Mouse’s Gold Medallion

By Mathew Bailey

Note: This story is a crossover between “The Mysterious Cities of Gold,” a show which aired on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. in the 1980s, and “Beauty and the Beast.” 

 

When Tao and Esteban discover a hidden capability that enables the Golden Condor to travel through time, they travel through the air and through time to present day New York City.

Chapter 1

This chapter describes the characters from The Mysterious Cities of Gold in the following orders: Tao and his pet parrot Kokapetl (known in French as Pichu), Esteban, Zia, Mendoza, Pedro, and Sancho.

January 1st, 2013.

Several thousand feet in the air, a gold shiny object was moving through the sun-lit clouds. As it approached ground level, it slowly was revealed to be in the shape of a gold, bird-shaped aircraft, seemingly with no visible means of propulsion, its large wings stationary.

Behind the bird's head was a large glass canopy covering a cockpit large enough for many occupants, but with only seven occupants inside: three children, three adults behind them, plus a large green parrot.

Seated in front, the children ranged from left to right, all twelve years of age. They included a brown-skinned boy with a shower-cap-like mass of black hair; the green parrot was perched on his left shoulder. He wore yellow dress-like clothes, the clothing extending to just below his knees and accented by a wide horizontal orange stripe that went all around his dress. Seated next to him in the middle, holding a golden vertical control stick shaped like a snake that protruded from a golden horizontal cylinder-shaped console, was a Spanish Caucasian-skinned boy with brown hair, the shape of which, behind his head and neck, made the hair appear in the shape of a bell, while a few locks of hair extended halfway down over his forehead. He wore a white shirt with sleeves of about shoulder length. Hanging from a length of leather cord around his neck was a gold circular medallion; two leather belts were worn around the waist of his shirt, one belt positioned at an angle towards a vertical sheath encasing a dagger. He wore dark blue-colored pants, its legs extending halfway between his knees and ankles.

Sitting to the right of him was a young Incan girl with black hair with three locks extending halfway down the middle of her forehead. Two longer lengths of hair on either side extended to halfway down her upper chest, while the rest of her hair extended to halfway down her back. The girl wore a gold headband which was flanked on either side by a pair of blue upward-tapering trapezoidal stones attached to the band. She wore an identical gold medallion which hung down over the top half of her orange dress, the dress extending to beneath her knees and upper calves;  near the bottom of the dress was a narrow horizontal blue stripe, followed by a horizontal wide red stripe, and then another blue stripe. Extending from her ankles to halfway up her calves was a pair of white skin-tight leggings, each topped by a horizontal red band.

Seated behind them were the three adults, one of them being the tallest of all of the passengers. The tallest of the three adults was a Spanish Caucasian with thick black curly hair which extended down the back of his neck to his shoulders. Two black sideburns extended to mouth level. He wore a light tan-colored shirt partially covered by a light brown sleeveless shirt, both of which were topped by a large blue cape, the inside of which was red, extending to just above his ankles. He wore a wide black belt around his waist to which was attached a small brown narrow leather pack. A narrower belt extended at an angle to a sheath holding a 16th century Spanish sword with its gold hilt visible. A pair of black leather boots rose to below the man's knees over a pair of light blue-colored pants; the tops of the boots were folded down, exposing some of their brown leather interior.

Next to the man wearing the cape was a second Caucasian man wearing a brown shirt with wrist-length sleeves over a pair of pants that were a slightly darker brown color. He had a long blue scarf around his neck which was tied at the front of his shirt collar, its loose ends hanging over the top half of his upper chest. He had pepper brown hair and his sideburns extended to his neck below his chin. Halfway down his face, the sideburns also extended outward to the outer edges of his nose.

A third Caucasian man sat next to him and was shorter than the other two adults; his hair was reddish brown and he wore a red cap. A large yellow scarf surrounded his neck and extended slightly over his shoulders and halfway down the topmost part of his back and halfway down his upper chest. Underneath the yellow scarf, he wore a gray shirt with sleeves extending to the middle of his forearms, the shirt partially covering a slightly darker gray pair of pants.

Chapter 2

All through the entire day the seven occupants had flown northeast in their Gold Condor towards a destination described by an elderly Incan shaman who had predicted their actions and fate, and who had mentioned a blonde-haired adult and a medallion of his identical to theirs. As dusk gradually fell, the ground far below began to slowly become alive with various sized dots and areas of light. Ice began to build on the various unprotected areas of the Golden Condor as it flew through the cold, wintry January air.

