The Sad Fate of the Hauer Expedition

Playlist: Carte Blanche - Veracocha

The Pyramids of Túcume, Peru, 4rd April 1941 06:30

After a cautious and uneventful descent from el Purgatorio, the team considered their next move. It was clear that the Germans - all of them - had moved in into the mountains, though no archaeological sites were shown on any of the maps they had. They did show the village of Reflejo de Yuyay, which was directly on the track of the Germans' direction. Once suitably fettled, they set off. The day's travel was uneventful, and they made camp in a suitable clearing as night fell.

Between Túcume and Reflejo de Yuyay, Peru, 5th April 1941 07:52

The next morning, with the camp rousing and the usual activities and conversations going on around him, Marcus was sitting outside his tent with a mug of coffee when one of the porters walked past him, nodding slightly in greeting without stopping. Marcus stared after him, drink forgotten. By now each of the porters was reasonably familiar to all the team... but he had never seen this man before in his life!

Leaping to his feet, Marcus jogged after him, and intercepted the man. "Excuse me," he said, "but what's your name?" The man eyed him in mild puzzlement; "Gomez, Senor," he said calmly. "How long have you been with the expedition?" Marcus asked. "Since we left Senor Landau's estate, Senor," was the reply. Marcus stood, bewildered, as the man walked off and carried on with the morning chores. Looking around, he tallied up the porters; all were there, except for Nuñez - he was nowhere to be seen.

Worried, he gathered the others and explained what he had observed. To his astonishment, several of the rest of the team seemed as puzzed as Gomez - they believed Gomez to have been there all the time, and had never heard of Nuñez! Finally, his explanation penetrated and the team realized that Time had spasmed again, changing reality. Joe dug out a pack of playing cards, and assigned one to every member of the expedition as an ID.

Thunderstorm over the Jungle

As the day wore on, the weather worsened, and soon they found themselves working up a hillside in the teeth of a full-blown thunderstorm. Conditions were becoming dangerous, and finally Húaman found them a shallow cave into which everyone crammed to wait the storm out. With the horses wedged into the entrance and a small fire lit, it was almost comfortable.

As the last team members entered, Joe's eyes fell on Anné as she shook her coat off. Instead of the walking clothes most of the team were wearing - and which she herself had been wearing when the expedition started out this morning - she was dressed in her fake Nachtwölfe uniform. By the soaked state of it, she had been wearing it all day, though no-one had noticed this earlier. On investigation, her regular clothes were at the bottom of her pack, as dry as would be expected if they had been there since yesterday. She herself was the only one who did not seem surprised at her garb; "I was ready in case the Germans came close enough for me to infliltrate, like we planned," she commented, surprised at their queries. She held up her playing card. "It's really me, you know," she said a bit plaintively.

The chaotic shifts in time and reality were getting worse and more frequent.

Reflejo de Yuyay, Peru, 6th April 1941 16:12

Late the following afternoon, the expedition reached the tiny village, located where the map had said; some were beginning to doubt it would be there at all.

The village consisted of a gaggle of meagre huts in the middle of a large, well-tended field. The villagers were far from pleased to see the expedition; their fear was obvious and they are reluctant to talk about anything to do with the Hauer party.  The local goat-herders warned the investigators to go home. Strange things had been happening in the woods for the last few months, including their animals disappearing, and they were very afraid.

Huaman, who had planned ahead it seemed, proceeded to hand out sweets and wooden toys to any children present, and other gifts and curios to the assembled adults - he called on Joe for any remaining whiskey, and a bottle of Jack Daniels began to ease the hostility. Bound by the unstated laws of reciprocity that have come down from the Inca, the locals were now obliged to repay his generosity in kind, something they cound not hope to do with material goods. All they had to offer in return is information, which was what Huaman had been counting on.

Questioning the villagers now revealed that Dr. Hauer and his team did, indeed, pass this way earlier in the year, before setting up base around 10 miles further up the valley "by the old temples". No checking of the map, book references or porter knowledge produced any knowledge of this temple. The villagers also saw two more groups pass by in the same direction, taking far less care and not deigning to interact with the locals, but do not know where they ended up as nobody now goes that way.

Now the floodgates were opened, the villagers' concerns came thick and fast. Nothing had been right since the white men started poking their noses into the gods’ business, and the locals were refusing to go anywhere near the temples now that the outsiders had awakened the demon who stole souls and talked to the dead. Even the huaqueros, who used to come here quite often to search for lost riches, would not venture into the forests at night, and only the most desperate would do so even during the day.

Descriptions of the demon varied: some claimed it had a red, human-like face, the colour of dried blood. Others insisted that it had a flat, golden face with blazing green eyes that drained your very essence with their evil gaze. All agreed on one thing, though: since the demon’s appearance, people had gone missing, never to be seen again and - if they knew what was good for them, the new people should just turn around and go home. Their friends were long dead, and there was no point adding to the demon’s haul. No local guides were to be had at any price, but the villagers finally, grudgingly, agreed to direct the expedition to the temples, clearly not expecting ever to see them again.

