Manhunt: The Motivation
By Ron Capshaw
About the AuthorIn the spirit of Doc Savage comes Jonathan Silver, aka the Ghost. Born to be a hero, he battled fascism in Weimar Germany...but no battle could prepare him for the terrible secret of his own origin...
Manhunter nabs spyring (August 23) Today, a spy ring operating on behalf of Mussolini was exposed by Jonathan Silver, better known as the "Ghost," a name bequeathed to him by the underworld. Silver singlehandedly arrested the group operating out of the Italian embassy. Asked for a comment, Mussolini stated, "That American society permits vigilante action by the likes of the Ghost is further proof of democracy's degeneracy."
Dutch: Why the anger, Jonathan? There is a lot of evil in the world? It is just a government.
The Ghost: It is more than a government. It strikes us where we live.
>From "Hell in Guatamala," Adventure 26 of the Ghost Magazine (April 1937): "Silver was raised for his adventurous life by his father for reasons he never knew."
>From A Life of Adventure by Dante Lewinsky: "Jonathan said he never had a normal boyhood."
"What?!! What do you mean run-away? What do you think I pay you people for?"
So far so good, the youth thought. Anais-gun is not a jungle-bred fool. I am two feet from the guard and he has yet to spot me.
Silver watched the man, who was no doubt a veteran of the Great War bored with civilian life and horrified by the democracy his country had become.
Silver decided to blink and let the guard see him.
"Was?" the man said, reaching for his pistol. Silver decided to let him at least draw it before he chopped him in the nerve cluster.
Silver placed the unconscious guard in the trashcan by the entrance. Appropriate, he thought.
Once inside the basement, he tried to mingle with the audience. Silver had never seen so much unwashed khaki in his life.
Just an announcement, he reminded himself, no captures. Just let them know I exist before they try anything extra-legal again.
The speakers were assembled on stage. The fat one was the air ace. The skinny one was the Don Juan and self-proclaimed intellectual of the group.
Take it slow, Jonathan, he told himself. Remember the lessons of Mr. Mycroft. Never begin an action without at least three escape options.
He felt for his forged passport, his Spanish seaman's papers, and the disguise kit. He took a deep breath and then snapped his fingers.
The first explosion took out most of the ceiling. 25 people began coughing and rubbing their eyes through plaster mist. The second took apart the podium. The fat one was on the ground feeling for splinters. Silver raced to the podium screaming "Saboteur!"
He grabbed Don Juan, telling him he had a car to get him to safety. The doctor bought it and went with him.
Silver waited until they were on the road to make the announcement.
"You claim you're intelligent, so I'll give this to you thesis-sentence style."
The doctor turned pale. "You're American?"
"Up to now, you boys have had control of the streets. I know the police look the other way when you send a Jew through a store front window. But that is over. It ends tonight."
"Who are you?"
"Your stab in the back." Silver took off the wig, exposing his white hair.
"Mein Gott. Loder."
"What?" Silver was on the verge of punching the good doctor and then dumping him out of the car. "What did you say?"
"No, you are too young to be him. So the experiment worked, but the sentiments have gone awry. Pity. I guess environment does matter."
"What are you talking about?"
"You don't know, do you?"
Silver slammed on the brakes and drove the palm of his hand into the doctor's chest. "While you're gasping for air, think about the 123 other places I can hit. Tell me who this Loder is."
"Loder. Steiner Loder. Viking Society. Your mirror-image."
Footsteps were approaching -- booted ones. Silver punched the doctor unconscious just as the brownshirts were at the car. Silver opened the door into the first one. He got out of the car to confront the second one, an older man.
"Loder?" the older one said.
Silver took his legs out from under him. A third one tried to hit him over the head with a blackjack. Silver blocked and broke the man's arm in the same gesture.
He stood over the older
man, who lay on the ground, and said, "Loder's gone
over to the jews" and vanished into the night...
The tutors wouldn't or couldn't tell him anything. But he knew someone who would.
Mr. Mycroft had changed little. He was still obese and house-bound, although now he had the excuse of old age.
"My boy, how are you? Come in and have some tea."
"No thank you, sir. Experiments tell me caffeine is only a temporary brain stimulant."
"Cocaine is worse. Never try it, my boy. It is over-rated. Let's see, the last time I saw you was --"
"Of course. But you aren't here to relive school."
"Observant as always." He outlined what happened in Berlin to the old man.
"The Viking Society was basically a precursor to the Brown shirts. Loder, I believe, was their token professor. He dropped out of sight before the war. Never photographed. Why do you ask?"
"He's my latest project."
"Has your father decided to unleash you on the world?"
"No. Dad still wants me cocooned."
"He knows best, my boy."
Annual report to
Dr. Malcolm Silver -- May 3, 1911. Subject already can read
The safe was ridiculously easy to crack, but it took him some time to find the diary in the sheaf of paper.
May 12, 1908 -- "It can be done. But I must show that it is not the environment but the genetics. I am leaving to prove it."
June 1909 -- "Found the perfect receptical for the seed. She knows nothing; she is merely an incubator. To prove my theory of genetics over environment, I am selecting a birthplace filled with racial filth."
The old man looked unhappily out from beneath the brim of his pith helmet at Silver.
"Jonathan, you are not to leave again. You have an obligation not to put yourself in danger until the appointed time."
"When is the appointed time, dad?"
"Oh, events are moving in a way fortuitous to your introduction into the world."
"But the world is a political place, father. It seems that I am only half-prepared. Your standing order to all of my tutors has always been never to discuss politics with me. Why?"
"Politics is inborn. I wanted to see what political ideas would germinate in you on their own, unaided.
"Oh, they have. I guess you could blame it on the vegetarian diet, the lack of sausage, of manly meat..."
The father looked up from the lab table.
"...I've become quite
the optimist," the boy continued. "I don't think that
Mankind is degenerating, despite its last military outing. War has its
purposes. It reminds Man of what he must reject. After all, we're really
all the same -- black, white, brown. Why should we fight each other?"
The old man paled; his skin matched his hair. "You know."
"Oh yes, dad. Everything. I always wondered why I was kept in a cocoon. All the athletics, the emphasis on combat, clean-living. Surrounded only by men. You wanted a warrior so bad, you even let inferior races train me. Remember Lho-Han? He didn't meet your racial qualifications, but he knew unarmed combat, so I guess we could be pragmatic."
"Son, you're needed. The world is decaying. You have a noble heritage. Your ancestors were Vikings. Do you want your children surrounded by garbage? That will be the future if you don't change it."
"No?!! You owe it to me! I have given you everything!! Your very superiority you owe to me!!"
"You're wrong about
my heritage. I've done my own investigating. You may
be surprised. Mom apparently did not tell you everything. A drawback of the separate sphere, I suppose."
He left the old man with the diary -- the diary telling of the woman's affair with the Jewish artist, of how she must never tell the doctor, of how the doctor must think he is the boy's father.
He didn't have to go back to know what happened when the pistol fired.
It was your own fault, dad. You assigned the forgery tutor to me.
Table of Contents
Manhunt: The Motivation is copyright Ron Capshaw. It may not be copied or used for any
commercial purpose except for short excerpts used for reviews. (Obviously,
you can copy it or print it out if you want to read it!)