|One of the inspirations for my |
NaNoWriMo entry this year.
As with the others, I'm writing an homage to the pulp writers of the 1930's. My outline's basically finished, but there are a few holes. And that's OK. Because sometime during the next 30 days I'll discover characters I never knew I needed, and they'll do things I never expected them to do (it's happened before). So it's good to leave them a little room to move around in.
The real challenge will be not only turning out the 1,600+ words daily to keep on schedule, but also keep posting to this blog five days a week. We'll see how all that plays out over the next 30 days.
In the meantime, here's the outline I'll be working from. Enjoy!
"When the Commissar Commands"
Working plot outline:
[Introduction explaining that this is a reprint of a pulp novel of the 1930's. Give history of author, magazine, etc.]
There’s a gathering of industrialists, including the Barrs. The government has contracted five different companies, Ambrose, Harris, Michaels, Delany, and the Barrs to work on a special cannon for battleships. A creates the powder mixture by a special process, B supplies the special steel for the cannons, Michaels makes the cannons, Delany provides the special shell casings, and the Barrs provide the secure shipping of all materials to and from the plants. Because of labor unrest, Delany has been falling behind in production, and the late penalties threaten to ruin him. Michaels offers to shore him up by investing in the company.
Michaels spent a significant amount of time in Russia, and is sure that the labor troubles are related to anarchist interference. Harris completely disagrees. All of the men have labor troubles, including work slowdowns, but D is hardest hit. D had employed a private detective to find out who the agitators were, and had called the group together to hear his report. There’s a knock at the door, but instead of the detective, it’s MacGuffy. The detective has been found dead with D’s business card in his pocket!
Stanley is walking down an alley to meet an informant. He hears footsteps behind him and realizes he’s been lead into t a trap. Two men appear in front of him. All four are armed with bats, brass knuckles and blackjacks. Stanley overpowers the front two, and recognizes that they wanted this to be a quiet kill – so he takes out his gun and shoots the two behind him. One of the two surviving assailants lunges at Stanley, and he kills him also. Then he grabs the survivor and hauls him out of the alley ahead of the police. He has questions to be answered.
The Barrs are in consultation with Rowland and MacGuffey the next day. They explain the trouble with labor, and MacGuffey agrees to help. He shows them the clue left by the detective, which points to a tavern on the lower East Side. The Barrs agree to investigate as Raven.
Stanley meets with Lorenzo. Lorenzo’s longshoreman protection racket is also being threatened by the labor unrest. Stanley was assigned to find out who was interfering with his business. The meeting with the promised informant proved to be a trap, and after interrogating the survivor, Stanley has determined that it’s a group of foreign agitators. Their meeting place seems to be the same tavern Raven’s headed for.
Raven goes to the tavern. It caters to a large immigrant population, especially eastern Europeans. Raven notes several men come through and be ushered into the back – and they don’t leave. When the barkeep’s not looking, Raven makes his way to the back. There’s a door leading to the kitchen, and an empty hallway. The barkeep appears at the head of the hall and yells. Men pour out of the kitchen, and Raven fights.
The men from the tavern gather in a darkened open room. There’s a desk in the front, beside a door. The door opens, and the Commissar steps out. Behind him the men can see radio equipment and a figure hunched over it. Morse code signals emanate from the room. The Commissar closes the door, sit at the desk, and asks for reports. The men are the labor agitators. As they begin, a light shines on the wall. There’s trouble in the tavern. The Commissar dispatches the men to help, and exits back into the radio room.
The fight’s contained in the back of the tavern. Crow’s keeping watch outside and doesn’t see the trouble. Suddenly Stanley weighs into the fray. Stanley and Crow manage to fight their way through the kitchen and out the back door. It empties into a closed alley and they emerge back on the street beside the tavern, where Crow sees them. From the head of the alley, the two pull out guns and prepare to fight off the crowd, but after a brief exchange of shots, the men disappear back inside. Stanley and Raven take off in Stanley’s car before they’re cut off from men coming out the front of the store (which would surround them).
The men return to the meeting, and the Commissar again reappears. He orders them to step up disruption at the chemical plant.
Raven and Crow watch the tavern. They can’t figure out how men entered and disappeared. Raven sees a man from the other night exit the tavern. They decide to follow him. The man meets others and they go to the chemical plant, Raven following. They overpower the guard and enter. A chase ensues. The men have their orders, and go to key locations in the plant. Raven and Crow disable some, but not all. There’s an explosion and fire races through the plant.
Raven and Crow escape the blaze, although Crow is badly burned. The conspirators are killed
X is now ruined. Michaels and the others offer to help rebuild the plant. Michaels purchases a major share of X’s stock.
The Commissar orders an attack on the docks. Needed ores are coming in to
There’s trouble on the docks. Conspirators attempt to blow up some cargo just off-loaded. They’re intercepted by Raven
Michaels visits secret room. It appears as if he’s the Commissar. He sits at the desk and shuffles papers. He’s spied on by Stanley, who can only see him. Someone comes into the room and Michaels talks to him in Russian. There’s a stirring and Stanley has to leave.
Stanley reports what he sees and Raven and MacGuffy go to Michael’s office. They find him dead.
Climax in meeting room. Harris exposed as Commissar, has final showdown with Raven.
All is explained. Harris was the Commissar , and the radio room was a fake. The Morse Code heard was on a record, and there was a dummy seated at the radio. He had to have Michaels killed because Michaels had heard the Commissar – and knew that the speaker was not Russian. Michaels wanted control of all of the industries. Michaels was gaining controlling interest in them, and after all the power was concentrated in Michaels, then Harris would simply get rid of his rival and snatch up the businesses for himself. With complete control of the process, Michaels could make enormous profits from the weapon, or even sell its secrets for foreign governments.