Reflejo de Yuyay

This was not what the team were hoping to hear, but it did confirm that Hauer and his team - and the followers - had come this way. The description of the demon set some wondering as to whether the mask at the Landau estate was a representation of the same kind of creature.

Cyril and Marcus spent some time with the villagers, and met with the local curandero - who wholeheartedly endorsed his neighbors' advice - while the others shared out some of their supplies to supplement the meal the villagers were preparing. With the team's foodstuffs and the locals' cooking skills, everyone ate better that night, and the relationship with the villagers was much improved.

Unknown Temples, Peru, 8th April 1941 17:32

After nearly two full days' travel beyond Reflejo, the expedition began to catch sight of ruins poking up from the trees, and judged they were approaching the temples of which the villagers had spoken.

Expedition Tent

Weapons were prepared, and Joe and Anné - the team's stealth experts - cautiously approached the ruins. As they got closer, they could see that several tents of European manufacture were grouped around the crumbling stonework, in an open space naturally occurring around the stones.

Slowly approacing it, eyes darting for signs of movement (ie large groups of hostile Nazis), the pair paused in some surprise. They could see nothing; but they could hear something unexpected. Stentorian snoring coming from one of the tents. It sounded like just one sleeper.

Cautiously, Joe moved up to the tents, and peered inside one from which the snoring did not appear to be coming. No hideous beasties seemed to be lurking; personal effects were positioned around the tent, though it had a slightly abandoned air, it hadn't been ransacked or assaulted by predators. At this point he noticed that there were no horses or other beasts of burden, though tethering rails and feeding buckets were still in place.

Dr Etzel Hauer

Finally entering the tent with the sleeper, the passed a desk covered in equipment and notes, several trunks and boxes to reach the camp bed. The two stood and stared down onto an emaciated and dishevelled man, so fast asleep that he was utterly oblivious to their presence. His unruly beard hid much of his tanned, deeply lined face and he looked far older than his forty-three years - but it was almost certainly Dr Etzel Hauer.

Joe called out to bring the others up to the camp, and they spread out, exploring. Nothing else of interest was to be found, except for the camp itself, which looked as if it should have people living and working in it - except for the absence of said people.

The Hauer Expedition consisted of:
Dr Etzel Hauer - Anthropologist and Financier
Pr Ranulf Enderes - Archaeologist
Dr Karl Hausmann - Botanist
Georg Wolfmann - Surveyor

Finally, Joe nudged Dr Hauer, and woke him, speaking gently to him in German.

The German came to with a start. He looked blearily at Joe and asked: “Ranulf, where have you been? I was getting worried about you. Are Karl and Georg with you?” The team exchanged glances. These were the names of the other members of Hauer's expedition....

When the team tried to explain that the person to whom he was speaking is not Ranulf, Hauer became confused. A moment later he caught sight of Anné and he will begin to ask “Nina” what she was doing here now and why she was letting his friends tease him so.

It was be obvious to anyone with any medical training that Dr. Hauer was not a well man. Marcus gave him a thorough examination, determining that Hauer was feverish, obviously delirious, and covered in scars that appear to be self-inflicted and still healing. There also seemed to be odd rows of what appeared to be needle marks in a line along the inside of both of his thumbs; several occurrences of punctures, all precisely spaced and made by very fine objects. They were not positioned as defence wounds.

There were any number of possible reasons for his irrationality and poor overall physical condition, such as malaria or some other sort of jungle fever, but the scars were of a more troubling nature.

When Joe brought up the question of the whereabouts of the rest of the group, Hauer insisted that the others ventured deeper into the mountains only a week or so ago to track down some further ruins hinted at by the painted friezes they had found in the temples here. He himself had been too ill to travel with them and had decided to stay in camp to await their return.

Several of the team had deep misgivings; something did not feel quite right about Hauer’s story. There was a watchful wariness in his eyes that hinted he was not entirely telling the truth, but whether that was down to his poor health or some other reason was hard to tell.

As Hauer subsided back into a semi-doze, Joe looked around. Each tent had contained journals or diaries of the other expedition members, with copious notes of their observations and discoveries. Hauer's had not been found, however. Joe eyed Hauer's portable desk, and started trying to open it.

With a sudden earsplitting scream, Hauer sprang from his bed, lashing out at the tanker and screaming insults and demands that he mind his own business. Between Anné and Joe, the frantic academic was restrained, though Anné had to punch him in the end, laying him out. Joe retrieved the key to the desk from around his neck and unlocked it.

