Eternal Lies: The Masks of the Liar

Episode XI: Who By Night (Part 2)

A few nights later they were all gathered in the parlor of the house—except for Dr. Orange, who was on guard duty in the upstairs room. The phone rang.

Everyone looked at Jimmy. “Oh no,” he said. “I always answer the phone. Someone else get it.”

Ruby sighed and picked up the phone. “Hello?”

“Do I have the pleasure of speaking with Miss Ruby Fitzgibbons?” said a man with a husky voice and Mid-Atlantic accent.

“Perhaps. Depends on who’s calling.”

“This is Montgomery Donovan. Could you put Mr. Wright on? Or do you have an extension? I was hoping to speak to him—I have the utmost respect for him, and indeed what you are all doing.”

“James,” said Ruby, cupping the receiver with her hand, “Villainy is afoot.”

Jimmy sighed and took the phone. “James Wright.”

“Ah, Mr. Wright. I understand you’ve been paying visits to some of my colleagues.”


“I must say that I admire the panache you’ve exhibited on those occasions. Losing Savitree was a blow, but her methods had become unsound.”

“She brought on her own death.”

“I can’t disagree with you. And clearly Brooks was always going to be the dull augur in this toolbox.”

“Are you going to keep on making words or are you going to tell me what you want?”

“Well, I wished to speak to you as I anticipate you arriving one day on my doorstep. I thought it would behoove me to reach out to you before then. I have nothing but the greatest respect for your abilities and your methods. Your previous activities are not unknown to me, through the circles I move in.”

“It’s a small world.”

“Indeed. I thought I would make this call to give you an opportunity to talk…but primarily to distract you. Good bye, Mr. Wright.”

And on cue a smoke grenade crashed through the window and began filling the room with acrid vapor.

From the upstairs room, Dr. Orange saw two groups of people moving up from the shore and from the south, in the general direction of the boathouse. He picked up his rifle and sighted down it through the scope.

The group coming up from the beach were carrying rifles. Swinging his view around to the south, he saw that group seemed be carrying pistols, except for one man who had a Thompson carried in a tactical sling.

He swung the scope around again and looked at the Brightening Dawn. Someone had opened one of the access panels on the starboard engine. He could see the frayed ends of the ignition wires hanging limply on the wing.

Downstairs, Betty fished a shotgun out of the corner and threw Geronimo and Jimmy their pistols.

“Get to the lanaille!” shouted Jimmy, pushing everyone into the open breezeway between the two wings of the house. Smoke poured out behind them. Geronimo and Ruby stumbled out and tried to get to the opposite wall to take cover. Betty sprinted out and spun to face the beech, pulling back both hammers on the shotgun.

Jimmy stepped out and felt someone trip him. He landed against the hard concrete and rolled over. A woman dressed in black held a pistol on him. When she spoke, he recognized her by her voice as the woman who had broken into his office in Los Angeles.

“Mr. Wright, I’m arresting you for terrorism against the British Crown,” she said.

Geronimo fired a pistol shot at her. She ducked it, fired off a snapshot that Geronimo had to dance away from, and then swiveled the pistol back at Jimmy.

The reports of rifles came from the direction of the beach. Betty shrieked and fell to the ground, bleeding from her leg. Geronimo crawled through the shots to her side. Ruby grunted and ducked back against the wall.

[Actually, everyone but Jimmy took damage here, but nobody went negative so it was movie fight damage.]

Jimmy decided this was his chance and swept a kick at the woman’s legs, rolling to his side so he was no longer in weapons line of sight from her. She aimed a kick at his stomach and he grunted in pain.

From upstairs, Dr. Orange could see the riflemen crouched down behind the low stairs that led up from the beach. The other group was trying to sneak around the side of the house to catch everyone in the breezeway in a crossfire that would undoubtedly kill them all. He carefully aimed and put a round into the head of the man with the Thompson gun, dropping him. The other men flattened themselves against the wall of the house, not willing to move while a sniper had them in his sights.

As the woman set herself to aim another kick at Jimmy, Ruby fired off some shots at her. One of them winged the Englishwoman in the arm, which seemed to make her reconsider her tactical position. She slipped into the house and vanished in the whirling smoke.

“Somebody needs to provide a distraction so that everyone else can get to safety, fetch the spare wires from the tool shed so we can get out of here,” said Jimmy. “Cover me.”

