Mid September, 1937 . . .
After reviewing the plan, once again, the investigators finalized on an approach to take out the cult in Malta as well as the Major Mouth that had been the source of Nectar production for the cult. The decision was made to have Frankie Fawn rescue Monte Donovan from the cult’s agents at the Hospital Superbissima. At the same time, Dr. Leonardis Puzo would pilot a tugboat directly into the cult’s warehouse which acted not only as their headquarters but also their central location for Nectar production. Finally, Prof. Marvin Derrikson, Sir Godfrey Welles, Warren Barrow and Prof. Michael McKenzie would lead an assault on the Major Mouth through the catacombs underneath. This three-pronged attacked required the dedication from everyone involved. But as an added measure, Prof. Derrikson and Sir Godfrey enacted the Rituals of Self Denial on themselves which, if one or both was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, could feed themselves to the mouth, hopefully killing it.
The final stage of the plan would be for the survivors of the assault to meet up in Montgomery Donovan’s secret basement, go to the docks, pick up Dr. Puzo and take Donovan’s yacht to the fishing vessel that Frankie would be aboard with Monte Junior. From there the survivors planned to make their way to Italy to then return to the United States. There was not a great deal of trust in Donovan as he was technically the cult leader but they trusted his genuine desire to have his own son rescued from the clutches of Dana Heche and her band of thugs and drug smugglers. The plan was made more daring and desperate in that there was no way for each cell to know the success or failure of the other cells until the completion of the entire mission.
Frankie Fawn entered the hospital. using the documentation that was provided by Montgomery Donovan, giving her full authority to take little Monte. As it was the dead of night, the hospital staff had no response for her other than to let her take the child. However, she knew she had to act quickly as some of the cult’s underlings would likely try to stop her from getting too far. As she was wheeling out the boy to Dr. Puzo’s car, she stopped, grabbed the orphan boy, Alexi, and took him as well, unwilling to let the small child be a further victim in the cult’s schemes. Loading them in the back of the car, along with all the needed items of the investigators, she made her way to the fishing vessel and got everyone and everything loaded.
Meanwhile, Dr. Puzo loaded everything he needed onto the tugboat and set a course for the warehouse. The small ship, loaded with oil and gasoline, would create a spectacular explosion if it hit just right. He stayed on board the vessel as long as he could and at the last moment he dove overboard as the ship made a bullet’s path towards the warehouse shore. Puzo was less agile than he had hoped and did not make as graceful of a dive as he needed. Whereas he was not in the direct path of the ensuing explosion, the force rocked him against some of portion of the shore and he barely escaped with his life. But he knew his work had been done as he saw the warehouse explode in a fiery column. He knew there were little chances for survivors or the shipments of Nectar making it away intact.
Finally, the assault team made their way into the catacombs, with Sir Godfrey’s assistance. They traveled through the underground tunnels, making their way through secret passages, getting them closer and closer to the cult’s warehouse and to the horrid Major Mouth of Malta. As they got directly underneath the warehouse and near to the passages that would lead them to the accused creature. But as they entered, they heard and felt an explosion overhead. Not realizing the full impact, they did, at least, know that Puzo had done his job. They hoped that he had done enough.
As they continued through the chambers, they came to a large room that they had to traverse. This room assaulted them with a stench that must have permeated through the rest of the catacombs, the source currently not apparent. But this room contained its own dangers as it was a network of pillars and boards that were holding up a dangerously sagging ceiling. They would have to navigate very carefully through, without knocking over too many, lest the entire ceiling come crashing down. As the group carefully made their way through, making use of architecture and geology, they made it to the other side, but not without some minor scrapes and bruises. To their displeasure, they knew that for as difficult as it was to travel through this maze, it would be nearly impossible to go through here safely once it was time to leave if they were leaving quickly.
Once through the deadly room, they found themselves in an ancient chamber covered with sigils and other arcane symbols. Prof. Derrikson quickly determined that many of these were actually spells. They stopped to take some photos in hopes that they could later decipher them and make use of some of the magic they discovered. The camera, given to Prof. McKenzie for safekeeping, was considered an important item as it would likely lead to more weapons against the worldwide cult. They then pressed onward.
