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Chapter Nine: Dec 6 - Dec 9 - In Flight, Part Two
After unloading enough supplies for Moore, Lexington, Meyer, Halperin, Priestly, and Miles to survive for a few days at most, the Belle took off and flew through the pass towards Lake's camp. The winds were severe but Evvy managed to keep the aeroplane flying despite the beating it had taken. Going through the pass, they could all see that the Miskatonic Mountains had been severely damaged by the quake, losing as much as 10,000 feet in height. Gone were the strangely symmetrical peaks, the cuboid formations, and the oddly regular cave mouths. It had been no surprise, following the reveleation that the mountains were artificial. The vast expanse of tunnels and underground structures had withstood millions of years of erosion, but the force unleashed by the Nameless God stirring in its prison had left the timeless mountains looking more like rotted stumps than the soaring peaks they had been only hours ago. Buernor had come to, and he said "There is no way that anyone could climb down that mess," as he pointed to the collapsed and broken slopes below. "If we do not save them, Miss Lexington and Professor Moore are doomed."

The mountains had collapsed under the onslaught of the earthquake, leaving only their shattered stumps.

The flight was quick, and before long the Belle circled Lake's camp. It was obvious the earthquake had reached here as well. Great cracks had formed in the ice, and smoke was billowing from where the Starkweather-Moore Expedition's generator shed once stood. The tents were still intact, though shrouded in snow and ice. Fearing the worst, all aboard the Northop Delta were relieved to see a figure emerge from a tent and wave to them. Coming in for a landing, Evvy misjudged the damage done to the once pristine runway and all aboard could feel the plane's other ski bend with a sharp jolt as the aeroplane skidded to an uneven stop. Samuel Winslow approached, bewildered that the membersof his own expedition were stepping out of Lexington's craft. "What happened to Miss Lexington and the Professor? What about Mister Starkweather? Where are the rest?" His questions were answered in a perfunctory manner, and he was quizzed in turn on what had transpired at the camp in their absence.

Winslow shared that the quakes had struck several hours ago, and the aftershocks had opened up fissures in the ice. The generator was damaged and caught fire, quickly spreading to a nearby tent and the overturned fuel drums. Most of their fuel and food was gone, and they only had enough for a week at best. Most of the dogs had run off, and those that remained would not be enough to see them to the coast. Sykes and the Sorensons advised against any travel, stating the region was too unstable. The remaining Fokker had tipped over into a crevasse, and was damaged beyond repair. They had lost three men - Bryce and Cartier were in the sample cave, which had collapsed, and Stoltz, the BFE radioman, had fallen in a crevasse. Doctor Professor Uhr had been badly burned, and there were other injuries as well. They had seen the Weddell fly overhead, turn towards the South Pole, and then fly on. Evvy remembered they had laid supply caches between their base and Lake's camp, and realized they only had enough fuel to reach the nearest one. If they hurried, they could catch the two Germans.

It was early yet at Lake's camp, 6 a.m. to be precise, and time had to be spent straightening the Belle's damaged ski, checking the engine, and getting what fuel they could from the D-BFEA. Tyson gave what aid he could to Uhr, who kept up a brave face despite the 2nd and 3rd-degree burns on his hands. The rest aided in clearing the cave to try and recover Bryce and Cartier's bodies, but only found the former. Myers found his notes and samples, and opted to destroy them rather than let evidence that the cave had been worked by intelligent hands reach the outside world. Stacey and Pierce Albemarle siphoned what fuel they could, and after Huston and Longfellow had filled the Belle, the group was on its way again. Colt Huston had joined them, as someone would need to fly the Weddell back to camp. One of the Germans, Benecke, decided to join them as well. Though an opportunist by Jeeves's reckoning, he would present a friendly enough face to Baumann and Rucker.

The Belle was ready to fly before long.

An hour later, they spotted the BFE's supply cache from the air. The big Boeing 247 was three miles away on rough ground, but looked intact. Opting for expediency, Evvy set down as close as she could to the tent and radio mast the two men had set up. Taking precautions, Jeeves stepped out with a rifle much to Benecke's puzzlement. "They have gone snow-crazy," he explained, "and that's why they stole the plane. We need to be cautious." Despite his misgivings, Baumann emerged from the tent with a friendly wave. Though obviously shaken, he was still sane. He explained that Halperin had gone mad, and they feared the others dead when they saw the damage that had been done to the tower. Rucker had been shot in the belly, and was in bad shape. He had contacted the Graf Zeppelin however, and expected the airship to arrive in about ten hours. As he spoke with the others, Tyson went to examine Rucker. Though the geologist was in bad shape and feverish, he would survive with proper care. But Rucker seemed determined that the truth must get out to the world, and Tyson saw that he had no choice. A syringe full of morphine later, and Rucker would be a problem no longer, though Tyson opted to keep that detail to himself.

Stacey explained the situation to Baumann, whose glimpse of the Nameless God had been enough to convince him that the world should never know of the horrors that lay locked in the southern ice. A plan was made to port fuel and supplies to the Weddell, though the going was slow and the wind brought with it a whiteout that did not clear for several hours. By late evening, the Graf Zeppelin had arrived, and German parachuters had landed to help secure the area. The situation was explained, and after Baumann and Rucker's body were taken back, a rescue flight would be lauched to Lake's camp. With luck, they would be in Argentina in a week's time. Relieved that their comrades would be safe, both aeroplanes were flown back to Lake's camp. Following a few hours' rest, they were once again en route in the Weddell for the City of the Elder Things.

Despite the turbulent winds (and a bout of airsickness) the aeroplane was circling the ruins after a few hours. A figure could be seen on a nearby tower, several hundred yards north of the original landing site at the plaza, waving a red flag or shirt of some kind. Setting down about 200 yards away, Evvy and Tyson remained with the aircraft while Jeeves, Stacey, Myers, and O'Neil made their way to the ruin. A figure emerged, and after a tense moment, it was revealed to be Patrick Miles. He explained that the Elder Things had returned to the city and attacked them. They had used some strange device to dissovle what was left of the Enderby with a glowing blue mist. They had shrugged off Moore's pistol, but Miles kept them at bay with his rifle. Moore had fallen down an icy slope and broken his hip - badly - and Lexington and Preistly had not yet returned. He made sure that the two on the plane would remain there before escorting the rest to their temporary redoubt inside a collapsed tower.

The city of the elder things was no more.

Moore was there on an improvised stretcher and in great pain thanks to his broken hip. Halperin remained there, still bound and glaring furiously, while Meyer sat in a corner nearby, muttering softly to himself in German. Before concrete plans were made gunshots sounded from outside and Miles, who remained by the door to the crumbled tower, entered. "They are coming back," he yelled, "and they have that strange box with them!" Moments later they could feel a vibration that reached down to their bones shake the tower, and a blue mist could be seen descending from the ceiling. "Run, in God's name run!" Miles yelled. O'Neil grabbed Meyer as Stacey and Myers hauled Moore's stretcher. Jeeves attempted to pull Halperin along, but the man began to fight like a savage beast. Believing that a clean death was preferable, he put a bullet in the madman's head and ran.

Running out of the ruined tower, up the icy ramp of rubble, and into the plaza, all could see the tower dissolve in a haze of luminous blue mist. Suddenly, there was a hail of loose stone, shards of ice, and a spray of water as the foundation of the disintegrated tower erupted upwards. Horror followed. A massive, irridescent black ooze with a multitude of eyes, chittering mouths, and lashing pseudopods rose from below - a Shoggoth! Miraculously, the only one who froze was Myers. A quick slap from Stacey shook him from his stupor. Herr Meyer screamed and tore lose of O'Neil's grip, running headlong into the ruins. Jeeves had lagged behind, and now ran for his life. The Shoggoth was not along, piping "Tekeli-li, tekeli-li" madly, as four Elder Things swooped down from the nearby rooftops.

A shoggoth emerged from the ruins, firmly under the control of the elder things. Horror came with it.

A hail of gunfire greeted them, to little effect. O'Neil ran and managed to inflict damage on two of the monstrous aliens with his shotgun, while Tyson remained by the Weddell to lay down covering fire. Stacey and Myers kept dragging Moore's stretcher as he fired off rounds from his pistol. Miles ran ahead and was snatched by one of the flying creatures, as was Meyer. It was too late to help them. Although all who had visited the Black Tower knew the fate that awaited them, it was all they could do to survive. Jeeves shot the Shoggoth with a round from his flare gun, and the monstrosity screeched in a multitude of reedy voices. It grabbed the Englishman, and began to pull him away. O'Neil blasted it with his shotgun to no effect. Tyson was pulling the survivors aboard the Weddell when he remembered something - the Dust of Suleiman! Reaching into his parka, he pulled out the three small packets of dust. Handing one to O'Neil, they launched a volley at the shambling horror. The dust dissolved the irridescent protoplasm on contact, forcing the creature to drop Jeeves and retreat howling into the ruins.

In an instant, Evvy had the Boeing 247 in the air. There was still no sign of Acacia Lexington and her cameraman, Priestly, but they had no time to wait. They circled low over the city, and by sheer dint of luck O'Neil spotted them returning to the plaza. Despite his misgivings, he alerted the others and signaled to the pair below to run ahead. Coming in for a quick landing, the duo were brought aboard, and the aeroplane took to the skies once more. They had lost two to a fate worse than death, but there was naught to be done but survive. With a mixture of regret and relief, they turned towards the pass through the ruins of the Miskatonic Mountains and flew towards Lake's camp.

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Chapter Nine: Dec 6 - Dec 9 - In Flight, Part One
Following the calamitous events in the Elder Pharos, other events were in motion outside. Unbeknownst to the other members of the Starkweather-Moore Expedition, Dr. Charles Myers had accompanied Ms. Lexington and the members of the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition on their flight to the city of the Elder Ones. Having explored some of the structures and tunnels over the last few days, he was convesant with the Elder Things' history and had grasped the rudiments of their written language. Despite his initial reluctance to show that he had cut a deal with Acacia Lexington and her party, he could not put off his examination of the black tower any longer.

Following the hour-long hike, Myers found the outer garments of the others in the entry chamber, and felt that the temperature in here was above freezing. Taking a cue from the others, he shed his parka and began to venture down the spiral ramp, guessing that is where the others had gone. The temperature rose steadily, quickly nearing 100 degrees. An archway covered with a curtain of dried, woven, reedy plants about 30 yards down led into a narrow hall with six rooms (three to a side) extending off it. A preliminary examination revealed chambers were curious sewing was being done, and what appeared to be a livng chamber of some sort. Heading further down after that, he discovered an archway leading to a single, large room about 60 yards down the ramp. The ramp was no longer walled on the inside at this point, and had opened up revealing a well or shaft descending to what appeared to be magma far below. A quick examination revealed several huge crystals in the room, along with what appeared to be ventillation shafts drilled through the stone.

Myers found a number of strange artifacts on the lower levels of the black tower.

Upon exiting, Myers could hear movement from another arch, about 20 yards further down the curved ramp, but opted instead to head back up. Examining the remaining rooms he found additional living quarters with maps, charts, and instruments taken from Lake's camp three years ago along with a strange, crystalline device that let out an unearthly chime he found disturbing. In another chamber, he found a pit filled with ice and three stone cylinders with tops that could be removed. In one he saw a fetid, irridescent, black mass that moved of its own accord. Shuddering, he sealed it and left it where it was.

Upon returning to the entry chamber, he was nearly knocked off hsi fet by a series of tremors. After gathering his wits, Charles was surprised by Dr. Meyer of the BFE running down the ramp, shrieking! Acacia was quick on his heels. "Grab him! He's gone mad, and will run outside and freeze if we don't stop him!" Grabbing the desperate man, Charles and the German tumbled down the ramp but avoided any serious injury. They were quickly joined by Jeeves and Evvy, but there was no sign of the others. Jeeves was evasive about what they had found, stating that in this case ignorance was preferrable to the truth. Despite this, Myers pressured Evvy to know what was in the canvas satchel she was carrying. Upon seeing the severed head of Richard Greene, Charles could only agree with the stoic English butler.

Following an echoing oath or cry above, they were joined by Tyson. Wide-eyed and obviously shaken, Tyson brushed aside all concerns for his well-being. "We should go. There is nothing more for us to do here." When asked about Samuel, Dr. Schevchenko, and Starweather, Tyson only replied. "Dead. All of them." He pointed to the bag Acacia was carrying. "That is all that remains of James Starkweather. There is nothing to bring back of the others. It is for the best that you do not know why." Once again, Myers was forced to agree.

Upon leaving the tower, they discovered that the earthquake had extended far beyond the tower. Part of the ridgeline of the valley had collapsed, and strange craters now dotted the broken ice of the valley floor. Tyson and Myers went to examine one while the rest escorted the incoherent German back to the planes. They found a strange, smooth, black stone there. A wave of revulsion swept over both men as they looked at it, and the sensation only grew as they touched the thing. Tyson could feel his back warming up, and pulled the dark gray star-shaped stone found in the cave at Lake's camp from its box. The stone was hot, hot enough to cause the oustide of his mitten to smolder. As it drew within a foot or so of the stone, it exploded in its box. Tyson took the black stone, intending to sample it later.

