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Tag: gruesome_discovery

Chapter Eight: Dec 5 - Dec 6 - The Black Tower, Part One
Following a brief rest in the tight quarters of the ancient ruin, the investigators rose early on the 5th of December and resumed their examination of the City of the Elder Things. Evelyn Dubois and Richard Greene returned to the subterranean hall they had discovered before, though Evvy narrowly avoided falling as they made their way down the icy, rubble-choked passage. Dr. William Scott Tyson, James O'Neil, and Dr. Nikifor Schevchenko returned to the pit at the center of the plaza where they had landed, and resumed their examination of the murals that decorated the walls beside the ramp that spiraled down into the deeps below. Jeeves and Stacey Meredith Whitehall III headed south, examining the white obelisk they had seen the day before. Buernor Thorson and Samuel Brighton-Foyle remained at the camp with Professor Moore, analyzing specimens of petrified wood he had discovered. "How," Moore wondered, "did they harvest wood at this altitude? According to Dyer's text, the valley was once lush with vegetation, an impossibility at this altitude."

The day saw a number of important discoveries made. As Tyson, Schevchenko, and O'Neil finished translating what they could on the sides of the fallen tower, Evvy and Greene finished in the great hall and decided to see if the passages would connect as stated in Dyer's manuscript. Her keen sense of direction enabled the two parties to find each other, though O'Neil found something else - a crushed tin can! Tyson did a survey of the area and found an ancient stone door that had been forced open in recent months. The tracks were identical to those found around Lake's camp. "We are not alone here," Tyson reported.

Jeeves and Stacey had examined the obelisk, then continued on past several other ruined buildings. At one point, Jeeves was certain he saw movement atop a nearby roof, but nothing was there. On the duo went until they found a sloped ramp that led down through an archway and began to spiral ever downward. They walked for nearly half an hour, covering more than a mile, passing empty galleries all the while. The ramp began to slope sharply at that point, and Stacey heard a strange, trilling sound below. "Tekeli-li, tekeli-li" the high-pitched sound repeated, and the hairs stood up on the back of his neck. "We need to go - now!" A strange, pungent stench like rotten fish washed up behind them, and both heard movement from below. He and Jeeves began to run as if the devil himself were chasing them, until at last they reached the surface.


The ramp descended far below the surface, to unguessed at Stygian depths.

Reconvening at camp, the investigators shared what they had learned. The murals and dot-script of the Elder Things presented a story across millions, if not billions, of years. They had arrived from space when the Earth was young, and used a biological technology to create food and servants. The servants - shoggoths Dyer had called them - had rebelled against their masters, only to be put down after a long war. Other creatures had arrived, and they warred with the Elder Ones as well, with the last confining the city's inhabitants to their settlements in the Southern Hemisphere. As the continents drifted, the ice eventually came, and the Elder Ones were forced to retreat to hidden cities next to sunless seas far below the surface. Moore, Thorson, and Brighton-Foyle had discovered the wood was from tropical plants. The murals had shown that the Elder Ones had used some massive air-pumps threading through the Miskatonic Mountains to pressurize the plateau, a feat of engineering Moore could scarcely conceive of.

Starkweather had returned with Miles at that point, and the discussion turned to what they would do as they were undoubtedly not alone in the city. Stacey's report was especially disturbing. If any of the monstrous shoggoths had survived, they were all in deadly danger. Starkweather scoffed at the idea, but had everyone keep weapons close at hand. "Should there be any danger, fire off a round and I will come running. I've faced down charging bull elephants in my time. This is no different." Schevchenko assured him that the protean shoggoths were both much larger and more difficult to kill than any elephant if Dyer was to believed.


Their exploration of the strange city continued.

They opted to rest at that point, though Moore continued working. Rising early on the 6th, the investigators were greeted by the sight of Moore being treated for frostbite. "I was out and about gathering samples," he said sheepishly, "and in my enthusiasm ignored the cold until it was too late." Tyson and Greene grounded him for the next few days, at least until his blisters healed. As she stepped out, Evvy noticed the wind had died down, making the pass navigable by their planes. Plans were made to depart on the next day. "Get your exploring done today and we will load samples. We've used enough supplies that we have plenty of room." The investigators continued their exploration while Greene went with Starkweather to survey some nearby pyramids. They found ancient towers with murals depicting thousands of years of war with insect-like fungi from space, great breeding pits where the Elder Things reared their larval young, and a great arena where ceremonies of some sort were held. They also found a buried Elder Thing, though the burial was recent. "At least some from Lake' camp survived," Tyson mused. They returned to the camp.