Esteban slowly decreased the aircraft’s altitude, staring at the snow- and ice-covered ground as it came within his and everyone else’s view. The lights below began to resolve into various colors, an indication of outdoor Christmas lighting in use. The lights also started to variegate at different heights, some indicating houses, while others indicated various taller structures.

"This is lovely!" Esteban excitedly exclaimed as they passed along and over various areas of the ground below, taking in the view of the various rivers, streams and lakes.

"It's really beautiful!" exclaimed the Incan girl, Zia.

The snow- and ice-covered roads, streets, houses and buildings below appeared as though an angel had cast a beautiful spell over the land.

"Look!" Esteban said.

"This must be what the shaman described!" exclaimed Zia.

Several large tall buildings began to appear and two distinctive spire-topped buildings caught their eyes. Other tall buildings, varying in height and size, surrounded them, and large bridges appeared in the foreground, everything being covered in lights.

"This is it!" the brown-skinned Tao exclaimed.

"Let's fly over this place and have a better look," Mendoza said.

The sky was now dark as they began to fly over the city. Below them were snow- and ice-covered roofs of various buildings, including high-rise buildings. To the left, their field of view included a large, wide elongated area with few buildings. It was occupied by trees, but most of the bare snow-covered ground was visible. They circled around a large, tall-spired building, its shiny, bare, silver-like metal spire glistening in the reflected lights. They could see several stacked, arched rows of triangular-shaped windows lit within the upward-tapering spire. They then flew around another, taller building, the slope of its spire followed downward by its uppermost floors; it was lit by three different, constantly changing colors.

Esteban turned the Golden Condor towards the large area known in the time they were in as Central Park. They found a large area within the park to land - more than large enough - as Esteban, with the vertical gold snake-headed control stick in both his hands, vertically brought the Golden Condor to a gentle landing on the snow-covered ground near a large culvert.

The Golden Condor was still covered in ice and Esteban, unaware that the mechanism that opened and closed its glass canopy had become jammed with ice, attempted to open it with the controls on the Condor’s cylindrical console. The canopy's mechanism made a noise then went silent, the canopy only moving open a few inches before it stopped.

"It's stuck!"Esteban exclaimed.

"Can you try to open it by hand yourself?" Mendoza asked.

"I'll try," Esteban said. He slipped his hands between the edge of the canopy and its opening and pulled with all his might. "No," he said. "It won't move."

"Then let's try using our voices to help as we try all together to get it open."

Mendoza said, "It's getting even colder in here as time passes."

All of them began shouting as, together, they tried with all their might to pull the canopy open, but it held fast, and their hands began to get numb from gripping the cold glass.

Nearby, a blonde-haired adult wearing makeshift winter clothing, some of it stitched together by hand, heard the distressed voices, turned, and began running in the direction of the Golden Condor.

The ship now within his view, he ran towards it and climbed onto it near the cockpit, barely slipping on its gold, ice-covered surface. He reached the cockpit and rapped on the canopy with his fist. "You need help?" he asked, and the occupants responded with a yes.

"Get us out of here before we succumb to the cold," Mendoza responded.

"Stay here! Mouse will get help!" the blonde-haired adult said.

"Hurry!" Esteban yelled.

Mouse got down from the ship, ran into the culvert, and tapped out an urgent message on a pipe.

A large man walking within one of the tunnels near the Central Park entrance – a man with long, thick, soft blonde hair and a cat-like human face - heard the tapped message and ran towards the entrance. He was there in less than a minute. He slid the false wall covering the entrance open and saw Mouse with a frantic look on his face.

"Vincent, need your help! Several people trapped outside! Might freeze to death!"

"Show me where!" Vincent urgently replied.

"Okay good, okay fine!" Mouse exclaimed. "Follow me!"

Mouse and Vincent arrived at the Golden Condor and climbed up to its cockpit.

"Won't open," Mouse explained. "Trapped," he said.

"Thank goodness you and your friend are here!" Mendoza exclaimed.

"It's open some, but it won't move any further," Esteban said.

