The Intrepids

Case of the TBD
Mummy-Zombies at the Not-So-Abandoned Mine!

We decide to examine the dessicated corpse/mummy-zombie and Rex notices that it contains a couple of organic types stones (like a kidney stone) – like a bezoar. Molly tries shooting one of the bezoars to see what would happen. It shatters and a “sighing” like sound is heard and then the wisp of smoke is taken away by the wind.

We decide to try to shoot out the bezoar on the next mummy-zombie we come to. Molly decides she will take a shot at the bezoar embedded in the chest of the mummy-zombie. She picks it off from a distance. Then thinking that perhaps it might be dead (or not UNdead), Clara decides to chop the head off with a scimitar and in the course of doing so, manages to activate the mummy-zombie, and then Molly shoots out the bezoar in the head. It crumbles into a pile of bones (which Molly insists on burning anyway).

Molly and Clara repeat the shooting process with the next half a dozen or so mummy-zombies. Then we come over a ridge and see a whole lot of guys involved in some sort of excavation of a cave of some sort. We back up and try to take a look at the scene. The Lark volunteers to sneak down and see what he can learn.

While we’re waiting, we hear some people coming up the road. Much discussion and failure of action to find a place to hide or stash camels. It is then decided to set up for an ambush (that won’t work).

The party comes along up the path, we see they are the three guys from the village (the three guys who didn’t know one another) and a small contingent of Turkish mercenaries. They stop and tell us to come out.

Clara steps out, full of bravado and leveling her pistol coolly at them and asking whether they are with or fighting against the men at the cave. They seem confused and then uppity, and refuse to answer questions. More guns are drawn. Then they are undrawn. Then they ride past. Then they hang out for a few minutes, and then they come back to ask us questions.

We all go back to the ridge, and there is more spying and muttering. Molly and Alex each notice that the the equipment seems reminiscent of Baroness Blackheart, while another woman who may be Jack’s nemesis, The Dark Knife.

The Lark returns and tells us what he’s found (approximately 3 or 4 dozen of the couple hundred are armed, obviously). It is still not clear what is being mined.

The professor asks about the mummy-zombies. We explain. He wanders away.

A giant bird shows up and turns into a tall man who is attired in a conservative, yet fashionable European suit. He goes up to the three men and wants to know why they aren’t at work and then they point beyond the ridge and the magic-bird-man looks and mutters a curse and then wants to know why we’re there.

More muttering.

Rex is keeping watch on the valley and notices Jack is being marched across the valley floor (he’s walking funny, but it’s not clear why). Rex tells everyone else and they see Jack marched into the cave. It gets darker still and the floodlights come on and sentries are deployed further out from the encampment. We make a plan to tackle guards and steal their outfits, but before the plan can be implemented, the tribal mercenaries start whooping it up and charge into the valley.

New plan! We’ll use the distraction of the attack to sneak in. The magic-bird-man calls down a lightning strike, but it hits a bush. He redoubles his efforts. The Professor starts drawing out some sort of magical mandala. The Sufi starts spinning, spinning, spinning and goes rushing into the valley like a whirling dervish.

We then begin the sneaking, which goes rather well. We then notice Jafar coming out of the cave just as Baroness Blackheart and The Dark Knife come out of a tent and the three of them walk towards one another. They are focused on the cold monster, which Jafar immediately dispels. We sneak into the mouth of the cave.

We decide to rush out and unplug the lights so we’re able to sneak in the cave without being illuminated. We unplug the lights and we rush back to the cave mouth (which is covered by a tarp…)

We enter the cave and there are two guards there. Clara tries to get them to be quiet by leveling her gun at them and putting her finger to her lips. They opt not to do anything of the sort. Molly shots a guard. The guards attempt to shoot at us (poorly). Alex throws a knife at the guards and misses. Rex punches one of the guards but hits the rifle instead.

Clara fires and shoots the first guard; he drops. Molly shoots again. The guard shoots Molly. Alex picks up the guard’s rifle and shoots at the guard but misses. Rex punches him.

Clara shoots again and drops him. We head further into the cave.

Three men come charging up towards the front and then trip all at once (the work of The Lark). He tells us to “head for the light.”

We get down into a large, circular chamber. It is very smooth and the center contains raised alters. There are incandescent light strung around the perimeter. And the area being “mined” seems to be a pit in the center of the room (surrounded by the four alters). There are two passages out of here, so Clara suggests we split up to cover more ground.

Down the Rex/Molly tunnel, we pause briefly to examine some inscriptions/hieroglyphics in the tunnel. Only the sounds of Jafar’s voice in the larger circular chamber shake Molly out of her revelry. We move forward towards a light source.

