"Everything is in order," Valentis says, glancing as his bride-to-be and nodding at the other man before him.
"All except one thing," Harrison answers. "There's something you should know before you leave."
Valentis holds up a hand. "Mr. Jones, I don't ask that you explain anything."
Harrison shakes his head. "I'm going to anyway because it may make a difference to you later on. You said you knew about Dece and me."
"What you didn't know was that she was at my place last night when you were. She came there for the papers. Isn't that true, Dece?"
Decedereful lowers her head. "Yes."
Harrison continues, "She tried everything to get them and nothing worked. She did her best to convince me she was still in love with me, but that was over long ago. For your sake, she pretended it wasn't, and I let her pretend."
Valentis nods solemnly, "I understand."
Harrison produces the papers from inside of his jacket, and hands them both over to the Gilnean. "Here they are."
Valentis clasps the other man on the shoulder. "Thanks. I appreciate it. Welcome back to the fight. This time I know our side will win."
Behind them, the Gnomish airplane engines rev up. Valentis turns to Decedereful. "Are you ready, Dece?"
The young woman nods. "Yes, I'm ready. Good-bye, Harrison. Light bless you."
Harrison tips his trademark fedora. "You better hurry. You'll miss that plane."
He watches wistfully as Valentis helps Decedereful up into the plane. The engines sputter and the vehicle begins to roll. The bright stars, the moon, and Captain Renault are the only witnesses as it launches into the calm Ramkahen skies, dark smoke trailing behind it.
Harrison turns back to Renault and walks over. He helps his friend to his feet. Behind them, they here the muffled clop of camels hooves. Harrison moves behind the Captain, gun still in hand.
"Vhat is zhe meaning of zhis? Vhat vas on zhat plane?" Major Strasser barks.
Renault points up at the sky. "Valentis was on that plane."
"Vhy do you stand here? Vhy did you not stop him?"
Strasser pulls a device out of his pocket. It is a communication box, used to contact his Schnottzy allies. Seeing it, Harrison points his gun at the Goblin.
"Put that down, Strasser."
"I vhould adwise you not to interfere," Strasser says, pressing the buttons on the device anyway.
"I was willing to shoot Captain Renault and I'm willing to shoot you," Harrison warns.
"Hallo?" Strasser says into the device.
"Put that communicator down."
"Get me zhe airstrip."
"Put it down!"
The Goblin draws a gun of his own. Two shots shatter out across the silent desert, echoing into infinity. After a moment, Strasser falls to the ground, dead. Harrison glances over at his friend, and then replaces the gun into his jacket.
They stand in silence for a few moments before several other camels ride up. Renault's policemen are perched on their backs. The commotion of the evening has not gone unnoticed.
Renault looks down at the body. "Major Strasser's been shot."
The Captain looks over at Harrison. Harrison returns a level stare, revealing nothing.
"Round up the usual suspects," Renault orders.
The policemen pick up the Major's body and leave. Renault turns to Harrison, who is smiling now. The Captain returns the grin.
"Louie," Harrison says, placing an arm on the man's shoulder, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
* * *
Note from the Author - In case you hadn't noticed, the thread over the past few months with these characters has been a parody of the classic movie Casablanca. I thought it would be fun to write and I love the movie. Plus, I think there's something hilarious about taking an Indiana Jones parody and parodying Humphrey Bogart with the famous "Here's looking at you, kid" line. I'm sure I'm the only one. So, I know it wasn't my usual fare, perhaps a little more serious/dramatic, but it was a lot of fun to write. I'll go back to the more traditional humorous narrative threads now, if I can find them. Feel free to offer suggestions, and thanks for reading!