"Let me try," Vincent said, and he slipped his fingers around the edge of the canopy’s glass. With all of Vincent's brute might engaged, the canopy slowly began to slide back towards the front of the cockpit. There was a muffled crack from somewhere within the ship’s workings as the ice that had frozen them solid shattered into thousands of fragments, and then the canopy easily slid open the rest of the way.

Chapter 3

Diana Bennett and Catherine Chandler were inside one of the main chambers within the Tunnel community, conversing at a table while Father was Above at a Helper's apartment. Vincent and Catherine's adult son, Jacob, entered and asked Catherine where the supply of winter clothes were. He explained quickly what was happening above so she was aware that visitors would be coming below. After receiving the directions he needed, Jacob went to find the clothes.

Jacob had felt through the bond between himself and Vincent, his father, that he, Mouse and the seven newcomers needed help. After getting the clothes needed for the newcomers, Jacob ran towards the Central Park entrance. Exiting into the park, Jacob let the bond guide him to the Golden Condor where Vincent, Mouse and the others awaited.

Esteban and the other newcomers, without hesitating, put on the makeshift winter clothes.

After explaining to the newcomers the rules and agreements concerning the Tunnel world, Jacob pulled a cell phone from his pocket and called his mother, Catherine, telling her that the people he had told her about had agreed to abide by the Tunnels’ rules and agreements. Father overheard the conversation between Jacob and his mother.

Even though most of the people within the Helper and Tunnel community used cell phones and computers both Above and Below, tapping on pipes was still the primary means of communicating. Everyone was aware that there were issues with phone and online communication, and they were careful not to expose the world Below in ways that could lead to the exploitation or even the end of that world.

Jacob and Mendoza, Sancho and Pedro went towards the Central Park tunnel entrance while Vincent and Mouse helped Esteban, Zia and Tao find a safe hidden place for the Golden Condor that would allow them to quickly and easily get to it from the Tunnels. Then, with Esteban's help, Mouse flew the ship to its hiding place while Jacob and the others traveled through the various tunnels.

Jacob, Mendoza, Sancho and Pedro arrived in a large room lit by candles where Father, Diana and Catherine, among others, were waiting for them. While Diana and Catherine wore their own clothes from Above, Father and the rest of the people within the room wore the same makeshift tatterdemalion attire.

Father, Diana and Catherine had noticed the sword that Mendoza had attached to his belt.

Jacob introduced the three newcomers to Father and the others. Mendoza asked Father about the various strange forms of lighting that they had seen in both the city and the world Below. Father explained that the various lights were known as electric lighting.

"I can't explain what electric lighting is or what electricity is," Father said to them, "but Mouse and some others can explain to you what it and other forms of technology are in this world." Father also added, "Besides mostly candles, however, we do have those forms of lighting down here."

No sooner had Father finished speaking than Vincent, along with Esteban, Zia, Tao, and Mouse appeared.

"Father, Diana, Catherine, I assume the other people were introduced before we arrived?"

Father responded with an assuring yes.

"Good," Vincent said. "This is Esteban," Vincent said, pointing at the brown-haired, white-shirted boy, "and this is Tao," Vincent explained, indicating the brown-skinned, black-haired boy wearing the shower cap hairstyle, "and lastly, this is Zia," he said, introducing the Incan girl to Father and the other people.

Mouse explained that he and Vincent found the newcomers and rescued them from otherwise succumbing to hypothermia.

Catherine wanted to know if they had any place to stay, but Mendoza sadly explained they didn't, other than her and Vincent's world Below.

After being treated to warm drinks and hot food, Esteban, Zia and Tao went on a carefully guided exploration of the Tunnel world given by Catherine and others.

Since they and the other newcomers were new to this world and time, their safety had to be assured.

Meanwhile, Vincent and others prepared chambers for Esteban’s friends, but there was not a chamber for Esteban to sleep in, so Vincent decided that he would get his own chamber ready for him and Esteban.

It was ten o'clock and Esteban and his friends were getting ready for bed, putting on their night clothes that had been given them. Once Zia and the others had retired to their chambers, Esteban was told where Vincent's chamber was and headed towards it.