As they hiked towards the planes, the group saw the Weddell fly overhead on a course back to the City of the Elder Things! Quickening their pace, they came within sight of the Belle. "Stop right there!" A voice yelled out. It was Douglas Halperin. "Faces! Show me your faces!" Jeeves could hear the ragged edge of panic in his voice, and Myers spotted the barrel of a rifle poking out of the open cabin window. Acacia stepped forward, attempting to calm the pilot, but two shots were placed into the ice near her feet. "I said show me your faces!" With that, all threw back the hoods on their parkas, and were signaled to approach. Halperin's eyes were wide, and dried blood had crusted on his face from an ugly wound on his forehead. One cheek was pale with frostbite, and he was raving. Whatever he had seen had driven him mad, and in his madness he believed that the elder things could disguise themselves as humans. Halperin stated that Baumann and Rucker had overpowered him and Thorson after sharing some hot coacoa. From what they could glean, the earthquake coincided with the momentary failure of what Tyson called the Cold Hole, and there was no doubt that they had all caught a glimpse of the Nameless God. But Halperin was there only way out, and he kept one hand near his gun even as he taxied down the ice and the Belle took to the air.

Halperin had caught a glimpse of the Nameless God through the storm, and sanity had fled him.

Upon their return to the city, the group made plans as best they could under Halperin's watchful eye. No matter what, Baumann and Rucker could not reveal what had been found in the City of the Elder Things and beyond. The world could not survive more meddling by human hands in places man was not meant to venture. They had to be stopped. But Halperin was too dangerous to himself and others to be allowed free reign. If he left them in the city, they would all die there.

Much of the City of the Elder Things had been reduced to rubble by the earthquakes.

Drawing closer, the group could see the earthquake had done tremendous damage. Much of the city had been reduced to rubble and the peaks of both the Western Range and the Miskatonic Mountains had collapsed. But the plaza was still intact, and the landing was smooth. As they touched down, Evvy made a pretense of checking the engines for Halperin. With the madman distracted for a moment, Jeeves made his move. Halperin managed to squeeze off one shot, grazing O'Neil's ear in the tight quarters of the aeroplane before Jeeves jammed a syringe filled with morphene that Tyson had provided him into his neck. In seconds it was over and Halperin was drug off the plane and bound. Moore approached them from the nearby ruins, and after a quick explanaton of what happened and a moment to grieve for the loss of his friend, their plan was finalized. Acacia and Priestly would remain with Moore and Miles to film what was left of the city and the surrounding mountains. This would prove that there was nothing of note here. The rest would pursue the Boeing 247. It was their only chance to get everyone, both in the city and at Lake's camp, back to safety.

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Chapter Eight: Dec 5 - Dec 6 - The Black Tower, Part Two
An hour after Starkweather was abducted, the Weddell was airborne and headed towards the mysterious western range. Halperin was flying, with Evvy acting as co-pilot. Doctors Tyson, Thorson, and Schevchenko, along with Stacey, Jeeves, and Samuel, were along for the ride. Moore was too injured to go along, and Miles opted to stay with him for safety's sake. They had found an ancient observatory earlier in the day that doubtlessly once tracked the position of the stars in the heavens. Millions of years of stellar drift rendered it useless, but one constant remained. Something blocked the view at a heading of 290 degrees - the view to the west. Murals in a nearby tower indicated there was something there, something the Elder Ones feared. But it was too late to second-guess what they were about to face.

It didn't take long to spot the flying Elder Things with their burden clutched between them. They were slower, moving at about 60 miles per hour, and the Boeing 247 could easily outfly them. But to what end? Tyson wondered briefly about taking a shot at them, but with the cold, the wind, and the roughness of the flight, 50 feet might as well be 50 miles to a rifle at this point. Halperin flew in long circles to prevent the engine from stalling. Wherever they were headed, the Elder Things would arrive soon.

Looking out the left side of the plane, Stacey saw they were not alone. Another aeroplane had joined them - the Belle. Evvy could see Baumann was at the controls, and he waved at them then pointed to the flying creatures in front of them. Before long, both planes were flying in tandem towards the towering black mountains beyond. The peaks of the western range soared up to the edge of space. More than thirty thousand feet high, they had a disturbingly regular appearance. Sharp and conical, they had no caves or structures like the peaks of the Miskatonic Mountains. Stacey and Tyson felt that there was some dread purpose to the mountains, something they couldn't quite fathom, and it chilled them to the bone.

As they flew on, a light appeared, flashing blue against the dark sky beyond. A storm hung on the horizon. Ruddy light shone through dark, icy clouds which whirled like a hurricane. Impossibly, the storm did not move, and seemed centered on a valley of some sort. At the edge of the valley stood a tower of black stone, fully 500 feet high, with a flashing blue light at its pyramidal apex. The light did not grow brighter as the planes approached, but rather harder to look at, as if it would sear the very sight from their eyes. The planes circled as the Elder Things dove towards the tower. Baumann pointed to the icy floor of the valley. The same ancient river that ran through the city ran here, and its long-frozen surface formed a perfect landing strip.

The black tower of the Elder Pharos stood like a lonely sentinel at the heart of the valley.

After touching down, the Belle landed about 50 yards away. The hatch opened, and Baumann, Doctor Meyer, the geologist Rucker, Acacia Lexington, and her cameraman Priestly stepped out. Curt greetings were exchanged and questions were asked. The Lexington party had suffered a mild disaster upon touching down in the city. The bottom of their Northrop was dented and scraped, and the landing skis had been repaired with wooden struts as best as they could manage. Kyle Williams had gone to search for the Starkweather party to get help, according to Acacia. She and Meyer were shocked when the investigators revealed that he was actually Paul Danforth, and had been behind the sabotage both expeditions had faced since before they left New York. Meyer also revealed that Danforth had stolen his copy of Poe's unexpurgated The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, upon which revelation he was slapped by Acacia Lexington. Apologizing for whatever dastardly actions his superiors had taken, Meyer suggested that they enter the tower to find out if what Pym described was accurate and to hopefully recover the remains of Starkweather and Greene. Rucker and Baumann remained behind, as did Douglas Halperin and Buernor Thorson. The rest made their way to the black tower.

The upper reaches of the tower appeared damaged, but the base was solid and a ramp cut from the ice led to an arch-like opening. Making their way inside, the investigators found a domed chamber with a ramp leading up, spiraling along the inside of the tower. It was warmer in here, and they shed their parkas lest sweat become an issue after they left. The temperature rose steadily as they climbed, reaching 80 degrees Farenheit as they exited on to an upper floor. The walls were carved with murals showing the Elder Ones calling down something from the outer darkness, with the tower and the mountains at the center of it all. A map had been carved into the floor, and all could see the mountains formed a perfect pentagon around the tower. There could be no doubt - the entire western range was artifical! A pit in the center of the room dropped out of sight, with only an orange glow far beneath hinting at what lay below. A ramp on the far side continued up, and the group opted to push onward.

The ramp spiraled up, past strange clusters of shining crystals that reflected the light of their electric torches a million times. "I think they can see in the dark," Acacia said. "Shut those lights off." Even in the near-darkness, bizarre hues of indigo and violet played over the crystals, and they seemed to ring and chime with the slight breeze of the group's passing. Evvy struck one of the crystals with the butt of her torch, and it rang like a bell, echoing all the way up the tower. A few harsh glares were shot her way. Curious, Tyson touched one directly. It was as if he had grabbed a live wire. He jerked spasmodically and fell over, Jeeves barely catching him before the scientist pitched off the ramp. With an oath, he hauled the insensate man to his feet. Tyson roused to consciousness but seemed stunned and was unable to speak.

Leading him along, they ascended to an upper floor. Five rooms radiated out from a central chamber that was like the inside of a truncated cone with a central altar of some sort. Strange, pallid, fleshy plants with pale leaves and quivering stalks were threaded througout the chamber. Two of the side rooms held tubs filled with foul liquid, and the vines ran down into them from small holes in the ceiling. One chamber's outer wall was cracked, and ice had formed over the rubble that lay on the floor. Another chamber held stretchers of hide and strange wood along with stone tables. There were curious stone bowls here, implements of crystal and stone, and oddly enough a set of stainless steel surgical tools - stolen from Lake's camp, no doubt. Another room O'Neil discovered was filled with skeletons and bones, ranging from those of large penguins and seals to those of men, old and yellowed, all of which were missing their skulls. Atop the pile were two fresh skeletons however, with bits of gore still clinging to them. All hope of rescue was lost at that point.

The final chamber was the worst. A pentagonal stone, like an altar, stood at an angle in front of a stone tub. Evvy and Herr Meyer had entered. "This is where Pym's companion was sacrificed. The slab paralyzes anyone touching it. The man was placed there" he said, "only to be killed by some strange acid in the tub. If I can get a sample..." Screams split the air as a fetid column of black irredescent ooze covered in chittering mouths, glowing eyes, and probing pseudopods rose from the stone tub. "A shoggoth!" Meyer yelled. Schevchenko ran in, pulling the German and Evvy from the room as the mass lowered back into the tub. He spied a pair of boots and a tattered parka by the tub as he did, and he realized they belonged to Starkweather. The investigators took this as their cue to leave, but Acacia insisted they needed to find Starkweather's remains for a Christian burial, and both Samuel and Stacey agreed. Reluctantly, with the frightened and incoherent Meyer and the stupefied Tyson in tow, they continued up the ramp.

The small shoggoth emerged from the stone tub, ready to devour anything on the slab.

The ramp emerged into a vast chamber. It continued up past the fleshy plants, some of which appeared blackened and dying though they showed signs of recently being pruned, to the apex of the tower and the strange light. A rustling could be heard overhead. But Acacia made her way down a path through the pallid vines and crystal formations filling the area, straight towards the center of the chamber. O'Neil accompanied her, and realized that they were walking on broken crystals and the fragments of crushed skulls. As the group followed, a truly horrifying sight came into view. A lattice-wall of stone, roots, and crystal stood there, and in the niches were dozens of severed heads. Many were of Dyer's albino penguins and seals from the Antarctic coast. Others were human, brown-skinned with strange features, and some were so old that only bits of blackened flesh clung to bone. All were covered in a membrane of ooze or slime. But most disturbing of all were the two fresh ones - James Starkweather and Richard Greene. Horrifyingly, their eyes still twitched and their mouths spasmed, as if trying to form words.

Acacia let out a stifled scream, and Evvy looked ill. Priestly swore, and Jeeves and Stacey were enraged. "Get them out of there!" Acacia said. "Or I'll do it myself!" She stepped forward, pulling Starkweather's severed head out and placing it her canvas rucksack. Evvy did likewise with Greene's head. Mercifully, they stopped twitching. A shudder ran through the plants as that happened. Jeeves pulled some dynamite from off of Tyson's pack. "I say we blow this thing to hell!" Priestly, cursing a blue streak, agreed heartily. Tyson began to stir, gesturing emphatically towards the wall, apparently trying to stop them. He was not the only one.

Flapping could be heard overhead and two of the Elder Things, very much alive, landed nearby with stone weapons clutched in their tentacles. A shocking, wet sound behind them revealed a greater horror - another shoggoth, nearly fully grown! Evvy screamed, firing her derringer as she panicked. Jeeves grabbed a stick of dynamite, lit it, and tried to throw it at the shoggoth. The creature engulfed the explosion, damaged, but far from mortally wounded. One of the elder things grabbed Evvy, and O'Neil blasted the limb off with his shotgun. "It's kill or be killed," Stacey yelled.

The wall was monstrous and obscene...but necessary.

"No!" Tyson shouted. "Stop, for the love of God, stop!" The elder things backed away cautiously as the scientist interposed himself. "We can't! These creatures, long ago they pulled something down from the stars to power their civilization. The tower, the very mountains themselves - they are a machine! But they pulled down something so big, so powerful, that the machine barely held it. That's what the storm outside is. They have trapped something like a god! If it tears free of this prison, it will tear the very planet apart. Some cataclysm damaged the machine a million years ago. This - the plants - this is all patchwork repairs to replace the damaged cystals. But they need living brains to complete the circuit!" He looked at Starkweather and Greene's heads. "They are dead now, and useless to them. We need to find replacements before - "

An earthquake shook the tower. All present could see past and present blur together. Images of the tower, whole around them, flickered in their sight. "That was only the beginning. If we do nothing, everything on Earth dies!" Priestly swore and put a pistol to his own head, threatening that no one would take his brain. Meyer was a gibbering wreck, and they thought it inhumane to take him against his will. With a tremor in his voice, Samuel bravely volunteered to take his uncle's place, shuddering in revulsion as he stepped next to the elder things. O'Neil pointed out that if Acacia or Evvy were to die here, the questions would never end. And Stacey agreed that no true gentleman would leave a lady to die in his place. So it was agreed on that they would draw straws, with the short straw sacrificing himself to save the world.

