The Aether Travellers of Down Cthulhu

The Mars Landing

From the landscape we flew over on our descent, Sam believes we have landed in the hills of Mars, somewhere in the area of Sirtis Major. It is late afternoon. Sam pulls out his astronomical atlas, Conklin’s and a telescope. Using the sun’s position and where we roughly know we are, he narrows down our position greatly: North of Sirtis Major in bandit territory.
With Kip, Crammond and his offer of military help should we need it and he can gather the help, and the Marquis who prior to this voyage thought, by reputation, the Lord Percy to be only a buffoon, we hopefully have some quality unexpected help and allies during our adventures on Mars.
At this point, the ship is of no use to fly us out of here. It is too damaged now to go. But, Cyrus has no idea of what happened to us so far as we know.
Percy “If Grant gets to Sirtis Major before us, he will likely come looking.”
Sam “Perhahps someone saw us streaking through the atmosphere as well.”
We begin moving south, the entire group of passengers and crew, leaving the Fenniands tied up in the ship. We see a gleam in the distance and find a small gold pyramid in the sand. We dig a foot and it continues. We may actually have the top of a full pyramid structure! We marks its position on our maps in relation to the wreck and our supposed position, bury it well, and continue. It is a hard march through the Martian landscape. We find a large outcrop for shade and stop to rest after almost 2 days of travel. Looking up, we see a sky galleon.
Martin “Signal it!”
Percy “Wait! We don’t know who it is.”
It has already seen uis though, and comes closer and closer, landing a short distance away flying the Irish flag of all things. Several of the crew exit and make for us, and we send Martin, Will and Gerald to meet them.
Sam “The Irish have a ship on Mars?”
The Marquis insists on going, until we explain the ancestry of our 3 men. As we approach, we see Moriarty in their number! They have already stopped at our wreck blast it! Our intended bluff has been ruined.
Crammond “We have guns and men. We could fight them off.”
Percy “Not with the manpower they probably have.”
Will “We have snipers, don’t take another step.”
Moriarty “Ah sure. And we have snipers on you too.”
Gerald “To be expected. A nice peaceful parlay then, Moriarty?”
“My name is not Moriarty. It’s Col. Ian O’Reilly. Of the Army of the Republic of Ireland.”
That name almost turns our 3 white with fear. A terrifying man know all over the world for leading the Irish army. He despises anything British, especially active officers and NCO’s whom he loves to torture. Other Brits are fairly safe from him. Active duty military is his focus, as well as collapsing the British influence on Mars. ‘He is not randomly cruel’ and will give any but active military a way out. Willing to join with anyone, even Germans, to achieve his ends. He is a master of disguise, but his schemes are always grand and require vast sums of money to bring to fruition.
Knowing O’Reilly, Martin knows he never leaves Mars since coming here several years ago. Yet, he was on our voyage from Earth. It is possible Moriarty is not O’Reilly, and instead this man is a lier.
Martin “Surprising you left Mars for such a time, if you are who you say you are.”
“Where I go and what I do is obviously not any of your business. And who are you to question me?”
Martin “I’m Irish! I should know O’ Reilly if I saw him.”
M “No one knows O’ Reilly. Look at this ship, it’s O’ Reilly’s ship. Very recognizable. If that’s O’Reilly’s airship obviously I’m O’Reilly.”
Martin “Maybe you stole it off of him.”
M “Nobody steals from O’Reilly.”
Martin “Maybe you murdered him.”
M “Nobody murders O’Reilly.”
Martin “Either way, I don’t believe O’Reilly was on Earth to come back on our ship.”
Behind him, one of Moriarty’s men, a hulking giant of a guard with a nasty facial scar and large red beard plus eye patch, nose obviously previously broken several times “Don’t matter if he’s O’Reilly or not. Just know that you’re listining to O’Reilly’s orders.”
Martin “Well, I don’t take orders from O’Reilly. Neither do my friends.”
Hulk “We got 3 canon and 2 sweepers. Loaded with grape on that ship. A lot of women and children are going to be dead if you don’t listen.”
Martin “What is it you all want?”
Hulk “We want all the British sodiers in your party to come over here, and give themselves into our tender mercy’s.”
Martin “I don’t think you have tender mercys.”
Hulk “We also want the 2 Lords among you. Lord Herring and Lord Percy.”
Martin “You’ll have to speak to them.”
Moriarty “If they give up, and with the British soldiers, we will let the rest go in peace.”
The 3 head back to deliver the news, and promises of water and food for the survivors.
Moriarty “You have 10 minutes.”
Percy “So, we surrender and take the ship from the inside.”
Martin “He didn’t seem to be bluffing about anything to me.”
Percy says the ship is a modified swiftwood, a popular ship. A row gun at the fore. One on either side plus the sweepers. He estimates they use up to 35 to 40 men. But that unless they have a stable base around here they are likely not full. But, they could still have all the prisoners we left at the ship. They did come from the same direction we came from. They would need room for the prisoners among us they want. Hmm. A toss up on their numbers, really.

View
The Princess Alexandria
After a Fennian bother, our aether voyage gets under way

Princess Alexandria particulars, gathered mostly by Martin’s Gather Info and Sam’s reading:
-For 2 hours early in the day, then 2 hours in afternoon, then 2 in evening, a form of purda takes hold-separation of sexes during those hours. Women and men are to be in the company of other women and men, respectively. Separate lunch times…
-Smoking lounge has it’s own filtration, library with most new literature, ship’s newspaper printed daily. When in sight of the Heliograph, the paper will incorporate as digest of System News courtesy of Reuters.
-Leather lined music room is soundproof, latest Edison phonograph with assortment of cylinders, piano, harmonium, sheetmusic…
-Billiard room richly panelled with exotic wood from Mars.
-see ship handouts for more info and schematics
-Follows Greenwhich Meantime, including lights off and lights on 9(dawn breaks at 6AM) schedule.
Passengers of note:
-See handouts

-Covington will take a tour of the Engine Room, visit the observatory often, listen to cylindars just because it’s new tech.
Rumors:
-says it’s taking the gold sovereign shipments for pay to British workers, military…
-originally going to be a naval escort, but cancelled because of another bomb threat against the Harbinger.
Sam “We can’t handle everything, you know.”

Keer says the Canal Keepers like us Red Men. They feel we may be an answer to saving Mars and both sides are stronger with each other, but the Ground Cleansers want to kill us all.
The ship will land at Syrtis Major, the human capital of Mars. It has more canals entering it than any other city, and a high population.
The canals in repair run heavy and full during the wet season. In the dry season, a smaller channel at the middle of the bottom of each canal is all there is. There are huge plants at the north pole that helps melt the ice quick enough. The knowledge of how the canals were built has been lost to history. The Brits estimate that it would take a fleet of 10000 flying battleships 10000 years to create them by blasting them with their guns. It was an astounding feat, however and whenever it was done.
We see Archimedes before we go. He gives us a codebook, so that we can send messages back via heliograph when possible.

Tuesday, January 14th, 1890

We arrive for the hoopla of the Princess Alexandria’s maiden voyage! A friend of Percy’s, Lord Reginald ‘Kipper’ Herring spots Percy “Stinky old pal”.
Percy “Lord Kipper!”
Kipper is very happy to see Percy, and farts very loudly.
Percy “You are intolerable.”
Sam “Sam ol’ Kipper.”
He is as much of a troublemaker as we Percy and Sam are known for.

During the final ceremony, a brass band plays. The Prime Minister prepares to cut the ribbon, and we have pulled some strings in the last couple days. We are part of the group standing at the ribbon on the gangplank, with Percy (his English Bulldog in tow) right next to the Prime Minister (who is to cut the ribbon) and the rest of us behind. Nearby, photographers load equipment onto an aerial steamlaunch, engines warming up. At 24,000’ they will record the moment the aether screws are activated.
Oddly, in the distance, we hear a loud ‘chuffing and clattering’ like cymbals. Above some trees, a strange looking flyer appears with oscillating dishes.
Sam ‘Ah Ha! The Fennians!" It shoots a rocket but misses it’s mark badly, exploding midway tween trees and the crowd’s edge. Some soldiers begin firing futile shots from the ground as people run in every direction.
Percy orders us to take the launch, and Gerald leads us on, taking the controls. We have to head the ‘Fennian Spear’ off at the pass. A second rocket fires, missing the ship wide and exploding harmlessly. It seems the rockets can not be aimed themselves, they are fixed and the pilot has to aim the shit. We throw the crew off, but for 1 civilian, and the photographers run. We see a sgt with 5 men almost at the launch as well, having had the same idea.
Sgt “Here, here, are you authorized to go after that thing?”
Sam “We work for the queen!”
Sgt “Ah, get aboard men!”
We and soldiers gather on the deck, weapons ready.
Sgt “Prepare to volley fire, men. Prepare. Fire!” They volley, but the range is too great.
Sam, Percy, tell them to stop wasting their energy!"
Percy “Sgt, I’m Lt.Col Lord Percy.”
Sgt “Yes sir!”
Perrcy “Hold your fire, sgt.”
Sgt “Men, hold fire! Prepare to fire at the Lt. Col order! Stand ready men!” as he stands, pistol in one hand, rifle in the other. “My Lord, men are ready!”
Sam “We could scrape the top with our hull, take out the oscillators.”
Percy “We could go alongside and volley into the pilot or oscillators.”
In what is a short aerial dual, Gerald maneuvers at a T to the Spear. Meanwhile, another rocket misses but explodes in part of the crowd killing about 15 after whistling directly over the PM’s spot and exploding just far enough away! The Prime Minister’s wife’s hat blows off as the PM’s guards have rushed them away and thrown them to the ground, covering he and his wife.
At this point, we cut directly in front of the Spear and volley fire. The soldier’s volley, 3 out of 5 hitting, kills the copilot and wounds the pilot. Percy fires at the pilot, hitting-13 DEAD. A rubber ball flies through the air, a soccer ball! It hits the pilot of the Spear in his head. It’s Kipper, who slipped aboard but was unarmed.
Kipper “I say old man, I think it was my ball that knocked him unconcious.”
Percy “Not a doubt in my mind sir.”
As we land by the gangplank, the band is playing God saves the Queen then bursts out with For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow. Percy passes out cash to the sgt and his squad as an immediate bonus.
Sgt “Thank you very much, sir” then turns to his 5 men “Give me those pounds. If you keep them you’ll just spend them frivolously. I’ll see they get their money sir.”
Once again, we make what will be frontpage headline news.
The ceremony then continues, Percy allowed to cut the ribbon with the PM, each with hands on one handle and snipping simultaneously.

We board the liner for takeoff.
Secretly, Grant will follow in our ship later, fast enough to catch up and arrive close to us. They have the Martian amulet. Any papers they need, thanks to the secret service, will show them travelling the opposite direction.
The ship takes off to great fanfair.
Covington spend the first few days in the infirmary fully recoverring. Within a few hours of his release, Percy and Sam’s room has been turned into a small laboratory for Sam to work on the batteries for the Martian blades and other such things.
We spend lots of leisure time with the 8th Marquis of Queensbury. Will offers to make a man out of his son, like only a naval man can. Lots of time in the saloon.

During Voyage:
During the first visit to saloon, a guy stands at the bar surrounded by several people including army officers. They follow him around like he is the greatest. Martin asks around, and it is Dr. William Gilbert Grace, the world’s greatest cricket player. Even Douglas introduces himself to Grace. He is travelling to Mars to inaugurate the game on Mars on Parhoon’s new cricket grouds. Cunard will be the official transportation for teams between Earth and Mars.
We meet an officer, wearing a victoria cross, names Cpt. Hugh Crammond. We know of him, the hero of Ft. Collinsworth on Venus (where we have been). We swap Venutian stories, and he is very friendly and happy to talk. We get along with him swimmingly. He has a Venutian Lizardman vallet Grommett, who used to be a pirate an sips Cola.
Percy “This is my valet William, he used to be a pirate.”
Crammond “What a coincidence, we might as well be brothers. Well, I’ve had lots of adventures on Venus, and now travel to Mars. Maybe I can shake things up there too.”
After talking with him much of this night he says “I have good connections with the military, so if you should need any help while there on Mars just say so.”
Grommett likes to say how Crammond would be dead many times over if not for him, though Crammond saved Grommmett. Grommett says Crammond has a jolly heart. “I better see if he needs anything. If his brain were as good as his heart he’d be a genius.”
Martin “Can’t leave him alone for 5 minutes.”
Grommett “No. I don’t want him to go wandering into the airlock.”

2 Martian Sgt’s come over and bow to Keer, thought sgt’s should be in steerage. One of them converse in Martian before Keer blesses him. Will says later that the sgt was a member of the Canal Keepers and wanted Keer’s blessings. Both are from the Martian Rifles, and have medals. Were flown to Earth to get their medals, now going home.

Grommett later “Too many bloody foreigners in this army.”

In the card room: 2 women who look younger than they are play cards with a few men. The Amazing Gustav enters, and they perform a magic act on the ship every Friday night. Someone asks him if he wants to play, to which he replies “I never play cards.” Someone asks why, and he asks for a deck. He opens it, shuffles, and begins to pull ace after ace after ace…and does a couple other tricks “That’s why I don’t play cards.”

Meet Pressburger, of the Difference Engine Corp. Huge competitor to Imperial Babbage Machine Company (IBM). "You woudn’t believe what we’re working on. It’ll put IBM out of business. It’s a man-machine interface. Instead of punched cards, we have attached a typewriter board to our difference engine so you can imput orders by typing!

A waitor pops a champagne cork rather loudly, and from a table next to us a man hits the deck, a rather nervous and paranoid one.
“They’re out to get me, I know they are.”
Martin “Who?”
The man “Who? You’re probably one of them? The Monarchists, they’re out to get me.”
Sam “Who are you?”
He’s Patrick Wendle, of Parliament and the Naval Estimates Board. “I may never live to get there.”
Percy :Why would the monarchs want to kill you?"
Patrick “I am the rightful heir to the throne of Britain. You don’t think they want to get rid of me? There are attempts on my life daily. My great great great great grandfather was the rightful king of England.”
Percy “Who, Edward III?”
Sam aside “Wendle? Don’t recognize that name.”
Wendle “My ancestor was a royal bastard.”
Sam aside “We should mess with him this entire trip.”
His wife beckons him away to rest “He works so hard, kind sirs.”
Martin “Why is he so paranoid?”
Wife “Because the monarchists are out to get him. He’s the rightful king of England.”
Sam “That could be construed as treason.”
Wife “Well, he may not really be. He gets confused sometimes.”
Hid daughter is darling, and tells us of her puppy in the kennels. She says how great it would be to have it with her in her room, even mentioning how maybe we should sneak it out. Sam tells her about his lizard and Percy his dog.

Prof. Strabismas thinks the aether doesn’t exist.
Percy “Absolutely preposterous.”
Martin “We’re in it right now.”
He thinks light exists as both a wave and a particle, his Theory of Wave/Particle Duality, and is trying to explain everything as the attraction of sub-atomic particles.
Passenger to us “The man’s insane.”
Prof “Aether technology is a fortuitous fluke, backed by mistaken theories.”
Gerald “What is space, a void!”
Sam “So how are we actually travelling now?”
Prof “I still don’t know, but there is no aether that surrounds us.”
Will “Yeah, ok.”
Martin “Whatever.”
Prof “In fact, I think that energy and matter are 2 forms of the same thing. And there has got to be a formula that describes the relationship between them.”
Sam “But what, man?”
Prof “I just have not figured it out.”

Every day at 11AM Keer teaches Martian languages. 2 Martians from steerage, also lay members of the Keepers, visit him during this on most days.

We meet the Japanese guy with the codebook.

4th day out:We notice crewman observing odd corners and such of the ship and checking storerooms, as if searching for something, and with a certain degree of urgency.
Sam “We’d better go ask the captain, introduce ourselves and explain the Harbinger adventure.”
Percy goes to visit the captain.
Cpt “Ok, maybe it’s time to talk to some others.” Tells his executive officer to get the Marquis and Wendle.
Will tries to gather info on the crew, who aren’t talkin until he overhears one say “If we don’t find that bloody bomb soon we’ll all be dead.”
Back with the cpt, fiddling with his brass telescope:
He got a message from Scotland Yard from heliograph, that the Fennians have supposedly planted a timebomb on board. It must be taken seriously condisering the last attack. He asks the Marquis and Wendle to try to play it off as looking for a minor leak and keeping all calm.
Marquis “Of course my good man.”
Wendle of coure, freaks out as if its the monarchists trying to kill him. He finally agrees to pull himself together “After all, there are other lives at stake. Including my own family.”
Cpt. to us “I understand you have had experience with these murdering scum, and finding bombs on spacecraft. I’d be grateful if you and your friend would help us in the search.”
Percy “Yes, they have proven somewhat helpful before.”

We all look at a schematic to decide how to conduct our search.
Sam thinks we should check the saloon and observatory, considering the catastrophic consequences of the front glass breaking instantly, and the mechanical workings of the ship. The crew, knowing the ship, has searched the engine room already as well as storage. So, it must be in a common area in plainer sight.
Sam “Let us begin with the observatory and make our way back.”
In the music room, we see that the harmonium is of the trademark Francotti and company. Of course, the Fennians who kidnapped us were in a warehouse full of pianos and such. The company was Francotti and company! It’s in the harmonium! From inside, Sam hears a faint tic-tic-tic. Opening it, we see the explosive. Sam examines it, and thinks he can defuse it.
Percy “If you can’t, we can dump it out the airlock.”
No one, including Percy, realizes the idea he just had, but for Covington who’s head pops up. He turns and says “Not a bad idea. We can do that, can’t we. Why don’t we simply dump it out the airlock now?” Of course, Covington should have thought of it, but he’s so concerned about the technical side of things he was only thinking of disarming it. HA! All worked perfectly for the Aether Traveller feel.
We pad the inside well and toss it into space, leaving it behind us.

Some time later, there is a drunken fight tween Carstairs and Kempff who share a room too. It is obviously Carstairs is a horses ass. He has been transferred to Mars from the Guards to get him away. He thinks all who aren’t English are worthless, and got caught talking down Germans. It has been brewing for a while now.

Another day: Kempff and Evans provide some musical enterainment this night. Steerage passengers have been allowed in the saloon, and the performance ends to great applause. As it draws to a close, the performers silouetted by the backdrop of stars through the observatory, some of the stars appear to be moving.
A steward “Ships! 8 or 9 of them.” As the ships get bigger and bigger closing in on us. They shoot past, only in range for a minute or 2. Quick signal exchanges by light between us and them which Gerald translates.
First each names themselves, they are 9 British Navy on maneuvers. Second from them to us, saying no risk of collision. 3rd wishes us good luck and apologizes for alarming us.
Sam “God save the Queen!”
Sudddenly, a great crash, the liner shudders hit by repeated blows, and one of the glass panels shows a crack. Our ears pop as the pressure begins slowly dropping! All scramble for the airtight door out of the saloon.
Percy “Were we fired upon?”
He and Sam rush forward, and see the glass of the observation deck cracked and slowly bending outward as we watch. We see a nutshell lodged in a hole it created in the glass. We ran into the military’s recently dumped garbage!
Sam “Everybody get out!”
There are 2 armored doors, one from either side, that close outside the glass, and need handcranked shut.
Covington “Quickly, we need to crank them shut!”
A bottleneck at the doors of course slows the exit, with Keer leading the crowd out trying to control the situation from the front. Martin sticks to him like glue.
Something else is wrong, for the ship slowly but noticeably lurches back and forth. Gerald says something must be wrong at the controls, so he and Will make for the bridge. They will need spacesuits however…
A dented can of Bully Beef had crashed through the bridge glass and out the roof, tearing away all of the equipment like the communications and telescope for longrange calculations. The hypersonic shockwave and decompression killed all present, including the cpt., doctor and navigator!
Percy “Let’s give it the old Oxford try old man!” They both put on emergency oxygen masks and each takes a crank, Percy left and Covington right. Kipper appears to help Percy at the physical task, and Queensberry helps Covington. Crammond takes the other door, opposite Keer, trying to organize the exit. Seeing us, he runs up to the window and covers the cracks with his jacket! HA!
Sam “Damn fool.”
Wendle was fast into the hall, making for the rear of the ship yelling about monarchists out to kill us. The cricket players stand on this side of either door ushering women and children out, ready to slam the doors from our side to save the rest of the ship should it come to that.
We begin cranking (half a point of cranking per person on a crank per turn, str check can add bonus;below 10 and you slow it down by half a point;10 points closes a side):
1st crank: All succeed for 2 points each side.
At this point, flakes of glass fly off the window.
Percy “Get away from that window.” He runs and grabs a large Turkish carpet, doing the same with that he previously had done with his jacket “It has a rubber based back!” yet he has the fuzz on the outer side at first before turning it. The slight pressure through the cracks actually holds it in place.
2nd crank:Sam and Marquis get 2 1/2, Percy and Kipper 2.
Outside, Keer suddenly gasps and falls over. The widowed Martian woman had bumped into him just before him. Martin stoops and finds a short hatpin thrust into his heart, but he’s still alive.
Martin “I need a doctor, a doctor here!!”
Just about everyone is out, so the cricket players slam the doors shut after Grace races out for Keer and Martin, but his son remains on the saloon side.
Air getting thinner now, but we 4 endure.
Crammond and Grace Jr. grab 2 oxygen tanks, breathing as they run for us. Crammond shares with Sam and Marquis, and Grace Jr. with Percy and Kipper. At first, Crammond just lets it blow in Percy’s and Kipper’s face from a few inches away until Sam yells “It has to be right against their face, man!”
3rd crank: Sam fails and Marquis gets -half for 1/2 total; Percy and Kipper get 1 1/2pts.
Crammond and Grace Jr. pass out. Sam starts to feel woozy.
4th crank: Percy and Kip gain 2,Sam and Marquis 2 1/2.
Kipper passes out.
5th crank: Sam and Marquis get 2 pts;Percy gets 1 1/2
The window spiderswebs fast as the section of the glass not yet covered shatters at our final crank. Percy needs a point, Sam and Marquis a half.
6th crank: Sam and Marquis close theirs, as does Percy, as Crammond and Grace Jr. began sliding across the floor by the suction.
Outside, Martin shows the doctor the weapon and says it may have been poisoned. Everyone knows who it belongs to, it is something she had openly worn many times. It was that of Lady Jane Evans. The doctor saves Keer’s life, thank God.

The aftermath:
-when questioned after the events, Evans has no idea what happened to her hairpin. It was lost to her days ago.
-We now have a computer out and observation deck gone. Will and Gerald now pilot and navigate with spacesuits on. It will require old fashion navigation and dead reckoning now.
-A few hours after, the saloon is pressurized but overall the ship is still a bit underpressure. Ears and throats ache and people pant easily. The ship was peppered and watersupply is low.
-Keer is in the hostital still in trouble, it is unclear whether he will survive.
-The ship’s remaining senior officer speaks while we sip tepid chocolate: he explains the situations to all, and that he is the only surviving officer, thus in command. Bridge instruments badly damaged and can not communicate. There will be water and air rationing and…smoking is banned.
Sam “No.”
Percy “That’s barbaric!”
He asks for anyone with skill in aether navigation, operation and engineering to join him after this meeting. He asks Dr. Grace to become ths ship’s acting doctor. He then announces Keer’s attack, assuming it was and accident by a frightened passenger. He has Father Moriarty to lead a prayer.
Covington, Gerald and Will see the new Cpt. after the prayer ends.
Essentially, we have taken much control of the ship. In the next 3 days, Covinton leads the repair teams and complete juryrigged repairwork, including finishing the readjustments of solar panels, lacking much of the proper structural materials that would make a full repari. On the first day, Sam successfully completes 14 man-hours of repairs in a single 7 hour shift. Over the last 2 days, he completes 36 man-hours in 16. In the meantime and with much work, Gerald and William succeed at replotting our position and course, somewhat oldschool-style since much of the mechanical navigation tools are gone.

On the 3rd day after disaster, Keer wakes up but is dying. He moans an inhuman wail and speaks gibberish at first, seeming to concentrate on Percy, then “Must go to temple…Seldan…Seldan. Must go to temple…Garyan…safe there..Garyan.” And he dies.
Sam “Nooo!”
Percy “Bastard!!” Still, we have no idea who murdered him. In the bar, Covington with some books on Mars in hand goes over some of what Keer said: Garyan is a city, the center of teh Canal Keepers. Seldan is a kind of mytho-historic Alexander and Caesar, leader of their past who united Mars and built the canals. He wants us to go their, obviously."

Next day, Percy and Martin are walking down a corridor and smell somethng.
Martin “Do you smell that?”
Percy “Irish cooking?”
It smells like smoke, but not a fire or cigars. We seek its source and come to a crew lavatory. Inside we see 2 of the Chinese stewards smoking opium.
Martin “They are wasting oxygen.”
Percy draws and waves his revolver at them “You had better put that out and hand it over immediately.”
Martin “We are confiscating this.”
Percy “By order of the Queen, you will hand over the opioum pipe.”
Martin “And its contents.”
Percy “Or you will meet swift justice.”
“They should be thrown in the brig.”
Percy “Good show, Irish!” They stand, wobbling some, and hand it over. We take them to the purser and new cpt, meeting Sam along the way.
Sam “Lashes I say.”
Percy “Let them taste teh cat.”
Purser “We don’t do that anymore, not even to the Chinese.”
Percy “The hell you say!”
Sam “What’s this world coming to?”
They order the Chinese back to work, without pay for the entire voyage. The Marquis of Queensbury says they should be thrown out into the aether for using up valuable air. Martin has pocketted much of the unused opium for possible sale on Mars for a good price. If they repeat any offense, Percy says they will certainly be tossed out the airlock.
The cpt and crew are now to search the ship, confiscating all smoking materials and other combustables.
Percy “Except for my cigars, of course.”
“No, sir. Even yours.”
Martin “You’re not going to trust Lord Percy?”
Sam “I find that preposterous.” Percy, after a few minutes, is able to ‘convince’ them (more like intimidate them with his enormous presence and grand charisma).