Chapter 4

Esteban was tired and exhausted from the evening that he, Tao and his other friends had had after meeting Vincent and his friends. He had found Vincent's chamber, but Vincent was nowhere to be found. One particular thing that caught Esteban's attention was the large green and gold semi-circular stained glass window behind Vincent's bed. Esteban had seen stained glass windows before, in Barcelona, back in the 16th century, over five hundred years ago, but they were physically beyond his reach. He was now in the 21st century, and a calendar on a large wooden desk showed   that it was January 2013.

Esteban took some time touching and studying the stained glass window which was easily within his reach. While doing so, he didn’t notice that Vincent had momentarily entered, perhaps to find him some pants to sleep in that were softer than the pants he normally wore.

Esteban had his gold medallion tied to his pants. He settled down to sleep in Vincent's bed and pulled a blanket over himself. He hadn’t felt a bed as nicely comfortable as Vincent's in years.

Esteban was not quite asleep when Vincent re-entered with Catherine. They talked quietly for a moment about Esteban and his friends and then Catherine left. Vincent, with a warm smile, lay down beside Esteban and told him quietly that it looked to him as if Esteban had a lot ahead of him in this world, then he gently wrapped one of his fur-covered arms warmly around him. Both he and the twelve-year-old boy named Esteban then gently drifted off to sleep.

Interlude

These are the words to the theme from The Mysterious Cities of Gold:

 

Children of the sun

See your time has just begun

Searching for your ways

Through adventures every day

 

Every day and night

With the Condor in flight

With all your friends in tow

Search for the cities of gold.

 

Ahh-ah-ah-ah-ahh

Wishing for the cities of go-old,

Ahh-ah-ah-ah-ahh

Someday we will find

the cities of gold.

 

Do-do-do-do

Ah-ah-ahh

Do-do-do-do

Cities of gold

Do-do-do-do

Cities of gold.

Second verse, added at the end credits of The Mysterious Cites of Gold:

Children of the sun

Someday soon you're going to find

That your destiny

Holds the secret, holds the key

 

Ahh-ah-ah-ah-ahh

Someday we will find

The cities of gold.

 

Chapter 5

6:30 AM, Tuesday, January 2nd, 2013.

A sheet of clouds lightly covered the morning sky over Manhattan, the sun barely visible. The snow covered the trees, ground and everything else in Central Park. Icicles hung from the trees, the various bridges and numerous benches within; the numerous streams, lakes and the reservoir were covered with thick layers upon layers of ice.

Within one of the main chambers Below where they had met the other Tunnel inhabitants the evening before, Esteban, Zia and Tao were already gathered at breakfast at a table. They had not noticed that a mysterious brown-skinned woman wearing an olive-colored wrap on her head was passing by them. She had eyes which, though they were a milky white color, she could still see through. She wore tan-colored faux-wool clothing over a red sweater, and as she walked past the three children, she momentarily gazed at them.

Catherine appeared with Vincent, approaching the three children. Both Vincent and Catherine were carrying outdoor winter clothing of the kind the three children had never seen before.

Catherine asked Esteban, Zia and Tao if they would like to go Above and walk around and through Central Park and enjoy the winter scenery within and around it. The three children obliged and began putting on the outdoor winter clothing that had been given to them. They each had a pair of boots, although Esteban's boots were different from the others’. The tops of his makeshift winter boots extended up his legs and thighs, ending near his crotch, and were lined with faux wool. Esteban folded the tops of the boots down, exposing some of the faux wool-lined interior.

The children, along with Catherine, entered the park from the tunnel entrance, emerging onto a snowy, beautiful winter landscape. They stayed until noon with Catherine in the park, playing in the snow and on the ice. They saw horses pulling their carriages through and around the park, their fur lightly covered with a blanket of snow, amidst the strange horseless wheeled vehicles that at first looked to them as though they moved on their own, although a look into the vehicles through their closed windows revealed that they were piloted by their occupants.

Esteban stretched out his arms, unaware that Catherine was watching, and began looking skyward. Most of the clouds began to clear away and the snowy winter landscape of the park became brilliantly illuminated by the sun. Esteban lowered his arms by his side and stared at the blue sky which the remaining clouds occupied.

Chapter 6

Catherine stared at Esteban and what he had just done in amazement, almost in shock. She had never seen a twelve-year-old boy cause most of the clouds to disappear, and wondered if Esteban was a mutant. She knew about mutants, the group belonging to Professor Charles Xavier known as the X-Men, and their mutant and non-mutant allies.

