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Pulp New Faces

Page history last edited by Michael 9 years, 7 months ago

back to The Martian Menace

 


 

Friday, 3 November 1933: Our Heroes take advantage of the sudden darkness to sneak out through the ventilation tunnels. After craftily escaping from Hamilcar's Refuge without being slaughtered, they jump into one of the trucks they had seen previously and drive into Sfax. Victorious again!

 

Saturday, 4 November 1933: After a day resting in Sfax and waiting for transportation, the group departs for Le Havre.

 

From Le Havre, Professor Enwright and the McCracken-Barnatos head back to San Francisco, arriving about November 18.

 

Qua Lin Worthington, William Davis, Nora Cullin and Major DeLacy head on to London, arriving November 8. Bill, Qua Lin, and Nora start their Agent White regimen; Bill starts to fence some of the goods taken from the temple in Hamilcar's Refuge. Algy spends a week being debriefed and making a report:

 

  • The Rocket Helmet goes to Army Intelligence.

  • Cedric Smythe gets the Encyclopedia Britannica, and other very basic text books about space exploration from the "rocket ship empires" dimension.

  • The Germans may have discovered an alternate and more controlled version of trans-dimensional travel, which may be why they took Islington.

  • Prof. Lem was taken as an ancient languages professor. Someone should get to Istanbul and go through his notes carefully.

  • Boulle is involved, importing tech from other dimensions (well, so are the Brits).

 

Then, much shopping and dancing! Resupplying: a sword cane, sticks, saber, training equipment, clothes. Nora connects Qua Lin’s passing out, lack of energy, and hunger, and Lillian’s nosebleeds to psychic stuff.

 

Friday, November 17, 1933: Algy and Nora arrive at Lindisfarne. It is a monastery (following the Benedictine Order), but has guest quarters. They cross the causeway and ring up the castle. The monastery is off in the northeast corner of the island. Sword lessons commence; among the other visitors are:

 

  • a 50 yr old Prussian fencing master with a zweihander; “Von und Zu”, competed at the Paris Olympics in 1924, Silver medal in Saber at 1928 Olympics, 1932 German Fencing coach. An acquaintance of both Nora and her father, from the Olympics.

  • two Spaniards with Toledo steel rapiers. The uncle, in his late 40s, is a master swordmaker; the younger man in his 20s is learning to be a master fencer, and has come to Lindisfarne for further teaching

  • Vittorio Fonseca, an Italian army officer, on leave from Libya. Armed with a saber.

 

Major Delacy learns that Nora’s father, Alexander Van Zo Post, won five medals, including two gold, at the 1904 Olympics, and holds US titles in several fencing forms. He also learns that Nora competed in the 1924 Olympics.

 

Algernon and Nora wake up sore and go to the monastery. Algy returns the Crusader sword. Nora starts to pick up Latin. Algy also tells of his hopes to be cured of “African rabies.” He tells the story of how he got the disease. The monastery is no longer a place of healing, but they can tell DeLacy where he might get some help. He will need to undertake a pilgrimage to Egypt, to St. Catherine’s in the Sinai, the Monastery of the Transfiguration. They ask DeLacy to consider becoming a lay member (really a monk). He declines for now, but stays for a few days to do more training. Nora gets to play with swords. The major is advised to train with his dress sword, a Wilkinson’s Light Infantry 1803 model, which has been in his family for generations.

 

The order at Lindisfarne concentrates on the collection and preservation of knowledge. They have a very large library, with many very old books. About a fifth of the order work on the martial side.There is also a large collection of antique swords. A great great uncle of DeLacy's was the abbot for about two years before he died (about 1760)

 

Wednesday, November 22, 1933: DeLacy, Nora Cullin, and Qua Lin depart from Lindisfarne. One of the brothers give Algy a note, asking him to come back for a package to carry to St. Catherine’s.

