Indiana Jones and the Hero's Crown
by Maureen S. O'Brien
Disclaimer: Indiana Jones belongs to...Lucas and Spielberg? 
Damar belongs to Robin A. McKinley, wonderful writer that she 
is. Please, nobody call me out to meet the churakak....
There was a war on. Poland and Czechoslovakia had been
gobbled up by Hitler. France and the Netherlands had been
taken, too. The British army had barely escaped from the 
beach at Dunkirk.
Asia was at war, too. Manchuria had only been the beginning for
imperial Japan. The hardline government had its sights set on
every island in the Pacific. The Dutch had lost Java. The 
Australians were preparing to fight the first war on their own soil.
But in the United States of America, peace lies like a blanket
on a sleeping giant. The neon lights of Broadway shine like a
night light, unafraid of air raids. Theatergoers are just 
leaving the shows; they are unworried by muggers. 
The nearby neighborhood called Harlem is perhaps not quite so
secure. The people who live there cannot trust so fully in the
peace of the night. Some of them have seen cross burnings and
race riots in their time. But tonight, the Apollo Theater 
dazzled the eye and amazed the ear, and its departing 
attendees do too. In the clubs, the jazz is just starting to 
really cook. And in one, a professor called Indiana is playing 
poker while listening.
He stares at his cards, his face deadpan. "I'm in." He throws 
in a buck. "Your turn, Peg."
"I'm thinking." She frowns. She knows she's gonna lose. She 
could take that. But Dr. Jones had given her the money to play 
with, and she hated to lose someone else's money. Oh, well, 
that's what happens when....
The man next to her had pulled a knife on her. Six inches of
He smiles. "Dr. Jones," he says -- not even to her! -- "Some 
people want you out of the game. If you don't fold now, this 
young lady will be out of it permanently."
It isn't like the movies. The room doesn't go silent; nobody
screams. It's just one table in the twilight, and Louis 
Armstrong's playing tonight. Who'd notice?
Indy's throat goes dry. As usual, he thinks. And as usual, it 
just makes his tone of voice sound a little harsher. "Somehow 
I don't think you mean the poker."
The man smiles again. He has even white teeth and angelically
blond hair. The perfect picture of Aryan manhood, and Peg has
a droolworthy closeup view. She does not appreciate it.
The knife comes closer to Peg's cheek. She swallows. She
doesn't like this. No, not at all.
"Fine." Indy drops his cards to the table, slowly, then raises 
his hands where Nazi Boy can see them. "Nobody needs to 
get hurt. Just let the girl go, and I'll do what you want."
"Nein. The girl accompanies us out of the club. After that,
she can leave us. If you are well-behaved, Dr. Jones." He
gets up and backs away slightly, keeping his eye on both
the professor and his captive. "Get up, fraulein, if you 
Peg leaves her cards on the table and stands up meekly. 
She glances at the gleaming knife and shudders. "I see your 
six, sir," she says slowly. "Now, how does the rest of it go?"
A blade comes down out of nowhere and comes to rest in 
the hollow of his throat.
"And I raise you twelve."
His mind races. This was no Heidelberg saber, giving nothing 
but glamorous scars. It was an unwomanly weapon, but
clearly this was not the time to argue for Kirche, Kueche,
His knife clatters to the ground. "I fold."
The professor is on him now, with some large unhappy 
bouncers. He almost feels relieved. He failed his mission, 
but the woman did not take his life with her sword.
At this point, the German gains something he would 
rather not have.
Someone yells, "Getcherhandsoffhim,youniggers!" 
Chairs are raised and glasses thrown. In short, the
fools from the American Bund are trying to help him
by starting a racist bar fight in the middle of Harlem.
While a woman holds a sword to his throat. He prays 
urgently to the God he discarded for the sake of 
the Reich. Then the sword stabs into his flesh.
His prayers are answered, in part. The sword 
doesn't kill him. Neither does the Bund or the 
bouncers. He just isn't that lucky tonight.
Peg looks down at her victim. "Sorry about that.
I can't afford to have you coming up behind my 
back later, that's all." She uses her foot to push
the unfortunate German under a table and out of
the way of the brawl. While she is distracted, a 
beefy Bund member sneaks behind her.
Someone taps Bund Boy's shoulder. He turns around.
A fist connects with his face.
Indy winces and shakes his fingers. Why do
the bad guys always have such hard bones?
"Come on, Peg. The party's getting a little too 
"Yeah, and I have to get up tomorrow for Mass."
She looks at the blade she'd just wiped clean
of blood. "I'm not sure I'll be taking Communion."
Indy takes hold of her arm. They thread their way out 
of the club, ducking here, weaving there. "There'll be 
Nazis waiting at the front door!" says Indy over the noisy
crowd. "This way!"
