1934: The Underwater Menace

When an old friend and mentor, Orman Wintergreen is murdered Steven travels to England to console Orman’s widow, Desa. While there, he uncovers an insidious plot orchestrated by a vengeful sub-mariner, Victor Eichmann, a relic from the Great War who is unable to accept Germany’s defeat. When the desperate scheme unfolds, Steven learns of a new untested explosive that, when used, will cause an undersea earthquake so massive it will bring about the destruction of Great Britain and throw the world into another war.

While Steven sets out to find the German mastermind, Hardy is sent to intercept the new explosive and prevent it from arriving in the hands of Eichmann before he can put his plan in action.

Steven and Hardy learn that Victor Eichmann has powerful associates whose objectives are to stop them at any cost.

In a vain attempt Steven dives deep to the ocean floor in order to meet the underwater menace head-on, in hopes of preventing the earth shattering catastrophe and saving the world from the wrath of a German madman.
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From Chapter One of Captain Hawklin and the Underwater Menace 

An annoying fly buzzed around Hardy determined to land on his damp forehead. Hardy swatted at it while he stared at the cards in his hand. He’d been looking at the same five cards for several minutes unsure of what to do, remembering what Steven told him back in Crown City four days ago, ‘You’ll be in the thick of it,’  He tried to explain that he wasn’t much of a card player but Steven assured him that he’d do fine. After all, the reason he sat at the card table was simply for distraction. Their visit to the Moroccian hotel and casino in the capital city of Casablanca under false names seemed to work to their advantage. No one in their right mind would allow a friend of Steven Hawklin to sit in on a poker game. Steven had a reputation in the region as being a shrewd card player, knowing when a game was rigged or on the up and up. Hardy chuckled to himself. He realized the game was fixed the moment the cards were dealt as the dealer, though smooth in his deal, clearly dealt from the bottom of the deck.
To Hardy’s right sat Otto Pliter, a weasel-looking German with a lazy right eye. The right side of the man’s face drooped and looked like he had suffered a stroke at one time. He dressed in a neatly pressed gray suit with sharp creases. A white handkerchief stuck out of the jacket pocket and looked just as neatly ironed. Over his impeccable dark tie hung a polished monocle on a silver chain that caught the glare from the lights above the table.
On his left, a large man wearing a red fez sat next to Hardy, who had a difficult time keeping a straight face when he looked at the man. The chubby man looked like an actor from a movie with features reminiscent of a character out of a poorly directed film. Only Hardy doubted the pistol he spotted under the chubby man’s white dress coat was a prop.
Standing around the hazy smoke-filled room, were a dozen or so men watching the game and placing personal bets on its outcome.
Hardy noticed a dark-haired oriental woman standing in the far corner of the room smiling at him. She was a distraction that Hardy couldn’t afford, considering he wasn’t the best card player; he knew going into the game he wasn’t going to win.
However, winning wasn’t his objective. Keeping Otto Pliter occupied was. When the fly on the back of his neck took a nice healthy bite into his skin, Hardy slapped it. Unsure if he killed the bug, he kept his hand on the back of his neck and rubbed the spot. He could feel a welt popping up from the bite. Again, he looked at the five cards in his hand. He’d rather be in a gun fight than sitting at the game table, and with most of Morocco out to kill him and Captain Hawklin, a gun fight would surly be in their future.
“Uh… It’s been your bet for nearly five minutes now Mr. Miller.” Otto Pliter said in a winy German tone; his eye whirled around in its socket uncontrollably.
Hardy picked up a mug of warm beer with his thick fingers and took a drink. He forced it down, placed the mug in front of him and tossed several chips in the pile at the center of the table. “I bet sixty-five.”
The man with the red fez tossed down his cards and grunted, “I fold.”
Otto gave Hardy a thin smile. He tossed in several chips. “Uh… I see your sixty-five and raise you another fifty.”
Hardy swallowed hard, his throat tightened. He picked up several more chips and tossed them into the pile. “Call.”
Otto laid down his cards in front of him. “A royal flush,” he said smugly.
Hardy’s bothersome fly returned, buzzing around his head. He sighed, but before he could lay down his cards the two thin lattice doors that brokered the room to the next one exploded and Steven burst through them. He slid across the floor along with debris from the door. Blood covered his lip and his blond hair tussled atop his head. The spectators in the room scatted, running from the area without haste.
Otto Pliter jumped from his seat when he saw the old parchment rolled up in Steven’s hand. “He has the map!”
Three Arabs burst into the room, Hardy assumed they were the men responsible for Steven’s surprise entrance. He flipped up the table sending playing cards and gambling chips into the air and knocking Otto to the floor. Hardy stood – took his chair and pitched it across the room hitting the Arabs. He looked down at Steven and held out his hand. “Time to go Capt’n.”
Steven and Hardy bolted from the hotel into the steamy night air. The sidewalk in front of the building bustled with activity. The street, less crowded gave the two men time to escape. Steven and Hardy searched the street looking for an escape route. Almost at the same time they spotted a motorcycle parked across the street. Steven slapped Hardy on the shoulder and the two ran toward the bike.
The three Arabs, along with Otto Pliter, raced through the hotel doors looking in all directions for them. When Otto saw Hardy he yelled. “After them you idiots. Get that map!”
Steven started the motorcycle with a swift kick to the starter. He shoved the parchment map into his shirt and revved up the engine. Hardy barely had enough time to climb on the back of the bike before Steven drove it away.
Hardy looked back. He smiled when he saw they’d given Otto and his men the slip. His smile faded from his face however when he saw Otto’s men commandeer a large truck. Hardy tapped Steven on his left shoulder. “I’m not sure our escape is going to be that easy Capt’n!”
Steven looked behind them and sped up the motorcycle zigzagging in and out of traffic, taking care not to hit anyone.
The pursuing truck haphazardly slammed through the traffic, pushing vehicles and people aside without discrimination. The truck left carnage in its wake, a pedestrian police officer blew his whistle and ran after the truck while it slammed into whatever got in its way.
Hardy saw the rusted metal grill of the truck as it roared closer. The front end of it had been crushed in and steam poured from the radiator. For a fleeting moment he wondered how it kept running, but dismissed that thought when he saw the large automobile coming closer. “These guys are serious!”
Steven drove the motorcycle on the side walk as people ran out of his way. The truck began signaling with its horn when it drove up on to the sidewalk.
“Do you know what you’re doing Capt’n?”
The motorcycle raced back to the street, barely fitting between two idling cars. Angry drivers stuck their heads out their car windows and shook their fists at Steven and Hardy calling curse words in their direction only to brace themselves when they saw the large truck slamming through the cars, plowing them out of the way.
Finally the motorcycle cleared the traffic and tore up the street; leaving a skid mark behind. Hardy hung tight to Steven’s waist and glanced back to see the truck racing up behind them. Bellows of smoke poured out of the two stacks that stretched out from behind its cab. Before Hardy could warn Steven the truck slammed into the back tire of the bike and Steven fought to keep control.
Racing down a side alley, Steven drove the bike out into another street along the pier. The spray from salt water washed up on them and Hardy wiped the moisture from his face. The sound of the pursuing truck filled the evening air and Hardy didn’t need to look back to know it was close.
Ahead of them, he saw the ships tethered to the docks. The toot from tug boats and the whale of horns from the larger trans-steamers called out in the distance. “You sure this is a wise idea?” Hardy yelled. He saw them fast approaching the end of the pier. “You know we’re running out of dock!”

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