On day 9 since disaster, the ship starts to shake and shiver. We are passing through Mercuric aether turbulence which we failed to calculate for. Dishes fly off shelves; Sam, though outside on the hull, immediately thinks of his lab equipment. Those outside making repairs are in danger of being shaken off, but only one steward slips away. His air/pressure line breaks from the strong tug and he dies very quickly.
Gerald rushes to the repaired bridge and takes the controls. In a show of supreme ability, Gerald not only calms the ship throught the turbulance, but he is able to angle the ship as such that he used its wake as a kind of slingshot, the Princess Alexandria being the slug, hurtling us further on our way!
Sam, later “Gerald doesn’t so much fail, as succeed less.” So, Covington has successfully led the repairs, and Gerald has us safely on our way to Mars.

On day 13 since disaster: Kemp is again ranging on the British “Of course I ahve nothing against your Queen, but as for the rest of your government…”
Wendle “The Queen! The Queen! DOn’t you realize the monarchy is responsible for this disaster? They dare not admit that I am the true heir to the throne. You really thing what has happend was as accident? They want to kill me! Even aboard this ship!”
Sam “That’s treason.” Percy makes to settle him, and he pulls a revolver!
Wendle “Back! Everyone back!”
Percy is able to calm him by playing on his delusion, telling him how the Percy’s family would be the ones he wants on his side if he wants the thrown “King makers we are! And have always been!” and Wendle “I trust you” then hands the gun over. Immediately the purser and staff jump him and drag him away as he screams “The monarchists did this, we’re all doomed! Just like Jack the Ripper!”
Sam “What in heaven is he talking about, Jack the Ripper? The man’s insane. He’s right for once though, we monarchits did it.”
Soon, he’s in a straight jacket and locked up for the remainder of the voyage.

20 days since disaster, day before we will land on Mars: Mars is well in site and getting larger, Gerald’s navigation certain. Repairs still being done as well. Early morning, a knock on our cabin door. It’s Cpl. O’Brian, the captain has asked all passengers to assemble in the saloon. “Come along now, please” We gather our group and follow him to the saloon.
We find that all the crew are there. Gerald and William are absent, currently manning the bridge, as well as all passengers. At the far end is the Cpt (chief engineer) standing with Father Moriarty. Steerage is also present. After a time, Moriarty says “Ladies and gentlemen, this ship has been taken over by the Fennian Brotherhood…”
Martin “Not again.”
Sam “I think not.”
“…and I ask you all not to try anything untoward. If you all maintain calm, after the ship is landed, I will make arrangements to see that many of you are returned to British holdings on Mars.” We assume that by ‘many’ he means most but us and friends.
Cpt “I’ll have none of this, you can’t take over this ship…” at which M calmly draws a revolver and shoots the Cpt/chief engineer between the eyes.
Percy to Sam “I guess you have been promoted old man.”
The crowd draws in a breath of surprise and all freeze in shock. Sam looks around and spots the Marquis…Kipper…Crammond…We see everyone loyal to us is here.
Sam It’s time for a jolly good drubbing. Percy, rush him."
Percy “Right so.” Before he does, we hear noise behind us. The stearage from behind us has pulled out clubs. 15 of them.
Martin holding up his fists “I carry 2 of those.”
Percy “I say, let’s get them boys.”
We figure we 3 can depend upon Crammond, Kipper, the Marquis and son, Carstairs, plus Kempf. Sam makes a quick mental calculation of the odds: 9 vs 16 known opponents. Less than 2 to 1 against us! Seeing as an Oxford Boy counts as 4, and Kipper counts for 2 since he went to public school with Percy, that makes an even fight. Of couse, in any even fight, the side with Oxford Boys will undoubtedly win.
M “My men lack rifles, since the bluff would be useless as we all know rifles could compromose the hull.”
There is pandemonium as Queensbury makes for M, but Percy stops him “Keep our cool, Marquis.”
Queensbury “Indeed, he shot the Cpt, but he certainly wouldn’t shoot a nobleman.”
Percy “He’s Irish!”
Queensbury “Dash it all!”
Percy “Trust me, I work with 2 of them.”
Quickly the room is obviously divided, between those willing to fight and the meak who won’t or can’t (including all the Chinese; Percy “I say,there’s not a karate man among you?”).
M “Are you really thinking on resisting?”
Percy “Not at all. I am planning on taking my ship back. Resisting implies the possibility of failure.”
Everyone else back off, leaving us and all that we knew we could rely on.
M to the Marquis “You should behave more like a gentleman” and shoots him-9.
Marquis “Just a fleshwound, men.”
Kempf rushes one of the soldier but misses with his fist. Martin does the same and crits-15 KO’d.
Percy rushes Moriarty and slugs him-10, then heroic surges-miss.
The Fennians engage. Sam, Percy and Martin are missed, Kipper is criticalled, Kempf and Marquis are hit, and 2 are pounding on his son.
Kip and Crammond hit, the others miss. Sam punches-6.
Moriarty turns his pistol into a bludgeoning weapon against Percy-miss/7 as it breaks off of the handle upon striking Percy(card).
Percy crits M-16. Martin turns and crits another soldier-16 KO’d. Kempf crits-8.
Martin is hit-4; Sam is hit-5;Kip is hit-4;Kempf and Carstairs are missed;Crammond is hit-8;Marquis is missedx2, and son vs3 is hit-4/miss/6 KO’d.
Crammond hits-11/5;Sam hits-10;Marquis hits-8/10.
Our energy surges and we all go first (Johnny decision to simplify fight): Percy hits M-18crit!;Kip hits-7;Martin hits-10;Crammond hits-11;Carstairs hits;Sam hits-10;Marquis ?
M now brawls and hits Percy-8;Martin is missed twice;Sam is hit-5 and by another-7;Percy hit by a soldier-4;Kip, Marquis is missed and hit-7 and Crammond are missed;Kempf is hit-7 and by hit by another, Carstairs is hit-8 and missed by another.
Sam hits-10;Martin-miss;Marquis hits once-10;Percy hits-6;Crammond hits-7;Kip hits-8.
Martin is missed, Sam hit-8, Percy hit-3, Kempf critted;Carstaires is missed;Crammond is hit. Marquis vs2 is missed and hit-7; M hits Percy-7. 3 extras now hed to gang up on Carstairs (Sam “Carstairs, look out man!” but he’s an ass anyway) and they start beating on him. He screams “pitshit Irish” as he fight back.
Marquis hits once-6;Sam hits-9 KO’d;Percy hits-16 KO’d by a bloodied Percy. Kip hits-8, Crammond hits-5, Martin misses.
Martin is hit-8, Sam is hit-5, Percy-missed;Kip-3;Kempf-2;Carstairs and Crammond are missed;marquis hit-4. The extra 3 on Carstairs-miss/crit16 KO’d.
Meanwhile, someone must have snuck out because Gerald and William (with his cutlass) suddenly show up!
Martin hits-5, Kempf-miss, Sam hits-10, Percy hits-9, Gerald-6 and Will-7, Kip hits-4, Crammond-5 KO’d. Marquis hits-5KO’d/6 to another.
Percy, Kip, Kempf, Crammond are all missed. Marquis hit-7 and Martin-5. Sam is hit-8 (KO’d but card that clears his hp!) Will is hit-7, Gerald is missed.
Marquis hits once-7;Sam hits-10;Martin hits-6;Percy hits-8;Gerald hits-4;Will hits-7;Kip hits-3;Crammond hits-5.
Percy is hit-4;Kip-6;Kempf-7;Marquis-8;Martin is missed;Sam is hit-13crit;Gerald is hit-7, Will is missed;Crammond is hit-8.
Sam hits-6. Martin, now fighting at the door to the music room misses a bullrush attempt;Marquis hits-6/8;Percy hits-8, Gerald-4;Will fumbles;Kip hits-8 KO’d;Crammond misses then hits-4.
Percy is hit-7 KO’d. Sam “Percy! Nooo!”; Kempf is missed;Marquis is hit-14crit;Gerald and Will are missed;Crammond is hit-4.
Martin hits-6, Sam hits-8;Marquis hits-7/10. Gerald hits-9, Will hits-7, Kip hits Percy’s-9, Crammond hits-12 on 2 hits.
Kip is hit-4, Kempt-3, Marquis and Martin and Sam are missed;Gerald is hit-8;Will is missed;Crammond is missed.
Sam crits-15 KO’d;Martin hits-9;Marquis hits once-4 KO’d. Crammond hits-9, Kip hits-8 KO’d, Kempf misses.
Kempf is missed, Martin is hit-3;Sam, Gerald, William and Crammond are missed.
Marquis hits Martin’s-8/6 KO’d. Sam misses. Kip helps Kempf and hits-11 as Kempf hits-3, Crammond hits-9;Gerald hits-10;Will hits-7.
Kempf is hit-4; Marquis and Gerald are missed;Will is hit-7 and Crammond-3.
Kempf misses, Kip hit his-16crit;Marquis hits-8;Sam hits-10, Martin hits-7; Gerald hits-4, Crammond-10 KO’d;Will misses. 3 left now.
Marquis hits-6;Gerald is hit-8;Will is missed.
Marquis hits-9, Kempf misses him but Kip hits him-10 KO’d. Gerald and Will miss. Martin misses Gerald’s;Sam does 6 to Will’s, Crammond hits Gerald’s-10 KO’d. Sam hits Will’s-6. He is the last remaining. He misses and is quickly beaten to a pulp. Sam turns to treating Percy. The Marquis talks it up, insisting he could have taken them all on by himself “You were find comrades in arms, however. Did you see my son. He took on 4 of them. 4 of them! He didn’t turn and run.”

Gerald and Will, along with Martin in case of trouble, get back to the bridge. They find the door to the control room locked, and jammed from the other side besides. Gerald uses his key to unlock it first (the bridge is resealed by this time). William and Gerald break the door down on the first rush, Martin behind them with a fist in one hand and a sap in the other. The crewmember left to watch the deck lies on the floor, head broken open. 2 of the ‘soldiers’ (Fennians) are there. One at the helm and another holding a rifle ready for action. He turns the rifle toward the new window!
Gob springs at the man, grappling-5 his arms to pull the rifle down. The Fennian tries to resist but can’t, pulling the trigger all the same to fire randomly about the room. The slug hits the pilot in the back of the head, killing him, and ricochet’s off the ceiling just above the glass.
Martin and Will rush in, and the 3 Celts beat the man down easily
Meanwhile, down below, the real soldiers have all been found, throats cut.
Cpt “Why would Fennians put a bomb on a ship and blow up their own men?”
Percy “Well, multiple opportunities to get the job done. They were willing to sacrifice themselves.”
We have made the final approach fast, and the ship is going to go into the atmosphere hot. The outer mirror is broken, unable to fold in. Covington leads Crammond, Will and the Marquis outside to reattach 4 pairs of cable so that the handwinch will secure the mirror. Suddenly, an explosion rocks the ship! The boiler room is destroyed.
The work on the 2 handcranks starts off fast, but then Sam and Crammond have a tough time on their 3rd crank. After getting it closed, Will and Marquis suffer the same. With the air getting hotter and the first feing feel of atmospheric pressure, we finally succeed in getting it all retracted. On the way back in, Crammond is practically swept off the side by the movement and wind, but we all get back in safe.
The descent is rough, and it’s a testamemt to Covington and his teams the the ship doesn’t splinter into pieces, especially after the Mercurial turbulence. The hull creaks…shakes…pieces start to fly off from the previous damage. Through it all, somehow, someway, Gerald is able to land the ship with only a minor crash and everyone survives relatively unscathed thanks to him, all with total calm. The ship is very damaged now, and of no good for flight in the atmosphere at all. We have landed in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, in late afternoon, a bleak Martian landscape in every direction.

View
Assassination at Westminster
Aznun is gunned down right in front of us, starting a hunt for the London Ground Cleansers

Next Day
The police come and clean up our mess. Afternoon, our cab comes to a hault in Parliament Square in front of Westminster Abbey.
Keer “Do any of you have any ideas as to how we can get the priests to help us?” They obviously have no plan nor any letter of introduction whatsoever.
Percy via experience and highborn knowledge of etiquette and Covington by sheer brains agree we should see the Dean of the Abbey, knowing they must ultimately see the Bishop. The secretary says the Dean is a busy man, you can’t simply barge in on him like this.
Pery “Well, I just happen to be Roger Livingstone Lord Percy, and my guests from Mars. High Priests you know and what not.”
Sam “Stand aside, man.”
He agrees to ask the Dean to see us, and comes back in a minute with the affirmative but only 4 can enter.
Percy “We’ll leave our Irish here.”
Will “I’m not Irish I’m Welsh.”
Sam, Percy and the Martians enter. The Dean is a middle aged man, gets to his feet and makes a curious gesture before speaking in fluent Martian. Both Martians look surprised and bow vehementlsy. They respond in kind. Then…
Dean “Please forgive me. I rarely get an opportunity to practice any of the Martian languages. I’m delighted to meet you all.” He says he hears they are Canal Priests,and though he speaks their language he is not expert “Perhaps we’ll do better in English.”
Sam “I am impressed, Dean sir. Have you been to Mars?”
“I spent 3 years on Mars as chaplin to the Parhoon Brigade. You might be surprise to hear it, but there are many Anglicans and Episcopalians on Mars.”
Percy “God blesss the Queen and the Bishop of Parhoon.”
We explain our Martian friends’ purpose.
He is very sympathetic to their cause, knowing they oppose the worm cult that has already murdered Anglican Missionaries (which we were not aware of), but it is out of the question to bless the amulet. “The Anglican faith does not allow the blessing of non-Christian relics.”
Grant “They believe when they take it back it will cause the skies to open and bring the rains.”
Percy “They don’t seem to so much worship a god, like a pagan, but believe in and protect nature and its primal fortunes. Especially water which God has a strong connection with himself considering the flood and baptism.”
Sam after a queer look at Percy “Not to mention, following up as a missionary one could say ‘look what our God’s blessing did for you’.”
Dean “well, I was going to keeep the amulet in my pocket during service this evening but your argument is compelling. I could at least say a prayer over it I think.”
Sam “Imagine the converts if it actually rained.”
Percy “By having blessed this, it would like baptising the nonbelievers in mass.”
He agrees to also pray for it and the Canal Keepers good works. That’s the best we can get, but he’ll have to hold onto it. Percy asks for a crucifix, blessed by the bishop, for our own comfort to bring with us on our jouney. The Dean says ok. The keepers agree to leaving the relic with him for now and we leave the abbey.
The Martians are very happy about the outcome of this visit. Keer"Soon we can leave for mars and return with the amulet of Gariyana. With the help of the good Dean the power will be restored."
Sam “Let’s hope so.”
Suddenly there is a soft sound, and Aznun to our horror crumples to the ground with a round in his head.
Martin “What just happened!!”
Grant “What to do! Do it quick!”
Sam “Dear God, look around us!”
Martin gets Keer to the ground and covers him. All looks normal in the streets, no one in sight paying us any special attention. We get the attention of the nearest police as Keer says “He is dead. The hight priest is dead.”
Martin “Has he been shot?”
Keer “There is a whole in his forehead with brains and blood oozing out.”
Sam “I’d say he’s been shot, Marty boy.”
People begin to gather around now, gawking.
Keer raises the body up "If they are sure he’s dead they’ll stop at nothing to capture the amulet. Help me get inside. We must pretend he’s still alive.
Martin yells in bluff “He’s still breathing! Quick…inside!” We hear some around passing the successful bluff around.
Inside, the cops say “What’s all this then? Nobody leaves until the detectives gets here.”
The first detective arrives soon accompanied by a doctor who examins the scene and body. “An air rifle, and a powerful one I’d say. Fired from the road judging by the penetration and angle of entry into the skull.”
The detective snorts “It’s easy for you to say that, but this isn’t one of your damn stories Dr. Watson.” He then turns to Keer and says “You, Martian fella, why you kill him?” (talking simple, assuming the Martian can’t understand big words in English).
Martin “He was standing right next to us!” but the detective thinks he’s found his villian.
Det. “You Martian fella, put hands out” grabbind cuffs “Me put..these on you..Martian boy.”
Percy whispers for Will to say to Keer in Martian “Don’t do a damnable thing this detective asks”.
Percy says ‘Not a chance,sir. We know this Martian did not kill the other. He can not be arrested."
Det “Then why did you fellas kill him?”
Martin "We didn’t."
Det “We have a dead body here, of a dead Wog, someone obviously killed him.”
Sam “Yes, but from a distance. Do you see any of us armed with a rifle?”
Det “Despite what Dr. Watson may be saying here, that is no bullet wound. It looks like someone punched a whole in his head.”
Martin “With what?!”
Det “Maybe with the end of that umbrella (grabbing Grant’s).” He puts it in "It’s a little too small in diameter, but…possibly (stumbling now)..it..when he shoved it in…um…went in…it made a whole…larger maybe…than the size of…
Sam “Are you kidding us, sir? You’re the most ridiculous excuse for a police that I have ever seen!”
Percy “Listen here sir. Right then! This is the third assassination attempt in our presence, one that finally succeeded. First by the Fennians, then in our hotel room, and now here. He has been with us all along. Believe you me, this man (Keer) is not the assassin and neither ar we. If so he would have been dead a long time ago. Your killer is obviously, or was, likely in a building nearby. Until you held us up and let him get away. If you want to help us out and be productive, good show. If not….”
Det “You there (Percy), I’m arresting you to!”
Sam “HA!!!” finding that most amusing.
Percy “Man! I’m a member of the aristocracy. Lay your hands on me and I’ll smack you down.”
Det “And I’m the queen mother.”
Sam “We have teh ear of the queen ourseves.”
Det “And what might your name be, Lord ha-ha.”
“Roger Livivngstone, Lord Percy.”
Det “Ha, who could vouch for that?”
Keer “The Dean would certainly vouch.”The Dean is summoned and he brings the matter to an end.
The detective’s demeanor changes fast from annoyingly accusatory to annoyingly submissive, grovelling “Oh yes, your lordship. Sorry your lordship. I can understand no one in your party could possibly have done this your lordship.”
Percy “Right. Now that we have lost so much time, behind our quarry. Very nice, inspector.”
Sam “Long gone, certainly.”
Will aside to Gerald and Martin “That’s what you get when you have to go through the cops.”
The Det. Sgt Ian Bostrode “I understant no one in your party is part of this crime, but what about this Martian?”
Percy “As said, he has been with us the entire time.”
Back outside we go, still taking a good look around us. Sam notices an odd looking blue object wrapped in paper lying in the street. Picking up and donning his spectacles, it is a half squashed blue fruit-looking thing.
Keer “That is a Shi’u’u’shtook (sp). Martian plant, very tasty. Someone must have done it.”
Det. Bullstrode “I knew it was a Martian who did this. That proves there was a Martian here who fired the fatal shot!”
Watson “If it wasn’t for the fact that Holmes is out of the country right now, I would try to enlist his assisstance. I think he would find this case fascinating. Especially since it involves Martians.”
Keer “Do you know what plant this coves from? The liftwood tree.” Here, he plucks one of the seeds out and when he lets it go, it floats away.
Martin “Why was someone carrying it around?”
Keer “Probably eating it, that’s all.”
Percy “Does it taste good?”
Keer “Yes, it’s delicious.”
Upon looking at the worn and torn and stained paper it was wrapped it, we see it is from a department store…It is a bit difficult to read, Sam thinks it seems to be an advertisement for a Martian department store of various goods: fabrics, antiques, food, spices and such. He picks out the possible name of the store itself, and Martin exclaims “That’s William Whiteley’s (sp) Emporium. I know where that is. It’s London’s first and largest department store. It’s in Bayswater”

We catch a couple cabs straight to it. In the window, is a full version of the scrap we have. An “authentic Martian Bazaar” of goods and music.
While standing outside, a loud noise startles us at first. But we realize we are near the construction of the Crystal Palace, Queen’s Road. (This does not seem chronologically consistent. Why was this mentioned?2:01:03)
The Martian event takes up part of the ground floor, with Martians employed. They are all bored being treated like a sideshow. Their clothes are a cross tween Martian and Victorian decency. Surprisingly they all speak passable English! We wander around, and a women soon comes up to Keer and asks him a price, insisting he must work here.
Sam “He is a visitor.”
Woman “You mean a REAL Martian?”
Sam “Yes.”
Woman “Well then, would you happen to know how much this costs? It is Martian?”
Sam “Since it would not cost the same on Mars, he could not tell you madame.”
We continue on our way, and Keer has us each taste a Martian candy. Sort of like a Turkish delight and quite delectable. However they are incredibly spicy, something which he does not tell us. For some reason or celts in particular feel the burn and make a break for the nearest cold drink.
Sam calmly, while sweating somewhat “Quite the bite, wouldn’t you say old man?”
Percy also sweating a bit “Indeed.”
We hear some disorder from nearby and investigate. There is a pompous looking manager talking to a Martian worker. Something is said about missing a mornings work. Keer gets closer to listen to the Martian being spoken. Suddenly, the Martian draws a sword of the same type as the Martian from the night before and goes for ZeenKeer. Martin, who had been charged as his bodyguard and looking out for him at all times, quickly steps in front of Keer, knocking him back a few steps. His swing hits Martin-14. After that, the general combat begins.
Will and Keer move first. Keer draws a short sword and steps forward to confront his wouldbe assassin. Keer hits-6; At most, in his current position, we could only get 3 guys on him comfortably. Percy goes for a bullrush, gets hit by AoO-15, but (card) pushes him 20’. They hit a counter beforehand and plow right through it into an opening behind it. We can now surround him with up to 6. Martin and Sam move in and both miss with brawling; Gerald stays back and guards Keer. The assassin swings, yelling at every turn things such as “Death to the redmen” and “Mars will be cleansed!”, at Percy-crit24. That should have put him down, but the Oxford Boy comes out of him and he recovers instantly (card)! Percy slugs him with an Oxford gutshot in return-13. Sam grabs the assassins hands for a disarm and takes it away, the weapon now in Sam’s possession “Take that!” A crowd is gathering, and Gerald watches it keenly. Keer takes a bag, looking like a wrap of leaves, and makes to throw it at Sam. Unfortunately for him he fumbles it for a moment. Martin punches-6, Sam hits him with his own sword-14, Will hits-7 and Percy hits-4. The assassin is bloody and reeling. He recovers the pack and throws it at his own feet and it bursts into a ball of flame. He is killed instantly. Sam and Martin take full dam but Will and Percy save for half. Next round, Martin puts his burning clothes out but Sam burns once more and drops KO’d. He stabalizes a few rounds later, but does have a minor scarring afterwards on the backside of one of his hands.
The police show up again, Bullstrode again “Not difficult men to follow around. You leave dead bodies wherever you go.”
Sam “Just another ‘big step’ by Percy.”
This time things are cleared up much quicker. Nothing on the assassin ID’s him. He does have a cheap silver pocketwatch (cover of which contains the photo of a young Martian woman), some bullets, 6 airgun rounds under the counter, several UK coins, and an antihuman pamphlet. Turns out records say he has lived most of his life on Earth; but that must be a lie. He had more of the firebombs but they burned up in the fireball. Several Martians working ID the woman in the watch as living in the East End where Little Mars is located. Seedy part of town. A paper has a recipe for a Martian dish, expensive delicacy. On otherside is a message, telling the assassin that the Canal Keepers would be at Westminster Abbey today: it’s his orders. Both are written in the same hand. Is the boss in the letter a chef? Percy asks if the woman could be teh boss, but Keer says that’s unlikely, considering the gender roles of the society.
Martin “East End, that’s where the Ripper killed a couple years go. I think I caught a glimpse of him one night, I tell ya. But I lost him in the fog.”
Little Mars is made up of those that moved here after British colonization. Martin describes it for us: Mostly soldiers and merchants; small shops of Martian goods; highly clannish, many speak little English; smells of Martian cooking; otherwise much like the rest of the East End…unfortunately.
We go directly to the East End after dropping Sam at hospital. By the time he is at the hospital he is awake “Sorry boys, I have to hang it up for the day.” With Percy’s influence, the finest wound doctor there takes care of Sam. 2 days later he is able to move around carefully, but by the next night he insists he be taken to he and Percy’s suite. The doctor makes several visits personally each day. A couple days later he is back into light wounds and more mobile. He starts working on repairing the hotel-assassin’s sword while laid up those days. He figures it out and finishes it on the 7th day after wounded, giving us 2 working blades. It is electrical in nature, and the pack is some sort of extremely longlived battery. Sam will use the repaired one, Will gets the one from the bazaar-assassin.
Sam asks Keer if he knows how these packs work. Is it just electricity? He say he knows exactly how they work: “You find a powerpack in a ruin, hook it up and it works.” Um, ok. So, they are ancient weapons of forgotten technology. The batteries must last centuries, shelf-life. With our technology, it may require something closer to a small backpack sized battery. Running them drains it much faster.
Sam to Grant “We need to work on a newer kind of battery for this, small enough.” Luckily, even apart from Covington’s science know-how, Grant specialized in electricity and Aether.