 

Thursday, November 23, 1933: Our Heroes get back to London. Algy makes the rounds of the intelligence offices. Info about Richter: he fought in the Austro-Hungarian army in the Great War, and has been in newspapers since then.

 

Major DeLacy is given an assignment -- to deliver some papers to Shanghai, aboard a naval vessel. He is very hesitant, wanting to go to Egypt instead, and decides to refuse the assignment and take leave. He gets to guard a radio code en route to Egypt and arranges a ride for Qua Lin, Davis, and Nora Cullin on the cruiser HMS Curacao. He is issued a briefcase and a Marine guard/batman.

 

Monday, November 27, 1933: When they return to Lindisfarne to pick up the package, they are each given a St. Peter’s medal and a key. The package is a 24” by 18” by 2.5” cedar box wrapped in oilcloth, and contains an ancient manuscript that has been restored by the monks.

 

Thursday, November 30, 1933: Major DeLacy, Nora Cullin, Qua Lin Worthington, and William Davis board HMS Curacoa, bound for Alexandria. The voyage takes ten days.

 

Sunday, December 10, 1933: Alexandria, very warm. Bill, Qua Lin and Nora stay at Shepheard’s Hotel; Major DeLacy goes to the naval headquarters. The box for St. Catherines stays with Davis and the ladies. The Navy receives the case and the Marine, and Algy signs off after being asked to visit Lt. Cmdr. Spenser the next day, in room 14.

 

Our Heroes determine how to get to the monastery -- by train to the south of the Suez peninsula, then by boat to Abu Rudayz and camel to the monastery. Delacy obtains an army map. News is that the German dirigible Graf Zeppelin will be touring the Mediterranean, and visiting Alexandria. After this tour it will be crossing the Atlantic to America, getting a lot of press.

 

Tuesday, December 12, 1933: Our Heroes leave Alexandria by train heading to the south end of Suez ...

 

Wednesday, December 13, 1933: ... and board a local steamer for Abu Rudayz.

 

Friday, December 15, 1933: Arrive Abu Rudayz, spend time making camel arrangements, and then head to the hills.

 

Monday, December 18, 1933: Bill Davis, Qua Lin, Nora Cullin and Major DeLacy arrive at Saint Catherine's monastery. It is pretty big, in mixed Orthodox and Muslim styles. Qua Lin and Nora must stay in a guest house nearby. Delacy tells the first monk he sees that he has brought the box from Lindisfarne. There is a comedic language fiesta as they all misunderstand each other. When the major brings up the question of curing his "African Rabies", he is able to easily communicate in French. The doctor and Qua Lin do not share any common languages, which they find deeply frustrating.

 

Algy explains the symptoms of "African Rabies". The doctor gives him a full examination, including many sharp pokes. Then the monks put Algy on a stone slab. They draw symbols around it with colored chalk. Eventually they do something that causes Algy to get the grey skin, night vision, etc. The altar gains a halo during this time.

 

After being examined for two days, DeLacy is referred to a scholar of ancient medicines in France who may be able to help with his condition. The monks give him some herbs to drink as a tea, while he travels to France. They explain that the "aura sucking" is a gift that can be used to defend the Church, but there are great risks. There are techniques of screening and control that will allow one to take the auras of others and use or release the energy without harm to oneself. They warn him that there are some folks who can drain energy without the medium of contact, and they describe such a person as ‘humour mad’. They may be the source of myths of succubi and incubi. Nora Cullin gets a flash about wearing boots to avoid scorpions.

 

Thursday, December 21, 1933 - Winter Solstice: Algy makes a pilgrimage up the mountain, to clear his spirit. He passes through the Shrive gate, past the ruins of a Byzantine chapel (Our Lady of the Steward) and drinks from Elijah’s Basin.

 

Friday, December 22, 1933: Our Heroes depart from Saint Catherine's monastery.

