The Professor has spared no expense (for himself). Max is bunking in steerage.
‘What do you know of Ilios?’
'It’s the city Homer wrote about in the Iliad. Also known as Troy. The Greeks launched a thousand ships against the city after the abduction of Helen of Sparta by Paris, the second son of King Priam. Or that's the story, anyway.'
'Latin Troia, Troja, or Ilium. A city in northwestern Anatolia. Ilios occupied a key position on trade routes between Europe and Asia. The legend of the Trojan War, fought between the Greeks and the heroes of Troy, is the most notable theme from ancient Greek literature and forms, as you say, the basis of Homer’s Iliad. Although the actual geographical location remains a matter of scholarly debate, the ruins of Ilios are thought to be at Hisarlık.
Max, already bored, pretends to listen.
’Was this the face that launched a thousand ships, and burned the topless towers of Ilium? It was the German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, who first uncovered what he thought were the ruins of Troy in 1870. Hisarlik means "the Place of Fortresses". Schliemann made some remarkable discoveries, uncovering no less than nine buried cities on the site. But his conclusions were completely wrong.'
Faust is convinced, from his own extensive research, that he can succeed where Schliemann had failed.
Max paces as Faust continues.
‘What's known as Troy II couldn't possibly have been Homer’s Ilios. We have to dig deeper. I'm almost certain that the level we commonly refer to as Troy VII/a is where we will find the answers! Max?’
'Uh-huh. Yeah. What?'
The Professor ushers Max toward the door of his cabin.
'Go on. Go. Out. You'll learn more at dinner tonight. We're dining with the captain.'
At the Captain's Table. Faust ignores his smoked salmon. Max pokes at his with his fork, wondering what it is. At the table with them are the Professor's colleagues, Drs Templeton and Kowalski. Seated next to each other they remind Max of a giraffe and a bulldog. Suitably tweeded. Templeton's glasses have round tortoiseshell frames and he wears bow ties that are too small. Kowalski has coarsely bearded jowls and bushy eyebrows. His barrel chest produces a booming basso voice.
'Daedalus was the greatest engineer of the ancient world. Forget Archimedes, Daedalus was a true genius. His accomplishments were lost long ago, and only stories about him survive, embedded in myth. The tale of the Labyrinth. The greatest maze ever devised. Home of the Minotaur.'
The captain's oiled comb-over isn't fooling anyone, but Max admires his Erroll Flynn moustache.
'How he and his son Icarus were imprisoned by the Cretan king Minos. How they escaped their imprisonment when Daedalus devised intricate wings from bird feathers held together with beeswax. And how Icarus was lost in the escape attempt when, in disobedience of his father, he flew too close to the sun.'
He perished in the plunge, as it were, into the Aegean Sea. Somewhere off the coast of the island that was named after him. Icaria.’
‘I know the story.’
‘What you might not know, is that Daedalus was responsible for the greatest invention ever devised in ancient times. The very pinnacle of Minoan civilisation. Before it was destroyed in the Thera explosion.’
'You don't say?'
’It was one of the most cataclysmic events in human history. The Aegean island of Thera, or Santorini, was a volcanic island that was two-thirds destroyed when the volcano exploded in around 1600 BC. Bigger than Krakatoa in 1883, and far bigger than the eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii.'
The earthquake that followed the eruption generated a tsunami that devastated coastal regions all around the Aegean and much of the Eastern Mediterranean. The ash clouds would have devastated crops for years, causing widespread famine.'
'The nearest we've come in the twentieth century is the Hiroshima bomb.’
'That was terrible. I know it ended the war in the Pacific but, all those poor people.'
England / 1947
A British Railways engine steaming from Liverpool to London. The carriage rocks and lurches. Max and Professor Faust sit opposite each other in uncomfortable seats.
‘That was the way the world ended, for the Minoans, and Daedalus’ great legacy was lost in the aftermath. But I think we can find it again.’
‘What do you mean? The expedition to Ilios? But that’s hundreds of miles away from Crete.’
'The Hector Device isn't on Crete. It's in Berlin. What we're looking for is the key that unlocks the Perils of Hector.'
'I thought we were looking for Ilios.'
'We are. But why not kill two birds with one stone? I’ll tell you more another time. Let’s just say, for now, that Daedalus left behind a decoder of sorts. Found by another archaeologist, an Italian named Luigi Pernier, in the ruins of the Minoan palace at Phaistos. The Phaistos Disc is the key. It went missing during the German occupation of Crete. And since Hisarlik is only a hop, skip and a jump away from Heraklion, I thought we might have a poke around.’