2 Days Later

A knock at the door of Percy and Covington’s room claims to be a man named Shulto, Commander Shulto. Special Agent of the Queen, here on business for the Queen. We are leary, to which he replies “Just open the door you damnable fools!” Obviously he is who he says he is, no trickster would say that, so we allow him in. He shows credentials and asks if we have a phonograph. The room does come with one (as well as a telephone).
Sam “Do you have a cylinder for us?” He draws one from his cloak.
Sam “Is it the Queen?”
“No. I said it was the Queen’s business. I will wait in the hall.”
He leaves and Sam plays the wax cylinder. It is the first time we have listened to one, and it is difficult to understand at first. It asks us, while on our voyage on the Princess Alexandria, to act as spies on behalf of Britain against the Japanese, though the two are at peace. A Japanese passenger named Hirakaya Nakimatura is known to carry codebooks that would be valuable to British agents, but only if the carrier never knows they were compromised. As it orders, we give the cylinder back to the agent. Sounds difficult, we are to do so only if we can, it is not of urgent or necessary.
That night a ringing goes off in the room. For a second, they are bewildered until Sam says “That’s is the telephone. I’ll answer it!” Sam, moving quite slowly and painfully still, makes it in time “I believe Bell wants to use Ahoy, while Edison prefers Hello. Since we’ll be on a voyage soon…‘Ahoy!’”
An Irish voice says “Ah, still travelling to Mars are ye? Oh well now, it’s a brave man that you are to be true. Tell your friends in the police you haven’t heard the last of the Fennian Brotherhood.” CLICK
Sam “He didn’t even give me an opportunity to respond!”
Percy “How incredibly rude! After all the effort you made to reach it in time.”
Sam “Just like Irish.”

Later that evening, the police pay us a visit. They say that our actions opened up leads and suspects gathered in the aftermath, and their questioning of suspects captured at the bazaar has shed some light on the situation: The Ground Cleansers on Earth are led by a woman, likely she from the picture we have, named Miss Shaeenda Husaalsh. This is the first evidence of such a group on Earth. Constables sent to each of the 4 Martian restauraunts in London and all seem legitimate. The police figured they would let us know in case we wanted to avoid them. HA!
Sam “Percy, tell Pennybaker to dig into their records. Perhaps he’ll find something untoward.” Pennybaker says he will get back to us tomorrow.
Grand Canal (largest and most luxurious, English staff and Martian cooks;frequented by military who have served on Mars;food uses curry rather than Martian spices so not very authentic);Star of Parhoon (staff all Martians;Parhoon cuisine, much more authentic);Sands of Mars (authentic;highly priced);Xantha Arms on Greek St.(comes the most highly recommended by the hotel clerk).
Since 3 seem authentic, we go to the odd one out. We head for Little Mars in East End. Most of the other Martians in the East End immediatey treat Keer with great respect, bowing even. We ask around and show the watch picture around. Any trail goes cold. Seems like a perfectly normal place. They let us talk to the cooks about the food, saying it is terrible here but what you Red Men like. The food isn’t horrible, just not authentic. It is a 2 floor place and very packed, a lot of British officers. Worst place possible to have a secret cult. We make small talk with the staff, they say earthlings own and run it. An English lord is the main investor.

Next Day

Pennybaker pays us a visit sometime after lunch. “Owners of Xantha Arms are Italian and Mexican.”
Sam “Mexican? In Britain?”
Percy “That’s absolutely beezare!”
Pennybaker “The Mexican moved to England from Mexico, and is from a wealthy family.”
Sam “Wealthy, from Mexico!?”
Pennybaker “Yes. He moved here and opened a resauraunt of his native cuisine, but it failed miserably. He met and teamed up with 2 Italian brothers who had just returned from Mars, thinking Martian spices would make an interesting addition to Italian cuisine. They opened the restauraunt as a mix of Italian-Mexican-Martian cuisine. Cheap and plentiful beer. Lots of students and quite a rowdy place, mariachi bands. Spagetti ala Parhoon (w/Parhoon spices). Certainly not the place you’re looking for, my Lord.”
We instantly plan on a long night of debauchery there.
Pennybaker “Sands of Mars” is on Fritz St. Relatively small and quite expensive. It’s Martian owned, but I can not determine by who. He or she rents the bottom 2 foors. When I dug up the contract, the signature was illegible scrawl. The building itself is owned by a Chinese gentleman, with the resturauntur renting his space. The Chinaman runs an opium den on the third floor."
Sam “The conspirators would have to run the place, so as to use the place for private meetings.”
Pennybaker “This is your most likely spot.”
We board cabs for the Sands of Mars. A 2-man handsome comes trotting alongside, making us a bit nervous.
Martin “Get ready Gerald.”
Percy “There’s something you don’t see everyday. There’s a Martian cabdriver driving that handsome.”
Sam “That is certainly odd.”
Martin moves in front of Keer.
Then, the door of the cab opens revealing 2 Martians. One holds a stick that looks like a ladle. He lights a ball with a fuse and tosses it into the cab. In through the window it comes. Percy quickly but calmly plucks it out of midair before anyone else can act (card) and tosses it directly back into the cab!
Sam “Fine show, old bean!”
It goes past the enemy martians hands, landing in their cab and detonating. It kills those within but does not actually blow the cab apart. The driver jumps off and comes at us with a knife to stab through the window.
Sam “Let’s simply get out and beat the man down.”
As the man stabs, Keer leaps in front of Percy but the stab misses instead. Martin shows up outside the cab and hits with a kidney punch-5.
Will “Shall I kill him?” drawing his Martian blade.
He stikes with the flat of his hand to Martin’s chest, obviously using some oriental-like Martian martial art, but Martin blocks it. Martin misses, and just as the enemy is striking at Martin with some strange Martian martial arts finger touch, Will crits with the blade, taking his arm off at the shoulder-DEAD. He bleeds to death quickly.
Sam “That’s what one gets for bringing fingers to a sword fight. HA!”
The police are summoned…again…and the matter is cleared up.
The Sands of Mars is not open til 6, so we plan on dinner. Instead, we visit the college hangout.

There, the food is quite superb: meatballs made from a large Martian beast/beef/lamb/pork mixture. Mariachi band is all we hoped it would be. Martian pizza has a sauce made of a vegetable from Mars. Students abound, mostly from Eton.
Sam “Eton? bah!”
One group, when they discover who Percy and Covington are, invite them to their table. A few of their group are actually Oxford men. Many college stories of pranks are exchanged and a great time for all. Soon, several young upstart ruffians come in causing a bit of a ruckus, quickly making lewd passes at the girlfriend of one of our new friends, one from Oxford. Apparently she’s a hired girl, for she asks how much the new visitor is willing to pay. A fight tween the 2 boys ensews, all of us gathered around. A friend of the interloper teams up on our man.
Sam “All right!”
Percy “Let’s show him how it’s done.”
Sam makes for the 3rd party now holding our boy, Percy for the closest of the interloping group “Have at you, naive!”
Once we engage, both sides begin a general brawl
Sam hits-6 “Lay off my boy.”
Percy hits the original lewd fellow-10. Sam is hit-6 “Tough are you? A roughhowser.” Percy is then missed. Another picks up a chair but critically misses Percy, tripping over a stray foot and falls over. Another misses Percy with a gutpunch. Martin arrives but misses, Sam hits-3. Percy grabs the man who last missed him with a bearhug-7. 2 others now flank Martin, they grab him and lift him off his feet. Sam is missed, then another would be grappler misses him.
Percy slams his threw a table-8 KO’d. Sam hits-9. Martin grabs the nearest bottle, an ale of Geralds who cries “Hey!” and smashes it over the head of one of his attackers. He recovers as Will misses one of them, and they toss Martin through the front window and onto the sidewalk-16 “Not the first time that’s happened to me.”
Percy is missed, as is Sam by his original man, and the other would have hit him with a chair but Sam ducks in time, the chair shattering (card) on a table. Gerald now drinks from Will’s bottle. Sam hits-7, Martin stands up and dusts himself off, moving into the doorway. Percy hits-13. Will leaps upon one of Martin’s tossers and they both topple out the window-13, Will taking-3. Will’s man is first up, kicking Will-miss. Percy is hit-3 byh Martin’s other tosser, and is missed by his original man. Sam is hit by both his opponents-13 total “Not so pretty now, are you?”
Martin grabs a small table, using it’s top as a ram to bullrush his tosser who is attacking Percy into another table-9, knocking him over and sending him sprawling with Martin’s table atop him. Sam hits-7 KO’d. Percy grabs his man, sliding him down the bar-8 and off the other end to the floor-2. Sam is hit-3, Will is hit-8, the boy Martin rushed staggers up.
Gerald dives off a table and onto him-KO. Martin flanks Covington’s and hits-8. Will stands up outside and misses.
Will is misses, Percy’s misses him, Sam is hit-7. Martin hits-6 but Sam misses. Percy grapples his slider-9 KO. Will hits-9 KO. Sam is missed, Martin hits him-6 and Sam hits-6 KO’d. Our boys win the brawl!!!
The manager yells “Who’s gonna pay for my window,who!”
Martin “Let’s get out of here.”
Percy “Send the bill to Edon!”
Gerald grabs an ale off of a table on his way out.
Ah, just like the old college days. Sam contacts the Oxford Boys by mail, telling of the fight and insisting that the students from our alma mater who were involved in our scrap be admitted to the Boys at once! At 6PM, back to the Sands for dinner.

A Martian waiter greet us in both English and his native, ushering us to a secluded corner table and gives us the bill of fare. A ‘mouth searing’ our douvres comes first: a gray rice-like grain around a center of Martian native meat, very spiced and hot. Keer eats Martin’s, who doesn’t want any, and Percy eats Sam’s. A fish dish is the main course, spicy but not super hot. We all eat that. After, desert made from similar to chocolate but with a coffee-like taste. It’s icecream like but also spicy, so a wonderful combo of cold and spice is delicious to all. The final dish is alcoholic. Looks like a volcano, pushed to the table. It is lit and fizzes…smokes, a lot.
Sam “Ah, dear God. Is it supposed to do this?” It isn’t, as it smokes and burns too much, and another waiter rushes over to help put it out. Gerald falls from his chair as the others find themselves becoming paralyzed. Keer grabs his throat and falls from the chair. A door opens from nearby, and severral Martians emerge. They grab us all up and drag us into a back hallway. Martin finds he can move, though stiffly, but bluffs that he is incapacitated as well. Will (card) is fine and does teh same. 4 are left with us in the hall, one says in English “He’s not dead is he? Make sure he is not dead you fool.” That one slaps Keer “No, he’s breathing.” An inner sigh of relief from Martin. “Throw them in the basement.”
At this point, Percy feels himself able to stiffly move while Martin fulls fully recovered. Both stay put. The 4 pick up Percy and Keer, dragging them downstairs and throwing them into a dark and dank cellar, leaving the rest alone. Martin follows them down after a wink from Percy. Upstairs, Sam is recovered “Bloody hell” but stiff.
Martin sneaks up on them downstairs in the cellar, confident he and Percy can take on 4. Martin ambushes with dagger-7. Percy takes advantage and punches-18crit KO’d. Will with his dagger hits another-10crit. That one draws a short martian blade-miss. Another pulls a carving knife on Martin-miss. A 3rd pulls a .38 pistol and fires upon Percy “Dear Goood!”-5. Percy now is fine, the drug worn off. Sam becomes stiff but mobile, but Gerald is still down.
As the shot from below rings out, we hear noise from the dining room. No where to drag Gerald to, and the kitchen door opens and there stand a coupld cooks with cleavers.
Sam “Guess we’ll have to have at them then.”
Sam draws his revolver…a dud. Gerald get up stiffly.
Martin misses with his both dagger and fist. Martin’s opponent, wielding his blade 2 handed, Percy shoots from the floor-10, Will hits with cutlass-9. Martin is missed, Percy’s is shot at twice-miss/9. Will is hit-4. Everyone has recoverd now, but Gerald is still stiff.
Upstairs, the cleavers attack Sam-miss/10crit. Sam punches-3. Gerald fires his revolver from the floor at one-8.
In the cellar, Martin punches and stabs-6/miss. Percy fires a double shot-12/9. Will slashes-9.
The cleaver Sam shot at misses Sam, the one punched hits Sam-5. Percy is shot at twice again-miss/5. Martin is missed, Will is hit-6.
Covington punches-9, Martin punches-8. Gerald, Will and Percy all miss. We hear people fleeing the place from the dining area.
Sam is hit-5, the other attacks and missed Gerald. Percy is shot-8. Martin is hit-11crit, Will is missed. Sam hits-7, Gerald-4. Will hits-7, Martin stabs-8, Percy shoots and hits-7 then his second shot hits Will’s-10.
Sam is hit-3, Gerald is missed, Martin is missed, Will is hit-5. Sam hits-8, Martin punches-5 but dagger misses. Percy punches Will’s-4 and Will hits-4 DEAD. Martin hits with both-11total DEAD. They race upstairs, leaving Keer for now.
Sam is hit-4 and since still wounded from before his hospital visit KO’d, Gerald is hit-6.
Gerald hits-6. Gerald is hit-5 and missed as the others arrive. Martin crits Sam’s with punch-11, Gerald backs up and shoots the same-10 DEAD. Percy with saber hits-20crit DEAD. Gerald does first aid on Sam and stabalizes him. The kitchen door opens, but Will had his pistol ready and fires-8. That enemy fires back-miss. Percy, reloaded, fires-6 as Gerald hits-11 and Will-5 DEAD. As Gerald kneels by Sam, Will says “I got a bad feeling about this.” (card). So we are ready when a secret door right next to us opens. The head waiter from out front comes at us, hatchet in one hand and a Martian sword in the other.
Martin punches him straight in the face-crit10 then moves aside. William and Percy each fire double shots-6,6,2,7. The waiter hits Martin with both weapons-13total and misses once. Martin fumbles his punch, but the dagger crits-7. Percy’s shots hit-10/6, Will hits-8/miss. The waiter with sword-7/miss and cleaver hits-4. Pistols are dropped and the 3 surround the waiter. Martin punches-5 and dagger-12crit, Percy slashes with saber-8, Will hits-8 KO’d. Martin grabs his handaxe and Percy his sword.
As we are getting Keer upstairs, the police show up “What’s all this then.” We explain, and send for Lestrade, telling him all we know about the Canal Keepers vs Ground Cleansers. We are allowed to search the place with the cops, but no sign of the woman leader. Sam is taken back to the hospital.
In the cellar, Gerald finds that a few patches of cement is still a bit soft, able to be scraped and different then the rest of the floor.
Martin “Recent, must be hiding something.” The cops get more men to chop into it, quickly coming across human corpses. Horribly mutilated, things cut off… Nothing found on first floor.
Second floor office: A file contains a list of all of us, with biographical notes, news clippins. Also, sketch of Keer and amulet plus time schedule of the Princess Alexandria. A pencilled ring encircles Keer’s room on a ship drawing. In a locked drawer, we find lots of antihuman pamphlets and other such propaganda. In a cupboard, various Martian poisons and 2 more air rifles with 40 darts.
Storerooms for food, including a glass case with a lizard in it which Covington is allowed to take for his own; in a cupboard in the cooler, we find 4 of the bombs that were tossed at our carriage with fuses.
Large wooden chest, a dozen long knives and bloodstained canvas with other various ritual accoutraments for sacrifices in this room.

View
Enter the Martian Cults, and Fennians
We meet the Canal Keepers, Fennian kidnappers pop in for a visit, and the Ground Cleansers takes the offensive

At the address, we show Audley’s card given to us. At the meeting, a courtly but somberly dressed gentleman, early 60’s;gray hair and neat mustache. Name is Anthony Sinjun Audley. As we enter he checks his pocket watch “Ah right on time. I appreciate a man who is right on time. Would you prefer sherry or tea?” Covington “Tea” Percy “Yes, tea all around.” Audley “I represent a distinguished foreign client. He is interested in the British legal system and was impressed by your actions in the Smythe case. This client will be travelling to Mars! Carrying with him a precious antique which he is extremely worried about. He would most appreciate it if you would go with him.” The man is worried about theft of the item. Well, we planned on going to Mars anyway only on our own ship. We talk amongst ourselves. Percy “Do we want to go on our own ship and follow his?” Covington “Let’s meet with him. See what he’s all about.”
A clerk leads in 2 Martians. Audley “I’d like to introduce you to the Archbishop of Gariyan.” Martin aside “Damn”. Both wear gray robes. One elderly and walks with the heir of an aristocrat. The other is frail looking. Steel rimmed glasses with tinted lenses. Smell of odd spices, a little like oil and cloves and pepper. The younger Martian steps forward “Forgive me introducing selves. I am Zeenkeerr, secretary of ?” The elder says something in Martian which only Will has any understanding of, recognizing the lang as SanGaryan which is the lang of ? Empire, considered to be a dead tongue but that which all the martinian lang’s based on. He says later the Martian said: ‘we haven’t got all day. Wish ‘em a clear canal so we can start to talk business’. The elder then bows.
The other Martian says to us “His excellencey is extending greetings to honest people known throughout Empire of Queen Victoria and hopes that your waters will always be clear.” Martin “Clean water, always good.” We all sit and they explain they’re hear because this elder is the high priest regent of the canal keepers. Covington says supposedly that was a religion that had died out at least a few years before Edison 1st went to Mars. They were known to spend their time on upkeep on the all important canals. They are in direpair now. The Keepers say when Edison landed, the Church of Garyan was in decline, faltering in it’s path of enlightenment through good works and opposition to the evil Cult of the Worm.
Martin “That does not sound good”.
The Cult believes that all sentient beings must bow down to their horrific evil gods that lie sleeping beneath the surface of Mars. Including the Wormgod. The priests had decided some spark of faith had departed the religion. When Edison landed they decided that it had gone to Earth, and they must take their most sacred relic there and recharge it in the ice caps of Earth’s power from which “your spiritual strength flows”. They believe this place is Westminster Abbey, not the Vatican, because they have dealt with mostly English. The relic is an amulet. They were originally accompanied by guards, but the Cult heard what was happening and attacked at the docks. The guards were killed in assuring the envoys escape. But, they now believe the Cult is here on Earth. Their rooms have been burgled and Martians have been seen at their hotel. So, Aznun has decided he needs honest English Gentlemen to look after the relic. Zeenkeer saw the reports of the trial and so contacted us via Audley. They have already reserved space on the Princess Alexandria(newest ship of the Cunard Line) which leaves Mars on Tuesday the following week. They say there is risk, and Zin Kir says “No true Englishman would fail to help defeat evil cultists.” Percy “Indeed not this Englishman, and his 2 Irishman!” Covington “So you wish for us to guard you from now and throughout the voyage?” Yes they do. The Martians speak to one another in Martian. Will understands somewhat, they speak of hiring us as guards, the Elder says we must ‘protect Him, nothing must happen to High Lord Seldon’. The younger says ‘no need to worry, we can protect him when we get home.’ Will wonders if the Amulet is somehow this ‘High Lord Seldan’. The younger says we are to see the amulet, most precious relic, and may attract many dangerous thieves. Zeenkeer pulls out a small wooden box and presents it to Aznun, who makes a strange symbol over it w/ his hands then opens it by pulling a silver chain. It then rises into the air (it’s made of liftwood! The pull turned the panels grain to floating-direction). He takes it out and says it is the amulet of Seldan, made when he conquered Mars and worn by him to concecrate his rule. Its an ovular bronze plaque, about 4″×3″x 1/4" thick, fixed with a larger oval ring to attach it to a chain. A disc of quartz is imbedded into the hole in the plaque carved, above are 3 lines of strange hierogyphics. It has the petina of age yet otherwise looks like a common trinket from Egypt or India. It is older than the oldest civilization known on Earth.
We should show them the case to the Scroll of Anubis.
They say the writing is a poem, predicting the restoration of the canals and water ‘in the name of undying Seldan’. Zeen Keer reads it to us. Intricacies are impossibe to translate. They return it to box, and they speak of it being blessed by high priest of Westminster. A cab awaits us now for the Abbey. They ask if we will go, and their church of Mars is happy to pay our expenses. We leave w/ the Martians as Audley calls in his next client.
Gerald “Grant should follow us on his ship”. Percy “Perhaps we should stow the amulet on Grant’s ship during the voyage, only we could possibly know.” Covington “Fine idea to consider, old bean.” They give us a recent martian newspaper from Sirtis Major to read over (see handout).
Outside, Percy and Sam board the first cab with the 2 Martians while the rest of the crew the second. We soon see that Martian nobility reminds us most off English Rajas. While waiting for a gap in traffic, a man leaps into the cab with a handkerchief over his face and waving a revolver in the other hand.
“Good afternoon to ya. Nobody move a muscle now and we’ll all be takin a little ride together.”
Sam “Enough of this foolishness, Martin. We haven’t the time for these shenanigans.”
The driver shouts “yah!” and the horses go to a fast trot. In the rear cab, the driver yells into the interior what happened, and Martin says to follow them quick as you can.
“I’m not payed to chase after other cabs.
“You’ll be paid well for it. That’s Lord Percy in the cab ahead anyway. You’ll have a lot to answer to the Queen. You could be hung!”
The younger Martian says to us “Let there be no need for the making of violence” as he sees on our faces our intention of beating this man to a pulp. Percy “I don’t think you understand our English ways.”
Sam “No Oxford Boy could stand for this.”
Percy “We’ll give him a good fonging”.
The irishman looks surprised at men talking of making a fight so openly as if he weren’t even there. The Martian wins however.
Soon, a few other Irish jump onto the sides of the cab as we roll quickly down a bumpy street. One says to the driver “Lose that cab”, giving it away to us that we are still followed by our pals. A shot then rings out from the top of our cab.
Percy “If they kill the driver who does that leave it up to, to…”
Sam “Yes, does anyone them know how to drive a carriage? It’s a lot different than flying a spaceship”.
Percy “Well, if…”
Sam “I can row a good boat, of course. From my days on the Oxford rowing team.”
Percy “Indeed. If they kill the driver I think they’re done for. Besides, Gerald is practically too drunk to walk. And Will’s been a Russain pirate for years.”
The cab in the rear starts to slow quickly. Martin yells “Man! Why are you slowing down.”
He yells “Nobody is paying me to risk my life getting shot. If I do, who’s taking care of my family? Answere me that?”
Will “Percy Holding Company.”
Gerald “I think it’s Livingston Holding Company.”
Martin “One of us needs to take over this thing and try to drive it” as the front cab is zooming out of sight. William gets out, climbs to the front with Martin who boots the driver off allowing Gerald to take the reigns." They race after our fearless leader.
They gain on Will at first, extending to long range as we race by the moderate traffic.
Will “Ay peasant, get outta me fu—ing way!” and makes up some ground befor they turn a corner. They make it too wide and run up half on the curb, sideswiping a lampost and doing some damage to the carriage but they keep going. Will makes the turn successfully and keeps right on pace and gains to close range. 2 men atop the kidnapper carraige pull knives. As Martin pulls his revolver they put their knives away and pull their’s, surprised we are willing to use firearms so brazenly in the streets of London.
Martin’s first shot misses badly. Gerald leans out of the side and fires 3 speed shots-11crit/miss/miss; One of them yells “Mother of God, he hit me!”
The kidnappers come quickly upon a fruitmonger crossing with his haul and white-knuckle right through it as the monger dives out of the way, fruit-veg-cartpieces flying everywhere as Will races by and into point blank range.
Will “Boarding party!” Gerald pulls his knife as Martin cracks his knuckles. Grant is still on the inside, looking on.
Martin “Wish Grant’s niece were here for this” and leaps across to the top of the carriage, followed by Gerald.
They are confronted by the 2 Irish atop as the driver hardbrakes and Will can’t stop in time, roaring by him and to close range again. Martin and Gerald not only stays atop but remain standing! The wounded Irish falls prone and the 2nd stays standing. He tries to bullrush Martin, who strikes him-6 with his knife but is pushed off onto the street-15. Will breaks, leaps down and pulls his gun. Martin hears a rumbling behind and sees a wagon pulled onto the deserted street, blocking it. Another comes out in front of Will and dumps barrels out the back. 3 men at the back and 2 with shotguns cover us. Martin looks for cover.
A door next to us to a warehouse opens and the kidnapper carriage disappears inside. Inside, men with shotguns cover us. We notice a sign on the building of ‘Fracotti and Co. Musical Instruments, 1825’.
“Sorry I am to be puttin’ ya to so much trouble but would you mind getting out of the cab. Keep your hands insight and don’t be making any sudden moves now.”
Percy “And if I refuse?”
“I’ll be blowin your head off, and mighty sad I’ll feel about it.”
Outside, they hustle the 3 of us into the warehouse as well, just as (card) 2 bobbies run around the cornerr just in time to see the end and the door close.
Martin yells “Kidnapped!”
Percy “Noblenapped.”
They definately saw the deal. And these are certainly Fennian Irish, damn murderous rebel fanatics. The building has offices and large tarp-covered objects, cardboard boxes saying Brock’s Fireworks. By a workbench there are what looks to be homemade missiles of some sort. They take us up as short flight and into an office. Inside is an older man, looking extremely upset.
“What in the name of God are ya doin! I told you to bring me the 2 bloody Martians and ya came back with a circus! Have ye no brains?”
“We couldn’t help it they were all there. We tried to lose ‘em but…’
Old “Cut the mularky and tie them up.” They do. “Now let’s get down to business…” He tells that ‘commrades on Mars’ tells them that the martians are makin deals with English and they don’t like that.
Zin Kir tries to calm him, assuring him of no political dealings.
Sam “What do the irish have to do with Mars?”
“You mean to tellme you have made no deals with the English?”
Kir “No deals, we are on a religious pilgrimage.”
“Well then what’s this box.”
Sam “It’s a religious relic of their, they only wanted to visit Westminster Abbey.”
The old man messes with it and it suddenly floats for a moment. He takes out the amulet within and says “This trinket has value to you?”
Kir “Yes”.
Old “What about the rest of you? What are you doing here?”
Sam “We were only escorting them to the Abbey.”
Gerald, Martin and William, being Celtic and rogues, try to tell them we own our own ship and are only to escort them to Mars on the Princess Alexandria. Will “Effectively this is mercenary. It’s what I don and it often ends in bloodshed.” Martin “It’s a private venture.”
Old “It seems my friends on Mars have misinformed us. Ah well, it happens sometimes.”
Sam “No hard feelings old man” and stands up.
Old “Sorry I have made a little mistake, But maybe you’ll be thankin me for it eventually.”
Martin “Really,what do ya mean by that?”
Old “That’s for me to know”. He looks at the amulet “I wouldn’t want ya to be thinkin now that we’re casual thieves. Ye say this is holy? Lork knows it looks like nothin to me. Best be keepin it to yourselves” and puts it back into Zin Kir’s robes. Turning to a compatriot “Now that they’ve seen us, we’ll have to be keepin them here for a few days. They’ll miss their flight but maybe they’ll think its a blessing in disguise in the end. Lock them in the far storeroom”.
They lead us there still tied up and throw us in with some blankets and some bread and water. “This is to keep ye warm at night” as he tosses a bottle of gin.
Grant “How are we supposed to eat with our hands tied?”
“I’m sure clever gents like you will figure something out.”
Martin “Can you find it in your heart to find us a case of Guiness?” as he locks us in.
We seem trapped for who knows how long…a police whisle “Hands up! You’re under arrest by the name of the queen”. Shots begin to ring out. Will slips his bonds like a regular Hodini;a loud crash from in the building. Minutes later, the door is unlocked by several police. Oddly they are armed “Looks like we have more of the Fenians in here.”
MSam “We were taken prisoner by these ruffians.”
“Is that so?”
Now it’s titme for Percy to talk, Irish need say nothing else “Me and my Oxford pal were escorting the Martians with these other friends of ours.” They lead us outside, we see that part of the roof has caved in.
Sam “How did that happen?”
They had charges places around the place. One of the tarps is off, and silouetted against the sky is a steamdriven flying machine topped by 2 huge metal cones oscillating up and down. The pilot as he flies away screams “Long live Ireland, long live the republic” and escapes out the hole in the ceiling.
2 Fenians are dead and half a dozen others are rounded up. The rockets are gone! Perhaps taken in the flying machine.
Grant “So they have a flying machine and six rockets. What are the up to?”
Martin “No-good.”
Grant “I’d wager that.”
Gerald “I think they mean to attack the Alexandria.”
Percy “Too bad we don’t have time to arm our ship.”
Sam “I have been thinking about that, but yes our time is too short. He did say it would be to our advangate not to be on the ship.”
Percy “We need some good artillery. Perhaps a gattling gun to go with our maxim.”
Searching the warehouse, we find little but harmoniums and some fireworks. The business is but a front for the fenian movement. Getting to peruse the Martian newspaper, nothing is of an obvious fenian link.
Sam “Grant, we must meet with this man Hollingsworth in this article! About discovering new stars. Could mean something what with our new planet and all.”
Martin “The poem could mean something. A lot can be hidden in a poem.”
Sam “Perhaps we should send word to that man of Archie’s in NY, have him look it over for clues and possible codes.” We do, sending a message to Archie to do so. Also, Covington and Grant begin reading all they can on Mars and the backgrounds of stories most interesting to us in the papers. Most immediately, we are taken to police HQ to be debriefed on our kidnapping and give statements, descriptions…
By the end it is late, and the old man Sneal ask us to join them at their hotel. As we go out, it is raining and Keer says “How lucky you are to have water that flows so readily w/o canals. When amulet is filled with sacred power of Westminster Abbey maybe it will rain on Mars too. Too late to go to Abbey tonght. Savoy serving dinner soon, would you like to join us?” A very luxorious hotel, so we join him.

