Wednesday, August 7th, 1889
Our adventurers got a little extra time to relax after quitting the Mississippi Queen, although it was made clear that they would soon be back in action. (Battersby was heard to remark: “The only way I could tell I had been put ashore was that suddenly I was moving faster.”) The building which housed Majestic’s headquarters on Mars became a default lounge of sorts for all idle company hands. Professor Abernathy began putting together a proper laboratory, while Miss Walker made the acquaintance of the Rev. Thomas Forbes-Hamilton, who was interested in learning more about her encounter with the natatornis walkerii.
Soon, Mr. French alerted the characters that they would be assisting with a new project to start a railroad in the Astusapes Highlands. “Cheyenne” Jack, Miss Pierce, and Lord Ayersleigh were to be sent west to Thymiamata, with the goal of securing an American railroad expert to assist in the project. The remainder of the group was to wait to be sent north.
Before parting ways, however, the group was to accompany Ayresleigh to the 52nd birthday party of the Regent-Commissioner for Parhoon himself, Lord Dundas. During the festivities, Lord Dundas asked the assembled heroes if they might investigate the activities of his son Andrew, whom he feared was associating with “dangerous personages of disreputable character.” During this missive, Miss Walker detected an unusual smell emanating from the plate of food Lord Dundas had set upon – food intended originally for Andrew himself. The odor she remembered from her time with the desert nomads; they used an herbal paste to attract durge flies to consume their enemy captives. Sensing a trap but not seeing the necessary durge flies, the group queried the kitchen staff and learned that Gailuun, the “new hire” who served the food, was nowhere to be found. Investigating Andrew’s room produced a diary and a jade necklace with Chinese characters. It seemed Andrew had taken to the Dragon’s Gate opium din, and become enamored of a Chinese girl named Jinjiang.
Determined to follow the missing Andrew into the dangerous Harbor District, the group suddenly noticed one of the Governor’s birthday parcels was buzzing – it was quickly snatched up and throw into the ovens before it could disgorge the deadly durge flies within!
Bluffing their way into the opium den by suggesting Andrew had sent them, the characters made inquiries of the staff and began to arouse suspicion. However, mention of the now-missing Jinjiang’s name roused the previously-missing Governor’s son, and the group quit the place of vice to consult further.