Clockwork-1888

Clockwork 1888 Session 97

Clockwork 1888 Date: Saturday, July 19, through Friday, August 22, 1890
With the battle concluded, Jezz approached Lokan’s body and removed the medallion. Jezz approached them and held it out to them. “This is of your people, not ours. Your kind should have it,” she concluded as she handed it to them.

“That has to be it,” Dr. Alexandra Simone said as she saw the medallion. “One of the reasons I was sent here was to recover an amulet,” she informed in a whisper. They obliged her with a spell to detect magic and found the aboriginal medallion to indeed be quite magical in nature.

“Did you know that Kyrian Fischer was a friend of Dr. Irwin,” they questioned Simone. Simone was surprised at that information. “I’d heard that the others had been looking for the amulet,” she confessed, “but I wouldn’t have suspected him.”

“Well, Fischer told Irwin that you were in a secret organization and that’s why he sent Lokan to fetch you,” Evgenia told. “Where is Dr. Irwin,” Dracona inquired. “He led us through the passage but then disappeared before we got to the guards.”

With a promise to return with acceptable food supplies for the reptoids, they made haste back through the tunnel and to the facility. Dr. Irwin turned abruptly from his almost completed packing as they burst into his quarters. “Going some place?” Evgenia said facetiously.

“I have to report on all of this in person,” he lied. “Who do you work for,” Dracona questioned. He refused to talk but a quick frisk turned up a symbol in his pocket.

The symbol identified him as one of the Dark Riders, the lycanthrope cult. They were pretty certain Dr. Irwin was not a lycanthrope because apparently only the Drak Rider leaders were. A few threats from Dracona and Dr. Irwin explained that he’d been sent there four years ago to search for a magical amulet that was rumored to be in Australia.

Dr. Irwin had apparently not expected anybody to return from the reptoids. But just in case, he had planted items to implicate Dr. Peyssonel in any deaths that might be discovered. With enough death by his hands, it was not hard to get him remanded into custody.

Dr. Peyssonel was assigned as the new head of the Magnetic Island research facility. Dr. Simone would stay on at the facility, as originally planned. They stayed there to help ensure a steady supply of suitable food supplies delivered to the reptoids. And they were trying to devise a way to get the Gibraltar reptoids transported to Australia to meet.

But on Saturday, July 26, a telegram came in for them at Townsville. They were to leave on Monday for Mombasa, British East Africa, on a White Star ship. Their old acquaintance Kutata had requested their help in an urgent matter.

Their ship approached Mombasa in the early morning light of Saturday, August 16, 1890. The town of Mombasa lay separated from the mainland by a very narrow channel. The town crouched under the watchful gaze of a Portuguese fortress, named Jesus Fort. Although it was built over 300 years ago, there still seemed to be a palpable menace about the structure.

The land was fresh and green and the quaint town was bathed with white house walls and waving palms, lofty coconuts, huge baobabs and spreading mango trees. The hills of the mainland were heavily wooded and lush.

The bustling docks were plentifully sprinkled with bright Arab dhows. As the ship slipped its anchor, small boats and dug-outs swarmed around the ship. Swahili boatmen rapidly rowed them to the foot of the landing steps with their luggage. The noise and bustle of the port of entry for British East Africa washed over them, again.

Corporal John H. Patterson was waiting for them and escorted them to the same private room they’d met in during their last visit. “Now that we’re alone, let’s get down to brass tacks,” he began. “I’ve received disturbing news from Oliboni Ole Kutata.”

“As you know, he’s a Maasai shaman and a friend to the Fellowship. He sent a message to me through his grandson, Mabruki. It appears that Kutata is now too weak to travel far from his Kraal.”

“Mabruki related to me a vision that Kutata had. In this vision, he claims to have been contacted by the shaman of the Chaga tribe. I must admit that I don’t know much about them as they live further into the interior near the great mountain Kilimanjaro.”

“Kutata claims that she reached out to the spirits for help and guidance because there are strange white men in one of the Chaga tribe villages called Marangu. Kutata claims that the spirits of the land connected them and allowed him to feel and experience her fears regarding these strange white visitors. With their arrival, she felt as if the dread that she associates with the darkness that threatens the land was strengthened.”

“However, the white men have been welcomed and many in her tribe view them as friends. She knows little of the white man’s society and so is not sure what to make of them. Kutata then sent Mabruki to find me and ask for my help and, I in turn, sent for you.”

“To be blunt, we owe Kutata for his help earlier, as you know. While I don’t pretend to understand the connection that he has with the land and how he can share experiences with this Chaga shaman, I trust Kutata. He’s a proven friend of the Fellowship and if he wants our help with this, that’s what he’s going to get!”

“I want you to go to Marangu and make contact with the Chaga shaman there. You are going to be pretty far off the beaten track there, so you’re going to have to use your own initiative to figure out how to best deal with whatever you find. Rashidi is currently in Voi arranging for local guides and porters to take your group to Marangu.”

“When you see him, let him know that I will be along later and ask him to have supplies sent along to Tsavo.” “How is Charles Ryall,” Evgenia inquired. “He’s recovering nicely. Rashidi was able to arrange his return to Nairobi and, after a brief stay in hospital there, he has returned home. Still not up totally to snuff, but much stronger.”

“What can you tell us about the Chaga?” Dracona asked. “Not much. They’re an agrarian tribe that lives around the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. They speak the Bantu dialect,” he answered.

“Mount Kilimanjaro is believed to be the highest point on the African continent,” Evgenia informed, “rising 19,340 feet above sea level. A German chap named Rebmann discovered the mountain in 1848. But when he tried to reveal the discovery to the Royal Society, they laughed him out of the room. He died before he was vindicated.”

“Then, Dr. Hans Meyer, another German,” Evgenia continued, “successfully summited the mountain in October of 1889. “Its name comes from the Swahili,” Patterson explained. “Kilima means mountain and N’jaro means shining. But, I need to get a few things taken care of here in Mombasa so my men will caravan you to Voi. Good hunting,” Patterson concluded as he led them outside, again.

Porters already had their luggage over at the docks and the small boats and dugouts took them across the Straight of Macupa to the British East Africa mainland. The caravan was ready and they left as soon as their gear and luggage was loaded. Bartley kept an eye out for the rifle porter that he had hired last time to travel into the bush hunting the Tsavo lions. He didn’t see him among the native porters and vowed to seek him in Voi before they left.

On elephant back they traveled the trail that they’d traveled a year ago. Their guides reminded them to have enough water with them and keep their guns covered or cleaned daily. They made it to Samburu at the end of the first day and camped there, again, due to the nearby watering hole.

After another night on the trail, Patterson’s men brought the caravan into Voi, about 100 miles from the coast, around 2 pm on Monday, August 18. Rashidi strode out of the station and called out a hearty “Jambo, Bwana! It is good to see you again! Please come with me, I have everything arranged for you.”

Rashidi escorted them to the western edge of Voi to an area where several wall tents had been erected. As they approached the camp several young men ran out of the camp under the direction of a stocky native man wearing western style clothing. The young men tried to collect any baggage that they were carrying and ushered the other porters carrying their luggage toward the waiting tents.

Rashidi led them under a larger dining fly where a camp table and several folding chairs had been arranged. He motioned for you to sit and, immediately, a man appeared with a tray laden with tea. After mugs of tea have been passed around to all present, Rashidi introduced the solid native man they’d seen upon entering the camp as Awaale. He explained that Awaale was their guide to Marangu and then allowed Awaale to speak.

“My friends,” Awaale said, “I am here to make sure that you make it to Marangu. I have arranged for transport of one bag of luggage for each of you and all of the camp equipment. We will have 30 men in our little expedition."

“Myself and one of my askari will be with you at all times, while the other two askari will travel one in the front of the group and one in the back. These men will carry rifles for our protection as there are many dangerous wildlife in bush. We will have a cook and 25 porters.”

“Marangu is about 75 miles from here and can only be accessed on foot. While there are established trading paths, they are still quite difficult and strenuous. It will take us a little over 7 days to trek this distance.”

“For those of you not acquainted with the African bush, I must ask that you stay with me at all times on the trek for your own protection. There have been attacks by lions, elephants, hippo, water buffalo and rhino on this trail before. I also encourage you to only drink that water which has been filtered for you and to drink regularly.”

“We will be serving dinner in two hours and will be leaving first thing in the morning. Please feel free to wander around the town, relax in your tents or use the dining area. If any of you wish, I can have a bath drawn for you in the portable tub. I must now see to the final preparations for our trek. I will see you at dinner.”

Evgenia ordered a bath drawn and Bartley went to Rashidi about his gun porter. Rashidi smiled broadly and indicated that he was able to retain the services of Bartley’s prior gun porter. To Bartley’s pleasure, it was the gun porter that had previously accompanied him into the bush against the Tsavo lions and not the one who refused to travel into the bush. With their affairs in order, they had a little bit of time to stock up on additional mundane supplies.

Rashidi reminded them that they would only be permitted to bring one bag of approximate 30 pounds with them on the trek. He offered to store any extra in Voi and guaranteed its safety. He was polite, but insistent on the matter. After dinner Rashidi bid them good luck and headed back into town.

A good night’s rest prepared them to travel into the bush on Tuesday morning. As they traveled into the bush, Awaale kept a close eye on them and attempted to keep them together. He tried to keep a steady pace, but allowed for short breaks every hour or so. As they trekked closer to Kilimanjaro, the foliage became lusher and the mountain was hidden from view.

Awaale trekked along quietly until Evgenia talked about one of the plants along the way. Awaale chimed in and was quite knowledgeable about the plants and animals that inhabit the bush and pointed out the various interesting sights.

On the fourth day of travel after leaving Voi, at one of the thigh deep river crossings, Awaale pointed out a dead crocodile and warned them to be alert for danger. Fredryck noticed the water begin to bubble and suddenly one of porters screamed as a great gray beast rose out of the water.

The hippo’s teeth came crashing down on the porter’s arm, shattering bone and tearing flesh. The porter slipped and fell into the river with the beast. Fredryck waded forward, drawing his sword, and attacked the submerging hippo.

Bartley drew his rifle and shot it while his rifle porter unwrapped his elephant gun. Evgenia shot it with her Winchester and Fredryck struck it again with his sword. The hippo bit Fredryck while Dracona waded toward it and blew fire at it.

A second hippo emerged on the same flank but about 20 feet away from the first and attacked another porter. Archibald shot it but missed and then a third hippo attacked Evgenia from the other flank. Awaale and his three askari fired at the hippos while the porters did their best to carry their loads toward shore.

Bartley’s rifle porter moved to put Bartley between him and the hippos as he handed Bartley the loaded elephant gun. Bartley unloaded the elephant gun, hitting with the first but missing with his second shot. Evgenia withdrew from the third hippo and, severely injured from the prior attacks, Fredryck was able to kill the first hippo with a might blow.

Dracona cast a defensive spell, moved up to the second hippo to shield the porters from further attack and blasted it with fire. The second hippo struck at Dracona but missed her while Archibald shot the second hippo. The third hippo attacked a porter that was paralyzed with fear at his spot in the river. The porters continued to carry their loads toward shore while Awaale and the askari fired at the hippos.

Bartley got his rifle back and fired twice at the second hippo as his porter reloaded the elephant gun. Evgenia moved out of the water, staunching the blood loss as she went. Fredryck waded up to the second hippo and struck it twice. Dracona blew fire on it, again, and the second hippo attacked Fredryck but missed.

Archibald shot the second while the third attacked Bartley. Most of the porters had made it to one of the shores and the askari and Awaale fired at the two remaining hippos. Bartley’s porter put Bartley between the hippo and him. With the hippo on him, Bartley used his sword cane to beat the beast and called, “Shoot him!” to the porter, telling him to fire the elephant gun.

The porter got lucky and shot with the elephant gun, hitting the hippo squarely. Evgenia, safely ashore, fired her Winchester but missed due to her injuries. Fredryck attacked the second hippo three times and Dracona blasted it with fire, again. Fredryck was missed, again, by the hippo but Bartley got bit, again, and could tell he couldn’t take another hit.

Archibald shot the second and the askari and Awaale shot, too. Bartley struck at the hippo and his porter scored another hit but it was Evgenia’s shot that killed the third one. Fredryck struck twice at the second hippo and then Dracona finally caught it in her fiery breath. The burning hippo husk smoked as it slipped, dead, into the water as everybody made their way to the same shore.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 96

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, July 18, to Saturday, July 19, 1890
“How did you learn our language,” Bartley inquired. Jezz mentioned that humans had found and opened the cryogenic stasis chambers. Lokan then captured and imprisoned them.

Jezz spent enough time with one of them to learn the language that they used. With communication open, they agreed to a truce where he would supply the reptoids with people, supplies and samples of their technology. In return, the reptoids supplied technological samples and assisted in marine specimen gathering.

Meanwhile, Archibald had made his way back to the surface. Expelling the oxygenated water from his lungs, he coughed for a few rounds before he could speak. Between coughs, he tried to let them know that the others had been captured by reptoids. Immediately the swimmers were recalled to the boat and they made haste back to the facility to make rescue plans.

The facility was in shock and many of expedition members expressed disbelief at any claim that sea people existed, much less captured the missing people. However, Doctor Irwin gave the claim his full support and offered all of the facility’s equipment in any rescue attempt that Archibald, Dracona and Fredryck wanted to make.

Alexandra offered to return to her home and prepare more of the crystals for tomorrow’s rescue mission. However, Doctor Irwin objected, saying that they needed her at the facility to help in the planning. When questioned on his view, his thoughts on how she could help included fetching coffee, keeping notes, etc. Alexandra disagreed that his plans constituted a good use of her time.

When Archibald and Dracona sided with Alexandra, Dr. Irwin didn’t argue and let her go home for the evening. They planned to start preparations before dawn so that they could be in the water as dawn broke. At the agreed upon hour of the morning, Alexandra did not return to the facility.

Dr. Irwin accompanied them to her house to investigate. There, they discovered that her home was attacked by reptoids. When told of Alexandra’s disappearance, Dr. Irwin expressed shock and disbelief. But, they saw through his ruse and Dracona threatened him with physical harm if he didn’t tell what he knew.

“I gave Alexandra to the reptoids. She’ll be more useful to them than here, Dr. Irwin explained. “The people that you sent to the reptoids weren’t providing manpower,” Archibald enlightened.

“The reptoids eat mammals, including people. Just as humans eat the sea creatures they gather, the reptoids eat the land creatures they acquire. The people you sent were used as food,” Archibald angrily informed. Dr. Irwin instantly deflated and transformed into a meek example of contrition. “I didn’t know that,” he started his confession.

“Five months ago we discovered an underground passage. We thought it would connect Magnetic Island to Acheron Island. Instead, we found a bizarre chamber filled with stone coffins. I opened one of them, and found the reptoids still alive after who knows how many years.”

“Lokan, their leader, and his men imprisoned me and the men I had with me. One of their scientists, named Jezz, discussed with me at length and deciphered our language. The science of the reptoids is far advanced of our own so I arranged a truce, an exchange of information and supplies.”

“I would give them technological samples of what we have, and occasional manpower. They give me technological samples and occasionally assist in the gathering of marine specimens. I suggested that Lokan could have Alexandra because I felt that her assignment here was a disrespect of my leadership.”

Dracona saw through his attempted deception and threatened him with physical harm, again. “I gave Alexandra to Lokan because my associate, Kyrian Fischer, identified her as a member of a secret society, most likely an enemy to the Crown. I have contacts back in England that might be able to hide the reptoids and find them a place to live.”

“Are you sure they eat people,” he inquired meekly. “Positive,” Archibald and Dracona confirmed. “I can show you where they are,” Irwin offered. “There’s a tunnel.”

Throughout the evening’s conversation Jezz and the captives developed a rapport. Jezz informed them that not all the reptoids were comfortable with Lokan’s plans to conquer the humans. She and others were of the opinion that they should be able to live together in relative peace. In addition, she and others felt it wrong to eat intelligent beings.

Evgenia mentioned that they had such an agreement and arrangement with the reptoids that they had met almost two years ago. Try as they did to explain where the other reptoids were found, the human names for places simply didn’t match those of the reptoids. In addition, at the time of the reptoid dominance of the world, the continents were actually not in their present locations.