Down the Clara/Alex tunnel, Alex rushes on ahead and then falls in a pit. After hearing Jafar’s voice from the circular chamber, Clara decides to jump down into the pit (which has a crawlspace in it) to hide and wait out their pursuers.

Rex and Molly rush into a chamber is that is effectively a gigantic geode. At the center of the room Jack is sitting there tied up and looking dejected. He says, “Don’t do anything sudden.”

“Why?” asks Molly in a sensible way. Jack is sitting on a bomb.

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Revenge of the Tarp

Alex goes to look at the motorcycle, and touches it. She feels a ride, from the perspective of the cycle, and then experiences a rapid trip through a big city approaching the warehouse where we discovered the kidnappers. Rex
feels very attached to the motorcycle, and decides to take it.
We arrive in the camel town, and the guide picks out a suitable set of camels. He introduces us to a wildly bearded, 6 foot tall, missing his right hand, and most of his teeth guide named Recap. Although Molly rides with great grace the rest of the team is quite sore and unhappy by the time we make camp that night.
Alex takes first watch. She hears 6 men and equipment trying to be stealthy. She returns to camp and wakes everyone. As the others are getting up, an arrow comes flying in to camp and grazes her shoulder before landing in the fire. Clara turns and shoots in the direction of the arrow, and hits someone. Molly shoots as well, and hears a scream and thud. Alex throws a flaming stick at the sounds and almost hits a camel. Lark vanishes in to the shadows and makes for the invaders. A second arrows comes flying in to camp and hits Clara in her left arm, while two men in black rush into camp and one clips Molly’s right arm with his sword. Rex swings but misses, as Recap screams and run at the other invader. Rama douses the fire,
Clara shoots in to the darkness as Molly shoots her attacker and Alex punches hers. Lark stabs one of the archers, and the invaders seem to be surprised at the resistance and fall back. Rex kicks one of the attackers in the head but the invader grabs Rex’s foot and Rex is brought to the ground. Recap pokes the other invader with his stump. Rama tries “camel whispering” to calm the frightened camels. Molly fires at the invader near her and she shoots him dead. Alex tries to kick the other invader in the head and misses. Lark takes a swing and a miss at the archer. Another arrow flies in and misses Molly. Clara shoots at the invader on the ground who slipped in camel dung. She hits him in the hip and won’t be getting up. Rex grabs the invader’s head and beats him senseless against some rocks. Lark yells, “Hey, come back here” as the two archers run away.
Rex provides first aid as Rama restarts the fire. Molly questions them and realizes they are common bandits. The one that Clara shot dies in the night, so the team tells the remaining bandit to bury his companions and leave him.
The land starts to get weird, with strange shapes in the rocks, and wind making strange sounds in the rocks. Alex feels strange power growing around them. The camels keep trying to turn around, and we are surrounded by dust devils. Recap points out a large group of camel tracks in front of us.
Shortly after Recap starts cursing, and we see a body of a man completely desiccated and cut open. We see several more lumps off in the distance. As Alex moves forward to touch it, the corpse sits up and scrambles up and pulls a scimitar. As he approaches Alex a purplish glow comes from its eye sockets. It strikes Alex and swings at Molly. Clara tries to shoot it, but the bullet passes harmlessly through. Molly also shoots at it. Alex grabs a shovel and hots the corpse in the head, its lights dim for a moment then it returns.
Clara tries to grab a tarp to tangle up the zombie but gets herself tangled, and when Molly tries to help she also gets tangled. Alex is so confused she also gets tangled as the camel runs around in circles. Lark sneaks up and stabs the corpse in the back with no result. The women finally get disentangled, and Alex hits it with the shovel.
Clara abandons the tarp in favor of a stick on fire. Molly tangles the corpse in the tarp, and it becomes totally tangled.
Rex pulls himself together enough to shoot at the corpse, as Clara darts forward and sets the tarp aflame. Molly grabs a pickax and whacks the corpse in the head. It starts flailing around. Alex smacks the corpse head with her shovel, as Rex shoots, to no apparent effect.
The tarp bursts into flames, and after a pause the flaming skeleton steps forward.
Clara scoops up a sword and brandishes her flaming stick and charges forward to chop off the corpse head. The head breaks apart and the skeleton staggers. Molly steps forward and chops off an arm with her pickax. After a pause Alex chops off the other arm. The torso and legs keep staggering around. Lark says ‘I think I figured this out’ and pokes the skeleton and pops the purple bubble and the bones fall to the ground.

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Case of the TBD, Chapter 8
The Journey to Ankara

The team hires Irfan to lead them to the mountains. They hire two trucks, the first truck has the guide, Molly, Rama and Rex. The second truck is driven by Clara, with Alex and Lark in it.