They next came to a sloping passage and likely the source of the putrid smell. It was a pool of brackish, disgusting liquid that had the stench of decades of filth and rot. It was noticed that there was an orange, oily sheen on the top level which Prof. Derrikson quickly determined was Nectar. This was both a revelation and a a horror as it meant they were closing in on the Major Mouth. Clearly part of this was runoff from his foul discharge. Nevertheless, as they progressed, they discovered that the liquid was deep, rising up at least four feet and they were unable to see what possible dwelt in the inky blackness. However, they managed to wade their way through and emerge on the other side. But as they emerged, they began hearing sounds.
Closing in on the sounds, they also began to see light. The flicking shadows on the room ahead and around the corner showed something massive moving through the light, almost giving the weaker ones among them pause and a chance to reconsider. But they pressed on and turned the corner. Whereas they knew they were coming across something dangerous, they were wholly unprepared for what they were about to see.
The Major Mouth of Malta, in all of its foul and corpulent glory was a sight to behold. It was thirty feet in diameter and spewing forth small rivers on Nectar. Attended by several mindless cultists, scooping up its foul – but valuable – discharge, the room was completely dominated by this mouth, seemingly affixed to the floor, growing out of it, almost a part of it as well as elsewhere at the same time. Whereas their eyes could not fully focus on such a thing so horrid and evil, they had to deal with it. Prof. Derrikson and Prof. McKenzie seemed close to losing their nerve but they reached down deep into something inside of them to press on with the attack.
As they assaulted the Mouth, the creature did not stay docile, nor did the cultists. A firefight broke out and one of the cultists even transformed into something horrific to attack. During the assault, everyone suffered injury of some kind but some suffered more than others.
Sir Godfrey was the first to die as the Mouth lashed down a tongue the size of a tree trunk, killing him instantly, his neck broken and him dead before he hit the ground. It was at that point that Derrikson acted quickly, shoving his ally into the Mouth, hoping that the Rituals of Self Denial worked. For when someone was dead, the power retained in their body for a short period of time. As Sir Godfrey was shoved in, the Mouth immediately began to choke as something terrible had entered it. But the creature was not yet defeated. It reacted by scooping up Prof. McKenzie in one fell swoop, ending his life in an instant, his doomed screams cut short abruptly.
Once Warren killed the final cultist and the Mouth was in a final spiral of death, Warren and Derrikson knew they had to escape – quickly. The earlier explosion had sealed off the exit to the warehouse and since it was likely covered in fire and debris, that was not an option. The two had to make their way out the same way they had come in. As they got to the pillar room, however, Derrikson went first and barely made it through. Warren, however, was not so lucky as he perished when the ceiling finally gave way. Derrikson was the only one to make it out alive.
Eventually shambling his way to Donovan’s basement, the rendezvous point, it was nothing short of a miracle that he made it there in the condition he was in. Incoherent, bloody and almost broken, he was in the hands of Montgomery Donovan, a man he was not sure he could trust. But Donovan, who was just about ready to give up on the investigators, loaded Derrikson up in his car wit some bodyguards and some supplies he needed to escape Malta. But Donovan was good to his work and took Derrikson to the docks to meet up with Puzo.
Meeting up with Puzo, he immediately tended to some of Derrikson’s serious and life-threatening wounds. They then boarded Donovan’s yacht and went out to meet Frankie and Donovan’s son. After quickly making the exchange and Donovan making good on his promise to deliver the spell, Open the Sky, Donovan gave them some cash and took his son as well as Alexi, to an unmentioned location somewhere in Europe.
With that, Puzo, Frankie and Derrikson set sail for Sardinia, on the Italian coast. Once there, a week of recuperation was in order, with Frankie securing another plane and Puzo going off to stay with cousins outside of Rome. Frankie and Derrikson took off for a lonely flight back to Providence, to continue to consult with Janet Winston-Rogers and to gain more allies for the coming investigation in Bangkok. Derrikson, for his part, had a great deal to reflect upon based on everything he had encountered.