When we arrive, Keer is met by the clerk who tells him his new suits have been delivered. Kir “Tis odd. I am buying no suits.”
Martin “We better check this out.”
Percy “Refuse the delivery.”
Clerk “Too late, we already took them to the room. They are boxed.”
Sam “Quickly, we may have to disengage an explosive.”
Sam, Grant and Will go for the rooms while Percy, Martin and Gerald guard the Martians in the lobby.
In the room we see 3 boxes in a neat row, a 4th beside them with a hole through the top, the cardboard ripped outward.
Sam “Like something alive came out of it.” The edges seem chewed. “Shut the door and make sure nothing escapes”. Grant does so. Sam draws his revoler, Grant holds his umbrella afront for defense.
Will “You want me to open another box?”
Sam “Shake one of them.” Nothing moves or slides around and it is very light.
Sam carefully examines the open box, and it is empty but there is what surely is animal feces within. “Better keep an eye out, Will.” Grant and Sam go to open it, but Will stops them. He pulls his knife and pierces one of the boxes, wiggling the blade it inside. There is not much resistance, though a bit more as he goes back and forth. When he withdrew it, it had nothing on it and no noise came from it. He then turned it over and set it on its top, kicking in the bottom. Inside was rull of newspapers. Grant used his umbrella to rummage through them but nothing. Doing the same thing with the other boxes brought the same result. We began a careful search of the apartment. Will dimmed the lights to attempt to give any small creature a false sense of security.
Sam checked the bathroom and within seconds, from under the bathtub appeared a large lizard like creature with a frilled neck. It stood up on its hindlegs like a bipedal as it let out a loud and angry hiss. Will and Grant rand for the room. Sam pulls his dagger and stabs as it leaps at him-4. As Will enters it is in midair, he fires his revolver-10. It lands with a solid bite-12 on Sam, venom flowing into the wound. He begins to feel woozy for a moment but (card) it fades. It will leave a minor but lasting rash on his shoulder from the venom however. It kept its bite clamped on to Sam’s shoulder, and he turned pinning it to the wall. Gerald pulls his cutlass cutting it across the flank-crit as Sam stabs into the underbelly-crit DEAD. The mouth stays where it is, and needs pried apart by Sam and Will before Covington can escape. The front door bursts open as our crew floods in.
Zeenkeer yells “Did it bite any of you?”
Covington “Me, here in the shoulder.”
Zeenkeer “Oh, you’re a deadman walking. There is no antidote to this poison. It kills you 100%, for sure.”
Will “I;ll sstart to suck the wound.”
Sam “What’s the treaetment?”
“I don’t know why you’re still alive. At this point you should be dead. It should cause death in a minute.”
Sam “Odd thing. I feel pretty fine right now.” Though the next day there is a minor soreness (-1 checks with that or both arms).
Percy “Takes more than poison to kill an Oxford Boy!”
Sam “It’s all those nights of heavy drinking.”
“I guess the poison is not as deadly to you as it is to Martians.” Indeed, during Grant and Sam’s Martian research they find that it is lethal to Martians, but to humans it causes nausea and unconciousness. Occasionally with a bad reaction swelling in a bitten extremity. Still, Sam suffers no such ill effects. Ts’kkiiss is the name of the reptilian thing.
The boxes are unmarked by the sender, with only Aznun’s name and suite upon them.
Percy “Not sent by the ‘Dublin Times’ I gather?”
Grant “No, Fennianns had nothing against these Martians.”
Keer “Probably the wormcult. Our bitter enemies.”
Martin “What?”
Sam “Explain.”
Percy “Would have been kind of you to mention them before.”
Sam “Let’s talk over dinner, then brandy and cigars.”
The mMartians order Chicken Currie, while Percy and Covington down an entire roasted Pheasant.
Sam “Now, you did mention them in Audlies office.”
They explain:
“There are 2 groups of Martians that are against the ‘red devils’ (humans). One, whom we battle as well, is The Cult of the Worm. They worship an ancient evil demon, and believe that the only way to defeat the evil of the world is to destroy the world. So, they actively work toward the destruction of Mars, which means the canals we as the Canal Priests watch over, and likely now Earth as well.”
Martin “What’s this demon called?”
“Simply The Worm. But, it can also go by another name, and that is…(here he lowers to a whisper) Shsiyig (?). You must not say it aloud.”
Sam “Strange. We should mention the name to Archimedes.”
Percy “Does that mean they know they also will die?”

“The other is the Ground Cleansers. They have nothing against the Canal Priests but they do hate earthlings, are determined to cleanse Mars of all of them.”
After, we retire to our rooms for the night.
Martin “We should all go out drinking.”
Sam “We need to guard these Martians, do we not?”
Grant “Yes.”
Martin “Damn it! I’m drinkin’ in my room then.”

In the night, Gerald wakes to a noise from the adjorning suite, that of Percy. He goes to the door and opens a bit, smelling an odd chemical smell, a faint light and hearing movement in the dark. Then a cockcney voice whispers:
“I thought he was awake for a second gov’. Want me to use more chloryphorm?”
From the other side of the room, a strange inhuman voice “No fool. The lantern might make it explode. If he wakes use your cosh.”
“Any sign of the metal, gov’?”
“No, and quiet Terran scum.”
Aside “Bloody foreigners.”
Inhuman voice “No, it’s not here. Perhaps he’s wearing it. Kill him nd search the body.”
“What? YOu didn’t say nuffing about no murders. "
“I’ll pay you another five pounds.”
“That’ll do nicely, gov’.” The sound of a clasped knife opening, followed by Gerald’s revolver going off in the direction of the likely Martian, hoping the cockney being a hired thief will lose nerve, or at least concern himself with his self rather than killing Percy.
The bullet hits-10. Martin, up late drinking with Will and both 2 sheets to the wind, hear the shot and burst into the hallway. It wakes Grant and Covington up as well. Even drugged, Percy wakes up as the cockney is pulling back the covers. Groggy, he reacts slowly though he’s no longer helpless. The cockney hits-6. From the mysterious Martian comes a puffing sound (blowgun) which sends a substance onto Percy-saves for 8, his bed and the cockney both of which burst into flames-16! The cockney drops to the ground screaming and writhing. Covington wakes, gets out of bed and grabs his rifle. Grant thinks the sound came from the other direction of the Martians room and makes for it with his Colt. Gerald fires 2 shots in succession-5/6 to the Martian.
Will bursts in with his Cutlass drawn and hits-10. Percy flings off his burning covers-2 continuous damage, stands, grabs his jacket and begins to put the cockney out. The Martian attacks with a hooked-sword-8. It then begins to buzz with a whirring sound. Gerald charges in as well, followed by Martin “What the devil is going on!” who engages him in fisticuffs. Will hits-crit17, Gerald-7 with a dagger, Martin-5 KO’d. As he falls, the sword cuts into and down the wall before catching on the framework and breaking. The sound from the sword grinds to a stop a few seconds later. It is some sort of hooked chain-sword. Perhaps repairable by Sam?
The cockney is alive, but in terrible shape and probably not for long. He yells “The damn Martian hired him to get him into the room of people who had met a lawyer, wanted him to find an amulet. Don’t know why. Hired me at a public house in Paddington yesterday. Wierdest thing to die for an amulet.”
Sam "Sorry it had to happen this way. Could have given you a job. Percy likes neirdowells.

Back to sleep.

View
Billy Boy? Suicide? Intolerable!
An old friend dies, so we have our own investigation

We land at Percy’s estate, and send a request to meet with the Prime Minister as well as informing Percy’s solicitor,Nathaniel Pennybaker of the firm Barnes and Pennybaker, that we will be visiting his office the next day. We party it up at Percy’s.
Next Day

While we were gone, a telephone has been installed in the Percy home. Covinvton finds it remarkable and calls anyone he knows who may have one.
We wake up groggy the next day from the drinking, receiving word that the Prime Minister will see us! That’s something the Percy family never thought we’d be able to pull off: getting the PM to take time out of his busy schedule to meet with him! The heroes of the Harbinger have clout!
Pm robert cecil
We head for London and meet with the PM late in the afternoon. PM “It’s wonderful you have averted a financial crisis to the Empire, but all this tommyrot about a new planet? Are you sure?” Sam and Grant show him our charts. PM “Well, I’ll let the Queen know and if we decide to take any acion we’ll let you know.”

We head for the solicitor, who handles Percy’s allowance and other financial concerns. Penny “So you wanna form this tin trade?” Pennybaker will say this isn’t a good idea. “What you need to do is form a holding company, perhaps Livingstone Industries Limited. Under that, as the first subsidiary company, will be Livingston Tin. The only one for now, but that leaves room for expansion. This way you will always own LT. LI can own 60% of all the shares, guaranteeing you permanent ownership and avoiding any takeovers in the future. The other 40% can be divided up amongst the shareholders with you holding a majority 25% of that.”
Percy is utterly confused and befuddled by this capitalist speak. “I may need to commit suicide for this. This business capitalism is for pencil pushers,” he half-jests.
Pennybaker “Don’t worry sir, let me and the lawyers take care of it. Think of it this way, you’re giving away shares but it doesn’t matter because LT is owned by LI, so the shares are only for profit sharing not control. You’re still in full control.”
Percy “Sounds good. Make it so, Pennybaker.”

We spend the next week and a half or 2 weeks setting up the business with Pennybaker, making minor adjustments and upkeep on the ship, and working on the Moonrifle.

Also, what to do about the Scroll of Anubis, now known to have Martian writings on it? Covington “Let’s take it to Oxford and the museum. Show it to some Egyptologists and Astronomers.” Percy “What about that Rathbone fellow, from the Adventurer’s Club?” Covington “Rathbone?! But he’s at Cambridge! We can’t take it to a Cambridge man!” We do anyway, and Rick greets us “To what do I owe a visit from you buffoons!” jokingly. Covington “Sir!” Percy “Buffoons!” Rick “Heard about your Harbinger affair. Great job, men.” We show him the artifact and Rick “I know some chaps who may be interested in this.” Unbeknown to us, over the next several days he shows it to some Iluminati men, and from there to Archimedes who gets a look at it.

2 Days Later
We receive correspondence from Rick Rathbone, that he has important matters to discuss with us. He will see us at the Xmas Eve Adv’s Club Gala and afterwards will speak to us at his room in private.

This afternoon, a woman calls on the new telephone for Percy: the mother of Sir William Perkins, an old friend of Percy’s. Her son has been found dead. Seems he blew his own brains out in his office. Percy “Impossible! My friends do not kill themselves.” Martin “We should check it out, if you don’t believe it.” Percy “Not that I don’t believe it, I KNOW it’s wrong. Belief implies a modicum of doubt.”
Can these ‘buffoons’, none of which are cluemasters, handle such a thing? We make haste for the train to the murder scene still underway.
The bobby out front stops us “You can’t enter here, who do you think you are?” Percy “Lord Percy!” Bobby “Lord Percy?” to the other bobby “Better get the inspector.”
One Inspector Lestrade “It’s a suicide not a murder, my Lord. But if you want to look around, come on up, but do not touch anything. I think your friend was involved in a scandal of some sort and took the cowards way out.” Percy “First of all it’s impossible associates fo Lord Percy and the Percy name do not get involved in scandals…often.” Grant to Martin “That’s not entirely true.” Martin back “That’s not true at all.” Percy “And they certainly don’t take the coward’s way out”
We go upstairs and check it out, but they only let a couple people in the room. Percy and Martin are the ones to enter the scene. Inspector “The gunshot was heard by the servants downstairs.”
Percy questions the female servants: “How was he acting before he died, out of sorts?” Maid “Oh, there was definately something botheringhim, my Lord.” Percy “Know of any potential scandals he may have been involved in? Overhear anything?” Maid “No such thing as a hint of scandal in the Perkins house. But he was upset about something.” Martin “For how long before his death?” Maid “Several days, only” Percy “Any visitors?” Maid “There was a gentleman 2 days ago, and I heard raised voices.” Martin “Just that time?” Maid “The gentlemen had been over several times before, and the Lord had gone out with him in the evvening at least twice.” Percy “Do you know where?” Maid “No but my Lord was dressed in his fine eveningwear. I assumed perhaps the theater or opera. Or possibly a gentleman’s club.” Percy “Did he happen to say anything right before his death, send any packages out…” Maid “As a matter of fact, no. He had been pacing downstairs for some time. Since he’s not married no one was here for him to speak to but servants.” Percyu “So he dallied not with any of his servants?” Maid “Certainly not. He then mumbled something to himself, went up to his study and locked it. About half hour later we heard a shot. The butler ran for the extra key and there we found him at his desk. Bullet in his temple and gun inhand.” Percy “No footsteps or loud noises, nothing breaking, no one seen around the property?” Maid “Nothing.” Percy “Anyone on the shelf of questionable character?” She says no, not as far as she knows. We do find out the butler and handyman both have criminal records, the Inspector says only petty theft, nothing violent or major. Percy says that’s likely of no consequence. Percy “Can you give us a description of this man who he spent so much time with?” Medium length hair, neatly trimmed muttonchop sideburns and mustache, rather tall, prominent nose and aristocratic looking and speaking. Percy “I believe you just described everyone in parliament!” Maid “Red hair”. Covington “A ha.” Percy “Now there’s a clue.”

In the room, Martin Takes 20 on the body and part of the room, Percy the rest of the room. Inspector “You’re waising your time, it’s cut and dry. He sat at his desk and shot himself.” The windows are all locked but for one, though it is shut. There is a pen sitting next to a blotter, to Perkins’ left. The gun is at his right side. Bullet is through and through, blood leaked out upon the desk under and around his head. Percy “Hm, no blood spatter on the desk. Just the pool.” Martin looks for the bullethole across the room and finds nothing to Perkins’ right. Percy “I know from military xp that a bullet through the head takes brainmatter and blood with it. If there isn’t any, he was not killed here.” We find the spatter and matter behind the chair on the wall, higher than where he sits as if he were standing when he was shot and facing to the left. Martin “Quite the acrobatics to shoot yourself from that standing position and fall perfectly into your chair, turn around in it and lie your head on your desk.” Percy says the man was left handed, but the gun is at his right! The pen to the left! The pen is recently used. Someone took a paper or papers perhaps?
We check the unlocked window, and it goes into a small courtyard with the stables to one side and a tressel one could use to climb down the wall, shrubbery at the bottom An adjacent building is quite close. On the other side of the yard is a gated low fence, leading into a back street. Martin “We better go down there, probably escaped this way and into the backstreet.” We go down and find the shrubbery quite compressed and broken. Martin “Let’s see if there are any horses are missing.” There are not. Martin “Let’s question the neighbors”. They saw nothing, but an upstairs maid said she saw the strangest thing: A well dressed gentleman climb up the tressel, later came back down the same way and walked out the back gate. Gerald “Did he have red hair?” “He did, and quite a mustache, sir” . Covington “When was this?” Maid “Around 10AM this morning.” Martin “Broad daylight. What direction after he left by the gate?” Maid “To the main road.” Percy calls for Lestrade and tells him all we found out and has this maid relate her story to him as well. Lestrade “So, I should put an all points bulletin out for every man in London?” Will “You’d do it if it were a black or a Jew. It’s probably a Mac.” Lestrade “Thanks my Lord for your help.”

Grant “So now what?” Percy “How about Martin and Will hit the streets and question the criminal element?” Martin “It was very late this man left. We should ask shopkeepers and the like if they saw this man pass by. He should be distinct.” After many who saw nothing, a couple do give us a brief trail where we talk to a cigar shop owner who had just such a customer, who stopped in sometime soon after 10AM. We reach a deadend soon after as far as witnesses, finding ourselves on St. James Street, a well known haunt of Percy and Covington with its many clubs, taverns and coffee houses. Just nearby is the place called Boodle’s, which Percy knows to be one of Billy Boy’s frequent haunts, tending to hang in the gambling room often. Covington “Let’s ask if they’ve seen this redheaded man.”
In the club they say members only, if you’re not a member they won’t tell us anything. Luckily for us Lord Percy, always quite the socialite an hobbnobber amongst snobs, is a member though he has not visited the club in many months and the new employee does not recognoze him. We are quickly allowed in, the door man granting many apologies and Percy notices he has a burst button missing. Percy “I say man, your buttons off.” We enter the card room, and see sitting at a game waht must certainly be the redheaded man we are looking for. He plays against the living great grandson of the well known Earl of Sandwich and another man. The Earl is eating a sandwich. The redhead is quite a burly fellow, too. Percy “I say good sir, you have killed my friend!” Red “What! I’ve been here all day!” Percy “I say Mr. Sandwich, how long have you been playing cards with this killer?” Sandwich “I’m appaulled at your accusations. This gentleman has been here since 11:00.” Percy “Yes, just enough time to have killed my friend first.” Red “You have no proof that I commited any such crime.” Percy “we were told a scotty-dog looking redheaded man, well dressed, climbed the trellace to the building, killed my friend, climbed back down and escaped. Men all along the streets have led us here, good sir.” Red “You have no proof I did any such thing!” Percy “I’ve got a whole trail of witnesses. I say , do you have a cigar?” Red “Not for such as you.” Percy “I don’t smoke them anyway, I’m a pipe man. However, a cigarshop said you stopped there and bought cigars from him right after the murder.” Red “We’ll get this straightened out.” Martin heads out the front door in case he makes a break for it. He goes to the cloak room to get his jacket and we follow behind. He puts his jacket on, picks up a long case and clicks it open to reveal a short-barrel shotgun! Which he levels upon us. Percy, not expecting a gentleman to do such a thing even considering the situation “What-whatp-what?!” Fortunately, Percy’s friends are on edge: Covington in the rear “Look out!” Gerald, standing closest to Percy, like lightning deftly disarms the weapon(card), it tumbles to the side! Covington steps forward and throttles him-16crit KO’d! Covington “See that Percy. One shot.” Percy’s stupification ends and we call the authorities. In his jacket is a note stolen from Billy Boy, who had written out all that had happened: Smythe had cultivated Perkin’s friendship, playing and winning big at the clubs they frequented. Perkins suspected Smythe of cheating. There was an incident in which they were found to be using a marked deck, but which was supplied by William! The club was going to have him blackballed and expelled, leading to terrible scandal of him being a cheat and cardshark. Smythe kept it a secret but backmailed him to continue to take Smythe to Boodles where he could win big money, William his unwilling accomplice. But, William had had enough and was writing the whold thing down to take to the police.
However, he sent a letter to Smythe informing him of his intentions and insisting Smythe should “as a gentleman give yourself up or if you’re a scoundrel run. If you wish to talk come to my house.” He came, but climbed into the window, surprised Perkins, a bit of a struggle before Smythe was able to kill Billy with Billy’s own gun from his desk. The matter is quickly cleared up at the scene.

The following day, we are called before the Queen on the matter of the mysterious planet. She says they are keeping the knowledge of this a top secret. The only other person told is the President of the United States. They plan to send an expedition on a battle cruiser led by the Duke of York. In recognition, The Queen gives us an exclusive charter to all mineral rights of Mercury! Percy “Huzzah!” Covington “Good Lord!” Of course there are some strings attached, one being we must sell our tin first to the Empire and English concerns. Percy “Like we wouldn’t do it otherwise.” The only fly in the ointment: possible Germany is going to try to claim some of the mineral rights for themselves. There are rumors the Kaiser is putting together an expedition to claim some of it. England may need to send some Exporers to circumnavigate the River and claim strategic spots for Britain, including expanded military presence at those spots.

December 24, 1889

Adventurer’s Club Year’s End Christmas Gala.
After the meeting, Rick takes us to his rooms where the Earl of Mansause awaits. They tell us of a man named Archimedes Brown. Knowing Percy’s interpanetary Grand Tour, he says we should begin preparations for going to Mars. At last, here, the final pieces of Archimedes Chosen Men materialize before him and a meeting is set for January 3, 1890.

January 6th or so, 1890
We have spent the days since Xmas Eve preparing logistics for a trip to Mars.
We give evidence at the Central Bailey vs Jasper Fortiscue Smythe, the redheaded killer of poor ol’ Perkins. A murmer of excitement from the court, as a reporter runs out and shouts for a cab. The killer has changed his plea to guilty and the judge wants us in court for the sencencing immediately. Smythe stands flanked by 2 warders, who seem to stair balefully at Percy. We take our seats behind the prosecutor and the sentencing begins. The judge affirms the evil crimes of Smythe, sentencing him to death regardless of his guilty plea! The warders start to lead Smythe away, but suddenly he yells and kicks one down, pushes the other and jumps the railing. He runs to the clerk’s table. He hurtles a pile of books at a chasing cops face, and grabs the shotgun from the evidence table! Everyone steps away. Smythe “Back, everyone back I have nothin to lose!” Covington “You’ll never get away!” The clerk is shouting, judge banging his gavel, the audience in chaos…
Martin looks at us “Is that even loaded?” We see the clerk shaking his head and pointing. Covington “I say, that gun isn’t loaded, man!” Smythe turns, it as a club and Percy rushes the dog. A furious swing and a miss by a barbarically raging Smythe, and Percy is upon him. Even in his rage he can’t stand up to Percy who grapples him-8, the shotgun falling to the ground. Gerald “The man doesn’t know who he’s up against.” Percy yells “Covington, old top, get him while I hold him”. Covington races to the scrap “Pin him down and I’ll sock him one!”, followed by Gerald. Smythe tests himself by grappling back, but to no avail. Martin “Get him, Percy!” Percy puts all his heroic force into a hold, bashing the man’s head off the floor-12. Smythe, like a raging berserker, turns it on Percy and gouges Percy’s face-6. Gerald deftly takes advantage of their standing still and legsweeps Smythe to the ground, taking Percy down on top of Smythe. Percy grabs him by the hair and smacks his head into the floor again-4. Percy “I say, is anyone going to try to arrest this man! This is a court of law!” Covington “Yes, this man’s insane!” Smythe fails to hurt Percy on his turn. Covington starts yelling instructions to Percy as he sees certain openings “Head butt him,head butt him!” Martin enters the grapple but fails to do damage; Percy hauls off with a massive headbut-10. Gerald enters the grapple and hits-8. Smythe, about to crush Percy but Covington yells “duck left,duck left!” Percy does and Smythe misses the move. Percy, Gerald and Martin all fail to make headway. Covington “This man’s mad!” Smythe tries to wrench Percy’s shoulder but Percy twists away just in time. Martin fails his grapple attack, Gerald hits-9, but Percy crits-14. Suddenly, Smythe loses his raging fury and is obviously fatigued from his superhuman efforts. His attempt to bearhug Percy fails. Martin chokes him -7 KO’d and Percy gives him a final hit anyway-8. The cops take him away.
The court calms and the judge addresses us: He’s been very impressed with our honesty, smiling to us, and our integrity.

