Campaign of the Month: July 2008

Beyond the Mountains of Madness

Chapter 9: Balance of Power, Part 2

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…

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Chapter 9: Balance of Power, Part 1

Everyone was awoken in the early morning hours of December 1. Three planes flew overhead, circled, and landed. The markings on the fuselage of each were unmistakable: the Germans had arrived.


Junkers JU-52/3m, much like those used by the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition

On behalf of the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition, Herr Doctor Josef Meyer greeted his American counterparts. He expressed the hope that all of the expeditions would be able to work together towards goals of scientific discovery and international cooperation. The horrors of the Great War still fresh enough in their minds, Roylott and Morgan were nto entirely welcoming to the newcomers. Others, such as Dr. Carrington, Professor Nordhagen and Tanj Desenze settled into matters easily enough, and Buffington still felt that the possible threat of living Elder Things far outweighed the danger from a bunch of foreigners.

Doctor Meyer suggested that, since the Germans were operating on Greenwich Mean time and the Americans were using time based off of that for their ships, that they split the days into 12 hour shifts. While the Germans were sleeping, the Americans would work, and while the Americans were sleeping, the Germans would work. This caused great concern among those who felt uncomfortable with the Germans being there at all. As the Germans went to sleep, the Investigators decided that, before the Germans got up and started their day, they should get a look at Lake’s fossil cave…

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Chapter 8: At the Mountains, Part 2

November 29 was cloudy, but relatively warm at 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Construction at camp continued, with the aircraft shelters being completed, and the Pabodie drill being partially assembled. Professor Moore asked our intrepid investigators to continue to excavate Lake’s camp. To their surprise, Acacia Lexington and her man Tony Hopewell came over and volunteered to help. If they had anything more nefarious in mind, it wasn’t apparent thereafter.

Moore’s autopsy on one of the Elder Things made some things abundantly clear. These were not plants. they were animals, adapted for aquatic life, and likely predators as well. While Buffington’s theories continued to grow wilder (still alive, after being trapped in a cave for eons? Ridiculous!), everyone’s paranoia level increased at least a bit. Moore got everyone, including Miss Lexington, to agree not to reveal too much about what was found in terms of the bodies of the previous expedition. It was increasingly clear that the remains they had found were caused by deliberate murder. But what were Dyer, Pabodie, and the rest trying to cover up by lying about it?

November 30 saw the assembled Pabodie drill brought in to be used to remove the old drill from its frozen moorings in front of Lake’s fabulous fossil cave. The investigators finished much of their excavations around Lake’s camp instead, although they head plenty of buzz about it from their colleagues over dinner. Much to Moore’s frustration, a telegram he sent to Pabodie came back with an exceedingly vague answer in regards to the state of the remains. Moore was beginning to dread the truth of the cover-up. Were his previous colleagues guilty of murder?

As the expedition settled in, there was much concern and paranoia. Who could be trusted? And what had caused the deaths 3 years previous? There were no answers…just questions piled on other questions.

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Chapter 8: At the Mountains, Part 1

On November 27, the Weddell, the Enderby, and the Belle flew west, heading in the direction of Lake’s Camp, the site around which so much mystery and grief seemed to connect. Within an hour, they were within sight of dark smudges on the horizon…the Miskatonic Mountains.

As they approached, it was clear that these mountains were as vast and huge as Lake and Dyer had described them. They jutted miles into the air in spires and pyramids, often black stone visible above the ice and snow.

Despite some turbulance, the planes made the trip safely, depositing their cargo and passengers before flying back to pick up more gear and passengers. Lexington and her criew joined Professor Moore and his in creating a joint camp effort, although the members of the Lexington Expedition remained somewhat aloof. Captain Starkweather had remained behind to do some mountaineering, so things were rather calm.

Initial scouting by Tanj, Buffington, and Morgan discovered both the burial cairn of the Lake Expedition and the initial dig site that had proven so fruitful for Lake and his men. Meanwhile, Carrington, Nordhagen, and Roylott did some digging at Lake’s old campsite. They discovered the grizzly remains of Lake’s dogs, killed in various ways, including some that were dissected or butchered. They also opened one of the frozen tents. Inside, there seemed to be evidence of some kind of struggle, and the tent itself appeared cut or torn. The two groups returned to camp and got some rest in the 24-hour sunlight.

