[D20 CoC] Beyond the Mountains of Madness Campaign - Prologue

Taokan

First Post

March 10, 1933

Mr. James Starkweather
Amherst Hotel
New York City, New York
USA

Dear Monsieur Starkweather:

Bonjour, Monsieur Starkweather. I do hope that you are enjoying yourself before the expedition.

My name is Camille Claud Bardier. A fellow pilot in Rotterdam recently revealed to me an article that contained information relating to your fast-approaching expedition to the Antarctic.

I believe that I am not being prideful when I say that my piloting skills would be of great value to your team. Several of my experiences with flight and driving ground based explorations include the first contact in the New Guinea highlands several months ago, several air races, and several trips to Africa, India, the South Pole, and Peru within the last ten years. I also speak excellant English, French, and Russian as well, so that I will be understood in all but the most trying of times

I can reasonably assure you I am experienced in the area of enduring harsh climes as within the past eight years I have had the pleasure of working with Admiral Byrd himself during which we followed the historic trail of Admiral Perry. All of this trips lasted six months or more.

My past employment includes a brief time serving in the French Air Force, and as I mentioned, two trips to the northern and Southern Poles. I was also offered a teaching position at Nancy Harkness Love’s flight school, but I unfortunately turned that post down, as that school year would start in the middle of a trip to Chile.


For references, please contact the following people;

Nancy Harkness Love – Houghton Michigan
Amelia Earhart – New York, New York

Captain Roland de la Poype - Champigné, France

The Boston Chapter of the National Aeronautic Association – Boston, Massachusetts

I shall eagerly await your reply here in Rotterdam where I am visiting a family friend. If I am accepted, it shall take me no more than three days to reach you in New York to aid in the preparation for our fascinating trip to Antartica.

Sincerely,

Camille Claud Bardier

Camille Claud Bardier
Victoria Hotel
1012 LG, City Centre,

Rotterdam

*Edited- packed a wee bit much in- Well, you can't say she didn't live a full life....*
 
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jdeleski

First Post
Response to Motorized Sled Proposal from Vittorio

June 21, 1933



Vittorio Liuzzi

The Drake Hotel
140 East Walton Place, Chicago
USA

Dear Vittorio Liuzzi,

Thank you not only for eagerly volunteering to accompany us on this voyage, but also your proposal of June 16th regarding the Eliason Motor Toboggan. Sir, you must know that you’ve brought a smile to my face, and also that of Dr. Moore!


We’ve discussed your proposal at length and are mightily impressed with the speed and capacity of these units but, as you might expect, we have some concerns about their reliability and application. When questioning Mr. Eliason via telephone about his manufacturing practices, he confessed that each unit is handcrafted and of “no three being exactly alike,” which does not bode well for repairs, particularly in a geographic area to which replacement parts could not even be shipped. Dr. Moore was able to confirm that the toboggans weigh approximately 500 pounds each and are of a size which is within our range for stowing and transporting additional equipment aboard our vessel. I must question whether this weight might be sufficient to break through an ice layer to a dark crevasse below, therefore I will ask for the ultimate caution before using these machines in newly explored areas.

Dr. Moore and I agree, however, that they may prove useful to our expedition and are willing to add them to our expedition’s equipment list. That having been said, it is indeed unfortunate that I must inform you that there is an obstacle to this purchase. My accountants have informed me that I have run dangerously low in funds for our voyage and I am therefore unable to approve their purchase using S-ME finances. As you may have noted, I have funded the lion’s share of this expedition from my own personal estate so that we do not find our objectives at the mercy of the whims of an institution or shareholder, but now those resources run low.

Your offer to pay for this equipment is most generous. I wholeheartedly accept it and I have identified a few areas of the ship where you might secure the transport of these items. I will review these areas with you upon your arrival in New York City. Even should you bring these motorized toboggans, however, I’ve decided that it would be prudent to bring our full complement of sled dogs, as originally planned, to ensure that no mechanical failure would threaten the success of our mission.

Your planning and extra attention to detail has ably met the gauntlet that has been thrown down before you sir! I see that I’ve gained the services of not only a crack engineer and explorer, but also a leader of men! Your own actions as part of this expedition have now put us at the forefront of the application of engineering sciences, perhaps some day rivaling those of the great Henry Ford! Well done!