“I’ll help you to escape but, if I open the cage, will you promise me that you’ll behave?” Jezz inquired. “We’ve been behaving,” Bartley informed as he pushed the unlocked cage door and it swung open. “Well, your kind is quite intelligent,” Jezz said almost with an air of admiration as she stepped back. “But, I’ll have to keep you out of the sight of the others. So, go where I tell you and do what I tell you.”

Throughout the labyrinth of caves they followed Jezz. They heard reptoid voices approaching and Jezz led them to hide in a side room to avoid detection. In the chamber were about a hundred of the reptoid cryogenic receptacles. They spent some time in the chamber, waiting for the other reptoids to pass, and began examining the cryogenic receptacles.

Of the unopened receptacles, many of them were damaged and their occupants dead. However, Bartley and Evgenia noticed that some of the damaged receptacles seemed to have only superficial damage but with specific items, glass-like wires, meticulously disconnected. Jezz confirmed that disconnecting those would cause the unit to malfunction and kill the occupant. According to Evgenia and Bartley, that indicated sabotage.

In the dirt on some of the receptacles, an impression of some sort of medallion was left. Jezz recognized it as the medallion that Lokan wore about his neck. “Lokan was the first awakened and said that he found the medallion on the first scouting excursion from the chambers,” Jezz told. “Lokan wears it as a badge of leadership but the medallion is not of reptoid design.”

Evgenia noted that the design seemed to be more like that of the aboriginal inhabitants of Australia. More importantly, the medallion’s impression was found on the sabotaged receptacles of reptoids that would have been higher rank than Lokan. “If this information is passed on, it will start a revolt in Lokan’s organization,” Jezz informed.

“When you are safely away, I’ll inform the others,” Jezz told them as they left the chamber. Continuing on, they ducked into small chamber as more reptoids passed by. There, they found their gear and weapons, the pole spears and knives, which the reptoids had taken from them. They took the gear and weapons as those weapons were better than no weapons.

Continuing on, they hid in a shadowed alcove from where they observed a group of reptoids deliver a woman to a room. Bartley saw that the woman was Dr. Alexandra Simone. “What’s that room,” he whispered to Jezz. “The larder,” Jezz informed.

As soon as the group of reptoids had moved on, with two returning up the tunnel to act as guards, they snuck up to the door of the larder. Doctor Jean Claude Peyssonel had recovered enough that he flung open the larder door for them. The reptoid inside was busy sharpening his carving blade and was quickly subdued without sounding an alarm.

Dr. Simone was unconscious on the larder table and Evgenia stabilized her and then treated her injuries. Coming to consciousness, Dr. Simone told that the reptoids had attacked her at her home. Afraid of Jezz, at first, Bartley and Evgenia assured her that Jezz was not like some of the other reptoids.

It was then that they heard a reptoid call come from down the passage. “Intruders,” Jezz informed. “The guards are calling for reinforcements.” Sure enough, about a dozen reptoids, including Lokan, came charging past the larder to engage the intruders.

“It has to be our people,” Bartley informed as Evgenia nodded knowingly. “I’ll go pass the word on Lokan’s deception and get them to come and help,” Jezz informed as she slipped out the door of the larder. “Do you have a scarf or something that a reptoid would use as a trophy,” he inquired of Dr. Simone. Confused by his question, she examined her attire.

That was when Bartley saw, tucked into her blouse hanging around her neck, an amulet. It was the same amulet that they’d found in Arizona in February of 1889. They’d been escorting the amulet’s guardian to her station on Magnetic Island. Evgenia had also noticed it but, appropriately, Alexandra didn’t offer the amulet as the token that Bartley was looking for.

The battle in the passage was not going well. Archibald, Dracona and Fredryck were taking on about a dozen of the reptoids that were under Lokan’s command. They’d spotted another reptoid that left a room and apparently went for reinforcements because they could hear more reptoids coming from beyond.

Dracona had gotten magically held by one of the reptoid acolytes and grabbed with a pincer staff by a reptoid guard. Her fiery breath was sorely missed as the reptoids moved in. Bartley cast a spell that made him look like the larder reptoid and he wrapped a weight belt around his waist so that his comrades could tell it was him. Then, he left the larder, hoping to blend in with the reptoids until he could strike at them.

Sure enough, Bartley blended in well enough and as he moved up into the ranks of reptoids. At one point, the guard reptoid passed the pincer staff to Bartley with instruction in reptoid on what to do with the magically held Dracona. That guard went to help against Fredryck, who was the obvious threat. Less combat oriented reptoids were closing on Archibald and were enough of a threat to give him a bad feeling about the situation.

By this time, over a dozen reptoid reinforcements had arrived with the one that had left the scene earlier. Fredryck defeated one of the reptoid guards shortly after the other one got to him. Archibald stepped back and continued to fire into the hoard of reptoids but prepared to start using his sword cane if he had to.

Then, the reinforcements turned on their reptoid brethren as a pair of guard reptoids attacked the surprised Lokan. Acolyte and mage-type reptoids approached from down the passageway and magically held their magic wielding brethren. Jezz shouted something in the reptoid language which seemed to get the attention of Lokan and the less combat oriented reptoids.

Lokan and his guards fought to the death. But soon, the reptoid uprising had converted the deceived reptoids to their side. And, the reptoids killed those that still supported Lokan and his far-fetched dream of conquest.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 95

Clockwork 1888 Date: Sunday, January 5, through Friday, July 18, 1890
They decided that perhaps the Dubois research and notes on the disease would be best kept away from the public or others. So, they convinced Du Bignon to hand them over for safe keeping. With Du Bignon’s unintentional involvement in the event, he complied without argument. As a consolation, they told Du Bignon that Daniel McFarlaine, a collector of antique letters and journals, might be interested in purchasing the Leroy Dubois journals that they allowed him to keep.

Dr. Rajahdys thanked them for their help in developing the cure. He offered his new invention, the recipe and formulas for his tinkered detonator. They had seen his notes on the invention but they were incoherent. So, he wrote the formulas down in a coherent form for them.

Ships were already at the docks with equipment raising the sunken boats. And according to Grobb, a supply ship was due that day, too. Their boat was still afloat at the dock so they loaded the large trunk of Dubois’ notes and went back to the mainland.

Chartering a carriage on the mainland, they met their Fellowship contact to debrief. They turned over the Dubois notes and samples and Dr. Rajahdys’ tinkered detonator recipe and formulas. They still had time to make their appointment in Battle Creek on the twelfth.

Not so rushed, they took trains to Battle Creek where they were scheduled to arrive for their 16 weeks in the Western Health Reform Institute’s advanced program. They had planned to attend at that time and expected to be there until Sunday, May 4, 1890. According to Dr. Kellogg, if they followed the stringent lifestyle changes that the course recommends, that they could live healthily to a ripe old age.

As was necessary, Dracona went by Pat Birbiglia, the former nurse on loan from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. And, Bartley was there posing as the advertising designer from Connecticut named Drew McIntyre. Fredryck, Evgenia, and Archibald had been there before under their real names so they returned as such.

It was Dracona that noticed the news and approached them on January 8. Apparently, Nelly Bly had left Yokohama, Japan, on January 7 via an Occidental and Oriental Steamship, White Star’s Oceanic. Bartley recalled that Julia’s last telegram had said about her taking “vacation” in Japan.

But, they spoke with Dr. Kellogg about taking a weekend trip to New York to see Nellie Bly’s return. As the time got closer, Dracona informed them that Nellie arrived in San Francisco on January 21, two days late due to bad weather. Doing a little math, they decided to leave the Western Health Reform Institute on Friday, January 24, and, if Nellie made good time, she would arrive on Saturday.

With Dr. Kellogg approving but encouraging them to keep up their training, they took a train to New York and got a hotel. Back in the real world, Archibald caught up on the art world. Edward Macdowell’s “Lancelot & Elaine,” had premiered on January 11 in Boston. And, on January 15, “The Sleeping Beauty” ballet, with music by Tchaikovsky, premiered at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Evgenia made note that Alice Sanger became the first female staffer in the White House on January 2. Fredryck’s eye was on the political side of things and noted that on January 11 the United Kingdom demanded Portugal withdraw its forces from the land between the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola. Bartley made sure to point out the death on December 6, 1889, of Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederate States of America. And, interestingly enough, the New York World, the magazine that sponsored Nellie Bly, was owned by Joseph Pulitzer, one of the millionaires on Jekyll Island.

Each of them bought one of the “Round the World with Nellie Bly” board games in hopes that they could get it signed. They went to the Jersey City train station early to await Bly’s train. To their surprise, Adoline, Fen and Brina were at the train station, too. Pleased to see Fredryck, Adoline explained that she took a couple weeks off from school to ship back to the USA to welcome Bly back to New York.

Nellie Bly arrived in Jersey City at 3:51 p.m. on January 25, 1890, only 72 days, six hours, 11 minutes, and 14 seconds after she had left it. She beat her own itinerary by three days, and Verne’s story by eight. Even with all the fanfare, pomp and circumstance, Nellie recognized them from England and took the time to sign their board games and books at the train station and hug the ladies before being whisked away by the World.

With the excitement of Nellie’s setting a world record dying down, they got their train tickets back to Battle Creek to continue their training. The ladies were headed back to England on Wednesday and planned to take in a few shows and sights of New York before they left. Adoline, as usual before parting, made an unabashed display of her feelings for Fredryck while Fen blushed at the exhibition and spoke to Bartley of how it was pleasant to see him there.

With news that came in the daily papers, they kept up on the events of the world during their next weeks in the Western Health Reform Institute. Bartley cringed when, on Feb. 10, around 11 million acres ceded to US by Sioux Indians opened for settlement. And, he wondered if the Apache in the conflict with the U.S. Army near Globe, Arizona, at the mouth of Cherry Creek, in March were the Apache that they had met while they were there before. The skirmish resulted in the deaths of two Apache and the capture of the remaining three.

Evgenia’s interest was piqued when on March 1 the first US edition of Sherlock Holmes (Study in Scarlet) was published and then again on March 24, the start of the Sherlock Holmes adventure The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge. Fredryck was more interested in the March 1 succession of Jean Antoine Ernest Constans by Léon Bourgeois as the French Minister of the Interior and the battles of Captain Archinard to occupy Segu and Oussebougou of West Sudan. Archibald was upset with the February 20 fire that destroyed the Amsterdam Theater but excited to read that the February 27 boxing match between Needham & Kerrigan went 100 rounds only to end in a draw.

All were interested in the Feb. 17 wreck of the British steamship Duburg, costing 400 lives, and the March 1 foundering of the British steamship Quentia that lost 124 lives. Also of interest was that German Kaiser Wilhelm II dismissed the republic chancellor and German Statesman Otto von Bismarck on March 20. And, when Henry Morton Stanley was inaugurated in Brussels on April 19 and then in London on April 26, Fredryck assured them that he was not a relative, but born John Rowlands.

Telegrams arrived daily for Fredryck and weekly for Bartley from their respective female interests. Both were pleased to see them in New York for Nellie Bly’s arrival. But, they completed their coursework on Sunday, May 4, and caught a White Star ship back to England on Wednesday, May 7. They arrived in England on Thursday, May 15, to the smiling faces of Adoline, Fen and Brina.

They had spent about a month conducting business as usual before the next Fellowship call came in on Monday, June 9, 1890. Prince George, Fredryck’s commander, wanted them to leave on Wednesday, June 11, for Taipei, Taiwan. So, they again left their businesses in Priscilla’s capable hands and, after 26 shipboard days, they arrived in Taiwan on Monday, July 7.

In Taiwan they met Doctor Alexandra Simone, a 5 ft. 2 in. tall, 110 lb woman. She had shoulder length blonde hair that defied all attempts to style or arrange it. She had their mission instructions: they were to escort her to Townsville, Queensland, Australia, and then off the shore to Magnetic Island to make sure she got safely settled into her position at the research facility there.

Alexandra was transporting a powerful amulet, recovered by the Fellowship in the United States of America. She was worried that the amulet made her a target, vulnerable while moving between the continents. Furthermore, Mary Smith, the European head of the Oracles, was concerned about interference from either the Order of the Dragon or the Servants of the Serpent and had asked for Fellowship hunters to escort Alexandra to her post.

Alexandra had passage for them, leaving the next morning for Queensland, Australia, and arriving on Friday, June 16. She tried to get a passenger manifest for the trip, but was not successful. The files were in the shipping office but she had no legitimate or forged way to get access to the files, and no mundane or magical ability to acquire them.

Alexandra told them where it was stored and that the offices had no magical defenses. But, they did have good quality locks. She inquired if they had any skills for acquiring the passenger list and Bartley mentioned that he was somewhat capable of stealthily entering locked areas.

But, the shipping office was still open so rather than covert, they decided to try overt acquisition and leave the covert operation as the backup plan. Archibald and Evgenia decided to try and bluff the manifest out of the clerk. After concocting a believable reason, it was not too difficult for them to bluff their way into being able to see the manifest.

With the manifest in view, Evgenia entered a hypnotic state that helped her to memorize the passenger list while Archibald copied other parts of it. None of the names were familiar to them. When they returned to Alexandra, Evgenia was able to reenter the state and recall all the names she’d seen.

The only name on the list that Alexandra recognized was Kyrian Fischer, a German spy. He didn’t work for the government, but for whoever paid him. He had been known in the past to work for the Vatican, the British, for the Servants of the Serpent, and many other organizations. She told them that Fischer was not known for violence and was usually just an acquirer and transporter of knowledge. She advised that they avoid his notice if possible.

Leaving the next day, they arrived 9 days later in Townsville, early on Thursday, July 17. The journey was relatively mundane but Kyrian Fischer did take notice of Evgenia although it seemed that his interest was more romantic than professional. The boat to Magnetic Island was similarly uneventful.

Arriving on Magnetic Island, Dr. Simone informed them that she was going to the Great Barrier Research Facility. She also had rented a house nearby and preferred to drop off her luggage before going to the facility. At the research facility, they were introduced to Alexandra’s boss, Dr. Saul Irwin, and to one of the residents, Dr. Jean Claude Peyssonel.

Doctor Saul Irwin was a “stuffed shirt” type of man. He was set in his ways, didn’t like change, and didn’t like being threatened or otherwise having his ideas challenged. He was British, and had the air of superiority about him that some British had. He was polite, but they could tell that it was a forced politeness. He was apparently trying to disguise the fact that he wasn’t happy that Doctor Simone was sent to his facility.

“The facility’s primary focus is study of the diverse creatures that live around the Reef,” Dr. Irwin informed. “We have a strong compliment of researchers and assistants, although we can use an additional biologist. I don’t understand why the French Academy has assigned a woman to our facility. We do good work and send timely reports. I’m sure that I can find suitable duties for Miss Simone but I’m very busy arranging for tomorrow’s specimen collection.”

Dr. Irwin noticed Fredryck’s physique and Bartley’s scientific interest. “If you wanted, you could assist in the collection,” he offered. Alexandra offered to assist and he welcomed the assistance of all the women as he pointed out that people would want coffee and food when they returned. In spite of Dr. Irwin’s attitude, they agreed to stay and assist in the specimen collection the next day.

As Dr. Irwin left them, the other man stepped forward and introduced himself. Doctor Jean Claude Peyssonel seemed a friendly, dedicated scientist. Peyssonel was kind and polite and professional toward them. He stood 5 ft. 10 in. tall, weighed 200 lbs., had wavy blonde hair and bright blue eyes.

“Dr. Irwin talks tough, but that’s because of his difficult position,” Peyssonel defended Dr. Irwin. “The facility is important, because of its study of the Reef. But, it’s also at the farthest edge of the British Empire.” They could tell that he felt that he had been exiled to the place.

“Dr. Irwin has been on edge ever since he and Dr. Combe were suddenly called to France five months ago,” Peyssonel continued. “They left without a word and the rest of us didn’t know what had happened to them until we received a letter almost a week later. Dr. Combe, our head biologist, didn’t return with him.”

“The water here is clear, because of the lack of nutrients floating in it,” he explained. “However, the area is teeming with life. This is the main focus of our facility: figuring out what is sustaining the marine life. I think that our lack of progress got Dr. Combe reassigned, and Dr. Irwin appears to be worried that the same could happen to him just as quickly.”

Throughout his conversation, they realized that he already knew Alexandra. Asking him directly, he admitted that he and Alexandra were old friends who studied biology together. He was glad to hear that she was being assigned to the facility, because he remembers that she had some rather revolutionary ideas as well.