A quick headcount was done upon Starkweather's return, and Greene was not among them. Devising a search pattern, the investigators set out. Stacey and Jeeves remained behind with Moore as the rest fanned out. Tyson discovered signs of a struggle, as if Greene had been carried off. The tracks were those of the Elder Things. As he and the rest examined the area to determine if Greene had been taken underground, the camp had a visitor.

Stacey saw him approach from across the mound of rubble. Trying to determine if it was Greene, he called for Jeeves. The man pointed behind them, and as the duo looked, he moved towards the planes. Fearing the worst, Jeeves looked for a shot with his rifle while Stacey began to move closer. But they were too late. The figure emerged from the cockpit of the Enderby, an empty fuel can in one hand and a flare in the other. He lit the flare and tossed it into the cockpit. There was a whoosh of flame, and a moment later there was a terrific explosion. A fireball soared up into the sky as the Enderby was destroyed. The man stumbled backwards, reeling from the force of the explosion. Without hesitation, Jeeves put a bullet in his shoulder. Stacey was on him in a heartbeat, kneeling on his wounded shoulder to prevent him from moving or bleeding out.

The sound of the explosion brought the rest running back. Evvy and Halperin did what they could to ensure the Weddell was safe, and had to watch the other plane burn. Stacey found a sled the man had been pulling, and brought it back to camp. The man himself was taken back to the tents in the camp they had established. He turned out to be none other than Kyle Williams, Lexington's pilot! Williams fed them a story about Lexington and the Germans conspiring to kill Starkweather, but Jeeves and O'Neil saw through his lies. As he was pressed, the man collapsed into babbling. "Don't you understand? We are a virus! We shouldn't be here! If we return, we infect this place. The world isn't safe! We all have to die! Dyer and I saw it the last time, in the Wesetrn Range! Oh God, they aren't gone! The servants speak with their masters' voices!"


The investigators were not alone in the city.

Stacey went through his belongings, finding a spare oxygen tank, spare rations, and a mysterious mail pouch. It contained a journal in German, a hand-written notebook, and a manuscript - none other than Poe's complete copy of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, missing since it was stolen from Acacia Lexington's father nearly ten years before! As Danforth babbled off into madness under questioning, Starkweather set out to determine if he had been accompanied by anyone else. Several moments later, a shot rang out from the nearby ruins. Rushing out, everyone saw a horrific sight - two of the Elder Things, very much alive, hauling off Starkweather into the air in a tarpulin held between them! Regaining their composure, Jeeves and Tyson took pot-shots at the monstrous forms. Even with a direct hit, the creatures did not appear to slow much. Jeeves attempted to put a mercy round in Starkweather, but was unsure as to its effect.

"My God," Moore yelled, "they have James! We have to pursue and try to rescue him. Get the Weddell ready to fly!"
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Chapter Seven: Dec 1 - Dec 4 - The City of the Elder Things, Part One
The three large Fokker aeroplanes had circled Lake's camp and set down on the smooth ice south of the site at just after 6:00 a.m. As the German craft slid to a halt on the ice, the members of both the Starkweather-Moore Expedition and the Lexington Expedition hurriedly rose from their tents and walked over to greet them. The planes were all labeled - D-BFEA, D-BFEB, and D-BFEC - and the hatch to the lead plane opened. A slender gentleman with a trim, grey beard stepped out. "Greetings," he said in flawless English with only the hint of a German accent. "My name is Doctor Johann Meyer, and we are with the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition. I must apologize for our unannounced arrival. We have no wish to alarm anyone. I appreciate your kind welcome, and hope that our expeditions will equally benefit from our shared scientific talents. I bring greetings from the leaders of my expedition, and their salutations on your perseverance in the face of every difficulty. If there is anything which we can do to assist you, please approach myself or Doctor Professor Uhr and state your needs. Our labor, supplies, and equipment are at your disposal, within reasonable limits, of course. Again, our thanks for your hospitality, our congratulations on your successes, and my hope for more to come."


