From: Daryl Poe <poe@fokker.fc.hp.com>

                          RIDERS OF THE LAST ARK

                                    or

                    INDIANA MARK AND THE TEMPLE OF BOOM


Screenplay by Daryl Poe
Based on a True Story

"You can't leave now!", said the frantic astronomers pleading with Indiana Mark. "We've got to focus on the problems with the HST. Our gyros are on the lam."

"No, I must go," said Indiana Mark, with a flourish of dramatic music in the background. "The telescope can wait -- the stars will still be there when I get back. I go in search of ... history.

"It is written that long ago Noah built an Ark of enormous size, and on it he and the animals rode out the floods. All searchers have failed to find evidence of the Ark -- that is, all searchers before me! You see, the Ark did not land in the Near East, as most people think -- it landed in the Great American West. I shall find it and it will be known as the 'Mark Ark' (I plan to open a small theme park and gift stand.)"

The theme park was just a clever subterfuge, though, for Indy had had a vivid dream in which it rained 24 days and 24 nights and the world was covered in water. In such times, an Ark is a handy thing to have around.

With a flashy Aikido spin, he whirled his red, white, and blue cape about him and strode off into the dying sunset to a waiting plane.

No regular airlines flew to the place Indy went; no trains carved a path through the treacherous open plains; no one walked the disused oxen paths of old. Desperate, Indy was forced to hire the services of Incontinental Air, whose 78-year-old blind pilot flew Indy over the wastelands in a Fokker Triplane. Due to a rapid descent -- the plane had disintegrated in mid-air -- Indy arrived quicker than expected in the promised land of Colorado! Yes, Colorado, a high mountain reserve seldom visited by civilized peoples, running with swift-flowing clear streams easily colored yellow and sold as beer.

Back in Merryland, the astronomers thought that their way of life had ended. "Don't worry," said Kansas Merle, "I'll bring him back." He fired up the powerful engine of the Starmobile and roared off after Indiana Mark. Using sophisticated gravitational-wave tracking gear, Merle was able to keep a lockon to Indy's luggage.

As soon as Indiana Mark landed, he was greeted by some friendly but backwoodsy natives, who he indoctrinated as porters. His porters told him of Colorado's largest depository of written commercially available knowledge, to whence they went. There Indy found the vital clues he had been looking for -- that the Ark had indeed landed in Colorado, not far from the Fountain of Youth and the Seven Cities of Gold!

Now it was time to form a grand expedition -- an expedition to the mysterious "Twin Owls", towering granite obelisks with sheer sides (5.5 - 5.12, depending on the route) carved out of the countryside by ancient astronauts or glaciers (one of the two). First the expedition had to be supplied with the normal equipment: climbing gear, snack food, emergency flares, and the like. Indy and his trusty Sherpa then climbed the seemingly unclimbable, braving 70 degree weather and an occasional mosquito. "Indy -- it looks dangerous", warned the Sherpa. "Don't worry," said Indy, "I've jammed my Nuts into the rocks and if I fall I'm expecting my Friends to catch me." The obelisks were no match for Indy's climbing skills and determination. Triumphantly he stood at the apex of the Twin Owls glaring down at the puny people below and gloating in the defeat of yet another obstacle. That really pissed off the Weather God.

Soon Indy realized that the only way down was through a long chimney. Long ago, when he was just a child, Mark, in a sudden fit of Christmas jollies, decided to make like Santa Claus and crawl down the family's chimney. Half way down he got stuck. His parents didn't notice for three days, at which time they lit a fire underneath him so the heat would expand the bricks and make it easier to get out.

<back to the movie> "Chimneys," Indy said in disgust. "I hate chimneys." He broke out into a cold sweat, which didn't make climbing any easier.

Needless to say, Indy made it out of that chimney, with a little help from his Sherpa's small campfire. But Indy was triumphant. "I have seen the mountain where the Ark must have landed!" But alas, the mountain was huge and there was no way to search its entire surface.

That night Indy saw lights in the northern sky. "Aurora", he called them, though Aurora is actually a suburb of Denver, which is to the south. "I shall strike off and find the source of these Northern Lights, and that will lead me to the Ark." He hired the services of a native Guide woman and headed west into the wilderness.

By this time the Nazis were on to Indy's plans to find the Ark, and they dispatched a platoon of Missouri drivers to track down and eliminate Indy and his lovely Guide. These evil schemers set up a trap on a narrow, twisting, one-lane road high in the mountains. Indy and his Guide were rounding a corner on this road when suddenly there appeared a sinister red minivan, barrelling right toward them. To the right, a wall of granite. To the left, a thousand-foot cliff!

"Aaaarrrraaaa," exclaimed Indy. "#@&!**!&," shouted the Guide. Tilting their car onto two wheels, the Guide steered the car around the minivan with inches to spare. "You didn't say we might run into Missouri drivers -- you're on your own from here," said the Guide as she threw Indy's belongings out of the car.