Looking at them and then to Alexandra, as if to see if she trusted them, Peyssonel asked Alexandra about her experiments. “It’s fine to talk in front of them,” Alexandra vouched for them. She admitted to successes here and failures there.

Peyssonel told that he believed that some rocks were alive, sentient, and could grow and eat and hunt. Some even cultivated their own sources of food. Specifically, he believed that the coral intentionally attracts plant life, which attracts marine animals, which release waste that the coral live off of.

Then, Alexandra confided that she had a lens that could detect the presence or absence of intelligent life. She planned to use it to verify that intelligent life existed in the Great Barrier Reef. The two admitted that her lens was not a form of proof to the scientific community. But, once they had the knowledge, they could go about finding the proof.

But, it was time for dinner and the facility was providing dinner for the researchers and guests. The night’s dinner was a sea turtle soup, grilled snapper, and a selection of mixed vegetables that defied classification. Dr. Irwin explained that they were versions of beans, peas, and bamboo that were unique to Queensland. Alexandra was pleased with the selection, stating that she was a vegetarian that will eat fish and drink milk, but doesn’t eat meat. She considered it immoral to eat the meat of mammals.

The facility did have bunk-style guest rooms so the men were put up in one and the women in another. Alexandra returned to her rented home promptly after dinner. She said that she had her own preparations to make for the next day.

In the morning, the facility got busy with people preparing for the day’s diving. They were informed of the gear available and were becoming familiar with the swimming gear. Archibald, Bartley and Evgenia had decided to help with the deeper diving that Peyssonel planned to do. Fredryck and Dracona were going to assist in the collection closer to the surface.

The scientists were collecting pipefish and seahorses. They had nets and collection bags to assist in it. There were sharks in the area as well, so some of the divers carried pole spears. They were offered equipment as well and Evgenia insisted on a pole spear and one of the spear guns. The deep divers were outfitted with the rubber mask and breathing bag of a Fleuss self-contained breathing apparatus and instructed in its use which would give them about 3 hours of breathable air at up to 100 feet deep.

Alexandra arrived with some special equipment for them. As they separated the deep divers from the others, she informed them that she had developed a combination of crystals involving salts, quartz, and other stones to separate the chemical composition of water into its base oxygen and hydrogen. She took the stones and fit a filter into each of the deep divers’ snorkels, as well as Jean Claude’s.

“I’ve enough prepared to last for twelve hours,” Alexandra explained. “I’ll split that up equally between you so you’ll each have about 3 hours. I need to warn you, there’s a slight delay in the chemical process. It’s a necessary delay. Otherwise the air floats away before it does any good.”

“You’ll need to breathe the affected water into your lungs,” she informed matter-of-factly. “There, it will turn into oxygen and be absorbed into the body. While you are down there, try and swim down under the edge of the reef. Jean Claude wants a sample of the underside of the coral."

As planned, they swam with the collection teams, Fredryck and Dracona shallow diving and Archibald, Bartley and Evgenia deep diving. Once underwater, it took a few moments to grow accustomed to the gear and a force of will to allow the breathable water into their lungs. But once done, the deep divers separated from the others and dove.

The sea creatures shied away as they swam, but not too far. Sea turtles, sharks, clownfish, and countless other forms of life surrounded them. Where they were going, the edge of the coral reef was about 100 feet below the surface of the water. But, the water was so clear that vision was unhindered.

Beneath the edge of the coral, Jean Claude dove to collect his specimen. Evgenia was closest to him but still about 40 feet away. Bartley and Archibald were about 30 feet behind her. As Jean Claude approached the coral, Evgenia noticed a figure in the shadow of the coral.

She recognized the figure as a reptoid, like they had met at Gibraltar in October of 1888. Evgenia waited to see what happened. The figure swam out with alarming speed and struck Jean Claude with some kind of pincer staff. Jean Claude was seemingly trapped by the staff.

Unable to call out, Evgenia shot her spear gun at the attacking figure. It missed but another came forward into view from the shadows and attacked Evgenia. But she resisted the ensnaring action of the weapon. The first reptoid retreated with the captive Jean Claude.

Bartley advanced, getting close to Evgenia so that he could help her. A third reptoid came out of the shadows and directed a purple ray at Bartley. Bartley resisted the magic but then another reptoid came forward and directed a ray at Archibald. Archibald resisted the effect, swam up and attacked with the pole spear.

Overmatched in underwater combat, the reptoids ensnared Evgenia and Bartley. Then, one of them burst a bladder of blood that quickly spread through the water, obscuring vision. Realizing that the blood would draw a frenzy of sharks, Archibald retreated to go for help.

The reptoids took their captives into the darkness of tunnels beneath the coral. Evgenia decided to see where they were taking them and didn’t resist her captor. Bartley, on the other hand, did all he could to escape even though it was futile. Regardless, the labyrinth of pitch dark passages twisted and turned such that it would be difficult to find ones way back.

The reptoids eventually dragged their captives out of the water and up into a sort of coral cavern. As they coughed up the water in their lungs, they were stripped of their weapons and breathing gear and thrown into a large cell. There, they were left alone in the darkness.

Jean Claude was panicked and terrified. Evgenia and Bartley did their best to calm him down so they could get any useful discussion out of him. But with none of the reptoids in sight, Bartley examined their cage.

Although complicated and of unusual metal, he thought he would try to figure out how to trigger the lock mechanism. It took some time but he finally tripped the mechanism just as he heard two voices approaching. With the door unlocked but not opened, he waited as two of the reptoids entered the area with light.

One seemed to be named Lokan, and the apparent leader of the reptoids. The other was an assistant named Jezz who spoke English. Jezz was apparently supposed to interrogate the captives.

“How many humans are there?” Jezz inquired as he interpreted Lokan’s question that was stated in the reptoid language. “What sort of weapons do they have? What sort of technology do they have?” Jezz translated Lokan’s words. The prisoners gave no immediate answers. So, Lokan said something to Jezz and left.

Jezz turned his attention to them and repeated his questions. “Four,” Bartley answered. “A billion,” Evgnia responded. Being clever, they were able to learn a few things from Jezz. Twenty-eight reptoids had been successfully revived, more than enough, Lokan seemed to think, to reclaim the island and begin a re-conquest of the planet.

“You only have primitive projectile weapons?” Jezz continued with his inquiry. “It is inconceivable that the planet has been conquered by such primitives.” Again, they talked to Jezz and tricked him into divulging more information.

“Only Lokan and a few of the guards have been outside the complex since the Disaster. The great scientists predicted that a comet was going to collide with the planet. The impact would devastate the environment. The large cities built cryogenic chambers so that certain members of the race could sleep through the devastation and reclaim the planet once the effects passed.”

“Lokan was a,” Jezz thought a moment, “you would call him a sergeant in our militia. He was the first to awaken when your people found our chambers. According to Lokan, the cryogenic chambers malfunctioned. They did not revive us on time, and many of our people did not survive. He says that none of the other facilities worked properly and that we are the last of our people.”

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Clockwork 1888 Session 94

Clockwork 1888 Date: Monday, December 30, 1889, through Sunday, January 5, 1890
After the success with the patient, they gave him some regular food to eat. The man still seemed exhausted and he still slept for most of the time. They worked on another batch of the cure and in an hour they had another 10 doses. So, they decided to lock up the patient, just in case he had a relapse, and go with their cure to the other doctors in the infirmary.

“Rather than waste my time idly, I was working on a tinkered detonator,” Dr. Rajahdys informed. Apparently, the doctor had tinkered with demolitions and the effect of electricity on the dead in the past. He informed them that he spent much of his career following the electrical research, but had recently decided to switch to his old love of demolitions. Rajahdys wanted to make enough money to continue his demolitions research on his own and that was why he took the job for Du Bignon.

But, with 10 doses of the cure in hand, they left the electric power plant building and headed for the infirmary. Some of the infected took note and tried to catch them. But, they had learned that running from the infected worked well enough and was less dangerous than fighting them. So they hastily made it to the infirmary.

The doctors from Pulitzer’s group were all at the infirmary but Dr. James had not shown up. They were excited to learn about the developed cure and were interested in setting about making more. As an estimate, well over 200 people were already infected. Taking an hour to make 10 doses meant a lot of work ahead for the medical people.

So, Dr. Rajahdys took an hour to teach the doctors the process for making the remedy. Meanwhile, Evgenia and the others examined the other labs in the infirmary. There were three full labs on the island that could produce the remedy: two in the infirmary and the lab in the power plant building.

The doctors agreed to work through the night at the infirmary to develop as much of the cure as they could in as short a time as possible. But, they would need somebody to guard the infirmary from infected attacks while they worked. The infirmary was not as solidly boarded up as the other buildings because they were only normally there during the day.

Evgenia, Bartley, Dracona, Archibald and the others agreed to return in time to defend the infirmary throughout the night. The doctors decided to work in pairs to check each other’s work and make sure the serums were correct, assuming Dr. James would help. Lewellys Franklin Barker agreed to go back to the lab at the power plant building with Dr. Rajahdys where they would hole up, check on the initial test patient and diligently create the serum batches there, too.

They phoned the operator to let her know that they were going to visit the JP Morgan cottage to see if Dr. James wanted to join in the production before they headed farther down the road to the cottage where Pulitzer and his people were. The operator informed them that the Pulitzer people had been able to capture a half-dozen infected.

That was news of interest. So, they got the go-ahead and left the infirmary, running to the place where JP Morgan and his people were holed up. At about rifle range from the house, three bodies were seen, obviously shot to death at long range by rifles. But, they were expected so no gunshots greeted them.

As they got through the door, some people shot over the heads of infected that chased them as they ran to the house. The building had all the first floor windows and doors boarded up, just like the club house. After entering the large building, servants set about locking and boarding up the door behind them.

A large man in his 50s, about 6 feet tall and 270 pounds and impeccably dressed, introduced himself as JP Morgan and shook their hands as he led them into a sitting room. “I need a moment,” he instructed as he pulled a fresh Havana cigar from his inner coat pocket and lit it. The other men obediently left the room and closed the doors behind them. Wasting no time, he got to the point.

“You came here on a boat yesterday, right?” They confirmed. “The hell with all the others, I need to get off this Island. I’m an important man,” he began with a puff on the cigar. Then he pulled out a wad of cash and held it up for them to see.

“I have $2,000 cash if you will take me and my family safely to the mainland right now. Safe passage to the mainland and all of this is yours,” he indicated as he fanned out the cash to show them its denominations. His offer was quite a sizable sum of money.

“For all we know,” Archibald diplomatically began, “our boat is at the bottom by now, just like all the others.” “I’m afraid we can’t take your money,” Evgenia chimed in. “Besides,” Bartley added, “we’ll need all the help we can get hunting and trapping all the infected now that we have the cure.” “But we could really use Dr. James’ help, right now, to make enough serum for them all in the shortest amount of time,” Dracona added.

However, disappointed Morgan was, he seemed intrigued by being able to “hunt” the infected. And, with a cure in hand, the danger to himself was surely minimized. But, with a huff he rolled up his money and put it away as he puffed a cloud of cigar smoke, walked to the door and called for Dr. James.

When Dr. James arrived, Evgenia informed Dr. James about the captured infected people at the Pulitzer cottage. Dracona informed that each of the infected had to get the serum injection. That sparked Bartley to put forth an idea.

“Do you think the serum would work in a method that doesn’t require as much medical training as an injection? Could it work if it was just made to contact the infected or in a mist or aerosol form,” he inquired. Dr. James pondered that idea a moment.

“Aerosol is not yet viable. The process would probably destroy the serum and the tanks are too heavy to be portable. But, if I were to use these,” he extracted a rubber bulb syringe from his medical bag, “we could test the theories on the infected imprisoned in the Pulitzer cottage.” With a plan, they phoned ahead and made haste to the Pulitzer cottage.

Pulitzer had boarded up the home and retreated inside with his staff. Unlike the others at the club house and at JP Morgan’s, he had attempted to catch as many of the infected as possible, restrained them and tried to keep them alive. “We heard that you have infected people that we might be able to cure,” Archibald said as they entered.

Joseph Pulitzer introduced himself and his family Kate, Pulitzer’s wife, and their 5 children, some as young as two. Also inside were Pulitzer’s aides Walter Allen and Graham Chapman, David Davis (DD) Walker and 18 staffers. “Your staff of physicians are being most helpful in creating enough serum to cure all the infected,” Bartley graciously informed. “Dr. James will try some other methods of administering the serum.”

But through the formalities, he was anxious to get on with the cure. As they headed to the basement, Evgenia inquired about how they were able to capture the infected. Pulitzer smiled and informed them.

“It was my wife,” he said. “At times, she plays some popular songs. Some of the infected seem to be attracted to the music. A small area in the blockade is removed, leaving enough space for one of the infected to squeeze through tightly.”

“Certain infected will hear the song and proceed to the trap, even though they must cross the sunlight clearing to get there. They are invariably exhausted by the time they start to crawl through the trap and my loyal staff carefully restrain and imprison them in the basement. To date we have captured only six of the infected,” he informed. “But, given the manpower and a place to store them, we could capture many more.”

In the basement, they injected three of the infected with the serum. They used the rubber bulb syringe to spray the serum into the infected mouth of one, into the nose of another and onto its open skin on a third. It would take hours before they would learn if the alternate application methods would work. So, they instructed the Pulitzer people to check on the infected throughout the night and report in the morning.

Pulitzer also told them that the residents of the cottage occasionally fire shots into the air to scare the infected off. Something in the infected mind tells them that gunshots are bad and they leave for a bit. But they come back later so the occupants re-board windows and such as they are battered.

But, time was growing short and they had to return to the infirmary to guard the working doctors. Dr. James agreed to work through the night with the other doctors in the infirmary to help make as much serum as possible. As the sky started to darken, they made it back to the infirmary.

The infirmary and the other inhabited buildings were constantly besieged by the infected pounding on doors and pulling at boards. Gunshots rang out at irregular intervals to scare off the infected that pawed at the boards covering the windows and moaned in hunger. It gave a chill for any who tried to sleep while something just beyond the wall wanted to eat them. In the end, none of them got any rest that night.

At dawn of the last day of 1889, the infected again wandered away to seek shelter from the sunlight. The infirmary had survived the night with only minor breaches and the doctors felt they had completed their portions of the serum. A fast servant was sent to the electric power building and warned to throw rocks at the door and call out rather than knock.

The runner returned with Dr. Rajahdys, Lewellys Franklin Barker, and the original test subject who was still alive and had adequately caught up on his sleep so that he was functional, again. So, it would take a good day and a half of rest before the infected returned to normal. But, the Pulitzer cottage reported that only the infected that were injected had improved.

They began rounding up the infected in the immediate area, trapping them in the infirmary and injecting them. As the evening approached, the clubhouse staff was still planning a feast for those inside. With the cure found and a return to normalcy in sight, a celebration of sorts was held, between watching over the infected that were still trying to get inside.

The rest of the week was spent rounding up the infected and making sure they all got injections. It was also learned that if somebody was administered the serum as soon as they were bitten, they would not degrade into one of the infected. On the second day of rounding up the infected, in a forested part of the island, they captured and administered the serum to Susan Albright. Her husband, John, was most pleased to have her back and see her recover.

As the roundup and injection progressed, the nights got less and less hectic. Searching the island, they rounded up the infected in the Horton house ruins and the various other hiding places until the entire island was cleared and all personnel accounted for.

As the week went on, it became clear that if word of this got out, the shares in the club would drop in value. The club might forever more have a stigma attached to it. And, the members who were there might be looked at differently by everyone, as if they might be infected with a disease like some commoner.

As a result, the members agreed to not spread the true story. And the members will make sure the servants understand that tongue wagging about the events would result in their unemployment. Some legends and tales would surely creep up from the event, but there are many of those across the lands.

As the end of the week approached, Eric Grobb approached them. The club members had decided to offer them secret associate club memberships if they agreed to keep the whole affair silent. They agreed and were given secret shares in the Jekyll Island club.

In addition, the break in the telegraph line to shore was found and fixed. The superintendent requested ships and equipment for raising the sunken ships. Bartlett sent a telegraph to the Fellowship, asking that they send somebody to debrief the hunters in nearby Brunswick. A telegram came back telling that a man would meet them in a safe house there and take their report on Monday, January 6.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 93

Clockwork 1888 Date: Sunday, December 29, to Monday, December 30, 1889
It was time for lunch and they hadn’t eaten since breakfast so they joined the other guests at lunch. “Is anything being done to find a cure for this,” Bartley inquired as they talked. Grobb told them that Dr. James, from JP Morgan’s people, and some of the doctors from Pulitzer’s people were working in the infirmary, but only during the day. They also learned that the clubhouse included a telegraph office, but it was useless because the line to Brunswick seemed to be cut somewhere.