It was Nikifor Schevchenko. The Russian kept a stoic face as he accompanied the elder things. Meyer screamed and ran past. Acacia swore, "Damned fool! If he runs outside without his parka, he will die! With Evvy in tow, she chased after him, Stacey and Jeeves close on her heels. The rest accompanied Samuel and Nikifor the chambers below, where each took his turn on the slab. The process was nightmarish. They lay still, their body paralyzed, as the small shoggoth in the stone tub flowed over them, devouring all save their bones, nerves, and heads. The elder things severed the spine and head, preserving them in some strange fluid. Tyson and O'Neil prayed to God that the two men were unaware of their surroundings. Without any pretense of communication, the elder things pushed past and ascended the ramp, their gruesome duty only partly done. Another quake shook the tower, rousing O'Neil and Tyson from their mute horror. They fled below, hoping that the planes were still there...
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Chapter Eight: Dec 5 - Dec 6 - The Black Tower, Part One
Following a brief rest in the tight quarters of the ancient ruin, the investigators rose early on the 5th of December and resumed their examination of the City of the Elder Things. Evelyn Dubois and Richard Greene returned to the subterranean hall they had discovered before, though Evvy narrowly avoided falling as they made their way down the icy, rubble-choked passage. Dr. William Scott Tyson, James O'Neil, and Dr. Nikifor Schevchenko returned to the pit at the center of the plaza where they had landed, and resumed their examination of the murals that decorated the walls beside the ramp that spiraled down into the deeps below. Jeeves and Stacey Meredith Whitehall III headed south, examining the white obelisk they had seen the day before. Buernor Thorson and Samuel Brighton-Foyle remained at the camp with Professor Moore, analyzing specimens of petrified wood he had discovered. "How," Moore wondered, "did they harvest wood at this altitude? According to Dyer's text, the valley was once lush with vegetation, an impossibility at this altitude."

The day saw a number of important discoveries made. As Tyson, Schevchenko, and O'Neil finished translating what they could on the sides of the fallen tower, Evvy and Greene finished in the great hall and decided to see if the passages would connect as stated in Dyer's manuscript. Her keen sense of direction enabled the two parties to find each other, though O'Neil found something else - a crushed tin can! Tyson did a survey of the area and found an ancient stone door that had been forced open in recent months. The tracks were identical to those found around Lake's camp. "We are not alone here," Tyson reported.

Jeeves and Stacey had examined the obelisk, then continued on past several other ruined buildings. At one point, Jeeves was certain he saw movement atop a nearby roof, but nothing was there. On the duo went until they found a sloped ramp that led down through an archway and began to spiral ever downward. They walked for nearly half an hour, covering more than a mile, passing empty galleries all the while. The ramp began to slope sharply at that point, and Stacey heard a strange, trilling sound below. "Tekeli-li, tekeli-li" the high-pitched sound repeated, and the hairs stood up on the back of his neck. "We need to go - now!" A strange, pungent stench like rotten fish washed up behind them, and both heard movement from below. He and Jeeves began to run as if the devil himself were chasing them, until at last they reached the surface.

The ramp descended far below the surface, to unguessed at Stygian depths.

Reconvening at camp, the investigators shared what they had learned. The murals and dot-script of the Elder Things presented a story across millions, if not billions, of years. They had arrived from space when the Earth was young, and used a biological technology to create food and servants. The servants - shoggoths Dyer had called them - had rebelled against their masters, only to be put down after a long war. Other creatures had arrived, and they warred with the Elder Ones as well, with the last confining the city's inhabitants to their settlements in the Southern Hemisphere. As the continents drifted, the ice eventually came, and the Elder Ones were forced to retreat to hidden cities next to sunless seas far below the surface. Moore, Thorson, and Brighton-Foyle had discovered the wood was from tropical plants. The murals had shown that the Elder Ones had used some massive air-pumps threading through the Miskatonic Mountains to pressurize the plateau, a feat of engineering Moore could scarcely conceive of.

Starkweather had returned with Miles at that point, and the discussion turned to what they would do as they were undoubtedly not alone in the city. Stacey's report was especially disturbing. If any of the monstrous shoggoths had survived, they were all in deadly danger. Starkweather scoffed at the idea, but had everyone keep weapons close at hand. "Should there be any danger, fire off a round and I will come running. I've faced down charging bull elephants in my time. This is no different." Schevchenko assured him that the protean shoggoths were both much larger and more difficult to kill than any elephant if Dyer was to believed.

Their exploration of the strange city continued.

They opted to rest at that point, though Moore continued working. Rising early on the 6th, the investigators were greeted by the sight of Moore being treated for frostbite. "I was out and about gathering samples," he said sheepishly, "and in my enthusiasm ignored the cold until it was too late." Tyson and Greene grounded him for the next few days, at least until his blisters healed. As she stepped out, Evvy noticed the wind had died down, making the pass navigable by their planes. Plans were made to depart on the next day. "Get your exploring done today and we will load samples. We've used enough supplies that we have plenty of room." The investigators continued their exploration while Greene went with Starkweather to survey some nearby pyramids. They found ancient towers with murals depicting thousands of years of war with insect-like fungi from space, great breeding pits where the Elder Things reared their larval young, and a great arena where ceremonies of some sort were held. They also found a buried Elder Thing, though the burial was recent. "At least some from Lake' camp survived," Tyson mused. They returned to the camp.

A quick headcount was done upon Starkweather's return, and Greene was not among them. Devising a search pattern, the investigators set out. Stacey and Jeeves remained behind with Moore as the rest fanned out. Tyson discovered signs of a struggle, as if Greene had been carried off. The tracks were those of the Elder Things. As he and the rest examined the area to determine if Greene had been taken underground, the camp had a visitor.

Stacey saw him approach from across the mound of rubble. Trying to determine if it was Greene, he called for Jeeves. The man pointed behind them, and as the duo looked, he moved towards the planes. Fearing the worst, Jeeves looked for a shot with his rifle while Stacey began to move closer. But they were too late. The figure emerged from the cockpit of the Enderby, an empty fuel can in one hand and a flare in the other. He lit the flare and tossed it into the cockpit. There was a whoosh of flame, and a moment later there was a terrific explosion. A fireball soared up into the sky as the Enderby was destroyed. The man stumbled backwards, reeling from the force of the explosion. Without hesitation, Jeeves put a bullet in his shoulder. Stacey was on him in a heartbeat, kneeling on his wounded shoulder to prevent him from moving or bleeding out.

The sound of the explosion brought the rest running back. Evvy and Halperin did what they could to ensure the Weddell was safe, and had to watch the other plane burn. Stacey found a sled the man had been pulling, and brought it back to camp. The man himself was taken back to the tents in the camp they had established. He turned out to be none other than Kyle Williams, Lexington's pilot! Williams fed them a story about Lexington and the Germans conspiring to kill Starkweather, but Jeeves and O'Neil saw through his lies. As he was pressed, the man collapsed into babbling. "Don't you understand? We are a virus! We shouldn't be here! If we return, we infect this place. The world isn't safe! We all have to die! Dyer and I saw it the last time, in the Wesetrn Range! Oh God, they aren't gone! The servants speak with their masters' voices!"

The investigators were not alone in the city.

Stacey went through his belongings, finding a spare oxygen tank, spare rations, and a mysterious mail pouch. It contained a journal in German, a hand-written notebook, and a manuscript - none other than Poe's complete copy of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, missing since it was stolen from Acacia Lexington's father nearly ten years before! As Danforth babbled off into madness under questioning, Starkweather set out to determine if he had been accompanied by anyone else. Several moments later, a shot rang out from the nearby ruins. Rushing out, everyone saw a horrific sight - two of the Elder Things, very much alive, hauling off Starkweather into the air in a tarpulin held between them! Regaining their composure, Jeeves and Tyson took pot-shots at the monstrous forms. Even with a direct hit, the creatures did not appear to slow much. Jeeves attempted to put a mercy round in Starkweather, but was unsure as to its effect.

"My God," Moore yelled, "they have James! We have to pursue and try to rescue him. Get the Weddell ready to fly!"
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Chapter Seven: Dec 1 - Dec 4 - The City of the Elder Things, Part Two
The initial take-off from Lake's camp went smoothly and in no more than a few hours' time, the passengers on both the Weddell and the Enderby saw the Miskatonic Mountains loom ever larger in their view. The foothills that the Miskatonic University Expedtion had encamped on were comparable in height to the Alps, and the higher peaks soared above them. Lexington's sturdy Northrop Delta, the Belle, was more than an hour ahead and no longer in sight. Both the Boeing-247 aeroplanes shuddered as they rose past 16,000 feet, and heavy turbulence rocked both cabins. But all were strapped in, and apart from a few bumps, everyone was fine. Evvy noticed that they had caught a powerful tailwind, and their airspeed rose to more than 250 miles per hour. She knew these winds could prove to be a problem, but gritted her teeth and flew on.

The mountains went upward, seemingly without end.

Higher and higher the aeroplanes climbed, and their engines strained in the thin air, but they rose steadily and made good time. Beneath they could see the knife-edged peaks jutting up from the ice and snow. The whole sky had turned ruddy pink as the Antarctic day shone through a haze of ice crystals and freezing fog. Haloes of golden light shone around the black peaks, and as the planes climbed over 21,000 feet, the strange cylindrical and cube-like formations Dyer had described could be seen dotting the sides of the bare peaks. And there were the oddly regular rectangular and semicircular cave entrances that the text had mentioned as well, unnerving shadows against the matte black of the peaks, though without any point of reference their scale could only be guessed at by those aboard the planes.

Through Moore's binoculars, Tyson spotted strange pits and marks around the entrances, similar to the dots inscribed on the green soapstone tokens found at Lake's camp. There could be little doubt that the upper reaches of the mountains had been worked by intelligent hands. Far below, Buernor saw that the glaciers flowing through the pass were strangely smooth and regular, as if flowing along an ancient riverbed or road. He realized it would be possible to ascend or descend the slope in a couple of weeks, provided one had the supplies...and oxygen. By now, those aboard had donned their oxygen masks and discovered that the dry air in the tanks tasted of glycerine and oil, a sensation similar to sniffing paint fumes. Apart from some mild headaches and dizziness, they were all fine however, and quickly adjusted to breathing with a pipe-stem clenched between their teeth.

There could be no doubt that the upper peaks had been worked by intelligent beings.

As the planes flew through the pass, Schevchenko was struck by how similar the view was to the dream-like images of Nicholas Roerich's paintings. As the wind rushed by, some of the passengers heard an eerie, atonal piping from outside, seemingly coming from the mountains. It echoed down to their bones, filling them with nameless dread and primal revulsion. Clearing the summit of the pass, the planes began to descend and there was a hiss that set the hairs on the napes of their neck up as icy mist slid along the hull of the aircraft. And then the haze was gone, and all aboard could see it - the city.

It was vast beyond comprehension. Broken buildings and crumbling spires of black stone jutted up from a sheet of glacial ice no more than 40 or 50 feet thick. Strange, pyramidal shapes, truncated cones, needle-like spires, arched spans, tubular briges, and cyclopean ramparts could be seen everywhere. Great courtyards, crumbling towers, and a labyrinth of streets extended as far as the eye could see, to the horizon and beyond. A great channel of empty ice, perhaps once a mighty river, ran through the city and ended between two colossal, barrel-like towers eerily reminiscent of the Elder Things found at Lake's camp. It turned into a frozen waterfall descending through a massive arch to unguessed at subterranean depths. On the planes flew, turning a great arc, and they could see that the city extended more than 30 miles out from the shadow of the mountains but ran perhaps hundreds in either direction along the spine of the Miskatonic range.

Beyond the pass stood the city, crumbling and ancient, vast and timeless.

"We should find a place to set down," Evvy shouted, and Moore nodded. He pointed to a great plaza dominated by a mound of rubble and a massive pit in its center. Five lanes left the circular clearing, the lower half of which was a clear sheet of ice several hundred yards long. Despite the radio static, Evvy called Halperin and the two planes banked and turned, landing smoothly on the ice. Well, mostly - the Enderby touched down hard and all aboard were bounced around again. Upon landing it was determined that the righ ski had bent nearly in half, and would have to be fixed before the plane could fly again.

Where Starkweather was excited and ready to begin exploring, Moore was practical and advised that both planes be unloaded and a camp established before anything else was done. Jeeves also pointed out that per the safety guidelines of polar survival, a buddy system needed to be established. Starkweather grudgingly agreed, and after nearly an hour of scouting and arched chamber with an intact roof at the base of a tower was found. Miles, Evvy, and Halperin had managed to straighten out the right ski on the Enderby while the rest unloaded gear and hauled supplies to the structure. Two canvas tarps were strung over the entrance, forming an airlock of sorts, while the three tents, camp stove, and gear were all set up inside.

With a proper camp set up, the investigators began exploring the city. Starkweather and Patrick Miles set off to get photos and pry off some of the local murals for scientific evidence, while Evvy and Greene began to check the perimeter of the great plaza. Jeeves and Stacey took the lane to the southeast, reconoitering some of the nearby city, while Tyson, Thorson, Schevchenko and O'Neil examined the great pit at the center of the plaza. Samuel, Halperin, and Moore stayed behind to examine the buildings nearby. Jeeves took the time to scale a nearby building, and from its roof saw a white obelisk to the west and a great clear space to the south. Venturing that way, he and Stacey discovered a series of massive pits more than 50 yards deep and 30 yards across set with ancient stone pipes. He could not know their purposed, but surmised that something was perhaps grown here.

The city of the Elder Things extended as far as the eye could see.

Climbing up the rubble, Buernor, Nikfifor, and William discovered the pit was the base of an ancient tower that had fallen millions of years ago. The hole was more than 200 feet across and 60 feet deep, and a massive ramp spiralled down the side of the tower to the floor below. A band of intricately carved murals more than a yard wide spiraled down with the ramp, broken up by panels of the strange, dot writing of the elder ones. As they descended, the trio began to decipher the pictures and correlate the subjects with the dots in the accompanying text. From what they could glean, the Elder Things were not native to Earth, and had travelled here more than a billion years ago through the void of space. They had turned from a mechanical technology to a biological one, and had grown foodstuffs and monstrous servants, only to have the servants rebel against the hypnotic control their masters used. "Shoggoths," Tyson whispered, "the things described by Dyer and in the Pnakotic Manuscripts."