He grabbed Betty’s shotgun and sprinted out of the lanaille towards the riflemen. From behind him he heard Geronimo firing his pistol rapidly, giving him some cover fire. Bullets whinged against the pavement of the walkway as Jimmy pounded down it. He sprang up and landed in the middle of them.

The riflemen stood up with their rifles clubbed. One swung at Jimmy’s head. He caught the stock of the rifle with the butt of his shotgun, flipped his gun over quickly, and give the other man both barrels in the face. He ducked under the swing of the second man, spun, and pulled out his .45. He emptied the pistol’s entire clip into the man’s guts. The final rifleman swung his rifle around, but Jimmy grabbed the barrel and shoved it away, causing the shot to fly harmlessly into the air.

“Think about it,” he growled.

“Don’t kill me,” said the man. He was Indian, and by his carriage Jimmy guessed he was ex-Indian Army.

He flipped the shotgun around again and bashed the stock into the man’s face. He crumpled to the ground.

[Geronimo has Firearms 8, and the cherry I give for that is that he always has “Ammo” 1 with any gun with a reasonable magazine. You can spend Ammo to get suppressive fire against a target, so Jimmy only had two men shoot at him. I let JP spend Athletics instead of health here, at 1-to-1; this was to simulate Jimmy’s great speed and Athleticism, but that was a bit unfair—my normal rule of thumb for things like this is 2-for-1 or even 3-for-1. After the fight I asked for a TN 7 Health check from JP to compensate for that mistake, under the theory that Jimmy had actually been winged. Better would have been to take NBA’s Athletics-to-Hit Threshold rule.]

Episode XI: Who By Night (Part 1)

The house they had rented was on the Arabian Sea, about a twenty minute drive outside of Bombay. It was quiet an in a remote location—a two story clapboard frame house with a breezeway on the first floor, a small boathouse near the shore, and a long pier they kept the Brightening Dawn moored to.

They’d been there for a couple of weeks, licking their wounds after the escape from Siam. Dr. Orange had rejoined them after a nice trip to Paris with Dr. Born. Jimmy spent a lot of his time taking care of Janet, who was psychologically shattered as a result of her horrific experience. Geronimo spent much of his time running along the beach, his shirt off. Ruby liked to watch him from the upper story of the house. One time she caught Dr. Orange doing so as well.

But Millicent was gone.

Jimmy had found the note the day they left Singapore, their first refuge after leaving Siam. She apologized for everything, said it was her fault that Janet had been experimented on and that Ruby had been hamstrung, because of her travels in time. She had left for Switzerland to find an asylum to recover in.

“But my leg is going to be fine,” said Ruby. Jimmy shrugged. “She may be safer there, especially if we don’t know where she is. But I can have my people look for her.”

Privately, he talked to Dr. Orange about trying to “create some kind of imprint in the spacetime continuum.”

Was?” said the Doctor.

“She could be anywhere in space or time.”

“What are you talking about? She’s a silly little girl, she ran away.”

“Haven’t you seen all the things she’s done?”


Jimmy sputtered, then grew thoughtful. “That’s right…you haven’t really seen any of the things she’s done.”

Ja, Jimmy, physics and metaphysics are two different things. I mean, I don’t speak English that well, but…”

Jimmy sighed and went to his room. He encrypted a message to Millicent and left it on the table. Millicent finding it would be one of the less weird things to have had happened lately.

Janet Winston-Rogers wasn’t doing well.

When Jimmy broke the news to her about the horrible Mouth that now existed on her arm, she kept a stiff upper lip. During their flight from Bangkok through Singapore and Ceylon, she was withdrawn and quiet but seemed to be keeping it together otherwise.

But now, having time to rest, the macabre nature of her condition was slowly pervading every aspect of her life. The Mouth could be bandaged up, but it would chew through cloth and even leather given enough time. And it talked, a constant stream of quiet, hissing, wordless malevolence.

Sometimes she tried to play the old piano they had in their beach house, playing sad Chopin preludes and nocturnes, at least until the sound of the Mouth drowned out her playing.

Jimmy and Dr. Orange, who both had some psychological training, could recognize the signs of a profound and suicidal depression taking hold in Janet.

