Trail of Cthulhu: Eternal Lies

Episode 38: The Pact is Sealed

Late October, 1937 . . .

Returning to their hotel, Dr. Ju-no Sinn, Professor Marvin Derrikson and Julian Alexander had a long day of travel and investigation behind them. The last thing they were interested in was a wild party, but that is precisely what they encountered when entering the Grand American Hotel. their accommodations in Bangkok. Apparently, some kind of guest performer was on stage in the restaurant which was causing the disturbance. Just as they were ready for retiring for the evening, Julian spotted his friend Phillip Astor Winston at the lobby desk, complete with not only an entourage but with several large steamer chests.

As introductions were made, Phillip explained that he and this entourage, Davis Lockhart, Dr. Arthur Paddington and Tawny Qualls, had just come on a buying trip from Toyko and thought that they would come by way of Bangkok to see how the team was doing on their mysterious investigation, completely unaware of the danger he and his friends had stumbled upon by merely being here.

As Julian overheard Davis speaking to the hotel manager about securing two specific items, clearly paintings underneath the brown wrapping, Professor Derrikson asked what they were. Davis explained that they were a pair of paintings he had picked up that were done by a German artist named Klaus Numan, a name that was not unknown to Derrikson. This was the German artist that had painted The Gazer’s Perspective, an obscenely horrific painting that hung in the halls of Samson Trammel’s home. Numan, who, according to Lord Edward Homeward’s notes, was a lunatic living in Milwaukee and had clearly seen more horror in his dreams than most men had seen in reality. The two paintings in Davis’ possession, Doom at Mid-Day and Harbinger were wrapped and secure but promised to show the paintings to Professor Derrikson at a later time.

The group decided to celebrate over dinner. Ms. Qualls, who was clearly smitten with Phillip, seated herself next to him (and evidently, they had gotten a room together as Phillip passed her off as his wife to the hotel manager). Over dinner Professor Derrikson and Julian explained what they were doing as well as the danger that was present in Bangkok. Specifically, they discussed the strange and outlandish drug cult they were chasing down, as well as the drug, Nectar, they were following. Dr. Paddington naturally scoffed at such unusual adventures, but Phillip provided some credence to the tale as he knew his cousin, Janet Winston-Rogers, was behind this investigation as it had consumed her father. Davis seemed interested in the adventure aspect of the situation. But when references to some underground fight clubs came up, things turned darker. As Julian explained that one of the cult’s fronts was an illegal fight club, they casually discussed getting someone in as a fighter. Dr. Sinn then rested Davis’ reflexes by throwing a dagger at him which Davis seemed to catch. Dr. Sinn suggested that if they needed a fighter Davis would pass.

As dinner came to an end, David and Prof. Derrikson spoke more in earnest with Prof. Derrikson emphasizing the danger this adventure had, including worldwide implications of doom and disaster as there was some greater evil looming. Derrikson suggested, hesitantly, that Davis read Samson Trammel’s blasphemous text, Testament of the Dripping Mouths’ Emanates in order to get a true sense of what they were dealing with. He read the book and that night dreamed of mouths erupting on his body as well as strange prophetic dreams of numbers, impossible physics and alternate realities.

The following morning, Davis arrived to breakfast disheveled and bedraggled, having spent the evening reading such a horrific and spine-tingling tome but now, at least, he understood the dangers and had a better perspective of the dangers involved. It was then that Derrikson trusted Davis enough to bring him into the fold and ask Davis to accompany he and Sinn and Alexander on their investigation, which was to begin with the mysterious individual that Daniel Lowman had threatened the day before.

When the group set out to find the street thug, they encountered him back at his den of inequity where they approached and quickly learned his name was Sirpong. The investigators were somewhat confused as to Siripong’s role in the affair but eventually they discovered that Siripong, wanting in on some the fight club money had shot his mouth off around town, suggesting that he would open his own competing fight club, that Lowman had to convince him was a very bad idea, lest he bring down the wrath of the rest of the tough criminals involved in the club. He did, however, confirm the way to get to the club and that they were always looking for participants.

It was at that point that the investigators decided to confront Daniel Lowman at his home. They took the long walk back to Lowman’s neighborhood and noticed he was present and quietly reading in his living room. With Dr. Sinn and Alexander going to the back and Lockhart and Prof. Derrikson taking the direct route to the front, they silently entered through the back of the house and knocked at the front of the house.

The conversation with Lowman was long, drawn out and dodgy as Lowman changed his story and suggested, at first, he did not know the mysterious woman in his book and then admitted that he did. He admitted that ‘S.S.’ was a woman named Savatree Sirikhan. She was not only the leader of the cult but the both of them had been lovers back in Los Angeles and both knew not only Samson Trammel but also Ramon Echavarria. Lowman explained that his role was more with the Nectar trade and the fight club than it was with any cult activities (of which he seemed to be ignorant).

During the conversation with Lowman, the same thugs from before showed up demanding money and demanding to talk to Lowman. Dr. Sinn excused himself to deal with them and stated, upon his return, they would never come again. The mood was sinister and dark, as if Dr. Sinn was able to use some kind of power over them.

Upon Dr. Sinn’s return, they again pressed Lowman for what he knew. He explained that his role was to take correspondence for Sirikhan and receive it. He has gotten packages from around the world as well as sent them around the world. A few weeks ago he was approached by a man who fit the description of Luc Fauche, who mentioned the name ‘Derrikson’ and to look out for him. Lowman suspected that Fauche may have actually lived in Bangkok as he referenced places and restaurants which were off the beaten path of the city.

