The Lost Islands by Optimus Fett
n.b. writers note:-
all though no offence is attended, the following work does contain material refering to Nazi's. There are also several references that appear to
condone drink driving, this is simply meant to be taken light heartedley as a work of fiction and i apologise in advance for any upset i may cause, it
is not intentional.
As the Island of Principe loomed through the mist a little cheer went up amongst the team. As we starred through the wheelhouse windows the forest
outline to the island was starting to poke through the grey, visibility had been poor from the outset and this was to be the first glimpse the crew
were to get of their home for the next six months, it still looked as beautiful as it always had to me and although the weather was some what unusual
for this part of the world, the driving rain only seemed to have dampened the teams equipment and clothes, not their spirits.
We made for our usual landing spot; an estuary that runs in land for about a kilometer, as we neared our mooring point, I couldn’t help notice
there weren’t any locals on the small beach to meet us as was usually the case, no children laughing and waving and no fishermen in the bay, not
even on the beach fixing their nets and tackle, fair point it was a miserable day to be stood outdoors to wave at a boat but something seemed to
strike me as out of place? I had never known the Island to be this quiet; perhaps it’s a national holiday?
We anchored about 30 meters from the shore and the team started to load their equipment into the tender on the back of the ship, the plan was to get
all the gear off as soon as possible and inland half a kilometer to the Villa I owned, most of their equipment was expensive and not particularly well
suited to being banged about on a ship, myself and Max; the captain, launched a small dinghy with a 50’cc Yamaha outboard and ran up the beach ,I
kept a Jeep Wrangler with a trailer at the house and we set of the short distance to collect it. We left the team in the capable hands of the small
three man crew; scientists appeared to love big heavy boxes of kit but didn’t seem to like lifting them, I mused.
As myself and Max set off along the badly pot holed road running into the jungle, he also mentioned the lack of inhabitants, we weren’t
particularly near any of the villages but it was abnormal to not see the locals going about their daily business, there hadn’t even been any fishing
boats at sea on the way in?
We arrived at my villa to find a hand written note (in exceptionally bad English) pinned to the front door, it was from Our friend Paulo; a local
policeman of sorts and bar owner in the nearest village, after around five minutes deciphering, Max and myself decided that it was instructing us to
meet him in his bar as soon as we could, there appeared to be some problems that needed discussing?
Max needed little; if any, excuse to go to a bar and to be fair, neither did I, a cold pint of Guinness (or 10) would go down a treat, couple that
with some good local conversation about lobster and coconuts and throw in the welcoming smiles of the friendly natives, we’d be laughing and joking
about rubbish in no time. We took the Jeep down to the boat and loaded the equipment into the trailer, thankfully it all went in, in one go, the crew
took the tender back to the ship and Max told them to have the rest of the day off. The two women; Alex and Jo, jumped into the back seats whilst the
three men; Mark, George and Andrew walked alongside, one thing was for sure on Principe, you certainly didn’t go there for fast driving. We nursed
the Jeep and their expensive load casually to the villa, taking our time to avoid running into the larger puddles that were swelling along the track,
the ‘road’ had been put down about 15 years ago and apparently according to Max, hadn’t been much better when it was new!
