Somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean

The night sky was a mixture of the deepest blues and the darkest purples, smeared with the occasional grey violet cloud puff. The moon was full and the stars shone brightly, glittering on the waves of the ocean surface like a field of diamonds and illuminating the various marine creatures skidding across its face moments before they returned to its dark mysterious depths below.

The drone of the engine was such that it made any conversation difficult and frustrating. As Brutus was never much of a conversationalist though, there wasn’t much to be missed. Wolfgang had been flying his father’s plane, Icarus for hours and had finally reserved himself to the cold truth. He had no idea how to get to his uncles island research facility. He had made the journey countless times with his father and yet it never seemed awfully important that he should learn the exact bearings and flight patterns. After all, he was never allowed to fly the bi-plane unless he was sitting on Albrecht’s lap anyhow. All he knew was that the island was in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle which to his knowledge was South East of his take-off.

“I’ll figure out the rest of it the closer we get!” he had shouted to Brutus, who was still sitting uneasily in the bucket seat to the boy’s rear. That had been six hours earlier. He was exhausted; physically and emotionally drained.

With each passing mile, Wolfgang’s mood grew increasingly more dejected and melancholy. He couldn’t save his parents, he couldn’t follow his mother’s last request, and there was no land in sight so he couldn’t even set down to figure out what his next move should be. If only the radio had been functioning, he may have been able to send out an SOS to someone, but his father hadn’t had any time to repair it since his last flight. The young boy began to think of his uncle Doc. He thought about all of his adventures and how whenever things seemed at their worst, Doc always found a way to persevere. If he could only remember the oath, perhaps it would raise his spirits. He used to stare at it obsessively. Carved around the Savage family crest…

“Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may…”

Just at that moment the world around Wolfgang became silent. He looked up with fright in his eyes. The engine had stopped. He looked down at his instrument panel and cursed himself for not noticing the dwindling fuel level. The nose of the plane dipped considerably and Brutus gave a concerned whimper from the back seat. They were descending rapidly. He gripped the yoke as tightly as he could and pulled on it with all his might, but the plane would not falter from its devastating purpose. Just as Icarus of legend, the Sopwith Camel had a gravitational destiny which it would soon meet with crushing accuracy.

“Brutus! What do I do?” he shouted

“Tell me what to do! I’m scared! Mom! Why won’t she help me? Where’s mommy?”

Tears rushed from his eyes and fogged his goggles. His breathing became erratic and hyper and combined with the dark night sky, the silence around him was total. Wolfgang watched through his foggy wet eyes as the Atlantic Ocean rushed up to greet the boy and his dog.


The nose of the plane hit the water’s surface and all those glittering diamonds exploded around them like dynamite. The plane somersaulted across the water which ripped it apart as if it were paper. The wings were torn from its body and the fuselage was ripped asunder. The wreckage spread for a mile. Many bits and pieces sank to the bottom of the ocean, but once the agitated water calmed, much of the wreck merely floated about like so much flotsam and jetsam.
Brutus had been thrown from the plane and regained consciousness surrounded by pieces of the plane on all sides. He whined as he looked around for his friend, but saw nothing.

“Arwoof! Roof, Rroof!”

There was no answer to his call. He paddled about the crash site searching and searching, but Wolfgang was nowhere to be seen. Brutus pulled himself up onto a floating piece of debris that may have been a wing previous to the crash. He cocked his head to the side as he surveyed the damage all around him and began to bay a mournful lament to the ocean.

“Arwooo! Roooowroo!”

Brutus felt a heavy weight in his chest that could not be healed, until… his ears pricked up. Had he heard a creak at his left flank? He turned with the alertness of a hunting wolf. There it was again. His head darted towards every floating object in his line of sight.


The German Shepherd leapt from his perch, dove in to the black waters and paddled as quickly towards the sound as his paws could manage. He reached what appeared to have been the tail section of the bi-plane where he found Wolfgang with one feeble arm clinging to the wreckage and his head just barely above the water.


