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  #46  
Old Nov 4th, 2021, 10:59 AM
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Shenandoa Orenda / London, England / Wednesday, 3 January 1923
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The Professor’s card sat on the table without Shenandoa so much as even looking at it, let alone picking it up. She watched the aged man warily as he proceeded to eat without abandon. "Cult of the skin…?" she repeated under her breath. She regarded him with a mix of skepticism leaning towards relent. Again with the ‘cults’, she thought. Always going on about his ‘cults’.

Slowly, Shenandoa lowered her eyes to look at the card. She still did not touch it, seeming to regard it with the same skepticism that she regarded the Professor. Even as the others continued their conversation, she continued to gaze at the small piece of paper, as if simply looking at it could pierce through a veil to reveal secrets, untold. Yet, still she refrained from picking up the card. What am I to do for three days? she wondered to herself. Lost in contemplation, it was Henrietta that brought her attention back to the present.

”Surely you too have a story that brought you across the ocean to this evening."

Shenandoa blinked for a moment at being called out by the young business woman.

"Professor Smith," she finally responded to her. "He always looking for things that not his."

Without so much as a glance in the Professor’s direction, Shenandoa continued to speak, directing her attention to each of the others, in turn.

"One day, he come to Seneca Falls. He ask me to help him find something. I help him find it, but I didn’t let him keep it," she said, now finally affording the Professor his long-overdue glance, which was decidedly accusatory in nature. She held the glance for an uncomfortable while, before she ultimately returned her gaze to Henrietta, to continue her explanation. "It wasn’t his," she said. "It needed to be put back!" Shenandoa’s eyes seemed watery and glistened in the light as her small voice became more distraught. "I couldn’t let him keep it. It’s wasn’t meant to be kept by any people!"

Shenandoa looked away from Henrietta, from the others. She focused her attention on the Professor’s card, which laid in front of her on the table, untouched.

"Now, he sends me a letter. ‘I need your help,’ he says. ‘I want something new,’ he says." She looked again at the photographs of the Sedefkar Simulacrum. "I come because I need to make sure this doesn’t happen like before. Not like Cayuga Lake."


 
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  #47  
Old Nov 6th, 2021, 09:51 AM
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The investigators enjoyed their meal-with the exception of the enigmatic Native American. The cryptic and dire mood seeped into the table, supplemented by the addition of complete strangers and the dark secrets of the investigators who had survived Augusta.

Even the less attuned of the team, however, could pick up on the message from Smith: there were spying eyes and ears about. Finally the ice was broken by the after dinner beet salad. The clink of plates and tap of silverware on the table seemed to break the evil spell. Smith cleared his throat and then the exchange of small talk flowed. The diverse group generated a lot of talk about the news of the day. The The War of Turkish Independancewar in Turkey seemed a popular topic, particularly given the linguistic origins of the Simulacrum. Russia's Civil War and the scourge of communism was next up, served with the strawberry tarts and iced cream. The Warre's Port was served with a heaping laugh at Prohibition in America.

By the end of the port, the group was well greased, and the Simulacrum was left behind. The guests were satiated and some even smiled at the respite from the grim. Some of the other guests of the Oriental Club had filtered out, leaving some tables with pairs and trios. Still other tables were full and laughing merrily. Then, like a phantom, Burrows appeared from the background. He bent rather awkwardly given his height, and whispered in Smith's ear. The two looked furtively across the room at a man in a fez and a luxuriously decorated kaftan robe.

Realizing he had been spotted, the man stood up, excused himself from his companions and made for the coat room. Smith looked at the investigators and noted, "In London, one encounter with a man in a fez is expected. Two is no mere coincidence. " Burrows walked to the entryway of the dining room, staring after the man in the kaftan. He looked back at his table and shook his head-no.THe manservant walked back to the table.

"He's gone. Strange."
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Old Nov 6th, 2021, 01:35 PM
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Henrietta Smythe-Porter – strange guests
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”Now now Mr Mott, you know you always pass the port the left …” Henrietta called out to Jimmy with the bonhomie of a well-catered dinner ”… and it seems my glass is empty.” she drank the last sweet drops of liquor.


”It was always going to be messy when the Ottomans fell …” she continued her exposition to Nikka ”… and as for the poor Romanovs, well – since your countrymen gave them a hiding it was all downhill.” Henrietta had had a glass or two and her day time decorum was slipping to an evening mischievousness. ”They just did not know how to handle themselves – they lost their people. The King should know how to bring his people along with them – one cannot simply throw one’s navy to the depths and ask for more …”


It was then that Beddows appeared, and the pantomime played out between the Professor and his butler.