The Barsmeier-Falken Expedition touched down early on the 1st.

After a few pleasantries were exchanged, questions were asked. The Germans had arrived by flying over the South Pole, and were camped somewhere on the shore of the Weddell Sea - an answer Evvy realized was somewhat misleading, as that was roughly equal to the length of the East Coast of the United States. Dr. William Tyson asked why they were here, and were told "We are at the limit of the range which our planes can travel away from our base, and decided to see the renowned discoveries of Professor Lake for ourselves. In fact, we would have been here sooner, but there has been some bad weather across the ice cap. And of course, we have heard broadcasts from America of the accident which befell you ten days ago, and thought perhaps our own superior equipment might be of use if any of yours was damaged." Dr. Buernor Thorson asked why their expedition was in Antarctica to begin with, and was told "Our expedition is here to survey the coast and the Miskatonic Mountains, and determine if there are any mineral resources here that can be profitably exploited." Dr. Nikifor Schevchenko asked when they had arrived and was told, "We left Bremerhaven on September 15th, and set foot on Deception Island over four weeks ago, on October 27th, after a voyage of 9,000 miles from Germany. Our aircraft landed at the South Pole on November 2nd." He also explained that they had not contacted them via radio due to magnetic interference from the mountains. With that, he asked that his expedition be allowed to set up camp 50 yards south of Lake's campsite, and then asked to speak privately with Acacia Lexington and then Professor Moore. Since Moore had no grounds to refuse, the Germans set to work.

Jeeves noted that Acacia Lexington seemed to be expecting the Germans' arrival, and he shared that with the others. "What is that woman up to?" Moore asked. "We will find out soon enough. If you wouldn't mind keeping an eye on our new arrivals...?" With that, the rest of the investigators began to observe the German personnel as they set up their camp. Jeeves watched their radioman, Schimmel, who was unfriendly at best, though his assitant Stoltz was much more polite. Stacey Meredith Whitehall III talked with Doctor-Professor Franz Uhr, who Tyson recognized as a leading anthropologist and cryptographer during the Great War. Tyson talked with the BFE's geologist, Rucker, and found him a dedicated though blunt and unimaginative sort. Evvy talked with the pilot who buzzed the camp, Baumann, and found him charming and dashing - for a German, that is. Buernor observed their dog wrangler, the arrogant Gunter Thimm, and observed that despite his training the Germans' dogs reacted just as strongly to the radio and the scent of the Elder Ones. He and Tyson took time to hide the samples they had uncovered, unsure of how much to share with the members of the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition. O'Neil took time to interview other members of the BFE, including the absent-minded Kleiser and the jovial Uhr.

After speaking with Ms. Lexington for an hour or so, Herr Meyer spoke briefly with Moore. "It seems," he said, "we are set to Greenwich Mean Time while you are set to the time of your ships. That puts us 12 hour apart exactly. Our midnight is your noon, and so forth. That can work to our mutual advantage, allowing us to work around the clock. I must get some rest. We can continue our work tomorrow, and aid you with yours." The BFE members had set up their camp with military precision - radio mast, generators, mess tent, and 9 living tents - and in a matter of hours were an established presence.


The BFE camp was a model of efficiency.

O'Neil took a moment to talk with Acacia as she returned from talking with Priestly about a flight on the morrow. She readily admitted that she had been in contact with the Germans. They were interested in crossing the Miskatonic Mountains and seeing the plateau Dyer had described. While their Fokkers could not reach the altitude necessary, her Northrop Delta could. She was ready to sell them some seats on her plane, and was waiting for the right offer. "Anything that gets me out from under the thumb of James Starkweather." Impressed by their mutual candor, Acacia and James found a new degree of respect for each other, slight though it might be. Work continued apace on the expedition's finds for the rest of the day. Samuel was feeling much better, and did an extensive examination of the bodies of the Lake's personnel along with Tyson, while Schevchenko and Thorson studied the specimens of the so-called Elder Things in finer detail. The other scientists were informed of this, though Moore, Griffith, and Myers concentrated on studying the caves, fossils, and unusual stones left in the mounds of snow and ice. The rest of the camp crew took drilling samples and cleared away some of the mess, trying their best to weather the gruesome discoveries made thus far.