The track continues to run to the nearest village and after a short hundred meter diversion off it we’d arrived at my homestead. We carried the
gear into the villa’s empty storage rooms and I got the kettle on whilst everybody changed into something dry. I always kept the house well stocked
and never forgot to keep some luxuries at hand, I cracked open a bottle of Bollinger’s finest and rinsed out some champagne flutes, none of the team
had ever been to any of the islands in the Gulf of Guinea so it seemed worthy of a celebration, if the truth be known I would have pulled out the
bubbly for something as trivial as the Jeep actually starting after being stood for a couple of months! Any excuse for champagne, I liked it as a
Once everybody had settled in a little, I gave our new lodgers a brief tour of the house and the grounds. I had bought the house around four years
back from the local government, it had been built in the early 1800’s and had belonged to a wealthy Portuguese Aristocrat who had coca plantations
nearby, as the industry had dwindled he had re-located to the Island of Sao Tomé, the jungles quickly claimed back the plantations and then started
on the architecture. The house had lain empty and deserted for nearly 200 years. When I purchased it, it was in a sorry state, but even then as I
remember it when looking at photo’s; something about the place gives you a sense of splendor and grandeur, you cant help wondering what it must have
been like back in the days when the servants and workers busied themselves around the grounds and fine dinners were served on expensive silverware
catering for Portugal’s upper classes as they visited their colonial playground. I had spent a year working on the main house and it now boasted
eight bedrooms of modest size all with double beds and bathrooms, a large drawing room come lounge, nice sized kitchen and pantry. The bedrooms were
on the second floor and went off to either side of a central staircase, they each had small balcony’s with seating areas and slatted wooden
shutters. The central front of the upstairs opened outwards through paneled wooden and glass windows onto an open semi circular veranda, you can just
make the sea out through the jungle and its an inspiring place to sit of an evening with a fine brandy or port as the sun trickles over the horizon,
many a stupid evening of drunkenness had been spent here listening to the monkeys and parrots, equally as they had surely listened to our ramblings,
laughter, lies and tales of adventure and discovery but probably with not quite as much interest. The gardens haven’t been changed and are terraced
and slope off back down to the road at the front, the odd statue hidden in the vines. Its hard to differentiate at the back of the house where the
gardens end and the jungle begins, I kind of like it like that and it doesn’t make me feel guilty about tidying them up.
It was around midday when Max and myself decided to head off into the village to catch up with Paulo, we invited our guests to come with us but they
had decided to set up and test some of their equipment whilst relaxing after the previous three days traveling from their points of origin, we
promised to return bearing gifts of freshly cooked lobster and prawns from Paulo’s wife by about six o’clock; we both new that this was a complete
and blatant lie and we wouldn’t see them until the next morning, that’s if we managed to keep the Jeep on the road and out of the jungle on our
inebriated return probably some time around three in the morning.
After instructing all concerned how to use the air conditioning and start the electrical generator, Max and myself set off in the Jeep with the
wipers and headlights on full power. We were laughing; in rather poor taste, about how much the team were looking forward to our return with the
freshly caught and cooked lobster, the truth would be that there quest to eat this charming shellfish would be achieved quicker if they hand wove
their own baskets that very afternoon and went out to sea in a boat and caught them themselves, they seemed like nice people with a sense of humor but
we had done enough babysitting for the past few days getting them here, they would have to slum it with some frozen chicken kievs from my stores. As
we trundled through the afternoons rain we joked, we were going native with the famous Irish brew at about 4.8% a pint!
The trip takes twenty minutes on a normally sunny day but the road had become so water logged that cruising speed was down to five mph; running off
the road after a skin full is one thing but god forbid it should happen before we’d had a drink, anyway you always know how to solve a problem like
dragging a vehicle on its roof from a ten foot ditch after a pint, when your sober its useless. As the village came into view it was reassuring to see
some people, the local kids running alongside the Jeep waving and the friendly faces of the fishermen and farmers smiling from their porches, the
corrugated tin roofs keeping the rain of them. We parked outside Paulo’s bar and ran in from the rain. Paulo smiled as he placed to perfect pints of
Guinness on the bar top, he walked round to greet us and gave us both a hug as random people; some we new and some we didn’t, stood up to shake our
hands, it was good to be back here away from the mobile phones and the traffic, and as Paulo’s wife; Isabella, came out from the kitchen laughing to
give us both a kiss, it felt like home.
Max was on pint number six whilst I was just getting to grips with pint number four. Isabella had prepared her usual fantastic lobster and prawn
dish and she and Paulo sat down to eat with us. As we ate we chatted about all the usual things; our families, fishing, Max’s ships, the state of
the local governments and so on.
Paulo and his wife were both huge jolly black people, they were the descendants of freed slaves that had been brought to the islands in the 1920’s
from the Capo Verdé islands by the Portuguese, at the time the Portuguese had promised to repatriate their great grandparents at some later date,
this never happened and such was the way in which the Portuguese treated the slaves on these islands, there wasn’t much love lost between the two
races, even if they did speak the same language of sorts, we were well liked even though we were English, fortunately for Max and I, this is one part
of the world our empire didn’t treat like a public toilet, unlike the Portuguese had.