The Savoy Hotel. Max's room isn't much. But, at the Savoy, "not much" is still something. A double-bed. A wardrobe. And, weirdly, a kitchen sink in one corner. Or that's what it looks like. The bathroom is at the end of the hall. Max doesn't fancy sharing. What if he's taking a dump and some guy walks in?
Max sits on the bed and opens a small chest of carved sandal-wood. Inside it are his most treasured possessions. A photograph of his mother. A pearl brooch she wore. Her wedding ring. Among them is a curious, circular object - about four inches across - made of a heavy metal. One side is blank. The other is intricately designed with wavy lines radiating out from a central figure. Around the edge are carved symbols that could be some kind of ancient script.
But what script? And what language? It isn’t Latin, or Greek, or Phoenician. And the characters aren’t Egyptian hieroglyphs, or Babylonian cuneiform. The figure - which would be revealed if someone could decipher the inscription - is Daedalus. Max is holding the key the Professor is looking for. It was in the black leather courier case he took from his father's car.
The question Max keeps asking himself is why the Professor would want it. Could he really be thinking of using the Phaistos Disc to unlock the Perils of Hector? But that would be crazy!
London is a nightmare Max can't wait to wake up from. Destruction, desolation, and the inescapable dark cloud of depression. There isn't enough of anything, so everything is rationed. The food is disgusting and the weather is abysmal.
Berlin had been no different. Even when his father was one of the highest ranking officers in the Wehrmacht, Max's family weren't spared the horrors of a world gone mad. Would Paris (France) be any better? Max puts the disc back in the chest and takes out one last treasure. It's a small pendant on a gold chain. He kisses the Star of David and fastens the chain around his neck.
Also in London / At around the same time
A nondescript office in the underground bunker of a nondescript building. Two unremarkable looking men in unremarkable suits sit either side of an unremarkable desk.
It's an open secret - in other words no secret at all - that the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (known as MI6) is referred to as ‘C’.
C for ‘Chief’ according to some. C for ‘Control’ according to others. Or, alternatively, C for a part of the female anatomy, depending on who's asked. In truth, it's simply because the first holder of the post had had a surname beginning with the letter C. But it had stuck, regardless.
The current ‘C’ is the third holder of the post in the organisation’s existence.
‘No, thank you, sir.’
’Filthy habit. Ever been to America? Fascinating place. Terrifying. But fascinating. If only our people knew how much we’re in debt to them. The British Empire’s all but bankrupt. We pretend we’re a great power still, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. And the Service has an important part to play in maintaining the illusion.'
‘If you say so, sir.’
’Right. Down to business. We’ve had a report from our Washington station. From our agent there, Homer. A rather interesting development. The Hector Device has been uncovered inside a storage facility leased by the Berlin Museum of Ancient Antiquities.'
'Aren't all antiquities ancient?’
'Mmm. The key is the key, so to speak. The Phaistos Disc. The Americans want it. So do the Russians. But we're not going to bloody well let them have it. The device has been secured by our people and is on its way here. Your mission is to recover the key and to bring it back. We must have both. Wiser heads must prevail.'
'Does our friend in Washington have any idea where the key might be?'
'It's last known location was also Berlin, in the possession of Feldmarschall Albrecht Rorsch. Rorsch was supposed to hand it over to an expert in ancient languages to be translated. Only, for some reason, that never happened. Rorsch committed suicide and the Phaistos Disc disappeared. All very odd. Until now. Homer has had his ear to the ground, and the word on the grapevine is that Rorsch's son has turned up on the other side of the pond. Living with an aunt in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Except he isn't. The boy is here... In London. On some kind of jaunt with a team of American Archaeologists from Harvard.'
'Do we know if the son has the key with him?'
'Not for certain. And we don't want to step on any toes. Not yet, anyway. Washington says he's one of theirs. American mother. German father. We want you to follow them. Don't let the boy out of your sight. Agent Marigold will be going with you.'
'Why her? She was very nearly killed in that trouble in Palestine. I would have thought she's done enough for us. Marigold's time in covert operations is over, surely.'
'It's never enough. And it's never over. Never.'