“Zat…izatchoo boy? Bwutus?”

Wolfgang could barely muster up the energy to slur out the words and hold on to the tail section at the same time. He began to sink below the surface when Brutus dove below the water and came up just below the boy’s legs. With all the power in his body, he paddled back to his perch with his friend slung across his back and clawed his way back on to it. He was able to roll Wolfgang off without fear of the boy drowning in the cold sea and with a pant of relief collapsed in to a deep sleep, happy with the thought that his best friend was safe by his side.

Excerpt from the journals of Lester Dentin regards to

Patricia Marmalarde née Savage is the younger cousin of Clark Savage, Jr. and she was raised in British Columbia, Canada for most of her life. She first met Clark when she was nine years old. Following an incident at school, her parents felt a change of scenery, as well as being around Clark, Jr. who was only a couple of years older and far more mature in their eyes, would do her some good. They shipped her off to England where Clark’s father had left the young boy to be instructed by Henri Becquerel the French physicist, Michael Foster the British Physiologist, André-Louis Debierne the French chemist, and the British biologist and botanist, Patrick Geddes. While in the UK, the children resided at Greystoke Manor, which had been pre-arranged by Clark Savage, Sr. In between young Clark’s studies the intrepid American duo were known to have had many adventures throughout London and the English Countryside, such as solving the great Slaughtered Lamb mystery of Yorkshire and foiling a robbery at the British Museum, which they were never officially credited for.

The children’s time together only lasted one year and one month, at which time Clark’s studies were concluded and his father sent for his return to their Bermuda Triangle research facility where he was to learn various combat techniques such as Capoeira, Savate, and American Boxing.Patricia traveled back to Canada and returned to school. The next time she would see her cousin was following the death of her father when Doc assisted her in securing her inheritance. Patricia eventually moved to New York City where she ran a very successful hair salon and shared in a number of our adventures with Doc; many times quite begrudgingly on his part. In my opinion Patricia is a very capable, intelligent and often times stubborn woman. I would expect no less from a Savage. She is also stunningly beautiful if I may say so and which most do.

While on vacation in Berlin, Patricia happened upon an adventure of her own. Namely a whirlwind love affair with a young French-German scientist and inventor named Albrecht Marmalarde. The young man had been apprenticing with one Nikola Tesla in New York when he was called back to Germany for his grandmother’s funeral. The two lovers toured throughout Europe, ending their travels in Luxembourg where they were wed in a small ceremony attended by Queen Wilhelmina who was a long time friend of Mssr. Marmalarde. The two newlyweds returned to New York together and one year later, Patricia gave birth to their son, Wolfgang.

Nyack, New YorkThe Home of the Marmalarde Family

Doc, with Johnny in tandem, drove the motorcycle up the lane which lead to his cousin’s farm house and saw the smoke in the distance. He gunned the throttle and pushed the bike to its limit, kicking up a storm of gravel and dust in their wake. He came to a gear grinding halt in front of what had been the home of Pat and her family.

“Sweet mother of science.” Johnny exclaimed as she dismounted the bike.

All that remained of the large, white, house was a few charred support beams and a black smoldering stain. Where there had been a barn, now was just scattered remnants of wood planks, roofing shingles and farm equipment.

“What happened here?”

With a cold blank stare, Doc clenched his fists.

“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.”

A short while later after scouting the area for clues, Johnny walked over to Doc, who was crouched amongst the remains of the barn and shared her findings with him.

“From what I can tell, there doesn’t appear to have been anyone in the house when it happened. There’s something a bit kooky about this fire though.”

“What would that be?” he asked without raising his head from his investigation.

“The fire completely incinerated everything it came in contact with, except the foundation. The floorboards of the entire first floor seem to be for the most part intact and fully supporting the cellar, so there may be some clues as to what’s happened here once we get down there. The only problem is that there’s no entrance to the cellar, no stair well and no trap doors.”