”A fez?” Henrietta said to the Professor ”Well I’d say either he is a native from North Africa, or he has just returned from campaign. Which is it Professor and why do you suppose he made himself scarce …” she lowered her voice, asking ”… do you suppose he is one of those … spies?”


OOC


 
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  #49  
Old Nov 6th, 2021, 03:29 PM
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The Act Continues
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Jimmy Mott
Jimmy Mott had done a pretty good job avoiding Henrietta's questions over dinner earlier in the evening. He had smiled at her, laughed, nodded, changed the subject, asked about her hobbies, laughed some more, all while avoiding her questions. All while thinking about her money. How much she might have. Where she might be hiding it.

The woman was beautiful, Jimmy could not deny that. She spoke well, was impeccably dressed, smelled wonderful, but...

He wanted to punch her right in the kisser. He just couldn't help but to feel that way.

If it wasn't for the pictures of what was called The Simulacrum that rested on the table in front of them all, Jimmy just might have given Henrietta the straight right hand that he had been daydreaming about. He sat and thought about how this could be his big break. Finally a chance to score a really big one. One that will put me on Easy Street for at least a couple years.

"Now, now Mr Mott, you know you always pass the port to the left..." Henrietta said from across the table.

Outwardly, Jimmy smiled and issued forth a small polite laugh. Inwardly, he was seething. He reversed the direction of the bottle, then took a deep sip from his wine glass. He looked intently at Henrietta as she continued to speak, as Beddows left the table and returned again. Something about a fez topped man was said. Something about a spy.

Jimmy's gaze collapsed when he heard the word 'spies'. "Spies?" he asked no one and everyone around him in the best posh voice he could muster. "Now there's something to which I can relate. One might say that spies, and their lies, are my specialty. Don't worry at all, dear Professor, not at all. You have an expert at this table...in this seat!...that is, an expert in the strategy of counter-intelligence. It's quite simple really. Only one tool is required."

Jimmy reached into the inside breast pocket of his dinner jacket, pulled a .22 short automatic pistol out of it, and slammed the gun on the table.

Bam!!!

Miss Henrietta about jumped out of her skin.

Shenandoa didn't move a muscle.



 


 
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Last edited by Warson; Nov 7th, 2021 at 04:37 PM. Reason: Grammar.
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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 08:44 AM
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Masataka 'Nikka' Taketsuru
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Nikka followed the evening's conversation as best he could now that a cold war of sorts existed between him and his wife. Henrietta brought up the acrimonious relationship between Japan and Russia and Masataka almost spit out the water he was sipping from.

“I do believe that trying to stop the flow of progress is the equivalent of giving oneself a death sentence. For the royal family to cling to an outdated economic model in an attempt to secure riches within a generational ruling class was foolish.”

The topic of conversation relieved some of the chillness in Nikka’s heart. “Feudalism is a dead idea… Russia fought this truth… Nihon welcomed it.” The conversation was interrupted by some strangeness regarding a gentleman wearing a Fez.

“Interesting… speaking of outdated traditions, Turkey is going through a modernization process themselves and I have heard that the Fez has been seen as outdated and a sign of backwardness. There is even talk of their leader, Mustafa Kamal, outlawing its wearing.” Nikka frowned and shook his head. “It is dangerous to turn one's back on tradition… there is always a virulent reaction with severe unintended consequences.”

“Bam!!!”

The noise and the action caught Nikka by surprise but that in itself was part of the problem. Without thinking, Nikka lunged from his chair, launching an overhand right towards the weasel Mott’s jaw while he also simultaneously grabbed at the gun.

OocSuccess Brawl 54 vs 85

OOC
 

 
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  #51  
Old Nov 7th, 2021, 10:10 AM
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Henrietta Smythe-Porter – strange guests
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”Goodness James you damned fool! Put that away!” Henrietta snapped, standing and taking a step back from the table as Nikka lunged at the rude stranger.


”We’re not in America now - we do not bandy firearms around in public … “ she shook her head while the boys struggled ”I do apologise Shenandoa this is most … unusual for my countrymen. I’m beginning to think the Mr Mott might not be a good fit for our little group.”


Ignoring the struggle, Henrietta turned to the Professor ”Professor Smith, are you entirely sure that it’s a good idea to admit Mr Mott into our society?”


