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Five Weeks Over Africa

Title: Five Weeks Over Africa
Author: NubianGeek


    Phileas Fogg reclined peacefully at the Gentlemen's Club.  He enjoyed coming there,  but he wanted to be left alone.
    As he sat there enjoying his brandy,  Phileas' eyes drifted to the doorway.  Walter Andrews, who was the president of the Royal Geographic Society, was standing there with his eyes surveying the room until they rested on Phileas.  There was no where to run and no where to hide.  Andrews was heading straight for him.
    "Fogg,  fancy meeting you here.  Are you still flying in your little toy air ship?"  Phileas felt himself getting angry.  He always hated this man.
    "It is not a toy, sir,  it is a quite worthy craft.  Would you care to go for a spin?"
    They were flying through a mountainous region at Phileas' request.  Phileas had also instructed Passepartout to give Mr. Andrews quite a show.  Passepartout understood and began weaving in and out among the precarious peaks.  Phileas sat perfectly motionless in the careening craft,  quietly sipping his brandy while Walter Andrews was a horrendous shade of green.
    When they landed, Phileas asked Andrews how he enjoyed the ride.
    "You bastard."  Phileas was enjoying this way too much.
    "My little toy craft kept you alive Andrews."
    "You think you're so smug, Fogg.  Why don't we make a little wager.  You don't use you're flying machine for anything useful.  Why don't you use it to explore Africa?"  Phileas brightened and flashed a smile.
    "That sounds like quite an adventure - that I'd like to endeavor."
    Andrews,  who had not expected him to take the wager,  looked beaten.
    So, a wager was made and the course was set.  Their first stop would be Zanzibar where they would pick up young Jules Verne.  When they arrived,  Passepartout was sent to pick up Verne while the rest of the party went to the British consulate.
     As Verne arrived in the marketplace,  he saw the slave traders selling their slaves.  He felt disgust as he watched the sullen looks on the faces of the people being sold.  The whole scene was very distasteful to him.  He saw a young woman being paraded around on the slave block,  and it made him sick.  When the woman began to protest and fight, he didn't know what got into him.  He ran up onto the block,  grabbed the girl who looked upon him as her savior, and ran for his life.
    Of course,  the slave traders were not very happy about this latest turn of events and so the crowd turned into a very unfriendly mob.
    Jules was still pondering his reasons for having done this seemingly horrendous deed as they ran from the marketplace.
In his flight, he ran right into Passepartout who had been sent to find him as well as get supplies.
    As they stood there talking,  Jules barely got the explanation out before Passepartout saw the angry mob approaching them from the rear and turned to run himself.
    They ran straight for the British consulate where Phileas and the others had already arrived.  They were surprised by the news that Phileas had to tell them.
    It seems that the Prime Minister was there with word sent by Queen Victoria herself.
    "There are slave traders that are trying to lay claim to Western Africa.  If they reach that area first,  they will be in control throughout that region and will perpetuate the hideous activity of slavery.  The Queen would like for you to beat them to the area and plant the Union Jack."  Phileas,  who was not one for loyalty to one's country of Queen, pondered the question intently.  The Queen's errand did not interfere with his wager with Andrews.
    "How close are the slavers to reaching The Niger?"  He asked as he looked at the map.  The Prime Minister showed him the route on the map.
    "They are about six weeks from the river."  Phileas contemplated once again.
    "Then I shall have to reach the river in five weeks."  Phileas declared.
    At that moment, they heard a great commotion coming from outside.  It was the angry mob.  They had tracked them to the British consulate.
    "You and your party had better leave through the rear entrance."
    Phileas looked up to see Passepartout, Jules and a native girl standing there.  He only had a split second to realize that they must have done something to cause to cause the angry mob to come after them.  He could only guess.
    When they reached the Aurora,  Phileas had an opportunity to ask about the girl.
    "I sort of rescued her from the slave traders."  Jules admitted.
    Phileas,  who was not politically for or against slavery, spoke up.
    "You must return her at once.  We will have all of Zanzibar down upon us."  He was definitely angry,  but the woman was even angrier.
    "Who will take Macua?"  she asked of the gentlemen and eyed Rebecca suspiciously.
    "Excuse me,  what's that you say?"  Phileas was surprised that she could speak English and that she spoke so freely.
    "I say,  who own Macua now?"  She again looked from one gentleman to another.
    "Young lady,  owning people is a most distasteful business.  That's precisely why I rescued. . ."
     The woman then directed her attention to Jules.
    "So, you save Macua, you own now."  The others looked somewhat amused.