The next day, Roylott, Tanj, and Morgan went out to the cairn with Professor Moore. After Moore paid his respects, he and Roylott returned to Lake’s Camp to assist with the excavations. Meanwhile, Tanj and Morgan did some excavating of their own, opening the tarps containing the 11 men who had been buried in the cairn. What they found unnerved them terribly…three identifiable bodies were simply dead of things like blood loss, a broken neck, and, in one case, a broken back. Four bodies could be described as butchered or dissected. Three has also been flensed of skin. The last body had been virtually rendered to its component parts.

Meanwhile, Buffington, Carrington, and Nordhagen continued opening tents. They discovered the larder, which had several puzzling anomalies. Tin cans were torn, crimped, smashed…everything but properly opened. Buffington observed that it were as if someone had tried to open them that had never seen a tin can before. There was also a noticeable lack of meat, dried or fresh, and salt. Also, although matchboxes were strewn around, they were all empty.

When Roylott and Moore joined them, they began to excavate one of a series of unusual, low mounds. This proved to contain the partly dissected corpse of one of Lake’s most extraordinary finds…the seemingly part plant, part animal things that had been dubbed the “Old Ones’ by Lake after something from a book he’d read. As Lake had indicated, the bodies showed great preservation and a remarkable flexibility, given their seemingly ancient, semi-fossilized nature.


The Old Ones

Two more shafts containing “Old Ones” were opened. The third, for some reason, had a curious star-shaped soapstone fragment interred in the snow covering it. Unbeknownst to the others, Dr. Carrington, who’d read of some uncanny things in the Celaeno Fragments, identified it as a form of the so-called elder Sign, known to ward locations against the encroach of evil entities. But was it there to protect the “Old One” or to keep it in? When all was said and done, he replaced it over the shaft the creature was buried in. They were joined by Tanj, Morgan, and Lexington, who had tagged along to see what was happening at Lake’s Camp.

Professor Moore, who’d been quite excited, was distressed by even hints of the state of the bodies that Tanj and Morgan had examined. Further discovery of an autopsy tent that seemed covered by blood, a tent that held the same unknown reek of the “Old Ones”, and what he considered rather paranoid reactions from some of his colleagues made Moore a little more hesitant and speculative. He agreed to leave anything he’d touched the Old One with at Lake’s Camp, and to only perform his examinations of the specimens there.

Back at the camp, Moore announced at dinner the first suspicions of what they’d found. He and Lexington made their radio broadcasts back to their base camps. When Professor Nordhagen was headed to his tent, however, he noticed a light on in the radio tent well past the hour when it would normally be off. Discovering that Lexington was still inside, he, Buffington, and Roylott ran to one of the planes, tuning in the plane’s radio. They overhead a conversation between Lexington and an unknown man in German. There seemed to be the sealing of a deal of some kind, and the radio shut down. Lexington’s man Priestly almost caught them, but Buffington bluffed that he’d taken to smoking reefers in the plane to keep the smell out of the tents. After taking a hit, Priestly went back, joined Lexington, and all was quiet in camp…


At the Mountains of Madness

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Chapter 7: A Shock in the Lightest Night

Despite their losses, the Starkweather-Moore Expedition established itself on the Ross Barrier Ice. Some members of the expedition took to the new, bizarre landscape, while others found it much less inviting. The first real shock of horror, howeve,r came in the early morning hours one day. The sound of an alarm bell ringing from the radio tent. Someone, somewhere, was calling for help.

The expedition members quickly scrambled to the radio where they heard someone from the Lexington Expedition calling for aid…a call that as cut off by gunshots. The group was startled further by the sound of a distant explosion. Galvanized into action, Starkweather was quick to organize a search party, heedless of his differences with Acacia Lexington.



Starkweather prepares for the ice.


To the Rescue!

Once the group arrived, however, it was a bit of a deflation. Although the Lexington Camp had clearly had problems, everything now showed the signs of being put back to normal. Two men had apparently succumbed to snow madness. They had butchered the dogs, shot and wounded (but not fatally) a few of their own expedition, and then blown up the generators and radios.

While Starkweather and Lexington went off to discuss matters, the Investigators pitched in where they could. They discovered what had happened and heard some mutterings of uncertainty from various members of the Lexington Expedition. Some weren’t sure about continuing, given Lexington’s leadership. One of the two madmen, much calmer, couldn’t seem to rationalize what had happeneded. He’d suddenly seen spiders all over everything and believed his fellows to have bee ncontrolled by them.

