Campaign of the Month: July 2008

Beyond the Mountains of Madness

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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Chapter 2: Death of a Sea Captain
Sept. 6-7, 1933

The Investigators, sans Meyer, made their way from Dr. Carrington’s home in Arkham to the train station, preparing to catch a train back to New York. On the way, a headline stopped them in their tracks. It seemed that Commander J. G. Douglas, who was to captain the S. S. Gabrielle for the Expedition, had been murdered!



The late Commander J. B. Douglas

At the docks, they found no evidence of either Captain Starkweather or Professor Moore about the Gabrielle, but there were plenty of very pushy reporters. Returning to the Amherst hotel, they armed themselves both figuratively and literally. While Roylott quickly “endeared” himself to the Press (in particular, a female reporter named Dixon from the New York Times), he was able to determine that Starkweather and Moore were mostly trapped in their suite of rooms giving statements to the press and trying to secure a new captain.

Everyone eventually had the opportunity to meet Detective J. J. Hansen of the NYPD’s Homicide Squad. Hansen questioned them all and seemed to be testing them to see if any of them knew where Douglas had been staying. He admitted that none of them were serious suspects, and, when Dr. Carrington asked him a few questions, he admitted that robbery didn’t seem to be a motive, as Douglas had plenty of money on him when his body was recovered.



Detective J. J. Hansen

As Meyer and Morgan discovered through eye-witness testimony, Douglas’ body was recovered from the water near Battery Dock. Two seamen, Gregor and Jones, had heard a struggle and a splash. One had tried to rescue whoever had fallen, while the other pursed his assailant, but lost him. Douglas died on the way to the hospital, and initial assumption had shown that he’d been bludgeoned about the head. As Dr. Carrington was able to ascertain through the morgue, however, Douglas had, in fact, died from drowning.

While Roylott and Nordhagen worked to continue preparations for the voyage south, Meyer, Morgan, Carrington, and Dezense went to the Westbury Hotel where Douglas had been staying. The desk clerk turned very talkative after being bribed a small fortune, and he revealed the following:

  • Douglas checked in on September 3 and reserved his room for ten days, paying in advance.
  • Douglas made several phone calls from the front desk. At least one call involved the name “Lexington”.
  • Douglas had no visitors during his stay. He spent most of the days and evenings out.
  • Douglas’ room, #23, had an adjoining door to Room 21.
  • Room 21 had been rented by a German-accented, large-framed fellow named Sothcott, who checked in on September 4 and left in the morning.
  • In the log book, next to Room 21, someone had written “Lucky Number”.

Thinking quickly, the Investigators rented room 21 from the clerk in order to enter Douglas’ room without alerting the uniformed officer outside. They entered room 23 through the adjacent hotel room and found what appeared to be some clues.

  • Phone numbers for Starkweather, Acacia Lexington, and a Gerald Brackman .
  • The names Wykes, Grimes, and Brewer and the phrase “Purple Cup”.
  • The name Philip and a series of (assumed to be) train times.
  • A partially written message from Douglas to his brother Philip.
  • Douglas’ log books, which were missing the time period of the M.U. Expedition.

The letter was quite informative, showing that Douglas never had any intention of returning to Antarctica. It also revealed that Douglas was irritated by a largish German-sounding fellow, presumably Sothcott, who pestered him about a lot of nonse regarding savage races of men in Antarctica, statues in the pack ice, and the names Tsalal and Pym. The Investigators took all of the evidence and hid it in a crate on the Gabrielle.

That night, Professor Nordhagen received a threatening, type-written note, indicating that the Expedition was doomed and that they must not go. Undaunted, the Investigators continued investigating. Brackman turned out to be a lawyer that Meyer knew personally, and some evidence showed that, although Brackman didn’t wish to reveal anything Douglas came to speak to him about, he sort of let slip that he was revising Douglas will.

A phone call to Acacia Lexington revealed only a bored young man, making her guests work through him. There is some discussion of visiting Acacia’s house in Queens before too much longer. Also, they hope to meet the three sailors who quit and Douglas’ brother Philip at Douglas’ funeral.

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Chapter 1: Arrival in New York
Following interviews in the sweltering heat of a New York summer, the Investigators arrived in New York on September 1, 1933 to become part of the historic Starkweather-Moore Expedition to the Antarctic. Our investigators include Buffington Meyer, a wealthy American socialite, Tanj Desenze, a chain-smoking Ghurka mountaineer of Nepalese descent, Dr. Walter Carrington, a somewhat bookish physician, Valentine Roylott, a veteran of the Great War with experitise in engineering fortifications and radio communications, Alan Q. Morgan, a sharpshooter and big game hunter, and Dr. Mikkail Ivar Nordhagen, a professor of polar archaelogy from the University of Tromso and photographer.

Captain James Starkweather

Professor William Moore

New York City, circa 1933

Once they arrived, they checked into their rooms at the Amherst Hotel and found a note asking them to meet aboard the ship that, in a couple of weeks, would be their home for some months, the S. S. Gabrielle.



The S. S. Gabrielle
There, they were met by Professor Moore and welcomed. They quickly met the team’s polar guide, Peter Sykes, who measured them for their extensive kit of Antarctic clothing. They were also given a chance to meet the team physician, Dr. Richard Greene and each other.