Jimmy spent his days researching her condition in his books. He found out that the Liar had the ability to detect things near any image of itself—it seemed this is why Doug Henslowe had kept his journal, with its sketches of the Liar, in a box with a “magic rock.” Janet wore that rock around her neck now, but Jimmy wasn’t sure if that would work with the Mouth on her arm.

“I need help,” sighed Jimmy one day to Ruby.

“What about your friend who possesses people?” she asked.

“He gets in touch with me…not the other way around.”

“It doesn’t like that rock,” said Ruby. “The Mouth screamed when you brought the rock near it.”

“Yeah, I had nightmares for a couple of days after that. But maybe that can be useful…”

[JP made a Cthulhu Mythos spend here to find out details of the Mouth, and I handed out the idea that the Enchant Item spell might be useful here…]

A few days later, several men wearing black turbans arrived at the house. They brought with them a flat, ornately carved wooden box. “This design was most…unusual,” said one of them when he gave the box to Jimmy.

“Thanks,” said Jimmy. “It’s just what I needed.”

He opened the box and took out an ornate silver armband. In the center of it, the rock from Doug’s box was set, projecting downward so that it was on the side that would be fixed to the arm. The armband had leather padding on the inside as well.

Jimmy took it to Janet’s room. She was sleeping fitfully. He fitted it to her upper arm, forcing the rock into the Mouth. There was a choking sound, and then blissful silence.

He finished fastening the armband and quietly left the room. Behind him, Janet rolled over in her sleep and smiled.

Part Four: Who By Fire

In which a new enemy strikes against our intrepid heroes, a harsh new land is searched, an old foe makes another appearance, and Millicent unveils her power…

Episode X: Ruby, My Dear (Part 14)

Jimmy rejoined the rest of them. Geronimo had brought Charlie and Betty out from the main house. Betty was leaning heavily on Charlie.

“Am I a real detective yet?” she whispered to Jimmy.

The sound of the motor launch came from the south of the island, leaving them with the sudden realization that they were marooned on the island.

Until they heard the sound of a twin-engine plane approaching.

Limping and carrying their wounded, they made their way to the shore. The Brightening Dawn lowered down on them like a graceful red bird, splashing into the surf and coming to rest a few feet off the beach. The pilot’s hatch opened and Joyce stuck her head out.

“I still hate you,” she said to Jimmy.

“Glad to see you flying again,” he said as he carried Janet through the waves to the plane.

Pramoj helped them up into the main cabin, and soon they were taxing down the river.

“James,” said Ruby, “do you want to take a vacation for a couple of days? You’re looking a little—”

“Murderous?” said Jimmy.

“What happened to me,” moaned Janet. “Did they do something to my arm?”

“It’s going to be okay,” he said.

“Where’s Savitree?” asked Pramoj as they lifted into the air and began banking around over the island.

“Down there,” said Ruby. As if on cue, explosions flared into life beneath them.

“I see you have betrayed my promise.”

I didn’t make any promises. She cut my leg.”

“I see. Well, we did accomplish something by destroying the Mouth of Bangkok. But I want you to remember something very important, Miss Fitzgibbons. You have offended a demolitions expert.”

“I know,” she sighed.

“I hope to enjoy a long future correspondence with you,” said Pramoj.

Jimmy felt for his gun, but then looked at Janet.

[I pointed out that cold-blooded murder would be a four point Stability loss, so Pramoj lived for the moment.]

“It was unavoidable,” said Ruby. “Do you know what she was doing on the island? The horrors she was creating? Janet, look away.”

Ruby began to unwrap the bandage on her arm.

“What’s going on?” said Janet, trying to turn her head. Millicent seized it in her hands and held her face to her breast. “What are you doing?” said Janet, her voice muffled. “What’s wrong with my arm…what’s…where’s that voice coming from? Oh God…God help me…”

“That was the least unholy thing happening down there!” said Ruby.

“Hide that thing from me,” said Pramoj. “I have seen that kind of…injury…before. I am sorry it happened to your friend. If you want to make this up to me, you must destroy the Thing’s body.”

“We’re trying.”

“Then I will help. Although I may still try to blow you up later. We’ll decide that after we stop the end of the world.”

The plane flew west in the night. It flew for a long time, but not long enough for them to forget themselves.

No matter how hard they tried.