Percy’s reputation has done a complete 180 degree turn in public perception in the eyes of the pubic. His father, even, must be proud.
As we leave, we get an invitation from a gentleman outside. His name Audley of Audley, Butler and Price. He represents a client who desires our help in a delicate matter. “Would it be possible to you to visit my chambers this afternoon at 3?” Percy “Certainly.” His offices are at Lincoln’s Inn, near Fleet St. Pennybaker’s offices are in the same complex.

View
Venus

August 1889

We dock at the British Royal Navy Orbiter, typically crewed by 3 men. It has a rubber-sealed airlock to connect to another ship’s door. It is in geosynchronous orbit with the plateau where the colonies are, and we are to be taken down to the surface by a shuttle kept always at the orbiter. Benson and the engineers will stay with the ship.
They say they don’t get many surprise visitors here. Larger than expected for 3 men, large storage areas because supply ships unload here and cargo is shuttled down. And large #’s of passengers must stay and wait multiple trips of the shuttle. A few hours later, we are transported to the surface to Fort Collinswood, Brit capitol of Venus.

The Fort is fairly unimpressive as a Brit Capitol. Buildings tend to look like bungalos british build in Africa. A wooden stockade does exist in the ‘old city’ where the garrison stays. The brits have several regiments here, including an Indian Regiment we witness on the march down the street. They have a few Indian Reg’s and artillery batteries. Also, an Venusian equivalent of the Guides recruited from soldiers with jungle experience on earth. Also have some foreigners in the regiments as well. 100-300 men in each fort typically, each having a town as well and many plantations throughout the area. Other than that, swampy jungle! Lots of lizard men, the native humanoid race. Oft’ called Green Niggers, terribly. Very addicted to alcohol and many do hang around the colonies. They are very primitive, still stone-aged. Though many beliefs and cultural aspects are common to all, there are many subtle differences blind to most outsiders. No notion of political or social entity beyond family and tribe. Tatoos are common, and many speak English.

*Western Ishtar tribes- Sizable minority of German colony and some in British colony. Primitive agriculture so adapted well as plantation workers.
*Highland Tribes-of Kaiser Wilhelm Mountains; Half of pop. of German colony and about 5% of British colony. Less permanent style of living and very ramshackle hut technology.
*Easternish Tribe-bulk of Brit colony lizardmen. Very nomadic.
Many others as well…

The vast majority of the planet, no one has been too. The 2 large colonies are all on this one plateau. Germans have many trading posts with tribes out in the jungle, though.
The Russians have small settlements in the Aphrodite Mountains, heavily fortified; and the Americans have concentrated on mercantile posts rather than colonies, having almost a monopoly on the import of ice! Not troops. Italians explored a region of the equator and has claim to land on the Sappho Plateau, with minimal trade and plantations. Only some several hundred soldiers.

Planet very similar to jungles and rainforests of earth, but with creatures highly akin to dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptilians. The waters are similarly populated.

The 1st night we are invited to dine with Lord Douglas the Governor-General: “Not often we get member of the peerage here. Knew your father. Good man, good man.” Percy “I tend to agree” (ahem: Percy is on the outs with his dad, for sleeping with the upsairs maid…whom his father was sleeping with!). Covington “Well we’re on Percy’s grand tour. But of course Percy’s is much grander than others.” Douglas “So old man..” Percy “Yes old dog?” Doug “Would you be interested in doing a quick little job for Queen and country?” Percy “Of course! Always.” Covington “Yes, always.”
Doug “Here’s the situation. There have been several massacres recently. Plantations raided, humans there and sometimes lizard men massacred. They have all been German plantations. Yet it has become a bit of a sticky wicket. The Germans have claimed with some good facts to back it up that the trouble onteh border only happens when British expeditions have been in the area. Trade expeditions of course. So, they have accused us of rousing the green n——-s against them, in order to drive them out via the locals and turn Venus into another India”.
Covington “Not that that result would be a bad thing, but…”
Percy “Hmm. Let me not insult you but, by first asking: Are you?”
Doug “No we are not. If we were, I wouldn’t need your help. We’d just send our agents out and rousing natives.”
Martin “Are they happening all around the territory?”
Doug “Just on our border with them.”
Martin “No surviving witnesses?”
Doug “There are, but we have never seen them. The Germans claim the survivors reported the natives carrying wpns and tools only to be gotten from the English. But no actual Englishmen.” Gerald “Is there anyone to be suspected of running weaponry to the native?”
Martin “From either side?”
Doug “No, no one to suspect of such a thing. Our agents with such capability have not been, for certain. There is enough tension tween England and France, we all know there is no need to push Germany into the French court. Particularly since the Queen and the Kaiser are not speaking as of now.”
Covington “Any suggestions on where to start, since we just arrived?”
Doug “Yes, we’d like you to investigate the geographic area of the raids, in German territory as well. I’m sure the German rep here, not at dinner tonight, will be happy to give you a pass. Because we don’t intend to much around in the mud for months, we do have a hydrogen flyer here that is at your disposal. The pilot is Geoffrey Forbes Hamilton Esq. He’s a scotsman but he’s all right. He calls it the ‘Aeronaut 4’. As it happens, Hamilton is here at dinner” (points him out and we meet and greet). Hamilton wears a rumpled suit, hand still spotted with grease, dirty fingernails, bit adjustable spanner (aka monkey wrench) sticking out of his pocket.
Martin ‘We have our own pilot as well".
Doug "Yes, but I’ll wager he hasn’t flown hydrogen air ships." Someone says “You mean like zeppelins?” Hamilton irritatingly “These are not zeppelins! These are Hydrogen Air Ships. Someday my design will make the world forget that overrated sausage eater, and instead remember my name. And they won’t be called zeppelins they’ll be called Forbes-Hamiltons!” Covington “What makes yours so special? What are your improvements?” Hamilton “I don’t know where to begin. Faster, sleeker, greater endurance…” SOmeone speaks of the Americans using Helium. Douglas “Yes and do they sell or trade it? No, they keep it for them selves.” They have a whole fleet of them, several in the navy and now army. Douglas “Though what an army needs to be flying around in the air for, I’ll never know, hrmph.” Hamilton “So, it’s my Aeronaut 4. The 4th design. This one is safe.” We look at one another at such an odd comment given so nonchalantly. “The first ones had more primitive designs, had certain inadequacies but now we have all the bugs worked out. I’m happy to say the widow of Aeronaut 1 pilot is receiving a very nice pension, and the pilot of 2 should be coming out of his coma any time now.” Covington “Bound to have some misteps when making such improvements.” Hamilton “That’s right.” Gerald “How many successful test flights has 4 gone through?” Hamilton “Oh, we just returned not long ago from circumnavigating the continent.” Impressive, seems good to go.
Covington "Just come from the engine room?
Hamilton “No no. As you know there have been advances in artillery recently, notably in siting mechanisms. Well, the local battery was kind enough to let me borrow their copy so I just stripped down to see if I can improve it.”
Douglas “Don’t let Geoff anywhere near anything with moving parts or he’ll take it apart.”
Hamilton “Only to improve it.”
Douglas “I’ll admit, that’s the case more often than not, but watch here has a different story.”
Hamilton “I was just trying to adjust it to keep with the Venusian day!”
Covington “May I have a look?”
Douglas “Be my guest.”
Covington “I’ll give it a go myself.”
Hamilton leaning to Covington “The problem was…” explains about changing the flywheel and grinding down new gears to slow the time down, but hadn’t taken into account the additional pressure on the main spring and they have nothing to replace it. Having a hard time finding the right stuff to make a replacement.
Covington and Hamilton quickly get lost in mechanical details. Douglas “Oh lord,another one. Well, you 2 should get along just fine.”
Percy “Yes, they should”.
Douglas invites Percy to a game of wyst after dinner, the original version of bridge, popular in the British navy.
Percy “Most definately. I’m all about it. For money?”
Douglas “Always for money. Time for the ladies to leave” All the womenfold leave. A few games of wyst start, along with good cigars. Covington asks for an inspection and tour of the ship, Will and Gerald being interested in going too. Hamilton has no problem with it.
Martin asks where to get some drinks around here, and a guest mentions some bars. Martin “Come on Will” eggin Will to join him. Will quickly gives up the ship tour and joins Martin whole heartedly. Martin “Let’s get into some fights.”
Another guest, Simon O’Rourke and Irish. Douglas “Well, first let me tell you Simon is going to be your guide on this expedition.” He joins us and we head out for a night on the town. Has a nice sized folding knife in a feux-bowie style, also carries a machete revolver and winchester when in the wilds.

No sooner are we outside than "So happy to see some other Irishman here. Most here are stupid pigshit in the army.’
Martin “Not me.”
At the first bar, Simon “Freedom for Ireland, death to the English!” toast. We play along. We swap stories all night. Not too long after, we start paying close attention to what he talks about though, wondering if he could be a link to Irish radicals causing all the problems tween Brit and German here. Just a theory.
Martin soon comments on gettin’ some drunk women.
He’s quite vulgar. “That is the one problem in this colony. Very few women. It’s not like if you were in wild Americas or India where, you know, they might be n——-s but they still have a p—sy. But their still women. But ya can’t have sex with a green lizard woman.”
Martn “Surely not.”
Simon “Though I’ve known men who have.”
We show disgust at that. At this point, Martin subtely goes with the Irish toast theme, trying to pry anything out of him without being obvious. He raises another toast “To Ireland”. Martin “To Ireland”. Will “To Ireland and Cuchulain”. He makes an odd motion with his hands and holds his fingers in a perculiar way. Then looks very disappointed when he does not get a response from either of us. Martin tries to duplicate, hoping the drunkenness of the situation will excuse any misteps in the eyes of Simon. He frowns for a second, then brings up Irish freedom in a nonchalant manner. Will says he signed on with Kova just to get away from Protestant English. Simon immediately “Damn them,and God bless the pope.” Martin and Will “God bless the pope.” We can tell he’s being guarded. SOmething he was hoping to see but didn’t yet still just as friendly.
Simon “Truth be told, as you have no doubt had friends, I’m a finnian. And I left the emerald isle just ahead of the constable. Made for Africa, bounced there and asia for a while. I want freedom for Ireland but I don’t think it’ll happen in my lifetime. Meantime, decided to make my own fortune. Made a bit hunting in Africa, came to Venus and staked out a claim in the German colony. Got my own plantation.” Martin “Seem like just such a rough man, who can take care of yourself.” Simon “Truth be told. I’ve got the prettiest plantation this side of earth.” Martin “Hopefully we are here long enough to see it”. Simon “If I ever go back there I’ll commit bloody murder.” Martin “What happened?” Simon “I’m good in the jungle,handling natives, good with guns and my hands and beer. Not so good with the books.” Martin “Ah”. Simon “Damn landlords are as bad here as in Ireland. I lost it to the creditors and now some fat German has it. So, became a guide leading rich men from Earth to hunt dinosaurs. Now, got sick of livin with the bloody krauts and now live with the bloody English!”
Martin “Damn if you do, damn if ya don’t.” Will “Bloody shame.”
A lizard man enters and barkeep yells “Hey, we don’t allow your kind in here!”
Simon says he’s with him, and the liz comes over. Simon “This is my right hand man Gilly”. Gilly “Pleasssssse to meat you.”
Will “Please to meet you”.
Gilly likes to shake hands, and say ‘Pleasssssse to meet you’.
Matin “Ya drink whiskey and beer?”
Simon pulls out his knife and slams it into the table. Martin “Now thats a nice knife.” Simon “Thanks but I’d appreciate it if you don’t offer Gilly alcohol.” Gilly however has sidled over next to Martin “Gilly looooove beer. Gilly want beer”. Simon “Gilly, ya cant have any beer.” Gilly turns and says “Pleeeeeassssse, Simon. Gilly needs beer.” Martin “He’s Irish at heart.” Will “How much can one beer hurt?” Simon “He wont be able to drink one beer, and he’s a mean drunk”. HAHAHHAH We laugh at the possibilities of roughhousing! Simon “Gilly, go back to camp and right to your room. You can have 2 beers.” Gilly “Thank you Simon.” Simon “2 beers here!” Barkeep “We dont serve their kind here.” Gilly pulls and throws his knife into the wall behind the bar next to the man “You serve my friend here.” The barkeep puts the 2 bottles on the counter, which Simon gets and gives to Gilly “Now you go right back.” Gilly “Thankssss Sssssimon.” He walks back to us and shakes Martin’s hand some more “Pleeeasssssssed to meet you” and leaves.
Martin talks of growing up in the rough Irish slums of London. We dont infer anything too dire, but we sense he isn’t letting out everything. Likely having to do with that sign he gave. He knows no more of the trouble we have been asked to look into, he’s just going along cause they know he’s a capable man.

Back with Hamilton, Gerald and Covington get a look at the ship. Immediately upon entering, he puts on a toolbelt. Covington “So you’re a pilot and Engineer? Impressive.” Everything is designed along Hamilton’s thought process, which is rather convoluted. Much more complicated in design than needs to be, like no part assembled without the entire finished product in mind. Ex. instead of a pulley system for rudder running under floor, it runs over the wall, including outside the wall. Things aren’t protected/internalized well. Height lever works in reverse of natural way, though tilted upward slightly. Also, very spartan. No decor nor comfort involved.
Covington “Why the reversed handling of vertical lever?” Hamilton “Cause you can see it’s tilted up, so you push up you go up, push down you go down.” I ask him about design, he says “I’ll admit I did have to create it somewhat peacemeal.” Covington “Excusable being built here away from rescources.” He is constanty tinkering with stuff, even as we go over the ship. Adjusting and moving hinges, doors and such. Mostly, we see no real difference after his ‘adjustment’. He really wants to leave for the mission tomorrow. After about 2 hours he want heds home. We hed for Percy’s game.

There, Percy has no skill in gambling, though he does have knowledge of gaming. So he knows rules of how to play, but has no aptitude to peform. Just like Percy! He loses 60L/1 wealth point. He hears gossip while there. People respect Hamilton mostly and his abilities, but he’s not really ‘one of us’, “For God sake the man works with his hands. He’s really not much more than a tradesman. Rely on him to get you there and back, but not in fighting. We all know tradesmen are cowards at heart”.
When Covington returns, he tinkers with the watch until it’s time to turn in.

Next Day
Simon shows up and greets us in order to outfit us. Safari clothes and that sort of thing. The Crown provides for out needs. We eschew rubberized clothes and canvas, following Simons advice. “You can only get so wet then it doesn’t matter anymore. You guys might not be tough enough, but it’s hot. Wear typical shirts and pants. Just be aware you’ll be soaked.” We take lots of extra socks and change often, and boots since they will rot away. We do protect any sensitive gear with rubber cases. He insists on carbolic acid, Covington explains “We can spray it on clothes to keep from rot”. He starts getting very chemically-technical. Percy replies “Mumbo jumbo, it stops rot.” Simon “One thing you wanna protect are your weapons” showing us his rubbercase with his winchester.
Martin and Will tell the crew of their thoughts on Simon. Percy “Hmm, I’m starting to form my Sherlockness here (HAHA). This guy here has been trying to cause issues with England so he has been going into the jungles. He rouses the natives against the Germans to exact his own revengebecause of losing his plantation. And 2 to make the English look bad and get into a war with the French.”
Grant “So you feel he is the villain?” Percy “Yes”. Will “Even after such a friendly drinking bout we had?” Percy “Especially after that drinking bout you had.” Martin “That’s why we tried to bluff him into thinking we are anti-brit like him, but he gave nothing up.” Percy “Good thing Gerald didn’t go. Being Welsh, he is obviously a loyalist. It would have made him keep everything in probably.”

3 Days Later

The expedition is outfitted and ready. We fly off over Brit territory.
There are a half a dozen or so natives aboard. 2 stand out: Gilly and Thyman, a guide and interpreter for the Brits for years and nephew of Samok (lizard man who helped the Collinswood expedition). Gilly and Thyman put on their headgear: Gilly wears a rubberized tophat with a tie under the chin. Thyman dons a deerstalker-style cap! He has 2 throwing spears, shield, large knife and warclub of wood with shards of glass for razor-points. Some are obviously from a beer bottle.
Thyman says “Ah, more Englishmen.” Covington “So your uncle helped try to save some Englishmen? Good show for the family old chap.” Thyman “I serve the Queen.” Martin pays close attention to Simon, and his reaction to Thyman. Simon says to him “I don’t trust him, his tribe.” Martin “Why? Cause he likes the English?” Simon “No, I don’t think he likes the English any more than anyone else does. Only lizard I trust is Gilly.” Martin “But his family helped save Englishmen”. Simon “Well, you can think what you want but I for 1 would not put much trust in Thyman.” Martin “Well, you know more than we do. We’ll certainly take your advice.”
Martin tells Percy and Covington Simon’s opinion in private.

We go near cloud level and the ship runs smoothly. At night we slow down, for it is w/o forward lighting of any sort. Only oil lamps aboard. Hamilton asks Covington and Grant if they can assist him in building an electric generator, then he could design external lighting. Covington “Sounds right up our ally”.

2 Days Later

We arrive at one of the village massacre sites but the jungle is thick. We find a clearing enough to land farther away that we’d like. 2 soldiers guard the ship, as does Hamilton and his engineers. Simon, us and the 6 lizard-natives along with Grant go for the village. Simon “My best guess is that the village is 2 miles that way” so we gear-up and head off.
After a couple hour or so trek through marshy ground and dripping trees, amazingly moist and humid here, we arrive at the village quite wet. Percy “If this planet were a woman she’d be ready to f—k.” Covington “Dear God, Percy!”
Huts are destroyed, no bodies left (buried or taken by authorities). All evidence seems taken away. Simon “This was a wasted trip. Let’s head on back. Unless you have another idea.” Covington “We should search for a warparty trail around the perimeter of the village.” Simon,the only tracker here, takes the lead in the search. After a good search, Simon says there is nothing. Covington “Bullocks! I believe I found a trail right over there.” Martin aside to Percy"convenient Simon found nothing". Simon “Ah, I dont believe those are warparty tracks but we can follow them if you want.” Covington “Yes, let’s. What do you say Percy?” Percy “Yes let’s. I think that’s a top idea!” Covington’s brain takes the lead with Simon.
After a couple hours, Simon “these tracks are so old, what do you hope to accomplish by following them?” Martin “We dont know, but we dont have any other leads to follow up here.” Simon “We’re in a jungle here, with dinosaurs and potentially hostile natives. There are 13 of us and half are armed only with spears. If we run into a native warparty we will have a tough time of it. And we get further away from the ship. We should go back.” Covington “Hm. What say you, Percy?” Percy “Isanlawanda! I’m not too concerned. We move on.” Simon “Fine. I’ll go on ahead and scout things out.” Martin “I think we should stick together. We have not a secure perimeter around our group.” Percy “Indeed, we don’t want a Rourk’s Drift here.” Simon “All right, its your funeral.”
Half our later we come to a clearing, the tracks clearly leading into the clearing and are lost. We search the edge and again after Percy’s inept searching, Covington’s notices holes in the clearing itself, created by something quite heavy, and in a regular pattern. Percy “A creature?” Covington “No, I believe it’s the landing gear of a craft.” Grant “Likely a very large Hydrogen airship.” We have Gerald inspect the imprints with Covington, as he knows ships, and it was certainly the gearprints of German design. Gerald "I’d recognize it anywhere. Grant “The warparty was airlifted out then”. Simon "Don’t be jumpin to conclusions boyo. On this planet, remember everyone uses other people’s parts to repair their own. I’ve seen Russian and German parts on an English ship before. While Simon searches, he calls us over “Come here guys, look at this.” He shows us evidence of what he says is feint evidence of the warparty entering the woods. Covington examines the damaged plants he points out, and Covington knows from his science knowledge that the plants are seconds to minutes from being broken. Percy after looking “I agree, Sam old bean!” Simon “Possibly your right about this trail, but I wouldn’t jump to conclusions about the ship.”

We start back for our ship and we soon hear a roar closeby. Simon quietly “I was afraid of this”. As we hear something large moving toward us, Gerald and Percy fix bayonets and the lizards form a line with their spears; rest of us get behind with guns at the ready. As we hear noises to either side of us as well, crashing through the foliage comes a huge 12’ tall meateater, like an oversized Deinonychus, rushing for us just as we form up. Covington “A Megaraptor!”
Thyman hurls his spear but it bounces off the hide. Simon fires multiple shots from his rifle-11 total; The megaraptor’s talon slices a native-18, hits a native next to him with its front claws-8 and misses another with the bite. Covington to Percy in the front line “Must be afraid of you, Percy!” The lizards close in on its sides and we fire over the frontline’s head: one lizard hits-12, Gilly hits-14, Covington hits with 3 moonrifle darts-11, Martin’s revolver misses, Percy fires 2 crits-21/16,Covington “Good shooting Percy!” Percy “Of course!”, Gerald hits-5, Will misses;Simon hits-12 firing mutiple shots again; Raptor tears the first lizard it hit to shreds; Covington and Martin miss, 2 lizards hit for 5&13 and Gilly finishes it off with a spear deep in an exiting wound. Covington "Watch the flanks!!
Out from the side another rushes out of the jungle but we are barely ready after Covington’s warning. Martin misses again, Simon crits-30 DEAD as Covington hits-5, a lizard hits-9 and another-7, Gilly misses but Thyman crits-14. Simon “Other side! They always hunt in pairs!” Covington “I think you’re off, man.” Indeed a 3rd attacks: Percy hits-13 & 7, Will hits-11, Simon crits-27 &hits-16. He’s firing off superfast, 4 shots/round! Thyman misses, Gilly misses, Gerald hits-12; The Raptor leaps at lizard men again (Grant will later say they must prefer what they are used to hunting) an slaughters one. Martin finally hits-5, all the lizards miss, Simon starts reloading, Covington hits-12, Will hits-8, Gerald-9 and Percy 9&4 DEAD! Simon “From the back!” Yet another attacks from the rear, behind all the humans essentialy. Poor Grant stands directly in it’s path. Martin misfires, Simon crits-31 DEAD right in the brainpan. Simon “Gotta aim in the brain, and I told you they always hunt in pair.” Covington “2 pairs apparently.” Will “A pair of pairs.” We make it back to the Aeronaut 4.

We get together in private with Hamilton. Grant “Now what?” Martin “Someone is surely working with the natives.” Covington asks Hamilton about the partswapping Simon mentions, and he says “There is of course some of that for quick repairs here and there, but not like he implied. You may owe him your lives but he’s a liar. If they were German landinggear it was a German ship.” Percy “I dont owe him anything. Techically he owes me 2 greenskins. Those guides were given to me to use. Technically I call that treason to the crown” Percy boasts, obviously upset at Simons shadyness.
Hamilton lays out a map of the area and we mark out the attack sites. Covington “Dear God men, it’s totally obvious! Look here at the strike pattern. They hit this plantation, skip these 2, hit this one, skip this one and on. In a line along the border. We need to figure out why they skipped those particular plantations.” Martin “So where do we find the right information about these villages?” Hamilton "Simon might know. We show him and he says “You’re right. This first plantation hit is owned by a Spaniard. Second hit owned by Germans, next one by Italian, next one skipped my own owned by Germans, next skipped a native village and then hit the next native villag. That hit one has been refusing to pay taxes, Otuce. Skipped natives are swaci where they get most of their workers from.” Covington “Likey where the native attack force is from”. Simon “Next 2 again skipped German plantations, swaci village skipped, Otuci village hit. Next 2 in line are Swace and Otuci. It there’s another attack…” Covington “…that’s the one.” Martin “How about the dates?” Simon “No pattern there.” Covington “Just seems whenever they get ready to go they go.” Hamilton "It’s a 2 day travel by air to that last village.
Late that night, we hear some sort of struggle on deck. Martin is the first up, seeing Thyman and Gilly in a fight. Percy draws his sword and steps tween “Next person to take one step I dro pyou where you stand. I will not have decent in my crew. What’s all this then?” Gilly “Thissss beassst attacked me.” Thyman “He lieeeeeesssssss, he attacked me! I was hear on deck,just standing here and he tried to push me off the side.” Percy asks them to name their tribes, and though they are from tribes that are at odds, they are not from the Otuci nor Swaci. Percy “Gilly, go back to Simon and stay there, I’ll have a talk with this one here.” Gilly “You should killll this one hear.” Percy “Of course you will say that. We will handle this passively, all these personal vendettas can be dealt with after the mission. Go back with O’Rourke. Thyman stay here, we need to have words.” Simon is on the edge of the ship, showing up unnoticed. Martin goes and stands next to him “What’s all that? Have they fought before?” Simon “No they haven’t, but there’s no love loss between them.” When Gilly gets there, Simon scratches his ear scales “That’s ok, if he tries that again, I’ll shoot him for ya.”
Grant “I could have sworn there was no one standing there when we first came on deck. Where the hell did Simon come from?”