 

Saturday, December 23, 1933: Nora’s camel stumbles and she tumbles off, landing on her knees with a scorpion nest between her legs. A lot of scorpions boil out of the hole and she does a standing back flip to get out of the way. She knocks a few clinging scorpions off of herself and then tries to get on her camel, slipping instead. A camel driver, trying to help hold the camel steady, trips and lands in the nest, dying within a few seconds. Nora Cullin quickly grabs Qua Lin to prevent her from helping the doomed man.

 

The one remaining guide points at some of scorpions. They are iridescent green, referred to as the Scorpion King’s Children in fables, and may be demons. They exit from the area as quickly as possible, without taking any samples for posterity, or Enwright.

 

Sunday, December 24, 1933: The heroes wake up but the guide doesn’t. Upon examination they find his throat slit, the camels and canteens are gone, DeLacy's rifle is gone, Davis' tommygun and one of Nora’s swords is gone. Most of the Agent White supply is gone (only 10 days left to split between three people). Obviously bandits — they had dragged the guide's corpse back to the camp.

 

After contemplating the 15-25 mile trek into Abu Yadda without any water or camels, the decision is made to go after the bandits (“they have our stuff!”), so Our Heroes make parasols and head out. Twelve hours of trekking and tracking later, they see some evidence of worked stone, mostly in the form of tumbled blocks. It seems to be the remnants of a paved road, possibly of Roman origin. About seven hours into the tracking, deeper into the hills, Nora has a spark that there are narrow canyons ahead. There is a sign that the horse tracks have been brushed out. The party follows the obscured trail and finds themselves in a narrow draw, the walls of which have a variety of graffiti -- cave paintings, hieroglyphics, and French names from 1803.

 

Major DeLacy is getting parched, while the Agent White crew is holding up well. A horse track leads away. After about a quarter mile it narrows, with worked areas. There are markings and hieroglyphs and such on the walls. Qua Lin commands them to stop — she sees a weird stone on the ground, and they step around. A little further and they think they hear water. A hundred yards further and they find a natural spring (they spend a good amount of time quaffing the delightful waters).

 

About 50 to 75 yards later the path opens into a cavern, with an encampment. There are some small openings and lean-tos, a black smith plying his trade, and about a dozen people, horses, and some familiar looking camels. At the back of this squalid bandit encampment, in a natural cave, there are two statues of fighting men, 35 feet tall, flanking a door. The statues are of African-appearing men, one armed with a spear and one with a javelin thrower. They have sears and headdresses, but no other clothing. They are carved of some black stone not native to the cave and valley. At the back there is an archway. The door is made of a type of stone that is also not of the type of stone in the valley. There are two men with pick axes digging at the door. There are two men drilling with a drill and sledge at the door.

 

Nora bops the one by the camels in the head to subdue and he drops. Bill takes his target out with a short struggle, so does Qua Lin. Algy is discovered — he shoots but the guy grabs his rifle. Algy gets hit, but shoots back and drops his target. Algy is hit in the leg and drops. The bullet shattered the bone.

 

Qua Lin and Bill grab weapons, and then Qua Lin rushes over to help, trying to avoid his humours. She does her medical woojoo and helps Algy. Bill guards and Nora find their missing weapons and supplies in a tent and find an old Lee-Enfield and two Martini-Henry rifles. After a bit of questioning, the bandits say they have been at this site for about two years. They only recently started digging out the cave and trying to dig out the door -- they have no clue as to what is on the other side. They join the group for dinner, then set up watches. Bill Davis sleeps through part of his watch and all of Qua Lin’s.

 

Monday, December 25, 1933 - Christmas: The bandits have slipped out during the night, with about half the horses. Qua Lin is very sleepy, and Delacy is very stiff -- he can barely stay on his horse, and falls off almost immediately, breaking his leg right where it was already broken by the yesterday's bullet. Davis has the major mount up behind him, and Our Heroes ride on. It’s the best Christmas in the Sinai ever. Later that day the group arrives at the port, where they eat their weight at dinner, and embark for Suez.

 

Tuesday, December 26, 1933: The dirigible Graf Zeppelin arrives over Alexandria.