There was also a telephone switchboard and an operator still on duty because the phones on the island work. The switchboard operator could put calls through to any of the local buildings but the electric plant building didn’t have a phone because it wasn’t completed, yet. The operator had contacted all of the other buildings and the few servants that were in them were now in the clubhouse, in the other boarded up guest houses, or among the infected.

They decided to go to the infirmary after lunch. They promised Albright that if they found his wife, they’d bring her back safely. Grobb offered to visit the telephone operator and call the infirmary to let them know to expect visitors. So, the servants unbarred a door on the sun side of the clubhouse and they quickly left.

They got lucky and, although they saw some infected in the woods, they didn’t run into any on their way to the infirmary. The building was boarded up at night but the front door boards were removed when the doctors were inside and boarded up again when they left. None of the doctors stayed in the infirmary overnight.

As they approached, the front door swung open and, after they came through, a well-dressed man, probably 22, closed the door and barred it. “Lewellys Franklin Barker, University of Toronto Medical School,” he introduced himself. “My colleagues are over here,” he ushered them to one of the medical labs.

It was a very well stocked and modern infirmary. “The building is boarded up at night,” he told them, “and we make sure we leave with plenty of time to board it up and get back to our respective cottages. Then, he introduced his colleagues, Dr. Guthman, Dr. George Washington Hosmer, and Dr. Robert Wilson.

“We heard that Dr. James was here, too,” Evgenia informed as she noticed his absence. “Yes, he is,” Barker informed. “Normally Dr. James does not cooperate or work with the doctors from the Pulitzer cottage,” he enlightened. “It’s out of professional medical differences. He’s in another lab, elsewhere in the building.”

They discussed what the Pulitzer doctors had found, and Evgenia took detailed notes. When they had that, Barker took them to see Dr. James. After Barker left, Dr. James explained that he cared for Albright’s wife, Susan, there until she escaped. He took detailed notes of the disease and its effects but he keeps the notes in his room at the cottage where JP Morgan was staying.

“Could you tell us what you recall,” Bartley inquired. He had numerous notes on her blood chemistry and he even performed several experiments, not dangerous ones, on her while she was restrained. Dr. James went over all that he could recall with them. Of course, his notes would be best but he gave them the bulk of what he had learned so far.

They inquired whether a Dr. Laakari Rajahdys, the doctor hired by Du Bignon, had come by the infirmary. Dr. James had never seen the man but heard he was holed up in the building where the electric plant would go. With some daylight left, they decided to head to the electric plant building. Dr. James offered to call the operator to let them know their plans.

They decided to go around one of the buildings to keep as much distance between them and the forest. They didn’t want to arouse any of the infected in the forest. Unfortunately, as they were heading toward a pair of buildings, ten infected came out of the building on their left, hungry.

As the distance between them and the infected closed, Dracona and Fredryck cast protection spells upon themselves. The others had been determining whether they could outrun them or not. In the end, two infected were able to get close enough to take swipes at Fredryck, but they were able to outrun the infected.

As they came toward the electric power building, they had to go through another pair of buildings. The infected that had taken shelter in one of the building decided to try for a bite. But, they were still too fast for the apparently exhausted infected.

The electric plant building was built like a brick fortress with a single metal door and no windows. Several steel air vents were spotted about 10 feet up from the ground around the building. Through the roof rose a single large smokestack with smoke billowing out of it. In the back were two coal doors with an iron padlock.

However, the most notable thing was the body lying at the door of the electric power building. Closer inspection determined that the person was dead. So, they shoved the body away from the steel door and Archibald knocked on the door.

Knocking sent a jolt of electricity through his hand. “What the,” he exclaimed as he kicked the door in protest. “You don’t want to do that,” he said as Dracona moved up to knock on the door. They called out to the supposed inhabitant until they heard unlocking and the door opened.

Quickly they filed into the building and the door closed behind them. The man introduced himself as Dr. Laakari Rajahdys as he locked the door. “Why did you electrify the door,” Archibald inquired.

“I electrified the door to keep the infected banging to a minimum. It doesn’t do much but when they touch it, the infected can’t always figure out what is hurting them and many keep touching it until they pass out,” the doctor explained. “There was a body in front of the door,” Evgenia informed.

“Oh,” the doctor seemed concerned. “If he still had contact with the door it would eventually fry his insides. The other infected that have passed out from shocks eventually woke up and wandered off.”

The doctor was a well groomed man dressed in a white lab jacket. He had short white hair and large wire rim glasses that accentuated his educated appearance. They could tell that he was a man of some power and intelligence.

He checked the wires leading to the door. “The infected sometimes bang on it for hours, especially at night. This keeps that to a minimum,” he said as he then started up a small motor and the whir of a generator electrified the door again.

Dr. Rajahdys explained that his employer, Mr. Du Bignon, hired him to work through some very old scientific papers and samples Du Bignon had found that belonged to a relative. Du Bignon’s hope was that Rajahdys would be able to find something that would be profitable, like a new invention or such. Rajahdys discovered that the samples contained dormant versions of the Rhabdoviridae Dubois virus and was able to distill samples to infect lab rats.

Unfortunately, one of the rats escaped and apparently infected some locals. Since then, the infection spread and the entire local population seemed to have gotten it. He had been holed up in the building since and had been working on a cure.

He said that he was close, but some work still needed to be done – testing on infected humans. The base cure that he developed seemed to work on animals, but it could be lethal to humans. If they could get some infected to work with, they might be able to help develop the cure for humans.

Examining the building, Du Bignon had equipped a lab for Dr. Rajahdys to work on his experiments. The lab was typical, with beakers, flasks, Bunsen burners, test tubes, etc., littering the area and a separate room with cages of numerous sizes. Dr. Rajahdys was stranded inside the building, his experiment gone awry effectively imprisoned him. So, he continued experiments to pass the time.

With dusk approaching, they decided to see if they could get a test subject. Luck was on their side and sunlight had found one of the last batch of infected that had come out of hiding in the buildings. They quickly put a sack over the hibernating infected person’s head and tied him up. Then, they dragged him inside and secured him inside a heavy cage as he began to thrash about.

Dr. Rajahdys was very doubtful that the base cure would work on a pure form of the Rhabdoviridae Dubois virus. It seemed only to work because the strain he was able to distill from the samples was terribly diluted. The strain also seemed to be easier to spread than the full strength strain, but most animals were likely immune to it.

Rajahdys’s notes on the Rhabdoviridae Dubois virus as well as the original DuBois notes and samples were there. Rajahdys was happy to let them peruse notes his and all of the DuBois material. They brought out their notes from the other doctors and pored over everything to try and develop the right dosage.

The test subject grew stronger and more flexible as darkness arrived. Luckily, the combined bindings and cage held him fast. Seizing the ravenous test subject to steady him, they injected him with the prepared dosage. Locking the cage room door, they knew they’d have to wait to see if it worked.

Secure inside the electric plant building, they didn’t have to guard from the outside infected that rampaged across the island at night as long as they kept the motor/generator going. The infected banged on the outside door of the building and the caged one inside thrashed against his bindings in the cage room. They took turns keeping watch and trying futilely to sleep though the noise.

In the morning, things had returned to relative quiet. As everybody was awake and milling about, they checked on the patient. Still bound with a sack over his head, the man was alive but was sleeping. As they moved him to examine him through the cage bars, he was quite complacent.

By noon, a voice called quietly from the cage room. “What did I do,” the infected man inquired through his head sack. Removing the sack they could tell that intelligence had returned to him and the infection seemed to be dissipated. Probably for the best, he didn’t remember what had transpired while he was infected.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 92

Clockwork 1888 Date: Sunday, December 29, 1889
It was Dracona that noticed that there were several boats sunk in the vicinity of the docks. The water wasn’t too deep, so Evgenia and Fredryck dove in to investigate. There were 8 rowboats, 3 canoes and several larger vessels. Of the larger vessels, one was an 84’ long steamer, The Jekyll Island, there was a 65’ twin motor cruiser, Sydney, and two launches, the Sylvia and the Kermath.

Exiting the water, the others helped them back onto the docks. “There’s no damage to the ships below the waterline that would have caused their sinking,” Evgenia informed. “It’s like they were intentionally overloaded or tipped to take on water and sink there.” “It would take a lot of effort to drag a canoe or rowboat out of the water,” Fredryck added, “but they aren’t very seaworthy for the open waters between the Island and the mainland. “How long have they been down there?” Bartley questioned. “As near as I can guess,” Evgenia answered as she dried off, “less than a week.”

As they made their way to the end of the dock, they noticed hundreds of footprints going to the docks, mostly running, that seemed to have been made within the last 48 hours. More than half of the footprints were made by people wearing shoes, but the rest were shoeless. Curiously, there were also hundreds of sets of similar footprints coming out of the water, but very few entering the water directly.

They decided to try and follow the majority of footprints that led off into the forested areas. Deciding that they might as well head toward the clubhouse, they went into the forest on the left side of the road. The foliage was thick and the trees diffused any sunlight that got through the cloudy sky.

Three men and a woman lurched out of the foliage and rushed at them. “We’re here to help you,” Dracona called out as they approached. But they seemed ravenous and pushed at each other to get to them. Faster than a walk but not as fast as a run, one moved up to Fredryck, one up to Evgenia and two up to Bartley.

The four were disheveled and poorly dressed; three of them didn’t even have shoes. Their eyes looked like they hadn’t slept in weeks. They moaned incoherently and slobbered as they moved in.

Even though they moved fast, their movement was ungainly and sluggish, like they didn’t have full control over their movement. As the four people got close, they grabbed at them and seemed trying to eat them where they stood. “Zombies!” Dracona called out as one bit Bartley before he could react.

Not ones to just stand there and be eaten, they fought back. Bartley stepped back, shot, and solidly hit the one that bit him. But, it didn’t react to the gunshot as much as he’d expected. Archibald began his inspiring encouragement for Evgenia and Bartley.

The infected had a more difficult time biting them once the advantage of surprise was gone. Dracona moved next to and breathed fire upon the infected woman attacking Evgenia. The ravenous woman got caught fire in Dracona’s breath.

Evgenia stepped back, pulled her Winchester and shot the flaming woman. Again, the gunshot wound was not as lethal as it should have been. Fredryck drew his sword and struck the infected person on him. The infected man was duly injured by the sword swipe and Fredryck called out that information.

Bartley stepped back, again, cast a spell on his gun and shot as Archibald completed his inspiration. Then, Archibald drew a large slashing knife and struck one of the infected men attacking Bartley. The infected ineffectively tried again to eat them, again, but this time Fredryck’s opponent scored a lucky bite to his hand.

Dracona blasted the female infected, again, and she went down in a heap of flaming flesh. Evgenia turned her attention to the one that Archibald attacked and shot it. Fredryck sliced into the infected man attacking him, again.

Bartley shot again and Archibald sliced into the infected man, again. The infected tried in vain to bite them as Dracona breathed fire on another and Evgenia shot the infected, again. Fredryck decided to try to subdue the infected man and he struck hard, dropping the infected man.

Bartley continued shooting them and Archibald continued slashing them. Again, the infected failed to land a bite and Dracona set another on fire and Evgenia shot it, sending him to a fiery grave. Fredryck charged the last one and cut it down with his sword.

“They’re not undead,” Evgenia concluded as she approached the unconscious one. “This one is still breathing. The other three are dead but this must be what they’re reduced to when they succumb to the disease that the telegraph mentioned.”

They tended to their wounds as they discussed the differences between zombies and the infected people and went over observations they’d made during the combat. The infected acted like zombies but, while they moved sluggishly, as if they were unbelievably tired, their actual movement rate was faster than what most people walk. Bartley noticed that they avoided the patches where the tree cover let the direct sunlight to shine through the tree canopy.

They didn’t seem to be using complex tactics during the combat that most humans are normally capable of. It was almost as if they were wild animals. Zombies attack with no tactics and, while these people didn’t appear to be skilled tacticians, they at least showed animal intelligence in the combat.

Zombies tended to move slower than the infected and are the remains of the recently dead who were animated to undead life by an evil priest, magic user or certain dark creatures. Zombies take normal damage from slashing weapons and the infected people seemed to have a similar resistance. Zombies move in a halting manner and shuffle along but these people had full use of their muscles and were relatively coordinated in comparison, although they appeared to be very tired.

Zombies are mindless and generally attack until an opponent is dead and then shuffle off but these people acted like they wanted to eat them. Zombies are frequently seen in burial clothes since they are most often summoned from fresh graves. But, these people had relatively fresh, although poor, clothes on and didn’t appear to have been in burial clothes.

Before long, they noticed several more of the infected people coming at them through the forest and beyond. Some were rising out of the foliage in the distance and some were emerging from cottages near the clearing. Some of those coming from the clearing had blood splattered on their clothes, staining them red. They saw several of them, no dozens, wait, maybe over a hundred.

“I think we can take them,” Dracona nervously joked. The way to the clubhouse did appear clear so they headed toward it. As they got into the clearing, they noticed that some infected that tried to follow them had come into the brighter light of the clearing and fell down, as if they had fallen asleep in the direct sunlight.

The clubhouse was a five story structure made in the Queen Anne style with the exterior featuring a beautiful turret, bay windows, chimneys, and an asymmetrical design. Behind the structure, illuminated by the cloudy sky, could be seen two servants buildings, stables and a windmill/water tower. Strangely enough, all of the lower floor windows to the clubhouse appear to be boarded up.

They received a challenge from inside, “move along or we’ll shoot.” At that, they saw many rifle barrels pointed at them through the wooden slats that blocked the windows. They positioned themselves in a reasonably unclouded area and spent some hurried diplomacy time for Archibald and Evgenia to convince the inhabitants to let them enter.

Doing so, they heard crowbars at work, taking boards off the door. Apparently, the doors were actually boarded up as well, but from the inside. They rushed to the opening door and got inside.

They were besieged by several of the staff and guests firing questions at them once they were inside the clubhouse. “Why are you here?” “Who are you?” “Did you fight some of the infected?” “Do you have a boat?”

After some answers and when the holed up people found out that they weren’t part of an organized rescue mission from the mainland, some of them wandered back to their posts. It was then that they were led to the dining room where they could discuss the situation over coffee or tea. The club members included John Joseph Albright, Francis Bartlett, John Eugene Du Bignon, Henry Baldwin Hyde, Charles Lanier, General Edmund B Hayes, club superintendent Ernest Grobb, and club assistant superintendent Julius A Falk.

There were also 96 staff members and servants that had joined forces in the club house. The club was bought in 1879 and established as an exclusive hunting club by Newton Finney and brother in law John Eugene Du Bignon with 53 founding members. The island was stocked with game; quail, pheasant, ducks, squirrel, rabbit, fox, deer, elk, wild boar and more are available to hunt.

Due to the nature of the club, there were plenty of firearms. The members were equipped with sporting rifles and heavy revolvers while the staff all had repeating rifles and medium revolvers. It was almost comical to see some of the waiters and washwomen going about their duties and hauling the guns along with them.

Construction of the clubhouse proper was finished in late 1887. Needless to say, they didn’t like nailing the boards over the windows and doors. But, it had to be done for the protection of the club members until the malady passed.

There were numerous shops and rooms in the clubhouse including a large taxidermist shop used by members to show off their trophy kills, a billiards room for the men, and a barber shop. There was also an exquisite dining area which had ionic columns. The ceilings in most rooms were 12-15’ high, and the rooms had oak detailed woodwork, leaded glass windows and ornate fireplaces.

Despite the dire situation, formal meals were still being served and they were informed of what was available for lunch. The posted menu for lunch was raw oysters, cream of lettuce soup, crab newberg, roast lamb, squash, eggplant, lettuce and tomato salad, wine jelly, whipped cream, champagne, coffee, cherry brandy, claret, creme de menthe, almonds, olives, bonbons, and chocolate peppermints and then for dinner: an appetizer of caviar on toast and raw oysters, a meal of roast beef, fish, potatoes, peas and carrots, another course of roast quail and a lettuce salad, with dessert of orange sherbet and chocolate pudding and finally sauterne, champagne and coffee.

