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and Madness Followed

Game Master Dennis Harry

In 1930-31, Miskatonic University funded an Antarctic Expedition which ventured forth into the icy wastes of the southern continent in search of new discoveries. Instead the intrepid adventurers found horror, tragedy, and a great and ancient secret.
Those secrets still lie under the ice of that mysterious continent waiting to be uncovered...


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Male Human

this is not Starkweather. It is obvious there is an accomplice to this fool on board and either they let him out and he jumped for it, or they silenced him to ensure their wickedness could continue.

persuade: 1d100 ⇒ 85

really? Lol


Shadow's Status

the Gabrielle – the Panama Canal – September 25th, 1933 - Early Morning

You are all exhausted by the late night and the extreme twist of events of the next morning.

Moore approaches your group as he sees you all huddled together, "You did a very brave thing back there young Lady. I am proud to say that it was my idea to ensure that you were on board. I believe that your suggestion that we open the foot locker is an important one. I have the key nowm do you all care to accompany me?"


Shivering, "Let me get warmer clothing on and I will join you. None of you have to wait for me. His friends did not seem surprised when I spoke to them."

Running off to her room then back to join the others at the foot locker.


Male Human

Alphonso will follow along to the foot locker as well.


Male "Human" Engineer

"I'll go, too," Stanley agrees. "The way things are going, it seems best to have as many witnesses as possible, both for personal protection and for the protection of the findings."


Shadow's Status

the Gabrielle – the Panama Canal – September 25th, 1933 - Early Morning

Phoebe arrives a bit late but Professor Moore and the others await her arrival before opening the footlocker, no one else from the crew is present.

Aside from clothing, travel papers and the like, three items of interest are present. A much-folded copy of Starkweather’s original expedition announcement, clipped out of a New York newspaper. Two carefully stoppered glass bottles of clear liquid, one full, the other all but
empty, both clearly labeled “Sulfuric Acid—Extremely Poisonous—Do Not
Swallow.” A telegram offering Henning $250 for his exclusive eyewitness account of the voyage of the Gabrielle, sent by a Chicago wire service.

Moore frowns, "Well, the acid is certainly incriminating, we can hand these possessions as well as the remains of Henning off to the Panamanian authorities before we set off again.

Tell me my friends, what is your opinion, was Henning working alone? Did he escape and die in the attempt to get away or is something else more sinister at work here?

I hear some of the crew, when they do not know I am listening claim that the Expedition is cursed and we should turn back, your thoughts?"


Male "Human" Engineer

"Well, sir, I don't believe in curses, personally," Stanley pipes up. "The universe has natural laws which can be quantified and measured, and I've never seen a data sheet supporting any supernatural gobbledygook." He adjusts his glasses further up his nose from where they slipped down. "I also don't think that a man who isn't a professional escape artist managed to escape custody and then kill himself, not when he had an offer for payment and free run of the ship to pick any lifeboat he wanted. I suspect co-conspirators wanted to keep him quiet, and he was dead before he hit the water. We need to figure out some way of knowing who they were before we get too far from the mainland. It may put us even more behind the other expeditions, but tardiness won't matter if we never make it at all because they've put a bunch of holes in the hull, or something."


Shadow's Status

BUMP!


Male Human

we need to replace and repair all the damaged equipment as well.


Shadow's Status

the Gabrielle – the Panama Canal – September 25th, 1933 - Early Morning

"Alright, I'll make an announcement that we have proven that Henning was working alone. In the meantime, now that we know their targets, we'll rely on you all to keep this hush hush and keep an eye out for any accomplices. Let's hope they fled or are wise enough to know we are onto them and will try nothing further!

Starkweather has already made arrangements for equipment repairs and replacement if necessary when we arrive in Australia".


Shadow's Status

the Gabrielle - Melbourne, Australia - October 13th, 1933 - Early Morning

Once the authorities in Panama claim Henning's remains and some food is brought aboard to re-supply for the journey to the next port of call in Melbourne, the trip becomes a bit monotonous.

A careful eye out for another saboteur leads to sleepless nights but no further suspects and the sabotage appears to have stopped altogether.

The days on end with no land even wears on those who are long time sailors much less lubbers like yourselves.

