From India to Persia

Playlist: Prince of Persia Sountrack

Army Base, Bombay, India, 18th October 1940, 15:00

Mehandi, Priest of Ganesh. The temptation to refer to him as "the Elephant Man" was just too much

Once back in Bombay, Birapeer, under cover of despatching a coded telegram to Clemens park explaining that they were pressing on with their own mission and heading to Persia and another as a decoy in plain language stating that they were going to the Taj, added a third explaining about the effectof the dreams on his companions, and requesting a message from base to cover the statement that had brought the victims under control. After that he went back to the temple of Ganesh to speak to Mehandi.

The priest was deeply concerned at what he saw as the signs of great evil lurking into the world. "Once the Master of Dreams has touched them, they will never be truly free," he said sadly.

Major Simmons

Despite the misgivings of some of them, the group started to make arrangements to set out for Persia. Speed seemed to be of the essence, so they went to see Major Simmons to try and arrange air travel to Tehran.

Simmons, however, was far more interested in their report on the previous night's expedition, and demanded to see what evidence they had to justify the destruction of the house of a prominent and politically powerful local citizen. He pointed out that he'd been promised proof of Abdekar's involvement in the murder and leads to the perpetrator, instead of which he now had two murders! The agents tried to change the subject to their transport requirements, but Simmons' inquisition had them on the defensive until Joe tore his shirt open and demanded, "Have you ever seen a wound like that, then? Sir." A happy thought occurred to Birapeer. "Sir, we do have photographs," he pointed out. Jimmy lifted the battered camera as illustration, praying quietly that it hadn't been damaged in the grenade blast. Simmons snorted. "Right," he said, "Get them developed and bring them back here; and get authorization from your own chain of command, and then we can talk about aeroplanes!"

Another telegram was despatched to Clemens Park, requesting the necessary to authorize them a plane. Then they went to see Tenison and Benson. Tenison was rueful. "I do wish," he said, "you'd reported to me first. We could have, er, prepared your report to get a better reaction out of the Major. Still, it's done." Benson nodded. "Take two of my men," he said, "they'll help you find a photographer's and get your films done."

Bombay, India, 18th October 1940, 16:00

Working Elephant

With two solid-looking MPs as guards and guides, the photographer's shop was easily located. As the group walked through the streets past the myriad sights of an Indian city - brassware sellers, herb and spice dealers - Cyril, at the back of the party, saw a working elephant come out of a side street, carrying baulks of wood for a construction project. A totally normal sight for an Indian street, and one he'd seen before - yet this time, it filled him with the uttermost terror. With a shriek, he fled into a shop doorway, cowering away from the beast as it lumbered away. He remained there, paralysed with panic, until Joe came back to investigate his cries and coaxed him back to his feet.


Once at the photographer's, the agents waited until the two other customers had completed their business, then quietly locked the door, pulled the blind and flipped the sign to "Closed". The proprieter looked alarmed, but once all was explained and Jimmy had confirmed his knowledge of the art, disppeared into the back with the photojournalist to show him to the darkroom, telling them that it would take him a couple of hours to make up the prints they needed.

Joe looked around at the cameras on display, and Cyril - who also knew a fair bit about photography - joined him. Together, they chose a good one, as a spare in case Jimmy's was indeed damaged. It was a Leica II, not new but in good condition, and the previous owner had written his name on it; it looked like "Plokov".

Meanwhile, Birapeer had borrowed one of the MPs to guide him across town to the blade- and silver-smith's where he had left his tulwar. The man had done a splendid job, and the weapon glimmered in the afternoon light. With much trepidation, Birapeer swapped it for his kirpan, relieved as he observed the silversmith treating it with the respect it required as a Sikh holy weapon. As an additonal item, he had the man make up some shot, similar to buck shot, from silver by drip-casting into water. He planned to load it into shotgun cartridges.

Sanjay's Magnificent Hunting Emporium, Bombay, India, 18th October 1940, 17:30

.470 Express Rifle

Leaving Cyril in the photographers to recover from his pachydermaphobia, Joe, Anné and Birapeer went off in search of some of their other requirements. After some negotiation, Birapeer managed to procure 12-bore shotgun cartridges loaded with powder and wad but no shot, into which he could load his silver shot, and a press to do the loading. Lucky Jake found himself a nice serviceable double-barrel shotgun to replace his single-shot weapon, and Birapeer gleefully added an elephant rifle and ammunition while Joe picked up a nice plain double-barrel shotgun like Jake's.

Solar Topee

They spent some time looking at other goods, and Anné picked up a solar topee helmet to keep the sun off.