She asked the children how Esteban managed to do what she saw, and Zia and Tao explained that Esteban was known as the child of the sun and how he came to be like he is. But Catherine decided to consult with the mysterious brown-skinned tunnel dweller known as Narcissa, or even Mendoza.

Esteban and the other two children were sitting on one of the park benches - which had a plaque on it bearing a quote from the TV series Beauty and the Beast - and Catherine asked them to wait there while she ran a short errand. Catherine found a secluded place within some trees, pulled out her cell phone, and dialed a number belonging to one of her friends who was part of the X-Men. A female voice answered and Catherine replied, "Jubilee, it's Catherine. Is Ororo Munroe there?" She paused to hear the answer. "Okay, I need to speak to her, please."

Catherine waited, and soon the voice of another woman was heard. "Ororo, it's Catherine. I have three twelve-year-old children here with me in Central Park, and one of them is named Esteban; he and the other two children claim he has the ability to control the sun, if I'm correct. I'm uncertain of whether or not he is a mutant, but he somehow caused the clouds here in Central Park to clear." After listening to a response, she continued, "I'm not sure when I want you to meet him, or if, but right now I have my hands full with them, plus three other friends of theirs. You might let me know when or if you'll meet them, okay?" After she heard the answer, she said, "Okay, thanks." Catherine then pushed a button on her phone which disconnected her call and walked back to the three children.

Catherine and the children returned to the Tunnels and the large chamber from which she and the children had departed earlier. Awaiting them were Father, Narcissa, Mouse, Pedro, Mendoza, Sancho and Jacob.

They gathered at a pair of tables and Narcissa began to speak. "Catherine, these are the children I've heard of, correct?"

Catherine responded with a yes. Narcissa again spoke. "From what I can tell, these children, along with their friends," she said, referring to Pedro, Mendoza and Sancho, "have come a long way to get here, not only from another place, but also from another time and century."

"And what century is that?" Father asked.

"According to what I've been told through my ceremonies, it is the 16th century," Narcissa mentioned.

Father, Jacob and Catherine gasped, almost in shock. "How did they manage to get here?" Father asked.

"They used a means of transport that also lets them travel through time," Narcissa said.

"Time travel?" Mouse asked.

"Mouse, if I knew what she is saying, I say that Narcissa…" Father said.

"Silence!" Mendoza shouted in interruption. "Let them speak!"

"Apparently, you six had, in that time, met an elderly Incan shaman, no?" Narcissa asked.

"Yes," Esteban replied.

"There was a shaman who had predicted what would happen to us besides our fate and destiny," Mendoza uttered.

"And he said you would meet a blonde-haired person, correct?" she asked.

"Blonde-haired?" Father asked. "Well, there are a lot of blonde-haired people in the Tunnels and Above."

"There is only one person that the shaman mentioned who is blonde-haired and lives with us," she said, staring at Mouse.

Chapter 7

"That person is you, Mouse," Narcissa said.

Mouse looked in shock at Narcissa and then everyone else. "How can Mouse be?" Mouse asked.

Narcissa said, "According to what the shaman said, you have a gold medallion you found years ago, identical to what Esteban and Zia are wearing."

"Medallion, medallion." Mouse thought hard as Mendoza, Zia, Tao and Esteban almost opened their mouths in shock in response to Narcissa's words.

"A medallion!? Identical to these children's?" Mendoza asked excitedly. "Where and how did Mouse find it? Does he still have it?" Mendoza asked, directing his gaze at Mouse.

"Found it in wooden chest. Several years ago. Chest gone, but still have medallion," Mouse said to Mendoza. "Mouse found a wreck of a wooden ship down here several years ago. None of us know what century it's from."

"But whoever sailed across the Atlantic Ocean abandoned it, years before this city ever existed," Vincent said.

"I have a feeling that ship may have come from one of the European countries at that time or around it," Mendoza said. Mendoza explained that he was an experienced sailor, proficient navigator, and a master swordsman, which clarified for Father why Mendoza carried a sword when he and Father first met.

"Show you where I have my medallion," Mouse said.

Everyone - Father, Vincent, Jacob, Mouse, Zia, Esteban, Tao and Mendoza - followed Mouse to his chamber. They arrived in Mouse's chamber to be greeted by the chattering noise from an animal which revealed itself.