I look forward to seeing you at the Amherst Hotel on September 1st.

Sincerely,
James Starkweather
Expedition Leader



Amherst Hotel
8th Avenue and 44th Street
New York City, New York
 
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jdeleski

First Post
Martin's Arrival

Martin stepped from his train and ran from the platform up the stairway into the vast cavern that is Grand Central Station. Beneath its vaulted roof of metal and glass looming over 100 feet above, the main councourse extends 400 feet in width, nearly each inch of which is seemingly filled with a body that Martin dodged with his two suitcases. Illuminated in the massive domed ceiling is an eliptic of the zodiac, a curious reference to stars and unseen forces.

But Martin was a man on a mission and having been through Grand Central many times in the past, he barely noticed its tremendous, multi-storied entrance of arches flanked by massive columns as he quickly moved under it. Or the extraordinary sculpture mounted above that archway depicting Mercury, Hercules, and Minerva with a 13-foot clock face beneath the powerful gods of myth.

Martin emerged from the cavern into a simmering wave of heavy wet heat under the bright, blinding sun.
 

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jdeleski

First Post
Rejection of Camille Bardier's Application

June 23, 1933​





Camille Claud Bardier
Victoria Hotel
1012 LG, City Centre,
Rotterdam


Dear Miss Bardier,


Thank you for your letter of the 21st, which expressed your wish to join my upcoming venture to the icy wastes of the South. Your list of accomplishments and experiences was most interesting. You point out in your letter your undeniable expertise in traveling to a variety of geographic locations and to engage in sport flying against, most likely, a number of other members of your gentle race.

I admire your spirit of adventure and must admit that your desire to join my team on our expedition is noteworthy. It is quite obvious that you are a woman to be reckoned with, one who enjoys traveling to exotic locales as she does an outing with her companions, and I’m sure that your parents supported your endeavors and nurtured you along with thoughts of your future marriage to a talented officer in the French Air Force.

However, this expedition is no shopping trip to the French Riviera. A woman of delicate nature such as yourself is likely to find the cold rigors of the south to be somewhat adverse, particularly as our team voyages well beyond the areas that Admiral Byrd chose to venture. To ask men of physical courage and bold endeavor to journey in the company of individuals who might shriek at the sight of a fieldmouse, or cry when confronted with adversity, would be to mock the very spirit in which this great quest is being undertaken, and so it is with regret that I must decline your request.

The South Pole is a dangerous and unforgiving land, and I am afraid that I cannot afford to hold anyone’s hand on this journey.

Sincerely,
James Starkweather
Expedition Leader





Amherst HoteL​
8th Avenue and 44th StreeT
New York City, New York






 
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Taokan

First Post
Response to Camille's rejection

Turiau Allvoz eagerly hurried into the small field behind the Victoria Hotel. Every day for several weeks Camille -the daughter of his best friend- has pestered him over whether a letter had come for her. Today, at last, her mysterious letter had indeed arrived, much to his relief. Now if he could only get her to fix his broken-down carriage in the bargain…

However, as he stepped into the center of the field, all he saw was a single small plane amid the abundant foliage; no oil-covered Frenchwoman in sight. "Camille, où êtes-vous?" He called out. Immediately a muffled, "I’m in America, Turiau, can’t you tell?" answered peevishly from the bowels of the plane. Raising an eyebrow, the Holland native waved an envelope stamped with the bright red
Aérer le Courrier – Air Mail in the general direction of the half-muted voice and answered in heavily accented English. "Then I suppose I’ll read this letter from a Monsieur Starkweather uninterrupted. Hmmm… ‘Dear Miss Bardier…"

Instantly a tiny Frenchwoman covered in oil and grease popped out from under the plane and snatched the letter, tearing it open. Finally she would have a chance to show her skills, other than at monotonous explorations to places she’s already seen. Instead, to her great irritation and hidden amusement, the letter did not enthusiastically accept her experienced-self along, or, at the very least, let her off graciously with an apology. This letter, starting from the first sentence, insinuated with barely disguised insults that at the first setback –or, apparently, fieldmouse- she would shriek and faint in a maidenly swoon. Hmph. If anyone dared called her maidenly, they would soon learn their mistake.