Episode X: Ruby, My Dear (Part 13)

As Geronimo spun around to face Savitree, there was a blinding flash of light, and Jimmy and Millicent suddenly materialized in front of them. Savitree, with remarkable sang-froid, was reaching for the control panel to open the remaining cages.

Geronimo jumped over the desk and seized her wrist in one vice-like grip. “What are you going to do with me?” whispered Savitree. Geronimo leaned back for a second…

And Savitree dropped them both to the floor in a sacrifice throw. She rolled over Geronimo and raised one hand to strike him.

A shot rang out and she fell to the floor. Ruby flung away the derringer and crawled forward toward Savitree, who was scrambling to get back up. Geronimo cracked her on the wrist with the back of his knife blade.

Jimmy smashed her in the back of the skull with the butt of his shotgun. Blood splattered to the floor and Savitree fell forward, bracing herself against the floor with splayed hands. Millicent kicked her in the face.

“Your friends will die,” panted Sirhan. “If you don’t put down your weapons now. The blonde girl and the reporter. Do you really think we can’t hear the noise of a plane landing in Patthaya? You really are stupid heroes.”

Jimmy put Sirhan in a vicious immobilization hold. “Take care of the generators,” he hissed at Geronimo. Millicent helped Ruby up and they all staggered outside.

From the heights on the south end of the island a crowd of Europeans had gathered, looking down at them. “Uh, what’s the meaning of this?” shouted Daniel Lowman, in his flat American accent.

Jimmy glared at him, and continued dragging Sirhan toward the people ward.

Freunden,” said Lowman, “wir müssen gehen. Jetzt.” He and several of the Europeans began to move toward the docks.

“The barge is gone!” someone shouted.

Lowman produced a pistol. “There’s a motor launch on the other side of the hill,” he said. “Unfortunately, many of you are going to need to stay.”

“Where are they,” growled Jimmy as he dragged Savitree next to the people ward.

“Why should I tell you? You’re going to kill me, aren’t you?”

“Pramoj wants you alive,” pleaded Millicent. “He’s in love with you. We’d like to give you back to him alive. But you’re not making this easy!”

“He’s not in love me!” retorted Savitree. “Muriel always told me you white devils would end up treating me like this. I didn’t want to believe her—I always got on well with Europeans. But I’m swearing off you people right now!”

“We’re Americans,” said Ruby.

“That’s even worse! Very well. You’ll find your islander friend and the blonde girl in the basement of the main house. And the reporter…is here in the ward.”

“Did you do anything to her!” shouted Jimmy.

“We experimented. Don’t worry, she’ll recover.” Savitree snickered. “You know, we call Siam the land of smiles.” Her laughter became maniacal.

Jimmy dropped her to the ground, pulled out his pistol, and shot her in the kneecap. Through the cries of pain, she kept up her pealing laughter.

Jimmy burst into the people ward. Most of the patients were milling around, hissing and drooling Nectar from their mouths…or the Mouths implanted on their bodies. They backed away from him quickly—whatever Millicent had done, they had felt it.

Some of the beds remained occupied with unconscious or sick patients. Jimmy made a beeline for the one with a dark-haired Caucasian woman lying in it.

Janet’s eyes fluttered opened, and she smiled at him. “Oh, Jimmy, it was terrible. They came for us in the night…I don’t remember too much after that…”

Jimmy said nothing, his eyes fixed on the bandage wrapped around her upper right arm.

“I’ve had the most horrible dreams,” whispered Janet.

“It’s all right,” Jimmy said.

[GP: Shit just got real.
MP: Shit got real as soon as we started using Millicent as a subway line.]

Jimmy picked up Janet and carried her out of the ward. He placed her gently at the foot of a tree and began to walk back toward Ruby, Millicent, and Sirhan.

Ruby saw the look on his face and the pistol in his hand. She hobbled up on the tree branch that she was using as an improvised crutch and moved away wordlessly. Millicent looked at him with a steely indifference.

Jimmy raised his pistol and shot Savitree in the other kneecap. He grabbed her by the back of the neck and dragged her into the animal ward, past the long rows of animal cages, to the back of the ward.

To where the Komodo dragons were kept.

“What…” said Savitree groggily as Jimmy slammed the button that opened the cage. The dragons, hissing from the hideous Maws of the Liar on their face, backed away from him. He threw Savitree inside the cage and slammed the door shut behind him, and then turned and walked slowly back down the length of the ward.