With Julian Alexander satisfied that they had learned everything they could from Lowman and that he woudl be a possible liability to them if he were able to report this conversation back to the cult, he rendered him unconscious and dragged him into the bathroom to conduct the ritual he had found in the Ruminations of the Outer Black. The ritual, which summoned an entity known only as the Dark Bargainer, who was pleased with the offering Julian had provided. In return, the entity offered to Julian a spell, Hands of Power.

When Julian emerged from the bathroom, without Daniel Lowman, there was a silence that fell across the room as everyone had known the darkness that Julian had entered and the dangerous forces he was bargaining with. However, with the actions that would likely come ahead, perhaps skirting the line between monster and humanity was needed. Either way, a pact between Julian and the forces of darkness had now begun.

Episode 37: Stalking Loman

Late October, 1937

It was decided by Prof. Marvin Derrikson as well as Julian Alexander that they would have to stake out the residence of Daniel Loman and observe his comings and goings if they were to determine his role in the Bangkok cult. That morning, after driving Frankie Fawn and Tida to another hangar, they took Dr. Ju-no Sinn to the neighborhood where Loman lived for another round of observations.

The investigators spent most of the day watching the home and not seeing any inside activity. Two men, however, did approach in the middle of the day and demanded to speak to Loman, clearly interested in some ‘cut’ of money. Loman did not answer the door and the surly men left the scene.

When it got dark Julian Alexander decided to use his unique skills to gain entry to the home. While he approached the house, Dr. Sinn expressed his concern to Prof. Derrikson, regarding Julian’s growing interest in the book, Ruminations of the Outer Black. When Derrikson asked whether Dr. Sinn had ever contacted any demons or creatures from the void, Sinn casually mentioned that he would have no need.

Once Julian gained entrance to Loman’s home, he found nothing odd on the first floor other than a lack of photos. Going upstairs yielded a few more clues. First, there was a hidden shelf next to his bed that contained several vials. Half of the vials (later recognized as the Malta blend of Nectar) were in squat bottles whereas the other half were in longer bottles (later suggested that they could be Bangkok Nectar). Also, a large basket of money was in his bedroom (containing the equivalent of 5,000 American dollars). Clearly the cash had a very specific purpose as it was bundled in specific amounts. Finally, in a study off from the bedroom there was a sketchbook with numerous sketches of the same beautiful local woman. However, several of the pages were soiled, a result, likely, of Loman’s sexual . . . excitement.

The group left the home with the intent to return again tomorrow to find a glimpse of Mr. Loman. Upon returning to the Grand American Hotel, they reconnected with Tida and Frankie to check on their progress and took in some fine music at the hotel’s bar and lounge.

The following morning the investigators again returned to Loman’s home but it seemed as if he had come back in the middle of the night. Spying on him, it was not long before Loman emerged from the house with the large basket under his arm, going for a walk He made several mundane stops for fruit and cigarettes before going down a back alley and stopping near a low end club and seemingly threatening a man standing outside. Julian was unable to hear exactly what was said but it was evident it was some kind of physical threat based upon Loman’s body language. And based upon the man’s body language, he was clearly intimidated.

Finally, Loman made his way to the government district and waited. Not long after he sat down another person emerged. A few words were spoken between the two and the mystery man picked up the basket and went back inside. Clearly this was some kind of payoff as the investigators shadowed the mystery man and determined he was in the employ of one of the ward’s councilmen, Phao Bantow, a man not to be crossed.

Again regrouping at the hotel, they decided that their next stop would be the mysterious plant store, Shao Flowers. They had the code word to get in what they assumed was some kind of illegal and underground fight club but what exactly would they do? When Tida was questioned, he said such things did exist in Bangkok but such places were illegal (perhaps this was the payoff to Bantow?). Further, these places were dens of gambling and violence and even narcotics so merely knowing the password was one thing, it was another to prove one had the funds to pay the admittance fee and prove that one was willing to gamble. This would likely be the next – and most dangerous – stop in their investigation.

Episode 36: Ghosts of the Past

Late October, 1937 . . .

In the two weeks it took for Prof. Marvin Derrikson, Julian Alexander, Frankie Fawn and Dr. Ju-no Sinn to go from Providence to Bangkok, it was truly record breaking time. However, during the travels, Julian Alexander took it upon himself to pour over the text, Ruminations of the Outer Black. What he uncovered reduced him to a quivering mess, raving about enemy wizards out to get him and gave him unique insight into contacting agents of the Outer Black, with the appropriately named spell, Contact the Outer Black. It took all he had for Prof. Derrikson to rehabilitate Julian before a band of Australian sailors threw the raving madman and his book overboard.

However, Julian was much calmer as the group sailed into Bangkok’s harbor. Upon arriving, Dr. Sinn suggested a hotel he was familiar with, the Grand American Hotel as it catered to westerners and would make the group far more comfortable. The group thought this was an excellent decision as Dr. Sinn also stated that they would be far removed from the human debris that choked the remained of Bangkok.

Immediately upon setting foot to shore, Prof. Derrikson donned a disguise of a working class valet, as he knew he had to hide his identity. The agents of the cult that he knew were after him were all too familiar with his face. Thankfully, Frankie had stayed out of the spotlight for a long time and Dr. Sinn and Julian were newcomers. Dr. Sinn hired a cab but before they could reach the hotel, Prof. Derrikson took it upon himself to have the cab take the scenic route, familiarizing all of them with some of the sites that Bangkok had to offer. Whereas they certainly saw the slums and the aforementioned ‘human debris’ that Dr. Sinn had referenced, they also saw the beauty that Bangkok had to offer. And Prof. Derrikson made a note of all of it in case it would later be useful. Julian, however, was still clutching his possessions and concerned about ’wizards . . . ’

Upon checking into the Grand American, Dr. Sinn made most of the arrangements, assisted by Julian, since they were both familiar with the language. However, as it turned out, most of the staff at the Grand American spoke at least passable English. They arranged for four suites, which was truly luxurious. They also asked the hotel manager about not only renting a car but also finding a translator. Then they met up in Prof. Derrikson’s suite to discuss their plans.