Tumi Sacrificial Knife

His notes clearly showed his mental deterioration, with rambling sections detailing conversations with his wife and daughter. There were also numerous drawings of a tumi, a ritual knife associated with surgery and sacrifice, and a mask not too dissimilar to the one they saw at Landau’s Túcume estate. Neither the mask nor the knife could be found in any of the tents or the various crates containing other finds dotted around the campsite. Oddly, as the rest of the notes and sketches descended into blurry incoherence, the sketches of the mask and knife grew clearer and clearer.

As the search of the ruins continued, the ashes of a large bonfire in front of a low building were discovered. Cold ran through the team as they looked at it; this was the location of their nightmares. Inside was a large, upright stone and numerous wall paintings showing strange, swanlike boats and anthropomorphic birds with beards and bright green eyes. The friezes Hauer spoke of were clearly nowhere to be found.

Night was now closing in, and it became rapidly apparent that none of the porters had any intention of spending the night closer to half a mile from the ruins; ie over the ridge and out of the valley. None of the team saw a good reason to argue with that, and they all retired to a suitable clearing to make camp.

Unknown Temples, Peru, 8th April 1941 23:30

Careful as always, the team set watches; and it was while Charlie was on watch that a thump and clatter from Hauer's tent alerted him. Taking the porter Carlos with whom he'd been watching, he went to investigate, pistol in hand.

Hauer had obviously been trying to escape from his bonds, but only succeeded in flipping his camp bed over and upsetting the wash-stand. When Charlie arrived, the academic started to lambast him, demanding that he be freed to answer a call of nature. His eyes remained evasive, however, and Charlie was not reassured. Keeping him covered, and tying a rope between them, he escorted Hauer to the latrine pit. All went successfully, if rather embarrasingly, until Hauer was redressing. He'd maintained a constant sullen pressure on the rope, and he now intensified it to the point Charlie had to lean backward to hold it in place. Suddenly, Hauer released the pressure. Taken by surprise, the Yorkshireman went over backwards.

Webley Revolver

Hauer jumped at the porter, punching at his head, but his weakened condition made him no match for Carlos, bloodied but unstunned, the porter tried to defend himself. Hauer reached down and snake-quick whipped Carlos' knife from its' sheath.

Lying on his back, Charlie didn't try to get up or intervene; instead he simply aimed the revolver up at the sky and fired a shot. The heavy .41 Webley boomed and the whole camp roused like a kicked ant-hill.

Hauer snarled, wielding the knife. A quick slash and Carlos went down; but Joe loomed up out of the dark with his Thompson levelled. "Lass es fallen oder ich schieße!" Hauer glanced around, looking utterly desperate; then he sagged all at once, his wild berserk energy all leaving him at once, dropped the knife and offered no further resistance as he was siezed and trussed.

Carlos was struggling back up by then, and Joe helped him staunch and stitch the wound, which wasn't as bad as it had looked.

That done, Joe and Cyril spent some time trying to get more answers out of Hauer. Joe wheedled and persuaded in fluent German, but to no avail. Finally Cyril lost patience and began to apply more robust methods of interrogation. Unfortunately, Hauer's mind was not up to this treatment, and his fragile sanity snapped. As he curled into a ball, whimpering with terror, the only humane thing to do was tranquilize him. As he searched the Hauer expedition's medical supplies, Marcus realized that most of the morphia that should have been there was missing...

The night was nearly over, and no-one felt like sleeping. Cyril located some tough gloves and reinforced them with sections of the Hauer Expeditions' tin plates. Cyril and Anné completed studying the Voorish Sign and learned the useful magic.

Unknown Temples, Peru, 9th April 1941 09:02

The next day, they widened their search of the area around the ruins. To the east, they found the fading signs of booted footprints, lots of them, matching the jackboots Joe had in his pack as part of his Oberleutenant disguise. These skirted the camp and curved around to the north of it, to a place where an artfully concealed pit held ashes and bones, and another much smaller one nothing at all.

For the first time, Anné cast her Voorish Sign, and realized she had chosen a terrible place to do it. Hideous resonances of terror, murder, human sacrifice and black magic crashed in on her, burning themselves indelibly forever into her memory.

As they stood looking at the hole, a fog they'd not realized was there cleared slowly from their minds. Increasingly, they remembered being here before - not once, but again and again. Endlessly. Each time, they reached Hauer's camp, rescued him with kindness, were ambushed or drugged into paralysis by him around a camp fire and, one by one, sacrificed with extreme cruelty. After which they found themselves on the road out of Chiclayo, staring at three immobile motor-cars, wondering why the time had gone funny... Only now, finally, had they broken the loop. Their minds rocked at the implications of this.

The empty hole resonated with power; something had been kept here, and all were beginning to suspect what it was... If they were right, it was now in the hands of either Nachtwölfe or Black Sun. Failure was staring them in the face. The German bootprints led onward, up towards the ridge separating this valley from the next. All that was left was to follow!

Session Date: 18th February 2020