Next Day
Hanging out, eagerly awaiting our destination. Martin is drunk, Percy oblivious as usual, but Will, Gerald and Covington are quite alert. Out the window they see tree tops. Will says “That’s funny, I can see tree tops.” Gerald “They look kind of close.” Hamilton “Impossible, we should be more than 2000’ up. NO trees grow that high.” No sooner is he at the window than the hull is scraping the tree tops. Hamilton makes for the controls and we follow “We’re losing gas, we need to dump the ballast quick.” He pulls the handld to do so. Ths ship gives a lurch but nothing happens “The lines are cut. Quick, on deck to cut them down!” Someone must climb over the side to cut the ballast! Will “This is the work of a pirate!” as he climbs over one side as Simon goes over the other, yelling something in Venutian to Gilly and Thyman who climb to the bow ballast. Covington and Grant rushes to the engine room to check for sabatage, and finds that we ares surely losing gas somewhere. He makes a search and tells Grant “Get patching material ready”.
Soon as the back ballast goes first, it rises and quick after the front pops up. A scream…and a lizardman plummets into the trees impaled on branches. We only rise several feat and begin slowly sinking again. Martin to Hamilton “Find a place to set her down fast!” We scrape again until we are caught in the canopy, dead in the trees as the gas bag is losing gas. We send Will to climb the ropes to look for the leak. He climbs the lines like a regular monkey, finding half a dozen slashes. Between 2 of them the canvas ripped larger from the weakening the fabric. Someone cut it intentionally. Hamilton sits on the deck, shaking his head. Grant “Even if we patch it, we’ll have lost too much gas”. Simon climbing up with Will says “Look…” Something is caught near him in the rope. Sure enough, it’s a knife caught in the line, a lizardman knife. Will recognizes it as Thyman’s knife. They climb down. Soon as Gilly sees the knife he says “Seee, seee, he is the traitor.” Simon pulls his pistol “I’m gonna finish that wog once and for all.” Percy “I told you, no decent in my crew. Draw a weapon once more against my crew and I’ll end you, Irish.” Simon after a moment “Fine.” Thyman says he does not know how his knife ended up ‘in great bag. Thyman’s knife disappear last night. Knife missing from bag (each native has a waterproof bag where they keep smaller equipment). After fight when Thyman went to his bed,knife missing. That Gilly steal it! That evil, evil Gilly. Bad Gilly!" Covington aside to Percy “Had to have been either Gilly or O’Rourke.” Percy aside to Covington “Not that I want to go on the side of the Irishman but it is a possibility Thyman is on the German payroll. It’s a possibility, w/o direct evidence I don’t want to jump to assumptions. But generally I agree.” Simon “All right,well if you are not gonna kill the bastard we better get goin.” Percy “Now Thyman, I want you w/in eyeshot of me.” Covington “Let’s patch it up. Any extra fuel on the ship?” Hamilton “No. I’d have to make an expedition to the colony and back.” Covington “How much is left” Hamilton “Not enough to fly out of here. We have to walk out.” Cov “Not even enough to make it to the village?” Hamilton “No. Not enough.” Simon “No use patching this thing, nor cryin over spilled milk. Best thing to do is pack up any gear we can carry and make for Erschliem. Surely you guys are up for a little walk aren’t ya? It’s only a couple days.” Martin “He didn’t want to stay in the jungle for a few hours the other day.” Hamilton stands up to Simon “No one is leaving until we get my ship as ready to go as we can. Then all we need is some hydrogen and we’re out of here.” Covington “Ok, I’ll start patching it up.”
It doesn’t take long, but we can’t get the lift power to free us from the trees now. Covington “I don’t look forward to trouncing around for 2 days out there.” Grant “You want to try to cut away some of the ship itself to lose weight?” Hamilton “No, you’re not cutting up my ship! No No!” Grant "If we cut the ship from the trees we can get free but we’d need to lose the engine to cut down on weight. Then we can’t move foreward. Covington and Grant hack up the schematic: leaving the engineroom, fuel, deck and balloon; chopping off passenger section, railings…. Grant and Covington run the numbers for weight/mass/lift to cut the ship down to bare minimum. Hamilton is seriously in favor of walking, as is Percy. In the end, we trek on foot. Simon sends Gilly ahead to scout, another native in the rear since Percy wants Thyman with him. Though Sam suspects Simon and/or Gilly not Thyman.
Only 2 hours out, we surprisingly are able to hide and avoid an encounter with a Tyrannosaur. We stop before nightfall. Gilly has not returned yet. Simon says we have to make patforms in the trees, too dangerous to stay at ground level. We start chopping wood to make crude sleeping platforms. Covington, the master structural engineer, makes a hotel relative to what’s expected. Percy jokes about an upstairs bathroom and the conservatory. 3-person watch: Covington, Hamilton and Grant take 1st watch, and do a surprisingly good job of staying alert rather than getting lost in science talk. Covington hears a rustling, it’s a long bright red snake slither onto the platform toward the sleeping engineer. Sam breaks off a long bushy branch, shakes it to get its attention and slides it off to the side. Simon wakes up “Good thing you saw that thing. It’s bite is…there is no antidote and it’s certain death.” Covington “Certainly, I read all about it in Conklin’s! That’s why I shoed it away.”
Next Day

Thyman is missing in the morning, not a sould saw him leave. Percy apologizes to O’Rourke for doubting him “Obviously it was Thyman in the wrong here.” Martin to Percy aside “Still he’s hiding something.” Covington also not so sure this means Thyman is the villain. Couple hours into our walk, Gilly shows up and talks to Simon. Simon comes to us ’We’re closer than we thought. We’re only about 2 hrs away. Gilly already was there and came back. He didn’t go in because they are a different tribe and was afraid they’d kill him. He spent the night in the trees alone, damn good thing he’s still alive. We better start moving fast, and it has not been attacked. Maybe we can get help from Germans."
Hamilton “If we can get just 2 tanks of hydrogen we can lift off.” Percy asks Hamilton if the distance is consistent and he says he really doesn’t know, it’s hard to tell in the jungle.
Suddenly, O’Rourke stops us “Look, the ground here is very treacherous. Follow me and step where I step.” We pass by a pond which is apparently part of a dangerous bog.
He carefully leads us through the treacherous wets, until about halfway past the pond he suddenly stops “Be careful, it’s very treacherous here”. He turns around, pulls his revolver “Would you gentlemen be so kind as to raise your hands? There are a number of stout German laddies in the trees yonder who will be more than happy to shoot you if you don’t” to the sound of at least a dozen rifle bolts loading the breeches. Covington to Percy “Aha. And you apologized to him.” Percy “Perhaps if I spoke German really quickly, being a blonde hair/gray eyed, I could pull off being a false kraut. If I only had the skill in German.” Grant “Surrender or fight?” Percy to Martin “How many could you handle?” Martin “sigh”.
Simon “Drop your weapons, and hands up.” Percy “Can I lie them down in a dry spot, so as not to ruin them. They’d be no good to you or me.” Simon “Absolutely, I admirea man who takes care of his weapons.” Percy “Good show.” Simon “No hard feelings laddies.” Covington “So what’s all this then, O’Rourke?” Just then out of the trees come Germans, about 20. Covington “Blasted Krauts.” They are led by an officer with a monacle, long thin cadaverous face and tall “I am OverHans Kurt of the Imperial German Army and you are my prisoners!” Covington “Am I supposed to be impressed?” He has a pistol in one hand and a sword in the other. Percy “Maybe we can come to some kind of arrangement my kraut friends?” Hand “I’m sorry but it seem like you are in the wrong place at the wrong time” and they begin to search us. Covington “You do realize, this means war.”
They march us about 12 hrs through the jungle to a German encampment. The village is still a half a day away. Hans “Greetings, welcome to my humble encampment. I asure you you will not be harmed if you obey the instructions of your guards and do not try to escape. I fear you must be my unwilling guests for tonight, and I regret the accomidations I have to offer are not the finest. You will understand I trust that given the conditions here I can offer you no better. Guten Tague.” They lead us away. The camp is surrounded by a thorn fence; some 27 tents, we all thrown into a tent next to a larger HQ tent. We see them stashing our equipment in an armory tent. Simon and Gilly enter HQ with Kurt. They cram all the humans into one tent (each average tent seems to be made for about 5, likely some 125 or so Germans here), hands and feet tied. Martin “They must think we’re dangerous fellows.” Percy “I give you my word as an English lord you can leave me untied. The English always keep their word.” They ignore that completely.
Night falls, we sit in the rubberized-canvas tent, quite uncomfortable. We can hear the pacing guard out front. About 2 hrs after sundown, we hear a quick scuffle outside the tent! Covingto “Hm, must be Thyman.” Through the entry comes Thyman dragging a dead German. Percy “Good to see you old boy”. Thyman “Greeting Engishmen. Thyman come back you see, Thyman friend to Englisssshman.” Covington “You’re a loyal allie Thyman, I knew it!” He starts cutting us freel. Thyman “Thyman not like Rourke Englissshman. Thyman go, Thyman not go far. Thyman watch. By and by Thyman see Gerrrrrman catch Englissshman. Rourke Englissssshman bad man.” Percy “Excuse me…” Thyman “Rourke all same Gerrrman. Thyman wait til sun sleep…” Percy “I’d like to clarify he’s a filthy Irish.” A look from Martin “Hey!”. Covington “Not you of course…not filthy.” Percy “You’re a good Irish, of course.” Thyman “Thyman fix Englisssshmen.” Martin “Get us outta here”. We get ready to sneak out of the tent. Grant “We need to get the guns”. We head out, and fins a dead body on the ground, our other native crewman left where he fell.
Martin “There’s too many of us to sneak the same place all at once.” Gerald “Let’s sneak at intervals to the armory, starting with Percy, take out any guard there. Once we get there take all the weapons we can and blow the armory if they have explosives. We should do as much damage to these Germans as possible. Then run for the gate.” Grant “Someone should sneak over to the HQ tent, see what’s going on. There is still a light on and shadows moving within.”
Percy makes quietly for the armory; Gerald to the HQ. Percy gets the easy drop on the guard and attacks with his Oxford fists, drubbing him in the back of the head-16 KO’d. We move in and begin loading up.
Gerald makes it to the tent undetected. Hans and 2 Lt’s talk with Simon. Hans “O’Rourke I have to thank you ,the plan is working perfectly.” Simon “Well, tomorrow when you attack the village do you have enough evidence to make it look like Englishers?” Hans “Yes, and Lt. Heintz is bringing the American reporter in the afternoon with another patrol just in time to see the aftermath looking like an English-lizardman attack. Thanks to you bringing these prisoners along there will be some dead Enghishmen to prove it further.” Simon “I feel bad for teh 2 Irishmen. Any way we could kill the rest and let them go?” Hans “Of course we cant do that. There can be no survivors to take back the truth of what happens here. After tomorrow, the Brits will have no recoure but to grant huge concessions here to us on Venus. We’ll take the entire border from them w/o a fight. Damned Englishers!” Obviously we must get to the village and either evacuate or prepare them to fight the attack.
Gerald returns and reports back. Percy “Well, unfortunately I don’t think we can blow up their supplies like I was hoping, as they could call it English sabotage of a German military command.” Grant “So we have to evacuate the village or defend it with them.” Martin “If we win we’ll have enough dead Germans and German-lizards as our own evidence.” Gerald “Poor Americans, they’re trying to bring them into this as duped observer.” Covington “I think we need to make for the village and ready defenses.” Hamilton “Well there’s a swamp to get through, let’s move.” Percy tells everyone to grab a rifle to 2 and ammo for the lizarmen to use. As we leave we find bog shoes made out of nature by Thyman. He has us put them on, and we make our way through the bog that the Germans can not do. Go Thyman! We will make it in hours, the Germans will travel for 6 once they leave in the morning. We reach the village, surrounded by a briar wall, about 3AM. The guard blows an alarm horn made of shell and more lizards are soon meeting us.
Percy drops his rifles in peace tells Thyman to tell them we come bearing gifts that they will need soon. The chief arrives and Covington tells him of the German attack. Covington “The English are here to help!” Percy “As always!” Covington “We are your friends!” They ask why the Germans would kill us, we pay them taxes. Thyman explains the conspiracy to them in Venusian. The chief then says “Thyman is not of our clan, but he is of our people. Can you prove what he says is true?” Percy’s (card) charisma wins out and they actually hate the Germans! “What can we do to fight them though, they have boomsticks?” Percy “We bring you boomsticks, and English!”

There are about 30 battle-capable lizards here vs about 120 Germans. The chief sends fast runners to reach nearby lizardsmen for possible reinforcements. We need to slow the Germans down. Covington “We better get boobytraps ready in the swamp.” Hamilton volunteers to lead some lizards to make the traps: falling logs and swinging wooden stakes, trip-wire arrows etc… The chief says they have 3 very large crocs captive. Fire could drive them where we want them to go. We tie them up in the path of the German advance. Hamilton says he and his engineer will douse oil around them and light it just when the Germans are close, the fire driving them toward the German line. Grant says “Let’s use the traps to disarray or halt their advance, then at the same spot release the crocs there.” On the other side we will skirmish them with lizard riflemen.
Once we draw them to the village, they must funnel through the entrance which in only about 10’ wide. Percy and Covington discuss tactis. Percy, with Martin, and the Chief will flank the entrance left and right, Covington leading a group of riflemen behind a makeshife hedge about 40’ in facing directly at the entrance. Percy to Covington “Where do you want William and Gerald?” Covington “Hm, neither is obviously tougher or a better shot than the other.” Percy “I’ll take the Irishmen. You take the Welshman.” Covington uses his tactical knowhow to get things in order quickly and efficiently. Covington “I studied tactics extensively at Oxford you know.” Percy “I fought in the field and you still outdo me old man! Good show!”
The first trap falls, a log splattering a German. A 2nd pulled into a tree by a lasso. A 3rd wounded by an arrow, another is missed by an arrow but the man behind him is wounded. As that group breaks up, Hamilton and his engineer light the fire: one croc wanders the wrong way and is lost. The other 2 20 footers swim right into them, killing 2 before the Germans can fight back. At this point, we volley as a few more Germans set of the last of the traps: Thyman kills a German immediately then misses. 12 lizard men get 4 hits and a crit. Covington hits 20 DEAD, Percy 16 DEAD&15DEAD, Martin wounds 1 and misses, Will hits-13 DEAD, Gerald-14DEAD. The Germans fire back, only wounding Martin-9. We hear Simon’s gun go off near the fire and crocs in the distance. In 2 more vollies Martin hits 11&7 DEAD, Covington-13DEAD&15DEAD, Percy kills 2 and wounds 2 others, Wil hits once-12DEAD, Gerald once-9. We pull back and race for the village, finding 20 or so new lizardman reinforcements brought back by the runners. Percy/Chief now lead 30 lizards, Covington 20. Some skirmishers are sent outside as skirmishers to hit their rear once they are mostly inside the entrance with thrown spears. We see Hamilton, who is wounded, and his engineer was shot and killed by Simon.
Covington’s tactics outdo the German advance, and we achieve complete surprise and tactical advantage in the situation! They pierce the entrance directly into our funnel. Percy sees Hans easily and charges him as our first volley hits them and our left and right hit their flanks. He disarms his revolver(card) and crits him with his saber-22, dropping him to -4. Gilly quickly runs off the the side but Thyman, watching to take him out, intercepts him and they fight with spear and shield. It is quickly over, Thyman slaying his enemy.
3 rounds of volley fire from Covington and his men drop 13, and Percy and the Chief’s hand to hand assault drops 16 with Martin adding 1. Percy and the Chief lost 6 lizardmen in the melee, Covington 3 by German return fire. Nonetheless, the battle proper is over in mere moments. The German force within the wall surrender and those outside flee into the swamp, harrassed by skirmishing lizards.
Simon flees out the entrance, and both Martin and Will give chase. He reaches the top of a hillock, and ducking behind rises to fire upon our charge. We are too quick behind, though, and he drops his rifle in favor of a machete. Will draws his cutlass while Martin raises his fists for a brawl! That’s how real Irish fight! Will slashes-10, Simon hacks at Will-4. Simon to Martin “You’re gonna slug me? I’ll cut ya to ribbons”, Martin “That’s what you think. This is how real Irishmen fight!” slugs-5. He attacks Martin-miss/6, Will slashes-7, Martin-miss. He attacks Will-5/miss; Will hits-10, Martin-7; He misses Martin and Will both. Martin slugs-6, Will fumbles his cutlass and loses it! It’s 2 brawlers vs a machete now. He throws down his machete “You bastards, let’s scrap” and hits Will-4. Martin-miss, Will crits-15 KO’d. Will picks his cutlass up, intending to behead O’Rourke. Martin says we may need him to back up the truth for his life. Will “Shame he lost a hand in the battle know.” Martin “Real shame.” Simon “You bastards, you fuckking…” He’s slapped aside.
We drag him back, minus one hand, to camp where they are rounding up and binding surrendered Germans. We insist he lost the hand in the fight to Will’s cutlass. Soon a flyer lands nearby and a group of Germans come out with civiliens,including a few reporters. We hear one German says “The village has obviously been attacked by some of those Englishers. I’m sure we’ll find the proof here.” He halts short when he sees the uniforms “Someone has ambushed our German forces”. We tell the real story, holding all the cards and all the proof we need.
The Germans are politically embarrased. Their territorial ambitions have been shut down for a while. They are willing to provide us, however, with transportation to, and hydrogen fuel for, our ship. We get it ready by the next day and get back to the station.
Percy takes Kurtz’s monacle, who has lived through the fight by the way. Will and Martin Simon’s Winchester and revolver plus his ammo.
We are wined and dined, the toast of the station. The Germans say it was entirely Kurtz’s plan, independantly. They want him back to put him in jail for a long time. He will become their fallguy, essentially.
Percy “Fairly tricky adventure,eh? Had me going there for a while about O’Rouke, Gilly,and Thyman’s loyalties.”

Back to Earth
34 day trip back home. We cross the Earth’s 1/2 year old either-wake about 10 days out, and Old Gobby gets us through without a hitch as usual.

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To Mercury, an Oxford Boy's Call for Aid
We thwart industrial conspiracy on the World River, and Percy gains a business venture

Princess Christiana Station

A sprawling complex of small buildings along bank of world river. Between 100-200 permanent people, staying in bungalos and working facilities in a meadow. A large cleared field for the occasional ether flyer landings with 3 small aerial steam launches tethered there. There are nearby plantations in the general vicinity, some independant of the base. Mostly stucco cottages but some buildings of brown and red brick, gravel walkways.

Planet home to lots of large insects and river dangers like giant crocs, fish, snakes and other serpents (very large, eel-like), flyers (flying fish adapted to breath air), squids, runners (small herbivorous gator-like), bagfish (like jellyfish)… Anyone must be very careful at river, usually guards there. Some attacks have ended up in death, including a giant leech attack on a girl which had put some sort of saliva which kept her from clotting inside her and she bled out. Circumference of World River = 4800 miles. Rainstorms are frequent and can surprise you, sturdy raingear a must. The constant twilight at the river makes light sources a necessity.

Covington has read up on much of the flora and fauna and history of the settlements and explorations of Mercury.

An official named Arthur Choat “I’m the head honcho here” he says kindly. He’s elderly and respectable looking, but dull looking also. Walks with a cane which his a necessity for him to get around. “What can I do for you gentleman, we get so few visitors here?” Percy introduces himeself. Sam “We are here to see a friend who sent us correspondence.” Choat “Who is your friend?” Sam “Soldier chap by the name of Carrington”. Choat “Hmf, hmf, hmf-hmf-hmf”. Sam to Percy “Stuffy old chap”. Choat “Woud you come to my office with you please?” Percy “Surely” Sam “What is wrong with Carrington?” as we walk. Choat “I hardly know how to begin but I am afraid I shall have to be blunt.” Sam “Dear God, he’s dead” aside to Percy. Choat"My former assistant Mr. Carrington I’m terribly sorry to say is dead" Sam “When” Choat “He was murdered 3 days ago.” Sam and Percy are beside themselves! Sam “Fucking Egypt! Delaying our trip!” Percy “Egypt sucks!” Sam “That scrollcase best be worth something and lead to some seriousness if our delay is to be worth Carrington’s death.” He tells us Carrington was “murdered in his sleep, stabbed!” Percy “This does not please us”. Sam “What are the circumstances? What’s going on here?” Choat “Nothing is going on here. Carrington was murdered, and Claude Brumford one of the clerks disappeared the same night.” Sam “Where is the murder weapon?” Choat “We assume Brumford to be the murderer and took it with him.” Percy “Just because he disappeared the same night?” Choat “yes” Sam “Did you search his quarters?” Choat “Yes. His belongings were packed, we found nothing”. Sam “Did you question everyone about the 2 of them recently? Acting nervous in the days leading up to the murder.” Choat “I know they say Brumford was acting strange, fidgety you might say. And Carrington could hardly wait for his friends to get here because he had found out more.” Sam “Do you know what he knew, why he felt the need for our help?” Choat “No. There was a folder in a locked drawer in his desk. I have not looked on it since it has another’s name upon it. ‘Lord Percy’.” Sam “Good God, we need to see it post haste man!”

He shows it to us, now in his office. A bunch of clippings from the times about the tin market and its sudden collapse. First, one from 1882 about a giant mining vehicle called the Warsaw Miner built by one Wisnewski. Lost in the tin zone of Mercury due to a fault in the cooling system. On its main voyage Lord Dundower, Gov. of the Mercury settlement, was on board at the time. Court of inquiry blamed Wisnewski who was not along on the trip, suspiciously. A second to Carrington from an inspector of the secret police in Warsaw concerning a letter sent by Carrington to a Dr. Rutkowski of the univ. of Warsay Chem. dpt., who forwarded Carrington’s letter to the insp., inquiring as to the whereabouts of Wisnewski “Folowing his disgrace at the hands of the English courts his mind became unbalanced. Afterward we know of his collaboration with several anarchists and revolutionaries…” including a bombing and assassination attempt. He then left them and may have murdered up to 3 of his former cohorts, leaving with a large sum of their money from bank robbery, more than 25000L. His whereabout are unknown at present. Percy “It’s Wisnewski”. Another letter from the insp. after further investigation tells Carrington Wisnewski traced to brit port of Hong Kong 13feb 1888 under assumed name, and in touch with opium underworld. Mid march moved across bay to Macow, disappearing toward end of April. Reappeared early may in Bangkok with credentials of registered agent of a fake French trading company. He secured warehouses, several shipments of machinery. After several weeks they were shipped to unknown destination and he vanished as well. August he was sighted on Java, colonial capital. Arranged for more warehouse space masquarading as agent of king of Van Aluvala (Where so much tin originates). Recieved much machinery there, no record of his arrival there exists nor his movements since then. Another letter to Times in 1877 about second expedition of Mercury returning reporting on ‘Hot Side’ and of its metals, speaks of constructing economic means of exploiting it with solar powered boiler and ice from glaciers for cooling, adequate steel…. The man did try to build one, failed… It’s the same Wisnewski!
So, he must have made a mining machine successfuly this time and is expoiting the tin himelf here on Mercury and selling it on earth via his holding company on Van Aluvala. Carrington discovered this operation and maybe Wisnewski’s agent here, Brumford, so our Old Boy was killed.

