Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Terror From The Skies - the fourth bit

I Love Paris In The Fall

The flight circle Paris and land at the air strip at Issy-les-Moulineaux , located in south-western outskirts of the city.  If any of the group makes a smarts roll, they remember that  Issy-les-Moulineaux  was the aerodrome that the start of the Paris-Madrid air-race, aviators across Europe  mourned the "catastrophe of Issy-les-Moulineaux," where a competitor suffered engine trouble and trying to land, crashed onto the race officials, killing the minister of war and seriously injuring the Chairman of the Board . 

A consequence of this is that the spirits drawn there by the tragedy are hostile to aircraft and pilots, all piloting rolls are at -2 and the planes feel buffeted as if by angry fists and engine faults are increasingly common.

As they pilots land and taxi to a halt, they can see across the airfield a small well dressed man, with a group of mechanics and officials surrounding a bizarre aircraft, it looks like a conventional airframe, but in front of the pilots compartment there is a long thick pole, with truncated biplane wings bolted to it, as the pilots approach, the pole suddenly starts to rotate rapidly shuddering with engine backfires, and as the revolutions increase, the whole aircraft lifts vertically off the ground!

The man in the smart suit is Raúl Pateras Pescara, an Argentine inventor and entrepreneur. 

Recently released from the jail of Health, where he was interred as a suspected spy, he is showing off his helicopter design before it is packed and shipped to Spain where he will carry on his development of rotary flight.

If the group approach him, he eagerly speaks to them about all manner of aeronautical details, with massive amounts of enthusiasm.  If he is sufficiently impressed with the pilots, he offered to lend them his Renault 40CV automobile with the understanding they return it to the airfield.

Travelling to the centre of Paris is relatively easily, the streets are full of Belgium refugees and soldiers either back from the front or heading east, this close to the battle lines the thump of the German artillery can be heard.  Following the Seine, the group can drive to the world famous cathedral.

Notre-Dame de Paris is French for "Our Lady of Paris", also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, it is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. Outside as the group draws up, there are priests and nuns administering aid to the wounded, as the Ile de La Cité is being used as a temporary triage point for soldiers being transferred to Hôtel-Dieu.

If the group ask about Father O'Connor, they're directed to a tall, well built priest, who looks more like a pugilist than a man of God.

When they mention MI-13 or Parkhurst, he stops his ministrations, and motions them inside the cathedral.

Once inside he leads them to the sacristy to the right of the Chapel Of Martyrs. Inside, he speaks.

"Parkhurst, that old swine. I told him I wanted nothing more to do with his kind of war. Can't you see the carnage around us? I need to be here and helping those most who need me. Unless you have a damn compelling reason, I'll get back to my ministering."

Assuming the pilots can convince him to help, O'Connor will grudgingly take a look at the arcane shell.

He clears a space on his desk and opens the box, a notice roll reveals that the vast majority of work on his desk is to do with the catholic interpretation of the occult, books on exorcism and magic from antiquity are in neat stacks.

After studying the casing for a while and taking notes, he leafs through several tomes and makes a few notes.

"Well gentlemen, I'll give you some credit, this is most interesting. See the design here on the casing? This is a truncated ritual of summoning, similar to the ones found in the Grimoire of Pope Leo.  This pentacle and runes in conjunction with the spar here, along with the incantation on the parchment summons a spirit, a devilishly powerful one unless I'm mistaken. Using this in this manner is like a spiritual beacon, wherever this is, the spirit will be summoned."

He takes a small silver crucifix and phial of water from the desk, and intones deeply in Latin while splashing holy water on the bomb. The water fizzles like oil on a skillet, and a sound like fingernails down a blackboard screeches from the device.

"Just as I thought, this is a powerful binding. It'll take all of us to break it. Gentlemen, give me a hand please."

He asks the pilots to help him push the desk to one side and starts to inscribe in chalk on the floor a series of symbols and words with the bomb at the center.

"Now then, each of you stand at one of these points, and don't move. The spirits involved here won't take kindly to this kind of exorcism. Anything you see or hear is meant to break your concentration, stay strong and this'll be over soon."

As the Priest intones the Latin exorcism rite, the spectral form of Captain Schmidt starts to form in the center of the pentacle, forming from the yellow fog seeping from the bomb casing.

This is a dramatic task again spirit rolls. On a club card, the roll is at -2 and a failure means a roll on the fright table.

Once the device is disabled, O'Connor sits down and mops his brow. From the desk draw he removes a bottle of whisky and offers the pilots a dram.

"Unpleasant, but successful, phew. Now then, As I see it, someone is creating this device and directing the bombing. They'd need access to the site of the crash, think of it as a mass un-interred grave, unhallowed ground where the spirits rise. This Schmidt, he's the focus. He's the captain, this haunting is because of him, something about him has prevented him and his crew leaving this mortal realm."

"I think this will take some more research I'm afraid. I'll have any more information I can gather sent by dispatch to you fellows, this horror is like nothing I've ever seen."
Back To Front

The journey back to Vert Galant is rather uneventful, the pilots are able to fly straight from Paris back to the allied aerodrome.

Once back on the ground and their kit safely stowed, Captain Herbert requests their presence in his office. After they're sitting and have been offered cups of tea, Herbert begins.
"Well chaps, how was your trip?"

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