After making some preparations, the Investigators descended into the fossil cave that Lake had discovered some 3 years previously. They explored a forest of stactites and stalagmites that stretched in all directions, marveling at the great beauty of the caves.
Lake’s Fossil Caves
All along the caves, fossils of varying ages and geologic periods kept turning up in a strange haphazard fashion. The sheer variety in one place, including many unknown species, suggested that the entirety of archeology might have to be rewritten.
They followed electric lights hung up by Lake’s exploration and hooked up to a modern generator. This led them to a large, deep portion of the caverns. It also led them along a path that they could feel air stirring along. This suggested that the network was exceedingly vast in at least one direction, and they explored with both excitement and trepidation. Ultimately, they found a deep oval chamber with what appeared to be Elder Thing footprints fossilized in the stone.
Deeper still, they discovered a cave that had been partially dug out. This proved to be where the Elder Thing remains had been located, as excavations showed. Digging around in this cave yielded some treasures for Roylott, who located a smaller star-shaped stone, similar to what they found on top of the Elder Thing “burial mounds”. After some experiementation, he found that bringing the stone closer to certain people (such as Morgan and Carrington), caused the stone to increase in warmth, and bringing it closer to others (such as Buffington and Tanj) caused it to cool. It remained, however, warmer than air temperature.
Roylott also uncovered an odd semi-translucent stone fragment. Some of the group were reminded of the “living lamps” mentioned in the Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.
When the Germans awoke, several asked for tours of the Lake Camp and the Fossil Cave. The Investigators found themselves acting as guides, and some noted how Dr. Meyer and his second, Professor Uhr, seemed somewhat unphased by the carnage. They seemed, indeed, almost to expect it.
The Germans were happy to begin work on the Lake camp, citing how well everyone had done so far, given the crudeness of their American tools. The phrase “superior German equipment” was soon disliked by almost everyone, even as they were forced to admit that the Germans had some good equipment.
Dr. Carrington and Professor Nordhagen decided to stay awake with the Germans, and they were soon taught to use the “ice knives” that the Germans had brought with them. These devices, when hooked up to a generator, were excellent for melting layers of ice away. They seemed strangely impractical for the large scale work, but for fine scale work, they were fantastic.
Shortly after breakfast, Doctor Meyer asked Professor Moore to come to the Lake Camp for something. Using the ice knives, Meyer assisted them in opening one of the airplane shelters, revealing a scene of terrible carnage. The dissected bodies of dogs were found here, as well as some remains that suggested the men that had been found mutilated had been here as well. The places where the bodies had been were also ringed with white crystals…salt. As if the meaty parts of the men that were missing had been salted for preservation.
Moore went with Dr. Meyer to discuss matters in private, and the Investigators continued excavating, opening the rest of Lake’s camp. When they saw Moore, later, he seemed almost in shock. Acacia Lexington came back from a flight furious that the oxygen Starkweather had provided appeared to be tainted with various agents that caused headaches and nausea from those who flew in the high altitutde planes. Her attempts to argue with Moore met with vagueness from him, causing her to storm off and speak in private with the Germans. Her later broadcast revealed that she now intended to head in a flight over the Miskatonic Mountains.
Moore finally gave the Investigators what Dr. Meyer had shown him…a manuscript written by William Dyer warning of the perils of the Antarctic. It had shaken him greatly, and he wanted others to look it over and make a decision as the veracity of the manuscripts claims. To their surprise (or perhaps not), the Investigators were handed the parcel they had seen Alexander Sothcott steal from Nicholas Roerich the previous September! With curiosity and uncertainty, they began to peruse the Dyer Text…