Lost Expedition

Karkaham Arrivals

The HMS Menace has arrived in Karkarham and Captain Harper makes arrangements for repairs to his ship and recruiting new crew members. Father Lars is planning on taking passage on a canal boat to Gorklimsk, but Juan Escobedo, Nigel Reddington and Wayland Dashwood seem willing to continue aboard ship. The captain gives the crew leave as repair work gets underway. Harper sends courier to Lord Swanson, the British legate about a meeting and goes out to enjoy a night of high stakes gambling. When he returns, there is an official letter inviting him to lunch the next day.
Wayland contacts his friend Hans Delbruck who is in Mylarkt. Wayland knows he is an expert on the Meroe Badlands and asks why the crew of the mystery ship that attacked (Death from Above) them might be interested in the area. Hans mentions the liftwood trees of the Atsusapes Highlands, gem stone mines and that there is a large abandoned city west of Parhoon. Juan and Nigel spend the day investigating the Meroe Badlands and turn up the name of the dead city, Chrysax. They also learn the expedition's ship did pass through on its way south.
On the next day, Captain Harper goes to his meeting with Lord Swanson. Juan and Nigel spend the day in the taverns and hangouts of the dockyards, asking about captain Harper and his crew. Lord Swanson hires Harper and his crew to head south to the ruined city of Bordobaar to search for an overdue British expedition exploring the city. Harper asks about the unknown Endtime ship that attacked them in Abosam, Swanson says he will investigate. Harper returns to his ship and invites his passengers to dinner that night. Over dinner, he proposes that they accompany him to assist in his search, he will pay them officers' wages. Father Lars declines, as he is only heading as far as Gorklimsk, Harper offers to give him passage to the city on their way. Juan and Nigel barter for some additional conditions on their help, which offend Harper and MacCraig, but they agree in the end.
The Menace spends a few more days in Karkarham recruiting and finishing repairs, then they head for Gorklimsk and beyond.

Make course for the South

The Menace arrives in Gorklimsk without incident and Father Lars departs the ship to report in. He gives his report to Monsignor Sawicki, who is very interested in the mysterious attackers. He orders Father Lars to return to Captain Harper and accept the offered position, and gives Father Lars a list of contacts to send reports through.
Nigel and MacCraig have been discussing bare knuckle boxing and decide to have a match on the deck that night. With the crew watching and betting on the outcome, MacCraig narrowly succeeds in knocking Nigel out, but they beat each other severely in the process. Father Lars returns to the ship and tells Harper he will accept the position the captain offered. Harper welcomes the father aboard and gives him his first duty: care for the injured boxers. Father Lars is also sent to stock up the ship's meager medical supplies.
They head south to Fadath, but decide to land outside of town and go in on local transport. Harper hires a ruumet breehr to carry them into the city. Juan and Father Lars question the friendly locals, and find out that the mystery Endtime did make port there, her crew was mostly humans with black beards, curved swords and some wore red fez hats. Juan guesses they are from the Ottoman Empire. The expedition also stopped here on their way south, but have not returned. The party returns to the ship to head west to Bordobaar.

City of the Dead?

The Menace sails to Bordobaar and circles above the ruined towers of the martian metropolis. The expedition's missing ship, the Exeter, is spotted moored at the top of a tower. Harper orders the Menace brought along side and a search team jumps across. They explore the ship and the top of the tower. The Exeter has been ransacked and there is some blood in the crew quarters, but only food is missing. Even weapons and ammunition have been left behind. The marines searching the rooftop find a door forced open, leading into the tower. As it is now late in the evening, Captain Harper decides to take off and hover safely over the city and return in the morning.
The next day the Menace lands Captain Harper, Father Lars, Wayland, Juan and Nigel and ten marines. They begin to explore the tower. A short distance inside, they find a very human looking arrow design, glowing on the wall, pointing back towards the top. They surmise it is some sort of trail marker left by the previous expedition. They move downward into the tower and pass more arrows. At one point, Father Lars nearly falls through a weakened section of floor, but spots it in time and leads the party around it. Several floors down, they find the site of a battle; bullet scars mark the walls, spent cartridges and dried human and martian blood pools are scattered around the area. Nigel finds a small tubular metal device, it is the tool used to emblazon the arrows on the wall. The search team moves further into the structure and feels a low, rhythmic vibration in the building.

Ambushes Above and Below

Outside, the crew of the Menace, under command of Captain Harper's XO, Commander Lopkan and Chief Gunner MacCraig, spots an approaching Oenotrian vessel, a Skyrunner class screw galley. The commander orders the ship into the shadow of a tower so they can ambush the enemy vessel. Once the enemy vessel is past, they come out from behind the tower and MacCraig opens fire with the forward 5" gun, smashing the enemy's hull and damaging their lifting panels. The ship loses altitude, but comes around. Commander Lopkan holds their distance and the 5" gun strikes another blow. However, the Skyrunner manages to close the range with her better speed and opens fire with her forward rogue gun, striking the Menace on the bow. MacCraig orders the wing gunners to open fire and the Hotchkiss cannon gunners rake the enemy ship. One manages to score a serious hit and sets the Skyrunner on fire. She heads for the ground and MacCraig runs to his room and then down to the ships's bridge. He begins dropping bottles of nitroglycerin on the burning ship and Commander Lopkan signals to them to surrender. The Oenotrian pilot makes a fantastic landing and sets his wounded ship down, her crew abandon ship. As the Menace circles overhead, the fire reaches a magazine and the explosion breaks the ship in two.
Within the tower, the exploration team is suddenly attacked by a dozen martian savages. Pale skinned and deformed, they attack the Menace's crew with clawlike fingernails and teeth. The Menace's personnel respond with gunfire and bayonets and Captain Harper gets the first kill with a volley from his two pistols. Father Lars takes cover and then fires his rifle as the rest open fire with pistols, rifles and Juan's shotgun. Several of the marines are wounded, but no one is killed by the time that the savages are finished. Once the wounded troops have been cared for, Father Lars examines the bodies of the attackers.

