Tommy and Eddie don't appear to be around yet, which is considered
provident. Eddie would probably figure out the ship is smuggling,
and he might tell the cops. Maybe Dr. Schreber could give him
something to make him forget it again?
"Find out who's dumping it over the side, and I'll marry you, Gerti!" -Charlie
Gerti does some library research, and turns up some articles about the Oriental Trading Company (the ship's owner), including a recent inheritance battle (father leaves everything to his sister, "his only kin". son appears out of nowhere a month before father's death, challenges will) and a move to Boston from Innsmouth. Innsmouth! That's where Dr. Schreber lives! A quick call to him reveals that he remembers both Franklin Washburn (the father) and the Orient Trading Company. He also points out that the obituary for Washburn ("after a sudden illness") is what one says in Innsmouth when you're not supposed to ask questions. The funeral ("a private service" was probably held at the Esoteric Order of Dagon, which is quickly fixated upon by the party as clearly filled with bad guys.
Thursday, March 13, 1930
Gerti calls Bellesby. He doesn't know anything about Dagon, except maybe there was a mention of something transliterated as Dah-Gone in the Surani book. Gerti and Charlie finally decide that they should probably get Eddie's help in searching the boat, Eddie being the detective and all. Eddie wonders why the Coast Guard isn't involved in this. What's missing? "Some boxes." Gerti calls Charlie. "He's suspicious already!" "You're supposed to be the one who's good at this - I'm no good at people!" This will prove to be a recurring theme.
Charlie divulges dribs and drabs of information to Eddie, and claims that it's just not that easy to steal the cargo. The ship (the Bon Vivant) is due in Friday at 2 pm. Eddie and Charlie arrange to meet on the docks at noon. "Don't come looking like a detective or nothing." Eddie takes the interim time to poke around the company HQ, and then the warehouse. He considers sneaking into the storm drains to get into the warehouse and look around, but doesn't try yet. There are a couple of guards for the set of warehouses in the area, but they aren't really splefty looking.
Charlie asks around at the docks. About half the crew of the Bon Vivant got fired for being too cranky, so half is from Innsmouth and half is new. Charlie also fast-talks Eddie into not talking to Jason Washburn. Dr. Schreber goes down to the Innsmouth bait store, run by Isaiah Coot (that's where he buys his worms, for experiments in which he teaches them to run mazes then grinds them up and feeds them to other worms. When asked about Jason Washburn, Isaiah spits on the floor. No, he doesn't like him much. When asked about Franklin Washburn's death, he starts muttering about people's tongues being used for shark-bait out on Devil's Reef. Dr. Schreber beats a hasty retreat, and reports to Gerti. "That's darned suspicious." -Gerti
Friday, March 14, 1930
Charlie has directed Eddie to meet Esme at the Sugar and Spice tea shop before proceeding to the dock. Esme is there before the appointed time of 11:30, but the only other person is a large sailor/ruffian type. The ruffian is clearly trying to get close to Esme, which makes her suspcious, as neither she nor Elena recognizes him. Should they call the police? Well, he hasn't started breaking teacups yet. The ruffian tries to get Esme alone by asking Elena to go and get him some obscure tea, but Esme foils this by coming to help with it. ("Psst. Esme!" "How do you know my name?") Esme goes and leaves a message for Eddie at the dentist next door to their office, and the ruffian finally leaves. Eddie comes in a short time later, wearing many of the same clothes as the ruffian (Elena appears to notice this, while Esme doesn't), and suffers to be blamed for being late.
Esme and Eddie link up with Charlie and Gerti. The two women are shooed off to get dinner while Charlie and Eddie search the boat. The smuggler's holds are opened: ten crates of alcohol and two crates of opium are missing. Three crates of cigarettes, oddly, are still there. Charlie also discovers some strange rust splotches in the wood of the smuggler's holds, as if large screws were once fastened to the wood, about the distance apart for manacles. Creepy. Eddie pries out a bit to show Roderick. Searching the rest of the boat doesn't turn up the missing crates, nor does it turn up any uncrated alcohol and opium. They don't search the captain's quarters or the wheelhouse. The captain is not pleased (he checked the hold, night before last, and the crates were there). He'll provide a list of the crew, as well as who was on what watch. Being asked about anything unusual, he mentions that the sea was pretty choppy last night, he didn't feel well. Same as last trip.
Tommy finally arrives, and follows the message at the dentist to the tea shop, where Elena sends him on to the docks. He meets up with Esme and Gerti, and they head to dinner. Tommy gets filled in. Back on the boat, Charlie thinks it's time to brainstorm with everyone, and they start looking for the women. A dockworker mentions that Gerti was with some man, looked real flash. Charlie hurries. "Oh, it's just you." Roderick comes to dinner too. The aura of the little bit of wood has a very-old misery/imprisonment sort of feel to it, while there's a more recent sickness/unpleasant miasma as well. Roderick hides the piece of wood behind the salt cellar. Since the little bit of wood was so exciting, they drag Roderick back onto the boat - he finds it, in general, to be somewhat nausea-inducing - the smuggler's hold not so much as the deck.
Esme thinks it would be a fun time to rent a boat to sail up to Innsmouth, and stop by Devil's Reef.
Roderick: "You can't go wrong with people, as a sacrifice to a dark god."
Gerti thinks she should go talk to Franklin's sister, pretending to be Jason's ex-girlfriend. Charlie is dubious about this. Gerti also notes that Reverend Witherspoon talked about demonic man-fishes! They should trace the descendents of the Surani, if they weren't all wiped out by the smallpox...