Early on the 2nd of December, the BFE personnel rose and got to work. At Moore's request, some of the investigators took turns working through their "night" to keep an eye on the Germans. They found nothing unusual though a few (such as the pilots Baumann and Breyer) were armed, and a stealthy O'Neil determined that Meyer had an unusual book and a rifle in his tent. Shortly after breakfast, Meyer approached Professor Moore and offered aid in clearing what remained of the last airplane shelter and in examining Lake's discoveries. Moore could not, in good conscience, refuse and so a full disclosure was made. With the aid of heated copper loops - "ice knives," Meyer called them - the shelter was cleared under Tyson's guidance. The results were horrifying. A number of dissections had been performed here, and the brain of one of the dogs had been slidced into paper-thin section and arranged near where a body lay then allowed to freeze. It was fine work, though neither Meyer or Uhr seemed surprised. Both were fascinated by the remains of the Elder Things and carefully examined the gruesome signs of dissection and slaughter that had been buried at Lake's camp.


The remains of the second aeroplane shelter had been uncovered at last.

"I have something I must share with you," Meyer told Moore, and presented him with a loose manuscript of sorts. "We will talk later." Moore began to read as the others cleared up and continued their examinations. Acacia returned from her initial flight, coughing and furious. She accused Moore of trying to poison her and her crew, stating that the oxygen that the Starkweather-Moore Expedition provided was tainted. Moore apologized, distracted by what he was reading. She stormed off in the meantime to make a deal with Meyer and the Germans. He readily agreed to her demands of fuel, oxygen, and a new radio for her base camp and plane, and preparations were made for a flight. In the meantime, Moore shared his discovery with the investigators. It was nothing less than Dyer's manuscript, stolen months ago from Roerich in New York! Several of them read the work, and discovered the awful truth of what had happened to Lake's camp, and what Dyer and Danforth discovered in the Miskatonic Mountains (see Summary of the Dyer Text for details).

Not long after, Starkweather contacted the camp by radio. "Blast it Moore! I'm gone a day and you invite strangers to tea! I'm heading back as soon I can. We need to figure out what the Huns are up to and what that blasted woman is up to." Moore and Lexington's broadcasts were terse, and no mention was made of the slaughter at Lake's camp. After consulting with Moore, the investigators opted to share what they had learned with Acacia, feeling it was their duty. Though Buernor argued strongly that this information should be shared with the world, the rest felt they should wait until they had more proof less their claims be dismissed - or worse yet, attract those seeking to profit from Dyer's discovery.

The 3rd was taken up by preparations for a flight over the Miskatonic range to the city Dyer had discovered. Acacia was skeptical but thankful for the warning, wondering what the Germans had wanted to see over the pass through the high mountains. Starkweather arrived around 7 p.m., and rallied the troops. After catching some rest, they prepared to leave early as Acacia was waiting for confirmation that the BFE had delivered supplies to her base near the Ross Sea. But the tanks of oxygen they secured in Melbourne proved to be tainted with industrial lubricant. Though they might induce some headaches and nausea, it was ultimately determined they were mostly harmless. The Weddell was readied, with Evvy and Moore acting as pilot and copilot, and Thorson, Tyson, Schevchenko, and Brighton-Foyle as passengers. The Enderby was piloted by Halperin and Miles, with Starkweather, Dr. Greene, Stacey Whitehall, and Jeeves as passengers. Early on the 4th, they took off, headed for the mountains.
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Chapter Six: Nov 27 - Dec 1 - At the Mountains, Part Two
As the sun rose from the shadows of the mountains early on the 28th of November, the expedition set to work. Halperin took the Weddell back to base camp, and returned with a more supplies, one of the Pabodie drills, and more personnel, including DeWitt. From that point on, both aircraft set about ferrying men and material to the excavation site. Cruz, Lopez, and Cole helped Gilmore and O'Doul get the drills running to open up new bore-holes near Lake's original excavation site.