There were also obvious signs of preparations for a New Year’s Eve party going on. The staff was putting up decorations here and there and the kitchen staff had put several cases of champagne in the cooler to prepare for the New Year. Bartley leaned to Evgenia and whispered, “No thought to rationing yet?”

“And they’re a haughty bunch,” Evgenia observed while Fredryck was conversing with the upper crust members. “The members seem to think they’re above everybody else. The superintendent and his assistant seem perfect for their jobs as they show respectful deference to the club members and see to their every need in as quick a manner as possible.”

Proudly they mentioned that the club recently built an electrical plant on the Island, and due to the foresight of the club members, the club had been built with eventual electric use in mind. Beautiful electric powered chandeliers can be seen in many of the rooms and electric power can be accessed in every room of the clubhouse. Each room has heat from boilers in the basement as well as a fireplace in each room.

The staff arrived in October to put the clubhouse in order for the members. In addition to members’ personal servants, there was also a yacht captain, James A Clark, and his engineer John F Courier (currently without a yacht. The head carpenter/fix it man was Torkel “Chips” Torkelsen, the head electrician was Gilbert A Kay, and the head gardener was Tom Scott. There was also the games keeper/armorer, Charles Brinkman, the head fishermen, a taxidermist Mr. Walbert, multiple stable hands, a blacksmith, a head chef Mark Stanley, a steward, a pantry man, cooks, waiters, busboys, dishwashers, chambermaids, a tennis pro, bicycle instructor GW Evans, tray boys, porters, laundry women, and others for various menial tasks.

All of the staff were crowded into the third floor servants quarters at the time as the nearby servants buildings weren’t deemed safe. Most of the servants who dealt directly with the staff were Italian or Irish immigrants, but a few were German, English, French, Canadian, Cuban and Greek. The staff was trained to speak to the members only when spoken to and were very respectful of the members and their wishes, for the most part.

They could tell that most of the staff was frightened by what was going on. But, they were following orders because they didn’t see an alternative. The most menial tasks were relegated to the servants that were residents of the Island and the descendants of slaves. Those Island resident servants were even more frightened than the members or other staff as they could see numerous people that they knew (i.e. friends and family members) among the infected that had been attacking the clubhouse.

Behind the club house were several boarded up servant’s quarters, the water tower/windmill, the stables, the infirmary, and the electric plant. The stable was boarded up and still had 12 uninfected horses in it. The servants unboarded it each day and cared for the horses.

There was no infirmary set up in the clubhouse. Anyone who became infected was thrown outside. The various doctors had occasionally been using the infirmary during the day for general purposes and for some research.

After the discussions subsided, Francis Bartlett pulled them aside, taking them to the relative seclusion of the club library. The library shelves were made of Philippine mahogany and the floor had an intricate design made of mahogany and birds eye maple. The well organized shelves were lined with rare and unusual books as well as all of the classics and current popular topics.

Bartlett sent out the telegram when he became worried since several staff and one of the club member’s wives, Susan Albright, got deathly ill with a mind wasting disease of some sort. He had no clue as to what was actually going on, but he was happy to do anything they would ask, within reason.

Moving freely through the clubhouse, they began questioning the staff and guests about anything odd they saw prior to the epidemic. They found out from a servant, “I saw Du Bignon hauling a VERY old and ornate chest up to his room a few weeks ago. He wouldn’t let any of the servants help. He then hired some scientist and has him working out at the electrical plant.”

They inquired about which room was Du Bignon’s and then waited for a moment while the servant was sent to fetch Du Bignon to his room. When confronted about what he was hauling in the chest, Du Bignon tried to be helpful. There were scientific notes in the chest. The notes had been kept in the family dating back over a hundred years.

He had hired Dr. Laakari Rajahdys to read through them because he hoped that they might contain something he could sell. When the current problem arose, he moved from his cottage to the clubhouse. Du Bignon had a gnawing suspicion that Dr. Rajahdys’ experiments might have caused the problem but he wasn’t at all sure and he had no evidence to that effect.

He offered to show them and they went into his room. He explained that all of the samples and scientific papers were with Dr. Rajahdys at the electric plant that was being built. But, some personal diaries and such were there.

They decided to read through the six diaries. The books cracked when opened and it was obvious they hadn’t been opened in decades. Du Bignon informed them that he had not had time to read them.

They were written in French and had entries dated from around 1792. With Fredryck, Evgenia and Archibald they were able to peruse the contents in about an hour. They learned that they were the diaries of Leroy Dubois, a man who was excommunicated and banished from Paris for crimes against nature in the early 1790s.

Dubois seemed to be experimenting with a disease that seemed to spread much like rabies and had many similar qualities. The infected seem to be unable to digest “dead” meat, so they quite naturally hunted living flesh to fight the hunger pains. Subjects report anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, paranoia, terror, and hallucinations before succumbing to delirium and then turning into one of the infected.

“The church’s representative, Monsignor Lubois, has pronounced that those that become fully infected are soulless. I spit upon his decision,” the diaries informed. “The council has banished me from all French lands, but I will make sure that my descendant’s exact revenge upon them!” was in the fifth diary. And the sixth informed, “I will make sure that every branch of my family receives a trunk with copies of my journals as well as samples of my work so that they might continue the tests after I die.”

Du Bignon was horrified to learn of the contents. “In no way did I intend for anything like this to happen,” he explained. “I’ll cooperate fully with whatever I can in the investigation.” With notes on the information gleaned, they headed back to where the other guests were.

As they grew close, John J. Albright with his friend and business partner, Brigadier General Edmund Hayes, approached them. Albright begged that they find his wife, Susan. She became infected and was confined to the infirmary. She was observed by Dr. James for a while, but she escaped one night.

Albright offered to pay them $200 cash if they could bring her back. He explained that she was 5’ 6”, 120 pounds, with brown hair and eyes and he showed them a photograph of her. Mrs. Albright was wearing long white undergarments when she escaped from the infirmary.

Hayes volunteered to go with them. He explained that he was a good man in a fight and, while his friend Albright was also a good man, he hadn’t had much experience outside of the business world. As they were discussing it, Grobb approached them.

Grobb mentioned that the infected were more active and aggressive at dusk and at night than during the day. If they were considering any kind of foray outside, it had to be during the daylight hours. At that time of year, the sun rose after 7:30 am and set after 5:30 pm.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 91

Clockwork 1888 Date: Wednesday, August 21, through Sunday, December 29, 1889
Bartley and Archibald inquired with the Maasai about taking the lion skins. The Maasai had no problem if they wanted them for trophies and skinned the lions appropriate for what they wanted. Archibald wanted to take one to a taxidermist and have it mounted for in his theater. Bartley was more interested in a lion rug.

The day after the meat eating, Mabruki escorted them back to Tsavo, where Patterson and the bulk of their caravan had stayed. Patterson and Rashidi had found the telegraph line break and repairs were underway. They were interested in the story of the battle and what transpired while they were with Mabruki and the Maasai. Patterson seemed intrigued by the idea of hunting dangerous game and inferred that he would be taking up the hobby.

Patterson was interested in the elephant gun and the H&H but he knew that the H&H belonged to Ryall. He vowed to get one, though. By the time they got back to Voi, Ryall was more recovered and was glad to hear that the man-eaters had been taken care of. Ryall was especially delighted that his gun was used in their killing.

They arrived back in Mombasa on August 26, after the 2 day elephant caravan back. The news of their success was telegraphed ahead and Cecil Rhodes had already left Mombasa to return to South Africa. But, he did leave their return fare and a stipend for their aid. Their ship left Mombasa on Friday, August 30. Patterson’s next orders were to return with his squad to India. There was something about guarding a shipment of some kind of bronze statue that they wanted his squad to attend to personally.

They relaxed on their 17+ day journey back to England. When they arrived at the Southampton docks on Tuesday, September 17, the ladies, Adoline, Fen and Brina, were there to greet them, again. As they got off the ship, Adoline made her usual unbridled greeting of Fredryck and Fen her usual restrained greeting of Bartley.

The train trip back to London was full of inquiries into their adventure. Adoline and Brina were back at Oxford and couldn’t stay long after their arrival in London. So after arriving in London, she gave Fredryck a passionate goodbye before driving away in her Benz with Brina.

It was Saturday, November 16, when Adoline burst into Yermak Investigations. “Did you hear?” she excitedly inquired. “Nellie Bly has started a journey around the world. She plans to beat the time laid out for Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne’s 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days.”

Nellie Bly was traveling for the New York World magazine. And, there was another woman, Elizabeth Bisland from the Cosmopolitan magazine, who left the same day. Bisland was traveling in the opposite direction and planned to beat even Nellie Bly.

Adoline had read Bly’s 1887 asylum expose on brutality and neglect at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island. She was due to arrive in Southampton, England, late on the 21st or early on the 22nd. Adoline was excited about Nellie Bly’s trip and wanted to go to the docks to greet her.

Of course, all of England had heard of the race around the world. To that end, Prince George summoned Fredryck to his chambers. “The Queen would like Miss Bly’s time in England to be expeditiously handled. I trust you and the others can make sure that Miss Bly has no problems while in our fair country and that she makes her next connection.” Fredryck agreed and they planned for their dockside rendezvous with Nellie Bly.

They arrived at the Southampton docks late in the afternoon to await the Augusta Victoria’s arrival. Evgenia noticed a man that seemed a bit on edge. Striking up conversation with the man she learned that he was there to meet Nellie, too.

But, he was from the London World and had news for Nellie. Jules Verne had asked to meet with Nellie in his home in Amiens, France. He wasn’t sure how to accomplish that so they offered to help.

Spreading out, Evgenia was able to find that the mail ship would leave that evening taking mail to France. But it left from London so they would have to travel to London that evening. Archibald learned that all the regular trains until morning had left. But, he found that a special mail train, for delayed mail, sometimes headed that way.

Returning to the man with their information, they calculated that Nellie would probably have to go without sleep for two days to accomplish the meeting with Verne. About 2:30 in the morning on Nov. 22, the Augusta Victoria arrived. They went out with the landing boat but stayed back and let the World correspondent speak with Nellie, first.

“Mr. and Mrs. Jules Verne have sent a special letter asking that if possible you will stop to see them,” the London correspondent said to her as they walked. Fredryck, Adoline, Evgenia and the others fell in behind. “Oh, how I should like to see them!” Nellie exclaimed, adding in the same breath, “Isn’t it hard to be forced to decline such a treat?”

“If you are willing to go without sleep and rest for two nights, I think it can be done,” he said quietly. “Safely? Without making me miss any connections? If so, don’t think about sleep or rest.”

“It depends on our getting a train out of here tonight. All the regular trains until morning have left, and unless they decide to run a special mail train for the delayed mails, we will have to stay here all night and that will not give us time to see Verne. We shall see when we land what they will decide to do.”

They all stood on deck, shivering in the damp, chilly air, and looking in the gray fog like uneasy spirits. The dreary, dilapidated wharf was a fit landing place for the antique boat. The correspondent escorted Bly into the customs shed while Archibald checked on the mail train and informed them of the passengers.

As Bly and the correspondent exited the customs house, they learned that it had been decided to attach a passenger coach to the special mail train to oblige the passengers who wished to go to London without delay. The train was made up then and everybody got into the car.

The porter offered food and they ate as the train pulled out of the station. It was then that there was time for introductions and chatting about her journey. Adoline had her copy of Nellie’s book, 10 Days in a Madhouse, and asked if Nellie would sign it for her. Tickled that Europeans had actually read it, Nellie obliged with a written greeting to Adoline above her signature.

When the train reached London, as no train was expected at that hour, Waterloo Station was almost deserted. Then, they were whisked away in four-wheeled cabs. As it was daylight, they pointed out Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, and the Thames, across which they drove.

They first went to the London office of the New York World where they waited for Nellie to complete her business there. Then, they went to the American Legation to get her passport, as she was instructed at the World office. Soon they were whirling through the streets of London again, to the office of the Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Company, where she bought tickets that would cover at least half of her journey. A few moments again and they were driving rapidly to the Charing Cross station.

At the Charing Cross station they ate, again, before catching the train. Aboard, Nellie got a little sleep but was awakened by the train stopping. Exiting the train, they walked down to the pier where a boat was waiting to take them across the English Channel. It was bitterly cold, but Nellie stayed on deck until they anchored at Boulogne, France.

At the end of the desolate French pier was a small restaurant where they went to get something warm to eat. Nellie noticed that everybody spoke French and even others that had accompanied her ordered in French. The waiter looked blankly at Nellie and she suggested that he repeat the selections in English. The waiter smiled and answered in English. Dracona sighed with relief as he came to her and she ordered in the Queen’s English.

From Boulogne they traveled by train to Amiens. As Nellie was expounding on the subjects of European versus American train cars and sharing foot warmers, the train pulled into a station and stopped. Her escorts informed her that they were at Amiens and they stepped out onto the platform.

Monsieur Jules Verne and Madame Verne, accompanied by Mr. R. H. Sherard, a Paris journalist, stood on the platform awaiting their arrival. M. Verne looked upon Nellie with interest and kindliness and Mme. Verne greeted her with the cordiality of a cherished friend. M. Verne led the way to the carriages which waited for them. Mme. Verne walked closely by Nellie, glancing occasionally at her with a smile, which said she was pleased to meet her.

M. Verne gracefully helped Mme. Verne, Nellie and the other women into a large coupe, while he entered a carriage with the other gentlemen. It was early evening as they drove through the streets of Amiens. Bartley inquired if M. Verne would sign his copy of Around the World in Eighty Days. With a pleasant “oui” M. Verne put a salutation to Bartley and put his signature to the cover page.

When the carriages stopped, they got out on a wide, smooth pavement. The gentlemen hurried up to the ladies’ carriage and properly let them out. The high stone wall before them had a door that M. Verne opened. Over the top of the wall they could see the peaks of the house. Inside was a small, smoothly paved courtyard, and a large, black shaggy dog came bounding forward to greet them affectionately.

M. Verne spoke shortly to the dog and, with a pathetic droop in its tail, it went off to think about it. Entering the home, they went up a flight of marble steps across the tiled floor and Mme. Verne led the way into a large sitting-room. M. Verne urged them to remove their outer wrappings before they went to the sitting room.

Mme. Verne was not more than five feet two in height while M. Verne was about five feet five. M. Verne spoke quickly and the French correspondent translated for Nellie. Included in the exchange was the fact that he had gotten the idea for his book from a newspaper, Le Siecle, which discussed calculations on how a journey around the world might be completed in eighty days.

But, their calculations had not taken into account the difference in the meridians. And, he thought about what a finale such a thing would make in a novel. So, he went to work to write one. Had it not been for that, he wouldn’t have written the book.

Nellie told of her travel plans and M. Verne seemed concerned that she’d excluded Bombay. Nellie informed that time was more important than actually replicating the journey of Phileas Fogg. Still, Nellie asked to see his study and the Verne’s happily took her to see it up a winding spiral staircase.

It was a tidy, modest room with a single chair, desk and window at the top of the house above the conservatory. Off the study was a large library, lined with full book cases from floor to ceiling. In the hall outside the study, on the large map on the wall, were blue marks that marked the travel of Phileas Fogg. With a pencil M. Verne marked on the map the places where Nellie’s line of travel differed from that of Phileas Fogg.

Returning to the sitting room, wine and biscuits awaited and they toasted to Nellie’s coming success. It was noted that time was growing short. Nellie had to leave to catch her train to Calais because missing it would mean a week delay. M. Verne bid Nellie goodbye and Mme. Verne traded French adieus with exchanged cheek kisses.

The Vernes followed them out into the courtyard, and stood at the gate waving farewell to Nellie. In the carriage, Nellie expressed her concern that the enjoyment of her visit had jeopardized the success of her tour. The drivers were reminded to make the best speed back to the station in the shortest possible time. A few moments after they reached the station, the train came in. Bidding a hearty good-bye to Mr. Sherard and the others, Nellie returned to her tour of the world.

Archibald, Bartley, Dracona, Evgenia, Fredryck, Adelaine and Brina had the carriage drivers take them to a local hotel for the evening. Adoline went on about seeing the title of the book that Jules Verne had started writing. It was called “_Cesar Cascabel_,” part of “_The Extraordinary Voyages_” series, and she swore them all to secrecy concerning it. In the morning they caught the train back to the coast and leisurely returned to England.