Once dinner was over and the Guinness had suitably affected my already un reserved character, Max and I asked Paulo about the lack of fishing boats
and people that were amiss earlier in the day, he gave us a look that exercised restraint, Isabella caught his eye and gave us both a smile as she got
up to serve some one at the bar. “something strange is happening on the Island” Paulo said in something just a above a whisper, “two of the
local boys were walking deep in the interior of the island around a week ago when they came across something unusual, some sort of entrance going
underground; something more like a tomb, they reported it to me at the police station so I went to look with them, it took us most of the day to reach
the place on foot, when we arrived at the place I pretended that I knew about it already and its nothing but the remains of an old house from the
plantations but in truth I have never seen anything like it before on this island or others in the area, no one I know of has ever reported this place
before because no one on the island has any reason to walk that far into the jungles, I have told the boys its nothing and not to go there again in
case it collapses and they get hurt, I need to show you both tomorrow if that’s possible? ”Max absolutely pissed himself and I couldn’t stop
myself from humming the theme to the ‘Twilight zone’, however this didn’t seem to impress Paulo one iota, his face went blank and then his
expression conveyed a look of genuine dread, “My friends, please come with me tomorrow, this isn’t a joke and I think you need to see what the
boys found, I would value your opinion, the locals are already talking, there’s a lot of superstition surrounding this island, as a boy I can
remember one of the old men in the village talking about this place, he said it was an unholy place, a bad place, fortunately it appears that it has
been forgotten for many years but now unfortunately it would appear to have been found again, the boys have talked about what they have seen and its
started some rumors off, the fishermen wont venture out in their boats and people don’t want to leave their villages after dark, even the weather
has turned strange, please say you’ll come? Perhaps we can put people at ease; the people on this island respect you both and your scientists that
you bring here, if you come and look it will help things get back to normal, this island needs to be kept normal, it doesn’t need superstitious old
wives tales upsetting the routine and stopping the work”. We Agreed to meet Paulo tomorrow and ordered another pint.
The trip back to the house had been; thankfully, uneventful. We had arrived back at around four thirty in the morning after leaving Paulo virtually
unconscious with his head keeping one of his bars tables firmly attached to the floor, Max had appointed himself driver and we had pulled up outside
the house in a torrential downpour, the team were tucked up in their beds and Max and I decided to neck a few shots of rum out on the balcony. We both
agreed Paulo seemed suitably spooked by the local boy’s findings? But you have to remember that somebody’s always spooked about something out on
the islands, not much goes on and its always good for the locals to turn any minor event into some link with witchcraft or sorcery, however it did
seem like a rather interesting trip to look forward to? I grabbed a couple of blankets and we extended the chairs into flat positions, the light was
just threatening to peek over the horizon as we drifted off to sleep.
I woke up; as I had expected, with a horrible ‘the Guinness monkeys crapped in my mouth’ taste, fortunately Alex had a nice fresh pot of coffee
prepared and some toast buttered. It was half past nine and the rain had stopped, the sky was slightly overcast with the odd patch of sun poking
through the clouds, Paulo would be here any minute. Jo informed me that Max had left about eight to check on his ship; the man just never seems to
need sleep I thought. I apologized for the lack of Lobster the previous evening but thought better of lying and said that the one I had eaten was
absolutely excellent and I was sorry that max and I were incompetent drunkards with no sense of time, this raised a few laughs and if the truth be
known I had worked out many years ago that when your going to be living in peoples pockets for any period of time its far better to be yourself from
the gate, rather than try and impress all and sundry with a make believe demeanor and crap promises that you mean to keep but would rather have a pint
in the pub, after all it was my house and Max and myself had financed the trip, we had always found that people warmed to our characters, especially
the scientists we worked with, I put this down to our relaxed ‘happy go lucky’ nature; something the scientific world didn’t seem to go in for
in a big way, coupled with already being successful business people and having our own selected fields of scientific interest that we could afford to
‘play’ at rather than work at, we always appeared to be a refreshing change to deadlines, budgets and university grants.
