Larry turned up at the hotel today. He finally
provided the affadavit from Gary about Ashleigh, in which Gary describes
Ashleigh's death as an "accident at hunting lodge". I sent it off
Larry told me that they're all staying at a friend's house, and are planning to leave for Fairbanks on Monday by dogsled. He invited me along, and I agreed and would talk with Gary about my luggage.
He told me what he had learned about Silla. (fill in the Silla story here, temple of winds and so on)
Gary arrived later, but without
Asheigh's journal. Still, I bought him dinner while we discussed
my luggage requirements. I told him that I'd have one steamer trunk,
and to be sure that he had several cases of cigarettes. In addition,
I arranged with the hotel to have a half cask of liquor ready to load up
on Monday morning.
Gary told me that they would be armed -- some rifles, shotguns, revolvers, and knives. He added that automatic and semi-automatic weapons jam in the cold temperatures, so bolt action rifles and revolvers are more common here. I guess folks just aren't as good at keeping their weapons in shape around here -- maybe their lives don't depend on them like they do in Boston.
I only agreed to the single trunk begrudgingly, and with the assurance from Gary that I would be able to restock my wardrobe once we reached Fairbanks.
I pointed out that since I'm going to be working with them, they're going to have to back me up -- not rat on me to the cops. Gary reminded me that he is the cops; when I asked, he says he's not crooked. Whatever.
Today I mailed off the affadavit to Jennifer Ashley-Jones, and send the Journal to Charlie at Danning & McNish. I also telegrammed Charlie to let him know what is going on.
The rest of the day I spent shopping. I gathered that Beauregard has received confirmation of my cover from the Boston police.
The trip was miserable. The liquor was foul, and to top it off I came down with mild frostbite.
Today I telegrammed Charlie to inform him where I am now.
I spent most of the morning hanging out in the lounge
to try to pick up any local gossip. This was totally unproductive,
and the hotel manager suggested I try the general store.
This turned out to be a good suggestion -- the general store seems to be the social center of Fairbanks. I socialized for a while, and the store owner even took a liking to me and broke out a superb bottle of 50 year old scotch. It's clear, however, that no-one here knows anything useful about the Cult or its operations.
None of this was getting us very far. We needed to be aggressive in our pursuit of more information. I wanted to go to Endurance to talk to Blair, but I did agree with the others that a trip to the dirigible facility would be a better first approach. Since I was now well enough to travel, we planned to leave tomorrow morning.
There seemed to be no activity when we arrived. There was indeed a burnt-out building with the skeleton of a dirigible clearly visible. No guard patrols were seen, and the gate was open. It looked like everyone had blown the joint.
Time for us to investigate... Gary and Larry walked in, while I sneaked in behind them. Once it was clear there were no obvious threats, I left them to go to the far side of the compound while I circled around to the left.
Gary and Larry started with the generator hut, which contained a shortwave radio -- it was probably able to reach most of Alaska. They then went on to the remains of the hangar, which contained the wreck of the dirigible and a burned out truck. Their bombing raid clearly did a number on the place, but they set to searching anyway. After a while, Gary went back out to fetch the rest of the group. Larry continued to search, but the only thing he noticed of interest was that the controls on th dirigible were labelled in English.
As for me, I looked through the outer buildings. I went through a barracks, then a storage building containing food, blankets and so on (mostly from Anchorage). There was a huge dog run, where I could see the bodies of two or three dead dogs. I actually tripped over the remains of one, and it seemed to have been eaten by something big. Next building was a large empty one, which I unlocked on the way in. I kept coming across more dead dogs in the snow.
The next building I investigated was the only two-storey
building, clearly the Headquarters. A quick scan of the first floor
showed a foyer, a meeting room, kitchen, and so on. There was a file
room for the two offices, and a lounge.
The first office was interesting. The file cabinets were locked, so I opened them. There was one body in the chair, executed with a bullet to the forehead. He had a wallet and keys on him, and going through his stuff revealed him to be Elliot Gardner, the guy in charge here. The files contained all the scoop on this place and the operation. There were plans for the dirigible -- an Italian design, built here. Also there were all the records of the day-to-day stuff. The files also showed that the head man of the operation, over Gardner, was Reinhold Blair, as I'd suspected. I'd love to watch him dance, hope I'll get the opportunity.
The file room, in contrast, contained just boring stuff.
The other office was very nice indeed. The desk contained nothing of interest. The safe contained a stack of documents -- by now Larry had joined me, and I left him looking at those while I went to secure the rest of the building.
In the lounge I found a keg of beer. It was more like applejack now, of course, but drinkable. I took Larry a drink, then got another and looked around the rest of the place.
