Getting Away with It

Western Road, Outside Pinzolo, Northern Italy, May 14th, 1940, 14:45


Settling more comfortably into his seat in the mighty Italian Fiat 611 armoured car, Birapeer rammed his right foot to the floor and gave it everything it had. With an increasing rattling rumble, the tankette headed down the Pinzolo road, accelerating until it reached its' maximum speed ... slightly over seventeen miles an hour. With some coaxing and the effect of the downhill slope, he managed to get it up to nearly thirty, though at times it felt as if bits were going to drop off at any moment. Braking slightly - its tall, thin profile was not very stable, despite being a beautiful battlefield target - he swung around the last hairpin and accelerated again towards the roadblock they'd passed on the way up.

Italian Soldier

The two remaining soldiers, alerted that something was up by the faint sound of explosions from the power plant followed by the sound of an approaching vehicle, were waiting for whatever came around the corner. However, the sight of the Fiat from the station heading towards them confused them slightly, and they hesitated. One stood in front of the car and slightly off to the left; the other was standing in the fighting compartment leaning on the coaming to peer up the road.

Birapeer knocked the Fiat out of gear and wedged the steering wheel as straight as he could. Then he scrambled out of his seat and hurried down the length of the car to the back door, threw it open and turned, lowering himself down at a run to the road and letting go to race along behind the car. Although no longer powered, the Fiat continued at the best part of its' original speed towards the checkpoint thanks to momentum and the steep road.

Fiat 611. It actually had dual controls in the back to allow it to retreat more easily. Really!

The Italian in the other car simply goggled at the approaching vehicle, but the man in the road put due and due together to make quattro and scuttled towards the edge of the road and out of its' path. Almost gracefully, the Fiat rolled past him and smashed into its sister vehicle where it angled across the road. It may only have been doing around twenty-five miles an hour at that point, but a Fiat 611 weighs an impressive 6.9 tons and with energy = mass x velocity it still made for an impressive impact.

The front of Birapeer's car crumpled inwards, and a cloud of steam erupted as the radiator burst. The crash wasn't a straightforward T-bone, and it continued to move as it scraped down the side of the stationary tankette, which rocked dangerously but did not go over. The moving vehicle's direction was changed by the angle of its target and it veered off to the right, sideswiping along until it reached the edge of the road. The front wheels bumped across the edging stones and then the whole car tipped alarmingly forwards before disappearing down the slope between the trees, occasional clangs and thumps of impact as it bounced from trunk to trunk fading behind it.

The soldier who'd been in the struck car had vanished, presumably hurled to the floor of the fighting compartment, but the other was staring after the disappeared car as Birapeer ran up, shotgun readied. He dodged frantically as the Sikh let drive, evading all but the very edge of the blast, so Birapeer shot him again. The soldier staggered, bloodied over most of his body from the pellets, and Birapeer clawed his pistol out and fired; the soldier dropped. Reaching him, Birapeer stamped on his head to make sure of him and broke the shotgun, reloading. As he did so the second soldier started to stand up inside the car; Birapeer flattened himself against the armoured side until he saw the man poke his head up to see what was happening. His shotgun blast took most of the head off and the bloody remains slithered back into the car.

Cyril Boston-Flint

A couple of minutes later the Mercedes purred around the corner, passed the smashed roadblock and drew up just downslope. Cyril glanced from the driving seat at the two bloody smears and Birapeer sitting comfortably on the car's front wheel, reloading his shotgun. He looked up and grinned at the parapsychologist. "You remember the control panel?" he asked. Cyril nodded - not much more he could do without a mouth - and Birapeer hooked a thumb over his shoulder. "It's down there," he finished with a chuckle. Cyril went to the edge and looked down. The Fiat had made it around a hundred yards downslope before finally, fatally encountering a tree directly in its path big enough to stop seven tons of tankette on a 30° slope. He reckoned it was a lot closer to the next loop of the road than to this one, and it would be a lot easier to climb up to it than down from here.

Once Birapeer was added to the car, they resumed driving until roughly level with the armoured car's last resting place from below. Then Birapeer and Joe clambered up the slope to the car and extracted the now rather battered rack of instruments, then lugged it down the slope to the Mercedes and crammed it into the boot. The Fiat itself was going nowhere; the whole front was stoved in and there was a strong smell of fuel.

Pinzolo, Northern Italy, May 14th, 1940, 15:10

After an uneventful drive down the rest of the road, the car reached Pinzolo. Cyril guided it at a modest pace right through the village and out at the far side, along the southern road. Finding a quiet lane with trees to conceal the vehicle, he parked up and Joe, Anné and Birapeer got out.