Max pulled up in the Jeep at the same time Paulo arrived in his Land rover. As they both had a coffee I made a decision to not invite the team on
our little outing, I don’t think Paulo would have appreciated there tagging along at this stage and it would probably be a bit too much of a trek on
their first day, I decided it was better if they stayed around this area and got used to the local geography for the first few days. I left them the
keys for the Jeep and gave them directions to Paulo’s bar, Promising on pain of death to meet them their at around eight o’clock that evening for
the previously illusive lobster! After a few laughs and witty remarks, I grabbed a quick shower, my digital camera and a couple of machetes, Max and I
jumped in Paulo’s Land Rover and set off.
After traveling as far as we could into the jungle by jeep, we set off on foot. Paulo informed us that we had a good three hour trek to the site and
had to laugh when Max said “tres houras para o tomb de morte!”; three hours to the tomb of death, his mood had been pretty somber and it was good
to see him back to his normal happy self, although I could tell he was still a little nervous.
We made light conversation as we walked and stopped every 30 minutes for a break and some water, the rain came in heavy dark showers followed by
bursts of hot sun, the jungle was pretty dense in places and wielding the machetes for any length of time sapped our energy, every now and then a
startled monkey or bird would screech down from the tree’s making us jump, I couldn’t help feeling like I was in some Vietnam movie; guiding a
patrol through hostile terrain or that I was about to look down in fear as the red targeting beam from the creature immortalized in the film ‘The
Predator’ picked me out and blasted me, I voiced these thoughts to Max and Paulo who gave me that look that says “ok weirdo, put the big machete
down and step back”, dammed warped imagination, I laughed.
After what seemed an eternity Paulo stopped and pointed up ahead to a slight clearing, “its there in the clearing” he said, I did my best spooky
ghost noise and Max pissed himself again, Paulo on the other hand just did his ‘that’s not funny’ look and stayed bolted to the spot. Max and I
moved into the clearing and made a few observations. The clearing was a basic area of about 30 meters in diameter, the jungle had encroached back over
the floor and we were pretty confident that a road or track of some sorts had entered the clearing from the north at some point. Paulo cautiously
pointed out a more densely overgrown patch in the rough centre of the clearing, under the mass of branches, roots and vines we could see a circular
hole; approximately three foot deep and five meters across, sunk into the ground, it was lined with heavy cut stone and we could make out a base
beneath the undergrowth, a large circular disc of iron or some similar metal had been placed in its centre. We started hacking away with the machetes
at the undergrowth, half an hour had gone by, by the time we had made any sort of noticeable dent on the thick vegetation, Max and I were covered in
about twenty different varieties of sap and pith, not to mention the cuts and scratches that decorated our arms, face and legs. Paulo was keeping well
back and chain smoking whilst keeping an eye on his watch, neither of us wanted to be struggling around in the jungles after dark but obviously for
different reasons; he was scared of having is soul stolen by some creature from the underworld and I was frightened of missing out on some more of his
wife’s lobster over a pint.
Max brought down his machete on a particularly large root and went straight through with an almighty clang and a flash of sparks as he hit the metal
plate beneath, the jungles birds bolted from their treetop perches with a deafening screech, showing their alarm at the unnatural noise, “F**k me,
its broken the blade” Max said, I pulled the wreckage away and cleared some of the silt from the metal disc. “Christ on a bike, there’s writing
on it, I think its in German or Dutch or something” I exclaimed, I continued to push the dirt aside, clearing the surface, “It is German”, Max
hacked away a few more roots so that we could expose the whole disc, I couldn’t believe what was starting to appear before us, a giant swastika was
engraved into the surface of the metal. The whole disc measured about two meters across its diameter and the edge was adorned with inscriptions and
symbols, the presence of the swastika left no doubt that the writing was German but what the hell was this thing? “What does it say?” asked Max, I
had absolutely no idea and I knew what was coming next, “But you speak German don’t you”; Max has been under the impression for a reasonable
amount of time that I can speak German, he had based this on the fact that I had watched enough German porn over the years to be able to repeat handy
phrases at the bar like “you cant have me fraulein, my trouser snake is too big “and “I want to wear your lederhosen darling” , I had
repeatedly told him on many an occasion that I do not speak German, if either of the two phrases I have just mentioned were to appear on this Nazi
monolith then we were some of the way there to a translation of sorts regarding the writings on our find, however my limited but reliable instincts
told me; without any shadow of doubt, that as the Nazi’s were not famous for their sense of humor we were s**t out of luck on this one.