After some subterfuge and deciding whether or not to fully include Dr. Sinn, it was decided that Dr. Sinn and Julian would set out to investigate the mysterious address they had. The address was a return address that was the origin point of all the correspondence from the enigmatic ‘S.S’ to Samson Trammel, evidence found in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Prof. Derrikson, Frankie, and presumably whomever they would have gotten as a translator. As they broke up for the evening, Julian returned to his room in order to continue to examine the Ruminations of the Outer Black, as well as trying to memorize some of the mysterious quatrains included. Of course, by bringing in Dr. Sinn, it was explained that they were looking for more texts and artifacts. Appealing to Dr. Sinn’s more mercenary side, they felt that if he thought they were targeting individuals from whom to procure more interesting items, he would be far more willing to aid in that effort.

The following day they were introduced to the translator, a young university student named Tida, who also happened to be the hotel manager’s nephew. The young man was quickly shown to be courteous, bright and resourceful, pleasing Prof. Derrikson. Then the two groups set off for their respective duties.

Julian and Dr. Sinn had a remarkably difficult time actually finding the address, taking them the better part of a day to find the right location and then zero in on the actual location. Between poor design by the city and more than one monsoon popping up, they found their duty thwarted more than once. However, when the location was eventually tracked down, they noticed it was a small town house in what passed as a middle class neighborhood that seemed fine during the day but that could provide to be somewhat treacherous during the evening. Scoping the location for a brief amount of time, they noticed that the shades were all drawn and did not see anyone coming or going. The location did not seem sinister or even particularly suspicious, and certainly not the type of place which would be a hub of cult activity.

Meanwhile, Prof. Derrikson, Frankie and Tida went to the bureaucratic district to see if they could find any information on the address. Even though Tida warned them of the difficulty they might face. Prof. Derrikson was ill prepared for the headache that he was about to encounter. Numerous bribes, endless run arounds and general chaos and frustration ruled the day while in the civil district. However, after hours upon hours of research they did find two pieces of information. First, the address in question was owned and supposedly resided in by a ‘Daniel Lowman’ and had been owned by him for roughly the past 13 years. But there was little else that could be found on the address or the mysterious Mr. Lowman. Further, when Prof. Derrikson looked into the matter of the orchid shop, a clue they had found in Los Angeles as a possible front for the cult, he discovered that they seemed to have some unusual business dealings, such as very little in the way moving volume and several employees with the same name. Confusing as it was, the fact that it raised flags in Prof. Derrikson’s mind was, at least, a start as that meant they were on the right trail.

Upon meeting back that evening at the Grand American, the group met for dinner. They decided to keep Tida on as Frankie wanted to go out and investigate any planes that could be rented in case they had to flee in an emergency. The group decided this was an excellent idea and good use of their time. Upon breaking from dinner, Julian again went upstairs to his room to pour over the Ruminations of the Outer Black. When Prof. Derrikson retired to his room, he was met with a shock, which is certainly a bold statement, considering the things he had encountered.

As he opened his door he was assaulted by the stench of death. Cautiously, he continued but soon saw a figure waiting quietly in the room. The figure’s face was obscured by a cloth but gestured to Prof. Derrikson to enter. The figure quickly explained that he did not have much time, speaking as he nervously looked over his shoulder out the window, as if waiting for something. Amid the dark and the growing storm, it certainly put Prof. Derrikson on edge. The figure explained that he was here to help but was secretive on who he was. He told Prof. Derrikson that there was extreme and wicked danger awaiting him in Bangkok and that the whole group would have to be careful. After a brief back and forth, the figure provided Prof. Derrikson with a scroll that was some kind of healing spell that they could use in an emergency, but it could only be used once. Finally, when Prof. Derrikson was rather insistent on how this person came to be here or know so much about the cult, he revealed that it was because he had died at the hands of the cult, in a basement in Mexico City, leading Prof. Derrikson to realize he was talking with his dead nephew, Lord Edward Homeward! After suffering through a shock, Lord Edward, or his shade or ghost, screamed that whatever was looking for him had found him and an ominous black figure appeared at the window. Lord Edward began to break apart into a black mist and dissipated right before Prof. Derrikson’s eyes. Prof. Derrikson then threw himself against the wall, hiding from whatever it was outside the window. After he was certain it was gone, he still waited in terror for an hour, knowing it was safe.

After experiencing this horror and hiding the restorative scroll. Prof. Derrikson lie in bed the rest of the night trying to sleep but too terrified to truly get any serious rest.

Episode 35: The Collector

Early October, 1937 . . .

As the world weary travelers, Frankie Fawn and Prof. Marvin Derrikson returned to the United States, they flew into the familiar Hangar in Providence that was well maintained by Janet Winston-Rogers. Prof. Derrikson, with the amount of time on his hands, learned a few piloting moves from Frankie. Whereas he was not capable of completely controlling a plane, he was confident he could help in an emergency.

Upon arriving, they were met at the hangar by Edward Keane, Janet’s driver and handyman. As he assisted them to the car and drove them back to the familiar confines of the Winston Estate, Prof. Derrikson had some clear instructions: Edward was to allow he and Frankie access through the back of the home and summon Janet, even though Edward had mentioned there were other guests.