Doc slowly shifted his gaze from the ash at his feet up to his companion’s quizzical eyes and smirked.

“Trust me, I looked.” She said with no disguised haughtiness.

“I believe you. Good job, Johnny.”

Johnny hunkered down and joined Doc to see what he was inspecting.

“So what’d you find Sherlock?”

“Well, I’ve combed this area pretty well and from what I can tell, Wolfgang, my nephew, seems to have been pursued in to this barn with his dog Brutus by a skinny, but fairly strong male approximately five feet seven inches tall. From the barn, our mystery gentleman apparently hot dogged it at almost 20-25 mph down that field after boy & dog and just shy of that fence post down there, Wolfgang’s tracks disappear and our mystery gentleman made his way back to the barn where he stuffed a gasoline soaked rag in to the gas tank of the tractor, that you can very well see exploded, creating a chain reaction through the rest of the equipment in the barn, causing the structure to be ripped apart from the inside out.”

“So they’ve got the boy as well as your cousin and her husband. I’m sorry Doc. Is there any way we can tell who did this?”

“I never said Wolfgang was taken.”

“…but you said-“

“The tracks leading from inside the barn aren’t footprints, they’re tire treads, they disappear in that field, and there’s no sign of Icarus anywhere in this wreckage.”

“Who’s Icarus?”

“The bi-plane that Albrecht kept in the barn.”

“How do you know that your cousin or her husband didn’t take it?”

“Well, other than the fact that Pat or Albrecht would more than likely have contacted me if there was any type of trouble such as what we’re seeing here, there were three men who came to this house. Two of them were considerably heavier upon leaving than when they arrived, leading me to assume they were carrying two adults with them.

No, I’m fairly certain that Wolfgang flew off with Brutus and is out there somewhere very alone and scared. We need to find him as soon as possible. These fires were set no later than seven or eight hours ago and I am trusting, that if these people wanted Pat or Albrecht dead, then we would have found their bodies here. Pat’s a capable woman. I’m more worried about her boy’s safety first.”

Johnny looked in to Docs eyes and felt a confident admiration for this man of unparalleled prowess and gave him an affirmative salute.

“So what do we have here then?” she said referring to the area of soil that Doc had been inspecting with great scrutiny.

“Y’see that scrap, piece of chrome leaning against that rock, right there? Well if you look closely, you can see the reflection of a man perched in the oak tree about fifty or sixty yards behind us in that field.”

Johnny looked deep in to the reflection of the chrome and was dumbstruck when she saw the glint of something reflecting for the briefest of moments.

“That is more than likely the shine of the moonlight bouncing off of his rifle sight.”

“Are you sure?” she said with a slight quiver of fear in her voice.

When she was told multiple times in the past few days that she could very likely die while performing her new duties, Johnny had never imagined it might happen on her first day.

Doc looked her in the eye and smirked. “Trust me.”

“What can we do?” she said beginning to panic

“Well, calm down to begin with. I’ve been waiting for you to get back over here to make sure you were in a safe spot before I acted, so when you see me get up, make sure you stay directly behind me. Got it?”

Johnny gave Doc a silent nod and watched as he reached down and took hold of the radiator fan blade from one of the destroyed barn tractors. Before she had time to consider what he was doing, Doc Savage stood up and spun around quick as a cheetah and hurled the fan blade straight towards the tree and took off immediately running after its deadly path. With the grim accuracy of a bullet, the blade disappeared in to the branches of the oak tree. There was a thunder crack and muzzle flash of a rifle, preceded by the shriek and gurgle of a man. A moment later a body fell from the tree hitting the ground with a dull thud. Doc was at the base of the oak a moment after impact. He crouched down and began to examine the body of the sniper who was garbed in camouflaged fatigues and grease paint, when he was caught unawares. The man planted a foot quick as a jackrabbit in to Doc’s chest and leapt up from the ground to exact a series of lightning fast jabs and kicks. The assassin threw an uppercut at Doc’s chin, but the golden haired adventurer leaned back away from the punch and continued to arc in to a back flip connecting his boot with the mystery man’s jaw which hurled him flat on to his back, but not for long.

