Episode 4 Part I - Deadly Echoes

The episode resumes on June 7th 1927, on a warm summer day, Mrs. De Winter had come back directly from Hungary with Martin and Teddy. It had been a tense trip back Teddy was barely able to contain his grief and anger over the events in the Mountains. She had done everything she could to make right with Teddy family and the Irregulars over their losses. Her own feelings were torn, she had new information and leads, the best leads she had in years. But how to go about finding husband after he disappeared in some sort of ‘dimensional portal’, her mind struggled to process it…

The two months after her return she had to juggle following up on her new leads and catching with the stack of work that was awaiting for her at Griffon Aeronautics. In the evenings she poured through her husband’s journals trying piece together the people and places he had been. She also had put out inquiries through Hex on the technical journals relating to the portal, trying to find some expert who could provide insight on how they might locate him.

During the day at Griffon Aeronautics she would put in long days catching up on where the business was. She had a concern that between her Wraith activities and the quest for her husband the business was falling apart. In truth the company manager Sherman had been running things reasonably well, the firm was working on an order of their first two Atlantic Clipper that were being sold to Italy. And while they could always use new business, they were still in the black, if just so…

That morning, Mr. Sherman was a bit surprised by a phone call he received that morning from Howard Hughes Aeronautics, and following the call made his way over to Ms. De Winter office. Gently rapping on the door he entered, Sherman was a small man thin and standing at 5 foot tall, his bright read hear and clean shaven face gave him a boyish air. At the age of 33 he was young to a business manager of an even a small firm like this one, but old man Griffon had invested a lot in the industrious young man, he was a company man through and through.

“Ms. De Winter, do you have a moment?” he asked, politely.

“Yes Sherman, what can I do for you?” Ms. De Winter said, her hair was tied back as she looked up from her paperwork. She looked up and closed the file she was reading and set it aside, looking up to meet Sherman gaze.

He went blank for a moment as he met her gaze. That is the face that fortunes are lost on and exalts the fortunate few to heaven, he thought.

“Yes, Mr. Sherman?” There was a slight impatience in Ms. De Winter tone.

“Sorry…I wanted to ask if you had spoken with anyone from Howard Hughes in the last few weeks?”

“I do not think so…” she opened her appointment book. “No nothing on my calendar and I cannot recall going to any engagement with anyone from Hughes in the last month. Why do you ask?”

“Well I just got off the phone with a man representing the New York branch and he was interested in discussing licensing or perhaps partnering to make a commercial version of our ‘silent engines’. I am sure no one in the shop is talking about them so that leaves a pretty short list of people…all of which are related to you.”

Ms. De Winter scowled. “Sherman, make sure to check the engineers who could spill the beans, just in case. I speak with my brothers tonight if I get the chance. As for Howard Hughes will just play dumb as to what they are talking about.”

“Roger.” Sherman and set about his work, kicking himself for getting distracted, thinking to himself he too old and to jaded for boyish crushes. Ms. De Winter closed up her office and headed back home, her mother had a party this evening and she could corner her brothers there.

***

Father Duquesne was settling back into his quarters in his New York Parish. His fellow parish priests welcomed him back warmly, saying many of the younger men in the parish had asked about him and complimenting him of the dark tan he had acquired from his two months of mission work in Haiti. Between his work setting up in the parish and his night work as The Wraith he was glad to be back in New York, to be closer to the support of the other Companions.
As he made his way back to his room from evening confessionals, the vision struck…

***

Roshan had come back from Haiti over a month ago, but business had him traveling out of town most of May. After having spent a long day going through the books with his sister Cadriana, he was taking a break taking her to Broadway show. He was doing best to smooth over things, Cadriana had taken the review of the books to point out Roshan ‘extracurricular’ activities where not helping the business and injury received for no profit was a ‘bad practice’. Roshan knew she was concerned, he knew she would not approve of his efforts as a companion. He knew a nice dinner and a night on the town would be something she enjoyed but would do little to assuage her concerns.
As the curtain fell, the vision struck…

***

Mrs. De Winter had come back directly from Hungary with Martin and Teddy. It had been a tense trip back Teddy was barely able to contain his grief and anger over the events in the Mountains. She had done everything she could to make right with Teddy family and the Irregulars over their losses. Her own feelings were torn, she had new information and leads, the best leads she had in years. But how to go about finding husband after he disappeared in some sort of ‘dimensional portal’, her mind struggled to process it…

The two months after her return she had to juggle following up on her new leads and catching with the stack of work that was awaiting for her at Griffon Aeronautics. In the evenings she poured through her husband’s journals trying piece together the people and places he had been. She also had put out inquiries through Hex on the technical journals relating to the portal, trying to find some expert who could provide insight on how they might locate him.