It was Monday, Dec. 16, when Fredryck was called into the office of Prince George. The Fellowship had received a missive from a seldom heard from Fellowship ambassador. The coding used on the note was old, but still valid.

“Please proceed with all due haste to the Goble docks at Brunswick, Georgia where I rented a small launch which should be waiting for you. It has a red flag with three white stars and is tied up at dock 4. Take the launch to Jekyll Island, Georgia, about a 2 hour trip from Brunswick, and meet me at the main docks there at 9am on Sunday, December 29, 1889. One of the guests was attacked by a wild beast and appears to be infected with some sort of mind draining disease. This type of work in our organization is not my forte and I need help. -Bartlett.”

Local operatives were busy on other assignments and Prince George wanted Fredryck and the other hunters stationed in London to investigate. Because of the approaching Christmas holiday, Adoline was expected to spend the holiday at home in France. She was disappointed that she could not spend any holiday time with Fredryck but made certain to see Fredryck off before he left.

Adoline, Brina and Fen accompanied them on the train to Liverpool for their voyage on Wednesday, Dec. 18. At the docks, they saw them off for their 7+ day voyage to the USA. The voyage was uneventful and they arrived in New York on the 26th where they caught a train, the next day, to Georgia. Arriving in Brunswick, Georgia, on the 28th, they spent the night in Brunswick and went to the Brunswick docks early on Sunday morning, Dec. 29.

The Brunswick docks were empty, and the waters of the Atlantic were calm. A small motored launch with a red flag with three white stars was waiting for them at the dock where they were told it would be. In the boat, there was a map in a small case showing the route to take to the Island, a general outline of the island, and a compass. The uneventful trip was about 2 hours before they pulled up to the dock of Jekyll Island around 9 am.

The ambassador was to meet them at the dock, but it was oddly quiet when they arrived at the appointed time. No other boats appeared to be at the docks. From the shore, through the haze of the morning sky, they could barely make out the clubhouse and several mansions in the distance up an incline on the island. The mansions and clubhouse surrounded a beautifully landscaped open area with flower beds, small ornamental trees, sculptures, etc. They would have to travel the road through a lightly forested area to get to the clubhouse and mansion area.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 90

Clockwork 1888 Date: Tuesday, August 20, to Wednesday, August 21, 1889
Many of the warriors in the Kraal were between the ages of 14 and 18, but they were grave and disciplined. The warriors isolated a bullock. The younger ones held the animal, tied a rope around its broad neck and pulled it tight. Its big doe eyes seemed a little uncertain but its struggle was brief and somewhat halfhearted, as though it had experienced the ritual before.

The older, more experienced warriors then took over. Using a bow, they shot a sharpened stick into an artery that bulged under the pressure of the rope. When the stick was removed, bright blood flowed and was collected into a long leather gourd. A young warrior then coated the wound in fresh dung and the animal was released to totter away on unsteady legs, but relatively unharmed.

Fresh milk was then added to the gourd and the contents mixed together. They presented this to Ole Kutata and he performed a complex series of movements with various charms and gestures over the gourd and offered it to Archibald, Bartley, Dracona, Evgenia and Fredryck to drink. After the last of those drank, Mabruki drank from the gourd and Kutata excused himself from their presence to go prepare the oil.

The warriors began to dance. The once grave countenances of the warriors changed and the boy began to bubble through. Grinning and hooting they sprang straight and proud, holding the rough hewn staves of their spears to the sky. They rose effortlessly as though the ground was sprung, showing off and taunting each other to do better. They offered those who had participated in the ceremony to join them in the celebration.

Evgenia and Bartley barely got off the ground to the good-natured encouragement of the Maasai. Dracona then made an impressive jump that got them hooting even more. The dancing continued and, eventually, Kutata returned to the celebration.

Kutata drew them aside and presented them with a gourd that contained the oil essence of which he had spoken. If possible, he looked older and more tired than when they first met him. It was clear that his hold on the Earth was weakening. The presentation of the gift may have hastened his journey to the beyond and there was no one of equal power to take up the burden of Oloiboni for the Maasai people.

“I cannot accompany you, but, if you so desire, one of you can carry my spear into the coming battle.” Ole Kutata held forth a spear that looked as old and experienced as he was. The ornate carvings on the haft of the spear, that was worn smooth from years of daily handling, spoke of the power and love the Maasai had for these traditional weapons of war. It was clear that he was offering a great honor with the gesture.

After some discussion, Fredryck decided to use the offered spear. He could feel magic coursing through the weapon. Kutata smiled a wan smile at them and said, “The man-eaters do not hunt the zebra and gazelle because man is slow and feeble. Look deep into yourself and determine if you will become the protector of my people.”

As part of their preparations, Bartley assembled Ryall’s Holland & Holland double rifle that Rashidi had let them use to hunt the man-eaters. He showed his hired gun man how to reload it for him. Bartley offered to let Archibald use the elephant gun that he had purchased before they left England.

When it came to the gourd of oil essence, Dracona was tasked with carrying it and burning the baobab tree, if it was corrupted. After all, she had the most experience with fire. In addition, Evgenia pressed her Colt revolver into Dracona’s hands. “Six silver shots,” she informed, “just in case you need it.”

In spite of the half day walk to the Kraal, and the exertion of the dancing, the Eokoto e-kule seemed to energize them. As their departure time drew near, they could feel a surge of fearlessness, a strengthening of their determination, and a boost to their morale from the ceremony. They also felt as if they had gained some kind of heightening to their life force, if that could explain it.

It was nearly nightfall before they were able to gather what was needed and leave the Maasai Kraal. The Maasai supplied lit torches to Evgenia and Bartley’s gun man. They also provided seven additional torches for each of them, more than sufficient to last the night.

Mabruki led them into the darkness with a noble grace and a straight back. As they left the sounds of continued dancing behind, the darkness surrounding them weighed like an oppressive blanket. Far from a quiet night, sounds of animals moving through the brush could be heard from all sides. The growl and roars of lions could be heard in the distance.

Evgenia wondered aloud if they were just normal lions or if the man-eaters had picked up their scent. As they got closer to their destination, the roars of lions begin to close in on them. Evgenia, Bartley and Fredryck then noticed glowing eyes just out of the range of the light. But the eyes disappeared as soon as they were spotted.

Mabruki had been setting a brisk pace to try and make it to the sacred Baobab tree before midnight. As the appointed hour approached, they broke out of the brush and into a clearing. The tree came into view, silhouetted against the night sky, and the roaring of the lions suddenly stopped. Mabruki’s step faltered and he whispered, “Beware brothers, the devil is coming.”

Dracona quickly cast a protective spell upon herself, Fredryck cast a protective spell on himslef and Bartley cast a spell to enchant the Holland & Holland double rifle. They were 100 feet from the tree, which was in the center of the clearing. Within the clearing there were no obstructions to movement other than the sacred Baobab tree, which was about 20 feet in diameter.

Then, from just outside the range of their torchlight, a large maneless lion pounced upon Evgenia. Knocking her to the ground, it clawed, bit and raked at her. Surprisingly, the first attack did considerably less harm than one would have thought. But, the others nearly killed her.

Before they could react, a second maneless lion pounced upon Bartley’s torchbearer. His screams were soon silenced by the lion’s attacks as his torch extinguished. Evgenia managed to keep her torch from extinguishing but outside of that light, the slice of moonlight gave little illumination.

Bartley took a step away from his still gun bearer, cast a spell and then fired at the attacking lion. The shot would have dropped many a beast but the lion did not fall. Archibald backed away and also shot it with the elephant gun he was carrying. He hit it soundly but the magical nature of the beast resisted some of the damage and the corrupted beast still lived.

Fredryck stabbed the first lion while Evgenia drew her knife and attacked the lion from below. Even though she struck true, her knife didn’t penetrate its magically corrupted hide. Mabruki also speared the lion on Evgenia. Dracona was out of reach of either lion and lit a torch.

Then, she ran for the tree, calling out as she went to try and draw the lions away. About 20 feet from the tree, a cold chill nearly stopped her in her tracks. Kurata had told them to expect some sign if the baobab tree was indeed corrupted. But, she resisted it and forged ahead to the tree. She could feel the tree’s corruption pulling at her very soul as she got to the tainted baobab tree.

Sensing that Evgenia wasn’t a real threat, the lion that had pounced on her attacked Fredryck, viciously clawing him before biting him hard and grabbing him in its maw. The other lion attacked Bartley but couldn’t grab him. Bartley backed away, again, and fired his second shot from the H&H. It struck the lion but not nearly as well as his first shot. Archibald shot the lion near Bartley with the second shot of the elephant gun he was carrying.

Fredryck escaped the grasp of the lion and stabbed it with the spear. Evgenia, barely alive, figured that if the lion grabbed Fredryck, again, she could get away so she prepared for that. Mabruki struck the lion near Fredryck. Dracona frantically began covering the baobab with the oil essence, feeling the tug at her life force as she went.

The lion on Fredryck mauled and grabbed him, again. Fredryck was not faring well but Evgenia scrambled away from the lion and planted the still lit torch in the ground. The second lion pounced on Archibald maliciously clawing, biting and grabbing him. Archibald was severely injured and Bartley took a step back, reloading while he did so, and then fired again. The second lion slumped to the ground, dead.

Archibald, free from the lion’s jaws, reloaded the elephant gun. Fredryck was able to escape the lion’s hold and he struck it with the spear, again. Evgenia quickly drew her rifle, fired a silver bullet from her position on the ground and hit the lion solidly. Dracona completed oiling the tree’s bark and set it ablaze as she resisted the corruption tugging at her life force. Mabruki stabbed the lion, again.

The lion clawed Fredryck into unconsciousness. Releasing its fallen prey, the lion turned its attention to and bit Mabruki hard, getting a deadly hold of him with its maw. With the second lion dead, Bartley and Archibald turned their attention to the remaining lion and fired at it. Both hit and Evgenia did, too.

With the corrupted baobab alight, burning with an unearthly blue tinge, Dracona left the unholy area. Getting close enough, she pulled the Colt revolver that Evgenia had pressed upon her earlier and shot the remaining lion. Mabruki tried to break free of the lion but was unable.

The remaining lion clawed, raked and bit Mabruki. Mabruki was severely injured but still conscious. Bartley’s shot missed but Archibald hit it soundly and the last lion dropped.

The unearthly blue tinged fire was quickly consuming the ancient tree as they saw to the medical needs of their team. Archibald used the cord of Saint Andrew to revive Fredryck while Evgenia took a look at Bartley’s gun-loader. He was barely alive but she was able to stabilize him. Evgenia went to each of them, including Mabruki, assessing and treating their injuries with her medical knowledge.

Dracona was unharmed and Bartley was able to avoid a lot of damaged. But, Archibald, Evgenia, Fredryck and Mabruki had extensive injuries. With Fredryck conscious but still quite injured, he healed more of Mabruki’s wounds with a prayer, an action that Mabruki watched in amazement. It was a feat he’d only ever seen the Oloiboni perform.

With their Maasai guide adequately recovered, they turned their attention to themselves. Ladies first, Fredryck led a prayer with the reliquary cross to heal Evgenia’s wounds. Then, they said a prayer with the cross for Archibald, and finally to heal Fredryck.

As they completed their healing rituals the tree, weakened by the magical fire, collapsed into nothingness and was gone. The ground where the tree once stood was still cooling when Dracona walked over. The zone of corruption that had pulled at her life force had vanished with the tree.

With all but Bartley’s gun loader mobile, they discussed what to do about getting back to the Maasai Kraal. The lion meat could feed the Maasai people and Mabruki could head back to the Kraal, without them. He would make better time without them because he was used to running in the environment.

As Marbruki was preparing to make haste back to the Kraal, they heard a group of Maasai warriors coming toward the clearing. The six Maasai warriors were sent by Kutata to report the results of the evening’s plan. The Maasai were excited to see the two dead lions, the corrupt baobab destroyed and the hunting party all still alive.

Mubraki sent two to run back to the Kraal with the news while the other four gathered large sticks and vines to transport the lion carcasses. The walk back to the Kraal was less hurried and dawn was breaking by the time they arrived with the pair of carcasses. The news of their return preceded them and numerous Maasai were walking along with them, taking turns at carrying the lions and Bartley’s gun loader. With the dawn, the cord and reliquary cross of Saint Andrew recharged so they revived Bartley’s gun loader and let him walk into the Kraal with them.

They could tell that Mabruki was already being asked to tell the other Maasai what had happened. Mabruki promised to tell them, all of them, when he told the Oloiboni. Disappointed but still excited, they returned to the Kraal where Kutata was seated near an Inkajijik. “I saw that you would succeed,” he said with a broad smile on his face. Then, Kutata gave in to the chatter of the other Maasai and let Mabruki tell their story.

Mabruki started with when the lions leapt out of the darkness, pointing at each of the carcasses as he spoke. The Maasai women gasped when they learned that Evgenia was attacked first. But, Mabruki assured them that Evgenia was a dedicated warrior with the wisdom to keep the torch burning for them. The other Maasai warriors nodded and raised their spears in support.

Mabruki told of the great guns that Bartley and Archibald wielded and how they were attacked after the other lion had downed the gun loader and put out his torch. He elaborated on how Dracona wisely destroyed the unholy baobab, singlehandedly, carried out Kutata’s instructions.

Mabruki seemed to underplay his involvement in the lion battle. He emphasized, instead, how Fredryck fought valiantly with the Oloiboni’s spear and Evgenia escaped the lion to shoot it with her gun.

Then he came to the part where the lion grabbed him in its jaws. He showed the places where he still had remnants of the attack. And then he pointed to Fredryck. “He was the Oloiboni that healed me, “he told them. The Maasai warriors acknowledged Fredryck’s ability with the same respect they showed Kutata. When the story had finished, Kutata addressed them.

In celebration of the victory, Ole Kutata decreed that there would be an Enkang oo-nkiri, a meat eating ceremony. So, a bullock was to be slaughtered for the feast. Mabruki told them that they have been honored to be allowed to participate in the ceremonial killing of the bullock. As they watched one of the bullocks was separated from the herd and, with a quick stroke of a dagger to the back of the animal’s head, the deed was done.

The hocks were taken off the animal and then swift skilled hands began skinning the animal starting near the heart and working down the underbelly. When a sizable flap had been drawn back, Mabruki gestured for them to come forward to participate. One of the older warriors cut the major artery near the heart and bent to drink the blood from the exposed cavity.

He then motioned for them to do the same. After they had finished, other warriors partook of the honor and the remaining blood was decanted into a container for later use.

The warriors then returned to the task of skinning the bullock. Their knives did not penetrate deep into the skin of the beast, as would be done in the western world. The result was that when the skin was removed, a white mucous-like material remained covering the meat like a snug embryonic sack. The meat was then cooked over an open fire for the upcoming feast and they were encouraged to rest in the shade of the thatched roofs.

After the feast, there was more dancing within the Krall. The young warriors were jubilant and sang the Kunda Lion Song in honor of their accomplishment. “_Moto-moto anamata, Nkalam sa funna nkondo_.” Mabruki translated, “Fire, fire young man, the Lion does not want a war.”

Mabruki explained that the song was sung only when a lion had been slain. It was believed that if it was sung when a lion had not been killed, whoever sang it would be killed by a lion.” Ole Kutata leaned closer to Archibald, Bartley, Dracona Evgenia and Fredryck and whispered “_Zikomo kwambli_.” That meant, “Thank you, very much.”

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Clockwork 1888 Session 89

Clockwork 1888 Date: Friday, August 16, through Tuesday, August 20, 1889
“Corporal John Henry Patterson,” the man introduced, “at your service. If you’ll follow us, we can get started. I trust you may need to pick up some things before we leave. Rashidi and I can help with that and most things you might need can be gotten here in Mombasa. As Rashidi informed, we already have equipment for the camp and supplies so all you should need might be some appropriate clothes or hats.”

Before leaving London, Bartley had purchased a large caliber double barreled rifle. He didn’t want to be unprepared if they were going to hunt big game. So, he wanted to hire an assistant, somebody to load his gun, if needed. He hired a young man who would make the caravan journey and serve that purpose.

They had gotten a pretty good idea of the conditions at their destination so they had most of their supplies already in their luggage. Things like a pith helmet were best purchased at the location so they made sure to get those and anything else that may have been missed. With everything accounted for, they reconvened, ready to begin.