"Arthur, Mouse know you're hungry. Got company, shoo."

Esteban caught a glimpse of Mouse's raccoon as it headed around a corner and then beyond sight.

Catherine then appeared in Mouse's chamber and joined the others.

Mouse found his medallion and handed it to Esteban. On part of the circumferential edge of it, the medallion had an uppercase M scratched into it, indicating the letter was Mouse's initial. Just like the Incan shaman had said, the medallion was identical to Esteban's and Zia's.

"This is amazing," Esteban uttered. "I can't believe it! I thought Esteban and Zia's were the only medallions that ever existed!" Mendoza said. "Mouse's medallion might be the third identical key that unlocks the mysteries of the seven cities of gold."

"And what that lady here and the old Incan man said is right," Tao mentioned.

"Seven cities of gold? Are those myths?" Father asked.

"No, I assure you, those cities are not myths. We have seen them in our time and century," Mendoza told Father.

"And I suppose you can travel back through time, even forward, in that bird of yours?" Father asked.

"You might never know. But someday, I'll try to let you know if we are able to do that," Mendoza told Father.

"I think that will have to be put off for now," Catherine said with a smile. "Besides, it may be too cold to travel aboard Esteban's aircraft to the times and places I and others would want to go. Remember, you people almost froze to death the first time Mouse and Vincent came across you. I think traveling according to the ways of my world, even around New York City, should be okay for now, even for you," Catherine said to Esteban and the other newcomers.

Chapter 8

January and February passed. During those two months, Esteban, Zia, Tao, Mendoza, Sancho, Pedro and Tao's pet parrot, Kokapetl, had made new friends both Below and Above. Everyone Below and Above, including Catherine Chandler and Diana Bennett, had taught and showed them nearly everything about this year, century and city, and still had more ahead to teach and show them.

Within the library chamber with some of the travelers during the month of February, Esteban asked Vincent and his son Jacob some things, including questions about what the travelers had seen when they had arrived in the Golden Condor. They were looking at an LCD computer screen which displayed various landmarks and places within New York City, including Manhattan. Esteban described the silver-spired building that he and his friends had seen while aboard the ship. Vincent and Jacob showed Esteban and his friends that it was the Chrysler Building. Esteban then described another building that was similar, but taller. He and his friends were shown and it was explained to them that it was the Empire State Building.

Later that month, Esteban, Zia, Tao, Mendoza, Pedro and Sancho were taken by MTA city bus along with Catherine to the Empire State Building. They had paid their visitation fee with cards that Catherine had ordered made for them so they would not have to pay any money to visit the landmark. They went through the turnstiles inside the lobby, with Esteban getting help going through them from Catherine, and headed towards the elevators. Esteban pressed the “up” button at one bank of elevators, the button immediately turning green. They waited for half a minute and then the green light above the red “down” light lit and the arrival bell sounded. The elevator doors opened and they stepped in, along with a few other people. Esteban saw something on the floor of the elevator as the doors closed and Catherine pressed the button labeled '86th Floor Non-Stop'. He pointed it out, and Zia and Tao saw a round bronze medallion that was part of the elevator's floor.

It had the latitude and longitude lines, some of them curved, occupying the circular medallion. In the form of what looked like cursive script across the width of the round bronze plate read the first letter in the form of an uppercase “O;” the three lower case letters following it read "tis." Together, they read "Otis." Esteban looked at the text surrounding the circle, which read in upper case letters "OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY." Esteban began to pronounce the name, but had difficulty saying the name, while he, Tao and Zia stared at the round metal plate.

Asking Catherine what it said, she responded to Esteban with, "It says ‘Otis Elevator Company’."

The elevator came to a stop and the doors opened. They headed toward one of several elevators that were to take them from the 86th floor observation area to the 102nd floor. Pressing the “up” button, Catherine waited, and then the doors opened. Waiting for them was an elderly male elevator attendant wearing a uniform similar to what theatre ushers at Radio City Music Hall would wear. They stepped in with other people and the attendant closed the hoistway doors, followed by the collapsible scissor gate-like doors.

