Hercules Gray and the Malta Connections, part 2

After the unfortunate incidents at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hercules Gray led the two members of the Order of St. John to his headquarters, atop the tallest building in New York City. This was through the hidden high-speed elevator, designed by Gray himself, which went up ninety floors in the space of a few minutes. On their way, the two members explained their predicament, and why exactly they wanted to speak with Hercules Gray.

‘I sent out the message to my trusted companions,’ Hercules said.  ‘They will be meeting us, and then we’ll plan our best plan of action.’

The elevator finally stopped at its destination, and its passengers stepped into Hercules Gray’s city headquarters. Waiting were two men, one tall and blond, and the other shorter and heavily built. Hercules started with the introductions.

‘These two are my brothers, with whom I would trust even my life. Lieutenant Colonel James J. Smythe…’

‘Just call me Jim,’ interrupted the shorter of the two.

‘And you can call me Kowalski. Macek Kowalski,’ butted in his tall, blond companion.

‘We’ve heard of your aides,’ said the female member of the Order. ‘The genius engineer, and the expert sharpshooter, with both of which you have done great deeds.’

‘Indeed,’ replied Hercules. ‘Brothers, these two are Sir Giuseppe DeManuele and Dame Maria-Celeste Visconti, who came here from New York all the way from the island of Malta. It seems they have a job for us.’

The two who were just introduced stood aghast, as they realized they hadn’t actually introduced themselves to Hercules Gray.

‘We’ve heard of the assault on the Met on the radio!’ exclaimed Kowalski. ‘I bet they have to do exactly with that.’

The two Knights nodded in agreement. ‘During the past six months, various historical artifacts related to Malta have been stolen from collections and museums all over the world,’ started off Sir Giuseppe. ‘A set of Stone Age flint daggers from the British Museum. A set of maps, from the 14th century, stolen from the Louvre. The list goes on, up till today’s robbery.’

‘The sure thing is that we can assume all these… incidents are related,’ a voice was heard stating. The speaker was then seen entering, a thin, balding figure dressed in academic’s tweeds.

‘Will you join us on our next adventure Doc?’ asked Jim Smythe with a broad grin.

‘Obviously,’ was the reply.

‘Professor Diotallevi, it’s good to see you again.’ Exclaimed Dame Maria-Celeste. ‘You may not remember us, of course…’

‘Of course I do,’ the academic replied. ‘It was at that conference on the Knights Templar couple of years back, in Milan. Your order invited me to present my paper on how most facts on that order are, sadly, hogwash. The Knights of Malta, though, now that is an interesting subject for a pulp novel or three.’ He smiled to himself, like a man enjoying a private joke.

‘Now that everyone’s here’s my decision on this adventure,’ Hercules Gray suddenly said. ‘We’ll be heading to Malta as soon as possible. Gentlemen, let’s head off to the Dent Hangars to set off.’