OOC


 
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Old Nov 8th, 2021, 09:02 AM
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Ale Hiltunen
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Like Nikka, Ale is content to observe and to listen, though truth be told all the talk of intrigue, spying, and international affairs does little to excite the man's interest. Instead, his eyes are drawn to the pictures of the ancient artifact, the Simulacrum, Professor Smith had called it. Something about it sends a chill through Ale's soul. The train, the mansion, the boy. Ale shudders at those old memories but seems to hold his composure thanks to his wife's presence. Lempi's hand squeezes his forearm and Ale simply nods, grateful for the support.

BAM!

If it weren't for his military experience, Ale would have sworn that Mott's gun discharged, but the Finn knows better.

Ale's first instinct is to place himself between Mott and Lempi, but before he is halfway out of his chair Nikka is on top of the newcomer. The mechanic grins, imaging how the other guests will react, but he quickly strides over to the struggling pair, his voice pitched low.

"Nikka! That is enough."

Ale places a calloused hand on his friend's shoulder, but nothing more. He has seen Nikka's formidable skill in action and has no desire to be on the wrong side of one of his devastating strikes.

OOC

 


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  #53  
Old Nov 8th, 2021, 05:05 PM
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Jimmy Pays a Price
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Jimmy Mott
And just like that, Little Jimmy Mott, the short and skinny man playing the role of the important James Talbot Mott from Kent, found himself on the floor with a throbbing nose and in the arms of a man from Japan who he had just met.

"Get...off...me..." Jimmy said with shallow breath. Jimmy's real accent, that East End Cockney accent, almost broke through. Almost. If not for the expertly applied Shime-waza by Masataka, Little Jimmy Mott would have inhaled the proper amount of oxygen and his real voice would have exposed him for who he really was.

A nobody from East London.

A crook.

A scam.

Luckily for Jimmy, the Finn named Ale convinced Nikka to let go, to let Jimmy breathe again. "Huh huh huh huh huh huh..." Jimmy sucked in as much air as his lungs would allow as he stood up, attempted to smooth his crumpled vest and jacket, dusted himself off. He then bent down, picked up his .22 pistol, and placed it back in his jacket. He tried to gather himself. Tried to keep the anger down. He then looked at Henrietta.

"Is it a good idea to admit Mr. Mott into your society? Ha! You'd be lucky to have me, madam. Very lucky." Breathe deep...compose yourself, Jim! Jimmy looked to each at the table, even Nikka, and said, "My apologies to all. The port is exceptional and I have had far too much of it. I am most embarrassed. Please forgive me."

He then bowed his head, looked at the table, and grabbed the linen napkin that sat next to his plate. As he wiped the blood that still flowed from his nose, he sat down slowly, staring at the pictures of The Simulacrum all the way.



 


 
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Last edited by Warson; Nov 8th, 2021 at 05:15 PM. Reason: Grammar.
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  #54  
Old Nov 9th, 2021, 09:24 PM
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Professor Smith took the degeneration of social decorum as his cue and finished his port. He stood quickly and looked at the strange menagerie of talents with narrowed eyes and a dubious frown. "All of these social niceties will seem like meaningless drivel if this artifact is set upon the World. "

During the kerfuffle the Professor made his way out to the coat room, not bothering to say any more. Burrows looked at the investigators, then gestured to Mott, "I was no better. This type of work takes all kinds. All types of skills, all types of men," Burrows looked at Shenandoa and Henrietta, "and women."

"Three days hence."


KeeperFeel free to investigate any leads as you like. There are many wonderful resources in London and nearby!
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Old Nov 13th, 2021, 07:42 AM
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Henrietta Smythe-Porter – aftermath
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”Well I never …” Henrietta muttered as the Professor dismissed the scuffle as a breaking of social niceties

She shook her head as the Smith ”I don’t know about the Professor” she said ”But I for one have certain expectations of those I travel with. Expectations I must say that have been more than met by my companions so far… “ she nodded at Nikka and Ale ”… I do hope this is a one time breaking of the niceties we should all expect of each other.” with this she rested he eyes on Jimmy Mott.

As she spoke, the man was trying to recover his decorum, saying ”My apologies to all. The port is exceptional and I have had far too much of it. I am most embarrassed. Please forgive me” he was saying.

Henrietta held his gaze a moment before smiling thinly. ”Not at all James, not at all. Good wine and new company can rob us of our normal behaviour can’t it. All is forgiven. This once of course.” Then with a brighter voice to all the gathered group ”Spirits can get high can’t they when strangers first meet – particularly if they are from different … hmmm … backgrounds I should like to think that one day we shall all laugh so about these evening.”