En-route from London to Dover
Professor Faust has returned to Max's (not) favourite subject. This train rattles and shunts even more than the last one. The seats are wooden benches. Max shifts uncomfortably.
'Ilios commanded a strategic point at the southern entrance to the Dardanelles, or Hellespont, a narrow strait linking the Black Sea with the Aegean Sea via the Sea of Marmara. The city also commanded a land route that ran north along the west Anatolian coast and crossed the narrowest point of the Dardanelles to the European shore.
In theory - '
'Do you think the conductor could find me a cushion?'
'You look tired, Max. Did you sleep last night?'
Max stares out the window.
The bright summer sun blazes down from its zenith upon Max’s perspiring brow. All around him, in every direction, ascend tall gleaming towers of the most lustrous marble and the finest rose quartz. But beneath the delicately scented lemon tree within the royal gardens at the heart of the palace, Max only has eyes for the young woman who stands before him. The daughter of a king.
He knows there'll be trouble if he's discovered with her. But he doesn’t care.
‘My father will kill us both if we're seen together.’
Come away with me. We can take a ship to anywhere.'
’We will be hunted down like animals. The ends of the known world and beyond would not be far enough to escape my father's wrath.'
He embraces her with a suicide's passion.
'Then let us die in the other's arms.'
'I cannot leave. Not while Icarus is here. They say he has brought a great gift for the mighty king of Atlantis.’
Max pushes her away. Atlantis? He looks around, taking in the marbled halls, fluted colonnades, and sacred temples of the great city. How suddenly they resembled more the white-washed tombs of the dead. As splendid as they might appear, he can't help thinking the very stroke of doom is at hand.
The roar of the blast when it comes is deafening. The sun vanishes in an instant, hidden behind a pall of thick, black cloud and, in the far distance, above the city's walls, Max can see a curling, steadily rising wave, rushing towards them.
As the ground shakes violently beneath their feet, Max and the last princess of Atlantis desperately cling to one another. Helpless against the remorseless judgement that mighty Zeus and pitiless Poseidon have together unleashed.
Max wakes up to the zest of lemon. The curtains of the open carriage window softly billowing. A hand on his shoulder. The Professor leaning over him. Holding a china cup and saucer.
On the saucer is a thin wedge of lemon.
A ferry from Dover to Calais
Max has found Dr Kowalski.
'Do you think Ilios was real?'
'I wouldn't be looking for it if I didn't.'
'And Atlantis? Could that have been Thera?'
'The name Atlantis came later, but yes, I think so. There are too many similarities for it to be mere coincidence. Let me give you an analogy I tell all my students. In the same way pearls are formed around single grains of sand inside oyster shells, legends grow from small grains of truth. But why the interest in Atlantis? Have you caught the archaeology bug?'
'Is that a bad thing?'
'No, Max, not at all. Just remember it's a science, and like every science, what we do is a whole lot of theory based on very little actual evidence. We know the pyramids in Egypt are burial markers, and if we apply logical reasoning, we can explain how they were constructed. But why? All that cutting and shaping and transporting enormous blocks of stone, when all they had to do was dig a hole and drop the body in?'
'To be closer to the Gods?'
'What need have we of Gods, when we make Gods of ourselves?'
The Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul
Max is getting tired of trains, but at least the seats are upholstered. And Max has a bed. A narrow bunk in a cramped compartment that Max has to share with three of the students who are part of the expedition. They're older but they're okay. They talk about baseball. And girls. And music. And girls. Cars. And girls.
In the opulent dining car of the OE, Max is looking (definitely not staring) at an English rose. She's his age, he thinks. And the interest is mutual. Max would like to talk to her. But there's a goon in a suit. He leaves the dining car, and his plate of untouched snails, to find his friend Merrily.
Miss Merrily Mountjoy is Dr Kowalski's research assistant. A pretty but practical twenty-something, Merrily is too busy for pearls and perfume. The only female on the team, Merrily has a compartment all to herself.
'I need a dress.'
'There's this girl, and I really like her, and I think she likes me, but if I go near her a goon in a suit will probably shoot me.'
'Okay. But why do you need a dress?'
'I think if I was a girl, I could maybe not get shot.'
'You want to look like a girl to talk to a girl. It's different from the usual approach.'
Merrily takes her suitcase down from an overhead rack and opens it on her bed.
'Most of what I packed is for when we get to the site. Work clothes. I only brought one dress. It's my Sunday dress.'