Pulling into the grounds of the estate, Edward was correct – there were several other cars in the lot. But Edward traveled with Prof. Derrikson and Frankie to the back, lightly stepping through the snow, giving them access to the back study. He then went for Janet. What followed was a strange reunion with Janet, clearly happy to see Frankie and Prof. Derrikson, but saddened at the loss of Chakar Singh Kalsi and Prof. Michael McKenzie. But Prof. Derrikson pushed beyond that for he had already come to accept their losses. Instead, he began to casually touch Janet, carefully touching her to see if she had been replaced by the likes of the skinwalker, Luc Fauche. Under questioning, Janet did say that there were some unusual things happening around her, such as an increasing number of people she did not know – the postman, the delivery men and so on. But she would not leave her home and she would not be intimidated by anyone.

When he was confident Janet was who she said she was, he calmed himself. He and Frankie then went upstairs to clean up and prepare themselves for the guests that Janet felt it was important to meet. However, before even cleaning themselves up, Prof. Derrikson hauled up the large steamer trunk which had become something of a treasure trove of arcane and unusual items. He wanted this item close to him at all times.

Later, when he and Frankie felt more complete and refreshed, they went down to meet Janet’s other guests. Quickly, they were introduced to Phillip Aston Winston, Janet’s cousin who not only was a close friend of Lord Edward Homeward but was also an avid art collector and collector of rare items; Olivia Clarendon, an actress from Los Angeles who was able to aid in some small part in the Los Angeles investigation; and Julian Alexander, an associate of Phillip’s. They all had something to share.

Olivia explained that when she had returned to Los Angeles, she had decided to investigate Colm Soames since he was out of the country with MGM filming in Malta. While in his home she found some unusual items, possibly connecting him with the cult, but found an unusual charm that she then gave to Prof. Derrikson who identified it as an Elder Sign. The Elder Sign was used to repel forces of the unknown and the forces of darkness. She was saddened to learn that Warren Barrow, the actor who had helped defeat the Major Mouth in Malta, had been killed.

Phillip introduced Julian Alexander who stated that Julian was something of a jack-of-all-trades. Whereas he had some knowledge of art and wine, he was also someone who had some seedier connections and know to gain access to places people did not want accessed gained. Prof. Derrikson instantly understood why he was brought in to consult with the current case. Based upon some of the snags they had hit in the past, Mr. Alexander would be a great asset.

When Professor Derrikson asked about what Janet may have uncovered on the mysterious Dr. Hugo Skoczony, she had discovered that there was a ‘Dr. Skoczony’ who had, a decade ago, been associated with a university in Salzburg, Austria, but was implicated in the death of his mentor, Dr. Otto Pharr. The bribes she had made suggested that Dr. Skoczony may have tried to reanimate his dead flesh as the university officials had broken down the door. He was terminated from the school and before the authorities could get involved, Dr. Skoczony had slipped away.

Phillip then went on to explain how he had an associate, a Dr. Ju-no Sinn, who lived in upstate New York and who not only spoke Thai, but also had an impressive collection of oddities that Prof. Derrikson would certainly want to see before traveling to Bangkok. The group agreed to take a train to visit him soon and see what they could find.

That evening, before they left, however, Prof. Derrikson filled Julian in on some of the tamer details of what they had been doing, keeping it closer to the activities of a criminal organization and downplaying the activities of the unusual cult activity.

The trip to upstate New York was by train and mostly uneventful. Phillip had secured some good staterooms on the train and upon arriving to their destination, were taken by Dr. Sinn’s manservant, Pao, to his estate. Poa was a curious and somewhat deformed figure but loyal and hard working. Upon meeting Dr. Sinn, he was not what they expected. He was young, attractive and very western in his dress, speak and accent, even though he was of some unknown Asian decent. He was as eccentric as Phillip had suggested and as it turned out, even more so. In fact, there were times when his air of mystery turned downright sinister as he spoke of morbid topics and open crimes. Of course, this could have been some dark humor that he possessed as some kind of joke that only he appreciated.

Eventually, the topic came around to Dr. Sinn’s collections. He took his guests into the basement of his mansion to show what he had. There was an endless supply of oddities and curiosities but it was his library which was even more impressive. He took them on a tour of the collection until he came to one tome, in particular, a Latin translation of Ruminations of the Outer Black, a tome so blasphemous and horrible that it had only recently been taken off the list of banned books from several countries. It reportedly explained the connection between things that resided on the edge of reality and contained some mathematical and arcane formulas that were extremely powerful and potent. It was during the conversation that Prof. Derrikson suggested a partial sale and a partial trade for a curiosity that he possessed: Testament of the Dripping Mouths’ Emanates which was originally found in the home of Samson Trammel. Of course, Prof. Derrikson sweetened the deal by suggesting they were going on an expedition soon to uncover more such treasures and that the city of Bangkok would be their destination, hoping that the unusual Dr. Sinn would be interested in coming and acting as a translator. At that point Dr. Sinn seemed to agree and decided to come back with them to Providence.

The train ride back to Providence was a chilling one, as Dr. Sinn revealed more of is dangerous and sociopathic behavior. It was so adverse that Phillip was forced to remove himself from the discussion as it was simply too disturbing. Whether or not Dr. Sinn was insane was a topic that would be later uncovered.

Upon arriving back in Providence, everyone began preparing for their trip. Frankie mentioned that the plane would only be able to take them so far due to mountainous regions in the west and dangerous monsoons in the east, forcing them to fly to Sydney and take a boat to Bangkok. This seemed acceptable to Prof. Derrikson.

When Prof. Derrikson showed Samson’s Testament to Dr. Sinn, he salivated over the text, knowing it was something he wanted. So a deal was struck that he would give up Ruminations, in return for Testament. It was agreed that Julian would give it a try and attempt to uncover some of the mysteries inside. As they had plenty of time to review it on the way to Bangkok, Julian hoped to understand what the text had to say.

Episode 34: The Death of It All

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.

Episode 33: "This is Our Plan?"

Mid September, 1937 . . .

