Nightmares in Norfolk: Missing (Session 7)
by, 25th June 2012 at 08:04 AM (381 Views)
9:00am, 23rd February, Buckenham House
Wilson Buckenham, having spent the previous evening burning everything he and Smith were wearing, decides that it would be helpful if the protagonists got together to get their stories straight (in case there's any official interest in the goings on in Sheafe Street).
His first call is to Father Flannegan's office but the phone was answered by Flannegan's assistant, Father Stephen O'Malley. O'Malley tells Buckenham that the office had been ransacked overnight and is in a dreadful mess (although there's no sign of a break-in). There's no sign of Flannegan - in fact, O'Malley was under the impression that the father was with Buckenham ...
His next call is more successful. Theo Charles is at home and confirmed that he'd dropped the priest off at Carney Hospital the previous evening (to have the father's "friendly fire" wound treated). The two agree to meet in a coffee shop around the corner for the hospital before going in to see how the father (and Mildred) are faring.
Buckenham's third call puts the cat back amongst the pigeons. When he calls Konchesny's house he is told that Major is not at home. In fact, the Major's not been home since he left to assist the police with some enquiries the previous evening. When pressed further, Briggs (Konchesny's servant) admits that his employer is currently in Roxbury Sanatorium.
Wilson is rather concerned about what Konchesny might have told the police and is in a bit of a state when he meets Theo Charles at the coffee shop. His mood doesn't improve when, on moving on to the hospital, they're told that Father Flannegan had discharged himself the previous evening, leaving before he could be asked about his gunshot wound. The father must have been confused because he'd accidently left in a neighbouring patient's clothes.
After checking in briefly with Mildred (who's getting fed up of being in hospital but seems to be recovering slowly - she should be home by the end of the week), the duo head for Flannegan's home address. They find the door slightly ajar and, looking in, the apartment to have been ransacked - paperwork from the father's bureau is strewn about the living room and clothing is clearly missing from his bedroom. Buckenham notices a sheet of paper filled with slightly different versions of Flannegan's signature and concludes that someone is, for some reason, intending to pass themselves off as the priest. Somewhat reluctantly Buckenham calls the police and (having given his real name) hangs about for them to arrive.
They give short statements to the officers and the officers apologise that the apartment can't be examined in detail due to a "big job" that's on in Jamaica Plain (this doesn't seem to ring any bells with either of the investigators).
Meanwhile, back at Flannegan's office, Father O'Malley has been told a similar tale by the policemen investigating the ransacking of Flannegan's office. All that appears to be missing are the contents of the petty cash tin (which was forced open) although a real mess was made by the perpetrator emptying the drawer of Flannegan's desk and going through his secretary's files. With there still being no sign of his boss, O'Malley heads off to Flannegan's home to see if the father's unwell.
O'Malley arrives shortly after Buckenham and Charles had left and so gets to meet the policemen securing the apartment. Invited to check the place over for anything that's obviously missing, O'Malley notes the absence of a suitcase, clothing for 2 or 3 days and Flannegan's chequebook. In view of his growing concern, he heads off to report Flannegan as a missing person. O'Malley has one remaining lead - Flannegan was due to attend an open day at the Hermetic Order of the Silver Twilight this afternoon.
Buckenham and Charles had gone to the railway station from Flannegan's apartment and questioned the clerk at the tickets window about whether someone meeting Flannegan's description had bought a ticket recently. The clerk couldn't remember anyone of that description and the investigators didn't think to ask anyone else at the station (the information desk, for example) nor to pay any attention to those sitting around waiting for trains.Spoiler:
Somewhat disheartened and confused, they went back to their favourite coffee shop for a spot of lunch before the HOST open day.
2:00pm, 23rd February, the HOST Lodge (Yay! The campaign proper starts after just 26 hours or so of gameplay!)
Theo Charles and Wilson Buckenham meet up with Charles's friend Dr Edward Call as arranged. Coincidentally present is Dr Rowan Tomasson, a retired field researcher who, in his time, had taught both Buckenham and Mildred Charles classes in Occultism.Spoiler:
Also there are Stephen O'Malley, looking for Father Flannegan, and his brother Henry O'Malley, a Private Investigator. Stephen's called on his brother to help find Flannegan due to doubts over how seriously the police will take the search.Spoiler:
The six of them go into the lodge where they're greeted by a pock-faced man in his late thirties. This is John Scott, a rather smarmy character who built and now leads the lodge in Boston. Scott - after being reassured that neither of the O'Malleys have any interest in joining HOST - explains that the order is made up of gentlemen who seek after knowledge in all its forms. He goes on (and on) about how the kernels of truth from myths and legends need to be examined so that these truths can be added to conventional teachings to form the broadest possible gathering of wisdom.