Still, the lessons on various equipment and other useful skills for the work ahead keeps things from getting too boring. But the joyful atmosphere that existed before the discovery of sabotage is gone. While no one speaks of the Starkweather "curse" it is clear the sailors are just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Soon enough the lookout announces, "Land Ho!"

Sailing along the Australian coast toward Melbourne in the middle of October is a treat indeed after a long stretch at sea. Just as North America is turning from summer into autumn, Australia is turning from a mild winter into a warming spring. The coast of New South Wales is a delight to the eyes. Mixed stands of conifers and broad-leafed trees march up gentle hills into the heights of the Great Divide Range. Forests are broken up by small areas of grassland, and the coast is dotted with thriving towns and cities.

As Gabrielle rounds Cape Howe, however, the sea turns choppy and a cold hard wind drives idlers belowdecks. With the islands of Tasmania to port, the ship struggles through the Bass Straits and around the Wilson Promontory. It is a relief when the ship reaches Port Phillip Head and the calmer waters beyond.

Melbourne is located at the northern end of Port Phillip Bay, thirty miles from its mouth. The entrance into the bay is less than a mile wide, and is known locally as “The Rip.” This narrow channel is regarded as one of the most treacherous navigable passages in the world.

Gabrielle waits offshore as a sea pilot is ferried out from Queenscliff Pilot Station. The pilot guides the ship through the dangerous waters, navigating carefully through the maze of rocks and reefs and channels, and northward, past fishing trawlers and scallop boats, to its berth in Port Phillip. The trip takes several hours. At last the seaport can be seen to the north, with Melbourne itself beyond, beneath a faint pall of industrial smoke.

After the rough seas of the Bass Strait, and the treacherous narrows of the Rip, Port Phillip Bay is like a calm and placid inland sea. Forty miles wide, thirty miles deep, the bay is one of the few natural harbors in Australia, and is the largest and most protected natural harbor in the world. The shores of the bay are highly built up, the many small towns linked by rail lines and locally-run small sail and steam ferries. Miles of wharves and berths nose out into the water, especially along the inward curve of Hobson’s Bay.

The waters off Port Melbourne are crowded with traffic. Huge merchant ships and cargo barges are loaded with boxes and barrels. The wharves are dark with the motion of dock hands, ship’s crews, fishermen and many others. Just beyond the wharves are the rail lines, with engines pulling boxcars full of cargo to be loaded or unloaded. Even out in the deep water where Gabrielle approaches there is a constant wall of faint sound.

As the Gabrielle is piloted toward her berth, smaller craft dart and wheel past her. These come in all sorts, from sleek and expensive pleasure yachts to small local boats and steam ferries, transporting goods and travelers between the bayside towns. Trawlers with damp nets, their decks cluttered with bins of silvery fish, complete the scene.

The Gabrielle glides toward her berth, not far from the railway pier. Smaller vessels, with shallower draft, pass onwards up the Yarra River to Victoria Dock and the inner city.

As the ship approaches the dock you all see a large crowd of people waiting by the water. A dark enclosed van is parked on the far side of the group, and the tan coats of local constables are conspicuous by their presence.

Professor Moore approaches your group as you watch the boat slip into the port, he has his clipboard once again. "The Expedition will be in town for a few days, while the 'Henning matter' is settled. As we discussed, Mister Starkweather has arranged for the replacement of some of our damaged goods. I would like you to look them over before they are delivered. Just in case.” He sighs. “Here is a list of addresses and names. If there is trouble, just let me know. Any questions?”


Male "Human" Engineer

The task sounds simple enough that Stanley doesn't have any questions about it, but he does have an important question nonetheless.

"If we're going to be here for a few days, will we be allowed to spend some time off the boat and stretch our legs? It seems a waste to come all the way down here to Australia and not take a look around while we're here."

That this might be the last chance any of them might have to exist apart from the cramped proximity of the rest of the expedition he leaves unsaid, but implied.


Shadow's Status

the Gabrielle - Melbourne, Australia - October 13th, 1933 - Early Morning

Professor Moore nods, "Of course. Once the tasks I am asking you to complete are handled at any rate".