She holds up a powder-blue bodice and petticoated skirt combination with puffed sleeves and lace collar: that was (possibly) the latest fashion when the pioneers were crossing the great plains to settle in the wild west.
'Can you help me put it on?'
Merrily's eyes linger on Max's body. In fact, they linger long enough for Max to notice.
Max suddenly thinks of something.
'I don't have breasts!'
'Not all girls do. But if we tighten the belt... Like this... I think the blouse will be loose enough.'
Max's brown leather lace-up shoes and white socks don't look out of place.
'Max? Your hair. It's not... '
'Girly? I can fix that. I have a wig.'
Max leaves before Merrily can ask any embarrassing questions.
The bathrooms of the OE are in a separate carriage that's connected to the dining car. Max is about to push through the Homme door when the girl from the dining car takes him by the elbow and gently but firmly guides him to the Femme.
'This way. It's confusing, I know. Thank God there wasn't a queue. I'm Elizabeth.'
The girl (Elizabeth) closes and latches the door.
'I know who you are. Where did you get that horrid dress? It's positively ghastly! And the wig?'
Max's wig is a black pageboy that curls in at the collar.
'No time to explain. Where's the gorilla?'
'Edwards? He won't follow me here. These are the only private moments one has.'
Max takes Elizabeth in his arms and kisses her. There's no time for polite conversation. He has the hem of her skirt up and her underwear out of the way before she can finish unbuttoning her blouse. By the time the train has crossed the bridge over the river Danube from Buda to Pest it's all over.
Elizabeth powders her nose, while Max makes a quick exit (from the bathroom).
Merrily's Compartment. Merrily points at Max's wig.
'Can you explain that?'
'Not really. My aunt gave it to me because she says it suits my bone structure.'
'So? Did you get to talk to your mystery girl? I don't see any bullet holes.'
The answer is written all over Max's face. He takes the wig off and tosses it onto Merrily's bed.
'You didn't. You did! You didn't get anything on my dress, did you? Take it off. Let me see!'
Max is all thumbs. Merrily has to undress him. Her eyes linger longer. The carriage shudders. The lights flicker. Merrily's fingers are in Max's hair. His hands are on her breasts. They topple onto Merrily's bed. Max can smell her arousal. Merrily's hands find Max ready and more than able.
'I can't believe I'm doing this.'
Hisarlik Turkey / Heraklion Crete / Icaria /
Professor Faust leaves Drs Kowalski and Templeton to supervise the excavation while he takes Max to Heraklion, Crete, (supposedly) looking for clues to deciphering the Phaistos Disc.
Heraklion. Mismatched tables and chairs are arranged haphazardly in front of a popular kafeneío.
Max can’t help feeling he's being watched by the bewitching olive-skinned woman at the next table. If only he was ten years older, but then, who dares wins, right? The woman is in her thirties. Her evenly balanced features are in almost every aspect, completely perfect. It was just a shame about the livid scar on her temple. He wonders how it happened.
The woman stubs out her cigarette and gestures at a passing waiter. They exchange a few words Greek, but Max can’t quite catch what they say. Professor Faust takes a seat opposite Max, flapping his straw hat.
‘My, this heat! I’m sorry to have kept you waiting so long. Professor Economides is anything but economical when it comes to the Hector Device.’
‘Did he help you decipher the script on the Phaistos Disc?’
'The man's been studying it for years. Has quite an obsession with it. I received a telegram from Templeton this morning. Seems that he and Kowalski have completed their excavation of what they're convinced is the ancient throne room of Priam. Not much to show for all their hard work, alas. The Greeks thoroughly ransacked Ilios, just as Homer wrote.’
‘Taking the Perils of Hector with them?’
‘No, I don’t think so. I think the Greeks had good reason to fear it. It was Aeneas, last surviving member of the House of Priam who spirited it away, before or during the fall of Ilios. Of that, I'm now certain. As to where he stopped on his voyage across the Aegean? Finish your milk. We have to find someone who can take us to Icaria.’
‘What's at Icaria?’
’A one-time German artillery redoubt, during the war, guarding the passage through the eastern Aegean.'
Max looks for the woman but can't see her anywhere.
Agents Mandrake and Marigold watch Max and the Professor leave.
'What exactly is this Hector Device?'
'It's a bomb in a box, basically. An atomic bomb. Iron and nickel composite cobalt casing thought to be from a meteorite. No one's sure how it works but, at its maximum capacity it has the potential to wipe every living thing from the face of the earth.'
