26 August 2012

winryweiss: (Default)
Fill for this prompt
part one part three
Warnings: Alternate Universe. Haddock/Tintin.

The Crab with the Mechanical Claws (part 2)

8th of July, 193-, Brussels
“We do not know anything useful.”
“To be precise, nothing we know is useful.”
The central office of Interpol in Brussels is located in modern, fully steam-powered district, in convenient proximity to the centre of city as well as to the main port.
“Oh, please.” Tintin shuts his notebook. “He couldn’t just disappeared into a thin air.”
“We are afraid that this is exactly what had happened.”
“To be precise, that is exactly why we are afraid.”
Both detectives sadly bow their head in fluid motion, as if they were one person. Tintin had to use all his self-control for not bursting into laugh, pretending that he polishes Milou’s ears so he could turn away. The famous detective duo is dressed, as always, in rather old-fashioned black suits, bowlers and canes. They have certain air of ridiculousness around themselves.
“But there is another interesting thing.”
“Yes, yes. We think that this thing will interest you, dear friend.”
“I’d rather find mister Crepsilon first.”
“That pickpocket wouldn’t run away.” Thomson rummages through various items and pieces of evidence on his table.
“I do not want to perturb you, but he already did.”
Thompson cast an emphatic look at the young reporter. “Ehm. This is more pressing issue. The ship leaves this evening.”
“Here!” Thomson finally founds what he was looking for. “Cargo steamboat ‘Karaboudjan’, long range tanker type 2, d.w.t. 120,000 tons, owned by ‘Salaad Transport Company’. Current captain is Archibald Haddock, former civil servant with no criminal records.” He walks to Tintin, placing the evidence to his hands. Ordinary can of crab meat.
“It just an ordinary can of crab meat.”
“Only for the first look.” Thompson says. “If you’ll open it …”
Tintin sighs, and gives up. It’s better to play along with those two. He squats down to Milou, holding the tin near its muzzle. “Tin-opener, please.” There are clicking and clanging sound when Milou opens its mouth, revealing a stick-ish gadget. The ginger reporter impales the tin on it unceremoniously and opens it with one skilled swift. “Great Snakes!”
The detectives look at each other with satisfaction.
“The meat is rotten.”
“I’m afraid, gentlemen, that your lunch is postponed.”
Both detectives tried to grab the can at the same time. They only ended up smacking each others hands. Then was expected glaring contest. And then came shouting. Tintin just stood there, waiting for a chance to shut them up. In all politeness, of course.
“Ehm. Would you mind?”
“Oh dear. I must have given you the other one.”
“That was absentminded from you. Here, boy, open this one.”
“Couldn’t you two just tell me what is going on?” Tintin automatically opens the other can, glancing on its content. And then staring with surprise. “Oh. Is that …?”
“Opium?” Thompson asks.
“Yes.” Thomson answers.
Tintin grins on the detective duo, his journalist instincts kicks out. “This is on ‘Karaboudjan’?”
“We think so.”
“To be precise, we think so.”

8th of July, 193-, Karaboudjan
Archibald Haddock observes the ceiling in his cell. Frankly speaking, he has nothing else to do. His own crew has locked him in this storage after they got entangled in international opium smuggling. He had found it completely by accident, two or three days ago. How could he be so blind? Yes, he was drunk, terribly drunk, but should at least noticed, that they built a secret room inside the main stockroom.
Aaargh. He rubs his eyes. He is in a fine mess. Did he run away from army just for this? To end up as slave somewhere in Africa? Oh, they surely want to convert him into cash, or else he would be long dead. Fish food. Plankton. Thundering Typhoons, why?
There is no way he could escape. This room is used as depository for potentially dangerous things, acids, explosives, this sort of nasty stuffs. So no portholes and perfectly secured door. Only the air-conditioning shaft above, but it is too narrow for him.
They are in Brussels now, if Allan didn’t change the planned course. This will be a perfect opportunity to escape, in this city is one of the Interpol headquarters after all. If only he could think up something. But nothing comes to his mind.
“Oh well,” he murmurs to himself, absent-mindedly caressing his scar through his thick blue sweater. “Perhaps some great idea from above will struck me soon.”

8th of July, 193-, Brussels
Main port is always drowned in thick fog. It is not so bad as in industrial factory district on suburb, thanks to the fresh breeze, which comes along the ‘Maritime Canal’. But it still has that unmistakable aftertaste of coal.
Tintin walks alongside Thompson and Thomson, holding Milou in his arms. His automaton dog has a distinctive habit to run around whenever it could, which is not safe in places where heavy steam-powered transport carts drives around, delivering the goods to and fro.
“Here we are, dock 24.”
Tintin looks up and breathes sharply out in surprise. He could not see whole ship, but not because of smog.
“That is ‘Karaboudjan’?”
“You could see the name on her prow.” Comes reply from above. A man appears on gangplank. “I believe that you are the detectives. Board in.”
“Thanks for such a hearty welcome, sir.” The detective duo arrives on deck surprisingly without accident. “Hearty thanks for such a welcome. I’m detective Thompson.” “I’m detective Thomson.”
“And this is our apprentice, Tintin.” Say the detectives as one man.
Tintin puts Milou on deck and shakes hand with the sailor, instinctively suspicious of that man.
“Name’s Allan. I’m first mate. I’ll guide you through ship.”
“We thought that we will meet directly with captain Haddock.”
“He is slightly” Allan gestures drinking “indisposed.”
“Oh.” Says Thompson.
“We see.” Says Thomson.
Such an irresponsible drunkard thinks Tintin.
“This way, gentlemen.”
Allan leads them to the steel innards of the ship. When they reach one of inner rusty staircase, he mumbles the warning : “Watch your steps.”
Tintin, as in premonition, steps backwards. Both canes flies high in the air. While both detectives plunks down from the stairs. The ginger journalist reach up, catching the canes. Allan just standing there, mouth open with surprise.
“D…Detectives?” Tintin leans over banister.
“We’re fine.” Come distinct, if slightly beaten reply from downstairs.
Milou shakes his head-piece from side to side and the clang it makes sounds almost like an amused bark.

Author’s notes
Here we go again. ^^
x Thompson and Thomson are surprisingly fun to write. In my head, they are French and actually great, if clumsy, detectives who had earned their reputation by hard way. They are little old-fashioned, particularly in fashion, and sometimes rather slow-thinking, but with bulldog's stubbornness.
x Mr. Crepsilon is Czech (my native language) variation of Mr. Silk's (the pickpocket from 'Unicorn' adventure) name.
x ‘Salaad Transport Company’ is named after main antagonist in original 'Crab' - Omar Ben Salaad.
x Is there any difference in words "tin" and "can"? I hope not.
x This is the reason why I turned Snowy Milou into automaton. He has a lots of surprises in his ... inside.
x Captain's scar. Now, you are interested, right? Hehe. Just wait.
x “Perhaps some great idea from above will struck me soon.” Oh, Captain. It wouldn't be just idea. It will be your destiny.
x I have never been in Brussels. So I looked into map of it to get the right picture. And realized that what I thought was a river is actually a water-canal. Life is full of surprises.
x Why does Thom(p)sons introduced Tintin as their apprentice? Partially because he sort of is, but mainly because all three of them had learned that "We are detectives and he is journalist, who we brought along just for sure." is not the best way to introduce themselves to possible villains.
x Tintin does not like alcohol. And alcoholics. And irresponsibe people. Hence his thoughts.
x It might seem that I don't continue with the Professor's mysterious parcel storyline, but it is not truth, Tintin just got his nose to something else which will temporally delay him.


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