"…I’m sure that your parents supported your endeavors and nurtured you along with thoughts of your future marriage to a talented officer in the French Air Force."

"A woman of delicate nature such as yourself is likely to find the cold rigors of the south to be somewhat adverse"

Turiau cringed away from the woman whose nappies he had changed on occasion; the sudden smirk creeping across Camille’s face never boded well. "Turiau! Start the plane! I need you to drive for me. I’ll repay you later. Glad I fixed that flying rust-bucket…" Nervously heading for the vehicle, he asked over his shoulder, "Why? And where are we going?" Chuckling low in her throat, Camille smoothly slid in the co-pilot seat, removing a tablet of paper and a pencil from under the seat and scribbling away furiously. "The Amherst Hôtel in New York. I have a feeling this Monsieur Starkweather will need the benefit of receiving my response in person."

Dear Monsieur Starkweather,

Perhaps your American, male insight has somehow obscured your vision, so you could not properly read my last postage; fear not, however, I shall endeavor to repeat myself, so you can understand. I shall begin my rebuttal of your views one at a time for your convenience.

  1. I did not, as you cleverly and subtly implied, travel to sunny, enjoyable ‘geographic locations’ or ‘exotic locales’ for holidays or to laze about in the sun. I traveled on hazardous, life-threatening missions for the French and American governments. No offense at all intended, but I apologize if I have not heard of you needing to make any recent, emergency refuelings in the middle of the Pacific. Please correct me if , as I suspect, I am indeed gravely mistaken.
  2. I most certainly did not engage in races only against my fellow Frenchman –or even Frenchwomen- Monsieur. I raced against highly talented men across Europe and America and -wait for the shock Monsieur- I indeed did win.
  3. I don’t know what you are implying, most-respected Monsieur, but my father did not ‘nurture me along’ with the idea to marry me off to an officer of our Nation’s Air Force at first opportunity like a brood mare. For one, I can distinctly recall him telling me himself that I was become a famous pilot by my own skills – also informing me that if I married before I retired, he would disown me. For another, I most-likely would not have done so in either case. I never listened to my father. Authority needs to be proven, and frankly, he did not prove himself.
  4. As a side note, I can assure you that I most certainly did not join the French air force simply because my father told me to; or indeed, out of a misguided and bizarre attempt at finding an Air Force husband (which, if I may say so, I still do not sport, even after my service?): I joined for two reasons, I assume the same reasons that anyone would. (1) I was needed. (2) My beloved country was currently encouraging -no, more like recruiting- only those female pilots of respectable skill, and all others were weeded out. Need I say that because I was indeed in the Air Force to begin with proves my skill beyond a reasonable doubt?
  5. Disregarding your humorous opening to this statement, I am most certainly not in possession of a ‘delicate nature’ by any definition of the phrase, nor –as I have already pointed out- am I unused to arduous conditions such as I faced with Admiral Byrd.
  6. On that note, you seem vaguely disdainful of the Admiral’s efforts in addition to my own. As I am quite sure this is not the case, let me clarify: Admiral Byrd himself received international recognition, several rather nice awards and/or grants from the American government for his future trips, as well as being instrumental in future explorations to the Poles. There were several firsts on this expedition as well, including (but not limited to) being organized and financed by Admiral Byrd with financial aid and supplies contributed by a number of other individuals. Even if you overlook our success, you seemed to have taken this lesson to heart yourself, did you not, Honored-Monsieur?
  7. On one of my travels to Africa, during my brief stay in a village, a pair of hyenas -rather larger and more ferocious than the common fieldmouse- came into my room while I was sleeping and proceeded to attempt to drag away my pack. I still have a scar from that incident in a most inconvenient place if you require proof. (On a mostly-unrelated note, I have removed mice barehanded from my bureau without a twitch)
  8. To continue, while I certainly could ‘mock the spirit’ of this venture (which, you may note, I have admirably resisted), I have never ‘cried in the face of adversity’. Not once. No offense meant Most-Heroic Monsieur, but since I have not yet had the pleasure of your company, I cannot say with certainty if you can make the same claim. If you wish to prove your "courage in the face of adversity", I recommend marooning yourself in the South Pole during a blizzard –without benefit of much food, numerous blankets, or communication- for two weeks. I myself find that burning rejection letters creates an enjoyable warmth.
If those are all of the objections, you will undoubtedly be pleased to note that I have chosen to take this resistance as a test of my credentials –nay, acceptance- in the form of a jest on your part, which you obviously intended. If it is not, you shall be relieved to know that not only am I on my way to you as this is being written, I shall be happy to present more of my credentials face-to-face, which shall happen following the posting of my acceptance to the Times. I myself would check either the first several pages or the Sports section.