She looks up and sees they're heading for the stage, 
where Satchmo has just stepped back to avoid a flying 
body. It doesn't make him miss a note. 
His solo ends as they come up to the edge of the stage.
His big mouth grins to see Indy, and he bends to slap 
the professor on his leather-jacketed back. 
Indy smiles back, but only for a moment. "I need to get
the lady out of here."
"No sweat!" Louis gives Peg a little bow and helps her
up on the stage, Indy scrambles up after her, and they
vanish through the little door at the back.
The green room is a little quieter and cooler than the
club, and beyond the stage door is the blessed peace
of night. Indy leads her silently along the back alley.
If they can just get to the car without being seen....
But they've used up most of their luck for the night,
and the Nazis turn from the front door when Dr. Jones'
Ford comes to life. Dr. Jones floors the accelerator
and hits the street with a bootlegger turn. The Nazis
spout German obscenities and follow in their own
Note the plural.
Indy puts on a determined look. He twists and turns through
the back streets until Peg loses all sense of direction. They
shake off -- scrape off -- one Nazi whose car is too wide.
But the others follow, and now a car from New York's finest
joins the chase. No telling if they're legit or friends of the
Bund, so Indy doesn't stop to ask for help. He just keeps 
Finally, Peg recognizes a landmark. "We're close to the
consulate!" she shouts over the noise of squealing tires
and screaming siren. "Police doesn't have jurisdiction!"
Indy nods and heads for it. The consulate guards hear the
approaching racket of cars and gunplay. They scramble to
close the main gate. Peg strains her eyes and sees them
doing it. She cups her hands and calls out in Damarian.
The guards freeze. Now they scramble to push the gate back
The Nazis speed up. Somebody leans out the window of a
black Packard and points a Tommy gun at Indy's car.
"It's gonna be close," decides Indy, out loud. "Hold on 
tight!" He floors his car. The machine gun starts to 
chatter. He keeps going straight. The machine gun has
plenty of target area; weaving the car around isn't 
going to help. Instead, he runs the car full speed to
the end of the street, up the consulate driveway, and
through the gate. Only then does he brake. The car stops
with a violent jerk, its bumper almost kissing the 
consulate garage door.
The consulate guards close the gate behind them with a
thunk. And suddenly, the Bund and Nazi car chase 
A guard grins and motions Indy and Peg to watch the fun
through an arrow slit. Indy sees vehicles driving around
fruitlessly, the most frustrated bunch of Aryans he'd
ever seen, and a traffic cop giving them all tickets for
reckless driving and illegal discharge of firearms within
the city limits. Indy, Peg and the guard grin at each other.
"Dumb as dirt," Indy decides. "They're not even looking
over here. It's like they can't see the consulate."
The guard looks at him innocently. "Perhaps they cannot."
Peg looks excited. Indy gives her a questioning glance.
She grins. "Kelar's hiding us from their eyes."
"But not from their ears," a voice reproves. "So talk
Indy turns. Senay of Shpardith. Over sixty but still 
beautiful, he thinks. Why the hell she's not Damar's
Ambassador down in Washington, I don't know.
Many wondered that. When she was young, she was Harimad's 
companion and counselor in the defense of the Madamer Gate 
against Thurra and his army of Northern demons. Even 
Outlanders, who knew nothing of the North, did not challenge 
her authority. But Senay had been born to trade as well as to 
command. Treaties were important, but foreign investment was 
"How do you find so much trouble, Dr. Jones?" 
"I don't. It finds me."
Senay smiles. "It's just as well that you and our Pegaret
came here tonight. Else, I would have had to send for you both
tomorrow. A message came from the City tonight. The Japanese
are beginning to blockade Daria, and the Northerners may be
preparing to move. The king needs his scholar to come before 
the war does."
Indy turns to see Peg's reaction. Excitement flares past 
apprehension in her eyes. He almost smiles, remembering
himself at that age. Then his eyes narrow. "Send for us both, 
you said. Why would you need to call me?"
Senay's voice lowers further. "Lost things need finding, and
that means digging. We know your reputation as an 
archaeologist, but we also know your skill in...unusual
situations. We need a damalur like that. Corlath the king
grants you exclusive rights to the dig. You may publish
what you wish. We will pay your way to Damar and back; you 
will have as much gold as you desire. Please, come."
Peg steps closer to Senay. "It's the crown," she says 
quietly. "Isn't it."
Peg turns to Indy. "Dr. Jones, you should go."
Indy thinks about it. Damar's past is a closed book. Damar 
herself is closed to most outsiders. The Damarians are 
honest people; they'll do what they've promised. But why 
do they need me so bad? 
And what the hell's a damalur?