We drive uneventfully to the Little Village with the Long Name just as the sun is setting. Irfan says he planned this as a way-station as the headsman’s brother is married to his cousin’s something or other. We are welcomed as honored guests.

We are offered food and some mint tea and some glasses and some sugar and offers raku (which is sorta like gin). The liquor is strong and pretty good.

Dinner proceeds without incident. Another Turkish gentlemen, Faruq Baz, in western clothes comes over and makes small talk about why we’re here, and does not veil his contempt for the local area and its denizens.

After dinner we retire to the widow’s house where we are staying and drift off to sleep. Then, in the middle of the night, a SCREAM! From the third room…

We bust into the room (still locked) and find that Mr. Baz (from earlier) is sprawled out on the bed, death with his throat slashed open and blood every where. It seems to be a locked room mystery — the only other entrance is a window which is closed (and we’re on the second floor). Then the widow shows up and starts screaming “Murder!” and not so subtly accuses us. She goes “running” out the front door calling for help and/or the police!

Molly, Rama, and Clara go downstairs and attempt to head off the mob with the pitchforks. Rex and Alex investigate. Alex sees nothing of any significance – it’s clear that Baz could not have inflicted his own wounds, but there is no trace of anyone else having been in the room. She then tries to look through his things for any mysterious vibes – she finds some “tainted money” and then the “police” arrive.

The police consist of an older gentlemen in various states of military uniforms who is not terribly thrilled at being woken up at this time of night. Some looking around and questioning of the women, he examines the scene and then asks us which of us would like to confess to the murder… There is some discussion and some threats of Turkish jail (the opposite of Turkish Delight), and Clara manages to get him to reconsider and he changes things to “just don’t leave town.”

Alex decides to get a reading off the body before they take Mr. Baz away… She gets a vision of his last moments. Which play out rather the way you think they would, darkness, struggling, more darkness. Oh, and some garlic breath. But that’s about all she learned.

Most of us go back to bed… Alex is troubled, however, so she decides to keep investigating. She determines that the blade that made the cuts was not particularly large, but was very sharp (like a straight razor). The locks and window don’t seem to have been tampered with, but she does find a small bit of fishing line that doesn’t seem to go with anything else in the room. Finally she found a small piece of paper that contains a copy of the same map we have shoved down inside the box spring. Alex and the Lark have a short conversation about who could have pulled this whole thing off.

We get up the next morning. We have a tasty breakfast (the widow is a good hostess even if she now thinks us all murderers) and then Rex takes a look around the outside of the building. He notices a small bit of roofing tile on the ground and makes sure the guard following him notices it as well.

When the constable shows up thereafter he asks the widow if she has a ladder, and once one is located, he sends the guard up on the roof. He cries out triumphantly and returns to the ground with fishing line. The locked room mystery becoming less so, the constable is relaxing his opinion that we are dangerous assassins and believes we might be allowed to leave town sometime after he wraps up his case…

Alex updates the rest of the Intrepids on her nighttime investigations.

Around mid-day three desert riders show up. They head to the meeting house. Clara suggests we head there for lunch. The team sees the head man go in, look around the room then call his men in, where they sit down for tea. The team sits down and the proprietor offers very nice lamb stew and other food. Molly asks the man who the other strangers are, and if he knew the dead man. The proprietor explains the new man is the leader of his clan. He had seen the dead man drive through on his motorcycle a few weeks earlier.

Soon a man drive up in a car, wearing western clothes, but with a fez. He is followed by graduate students. The two men glance at each other, but clearly pretend not to. The professor calls to the proprietor by name and sits down. Lunch continues with no contact between the two men. There is the sound of children playing and banging outside, and soon a Sufi man with bells on comes in. He does not look at the other strangers. He sits down and the proprietor brings him mint tea (lots of mint tea going on).

Molly and Alex get up and decide to talk to the professor. He greets them in English. “Did you just come in today?” says Molly. “Yes, we just got in from Istanbul,” he replies, “What brings you to the the little Town with the Long Name?” Cryptic conversation commences.

Next Molly and Alex go to talk to the Sufi mystic. He is very happy… If you thought the last conversation was odd, this one would knock it right out of the park.

The desert group leaves. We dispatch the Lark to keep stealthy tabs on them.

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Case of the TBD, Chapter 7
Escape from the Jafar's Palace

Clara takes the key ring from one of the (recently over-powered) guards and opens the door they were guarding. She then enters the room and promptly gets conked over the head with a vase. It turns out the “conk-er” was Mrs. Nur, who is in the room with her two children.

“Mrs. Nur, I presume…” Clara rubs her head slightly, “Your husband sends his regards.”