Vous voir bientôt,
Camille Claud Bardier

Camille Claud Bardier

P.S. If you become frightened, I shall hold your hand

"There!" Camille said with satisfaction, dotting the last "I". "Now to see the fireworks, I suppose…"

 
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jdeleski

First Post
The Fundraiser

Each of you (with the exception of Annie and Camille) has received the below invitation, by whatever means available, and is requested in a handwritten note from James Starkweather to attend as a member of the staff who will mingle with local dignitaries and socialites.

Bibliography Reference 4
 

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Morpheus

Exploring Ptolus
July 8th, 1933

Martin LeBlanc
The Pierre
Fifth Ave. at 61st St.
New York City, NY



Dear Mr. Starkweather,

Thank you for the invitation to the gala event on August 13th. I look forward to meeting you and the esteemed Dr. Moore as well as the other members of our expedition. The event promises to be grand, indeed!

If you have need to contact me between now and then, please leave a message with the concierge (Mr. Alfred Riddins) at the Pierre (my preferred residence when I am in New York) as I am currently on assignment in Cuba and will not be back until the first week in August. I will be able to cable a message once or twice while I am on assignment.

Thank you once again for allowing me the opportunity to join the expedition and secure our place in the annals of history.



At Your Service,

Martin LeBlanc
 

taitzu52

First Post
Telegrapgh for Cecelia Poole

Telegraph
From: The Oxford Hotel, Denver, CO
To: Cecilia Poole, c/o #10 General Store, Colorado Springs, CO

DEAR CECIE STOP. RECIEVED ACCEPTANCE LETTER FOR SOUTH POLE JOB STOP. LEAVING DENVER FOR NYC STOP. GONE FOR 6 TO 9 MONTHS STOP. NEIGHBOR BILL COMING BY ON SUNDAYS STOP. LOVE YOU VERY MUCH STOP. JIM
 

jdeleski

First Post
Response from José (Club Andino) to Paco

14 July 1933




Dear Paco,

That is wonderful news about your trip to Antarctica! I have always wanted to travel to that icy continent myself, but you know that Maria would not hear of it.

Enclosed you will find a copy of Admiral Byrd's latest map of Antarctica from his publication of 1930. It may prove useful if you venture near the areas where he landed, made camp, and flew. For a guide to his findings, you should consult the August 1930 issue of National Geographic. Unfortunately for me, it was in English, but you are fluent in that language.

I also found this 1894 topographical map of the Shawnagunk mountains that should help you considerably if you intend to do a little recreational climbing while you are in America near New York City.

Do not worry about expenses for these items. You have repaid Club Andino many times over with your daring rescue missions.






Godspeed, my friend!



José

Secretary
Club Andino de Chile.


 

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Bobitron

Explorer
Telegraph to Starkweather

Telegraph
From: Vittorio Liuzzi, Cleaveland, Ohio, Rutgers Train Station
To: James Starkweather, c/o Amherst Hotel, 8th Avenue and 44th Street, New York City, USA

MR. STARKWEATHER STOP. RECIEVED CORRESPONDANCE REGARDING ELIASON MOTOR TOBOGGANS STOP. LEAVING FOR WISCONSIN RATHER THAN CONTINUING TO NYC STOP. WILL RETURN TO NYC WITH TOBOGGANS IN TIME FOR FUNDRAISING DINNER STOP. REGARDS VITTORIO LIUZZI STOP.
 

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