Bands of intricate murals could be seen decorating the walls. They told the story of the elder things.

Further discoveries awaited them at the base of the ancient tower, where five archways led out of the circular chamber. A few were choked with rubble, but the rest were open. Examining the area, O'Neil discovered a scrap of yellowing paper wedged in between the stones of the wall. The tracks of two pairs of boots, perhaps a few years old, led through the hall. "This must be where Dyer and Danforth exited the city," he said.

"That's not all," Tyson replied. He and Buernor discovered the remains of a sled hidden beneath the curve of the ramp, along with a mound of ice similar to the ones found by Lake's camp. A green, soapstone star sat atop it, and when opened, they found a burial pit much like the ones where Lake's "specimens" were buried. But what they found was a human body, upright and frozen. "Gedney," Tyson said. "I recognize him from his pictures. But why would they bury a man this way?"

Evvy and Greene had found similar carvings after squeezing into an ancient tunnel beneath a collapsed building at the edge of the plaza. It led to a great learning hall of some sort, where the clever young socialite was able to pick out the meaning of the murals carved there. Her discoveries were much in line with those of the learned doctors, save that she realized the creatures had flown through space without any mechanical contrivance. "How wonderful that would be," she thought, though she was saddened that the "strange dinosaurs" had died off and left only ruins. By evening, the expedition members had gathered back in the plaza, exhausted. Tomorrow would bring more new discoveries, no doubt. And perhaps new terrors as well.

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Chapter Seven: Dec 1 - Dec 4 - The City of the Elder Things, Part One
The three large Fokker aeroplanes had circled Lake's camp and set down on the smooth ice south of the site at just after 6:00 a.m. As the German craft slid to a halt on the ice, the members of both the Starkweather-Moore Expedition and the Lexington Expedition hurriedly rose from their tents and walked over to greet them. The planes were all labeled - D-BFEA, D-BFEB, and D-BFEC - and the hatch to the lead plane opened. A slender gentleman with a trim, grey beard stepped out. "Greetings," he said in flawless English with only the hint of a German accent. "My name is Doctor Johann Meyer, and we are with the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition. I must apologize for our unannounced arrival. We have no wish to alarm anyone. I appreciate your kind welcome, and hope that our expeditions will equally benefit from our shared scientific talents. I bring greetings from the leaders of my expedition, and their salutations on your perseverance in the face of every difficulty. If there is anything which we can do to assist you, please approach myself or Doctor Professor Uhr and state your needs. Our labor, supplies, and equipment are at your disposal, within reasonable limits, of course. Again, our thanks for your hospitality, our congratulations on your successes, and my hope for more to come."

The Barsmeier-Falken Expedition touched down early on the 1st.

After a few pleasantries were exchanged, questions were asked. The Germans had arrived by flying over the South Pole, and were camped somewhere on the shore of the Weddell Sea - an answer Evvy realized was somewhat misleading, as that was roughly equal to the length of the East Coast of the United States. Dr. William Tyson asked why they were here, and were told "We are at the limit of the range which our planes can travel away from our base, and decided to see the renowned discoveries of Professor Lake for ourselves. In fact, we would have been here sooner, but there has been some bad weather across the ice cap. And of course, we have heard broadcasts from America of the accident which befell you ten days ago, and thought perhaps our own superior equipment might be of use if any of yours was damaged." Dr. Buernor Thorson asked why their expedition was in Antarctica to begin with, and was told "Our expedition is here to survey the coast and the Miskatonic Mountains, and determine if there are any mineral resources here that can be profitably exploited." Dr. Nikifor Schevchenko asked when they had arrived and was told, "We left Bremerhaven on September 15th, and set foot on Deception Island over four weeks ago, on October 27th, after a voyage of 9,000 miles from Germany. Our aircraft landed at the South Pole on November 2nd." He also explained that they had not contacted them via radio due to magnetic interference from the mountains. With that, he asked that his expedition be allowed to set up camp 50 yards south of Lake's campsite, and then asked to speak privately with Acacia Lexington and then Professor Moore. Since Moore had no grounds to refuse, the Germans set to work.

Jeeves noted that Acacia Lexington seemed to be expecting the Germans' arrival, and he shared that with the others. "What is that woman up to?" Moore asked. "We will find out soon enough. If you wouldn't mind keeping an eye on our new arrivals...?" With that, the rest of the investigators began to observe the German personnel as they set up their camp. Jeeves watched their radioman, Schimmel, who was unfriendly at best, though his assitant Stoltz was much more polite. Stacey Meredith Whitehall III talked with Doctor-Professor Franz Uhr, who Tyson recognized as a leading anthropologist and cryptographer during the Great War. Tyson talked with the BFE's geologist, Rucker, and found him a dedicated though blunt and unimaginative sort. Evvy talked with the pilot who buzzed the camp, Baumann, and found him charming and dashing - for a German, that is. Buernor observed their dog wrangler, the arrogant Gunter Thimm, and observed that despite his training the Germans' dogs reacted just as strongly to the radio and the scent of the Elder Ones. He and Tyson took time to hide the samples they had uncovered, unsure of how much to share with the members of the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition. O'Neil took time to interview other members of the BFE, including the absent-minded Kleiser and the jovial Uhr.

After speaking with Ms. Lexington for an hour or so, Herr Meyer spoke briefly with Moore. "It seems," he said, "we are set to Greenwich Mean Time while you are set to the time of your ships. That puts us 12 hour apart exactly. Our midnight is your noon, and so forth. That can work to our mutual advantage, allowing us to work around the clock. I must get some rest. We can continue our work tomorrow, and aid you with yours." The BFE members had set up their camp with military precision - radio mast, generators, mess tent, and 9 living tents - and in a matter of hours were an established presence.

The BFE camp was a model of efficiency.

O'Neil took a moment to talk with Acacia as she returned from talking with Priestly about a flight on the morrow. She readily admitted that she had been in contact with the Germans. They were interested in crossing the Miskatonic Mountains and seeing the plateau Dyer had described. While their Fokkers could not reach the altitude necessary, her Northrop Delta could. She was ready to sell them some seats on her plane, and was waiting for the right offer. "Anything that gets me out from under the thumb of James Starkweather." Impressed by their mutual candor, Acacia and James found a new degree of respect for each other, slight though it might be. Work continued apace on the expedition's finds for the rest of the day. Samuel was feeling much better, and did an extensive examination of the bodies of the Lake's personnel along with Tyson, while Schevchenko and Thorson studied the specimens of the so-called Elder Things in finer detail. The other scientists were informed of this, though Moore, Griffith, and Myers concentrated on studying the caves, fossils, and unusual stones left in the mounds of snow and ice. The rest of the camp crew took drilling samples and cleared away some of the mess, trying their best to weather the gruesome discoveries made thus far.

Early on the 2nd of December, the BFE personnel rose and got to work. At Moore's request, some of the investigators took turns working through their "night" to keep an eye on the Germans. They found nothing unusual though a few (such as the pilots Baumann and Breyer) were armed, and a stealthy O'Neil determined that Meyer had an unusual book and a rifle in his tent. Shortly after breakfast, Meyer approached Professor Moore and offered aid in clearing what remained of the last airplane shelter and in examining Lake's discoveries. Moore could not, in good conscience, refuse and so a full disclosure was made. With the aid of heated copper loops - "ice knives," Meyer called them - the shelter was cleared under Tyson's guidance. The results were horrifying. A number of dissections had been performed here, and the brain of one of the dogs had been slidced into paper-thin section and arranged near where a body lay then allowed to freeze. It was fine work, though neither Meyer or Uhr seemed surprised. Both were fascinated by the remains of the Elder Things and carefully examined the gruesome signs of dissection and slaughter that had been buried at Lake's camp.

The remains of the second aeroplane shelter had been uncovered at last.

"I have something I must share with you," Meyer told Moore, and presented him with a loose manuscript of sorts. "We will talk later." Moore began to read as the others cleared up and continued their examinations. Acacia returned from her initial flight, coughing and furious. She accused Moore of trying to poison her and her crew, stating that the oxygen that the Starkweather-Moore Expedition provided was tainted. Moore apologized, distracted by what he was reading. She stormed off in the meantime to make a deal with Meyer and the Germans. He readily agreed to her demands of fuel, oxygen, and a new radio for her base camp and plane, and preparations were made for a flight. In the meantime, Moore shared his discovery with the investigators. It was nothing less than Dyer's manuscript, stolen months ago from Roerich in New York! Several of them read the work, and discovered the awful truth of what had happened to Lake's camp, and what Dyer and Danforth discovered in the Miskatonic Mountains (see Summary of the Dyer Text for details).

Not long after, Starkweather contacted the camp by radio. "Blast it Moore! I'm gone a day and you invite strangers to tea! I'm heading back as soon I can. We need to figure out what the Huns are up to and what that blasted woman is up to." Moore and Lexington's broadcasts were terse, and no mention was made of the slaughter at Lake's camp. After consulting with Moore, the investigators opted to share what they had learned with Acacia, feeling it was their duty. Though Buernor argued strongly that this information should be shared with the world, the rest felt they should wait until they had more proof less their claims be dismissed - or worse yet, attract those seeking to profit from Dyer's discovery.

The 3rd was taken up by preparations for a flight over the Miskatonic range to the city Dyer had discovered. Acacia was skeptical but thankful for the warning, wondering what the Germans had wanted to see over the pass through the high mountains. Starkweather arrived around 7 p.m., and rallied the troops. After catching some rest, they prepared to leave early as Acacia was waiting for confirmation that the BFE had delivered supplies to her base near the Ross Sea. But the tanks of oxygen they secured in Melbourne proved to be tainted with industrial lubricant. Though they might induce some headaches and nausea, it was ultimately determined they were mostly harmless. The Weddell was readied, with Evvy and Moore acting as pilot and copilot, and Thorson, Tyson, Schevchenko, and Brighton-Foyle as passengers. The Enderby was piloted by Halperin and Miles, with Starkweather, Dr. Greene, Stacey Whitehall, and Jeeves as passengers. Early on the 4th, they took off, headed for the mountains.
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Chapter Six: Nov 27 - Dec 1 - At the Mountains, Part Two
As the sun rose from the shadows of the mountains early on the 28th of November, the expedition set to work. Halperin took the Weddell back to base camp, and returned with a more supplies, one of the Pabodie drills, and more personnel, including DeWitt. From that point on, both aircraft set about ferrying men and material to the excavation site. Cruz, Lopez, and Cole helped Gilmore and O'Doul get the drills running to open up new bore-holes near Lake's original excavation site.

The investigators set about the rest of their work with grim determination. Moore and O'Neil dug up the first ice hummock, and with an audilbe gasp they uncovered one of Lake's specimens. It was huge, nearly 8 feet long, and roughly barrel-shaped, with odd clusters of feelers or appendages at eiter end and fan-like serrated fins which retracted into the main body. O'Neil blanched at the sight of Lake's so-called "elder thing" but steeled himself and continued to dig. Evvy was certain they had uncovered a dinosaur, but excused herself to begin preparations to clear the aircraft shelters. One more specimen was dug up from the second hummock, while the others only yielded a strange stone at their center. Each was 4 inches across, smooth, and vaguely star-shaped, seemingly formed from green soapstone, with a number of small indentations in curiously varied patterns on one side and an eye-like squiggle on the other.

Though damaged and incomplete, Lake's specimens hinted at heretofore undiscovered types of life.

Buernor and Stacey uncovered what was undoubtedly the tent Lake used to dissect his specimens, and the heavy canvas had to be cut as something had stuck, preventing it from being pulled up past waist height. As it was finally opened, they found a horrifying spectacle. Icicles of dark, red blood hung from the dissection table, and thick pools of frozen blood had gathered on the floor and smaller tables where empty instrument trays were stuck. Arcs and sprays of blood had frozen to the tent's interior sides. No dissection tools or other remains could be found, though gauging by the pattern and volume of blood, someone or something had been very much alive when the procedure began.

Tyson and Schevchenko uncovered the first tent, and discovered that it had been Professor Lake's dwelling at the campsite. A number of bullets and shells were scattered about, but none had been fired. The bedding was shredded, and his pipe and its case had been smashed. The second tent belonged to Atwood, and his clothes were missing and his bedding also torn apart. The pieces of a brass sextant laid here as well, carefully disassembled. The third tent belonged to Fowler and Gedney, going by the names on the empty footlockers. The tent's flap had been nearly ripped off, and a number of slits cut in the heavy canvas. Their bedding was simply gone, and Gedney's journal lay frozen to the floor. Only the cover remained, as all the pages had been torn out and were missing.

Evvy and the returning camp crew, along with Patrick Miles, David Packard, Willard Griffith, and Charlie Porter, managed to clear the first aeroplane shelter. The remnants of one of the Miskatonic University Expedition's big Dornier airplanes lay there, crushed and unable to ever fly again. Evvy checked the engine, and noticed that it appeared as if it had been torn apart and put back together again by someone who had no idea what an internal combustion engine was.

As O'Neil returned from the hummocks of snow, he found another small mass frozen in the ice and snow nearby. It was composed of a few strange garments, each sewn from tent canvas, bedding, and a number of fur coats. There were like strange ponchos, with five slits running up their sides. The strange, stipled prints they had seen in the snow and ice near the dig site were around these garments as well.