As Frankie Fawn and Warren Barrow returned to Sir Godfrey’s secret room in the catacombs, they reported back on their success and also delivered some important samples they had gathered at the Hospital Superbissima. Before they took their next steps, it was decided that Prof. Michael McKenzie should analyze these samples as they could provide valuable clues. So the plan was to then have McKenzie and Prof. Marvin Derrikson and Dr. Leonardis Puzo leave the city, set up a makeshift lab and analyze the samples before progressing.

The results of the experiments were shocking. Over a period of two days, Prof. McKenzie determined that whomever was conducting these experiments, presumably, Dr. Mario Salazzio, was using Nectar to enhance human and animal tissue on both living and unliving subjects, perhaps to create some kind of hybrid. Whatever details they thought they knew about the hospital were now confirmed as a hotbed of cult activity. On the way back to Valletta, it was decided that the time for hesitation was over and that the cult activity had to be stopped. The difficulty would be exactly how to do it and exactly what steps to take. The plan then became to speak to Montgomery Donovan, a plan they had considered for over a week now. They deduced that the best plan at their disposal was to confront Donovan with his actions and see if they could find a shaky alliance with him or eliminate him on the spot. There was enough evidence to suggest that Donovan, despite being the leader of the cult, would be a receptive audience due to some of the clues they had gathered.

The following day, they scoped out the cemetery where Donovan went, daily, and had Puzo and McKenzie lie in wait while Derrikson hid much closer. The suspense of waiting for Donovan and his bodyguards was enough to keep the situation stressed as it was unclear how this plan would transpire. Eventually, however, Donovan arrived, left his bodyguards outside and approached his wife’s grave. It was then that Derrikson appeared and made his presence known.

During the conversation with Donovan, it well as well as it could have, all things considered. Donovan did, indeed express regret over his actions, focusing on what had happened to his son, Monte Donovan, as well as his wife, Portia. He explained that the Major Mouth, the most horrible thing he had ever seen, was underneath Valletta and had not been producing much Nectar. But it whispered to him and told him the proposed bargain: sacrifice something loved and Donovan would be awash in it. It was clear the thing wanted his son and he was willing to give the boy to it but at the last minute, he balked and gave his wife, instead. Then the Mouth made good on its promise, providing the cult with a near endless supply.

Donovan continued with the notion that he did, indeed, want out of the situation he had found himself in, and was willing to assist the investigators but had conditions: he and his son had to be safe. Donovan continued, saying he could provide them not only with a means of escape but also had a spell that they could use to hide the moon, making a moonless night. (This was, of course, important, as the ritual in defeating the Liar from Beyond.)

When pressed about the goals of the cult and the actual leadership, Donovan went on to explain that Dana Heche and Victor Prescott were the true powers behind the cult in Malta and that he, Donovan, was merely a figurehead at this point, likely to be eliminated by them when they felt it was time, or using him just long enough to sacrifice Monte, Jr. to the Mouth. They held all the power and were keeping his son as leverage. Thus, in order for Donovan to be able to help, the investigators would have to rescue his son and would be willing to sign papers to get the boy out from under Dr. Salazzio’s control but at that point things would have to move quickly. The benefit they had was that Heche was distracted by Colm Soames, who was being briefed on taking over the Los Angeles cult. So the investigators would have time to move.

Before parting, the group agreed to meet again, to shore up some of their plans, but this time in the privacy of Donovan’s cellar. He explained that some of his supposedly loyal bodyguards were likely, in truth, loyal to Heche and Prescott but he could have them come through some catacombs in underneath his townhouse were they could speak at length and make more specific details.

Upon meeting Donovan that night, Derrikson was accompanied by McKenzie and Puzo. It was there that they hatched the most audacious of plans. Their plan, which involved several prongs, would have Frankie Fawn go to the hospital and rescue Monte, Jr., taking him to Donovan. Donovan would then go aboard his yacht with the boy and wait for the rest of the team who would have Puzo take a tugboat and ram it into the docks, using the broken gas line to blow the warehouse up, jumping to hopeful safety before being killed in the explosion. The rest of the team would storm the catacombs and deal with the Major Mouth of Malta. The plan was desperate, insane and would likely result in the loss of one or more of them but it was the only real plan they had.

Episode 32: Derailing the Shipment

Early September, 1937 . . .

With Professor Marvin Derrikson, Professor Michael McKenzie and Dr. Leonardis Puzo remaining in hiding to recover from the serious wounds they had incurred at the hands of agents of the cult, they were left with few options, especially as the shipment of Nectar was scheduled to leave on the Thrysus, in just under 24 hours. Whereas they felt safe in the cave hideout provided by Sir Godfrey Welles, they knew that shipment had to be stopped. So they turned to Frankie Fawn, their pilot and Warren Barrow, the actor who had provided them useful information on the connection between Colm Soames and Dana Heche. The pair was tasked with putting a bomb on the ship and destroying the evil drug as well as trying to damage the engine of the freighter.

Frankie and Warren waited for Prof. Derrikson to construct some kind of a device they could hide under a shipment of Nectar. The two of them donned dockworker disguises and took their fake shipment aboard the freighter. They were able to convince the guards on board that Heche had sent them and they then went below decks to plant the device and try and cause issues with the ship’s engine. Setting the timer Prof. Derrikson provided was simple enough and they had an hour to get as far from the ship as possible.

Getting into the hull and concealing the explosives were easier than expected and Frankie’s attempts at causing issues with the ship’s engine also was without any real incident. A slight delay occurred when they were stopped and brought to the bridge to sign for the falsified shipment but then they were able to slip away. While on the docks, moving back to their car, they had the distinct feeling they were being followed but they deftly shook whatever tail was on them and then went to a restaurant for some breakfast and calm their nerves.