    "Uh, no, I'm afraid I don't own you."  She went from one gentleman to the next asking if they were her new owner.  Each of them declined.
    "Fine.  Macua will be on her own then."  She turned as if to walk away.  The others made ready to load the Aurora.
    "Young Verne,  you cannot go around simply freeing everyone in sight.  We are strangers here.  We don't know how things work here."  In the middle of Phileas' scolding,  the mob again made it's appearance.  The adventurers hurried to get the rest of the supplies stowed and then prepared to leave.
    They had fair weather from Zanzibar to Ethiopia.  In Ethiopia, they weighed anchor.  
    Passepartout served dinner under the stars.  There was a table and real china,  linen napkins and candles.  Phileas wanted things to be as civilized as possible.
    They sat enjoying their meal as Passepartout served. As they spoke of the upcoming mission, no one noticed when Phileas' chicken suddenly disappeared.
    "Verne,  if you had wanted another piece of chicken,  I'm sure Passepartout would oblige.  There is plenty you know."  
    Jules had no idea what Phileas was talking about and didn't exactly know what to say.  Passepartout came and served Phileas another piece of chicken.
    Rebecca was now speaking to Jules and no one noticed when his wine glass was emptied and replaced.
     "Don't you think you're drinking a little too much, Jules?" Rebecca teased.
      "What? Oh, but I haven't had any."  They all saw the hand that reached up and took the chicken from Jules' plate.
    "Gotcha."  he said as he grabbed the arm.  It was Macua.
    They all looked at her angrily.
     "Macua decide to be on her own with you."  she stated cautiously.
    "Well,  we can't leave her here in the middle of the jungle."  Rebecca said sensibly.
    So, it was decided.  Macua would come with them.
    Suddenly,  the heard a crashing sound in the bushes.  Immediately, weapons were drawn and the adventuring party waited to see who was about to attack them.  It was a chimpanzee.
    It was rather ridiculous seeing all of them armed to the teeth with the baby chimp running helplessly around the camp.  Rebecca giggled at the sight.
     The chimp ran straight to Passepartout who went off in search of bananas.
    Later that night,  after everyone was in bed,  Passepartout was having coffee by the fire.  It was this time that he had to himself that he enjoyed the most.
    "Excuse, can Macua sit?"
    Passepartout looked up to find the beautiful Nubian standing above him and offered her a seat.  She took it.
     "So, why you no want to own Macua?"  She asked pointedly.  Passepartout was a little embarrassed by her direct manner,  tried to answer.
    "Well,  mademoiselle, it is not done.  We have different way." Macua seemed interested.
    "How is it different?  You no buy your women?"  Macua was very serious in asking this question.
    "No, no we don't buy . . .well there's the presents occasional . . . but buy,  no, no . . ."  The part about buying presents proved to confuse Macua even more.
    "If you no buy and own,  what do man and woman do to show they belong?"  Passepartout realized that he was way out of his league here.
    "Mademoiselle, it is not so.  They marry. . . man and woman marry."
    Macua nodded.  She understood this part.
    "Yes,  but what do they have to show that he own her?"  Passepartout was again trying to explain that the man does not own the woman.
    "They have a marriage license."  Passepartout though that he had explained it sufficiently.
    "How much does license cost?"  Passepartout looked at her as if he had not heard her right.
    "Cost? Uh, - a few pounds . . .  I don't know."  Macua looked very self-satisfied.
    "Hah! I go for thousands of your English pounds."  Passepartout was now very confused.
    "I tell you what,  you buy this license and I will forget the rest of the money."  Passepartout felt as if he had been bamboozled,  but he didn't know how.
    "I go to bed now,  you think about my offer."  She started to walk away, thought better of it and turned back to kiss him solidly on the lips.
    "That give you something to look forward for."  She said and walked away.  Passepartout thought that maybe it wouldn't be too bad.
    Passepartout took his new buddy the chimp, whom he had started calling Bon Bon,  on guard duty.   Passepartout let Bon Bon carry the rifle.  Suddenly,  it began to rain.
    "Come my little friend, we must be packing up."  Passepartout began packing up their things as the rain turned into a full-blown storm.  Phileas came out to check on things.
    "Passepartout,  as soon as we're packed up we need to take the Aurora up above the storm."  Passepartout acknowledged this and continued to pack.
    "Is everything alright?"  Rebecca wanted to know.
    "Yes, Yes.  We're going to take the Aurora up."
    At that moment, Jules and Macua came out and they all started helping Passepartout pack.  In just a few minutes, everything was packed and they were lifting off.  They left just in time.  The ground beneath them was about to flood.
          The Aurora got away with no problems as she lifted high above the clouds.  Passepartout consulted the map as he continued them on their journey.  He smiled as Macua came up behind him and put her arms around him.
