Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Unhallowed Metropolis - The Curious Cases of Dr Bartlebee

Prologue: Case File LW24B ??? Lady in White, City in Grey

????????????????In Highgate, a horse-drawn cab trundles it's way up the cobbled street and parks outside the residence of Dr Bartlbee, Offices of Private Investigation. A man exits the cab and pays the fare. He is dressed in a long leather coat wearing a bowler hat, a standard brass gas mask and carrying a worn and creased black leather medical bag. His gas mask hiss and tilts upwards as the man inspects the house and checks the weather. Lightning crackles above in the ash laden clouds.
?????????? Knocking on the door of the typical Georgian three story house, it's outer brick work stained with soot and rain, the man is greeted by a fumpy aging old lady, the head maid of the household, who ushers the man inside and through the inner door. The man begins to take off his coat and his gas mask which are all hung up for him in the cloak room. The man then hands the maid his business card. In times new roman it read 'Dr Edward Brick, Practioner of the Medical Sciences and Anatomy'. The maid then leads Edward into the main drawing room where she prepares a hot pot of tea for him and then goes to tell Dr Bartlebee that he has arrived.
?????????? Soon enough there is another knocking on the front door and the maid finds a young street urchin before herself. The girl, dressed in a long pvc coat, tall boots, stockings and a torn and modified bustle skirt and corset, introduces herself as Lottie and that the Dr is expecting her. The maid, with a heavy heart, leads the girl to the drawing room where she then asks for a drink of gin while they wait. She looks over at Edward and is unimpressed by the scruffy man, his suit thread bare and stained, his face not as closely shaven as it could be. Edward is reading some notes and medical papers.
???????? The next arrival is Ophelia, a mourner. She is tall and wears a tight fitting corset, a small top hat, immaculate pale makeup, and a custom skirt that just about conceals her impossibly high heeled boots. Her hair is unusually blond and long. She seems to gilde into the room and also asks for a tea and pays no attention to the other that are present.
???????? The final, late arrival is Sir Arthur Augustus Hallow-Woodsby, a knight of the realm. Tall, dark, wear a fine suit and sporting a cane he is treated with the upmost respect by the maid she prepares a glass of wine for him and he too is led to the drawing room where he examines the others as if a lord were examining his livestock.
???????? Finally the maid returns and tells them all to follow her to the dining room where Dr Bartlebee will greet them. The dining room is large and has windows looking out onto the garden of the house. There is a table large enough to seat 12 people and the walls are wallpapered with a sickly green material. Above is a fine chandelier. At the head of the table is Dr Bartlebee, a portly fellow, dressed in a smoking jacket and twirling his long handlebar mustache. His is drinking a glass of brandy and smoking a large cigar. Edward, Arthur, Lottie and Ophelia sit, Lottie chewing on a large cigar. Bartlebee is amused and offers his cigars to the girl before she just steals them. Lottie reaches out and grabs a generous amount and stuffs them in a pocket.
???????? Bartlebee then goes on to explain that a good friend of his, the industrialist, Mathew Haughton, was found dead just four hours ago. He apparently commited suicide after jumping through the window of his fourth floor bedroom, landing in the street, which is just 10 mins from where they are now. Bartlebee passes the case file that he has been able to put together with a friend in the force. THe police have not released the body but have 3 eye witnesses, one of whom is still being held at the station. Bartlebee explains that he is surprised by the event since Haughton was suffering depression due to the death of his daught, but was not the sort of man to commit suicide. There must be something else which would explain why the body had not yet been released and the witness was still held. He tells everyone that they are to get access to the body and the witness and the crime scene and figure out this mess.
?????????? Together in Sir Arthur's carriage, Arthur, Ophelia and Lottie ride to Haughton's house while Edward headed to the station.
Arriving at the house Lottie moves quickly and heads to the back allyways where she can get into the Haughton house while the others talk to the police and the family. Arthur and Ophelia are allowed past by the police and enter the house, after having a cheeky looking at the scene of the death which sits under a police tent. Arthur and Ophelia meet the sister of Haughton, a old refined lady, with pinched features, who explains the death of Haughton's daughter, Josephine, and about Haughton's recent business. Meanwhile, Lottie had already made her way into the garden of the house and was now scaling the back wall, making her way up and finding a window that was unlocked. Creeping inside Lottie then made her way upstairs, only just sneaking past one of the police officers in the house. Once into the bedroom of Mathew Haughton Lottie start to have a look around. The window was visibly broken from the inside, and on the desk there were many letters from Haughton's daughter, along with an open portfolio describing stock prices and efforts by a rival company to win the contract to build a new railroad to the east of England. Then there at the foot of the desk lay the picture of Haughton's daughter, the glass cracked. Walking about a bit more Lottie then foudn something more unusual, foot prints, bare foot prints, of ash. They led from the door to the room to the bed. Following these foot prints Lottie made her way towards a staircase that led to the loft and to a door that led onto the roof. The door had been obviously broken open with force from the outside.
???????? Meanwhile, in the Highgate station, a large and imposing fortfied building, the roof lined with weapon emplacements and spotlights, Dr Brick made his way inside and promptly hypnotised the officer on the desk into allowing him the key to the morgue. Making his way to the morgue Edward open the large reinforced doors and was greeted by two armoured Death Watch soldiers. Edward then found the right drawer and opened it to find the body of Haughton, his face crushed by the impact and his collar bone poking out of his flesh. The body was of course strapped down. Edward then proceeded with his examination and found something odd. A few hair fibers, blonde hair, under Haughton's finger nail. Bagging these Edward then left the morgue and sat in the lobby reviewing the case file.
???????? Soon enough the Athur, Lottie and Ophelia arrived at the station, and pulling the same trick Edward got them access to the witness. The other two witness reports said they saw Haughton jump to his death. In the witness room they found a young man, who said he saw a woman in a white dress forcefully throw Haughton through the window. THe man was quite shaken up and Edward gave him a measure of morphine to calm him.
?????? Leaving the station they all then sat in the nearby pub reviewing the evidence so far and then concluded that they should return to Bartlebee's and perform experiments on the hair, which Edward had found to smell almost a bit like the river and a bit like tanning agents. While Edward laboured away in Bartlebee's lab with Lottie lending a hand, Arthur and Ophelia heard the faint crys for help. They quickly made their way outside and found the witness they had met earlier in an alleyway being beaten by three thugs. With one look at Arthur two bolted for it, while the third raised his gun to shoot. O
phelia then launched forward, whipping her exculpus from out of her skirt and made for a diabling blow, but misjudged the distance and instead set sparks off the blade as it grazed the brick wall of the alley. Quick as a flash Arthur pulled out his pistol and fire two rounds at the man, the shots echoing in the narrow alley. The first slug thudded into the man shoulder and the second hit the leg at the knee, severing the lower lomb off in a spray of blood. Acting quick Arthur took the man's belt off and tied it around the bleeding leg while Ophelia helped the witness, now bloodied and brusied, up and led him back to Bartlebee's.
?????? Once back at Barltebee's the old doctor did his best and seared the wound of the thug using a hot fire iron. Bartlebee then gave the man a quick jab of opiates to knock him out and ease the pain.
???????? Some time then passed until the thug came back to. With Ophelia looming over the man like some death spectre, her blade lowered at his neck, the man told them everything he knew, that they met the man who paid them at a bar. He told them to kill the witness. He wore a mask and a large wide brimmed hat and spoke using a rattler. But there was something else, the thug told them. The man had a small talisman, a triangle with an eye, like a masonic symbol, but with medical instruments.
???????? Edward then came back up form the lab and informed everyone that it seems the hair is from a clone.


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