During breakfast, the two decided that there was another avenue they could research while their associates were out of commission: Hospital Superbissima. Based upon what Sir Godfrey had stated, there was strong evidence to suggest that the hospital was some kind of hotbed of cultist activity and specifically, Dr. Mario Salazzio was involved in some kind of medical experiments. So the new plan was to don disguises and see what they could uncover.

Gaining access to the hospital was not difficult. They simply walked in and found staff uniforms and began moving through the hospital. Determining that there was likely the most secret activity in the basement, they made their way through the bowels of the hospital until they found a corridor guarded by a single orderly. It did not take long for them to render him unconscious and find his key to the room. Once inside they made some curious discoveries.

First, the room was clearly being used as some kind of medical lab. There were ovens and equipment necessary for medical research. To the wide was an incinerator which indicated that the destruction of medical waste was conducted here. Further, there were tissue samples and Nectar in great supply, suggesting that someone was conducting research on the blending of the two. Whereas neither Frankie nor Warren were medical experts, the best they could do was take some photos and swipe a few samples as well as some of the medical notes in order to take them back to Prof. McKenzie in hopes he could make sense of it. With that they slipped away from the hospital, seemingly unnoticed.

Episode 31: Treachery in Malta
A most horrific discovery is uncovered

Early September 1937 . . .

As Prof. Michael McKenzie, Dr. Leonardis Puzo and Prof. Marvin Derrikson pondered their next steps, they poured over a mountain of information, possible clues and various avenues of approach with regards to the Malta investigation. The various tasks at hand were not only daunting but also wrought with various dangers. The aid of Sir Godfrey Welles was certainly a welcome addition but there was also the matter of Warren Barrow, the actor who had a key role in a movie being shot in Valletta with Colm Soames.

Whereas it could hardly be said that any one matter was more dire or pressing than another, there were three things that likely needed to be addressed as there was a time limit involved. First, the ship, the Thrysus was set to depart from Valletta, loaded with Nectar in the next 48 hours. Second, the aid of Warren Barrow needed to be leveraged and he needed to be brought on board the investigation. Third, Lady Gweneth needed to be dealt with and likely sent along her way as she was in grave danger by even being in Valletta.

It was decided that Prof. Derrikson would go to Lady Gweneth’s hotel in an effort to find her true motives and likely get her to leave town while Dr. Puzo would seek out Warren Barrow, whom they had not seen in several days. Concerns for Warren’s well-being was a major factor in securing him so quickly.

When Dr. Puzo arrived at the hotel where Warren was staying, it was abuzz with actors and the production crew enjoying the lounge, bar and patio. Yet When Dr. Puzo found Warren, he was in the hotel bar, drinking by himself and rather agitated. He began speaking to Dr. Puzo, secretly, convinced he was being watched. He explained that he confronted Soames on the Nectar and Soames’ relationship with Dana Heche. This seemed to irritate Soames and put increased pressure on Warren to the point where he felt increasingly watched. It was at that point that a woman approached, clearly interested in Warren’s activities and supposed well-being. The woman, Rosiland Phayer, wanted Warren to join her and the others on the patio but he politely declined. After she left, Warren stated that he suspected Rosiland was planted by Soames to keep an eye on him. Whether or not she was a member of this worldwide cult or just a Nectar addict remained to be seen. Regardless, she was once a member of a fine upstanding New England family who was likely corrupted by her association with Soames.

It was then agreed that Dr. Puzo would get his car and smuggle Warren out of the hotel. They would meet up with the rest of the team and work together to end the conspiracy – at least in Malta. But they would have to meet up with Prof. Derrikson, who was likely visiting his nephew’s widow in the hotel across from their own. Sneaking out of the hotel was not an issue but caution and care were taken nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Professors Derrikson and McKenzie had gone across the street to speak with Lady Gweneth. Upon arriving at her penthouse suite, there greeted by her valet, Nico, but there was a new figure with her – clearly some kind of doctor. He was quickly introduced as Dr. Hugo Skoczony, a specialist she had found in Vienna to help her with some of the ailments she had been having – namely horrible dreams, skin irritations and so on. Prof. Derrikson was sympathetic to the whole affair but pushed her with a pointed series of questions – what was wrong with her, what was she doing in Valletta and what was her plan. This generated a response from Lady Gweneth but even though her answer was somewhat elusive, she explained that she was convinced her husband was involved in something terrible and that the ramifications of his actions were somehow coming back to her.

It was at this point that Dr. Skoczony led her into the bedroom for rest. McKenzie and Derrikson discussed her problem at length but both of them had suspicions about the mysterious Dr. Skoczony as well as his origins and his motives. It was then that Derrikson had an idea. he called the hotel where he and his team were staying and ordered their pilot, Frankie Fawn to have some porters bring over the trunk that housed all their secrets, suspecting that the arcane and helpful items within could help act as a ward from the evil curse that he suspected Lady Gweneth was under.

It was at this point that Frankie arrived, not only with the trunk but also Warren and Dr. Puzo whom she had met up with on the way over. Almost immediately after Dr. Puzo arrived, he had an eerie, sinking feeling about the whole environment, sensing they were in a dangerous place. Dr. Skoczony noticed this and accompanied him to the balcony where Puzo could get some fresh air. It was at this point that Prof. Derrikson decided to investigate a small room in the suite that he had seen Nico enter and exit. To say that he was unprepared for what he was about to see, was an understatement.

He was greeted with a blast of cold air as soon as he managed to slip past the lock. What he saw was a room for of skins hanging from the ceiling, identical to the ones found in the tenement apartment back in Providence when they had first encountered Luc Fauche (in A Shadow over Providence). The horrific and grizzly sight was almost impossible for his mind to fathom as he realized how deep the tendrils of the cult extended and how depraved they were. Somehow the cult had gotten to Lady Gweneth and the women in the next room was not his late nephew’s wife but an imposter whom he had almost delivered the steamer trunk filled with artifacts into her (or his) very hands. Sheer rage and panic took over as he stormed from the room, drawing both pistols.