He looks at Peg. She is practically vibrating in place. 
Poor kid. About to go halfway around the world, to a 
country she only knows from books. She doesn't have a clue 
what she's getting into. Yeah, maybe I should go just to
keep an eye on her.
"Okay," he says. "But we'll have to fly there."
"Agreed. A ship would not be fast or safe enough."
"And Peg needs to get her doctorate before we leave."
"I do not think we can wait all those weeks for graduation,"
Senay begins.
"I didn't think you could. Look. Peg's done all the
work and taken all the tests. All she needs is the
viva voce and a piece of paper. Now, your government
has paid a lot of scholarship money so that she could
get that piece of paper, and once she gets to Damar
it could be years before she can come back. Let me 
call Marcus and see what he can do."
The next morning, the Damarian consulate receives
many visitors. The New York Police Department
sends to ask them if they had seen anything of the
chase last night. Deliverymen truck in clothing and
archaeological equipment. And Marcus Brody brings 
several sleepy language and philology professors to 
administer an oral test.
Marcus watches the young woman walk into the lion's 
den. She looks nervous, but he knows she doesn't 
need to be. Margaret MacNamara is as prepared as 
they come..
Indy is pacing.
"You look like a father outside a delivery room,"
Marcus observes.
"I feel like one," he sighs. "Every teacher has
that one brilliant student. Mine had already fallen 
in love with Damar, unfortunately." He laughs. "Dad 
says it's a judgment on me for picking archaeology 
over linguistics."
"How is your father?"
"Enjoying retirement. Now he can spend all his 
time buried in books instead of just half of it."
Indy starts pacing again. Marcus smiles. Indy is a 
popular teacher on campus. He lectures well, the 
co-eds like him, and the men are impressed by his 
travels. But he's always been a bit detached from 
his teaching duties, too involved in planning the 
next expedition to be much of a mentor to the 
budding archaeologists. 
But Indy did his turn at supervising the perennial
dig at a local Indian site. He'd been impressed at 
the interest Peg showed, since the class was far 
outside her field. Like any academic, he was 
intrigued by the unknown territory Damarian studies 
represented. He also liked Peg's open admission that 
she still knew very little about Damar. She had a
3 x 5 cardfile full of nothing but questions she
wanted answered. 
Indy was dissatisfied by the amount of support the 
language faculty was giving Peg, however. He told 
Marcus that anyone who was going to spend most of 
her life in another country and culture was going 
to have to learn some survival skills. And so, 
Indiana Jones had taken Peg MacNamara under his wing. 
The matter had raised a few eyebrows. But Peg had 
been doing that since she arrived at Princeton. 
Having one's education financed by a foreign 
government, which initially attempted to pay tuition 
with bags of gold, and picked her up each week for 
tutoring in handling a sword, will do that. 
Marcus had worried about Indy's intentions at first. 
But it seemed that Indy regarded the girl as a...
niece, perhaps. Peg, for her part, treated Indy with
the respect due some aged professor, and seemed 
utterly uninterested in dating anyone. This, paired 
with the sword she had permission to carry, had done 
much to quash rumors.
Senay walks down the hallway towards them. For once, 
her profound air of calm seems something less than 
profound. "How long will it take?" she asks. "How 
long before we know?"
Marcus smiles. "An hour, perhaps two."
"A short laprun trial," she says. "Yet they are
always long for the one who waits. Come! Let us 
talk of our Pegaret."
"Why do you call her that?" Indy asks. "I always
Senay shrugs. "She did not like us to call her
'Margaret', and 'Peg' does not fall easily from our
tongues. What else have you wondered?" 
Marcus smiles. "A great deal, my dear lady -- but
since we are to talk of Miss Macnamara, why did
your government decide to finance her studies?"
"She came to us." She smiles back at Marcus. "One
day, I descended the stairs here and found the 
guards in great puzzlement. Pegaret had come to 
the door and asked if there was anyone there who
might teach her to speak Damarian. When they
discouraged her from trying to learn, she asked if
we knew the address of any teacher in Damar or Daria
she might write. And so I found her, convinced from
a book of Damarian fairy tales and a few words 
therein that Damar and Damarian were her calling."
Marcus laughs. "So young!"
"Yeah, but she was right." Indy grins.
"Oh, yes. I would have put her off, but she asked us to
test her with the Water of Sight, and that is a thing
that cannot be refused a young one. I warned her that
she would likely see nothing, but she insisted. And she
did have kelar, though where that came into her line we
do not know.

The Tommy gun speaks. Harsh, arrogant, guttural.
But its words are ineffectual, Indy realizes 
suddenly. None of the bullets are coming anywhere
near us. 
Nevertheless, he sees Peg slump -- and in a
moment, he follows her example.