Out To Sea

Part 2: An Ill-Fated Boat Trip

Saturday, March 15, 1930
The group heads for Innsmouth, taking Tommy's car and Esme's car and driver. Esme additionally arranges for a sailboat to travel up from Boston to meet them there (though she has to tell the skipper where Innsmouth is, as it's not a big tourist spot). About a half hour outside Innsmouth, they stop to call Dr. Schreber to warn him that they're coming to visit. He spends the half hour hurriedly tidying and hiding evidence of his experiments.

"It's no trouble at all. We're always *pleased* to have so *many* people over." -Dr. Schreber
Eddie and Roderick investigate the bait shop, where Isaiah Coot is happy to tell them more than they ever wanted to know about free-range nightcrawlers, red wigglers, and other sorts of worms. Roderick is dubious about the superiority of free-range worms, but is swayed by the comparative wiggling of sample worms. Eddie thinks the box-raised worms might be older, but Isaiah explains that you can tell how old a worm is by biting it in half and counting the rings. Eventually, Eddie buys some red worms which are assured to glow in the dark, and Roderick buys some free-range worms. Gerti, meanwhile, is hiding in the car while she works on the story she's going to use on Hetta.

"I'm not sure what the worms are going to be good for, but some animals can sense earthquakes." -Roderick
Roderick investigates the outside of the building housing the Esoteric Order of Dagon - it appears to be a focal point for the uneasy feeling around the town. Some locals appear to take note of his poking around, but don't interrupt him.

The idea of visiting Devil's Reef in the sailboat is first broached. Dr. Schreber is not convinced that this will be a sound and fun expedition.

Eddie has an idea. They should go and see if the missing stuff is for sale around Innsmouth. Where would one buy illegal alcohol and drugs in Innsmouth? Everyone looks at Dr. Schreber, who attempts to look nonchalant. Where does he buy his opium? Well, ah, er, that building over there. Of course, they may not be amenable to random people coming and asking to see the wrappings on the opium... Charlie thinks he may be able to talk to them.

Dr. Schreber: "Be sure to use the secret handshake."
Charlie: "What secret handshake?"
Dr. Schreber: "I don't know, I assumed you had one."
Roderick, Esme, and Tommy go to visit the Episcopal minister, who, as a glowing picture of pathos and despair, is unbearably happy to meet them. He doesn't appear to get a lot of visitors to his Sunday sermons ("Well, there was that couple... no, they moved.") outside of Dr. Schreber occasionally and Isaiah Coot, who likes the Communion wine. He's been here for about seven years and not made a lot of headway. He hopes to see them at the service tomorrow, and is willing to let people stay with him if they need a bed.

"I'm surprised to hear Dr. Schreber is quite so high on the 'righteous people' list."
Charlie uses Dr. Schreber's phone to call the family to ask about the exact labels on the opium and booze - the opium is wrapped in red oilcloth and sealed with black wax; the alcohol is vodka and gin with labels which are described. Charlie also notices a somewhat odd smell in the house, and hears some strange metallic rattling noises from the kitchen, which Dr. Schreber assures him is nothing.

Lunchtime! The group heads to the one diner in town ("Let's not look around your house for things to eat" - Tommy). The waitress is, surprisingly, almost nice. The food all tastes faintly of fish, though. Gerti, meanwhile, is still in the car.

The sailboat arrives, and will hold four people plus the skipper. Before they set off, Eddie disguises Gerti as flashy and Southern looking.

Eddie, Tommy, Charlie, and Esme get ready to embark for Devil's Reef. A couple of dockside locals wander by and ask what's going on. Eddie tells them they're going fishing. The locals appear to find this somewhat implausible, given the obvious lack of fishing gear, but do not press the issue. The skipper gives the landlubbers a long lecture on proper boat behavior: "If I say duck, duck. Don't stand up in the boat. Don't hold onto the sail. Sit there, there, there, and there. Don't stand up in the boat. If you must stand up in the boat, warn me first. That way is port and that way is starboard but I'll try to say left and right."

