May 26, 1934 (Probably), Unknown Location
Darkness and pain took us just as we dispersed to deal with the crisis. When the darkness ended, we found ourselves, along with a number of innocent bystanders, in a 20 ft x 20 ft cell made of iron bars running from floor to ceiling. It was dark, but not the absolute lack of sensation that had previously gripped us.
After activating a couple of lucky lighters (mine and Kurt’s), we notice that Riley was missing, we are still armed (those of us accustomed to carrying pistols…plus Kurt and his coach gun of all things), and it is cold. Cold enough that motion is necessary to stay warm.
We checked the two solid doors to the cell (each opposite the other) and looked around beyond the bars. The room we were in was twice the size of the cell, with the cell in the exact center of the chamber. The bars were set close enough even Bak Mu could not squeeze through and the locks were placed on the doors such that Simone could not get to adequately position her hands to pick them. This did not stop her from trying.
After a short time, the electric lights in the room activated and three men entered the room, wearing the black uniforms with silver piping of the Schattenkreis! They were talking amongst themselves and appeared to be surprised by our presence as they were not expecting anyone this soon. One of them got close enough to the cell that Jack could grab him and he did so, pulling the guard against the bars of the cell. They only spoke German, so I did most of the talking on our part. They decided to abandon their fellow guard and run to raise the alarm. Kurt and I stopped them by shooting them before they could clear the door. Meanwhile, Bak Mu reached around and relieved the guard Jack had pinned of his keys. Bak Mu then unlocked the adjacent cell door (just as Simone finally finished picking the lock on the other door).
Jack and Kurt relieved all three guards of their pistols and spare clips of ammunition while Bak Mu performed first aid on the bystanders to wake them up before hypothermia set in. (This place is cold and we “just left” early summer temperatures.)
We started exploring at this point. While most of the hallways are standard size, there is a set that are twice this size, which we avoid as they are trafficked by Schattenkreis troops. We found a submarine pen large enough for two submarines. We clocked some guards and rescued a scientist-type, who explained that the scientists in the base were kidnapped and brought here. They have lost track of time as the base is underground and always cold. We decided that simply escaping was not going to be possible, so we started methodically working our way through the base, taking out cultists/guards as we came to them.
We found the barracks for the troops and the personal rooms of The Key, the resident mad scientist, and Frau Nyx, the woman who escaped us in Australia. In The Key’s room was a desk crammed full of papers – handwritten notes of projects he was working on. All of them, pressed in like geologic layers. We pulled them out and dumped them into bags for Riley to look over later as we were in a hurry at the time. In Frau Nyx’s room we learned she was the head of the base and that she had an amber skull hidden away. I took the skull, not because I think it is valuable, but because she does. At some point here Helen and Simone changed clothes from summer dresses to Schattenkreis officer uniforms, probably from Frau Nyx’s armoire, I no longer remember the exact timing.
After further exploration of the base, we discovered a surface access point – a square room with several cold weather suits hanging on the walls and a ladder up to a hatch in the ceiling. Jack put on the cold weather gear and climbed up. He reported an observation post of some sort, exposed to the elements. There was a blizzard going on, preventing Jack from seeing very far around, let alone the stars to try and determine where we were.
Searching further, we then found a screening room with a wet bar (I'll let you guess which cowboy located the alcohol), but otherwise empty. Next to it was a lab with several scientists working on various projects. We announced we were liberating them, but one of the scientists objected and pulled a gun. He went down quickly. Another of the scientists introduced himself as Robert Thompson. He was kidnapped by the Schattenkreis in October of 1932. He was tired of being locked up and was ready to actively help us.
After that we found the room where the Schattenkreis tested The Machine we faced in Australia. It was adjacent to the power plant for the entire base. The power plant not only looked dangerous, it was dangerous. The two operators explained to us that without constant attention and adjustments the power plant would shut down, probably catastrophically. We left them to their work.
Kurt and Bak Mu split off to reconnoiter ahead (and take down some guards). They found the garage of the base, some sort of large cavern with a surface exit. There were a small number of snowmobiles and a single, tracked motor. There were not enough vehicles (or protective clothing) for the large group of people we needed to rescue, so we continued searching the base.
We backtracked to the (now) empty testing room, which had a set of stairs up to the control room for the submarine pen. From there we could see the rest of the goons in the base. They were pulling up barrels from an underwater location. (We later discovered the barrels are full of heavy water stolen from the Hall of Science at the World’s Fair.) We worked out a plan to rush the goons and take the base. After a brief skirmish (really, it was that quick) all the Schattenkreis goons were dead and the base was ours!
We’ve gathered up all the bystanders and scientists in the screening room and are discussing how to escape as a group.
We talked a lot and this is the best plan we have: we are going to use the remaining submarine in the base to escape through the underwater portal. We think we have a five minute window for to sail out from the last adjustment to the power plant to when it catastrophically fails and the portal collapses. One of the bystanders has some (very limited, it turns out) ability to drive a submarine – he was an engineer who once worked on a British submarine and watched it being piloted. (I very much miss Riley right now.) We also plan on detonating some dynamite in the control room using an improvised timing device using the heat from the film projector bulb and some copper wire. No, I do not feel that is safe in any way, but it is the best we can do with what we have.
I’ll be honest, this is not the best plan we’ve ever come up with and I’m somewhat dubious we’ll make it out alive. We don’t know if the gate will remain stable long enough for us to travel through it (assuming our “submarine commander” can get the sub into it without sinking in the first place). We’re lining up the submarine now, under a bridge that spans the pen so the power plant operators have the shortest route to get to the sub. Also so we don’t have to steer the sub while escaping. We also don't know what will happen when the power plant fails or if/when the dynamite will detonate. I’m not optimistic.
[In Chinese] Tsai Su, If we don’t make it and you somehow get this, know I love you and always will.
Andrew Ezekial Crawley
[Handwriting is rough at first but improves quickly.]
- My pessimism was unfounded – we made it through the portal. Somehow.
- Passing through a dimensional gate is not instantaneous.
- Looking through the periscope of a submarine while traversing inter-dimensional space is not recommended. The human mind cannot hold it all and overloads in a most unpleasant manner. Also, Human languages are inadequate to describe what is seen - I know 16 languages and do not have the words.
I recovered my senses to find us in Lake Michigan, just offshore from the World’s Fair. Looking through the periscope we can see the giant copper robot just starting its attack on the Fair.
Yes, I wrote that correctly - "just starting".
We were at the Schattenkreis base for at least six hours, possibly longer, but have returned at best minutes after we were abducted.
I am going to need a stiff drink once this day is over.
End of Session