At a meeting on the morning of September 2, 1933, Captain Starkweather and Professor Moore outlined some of particulars of the expedition. It would be departing from New York on the S. S. Gabrielle on September 14 and traveling via the Panama Canal to Melbourne, Australia. Once reprovisioned and refueled, it would then sail south to make the first base camp on the shore of the Ross Sea. The plan was to leave the Antarctic on or before February 1, preferably having recovered the reamins of the 1930-31 Expedition.

Moore began handing out work assignments. These assignments quickly showed that the Expedition was plagued by various small incidents, including items not being labelled properly, items not being built to proper specifications, and items simply not having arrived.

Moore asked Dr. Walter Carrington to be ready for a special task. Commander J. B. Douglas, who had captained the brig Arkham during the 1930-31 Expedition, had agreed to be captain of the Gabrielle for the voyage. The Commander had not wanted press and publicity, and so Moore asked Carrington to put himself at Douglas’ service and help make his stay in New York a pleasant one.

Early on September 3, despite the stated preference of Commander Douglas to avoid publicity, the morning papers had news of Douglas being involved in the Expedition, much to Moore’s concern. He downplayed it, saying that Douglas and Starkweather must have reached some kind of accord. More errors and difficulties were discovered, and steps were taken to fix things.

In the wee hours of the morning on September 4, the Investigators were awoken by Starkweather pounding on Moore’s door and eventually breaking it in, much to Moore’s shock. The early papers indicated that another Expedition was headed to the ice, this one led by Acacia “The Shark” Lexington, a long-time rival of Starkweather’s. Starkweather blamed Lexington for the ills that were plaguing the expedition and moved up the timetable. The Starkweather-Moore Expedition would not depart on September 9, in an effort to get to the ice ahead of Lexington.

“And Moore…” Starkweather said in a parting yell, “Get me a woman!”



Acacia Lexington

In order to try to keep hold of the attention of the press and to mollify Starkweather, Moore hired a newcomer to the Expedition, Miss Charlene Whitston, a rising star in the field of botany. After showing Miss Whitston around the ship, Professor Nordhagen expressed some concerns about whether or not a woman belonged on the ice, fearing that, no matter how qualified she might be, a woman’s presence might become a distraction to the crew. By contrast, Valentine Roylott sent a letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, attempting to solicit further attention to the fact that not one but two women would now be heading to Antarctica.



Charlene Whitston
Early on the day of September 5, Alan Q. Morgan was handed a sealed envelope by a man who said he was paid 2 bits to deliver it. This note contained a mysterious warning not to travel to the ice and a plea not to “wake the Sleeping One there”. Signed only “A friend”, the note warned that, if they went, everyone would die (including, by the phrasing, the note’s author.)

Disturbed by the note, the Investigators pondered on the survivors of the previous expedition. Of these, only two could be located and were able to help.

Professor Frank Pabodie was still teaching geology at Miskatonic University, but he was still happy to help. Likewise, Arthur McTighe was working at a radio station in Kingsport Head, but also agreed to meet with them. The Investigators took the day off and hopped on a train to Arkham, Mass.

Once in Arkham, they met with Professor Pabodie. As the inventor of the Pabodie Drilling System, he was intimately involved with the 1930-31 Expedition, but he is not returning with Starkweather and Moore. He was able ot help the Investigators gain access to the University exhibit about the previous Expedition and to the Miskatonic Library. Roylott purchased a copy of the Summary Report of the Expedition, penned by Professor William Dyer, one of the Expedition leaders.



Professor Frank Pabodie

A bus ride to Kingsport Head put the Investigators in touch with Arthur McTighe, a Miskatonic alumnus who had been the Expedition’s radio operator. He was able to describe the Miskatonic Mountains, which he said were unnaturally tall and evil-looking. He also described the pitiful way in which the graduate student Paul Danforth returned…screaming, moaning, cursing in strange languages, and ready for a rest home. “He needed a lot of rest,” McTighe confided in them.



Arthur McTighe

The Investigators returned to Arkham, where they spent the night at Dr. Carrington’s home. Dr. Carrington was able to contact Danforth’s family physician and was assured that Danforth had been released six months previous with a clean bill of health. Everyone was assuming that Danforth was now residing with his family in Boston, but no one was willing to disturb the family to find out.



Paul Danforth
Is Danforth the author of the mysterious note? Is Acacia Lexington the cause of the Expedition’s strange mishaps? Is Starkweather completely incompetent, or is there actual sabotage afoot? Will Tanj Dezense ever give up smoking? To find out the answers to these and other questions, tune in for Chapter 2: Death of a Sea Captain.

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Reminders from January 23 session

Everyone got together and created their characters. After standard character creation, the players each got 20 skill checks, to make them more advanced characters. I offered 6 possible Mythos backgrounds, and 5 of them ended up being chosen.

We skipped equipment purchasing, with everyone understanding that it would be fine for them to prepare equipment lists off-board before the next session, as well as having chance to purchase equipment before they “hit the ice”, as it were.

After that, we adjourned to watch The Call of Cthulhu by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.

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