The investigators retired for the day, and the specimens were taken to a tent Moore had set up on the far end of the expedition's camp to be examined the next day.

Schevchenko, Thorson, and Tyson spent the 29th dissecting the elder things, and were fascinated and repelled by what they discovered. The dead things had a horrid stench, though they were otherwise remarkably intact. Both had a radial symmetry, with five limbs around their center mass. They showed some similarity to plant life, with photosynthetic cells evident, but other features were like those of animal life. They had highly developed sensory organs, a complex nervous system, and a five-lobed brain-like organ that spoke of possible intelligence.

The dissection revealed a number of fascinating and disturbing things about Lake's specimens.

The rest of the crew spent the 29th and the 30th clearing the remaining tents and the third and fourth aeroplane shelters. The indentation on the second shelter showed that the canvas tarp covering it must still be intact, so care would have to be taken in clearing the snow away lest it collapse and damage the contents beneath. The other tents all showed signs of damage. The larder tent had been ransacked, and flour, sugar and lard had been scattered about, leaving a frozen mess. All the meat had been taken, and the tins of food here had been crushed, mangled, and torn as if by something unfamiliar with tin cans. One tent was empty save for clothes and bedding, and another was gone entirely, leaving only the beds and possessions of the occupants behind. Another was stained with frozen gore, enough to indicate that someone here had bled out completely, and slowly, by the way the blood had pooled. The last tent showed signs of violence. A few bullet holes pierced the canvas, and splatters of blood had frozen on the canvas, along with a strange, dark substance that looked and smelled like the ichor from the dead elder things.

The remaining aeroplane shelters were empty, though a second Dornier was found on its back between the last two. Its interior had flooded and was now a lump of solid ice, though the wiring looked torn up from what Evvy could see. She also found the plane's radio lying in the snow nearby, though it had been re-wired completely.

Evvy was certain the Dornier would have been impressive in the air. Could the wind have done all this?

Fiskarson and Snabjorn arrived on the 30th with the dogs, and the animals nearly had a fit when they caught wind of Lake's specimens. They snarled, snapped, and howled ferociously, but the dog handlers got them under control and set up a shelter far from the rest of the camp. Buernor tried to examine the re-wired radio, only to discover that it too set the dogs off, but only when exposed to sunlight. There was no sign that it was powered or sending any kind of signal, but he ultimately felt it best to keep it in his tent.

On the 31st, with Moore's reluctant permission, the team dug up and the remains of Lake and his associates, brought in the carcasses of the sled dogs, and began a detailed foresnic examination under Dr. Tyson's practiced eye. The results were horrifying. Several members of the expedition and nearly half the dogs had been slain by large lacerations. One man's hands had been neatly severed, and not recovered. Two others had been stripped of most of their flesh, and had been broken nearly in half. One set of remains had been dissected completely, with all organs, muscles, bones, and the rest completely separated and left in a pile. By the extensive remodeling on one femur, Tyson identified this as Professor Lake, who had broken a leg playing football in college. One of the dogs had met a similar fate. Nearly half the dogs had their necks or backs broken, and one appeared to have died of fright. It was a gruesome spectacle.

The strange, carved stone of the elder things.

The rest of the 31st was spent exploring the cave Lake's party had discovered with their drills. The caves were a fairy-land of stalactites and stalagmites, with striations of schist, limestone, shale, and other rock strata exending back millions of years. They had undoubtedly been part of an underground river network, and were littered with fossils. Indeed, they were a virtual treasure-trove, as fossilized trilobites, fish, reptiles, and early mammals were found littered about the floor. More than 700 million years of the history of life on Earth could be accounted for here, ranging from periods as diverse as the Comanchian and the Eocene. Another pair of strange stones were found here as well, one thin and amber, like a translucent shell, the other dark and smaller than the green stones found above. It had the curious property of growing noticeably warmer in the presence of living beings.

Early on the 1st of December, shortly before breakfast at 6 a.m., a roar could be heard from the sky above. Three large, tri-engine Fokkers buzzed the camp and set down nearby. The lettering on the sides of the planes clearly read "Barsmeier-Falken Expedition." The Germans had arrived.

The Germans had arrived.
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Chapter Six: Nov 27 - Dec 1 - At the Mountains, Part One
By 6 a.m. on the 27th of November, the weather had cleared and the dog sled teams led by Fiskarson and Snabjorn had returned from setting caches of supplies along the 600-odd mile path to Lake's camp. Evvy, Halperin, Miles, and Longfellow began preparing the expedition's two Boeing 247s shortly after breakfast, as the camp crew began loading gear to examine and excavate the site of the tragedy that brought a premature end to the Miskatonic University Expedition. By 11 a.m. both of the Boeings and the Lexington Expedition's single Northrop Delta, the Belle, were ready for take-off. Even with the Boeings' capacity, enough gear had to be hauled that several flights would be necessary to get the expedition's scientists, Pabodie drilling rigs, and scientific equipment to Lake's campsite.

As Moore oversaw the efforts to head to the remains of Lake's camp, Starkweather prepared for a different voyage. "I'll leave the science to you chaps. I'll have DeWitt fly me up to Beardmore Glacier in our Fairchild. Gunnar Sorenson will accompany me, and we will snap some photos for the papers. That's what they like, isn't it O'Neil? Man against the elements! Take good care of them Stacey!" With that, he was off. Acacia Lexington smirked at this as she boarded the Belle. Before long, both planes were flying over the ice towards the Miskatonic Mountains.

The wind rose as they drew closer and closer to the far-off range. Turbulence struck the planes, hard at times, and Nikifor Schevchenko was violently ill as a result, recalling painfully his time aboard the Gabrielle. The mountains first appeared as a dark smudge on the horizon, and grew sharper and clearer as the planes drew near. The peaks soared above the Antarctic ice, clear of the snow and rime, looming black and monstrous. Strange shapes, including cylinders and cubes, could be seen clinging to the sides of the roughly conical peaks. They suggested that an intelligent hand had been at work, but the sheer scale of them beggared the imagination and made such a thing impossible. They cast long shadows, and the investigators realized that even during the perpetual day of Antarctic summer, there would be a twilight as the sun passed behind the sinister peaks.

The Miskatonic Mountains loomed as the aeroplanes drew closer.

On they flew, more than 600 miles southwest of the expedition's base camp. The plane rose - first to 6000 feet, then to 8000, then to 12,000 before leveling off over the foothills of the Miskatonic range, foothills that would be mountains elsewhere. From the windows of the Enderby, Buernor and William Tyson spotted strange, regular mounds of snow and ice on the ground far below. Indeed, Thorson saw a cairn of dark stones had been erected a hundred or more yards from the rest. They pointed it out to Moore and Evvy, and the planes banked around to touch down smoothly on the ice. Or mostly smoothly, as Halperin brought the Weddell in too fast and scraped the undercarriage of the aeroplane, doing a small amount of damage.

As the passengers got off the three planes, they quickly got to work. Hidalgo Cruz and some of the other camp workers started setting up tents, and Tyson, Schevchenko, Stacey, Jeeves, and O'Neil joined them. Evvy went to survey the damage to the Weddell, and to speak with Acacia as she started putting up a tent for the two women. They spoke briefly about the trials of being the only daughter of a man who wanted a son, and found that they were kindred spirits. Buernor meanwhile had headed over to the cairn, and realized it was a monument to the men lost during the Miskatonic University Expedition, as evidenced by the carved plank inscribed with India ink listing their names and commending their bravery.

A temporary camp had been established 100 yards north of Lake's old camp site.

Upon his return to the expedition's temporary campsite, Moore pulled the investigators aside. "I would like you all to take a look at what is left of Lake's camp ahead of everyone else. Tyson, do a survey and a forensic analysis. Don't disturb anything yet, but look for the out of the ordinary. Take Cruz with you, just in case." A quick survey of what remained of Lake's camp followed. Stacey, Jeeves, and Thorson investigated a series of six, regular, dome-like mounds of snow running east to west, while Tyson and Schevchenko looked over a cluster of eight large, irregular masses that turned out to be frozen tents, collapsed and covered in ice. Buernor explained that the dark-colored tents had a lower albedo than the surrounding ice, and thus had absorbed enough heat from the sun to melt the surrounding snow, only to have it re-freeze during the long, Antarctic winter. Another frozen tent stood a couple of dozen yards north of the others, and Tyson realized it was likely the dissection tent going by the transcripts of Lake's discoveries, separated from the others due to the dogs' violent reaction to the specimens they had unearthed. Schevchenko found a few shotgun shells frozen in the ice near one of the tents, scattered but not discharged.

The tents had collapsed into frozen mounds.

Cruz found where the previous expedition had corraled their sled dogs, and brushing away the snow, he uncovered the remains of 36 Alaskan huskies. The superstitious Bolivian let out an oath at the sight of their carcasses, as most had died quite violently. O'Neil and Evvy examined four large mounds of ice which were no doubt the remains of the Miskatonic University Expedition's aeroplane shelters. One wing and the tail assembly of a big Dornier aircraft protruded from the ice, the metal burnished to a shine thanks to the scouring wind and ice. Together, the group explored the remains of Lake's dig site about a quarter of a mile south of the camp. Scattered tailings of rock and ice surrounded a crater where the primary drill-hole was located. The Pabodie drill had been damaged however, and a frozen, twisted heap of metal had plugged the entrance to the grotto where Lake and the rest had found their treasure-trove of samples. Cruz estimated it would take ropes, a block and tackle, and four men several hours to clear the wreckage, even with the Lexington Expedition's ice melters. Disturbingly, a number of strange prints were seen frozen in the ice. Boot-prints were here as well, but the others seemed to be strange, stipled marks with a roughly triangular shape found in clusters of five. They resembled nothing like what a terrestrial animal would make. After returning to their newly-established camp, the investigators spoke with Moore and planned their approach. Tomorrow, Moore, Evvy, and O'Neil would investigate the strange hummocks of snow while Tyson, Stacey, Jeeves, and Buernor began digging out the tents.
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Chapter Five: Oct 18 - Nov 24 - Onto the Ice, Part Two
The expedition's journey south continued, and on the 8th of November the pack ice had closed in. The Gabrielle was stuck. "There's only one option open to us now," Starkweather said as the expedition's senior members met with Captain Vredenburgh, "dynamite. We will place charges, and break the ice." With their plan of action settled, Dr. William Scott Tyson accompanied Starkweather onto the ice. Explosive charges were carefully placed, and with an imposssibly loud roar and sprays of ice and mist, the pack broke up. The process was repeated half a dozen times over the next two days, but in the end the clear ocean lay ahead. On the 14th, the Admiralty Range came into view and Ross Island was sighted. The smoke billowing from Mount Erebus hung like a plume over the Ross Sea as the ship steamed ahead. That afternoon, the Gabrielle set anchor and the expedition had landed in Antarctica.

The Gabrielle's cargo hatches were opened and the great wooden ramp was lowered. The ship's cranes were deployed, and the Starkweather-Moore expedition began to unload its gear. The crew and the expedition team worked in 6-hour shifts, and less than a day later all of their gear and supplies had been unloaded. Evvy and Jeeves helped get the tractors unpacked and running until the planes were unloaded, at which point the young adventuress began to work side-by-side with Patrick Miles and Lawrence Longfellow to get the aircraft assembled and ready to fly. Tyson helped with the dog sleds, getting freight hauled at first and then taking off with Snabjorn and Fiskarson to scout for a permanent camp off the Ross Ice Shelf. Samuel and Stacey helped direct the flow of traffic and get gear stowed, while Nikifor and James did much the same after failing to much aid in setting up the radio tower. Buernor was a workhorse, hauling out twice as much save the big Bolivian camp worker Hidalgo Cruz.

Unloading the Gabrielle.

As the ship had been unloaded, the captain pulled her back out to the Ross Sea for safety. Plans needed to be made to move to a permanent base camp, and soon. "Less than a month from now," Professor Moore informed the group, "this ice shelf will be gone. We need to get settled soon." The work thus far had been hard, and adjusting to the ice difficult. Sameuel took a hard fall on the ice and ended up with a broken nose. Careful eye had to be kept out for signs of frostbite, and no one was allowed to work up a great sweat lest they cool suddenly and risk hypothermia. They had visitors too, as the local penguins took great interest in what was happening. But things seemed to be off to a good start. Evvy, Douglas Halperin, and Ralph DeWitt took to the air as soon as they could, and a new base camp site nearly 40 miles inland was soon found.

The expedition had found an audience from among the locals.

On the 18th, disaster struck. The ice shelf had begun to break up early and a large crack had started not more than 200 yards from the expedition's camp. With all due haste the expedition began to move. The planes were kept flying non-stop, the dog sleds were running tirelessly, and the camp crew and expedition members hauled frieght by tractor and by hand for hours on end. The cracks grew and began to spread. Jeeves lost a pallet of aviation fuel as a crack spread beneath the tractor he was running, but the ever-competent Englisman managed to prevent the machine from following the drums into the deep. Nearly half the fuel for the expeditons aeroplanes was gone, but by the 19th the camp had been successfully moved inland. The rest of the day was impossible to work in, as the wind and blowing snow created whiteout conditions.