The investigators set about the rest of their work with grim determination. Moore and O'Neil dug up the first ice hummock, and with an audilbe gasp they uncovered one of Lake's specimens. It was huge, nearly 8 feet long, and roughly barrel-shaped, with odd clusters of feelers or appendages at eiter end and fan-like serrated fins which retracted into the main body. O'Neil blanched at the sight of Lake's so-called "elder thing" but steeled himself and continued to dig. Evvy was certain they had uncovered a dinosaur, but excused herself to begin preparations to clear the aircraft shelters. One more specimen was dug up from the second hummock, while the others only yielded a strange stone at their center. Each was 4 inches across, smooth, and vaguely star-shaped, seemingly formed from green soapstone, with a number of small indentations in curiously varied patterns on one side and an eye-like squiggle on the other.


Though damaged and incomplete, Lake's specimens hinted at heretofore undiscovered types of life.

Buernor and Stacey uncovered what was undoubtedly the tent Lake used to dissect his specimens, and the heavy canvas had to be cut as something had stuck, preventing it from being pulled up past waist height. As it was finally opened, they found a horrifying spectacle. Icicles of dark, red blood hung from the dissection table, and thick pools of frozen blood had gathered on the floor and smaller tables where empty instrument trays were stuck. Arcs and sprays of blood had frozen to the tent's interior sides. No dissection tools or other remains could be found, though gauging by the pattern and volume of blood, someone or something had been very much alive when the procedure began.

Tyson and Schevchenko uncovered the first tent, and discovered that it had been Professor Lake's dwelling at the campsite. A number of bullets and shells were scattered about, but none had been fired. The bedding was shredded, and his pipe and its case had been smashed. The second tent belonged to Atwood, and his clothes were missing and his bedding also torn apart. The pieces of a brass sextant laid here as well, carefully disassembled. The third tent belonged to Fowler and Gedney, going by the names on the empty footlockers. The tent's flap had been nearly ripped off, and a number of slits cut in the heavy canvas. Their bedding was simply gone, and Gedney's journal lay frozen to the floor. Only the cover remained, as all the pages had been torn out and were missing.

Evvy and the returning camp crew, along with Patrick Miles, David Packard, Willard Griffith, and Charlie Porter, managed to clear the first aeroplane shelter. The remnants of one of the Miskatonic University Expedition's big Dornier airplanes lay there, crushed and unable to ever fly again. Evvy checked the engine, and noticed that it appeared as if it had been torn apart and put back together again by someone who had no idea what an internal combustion engine was.

As O'Neil returned from the hummocks of snow, he found another small mass frozen in the ice and snow nearby. It was composed of a few strange garments, each sewn from tent canvas, bedding, and a number of fur coats. There were like strange ponchos, with five slits running up their sides. The strange, stipled prints they had seen in the snow and ice near the dig site were around these garments as well.

The investigators retired for the day, and the specimens were taken to a tent Moore had set up on the far end of the expedition's camp to be examined the next day.

Schevchenko, Thorson, and Tyson spent the 29th dissecting the elder things, and were fascinated and repelled by what they discovered. The dead things had a horrid stench, though they were otherwise remarkably intact. Both had a radial symmetry, with five limbs around their center mass. They showed some similarity to plant life, with photosynthetic cells evident, but other features were like those of animal life. They had highly developed sensory organs, a complex nervous system, and a five-lobed brain-like organ that spoke of possible intelligence.


The dissection revealed a number of fascinating and disturbing things about Lake's specimens.

The rest of the crew spent the 29th and the 30th clearing the remaining tents and the third and fourth aeroplane shelters. The indentation on the second shelter showed that the canvas tarp covering it must still be intact, so care would have to be taken in clearing the snow away lest it collapse and damage the contents beneath. The other tents all showed signs of damage. The larder tent had been ransacked, and flour, sugar and lard had been scattered about, leaving a frozen mess. All the meat had been taken, and the tins of food here had been crushed, mangled, and torn as if by something unfamiliar with tin cans. One tent was empty save for clothes and bedding, and another was gone entirely, leaving only the beds and possessions of the occupants behind. Another was stained with frozen gore, enough to indicate that someone here had bled out completely, and slowly, by the way the blood had pooled. The last tent showed signs of violence. A few bullet holes pierced the canvas, and splatters of blood had frozen on the canvas, along with a strange, dark substance that looked and smelled like the ichor from the dead elder things.

