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From Eroica With Love #16

Pandastic Maze

Summary by Mme Cusack


James learned in a TV program that Chinese dishes were served free for sampling at the China Expo held at Leipzig. The concept of a "free meal" drove James nuts, making him dying to visit Germany. Eroica was seeking his revenge on the Major (see Nosferatu) on his opponent's home ground. United by a common interest, Eroica and his team were to head for Dresden and Meissen (near Leipzig) to steal porcelain fine art. Eroica called the castle Eberbach to forewarn the Major of his arrival in the country. Interpreting it as a friendly call, the butler told Klaus that the Earl was coming to Germany to purchase a Meissen dinner set.

The Major was on a mission to reinvestigate all the aborted projects of biological weapons development by the former East Germany. He was developing a germ phobia neurosis, and couldn't go to work without anti-bacterial wet tissues; he complained just touching the documents on the subject made him feel like he was contracting diseases. (By the way, it is in this episode that the Major demonstrates to the butler how to arrange the folds of drapery perfectly straight and parallel to each other, and all the clocks in his household strike time simultaneously.)

Their investigation identified a suspicious genetic engineering research institute in the mountains near the border of former East Germany and Czechoslovakia, originally founded as a joint venture of the former USSR and East Germany for Dr. Frank Stein, the top researcher on mutation of virus genetics. It was evident that the two nations' purpose was the military use of his research -- development of biological weapons. Shortly before the collapse of East Germany, the entire facility including Dr. Stein and his staff was purchased by a Japanese company which kept on injecting ample financial resources for their research, but obviously with no correct understanding of the nature of their studies. The Major and the alphabets launched the mission to reveal and annihilate the unknown biohazard material.

The institute consisted of only two men -- the Japanese sent from the parent company and the scientist -- and some twenty female researchers. The Japanese head was informed that they were developing the virus to destroy mammals' sex chromosome, which would give his company a monopoly on an epoch-making technology to increase the production of milking cows, female pigs, etc. The Japanese, whose only concern was his promotion in the company, optimistically called it the "male-killer virus."

One day, a pretty reporter (G) and a camera crew (Z) from a women's magazine visited the institute in the name of covering the company's story and were met by the group of hostile female workers. G's "female sixth sense" told him (her?) that the institute was a nest of extreme feminists.

In fact, they spotted a member (Hilda) of the former East German ultra-radical feminist group in a picture of the employees. The slogan of the group, "Daughters of Eve," was to eradicate every man on the earth and establish a peaceful world of women only. The Major and his team had to tackle the worst combination of a terrorist group and a biological weapon. Not only that, the unusual number of Asian immigrant workers in and out of the institute was enough to make them nervous. It could be the movement of Chinese intelligence agency after the biological weapon.

Eroica saw a group of the Chinese tourists at a museum in Dresden. They were the officials visiting the China Expo. He tried to make a pass at a handsome young Chinese (Whoan Weng) and was hindered by a tough- looking guy (Lee Jung Gung). Both were agents from the Chinese intelligence office, and the young one was a skilled torture specialist. Their hideout was a Chinese restaurant near the biological institute and the alphabets were watching their activities.

In the evening when the "male-killer virus" was finally completed, the Chinese raided the institute in an attempt to plunder the virus. Before being caught, Hilda handed a tube containing the virus to Rudy, Dr. Stein's grandson, instructing him to go to a big city and scatter the content of the tube in a crowded area. Rudy was a twelve year old boy completely brainwashed by the feminists to loathe all men. He escaped on a bike. Lee Jung Gung and Huan Wen went after the boy. After the Chinese left, the Major arrived and arrested the scientist and the terrorists. Suspecting the Chinese government's involvement, he ordered A to investigate the Chinese Embassy.

Eroica was cross. Bonham had failed to follow the attractive Chinese young man's car, and they were lost late at night. Then, they picked up a hitchhiking boy on a dark street without knowing it was the one both the Major and the Chinese agents were chasing. Managing to get through the police checkpoint, they learned there was something wrong with the boy, but it was too late; two cars were after them on the Autobahn. In the triple car chase, Lee Jung Gung threw a grenade at the Major's car and caused a serious traffic accident; their total disregard of the silent consensus to not involve civilians in the espionage warfare enraged Klaus. He was fighting against an enemy with whom he shared no common rules.

