Mid August 1937 . . .
Following the events of the following evening at the Piazza di Ville hotel which not only saw the apparent death of Chakar Singh Kalsi by the entity known as the Dweller in Destiny, but also had Prof. Marvin Harrison saying goodbye to Howard Defoe and Bethany Tibedeaux who took a commercial flight to London in order to delve into some of the ancient texts that were referenced in their research. The following morning Prof. Derrikson made his way to the Vizenti City Library to speak with Dr. Leonardis Puzo.
Confronting Dr. Puzo on the steps on the library, shortly before 7 AM, Prof Derrikson looked disheveled and upset. Prof. Derrikson demanded to know two things: first, when the Germans would return to discus further negotiations about De Vermis Mysteriis and second, where the nearest university could be found – especially one that had a functioning chemistry department. Stunned, Dr. Puzo did not know what else to say other than point in the nearest direction of the university. He did mention that the punctual Germans had stated they would be visiting in the morning which was likely around 8 AM.
As Prof. Derrikson, in his manic state, went to the university to concoct a rudimentary bomb out of simple chemicals, Dr. Puzo waited in his office, going through an entire pack of cigarettes, awaiting the Germans who he increasingly felt were at the bottom of some nefarious schemes.
At 8 AM, the Germans arrived, right on time. Maj. Hans Klingler and Dr. Jurgen Schaeffer wanted to trade for the text but Dr. Puzo was again able to stall, stating he was hoping Prof. Derrikson would be here. He invited the Germans to look around the library while they waited for Derrikson to return. The Germans reluctantly agreed.
Prof. Derrikson secretly made his way into the library with a large overcoat and slipped into Dr. Puzo’s office, unaware to anyone else in the library. Dr. Puzo was increasingly nervous about the events that were about to transpire as Prof. Derrikson clearly had vengeance on his mind. When the Germans did arrive, Derrikson made his presence known and demanded answers. Dr. Schaeffer and Dr. Puzo were clearly on edge when Prof. Derrikson not only showed he had a bomb but had also disarmed Maj. Klingler. However, Major Klingler remained calm and cool, almost as if he had no interest in his own fate.
When the discussions began to stall, Prof. Derrikson seemed poised to blow up the entire office, telling Dr. Puzo to get out. Upon leaving Dr. Puzo did manage to pull the fire alarm, trying to get as many people out as possible. Prof. Derrikson, for his part, came back from the brink and decided not to shoot Maj. Klingler or blow up the office, instead leaving, perhaps regretting that he did not kill the Nazi and Ahnenerbe representative.
The rest of the day, Prof. Derrikson wandered through Valletta trying to collect his thoughts, putting into perspective the danger he had been in as well as the dangers he was on the brink of inflicting upon others. Clearly this investigation has taken a toll on him, emotionally and psychologically.
That evening, in meeting back at the hotel for dinner, Prof. Derrikson was greeted by Dr. Puzo in the lobby, as well as Prof. Michael McKenzie. McKenzie had been told what had happened by Puzo and was concerned by Derrikson’s behavior which was close to spiraling into madness. However, things had been put into some perspective by Derrikson and between his self grounding and Puzo’s helpful words, Derrikson was able to reorient himself and reach some inner calm.
At that point, however, the group was approached by a rather attractive, well-dressed man who seemed interested in meeting Howard Defoe. He had been told by the hotel staff that Mr. Defoe (and perhaps his wife) had checked out early this morning but these individuals were friends of his.
After getting through some idle discussions, the man introduced himself as Warren Barrow and was stated he was an actor, filming on location. His film, ‘The Knights of the Cross,’ was being directed by none other than Colm Soames. This name was familiar to Prof. Derrikson who was well acquainted with the group’s run in with Soames not only in Los Angeles but also in Valletta. Barrow related a tale about how his concern for actress Olivia Clarendon as well as his concern for a growing trend in his acting circles to imbibe the unusual drug Nectar had pushed him to seek out Mr. Defoe’s help as he understood that Defoe was a private investigator. The coincidence of both Barrow and Defoe’s group being in Valletta was too much to pass up. He further explained that the director, Soames, was involved in some potentially nefarious activities in Valletta, allowing production values in the film to slide. In short, Barrow wanted someone to look into the drug connection as well as the strange activities of the director, Soames. Since Soames had introduced Barrow to a supposed ‘backer’ of the film, Dana Heche, it was suspected that Ms. Heche had different motives that simply the financial backing of a film.
Quickly, Barrow discovered what an eccentric and unusual group this was. They had clearly all been involved in some unusual activities and freely spoke of international conspiracies of cults, drug dealers and even paranormal activities. Whether or not Barrow regretted approaching this strange group, he did not show it as he was an actor, after all.
Prof. Derrikson did have a lead, so to speak. Rather than approach Soames, directly, at least yet, he thought that the cabaret, Madame Zu Zu was an interesting first step. After all, they discovered that this location was a focus point for Nectar use and distribution as the caverns underneath the cabaret did have a manifestation of more than one Minor Mouth. Since approaching Montgomery Donovan directly was proving to be difficult and since they knew Donovan was at the top of this drug cult, they would go to the cabaret and try to meet up with Victor Prescott, the man whose name they had been given by one of the sex workers at the cabaret.
That night they met with Mr. Prescott who seemed suspicious of them but agreed to sell them a large quantity of Nectar for 2 thousand American dollars. His interest was piqued when the names of Heche and Soames were dropped by Mr. Barrow as people who would be attending this actor’s party that Barrow was setting up. While at the cabaret, they agreed to exchange the money for the Nectar tomorrow set at the filming set (as Barrow knew it would be deserted).
The following day Derrikson and Puzo went about looking for other clues. They were curious how Mrs. Donovan died as it was evident she had passed on but no real information had come to light. Curiously, it was discovered that the official report of death was listed as ‘misadventure’ which detailed how Mrs. Donovan had fallen off the family yacht and had been swept out to sea, and the coroner has listed her as dead. Prof. McKenzie thought this was unusual, especially when there we no records of the navy having conducted a search. When McKenzie went to confront the coroner, he returned stating he felt that the woman was in all likelihood deceased but perhaps the body was unavailable or was in such a state that would have raised too many questions. Either way, someone from the Donovan camp had clearly bribed the coroner to create some fanciful tale. Either way, the coroner was afraid of Mr. Donovan and/or his people.
Further, when investigating the background of Dana Heche, it was discovered that she was listed as an administrator for some of the warehouse dock buildings, which was highly suspicious for someone who was interested in being an investor for a film.
That evening they went to the film set to conduct the transaction. When Victor arrived, he was in a large delivery truck but a mysterious black car was with him. When asked, Victor stated that was ‘the boss’ who wanted to get a better look at the people buying the narcotics. There was some notion that they would be interested in being new distributors to the Los Angeles market but Victor mentioned that something was already underway to put that area back in business soon.
Unaware of who or what was in the large black car, Prof. Derrikson had a sneaking suspicion it was none other than Dana Heche.