In the ensuing fight that erupted, suddenly, in the hotel suite, Dr. Skoczony attempted to push Puzo over the balcony ledge but was stabbed by Puzo instead. Puzo then chased him out the door while McKenzie, Derrikson, Fawn and the terrified and confused Warren Barrow fought with Nico and what was most likely Luc Fauche posing as Lady Gweneth. When the dust had settled, Nico and Fauche were dead with McKenzie hurt and Derrikson mortally wounded.

In what could only be described as sheer luck, the group had quickly managed to escape the room with the heavy steamer trunk before the authorities arrived. With McKenzie and Derrikson hurt and drained as they were, they gathered Puzo and found Dir Godfrey, and retreated to his sanctuary in the catacombs, leaving Warren and now Frankie to deal with keeping watch over the evil cult and likely trying to stop the Thrysus before it left dock. However, relying on Frankie and Warren may be easier said than done.

Episode 30: The Last Knight of Malta
A new ally is found

Late August 1937 . . .

As Prof. Marvin Derrikson, Dr. Leonardis Puzo and Prof. Michael McKenzie reflected on the clues they had, they again assessed the situation at hand, knowing they had several courses of action. They could either investigate the warehouse, investigate the Thrysus or perhaps investigate Montgomery Donovan’s yacht, the Elegance. In the end, they decided to see what secrets the Thrysus had to offer.

Donning dark clothing they went to the warehouse district and navigated the dark corridors of the alleys until they came close to the freighter. They found some crates and decided to try and gain access to the ship. Spotting some individuals on the deck of the ship, they thought they could bluff their way aboard. Whereas the ship hands were suspicious and they called for their captain, Captain Aldovar, the moment Prof. Derrikson used the name ‘Dana Heche,’ the crew seemed to defer to whatever they thought she wanted. The one misstep was when they offered to take the fake cargo aboard and Prof. Derrikson allowed them. However, the most important clue was that there was likely large shipments of Nectar on board and they were headed out in 48 hours.

Upon leaving the ship, the group decided to investigate the warehouse owned by Donovan since they were nearby. However, as they came closer, they were attacked from the shadows by a spry and virile figure. Whereas the figure managed to hold hos own against the three investigators, Dr. Puzo managed to lay low the attacker with his Trusty Letter Opener. Within moments after dispatching the attacker, Dr. Puzo recognized a cross on his chest as belonging to the Knights Malta. Perhaps a misunderstanding had occurred. McKenzie quickly told Puzo to bring the car around and they transported the hurt man back to Puzo’s home.

What followed was an explanation from the man, calling himself, Sir Godfrey. Sir Godfrey explained that he belonged to an ancient order of knights whose goal it was to stamp out evil in the world. He was the last of the secretive men who fought against such darkness, focusing his attention on the machinations of Nyarlathotep. Even though Derrikson and Puzo were unsure of the role of Nyarlathotep in the greater conspiracy, Sir Godfrey was no doubt a solid ally. He further explained that Montgomery Donovan was at the center of a web of conspiracies involving this evil. He and his two lieutenants, Dana Heche and Victor Prescott, were behind major shipments of Nectar across the world. They were looking at starting a new hub in Rome and were also interested in reestablishing a foothold in Los Angeles. Further, the hospital, Hospital Superbissima was in the hands of the cult, especially Dr. Salazzio.

Sir Godfrey went on to describe how Donovan’s wife was likely killed by the cult – or Donovan – for some reason. Donovan’s son, Monte Jr., was cursed by the evil god and that they are trying to use Nectar to cure him. Further, the Major Mouth, a manifestation of this god, was underneath the warehouses that Donovan owned but that he was able to provide a map to get to the creature that bypassed the security at the warehouse. This map, Sir Godfrey’s Map, was invaluable to the investigation.

After talking further, Sir Godfrey also mentioned a secret shrine that he had. It was not only an excellent safe house, if it came to that, but he stated it had other secrets as well. Taking them into the catacombs and moving through some secret passages, he brought them to his Hospitaller’s Shrine. The shrine contained not only a massive amount of texts and ancient secrets regarding the enemies the Knights had faced but had also contained a vial that Sir Godfrey claimed was antidote to the effects of Nectar. The Nectar Antidote, Sir Godfrey claimed, was yet another tool they could use to defeat the forces of evil.

When the group brainstormed about what it was that could have led to the increase of Nectar production in Malta, they came to the conclusion that there was one event that coincided with the increase of production – the death of Donovan’s wife. This led them to suspect that either Donovan has sacrificed his wife or the cult had done it for him, perhaps making Donovan regretful. Either way, Donovan would have to be confronted. The question remained whether or not Donovan could be reasoned with or he was the monster that they suspected he was.

Finally, after 24 hours of being away from their hotel, the group went back to check on messages and see if anything had been missed, especially with regards to Lady Gweneth Homeward. There did seem to be several messages she had left in the past 24 hours but the increasing suspicion of her motives, perhaps financial, placed her concerns lower on their priorities.

What did present great interest to them was the telegram that had come in from Western Union from Janet Winston-Rogers. Ultimately she said that Lady Gweneth had, in fact, terminated William Steadford, the family steward. Further, Janet had hired him but that the future of the Homeward estate was unclear.

Episode 29: Lady Gweneth
The Lady of Devonshire is interviewed

Late August, 1937 . . .

As Lady Gweneth Homeward was checking into her upscale hotel across the street from where the rest of the investigators were staying, Prof. Marvin Derrikson could not believe his eyes and immediately made his way over to her. She seemed excited to see him and invited him and the rest of his entourage up to her room in a couple of hours for some cocktails to catch up.