He never turned back once, no matter how loud the blood-curdling screams got.

Episode X: Ruby, My Dear (Part 12)

Millicent woke up shackled to a hospital gurney. A Siamese man in scrubs was washing his hands. Hearing her wake up, he turned around quickly. “Oh, you should not be awake. I’ll get the anesthesiologist in here right away. You have nothing to worry about. The surgery has an excellent success rate.”

“I have to get away…” muttered Millicent. She concentrated on teleporting again…

And the gurney vanished beneath her. She fell heavily to the floor. The Siamese man fainted and slid to the floor as well.

Sirhan and her guards carried Ruby into the animal ward. A wire cage separated the entryway from the main ward, which was lined with smaller cages. Inside them Ruby saw monkeys with Mouths, cats with Craws, birds without Beaks, and of course the Dragons of Lies. The guards opened the door to the ward, threw Ruby to the ground, and then stepped back and slammed the door behind her.

Through the grillwork Ruby could see Dr. Sirhan studying a large board with many toggle switches on it. “I think…monkeys,” she said, and flipped the switch.

A klaxon rang and all the monkey cage doors opened at once.

Geronimo burst through the outside door and leveled his shotgun at Dr. Sirhan. “Close those doors, you bitch,” he said.

“I could do that,” said Savitree calmly. “But then you will kill me.”

From inside the ward, Geronimo, Sirhan, and the guards could hear Ruby suddenly begin to whisper in a sibilant, vowel-filled language—the Tongue of Lies. Spare me, she hissed at the monkeys.

She tortures us! Free us! they hissed back.

Open the door and she’s yours, replied Ruby.

As one, the monkeys sprang onto the wire grille that separated the ward from the outer chamber and began to gnaw their way through the wire.

“Oh boy,” said Savitree.

“Open the cage,” growled Geronimo. “I have killed before. I am not afraid to slay you.”

“Very well,” said Savitree. She pressed a large red button and then dropped to the floor under the desk. The gate to the ward sprang open and the monkeys burst into the room.

[GP: But they’re going to attack her, right?
Me: Most of them!]

Geronimo squeezed both triggers on his shotgun. The mob of monkeys in front of him dissolved in a cloud of fur and blood, but two of them got past the buckshot and leaped onto his shoulders, gnawing furiously.

Ruby popped her belt buckle open and took out the tiny two-shot derringer she kept hidden there. Despite the pain burning like fire up her leg, she was able to get a shot off from prone position and shot one of the monkeys, killing it. Geronimo drew his knife and plunged it into the remaining monkey.

There was a burst of flame and the monkeys who had gone after Savitree yelped horribly as they burned to death. She stood up from under the desk. “I hate doing things like that,” she said. “So unscientific.”

Jimmy slammed through the front door of the people ward. A guard with a shotgun moved to intercept him. Jimmy shot him in the chest with one barrel of his shotgun, dropping the guard, and then kicked open the double doors to the ward floor itself.

From the operating theater, Millicent peaked into the room and saw Jimmy running toward her…and people climbing out of their beds behind him.

“Mr. Wright, look out!”

Jimmy dropped into the kind of slide that would have made Enos Slaughter nod approvingly and rolled into the operating theater. Millicent pushed the doors closed behind them and they both slid a heavy cabinet in front of the door. The windows in the door shattered as the subjects from the ward smashed their fists into them.

The doors shuddered from the weight of bodies falling against them.

“Millicent! Do that thing!” shouted Jimmy.

“But Mr. Wright, I don’t know if I can…”

“Just do it or we’re dead!”

[So, Millicent spends Cthulhu Mythos to do her Physicists Hate This One Easy Trick With the Spacetime Continuum. At this juncture, she was out of points, so she rolled flat and got a 6.]

Episode X: Ruby, My Dear (Part 11)

After yet another hissed conversation about Millicent’s latest vanishing act, Jimmy and company pushed forward into the clearing with the two buildings. Up close, they seemed to be hospital wards of the kind sometimes found in missions in Africa.

As they crept closer, Ruby inched ahead of them. “Wait!” hissed Jimmy as she rounded a corner and came face to face with four large men in hospital orderly uniforms carrying double-barreled shotguns.

“Greetings,” one of them said. “Dr. Sirhan has been expecting you.”