The remaining aeroplane shelters were empty, though a second Dornier was found on its back between the last two. Its interior had flooded and was now a lump of solid ice, though the wiring looked torn up from what Evvy could see. She also found the plane's radio lying in the snow nearby, though it had been re-wired completely.


Evvy was certain the Dornier would have been impressive in the air. Could the wind have done all this?

Fiskarson and Snabjorn arrived on the 30th with the dogs, and the animals nearly had a fit when they caught wind of Lake's specimens. They snarled, snapped, and howled ferociously, but the dog handlers got them under control and set up a shelter far from the rest of the camp. Buernor tried to examine the re-wired radio, only to discover that it too set the dogs off, but only when exposed to sunlight. There was no sign that it was powered or sending any kind of signal, but he ultimately felt it best to keep it in his tent.

On the 31st, with Moore's reluctant permission, the team dug up and the remains of Lake and his associates, brought in the carcasses of the sled dogs, and began a detailed foresnic examination under Dr. Tyson's practiced eye. The results were horrifying. Several members of the expedition and nearly half the dogs had been slain by large lacerations. One man's hands had been neatly severed, and not recovered. Two others had been stripped of most of their flesh, and had been broken nearly in half. One set of remains had been dissected completely, with all organs, muscles, bones, and the rest completely separated and left in a pile. By the extensive remodeling on one femur, Tyson identified this as Professor Lake, who had broken a leg playing football in college. One of the dogs had met a similar fate. Nearly half the dogs had their necks or backs broken, and one appeared to have died of fright. It was a gruesome spectacle.


The strange, carved stone of the elder things.

The rest of the 31st was spent exploring the cave Lake's party had discovered with their drills. The caves were a fairy-land of stalactites and stalagmites, with striations of schist, limestone, shale, and other rock strata exending back millions of years. They had undoubtedly been part of an underground river network, and were littered with fossils. Indeed, they were a virtual treasure-trove, as fossilized trilobites, fish, reptiles, and early mammals were found littered about the floor. More than 700 million years of the history of life on Earth could be accounted for here, ranging from periods as diverse as the Comanchian and the Eocene. Another pair of strange stones were found here as well, one thin and amber, like a translucent shell, the other dark and smaller than the green stones found above. It had the curious property of growing noticeably warmer in the presence of living beings.

Early on the 1st of December, shortly before breakfast at 6 a.m., a roar could be heard from the sky above. Three large, tri-engine Fokkers buzzed the camp and set down nearby. The lettering on the sides of the planes clearly read "Barsmeier-Falken Expedition." The Germans had arrived.


The Germans had arrived.
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Chapter Six: Nov 27 - Dec 1 - At the Mountains, Part One
By 6 a.m. on the 27th of November, the weather had cleared and the dog sled teams led by Fiskarson and Snabjorn had returned from setting caches of supplies along the 600-odd mile path to Lake's camp. Evvy, Halperin, Miles, and Longfellow began preparing the expedition's two Boeing 247s shortly after breakfast, as the camp crew began loading gear to examine and excavate the site of the tragedy that brought a premature end to the Miskatonic University Expedition. By 11 a.m. both of the Boeings and the Lexington Expedition's single Northrop Delta, the Belle, were ready for take-off. Even with the Boeings' capacity, enough gear had to be hauled that several flights would be necessary to get the expedition's scientists, Pabodie drilling rigs, and scientific equipment to Lake's campsite.

As Moore oversaw the efforts to head to the remains of Lake's camp, Starkweather prepared for a different voyage. "I'll leave the science to you chaps. I'll have DeWitt fly me up to Beardmore Glacier in our Fairchild. Gunnar Sorenson will accompany me, and we will snap some photos for the papers. That's what they like, isn't it O'Neil? Man against the elements! Take good care of them Stacey!" With that, he was off. Acacia Lexington smirked at this as she boarded the Belle. Before long, both planes were flying over the ice towards the Miskatonic Mountains.

The wind rose as they drew closer and closer to the far-off range. Turbulence struck the planes, hard at times, and Nikifor Schevchenko was violently ill as a result, recalling painfully his time aboard the Gabrielle. The mountains first appeared as a dark smudge on the horizon, and grew sharper and clearer as the planes drew near. The peaks soared above the Antarctic ice, clear of the snow and rime, looming black and monstrous. Strange shapes, including cylinders and cubes, could be seen clinging to the sides of the roughly conical peaks. They suggested that an intelligent hand had been at work, but the sheer scale of them beggared the imagination and made such a thing impossible. They cast long shadows, and the investigators realized that even during the perpetual day of Antarctic summer, there would be a twilight as the sun passed behind the sinister peaks.


