The detective, Malachi Thorne, begins interviewing people from Berth Car 8 in alphabetical order. Meanwhile, Conductor Janssens and his staff will search Car 8 for evidence. The group becomes acquainted with the other people in their sleeping car, including:
Mildred and Abner Abernathy: A young newlywed couple from America. They have spent a lot of time in their stateroom.
Erik Craegen: A very nervous Scottish man with an impressive moustache. He claims to be an antiques dealer.
Dwight Featherstone: An upper-class twit from London, who argues with the conductor about the room search and warns that the train company will have to pay him if any of his personal belongings are damaged.
Greta Jager and Ingrid Schmidt: Two young German ladies who are “very close” “gal pals.”
Luci Martin: A Frenchwoman who appears to be a reporter.
Detective Thorne interviews the Abernathys, Vivian, and Dr. Black. He seems very suspicious of Dr. Black, especially considering the doctor’s somewhat erratic behavior on the previous day.
The Second Murder
The interview session is interrupted by a cry from Car 8. The group sees one of the porters lurch violently out of one of the cabins and vomit in the narrow hallway. Conductor Janssens yells for order, and everyone in the recreation car soon realizes that the search team has found another body.
Detective Thorne goes to investigate, leaving the passengers confused and scared as to what’s going on. Greta and Ingrid are closest to the door between the two cars, and Liam (with an assist from Mikhail) attempts to socialize with them in an attempt to get close enough to hear and see what’s going on in the car.
The two women misunderstand both men’s intentions and complain to one another in German about, “oh god, more boys hitting on us. Uugh.” Johnny, who speaks a little German, finds this all terribly amusing.
At some point, Eric Craegen says, “Oh, thank god it wasn’t in my cabin.” This draws the suspicion of Liam and several others in the group.
A few minutes later, porters arrive with a stretcher. They carry out the body, which is concealed beneath a bloody sheet, and take it to the baggage car. The conductor seals the room while Thorne returns to the recreation car to speak with the passengers.
Thorne explains that, because two murders have been committed—one of them especially heinous—he is going to order that the train be pulled off on a side track just outside of Milan, where everyone will remain until he discovers the murderer. He then asks that the group speak to him quietly in another car.
Once the group is situated, Thorne reveals a small notebook that he has recovered from the room of the second murder victim. It soon becomes apparent that the second victim is none other than Mr. Smith. According to identification taken from Smith’s room, it appears that he is an American private investigator named William MacIlvane.
The notebook contains bits of information on each member of the group, beginning with their time in Scotland. Smith’s notes describe, in the most unflattering way possible, the group’s defeat and arrest of Belphegor. It also explains that the group is trailing Bryan Slim, an international criminal. Smith confesses he isn’t sure whether or not the group plans to join up with Slim or to kill him, too.
The group attempts to explain themselves and do a reasonable job of convincing Thorne that the evidence in Smith’s notebook isn’t nearly as cut and dried as it appears. The judge also scoffs at the ethics and professionalism of private detectives in general and Smith in specific. Wary, Throne allows them to return to the recreation car.
Upon their return to the recreation car, Thorne tells the passengers that they may remain here, go to their staterooms, or go to the dining car. Otherwise, however, their movement around the train is restricted.
|Berth Car #8: Geoff's Map|
The group learns that Smith’s body has been locked inside of the baggage car.
Liam, Dr. Black, Mikhail, and Kane all make plans to go to the baggage car to collect evidence. They move toward the car in stages, stopping at either their staterooms or the dining car to make their movements look less suspicious.
The door to the baggage car is locked, but Mikhail picks it. Going inside, they see the luggage of many of the train’s passengers neatly stowed on shelves and locked away behind metal grating. In the center of the car, resting on several large steamer trunks, is the stretcher containing Smith’s body. The sheet over the corpse is now quite badly stained with blood.
The group looks around and discovers some cleaning supplies—including a broom and a can of turpentine—in one corner. When he thinks no one is looking, Liam attempts to pilfer valuables from the passengers’ luggage. His access is limited, however, and he doesn’t find anything of value.
Satisfied that they are alone, the group urges Dr. Black to conduct an autopsy on Smith. Dr. Black pulls aside the sheet to reveal that Smith has been the victim of a rather gruesome post-mortem violation known colloquially as “the blood eagle.”
After the group recovers from this gory sight, Dr. Black begins his examination. Smith is no longer bearded, but he does have gum Arabic residue on his face. This suggests that he was wearing a false beard, and that he had removed it just prior to the murder. He is also dressed in a nightshirt, limiting Dr. Black’s ability to find any identification or evidence.
Dr. Black also notes that the corpse’s tissues are peculiarly spongy. He explains to the others that it’s not rigor, and it is a condition with which he is completely unfamiliar. Dr. Black borrows Kane’s knife to take a tissue sample while the rest of the group tries to figure out what to do next.
For no reason at all, Mikhail picks up the can of turpentine, unscrews the cap, and begins pouring out all over the baggage car.
“I don’t know why I’m doing this,” he shouts. “Help! Help!”
Kane is able to tackle Mikhail just as Mikhail pulls a box of matches out of his coat pocket. Dr. Black assists Kane in restraining Mikhail, while Liam scarpers.
Liam flees back to the recreation car, briefly explains the situation to the group, and asks Johnny to come back with him to help out with the Mikhail situation. On their way back to the baggage car, Johnny is cut off from Mikhail by Eric Craegen, who takes that moment to step out of his cabin into the hallway.
Johnny and Craegen "errr" and "umm" awkwardly at one another, until Johnny notices that Craegen has a stone statue arm laid out on his bunk. When he asks about it, Craegen retreats and tries to close his cabin door. Johnny, however, is too fast for Craegen, and blocks the door with is foot. Craegen, defeated, invites him inside.
|The Orient Express Route|
Liam discovers that he has lost Johnny only after he has returned to the baggage car. He finds that Kane and Dr. Black have stabilized the situation, and that Mikhail—though drenched in turpentine—is otherwise all right.
After a quick whispered conversation, the quartet decide to return to the recreation car using the same somewhat stealthy method that they used to get to the baggage car.
Mikhail, who leaves the baggage car last, is unfortunately spotted by one of the dining car waiters. The waiter, a Frenchman with a saucy accent, becomes quite suspicious of Mikhail, and demands to know how he was able to get inside of the baggage car and why he is soaked in turpentine.
Not wanting to risk getting caught, Mikhail puts on a little show for the waiter. He cries and stammers and points at the baggage car. He explains that he was abducted by a scary man—possibly the murderer—who dragged him into the baggage car, poured turpentine on him, and tried to light him on fire.
The waiter believes this story and runs to fetch Detective Thorne and Conductor Janssens. Realizing that he may have incriminated himself and his friends after all, Mikhail begins to cry for real.
Liam, back in the recreation car, attempts to get information out of the passengers. He first sets his sights on Mr. Featherstone. Featherstone, however, is not in a talkative mood and Liam inadvertently insults him, which only makes things worse. Before Featherstone stalks off to the dining car in disgust, Liam notes that the man has an anchor tattoo that Featherstone tries to conceal with his high shirt collar.
Meanwhile, Johnny and Mr. Craegen have a heart-to-heart conversation in Craegen’s cabin. Johnny learns that Craegen is actually another Call of Cthulhu investigator, who is currently playing through the very beginning of the Horror on the Orient Express campaign. After he and Johnny swap weird tales and useful advice, Johnny suggests that Craegen team up with the reporter and the two nice lesbians, so that he doesn’t have to face the horrors of the Mythos alone.