Porters took their luggage over to the docks, again. Expecting them were small boats and dugouts in which they first crossed the approximately three quarters of a mile long Straight of Macupa to get to the British East Africa mainland. Waiting there was the caravan, complete with native porters, a few horses with British soldiers and six elephants with mahouts on their necks.

Three elephants had thick canvas blankets secured upon their backs, not ornate covered howdahs like you’d see in India, but simply a place on its back to sit. The locals called the elephants “tembo” and the stewards brought ladders for them to climb into place. Evgenia and Dracona were on one elephant, side saddle if they wished, Fredryck and Archibald on another, and Bartley and his gun man on the third. Their luggage was loaded onto the other elephants while the porters hefted their loads to get underway.

For the first twenty or so miles, the trail wound its way steadily upwards through a lushly wooded, almost park-like, country. Once the pinnacle of the Rabai Hills was reached, the land changed character quite quickly. The lush greenery was replaced with a wilderness covered in a scattering of scrub trees, thick underbrush and a layer of fine red dust. The dust easily found its way into a fine coating over everything. Natives could be seen from time to time and Rashidi informed them that they were the Wa Nyika, which means “children of the wilderness.”

Rashidi reminded them of the wisdom of making sure that they have enough water with them whenever they venture into the bush. He pointed out that a combination of the sun, dust, exertion and heat have killed many unwary travelers. By the end of the first day, they had made it to Samburu. It was barely a few huts and a shanty but it was a place to camp for the evening with a watering hole nearby.

Fredryck and the others cleaned their guns to make sure the red dust didn’t foul them and put them safely in bags or blankets for protection but available to get if needed. Their stewards served their evening meal while the others set up tents and tended to the animals and porters. With the temperature getting to a reasonable level in the mid 70’s Fahrenheit, they bed down for the night. It had cooled to near 70 overnight and they were glad to have a hot meal for breakfast before continuing their journey.

At one of the watering holes along the way, they shared the water with hippopotamuses and crocodiles. The dry season made resource sharing a necessity in the area. But Patterson and his men knew how and when to take the elephants and horses in for watering without incident.

As evening approached, about 100 miles from the coast, they reached Voi. While only a town, Voi was the largest station they had entered since leaving Mombasa behind. Built as a trading post, Voi had a school, a hotel and a small hospital. Rashidi informed them that the caravan would need to take on water and some equipment, so they would stop and spend the evening there.

Bartley started asking around and learned that Ryall was brought to the hospital earlier in the day. He seemed to be badly hurt. Ryall was accompanied by only one other man but de did not get the other man’s name.

At the hospital, Dracona passed herself off as some kind of medical person and they got permission to visit Ryall. They found Ryall confined to a bed in a private room. Parenti was standing over him wringing his hands and looking very troubled. Ryall was unconscious and unresponsive.

They decided to try and talk to Parenti, first. They could tell that Parenti was in pretty bad shape, still shaken from the attack of the previous night and the loss of one of his close friends. So, they decided to try tact and to treat him with some care to prevent him from shutting down due to the survivor’s guilt he probably felt for escaping the attack.

Archibald diplomatically questioned Parenti with Evgenia watching him for behavioral signs of withdrawing. They first calmed him down enough to tell his tale. “We had gone ahead to investigate the reports of attacks of the man-eaters in the area near Tsavo, while Patterson and the rest of the team gathered necessary supplies for the hunters,” Parenti began.

“We arrived in Tsavo two nights ago and, in speaking with the locals, had determined that there may be man-eaters around. In the past few weeks, at least 15 villagers have gone missing and the villagers claim to have heard the roar of lions in the darkness. They claimed that the ‘devil’ was there and that no one was safe.”

“On the second night, we agreed that someone should stand watch. Ryall volunteered to take the first watch. The next thing I knew, there was screaming and the sounds of an attack within the building. My rifle was in the back of the building in the lounge area and there was something huge in the sleeping corridor.”

“I didn’t know what to do, so I ran to the front of the building, entered the kitchen area and blocked the door shut with a metal rod. Something tried to get the door open and then I heard a loud crash. Outside, I could plainly hear the crunching of bones and the sound of dreadful purring.”

“I can still hear it!” he screamed as he broke down into tears. They calmed him enough to let him continue. “After things got quiet, I ventured back out into the building over the protests of the stewards. I found Ryall barely alive in the lounge section of the building.”

“There was no sign of Huebner but one of the windows in the building was broken and covered in blood.” Parenti then broke down into sobbing hysterical tears. The hospital’s doctor came in. “He needs to be sedated,” he said as he escorted Parenti out of the room.

Alone with Ryall, they decided to use the cord of St. Andrew on him. Joining in a prayer, the magic of the cord coursed through Ryall. Awakened, Ryall stared straight ahead with his piercing blue eyes in a state of catatonic shock. Understanding the horror he’d witnessed, they delicately got him to talk.

“I had taken first watch. It had been a long several of days and after there was no activity on the first part of my watch, I thought I could sit more comfortably in one of the chairs of the lounge area. The next thing I knew, I was awakened to immense pain. I was on the floor, trapped under the chair and something very heavy was pushing down on me. Then I blacked out.”

Gently pushing for any more information, they learned that he remembered seeing what he thought were two glowworms in the night. But, now he thinks that it must have been the eyes of the predator watching and waiting for its opportunity. They could tell that Ryall blamed himself for the death of his friend, Huebner, since he had fallen asleep on his watch.

As they were leaving the hospital, Rashidi arrived there, having heard the news. He expressed a desire to make sure that Rhodes knew of what had happened. He agreed to continue to Tsavo so that he could make the necessary arrangements for them and introduce them to Mabruki. But, after that he would have to return to report to Rhodes.

In the morning they left Voi and the “desert” area behind and entered a land that was lusher, yet somehow more foreboding. It was impossible to see far in any direction unless the caravan crested a hill, as low, stunted trees and thick undergrowth seem ready to engulf the cut made by the trail.

It was while in the thick undergrowth when Bartley felt a pebble hit him on the cheek. He looked to see a black-faced monkey with a white fringe of hair standing out from its overall grizzled-grey hair color. The nineteen inch vervet monkey spotted Bartley’s reaction and then scurried away into the brush.

Rashidi pointed out a plant that seemed to make up a disproportionate amount of the undergrowth. He informed them that it was a thorny plant called “wait-a-bit”, impassable without the aid of a machete and a strong arm. Here and there a ridge of dark-red heat-blistered rock jutted out above the jungle growth and those landmarks seemed the only aid to navigation in the untamed wilderness.

With darkness rapidly approaching, they arrived in Tsavo. The caravan stopped and they made camp for the evening. There was already one building at the site, albeit little more than a shanty. The building was the place that Ryall, Huebner and Parenti were in when they were attacked. They wanted to examine the building and the surrounding area.

They went in through the lounge area door. There were claw marks on the fabric of one of the chairs in the lounge area, a quantity of blood soaked into the carpet near one of the couches and a broken window. There was an ornate gun case under the couch. Inside was a Holland and Holland Double Rifle and 6 shells.

The brass plaque inside the gun case had the name C.H. Ryall engraved on it. Parenti had apparently had the presence of mind to take both Heubner’s and his rifles with him when he and their stewards transported Ryall to the hospital at Voi. However, he must have overlooked the H&H, which was still disassembled in its ornate carrying case. Rashidi told them that, if they wanted to use it to hunt the beasts, he thought Ryall would not mind as long as it was returned afterward.

They determined that the pounce of the lion on the sleeping Ryall must have flipped over the chair he was sleeping in, trapping him under it. However, because of the position of the couch, the lion was unable to get at him to finish him. Frighteningly, the lion left this disabled, easy prey to then attack Heubner.

They noticed that the window was broken from the inside out and that the building was sitting on a slight incline. The rear door of the building closed on a roller track to latch into place. On the incline, if the door was not firmly shut, it would not completely latch. And, there were slight scratch marks indicating where the door was opened by the lion.

In the sleeper area they found a blood trail leading back into the lounge area toward the broken window. Huebner had been dragged from his bunk to the outside through the window. Once outside, Huebner was probably devoured by the beast.

In the kitchen area, they found claw marks on the door separating the sleeping area from the kitchen. They decided to stay in the building for the night. If the lion came back to hunt again, they wanted to be on its familiar hunting ground.

And they weren’t all going to be asleep. They set up watches throughout the night. So, after a tense night, the dawn broke over the horizon. The red shades of the rising sun blended with the red rock outcroppings of earth that stuck up over the dense undergrowth. There was no attack on their camp that night.

After a bracing breakfast cooked up by the stewards, Rashidi announced that he was making arrangements to return to Voi and check on the repairs to the telegraph. He also confided that he hoped that Patterson would be rejoining him in Voi within the week. Rashidi told them to be careful what they said around Mabruki and his people because, while they were a highly spiritual people, they were not members of the Fellowship.

A short while after finishing breakfast, a man dressed in the traditional dress of a Maasai warrior came walking out of the bush. He was tall and thin with a supple build that spoke of great strength like a willow. He wore a cloth dyed bright red with deep blue accents wrapped loosely around his lithe body. He wore heavy copper earrings in both ears which had elongated his earlobes over time.

His facial features were artfully accented with ocher, a red mineral, mixed with cow fat, much like the war paint of the American Indians. He carried a long wooden pole and a 5 foot spear in his right hand. Rashidi greeted Mabruki with a hearty “Jambo!” and they embraced briefly. He then turned and introduced them in order of his perceived importance of each, with the women introduced last. Mabruki looked appraisingly at the “city” people.

Bartley informed his gun man that they’d be going with the Maasai. But the man refused. He’d heard of the trouble in the area and did not want to continue into the bush, fearing for his life. He had agreed to go to Tsavo with Bartley in the caravan, not into the bush. He offered to get somebody else that would dare the bush dangers for Bartley.

Soon after introductions, Mabruki inquired if they were ready to leave. They had a good walk ahead of them and he wanted to get started. After gathering their gear, leaving unnecessary items with the caravan in the care of their stewards, they were ready to go. Bartley had his new gun aid ready to go along, a native man in red shorts.

Mabruki encouraged them to “walk and talk” because it would be a difficult journey. As they began their foot journey, Mabruki confided that he was a member of the Maasai tribe. They would be journeying to his Kraal, about a half days walk.

As they went, he explained that the Maasai were a semi-nomadic people who lived under a communal system. They moved their cattle to different grazing areas depending on the season. He informed that cattle were central to the Maasai way of life, providing daily food in the form of milk and blood. Their meat was used to celebrate great occasions and their dung was essential for the building of houses.

“The gods have given Maasai dominion over all the world’s cattle,” Mabruki informed. “My cattle ranch kin might beg to differ,” Bartley grumbled. Mabruki turned to him and smiled broadly. “Do not worry. The Maasai let other tribes keep cattle,” he politely informed.

Mabruki informed that they lived in a Kraal, which was arranged in a circular fashion. The fence around the Kraal was made of acacia thorns, which prevented lions from attacking the cattle and people inside. Kraals were occupied by an extended family.

“It is a man’s responsibility to build the fence and tend the cattle,” he told. “Warriors are responsible for security while boys herd the cattle. Women construct the houses, supply water, collect firewood, milk cattle and cook. The Maasai houses, the Inkajijik, are loaf-shaped and made of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and cow’s urine.”

“The elders are directors of the tribe. My family is lucky because one of the tribes Oloiboni, my grandfather Ole Kutata,” he told proudly, “resides in my Kraal. The Oloiboni is a highly regarded spiritual leader in charge of Maasai religious ceremonies, customs and traditional affairs. My own brother was killed by the lion when it prowled the night recently.”

Mabruki then spoke of his spear. It was obviously a tremendous source of personal prestige and tribal pride. It was used for both offense and defense, to serve and to protect. He explained that the physical appearance of the spear indicated the age-graded status of the individual warrior. The haft of the spear was made of wood from the sacred Baobab tree and the tip was made of roughly cast iron.

“Each spear has supernatural empowerment bestowed by the tribal Oloiboni,” he explained. “The greater the status of the warrior the greater the empowerment.” He then told of embellishments to his spear via charms, symbolic designs, application of magical ointments and ritual ceremonies.

“In order to become a warrior of the tribe, a boy must go through several trials and rituals,” Mabruki explained. “This milestone in a male Maasai’s life is usually reached around the age of 15. And, if a Maasai is killed in the bush, you must leave his body where it fell. We have no taboo about animals getting to the body.” He turned to them as he walked, “did you know that Tsavo means ‘Place of Slaughter’?”

After a tiring four hour walk along paths through the undergrowth, some of which even the experienced Bushmen would have difficulty finding again, Mabruki led them out into a clearing. In the center of the clearing was a circular compound which could only be the Kraal that he spoke of on the walk. Inside the circular wall, there were several buildings.

Mabruki led them through a break in the wall where a rough gate could be pulled across the opening at night. He took them toward one of the buildings near the center of the compound where an ancient looking Maasai sat in a chair in the shade of a thatched awning. Mabruki greeted him and introduced them to Oloiboni Ole Kutata in the same order that they were introduced to him by Rashidi. But, Mabruki did not use the term ‘bwana’ at all, even when introducing Fredryck.

Kutata asked them why they sought him out. “We’re here to take care of the man-eating lions and see if there’s something else to it,” Bartley explained. “I know of the attacks of the man-eaters,” Ole Kutata informed. “The workers call them “devils”, but do not know just how right they are.”

“I am indebted to Patterson for getting his people to help rid us of the devil simbas. My own daughter and one of my grandchildren have been carried off by the devils. I have seen the signs of a great evil about in the land within my visions. Members of other Massai family groups have begun to tell tales of night attacks by simbas.”

“I did not tell Patterson all I knew of the devil simbas. They are more vulnerable to weapons that were imbued with the essence of silver or were magically enchanted,” Kutata confided. “Is there anything else,” Evgenia inquired as she sensed that there was something else he was holding back.

“I believe that the devil simbas have been created by the Three Witches of Shaitani. They are powerful magic wielders that have plagued this part of Africa for generations. It is my belief that the devil simbas were created in a ritual involving a local sacred Baobab tree. The Baobab tree is known as the ‘Tree of Life’.”

“The Baobab has a large bloated trunk, short stubby limbs and shiny bark,” Kutata explained. “They can live very long and this particular tree has been around since before the time of the pyramids to the North. When the branches have no leaves, it looks as if the tree is upside-down with the roots pointing skyward.”

“The legend is that when the world was young the Baobab tree lorded over the lesser growths. The Gods then became angry and uprooted the Baobabs, thrusting them back into the ground upside-down where they continued to grow. The greatest of these trees is said to reach deep into the earth, from where it can draw ancient mystical energies.”

“The ancient Baobabs are guardians of the land. But, Ilorida enjekat have killed many of them for their wood,” Kutata informed. “I am afraid that the Witches may have corrupted one of the few remaining sacred trees. If this is true, the tree must be destroyed before it corrupts the land, plants, animals and peoples of this region.”

“It will be a great loss to my people if this tree is destroyed. But if it has been corrupted, it is only a matter of time before my people are twisted by its influence. If the tree has been corrupted, I believe that the witches are using its essence during the cycle of the dark moon to alter normal simbas into devil simbas.”

He looked deep into the eyes of each of them. “I feel that your essence is not strong enough to defeat the Witches. With the dark moon cycle starting tomorrow night, I fear that your only chance is to strike tonight to destroy the tree before the Witches can create more perversions of nature.”

He told them that if the tree had been corrupted that the bark would have turned deep obsidian and that the bark would radiate a feeling of cold and dread. He told them that he could create magical oil that could be rubbed onto the bark of the tree at the height of night (midnight) and then set alight. He warned them that he would have to sacrifice part of his own essence to create the oil, so he would be too weak to accompany them.

He assured them that his grandson, Mabruki, would be able to accompany them to show them where to find the tree. He offered to perform an Eokoto e-kule, a formal milk-drinking ceremony, to prepare them for what lay ahead, for those who wished it. Out of reverence for the shaman and the Maasai rituals, Bartley and Evgenia immediately agreed to partake in the milk drinking ceremony.

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Clockwork 1888 Session 88

Clockwork 1888 Friday, June 14, through Friday, August 16, 1889
“This man’s dead,” Evgenia informed as she checked the charred body on the floor. The statue informed that it could raise the man from the dead if he were brought to and put in touch with the body. Working together with their former opponents, they hefted the statue to the body and touched it to him.