Arnault takes the list of addresses from Moore,

"So vee are to head around to zese addresses and inspect zee goods before zey are delivered to zee ship. Zat should not be too difficult. " He says nodding his head.

"Lets go and see if vee can find a map of zee city. And be careful to vatch your pockets, I'm sure you all know zat Australia is full of pick pockets and such..."


Shadow's Status

Williamstown, Australia - October 13th, 1933 - Early Morning - Eliza Stevenson

For days now it's all you've thought about. You were at your folks farm visiting when the last ship bound for Antarctica came to call at the Melbourne Port. Damned if you were going to miss this one! The tabloids have also been talking this one up, seems that on the way here some sort of murder took place on the boat. A trip to an uninhabited continent and a murder mystery all rolled into one, how can a young woman who has always dreamed of adventure not at least go to see the ship.

Your boss though said you need to stay in the shop for Peasely Power
Equipment Manufacturing all damn day, said an important customer is coming in and he needs your help to handle matters!


Shadow's Status

the Gabrielle - Melbourne, Australia - October 13th, 1933 - Early Morning

Starkweather approaches all of you with another crew member in tow Louis Laroche. You are all familiar with him as he has been the crewman to give you all lessons in radio operation over the past several weeks, "Ah Arnault, there you are my boy. You know Louis yes? Well, I've asked him to head with the rest of you on your little supply excursion, seems a new radio is on the market here in Australia and I'd like him to personally test it to see if it can improve upon what we already have. After all, we'll be here for a few days why not take advantage of new technology if we can get it, especially if Lexington tried to get her hands on it..." He growls the last sentence.

Alphonso opens the list as the gangplank is lowered to the dock. The crowd surges forward, amid the flash of photographer’s bulbs and shouted questions. The reporters have returned.

Constables push their way forward through the crush and to the bottom of the gangway. Captain Vredenburgh and Starkweather descend to meet them halfway. The Captain accompanies the Constables on board the ship as Starkweather heads to the dock to meet the "adoring" crowd obviously in his favorite element as questions are thrown at him faster than he can answer them, the loudest shouted out...

“Tell us about the bomb, Captain!” “Why d’you suppose a fellah’d want to stop you going south?” “Did you know the man, Captain Starkweather?”

Starkweather no doubt gives on of his famous grins and retorts. “Now, gentlemen, please! One at a time! There’s not so much to tell—but this is not the first time I’ve faced treachery, you know.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the crew slinks off of the ship looking for some R&R.

The List:

■Pemmican—R. J. Manfield and Son Ltd., 100 Fleming Close, Braybrook.

■ Electrical Equipment—Peasely Power Equipment Mfg., 4420 Lennox Street,
Richmond, and Electrical Outfitting, Ltd., 550 Harrison Street, Williamstown.

■ Photographic Chemicals and Supplies— Foley & Burke, 4045 Mallee Road, Richmond.

■ Food and Drink—There must be a hundred places. Ask locally. We need
about 24,000 pounds of varied meats, fruits, and other perishables, unless you want to eat pemmican all winter!

Included with the list is a rough sketch map of the area. Some of these locations are miles and miles away from the port, you'll need transportation to get there!


Male Human

After all that has happened shall we stay together or split up and rally back at the boat? Alphonso obviously is offering either and also as obviously is not afraid of going seperate.


Female Australian Mechanic

The buzz of tools and machinery could be heard from almost every area of the factory. The smell of motor oil, metal, and cigarette smoke lingered in the air, and on most of the workers.

Spring was only just starting, so mornings were still crisp, though Eliza and many of the other mechanics had been working since sun rise.

Eliza's hands and clothing were already smudged with oil, and no doubt her face probably was too. She tried to stop her mind drifting to the new ship that had just docked that morning instead focusing on the broken machine piece in front of her, a newer hybrid of electrical and mechanical parts.

It'll still be there after we close. I can't risk losing my job over it, not with things the way they are.

She convinced herself to stay, though her heart was hardly in it. Sure wondered what was so important that her boss would keep her all day, not that she could complain about the extra money that would get her.

Pausing for a quick break, she took a swig of her morning coffee; hot, black and strong. With the hours they normally got in the factory, it was no surprise that coffee was readily available in the break room.