Marcus and Cyril were too badly beaten up to walk around Pinzolo without causing comment, and that was without taking Cyril's lack of a mouth into consideration at all. Gregory was worse, scorched and still bleeding despite field first aid, and slipping in and out of consciousness. Anné's head and shoulders had been sprayed with blood when she shot the Bloodborn at point-blank range, but a quick face-wash and change of blouse was enough to take care of that. Splitting up, the three headed into town.

Senora Villez

None of the others had known where Anné had found lodgings, so she went off and checked out on her own. Birapeer followed suit at his boarding house, promising Senora Villez that, yes, he and his lovely fianceé would return for their honeymoon, of course. With his own gear in a bag, he then went over to the small hotel near the station and checked out Marcus, Cyril and Gregory, collecting their odds and ends of possessions.

Joe returned to his hotel, nodding at two Italian colonels in the bar as he passed through, and checked himself out with the obsequious clerk. Then he went across to Noleggio di auto da turismo Lunati and advised Sr Lunati that he liked the area so much he was planning an extended tour, possibly as far south as Verona, and was relieved of the last of his lire for a longer rental and arrangement to have the car collected when he was done with it. As he rounded the corner, he casually dumped the little card Sr Lunati had given him with the garage phone number written on it.

He picked up some mundane supplies such as clean clothes to replace ones soaked in blood among the party, a road-map for the route to Verona and some tubing they could use to force-feed Cyril if it came to that.

Nachtwölfe Insignia

As he was walking across the marketplace, a distinctive rumble reached his ears, and a glance across at the Pinzolo road located a motorcycle and sidecar combination emerging into the square. It was a military model, with Italian army markings and an (empty) pintle mount for a machinegun, and it was manned by two German paratroopers. It was a bit far to make out, but he was in no doubt that they wore the Nachtwölfe patch on their shoulders. Unsurprisingly, they seemed to be looking for something. The rider swung the bike around and nosed it up to the kerb at the side of the marketplace, and both men got off. Joe faded back into the crowd a bit - as did Birapeer who had entered the square a couple of minutes earlier. The Sikh made himself scarce and headed back to the car, but Joe kept watching, an idea hatching in his head.

After a conversation and some arm-waving, the two Germans set off up the street, in the direction of the town police station. Joe watched until they had gone, then wandered over to near where the bike sat, its engine pinging gently as it cooled. A couple of quick steps took him to it, and his bag dropped into the sidecar. He jumped on the kickstart pedal and the bike roared to life. Booting it into gear, he motored carefully across the square and off towards where the others waited with the car.

A few minutes later, Marcus, waiting on guard at the head of the lane, very nearly opened fire at the sight of a German soldier approaching on a motorbike, but a second glance identified Joe and he grinned as the soldier swung the bike in under the trees and killed the engine. "They won't follow us any further on this," he chuckled, tearing the plug leads out and dropping them into their own car's boot.

With Birapeer and Anné's return, the group climbed back into the Mercedes and headed off south, towards Verona.

Verona Airport, Northern Italy, May 14th, 1940, 18:30

Three hours later, the car was parked at the airport hotel in Verona and the agents were booked in, once again seperated into their groups - with the exception of Birapeer, who - carrying Anné's bottomless handbag with most of their loot - had gone straight airside to check up on Mandy and Francoise, who demanded to be updated on what had transpired. He spent the rest of the evening trying to move forward the date scheduled for the return flight, but his knowledge of civilian flight processes was very limited and the airport authority were having none of it. He passed word back to the hotel and settled into checking over the plane ready for the journey.

Four days in the hotel turned out to be no bad thing for the team, as it gave the wounded a chance to heal up a bit. One afternoon Marcus, using the basic medical training he had had in the dim past, used a sharp knife to open a small hole into Cyril's mouth, allowing him to at least suck soup and water in through a straw - but not improving his looks at all.

Keeper Note: Every time Arthur has tried Hypnotize with Gregory, he's thrown a critical. It's almost reliable!

Gregory Snickers

They still had Dr Donatto Vernaldi with them, the surviving scientist from the power station, and his interrogation was made just that bit easier by his observation of Cyril's "procedure". He was adamantly uncoperative for two days, and then Gregory asked if he might try talking to him. Settling in front of the Italian, he spoke quietly to him for a minute or two, then made some gentle passes in front of his eyes with one hand. Vernaldi relaxed and Gregory spoke over his shoulder in an undertone. "Ask him now," he said, "try not to upset him."