One thing seemed clear…without generators, radios, or sled dogs, the LExington Expedition would not be able to continue.

Tempers flared between the two expedition commanders, and the group departed, leaving the Lexington Expedition to ponder its fate. Back at their own camp, Profressor Moore stepped in with a calmer attitude. Over the next few days, there were meetings between Starkweather, Moore, and Lexington, and, in the end, a compromise was reached. The two expeditions would join together and share resources. Lexington’s plane, the Belle, would replace the Boeing that was damaged, and they would supply airplane fuel, in exchange for food, generators, radios, and the like.

The two groups spent a slightly uneasy, but essentially cordial Thanksgiving together. Hopefully, it was a sign of things to come.



A Boeing 247, similar to the Enderby or the Weddell


The Belle: a Northrop Delta
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Chapter 6: Onto the Ice

The Gabrielle sailed south from Melbourne, heading towards Antarctica at last. About a week after setting sail, the ship ran into the worst storm any aboard had ever seen. The ship pitched and tossed, leaving many of the Investigators, and most of the crew, violently seasick. But when the sound of something rolling and crashing in one of the cargo decks becamse audible, action was called for.

Two of the engines for the big planes had gotten lose and rolled around the hold, smashing kerosene cans and one of the Boeings. Luckily, with some deft roping, sheer muscling, and the aid of some other crew members, the Investigators got the engines under control. Investigation showed pitting and corruption in the staples that had been holding the engines down. They took some comfort in that it appeared to be older. Henning’s last discovered sabotage was by far the worst. The Shackleton, one of the Boeings, is pronounced unfit to fly. Even worse, nearly half the kerosene has been lost…a terrible blow to the expedition.



The Gabrielle tosses in the stormy ocean

After days of storm, the sea suddenly calmed, and the crew was ablr to relax a bit. Everyone was treated to a beautiful sunset, including the mysterious phenomenon called a green flash.



The Green Flash at sunset

Soon, the Gabrielle began to spot icebergs. These strange formations of many colors slowly passed like towers or sentinels.



The Gabrielle moving through the ice flow

After a few days travel in the ice, the lookouts spotted the ruin of a boat half-buried in an iceberg. Inspection proved it to be the S. S. Wallaroo, a vessel that had been missing for nearly a year. The Investigators got a closer look and found grisly evidence which suggested many of the crew had died aboard and may have been butchered for meat. The captain’s body was found in his bed, having committed suicide. His diary and a handful of oddly greenish gold coins featuring curious sea creatures were recovered. Eventually, the crew decided to dnyamite hte Wallaroo and send it to burial at sea.



The S. S. Wallaroo trapped in the ice

More icebergs were spotted, including ones in eerie colors, like deep bottle green. The Gabrielle continued to push its way south.



Bizarre icebergs floating by

The Gabrielle became trapped in the moving pack ice, and only a goodly bit of dynamite aided it in breaking free.



The eerie icebergs crowd around

Finally, ahead, a great looming wall. The Ross Ice Barrier was spotted at last.



The Ross Ice Barrier

With the smoking volcano Mt. Erebus as a backdrop, the crew began to unload supplies onto the pack ice while others made dog sleds runs to establish a base camp on top of the barrier. The crew worked rapidly to get the Gabrielle unloaded and to get their supplies to safety.



Mt. Erebus looms…


A sled dog takes a break

A base camp was established, and supplies were ferried by aircraft from the pack ice to the solid land.



The Starkweather-Moore Base Camp


The Scott: a Fairchild FC2

In the end, however, disaster! A fissure appeared in the ice, and everyone made a hasty escape as best they could, rescuing as much of the supplies as possible. In the end, however, a large amount of the airplane fuel sank beneath the ocean waves, never to be seen again. Another terrible blow for the expedition.

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Chapter 5: At Sea (Part 2)

Although the Investigators made several attempts to interview the saboteur Adam Henning, Captain Vredenburgh made it very clear that he was having none of it. The matter had been turned over to him, and he was going to see it through. He was confident there was no more threat to his ship, crew, or passengers, and everyone else was just going to have to take his word on it. That was his final say on the matter.



