Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Orient Express Part Three: March 26, 1926 (Later)

Mikhail’s Interview

Mikhail, still reeking of turpentine, spins his tale about being abducted by a stranger and dragged into the baggage car to Janssens and Thorne. Thorne is skeptical of Mikhail’s story, and asks what Mikhail was doing by the baggage car when he knew he wasn’t allowed to go near there. Mikhail explains that he was walking Pushok. Thorne counters with the obvious fact that Pushok isn’t around. Mikhail screams, “MY DOG!”

The interview ends a short time later, with Mikhail immediately feeling to the recreation car to tell his friends, “Pushok ran in here. You found him. You put him in my cabin. Okay? Okay!”

He then goes to change his clothes.

Inspector Malachi Thorne

Liam’s Smarm and Kane’s Meditation

Liam ingratiates himself with his fellow passengers. He speaks to Greta and Ingrid, who have one of the rooms next to Smith, and tries to get information from them. He learns that Greta got up to use the WC at 2 am and noticed a terrible smell coming from the area in front of Smith’s door (which was also in front of Archie and Liam’s door). She found a porter, but by the time she brought him back, the smell had dissipated.

Liam also talked to the Abernathys, who have the cabin on the opposite side of Smith’s. He becomes suspicious of Mrs. Abernathy when she mentions that she doesn’t like or trust Detective Thorne. She then admits to not telling him anything. When pressed, she mentions that she woke up in the middle of a night from a nightmare, during which she was sure she heard some kind of chanting. Despite this, she refused to volunteer the information to Thorne.

Meanwhile, Kane has, while under observation from the judge and Johnny, been going to various locations and meditating in them. His plan is to open his mind and see if, by doing that, he can discover anything of interest. While on his travels, he also attempts to gain access to Smith’s cabin, but finds that it is locked.

Kane first meditates in the cabin he shares with Dr. Black, and finds nothing unusual. He then meditates in Johnny and Judge Putnam’s  cabin and finds himself briefly overpowered by an alien presence. He manages to expel the presence from his mind, but is shaken by the result.


Kane theorizes that the murders/attacks are progressing in a zig-zag pattern starting with the Countess’ room. He suspects that Vivian’s cabin might be the site of the next attack. He admits that his reasoning for this is tenuous, but it’s what he’s got to work with.

The group decides that they need access to Smith’s cabin. Johnny believes he can pick the lock, but would prefer to do it at night when there are fewer people around.

The group also thinks that they should talk to the rest of the passengers in Berth Car 8 to see if they can learn anything else. At around this time, it is suggested that Vivian make the acquaintance of Luci Martin. In part because she seems particularly astute, and in part because Vivian and Luci could share a cabin and be safer together.

Jannsens, the Conductor

Dwight Featherstone

Mr. Featherstone emerges from his stateroom and goes to the recreation car. He immediately makes a nuisance of himself, complaining about how the train staff have damaged his personal effects and so on. Several members of the group, including Liam and Dr. Black, insult Featherstone and fluster him so badly that he turns to depart.

At this point, for reasons that are unclear to everyone, Dr. Black picks up a breakfast roll and hurls it into the back of Featherstone’s head.

Featherstone wheels around and says, in a much coarser accent, “Oy, which one of you pillocks did that?”

Everyone in the recreation car reacts with stunned silence. Featherstone regains his posh demeanor and returns to his cabin.

Liam, recognizing a con artist when he sees one, goes to Featherstone’s cabin to confront him. He discovers that Featherstone has all of his luggage (including a large steamer trunk) in his cabin. Liam attempts to get Featherstone to drop the act, and even reveals his own real Irish brogue to do so. This, plus some further needling, causes Featherstone to break character. He grabs Liam, slams him against the cabin wall, and tells him—in a coarse Cockney accent—to mind his own goddamn business.

Liam reports back to the group. Everyone is now fairly certain that Featherstone is a criminal of some stripe, and possibly a smuggler. At this point, Dr. Black goes to confront Featherstone and attempts to pin the murder of the Countess on him.

Featherstone drags the doctor into his cabin and tells him the following. He was awake in his cabin and heard the Countess being murdered next door. He admits that he did not call for help or go to her aid, because he wanted to stay alive, thank you very much. As Dr. Black leaves, he apologizes for throwing the roll, which makes Featherstone apoplectic. Dr. Black slams the cabin door in his face and scurries back to the recreation car.