“Oh, at last!” she says slumping slightly against the wall as the adrenaline rush leaves her, “But I fear we don’t have much time…” She explains that Jafar comes to “visit” with her every day at about this time.

Thud, thud, thud. We knock out the guards and shove them in the first room. We then rush to the second room and lock the door behind us. We hear from the hallway the muffled sounds of the door being opened and then cursing in Turkish. Then shoving and more cursing in Turkish. Then the voice of Jafar, “Find. Them. Now.”

The Guard Captain (?) instructs the guards to “start with this hallway and fan out from there.” In a few moments there are sounds outside our door. The key is inserted into the lock. Rex uses his famed Inertia Induction Electro-Spanner to jam the lock shut of overclicking the tumblers. More Turkish cursing. Then the sound of a shoulder battering against the door. Looking out on the balcony a daring plan for escape is made (involving improvised rope and some curtain hardware for a pulley to make a sort of zipline).

Three hulking brutes burst into the room! Wielding scimitars with deadly efficiency, these fearsome elite guards set upon our heroes. Clara starts shooting. Followed by Molly. Alex picks up a vase and smashes it into a wall (instead of the guard). One of the guards go down. The guards attack with their scimitars. Clara’s jacket sleeve gets sliced open.

More shooting from Clara and Molly. This time Alex smashes a candelabra (into the wall… she really dislikes the wall!) More scimitar action. The battle continues while Rex works frantically to create a zipline and pulley system. Finishing his work, Rex tags out with Clara who picks up one of the children and run across to use the zipline. After some additional struggle, we take out the remaining two guards. As things get quiet that’s when we notice the chanting coming from down the hall (the room next door).

Molly goes over next and taking the second of the children. Green mist starts pouring into the room. Then Mrs. Nur goes over. The mist is resolving itself into a man-like shape. Rex turns on the ceiling fan. Then Alex goes over. The mist-man steps further from the fan. Rex goes and unties the rope and swings across.

The new room is disused and dusty and filled with women garments. Alex looks in the mirror and suddenly takes on the personality of Madame Jafar and takes a brief trip into fantasy-land.

Some vague back-and-forth involving looking for jewelry and going to dinner with Jafar and Alex changing clothes, and talking with her in different voices culminating in Mrs. Nur slapping Alex and returning her to her senses. Alex knows how to get us out of the palace safely and does so. Then we drive back to the hotel. Some arrangements are made so that the XXXXX the Airpirate from earlier could transport the Nur family to a nearby Century Club chapter house and onward to whatever safe port they desire.

Meanwhile, the Lark (who has rejoined the group during the escape tunnel) is reviewing his ill-gotten gains (i.e., stuff he stole from Jafar’s house). Alex notices that one of the daggers glows to her eyes and asks to look at it. Lark tosses it to her and she gets a vision of it being forged. She decides to keep it, but lets him keep the sheath. Molly looks at it, but sees nothing special.

We retrieve the artifacts from the safe at the Century Club and decide to take them back to hotel to see if Alex can get a reading off any of the objects that she hadn’t yet touched. She sits on the bed and clears her mind in preparation to look at the brass rotating cylinder thingy. She holds it in her hands and then it starts to levitate a few inches from her hands. She then has a (1st person) vision of putting the cylinder together and rotating it into a particular position and then setting it in a specific room. Then she has a second half of a vision wherein she sees someone taking the the scroll and then a repeat of a vision from the quartz earlier involving fire and a misspoken incantation.

Back in the present, Alex starts fiddling with the rotating brass cylinder thingy. She clicks them into a couple places and it turns out that the the phrases spell out the word for “fire” in a couple different dialects and then the cylinder thingy pops open to reveal a silk scroll pouch, an egg-shaped ruby, and a couple of knuckle bones (which may or may not be human). The scroll pouch seems to contain a scroll that has the instructions on how to create a bound Djinn (which is unusual in that traditionally, the Djinn must be tricked into binding itself.)

Then Alex tried her vision trick on the heretofore blank parchment, during which she had a vision of a map being drawn on the same. When she opened her eyes, she shows everyone the map (which we can now all see, on the no longer blank parchment).

An expedition is planned to the wilds of the Turkish hills.

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Case of the TBD, Chapter 6
first draft

The Intrepids meet over breakfast and decide their next move. Which is to go full frontal assault on Jafar’s palace. Then Alex goes outside the restaurant to meet with a woman that seems to want her attention — however, she’s the only one who can see her. The woman touches Alex and then Alex collapses (again), but she has the sense that she knows a lot of new information.

Separately, we find that Jafar is one evil and powerful fella. Powerfully Evil. We are advised against confronting him. That, of course, does not dissuade us, even a little bit.