Melbourne

The Gabrielle arrived at Melbourne without futher incident. Henning was taken into custody by the local constabulary. Captain Starkweather gleefully met the local press, who were anxious to hear tales of adventure, sabotage, and daring. Professor Moore, who had come, so often, to rely on the level heads and capable hands of the Investigators, turned to them once again. Items were needed to replace what Henning had ruined en route.

A search for pemmican led them to R. J. Manfield and Son, Ltd. Inexplicably, this turned out to be a canned peaches plant. Since it was the off-season for peaches, the plant’s owner was happy to work with the Investigators and help them hire men and convert their machinery towards the making of “pammican”, as it was labeled on the packages. Some small flubs with the other orders for generators, radios, photogtraphic equipment, and the like were quickly cleared up. The tonnage of food needed was ordered, checks were signed, and the expedition became ready once more.



Pemmican (Pammican?)

There was also time to explore Melbourne and attend a ceremony in which Starkweather and Moore were presented with the key to the city. Eventually, however, everything was ready. The Gabrielle sailed out of Port Melbourne, back into the open ocean. With a blast or two of the whistle, Captain Vredenburgh turned the ship to the south….and the ice.

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Chapter 5: At Sea (Part 1)

At first, the voyage seemed to be going well. Although the crew seem a bit suspicious of the Expedition, Captain Vredenburgh quickly put it down to superstition. “They think you and your Expedition are unlucky,” he explained. Despite this, he and his Officers remained professional and friendly with the Investigators. Slowly, life settled into a pattern, with meals and classes marking the time.

Although a few of the crew and investigators were seasick, the weather stayed decent. The Gabrielle reached the eastern end of the Panama Canal and made the transit peacefully, exiting the Canal on September 20. The Investigators enjoyed a last night of decadence in Panama City, then prepared for the multi week voyage across the Pacific.



The Canal

Within a day or two of leaving port, the ship was hit by a terrible storm. Many who were already seasick got worse, while others now took their turn at the railing. When the storm cleared, something new and odd seemed to be afoot with the crew, for they seemed to be preparing for…something. When Davy Jones himself visited the ship in the evening of September 24, many of the crew seemed baffled, but others seemed to know what was going on, including Tanj, Buffington, Professor Nordhagen, and Alan Morgan. Dr. Carrington and Valentine learned the hard way on September 25, during a Crossing the Line ceremony.



The Crossing the Line Ceremony

Unfortunately, later that day, some seeming sabotage emerged. Someone had used acid to corrode some of the pipes to the refrigerator (reefer) hold, and the smell of ammonia was soon filling the air. All told, almost 1/4 of the food supplies were now gone.

Worse, on September 28, someone poisoned the dogs with strychnine. Four dogs are killed by other dogs, and six are ultimately put down by gun. The other dogs recover from the experience, but it’s clear now that someone is trying to delay and/or kill the members of the expedition.

After more sabotage is uncovered, the Investigators chose to let the Captain in on what was happening. With great efficiency, Captain Vredenburgh ferreted out the clues against the saboteur, but he wasn’t able to find who Henning was working for.

With Henning caught, the crew’s mood improved immeasurably. Only time will tell if this will hold as the Gabrielle chugs into the waters near Melbourne, Australia…

To be continued.



The Crew of the Gabrielle in a relaxed moment.


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Chapter 4: Departure

The morning following their rescue of Nicholas Roerich, the Investigators spoke with Professor Moore to find out if Roerich had managed to contact either him or Captain Starkweather about a meeting. They were disturbed, but perhaps not surprised, to find out that neither man had had any communication from the famous artist. Moore advised them to get their gear stored aboard the Gabrielle that afternoon in preparation for departure the following day, September 9. Then all of them had the sad duty to attend the funeral of Commander J. B. Douglas.



St. Brigit’s Cemetary

At the funeral, they met with Douglas’ brother, Philip. Philip revealed several pieces of information. First, he had not received any packages from J. B., which did not seem to jibe with an unfinished letter the Investigators had found in Douglas’ hotel room. Whatever he planned to send either never got sent or was intercepted. In addition, he spoke about how his brother had changed upon his return from Antarctica. He was now moody and prone to drink and brooding. When he was drunk, Douglas would sometimes speak of his experiences, and Philip had gleaned three important details…

  • Three men had gone snow-crazy and attempted violence against the others. Two were restrained and had recovered, but the third had vanished. (It is assumed that this is Gedney, who is officially considered missing, presumed dead.)
  • There were black stones found on the ice that were extremely cold. Philip had always felt that they were somehow related to the frostbite that cost his brother two fingers.
  • The name Danforth came up a lot, either as “that poor, poor devil, Danforth” or in curses about how Dyer should’ve policed his people better and at least stopped the bloody screaming.