    "We'll need to land soon.  Passepartout, check the map for a suitable place."  said Jules,  who was now flying the Aurora.
    "We are coming to the city of Kazu."  
    It was decided.  They would land at the city of Kazu.
    As the Aurora landed, a crowd of curious onlookers began to gather.  The band of adventurers were used to crowds like this.
    But, this group of onlookers were bowing.
     "What are they doing?"  Rebecca asked curiously.
    "They are bowing - to Master Jules.'  Everyone looked from the crowd back to Jules.  They were indeed bowing to Verne.
    One of the villagers came forward and began speaking.  Unlike Macua,  these natives could not speak English.  They were, however, very surprised when Macua began to translate.
    "You no tell Macua that you are Moon god."  She was eyeing Verne very suspiciously.
    "I not - I'm not the Moon god."  Macua looked afraid.
    "That is quite a shame.  They think that you are Moon god because of the necklace and because you fly through sky."  Jules again prepared to deny knowing anything about before mentioned Moon god.  Macua stopped him.
    "It's a shame cause if you not Moon god,  they will kill you."
    Jules looked afraid.
    "What?  I haven't done anything."
    "Well,  you are wearing the necklace o the Moon god.  Where you get necklace if you no Moon god?"  Macua was again in his face looking at him closely.
    "I bought it in the marketplace where I found you."
    Macua wore an statement that meant, 'Oh."
    another villager approached Jules and began speaking frantically.
    "What is he saying,  Macua?"  Phileas asked.
   "They want Moon god to come and heal their king.  What you say Moon god?"  Jules was still nervous.
    "Well, let's at least go and see what's wrong with their king.  Rebecca said as she tried desperately not to laugh.
    The group followed the man into what looked like a throne room.  There,  on a pile of pillows,  sat what they assumed to be the king.  He was looking somewhat less than royal.  As they approached him,  they detected the distinct odor of alcohol.
    "My word,  the king is smashed!"  Phileas declared.  The king was, indeed, out cold.
    "Here is smelling sauce,  Moon god."  Passepartout handed Jules a vile of smelling salts.  Was it Jules' imagination,  or did Passepartout sound like Macua?
    Jules placed the smelling salts under the king's nose.  He revived immediately.  (Although,  he was still quite snookered.)
    The adventurers were invited to stay for dinner.  (They were quite relieved that they were not the dinner.)
    the food was exquisite.  There was music and dancing.  The adventurers were having a wonderful time.
    The king seemed to be showcasing different performers from dancers to fire swallowers.  The final act was not really an act;  it was a woman - a white woman.
    Phileas stood in protest.  This woman was obviously being held prisoner.  Macua spoke softly to Phileas.
    "Sir,  if you protest,  we could be in danger."  Phileas slowly sat back down.
    The king was obviously proud of his 'catch'.  Macua leaned over and whispered to Passepartout.
    "It awfully funny he not get worked up when Macua sold as slave."
    Passepartout hated to admit it,  but it was true.
    Suddenly,  there was a great commotion.  The villagers were talking excitedly among themselves and pointing toward the night sky.
   "Oh no."  Macua whispered.
   Then the king stood to his feet and began yelling at Jules.
    "What?  What is he saying?"  Macua rose slowly to leave pulling Passepartout with her.
    "I think that we should go now.  The king has realized that the moon is rising.  Can't have two moons out,  can we?"
    The others took Macua's lead and they each stood slowly and headed for the door.
    "I'm not going to leave without her."  Phileas declared as he made his way to the platform.  This new development gave the others the distraction they needed to leave.  Phileas was on his own.
    Passepartout and Macua were the first to arrive at the Aurora and they prepared for departure.  Rebecca and Jules arrived next.
    They could all hear the crowd of villagers approaching.
   "Where are they?"  Macua asked impatiently.
    "We're not leaving without Fogg"  Jules declared.
    As if on cue Phileas and the girl came into view.
    "Let's get out of here!"  He yelled as they clambered into the Aurora.
    As the adventurers continued their journey, Phileas decided to find out some things about their mystery guest.
    "I was kidnaped from a missionary compound. I've been here for several months.  I didn't  think that I would ever get out you're the first white people I've seen in months."  Nothing she could say could express how Emily Childs felt about he rescue or the rescuer.
    Her admiration was not lost on the tall,  good looking Englishman.  Phileas found himself quite smitten as well.
   As they neared their destination,  the Niger River, the two ladies became interested in just what they would do when they got there.
    "We're going to plant the British flag and claim the area for England."  Macaw was shocked.