During the day at Griffon Aeronautics she would put in long days catching up on where the business was. She had a concern that between her Wraith activities and the quest for her husband the business was falling apart. In truth the company manager Sherman had been running things reasonably well, the firm was working on an order of their first two Atlantic Clipper that were being sold to Italy. And while they could always use new business, they were still in the black, if just so…

That morning, Mr. Sherman was a bit surprised by a phone call he received that morning from Howard Hughes Aeronautics, and following the call made his way over to Ms. De Winter office. Gently rapping on the door he entered, Sherman was a small man thin and standing at 5 foot tall, his bright read hear and clean shaven face gave him a boyish air. At the age of 33 he was young to a business manager of an even a small firm like this one, but old man Griffon had invested a lot in the industrious young man, he was a company man through and through.

“Ms. De Winter, do you have a moment?” he asked, politely.

“Yes Sherman, what can I do for you?” Ms. De Winter said, her hair was tied back as she looked up from her paperwork. She looked up and closed the file she was reading and set it aside, looking up to meet Sherman gaze.

He went blank for a moment as he met her gaze. That is the face that fortunes are lost on and exalts the fortunate few to heaven, he thought.

“Yes, Mr. Sherman?” There was a slight impatience in Ms. De Winter tone.

“Sorry…I wanted to ask if you had spoken with anyone from Howard Hughes in the last few weeks?”

“I do not think so…” she opened her appointment book. “No nothing on my calendar and I cannot recall going to any engagement with anyone from Hughes in the last month. Why do you ask?”

“Well I just got off the phone with a man representing the New York branch and he was interested in discussing licensing or perhaps partnering to make a commercial version of our ‘silent engines’. I am sure no one in the shop is talking about them so that leaves a pretty short list of people…all of which are related to you.”

Ms. De Winter scowled. “Sherman, make sure to check the engineers who could spill the beans, just in case. I speak with my brothers tonight if I get the chance. As for Howard Hughes will just play dumb as to what they are talking about.”

“Roger.” Sherman and set about his work, kicking himself for getting distracted, thinking to himself he too old and to jaded for boyish crushes. Ms. De Winter closed up her office and headed back home, her mother had a party this evening and she could corner her brothers there.

***

Ms. Douglas had departed from the group once that had reached Budapest, while not a traumatized the others, the desire to visit a few friends in Europe before heading home appealed to her. Antonio having taken a shine to her, asked if she might be willing to have him a lone as a traveling companion.

Douglas was a little surprised, but in truth he had proven a very resourceful member of the group in the mountains and he had a certain old fashioned Italian charm that she liked. Over the next few weeks they shared stories and evenings. They parted company in Span, where Antonio said he had a cousin to meet in Morocco before heading back to America.

Douglas had returned to New York that morning and had taken to meeting with some her academic colleagues in a club outside of Brooklyn, where good Cognac and good cigars could be found a modest prices…

***

Martin was up late in his office having been out of office for three weeks. The one upside to the night terrors he was having after the events of mountain, was he had nights free to catch up on his work. Mary, his secretary had offered up that she was interested in perhaps working as a detective on some of cases to fill in for when he was on his “extended trips”. Which made a lot of sense.

The business had been doing better since he had started giving Mary a percentage of the work, she had really beat down the doors to get money from some of his dead beat customers. The money that Ms. De Winter was paying him to help follow-up leads on her husband had done a lot to put him ahead of his bills. If Mary could take on some of the case load he would have the money for possibly a second secretary…
There was problem of finding cases he felt safe giving to her, after all he would not be able to live with himself putting her in a position where she would get hurt. There was the Lands adultery case he had, those where pretty routine, but the man had in question had a bad temper. Ms. Du Bois needed some to track down her husband and deliver legal papers to him. Martin groaned.

There was a knock on the door, followed by the jingle of a bell, as a man walked in. Martin instinctively pulled open his drawer holding his pistol.

“Hello?” he said.

A tall fellow opened his door, with black hair slicked back and well-oiled mustache. He held a brown bag in his left hand. Martin resisted the urge to pull his gun on recognizing the man.