Conversations with other attendees yielded few results. Two of the sailors Douglas had persuaded to quit the Expedition were there, but they clammed up when Morgan suggested that the sabotage had been caused by other seamen. The fraternity of sea-faring men is a strong one, and these fellows seemed most reticent to continue to speak to outsiders.

Another attendee was Detective Hansen who just sort of let the Investigators know he was keeping an eye on them.

Following the funeral, the Investigators got their gear stowed aboard the S. S. Gabrielle and then settled in to enjoy their last night from freedom. While Tanj and Buffington went in search of female companionship, and Morgan went in search of drink, Professor Nordhagen, Roylott, and Dr. Carrington turned in early. All sleep and carousing was interrupted, however, as a terrible gasoline fire erupted in the shed on the Gabrielle’s dock and threatened to engulf the ship. While Starkweather, Nordhagen, and Carrington manned the fire hoses, Roylott and Morgan used a crane to move some hanging barrels of gasoline away from the threatning fires, and Tanj and Buffington tried to rescue men from the shed.



The Gabrielle, engulfed in smoke.

As they worked on the rescue, Tanj and Buffington spotted someone exiting the rear of the shed, and they moved to intercept him with Morgan following. The man turned out to be dressed as a stevedore but carrying a large barrel of gasoline. When they confronted him, he hurled the barrel at them and ran. A close-range shotgun blast to the leg from Buffington brought him down. He turned out to be Jerry Polk, a small-time crook who’d graduated to arson and, in fact, murder, as several men died in the fire. Starkweather, who was extremely impressed by the Investigators’ behavior in the fire, smoothed the way with his various strongs and favors, making sure no stain fell on them for their…unorthodox apprehension of the man. To everyone’s anger, as the wounded Gabrielle was being pulled to a new dock, another ship, Acacia Lexington’s Talahassee, was pulled by tugboat out to sea. Lexington was setting out 1 day early.

Even as Starkweather and Moore leapt into action to begin repairs, cleaning, and re-supplying to catch up on the lead Lexington was creating, the Investigators were asked to meet with Nicholas Roerich. Roerich, who showed them the paintings he was working on, told them more details of his errand in New York. He also revealed that his attacker, the mysterious Sothcott had, in addition to stealing the Dyer Text, asked about Dyer’s whereabouts and about the “Pym manuscript.” Roerich had been unable to guess what Sothcott meant, but the evening’s rest had jogged his memory.



Roerich’s Latest Painting

His friend (and Acacia’s father) P. W. Lexington had apparently committed suicide (or been murdered as Acacia insists) on the day he was holding an auction. One item had turned up missing: a unique manuscript containing what was purported to be the full text of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, an odd story detailing a fictious voyage to Antactica. P. W. had believed the manuscript to be not only authentic, but also the true account of an unknown Antarctic voyage. Tanj realized that he’d heard this name before…Pym was mentioned in the unsent letter from J. B. Douglas to his brother. It had been something Sothcott had been pestering him about.

Roerich had come to the unhappy belief that his deceased friend’s daughter had something to do with his attempted abduction. He also feared that Acacia was planning on hooking up with the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition, which was planning to depart from Germany for Antarctica in a few days. He begged the Investigators to try and divine what the Germans were up to, as well as to try and make sure Acacia came back home safely.

On their way back to their hotel, the group purchased copies of both The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and a collection of the stories of Jules Verne. Another thing that Douglas had indicated Sothcott had been asking about was “Tsalal”, which, they determined was an island mentioned in Verne’s An Antarctic Mystery, which also mentioned Arthur Gordon Pym and seemed to be a sequel of sorts.



A copy of Pym’s Narrative

They also checked with the shipping offices of the train system and could find no record of Douglas mailing anything to his brother.