She stood up – trying to move them on, lest the bad blood fester ”Now, as Beddows says, we have three days before we are due to meet with the Professor again. I’d say we put it to good use. I have membership of the British Library’s reading room – the very same where young mister Marx studied his economic delusions … their catalogue is second to none. I’d say we’d be rewarded for some time there. “


OOC
Post both aftermath and linking to research phase …

I’m going to put some rolls in the dice thread – Library Use; Cthulhu Mythos and Occult … if I find out anything I’ll build it into my next post.


 
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Old Nov 13th, 2021, 02:39 PM
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Masataka 'Nikka' Taketsuru
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Nikka looked at Mr. Mott, held helpless through the physics of a jūji-gatame. The man wisely stopped his struggle as the pressure in his shoulder intensified to the point of excruciating. He had released the choke hold, realizing Mott was no real danger… just foolish.

“Your actions were unwise. You will soon learn the dangers that we face and then you will see the emptiness of your bravado.”

Masataka released Jimmy-san and helped him back to his feet, nodding as Henrietta glossed over the unpleasantness. He looked towards his wife and was surprised to see Rita smiling widely. The Japanese man blushed as she raised a lascivious eyebrow. Obviously all was now forgiven and Nikka quickly ordered another drink for the fiery Scottish woman.

The group had three days in which to get their affairs in order and Nikka did so, spending one more day with his wife before sending her back home. Rita’s departure was a relief for Nikka… he knew the danger that the party faced and he wanted Rita as far away as possible.

The professor had mentioned a name… a Cult of Skin… that was the main force arrayed against them in the search for the Simulacrum. The name meant nothing to Masataka but it was a starting point. If the group had a name then it had a history behind it… a thin thread to pull, but a thread nonetheless.

Nikka started his research at St. James Square at the London Library. He entered the nondescript building and was immediately impressed by the wall to wall bookshelves. Nikka walked the seven story book stack, impressed by the architecture… the glass flooring was a nice touch but when Nikka went to pull a book from the metal shelving he received a particularly nasty shock. Apparently a result of static electricity buildup from the glass.

Masataka’s attempts at research were quite fruitless and after a short while he decided to try another tact. He put out some feelers and was soon directed to the Repton Boxing Club, the oldest gym in England. He ignored the looks of disbelief from the English toughs as he walked to the nearest hanging bag. Limbering up his arms with a few twist and turns, Nikka exploded into a spinning side kick that almost collapsed the leather heavy bag and sent it jumping in the air.

He turned to those training as he stepped into the nearby ring. “Anybody care to go for a few rounds?”


OocFailure for library and Cthulhu checks

OOC
 

 
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Last edited by Begon Ugo; Nov 13th, 2021 at 08:00 PM.
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  #57  
Old Nov 14th, 2021, 04:58 PM
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A Date?
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Jimmy Mott
Jimmy sat at the table that held empty plates and half-empty glasses and pictures of some strange thing upon it, then heard Henrietta's voice...that beautiful, lovely, irritating voice.

"Not at all James...All is forgiven...I should like to think that one day we shall all laugh so about this evening..."

"It shall be very difficult to not laugh or forget this evening, my dear," Jimmy replied, fully in character now, the anger mostly pushed away. He listened some more before standing and offering another response. "The British Library? Of course! Let us make plans to leave at once...but in the morning, of course." He raised his wine glass and held it forward to clink another glass that was not there. "Brilliant idea, my Henrietta. Brilliant."

Little Jimmy Mott did his best to smile a believable smile and looked to the tall, beautiful, and (most importantly) rich woman opposite him and asked, "Shall my car pick you up in the morning at say....9 A.M.?"



 


 
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  #58  
Old Nov 15th, 2021, 07:16 AM
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Shenandoa Orenda / London, England / Wednesday, 3 January 1923 & Thursday, 4 January 1923
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The evening draws on and Shenandoa attempts to keep up with the conversation as best she can. With little to contribute on the affairs of European politics nor Muslim attire, she instead focuses her attention on her dinner companions. With eyes that show an attention and focus, which a grandmother might bestow upon a favorite grandchild, she notes carefully the mannerisms and idiosyncrasies of those at the table. The pragmatic sensibilities of Henrietta; the honorable, yet muted passion of Nikka and Rita; the stoic strength of Ale with Lempi; even the clever subterfuge of Jimmy; she soaks it all in. Yet, the one person at the table she scrutinizes the most is Professor Smith, as she ponders the sincerity of his latest “request”.

