Part 3: Pueblo
Everything Gets Serious
The Hydrafloat had dumped me at the mouth of the Amerzone river.
Click to watch the sailing fun!
That fuel pump was encouraging. Slightly more encouraging was the old fort just up the path - this was the first sign of civilization I'd seen in nearly a week.
Grouchy fishermen notwithstanding.
Unfortunately the gate was locked.
I'd noticed a chapel down a side path. I decided to see if anyone was home.
There was an old priest standing next to a well-tended grave.
"Um, excuse me," I ventured.
The priest turned to face me, a tired, beatific smile on his face. "Yes, my son? How may I help you?"
I fell silent. This man was far older than the pictures, naturally, but I recognized him instantly. "Father David Mackowski?"
"Yes," the old man said, his eyes widening slightly. "Yes, that is my name. Although some days I feel less deserving of the title."
I mulled that over for a second. Mackowski continued with a gentle smile that belied a hint of irony. "I have tended to this Mission for some years now. It really doesn't matter. What brings you here, so far from your home, to this blighted nation?"
I took a deep breath, and told him my story.
Click to hear just what he thinks of that.
"She was only twenty-one..." I said sadly. Mackowski nodded, and without a further word I headed back to the fort.
The fort had certainly seen better days. I wondered if anyone still lived here.
At least I had some idea of where I was. Should be easy enough to follow the river in the Hydrafloat.
Unfortunately, it turned out Pueblo wasn't nearly as deserted as I thought.
Click to - *THUNK*
I had no idea what time it was when I came to. All I could see out the window was jungle. Inside, there was a 10 foot by 10 foot space bordered by rough brick, and a cup sitting on the least comfortable bench in the world.
At least the guard had left me my backpack - nothing in there but paper.
I decided to read Valembois' journal while I formulated a plan.
25 December, 1932
We set foot on the shores of the Amerzone...
As far as the eye can see, the delta of the Amerzone River.
I saw a couple of those alligators as I sailed up to the fort. This trip has certainly been educational.
The village is built on an old fort that was formerly used as a trading post by the conquistadores. The only means of transport is an old railway line...
This village is a flourishing marketplace for all the populations of the region.
I really liked that sketch. Although, it heightened the impact of fifty years of brutal dictatorship. I wondered what had happened to twist Alvarez so badly.
The symbol of La Republica Amerzona.
Interesting. An indiginous bug used by the natives as a sleeping aid. I wondered if that information would prove useful. (It would)
Pueblo, 1st January, 1933
Last night, a man told me about some strange white birds. He has agreed to guide us up the river.
He is of mixed blood and lives in the jungle, ten days from Pueblo by canoe...
A shabby hut on the riverbank...
Farewell to Mackowski and Alvarez...
So Valembois left his friends behind at this point. I guess both he and I would be going it alone from here... if I ever got out of this cell.
I saw a bottle of tequila through a hole in the door. Who trained this guard?
I had to act fast. Luckily, one of those Amerzonian sleeping bugs was resting on the wall of my cell. I collected some of its secretions (terror piss? I don't know.) in my cup.
I poured it into the tequila, and waited.
Almost too easy. I grabbed the key and made my escape.
No time to spare. I stole a can of gas and a length of rope from the guard's jeep while he was out cold. I thought I'd better make my escape, and fast.
"Blast!" The town gate was locked. I needed to find another way out.
Suddenly, I heard someone inside the tavern.
There was a guard, sitting at the bar, taking long drinks from a bottle of tequila. Looked like the one who knocked me out.
Gently, I hefted the gas can. It felt heavy enough to do some damage, if it came to that.
"You there," he said, without turning. I tensed, but the guard suddenly broke down into deep, wracking sobs.
Click to listen to the crybaby
I grabbed the guard by the shoulder. "What was that about the priest? What did you do? What did you do, bastard!?"
No response. He had passed out.