 

Wednesday, December 27, 1933: The Graf Zeppelin departs Alexandria, heading westward to America. Our Heroes arrive at Alexandria late in the day, take a few days to rest and recover. They decide to go back to the caves, and try to open the door. They figure out what supplies they may need, and plan accordingly. Nora gives Algy a Boxing Day present of thick gloves.

 

Sunday, December 31, 1933 - New Year's Eve: New Year’s on the boat, en route to the bandit camp.

 

Tuesday, January 2, 1934: The team arrives at the bandit camp, toting many supplies. Bill creates a booby trap, using bits and pieces, to guard the entrance of the cave. Then they all examine the statue and the door to try to find a trigger. The doorway is made of granite, and carvings on it tell a story. There is a half-man half-scorpion on a throne on the top of the archway over the door in the cave. There are people bringing gifts to the scorpion. There is evidence that the scorpion people were in the area before the pyramids were built. The scorpion king is shown leaving into the desert. Nora voices concerns about opening this, and possibly allowing something into the world, but the pictures show the scorpion figure leaving. After much inspection, no triggers are found. Major Delacy takes some photographs. Nora stands on Bill’s shoulders and grabs at the statue’s javelin and with a rumble the door starts sliding away.

 

They scramble in and see pairs of figures with scorpion “heraldry.” After a while, there is a 4' x 4' shaft in the ground. It seems to go down 30 feet, and something glistens at the bottom — 6 inches of water over 2 feet of mud. Brackets and ring-like things line the shaft. Our Heroes set pitons and clamber down.

 

The bottom opens up to 12’ square. Another shaft goes about 100 feet further into the mountain, dropping about 20 feet. There is an open area, and then it goes up for about 100 feet. At the bottom, Bill Davis smells gas and Our Heroes go back a bit and extinguish flames.

 

Davis goes by rope and the others wait. At the bottom are many cracked large clay pots. It’s a fire trap! Bill finds the trip mechanism, but the traps are too old to be effective.

 

Onward, more statues, then up stairs to a metal door. It takes a lot of effort to turn the bar. The door opens outward, and a chamber is revealed. There is a box at the back and a large scorpion statue. There are many shields and weapons. As they step into the room the statue starts to move very slowly. Its stinger hits the ceiling often, targeting the heroes. It is quite ponderous and deliberate in its movements, yet Davis is caught wrong-footed, his left being rather crushed by one of the scorpion man’s many pointy feet. Nora leaps into the chamber to affect a thrilling rescue, mistimes the oddly jerky movements of the solid stone creature, and suffers a glancing blow to the head.

 

The major tosses the end of a rope to the slightly dazed Nora Cullin, who loops it around the legs of the statue. Algy pulls tight, with help from Qua Lin, and the statue tumbles to the ground. It shatters into large chunks of solid stone, with no evidence of joints or mechanical articulation. Qua Lin succors Bill Davos while Nora ponders this seeming impossibility. It is granite. Period. No joints, no gears...how was it moving? How did it target?

 

The sarcophagus is 4' x 4' x 8', made from granite. Once Bill is recovered enough to move (gingerly) again, he and Delacy chip away mortar on the tomb, pry the top up and lever it over a bit and it crashes off. Within lies the body of a man with long hair, 6’ 6” tall, negroid features, in similar outfit to the statues at the mouth of the cave, his eyes are open. The body looks good … almost alive. In the blink of an eye, the body withers to dust, but not before the unblinking Bill Davis sees it blink, as if awakening from a deep sleep. The nice artifacts inside age very quickly. Loot: a sword, belt buckle, a circlet, knobkerrie (4 ft long, weighs 30 lbs)

 

Our Heroes make it back out of the tomb unscathed and spend the night at the mouth of the cave.

 

Thursday, January 4, 1934: The paty arrives back at Abu Rhudayz.

 

Friday, January 5, 1934: Back in Alexandria.

 

 


 

on to Lotta!

 

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