A block from the Emporium, Birapeer found a patch of waste ground and chalked out a rough sketch of an elephant on a wall. As he was setting up his new rifle, a crowd rapidly gathered. "What's over that wall?" he asked a small boy. "Warehouse, sahib!" responded the urchin, and Birapeer nodded, lifted the Express, and fired. It took him a while to get used to it, but eventually - to sustained and possibly sarcastic native applause - he hit the outline. Rubbing his shoulder, he went to examine the damage. The huge slugs had chewed big dents into the wall, although they were not armour-piercing by any standards.

Army Base, Bombay, India, 19th October 1940, 09:00

Sharp and early next morning, the group were back in Major Simmons' office, armed with Jimmy's excellent photographs of the "statued" monsters, the two murders and their gruesome details, and the other corroboration of the group's story. No mention was made of the links to the Taj Mahal, or the dreams and their effects - or of the £8,000-odd that had been in the safe. Birapeer had already passed that to Indrajit Joshi to split between the families of the slain Bombay Grenadiers, all of whom were about to find themselves fabulously rich by local standards.

Gruffly, Simmons gave orders to Benson to make sure his MPs didn't talk about what they'd seen; the unfortunate doctor had already been posted to Cairo to keep him quiet. Alec Towton's message had borne fruit, and the local RAF had cut a deal; a new Wellington bomber, delivered to Dehli by mistake, needed to be flown back to Gibraltar. The group were to deliver it to Tehran where an RAF crew would pick it up and complete its' journey. It would be ready at Bombay RAF base in four days.

Bombay, India, 19th-22nd October 1940

Another Woman in a Red Sari

The next day, Birapeer and Anné headed out through the streets of Bombay to collect Birapeer's orders. As they went, Anné had an eye open for anyone following them, and spotted a woman in an all-too-familiar red sari tracking them with skill and subtlety.

As Birapeer continued on, Anné slipped into the crowd, her old undercover skills coming back to her. Their tail continued to follow Birapeer, but unobtrusively glanced around, clearly seeking where Anné had gone. A moment later the Frenchwoman stepped up next to her, an arm around her in clear friendly greeting, a pistol hidden in the folds nuzzled up against her flank. "Bonjour," she said brightly.

Not a good day to be a Brides of Durga assassin

Like lightning, the woman squirmed in her grasp, one arm deflecting the gun away from her body while a knife appeared in her hand like a conjuring trick's rabbit. "Birapeer!" shouted Anné as she frantically wrestled to avoid the knife and re-align the pistol. The woman was good! As the Sikh spun and jogged back, Anné took a wild chance and released her knife hand for a lightning jab of her fist. The punch skated off a suddenly angled head, and the knife lashed forwards. Almost unconciously, Anné lifted her gun arm to try and fend it off - and the woman accidentally drove her knife into her own left arm.

To her surprise, the woman sagged almost instantly, her breathing going ragged, and by the time Birapeer reached them she was clearly dying. They dragged her into a nearby alley, but by the time they got there she was dead. Her knife was discoloured by a thick coating of poison. A quick search turned up nothing but a tattoo on her side, combining the holy sigil of Durga and a stylized elephant. Taking the knife, they left the area pronto.

Birapeer's kirpan was ready and it was all he could have wished for. Deeply relieved, he tucked it into his belt.

RAF Base, Bombay, India, 22nd October 1940 08:45

Mk III Wellington Bomber

Rear Turret

On the morning of the 22nd, the party walked out across the yellow grass of the apron to the aeroplane that awaited them. To Joe and Birapeer's delight, it was a brand-new Wellington bomber, fully fitted out and in tip-top condition. Birapeer went through the checklist, chuckling with delight as he found all the things he looked at in mint condition; Anné scoured it efficiently for sabotage and came up with nothing. Joe wandered down to the rear turret to find the twin Vickers .303 machineguns fully loaded and ready. The waist-guns had been removed for the MkIII, but the forward turret was equally prepared. His only disappointment was that there was no bomb load; but as Birapeer pointed out, without them the plane had the range to do Tehran in one fuel load.

After their last airborne adventure, the party were expecting trouble, but the journey turned out to be uneventful. During the trip, Marcus continued to study the books they'd acquired, Joe and Birapeer spent some time teaching Cyril how to use machineguns and Anné the basics of piloting. After several days, they landed in Tehran.

Tehran and Isfahan, Persia, October 26th/27th 1940

Sorry Arthur - your fellow players made a good case that you would have volunteered to drive, and then rolled appalling dice for you!

After handing back the aircraft - slightly reluctantly in a couple of cases - the party decided they needed rather more transport capacity than on previous expeditions. With this in mind, they hired a small truck and a large car.

Click the image for the collected handouts of research

They spent a day researching and reading up on their next destination.

Cyril took the helm of the truck, while Jimmy drove the car; perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the agents elected to ride in the truck. This turned out to be a good decision as, after fifteen miles, Jimmy hit a bump, tried to steer into it, slewed and rolled the car into a ditch, terminally writing it off.

After fourteen hours driving, the truck pulled into the town of Isfahan.

Session Date: 16th October 2018