Sunday, August 21, 2016

CoC #36: Masks of Nyarlathotep #16 "We're in the Warehouse Now"

June 7, 1925, NCA Warehouse, Shanghai, China
Outside of a few armed New China Army (NCA) recruits who won't let the investigators out of their sights, the morning was quiet.    Mu Chien didn't arrive until late in the afternoon, and would only provide his guests with another cryptic message, "All things done.  Meet Great Brady tomorrow."

As the day progressed, more recruits appeared.  Around midnight a number of the soldiers could be seen preparing for something.  They left around three in the morning, in black uniforms and armed to the teeth.

June 8, 1925, NCA Warehouse, Shanghai, China
For lunch, the investigators were granted an audience with Jack Brady.  He apologized for the accommodations, stressing that someone completely unrelated to the Bloated Woman discovered the investigator's peripheral involvement. The fact that is was probably the crime family that he stole the Seven Books of Hsan from was not lost on them.

The great news was that Mu Hsien had completed the difficult translation of those cryptic books and now had the knowledge to stop whatever Penhew was doing on Gray Dragon Island. 

At that moment, Brady explained, two teams from the New China Army were busy at work.  One was scouting Gray Dragon Island  for the inevitable assault, the other was helping Mu Hsien construct a seal.  "The recon team should have survivors. Once we get their intell, we can formulate our assault on the island."  Brady's face turns ashen, "The team working on the seal won't be so lucky."   

Brady had no issue with outside communication to their other contacts, so long as the runners were NCA.  Most followers barely spoke, much less read English.  While they were guests of NCA and were permitted to leave the safety of their headquarters (re: warehouse), they were required have a disguise retinue of soldiers escort them.

Brady also recommended some nearby "safe spots"  that had minimal cult activity, were relatively public, yet would allow the NCA tails to blend in as well as they can and attempt to scope out any other agents.  For the sake of simplicity and closeness, The Mandarin Hotel in the "Little Tokyo" section of  the International Settlement was not only secure, but surprisingly nearby to the NCA warehouse. 

June 9, 1925, NCA Warehouse, Shanghai, China
A message was sent to Taro to arrange a meeting in the afternoon.  Before that meeting, the recon team returned from Grey Dragon Island and reported back  There were no physical casualties, although from the group's limited Chinese and translation, things went wrong.   A rough map was provided, as well as the actual coordinates for the island.   The island itself was surrounded by atoll with only one truly navigable channel.  A small village was located near the single dock.  A few villagers carried rifles, but the greatest worry of the recon team was the horrible deformities each villager had.  Everyone's bodies were terribly contorted with strange humps, deformed heads, and arms and legs of different lengths.  No location of the actual activities were found. 

The plan was to land three parties onto the island in the pre-dawn hours.  One on the low rocky cliffs, one on the far eastern beach (led by Brady), and a third to assault the possible watchtower (Led by Mu Chien).  The investigators were invited to join one team, or use the facilities of their mysterious allies.    The goal for the NCA was to find where the base of operations is, and install the mystical seal on sight.

Brady:  "Hopefully this completely stops whatever these groups want to accomplish.  At worst, it should slow them down until they you all have grandkids."

Outside of NCA ears, Brady was willing to go into some detail in the ritual to install the seal.  It required "The Blood of Innocents."  

"Good news, fellas, none of us are innocent enough to aid in the ritual, although the person running the she-bang can be questionable," as he meekly raises his hand.   

The repetitive chant needed to continue unabated for some time, maybe minutes, maybe an hour, maybe a whole day.   The first part of the ritual to make the seal took over eight hours. 

"You guys can fill if I fall, but I'd much rather you cover our backs.  If the ritual doesn't work, we're bring some TNT to blow the sucker to Kingdom Come, but not too much.  I don't want us blowing up twenty foot onto the beach."

At the Mandarin, Taro was aware of the Investigators involvement with the New China Army.  "They were my first suspects of possessing the alleged weapon.   We will keep an arm's length from the operations.  You and your compatriots will be allowed passage and safety on our vessels, provided you stay true to our agreement.  No member of the Imperial Navy will assist the terrorists in any way that could be considered aid."
Taro refused to put the lives of his marines and sailors at risk, particularly working alongside the terrorist NCA.  He was willing to his own landing party to escort the investigators to another location on the island, but it must be safe, and his men would not advance further unless the island has been secured.

"When you have the weapon, let us know, we'll take it from here...."

Taro was incredibly sketchy with the specific aid he would be rendering, nor a timetable. 

"Tell your friends to have their vessels ready at a moments notice,   The moment shall be obvious and for their own safety, they should embark immediately.  We will follow suit and be able to catch up."

Returning with the deal, the investigators informed Brady and he agreed.  

June 14, 1925, Shanghai, China
The residents of Shanghai were awoken to chaos as three Japanese warships entered Shanghai harbor.  Two ships docked, and Japanese marines poured into the city.  The Japanese would later claim they were protecting Japanese (and British) commercial interests that were being affected by the constant rioting by Chinese students and labor agitators. 

The NCA quickly assembled, reached their ships in the harbor and departed before lunch.

The investigators, figuring that the Japanese would at least honorably stab them in the back, took a tender towards the cruiser sitting in the middle of the Whangpoo River, and, after a few tense minutes, were allowed on board. 

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