The Abernathys

During lunch in the dining car, Kane breaks the ice with the Abernathys by congratulating them on their recent nuptials. Mrs. Abernathy shows off her ring and chats about the couple’s honeymoon plans. It appears that Mr. Abernathy is Greek on his mother’s side, and wanted to take this opportunity to visit the “Old Country.”

Johnny confirms that Mr. Abernathy’s story is plausible by speaking to him in Greek and asking him where his family came from. After a hasty check of Google maps, the Keeper is able to have Abernathy reply with a real district in Athens.

Upon further questioning, Mrs. Abernathy once again reveals that she is afraid of Detective Thorne and suspects him of all manner of unpleasant things. Her husband opines that this he is German, and they are, by nature, terrifying. Mrs. Abernathy goes on to describe her nightmare experience from the previous evening.

This is enough for the majority of the group to rule them out as suspects.

Luci Martin

During dinner, Vivian politely asks to dine with Luci, who has spent most of the train ride writing feverishly in a notebook. Vivian finds Luci to be intelligent, perceptive, and dryly sarcastic. She learns that Luci is a Frenchwoman, from Paris, and is a reporter.

Luci says that, as Thorne has made no progress in discovering the murderer, she has taken it upon herself to solve the case. She has filled one of her notebooks with her observations of the other passengers and her details on the case. She has her suspicions, and she hopes to be able to discern which of the passengers is the murderer before they strike again.

Vivian explains her own thoughts on the murders and suggests that she and Luci team up. She also suggests that she and Luci, being unaccompanied young women on a train, share a cabin for the evening for safety and strength in numbers. Luci accepts.

During this conversation, Mikhail and Liam wander over to the table, sit down, and order drinks. Luci grills Mikhail about his misadventures with Thorne and asks him what he was really doing by the baggage car. When Mikhail says that he was walking his dog, Luci points out that Mikhail didn’t bring his dog with him to the baggage car.

Mikhail stammers and leaves. Many of the players note that they would like to play Luci should their own characters bite it, as she is both snarky and smart.

Eric Creagen

Creagen has spent the majority of his time on the train in his cabin. Judge Putnam, after hearing about the man’s interesting history from Johnny, decides to investigate further. He goes to Creagen’s cabin to introduce himself and spends some time talking history and archaeology with him. Creagen finally relaxes a little bit.

Later on, the judge invites Craegan to his cabin and asks him to bring the arm of the mysterious statue that he has acquired. The judge mentions to Johnny that this will allow them to observe Creagen more closely, and also allows Creagen to be more easily protected should the murderer strike.

Everyone else pointedly leaves Featherstone alone in his cabin and to his own devices, because they don’t like him very much.

Night Investigations

The interior train lights dim and the other passengers return to their cabins to sleep. Vivian accompanies Luci to her cabin to discuss plans. Creagen brings his statue arm over to Judge Putnam’s cabin to discuss it with him.

Meanwhile, Dr. Black sets up a watch in the hallway while Johnny and Kane break into Mr. Smith’s room.

Johnny picks the lock easily. He and Kane enter Smith’s cabin and find dried blood sprayed everywhere. Smith’s threadbare coat hangs on a hook at the door. The mattress of the cabin’s single bed is soaked in blood, as is the floor and the walls. Johnny notices that the attack was apparently so vicious that sections of the cabin’s carpet have been torn up in places.

Underneath one of these torn up sections of carpet, Johnny notices a sheet of old parchment. Its contents are in Arabic, which Johnny understands. It is apparently a Mythos spell and allows its caster to Astrally Project.


At about the same time as all of this is going on, Pushok starts barking and turning tight circles in his cabin. Mikhail tries to sooth him, to little affect.

Vivian feels an icy cold presence descend upon her mind, and she feels an almost irresistible urge to kill Luci Martin. Vivian manages to shake off this urge before she acts on it and before Luci notices.

A moment later, Judge Putnam is overcome with an icy cold presence and picks up the statue arm with the full intention of bringing it down on Eric Craegen’s unprotected head. He, too, fights off the alien presence controlling him. Craegen seems not to notice anything untoward, and continues on describing the statue arm.

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