She gazed into the black liquid, her mind once again on the ship heading towards Antarctica, the controversy surrounding it, and how she was going to secure a place on board.


Male "Human" Engineer

"I know that I would prefer to stick together, at least," Stanley admits. "If there's one thing that this trip has taught me so far, it's that I'm hopeless at noticing what's going on around me. A sitting duck, in other words. Hopefully we've taken care of all the problems, but if we didn't I'd probably be the last one to find out by myself."


Male French Canadian Sailor (Radio Operator) | Unhandsome but Friendly

"That's my thought as well," Louis chimes in after Stanley. Dressed for shore leave, the radio operator wears plaid navy slacks pulled up well above his waist and held in place by bright red suspenders, a pressed white collared shirt whose sleeves are rolled up past his elbows, and a tweed cap atop his head. A strapped wooden case is casually slung over one shoulder, his hands firmly embedded in his pockets as he nods to everyone in greeting.

"Surely staying together is the safest course, no? Especially in an unfamiliar place - at least then if we get lost, we'll all be lost together." His lips slide back to reveal a wide, toothy grin that does his face no favors. "I admit that I'd like to impress the Captain with our handling of this business; the way the voyage has been lately, I think he'd very much appreciate something going right! If we see to these matters together, the less chance that one of us makes a mistake unnoticed."


Shadow's Status

the Gabrielle - Melbourne, Australia - October 13th, 1933 - Early Morning - Williamstown - Peasely Power Equipment

Phoebe and Arnault seem happy to have a fifth compadre for the shore excursion especially one they know, even if only in passing. Louis was a terrific teacher and seems to have an affable personality.

Arnault speaks up "I zhay we get to zhees Peasely Power location first as it is zhee farzhest one from zhee boat".

Phoebe replies, "A sound plan and yes, I agree with the consensus, we should stick together".

After arranging transport by way of boat to facilitate getting from the port to Williamstown, the Investigators along with their newest member arrive at Peasely Power Equipment.

Eliza sees the strangers arrive and just knows they are from the ship! Her boss, busy in the back with something has not yet noticed their arrival.


Female Australian Mechanic

He did say I was staying to help out with customers... more or less

Eliza wiped as much grease from her hands as she could using a rag. Trying to look professional in her mechanics overalls, she walked over to greet the group of adventurers.

"Welcome to Peasley Power Equipment. I'm Eliza, a mechanic here and today, according to my boss, I'm also in customer service, so how can I help you fine folks?"

She smiled, the enthusiasm obvious.

"I'd shake your hands but,' she waves a still slightly smudged hand at them sheepishly, 'Comes with the job I'm afraid, I beg your pardon on that account"


Male "Human" Engineer

Stanley can't help but smile at the woman's accent. "Don't worry about it," he says. "We're from the Gabrielle, just recently docked over in Melbourne," he explains. "We've got a list of parts and equipment that we've been asked to acquire, and this place was recommended to us."


Male Human

With a firm bow Alphonso says good day miss Eliza, I am Mr Alphonso Wolf, at your service. Alphonso produces a list of goods and services required saying this is what we will need Miss Eliza.


Female Australian Mechanic

Eliza takes the list and scans through it.

"No need for the Miss, though I appreciate the courtesy, Mr. Wolf.' she says off hand, focusing on what was written in front of her.

"My boss would most likely want to meet with you, and since I'll need to ask him about a few of these scarcer parts, mind if we head over there now? Get all the paper work and financials out of the way?"

She looks over the list once again, her excitement growing despite herself.

"But wow, real explorers. The Gabrielle has been in every newspaper for at least a fortnight. Reading that an expedition to Antarctica was stopping at our port, that was enough to draw me in."

Eliza couldn't stop her smile from widening and her eyes shone with awe for a moment before she caught herself. Blushing slightly, she shrunk back in mild embarrassment.

Ah but... yeah, parts, work, boss. Right-e-o...' she gestured with the list and nodded in the direction of her boss, rocking slightly, a trait she had when she got embarrassed or felt awkward.

"Follow me gents, we'll get you sorted lickety-split."

Eliza turned to lead the way, collecting herself by going over the list in her head.

Aaaagh. Way to go Eliza. Act like a child in front of a group of seasoned adventurers. You've got to show them that you can be useful on the expedition. Right now, you've got Buckley's chance of that happening.