We drive to Jafar’s palace. It’s beautiful, in a totally keep out of here kinda way. The Lark does some reconnaissance. It’s really, really tightly locked down. Two dozen guards and many of them have leopards. Yes, leopards (as opposed to lepers, which is a whole other thing…)

Alex listens for a while and hears water dripping from a drainage pipe down some rocks. We decide to sneak in through the aforementioned drainage pipe. We crawl along until we get to a cistern, the overflow from which has been draining out the pipe. The Lark and Rex boost Alex up to work the lock on the gate over. When partway through her action, The Lark calls for silence and then announces that there is a crocodile.

Crocodile wrestling ensues. Molly is making a lasso from Rex’s rope. The croc snaps at Clara. Rex and Clara both try to secure the croc’s snapping jaws. Alex attempts to jump on as well, but there is no room on team crocodile. Molly attempts to lasso the croc and almost chokes Rex instead. “Not me, the crocodile!” Then The Lark calls out and Rex rolls off and The Lark stabs the croc in its head. Then Clara almost shoots the croc but we all ask her not to spoil the whole stealthy bit we have going on.

Alex attempts to stab the croc but misses. Molly tries to lasso it again, and succeeds in getting the lariat around the jaws. Rex hits the knife further in and succeeds in doing so. The Lark attempts to get another knife in there, but misses. Clara then shoots the croc, killing it, and making a tremendous noise.

Back to where we were. We need to climb the remaining the eight feet of the the cistern. Clara makes a grappling hook out of the knives, more knives, someone’s belt, and some rubber cement, and gaffers tape.

Rex throws the hook and… misses. The Intrepids regroup and Alex tells him what to aim for, Clara helps steady him, and Rex tries again and nails it. Everyone climbs up, following The Lark’s lead. We find ourselves in a courtyard.

We skulk over to some cover and look about.

Alex “remembers” that she wants the upstairs stairway. So we sneak upstairs, Alex goes out into the hallway, using her feminine wiles to distract the guards, and everyone else takes them down/prisoner.

To be continued later.

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Case of the TBD, Chapter 5

When last we saw our heroes, they were about to be set upon by some nefarious folks…

CUT SCENE:

Desert, nighttime. Five men sit around a fire pit. One is a European (white suit, hat) but seems comfortable in the environment.

Man in the White Suit (MitWS): “The reason I’ve called this meeting, is that we need some local assistance.” He speaks with a British accent (and requisite disdain). “What can you tell me of this object and the legends surrounding it?”

“There are many legends.”

Ukul, the wiseman/dervish: “The legends must be treated with respect.”

MitWS gets very curt. “I was told you were a difficult people to speak with.”

“MY grandmother told me the best way to pay respect is with blood.”

MitWS: “This does not surprise me, nor should it be a problem. Can you provide men and of what quality?”

“I can provide as many men as you need. Strong backs.”

MitWS: “You can provide two dozen men within the week?”

“Of course.”

MitWS: “You can take care of the local folk and their superstitions around the legends?”

Ukul: “It shall be done.”

After some additional questions and arrangements, and the agreement that the gentlemen would meet again at this location in one week’s time. Then the MitWS walks out of the firelight and into a whirlwind/dust devil and seems to disappear…

Meanwhile, back in the marketplace…

Rex uses his Electro Spanner to pull an awning down on three of the men whirling staves. The fourth starts trying to get the awning off his fellows. Two other men without weapons, start making synchronized wavy hand-gestures.

Clara shoots at one of them and the bullet is deflected off of his GLOWING HAND.

Alex grabs one of the downed staves and swings it at the remaining staff-wielder, hitting him.

Molly, who recognizes the men as an obscure sect of Assassins™, decides to shoot at the mystic hand-wavers and notes they have a phylactery, which she aims at. The bullet strikes it, but ricochets into the one guys leg.

The mystic assassins coordinate their hand movements and send a blast of mental force at Molly (who has shown herself to be the greatest threat). She sees it just in time, and dives low just as the wave is smashing her downwards.

Rex punches the remaining staff-wielder, who in turn, redoubles his efforts to get the awning off of his fellows.

A seventh guy (very Jafar-looking) walks around from the other side of the truck. He coordinates his movements with the other mystic hand-wavers and a blast rolls out hitting everyone. Molly is knocked out. Clara and Alex are knocked down and are having nightmarish visions. Rex says, “What is your bidding, My Master?”

Thus begins the intra-group fight/everyone tries to snap out of it portion of our fight. The Assassin mystics, meanwhile, are trying to make a glowing, magic triangle to some nefarious purpose. Rex is beating on Alex, who has snapped out of her nightmare visions and is trying to ward him off with a staff.

The other staff-wielders are freed from the awning and take up positions around the mystic, glowing triangle.