He tells the group that the Order itself was founded in Europe in the 17th century but that Boston's lodge is only 10 or so years old - Scott himself had the lodge built on his return from Europe. There are lodges is many of the major cities of the world - Scott mentions those in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, London and Paris. Asked whether there's a lodge in Rome he admit that there isn't a current lodge there, although there had been one in the past. Questioned further on this he explains that membership numbers tend to fluctuate and reassures the investigators that a new Italian lodge will doubtless appear in due course.Spoiler:
Scott explains that advancing up the order (from Neophyte to Initiate to Master) is achieved by members adding to the order's existing library. As an example he mentions that their introducer, Dr Call, is currently working on a text examining the efficacy of folk remedies which Scott looks forward to reading when completed (the doctor confirms that he's tracking down and testing the remedies from local indian tribes, although his work is still in its early days). Texts are examined by a committee of members (Neophyte writings are judged by Initiates and those written by Initiate are judged by Masters) and, if the works are of suitable quality, then the authors are invited to join the next degree of the order.
Scott himself, it transpires, is an expert on life in 17th century New England and he says he looks forwards to finding out what the prospective members may be able to add to the Order's library.
Scott admits that while the aim of the order is to gather knowledge, many of the members simply use the lodge as somewhere to escape their families and take advantage of its facilities (which even include a bar, thanks to an unspecified arrangement that HOST have with local authorities). The lodge hosts a weekly dinner for members but Scott admits that they'd struggle for space if all 260 members turned up at the same time, he recommends reserving a place for these dinners.
Finally he confirms that the lodge is open from 1pm to 1am every day (with the ladies auxiliary organisation meeting from 9am to 12noon) and that membership is a mere $300 per year (or $3,000 for a lifetime membership).
Buckenham was already champing at the bit to join when he learned about the library (especially when told there's a separate library open only to Masters with the most esoteric works). Theo Charles and Dr Tomasson seem reasonably keen to join too. Scott takes their details and explains that the next induction ceremony will be on 5th March. Henry O'Malley, a keen astronomer, points out that 5th March is the date of the next new moon and Scott confirms that it is traditional for inductions to be held on the night of new moons - "You always get strange traditions when an organisation's been around for two hundred years, and who are we to change these?" Tomasson is especially intrigued by this for some reason.
Spotting another prospective member arriving Scott leaves the group to be served coffee and cake in the members' lounge as he gives the new arrival the same spiel.
After finishing yet another meal they leave the lodge to go their separate ways. As they leave Buckenham's attention is drawn by a paperboy calling out about a breaking news story and hurriedly buys a copy of the latest edition.
For some reason Buckenham is somewhat disturbed by this story - especially the last paragraph. He's pretty sure that Mrs Dooley is referring to the chat that he and Mildred had with the old woman and is beginning to think that handing out his card to all and sundry may not be quite as good an idea after all. He decided to head over to Roxbury to visit the Major (and find out what exactly the Major told the police).Originally Posted by Boston Globe
Meanwhile the others return home. Theo Charles is surprised to be asked, on his return, whether the Father had caught up with him. It seems that shortly after 2 o'clock Father Flannegan had arrive at the Charles residence to "collect some books that Theo had forgotten to take with him to the open day". The staff, recognising the priest from his visit earlier that week, saw no reason to doubt this and so Father Flannegan left with the three diaries taken from Sheafe Street and - as a bonus - the journal that Mildred had found in the Chapel of Contemplation. What a stroke of luck that was for Father Flannegan.
At Roxbury Wilson is shown in to see Major Konchesny and warned not to mention the colour purple in his presence. Konchesny is pleased to see his friend - he'd been told the police would be coming back for him but there'd been no sign of them and the door to his room is faulty - he appears to be locked in for some reason.
The major explains that Mrs Granger had rung the previous evening asking why her husband hadn't returned home. Unhappy with the major's reply (that he and her husband had gotten "involved in bad things" that he couldn't explain over the telephone and that her husband "has passed away") she's contacted the police accusing the Major of having murdered her husband.
He went on to recount his interview, reassuring his friend that nobody else's presence was mentioned. Buckenham seems to be slightly mollified by his name not having been mentioned (but is still concerned about what Ma Dooley told the police).
Even after a quiet night's sleep his mood isn't improved by the morning paper - two entries in Missing Persons attract his attention. One asks anyone with knowledge of Father Christopher Flannegan's whereabouts to contact Stephen O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. The other asks anyone with knowledge of the whereabout of Hutchison "Hutchy" Moon to contact Lt Edward McKenna at the Central Police Station in Boston.
Buckenham telephones Theo to ask if he'd seen these entries and is told about Flannegan's visit the previous afternoon (and his having left with the diaries and journal). The two of them return to the railway station where, after the surreptitious transfer of cold, hard cash a clerk does indeed recall a gentleman meeting the father's description buying a ticket to Baltimore on Saturday afternoon. The gentleman was memorable because of his reaction to being told the cost of the ticket.
The priest would have caught the 4:16 to New York and, if he didn't break his journey, would have arrived in Baltimore in the past hour.
Buckenham is dissuaded from booking a ticket on the next train to Baltimore, from sending Smith on the next train to Baltimore and from hiring a PI and sending him to Baltimore (in that order, in quick succession). It's suggested that if he really wants to track down Father Flannegan perhaps he should hire a PI in Baltimore and have him try to track down the priest.