"I'm sorry, about what happened and your loss. Read about that too. Not my place, but I hope you all get closure for it. Enough people have died." she added softly.

Seemed to her she had grown up on war stories. Her brothers and father had gone and served. They watered it down for her. But what she had read and what she heard when they thought she wasn't there. Truly enough people had died.


Shadow's Status

the Gabrielle - Melbourne, Australia - October 13th, 1933 - Early Morning - Williamstown - Peasely Power Equipment

Eliza walks the group to the owner who is out back with a few customers, "Hold for me for a few will'ya.

G'day folks, I take it yer from theGabrielle. Eliza, the telegram I received's got the list in the back, can you referance the list ta make sure everything is there? I'll need ya ta also help wit' delivery, you up for seeing that ship?" He grins as he knows the answer is yes.


Male French Canadian Sailor (Radio Operator) | Unhandsome but Friendly

Louis takes a few long moments to take in the size and clamor of the Peasely work floor, impressed. So engrossed is he by the mechanical goings-ons of the factory that he barely registers Eliza as she introduces herself and offers to assist them, simply nodding at her words without taking his eyes off the manufacturing works in front of him. Quite an operation they've got here! The Canadian trails behind the others as they traverse the factory to the back offices, coming to attention only once he's finally cut off from the mesmerizing display of industry in action. Truly noticing Eliza for the first time, Louis gives a sheepish grin.

"Oh, we'd certainly appreciate the help!" He looks to Stanley and Alphonso. "Should we compare the lists, just to make sure the telegraph made no omissions? They can be quite unreliable at times, if the sender takes liberties with the transcription."


Male Human

agreed, please go over the lists with us so we may match any of issues and replace all that is needed. Alsobe aware that the expudition is coveredby the credit of Goldman and Sachs, of whom I represent.


Male "Human" Engineer

Stanley shrugs. Whatever gets the job done right the first time is fine with him. For the time being he allows himself to indulge his preference toward minimal interaction with strangers, and keeps quiet while the various lists are procured and compared.


Shadow's Status

Melbourne, Australia - October 13th, 1933 - Early Morning - Williamstown - Peasely Power Equipment

It takes about two hours to ensure that everything requested in the telegraph is actually on the list and present within the shop! It'll take some time to get all of this back to the Gabrielle. Luckily, you all won't need to then set it up.

Perhaps after that's done you will all get a chance to see the town, too bad there's no local guide...

---

Eliza's employer pulls her to the back once the delivery is ready, "Sheila, if I push to have someone on that ship to oversee the proper functioning of that equipment, would ya' be willin' ta go?"


Female Australian Mechanic

Would you be willing to go

Eliza was shocked. Her mind ran what her boss had just said over and over again.

She snapped toom after realising she was taking a long time to answer.

"YES!' she cried, much more forcefully than was really necessary. She drew back quickly, in mild horror that she'd blow a chance she never thought would come to her so easily. 'I mean, I'd love to Sir. So long as my wages still go to my parents, I'd be glad to represent Peasley Power on this expedition and make sure our equipment functions at top capacity."

This is nuts. I must be nuts. This is so sudden. But I can't think about it. It's never going to happen again, this is the adventure I've been waiting for and I'll be damned if anyone is taking it away from me


Spending much of her free time wondering around the boat lost in though and frequently fidgeting with the ring dangling from a necklace. I missed something. I am not you dear and I am so out of my element.

Quietly trailing after the men but clearly lost in thought as they head off to collect more equipment that will hopefully remain in the condition it was bought in.

Smiling at the excitable mechanic, "I am Phoebe Barrett and it is a pleasure to met you." Simple pleasantries exchanged is all Phoebe can really manage. Besides the others seem to have things in working order. The desire for conversation with a woman, any woman, is strong but it would be fleeting. So many damned men on that boat.

Pulling back from the group and silently watching them while the everything is checked over and then moved.


Male Human

Alphonso will wait until the list is double checked ans fulfilled and then he will say to Eliza we have some other items not from here that we must get and also wish to see the sights. Perhaps you might agree to be a local guide for us and cut down the getting lost or being overcharged?

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