by Captain W. E. Johns



XII.                 THE COMING OF ALGY  (Pages 132 - 142)


"Down the river, the fever of impatience in which Ginger awaited the drone that would announce the approach of the aircraft, can be better imagined than described.  Everything, certainly the success of the expedition, and possibly their lives, depended on the outcome of the next few minutes".  Around the bend in the river, comes the launch as Algy in the Navigator aircraft arrives.  Ginger rows clear of the bank and stands up and waves to the plane but this also gives away his position to the launch and the Indians on the shore.  Bullets and arrows are fired at Ginger and Angus.  Algy lands the flying boats and also come under fire as Ginger and Angus scramble aboard.  Algy manages to take off again and after greetings, Angus flies the plane whilst Ginger briefs Algy and Bertie on the current situation.  Bertie is all for a frontal attack.  "Now you listen to me, you silly ass," requested Ginger curtly.  "That valley's a death trap.  Get that fixed in your jam-pot for a start. We're not dealing with wops, but with a pretty ropey bunch of ex-Nazis, unless I've missed my guess.  They'd shoot the machine to splinters before you could get to the bank, and where should we be if we lost the machine?"  Ginger suggest they circle round and land five or six miles upsteam as the search is downstream.  Algy chooses a place to land aware that if he damages the plane, they  could be stranded.  "Algy was also uncomfortably aware of the responsibility that now rested on his shoulders.  Normally it was Biggles, as captain of the ship, who accepted the onus.  Now he, as deputy leader, would have to bear the burden".  They decided that Ginger and Bertie ought to go and look for Biggles whilst Algy and Angus stay with the machine.  Algy runs the plane into the little bay formed by the estuary of a tributary of the river and find to his alarm that they have run aground.