Clara shoots Jafar. Rex and Alex do a coordinated attack on Jafar and crack him in the skull, but at that same instant he completes his incantation. Giant glowing triangle now envelopes the Intrepids. It’s shrinking.

Molly tries to teach everyone the counter-chant. Rex is skeptical. The Assassins toss bricks and rocks in at the group. Rex helps Alex vault over the wall (she does not land as well as she could.) Molly continues to try the counter-charm.

Rex realizes that the energy field is reminiscent of some experiment that Papa Tesla did and it reminds Rex that sound frequencies may be involved. Rex and Molly and Clara redouble their efforts to hit the right frequency. Rex cycles through the frequencies on the Electro-spanner. Clara hears him hit the right frequency and with pitch-perfect recollection recites the counter-charm and the triangle evaporates.

Alex, meanwhile, has been beset the three staff-wielders. She takes down one of them but then gets hit in the stomach and doubles over. She then jumps up and cracks one of them into the other, knocking them both out of it.

Clara shoots at one of the mystic hand-wavers. Jafar takes this opportunity to exit, Stage smoke puff. Molly shoots at one of the hand wavers. They opt to surrender.

The group takes the two prisoners, securely bound, and uses their truck to drive to the Century Club for a session of Interrogation and Cocktails.

Interrogating the prisoners yields some info. Jafar is a person of some power (terrestrial and not) and he likely desires the same thing/object that we do and he thinks we’re not working at cross-purposes.

Then Jafar remotely blows up their heads before we learn anything else. We have Rama take care of the bodies.

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The Case of the TBD, Chapter 4

Clara and Rex assess the airship for damage. It’s severe, but flyable. Rex suggests that since the gas bags aren’t damaged, we really need to replace the outer coverings of the airship. He suggests checking out the local fishing village for sail cloth. Rex and Molly (as translator) head off to the south where there seemed to be a small fishing village.

Clara is going to repair the cockpit, using parts from the air pirate queen’s airplane as necessary. Alex is going to watch over the captured pirate queen, and interrogate her when she wakes up.

Rex and Molly walk to the village. There are little kids playing, old ladies mending nets, and a couple of old men drinking coffee on the steps of the “general store.” They look at the two and are utterly nonplussed. Rex and Molly nod to the old men as they go inside the store. The pre-electric store seems to have lots of sundries, and an overweight proprietor with a huge mustache of which he is very proud. He immediately begins negotiations at “Ten Thousand American Dollars in cash.”

Molly and Rex make some non-committal sounds and gestures and the owner immediately lowers the price to $9200. Eventually Rex asks what they’re negotiating over and the owner admits he was negotiating for whatever it is they wanted.

When they actually begin to negotiate for sail cloth, canvas, netting, and rope, he continues explaining that the price that Rex & Molly offers will force his family to eat without food for two weeks.

Eventually a price is agreed upon ($700 American. Cash.) And the owner throws in delivery for free since we let him “practice his English.”

Meanwhile, back at the Icarus…

Alex learned that the Air Pirate Queen named is Esmeralda, because as it turns out that she and the Lark have a past. Alex eventually helps her sit up and possibly loses her watch in the process.

Clara has the cockpit put back together and is confident that she can fly both vessels. Rex and Molly eventually return with a boatload of supplies and everyone takes shifts repairing the outer hull.

As Alex is checking Esmeralda’s bonds after takeoff, she realizes the pirate has stolen her watch and earrings. Alex takes back the jewelry and tightens Esmeralda’s bonds.

As they arrive at the air field Clara’s friend Sabiah Gokcen, the estranged daughter of the ruler, is passing through, and stops to talk. Clara sees Mr. Nor is looking shocked, so calls him over and introduces him. Sabiah is in a hurry, so gives Clara her card and tells her to stop by later.

While Alex continues to debate what to do with the Esmeralda, Clara questions the Lark on the nature of their relationship and whether or not she’s trustworthy. The Lark is non-committal in terms of his comments and makes the comparisons to Jack (in terms of how you can threaten, cajole, or coax him).

Alex: “Do you know any kidnappers?”

Esmeralda: “Yeah, I could find someone to kidnap someone for you then…”

Alex: “No we want to find someone who was kidnapped…”

There is further discussion. But Esmeralda has a condition that she work with the Lark to get the info they need. The Lark is very reluctant, but eventually gives in because Alex used the “it’s for Jack” argument. The Lark cuts Esmeralda free, but does not put the knife away.

Alex: “So we have a deal, right?”

Esmeralda: >smiles< “I will find your evildoers for you.”

[move encounter with woman on tarmac to here]

The Lark and Esmeralda take off and will leave messages for us at the Istanbul Century Club.

