Chapter Five of the Lost Diaries
Chapter Five: Raiders of the Lost Mines!
Now the Lost Diamond Mines of Queen Zamboni were accounted a sacred site by the locals, who sought to sabotage all efforts by the West to find them. This soon turned into an open rebellion which the Egyptian government was either unwilling or unable to put down.
The leader of the rebellion was one Omar Sharif, who claimed to be a descendent of the Prophet. And when word was received that he was to be found in his villa at the surburbs of Cairo, we were ordered to prepare the White Manatee for a dangerous mission in order to apprehend Sharif and bring him back to Alexandria to face charges of sedition and rebellion.
But the information given us was false, and when Captain Cavor and Chard arrived they were ambushed by the rebels. Many men were lost that day, and afterwards their remains were paraded in the streets of Cairo in a most barbarous fashion.
The affair caused much consternation, and Captains Chard and Cavor were suspended from their duties. Charges of incompetence against the first and cowardice in combat against the second are being considered. The Admiralty, fearful of the scandal the loss of the White Manatee would cause, ordered the airship home.
Much shaken by the turn of events, Captains Chard and Cavor sought solace in the local public house. It was here that one evening we were approached by a dirty-looking American man, who sought our help. He claimed to be an American archaeologist in the pay of the French, also searching for the Lost Mines. Several weeks ago, while examining another ancient site for clues relating to the location of the Mines, his team (which consisted of himself, his father, and their assistant) and their escort of French foreign Legionnaires were attacked by Sharif's rebels.
The French held off the attackers while they escaped back to the French fort, which the attackers soon invested. The rebels called on the French to surrender Dr Jones (for that was his name) and his father the professor within seven days or face an assault, but the French commandant replied that they would fight to the last man than to dishonour the Legion.
Now Dr Jones, fearful that the commandant would do that very thing, stole one of the French flyers and made his way to Alexandria. Hearing of Captain Chardís plight, he decided to offer his knowledge of the Mines in exchange for his help.
We were initially
skeptical of his claims, but he led us to the place where he hid the
French flyer, and we were convinced. It did not take long for Captains
Chard and Cavor to decide to undertake this mission, and against my
counsel they persuaded some men to join them in this mission, and then
without orders took the Queen of the Nile II out of the barracks and
headed to the French fort! I could not dissuade Captain Chard from this rash act, and so decided
that I would go with them. And so we steamed towards the west, with
the French flyer tied to the roof of the Queen.