The intrepid band of sailors finally casts off; Dr. Schreber and Roderick wait on the shore to act as a peanut gallery.

Roderick: "Do you suppose we could buy a pair of binoculars?"
Dr. Schreber: "I have a microscope..."
(He does, eventually, recall a pair of opera glasses that they can use)
The trip out to the reef gets a slow start, but eventually reaches a safe cruising distance from the rocks. It's close to high tide, so not much is above the water line. Eddie attempts to grab bits of seaweed from near the reef. A shark's fin, strangely large, is spotted, circling the boat placidly. Eddie thinks he may have seen a swimmer near the reef, and directs the skipper to take the boat in closer. They furl the sail and start paddling, for finer control. Some more seaweed is acquired. Eddie resists the urge to swim over to the reef while a shark is around. When the time comes to head back to shore, the skipper complains that the tiller has somehow become fouled. He tries to poke at it from inside the boat without putting his arms into the water (where the shark is), but isn't able to clear it. A second shark joins the first. The skipper directs Charlie and Tommy to start paddling.

"There's someone hanging off the edge of the boat. Maybe they have a flat." -Roderick
Dusk falls, shrouding the reef and boat in more shadows. Eddie forgets the First Rule of Boats, and decides to walk around the edge of the boat looking over the side, and promptly falls in. The sharks charge - one bites Eddie in the leg, removing a good chunk of both boot and calf. The skipper and Esme pull Eddie out of the water as Tommy shoots the shark (and narrowly misses Charlie, putting a bullet hole through his shirt but not him). The skipper decides that getting back to shore quickly is now more imperative, and puts more of the sail up; he's using an oar for steering and directing Tommy and Charlie to lean as directed. Esme and Eddie are to lie in the bottom of the boat as ballast.

Unfortunately, luck is not with the group, and a very poor sailing roll followed by a very poor dex check tosses Charlie overboard. The sharks, who have been waiting patiently for more snacks, close in. Tommy shoots a shark, and then Charlie; while the sharks find this distracting and attack each other, Charlie is not pleased. The peanut gallery on the shore is very distressed by a *second* set of gunshots.

Eventually, the boat and its cargo of wounded limp back to shore. Dr. Schreber dispenses painkillers and first aid, while Roderick investigates the fouled tiller, to discover that seaweed has been wrapped and knotted around it.

"Tommy. Demonic fish-men wrapped seaweed around the rudder." -Roderick
During all this excitement, Gerti has finally embarked on her plan and gone to see Hetta (as "Sam Miller"). She wants to see Jason, and is somewhat unable to grasp the fact that he doesn't actually live in Innsmouth. The maid is terribly confused and fails to quite show her out, and eventually Hetta comes down to meet her.

"You have thirty seconds to give me a reason not to call the police."
"I'm Jason's fiancée!"
Hetta is unconvinced, but ends up offering tea. "Sam" has been sending letters to Jason at this address, and getting replies, but neither Hetta nor the maid appears to be forwarding them. She's still convinced Jason lives there.

"Are you dim, girl?" -Hetta
Eventually, Gerti leaves again (having said she's staying with Mrs. Benson, who lets rooms). She quickly notes that she's being followed by a sort of gangly-looking man. She confronts him - he says it might not be safe for a woman to walk around alone after dark. She tells him to get lost. He doesn't. She heads out of town, and keeps walking for about three hours. He follows, looking a little unsure of himself. Finally, Gerti flags down a passing car, says that the guy with her has been stalking her for three hours, and gets a ride to Boston.

Charlie, by now, has noticed that Gerti is missing. Nobody has any idea where she went after talking to Hetta. She eventually calls Dr. Schreber's house from Charlie's place: "I'm avoiding the man Miss Washburn set to follow me." Dr. Schreber fills Gerti in on the reef adventure with the sharks and the shootings. Roderick goes to stay the night with the minister.

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