Eroica and his crew took Rudy to a safe hotel room. Knowing the boy was hiding something in his pocket, Eroica promised the obnoxious boy to take him to the China Expo (where there were a lot of people) and put him to sleep with a special drink. Eroica found a tube with "biohazard" label on its belly, which was evidently the object the Major was after. He asked Bonham to make two dummy cases looking exactly alike, and switched one with the real tube.

Next morning, Eroica reserved another room in the hotel (a honeymoon suite) and hid the tube containing the virus under the bed. Meanwhile, Bonham took James and Rudy to the China Expo, where they were caught and interrogated by the Chinese spies.

Eroica let himself be found by G to get in touch with the Major. His original plan was to taunt and harass Klaus by not giving him the tube at once and taking him to the gaudy honeymoon suite, but he changed his mind when the Major told him the nature of the virus. After the virus went to the Major's hands, Eroica got a blackmail call from the Chinese. They ordered him to get the virus back from the Major and deliver it to them, or else they would torture their hostages. Whoan Weng threatened to pierce needles on all the pain spots of the three.

Eroica hurried to the China Expo to rescue them. To conceal his conspicuous long curly blond hair, he wore Chinese ballet makeup and likewise appalling wig and costume. The flabbergasting disguise attracted everyone's attention, with the Major and A among them.

Mr A: No way, sir. Even the Earl wouldn't go that far.
Klaus: If it was him, he wouldn't miss a chance to harass me.
Dorian: [to himself, ignoring the Major and A] Let's pretend to be strangers to each other now, which is also romantic.
Mr A: [relieved] It wasn't him.
Klaus: Having another one of that type is the end of the world. I bet he's also a Brit.

When Eroica sneaked into the cottage where the three hostages were watched by Whoan Weng only, the young Chinese nearly passed out at the sight of the horrendous figure, and the three screamed with fright. The Major rushed to the room, and ordered Eroica to wipe off his makeup before talking to him.

The virus Klaus told Eroica he had left at the Dresden police was actually still in his chest pocket. Rudy snatched the tube, then Whoan Weng took it from him and passed it to Lee Jung Gung. The Major chased him into the exhibition room of the Chinese weapons and armors, where a sword battle took place. It was after Lee Jung Gung was knocked out that the Major discovered the tube had been broken and the virus released in the air.

Immediately the Major, Eroica and Lee Jung Gung were quarantined in the maximum security confinement. Dr. Stein was called for the analysis. He announced in tears that the virus hadn't been strong enough to survive in the air. To get an anticipated result, the virus had to be injected directly in human body.

Dr. Stein was sent to a psychiatric hospital and Rudy to a correction center. Released from the facility, Eroica fled. But the Major couldn't arrest Lee Jung Gung, because a Chinese official claimed him for a trial in China and the German government ordered the Major not to touch him. Lee Jung Gung boasted his status in China as a relative of a high- ranking official of the Communist Party. Klaus punched Lee in the middle of his face.

Several days later found the butler worrying what to do with a broken plate of a fine Meissen dinnerset. The Major was a man of order, and wouldn't tolerate an incomplete set (so it might be an antique set of his family heritage which one couldn't easily supplement with extra pieces). The butler suggested to send the imperfect set to Lord Gloria (who appeared not as well-off as before, considering a small Mitsubishi they drove in Germany) as a gift, and Klaus yelled he'd rather glue the plate together than give alms to the thief. Then, Klaus saw a picture of the Chinese ambassadors visiting Pakistan, among which there were Lee Jung Gung and Whoan Weng. They got away with the affair in Germany and worked as diplomats in less than a month. Klaus suddenly realized that the dinner plate he was about to repair with glue had the chinoiserie design. He declared he was extremely allergic to anything Chinese, and ordered the butler to immediately send the despicable dinnerset to the despicable thief.

Dorian was puzzled by the unheralded gift from Germany.

(Note for those who own the tankoubons: the model of Lee Jung Gung is the late Yuusaku Matsuda who co-starred with Michael Douglas in Black Rain, and Whoan Weng's model is Takuya Kimura, a Japanese singer-actor.)


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"Pandastic Maze" summary copyright Mme Cusack.