Early on the 20th, the alarm bell on the camp's radio sounded. It was a mayday from none other than the Lexington Expedition! They had arrived on the ice four days earlier, and their camp was about eight miles north. A panicked voice could be heard over the wireless. ". . . Help! If you can hear me, land a party at once! The camp is under attack! This is Tony Hopewell calling Tallahassee. Mac, can you hear me? They 're -" The voice stopped, punctuated by two sharp reports like gunshots. A moment later the carrier faded, leaving only static. A low rumble, like thunder, could be heard coming from the ice to the north moments later. Something had exploded.

Base camp had been established.

With all due haste, a rescue party was put together. Starkweather could not pass up the opportunity to play the hero, and he led the members of the party, Sykes, Snabjorn, and Pulaski north on dog sleds and skis. It took two hours to cross the eight-mile stretch of broken ice, and by the time they was all over. All could see the Lexington camp's generator had exploded, and their main building was scorched and burned in places. Ash lay across a few of the tents, and several members of the expedition could be seen tending to the clean-up. Acacia Lexington spotted James Starkweather, and the two exchanged a few curt words before meeting in the main building. The rest of the camp could hear their heated exchange of shouts, insults, and blame on and off for the next two hours.

Despite the tension, the party members helped out as best they could. James O'Neil spoke with Kurt Jenner, the team's electrician, as he he hauled debris. The Lexington Expedtion had been beset by sabotage and strange events too, it seemed. Half their provisons had spoiled in the freezer aboard ship, and an electrical storm knocked out their power for a day or two at sea. Evvy spoke briefly with pilot Charles Wright and mechanic Robert Marklin, finding both somewhat unfriendly. Wright seemed to warm up to her, though he was obviously protective of Acacia. Tyson and Samuel spoke with Dr. Curtis Anthony, who was tending to Albert Prietly, the senior cameraman, and two other expedition members, Bradbury and Dinsdale. Both had snapped, emerging from their tents in the perpetual daylight screaming about spiders. They took a few shots at the camp, then set fire to the generator shack. Both were subdued without further harm, apart from Preistly taking a grazing shot to the face as he slept and one other, Tony Hopewell, catching a slug across his arm. Dinsdale couldn't explain why he had gone mad, and now seemed calm and remorseful. "We saw giant spiders everywhere," he said. "And knew we had to burn them out. I don't know what we were thinking." With naught else to do, and with Starkweather ready to storm off and leave "that damnable woman to fend for herself," the expedition headed back to camp.

The rescue party left as soon as possible, but arrived to late to be any big help much to Starkweather's chagrin.

Professor Moore would not leave it at that however, and on the next day made radio contact with Lexington's ship, the Talahassee, and eventually the woman herself. A meeting was arranged, and she and Priestly arrived later that day. A sit-down over tea was arranged, and despite uncivil words on both Acaica and Starkweather's parts, a deal was reached. Both camps would combine resources, enabling a longer stay. Acacia and her crew would film Lake's camp and the Miskatonic Mountains while the Starkweather-Moore Expedition would do scientific reasearch. As it was the 23rd, an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner was arranged, and the tractors were used to create a flat hightway between the camps. On the next day, the 24th of November, the planes were fueled up and ready to fly - Lake's camp had been found.
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Chapter Five: Oct 18 - Nov 24 - Onto the Ice, Part One
The Gabrielle's departure from Melbourne was smooth, and the seas calm as the ship rounded the coast of Tasmania on the 19th. Classes continued aboard the ship, with Sykes, the Sorenson brothers, and Pulaski taking special care to go over cold-weather survival procedures. The strong, cold winds blowing from the south were a constant reminder of what the expedition had to look forward to on the ice. As the shp sailed on the seas became rougher, and soon several members of the expedition were incapacitated by sea-sickness once more. Dr. Nikifor Schevchenko was once again at the cruel mercy of the sea, and it appeared that his nausea would likely continue all the way to Antarctica.

The situation changed for the worse on the 23rd, as gale-force winds rocked the Gabrielle and sent the ship heaving up one wave and crashing down the trough before another struck. Water washed over the deck and the crew and scientists opted to ride out the squall as best they could with the hatches battened down. By sunset the storm had abated, but Captain Vredenburgh advised that more stormfronts were likely. He ordered ropes strung along the deck for safety, and all were advised to hang on to them while walking due to the buildup of ice rime. Visibility was poor for the next two days, and the first icebergs were spotted. Eventually the ship resumed its southward course.

Icebergs had been spotted.

On the 26th, a second storm struck, and the ship was caught in a powerful gale. At 9 a.m., shortly after breakfast, Jeeves and Samuel heard a terrible crash from one of the forward holds, only to hear it repeated time and again moments later. Realizing something had broken loose, they and Buernor, Dr. Tyson, Evvy, and Stacey braved the howling winds, freezing spray, and heaving deck, crossing with a hold on the rope, until they reached the inspection hatches. They had lashed themselves together, a fact which saved Dr. Thorson from sliding off and over the side when he slipped and fell. Upon reaching the hatch for the number two tween-deck hold, they discovered that two of the engines for the Boeing 247 had broken loose from their crates and were slamming from side to side, threatening to breach the ship's hull. At great personal risk, they climbed down, dodging the thousand-pound machines, and managed to lasso, pin, and secure them. Evvy barely dodged one, but James O'Neil was clipped by another and suffered a broken right arm as a result. Samuel was able to set it, and it looked as if it would heal fine. Careful examination showed that acid had weakened the bolts holding the straps securing the crates in place. The sabotage had been undetectable. It looked as if Henning had one last laugh at Starkweather's expense.

A second storm struck, even more terrible than the first.

The plane had been damaged beyond repair, but two more of the big boeings and the expedition's Fairchild FC-2W were still intact. Unfortunately the careening engines had ruptured the kerosene drums below, and fully half the expedition's heater and stove fuel had been lost. Both Moore and Starkweather agreed that turning back was out of the question, so the Gabrielle pushed on. The storm did not abate until the 28th of October. The sea was thick with ice floes and slush, though the captain steamed ahead until reaching the edge of the pack ice on the 31st. Turning south was impossible at this point, and the ship turned east until the 3rd of November. Turning south to take advantage of an opening, the ship was caught in another ferocious storm. This time ice surrounded the Gabrielle on all sides, and all aboard could hear the armored plates groan and huge bergs continued to grind and scrape along her hull, threatening to crush the vessel. All aboard kept busy as best they could, or simply prayed and worried.

Miraculously, the ship survived, and by the next morning the pack had broken up. Continuing south, the ship passed a strange sight on the 6th - another ship, half covered in ice, sticking out a huge iceberg ahead. "It's the Wallaroo," Paul Turlow said spying the hull through his field glasses, "a whaler out of Australia. She was lost last year." As the Gabrielle drew closer, all aboard could see her boiler had exploded, rupturing the hull. Both Evvy and James Starkweather were in rare agreement as they convinced Captain Vredenburgh that it was his Christian duty to look for survivors or, more the likely, remains for proper burial at sea.

The remains of the Wallaroo, frozen in the polar ice.

The members of the expedition took a longboat over along with Jack Driscoll and two able seamen. Unfortunately Dr. Schevchenko hadn't recovered from his sea-sickness fully and slipped climbing the line up the whaler's deck. He plunged into the icy water, and the sailors were barely able to haul him up. Dr. Tyson tended to him as the boat rowed back. "We have to get him warm in a hurry, before hypothermia can set in!" Buernor, Evvy, Samuel, Stacey, Jeeves, and James were left to explore the wreck. Much to their horror, they found skeletons stripped of flesh and frozen gore over much of the deck. Making their way into the cabins, they found most empty apart from a few possessions. In the captain's cabin, they found the captain's body along with his final log entry (see Captain's Log, Final Entry for details). Disturbingly, the captain's pistol had been discharged several times and his frozen corpse was missing a head, though no signs of blood could be found. Sameul saw strange marks, like those of a clamp, pressed into the frozen flesh. Apart from a few, strange gold coins in the captain's desk, some whale meat, oil, and a dozen bottles of rye whiskey looted from the hold, there was nothing more of interest. The captain's body was wrapped in a blanket and brought aboard the Gabrielle. After being given last rites by Vredenburgh, he was laid to rest at sea. As the ship steamed on, another dark shape was seen in the ice less than a quarter-hour later. Through the field glasses, they could see it was one of the Wallaroo's lifeboats, crushed and frozen in the ice. The crew had not made it home.

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Tags: Recap , Sabotage
Chapter Four: Sep 25 - Oct 17 - At Sea
The crew and the members of the Starkweather-Moore Expedition rose early on the 25th of September. Morning classes were abbreviated, and come 11:30 a.m. Captain Vredenburgh sounded an all stop and the ship's navigator announced that they were "On the line!" With great fanfare one of the ship's lifeboats, which had been decorated with nets, barnacles, and streamers of seaweed, was hauled up over the side and a motley crew stepped on to the deck. The Gabrielle's chief steward, Judas Whitney, was dressed up as Neptune himself complete with fake beard, toga, and trident. Others were dressed up as his "court," including the portly chief engineer Charles Drummond as a baby, and a number of able seamen and engineers as masked devils, attorneys in powdered wigs, diabolic barbers and doctors, and so on.

The members of the expedition, save for veterans such as Stacey Meredith Whitehall and Jeeves, were dubbed "land-lubbers, accused of scurrilous crimes" and marched up to answer before the king of the sea. Evelyn Dubois was charged with such things as "dancing to fancy music" and "not wearing a skirt," while Buernor Thorson was accused of crimes like "consorting with them Nore-wegians" and "playing with fire at port." Sameul Brighton-Foyle was accused of "wrasslin' without the cap'n's permission" and "consorting with gentlemen over tea." All took their good natured punishment with a laugh and no small bit of embarassment. Some of the newer members of the crew had it worse, being shaved, stripped, and forced to dance a jig. But all were handed royal decrees proclaiming them "shellbacks" and veterans of crossing the Equator.

This is how lubbers became shellbacks - by crossing the line and partying!

The celebration was marred however as later that afternoon one of the stewards, messboy Philip Coates, ran to the top deck. The stench of amonia washed over the ship as he near fell over. "The reefer hold," he choked, "she's leaking coolant all over!" With an oath, Captain Vredenburgh ordered all hands and volunteers below. One of the pipes on the massvie refrigerated hold had burst, spilling amonia all over. The investigators pitched in along with the crew, mopping up coolant and tossing tainted supplies - eggs, milk, and some other fresh food - over the side. The cook managed to salvage what he could, but canned and dried goods, mostly pemmican, was all that was left. James Starkweather and the captain had an argument on the top deck that was observed by much of the crew and the expedition, and the English explorer insisted against the captain's wishes that the ship must press on to Australia. "That damnable woman is ahead of us," he shouted, "I won't have it!" So rather than take the four days necessary to turn back to Panama, the Gabrielle steamed ahead two weeks to Australia. That earned Starkweather a new nickname with the disgruntled crew, "Bloody Starkers!"

During the cleanup, Jeeves and Dr. Tyson began to examine the burst pipe. The Englishman noticed pitting on the floor beneath the pipe, and Tyson identified it as acid burns. Someone had sabotaged the refrigerated hold. After confiding in the others and then Moore, the professor informed his parter Starkweather that this had been no accident. The captain placed a watch on the holds, but the next two days passed without incident. Despite searches of the expedtion's chemical stores, no acid was found missing and the trail had grown cold.

On the morning of the 28th as the expedition members were getting breakfast, Stacey and Jeeves heard a commotion from the rear of the ship - dogs barking and howling! They ran out, and some of the others followed. As they got to the hold, they saw Gregor Pulaski opening the hatch. The horrid smell of blood, fear, and musk greeted them along with a horrific sight. Two of the dogs were tearing at each other as a few others ran around the hold, snapping and howling. Most of the rest strained at their leashes and some were convulsing in their pens. "Ah, God!" Pulaski cursed as Fiskarson and Snabjorn readied to go into the hold. Paul Turlow had come on the scene, and after Dr. Thorson assured him the animals were not rabid, he decided that the two fighting were too big a threat to ignore. A man came back from the arms locker, and Pulaski took on the odious task of putting the dogs down. Six shots rang out, with only one not finishing the target. After a terrible cry, the last mad dog fell and the other dog wranglers went down to kennel the rest.

This is how they should have remembered the dogs. Not what happened in the hold.

Thorson, Jeeves, Tyson, and Brighton-Foyle volunteered to help with the clean-up. A few kind words from Samuel helped settle the upset crewmen, and the japes and grumbles about "bloody starkers" were less in his presence. The three doctors had time to examine the hold, and noticed that though their water was clean, the pemmican the dogs had been fed was tainted with a dusting of powder. By the animals' symptoms, Tyson and Samuel reached the same conclusion - strychnine. The dogs had been poisoned. After Buernor hauled the carcasses up to be disposed of, Dr. Greene confirmed their findings. There was enough poison there to kill anyone who had partaken, including any man or woman on the expedition. There was definitely a saboteur on board.

As the rest of the expedition searched the remaining foodstuffs, Moore had the investigators go through the expedition's equipment again for signs of sabotage. And they found it. The expedition's generators had been destroyed as acid had been poured in their oil reservoirs. Same with the camp radios and the trail radios. Most disturbingly, they found a bomb in lower hold #3, tucked into the fuel drums beneath the big Boeing 247 stored there. It was a crude affair, no more than a fuse and blasting caps, but if ignited it would have taken out all the fuel in the hold and blown the Gabrielle to pieces.

