Willard was dreaming, his imagination fuelled by whatever concoction of drugs Ho Fong had injected him with. He saw himself flying through the stars astride a skeletal winged beast before swooping low over an alien landscape of strange gardens and waterworks.
In the distance a hollow voice was calling out to him in a cursed tongue, but as he flew it got clearer and clearer.
"Wake up! Please!"
"Please, you have to get free... he won't be gone for long. Someone came in and told him about an attack on some warehouse... he looked furious... please, I don't want to be here when he returns... you have to get out.... you have to make it stop, you have to kill me..."
Willard struggled ineffectively, before the darkness rose to take him again. As he drifted back into unconsciousness his eyes were drawn to a strange pattern on the ceiling, which seemed to swim and dance before his eyes.
And so we returned to the scene of chaos at the end of the previous session. The gates of Ho Fong's mansion compound were smashed in thanks to Harry and Hubert driving a small tank through them. A successful Drive Auto roll meant that Harry kept the engine running, but a failed one saw the tankette career to one side from the impact and smash into a stone wall.
All the noise and commotion attracted the immediate attention of two guards who had been crossing the courtyard inside the gates. Screaming Chinese obscenities at the two investigators they immediately leaped to attack, drawing wicked-looking sickles from their belts.
What followed was a brief but very violent exchange as more guards poured into the courtyard from various doors and passages, and the other investigators followed through the broken gates.
Cassandra ran in and ducked behind a stone pillar, firing her gun at one of the guards, wounding him. Hubert followed her in, ducking down behind the tank and firing his trusty flare gun at another. A door opened right behind where Cassandra was standing, and another guard attacked her from behind with a flying kick.
More guards arrived. The original pair had reached Hubert and one hacked at him with their sickle, cutting a deep gash into Hubert's shoulder. More guards arrived and attacked Cassandra, narrowly missing as their fists flew.
Then things got serious.
Harry stood up in the open-top tank, aimed his sub machine gun and fired. Hot brass casings fell all over the injured Hubert who was sat next to him and the noise was deafening as it bounced off the stone walls of the compound. Within seconds three guards lay dead, gore painting the floor, walls and other combatants.
|The group takes on the guards|
Sebastian joined the fray, firing with his pistol whilst Li Wen-Cheng cowered at the gates with his head in his hands.
The remaining guards put up some fight, knocking Cassandra around a little, but the tide had turned. Harry dropped his SMG and pulled a shotgun out, taking care of another guard in a messy and horrific manner, and the remaining guards were soon dispatched by the others.
After everyone passed their SAN checks for such unbridled bloodletting things were suddenly quiet apart from the rumble of the slightly smoking Carden-Loyd engine. Cassandra, covered from head to toe in blood and gore from Harry's excessive force strolled across to the private investigator and slapped him across the face. She then thanked him for his help, leaving him looking a little bewildered!
First aid was administered, and Li helped Hubert move the Carden-Loyd across the broken gates to block anyone from entering the courtyard. After taking a few moments to recover the investigators began to search the mansion compound.
The outer areas were full of sleeping chambers for the guards, poorly kept places with little but the most basic furniture. A strange symbol of Chinese letters was scrawled on many of the walls, which Li translated as the expression for "bloated woman". A workshop, garage and kitchen area completed the outer rooms.
One small bedroom contained a modern briefcase with the initials "C.S." etched into the clasp. Harry took this.
Cassandra opened the door to another bedroom, furnished with fine silks and the very highest quality porcelains. Sitting up on the large bed at the end of the room was a beautiful young Chinese woman humming softly to herself. She uncurled her hands to reveal that she was holding a large and wriggly centipede. Without warning the woman held the writhing things up and bit off it's head, feeding the rest of it's body down into her mouth with relish. She did not appear to notice Cassandra, who shut the door and felt nauseous.
Hubert's wilderness skills allowed him to observe that many of the plants and animals in a large garden pool area were highly toxic.
The final room they explored held a pavilion under which sat a large stone statue of the Buddha. Harry noticed a thin seam around the neck of the statue, and after some contemplation Cassandra managed to rotate it's head until it suddenly slid forwards revealing a secret chamber behind.
Exploring the chamber they discovered a large glass box holding the body of a tortured Chinese woman, a horrific statue of some bloated monstrosity with many mouths and even more tentacles that made them feel ill to look at, and chained up against one wall their friend Willard...
|A horrific statue|
Looking themselves they saw the same Chinese letters that had been scrawled elsewhere in the mansion writ large. As they watched the letters seemed to swim and bend, drawing their gazes. All looked away, except for Li, who was staring listlessly. The moved him out of the room, and whilst compliant he said nothing and continued to stare into the middle distance.
Deciding to deal with this odd turn later the investigators finally made their escape, taking the woman from the glass box and the humming girl from the bedroom with them. Harry and Hubert fired up the Carden-Loyd again thanks to a Mechanical Repair roll, and the other followed in a car from the mansion's garage.
Returning the tankette to Brigadier Coulson in the British Concession the group had to explain the damage to the vehicle. "It's hard to drive!" exclaimed Sebastian as Cassandra mollified the Brigadier with a $500 donation.
Despite the need to sleep after staying up all night the investigators headed back to Martin Poole's makeshift office to deliver Li and the young woman and to discuss what they should do next. When they appraised Poole of what had happened he was shocked. He asked if they had any idea of the danger they were now in and advised they stay hidden until Brady made contact. Ho Fong would surely be using all his resources to find and punish them!
There then followed a very, very long discussion as to the best course of action. They knew that going back to their hotel would be dangerous as Ho Fong would surely look for them there. However if they did not return they knew that Jack Brady would have trouble finding them when the time came.
Various ideas were suggested, considered, then rejected. A railway journey to a town outside the city, and pleading with the monks of the Yu-Fu Monastery for refuge were both ideas close to being acted upon, but in the end the group decided to go into hiding from Ho Fong's wrath.
Martin Poole found them a small basement room in a ramshackle building in the Hongken district and told them he would look after Miss Choi and Li Wen-Cheng. He would also endeavour to make contact with Brady for them. Poole said he would send word using a name they would recognise.
So fortune had turned away from our heroes as they found themselves in a small, damp single-room with only a few pallets for company, hiding out from a powerful enemy who would be bent on revenge for their actions at his warehouse and mansion. They settled down to rest and wait.
After a seeming eternity there was a knock on the door. It was early morning. "Mister Jonah Kensington?" a cracked voice asked. Harry opened the door, shotgun at the ready, to be confronted with an elderly Chinese woman bent double under the weight of a wicker basket.
Smiling she handed the basket over to Harry and left. Inside the basket were some fresh clothes and some basic provisions, rice, fruit and some cooking gear. At least Poole had not forgotten them!
|"Mister Jonah Kensington?"|
For two more days the woman brought a fresh basket to the investigators. Then on the fifth day of their hiding there came... nothing. The woman did not appear...
What had happened? Had Ho Fong found Poole? Was the woman dead? Should they leave the relative safety of their hideout?
We ended the session there, with a very confused group who couldn't decide how to get out of the hole they had found themselves in.