The Miskatonic Mountains loomed as the aeroplanes drew closer.

On they flew, more than 600 miles southwest of the expedition's base camp. The plane rose - first to 6000 feet, then to 8000, then to 12,000 before leveling off over the foothills of the Miskatonic range, foothills that would be mountains elsewhere. From the windows of the Enderby, Buernor and William Tyson spotted strange, regular mounds of snow and ice on the ground far below. Indeed, Thorson saw a cairn of dark stones had been erected a hundred or more yards from the rest. They pointed it out to Moore and Evvy, and the planes banked around to touch down smoothly on the ice. Or mostly smoothly, as Halperin brought the Weddell in too fast and scraped the undercarriage of the aeroplane, doing a small amount of damage.

As the passengers got off the three planes, they quickly got to work. Hidalgo Cruz and some of the other camp workers started setting up tents, and Tyson, Schevchenko, Stacey, Jeeves, and O'Neil joined them. Evvy went to survey the damage to the Weddell, and to speak with Acacia as she started putting up a tent for the two women. They spoke briefly about the trials of being the only daughter of a man who wanted a son, and found that they were kindred spirits. Buernor meanwhile had headed over to the cairn, and realized it was a monument to the men lost during the Miskatonic University Expedition, as evidenced by the carved plank inscribed with India ink listing their names and commending their bravery.


A temporary camp had been established 100 yards north of Lake's old camp site.

Upon his return to the expedition's temporary campsite, Moore pulled the investigators aside. "I would like you all to take a look at what is left of Lake's camp ahead of everyone else. Tyson, do a survey and a forensic analysis. Don't disturb anything yet, but look for the out of the ordinary. Take Cruz with you, just in case." A quick survey of what remained of Lake's camp followed. Stacey, Jeeves, and Thorson investigated a series of six, regular, dome-like mounds of snow running east to west, while Tyson and Schevchenko looked over a cluster of eight large, irregular masses that turned out to be frozen tents, collapsed and covered in ice. Buernor explained that the dark-colored tents had a lower albedo than the surrounding ice, and thus had absorbed enough heat from the sun to melt the surrounding snow, only to have it re-freeze during the long, Antarctic winter. Another frozen tent stood a couple of dozen yards north of the others, and Tyson realized it was likely the dissection tent going by the transcripts of Lake's discoveries, separated from the others due to the dogs' violent reaction to the specimens they had unearthed. Schevchenko found a few shotgun shells frozen in the ice near one of the tents, scattered but not discharged.


The tents had collapsed into frozen mounds.

Cruz found where the previous expedition had corraled their sled dogs, and brushing away the snow, he uncovered the remains of 36 Alaskan huskies. The superstitious Bolivian let out an oath at the sight of their carcasses, as most had died quite violently. O'Neil and Evvy examined four large mounds of ice which were no doubt the remains of the Miskatonic University Expedition's aeroplane shelters. One wing and the tail assembly of a big Dornier aircraft protruded from the ice, the metal burnished to a shine thanks to the scouring wind and ice. Together, the group explored the remains of Lake's dig site about a quarter of a mile south of the camp. Scattered tailings of rock and ice surrounded a crater where the primary drill-hole was located. The Pabodie drill had been damaged however, and a frozen, twisted heap of metal had plugged the entrance to the grotto where Lake and the rest had found their treasure-trove of samples. Cruz estimated it would take ropes, a block and tackle, and four men several hours to clear the wreckage, even with the Lexington Expedition's ice melters. Disturbingly, a number of strange prints were seen frozen in the ice. Boot-prints were here as well, but the others seemed to be strange, stipled marks with a roughly triangular shape found in clusters of five. They resembled nothing like what a terrestrial animal would make. After returning to their newly-established camp, the investigators spoke with Moore and planned their approach. Tomorrow, Moore, Evvy, and O'Neil would investigate the strange hummocks of snow while Tyson, Stacey, Jeeves, and Buernor began digging out the tents.
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