Sam “Wisnewski must be operating somewhere close by or he would not be concerned about watching this base via Brumford, nor would Carrington have uncovered his scheme”. Choat says he will send “the marines out to discover the operation, if we’d like to go.” Sam “We are going out to find this weasel. Would you like to offer the assistance of your marines to us, you mean?” Choat “Indeed”. We plan to follow the river downstream first. Sam “Is there anything up or downriver that would help him operate out of? Within or close to your patrol and habited zone?” Choat “Why would he be operating near us, why wouldn’t he be at the other pole or otherwise far away?” Sam “Not sure, but that he is using ships docking from the settlement to get his materials out. How many flyers do you have?” Choat “Three steam fyers”. Sam “How about a topographical map of the surroundings and plantations?” Choat supplies that. There are plantations downriver. Sam “Could he be using one of them as cover and getting his transports in/out w/o your knowedge?” Choat “Possibly. Let’s assume this is a huge machine. A juggernaut” There are some chaps downriver who started a plantation, including Venutian lizard men to help, which began a few years ago. Sam “Certainly, he is effecting the tin economy of the entire earth so his operation is large”. Choat “He would have to use ice from the cold zone for cooling on his trip to the tinzone.” Grant “A refrigeration possibly, a 2-panelled hull with the space filled with ice. So he would need a ford in the river”. Sam “Right, to get the ice to his operation”. Chaot “Plus a landing field and holding facilities. Where would they have all those things other than here at Christiana?” Percy “The plantation”. Choat “Yes, you were right to begin with prof. Covington. It’s the plantation, or a secret place where he has built all those same things”. Sam “Far enough away to not be seen. But then he would not need to keep tabs on you with Brumford. So again, we circle back to the plantation. HAHA”. Choat “On top of which the plantation needed the support of the station to get started. They needed to ship here to build there. He could have been behind this for the entire 3 years!” Grant “The plantation was started then with the bank $. This guys a genius.” Percy “Or a lunatic”. Grant “Or both.” Percy to Sam “Good show old bean!”
Choat “How about we take a squad of marines on a steamlaunch flyer and check out the plantation?” Sam “We don’t want to raise suspicion”. Choat “It’s not unusual for a launch to visit.” Sam “Still, we can go under the auspices of Lord Percy making a tour of the river, and stopping to see how the newest human settlement is doing.” Martin “Well, let’s get ready and start in the morning.” Grant “There is no morning here, per se. But everyone does sleep on a regular schedule.” Martin “maybe the plantation is full of anarchists!”
Next Morning

Lt.Danforth and Sgt.-maj. O’Brian lead the marines. The trip to the plantation is about 10hrs travel. ‘Bright and early’ we hed out. The soldiers amuse themselves by shooting large insects and spiders from the deck. Sgt “Here now, stop wasting ammunition!” Pvt “Oh what’s the worry sarge, not like there are any hostile natives around”.
We approach the plantation. Percy “Chaps look, look at the size of that game trail over there! There must be something big to hunt around here.” It is beyond the plantation, one toward the hot zone an one opposite toward the cold zone. Sam “Does it go to a ford in the river?” Percy “It does. It’s not a game trail, its for a vehicle”. Sam “Certainly”.
Upon landing, Flynn and Hill, the 2 who run the place, walk from the veranda dressed in typical plantation-owner clothes “Well, weren’t expectint a visit from the capital.” Percy intros us “I am conducting a planetary tour and thought we would stop here”. Hill “Would you like a tour then?” Percy “Sure”. Hill “Planning on sleeping here then?” Sam “We will”. We are given a guest house akin to an African bungaloo of good size, including game-trophies from the solar system.
Turns out the 2 have run plantations on Venus as well, quite exprienced. Percy “Who’s your benefactor?” Guinn “A consortium back on earth, one of banks”. Upon conversing further, seems like the duo have absolutely nothing to hide. They have not sent a shipment of anything back to earth yet. Percy inquires about the trail and Flynn asks “What trail”. Sam points it out and Flynn stumbles for an answer. “So, we’re having caterpillar steaks for dinner,er..fish steaks and gator”. From his manorisms, there may be a thumb on them keeping them quiet. Percy “So giant crocodiles make those trails?” Hill “We, uh, occassionally have visitors…” Flynn “Ok, there is an explorer who financed much of our start-up costs. He has a rather large explorationo vehicle and he goes in both directions.” Sam “Is he here now?” Flynn “No”. Sam “Is this some sort of big secret?” Hill “Now we don’t know what he’s up to, for all we know he could be up to no good. We certainly do not know”. Odd thing to suddenly say. Percy “Which way is he?” They say the hot half, and are unsure of when he will return. Sometimes is gone a few days to a week. Sam “What does he bring back with him?” Hill “Nothing”. Flynn “He is very wealthy”. Sam “Percy is wealthy too”. Hill “The man’s an explorer. He sometimes brings large wheels back with him. His juggernaut tows them back. Huge metal wheels he makes from a mold. He has a ship that comes and takes his wheels away.” We discuss back and forth and Flynn says “All we know is he goes into the hot zone and sometimes comes back with huge wheels of tin”. A-HA. These guys keep letting stuff leak over course of conversation. They seem to want to tell us so much, but know of consequences that may come to them.

“Our plantation is about to start making money. Copra is stored by the ton. When this gets back to earth, it will be worth thousands of pounds. We could afford a piano, more workers, buy us some wives…” Sam “That all sounds well and good to us, we do not want to mess any of that up.” Hill “Well then.. We don’t have a clue what this guy is up to.” Percy “Do you get anything in return?” Hill “Well he helped get us started, he pays a docking fee when his transports come it”. Percy aside to Sam “Didn’t he say the guy has no ship?” Sam “They also said they had no idea of his dealings, then they said he comes in with a juggernaut full of tin and loads it onto transports.” Hill “We just don;t want any trouble. Pleas just let the governor know we have nothing to hide and have had no part in any of this.” Martin “Is this the first you have dealt with man?” Flynn “It is. He came to Venus and proposed this opportunity to us.” Gerald “Was his name Wisnewski?” Hill “Mm, That could be it”. Sam “Why don’t we dine tonight and talk more.” They say a man came from the capitol by boat a few days ago. HE waited for Wisnewski til he cam back from getting ice and left with Wisnewski into the hot zone. Martin “Was his name Brumford?” Hill “Thay could have been it. He was the type to look down his nose at hard workin men such as us while he stamps our permits.” Martin “Where does he keep the tin that he brings back?” Hill “We don’t know where he stores his tin” as he gives a wild eyed look, obviously he does.
“Out on the other side of the landing field, you might find a whole lot of wheels of tin hidden there with ferns and growth camouflaging them so they would not be seen from the air.” Martin “We might huh?” Flynn “You might, we don’t know”. Percy aside to Sam “Perhaps Livingstone Tin is looking to start an operation here!” Grant “The man would still make a fortune if he did things properly through gov’t and economic channels. He is surely attempting to bring the gov’t down.”
We spend the night there and dine.
Next Morning

We leave following trail into hot zone.
2nd Day Out

Getting to the furthest point we can bare to travel. Direct rays of the sun would burn a man in a minute. Far ahead, we see a huge tracked vehicle leaving the edges of the forbidding desert. Danforth “Hurry, full speed ahead!” Sam “Perhaps we should not be so brazen. We know nothing about it’s defenses.” Danforth “You may be in command of this expedition but I am in command of the military aspect.” Percy “What’s your rank? Lt? I happen to be Major Lord Percy of the Redwings Artillery”. He salutes Percy immediately with a “Sir”. Danforth “Fire the Hodgkins cannon!” Sam to Grant “What do you think this thing is made out of? If it can stand the heat, what else is it impervious to that we have at our disposal?” The shell simply bounces off. Sam to Grant “Knew it! Damn fools. We should have turned back to ambush him at the plantation!” Grant “Let’s run for it”. Sam “He knows where here now.” The vehicle turns in our direction.
Danforth “He can’t hurt us we’re airborne.” Sam “What if he has a weapon?” Danforth sneers “What kind of a weapon could that thing have that could hit us up here?” Sam “Percy will you please take charge here, man?” Percy “Right, we need to board this thing…” 2 puffs of smoke from 2 turrets on the juggernaut! Sam “EVASIVE ACTION!” Danforth “MY God, they have Hodgkins guns of their own!” Percy “Gerald! Take the helm” Martin “Take the controls!” Gerald kicks the pilot off the controls and pilots, the shot just misses but the other hits just behind where Danforth stands. His body is flung over the railing, screaming as he lands on the superheated sand below and is incinerated. Gerald does a quick about-face and we retreat. Percy “Should we get out of here or approach low and board?” Sam “We should get ahead and out of site. I don’t know how we would even get into it’s hull. Likely it is not easy.” William “So it seems we are competely ineffective to what we can do.” Grant “It would be scorching hot itself on the outside of the hull.” Percy “Let’s get back to the ford at the plantation.” Only through Gerald’s superior skills as a pilot are we all alive and in flight!

3 days Later

The juggernaut comes into view, returning to the plantation. We and the troops are ready though mosty hidden. The juggernaut is as big as a house with 6 pound guns, dragging 8 tinwheels behind it by steel cables. A door opens at the rear of the vehicle, and a man through a cone yells “Ahoy, ahoy!” Sam “Step down from there immediately!” Man “Flynn, Hill did you betray my trust?” Sam “Our old Boy Carrington figured you out!” Gerald fires his rifle, hits-10 “That’ll teach ya for shootin your cannons at me!” The man dives inside and his amplified voice "I’ll get you bastard for this. The 6-pounder turns and fires a few rounds at the plantation storehouse, the wood! Hill and Flynn cry in horror as it explodes their moneypot. Our ship rises from behind the bungalo and approaches the juggernaut quickly and from high with Gerald at the helm, Grant and Covington having assumed correctly the guns could not raise higher than 45-degrees. Gerald keeps us within the safe window. Wisnewski as the juggernaut starts heading to cross the ford “Word of advice, don’t get in my way!” Sam “Take us over it, Gerald. Drop us atop it”. Percy “Who is on the boarding party with me?” It’s all of us, the sgt and 6 of the soldiers, leaving the rest to run the flyer. We shall assault from the rooftop and find the way in, the guns train to us too late to reach us. Gerald drops us from directly above on the solar-collector, which should be cooled now. We then drop down ropes successfully onto the hull, but for 1 soldier who slips off the panel, bangs off the hull and is crushed hideously in the wheelgears.
Sgt-maj “What next sir?” Percy “We head fore, toward the pilothouse and through the glass viewport.” We then see there is a locked hatch to the pilothouse as well. The sgt-maj. ties a rope onto his waste, another soldier anchoring him. The cpl swings down and fires at the window. Cracks begin to spread, he can see the driver through the double paned glass, a honeycomb vacuum between the panels. We hear a click behind us, the hatch! Through it Wisnewski armed with a revolver rises partway. Martin is too quick and fires his own revolver-8, the man rapid-fires 3 shots at a soldier holding the rope, hitting twice and killing him. Sam “Rope!” and Will like lightning grabs it in the nick of time, and strong enough to hold it! Sgt-maj “Jolly good show!” Covington grabs to rope as well to back Will up. Gerald fires 3 at the shooter-12/17/dud. Percy crits with his saber-12 DEAD. The sgt-maj pushes off and crashes through the glass! He begins a scrap as we make haste through the hatch. The juggernaut has ponderously turned for the bungalo! Gerald takes the seat and after a few moments, vehicles not being his forte, finds and hits the breaks.
The crew desires to accept terms, asking for no prosecution. After questioning them, they all seem to be simple thugs looking for a fast buck.
Percy his more interested in the juggernaut’s use in a new Livingstone Tin venture. Percy offers them honest pay to stay on. Martin “He’s got a soft spot for criminals.” Flynn and Hill are downtrodden, unable to affort to stay now that their harvest is blown to smithereens. Sam “The Queen will still need management here.” Percy “Livingstone Tin is willing to keep you on.” They say they will need a thousand pounds to stay afloat until such time. Percy reminds them of the tin that is already here to be transported back! Flynn and Hill are masters at managing plantations and shall stay here to do so.

Percy claims the tin operation for the Queen of England! We’re all going to be rich!

One Week Later

Still on Mercury, after spending a week actually visiting the outpost and plantations, examining flora and fauna, doing system-checks/tune-ups to the ship, etc…
Percy “So, how long does it take to get to Venus?”
Grant “Venus? Since when are we going to Venus?”
Percy “Well, as long as its on the way back we may as well continue my grand tour.”
Grant “I don’t need to go to Venus!”
Covington “What else do you have to do? What else did you build this wonderful ship for but to travel the solar system?”
Grant “True words. Let’s do it.”
Martin “Gerald, plot the course.”

We talk some about the future Livingston Tin. Percy wants to start his own tinning company here. Grant says we’ll need a solicitor to set up the corporation for you. Percy tells him he already has a solicitor in Nathaniel Pennybaker of Barnes and Pennybaker.

Percy gets the managers together and works up a temporary contract, that Percy will send his solicitor back unless a ship from here gets to earth first and can contact him.

We speak of Venus: Grant “We won’t be able to actually land on Venus. Something about the atmosphere causes liftwood to degrade. It can’t be just the humidity since it does not happen even in the jungles of earth. The first expedition that landed on Venus was never heard from again, as was the second and third. But the 4th one was German, who do not use liftwood. They are proponents of Hydrogen lift.”
Covington “Right, the Germans on Venus are equal with the Brits.”

Gerald plots the course. The trip is an uneventful 10 days, the quickest time possible for the trip at this time of year! Covington reads up on Venus in Conklin’s Atlas of the Worlds and other such books during the voyage.

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An African Detour
We detour to Egypt after a fellow Oxford Boy's call for help

After a jolly good game of croquet ending in a victory by Percy, a couple of weeks since our triumphant return from the Heliograph, while smoking cigars, drinking brandy and hearing Grant and Covington droll on about sciences for a good hour, we discuss where to go next. Do we go straight to Mars, or one the other 2 inner planets first? Percy of course wants to go straight to Mars. Grant suggests, if he really wants to SEE the solar system, we should start at the inner. The butler then enters, informing us that a visitor wishes to speak to us by the name of Bottoms. We all get a good college laugh from that as he presents Prof. Alfred Bottoms’ card. Sam “Don’t know this Bottoms.” Percy says to bring him in. In late 40’s/eary 50’s: “Sorry for bothering you sir, but I heard the distinguished American scientist Cyrus Grant is here.” Percy “He surely is.” Bottoms “Wondering if you could help me with something, one scientist to the other.” He is a noted scientist, an archaeologist specializing in study of artifacts and hieroglyphics, not digging. There is an artifact called ‘The Scroll of Anubis’ that was stolen from the Cairo Museum some weeks ago. However, he was very interested in getting it back for study. Martin “Why call on us about this?” He wants to get to Cairo as quickly as possible. Martin “So you need a ride?” “Yes. But we could get there on your flyer in a matter of a day or so. Would yo also be willing to go with me to recover this? I hear you are quite the adventurers yourself. The toast of the city after rescuing the Harbinger.” Sam “To Egypt? Muslims?” Bottoms “Yes?” Percy “It would not typically be our style to go to Egypt. Is it low paying, high chance for treasure and death, fame and glory for me and my crew?” Bottoms “YES! How can you turn down an offer like that?” Sam “What’s your plan of action once we get there?” The agents he hired to help look for the scroll, as the Egyptian gov’t is on it as well. They were going to put one of the best men they could get on it but he is unavailable. One Rick Rathbone is the man." We say we know him from the Adventurer’s club well. Percy “The question is, who are the suspected culprits, how many are there and will we be able to freely draw weapons when danger strikes?” Bottoms “That depends on if it’s white men or wogs. If it’s wogs of course you can draw weapons. If they’re white first one should determine if they are Englishmen or not.” Percy “That’s my first question, who is the enemy?” He doesn’t know for sure. His agents found a contact who is willing to sell info on who stole it and where it is, but will only deal with Bottoms himself, hence he must go. He wishes us to act as added muscle…now we are down to it.
Sam “What do you think?” Percy “Tough call.” Sam “Outside of our realm of expertise.” Grant “It’s entirely up to you, Percy.” We go and speak to Archimedes, who really wants us to get to Mars to see if we can find any evidence that Mars had been colonized at some point by the Vulcans/Vulcanians. We think we are decided, but upon returning home there is an urgent letter for Percy from an Oxford chum of he and Sam, who is a civil servant on Mercury named, Randolph Forbes Carrington. Percy “Oh, we had a great time together at University.” Sam “We can’t turn down a request from an Oxford Boy by God!” He speaks of a diabolical conspiracy at his station, threatening the pillars of the Empire’s commerce. Involvement by corrupt members of his own in the pot as well, but can not determine who they are. That’s why he turns to us, not authorities there. Percy and Sam’s eyes brighten at the implications of once again saving the Empire. Enclosed is a newspaper article to “ponder it’s significance”, and he has procured us passage if we do not have our own transportation.
Percy “Right then, someone who is good at pondering…” Sam grabs it and reads it aloud. It’s from the times, on tin prices plummeting on the world market. Tin minds of America and Europe face bankrupcy, as to brokers in tin. Most of the new-source tin, from an island in java (never before a tin producer) must be an intermediary. But, no one knows the source of the cheap tin. Many far fetched ideas being flung about. ‘Tis a grave concern of the metals market. Martin “So what does it have to do with Mercury?” Sam opens his Conklin’s Atlas of the Worlds to Mercury: Last to be explored of the inner planets, first in 1876. 3 other expeditions in the ’70’s. It does not rotate, one light and one dark side like the moon. A World River circles it completely top to bottom. Extractions of it pale in comparison to Venus and Mars, only about 40% larger than Luna. The twilight zone of the river is in constant dawn/dusk, a flourishing paradise, boasting raw materias such as tin and lead and on it’s bright side, dry ice and ammonia on the other, in abundance but they are barren wastes and pose considerabe problems impossible to overcome thus far. Britain has Princess Christiana Station at North Pole, mostly scientific studying sun and local environment. 20 scientists, 50 servants/workers, 20 gov’t officials and a score of marines. Royal navy flyers patrol, and supply ship comes every 6 months. Several expedition within a 1000 miles of pole have been sponsored since stations estabishment in 1880.

Hot side begins as desert studded with great rocks and mountains causing shadows called ‘steppint stones’ much cooler; 100F, with distance temp rises 1 degree/3 miles, then in sequence roughly: boiling wasteland about 600 miles deep from 212F to 450F at edge of tin zone, occasional hot springs of steam; tin zone of shallow pools of molten tin often covered with crusts of slag,sector is 600m deep, from 450F to 670F at edge of lead zone, flowing liquid metals mosty tin but also others; lead zone, avg temp high enough to melt lead, pools and lakes here also of lead and tin centured sub-solar, 600m radius.
Dark side gradually decreases from 32F to -350F. Also divided into zones: Ice Sheets, freezing rain or snow, 32F to -100F; Dry Ice Zone 300m, carbon and ammonia snow;Kelvin’s Land, 1800m radius.
Twilight Zone is 300m wide of habitable area teaming with life. Fed by rains, drainage from water shed, and icebergs from Ice Sheet Zone border. Life is Paleozoic Age, moss and huge ferns but no grass of flowering plants but for what humans brought with them, massive aquatic creatures. River ranges from rapids, falls, swamps and canyons, to lakes and wide.
Covington gathers all books on Mercury he can get from his library and Oxford to read on the way, especially megafauna. Sam “So someone is now able to gather tin from Mercury easily, and get it back to earth.” Percy “Plus it would need little to no refining, being pure molten tin in pools. Low costs.” Grant “And fuel cost, running on steam and Aether propeller, is cheap.” Percy “Once you destroy all price competition, you can make prices whatever you want.”

So, we begin packing and take off for Cairo 3 days later.
We land in Cairo late afternoon on the front lawn of the Grand Continental. Sam “I say, we need some rooms here.” Grant has the key to the ship, Gerald the spare. We are met by 2 of his investigators who leave with him to talk to his contact as we all settle in.

Bottoms invites us to join him for dinner than night in the great dining room. Servant asks us to join him in his room as we arrive at the hall. At his room, one stands outside with a webley shoulder-holstered. He motions to us to go in and we see Bottoms in bed, physician at his side, bandage around his head. Sam “Bottoms what on earth happened, get knocked on the dome? Haha” Percy “Bottoms what happened to your top?” Haha, Covington gives a good laugh at that. He says he went to talk to his contact and found him stabbed and dieing. Percy “Hmm”. Sam “Absolutely bizzare.” The last thing he was able to say as he died was “Fort Obleux?” Bottoms says it is a foreign legion fort in the desert to the west. Bottoms glanced out the window and saw a man darting away from the building, a European! He raced after him and caught him by the shoulder with an “Excuse me sir, I’d like to talk with you”. The man pulled a pistol and struck Bottoms in the head, knocking him down. Bottoms’ men arrived and both parties fired, one of Bottoms’ men wounded and the suspect dead. So, the one lead is the Fort. “I am stuck here in bed, the doctor says I need to spend a few days in bed, I have a fractured skull you know. Would you mind checking it out for me? There is some conspiracy and if it involves the French you know it’s no good”. Sam “Now that it involves French we should go.” Percy “Indeed. Perhaps we could attach bombs to our flyer and bomb the fort”. Grant says that’s not possible in the time we have, but long term it’s not a bad idea.
After dinner, Percy says we should go out drinking. Martin responds what else do we ever do! Grant says “You want alcohol and bellydancers but that doesn’t happen here in Islam.” We BYOB to the bellydancers. There are about half a dozen, 4 worth lookin’ at. Grant “Do any of you speak arabic?” No’s all around. Grant calls the owner, who speaks English, as the first dancers come out and we pull out the port. Percy inquires of the ‘availability’ of the women. Knowing Percy is English and obviously nobility, he demands 5L…no problem for Percy. “One each, out of those 4(the good looking ones) for myself, Covington and Gob here. Martin and Will there will share the other. My treat men!” A good night and we return late staggering to our rooms. Sam “Thanks old man” to Percy. Will “The old London Bridge, eh Martin?”
At the ship, we find the door open a crack. Sam looks in “Benson, Benson you here?” We see a pool of blood, Benson lying in it with a knife in him. Martin “Are there even doctors in Islam?” Sam “Luckily I’ve read an abundance of medical journals.” He gives first aid and Benson awakens shortly. Says he was in the ship and the door clicked unlocked and he presumed it was us, yelling over his shoulder “What are you doing her so late? Thought you all went out for women?” He just saw a Yellow Martian man, a canal Martian, before he got a Martian dagger in the back some hours ago. Grant panicks and runs for the control room to find the controls smashed “It’s going to take days to repair this”. In the engine room we find our somewhat flawed diamond cracked apart. Grant “This is a spot of bad luck old chap” to Sam. Sam “quite”. Grant “Back at my lab this would take a couple weeks, here a couple months to fix. I have a spare diamond that I can have sent.” Sam “That’ll take to long”. Percy “We may as well go to Sumatra and mine a new one!” Will and Covington, checking out the door and lock, agree the scratches show someone picking it, likely fairy skilled. Sam “I guess we need to get to work”. Grant “I can start, you all need to get to helping the good Dr. Bottoms.” Martin “How are we supposed to get there?” Grant “Camel”. Martin “In this sun?! We’ll roast!”
Next Day

Nonetheless, the next day we see about procuring a guide, recommended by the museum who we visit for just that purpose. The guide says that along with 2 laborers/camel handlers, we will need 8 camels for mounts/supplies. It is to be a 3 day trek west, a hot one. We gather supplies this day.
Next Day