We had to start heading back before we lost the light. I took several photographs with my digital camera whilst Max explained; in very brief terms,
the rise and fall of Nazi Germany to Paulo. This was some find and a very strange one at that, I could sense Max was dying to discuss this in great
depth with me as I was with him but it was probably best to do it amongst ourselves, it wasn’t making much sense to either of us and we didn’t
need to be freaking Paulo out with wild and fanciful theory’s at this stage of the day.
We covered the site back up as best we could with the undergrowth we had originally removed, it was blatantly obvious that something was underneath
but it seemed the right thing to do, a token gesture if you like.
I took a fixed Nav point with my hand held GPS and activated the programme to show our start point; where we had left the vehicle, no point zig
zagging back when we can walk straight and save time. I took one last glance back at the site as we set off, this was all very, very weird and dammed
exciting at the same time, Sieg Heil.
The hike back had been a strange one, Paulo was his normal chatty, smiley self; he had convinced himself that because Max and I had recognized the
swastika symbol that we had found an old; seemingly normal and uninteresting, war antique. I could understand his chain of thought though, as Principe
was littered with cannons from century’s of Portuguese occupation, it didn’t interest the islanders in the slightest, to him this was just another
rotting memory of a war he had never seen, What myself; and what I also new without question Max was thinking was, that the Nazi’s never visited
Principe, they didn’t even travel into the gulf of Guinea as far as I knew? What the F**king hell was a giant Iron Swastika doing buried in the
ground in the middle of a jungle that no body but no body has had any even bizarre reason to visit? Max and I made normal and polite conversation all
the way back to the jeep. We had made slightly better time than we had hoped and just beat the darkness, it was eight o’clock and lobster/ Guinness
The Team were already sat in Paulo’s bar when we arrived, a little cheer went up as we walked in, we couldn’t decide whether that was because
they were impressed they had found the bar or that we had been better with our time keeping? Isabella was playing the perfect hostess with some tappas
on the table and the drink flowing freely, the lobsters were on their way and the team was keen to speak about their first day of exploring. Paulo had
to take some fish over to a friends bar in the next village so he made his excuses and left, Max followed him out and then returned, I knew what had
been said, Max wanted to keep this hush for a bit and I agreed.
The team had, had a good day and were going to be busy setting up equipment around the beaches for the next two or three days, they had marked down
a few sites that were of particular interest to their studies and wanted to get stuck in, this suited me and Max down to the ground as we wanted to
get back out to our German find, preferably on our own.
As we ate we chatted and got to know each other a little better, Max was discussing the finer points of owning a shipping company with Mark and Alex
and I was discussing the ins and outs of Portuguese history with the others, I eased my way on to the subject of languages to see if any one spoke
German, George did, he had spent two years studying in Berlin on a marine biology course and obviously had to make an effort to learn the basics, I
mentioned that I had a few bits and pieces I would like him to help me try and translate in a few days, he agreed no problem, I gave Max a little nod,
that should help a bit I thought.