From Crete the Professor and Max take a fishing trawler to the island of Icaria.
'Did you know your father was here briefly during the war? A team of Polish slave labourers extending one of the tunnels discovered two strange objects, very old, very mysterious. Your father was ordered to collect them and take them back to Berlin, where an expert on ancient languages from the museum was supposed to examine them. Unfortunately, your father shot himself before the meeting could take place, and one of the objects disappeared. The Phaistos Disc. It wasn't found on your father's body, or in the car, at your home, or anywhere else. But you already know that, don't you, Max? Because you were the last person to see your father alive, and therefore logic dictates that you must have it.'
'I don't know what you're talking about.'
'I think you do. Give it to me.'
Taking a small pistol from one of the many pockets on his many-pocketed jacket, the Professor points the gun at Max.
'I didn't bring you all this way for nothing. I know you have it. Where is it?'
'I don't know what you mean. I've never seen any disc with strange writing on it.'
Max realizes his mistake too late. The Professor steps closer and holds the gun to Max's head.
'Who said anything about strange writing?'
'Maybe I do have it. But I didn't bring it with me.'
'I don't believe you. Take off your rucksack and open it.'
Max does, pretending to have trouble unbuckling the straps.
'There's only clean socks and a change of underwear.'
'Do stop being difficult. It's appropriate, don't you think? Ironic that we're here on Icaria. You remember the story, the boy who flew too close to the sun. I didn't bring any feathers with me, so I guess you'll just have to wing it, as they say.'
'You don't seriously expect me to jump?'
'No. I expect I'll have to shoot you first and toss you off after.'
'One last grope for old time's sake?'
MI6 agents Mandrake and Marigold have approached Icaria from the sea and have scaled the cliffs by rope. Appearing just in the nick of time.
Mandrake has his gun aimed at Professor Faust.
'Drop it, Doctor. He's only a child.'
'Hey. I'm sixteen, nearly seventeen!'
'I need the key. With the Phaistos Disc, I can activate the Hector Device, and then you'll see a Brave New World.'
'Gays aren't exactly the Nazi's favourite people.'
'Did your mother really die in the Allied bombing of Berlin? Or in the cellars of the Gestapo SD? There won't be any Nazis. No politics. And no religion. Only the Haves and the Have-nots who serve them.'
'How is that any different to the way the world is now? There'll always be someone who's higher up the ladder stepping on some other poor bastard's fingers.'
While all this is going on, Max has found his box of treasures and is holding the disc hidden inside his rucksack. Moving quickly, he hurls it over the edge of the cliffs and into the sea. Faust runs after it, straight at Mandrake, who drops the Professor with three clean shots right in the middle of the chest. Faust's momentum carries him over the edge but he's already dead before he hits the rocks below.
When Max has his breath back he recognizes the female operative from the cafe.
’You did good, kid. That was a great throw. Not great for the divers who'll have to look for it, but it'll give the Navy something to do.'
'And the Hector Device is safely tucked away.'
'Don't suppose you can tell me where.'
'I could. But then I'd have to shoot you.'
‘Kali tychi, Max. It means good luck.’
Max walks back to the nearest town and reports a terrible accident to the local police. His friend the Professor has slipped and fallen from the cliffs of Icaria while they were sight-seeing.
An envoy from the American Embassy in Athens travels with Max back to the dig site.
The ruins of Ilios / Hisarlik Turkey
Merrily and Max are walking together through the ruins of what might be Ilios.
'What really happened to Professor Faust, Max?'
'He made a deal with the Devil.'
'You never did tell me about your mystery girl. Does she have a name?'
'Elizabeth something. I don't know.'
'Not Elizabeth Windsor!'
'It might be. Why? Who is she?'
'Oh, no one. Her father's only the King of England.'
Washington / United States
The man known as ‘Homer’ searches through the draws of his desk in frustration. Faust and his plot had been thwarted. He winced as his ulcer flared. It was an occupational hazard of the unending stress caused by the life he led, diplomat, British spy, Soviet counter-spy. Guy had warned him this would be a consequence of the choices they had made. But what cause could be higher than serving the Party and working to build not heaven on earth, but a new, and more egalitarian world?
Homer steps into the outer office and smiles at his secretary.
‘I’m leaving early, Miss Greenaway. Tickets for the opera. All's quiet on the western front. See you next week.’