Johnny ran towards the fray with her gun drawn hoping to be of some assistance. Just as she was closing in on the two gladiators, the camouflaged soldier unsheathed a steel blade from his boot and lunged toward Doc, but the man of bronze was no stranger to disarming any man. He stepped to the side as the blade was about to sink in to his chest, hooked his leg around the man’s calf and used the soldier’s inertia to lead him through a spin that ended with him being completely locked in Doc’s grip.

Having been raised for a significant part of his childhood in the high altitudes of South America, Doc Savage developed strength unequalled by most men, women or beast. A strength which his would be assassin was now fully aware of as he struggled to break free from the iron girder like hold he was trapped in. Before he knew what was happening, Doc collapsed the man’s legs and had him sprawled out in the field with his boot securely on the man’s throat. Johnny holstered her pistol and crouched down next to the shooter and looked him in the eye with what could only be described as joyful pity.

“Y’know, I can’t even count the amount of ways that this man just cleaned your clock jughead.

In fact, I’m pretty sure he made up a few new ones before you even hit the dirt in the first round.”



“If you’re finished, I’d like to get some information from the gentleman if that’s okay with you.”

“Sure thing, Samson. Ask away.”

Doc looked down at his captive assassin with the eyes of a judge, jury and executioner. Although he was always averse to taking a human life, his prisoner didn’t know that little fact and even if he had, he most likely would have had a very hard time believing it under the weight of the man who now held him at his mercy. Doc applied the slightest bit of pressure to the soldier with his polished leather boot, grinding his heel in to the man’s windpipe as he interrogated him.

“Who are you and who sent you here?” he said in a deep gravelly whisper which emphasized the severity of his prisoner’s present welfare, but still the man would not utter a word.

“Did you have anything to do with what took place at this house?”

Still, no response.

“Johnny, can you please grab some rope from my motorcycle? We’ll tie him up while we complete our investigation and take him back with us.”

Doc lifted his captive up on to his feet and began to drag him back to the site of the fire when he suddenly slipped from his grasp and ran back towards the oak tree. He shoved something in his mouth just as Doc got hold of him again. He whirled him around to face him.

“What was that?!” he shouted

The mystery assassin couldn’t hear him though. He began to convulse and froth at the mouth. His eyes rolled to the back of his head and he started to make a series of horrific gagging and choking noises. Then he was silent and motionless.

“What happened?” Johnny asked as she arrived with a coil of rope.

Doc let the lifeless body drop to the ground and just stared at the frozen horrified expression on its face.

“Some form of accelerated arsenic I’m assuming. A last resort pill, to avoid enemy capture.”

“Now we’ll never know who sent him.”

Doc Savage crouched down and examined the body.

“You may be right. All of his clothes seem to be custom with no distinguishing markings, his boots are a standard issue military grade used by countless nations, and his weapons all appear to be custom made as well.”

Johnny stared at the body with a sideways glance.

“I’ve got a hunch Hercules. Drop his trousers.”

“Come again?”

“Drop his pants and check out where his knickers are from.”

Doc turned to Johnny and a slow deliberate smile stretched across his face.

“Y’know Ms. Littlejohn, I do believe you’re going to fit in famously on our team.”

“Thanks Doc. Now let’s see what this guy’s got in his pants.”

She undid the dead man’s belt and loosened his pants. They turned him over and she yanked out the waist band of his underwear and saw something hand written on the inside.

“Hot, pot of coffee! This case just got a whole lot weirder.”

Doc read it for himself and got up from the ground, clenched his fists and took a deep breath.

“And I just got a whole lot angrier.”