The difference was striking. In a dreamy voice, the scientist confirmed that the artifact excavated in Rome was a part of an ancient relic, by legend from Atlantis itself and described as a weapon, called the Palladion. Around the time of the fall of Atlantis, the Palladion was split into several pieces which were scattered across the globe. The statue supposedly was able to assist in locating these other pieces. An ancient document known as The Book of the Machine, described the Palladion in more detail; Gregoretti and Vernaldi had secured three pages of this which told them a little and left them in ignorance of a lot. Gregoretti had been attempting to combine science and the occult to make the statue work, but without success.

Marcus asked Vernaldi if he had ever read Cultes des Goules, to which the scientist replied that he had heard of it, but not speaking French had never tried to read Gregoretti's copy. Joe showed him the crystal he carried, and Vernaldi nodded slowly. "Yes, that's one," he said, "the same blue colour. Those Germano Nachtwölfe lunatics use those. " When shown the paperweight, he smiled, "Dr Gregoretti's paperweight," he said, "Orichalum; the metal red like blood." He was quite surprised to learn that violent impact with it created flashes of the same blue colour; neither Italian had ever tried physical assault as an analysis technique with it.

Finally, Gregory made another pass before Vernaldi's eyes. "Wake now, and forget we ever had this conversation," he said. Vernaldi blinked. "May I have a glass of water?" he asked meekly.

Despite entreaties and offers from the party, Vernaldi refused to countenance the idea of changing sides and coming with them; he firmly believed their future lay with what was to become the Axis. It was agreed that he would be tied up and left in the hotel room with a Do Not Disturb sign and some water, to be discovered when the party was safely away.

Verona Airport, Northern Italy, May 18th, 1940, 09:01


At the correct time for their return tickets, the party arrived at the airport, leaving the rental car in the car park, and seperated into their groups to enter the building. Birapeer was, of course, already there, running through pre-flight checks with Francoise.

There was a bad moment at Passport Control, where the official demanded to see Cyril's face to compare with the passport. He'd wrapped a scarf around it to cover his still largely sealed mouth and the rather messy wound Marcus had made to allow him to take fluids. Marcus explained that his colleauge had suffered a road accident and was rather badly scarred, and Cyril pulled enough scarf down to show bruises and scarring; the official shuddered and waved them through.

Keeper Note: The Italian security services are not very efficient at this point in the war. It was another three days before anyone put enough together to start connecting the strangers in Pinzolo with the strange events at the power station. Strangely, the dead German paratroopers and various unbelievable fragments left in the wreckage did not make it into the newspapers...

As the process of boarding and preparing to fly went on, tension was high as the party waited for army vehicles to appear and armed soldiers to arrest them or simply shoot them as spies. But nothing happened, and an hour later, Mandy was in the air, heading for Gibraltar.

Gibraltar, May 18th, 1940, 23:07

On landing at Gibraltar, the plane was directed into the same quiet corner of the airfield where they had boarded. A jeep was waiting, with a dark-haired RAF offier, who introduced himself as Siegfried Howe, the station intelligence officer. Observing their sceptical expressions, he produced his ID along with a telegram from Alec Towton, directing him to contact and debrief the party and implying that Howe was already briefed on their mission. After some double-checking, the party accompanied him to a debriefing room and told him their tale...

Gibraltar Base Hospital, May 18th-June 1st, 1940

After debriefing was complete, Marcus, Cyril and Gregory were admitted to the RAF Base Hospital on Gibraltar for treatment of their various wounds. All three went through successful surgery to remove shrapnel from various body parts, and Cyril had his mouth reconstructed by the baffled surgeons, who eventually came to the conclusion that he must have been born that way - though how that reconciled with his later activites was not something they appeared able to think about. The results were not at all pretty - decent plastic surgery was some years in the future - but he was once again able to eat normally, and none too soon - he was already pretty thin.

All three then which they spent two weeks in bed convalescing. During the latter part of this, they were able to sit up and read, allowing them to catch up with the others.

Gibraltar, May 18th-June 15th, 1940

Dr Botho Erlichmann

While the "basket cases" were being put back together, the remaining agents were going over the items they had brought back. The photographs had been developed, and copies sent back to Clemens Park under seal, as was one of the Stalker rifles, the eye and the control console. A generous pile of occult books from Gregoretti's library was at hand, and they were passed around and studied in the down time.

in German, Botho Ehrlichmann, unpublished c.1938-1939.