“Let’s not keep her waiting,” said Ruby glibly. “Have you seen my friend? She vanished a little while ago?”

[Reassurance spend by RP to keep the goons from going “all Island of Dr. Moreau” on her.]

“Come with us,” the man said. His companion handcuffed her behind her back, and then he and another orderly pushed her forward with their guns, leaving the other two to stand guard.

Jimmy and Geronimo looked at each other, shrugged, and burst out of the foliage with their silenced pistols out. Jimmy put two shots into the base of one of their skulls while Geronimo emptied his clip into the other one.

[Both Geronimo and Jimmy have Firearms 8+, giving them Ammo 1 under my house rules; this lets them run out of ammo in order to take multiple attacks, which is what they used here to put down the guards.]

Ruby was brought inside the summerhouse and shackled to a chair. A guard sat facing her holding a shotgun.

Dr. Sirhan entered, and motioned for the man to lower the gun. “There’s no need for that,” she said. “Ruby Fitzgibbons! My German friends have given me a complete dossier on you.”

“You’re not the first person to tell me that.”

“I assume that Mr. Wright and that handsome swarthy gentleman you spend so much time with are around somewhere?”

“They may be. I was more interested in a young friend of mine. Did she drop by?”

“Oh yes. She is very unusual, very…different.”

“She’s sweet.”

“Do you know what we do here?” asked Savitree.

“Komodo dragon breeding farm?”

“No, animal research is just part of our work. Come, let me show you.”

Ruby was led through a subterranean passage into one of the long, low, hospital buildings. They emerged in the main ward. Long rows of hospital beds lined each wall, most occupied by smiling Siamese men and women.

“This is the people ward,” said Savitree. “Most of the subjects here are my own relatives, who volunteered for research.”


“Yes, we have tried many things. I believe you know of our soldier program? Good. We are also interested in the…how can I explain this to a non-scientist? The grafting of occult flesh onto human subjects. We hope that by doing so, we may find a way to combine the heritages. Here is one of our experiments.”

An elderly woman smiled at Ruby, who shuddered when she realized the old lady’s mouth had been replaced by the hideous Mouth of the Liar.

“Mouth-to-Mouth transplantation is a new innovation,” said Savitree, unperturbed. “Mostly we’ve worked in the transplantation of actual Mouths onto human flesh—that is what we plan to do to your friend, by the way. You however, would probably not be a good candidate.”

“Oh? Why is that?”

“I don’t think you could live with yourself. Originally I was just going to have you shot in the back of the head and tossed in the bay. Instead, however, I plan to take you to the animal ward. I think you find it most interesting.”

“My only question is: do you have any tigers?”

“No, we haven’t tried tigers yet. I had a subject in mind, but Thawi was overprotective. Did you have anything to do with his murder, by the way?”

“It’s been a busy couple of days.”

“I’m sure it has been.” Dr. Sirhan turned away slightly, then with practiced grace spun around, sweeping her arm at the back of Ruby’s knee. The scalpel she had been concealing in one hand bit deeply into the flesh of the American’s leg, and Ruby collapsed in a heap on the floor.

“I’ve only hurt the one hamstring,” said Dr. Sirhan calmly, wiping the blood from her scalpel. “I’d prefer you to remain partially mobile.”

Episode X: Ruby, My Dear (Part 10)

By the late afternoon of the next day the barge was approaching Ko Kruk island. Jimmy, Millicent, Ruby, and Geronimo slipped off the back of the barge and began swimming toward the shore, towing an inflatable raft with their equipment in it.

Even at this distance they could hear the sound of generators from the island. There was some kind of largish summerhouse near the dock Joyce was tying up at, and they could see several Europeans standing on the pavilion of the house.

They made landfall at a sheltered cove out of the sightlines of the main house. Ruby scouted a bit ahead into the forest and found a wire fence strung up across the island. Topping it were two strands of barbed wire with heavy insulators attached, indicating they were electrified.

When the rest of them arrived, Ruby pointed out that the fence was designed to keep things inside, not outside.

With some difficulty they found a tree that they could use to swing over the fence. They crept through the island, listening intently. It was clear that there were other generators than the ones near the house, as if there was another complex nearby.

[Outdoorsman spend by GP to get them over the fence.]

They broke through the woods and saw two long, low buildings directly ahead. They could see the generator complex between them, but the fence blocked their way to them. As they watched, they heard a klaxon give a short bark and there was the sound of a gate sliding open.