There was a thorough search of the hold.

Wisely, the investigators confided in Moore alone. He knew that Starkweather and Captain Vredenburgh would turn the ship upside-down at that point, and that might be enough to push the saboteur to extremes. "Give it a couple of days, see if you can narrow down the list of suspects." And so they began to investigate the clues at hand. As the holds had been locked down since leaving port, no one had access save for the first officer and the stewards. After ruling out Turlow, they began to take a hard look at the laundry and mess stewards and the cook. As Judas Whiteny had been on deck on the 25th and getting ready early that day, there was no way he would have had time to sabotage the pipes with acid. That left Coates and Adam Henning the likely suspects.

Using the pretense of further questions, Henning was taken belowdecks, and as Tyson, Brighton-Foyle, and Turlow questioned him at length, James O'Neil slipped off with the second officer, Arthur Ballard, and searched Henning's cabin. They found a footlocker with a torn lining. Hidden within were the article announcing the Starkweather-Moore Expedition, an offer of payment for the exclusive rights to the story of the Gabrielle's voyage by a Chicago paper, and a pair of jars of sulfuric acid, one mostly empty. With the evidence in hand, Henning was confronted and had nothing to say after that. Even Jeeves was not able to rattle the man, indicating that it was likely something personal. With him detained, statements were prepared for the police in Melbourne, and the voyage continued.

Despite some rough seas, the ship arrived at Melbourne on the 11th of October. After being piloted by locals through the reefs and into Port Philip Bay, the ship docked to welcoming crowds and reporters. Starkweather had radioed ahead for replacement gear, and the investigators went to handle the matter at Moore's request. After a good night in port, during which Evvy sampled the local coffee (imported from Sumatra) and Jeeves the local tea (straight from the Orient), they were about business the morning of the 12th. They quickly discovered that Starkweather had ordered the wrong generators, and after paying a slight penalty, found replacements along with radio parts at another business.

While Jeeves and Stacey handled re-supplying the perishables (and taking the excuse to shop), the rest opted to renew the expedition's stores of pemmican. Unfortunately the owner of the peach cannery that Starkweather had contracted had no idea what the stuff was. And as it was the off season, he had no more than a maintenance crew. After an explanation, he offered to set up the line and order supplies, provided they could come up with the labor to mix, shape, and pack the stuff. Gathering up help from the rest of the expedition, they spent two days mixing gound meat, fat, cod liver oil and various other bits and bobs and packaging it for the trip to Antarctica. Reeking of blood, fat, and foulness, the job was nevertheless done.

It was all about the pemmican.

With four days to spend, they enjoyed the hospitality of Melbourne. Buernor, Jeeves, and the Sorensons enjoyed the dockside pubs (and a good old-fashioned brawl) while Stacey, Samuel, and William Tyson enjoyed the museums and night-life, while Evvy enjoyed all of the above. An impromptu ceremony was held, and Starkweather and Moore were presented with the key to the city by Melbourne's mayor. Henning had been turned over to the police, and apart from verifying their statements, the matter was out of the party's hands. There was no doubt the mutineer would hang, they were told, though they would not be there to see it. A few interesting adventures took place during Jeeves and Stacey's trip to the Outback, and Samuel saw some things he would rather forget in Melbourne's mental hospital, but those were tales for another day. By the morning of the 18th, the Gabrielle had left port. The long journey to the ice remained.
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Chapter Three: Sep 8-24 - Departure, Cont.
Late on the morning of the 11th, the Gabrielle pulled out of port to the snap of flashbulbs, the cheers of the crowd, and blast of her steam whistle. "Antarctica, here we come!" Starkweather shouted jubilantly to the crowds below. Before the ship had reached the 5-mile limit, the corks on several bottles of champaigne had been popped, and liquor brought on board by the members of the expedition began to flow. The members of the expediton celebrated into the evening, when dinner was served. Gunnar and Nils Sorenson spent the evning singing old Norwegian drinking songs aft, "from the time of the Vikings," with Dr. Buernor Thorson. Peter Sykes was in the mess, banging away on old pots and pans with spoons while singing Newfoundland whalers' chanties. After a long day, the ship settled down and everyone got some sleep.

The Gabrielle, steaming south towards Panama.

On the 12th, shipboard life quickly settled into a routine. Breakfast was served in the mess hall at 8 a.m., a cold lunch was laid out at noon, and dinner was served at 8 p.m. every night. At 4:00, James Starkweather took tea. Naturally, Stacey, Jeeves, and Samuel accompanied him, as did Pierce Albemarle, "of the Bridgeport Albemarles," who had a particularly British attitude despite his Colonial upbringing. Classes were held during the day, with Sykes and the Sorensons teaching the scientists how to use polar survival gear and techniques, Richard Greene teaching first aid (and ballroom dancing), while Dr. Tyson taught techniques for dealing with frostbite. Louis Laroche instructed others on proper use of the radios, while Pierce Albemarle taught about weather on the Antarctic continent. Patrick Miles instructed others on engine maintenance, while Douglas Halperin taught aircraft and compass navigation, with Evvy assisting in navigation by the stars. Gregor Pulaski and Olav Snabjorn taught about the proper handling of the dogs, and how to dog sled as best they could on the ship's deck. All in all, the days were kept busy as the Gabrielle steamed south.

Things were fairly routine, though William, Jeeves, Samuel, and Buernor had heard odd grumbles and complaints from the crew. Rumors of Starkweather's past expeditions, and of the disasters he had faced, were circulating among the able seamen and engine crew. Samuel confronted one man, Jude Pierce, about his comments. Though the man was obviously spoiling for a fight, cooler heads prevailed. Though William and Jeeves tried to get to the bottom of the rumors, they had little progress. Starkweather and the ship's first officer, Paul Turlow, blew off the rumors as "idle chatter among superstitious sailors." Samuel thought to blow off some tensions by having impromptu wrestling matches with some of the crew, but Captain Henry Vredenburgh was opposed to the whole thing. Two of the sailors were disciplined for the affair as "they are my men, and should have shown better judgement as such." Despite attempts to do otherwise, the senior scientists and expedition leaders invariably dined with the captain and officers, while the rest dined with the crew. A subtle but very real class line had been drawn.

The weather grew warmer, and by the 15th, the ship had passed the shores of Cuba. Despite an initial bout of seasickness for some, the sailing was relatively smooth. On the 19th, the ship reached Colon on the coast of Panama, and a navigator was brought on board, a tall black-skinned Jamaican named Quentin. He took the helm (as it were) as the Gabrielle was taken through the locks and onto Lake Gatun. The day was spent moving across the isthmus, and by nightfall, they had reached the far side and the Pacific Ocean. Plenty of local color was seen, as fishing boats pulled alongside with liquor, cigars, fresh fish, and fresh fruit for sale to the eager crew and expedition. Brown-skinned children with black hair could be seen running, shouting, and waving at the ship as they cruised by the manicured lawns of Panama City. As sunset neared, Stacey was able to convince James Starkweather to let several members of the expedition go ashore to enjoy one last night of liberty in Panama City. Much good food and strong rum was consumed. though James O'Neil swore he abstained from any strong drink. He did, however, purchase a pistol ashore that his roommate Samuel felt obliged to turn over for storage in the ship's small arms locker. The bad blood between the English and the Irish carried over even this far from the Isles of their ancestors...

The Gabrielle headed up the Panama Canal.

At any rate, the ship set sail early on the 20th, and by noon they were out of sight and over deep waters. The rough seas of the Pacific were far, far different than the calm waters of the Carribean, and the specter of seasickness reared its ugly head again. Despite that, the ship pressed on, and classes continued - albeit inside, as the ocean spray and rain quickly soaked any on the deck near to the bone.

On the night of the 24th, the ship's engines went still and the steam whistle blew three times. The expedition members rushed to the top deck, where they were greeted by a strange apparition. A figure appeared near the rail in a swirl of water, a puffed-up man in an elaborate uniform with many medals and green hair in a tarred knot beneath his tri-corner hat! In truth, Evvy recognized him as the engineer's mate, Bert Pacquare, the short French-Canadian who ran a not-so secret still in the engine room. He introduced himself as 'Davy Jones' with great ceremony, and was escorted to see Captain Vredenburgh. With great aplomb, he presented a folio with hand-written summons for "the lubbers among ye," demanding that they report to the court of his master, "King Neptune Rex, on the morrow, to answer charges of scurrilous behavior." The captain solemnly agreed, and all but Jeeves and Stacey, who had passed the Equator more than once, were served their summons. Tomorrow, the Gabrielle would pass into the Southern Hemisphere, and they were one step closer to Antarctica.

Davey Jones had arrived on the deck with a mysterious summons...
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Chapter Three: Sep 8-24 - Departure
After returning from Commander J.B. Douglas's funeral, the investigators were introduced to a late arrival for the expedition - one Samuel Philip Brighton-Foyle. The young doctor was James Starkweather's honorary nephew, and had chosen to serve the first leg of his internship under Dr. Greene during the Starkweather-Moore Expedition. He had scant time to have his bags delivered to his room, as Starkweather and Moore had called for a meeting in the Rose Room. "Tomorrow gentleman...and lady," Starweather said jubilantly, "we leave for Antarctica! Everyone, take your gear to the ship!" Moore indicated they would be choosing their staterooms when the arrived, so the rush was on!

The impromptu procession of scientists, explorers, and camp crew made their way from the Amherst Hotel to the pier where the Gabrielle was moored. Pushing past the busy stevedores, the investigators were greeted by the ship's first officer, Paul Turlow, who led them to center castle, where the senior scientists and team members were to bunk. Once on board, Starkweather and Moore revelaed that they had one of the forward cabins near the galley, and that Evelyn Dubois had the other, "For propriety's sake," Starkweather grumbled. After some jostling about, their gear was stowed (see Cabin Assignments on the Gabrielee to see who ended up where).

The pier in front of the Gabrielle was much, much busier than this.

While there was some talk of heading back into the city for one last night on the town, the investigators found themselves busy with last-minute preparations. Samuel and Dr. Tyson were in the medical bay, conferring with Dr. Greene and the ship's physician, Ray Lansing, as they put their doctors' bags together. Evvy had headed down to hold #4 to check the Boeing 247s, while James and Jeeves remained in their cabins, working on a story for the morning edition and a lovely pot of tea, respectively. Stacey had gone to the top deck to watch the ship being loaded and enjoy some fine pipe tobacco. Dr. Schevchenko was working on his journal belowdecks.

Come 10 p.m., the relative quiet in the cabins was shattered by the sound of breaking glass and the roar of an explosion which shook the ship! A fire had broken out in the dockside warehouse, and several drums of fuel exploded, shattering the skylights and spreading burning gasoline everywhere! The investigators rushed to the top deck, witnessing the horror below...and above. One of the pie-plate lifts carrying drums of fuel to the hold was perched above a river of fire in front of the open side-hatch to the ship's holds. If those drums exploded, it was likely all the fuel in the hold would go up! The stevedores had panicked, and were fleeing the dock at top speed. Evvy ran back to the controls for the winch as Jeeves, James O'Neil, and Starkweather ran for the fire hose. Buernor and William Tyson ran into the burning warehouse, where they saw at least three of the stevedores down, trapped by flames. Samuel saw a man on fire, and ran down to put the fellow out. Nikifor ran to the bridge, to see what could be done to get the ship underway. Stacey directed efforts from the top of the gangplank.

Despite initial difficulties (which resulted in Jeeves being cracked upside the head by an out-of-control fire hose), the fuel drums were doused, and though Evvy couldn't swing the lift around to the hold, she did manage to drop the barrels on the pier where they exploded without damaging the ship. Although Buernor was almost overcome by the fire, he and William managed to pull an unconscious dock-worker from the warehouse - the rest had already succumbed to the heat and smoke. Samuel put the man out, and got him to safety aboard the ship. During their rescue attempt, Buernor and Stacey spotted a suspicious figure carrying a gas can through on the other side of the warehouse, through the open doors and flames. Cautiously circling the fire, they caught up with the masked fellow and brought him low after the big Norwegian broke his wrist. They drug the fellow, a known arsonist by the name of Jerry Polk, to the streets.

Meanwhile, some of the crew had managed to cut a boxcar loose on the rails at the edge of the pier. It ran down the collapsing track and hit the water with a tremendous splash, sending water over the deck of the Gabrielle and through the warehouse, putting out most of the flames. The rest of the investigators had gathered on the street, giving aid wherever possible as James snapped photos and jotted down quotes. The police had arrived, along with firefighters and ambulances, but before they could question the arsonist, Jeeeves had a word alone with him. No one heard what the burly Englishman said to Polk, but he quickly admitted to being hired by a mysterious figure named "Doyle" to set fires at the docks of the Starweather-Moore Expedition and the Lexington Expedition. It was then that the group noticed Lexington's vessel, the Talahassee, headed down river past the tugs towing the Garielle away from the pier.

The Talahassee steamed downriver, out to sea, as the pier burned.

The rest of the 9th was a bit of a blur. Most of the investigators slept in, as they were up to the wee hours answering questions for reporters and police, while James O'Neil hurridly wrote for the morning edition of the Post. His story, including allegations of sabotage, got three pages and the headline. The Lexington Expedition's departure was mentioned on the last page.