“Long time no see Martin. How are things?” he said as he pulled a small bottle of whiskey from the bag and placed it on Martin’s desk. “Working late?”

“Dennis have a seat. What do you want?” Martin said, the bottle meant that Dennis meant to propose business. There was no harm in hearing him out, after all they weren’t on the force anymore.

“Straight to business…at least pour me a glass.” Martin took out to glasses from his second drawer of his desk and poured out the whiskey. “So I heard you were in the private detective game and thought you would be interested in doing some consulting for the state. Interested?”

“Maybe what is the work? And what does it pay?”

“Well you know I left New York force two years ago, I’ve got a job working for Pinkerton National Detective Agency and moved south. Anyway to I got contacted by some fellows from the Bureau of Investigation that they needed my expertise, seems they were putting together a task force of people interested in capturing ‘The Wraith’ and thought my past experience would be an asset. Naturally I thought if they were hiring me that you would be the next most valuable person they could tab, seeing as you are as much an expert of the beast as anyone.”

“So you were working for the Fed?”

“As a consultant they pay me $40 a month. I could probably get you the same. Interested?”

Martin sipped his whiskey, he knew Dennis. Dennis had worked with him on the force, he was as dirty as they came. He was tough too, they had come real close to the Wraith. But the task force had been stopped before they could pull the trigger. This was history repeating itself and Martin did not like it.

“Sure,” Martin said. “Where do I sign?”

“Well I’ll talk to the Bureau guys tomorrow, they will want to interview you.” With that Dennis stood up and walked out. As he poured himself a second glass the vision struck….

***

That evening Mrs. De Winter had been roped into a formal event with her family, her mother wanted her to try and assist James (her older brother) secure some contracts with a Sir Shepherd. Sir Shepherd was man in his late thirties, an accomplished gentleman, he had recently lost several ships in the Atlantic and was in the market someone else to take over his Atlantic exports from the Mediterranean. The exchanged witty banter and dances throughout the night, Mrs. De Winter could not help but soften to his charm a bit.

As her brother's turn came up on her dance card, she told James that she had arranged a lunch date with the Sir Shepherd and would do her best to bring him around. Just as she was going to steer the conversation in the direction of Hughes the vision struck…

***

You inhale your cigarette, the sweet taste of nicotine. The smell of garbage and car fumes permeates the alley you are in. It is poorly lit, but your eyes are adjusted to it. You are looking intently at a sturdy looking red door. A truck blocks the view of the street from you the noise of the cars can still be heard, you can hear a radio playing above playing a tune, you start tapping your foot in time with the song.

A mean looking fellow is crouched down on one knee clutching a large canvas bag. He is bald with a mangled left ear, he is tense. He looks up at you, with an impatient look. You sneer back at him, taking your pocket watch out, as the time strikes 9:00 o'clock. The song stops…the sound of traffic disappears…all sound stops…

You noiselessly close the pocket watch. A point the man to the door, he pauses for a moment, but stands up clutching a sledgehammer. You pick up the bag. He proceeds ahead of you to a door. You watch as he smashes the lock to the door. Kicking the door open, your companion once more moves forward smashing the lock of a second door and rushing into the next room. You follow carry the heavy canvas bag.

The door leads into a bank, as you enter you and your companion open the door to the back of the bank. Behind the door is a startled clerk, probably staying late to catch up on accounts. The man wordless shouts, you step forward pulling a crowbar from the bag. Delivering a crushing back backhand to the clerk sends him to the ground. Stepping over him you deliver a final fatal blow.

You turn to your companion and say something though no words are heard.

Leaving the dead clerk on the floor, you proceed into the room and lock at the safe. Once more opening the canvas page you pull out dynamite and detonation cord. You carefully place the explosives, connect the cord and move back to where you entered. Pressing the detonator, you feel a vibration as the charge explodes, but there is not even a whisper.

You companion drags the clerk out of the way, as you go into the safe and start bagging money…..


***

Martin was grabbed the phone book he had glimpsed the name of the bank from a memo, Strauss Bank. He quickly looked it up in the phone book and found the address and rushed out the door. Roshan made his excuses to his sister, which were met with a disapproving scowl. Ms. De Winter feigned illness and made her way out of the party. All the other companions converged on the Mansion.

Martin arrived at the crime scene and found no sign of the criminals, though the clerk was alive. He took pains to stabilize the man and then called the police. In the short time he had to look around he managed to get a single finger print from the vault, where the thief had taken his gloves off to wire the bombs.

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