Later, when Prof. Derrikson, Dr. Leonardis Puzo and Prof. Michael McKenzie arrived, they were greeted by her associated, who seemed to be more of a bodyguard, Nico. They were shown into her lavish suite and offered refreshments before getting down to the matter at hand. Lady Gweneth revealed that she had come to Valletta, as she understood Prof. Derrikson and his group were here looking into, what she assumed, was the death of her late husband, Lord Edward Homeward. As she continued with her story, she also had mentioned that she had dismissed their her loyal manservant, William Steadford, which came to a great shock to Prof. Derrikson. But throughout the conversation, Prof. Derrikson seemed to think something was unusual or erratic with Lady Gweneth and when he seemed to suggest this, she quickly explained how she was exhausted after long travel and perhaps a breakfast meeting the following day would be far more eventful.

On the way out of the hotel, they stopped to speak with the porter who had assisted her with her luggage and asked if there was anything unusual about her arrival or anything odd that she has commented on. He mentioned that the night before, she had been staying at the Sterling Hotel, across town and had come from that hotel to this one, which seemed somewhat strange. At that point, the investigators decided to go to the lavish Sterling, a hotel that Dr. Puzo commented was a hotel that nobody would want to leave as it was one of the finest in town.

Upon arriving at the Sterling and taking in its grand opulence, they quickly found the hotel manager, Mr. Falco. When they bought Mr. Falco a drink, they began asking him about Lady Gweneth. He commented that, indeed, she had been at the Sterling for a couple of nights and had recently left but before coming to the Sterling, she had been at another upscale hotel, the Rialto the night before coming to the Sterling. Dr. Puzo suspected that this notion of hotel-hopping was perhaps indicative of wishing to be spotted ‘by chance’ by Prof. Derrikson. After all, all the hotels she had been staying at were ones near other hotels, hotels that Derrikson and his associates were likely to be in. Mr. Falco went on to say that Lady Gweneth preferred to walk everywhere with her associate and never ate at the hotel. This seemed to confirm Puzo’s suspicion that she was wanting to be seen. As the trio left Mr. Falco’s presence, Prof. McKenzie commented, somewhat casually, that if there was information to be gathered, he could drag it out of her, which Prof. Derrikson immediately dismissed as a brutal alternative to his nephew’s wife.

The following morning at their breakfast meeting, Lady Gweneth seemed far more relaxed and far more at ease with her guests in her suite. Over fine food they talked more and when asked whether her flight had come in the following day, she said that it had, which they knew, according to Mr. Falco, was a lie. However, Lady Gweneth turned the conversation to other associates and asked about Howard Defoe and Bethany Tibedeaux. Prof. Derrikson spoke the truth but was somewhat vague, suggested they were in and around Oxford, investigating a text called the Key to Glaaki. They suggested that a good project for her was to use her numerous social contacts to look into Dr. Jurgen Schaeffer and Maj. Heinrik Volk of the Ahnenerbe as the Germans had been causing Dr. Puzo a great deal of stress. They also suggested that they would later introduce her to Colm Soames and Warren Barrow as they were involved in the film industry and could be an interesting avenue of investigation.

At this point the investigators were satisfied that they had provided Lady Gweneth enough to do and after agreeing to meet her for dinner, decided they would go to the Hospital Superbissima with the dual purpose of tracking Montgomery Donovan and his entourage as well as looking into the cases of both the orphan boy Alexi and Monte Donovan as there was more to their cases that needed an examination.

Upon arriving at the hospital, they went to the records room and, posing as doctors and members of the health board, managed to get the records associated with Alexi and Monte Jr. They discovered that when Alexi was brought in, Dr. Salazzio, he began to induce similar symptoms in the orphan boy as the unusual symptoms that Monte Jr showed, effectively using the orphan as a guinea pig, violating most ethical standards. They found that Dr. Salazzio was using some rather unusual methods to investigate Monte’s case. Shortly after this, they heard Dr. Salazzio nearby, exploding in anger and sending some thugs to look for the people that the records clerk described. At this point the group slipped out, and waited in the car, for Montgomery Donovan and his entourage to arrive.

Upon waiting for Donovan to spend time at the hospital, and presumably be briefed by Dr. Salazzio, Donovan came outside and got into a car. Many of the bodyguards left on foot and returned back to his townhouse. The investigators trailed Donovan to a warehouse across town and waited. They were unsure if they were spotted but Donovan seemed to be at the warehouse for close to 6 hours. Around 8:30 PM he left and the rest of them went back to change and then meet with Lady Gweneth for dinner.

After some small talk at dinner, they did reveal Dr. Puzo’s troubles with the Germans on a deeper level and she agreed to purchase the expensive book, De Vermis Mysteriis if that would provide some assistance. If that book was all it took to get answers, she assured Dr. Puzo that she would compensate the library for their troubles. Dr. Puzo seemed to be amicable to this particular plan, if needed.

The following day was spent in the records offices, piecing together clues. They discovered that the warehouses were owned by a variety of shell companies, eventually owned by Montgomery Donovan. He also owned a ship, called the Thrysus which was currently anchored near the warehouses. Further, the warehouses were also the employer of the mysterious Dana Heche.

Turning to the matter of the odd blackmail photos that were in Donovan’s possession, they decided to see if they could determine why he was destroying them. Looking to see if any of his blackmail victims in town had died or were no longer needed, they determined that on his list of past or present victims were the mayor, the Provencal governor, the customs officials, the bishop as well as most of the key players in the police department. Dr. Puzo suggested that his destruction of the blackmail material could show regret or wanting out of the situation he was in but it could not be assured. Either way, there was so much more work to be done.


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