Something came crashing through the bush toward them, but it stopped abruptly.

Millicent quietly stalked forward into the brush, trying to not even breathe. She was pretty sure she had gotten past whatever it was that had been moving toward them.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” said Jimmy. “Everyone into the trees.”

They waited a while as the dusk deepened around them. Suddenly Ruby saw some motion at the base of the tree. At first she thought she was seeing things. “Lizards don’t get that big…” she thought.

The thing, which looked like a ten foot long monitor lizard, looked up and hissed at her. She could see that its mouth had been…mutilated, somehow. It looked like a…a…Mouth.

She could smell the Nectar coming from it even at this height.

Jimmy looked down. “It’s a Komodo dragon!” he shouted. The dragon turned to face him, and a long, sticky tongue shot into the tree and wrapped around his ankle. It turned out that a ten-foot long monitor lizard was quite strong.

Geronimo fired a shot from his silenced pistol at the lizard, but the dragon kept its hold on Jimmy’s ankle. Geronimo drew his heavy survival knife and slashed at the tongue. The dragon hissed and let go of his ankle. Jimmy managed to pull himself back up into the tree.

“It burnt my pants with its saliva,” he muttered.

Jimmy, Ruby, and Millicent shot down at the dragon but all of them missed. It plowed into Ruby’s tree, shaking it viciously, and she tried to cling to the branches but fell to the ground.

“Ruby!” said Millicent. Her eyes grew large as she began to mutter to herself. “Go away, go away, go away…”

The dragon, and Millicent, both vanished.

Millicent found herself inside a concrete room, evidently a cage or animal pen of some kind. Heavy bars divided the room in half. She glanced behind her and saw a gate of iron bars over the exit to the jungle. The dragon was at her feet, and a very confused Siamese man with a mop stopped cleaning the cage.

“You…” he said and fainted.

You did not know how to move me very well, hissed the dragon’s Mouth.

“I can move myself,” she said, and suddenly was standing on the other side of the bars.

“Oh,” she said, and fainted.

She came to on a bed, strapped tightly down on it. A Siamese woman in a lab coat was looking down at her.

“Dr. Sirhan?” she said.

“Yes,” said Savitree. “Please tell me who you are, and how you came to my island?”

“I wanted to tell you that Pramoj was still alive.”

“That’s good, but that doesn’t answer my question,” said Savitree with a smile.

“I’m not entirely sure how I got here…”

“I find that very difficult to believe. There are only a few ways to come here.”

“I didn’t climb…I was outside, and now I’m inside.”

“But how were you on the island in the first place?”

“I swam.”

“Ah, I find that hard to believe. Swam from Patthaya? The channel is not that narrow. Swam from a boat, then. But which boat?”

“I came on that barge they said might be coming to you.”

“That is very interesting…I’d like you to come see something.” Sirhan called to a couple of hulking orderlies to let Millicent up. As she walked with them, Millicent realized she must be in the summerhouse.

Dr. Sirhan led her out onto the pavilion. Into the warm light of sunset. Far upriver she could see the barge approaching, still at least forty minutes away.

“That’s…that’s not possible!” shouted Millicent. “That’s not possible!”

“I think perhaps it is, although it has been a long time since I have seen anything like that.” She turned to the orderlies. “We should be on our guard. Why…don’t we let one of our pets outside this evening?”

Millicent fainted.

[So, her “magic” roll actually failed, and suddenly I saw an opportunity to play around with the time part of the timespace continuum…]

Episode X: Ruby, My Dear (Part 9)

Before they left, Jimmy made sure to take Janet out to dinner and a show. On the tuk-tuk back to the hotel, Janet turned to him and asked, “How exactly did you know Lily?”

“We were at a bar, looking for clues…”

“Clues?” she paused. “Jimmy, look, it’s all right if you’re, you know, that way. Lord knows I’ve been around enough actors and—”

Jimmy kissed her.

“Oh, thank God,” she sighed, and melted into his arms.

Ruby and Charlie continued their dream studies over a bottle of kava. “There was a tiger,” moaned Ruby.

“In your dream? Excellent! You must remember to demand a gift from him after you defeat him—”

“No, in real life. I scared it away with a flare.”