We depart for the fort, spirits kept up by good old Percy and Covington’s neverending optimism and jollyness. A bedouin, during the journey, appears at the top of a low ridge. The bedouin have a particular problem with the French right now. Ahmed the guide hails him appropriately and asks us if we have anything to give him. Percy “I have some sausage”. Sam “We have port and cigars.” We meet him and he demands all of our camels. Sam “Dear God, you can’t have all our camels.” Bedouin “In bedouin territory you pay bedouin price.” Percy “I will give you them freely on our way back from where we go. Will you take my word as and Englishman?” Bedouin “we will take them now.” He motions and a shot rings out, dropping one of our laborers. Percy “I give you one more chance to talk this over peacably.” Sam “Or we’ll have you, you know”. Bedouin “NOW! Off the camels! My men are as many as the sands of the desert.” Percy “All right men, time for action.” Rifles are drawn and battle erupts.
Our guide draws his scimitar, slashing at the leader eyes and wounding him gravely, the blood in his eyes temporarily blinding him. Percy draws his revolver “Take cover and form a circle” and misses with first shot, then crits-DEAD as we a draw our revolvers and use our mounts as cover. Another arab pops from nearby and misses as Covington says everyone pick a direction outward and “fire at any head you spot” as the arabs pop up, shoot, and go back down. Another arab pops and is hit by Gerald-16 DEAD; Will readies a shot, missing as another arab shows himself and hits a cameldriver-DEAD; 5 arabs appears, 3 hitting and killing a servant. Martin charges on his camel at the easiest one to reach on his side “I’m not sitting in a beehive!” drawing his dagger on the way. He’s hit on the way by his target-12, who then drop his firearm and draws a scimitar. 5 others fire at Martin as he rides and hit twice-11,6; Now 13 arabs left.
Zakir pulls his rifle and readies a shot; Arab, hit by Percy for-11, misses, another misses Percy, one misses Zakir, Martin’s misses w/sword as Martin dismounts; another arab, hit by Will-9, misses; arab, hit by Gerald-8, misses. Martin draws pistol and hits-11. 5 arabs miss a Covington hits-6; One yells “surrender infidels and we’ll show mercy”, Sam “Never” Percy “Not bloody likely Godless heathens!” Sam “You had your own chance to surrender!”. Next arab criticaled by Guide-DEAD; 2 others fire on Guide, hit once-7. Next 3 fire on Percy, who hits one-15 DEAD, for 1 hit-7; next 3 hit Gerald once-10; 2 miss Covington, who hits-9, and 2 more miss Percy; Martin and his both miss one another.
As Martin battles in melee, the nearest 2 arabs charge in to help. Martin is able to kill 2 before being so bad he stumbles away and slides down slope, playing dead. The battle is very quickly over as 7 arabs in total flee, one finished off by Percy “Nobody kills my friends” and the body tumbles down, stopping nearby Martin. Sam “Had enough of the Queen’s eh!” Percy and Covington race to the badly injured Martin “I’m killed, Percy”. Sam unable to offer any medical aid.
Hours later, from a nearby ridge, we see the fort being sniped upon by bedouin. Percy “Angry chaps by the look of them”. We are in a cluster of rocks about 200yds to the west of the fort. The desert raiders move about the fort. On the crenelations we can see legionaires on guard. One officer walks from place to place on the wall firing, though his men are oddly silent. We need to make a run for the fort, our only option. Martin “What’s so important about a damn scroll of Anibos anyway.” Sam “I believe it’s Anubis”. Gerald “Look here. One, its a scroll we have never heard of, we have no idea what it is for. Second, they’re attacking French Foreign Legion. And I care nothing for musims, frenchies or legionaires.” Percy “Three, this is glory nonetheless.” Sam “And if Rathbone found out we didn’t go for this, he would be quite upset I venture. I suppose we need to make a run for it to the fort”. Guide “So do we make a run for it now, make a fighting retreat with cover fire to the fort, or sneak in at night?” Percy “There is only one thing to do. Go hellbent for leather.” We can spot a knotted rope hanging down our side of the fort wall. Or we can make for the other side and run for the front gate. Sam “Quite the ridiculous situation”.
There are raiders all around, a small group to our left or right and another behind. Sam suggests taking out the gangs on our flanks to reduce the fire closest to us, if we can do it quietly. We leave our camels hidden and approach the gang on the right. We spot 4, 3 shooting toward fort and another loading. Their rifles are single-shot. They are not in view of other raiders, so gunfire may not be noticed as not being from the raiders at first. All but the seriously injured Martin sneak up, while he readies a rifle. Will coordinates his plan with Gerald and Martin.
First, Martin fires when their 3 shooters fire so that his shot is masked anyway and they are empty. He hits-12 on shooter2, then we charge. Covington makes it to the reloader. He throws the ramrod in and aims straight at Covington. Martin hits him-8 and Sam slugs him-8. Percy slashes shooter1 with his sword-20 DEAD as his guts slide out. Gerald hits shooter2-10 DEAD, Will hits shooter3-6. Our guide hits reloader-3; Reloader fires the rod straight out of the barrel at Covington-12 impaling in his leg! Sam “Wasn’t expecting that one!” The others draw their tulwars. Percy is hit-6; Percy hits-9, Covington misses, Martin hits reloaderr-10 DEAD; Will moves in on the last-8 DEAD.
Martin spots a head peer from over a rock, the other gang has spotted us! We run for the camels, as he leaves presumably to report, and race for the fort. Bullets buzz around us, Martin is nicked but Sam is hit-16! Percy and Gerald are missed, Will hit-9, the guide hit-15. We get to the doors and yell. Sam “Open the doors, in the name of Queen Victoria!” Percy “Open the gate! Come on you French bastards!” Sam “Look you pansies…” Bullets strike the walls and sand around us. Percy is hit-13 “They made me bleed my own blood”. We charge in, and the first person Percy sees he plans on slugging until we see the red splotches on them. Some sort of disease or plague effects the occupants. We can hear horses charging the fort! “Quick you men, up to the walls!” We make for the top, instantly seeing that all the ‘men’ are dead bodies propped up, with only a few guards moving from place to place firing so as to fool the raiders. Percy “You fucking tits!” One says "Good to see you, you’ve doubled our number. Martin, in the excitement, peels away and skulks into what must be the captains lodging to search for the scroll. A Sgt. comes running by “stay away from there, the captains very sick”. Martin “Thanks, I’m already hurt the last thing I need is disease”. The Sgt continues by to face the attack.
The side with the rope is the one being charged. Gerald goes to the opposite wall, above the cpt’s quarters, to watch for a sneak attack. Suddenly, a Legionaire fires upon and kills his own man “die scum”, and is in turn killed by Sgt Drummond who explains it is the disease, it makes you go mad. “Watch out for anyone with the red splotches.” Drummond is skilled, most shots drop a raider. Gerald soon spies what seems to be a sand dune moving. Actually, some bedouin under camouflaged blankets are crawling toward the rope. Gerald ducks down, and the bedouin throw up a grapple and one climbs. Gerald cuts it with his dagger and the man falls. 1 then stands on another’s shoulders and a third climbs up them. His head reaches the crenelation and is shot in the face by Gerald’s revolver-15. Blood pours from his wound but he is not killed! Gerald quickly fires again-16 DEAD. The 2 down below have backed up to just see Gerald, they fire 2 shots at what they can see but miss, then they retreat away. Gerald sends several quick shots at them, killing one and wounding the other but he gets away.
Meanwhile, Martin opens the door and peers in. The captain, stricken with the disease, lies upon his bed, pulls up his pistol and sends 3 quick shots at Martin and misses. He fires another 3 as Martin shuts the door, hitting once-5. Martin “Cpt, I’m here with Lord Percy from England, we’re here to help you”. He says to come in. Martin carefully opens the door. Cpt"They’re out to get me, they all are." Martin “What brought this plague upon you, and I don’t mean the raiders?” “Lt Dubois had a patrol out. When he came back I heard some of the men from it gossiping. They had gone to Cairo not on patrol. I don’t know what happened. I went to confront Dubois about it and saw him hiding something. I demanded to see it so he gave it to me. It was a scrollcase, an ancient scrollcase. Obviously stolen so I commandered it from him. Then a week ago, the Bourgoise’s came. Msr Bourgoise and his wife. He asked to examine it so I let him. He opened it and red sand fell out of it, inside was a scroll. I then ordered him to hand over the contents and was suddenly struck from behind. When I awoke they were gone with the scroll, along with Duboise and the very same men who had been on patrol with him. The pile of red sand was gone but for a few grains I was able to collect, either blown away or taken with them. I have no idea where they meant to go. I had planned on following, but they poisoned the well as we quickly discovered. By that night and the next morn, all who had drank came down with this sickness.” He has one piece of the scrollcase that was left broken, with strange hieroglyphics on it. “There were 120 men here. Now barely 10 out of about 25 here fit for duty. I think they were all in the pay of Bourgoise to begin with, Lt Duboise had been hired to get the scroll for him.” They have been gone 3 days now. Too long to follow any trail with no experienced tracker.

Finally at the point of the main attack they retreat. It appears the main attack was only a cover to get the one’s Gerald dealt with into the camp, probably to open the gates.
We all soon get the captains story, and see a couple hundred raiders massing. Martin “I knew this wasn’t for us. We never should have come here.” That night, 3 or 4 more sick including the cpt die. Sgt Drummond now in command, saying there is a machine gun in the tower. Sam “Why didn’t say so. Percy is a devil on the guns. How many rounds do we have?” “A couple boxes”. Martin searches the barracks for anything the treacherous soldiers may have left behind but finds nothing.
Next Day

We awake at dawn, Martin has healed into moderate wounds.
The raiders charge, and Percy starts spraying them with machinegun fire, but begin to break up. Coming out of the sky we see our airship! It lands and Grant exits. It isn’t fit for space he says, but I got it good enough to fly through the atmoshpere. Sam “You saved all our lives, Grant. Let’s take the machine gun”. Percy “HA! I’m taking the machine gun. Fine idea old bean.” Martin “Let’s get out of here”. Guide “What about the legionaires?” Sam “We can cram them all in, we know now it’s a poison not a plague. It’s only hours to Cairo really.” We all escape to Cairo with the soldiers.

There, we see Prof Botoms with the scroll. He exclaims “Is this a joke?” Sam “What” Bottoms “This, its a forgery.” Sam “What do you mean, is it modern?” Bottoms “No, these are ancient Martian glyphs.” Sam “We found something much better than we thought!” Bottoms “Was any of that sand recoverable?” We show him the red sand which Covington saved in a small vial and he says “If I didn’t know better I’d say that was red sand from Mars.” Sam “I wonder what the poison was? So your scroll is from Mars, not ancient Egyptian.” He shows us that on the outside is Egyptian markings. The scroll had yet to be opened, as he and his daughter because of their expertise were going to be the one’s opening it. It was found at a dig in the valley of the kings. He turns it over, and it is the inside with the martian glyphs. It does seem to be made out of earthly clay. Martin “The outside may be just a cover for what is inside, unless this Anubis has something to do with Mars.” Bottoms “I don’t know, but someone needs to go to Mars.” Sam “Well, Mars is on the horizon for us for sure now. Though we can’t let our Oxfort Boy down first.”
Grant says it will take weeks to repair the ship for space flight and that we should just take the passage our friend arranged for us. Sam insists the 2 of them can get it fixed together in time. Grant after a few seconds thought “What the hell, let’s give it a shot.” It is slower still, and it takes 2 days to get back to England. Once their, Grant and Covington set to work immediately. Percy is excited about the machine gun, though we have no time to apply it now. Grant says we could do some serious work sometime and put a deck on it so we can be outside in atmosphere. Sam “That’s a major overhaul. We’d need serious downtimem”.
The boiler, control panel, propeller and install the diamond which arrives in another week. Covington takes on the control panel, the worst off of it all. Gerald has some repair skill, so he assists Sam. Grant works on the propeller.

After 7 days of rolls: Gerald does 15 points of repair, Grant 32 (23 repairs the propellar, other 9 goes to boiler). Covington’s rolls easily finish the last 10 on the controls, then the 11 to the boilers and 11 points to prepare for diamond. The day it arrives it is exactly ready to be installed. On 8th day we depart, as Percy and Will have readied all supplies while Martin heals his wounds for the week with lots of Guiness.

On 8th day, we depart for Mercury with the mystery of the scrollcase still lurking. The trip is an uneventful 25 and 1/2 days, arriving well ahead of when our Oxford Boy friend would have expected.

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Harbinger Saved!
Percy and crew against the anarchy of Rachaval

Only a couple days after our landing, contacted by the police inspector Montros and a scientist from the Harbinger Satellite. Explains that one of the most wanted anarchists, a Frenchman named Rachaval, has sworn publicly that the Harbingerr Heliograph will be blown to bits in two days, at precisely 5:00. They are lost as to how he plans to do this, he has not been found on it. They want us to handle the problem personally. We will fly up on Grant’s ship and dock, search the satellite and find the explosive before it’s too late.
Go to see the designer of the Harbinger, Wren. Knows it backwards and forwards so though he is in terrible health having been severely burned in an accident, he volunteers to come with us, bringing his manservant, and sounds like the adventure to come is quite exciting to him. Tells the servant “better pack the the bottle of hock, and better throw in the port too. I’m off to the Harbinger!” Is is to be the 6 of us, Montros + 2 constables, and Wren + manservant, and the scientist Worth.
Annabelle, still having a relationship with Martin, joins us as well. Gerald flies us up, we dock and board. Meet and greet with the crew, and then we announce the entire crew gathered in the bayroom, taking a personel account to be sure. Note that the times has a constant presence here, the only paper that does which gives them a monopoly on the earliest news from Mars. We then leave 1 constable back with them and we head up to the topmost level. The cpt. says none of us can possibly be the sabateur so only we will be searching, all crew will remain here. When asked, Wren says “the housing at the base of the interplanetary mirror mechanism should be searched first”.
Percy: “Gibberish, speak the King’s man!” To which Covington explains what this is.
We search the area and find nothing, but Wren is in pain, already getting dreadfully exhausted and Wren says “I am not as strong as we thought, I need rest and to sit down a while”, apologizing for being such a useless lump. Covington and Gerald suggest he should be taken down with the crew, and Wren says someone should stay here to watch for trouble then. William volunteers to stay back with them as a guard in case of trouble, and Wren says he’ll stay here so as to be better able to get to us if we should need him, since Will is staying anyway. So we move on. Time is ticking, it’s 3:30 so we spread out to search the ship entirely.
Main Deck: Percy and constable
Ships/Earthside Deck/Planetary Control/Greenhouses: Gerald and Worth
Lower deck(w/ bay): Sam and Inspector
Sunside Deck: Martin and Annabelle
2 other flyers are docked as well as our own. Worth says they have been here over a week, brought up supplies and crew changes.
We all start our searches from the rear, making way forward. None of the groups finds a bomb. Gerald finds that the docking mechanisms on the other 2 ships have been ruined, shows Worth who says they have been purposefuly sabataged and now they can not disconnect. They yell to Sam, who runs over to check. Indeed they are disabled with a wrench via brute force. “Dear God!” exclaims. Worth: “That means whoever it is could not get off with these either. How could he have smuggled a bomb onboard too? Everyone is searched.” Gerald: “Maybe it looks like a more mundane item.” Worth “Like what?” Gerald “A clock maybe, something such as that.” Still, everyones luggage and all storage have been searched thouroughly. Sam “Perhaps the bomb is planted on the outside of one of the ships. Their hydrogen for the balloons would be explosive.” Worth “Not big enough explosion from outside. Person must be on suicide mission, the only way he could is another ship.”
Sam “Our ship!” Worth “The one that was supposed to come up had a boiler that blew, that’s why we needed to use yours.” Sam “Yet we were asked at the last minute, someone here early enough to be here on one of the disabled flyers could not have known.” Worth “The only others we planned on bringing were more constables, prior to asking you, and Wren the original designer. No way either of them could be an anarchist. They are beyond reproach.”
Sam “Stranger things have happened,” now suspecting the Wren or more likely his servant.
Gerald “Who came on those last 2 ships?” Worth “A mechanic to replace another…” Gerald “he’d know how to lock the ships good.” Worth…“and the new reporter. Both are in the crowd over there.”
Sam “Hmm,” rubbing his chin.
Search our ship but find nothing amiss. So sure Sam says “I’ll let Percy beat me in a match if it’s on that ship.”
Covington wrestling with where this thing could be. What hasn’t been searched? Gerald “Women, food, animals?” Worth shakes head no. Sam “Us, and those who came with us.”
Above, Wren sends Jeeves to do a final search. Wren, time running out, tells Will we need to get back to ship and get out of here. Better to lose all this steel and machinery than lives.
Below Sam says “Hold on there, what did Jeeves bring on the ship?” Worth “I think just the basket with the wine.” Sam “Yes! To William immediately. We have it!” We race up, and find them just getting ready to come down. Sam “Hold please. Will, check the basket, Gerald search Wren and Jeeves.” Will says that Jeeves was searching up there so send Worth to search there. In basket is silveware, pheasant (cut it open and find nothing). Where is the wine? Wren says we drank it earlier. Sam “When man, I never saw it.” “Here I’ll show you, there in the bottom,” he rasps. He reaches in basket for bottles, but whips out a pistol and says “Gentlemen…” as Sam, wired for action as he is very suspect though mostly for Jeeves up to now, punches at him. He misses and Wren leaps back and fires, missing. He tears off his mask and it is Rachaval. Jeeves now pulls out a gun himself. They have us covered.
(Gerald thinks to himself ‘I really hope this isn’t Wren, can’t really see his face as it is so burned and somewhat wrapped)
Percy, in forward operation room, hears a shot and makes his way back to it with the constable. Annabelle and Martin hear the shot from the deck below. Martin tells Annabelle to go to bay and check things, keep it calm, as he heads to the gunfire.
Rachaval "Gentlemen, let’s discuss this. My man on boards has damaged the cutters so they can’t take off. Only we all have guns. My bomb is ready to go off, I will put Britain in a bad light and be one step closer to the grand revolution. This thing is over Europe right now, and the pieces will rain all over it.
Percy opens door and peaks in, seeing the situation. Constable throws door open “You there you’re under arrest.” Rach and Jeeves both fire and miss.
Sam “PERCY!! HAHA, You’re ruined Rachaval!” as he lunges with another punch but Rach dodges deftly.
Percy fires and hits Rach. William and Gerald punch Jeeves but miss. Constable charges him w/ club and grazes. Jeeves puts gun into the constable’s chest and pulls, but cop’s AoO criticals and Jeeves is dropped. Rachaval hits Sam w/ pistol in the arm, throws gun and “I surrender, I surrender” as Sam gives him one good Oxford slug to the jaw. “I demand to be taken into custody immediately.” Sam “Where’s the explosive?” Rach “My man hid it up there somewhere. We need to get off this ship now, no time to look.” Gerald “we should leave him here to be blown up.” Martin arrives. Rach “You can’t do that, I am a prisoner of the English crown and will be treated accordingly.” Montros “Unfortunately that is correct, sirs. We have to take this dog in alive”.
Sam, William and Gerald go to look for bomb. William “He was only gone a minute, he couldn’t have hid it too well.” Find the 2 bottles together between some gears. Gerald carefully pulls them out. Can hear the port ticking, Covington says it’s the detonator. Carefully unscrews top, exposing the inner workings, vials containing nitroglicerin. Only 3 minutes remain on the countdown, a small watch. Covington carefully begins to work on it and…disables it, rolling the exact DC25 that he needed, with an action point. Meanwhile, Montros and cop remove all of padding and disguies, searching Rach.
Separate all components, crush timer. Slap Rachaval in irons and take him to the bay with the body of Jeeves. Martin “Great job constable.” Constable “I can’t abide these anarchists.” As we take them down the metal steps, Rach ‘slips’ once in front of the constable, "Come along sir, you should be more careful. Then holding his his iron a bit high, which are behind his back, walks him into the wall beside the door into the bay. Cpt. tries to let everyone get back to their jobs, but Sam “Not so fast, my good man. We still have one accomplice who sabataged the cutters. No one leaves.”Rach says we have been planning this for some time, and he’s been here quite a while. Constable “Let me find some place for this man to sit and rest.” Inspector prefers none of us should be near the prisoner. Pulls out his pipe, flicks a match, lights it and says “Me and Mr. Rachaval are going to have a discussion.” Percy informs all that this is a secret mission for the Queen, all are sworn to secrecy. Montros comes back after burning Rach some and asks for a mechanic Benson. “It’s not me, I swear govn’r.” Montros “If that’s so, how would he have known your name.” He turns to run, but men of action in the crown catch him and throw him down. He professes his innocence. Montros “Should I shackle him?” Percy “Yes sir.” Sam “I still don’t trust Rachaval. Hold the show for a minute, would you please?” He looks at the cutter’s disabling, and says though it looks like blunt force at first, was likely done with an engineer’s/mechanic’s eye. 3 mechanics, including the new one Hedges. Senior mechanic says he’s been doing 3 months on/3 off here for 10 years. Times guy wants to know that since he’s not implicated if he can get to office and send the story. Percy “Not a chance, man! You can give our thouroughly censored story soon enough.” Cpt tells crew “All right men, let’s get back to work.” Percy puts immediate stop to that. “I say, this is preposterous! If one more man presumes they are leaving before I say so, they’re going to get a right good Oxford Jab to the face! See here!”
Montros searches all their rooms for anarchist literature, find nothing. Constable, Martin and Percy search their persons. Percy leans to Martin and says “Too bad there aren’t any female mechanics to search, eh?” Percy’s guy, Hedges, has an anarchist tatoo on front of his shoulder. Tries to explain it away. Constable smacks him on head w/ club. “Where did ya get it?” After 3 of these he says “Your kind will be the first to die when we take over.” He’s our man, gets belligerent and upset as we shackle him. Find metal rod in his boot. Montros “So what’s this for then?” Hedges “Shove up your ass.” Montros drubs him. Hedges was going to stick it in the most sensitive gears if he got back on duty. If it worked right, though not a sure thing, steamworks would back-up and cause an explosion.
Gerald flies us back down and it’s party time at our favorite tavern. HAHA!

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Luna, Ho!
Percy starts his Grand Tour, with a voyage to the dark side of the moon.

MoonCyrus Grant

In England, Covington gets a letter from academic collegue Cyrus Grant in the American West. Has invented an aether propelor capable of much slower movement and hence greater maneuver corrections, and can go through atmosphere using hydrogen balloon. Tells us of a Russian named Vladamir Taresh Kova who had gone to the moon with a similar ship some time before but had never returned. A large diamond helps power the ship. He asks us to join him on his maiden voyage to investigate lights on dark side of the moon. Seeks the cause of a strange glow on the dark side of the moon.As Archimedes has yet to give us any specific orders, and Percy is not one to sit around with a Grand Tour to do… we head for the American West, Arizona.
Assistant/Engineer: Benson
Niece: Annabelle Somerset. Tough young gal (fast hero3). Her and Martin take a liking to each other and ‘go all the way’ on the voyage to moon.
Moon
Crash near a gorge the glow is coming from. Did not expect atmosphere and we are veering and weaving back and forth. Grant tries to inflate the balloon but though it softens our fall, it is torn up as we slip down the side of the gorge before it comes to rest on a large landing. Diamond that focuses the Propeller Governor is shattered in crash, no spare. Stuck here forever unless we can find a diamond. Begin a mountaineering descent downward and gravity is increasing as we go. A mystery! Luckily the descent is easy, though it lasts a few days. Attacked a couple times by weird flying creatures, Annabelle excellant at picking them off in desparation at fighting them off Grant throws some of the fungus at them and it disolves them if they are hit with it like it were acid. Also, on day 6, attacked by a giant caterpillar which grabs Annabelle in its clutches. Martin leaps onto its back as the others fire upon it and gets her down as it dies.

We find that the glow is caused by the fungus, which is phosphorescent!
To our surprise, we come upon the wreck, worse than ours, of another Aether Flyer somewhat like Grants, who believes it to actually be Kova’s! Virtually an empty hull, all electical and mechanical equipment gone as well as all the furniture. He only had half dozen men in his crew, but we find empty crates labeled ‘Remington’ for 30 rifles. Hmm. Continue down until day 10 and area honeycombed with caves. The further we go down the more acidic the moss is becoming, and at this point it is becoming too risky. Explore and find running water and evidence of life. After wandering we find notched steps. Follow and see these ugly alien grasshopperlike creatures, about 5’ tall, each with a remington aimed at us. One human named William in charge. They capture us, tie us up, and lead us to a cell. Gerald bluffs him on the way, convincing him he hates all of us and would join with Will instead, so Will keeps him out with himself.
Crew of the Russian ship mostly murdered by Kova because he didn’t want to leave, and feared mutiny. Used the insect aliens. Now forcing them to mine lunar diamonds for him. William last left from his crew, stayed alive by playing to Kova’s needs and feigning total loyalty, and Kova used him as 2nd to keep Salanites in line. Really wants to get out of here.
In cell with K’Chuk and some other Salanites who explain this to us, and that they were part of a resistance. We form a plan, Will and Gerald spring us and we rush the guards and overpower them. Get their weapons and lead rebels in a revolt. Running gunbattle and some melee, through caves, get them in a room with a few entrances and trap them in a pincer from multiple sides.
While we are locked up, Kova made his way upward and came back with components from our ship, quicker than we were gone. He has only a handful of men with him and fights a running withdrawal. As we reach cave mouth, he and men above us shooting down. K’Chuk shows Will, Gerald, and Sam a passage coming up behind them. We attack from rear and kill his men. Making his way down the cliff face in a desparate escape, we watch as Kova’s hands begin to be eroded from his bones by the acidic fungus and he plummets to his death below, far out of sight.

  • Find medallion: highly polished silvery metal; machined runes. Squid-like humanoid head.
  • The diamonds Kova has are all highly flawed, save 1! Benson and Covington repair our ship over several days, using a passage which we had missed that opens close to our wreck, taking 4 days journey from Kova’s cave rather than the 10 day climb. Near the end, get word from the cave that Cyrus has gone missing over the medallion. He parachuted to the bottom of the gorge the fool! Leaves a note saying he must seek its origin but can not ask friends to join him, more dangerous than we could know. So, of course, Sam and Benson finish the repairs 2 days later and we follow him down, safely thanks to Gerald’s supreme piloting skill.

Land on a small beach along a small lake with a river flowing in and out. Fins the parachute and evidence of the wood on beach being made into a raft. Covington builds us a raft (reliability 10) to follow Grant downriver, only way he could have gone. Skeleton on beach (ends up being skeleton of moon man of Bing’s race).
Have long voyage through labyrinth, with Percy’s every choice of direction leading us to what would be the longest route possible to our destination, of tributaries and encounter strange moon races and plants on a series of islands. A couple small skirmishes with them but nothing serious. Get caught in rapids, heading to a huge waterfall and must stop. We disassemble the raft, and scale the wall waste deep in a line, attached to one another by rope, and pull the pieces with to a calm spot. Reassemble and rest on a nearby island where we are attacked by moon aliens while we rest and fight them off.
Leave another direction and come to a much gentler area to a small sea. Get to a large island populated by a new moon race of short humanoids, lead by one named Bing, who can speak by his mind, and another larger race who seem to be only guards at first. They here pretend to be friendly with us but Bing warns us. Sitting down at table with several aliens, Bing admits nothing, saying they are workers for a city downriver from here. They say the next river transport is in a couple days and it will take us there if we wish.
During the couple days of waiting, Bing mentally links with Covington in order to pass us info secretly. He admits that Grant was here and that Bing and his people are under the thumb of the city further downriver, which is where Grant was taken as a prisoner; A scientific race, but at the same time reject all new theory and evidence. Locked in their current pseudo-science like a religion. Powerful Science-Priests lead the ‘religion’. Bing, a scientist himself, once naively believed he could convince his superiors of his results and move science forward, but now sees the futility of such attempts.
We are taken captive and locked in a storage shed sans weapons before we can make a move, nonetheless. A friend of Bing brings us food, and says they will revolt if we can escape. Just say when. Says boat from city will arrive soon, so we make it 2 hours before it is scheduled. We hear them begin to fight and we ram our way out with the largest thing in there. Gerald handles door guard as the rest of us dive into fray, first brawling until we get weapons. A large automatic gun begins firing form a guard tower.
Martin: “That thing’ll end us all!”
Percy: “Covington, we can’t let this go on, I do say.”
Covington: “Then would you be so kind as to eliminate it, old bean?”
Percy races to its top, tossing the gunner over the wall to his death, and fires upon our foes. We are victorious
We set a trap for the arrival of the ship, which is actually a submarine. When they pull in, only Bing and a few of his people await them on the dock, but we are ready to pounce and Percy man’s the big gun. As Bing’s people starts to lead them away, Percy opens up on them as the rest of us rush to the pier. The few that remain after Percy’s onslaught are quickly overcome by Sam and Bing et al, while Gerald and Martin get into the ship quickly enough to stop the pilot from leaving. We turn him over to Bing.
We pilot it to city’s docks at night and sneak in. Bing and some of his people come with, as they are in need of females and there’s are kept at one of the temples. The prison is a large, multilevel complex. Rescue Grant and many others, and get medallion back, though many more are left, mental vegetables or insane from whatever they went through in this vile place. Bing’s people raid temple for women and we make a successful escape.
We move Bing’s people to one of the larger islands we passed on the way. Using the river vessel they let us off at our ship and Gerald pilots us homeward. K’Chuk and Naporrow Bing return to earth with us as ambassadors of their respective races, Will joins our band of travellers to stay. Much fanfare and acclamations as Percy decides at the last minute how grand it would be to land in the front yard of Buckingham Palace. The papers go crazy, the world abuzz with our dazzling return the next day. Bring back several soil and plant samples as well, including: 3 samples of fungus from between our ship and Kova’s cave, water from the caves and the river, soil from a few of the islands, and rocks from the cliff face.
Percy sends advice to Queen to send up the military and depose the city.

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