New York City

A series of explosions were alighting all over the glass pocked surfaces of the rising architecture of the city. The spires topping the skyscrapers ignited with the first firey rays of day light while far below on the black topped streets municipal workers, business men, secretaries and taxi’s began spilling out to fill the metropolis with the din of industry.
The bronzy exterior of the helicopter gleamed in the early morning sunlight as it whisked Johnny and her companion up along the course of the Hudson River. She stared out the window marveling at the grand design of the world’s melting pot like a little girl on a family road trip from the country.

The helicopter began a gentle, yet swift descent banking to the left towards a large patch of concrete at the pier that had the word “Savage” emblazoned across it in bright red. It touched down moments later allowing Johnny to disembark with Ham and the pilot who had not said a word to her at all since their take off from Ham’s ship hours ago.

“This is where we part ways for now lass. Young Sam and I’ve got te go help the others with a few things before this trip gets underway.”

“Young Sam huh? Not a very chatty one there.”

“I wouldn’t expect any time soon. Had a nasty run in with a sultan somewhere in the desert a few years back. Word is; that sultan still has his tongue sealed in a box next te his bed.”

“Yeesh. All over some tart that was between them no doubt.”

“Actually, his daughters from what I hear.”

“Daughters, not daughter?”


“And he only got his tongue taken?”

“Aye. I’m sure the crazy potentate was sharpening his cleavers te finish the job, but the old man interveaned on Sam’s behalf and the boy has been working for Savage Industries ever since.”

“Old man? You mean Clark. Clark, Sr. right?”

Ham gave Johnny an earnest nod. Johnny turned and hoisted her bags on to her shoulders and shot the salty Scot a steely eye.

“When do we get underway Red? This wagon train needs to get movin’.”

“As I said, Sam and I have business te attend to and while we’re doing that, I believe the car will take you te where you need te be.”

He pointed to a large, golden bronze convertible sedan parked at the curb with its door being held open by a man in a dark suit.

“And where will my golden chariot be taking me exactly?”

“I can’t say for sure, but I believe you’re being taken te the 86th floor.”

Excerpt from the journals of Lester Dentin regards to

5th avenue and West 34th street; site of the tallest building the world has ever seen. The Empire State Building is the pinnacle of construction and architecture since its completion, crushing the record for the world’s tallest structure which had been held for less than a year by its none too distant neighbor, The Chryslar Building. Designed by Gregory Johnson and built in just over a year, in time to meet The Great Depression, Johnson and his financiers had great difficulty filling its art decoed halls and offices with tenants. With no other recourse, Johnson called upon his great friend, Clark Savage, Jr. for advice, but in lieu of counsel Doc merely told the young designer to meet him outside of the 1,400 foot monolith the next day, which he did to his delight, for there at the ready with a fleet of trucks and men stood Doc Savage organizing the move of both his father’s offices and his own offices to the 86th floor. A move which many deemed to be foolish and even futile under such a dire financial climate, but Doc saw it as merely a good investment in a talented friend and associate. Subsequently, following the completion of his brand new lighter than air research facility, Doc put in another call to Gregory, this time requesting a few “minor amenities” as he called them, the least of which being the leasing of the Empire State Building’s airship docking station.

Johnny looked out of the rear window, lost within in her thoughts and almost unaware of her surroundings. Almost that is, until the car came to a halt at the curb of 5th and West 34th. She exited the car and stepped on to the sidewalk. She had heard stories, even as far as Egypt about the monumental structure being built in the West, but her mind could have never prepared her for the exhilaration or beauty that she saw in this skyscraper. She cast her gaze upward in astonishment and was dumbstruck even further upon seeing a thousand feet skyward, another wonder to behold.

Tethered to the needlelike spire at the top of the building was a gargantuan dirigible. Hovering over the city like a monstrous hummingbird feeding on the nectar of the big apple. Johnny could only guess the purpose of such a ship, but she had a feeling her deduction wasn’t far off after noting the zeppelin’s bronze exterior. She rolled her eyes at the ostentatious nature of her new employer and returned her focus downward to the entrance of the building only to be startled to find there was a woman standing directly in front of her who appeared to be waiting for her attention. She had a slight frame, alabaster skin, red bobbed hair and round thick framed glasses. She was chewing on a piece of gum and spoke in such a matter of fact way that gave Johnny the oddest sensation that she was listening to this woman on the telephone and she could be put on hold at any given moment.