Such is the astuteness of her observations that when Jimmy slams a firearm down onto the table, Shenandoa neither flinches nor barely even reacts to the event, including the ensuing scuffle. Her eyes continue to watch intently as the scene plays out before her, her hand imperceptibly moving to whisk away the card, which had previously laid untouched on the table. While the men are up and away from the table, Shenandoa turns to Rita and Lempi, flashing them a toothy grin as she tells them, "You must both be very proud! Strong wife make strong husband."

After the social niceties and evening pleasantries have been exchanged, Shenandoa accepts the cab back to the hotel room, which the Professor has arranged for her. She retires quickly to awake early the next morning, where she plans how to spend the next two days, until they all meet again at the Professor’s estate.

On Thursday, Shenandoa finds her way to the British Library, where she asks for the books about “Skin Cults”. Needless to say, the Library staff have nothing to offer her, so she thanks the staff and makes her next stop at the British Museum. There, she wanders the exhibits and keeps here eyes open for any strangers wear odd attire, especially Muslim hats.


 

Last edited by Strange2099; Dec 12th, 2021 at 07:20 AM. Reason: Staying at the Museum.
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Old Nov 15th, 2021, 04:40 PM
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Henrietta Smythe-Porter – aftermath
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”Thank you Mr Mott – but I’ll not trouble your driver …” the slightest lift of Henrietta’s eyebrow hinted that the woman may not believe this funny little man wold have cab fare, let alone a drive ”… my man will take me to the library, however – in case you are not a member – I shall give you this card …” she popped open her clasp bag taking out a business card printed in a fine copperplate hand.

Turning over the card, she added words of recommendation in her own hand ”If when you arrive you hand this to the gentleman at the reading room entrance, I will find me. I’ll be sure to get our directions handed to the librarians before we arrive so we’ll have plenty to get stuck into.” She looked to the others ”If anyone wishes to join our literary expedition I am sure you will be welcome.”

Despite the evening of fine fare and wine Henrietta was warming to the prospect of home work.

”In which case, I say we should turn in. Nikka, Ale … Ladies … Shall we?”

__________________________________________________ ________________________

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”Goodness me is there nothing of worth in the English Language” Henrietta exclaimed late in the afternoon – banging the codex of ottoman cults with frustration.

Despite starting the day with a spiced raw egg yolk followed by coffee and a fine breakfast, she’d never shaken the pain that sat behind her left eye. She’d not expected deep research the day after the Professor’s lecture.

Sssshhhh! voices hissed around her.

”oh this is useless …” she said under her breath ”… the Professor already has the archives – patience dear … patience.”


OOC
Deliberately not directly included others at the library – I don’t want to play your characters … but feel free to through them in if you like


 
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Old Nov 15th, 2021, 10:10 PM
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Ale Hiltunen
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As Ale and Nikka wander the stacks together, the mechanic cranes his neck to glance at the topmost shelves that loom high above his head. His mind keeps tracking back to their tumultuous evening, and Ale cannot help but wonder what would have happened to them all in the swamp or on the ghastly train had there been so much strife within the group.

The Finn shakes his head and returns to the task at hand, though it becomes clear that neither he nor Nikka are well suited to it. Both men prefer to work with their hands, to learn through practice and application.

"I am impressed with the professor's ability to make sense out of all of this. The knowledge of countless lifetimes of work and study. I enjoy reading, you know. It was a guilty pleasure of mine, encouraged by my uncle. Most boys in my village did not bother learning to read. So much is required to survive. To simply have food to eat, fuel to burn. But the books I read were not like this. They taught me to build and to fix things. Useful knowledge, with a purpose."

The mechanic lets out a miserable sigh, casually dismissing yet another tome with no apparent relevance to the mystery at hand. After awhile more the pair depart, and while Nikka decides to visit a gym to clear his mind, Ale wanders on towards the British Library where Henrietta is conducting her own search. Like Nikka, though, the mechanic is drawn to place more to his liking, and the Finn finds himself train watching at the famous Euston Station.

Eventually Ale moves on to the library and finds Henrietta looking as though she has had an equal measure of bad luck. The mechanic quietly takes a seat across from her and regards the stack of books to either side of his friend with a somber gaze.

"I suppose that if it were easy, anyone could do it. Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places? The books here are so carefully selected and catalogued. I am beginning to think there is no place for the information we seek in this carefully structured world."

Ale taps his chin thoughtfully, an idea gaining momentum in his mind.

"In Georgia, we had success in that shop. A place for trading and buying unusual items. Is there such a place near here?"

OOC

 


Last edited by OldSchool; Nov 15th, 2021 at 10:13 PM.
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