We get rooms at the Pera Palace Hotel. And then head to the Century Club’s Istanbul location. It’s a very exotic locale, with a courtyard, fountain, and two, large non-scimitar-wielding guards outside. A concierge (who sounds not unlike Peter Lorre) offers coffee and will get someone to tend to their needs (we want to put something in the safe).

Turkish coffee fun ensues.

The concierge returns and says that Mr. Yilmez will see us. “Ah, our American friends… how can we help you?” (He looks like Omar Sharif.)

We put the bag in the vault and get our own little key.

We head off to the Nur residence, by walking there. We’re not followed and we’re certain no one is watching the house. WE go inside. There are clear signs of a struggle and some spots of blood on the carpet. Alex does her psychometric trick with a candle stick and sees the struggle from Mrs. Nur’s POV with three guys coming for her and several more taking her children. No major other clues other than people must have seen something.

We decide to get some dinner and then go back to the hotel. But on the way back a truck pulls up and eight guys jump out with veils and the intent to do us harm.

Dun-dun-dun!

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Case of the TBD: Chapter 3
Sky Pirates!!

Everyone shows up for travelling with their gear.  Hamit Nur is last because of taxi drivers and being from out of town.  Trip is uneventful, until… the end…

Electrical storm of large intensity is directly below us.  Five small craft seem to be approaching from behind us.  Molly notices that the airship’s magnetic “drive” while impressive, is about to be affected by sunspots that her colleagues at the planetarium predicted…  We lose thrust and the maneuvering engines are needed to help maintain altitude.

Then we get struck by lightning.

The five planes appear to be air-pirates.

Clara moves the Icarus up and forward, accelerating to maximum speed.  She calls out orders to the rest of the Intrepids, instructing us to begin to repair the damage, man the guns, and work on the engines.

Brief discussion ensues – Molly will assess the damage, Alex will man the guns, and Rex will fiddle with the engines.   Molly puts out a fire, Alex fires on the pirates (some fall back) and Rex is able to increase the engine speed.

Clara tries to take us up to the new max speed but has trouble doing so.  Molly attempts to make some repairs but has no effect.  Alex fires and once again hits her target (he dodges in response, but falls back).  Rex attempts to overclock the turbine by lowering the ramenstein valve, but forgets to disengage the safety first (no change).

Clara tries to pull away and angle away.  Molly goes and joins Alex in the gunnery well; they both fire on the leader.  Rex is able to repair some damage to the ship.

Some hail strikes the windscreen.

Clara tries for speed.  Tries.  Alex helps navigate by pointing out flock of birds.  Molly shoots the pirates.  Rex plugs the TVM into the Vandaley generators.  We all relive the last second and a half or so, fully cognizant of it.  The ship comes back running very smoothly, maximum speed increased.

Clara tries for speed again, and gets up to just shy of maximum.   Alex continues to help navigate.  Molly goes back to Rama to find that he has repaired much of the damage.  Rex mans the guns and shoots the leader.  One of the pirates gets hit by lightning.

Clara finds the ship buffetted by the storm, but heads into a thunderhead hoping the pursuers will take more damage.   Molly works on the repairs with Rama.  Alex mans the guns again.  Rex attempts to use the TVM to move the Icarus through space. 

The lead pirate has a lightning cannon and fries us.  It burns, it burns us…

Clara continues to drive us toward the storm, hoping that the lightning gun will get overcharged and blow up.   Molly mans the guns again and shoots at the lead pirate.  Alex does the same.  Rex uses the TVM and blips us forward.

The lightning gun pirate uses it to zip forward towards us and then disappears.

Clara continues ahead full.  Rex keeps the engines running at full.  Alex shoots at the next lead pirate.  Molly and Rama spot the cloaked pirate leader (briefly).

One of the pirates goes into a dive.  The cloaked pirate leader fires the lightning gun at us again.  Ouch!

Clara holds the ship together.  Rex works on repairs.  Molly calls out bearings for Alex to shot at the cloaked pirate.  Pirates shoot at us again (except for one who crashed and one who gave up).

Clara continues to fly the ship.  Rex and Molly work on repairs.  Alex starts pushing things out the cargo hold in an effort to lighten the load?  The pirate re-materializes right next to the cockpit and shoots Clara with the lightning.  Bzzzzzap.

Rex heads forward after announcing his intention to do so.  He meets Molly and takes the wheel, while Molly attempts to wake Clara.  
Clara wakes up.  The pirate boards the ship, but Alex hears her.

Alex and the pirate battle with crowbars and feet. 

The ship gets struck by lightning three more times.  Clara is able to land the airship just on the edge of the scrubland by the coast.  The goats are surprised.