“Oh. Well, that’s not as important. You know what Rilke said, after all—on droit trouver le bonheur dans son art. One must find the good in one’s art. Or so I think—it’s all a white devil language. Although I like your movies.”

“Oh, I actually made a movie, you know…”

“Yes, the Captain showed it to me. I respect you despite that. But tell me, do you know Bette Davis? I’m a great admirer of her work.”

Millicent tried to draw some intelligence from Pramoj. “Most of my life I cannot or will not tell you,” he said. “My family has served in the French Foreign Legion for 80 years; after my service, Thawi and I were in a mercenary company together. We did many terrible things in Indochina and South China, and of course Thawi had seen the Western Front during the war…the mouths are a concentration of evil, but I think…I think humans are not good animals.”

“What about Savitree?” asked Millicent.

“She was a different person when she came back from Europe. She had met many people who had changed her…that was probably what drew Echecevarria to her. He came here looking for something.”

“Probably the Temple of the White Buddha. It says the First Mouth was in Ethiopia.”

“Perhaps…but I think the Mouth represents something that is part of us. A manifestation of the dark side of humanity.”

Episode X: Ruby, My Dear (Part 8)

“Why are you bothering me again, Jimmy?” said Joyce, taking a long swig from her bottle. They were sitting at the edge of the river, legs dangling above the brackish water. A small overhang gave them some cover from the hissing rain.

“The island.”

“I knew it. I knew sooner or later somebody was going to come asking—but it had to be you, didn’t it?”

“Excuse me, you go working for crazy women making super-soldiers and expect me not to come by?”

“She’s less crazy than you! You know the only two times I flew for you I was attacked by flying snakes!”

“I saved your life!”

“You only saved it because I was attacked by flying snakes!

“I could have let you drown and I didn’t.”

“My plane’s at the bottom of the Venice lagoon!”

“Those girls would have died!”


“James,” said Geronimo, “I think I will go fight the Fascists instead. They are less crazy.”

“All right,” said Joyce, pitching away the empty bottle. “There’s an island called Kol Kruk. Down in the Gulf of Siam, near a fishing village called Patthaya. Private island, owned by the Sirhan family. I run down supplies—diesel for the generators, food, medical supplies. Lots of that, actually.”

“How many people on the island?” said Geronimo.

“Maybe twenty or thirty, based on the food. But I’ve never seen more than five or six walking around.”

“What kind of security do they have?”

“Couple of guys with machine guns. And that Savitree lady.”

“When’s your next shipment?”

“Making a run tomorrow.”

“We’ll be on it. Just do your job normally, and it will be fine.”

“Do you own the barge?” asked Jimmy.

“Yeah, it’s mine—I got paid for that last job I did for you, couldn’t go home…so I bought a barge and been making money in Thailand.”

“How much is it?”

“It’s not for sale.”

“Not buying it. But your fee for this? It’s the value of the barge.”

[2-point Credit Rating spend by JP; GP pointed out that it was basically insurance for the risk of the trip.]

“I’m going to get attacked by swimming snakes, aren’t I?” said Joyce, morosely.

“No chance.”

“Are you saying there aren’t any such things as sea serpents?”

“I…decline to comment on that,” said Jimmy, quickly.

To idle away the time, they decided to try and buy some weapons. Lily’s cousin knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy in the Triads. That evening they went to a small restaurant. “I see you were sent by my good friend Wu,” said the Maitre d’. He handed them a menu. Printed on the inside were silhouettes of guns.

“I’d like a salad,” said Ruby, pointing at a rifle.

“Excellent choice. Perhaps something…spicy.”


“We have it in stock tonight. Anything else? I can recommend the Russian goulash…or Japanese miso…or even German sauerkraut.”

“Anything that hits you hard and fast?” asked Jimmy.

“Something extended? Or easy to handle?”


“Our specialty is stew in a Browning sauce,” said the maitre d’, pointing at the silhouette of a Browning Automatic Rifle. “I believe the chef will put in some hors d’oeuvres as well.”


“Ah, the gentleman would prefer chopsticks. Of course.”

[1-point Bargain spend by RP, and of course I shamelessly stole this idea from Uncommon Valor.]

They had an unremarkable meal, but walked out with a crate full of rifles, pistols, Jimmy’s Browning, and several sticks of dynamite and bricks of Semtex plastic explosive for Geronimo.


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