Campaign of the Month: July 2008

Beyond the Mountains of Madness

Chapter 13: An Arrow in Flight

Uncertain of what they would find, they began to make slow, sweeping flights as they sought out evidence of the Weddell. They suspected that the Germans would have to make for one of their supply caches, but they didn’t know where any would be found. They listened anxiously to their radio, and, eventually, found a signal in Morse code. It proved to be in German, and Professor Nordhagen was able to translate. It was Rucker and Baumann, the Germans they were looking for, and they were radioing their homebase for help. They headed towards the coordinates in the transmission, uncertain of how they would handle this confrontation.

The ever sharp-eyed Alan Q. Morgan spotted the Weddell, and they put their plane down near it, investigating it. It seemed to be in good order, but out of fuel, and it was landed about 3 miles from the cache. They searched it, locating a thick canvas satchel under the co-pilot’s seat. Within, several of the black stones they’d found near the Tower were located. This horrified Valentine Roylott, who understood from his connection that these were part of the unknown God being held captive by the Black Tower and the Elder Things. He knew these stones couldn’t leave Antarctica, or they would thaw and begin to weaken the prison. He took action, but the flat stone he’d felt growing warmer and colder based on proximity to the seeds shattered when he got too close. He hated losing it, as he feared other seeds might find their way off the ice.

When they came to the cache, they saw that the Germans had erected a tent. The Germans’ last radio transmission suggested that the Graf Zeppelin was on the way. Baumann emerged, and they held him at gunpoint, but they quickly realized that he was elated to see them. Somehow, he and Rucker had become convinced that everyone who’d gone to the Tower was dead, and they’d taken the Weddell because they felt it had been their best chance to survive. Baumann admitted to shooting Halperin, but only after Halperin had shot Rucker. Dr. Carrington examined Rucker’s wounds and helped ease the sleeping German’s pain.

The investigators then began to try and convince Baumann that everything that had been seen on the expedition needed to be kept a secret from the outside world. He was slowly convinced of the rightness of this, but he doubted that Rucker would agree. He and Tanj stepped outside to check on the cache to give the others a chance to get rid of Rucker’s evidence. Baumann believed that, without any proof of finds, Rucker would be dismissed by the German authorities. As the others removed the proof, taking it back to the Weddell, Dr. Carrington, left alone with Rucker, sadly came to the realization that Rucker couldn’t be allowed to live. He injected a small amount of air into Rucker’s bloodstream, knowing that, when he was airlifted to the Graf Zeppelin, it would likely cause a fatal, untraceable embolism. Rucker’s wounds were severe; it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to assume he’d gone sceptic.

The investigators loaded fuel from the German cache into the Weddell and prepared to return and aid their friends. They also appropriated a radio, planning on dropping it at the Lake Camp to communicate with their other fellows. Baumann and Rucker were airlifted to the Graf Zeppelin, and the German authorities promised to send Junkers from the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition camp to aid those at Lake’s Camp.

Taking to the air, the investigators returned to Lake’s Camp just long enough to drop the radio. They explained to Samuel Winslow, one of the survivors, that help from the Germans was coming, but that they had to rescue Moore and the others from the high plateau. Winslow understood and told them the sad news that, during the earthquake, Josef Stolz, a BFE radioman, was lost in a crevasse, and that Professor Bryce and his assistent Cartier were buried in the fossil cave when it collapsed. The others were well-enough, although a fire that had broken out had hurt several men, including Doctor Professor Uhr.

Grimly, knowing that help was coming to those at Lake’s Camp, the investigators turned the Weddell over Dyer Pass to rescue their last few comrades on the high plateau.



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