Wednesday, January 2, 2008

More of Sun Koh's Crew

As I have learned more about the German pulp character Sun Koh, I have discovered other regular characters that occur in his stories. They are interesting and I thought people might enjoy hearing about them:

Gertrude Reinhardt née Shumann is the middle aged secretary who is the office manager for Sun Koh's offices on Friedrichstraß in Berlin. She is the daughter of an Admiral and the widow of a battleship captain. She had worked as a government secretary for 20 years when she started working for Sun Koh. She had four sons and two daughters. Her sons each went into a different military service: the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and Military Intelligence. Her two daughters married military officers as well. Gertrude had the highest possible security clearance for a civilian civil servant. She also had no sense of humor and a frown that could turn a basilisk to stone. She ran a tight ship and could be trusted to hold down the fort in a crisis. On her desk she kept pencils in a pewter stein that her husband always took with him on his ships in the Great War. She also had a human skull with the top of the cramium removed in which she kept black-and-red wax wrapped sweets. These sweets had a smoked caramel center surrounded by dark bitter chocolate. To say the least they were an acquired taste. In her desk drawer she kept her father's old Mauser C96 "Broomhandle" pistol. It was one of the 9x25mm Mauser versions of this classic pistol from World War I configured for full automatic operation and designed to use ammunition magazines of different capacities. Gertrude prided herself on her ability to fire the weapon accurately even on full automatic. She carried it with her going back and forth to work everyday. In 1930s Berlin, a girl could not be too careful!

Mordechai Absolam Jonathan aka Jack Holigan aka Rapier X aka Nimba was an Afro-American who had served in the US Army during the Great War and had been awarded the Croix de Guerre. His father had been a professor at Tuskegee Institute. Mordechai was the 'black sheep' of the family and ran away to New York to earn a living as a boxer under the alias Jack Holigan. He ran a foul of the mob when he refused to take a dive. To escape them he volunteered for the US Army to fight in World War I. He was attached to a French Army unit and fought with distinction. Despite his decoration, he could not find a decent job after the war and the mob was still looking for him, so he went out west as a cowboy. He carried a stiletto which he had obtained in France and used it in knife fights to kill his opponents. He was forced to flee the US and went to work in Canada under the alias Rapier X. He was rescued from captivity there by Sun Koh and brought back to Europe. Mordechai was a heavy weight boxer and remained undefeated, winning every professional bout with a knock out. He was also an expert swords man whose preferred weapons were the rapier and the stiletto. In gratitude for services rendered, Sun Koh gave him a small fortune with which Mordechai purchased a club in Paris which he named Au Coeur des Ténèbres (The Heart of Darkness). In the War between Italy and Ethiopia, Mordechai fought for the Ethiopian side under the pseudonym 'Nimba" and wore bullet-proof body armor.

Hal Mervin is the bellhop in the Hotel Adlon Berlin where Sun Koh keeps a suite. He was born in 1917 and was only 17 years old when he met Sun Koh in 1934. His father had died during the Great War and his mother had to raise him by herself. She eventually was forced into prostitution and Hal had to fend for himself much of the time. She died in 1933 under violent circumstances probably at the hands of SA thugs meting out vigilante justice. He is street-smart, self-reliant, and very observant. Hal has the uncanny ability to anticipate people's needs before they ask for anything and this makes him an excellent bellhop. He eventually becomes Sun Koh's personal valet and teen aged side-kick. Sun Koh becomes the Father he never had and personally supervised his education.

Gretchen Schulman is Rolf 'Schreck' Karsten's 'Gal Friday. ' She is the best documentary researcher in Germany and probably in western Europe. Gretchen is a petite blond with a smashing figure who dresses in a way that shows off her figure without appearing cheap. She keeps her blond hair in a large puffy hair-do that floats around her head like a cloud. She has a musical voice and is very conscious of the way people (especially men) perceive her. She is able to get the crustiest document guardian to let her "just take a peek." She exudes sexuality but is morally very conventional. She has been married and divorced twice and is Schreck's on-again/off-again lover. Hal Mervin has a boyhood crush on her. Even Sun Koh finds her very attractive.

One of the few men in the world who can stand toe to toe with Sun Koh on technical matters was Dr. Ildefons Peters a brilliant though eccentric scientist from the University of Heidelburg who was so far ahead of his time that he was dismissed by his colleagues as a crackpot. His brother was Col. Roch Peters of the Bavarian Staatspolizei. He was the typical obsessed polymath researcher who routinely had brilliant insights which advanced the fields of physics, chemistry and engineering without any effort. He eventually becomes a valued member of the Technocrat movement that Jan Mayen headed and moved to their secret island base in the Pacific.

Dr. Joan Martini is an Italian archaeologist and anthropologist who is continuing her father's life work of trying to prove the existence of Atlantis in the deep past. Her father was an archaeologist and Egyptologist from the University of Rome who looked for parallels between the Egyptian and Meso-American high cultures. Joan is also a lecturer at the university and an internationally renowned expert on Meso-American Indians and the sources of their cultures in Pre-Columbian America. She is constantly looking for any possible links between the Americas and Europe, Asia ,and Africa during ancient times. Joan is a titian-haired beauty of refined manners. She is a devout Catholic and very careful of her virtue. She is also a genius with an encyclopedic knowledge of ancient lore from both the Old and New World.

The Martinis were direct descendants of the Italian King, Victor Emmanuel II through Joan's grandmother, and so Joan was technically a Princess. Her father Albert was a staunch Fascist in the 1930s who had previously been a Freemason who dabbled in the occult. Joan disagreed with her father's politics and his anticlericalism, but she was convinced that he was right about the links between the Old and New World.

She met Sun Koh during a hunt for a a lost city in the Amazon Basin. Sun Koh was captivated by her beauty and her intelligence as well as her virtue. She was the first modern woman of royal lineage that he found worthy of his attentions. This created an interesting triangle between Sun Koh, his consort Shani, and Princess Joan.

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