The Golden Skull
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Excerpt: It was hot in the cabin of the freighter Asiatic Dream. The heaviness of the tropical heat outside the ship penetrated through the steel and flaking paint of the deck to turn the cabin into an oven.Rick Brant and Don Scott, stripped to their shorts, were oblivious of the heat. They sat hunched over a three-dimensional chessboard, studying the complex moves of their newest hobby. Now and then they glared at each other, or paused to wipe the sweat from their faces or arms, but otherwise they concentrated on the three-layer board and the chessmen. The rivalry was intense, and had been ever since Hartson Brant, Rick's distinguished scientist father, had introduced them to the game back home on Spindrift Island.Watching them was Dr. Anthony Briotti. Clad in tropical tan shorts and nothing else, he looked like a college athlete. Little about him suggested that he was an archaeologist with an international reputation.Presently he rose and left the cabin, heading for the deck. He didn't bother to say where he was going; he knew the boys wouldn't even notice. On deck, Briotti leaned against the rail and peered ahead to where the rocky fortress of Corregidor loomed at the mouth of Manila Bay. His pulse beat faster at the sight of the famous island. He knew its outline. He had commanded a destroyer during World War II. Even though the faint light of a new moon showed only vague outlines, he recognized the old Spanish prison rock below the overhang of Corregidor, and he remembered that his guns had blasted at the Japanese from that very point.
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