Esteban noticed the man put his hand on the wooden handle of a large, round bronze control crank and move it to the left. There came a heavy-muscled whir from the elevator's machinery room, which was far upstairs, as the motor-generator set used for converting the building’s electricity to the current for one of the large gearless elevator hoist motors whirred to life. A second later, accompanied by faintly heard control relays, the elevator cab began to move upwards, slowly at first and then faster, as Esteban, watching with amazement, saw the hoistway doors speed downward past them.

Less than a minute passed and then the elevator began to slow. After a few more seconds, it inched slowly towards the 102nd floor, stopping level with it.

Chapter 9

"One hundred second floor observation," the attendant mentioned as he opened the elevator car and hoistway doors. Esteban, Catherine and their friends stepped out into the 102nd floor observation area, and everyone other than Catherine stared in amazement at the 102nd floor's 1930's-era Art Deco interior. They wandered around the area and were greeted by several large interior archways, each of which were flanked by a pair of silver quarter-sphere-shaped light fixtures that shone upward. The archways were painted white and were outlined by numerous rivets.

Esteban and the others walked toward the large square picture windows, each separated by white vertical columns that were lined with rivets. The windows sat atop green steel walls, the top edges of which were also outlined with rivets.

The first thing that Esteban and his friends saw was the Chrysler Building, its silver spire protruding upward. "This is amazing! Fantastic!" Esteban exclaimed in awe.

They went over to another set of windows and spotted the long, wide rectangular expanse that was Central Park.  "Hey, look! That's Central Park! That's where we first met Vincent and his friends!" Zia exclaimed.

"Am I dreaming?" Pedro asked.

"No, you're not dreaming, Pedro. We are in a building high above the ground," Mendoza replied.

"Oh, m-my, look at that!" Sancho stuttered.

The Mysterious Cities of Gold travelers along with Catherine loitered around some more, and then it was time for them to head to the 86th floor observation area.

Esteban and others entered the elevator to head down to the 86th floor observation deck. As they entered, they noticed there was no attendant in the elevator. The people waiting for the attendant were growing impatient and Esteban sensed it. He asked Catherine and, with her approval, he closed both the hoistway and car doors.

He grabbed the wooden-handled control, but the elevator began to move upward. "Other way, Esteban." Catherine mentioned, and Esteban moved the handle in the other direction and then the elevator began to move downward. The elevator took off at a rapid pace and Esteban realized he was going a bit too fast and moved the handle slightly toward the inside doors, causing it to slow to a comfortable pace.

The floors sped upward past them and then the car began to slow as it approached the 86th floor. Catherine felt the elevator jerk to a stop and told Esteban to pull on the handle again, since he had stopped it too early. Esteban complied and moved the handle once more and the elevator moved once again and then automatically inched its way downward, stopping level with the 86th floor.

After enjoying more of their time looking at the city and surrounding areas on the 86th floor, Esteban and the others left the Empire State Building and, after Catherine flagged down a taxi cab, headed back toward Central Park. Within several minutes, they arrived at Central Park and headed to the main chambers.

Vincent and Mouse were waiting for them in the library chamber and Vincent mentioned to them that Mouse had the abandoned subway - something they took a year in restoring and repairing - finally working. Mouse wanted to show everyone else in the Tunnels, including Father, how the subway was at last working. Everyone began cheering that at last everyone within the Tunnel and Helper community finally had a working private subway of their own.

Without any hesitation, Mouse, Vincent, Esteban and their friends headed toward the newly working subway station. It was an hour by the time they arrived. The main subway station was located below the basement of the Rogers, Peet building located on Warren Street and Broadway. The station was located at 260 Broadway at the corner of Warren Street. Below the basement were two large rooms adjacent to the subway station housing the machinery. They were large brick and tile rooms. There was a narrow space between the rooms where both of its walls had a large metal shaft running through them.

Chapter 10

Esteban could hear the loud but muffled sound of a steam engine hidden somewhere within one of the two large rooms. In the other large room, soon to be seen by Esteban and his friends, was a large massive Roots rotary blower housing a pair of winged rotors within it. The vertical oval-shaped piece of machinery housing the twin rotors was 21 feet high, 13 feet wide and 18 feet in length. In the engine room adjacent to it was the large twin-cylinder steam engine that drove the blower through four large gears and the aforementioned large, single long shaft.