Down, down, down

The landing party binds up their wounds and moves further into the tower. The vibration through the building becomes distant noise, then chanting. They come to a wall which has partially crumbled and look out across a large arena, under the building's dome. A crowd of hundreds of savages is watching roman style battles on the sand floor, to one side are cages containing animals, prisoner savages and the last survivors of the expedition. Examining the scene, they spot a possible entrance into the area where the cages are. They form a plan. Harper sends some of the wounded marines back to the ship and orders them to tell Chief MacCraig to arrange a diversion, but not to destroy the whole building. The landing party moves through the building and finds a place to wait for the diversion.
The marines return to the top of the tower and signal to the Menace. Once aboard, they explain to Commander Lopkan and Chief MacCraig what the captain wants. MacCraig improvises a flare from the power grapnel's harpoon, some dynamite and carbide powder. He fires the harpoon at the dome, but it bounces off before exploding harmlessly. He quickly rigs another round and fires again, this time punching through the dome and the projectile explodes about the crowd. The explosion and flare panick them and the landing party makes its move.
Father Lars, Nigel, Juan and Wayland take position to provide covering fire while Harper leads his marines to the survivor's cage. Harper shoots off the lock and his men rush inside, carrying the survivors out. The cover team begins firing at savages who who approach Harper and his men. Harper downs one with a one-two combination of a sword slash and pistol shot.
Chief MacCraig decides he wants a little more destruction in the distraction and fires a 5" shell through the hole in the dome and into the building. More savages attack the party's rear guard as the marines carry the survivors up stairs. Nigel throws a half stick of dynamite at the savages, but it does little to drive them away. They continue a fighting withdrawal, Nigel and Harper are wounded by thrown javelins. When they reach the section of weakened flooring, Nigel wedges in another half stick of dynamite and blows a hole in the floor, stopping pursuit. They safely reach the top of the tower and Harper orders his crew to rig the Exeter for towing. The two ships lift from the top of the tower and sail away and take a longer route home, swinging further east to avoid Oenotrian patrols.

Karkarham Arrival

The ship returns to Karkarham, and Harper arranges for the minor repairs his ship needs. The rescued survivors are delivered to Commodore Swanson and he pays Harper a generous prize fund for the recovery of the Exeter. Swanson also has news. A Parhoonese patrol kite spotted a vessel flying the same flag Harper described from the mystery Endtime ship. The new ship was spotted in the Meroe Badlands, and outran the patrol kite by heading upwind to the west. Swanson has the name of the ship and captain that spotted this ship, perhaps he can tell Harper more if he travels to Parhoon. The commodore has bad news as well. The nearby city-state of Shastapsh has revolted against the Crown Governor due to his mishandling of the local situation. There is also foreign involvement, as german troops and combat walkers were smuggled into help. The area around Shastapsh is now a war zone, drawing offships from the Oenotrian front. If Harper can make any raids on rebel ships in the area, it would help. Harper also demonstrate's Wayland's Hertzian Wave Communicators, the commodore suggests he demonstrate them to officials at British headquarters weither in Parhoon or Syrtis Major. Harper decides to head to Parhoon to follow up on the new sighting, but he will make a patrol pass through Shastapsh on the way. Harper returns to the ship, pays off the repairs to the Menace and pays out shares to his crew and guest officers.
Juan has also been looking for information and finds out that the mystery ships belong to a Turk, Ozan Babar. Babar is an extremely talented and wealthy inventor, but somewhat mad. He believes himself to be a reincarnation of a former Ottoman emperor, destined to save the Ottoman Empire from its current decline. Naturally, the current Turkish emperor declined to abdicate his throne in Babar's favor, and Babar and his followers were driven from their homeland. Now they are on Mars, for unknown reasons. Juan confides all this to Captain Harper. He also purchases a few of Wayland's smaller Hertzian communicators.
Chief MacCraig does some research of his own and devises a powerful incendiary chemical, Hellfire.

Smart Remarks and Quotes

Raleigh (as Chief MacCraig): "Of course I'm dressed formally. If I was dressed informally, I'd be wearing nothing but blue paint!"

Konrad (as Captain Harper); "Mr. Reddington…" Matt (as Nigel) "DOCTOR Reddington!"

Konrad (to Mike and Raleigh): "So how beat up are your characters?"
Kevin: "Did you see the end of The Passion of the Christ?"

Mike: "I was always taught that Evil stacks" (in response to Matt saying two wrongs make a right)

Konrad: "I don't see that as a problem, I see it as an opportunity for rescue."

Mike, about his character: "I'm used to running away from boyfriends and husbands, Rule #1, Cardio"

Kevin, combining technicality and tactics: "On a tacticality"

Worst die roll: Raleigh rolled 2d12+1d4 and got three twos…