Information gained from a skim reading (2 hours)
• Ehrlichmann began translating something called the Black Stone in an attempt to trace the ancient origins of the Germanic peoples.
• There appears to be some sort of powerful ancient artefact that was split up in antiquity and the parts hidden in far-flung locations scattered across the globe.
• One of these locations is the Eternal City itself: Rome.
• The artefacts are allegedly from the lost civilisation of Atlantis.
• A German expedition has recently brought back a manuscript from Tibet that corroborates the information found on the Black Stone.
• Ehrlichmann is convinced that someone within the Wehrmacht is determined to collect the artefacts and intends to use them as the basis of weapons research for the Third Reich.

Stuffed into the leaves at the back of the book is a separate, partial rubbing of the Black Stone itself, close to something that resembles a grammar key. Egyptian hieroglyphics are written down next to the strange, runic script from the bottom section of the Black Stone, with German translations next to them. 15 hours study (requiring either Egyptian or German language skill) will allow a reader to digest this piece of work and acquire +10% skill in the unknown language.
If the rubbing were complete, or the stone itself available, the results would be better. This script is the same as that on the Statue and the three pages of The Book of the Machine.

Among them was a small black-leather-bound A5 size volume, which turned out to be the personal journal of Dr Botho Erlichmann. After a moment's thought, it occurred to someone that the telegram in Dr Vernaldi's pocket had stated: "Nachtwölfe have Dr Erlichmann".

The journal was written in German, so Joe took it to check over, and after a couple of hours skimming through it reported back with some initial findings (L). It seemed to be an important piece of the puzzle that had been set before them, so he dedicated some more time to some deep study of the book. Click here for a description of the details therein!


Near the beginning of the second week, a visitor arrived. Bespectacled, academic-looking but with a resolute glint in his eyes, he had ID from the American counterpart to Section M, and a telegram from Alec Towton telling him to go and look at what the PCs have uncovered. His name was Richard Deadman, and Gregory had briefly met him before. To the others he was a new aquaintance, but Marcus had heard of him - Professor of History and Ancient History at Miskatonic University in Arkham. Rumor also had him pegged as the most skilled wielder of magic available to the Allies at this point in the war.

He had evidently heard about the group’s success in retrieving the statue, and congratulated them warmly on the result, while hoping they don’t get so badly knocked about next time! The phrase "next time" was not lost on the agents.

Deadman was clearly a book junkie, especially for esoteric or occult volumes, and after requesting permission to examine their haul dived into some of the books with great enthusiasm. He joined Joe in going over Erlichmann’s journal in great detail, confirming his translations and adding detail from the quotations in other languages. He confirmed that the language used on the statue, the pages from the Book of the Machine and the Black Stone was indeed Atlantean, of which he knew a little from his research. Atlantis appeared to be a partictular interest of his.

The statue he judged essential for any hunt for the Palladion Artifact, as it seemed to be some kind of detector for locating the other pieces.

Black Sun Insignia

During his stay, he explained a little more of the structure of the Third Reich's occult agencies. His main encounters had been with the forces of Die schwartze Sonne - Black Sun - a Nazi cult of sorcerers with a terrible reputation. While Nachtwölfe employed their warped science to bring Hitler’s nightmare weapons to life, Black Sun and their master Reinhardt Weissler trod forbidden paths, calling long forgotten blasphemies to walk the Earth once more. Nachtwölfe were the newer agency, and intelligence on their activities was very scarce; they seemed to be a splinter group from the original Black Sun, but details were few and far between. Deadman advised extreme caution - or extreme violence - when dealing with either.

Keeper Note: The question was asked at the end of the session whether Deadman would be prepared to teach anyone any magic. It was late so the answer was held over, but he will teach one spell to a class; chosen from the spells he prefers, the least black of the magic he knows and the least damaging to the caster.

He sent his findings back to Alec in code (with the languages the two knew, secrecy was not a problem!) and at the end of the month, orders came back directing the group to get over to Egypt and follow the trail started by Erlichmann’s diary – starting with the Black Stone, and any parts of this mysterious artefact that may be located there. Alec's personal congratulations were also included for completing a difficult and dangerous assignment.

Deadman himself could not go – he was to be parachuted into Czechoslovakia – but he recommended the party stay at Shepheards Hotel and to contact “RJ at SIME” when they get to Cairo – he explained both references.  Then he shook hands all around, wished them luck, and was gone.

Session Date: 27th February 2018