We set off back to the house; a little merry, and although it was a super tight squeeze with us all in the Jeep, we managed it with no problems, the
team all went to bed to get an early start the next day, Max and I headed for the Balcony with the Rum, we were bursting at the seams to discuss our
“what the f**k do you think it is?” max asked, “I don’t know but its definitely important, or was” I replied, “that thing was a real
nice piece of engineering, it was meant to be there, it hasn’t fallen out of a plane or something and just landed in the middle of the f**king
jungle, the stone round the outside, did you notice how well fitted it all was? It was an absolutely perfect fit, there wasn’t even a millimeter gap
in it”, “yeah I know” said Max, “and what about those weird symbols? They were like Egyptian hieroglyphics or some weird s**t?”, I agreed,
they had looked Egyptian at first but I had studied Egyptology quite intensely for a year and the symbols didn’t ring any bells in my memory, “I
think that disc thing is an entrance to something like Paulo said” added Max, “we should go back tomorrow and take some jimmy bars, try and move
it, what do you think?”, I had been thinking that and something else as well, “why don’t we get that German deciphered first, on the computer or
show George the photo’s and see if he can translate it? What if it says something like ‘F**k off, do not open this hole, we have filled it with
toxic nuclear s**t and if you get any on you, your dick will fall off, thanks, Regards, Adolf Hitler?”, Max laughed out loud, “I suppose that’s
a possibility, but I think we should keep anyone else out of it at the moment, translate it on the computer tomorrow and well make a trip up again the
following day eh? I mean just suppose it’s the missing Nazi gold or the Ark of the Covenant or something, last thing us and this island needs is
reporters and religious lunatics crawling all over it tearing up the jungle to get to that thing; whatever it is, Paulo’s going to keep stum, I said
the same to him and he agrees, whatever that thing is, I don’t think just anybody was supposed to find it?”, I agreed with that as well, this was
going to be an interesting next few days.
The team were out and about when I woke; I had actually made it off the balcony to my bedroom this time, a note had been left on the kitchen table,
‘Gone over to Sao Tomé with the ship; f**king problems with government again, back in couple of days, e-mail me anything interesting fraulein,
Aufwiedersen’, Max must have gotten a fax through on the ship, Sao Tomé was Max’s main offices for the Gulf of Guinea and was a good twenty four
hour return trek, I would have to e-mail Max any findings, mobiles dont work out on Principe, fortunately however I always took my very expensive
satellite link up phone with me to hook up with the web and check my mail, I may be able to get in touch with him on that, I pondered. I switched my
laptop on and waited for a connection, whilst I plugged the camera into the USB to check the photo’s. Looking at the Disc and it’s inscriptions on
the computer monitor gave me an odd feeling, what was this thing doing there? I printed off a few of the better shots and started looking for a
translation programme on the web, once I had found one I left it downloading whilst I made another coffee. I typed the German text from the disc into
the box on the screen and pressed ‘enter’, the please wait sign came up and then things started getting weird, firstly a pop up appeared
indicating I was in violation of the American Secrecy act, then I was informed that my signal was being traced and I was to remain on line, “f**k
that” I shouted and pulled all the plugs out, even the electricity, that was one of the weirdest things I had ever seen, it must be some internet
prank I thought, some virus or something? I plugged the computer back in but off line, I waited for the usual start up procedure but nothing happened,
after a few more seconds a box appeared ‘ YOURE HARD DRIVE HAS BEEN FOUND TO CONTAIN ILLEGAL INFORMATION, IT HAS BEEN WIPED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
UNITED STATES FEDERAL SECRETS ACT OF 1945 NO 1665253456-53-3’ this was a joke, it had to be a virus of some description but computers were one of my
businesses and I hadn’t heard of this before? I turned the phone back on and nothing, just the backlight and a sign saying ‘DATA ERASE’, the
camera was the same, blank, totally blank, the photos were gone as well, what the F**k was going on? I pulled out a pack of Marlboro red’s and
sparked up; I had stopped years back but this was a real weird situation, I was suitably freaked out and trying to get my brain to work, a cigarette
was definitely called for, I paced round with a brandy trying to put some reasoning behind what had just happened, I couldn’t come up with a
sensible answer, how had the phone the hard drive and the camera been wiped? Had some illegal information been placed on my laptop without my
knowledge? Had some weird automatic chain of commands shut my s**t down and wiped its memory? I just didn’t know but I wasn’t willing to believe
it had anything to do with the German translation I was trying to do, at least I had the pictures I had printed, that would give me some help with
getting George to translate for me, I didn’t really have much choice, I wanted an answer with this disc, were the writings linked to the shutdown of
[edit on 24-4-2006 by optimus fett]
[edit on 25-4-2006 by optimus fett]