“Yes, “amazing”, I know. Hello Miss Littlejohn, my name is Miranda Janx and I am Clark Savage, Jr’s executive secretary. I’m here to get you oriented in what we do here at Savage Industries, and to give you an abridged briefing on how you will be assisting Mr. Savage in your new role as senior archeologist and geologist of the expedition. If you’ll follow me, we’ll ride the elevator up to the 86th floor and I’ll give you a tour of the research facilities, offices, and the library. I will also be requiring you to sign a few documents pertaining to your employment and possible death. There’s no need to worry about your luggage. We’re having it all taken to your new apartment which I will be giving you the keys to prior to your departure of the office today. Your apartment is located three blocks from here and is fully furnished and fully paid for. We will also be providing you with your own car whenever you’re residing in Manhattan and…you do know how to drive don’t you? Doesn’t matter. If you can’t there are a lot of other options, such as the subways, taxis, buses and of course our own chaufer driven cars, but then again, driving is a very easy skill to learn and I’m sure someone of your intelligence will master it in no time.”

Johnny boarded the elevator with Miranda and couldn’t believe that a person could speak so much and without, it seemed, ever taking a breath. After a swift ascent upwards, all the while with Miss Janx explaining the various divisions and subsidiaries of Savage Industries, as well as suggesting a few restaurants she may have wanted to sample depending on the time of day and whether or not she had any aversions or allergies related to shellfish or peanuts. They exited the elevator in to a warmly decorated lobby. All of the furnishings appeared to be authentic antiques ranging from the 15th century onwards, but it seemed the one governing theme throughout all of the hallways and rooms she entered was Mayan. Artifacts the likes of which she had never laid eyes on. From massive statues flanking doorways to ancient tablets lit from above in recessed walls. Everywhere she looked was another priceless and often times undocumented artifact from the ancient and mysterious Mayan civilization. If only she had some time to examine one or two pieces, she could…

“…and here we are at your office Miss Littljohn. This is the one and only key to the door, so please try not to lose it. Now if you’ll just follow me onwards down the hall to the airlift elevator we can…”

“Miss Janx, is there any way I can possibly examine some of these artifacts you have around the office. I really think they …”

“Maybe some other time doll. Right now, you have a more pressing appointment at the top of that elevator. Did I mention the cafeteria? They make a great Ty Cobb salad and if you want…”

They rode the elevator up to the furthest point of the building. The doors opened and…

“…but if you ask me, I don’t think its right to name a cat after a dead relative. Here we are. 102nd floor. The airship terminal. Let me just get on the horn and let him know you’re here.”

Miranda picked up a phone receiver which was secured on to the wall next to the boarding gate and pressed the only button located on the phone cradle while Johnny stared out the window at the zeppelin which appeared to be whispering in to the ear of the world’s tallest building.

“He’ll be down shortly.” said Miss Janx.

Johnny was taken aback momentarily, realizing that was the shortest statement her guide had made in the past thirty minutes since they met. She turned to the woman and asked a bit flummoxed.

“Who’s going to be down?”


Miranda was pointing out the window towards the dirigible, where Johnny noticed what appeared to be a man walking the length of the left wing. Before she could say anything, the man on the wing dove off, which surely would have meant his doom, but a moment later, he reached out his arm and took hold of one of the cables which had been securing the zeppelin to the skyscraper. With the cable firmly in hand, he let it guide his descent, gently arcing him towards the doors of the gate. Just before he surely would’ve collided with the outer wall, he swung off and released his grip from the cable, hitting the deck in a forward roll and coming to a standing stop at the boarding gate doorway. He opened the door and strode in to the room. He was tall, perhaps 6’ 3” or 6’ 4” He wore a pair of rich brown riding boots, polished to a high shine, flared khaki jodhpurs, a safari shirt rolled to his elbows, and thick leather gloves. He had a chiseled, clean shaven jaw and short blond hair which appeared even brighter in contrast to his bronzed skin.

“Good afternoon, Sir.” Miranda said with what appeared to be a painful amount of restrained glee.

“Afternoon, Miranda.” He walked up to Johnny and pulled of his right glove and offered her his hand.

“Miss Littlejohn, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. I’m Clark Savage, Jr. but, please call me Doc.”

“Good to meet ya. Call me Johnny. I hear you’ve misplaced your daddy, Hercules. Let’s say we go and get the old bastard back?”