Ancient magic coursed through the remains. Within moments, the man took breath and regained consciousness. The Thugs whispered about the power of Shiva and the statue also healed others who had fallen but not died. With all of them awake, the statue commanded the two to map directions to their leader’s lair.

“What of the brandy drinker,” Bartley inquired as Fredryck and Dracona reentered the room. “He escaped into the sewers,” Fredryck informed. “He was a wererat,” Dracona added.

Evgenia noticed that Fredryck’s arm needed attention, too. The wound was already festering and Fredryck told her that he’d been bitten by the wererat. “You may have contracted something,” Evgenia warned. The statue offered to remove the disease that had infected Fredryck.

Fredryck accepted. It said that Fredryck had to touch the statue to accept the healing. Touching the statue, the festering stopped and they were able to treat the wound normally. They all knew that Fredryck could also have contracted lycanthrope from the bite. But, they’d have to wait to see if that were the case.

Mentally, the statue offered to tell them where the wererat’s lair was. While still in control of the ones that worked for him, he could have them draw a map or give directions to it. The statue said it was for their cooperation in getting it back to India, where it can garner true worshipers who willingly follow Shiva.

“We’ll make sure that information gets to the right people,” Archibald suggested. “Agreed,” Bartley said. “But we need to get the statue out of here and we could use the extra hands if we have to make a shipping crate out of these,” he said indicating the piled up crates. The others helped work on creating a crate for the statue while the directions were being recorded.

Evgenia suggested just keeping the statue there and guarding it until it could be moved. But, with the place being a tourist attraction, Bartley thought that might not be the best idea. And, the wererat might come back for it. If the wererat returned, they’d prefer to be better prepared to deal with were-creatures than they were this evening.

As they worked, Bartley started going through the list of people who had been controlled by the statue. He wanted to make sure that all of them were freed of that control. The statue informed them as it released its influence over the circus man Ernst Molier, the van Zuylen couple, Emma Calve, Baron Meyer, and the lawyer Clunet, the reporter George du Parcq, the glass artist Lalique, the hostess, Sarah, Hardinge and Baron Von Shoen.

Bartley was not aware that the diplomats, Hardinge and Baron Von Shoen, were being controlled. But, the statue explained that it needed a distraction to escape after the show. That explained how the two men got into the tiff that night. Then, the statue promised to control no other people until it returned to India, after it would free the five Frenchmen.

“Was that everybody,” Bartley inquired of his Fellowship comrades. They thought a moment before Evgenia said, “the chocolatier, Gaston Menier.” “He was not controlled,” the statue implied. But, Evgenia could tell that was a lie and confronted the statue. She mentally heard the drop in the statue’s tone as it admitted, “He was my backup plan.”

“Why would you want the chocolatier?” Bartley inquired. “He has the means,” the statue admitted. “Our organization has the means to get you back to India. But, as a token of our intent, we’ll let you keep influence over him, for now. However, when you are put on a ship to India you must release him,” Bartley argued. The statue promised to do so.

“We’ll devise the backup plans for if anything goes awry.” That seemed like a reasonable solution and the statue agreed to release its hold on Menier the instant it was aboard. Then, the statue informed that the museum owner, Guimet, would sooner or later notice his absence. And the museum owner was not under its influence

Archibald suggested replacing the statue with some other relic of India. Evgenia suggested making a copy of the statue. Regardless, Guimet would be compensated in some way, possibly with another artifact from India. The most important order of business was to get out of the catacombs without further incident.

The crate was constructed to house the statue. One of the Frenchmen was sent to summon carriages to the catacomb entrance. The Thugs helped to move the crate outside. They closed the secret doors behind them and concealed the drag marks and footprints so that the tourists visiting the catacombs in the morning wouldn’t notice anything.

As the carriages got out of sight, the statue informed that it released the five Frenchmen. They would essentially wake up, not knowing how they got there. But, they made sure they’d have the means to get a carriage to take them home.

They secured storage for the crate in a reputable establishment. As the crate was unloaded, it contacted Evgenia, again. “Once I am in India, if your organization needs my help, I will help in whatever way I can,” the statue promised. She thanked the statue for its offer and assured that if they needed, they’d contact it.

Finally, as Saturday’s dawn washed over Paris, the carriage pulled up to the Grand Hotel. They stopped at the main desk. Fredryck arranged to send a message to let Adoline know that their business was mostly concluded. Bartley added a note to Fen and that then they could relax at the World’s Fair for a few days. They still had a final meeting on Tuesday morning, to attend, though.

As they made their arrangements at the front desk, they heard a voice. “Monsieur Barisol.” Archibald turned to see La Belle Otero. Excusing himself from the others, he went to speak with her.

“When will you be available? I waited all night for your visit,” Otero informed with a hurt look. Archibald wove a tale of woe, intrigue, missed opportunities and time consuming missteps without telling her anything that had really happened. She seemed to understand but inquired if he still had time to see her. Archibald strung her along, promising to try to carve some time for her out of his busy schedule. Disappointed, but accepting, she went about her own business.

After napping for the morning, they joined Adoline, Fen and Brina at the Clemenceau household for dinner. They planned to spend the next days at the fair and attend their meeting on Tuesday morning. Monday evening, after attending the fair for the day, Archibald decided to see if Otero was available.

Knocking on her hotel door, she answered the door with a broad smile and invited him in without hesitation. Walking back into her suite, Archibald closed the door, followed her and noticed a revolver lying openly on a table in her suite. Archibald made a mental note, wondered if it was eventually meant for him, but didn’t bring it up.

Her conversation made him comfortable and it wasn’t long before her seduction was underway. Archibald recognized her efforts and decided to not resist her charms. After their intimacy, she seemed to open up to him, assuring him that her La Bell Otero persona was an act intended to impress the aristocracy, not deceive him. She was sure that he, being an actor, himself, would understand.

With his assurance of confidence, she continued discussing her past. She was born Agustina Otero Iglesias in Valga, Pontevedra, Spain, and her family was impoverished. As a child she moved to Santiago de Compostela where she worked as a maid and, at 10, she was raped. Archibald understood that such was not at all an unusual fate for pretty servant girls of the time.

Becoming a teen, she changed her name to Caroline Otero. She left home with her boyfriend and dancing partner, Paco, to begin working as a singer/dancer in Lisbon. She said that she really did marry an Italian man, who called himself Count Guglielmo, when she was almost 15. But, they divorced and she ended up in Barcelona as a 19-year-old cafe singer.

In 1888 she attracted a patron, who took her to Marseilles and financed her debut on the French stage. The affair lasted only as long as she needed it to, and lately she was billing herself as La Belle Otero, an Andalusian gypsy dancer who had launched her career on funds she had won in Monte Carlo. She continued about the dance for Guimet being the best luck she’d had in a while.

She hesitated for a moment before discussing the next topic … the gun. She inquired if Archibald had seen it and he told her that he did. As she looked to the distance, she told him that it was hers. She was going to use it to kill herself if she failed as a dancer. As a gentleman would, Archibald told her that she should never use it for to take her own life.

She seemed assured by him and they drifted into slumber together. But, Archibald had the presence of mind to wake in time to make his Tuesday morning meeting. After an impassioned kiss, he left her for his “business dealings.”

The front desk had notes with instructions on the room at the Grand Hotel to meet their contact. They met with Dr. Olivert to report their findings. Dr. Bernard Olivert was a tall and muscular French Canadian with forty seasons behind him. He had black hair, brown eyes and the clean cut appearance of city inhabitants.

He told them that that he was a fur trapper, by trade. But, he attended medical school at the Sorbonne in Paris for four years, earning a medical degree. So, when he needs to, he can pass for a very respectable doctor. He was in Paris at this time to attend a medical conference and give a lecture on setting bones in wilderness settings.

Because of his talent for working with others, he had been given the role of Ambassador in the Fellowship of the White Star. He speaks French, English, Latin, Algonquin, Inuit, Iroquois and Athabasca. Bernard listened to their report, assured them that the Fellowship would handle the statue transport, thanked them, and left with what he needed.

Within the week, they’d received word that the wererat’s location had been checked and found that it had been hastily vacated. The rest of their vacation was without interruption. They returned home to London on Sunday, June 23, after two weeks in Paris. Fen returned with them to London and her father’s apothecary shop. Adoline and Brina stayed in Paris to continue to visit with Adoline’s family.

Within the week, Archibald received a romantic letter from Otero, letting him know that she missed him. But, she was excited about some discussions she was having with the Folies Bergère music hall in Paris. The Yermak butler informed Dracona that she had no visitors, including the usual dark carriage of Mr. Marciano. There was about a month of the usual business.

On Thursday, July 25, a boy came to Yermak Investigations with a meeting request for them from Inspector Norrington. That evening, they gathered at Evgenia’s. Inspector Norrington had arrangements for transport on the White Star Lines to British East Africa for their upcoming safari. He asked them to meet with Cecil Rhodes who would have interesting stories to tell, as always.

Train tickets to port were provided for Sunday, July 28. The White Star ship would leave early in the morning from Liverpool on July 29 and arrive at Mombasa port some time on August 16, 1889. Saloon class accommodations had been booked and the ship would travel via the Suez Canal, rather than around the cape. They had three days to prepare and Priscilla agreed to take care of the businesses, again, while they were gone.

On their voyage they passed France, Gibraltar, Crete and Greece, and reminisced of their adventures there. An entire day was spent navigating the Suez Canal before crossing the Red Sea. The ship approached their final destination in the early morning light of Friday, August 16, 1889. The hills of the mainland were heavily wooded and lush.

The town of Mombasa lay on the east side of an island of the same name, separated from the mainland by a very narrow channel. The town crouched under the watchful gaze of a Portuguese fortress, named Fort Jesus. Although it was built over 300 years ago, there still seemed to be a palpable menace about the structure. Contrary to what many might expect, the land there was fresh and green and the quaint town was bathed in brilliant sunshine. The white walls of the houses seemed like bright beacons amid the dreamily waving palms, lofty coconuts, huge baobabs and spreading mango trees.

The bustling docks on the island maintained the charm of Mombasa. The harbor was plentifully sprinkled with bright Arab dhows (small traditionally constructed sailing vessels). After a long time on the vast sea, it seemed almost unbelievable that men plied the very same waters in those tiny vessels. As the ship slipped its anchor, small boats and dug-outs swarmed around the ship.

After a brief argument between some rival Swahili boatmen, they were rapidly rowed to the foot of the landing steps with their luggage. Exiting into Mombasa, the noise and bustle of the port of entry washed over them. Gazing around the docks, they noticed a young black man, probably 16 years old, in a uniform holding a sign that said, “Rhodes.”

He was obviously a local of medium build with dark skin and dark eyes. His uniform, while neatly kept, had seen regular use and was starting to show wear. Unlike many of the dock workers, he was wearing shoes, which despite the pervasive dust he had shined to a mirror like surface.

“Looks like Mr. Rhodes is showing up, today, too,” Bartley mentioned. “Actually,” Evgenia responded, “I think that’s for us. We’re supposed to meet with Mr. Rhodes and I think he was sent to fetch us from the ship.” “That’s possible, too,” Bartley conceded.

Approaching the man, they inquired if he was waiting for Mr. Rhodes or waiting for people who are to meet with Mr. Rhodes. “Jambo,” the man heartily said. Noticing the confused look on some of them, he interpreted. “That means ‘hello’ in Swahili. Bwana Rhodes says you need show me symbol,” the man insisted.

Showing him their Fellowship pins, he warmly welcomed them with the proper handshake and introduced himself as Rashidi Suda. Rashidi seemed to notice that Fredryck was of a higher social status and addressed him as “bwana.” They noticed that Rashidi avoided looking directly at any women in the group and he answered any questions they had in the shortest manner possible.

Rashidi seemed to be a bit shy toward them and he didn’t engage in any idle conversation with them. He inquired if all were present. With that confirmed, Rashidi whispered something to a native boy who ran off into the crowd. Rashidi then secured native men to carry the luggage as he escorted them along the jetty toward the center of town.

They arrived at the town center and went into the decidedly British looking building. Rashidi showed them into a small private room and explained that arrangements have been made for their travels during their stay in Africa. They were in a sitting area with several chairs and cushioned benches for them to relax in.

The native men had run ahead with the luggage and it was currently stored in the room with them. Rashidi also introduced two local stewards that stood by the door to the room. Rashidi made it clear that the stewards were not members of the group and that care should be taken to not be open around them.

Rashidi explained that he had procured necessary supplies, in case they had to leave their transportation for an extended period of time. That equipment would be stored in places accessible for them. The equipment included general camp items such as tents, cooking pots, blankets, tinned food, lanterns and fuel oil.

They noticed that no firearms or ammunition were provided. Fortunately, they each had brought their own. He pointed out that it would be possible to procure porters from among the locals to help transport the equipment needed for camp. Rashidi saw to it that the stewards got drinks and small sandwiches for them.

Archibald, Evgenia and Bartley noticed that Rashidi was checking out the windows every few minutes. They presumed he was watching for Mr. Rhodes. Then a big smile washed over Rashidi’s face. He quickly moved to the door and opened it.

Two men entered the room. Rashidi sent the stewards outside, closed the door to the room and introduced “Bwana” Rhodes. Rhodes was in his mid thirties, average height, blue eyes with a mustache and typical British garb. He introduced himself as a businessman in mining and a member of the South African Cape Colony Parliament. He greeted each of them with the correct handshake.

“Glad you could all make it on such short notice,” Rhodes said. “I’m normally in South Africa but I was talking with Sir William Mackinnon about Britain giving a commercial company, Mackinnon’s Imperial British East Africa Company, the right to administer and develop the territory. That would be useful to me in South Africa, too.”

“But, I was here discussing potential railroad efforts when things started coming out about what was happening around Tsavo. I don’t have long to spend with you but it looks like there might be at least a couple of man-eating lions about. There have been several attacks on villagers and employees up around the Tsavo area. Mackinnon would like to keep any kind of trouble with the ‘wildlife’ out of the news because he hopes to make East Africa a haven for the aristocracy.”

“You brought us here to hunt lions?” Bartley inquired in unrestrained disbelief. Rhodes raised an eyebrow before he continued. “You’re Fellowship hunters, aren’t you?” he answered before continuing. “But, I’ve received information that this may only be the tip of the iceberg. One of the askaris, essentially a camp boss, confided that the shaman of his tribe believes that the man-eaters may have been summoned by witches in a dark ceremony.”

“I don’t know if what he says is true or not. I’ve heard of what horror these creatures can wrought and we cannot risk the possibility that this story might get out. Only a handful of these creatures could depopulate this section of Africa through fear and death in less than a year!”

“You see, the predominant prey of the lion is the Cape buffalo, one of the largest, strongest, meanest creatures on Earth. The Cape buffalo grows up to 1,800 pounds and is armed with curved horns like sharpened spears. These man-eaters are tougher and smarter.”

“Your caravan is being readied to go to Tsavo. I need you to travel into the Tsavo area and meet with the askari,” he paused a moment and asked the man who came in with him. “What’s his name?” “Mabruki,” the man answered. “Mabruki,” Rhodes continued, “who has agreed to guide you to his village to meet with this shaman.”

“The local police superintendent, Charlie Ryall, with two others has gone ahead to get the lay of the land. So, it might also be a good idea to check in with Ryall. He should be either in Voi or Tsavo. We’re not sure where they are at this time because the telegraph lines went down last night.”

“We have determined that the telegraph line has been cut somewhere between Voi and Tsavo. Tsavo is about 132 miles from the coast and, with water stops, you should reach there in two to three days. Voi is a larger town along the way, between Mombasa and Tsavo, about 100 miles from the coast. Voi serves as a trading post and, as such, is more developed. It has a large school, hospital, hotel and some restaurants.”

“Rashidi will be your guide as far as Tsavo where you will meet Mabruki. Corporal John Henry Patterson,” he indicated the man that came in with him, “is in charge of the caravan that is taking you and your gear from Mombasa to Tsavo. Now, I’ll leave you in their capable hands.”

Corporal Patterson was taller, in his early twenties, of medium build with brown hair and a mustache. He was dressed for the bush in khaki colored long pants, which were tucked into high lace up boots. He was wearing a khaki button up shirt and khaki tie under a bushman’s khaki jacket. He had a mustache and was wearing a pith helmet.

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