From the private journal of Rex Tesla:
2 Sept 1934
Jack is missing!
Alex received a telegram at the Club, ostensibly from Jack. We were then called before Aldus Griffon and the Steering Committee, as it seems that not only is Jack missing, but so are a cache of pre-Islamic documents from the Anatolia region of Asia Minor, part of the Century Club’s collection that was just recently cataloged. Surely this is a coincidence!
Hypothesis #1: Jack is not, in fact, missing, but has gotten in over his head, and the telegram is a rouse to distract us. Or a clue as to his actual whereabouts.
After some delightful beverages and a discussion amongst ourselves as to whether this “Sophia” mentioned in the telegram was one of Jack’s seemingly endless strings of relatives, or some sort of coded reference to the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul (Sophia + Turkish papers = Istanbul? I have seen weaker leads bear fruit…), we decided to head to Jack’s apartment complex (one of the first “mega” apartment complexes – thousands of apartments in multiple buildings – the forces of Progress continues unimpeded). We also jointly realized that while we all knew where Jack lived, none of us had ever been to his apartment…
After some difficulty navigating the various very similar looking buildings and parking lots (?!) we eventually found the correct building and were promptly confronted by the doorman who wanted to know who we were looking for. Some awkward conversation and an overwhelmingly large bribe (courtesy of Clara) later, the doorman let us in and we took the stairs up to the confounding 4th floor. After still more wandering around (indeed there is nothing… intuitive about how these buildings are laid out), we found Apartment #427. Alex attempted to pick the lock, and found it much more complicated than it initially looked.
Working together – Alex worked on the lock, Molly kept a look-out, I used the Inertia Induction Electro-Spanner, and the lock stayed… locked. Alex tried again, Clara kept a look-out this time, then Molly remembered she’d seen a lock like this at some government facility in the past, and thus was able to give me some direction on how to fine-tune the spanner. I did so, and the lock… popped open! (Hurrah!)
Meanwhile, inside the the apartment… We found the place decorated in a classy, yet generic way… nothing that says anything about the owner…
Upon some searching, we discovered a few, small hiding spots and hidden funds, identity documents, etc. Then Alex looked carefully and discovered the back wall of the closet led to another closet, which in turn leads into an entire duplicate apartment (# 429). Further investigation showed many, MANY articles of clothing (suits, uniforms, hats, etc., etc.) In the sea of semi chaos, there is a chair, a small bookcase, a reading lamp, etc. Using her Engineering knowledge, Clara found a hollow space in the kitchen counter, that — after Alex demonstrates where the catch might be — contained a small fortune in diamonds and many more sets of identity papers, deeds, titles, etc.
Molly searched for anything related to Turkey and found that Jack has many books on the current state of many wealthy places.
Also in the hiding place, we found a black box with a big letter “S” on the top, which Molly recognized the family crest as the Starkerforth Family – the “marks” in Jack’s first big con when he was a young lad of ten. The box contained a pocket-watch, a signet ring, and a note addressed to “Jack.” Alex “flashed” on the pocket-watch in the box and got a vision of how Jack’s first con played out. Clara was looking at negative space, to see if any square footage was missing; she didn’t find anything of note.
Molly found a box of Turkish delight that contained (within) a note addressed to Alex. Said note read: [“No, seriously, Don’t Follow Me! Can’t guarantee our safety, etc., etc.”] BUT THEN… Alex “flashed” on the note and saw a vision of Jack writing it in that very room with at least three men with guns on him while he wrote the note. Another man is putting some old scrolls and papers into a valise. As he finished the note and put it in the Turkish delight, “Vision Jack” took a significant look at the ice-box.
Alex rushed to the ice-box… ANOTHER jar of mustard (which Jack hates), and inside she finds a key to a bus locker, a note with a Turkish address, and a man’s ring she had never seen before. Alex put the ring on to get ANOTHER vision, and it’s Hamit Nur (the scholar visiting from the Club’s Istanbul chapter) who’s on the phone (in Turkish) and he’s saying something like, “uh-huh, uh-huh. Just please don’t hurt them.” The key flashed on the locker at the main bus depot in Brooklyn.
Revised Hypothesis (#2): Jack was kidnapped along with the papers (why would they need Jack?) by party or parties unknown (at present) and is leaving us clues to his whereabouts while seeming to do the opposite for his captors. But why?
Clara heard the opening of the front door in the adjoining apartment (#427). And some stealthy footsteps. Clara rushed to close the secret door between the closets. She then whispered, “Hide!” We did as asked.
Clara listened to the intruders’ progress in the other room. When they seemed to find the hiding spot, Clara used the wrist telegraph to send “They’re coming.” Everyone got ready.
A large thug barreled through the secret partition and came crashing into the room. Clara, having the drop on him, told him to sit on the bed. He replied by looking shocked and pointing his gun at her. Alex threw a shoe at the thug; it rebounded off his shoulder. Molly pointed a gun at the thug and said (in her most chilling voice), “I believe the lady said ‘sit down on the bed.’” The thug complied.
Clara was then hit by a bullet which came from the darkness of the closet. Clara returned fire by applying her masterful grasp of physics to determine exactly where the guy was based on the hole in the door.
“Oof!” and the body hits the floor.
I used the TVM to speed up and dodge the bullet the thug fired at him. A second thug shot at Alex (she dodged). And a third shot at Clara, unfortunately hitting her (Ouch!).
Molly shot the gun out of Thug #1’s hand.
I took a swing at Thug #4, and was blocked by the ruffian.
Clara shot at Thug #4, but missed.
Thug #1 lunged at Molly, but didn’t really accomplish much in the act. Thug #2 shot at Clara and missed. Thug #3 shot at Alex but missed. Thug #4 shot at me, but I was able to dodge.
I then stepped in close, and applied a Bartitsu elbows the guy in a nerve plexus (making him drop his gun) and then punched him soundly in the face.
Clara shot but just barely missed. Alex took up a cane and waded into the fray to smack around Thug #2.
The thugs attacked again and mostly missed except Thug #3 who almost shot Clara, but missed. Thug #4 attacks me with some sort of fancy kick that wasn’t so much so. Points for effort, however.
Molly smashed Thug #1 over the head with a statue. He fell down.
I punched Thug #4 in face again; he hits the back of his head into the wall, which made a sound like a ripe melon, and then slumped to the ground.
Clara shot Thug #2 in the shoulder and he went down (and out!)
Alex swung the cane overhand, clocking Thug #3 in the head, and on the downside hooked his heel, pulling it out from under him and he fell down on tuchus.
Thug #1 (seriously does this guy ever stop?) then jumped up and rushed at Molly. She gracefully pirouetted out of the way and he rushed headlong (and headfirst) into the wall, she slapped him on the tuchus on the way past. (I guess now he stopped).
Thug #2 shot at Alex and missed.
Thug #4 still tried to kick at me, but I stepped out of the way, and somehow Thug #4 wound up on his face.
Molly shot the gun from Thug #2’s grasp and he dropped in the process.
While I mislike striking a downed man, these thugs’ tenacity (no doubt they are well-paid), made it clear he had no intention of surrendering, thus I found myself forced to kick the last Thug (#4) in the head to get him to stay down.
Just then as everyone paused to catch a breath, we heard a slow (nigh-sarcastic) clapping from a mysterious figure, now silhouetted against the light from Apartment #427…