Trail of Cthulhu: Boundless Deceptions

Malta: Disaster and Aftermath

From the Notes of J. Murphy

Emma wakes me up early, after less than 6 hours—not only did Armitage see a vehicle outside for most of the night which vanished at some point, but also Emma heard noise outside our hotel door.

 

Footsteps in hallway for about 30 seconds, then left. No peephole outside the door. Maybe use a makeup mirror to scout out when we’re ready to leave.

 

4 AM. On watch. Nothing out of ordinary as the night continues. Dawn brings more activity on street.

 

Eventually others wake up.  With a bit of string, Vivian’s cigarette stick, and a makeup mirror, we can get a glimpse outside…nothing.  Open the door, step outside, nothing.

 

Talk about going out after breakfast, staying out all day until the 7 pm boat back to Italy. Vivian still doesn’t know who she is, doesn’t understand where she is, acting very differently.  The Professor thinks she may have…split personalities? Like there’s another person inside of her, who comes out in moments of stress?

 

That makes an unpleasant amount of sense. But Jesus Mary and Joseph why did it have to happen this way?  Can’t we have the quiet one while we’re traveling and

 

The Professor and Emma sit down with Vivian, spend the morning talking to…whoever she thinks she is.  And eventually she comes back. But is entirely confused. Thinks we’re the ones talking nonsense. Immediately insists she needs to change into another expensive and conspicuous outfit.

 

We discuss about whether we have any chance to do more to help the people/harm the operation here.  No element of surprise. So many guards and lost souls. No chance to get to the car, the dynamite unseen.

 

We do compose a threatening note with scraps of newspaper, cut-out letters—implying that Trammel sent us to kill Donovan for failing to find some mystical book he was told to deliver.  Hopefully that will sow confusion. Perhaps make this cult paranoid. To be delivered by courier.

 

Elevator is out of order. Stairs are a trap. V needs to run with the satchel of books if we get ambushed.

 

Stairs definitely a trap. Shadows waiting on upper landing. We summon a bellhop, to at least prove that the stairs down are safe; carry our bags.  He grabs our bags, heads down the stairs.

 

As bellhop, me, Emma enter the stairwell—-“Stop zhem you fools!” from above; footsteps from below. I stay on the landing watching their backs, fire a warning shot into the wall where the stairs turn again. The others hurry down, faced by two large men carrying daggers, who rush at them.

 

Goons lunge at Vivian, bloody, vicious stab.  But Vivian brought a gun to a knife fight, hits him in the chest. Other goon jumps forward, stabs Emma. Who also shoots back, but misses.

 

Upstairs: woman in platinum blonde hair, turns corner, gun pointed at me, she shouts at us to stop, calls us murderers, and then shoots at me.  Good shot, I feel it punch into my arm, which throws my aim off on return shot. 

 

Last goon rushes the Professor, who manages to knock the goon off balance a bit.

 

Another ugly blow to Vivian, deep gut wound, she goes into shock, but barely stays focused, shoots the goon again in the face, killing him. Dead man’s pal turns, starts to run. 

 

Emma grabs the big pistol Vivian is offering, turns, plugs the goon who the professor roughed up. He drops.

 

Woman up the stairs curses in foreign; she’s sobbing, incoherent; she throws herself at me, hits me in the jaw with her pistol. I smash my revolver into her face.

 

Professor rushes to help Vivian, who yells out in pain.  Quickly, he pulls off his tweed jacket, uses it as bandage to stop the flow of blood.  Emma joins, and she and the Professor help Vivian get down the stairs. 

 

The crazy blonde growls at me in foreign, fails to hit me.  “Give up, bitch, you’ve lost!” And I hit her in the face again.  Still crazy.

 

Emma, Professor, Vivian continue fleeing, make it to the lobby. Front desk man completely unfamiliar, but he has enough sense to hide in the office. 

 

Woman screams in frustration, tries to run up the stairs.  I give her one last punch for good measure; it connects, but she keeps running. 

 

The others get out into the street; it is deserted. Break into a car, Vivian is hotwiring it.  I dive in, Vivian drives madly off, racing towards the docks.

 

Get to the docks; locate the boarding office for the steamer.  I go in (as the least bloody), get the tickets.  Vivian needs medical attention immediately.

 

Turns out Emma was carrying Well’s awful sack-shirt, which we use to disguise the worst of the blood.  We get her over to the boarding agent, who is bored & ignoring us.

 

We get aboard, find a steward, we convince him to get Vivian to the shipboard infirmary; there’s a doctor on board, who is startled, amazed, panicked.  They rush into action, to get Vivian into surgery.  We’re ushered out of the room.  Emma stays with her, as a nurse.  Steward gets Professor and I to the cabin we share. Small, cramped.

 

Professor asks if I was shot…which reminds me that I was. The pain kicks in immediately as he says it. Peel off my shirt, he tends to the wound. Not as graceful as Emma, but it works. 

 

Too tired to do anything else. Not even energy to complain. 

 

Emma helps the doc with Vivian. Hard work, but they patch her up just fine.  Emma, exhausted, retires to her cabin.

 

 

(Convalescence)

 

We don’t have the Ayers papers. Should have brought that. Dammit.  So we have to go back to the States.  Weeks and weeks!  Too dangerous to have someone bring the papers and books from Vivian’s house.

 

By the time our last boat gets us back to Boston…

 

I meet with Rudy. Warn him about the drug ring; tell him about our warehouse trouble; the gunfight.  He’s horrified by the news of Nectar.  But also horrified that I’m going about this vigilante style. Tries to talk me out of it.  But a man finishes what he starts.  And we haven’t found anything we could take to the authorities. Not that’d make a difference. If I bleed out on a warehouse floor or wind up in some foreign prison, at least I’ll die doing something stupid and stubborn and worth doing. As opposed to just stupid and stubborn. 

 

(I also do spend some time with Mary and . . . [husband?])

 

Emma spends time with her father.  While she’s talking to him, a woman comes in, bustles around—had to hire some help, someone around to look after him—he’s getting older, forgetful.  The woman corners Emma, says she’s worried about Emma’s father. Says her father has been drinking, thinks he’s been on drugs…woman shows her the medicine cabinet, which has a vial of…Nectar!

 

Emma confronts her father.  He blathers about where he got it; “feller down the street”.  He acts confused, tries to evade her aggressive questioning.  Emma plays the nurse card; says she’s going to take him to the doctor for proper attention. She manages to persuade him that it’s a poison; hospital doctor prescribes some really powerful drugs, leave him dazed, dull; sedative—for advanced anxiety.

 

Emma also looks into the caretaker, who seems on the level, sincerely cares for Emma’s father.

 

Vivian:  by the time she gets to Arkham, mostly recovered from her severe stab wounds.  Meets with Janet, talks about the Valletta problem (leaving out the gross mouth); our failure to stop production of the drug; final gunfight and escape.  Janet deeply disturbed—having sent one of her closest friends right into harm’s way.  Encourages Vivian to stop, stop going into danger.  But Vivian talks about the danger, the need to stop this group, the victims.  Plus her own reckless lifestyle.

 

 The Professor meets up with one of his colleagues, an instructor at Miskatonic, respected peer & old friend.  Talks about the substance he observed—the Nectar—and starts to raise the idea of mystical, supernatural qualities.  But they’re both mutually convinced that, with study, science will reveal the secrets.  (“To science!” <clink of glasses>) 

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