by Thom Duncan
Join Moroni Smith, Orrin Porter Rockwell VII and Gadget Gunderson, from the Church Special Projects division, as their adventures take them all over the world as they search for, extricate, recover and/or find artifacts and information that has been lost or stolen.
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE:
How it All Began
I moved toward the cockpit when the pilot called out the coordinates. The ship’s other two passengers, Orrin Porter Rockwell VII and Gadget Gunderson, joined me in the cramped quarters. From there we got our first good view of the countryside since entering the skies of Mesoamerica.
I can best describe it in three words: green, green, and green. I never saw so much green. We were in the Torrid Zone where rain was common; everything would either be green or water-logged. And the foliage! I saw trees of all sizes and descriptions, plants that hugged the bases of huge trunks, and green grass wherever the ground was level enough to allow for a verdant carpet.
There were mountains almost everywhere. And where there weren’t mountains, there were valleys rising swiftly to become mountains. The sky was the most clear blue I had ever seen. Certainly bluer than any American sky, polluted as they are.
My companions were as much in awe as I was. No words were possible to describe the wonder, the amazement, the sheer size of what lay under us.
I looked over at my friend, Port. He certainly resembled his famous ancestor, Joseph Smith’s bodyguard. Like the original Porter Rockwell, he was tall, wiry, and he had a light complexion and strong cheekbones. And eyes that were a fierce, transparent blue –- eyes that were riveted to the sight below him.
Port was along because of his physical strength and his sheer native cussedness. I used him on all my missions for Special Projects. He’s gotten me out of more jams than I’d care to talk about.
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE:
“What’s the sign we’re looking for?” I asked. I had to practically yell to be heard above the sound of the river’s rushing water.
“We’re lookin’ fer two towerin’ rock walls,” said Port, “archin’ over the river. When we find that, there’s a campsite just beyond it. We’ll find Gray there.”
I had asked the question more to calm my own nervousness than to get an answer. I looked up at the sheer sides of the rock walls that rose above us. There was something about being out in the open like we were that caused me great anxiety.
I shouldn’t have worried. I was in the very capable hands of the direct descendant of Porter Rockwell, Joseph Smith’s legendary bodyguard. If there was anyone I could feel safer with, I didn’t know whom. And what aid Port couldn’t give with his wit and strength, Gadget could with her intelligence and her electronics. And, to top it off, they were my two best friends in the world.
A mosquito suddenly nipped me on the ear. I slapped the side of my head and as my hand came away, I noticed it was covered with blood.
Then I heard the gun shot.
“Duck!” said Port as he pushed me to the bottom of the boat. “Somebody’s shooting at us!”
I heard a second shot and felt it whiz past my face. I could tell by the angle of the bullet that it had come from somewhere to my right. I rolled, drawing my own gun, and got off a random couple of shots. I didn’t know if they hit anything, but it would make our attackers sit up and take notice. I heard another gun report over my right shoulder and knew that it was Port firing.
“Over the side!” yelled Port.”
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE:
“As Matthew lunged for me with the Sword of Laban, I used the only thing nearby I could to defend myself. The sword came down and I rolled to the side while reaching out for a stack of metal plates. The sword clanged against the plates knocking them from my grasp. The shock of the sword hitting the metal plates sent must have gone the other way too because Matthew recoiled, the sword dropped from his grasp, and he held his aching arm with his other one.
This gave me the opportunity to reach for the cane, which I had put back in my belt after Jake had returned it to me. With the end of the cane, I caught the hasp of the sword and flipped it off to one side where it slid and slammed against the far wall. Matthew dived for it, and came up to a crouch with the sword in his hands. With what seemed new relish and a strength that belied his years, he lunged for me again. I rolled to one side as the sword missed me by inches. I continued rolling up to my feet and turned to face Matthew with the cane held forward.
I suddenly felt very helpless. This cane had some interesting powers to say the least but I couldn’t see how it could hold its own against a metal sword. Nevertheless, I was able to fend off Matthew’s slashing attacks for a while as he backed me up against a wall. He came down hard with the sword, as if to split my skull open. I held up the cane to ward off the blow and found myself holding two halves as the sword sped by my face so close I could feel the wind from its passage. Instinctively I had pulled back but too hard and I knocked my head against the rock wall. My legs gave way beneath me and I crumpled to the floor.”
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