Carrington and Nordhagen approached Detective Hansen and offered him information about Lexington and the Pym Manuscript, but Hansen wasn’t much in the mood for bringing up a suicide ten years past and failed to see what the two had to do with each other. His interest was very peaked, however, when Carrington slipped and mentioned that some of Douglas’ journals were missing. Only someone who had read the police report or been in Douglas’ hotel room would know that. Hansen, however, knew that Starkweather had pulled strings. He warned them that if he found they’d interfered with his homicide investigation, they’d find things very difficult when they got back from Antarctica.

As part of their final preparations, they anonymously mailed the items they had of J. B. Douglas’ back to his brother Philip. As the 10th passes, Starkweather and Moore frantically make arrangements to get things underway, and the Investigators wrack their brains to think of anything they may have forgotten to look into before they depart.

Dr. Carrington and Alan Morgan ultimately decided to do some research before the opportunity was gone. They did some research and unearthed an old newspaper article about P. W. Lexington and his copy of the Pym Narrative. This article indicated that the auction in which the Narrative was supposed to be sold was held by the auction house Boseley’s. They met with Mr. Frank Boseley, the owner, who remembered the affair well. He was able to provide them with a letter that he’d received from Stanley Fuchs, the Narrative’s previous owner who’d sold it to Lexington. Fuchs had concluded it was a fake, but Lexington had seemed excited to purchase it. Despite this intriguing bit of oddness, no further headway was made. Ultimately, the S. S. Gabrielle set forth in the early afternoon of September 11, 1933.

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Chapter 3: An Abduction

Becoming more concerned about the possible involvement of Acacia Lexington, the Investigators, sans Roylott decided to head to her home in Queens to talk to her. They were somewhat stymied by the cool detachment of her housekeeper, who turned them away when she learned they had no appointment. When she learned they were involved with the Starkweather-Moore Expedition, her manner grew even chillier. Miss Lexington was seeing no members of the Starkweather-Moore Expedition.

They pulled their borrowed Dusenberg to the street and kept watch. Alan Q. Morgan even went so far as to head onto the mansion grounds, perhaps with intention of breaking and entering, but he never got the chance.

A car pulled up, and a man in his 50s got out, walking with a briefcase towards the front door. Before he got there, however, he was intercepted by a younger man who appeared from the side of the house and who appropriated a parcel from the older man at gunpoint. The two headed for the younger man’s car, but they were intercepted by the Investigators. Dr. Carrington alleged to know the kidnap victim, but the kidnapper replied in cultured German accents that he must be mistaken. Guns were soon drawn on both sides. A tense standoff was broken suddenly when Buffington Meyer called out the name Sothcott...the name of the German who had been linked to Commander Douglas’ death some days before. The younger man reacted, and a shoot-out began.



Mr. Sothcott


While Dr. Carrington hustled the older man to safety, the others shot at the drive, the car, and Sothcott. Sothcott dove for cover, but the driver took a bad shot from Tanj, slumping in the driver’s seat. Buffington and Morgan shot out one of the car’s tire’s, but it began to roll forward, but not before Sothcott callously pushed the driver out of the car, dragged him some distance, and then fully ejected his body.

While Morgan and Meyer drove after Sothcott in their borrowed car, Carrington, Tanj, and Professor Nordhagen took the man they rescued out of the area, but not before searching the dead driver. A German passport indicated his name was Harold Gruber.

The chasers lost their quarry when he drove down an alley, but not before Meyer shot him with a handgun. They later found Sothcott’s car next to a subway station and enough blood evidence to suggest that he’d fled into the subway system. There was no sign of the parcel he’d taken from the older man, however.

Meanwhile, the others found that they had, in fact, rescued a celebrity, Nicholas Roerich, the Russian immigrant philanthropist and artist. Roerich revealed that, while he was in New York doing charity work, he’d also come to deliver a package to Captain Starkweather and Professor Moore from the elusive Professor Dyer. This package was a manuscript concerning Dyer’s account of what really happened in Antarctica. He had been unable to get through to Starkweather and Moore, so he had decided to try his luck with Acacia Lexington, as he knew her from the days when he and her father, P. W. Lexington, had been friends. Sadly, the man had intercepted him, and they had taken the Dyer Text.

Before parting ways with the Investigators, he promised to speak with them after he’d spoken to the police about his attempted kidnapping. He also promised to keep their names out of it.


Nicholas Roerich
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