"God damn it, Mackowski, where are you?"
I ran into the town square. Directly across from the bar was the church. The door was locked. Frantically, I cast around for an idea. Any idea.
My gaze fell on the town well. It looked strong enough to hold my weight - it would have to. I tied the rope to the crossbar as best as I could, and lowered myself down.
Luckily, there was a passage leading in the direction of the church.
The stairs led to a door hidden in the bench of one of the confessionals.
Turning to look down the nave, I saw Father Mackowski slumped in one of the pews.
"Father, what happened? Let me help you. I'll get you to the plane - we can find a hospital!"
He coughed and turned his head weakly. "No, no, it's... *cough* it's far too late. Listen... and may God forgive me..."
Click to hear a dying man's final words.
So far, two old men had died right in front of me on this trip. I'd need to hurry, or I'd join them.
I noticed a diskette much like the other two I'd seen, locked away in the Tabernacle.
Idly, I flipped through the brass-bound bible on the lectern - not through any sense of religious devotion. My hands were on autopilot as I weighed my options.
Imagine that - the marked page hid a brass key.
Inside was a diskette, and a letter to Mackowski.
Diocese of Amerzone
Reverend Father Mackowski
July 25, 1934
Yesterday, I received your letter dated 10th December... I suppose it must have got here by mule through the jungle... Undoubtedly, this country needs to be developed and I pray God to help the new President Alvarez, who, I was told, is one of your friends.
I was told that this man has a stern conception that comes from authority and power, which he well intends to use in order to bring the Amerzone "manu militari" to the
shores of modernity. The ways of the Lord, we know my son, are impenetrable. So we must believe that it was not without reason that the Lord has laid his hand on your friend Alvarez, so that he may lift this country out of the mud in which it has been wallowing for too long.
We will help him of course, in our own way, by going steadfastly on with our evangelising and civilising mission among the primitive Indians across the jungle and the mountains.
On this subject, I exhort you, my son, to fight with the greatest determination the pagan beliefs that have cluttered the minds of these savages. These pure mytholoigical fabrications about these unlikely white birds and their accompanying rites only help to keep the natives from the ways of the Lord. I believe that this gentleman Valembois does
us a great disservice by attaching such importance to this legend. You would be well advised, my son, to stay away from this man who, I am sure, won't fail to be the laughingstock of the scientific community on his return to Europe.
I bless you my son,
Bishop of Amerzone
Interesting. This shed a lot of light on the way things worked in the Amerzone. I guess Alvarez felt that legend and superstition were counterproductive to the future of his precious nation.
How right the Bishop was, though - Valembois' final letter said he was laughed out of the scientific community.
But the diskette... that must contain the directions for the next leg of my journey. I had everything I needed to get the hell out of this town before I took up permanent residence.
I thought it best that I didn't leave through the front door of the church. The guards might have woken up in a bad mood. Back down the stairs behind the confessional.
I noticed a sword leaning against the wall. I didn't know how to use it, but it could come in handy in a pinch.
Further down the hall I heard gruff voices barking at each other in Spanish from up above. Shit, can't clamber up the rope.
The sword fit perfectly in the statue's hand. I gave it a pull, and to my surprise the hand moved. I heard the grinding of a latch behind me.
That had apparently unlocked the portcullis. The counterweighted mechanism lifted easily, opening the passage beyond.
It led to a door that opened onto the graveyard where I'd met Mackowski for the first time.
I dashed down the path to the dock, keeping to the bushes with one eye over my shoulder.
I topped up the fuel tank, careful not to splash any on my precious cargo - if Alvarez' goons were willing to kill to keep it from reaching its destination, maybe there was something to this legend after all.
I slotted the diskette. Sailing would be too slow - time to use some power. Turns out "Glider" basically means "fan boat". Kick ass.
Click to watch the ending cutscene of Chapter 3
Out of fuel again. Where had I ended up this time?
Next time: The River!