Vincent and the others entered through a pair of doors that were mechanically rigged to another pair of doors at the other end of a room so that, if one pair of doors were open, the others could not be opened. This room functioned as an airlock, keeping any air from unnecessarily escaping. The decorative wooden doors were made of thick solid wood and were of a pre-Victorian design. They entered through the second pair of doors. They came into a large saloon and waiting area that was 120 feet long.

Esteban was the first to see the main interior of the subway station and gasped at the immensity of it. At the end of the waiting area was the mouth of an eight-foot diameter tunnel. A pair of steps led down from the waiting area to the subway platform and tunnel entrance. Unseen in front of the tunnel and to the right of it was an opening covered by a decorative grate that had an identical door set into it that was locked; to the right of the grated opening was the twin-cylinder stationary steam engine of about two hundred horsepower that Esteban had heard. There was a large drive shaft geared to the engine’s flywheel and following it was a pair of large boilers. Though cosmetically restored, the boilers were beyond repair. Instead, a steam main supplied the pressurized steam to the engine; Mouse had rigged it.

What no one saw was that directly beneath the waiting area was another opening for air to circulate through the blower, but the only visible evidence that it was there was a grated opening in the waiting room floor next to the room’s right wall. The area, from everyone's point of view, looked like the late 19th century front basement dining room of a first class city residence. The interior lighting as well as the lighting within the tunnel was originally provided by gas lamps which Mouse and others had converted to electricity. Above the tunnel entrance was a keystone of pressed brick over which were letters in German text that read “Pneumatic,” followed below it by the year “1870,” and then below that the word “TRANSIT,” the two T's larger than the rest of the word’s lettering.

Chapter 11

There was a rumbling sound emanating from within the tunnel that was suddenly heard, accompanied by the metallic screeching of flanged metal wheels on a steel track. The noise became louder and then a large wood and metal cylinder rounded the right hand curving tunnel entrance and came into view. The subway car that was now in view was not the original car, but an exact replica of it, the evidence that it had not yet had the work completed on its exterior finish.

Esteban saw the cylindrical subway car stop with Jacob at the front of it, holding the crank-like brake. At the other end of the car was an identical brake handle and in front of either was guard work consisting of polished bronze interior guard railing that was salvaged from an old hotel that was being renovated. At either end of the wooden car were large strap steel bands encircling the exterior end of the car. There was a wooden door with a rounded top that had glass rounded-top windows set into them. On either side of the doors were large vertical oval-shaped windows with glass set into them.

The car stopped a few feet away from the steps that led up toward the waiting area. Zia and the others were amazed at the interior of the car as they boarded it. The interior was brilliantly lit by a pair of battery-powered white LED fixtures cleverly disguised as late 19th century-era table lamps. It had four richly upholstered sofas that were fastened to the car’s interior; for each pair of sofas there were lamps fastened to square wooden tables upon which they sat, each one in front of a vertical oval window that looked out through one side of the car or the other. Above the doors on either end were four small round openings.

The doors were closed and Jacob signaled for Mouse to reverse the air flow that would push the pneumatic subway car into and along the tunnel. Mouse reversed the airflow and throttled up the steam. There was a screaming whistling sound of moving air as it bore against the subway car and then the car began to move.

Esteban got up along with Zia and Tao and began looking through the glass window within the door. They saw ahead of them and moving past them the white walls of the newly repaired brick subway tunnel. "This is super! It's fantastic!" Esteban exclaimed.

"Yes," Zia said. "It's fantabulous."

Tao laughed. "How do you like it, Kokapetl?" Tao asked.

"No bird can move through a tunnel like that, it scares me stiff!" Kokapetl said. The three children began laughing.

The car exited the tunnel and entered a similar subway station, except this station did not have an engine or blower. The waiting room was between 60 and 120 feet long.

The occupants stepped out into the station and looked around it. After plenty of time of looking around, they saw two signs on the wall in German text. One read “BROADWAY and MURRAY STREET,” and the other read “ALFRED E. BEACH PNEUMATIC TRANSIT-BUILT 1870.”

An hour later, everyone was back in the main Tunnel community. Esteban now had his own chamber and was asleep in it.

Vincent and Catherine were in Vincent's chamber, lying down in Vincent's bed. They had been discussing the events of the day and evening and had just finished saying their final words before drifting off to sleep.

Above, the lights of the Empire State Building went dark at midnight as they were switched off.

 

THE END