"But, what about people who live there.  Why they not own area.  Why should anyone own area?"  Emily tried to quiet the girl.  She had learned in her short years not to meddle in the affairs of men,  but this girl was too outspoken for her own good.
    "If I don't claim the area for England then the slave traders will claim it."  Macaw knew that this was not a good idea.
    "Well, what is a little going to do to stop the slave traders?"  Macaw asked.
     "It is not my concern.  I was told to plant the flag.  What happens after that is not my concern."
    Emily looked at him with distaste.
    "Surely you don't mean that."  Phileas tried to modify his previous statement.
    "Well, her majesty is sending troops to hold the area,  but they couldn't get there in time.  That's why they sent me."  Macua was still not satisfied,  but she held her tongue - for now.
    As they reached the Niger River.  They looked for signs of the opposition.
    "We'll camp here for the night.  Passepartout, you have the first watch."
    After about an hour on the ground, Emily came to Phileas with horrible news.
     "Macua is missing."  Passepartout and Jules made a thorough search of the Aurora.
    "She's right.  Macua is gone."  Passepartout was frantic.
    "We need to search for her."  He made ready to go out and search for her himself.  Rebecca went to calm him.
    "Passepartout,  she looks as if she left on her own."  Passepartout stopped as he realized this .  He was definitely upset.  
    Passepartout stood at the railing of the Aurora looking out into the darkness.  He had come to care for this outspoken young woman.  Rebecca,  who felt sorry for the Frenchman,  stood silently at his side.
    They were both shocked to see Macua walking out of the night.  She was not alone.
     "Mon Dieu!"
     "Uh, Phileas."
     They watched as Macua and several natives came out of the bush.  Phileas had the weapons ready.
   "Wait a minute.  Let's see what they want."  Rebecca said to Phileas.
    Macua stepped forward to explain to them what she had done.
    "They have come to defend the land.  This is their land. They want to defend ."
    Phileas understood now where this was going.
    "Did you explain to them about the British soldiers coming?  I for them to do battle with them."  Macua nodded.
    "I explain.  They only fight to keep the slavers away."
    Passepartout smiled.  He was very proud of Macua.
    That night,  when everyone else was in bed,  Macua spoke to Passepartout.
    "Macua only have one regret."  She watched Passepartout's face as she spoke.
    "I stay here with them.  I want to help."
    Passepartout's eyes filled with tears. He should have seen this coming.
    "You've done a lot.  So,  you not think that is enough?"  He asked desperately.
    Macua placed her hand on his shoulder.
    Passepartout,  I must do this - for my people."  She looked at him lovingly and kissed him sweetly on the lips.
    As the morning dawned,  the group prepared to plant the British flag.  In that moment,  a shot was heard.
    "We're being fired upon."  Rebecca declared.
    They all crouched down.  The tribe of natives then went into action.  Several of them were wounded or killed,  but Phileas was able to plant the flag.
    As they prepared to leave,  Emily approached Phileas.
    "Mr. Fogg,  I am staying here with Macua and these people."  This took Phileas totally by surprise.  She noted his surprise and continued.
    "It's what I do.  These people need my help.  I want to thank you again for rescuing me."  She stood up on tiptoe  and kissed him on the cheek.  Phileas took her into his arms and kissed her properly.
    "We are ready to lift off,  Monsieur Fogg."  Passepartout, who had already said his goodbyes to Macua,  left Phileas and Emily alone.
    Passepartout, who had so looked forward to this trip to Africa, now left with a heavy heart.  But,  even so,  he knew that he would always have a friend here.  he wouldn't worry about Macua,  she would be alright.   

                           Epilogue (Somewhat)
    Bon Bon,  who could no longer hold back her feelings, gave Jules a big kiss on the cheek as she ran off into the jungle to join a friend.

TITLE: 99 Red Balloons

You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one they were gone
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the message, something's out there
Floating in the summer sky
Ninety-nine red balloons go by

Ninety-nine red balloons
Floating in the summer sky
Panic bells, it's red alert
There's something here from somewhere else
The war machine springs to life
Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky
Where ninety-nine red balloons go by

Ninety-nine Decision Street
Ninety-nine ministers meet
To worry, worry, super scurry
Call the troops out in a hurry
This is what we've waited for
This is it, boys, this is war
The President is on the line
As ninety-nine red balloons go by

Ninety-nine knights of the air
Ride super-high-tech jet fighters
Everyone's a superhero
Everyone's a Captain Kirk
With orders to identify
To clarify and classify
Scramble in the summer sky
As ninety-nine red balloons go by
As ninety-nine red balloons go by

Ninety-nine dreams I have had
And every one a red balloon
It's all over, and I'm standing pretty
In this dust that was a city
I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go