A note had arrived at the Amherst for Dr. Tyson, asking him to meet with one Nicholas Roerich at the Netherlands Hotel. He, Buernor, Jaems, and Samuel ventured there on the morning of the 10th, and met with the Russian artist. He once again thanked them for saving him, and revealed that he and Acacia Lexington's father had once been close friends. He urged them not to go to Antarctica, "For your lives may be in peril, according to what Professor Dyer shared with me," but upon hearing Dr. Tyson's resolve, he asked simply that they ensure Acacia's safe return "Out of respect for the friendship I shared with her father." He told them she was a good person, and could not be responsible for any sabotage, but did say he worried about her association with certain elements in Germany, conceding that they might be using her for their own ends. He suspected that she might seek to ally herself with the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition upon arrival in Antarctica, and theorized that their questions about "the Pym story," might have soemthing to do with her as well. He told them the story of how she branded her father's apparent suicide a murder at first, and how the manuscript of Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket had disappeared in the wake of P.W. Lexington's death. James followed up on the stories in the Post's story morgue, while the rest followed up on the cancelled auction P.W. had planned through Boseley's Auction House in New York. Frank Boseley, the proprietor, shared a brief summary of the purportedly unique, finished manuscript with them and his suspicions that P.W. Lexington was indeed murdered as the manuscipt was never found (see the articles Lexington Tragedy, Acacia Backpedals on Murder Accusation, and A Synopsis of Pym's Narrative for details).

Following a busy day in New York, the investigators retired to the Gabrielle, prepared to leave early on the morrow.
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Chapter Two: Sep. 5-8, 1933 - Death of Sea-Captain, Continued
Early the next morning, September 6th, Stacey Meredith Whitehall III and Jeeves headed down to the lobby of the Amherst Hotel. They were off to meet with Commander J.B. Douglas, former captain of the Arkham, who was to be the shipmaster on the Starkweather-Moore Expedition. The headline of the morning paper changed all that (see Famed Sea Captain Murdered!) as the commander had met with an untimely end. Neither Starkweather or Moore were at breakfast that morning, and Stacey quietly informed the others as to what happened. Dr. Tyson went to the 3rd floor to see Professor Moore, while Stacey opted to head to the top floor to talk to James Starkweather.

Both found waiting reporters. While Dr. Tyson had trouble getting rid of the newshound on his tail - indeed, he was stuck on the elevator with the man for what seemed like an eternity - Stacey Whitehall did not have that problem. The small lobby of Starkweather's suite was packed with reporters, all clamoring for an interview or a statement. Unable to press through the mob, he saw a lone man in a rumpled trenchcoat and hat sitting in a small room alone. The man turned out to be a homicide detective with the NYPD, one J.J. Hansen. After introducing himself, the detective asked a few rote questions about the recently-deceased Commander Douglas. When Stacey let it slip that the commander was staying at the Westbury Hotel in Chelsea, Detective Hansen quickly excused himself. Realizing what the detective was up to, Stacey opted to round the other investigators up as they finished their morning coffee. "If the good police detective gets to the scene first," he explained, "we shall likely never know if this tragedy was connected with the sabotage of our expedition and whether or not this Lexington woman was invovled."

Detective J.J. Hansen of the NYPD was investigating the possible homicide.

That being said, they piled into Dr. Tyson's Packard and raced down to the Westbury Hotel. Upon arriving, Evvy and Buernor made their way to the commander's room on the second floor. They found a uniformed police officer guarding the entrance to room 23, a bored look on his face. Retreating down the stairs, they found the others conversing with the surly desk clerk. A crisp $10 bill got him to change his attitude and answer a few questions. It appeared that J.B. Douglas hadn't had any visitors and no one had asked about him. He had checked in three days ago, and paid up for ten. He'd had two brief phone conversations, and mentioned something about Lexington.

Stacey decided he needed to have a look through the commander's room. Buernor had caught a glimpse as the officer checked the murdered sea captain's room, and saw a door that must lead into the ajdoining room. Hatching a quick plan, he had Jeeves run outside and secure the services, as they were, of a lady of ill repute. A few words and dollars were exchanged, and she accompanied the two British gentlemen upstairs to room 21 after clearing it with a bemused desk clerk. "Now lie there and pleasure yourself while we attend to business," Stacey instructed as he and Jeeves examined room 23.

She worked hard for the money. So hard for it, honey.

Commander Douglas's room had been tossed. After several minutes of quitely searching, the duo found a few, tantalizing clues. First, a group of the commander's journals, covering the months of 1930-1931 when the Arkham was at sea during the Miskatonic University Expedtion, was missing. Second, a half-written letter to the commander's brother, Philip (see Douglas' Unfinished Letter to Philip), was on a desk. Third, a number of phone numbers and names were written on crumpled pieces of paper pulled out of the wastebasket. There were numbers present for both Acacia Lexington and James Starkweather, as well as someone named Gerald Brackman. One piece of paper mentioned something called 'The Purple Cup' and had a trio of last names.

Before they could get much else, a pair of squad cars and a police sedan pulled up outside. While O'Neil ran interference, the rest slipped out the back. Jeeves just heard them headed up the stairs, and he and Stacey quickly exited the room. There was no way past them, and as Detective Hansen had already met Stacey, he was best avoided. There was only one way to go - out the window. The pair barely managed a controlled fall, and landed atop a heap of garbage. "Hey, get back here!" They could hear yelling from the window as they ran out of the alley, and both were sure that the prostitute was able to give a good description of them.

They all met up several minutes later. Stacey and Jeeves needed to get clean clothes - the garbage stench was not coming out of their apparel any time soon. The rest opted to follow up on what information they had gathered. They quickly learned that Gerald Brackman was an attorney, and made an appointment with him for the following morning. They could not reach Acacia Lexington by phone, and discovered that the Purple Cup was a tavern near the waterfront, not far at all from the Westbury Hotel. Dr. Tyson, Buernor, and James made their way there, and despite the recalcitrant sailors' hard stares, they managed to learn that Douglas had met three of his old crew there the night he was murdered. The fellow had overheard them saying they would never go back to the ice. As per his letter, it was apparent that Douglas had not actually been hired by Starkweather, and had only come to New York to tell the man off once and for all.

The 7th saw the investigators follow up on several leads. James and Dr. Tyson met with Brackman, who despite dissembling for legal nicities, indicated that he had helped Douglas finalize his will. Evvy spent some more time at the docks, making sure the Boeing 247s were loaded properly on the Gabrielle. Buernor began to follow up on where to find a 2,000-year-old Egyptian mummy, while Dr. Schevchenko spent time making sure he reported back to the Soviet Embassy. After clearing up other matters, Dr. Tyson joined Buernor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where both quickly determined there would be no legitimate way to secure a mummy. With Evvy's help however, they managed to get in touch with a certain...procurer of antiquities. Stacey's considerable forture enabled the group to purchase one of a pair of authentic mummies. Upon his return to the Amherst Hotel, James found another letter warning the investigators not to go on the expedition (see Warning Letter).

The mummy they found wasn't Boris Karloff!

The morning of the 8th, they attended J.B. Douglas's funeral, a small, sad affair. They talked briefly with his brother, Philip, who revealed that J.B. never talked about his trip to Antarctica, save when drunk. He mentioned that Paul Danforth had returned a howling madman, and had to be restrained during the voyage back. He also mentioned "strange, cold, black stones - I think they are the reason he lost two fingers to frostbite." Six months later, he was much better and returned to the sea. After bidding them a farewell - and after they had dealt with a nosy reporter named Hawkes - the investigators set about to finish their duties for the day. Tomrrow was the 9th of September - departure day!
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Chapter Two: Sep. 5-8, 1933 - Death of Sea-Captain
The cabbie that James O'Neil had flagged down proved to be competent, if not terribly brave. While he managed to follow the black sedan across the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan, the driver must have spotted them. As he sped away into traffic, James was stuck behind a traffic light. His reporter's instincts were sharp however, and he did manage to get the car's license down. Swearing under his breath, he handed the cabbie a $10 bill and hopped out after spotting a pay phone on a nearby corner. "Keep the change," he said as he raced to the phone.

The cabbie got James over the Queensboro Bridge in a hurry.

Quickly dialing the Amherst Hotel, he was rewarded by the voice of Tim, the desk clerk. Dr. Buernor Thorson and Dr. Williamn Scott Tyson had just returned from the New York Public Library, and took the call. James quickly explained what happened, and described the large man, the older gentleman, and provided them with its plate numbers. Though they doubted they could find the vehicle in the midday traffic, they quickly stepped out and flagged down a cab. Dr. Nikifor Schevchenko and Evelyn Dubois happened to be returning (from the Soviet Embassy and the docks, respectively), just as a dark sedan with two large men, one older gentleman, and plates matching the numbers James provided crept by on 42nd Street. "We need to follow that car!" Tyson reported. "James saw a man being kidnapped at Acacia Lexington's estate. If we lose them now, we'll never find out what happened!"

Evvy blew an ear-piercing whistle, stopping a passing cab, and hopped in. "Follow that sedan," she said to the cabbie. She turned to the rest and said, "Get Jimmy and wait by the phone, boys!" Pounding on the cab door, she and her driver sped off. Several minutes later, the sedan pulled down a short pier to a warehouse on the lower end of Manhattan. Slipping the cabbie a bill, Evvy said "Circle the block and wait. I've got to make a phone call."

By that time, James had arrived back at the Amherst, and the situation was explained in detail. Evvy's call came through, and the boys hopped in Dr. Scott's big Packard and took off for Lower Manhattan. Arriving nearly an hour after the big sedan pulled in, the investigators set on a plan of action. They cautiously approached the abandoned warehouse, avoiding the roll-up door in front and circled to a side-door. After borrowing one of Evvy's hairpins, Jeeves let his Cockney roots show as he deftly picked the rusty padlock on the door. The equally rusty hinge nearly gave them away, so they cricled to the front office door and tried again.

Yes, Dr. Tyson could afford a sweet, sweet ride.

Success! They made their way into the dusty office, and to a door standing slightly ajar on the far side. Above, they could hear the thwack of a fist hitting flesh, then a voice spoke in German-accented English. "Come now, Herr Roerich. Where is Herr Professor Dyer? Where is Herr Danforth? Who else knows about Pym's book? What is your business with Fraulien Lexington?"

"I don't know who that is, or what you mean." A voice accented in Russian answered back. "I only wanted to warn Miss Lexington not to go to Antarctica." A heavy sigh followed, and a few words in German were exchanged. The investigators had heard enough. Evvy grabbed a small bottle of whiskey from her purse, and made sure her pearl-handled .32 was at the top. Stacey picked up a broken chair leg as if it were a saber, and made sure his Webley service revolver was loosened in its shoulder holster under his coat. Jeeves watched the door as Dr. Tyson crept over to the big sedan and quietly got inside. Buernor followed Evvy up the stairs, doing his damndest to stay out of sight.

"Hey boys," Evvy began in a tipsy voice, "Bruno sent me over to..." she trailed off as three men in suits looked back. An older man sat tied to a chair, a bag over his head. The lead man drew an automatic pistol and leveled it at the young socialite. Time seemed to slow down. Cautious words were exchanged as he and the others apologized and prepared to tie up Evvy and the big Norwegian scientist. One went down to get the car, only to be whacked upside the head by Stacey. Dr. Tyson started up the car, smashing it into the roll-up door. The gunman, distracted for a second, caught Buernor's meaty fist upside his head. The big man grabbed the wrist of his gun-hand, forced the pistol out of his grip, and then broke it with a violent jerk. The other man quickly surrendered when he saw Evvy's pistol leveled at him.

Evvy was ready for trouble.

After a brief interrogation, Jeeves realized these men were professionals and would not talk, even under threat of violence. Wishing to avoid police involvement, the two parties decided to go their separate ways. Too late, the investigators heard a lauch leave from where it had been tied up on the short dock behind the warehouse. The Germans left, with more questions than answers in their wake.

After he was untied from the chair, the investigators realized the older man was none other than Nicholas Roerich, a famed Russian artist and philanthropist. "Thank you," he said with a hoarse cough. "Perhaps we should leave quickly, yes?" Tyson saw to his injuries and the group left the warehouse. A quick explanation followed. Roerich had been trying for the better part of a week to contact either James Starkweather or Professor William Moore, as he had an important package for them from William Dyer, a manuscript that the missing scientist swore was a true account of what he and Danforth experienced on the polar ice. Unable to get in touch with either man, Roerich instead opted to give the manuscript and warning to Acacia Lexington, as he was close friends with her late father. The Germans had been waiting in ambush for him, and made off with the manuscript as he was being questioned. He hadn't read Dyer's manuscript for himself, and could not swear to its contents. "I only know he returned a changed man, and was convinced that no man should venture on to the Antarctic contient again." Dr. Tyson knew that Dyer had changed, but had not realized it was to that extent. Still, they thanked Roerich for his information and made sure her arrived safely at a local hospital to have his injuries looked over more thoroughly.

Noted artist and philanthropist, Russian expatriate Nicholas Roerich

Upon their return to the Amherst Hotel, the investigators began to gather their facts. They surmised that Acacia Lexington was no doubt involved in the whole matter somehow, as she had ties to political groups all over the world. The Germans were after something in Dyer's manuscript, and Dr. Tyson remembered a story, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, by Poe. It was the story of a strange voyage into the South Pacific that ends abruptly with the protagonist aboard a native boat approaching the misty shores of Antarctica.
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