Downstairs it was dark. Remembering how I got into this business in the first place, I didn't go down there yet.
Upstairs consisted of a lounge, a rooftop deck, and a total of five bedrooms.
Larry, meanwhile, had got bored and wandered into the meeting room. Here he found several maps marked with pins. The Alaska map was unmarked. The US/Canada map had red pins at Endurance and Camden, NJ; there was a blue pin in King William Island. The world map had a red pin in the northern islands of the Kuriles, and a yellow pin in the north of Norway.
At this point, Gary arrived with the others. The weather had been getting worse. Larry went and turned on the generator so we get power in the compound. It did not supply power to this building, though.
Gary and Larry went off to check the dog runs, and found lots of dead dogs around the compound, all hacked up. They then fetched our own dogs and sleds, and set them up in the warehouse. The dogs were acting nervous. No surprise, since Gary and Larry were on the verge of freaking out too.
I then put a priority to getting my luggage
moved into my room -- the largest bedroom, of course -- and prepared to
go down to the basement, looking for trouble.
The basement turned out to be a huge storage room with three doors. The first door was to an armory, full of weapons; as I left, I realized that the door lock had been smashed, and many of the weapons -- mostly bolt action rifles -- were missing. The second door revealed a gas-powered generator. The third room was a washroom, with a water heater and a furnace.
I made my way back up and told Beau to start the furnace. He just put a couple of our Inuit on the job. We needed some heat in here to get comfortable. Beau himself went outside to unload the sleds, which were in the warehouse by now.
The house was still cold, with no sign of heat, so
Gary and Larry went down into the basement to find out what the holdup
They came back up in a realy hurry. Larry said they'd found two of our Inuit dead, with their heads smashed in by something heavy and strong. Sounds like my instincts about the basement were right after all.
Gary and Larry went back down, armed, to find out who killed our guys. I went upstairs to get ready for real trouble -- Tom will be carrying his drum this time -- and went to take up guard at the top of the stairs. I told the others that if anyone steps on the stairs without shouting out to me, I'd kill them. I don't know if they took me seriously, I'm just this girl, you know...
As Gary and Larry moved through the basement, a large man-sized beast rose up from behind a box. It swung at Larry, but missed. It was heavily muscled, with a blue-white skin, sharp teeth, ice-blue eyes, and clawed hands.
Larry dumped both barrels of his shotgun into it. In response, it just cut him in half.
Gary, backpedalling rapidly, opened fire too.
While he was reloading, the creature came for the stairs. As it started to climb, I invited it to dance. I kept going as it came up the stairs and past me, knocking me aside. As it went for the window, I ripped a full burst into its back. It climbed through and started to run across the field, and I kept pouring it on until it fell down. I leapt out of the window, ran up to it, and emptied the drum into the body. It shuddered so -- sensuously -- as the lead bounced it around. I get all excited even now, remembering it. It felt so good, so good... the dancing was so erotic, Tom's vibrations so solid, the beat of the music so stimulating...
To no-one in particular, I said, "I have to look
after my gun now."
About then I noticed that Gary had arrived. He might even have been shooting out of the window with me, come to think of it, but I didn't care at the time. He had brought some kerosene, and he doused the body and set it on fire.
"What happened to Larry?" I asked him.
"He got chopped in half."
"Oh. OK." Whatever. Not like I cared. Then I got all shivery again, and kissed Gary full on the mouth. "I love this stuff!" I said.
I then turned back to the body, and stood fascinated while it burned.
Gary told me he thought that the creature was not at all disturbed by the gunfire, but it was the heat of the bullets that knocked it down, and that the fire killed it. So it was still alive when I emptied my last burst into it and it shook and wriggled to the rhythm. Cool. This prey is so much more rewarding than humans. Humans don't dance as long.
While it was burning, Beau turned up. He told
us something about a big hairy creature he saw by the burned-out hangar.
He said he watched it while we were in the gunbattle, and eventually it
disappeared into the woods outside the encampment. He said that we
should go check it out.
I told him that I really did need to go to my room, and so they wouldn't bother me I locked my door and told them I was sick and needed rest. In fact I looked after Tom first, then refilled the drum. I think I might be using the drum a lot. I hope.
I kept going over the scene in my mind, and it was still exciting every time I replayed it.
I then checked over the room. It seemed earlier like there were really interesting books in this room, and now I looked at them I saw they were interesting enough to take back to Boston. I should get quite a bonus for this.
Beau and Gary seem quite capable of handling all the day to day matters around here. They've set up the guard routine, and managing stuff like food, and exploring the rest of the HQ. They don't seem to have found anything new except a couple of staff executed in their beds.
I think it's time to package this part of the journal
up, and get it ready to ship off when the opportunity arises.