The wrinkled old map Indy had obtained at the mystic book store said that the mountains west of the Twin Owls contained clean alpine meadows and forests of pine and fir, but the map had been sold to Indy by a toothless old crone who also sold Snake Oil while reading the Tarot.

No, Indy had walked into the Lost Rain Forest of Colorado. "Rain?" Indy said in disgust. "I hate rain!" The Lost Rain Forest of Colorado is a dark forbidding place, filled with strange and dangerous creatures like giant mosquitoes and large humming insects that bear a resemblence to birds.

It was there that Indy was given the name, "Dances with Elk". It was there that he climbed scenic 13,500' Mount Ypsilon. Though the Ark wasn't there, he spotted a higher peak where it might be. He slid off scenic Mount Ypsilon with a full pack, sliding half a mile on evil-nasty talus and scree, no doubt planted in his way by the Nazis. It was there that the Weather God finally caught up to him.

"Boom!" said the Weather God. "Zap! Slush! Flump!"

"I HATE rain", said Indy. The Lost Rain Forest stomped Indy into a little slushy soaked cold archeologist/astronomer. At last he was forced to call his Guide and return to Base Camp.

"Obviously the Ark isn't in the Lost Rain Forest", said Indy with a shudder. "I'm at a loss, perhaps my quest has been in vain." The Sherpa and the Guide had never seen Indy so downhearted, and they were especially discouraged because they were hoping to get a ride on the Ark.

*********************** INTERMISSION *************************

It was just then, as all of Indy's belongings were gathered in one place to distort the Earth's gravitational field, that Kansas Merle arrived in the Starmobile. "Indy," he said, "you've been searching in the wrong place -- the Ark is in Boulder, where Mork used to live!" Off they went together in the Starmobile. Arriving 4.2 seconds later, they began a climb to the top of the tallest mountain, where the Ark was rumored to have landed. Within minutes the Weather God found them and stomped on them. Yes, the deluge had begun. Furthermore, the Ark was not to be found.

Later Indy spotted an obscure passage in an ancient tome. The language was difficult to decipher -- Indy thought it showed a path called "The Easy and Dry Path to the Top Where the Ark Is". (It really read "The Magical Chrome-Plated Semi-Automatic Enema Syringe" -- Indy wasn't that good at reading Aramaic.) Full of joy, Indy, Merle, and the Sherpa went to tackle the "Easy and Dry Path to the Top Where the Ark Is", but they were soon spotted by the Weather God and thoroughly stomped.

The next day, Indy, Merle and two Sherpas tackled the high peak that Indy had spotted from Mount Ypsilon. It was known as Long's Peak. The Sherpas spotted the Weather God coming in for an angry and lightning-filled stomping, so one of them turned back and the other ran ahead to try to catch the Merrylanders and warn them. They got stomped in a major way. On the way down they met a Nazi who was planning to blow up all the nuclear plants in order to save the baby seals. She promised Merle an address from which he could order his own bullwhip -- the Sherpas decided it would be better not to ask any questions.

By this time Indy stopped saying, "I hate rain," and started doing window shopping in scuba diving stores. But he was determined to continue his search for the Ark.

They returned to "The Easy and Dry Path to the Top Where the Ark Is", got stomped after a short time, and in their anger decided to rename the path the "The Magical Chrome-Plated Semi-Automatic Enema Syringe".

They travelled north to another potential Ark location, got stomped on; turned east to Devil's Tower (obviously a big mistake), got stomped on; thought they might escape the weather by climbing up Washington's nose at Mount Rushmore, but they got stomped on. Then they hit on a brilliant plan -- they hid in a cave for a day, which fooled the Weather God.

Convinced that the Ark must be on Long's Peak (and desperate because the flood waters had reached 7400'), Indy made another attempt at Long's. Merle loaded up the Starmobile and cruised east, trying to attract the the Weather God's attention. Little did he know he was cruising toward Missouri, home of the Nazi drivers. We can only hope he shows up in a sequel.

Distracted, the Weather God was too late to stop Indy. Indy made his way quickly up Long's Peak, avoiding the Nazis with sub-machine guns; finding a path through the Boulder Mine Field; and hiding from the tourist Boy Scouts. Eventually, he reached the pinnacle! At long last, success! Truimph! But soon his enthusiasm was quenched, because there was no Ark to be seen, not even a dinghy.

Dejected, Indy made his way down the mountain, but he soon met an Amazon Simian Woman, which picked up his spirits immensely since they could talk about top-roping, difficult maneuvers, and that sort of thing. Later they talked about climbing, too. As they neared the Base Camp, the Weather God found them and stomped them with glee. As the flood waters built, Indy saw a huge Ark float by, riding the crest of the building rain. The Ark slipped silently away, down the mountains, into the Platte, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers, finally into the Atlantic, eventually coming to rest on some mountain in Turkey.

"I hear they need rain in Ohio," said Indy, climbing into an Incontinental Airlines biplane. The ASW and the Sherpas waved goodbye, with tears in their eyes, "Goodbye, Indy, and good luck."

Would they ever see him again? Would the Nazis catch up with him? Would there be floods in Ohio? Wait for the sequel.


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