[d20CoC] Beyond the Mountains of Madness - Chap 5: At Sea


First Post
At Last!

Because of--or possibly despite--everyone's continuing nervous vigilance, no further incidents interfered with the expedition's preparations for departure.

How all of the things that eventually got on board were squeezed in was amazing; for with an unsuspected necromancy, Professor Moore managed to find a place for everything, although the pile of supplies still awaiting a place seemed to grow larger and the space of the Gabrielle, pitifully small to begin with, seemed to shrink before our eyes. At last the hold was full; there was room for not another box below, so Moore began to load the decks. Food boxes and gasoline drums were ranged about it until the waist of the ship became so deep with things that some pathways on the main deck could only support single file traffic.

As the weights of supplies in her mounted, the Gabrielle settled gradually. This, with the fact that an immoderately large part of her load was above decks, gave rise to some uneasiness. In fact, the day before we put to sea, an old sailing man, who had been watching operations with a disapproving eye, came up and said: "You're taking an awful chance with that ship. She'll ship green water every roll. You don't know what storms are until you get into the 'Sixties.' I've been there and I know." Commander Starkweather led the man away, assuring him that we knew what we were doing.

All the crew and party members gathered together on board ship for the first time on the morning of September 11th, 1933, three days after originally planned, and the Gabrielle set sail at last, early that afternoon.

The skies were covered with high, thin clouds; the sea was choppy; a number of small boats turned out to watch as the ship saluted the Statue of Liberty, and continued alone south into the Atlantic Ocean.

Headed southward at last. After years of anticipation and months of preparation.

Job (the tortured one).


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First Post
It is hard to say who popped the first cork, but an hour after departure--as soon as the ship has passed the five-mile limit--the entire group was invited into the Officer's Mess. The room was crowded with shipmates: Father Rucker was there, as was a still-shaking but smiling Martin LeBlanc, the biochemist George Barow, female pilot Camille Bardier, Øyvind our dog handler, physician Dr. Watkins, geologist Jim Poole, and polar guide Paco Guerini to name but a few. Notably missing was Vittorio Luizzi, the demolitionist, but he told his bunkmates that he was "OK" and asked them to go along without him.

The champagne flowed freely! Starkweather and Moore both toasted the future and the expedition's good fortune, grinning ear to ear.

"To our place in history!" "Hear, hear!" "Salute!"
"To our success!" "CHEERS!"
*loud clapping and whistling*
"To our destiny!"

As the party wore on, Peter Sykes entertained all with old Newfoundland whaler's chanteys accompanied by spoons and cook-pot drums, and offered to teach the words to whomever wanted to learn. Many tall tales were told, both of great accomplishments and stunning disasters, with much backslapping, toasting, laughing and singing.

The fun goes on until sunset, when the ship's cook cleared the room to begin setting up for dinner.

Job (the tortured one).


First Post
Sept 11 Evening - USS Gabrielle off the Eastern Seaboard

There are 48 crewmen and 35 expedition personnel on board. From the amount of congestion, one might imagine that there were ten times that number. Because of the last-minute preparations after the fire, everything is in great confusion in the aftercastle and even below decks. Every bunk is piled high with equipment which has overflowed to the floor. There is scarcely a place where one can set foot on deck. Supplies of all descriptions so fill the deck that to get from fore to aft it is either necessary to do a perilous balancing act on the rail or else risk one's neck in an alpine assault over peaks and precipices of crates and boxes. It will be days before everything is properly stowed away.

And if this were not enough, the chaos is exaggerated by the mixed harmony of the dogs howling below and the high pitched overtones from the radio machinery above. The dogs howled all day long, with an unearthly disharmony all their own, and it seemed that the radio would keep at it all night. What few wits were left to everyone were being sorely tested.

Fortunately, Niles Abraham, the ship's cook, provided an excellent meal and this brightened spirits considerably. The ship's first dinner is eaten at long tables in the ship's mess halls. Thereafter, the expedition member's time is their own.

At the end of the meal, Professor Moore announced that he expected everyone on the expedition to become as familiar as possible with the facts of life in the Antarctic before arrival. He asks all expedition members to lecture or give lessons in their areas of expertise. Attendance at these sessions is not mandatory, but it is expected.

[OOC - If your character might be interested in running a session, please post a note.]

The professor plans to post a list of sessions the next morning.

Job (the tortured one).

This is a good way to introduce myself and my contribution to this scientific expedition. Thinks Father Rucker.
He goes to Prof. Moore and present two lecture topics.
1. Antarctic Paleobiology.
2. Antarctic chemistry


First Post
That evening, Professor Moore posted the next day's schedule of events.
Tuesday 12th September 1933
Latitude: N 37° 30’
Longitude 74° 00’
Mapquest Link to ship's location
Google Map travel path
Sunrise: 05:35
Sunset: 18:08
Todays Weather: Overcast, possible rain
Wind Speed: 10-20 mph

Today's Classes:

Instructor / Topic / Location
Sykes / Introduction to cold-weather clothes and equipment / Officer's Mess
Greene & Watkins / Antarctic First-Aid / Ship's Medical
J Rucker / Antarctic Paleobiology / Ship's Mess

G & N Sorensen / Technical Climbing / Crew's Mess
P Miles / Aeroplane Maintenance / #2 Tweendeck Hold
Eriksson / The Pabodie Ice-Drill Operation / #1 Tweendeck Hold
E Fiskarson / Boxing Fundamentals (last one standing takes on James Starkweather) / Main Deck Fore

Ø Raknes & F Guerini / Mountain Rules / Ship's Mess
Griffith / Antarctic Geology / Officer's Mess
D Halperin & C Bardier / Aerial Navigation / Expedition Lab
[OOC - Note that there are weeks worth of courses and the list will change day by day. So don't worry about missing out on anything. Be sure to let me know which courses your characters plan to attend because there will be a chance for increasing skill points.

Regarding the sporting activities, the NPCs are generally a fit lot, as you'd expect for an Antarctic expedition, so there is plenty of interest, and I hope some of you will be joining in. Especially the boxing! Come on I'm sure somebody fancies sparring with James Starkweather?]

Job (the tortured one).
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First Post
During the first night, Øyvind Raknes awoke to a noise.

[OOC - So as not to confuse this "At Sea" thread with Øyvind's investigation, we'll play out that inquiry in a separate thread.]

Here is a link to Øyvind's experience.

Job (the tortured one)
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Those two sounds interesting for Father Rucker

Afternoon: G & N Sorensen / Technical Climbing / Crew's Mess.

since he knows basic geology
Evening: Ø Raknes & F Guerini / Mountain Rules / Ship's Mess.

Drowned Hero

First Post
Øyvind Raknes

Øyvind will assist to the D Halperin & C Bardier / Aerial Navigation / Expedition Lab lecture.

'So Starkweather wants a nose bleeding? i would happily provide it!'
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