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Case of theTBD, Chapter 2
"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"

From the private journal of Rex Tesla:

2 Sept 1934, Cont’d

The mystery figure turned out to be “the Lark,” a tall, dark and handsome type with a thick Eastern European accent. He said the rest of the of the guys aren’t his. He explains he’s Jack’s “cousin” who Jack had apparently contacted 24 days ago (“some travel time was involved”).

We then decided to interrogate the thugs. The first thug revealed that he is not the ringleader, but points out who the “boss” is. The ringleader is then interrogated and revealed the thugs were hired to break in and steal the bus locker key.

Speaking of the bus locker, we decided to follow up on that next. Turned the thugs over to police by way of the doorman.

We drove to the Brooklyn Central Bus Depot and after a little searching, found the bank of lockers. Alex had the key and so opens the locker while Clara stands watch (she got caught up in some hobo singing “Brother Can You Spare a Dime”). There’s a small Gladstone bag containing a handful of diamonds and a scroll-tube-like device and a bunch of things (knives, saps, etc.) that one doesn’t want to get caught with.

I couldn’t shake the feeling we were missing something, but the singing was somewhat distracting…

After much debate, we headed to “Joe’s Tavern” a watering hole of some repute where not quite everyone knows our names, but close enough. We took the stuff out of the bag to examine more closely. There was a long brass cylinder that has five parts that rotate independently. It’s covered in some sort of mystical writing. Alex handed it to Molly. The other wrapped object is about a fist-sized hunk of quartz crystal. Alex tried to get “a vibe” off of it. As described shortly thereafter, things went poorly as she found herself in the heart of a fire, yet didn’t not feel pain. She heard chanting in an unknown language, and saw the hunk of quartz in the fire with her. Then she was 14 feet tall and fire-smiting the person who did the chanting. Vision ended, but from our perspective Alex was simply thrown across the room by an unseen force.

The Lark and I raced to Alex’s crumpled form. The Lark got to Alex first, saying that he’d heard she had “The Gift,” but he hadn’t realized it was so strong. Alex recounted the vision (per above), and we asked some questions establishing the time period and/or the location (Anatolia, circa pre-Islamic time period).

We then decided to look at the “scroll holder”/cylindrical object. Then we decided to look at the papers for secret writing. Inside the lining of the bag, Alex found some notes in Jack’s shorthand. Clara asked The Lark whether he recognized any of the objects or what he makes of it. He gave some analysis. We decided to split up and have at our respective tasks and meet again in the morning.

The Next Morning at Maury’s Coffee Shop…

3 Sept 1934

Molly’s analysis of the five brass cylinder thingy – she has narrowed it down to a specific village’s local Zoroastrian sun cult. symbols moved
[INSERT CYLINDER INFO FROM PAUL HERE-JAM]

My analysis of the quartz was that it’s a rather non-remarkable example of quartz crystal, and its home location in Turkey is right near where Molly’s places the origin of the brass cylinder thingy. The parchment appeared to be blank by all methods at my disposal.

Molly talked more about the cylinders. [INSERT MOLLY’S ANALYSIS/CYLINDER INFO HERE-JAM]

We then decided the next course of action was to question Hamit Nur, the Turkish scholar. We headed to the Club, while The Lark headed out to the dock to look for a ship.

When we arrived at the club the concierge told us Mr. Nur was in the library.

Clara broke off to ask for permission to use the Icarus. She has to go see Aldus Griffon, head of the club’s steering committee, and after a bit a sweet-talking he signed the form giving her the ship.

The rest of us approached Mr. Nur, and told him they could help him. We went into a side room and talked some more. Nur was clearly on the verge of panicking. Molly reassured him in Turkish.

I then said, “Why don’t you start at the beginning…”

Nur explained that he no sooner arrived here in the U.S., when he received a letter from his wife and it said that his daughter had gone missing. He checked into it via proxy, and it looked like someone had tossed his house and there had been some violence. A day later he got a phone call to take the papers and put them in a satchel and leave them outside of Carnegie Hall. He refused. Then he heard the screams of his wife and daughter. So he did as they asked and dropped the satchel off. But he hasn’t heard from the kidnappers since. He fears he’s only made matters worse. And he knows that Jack is being blamed, but his conversations with Jack were limited to basic and general (and not inappropriate) questions.

The papers themselves are a collection comprised of various papers compiled by a scholar of the time. They range in terms of what they contained (some mundane, but some religious in nature). We asked some questions regarding the papers.

He agrees to come with us (to Turkey, which seems the next logical step in our investigation). The Intrepids will meet at the Airship dock at 5 pm. I wish I knew what we were missing…

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A New Adventure...
Chapter 1: Turkish Delight

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?

And then…

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…

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