Horror on the Orient Express

Dancers in and Evening Fog

London, England - The Challenger Lecture and Beyond

Each investigator has been invited to London by their associate and friend, Dr. Julius Arthur Smith, to attend his presentation at The Challenger Trust Banquet-Lecture. The lecture is a formal affair hosted by the trustees, who select speakers of clear voice, sound mind, and impeccable credentials to report on original researches or inventions of theoretical or practical importance.

These evenings are held roughly once a year, though some years see two or three such events, while in other years none occur. The trustees, true to their charter and no doubt chuckling in discussion over cigars and port, encourage idiosyncratic and even amusing studies, but by individuals nonetheless able to convey proofs either inherently astonishing or startling in implication. In collective effect, the trustees judge nominees by Barnum’s criterion, “Amaze me.”

Nominees need not be subjects of the Crown; Curie and Marconi spoke here, as did Count von Zeppelin and Edison. Though the event was semi-secret then, Dr. Cavor is rumored to have lectured some months before his disturbing disappearance, levitating a raisin made luminous for purposes of demonstration.

The great formal dinner occurs in the Imperial Institute, in Kensington. The Upper East gallery’s stultifying reference collection of standard commercial products is put away in favor of tuxedos, gowns, splendid dress uniforms, glittering jewels, gleaming sabres, and waxed moustaches.

What you know of Dr. Smith

Imperial institute 2

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(From the private journal of Ivan Davchenko)

10-ое июня 1923

Мы приехали в Лондон last night и остаемся на любимом месте господина Herry’s обычном пока в городе; Savoy. Вещи были uneventful что ноча и следующее. Я сопроводил господина Herry к лекции по претендента. Я стоял за стулом боссов по мере того как он встречал некоторые из самых странных людей я всегда видел включая трио женщин. Половин шторок, всецелло оскорбительный американец (Honky), другой американец который поговорили диалект английской языка я не смог понять (Moxie), и ирландский ребенок 15 (никогда не получено ее имя). Также был американский пилот (Jack Harkness). Я не получил шанс услышать лекцию в виду того что господин Herry послал меня прочь для того чтобы выхлопотать бутылке шотландского. Когда я возвратил лекцию был излишек и каждое поворачивало внутри на вечер. Я приобрел обслуживания довольно молодой повелительницы для босса которого ноча и в утре он был битом под погодой. Доктор Lapadite позаботился о он пока я имел завтрак с некоторыми из других гостей. В бумаге мы прочитали что дом доктора Smith сгорела вниз и когда я сказал господина Herry, он был огорчать. После этого мы получили примечание от доктора Smith спрашивая, что мы пришли справедливо – прочь. Господин Herry направил, что я пошел и я управлял с несколько из другого от конференции. Beddows препятствовало нам внутри. Оно показался если доктор Smith сгорелся ужасно в пожаре. Необходимо сказал нам рассказ о некоторой статуе которая находилась в частях и было нужно быть найденным. Он вымолил нам найти части и разрушить они. После этого он смог поговорить не больше. Он дал мне 2 билета на курьерском Ориент. Я сказал господина Herry и был направлены, что поискал остатки дома доктора. Я не нашел ничего за исключением огромной печати ноги. К этому времени я получил назад к гостинице, господин Herry записал проход для парома к Кале поэтому мы смогли встретить вверх с курьерским Ориент в Париж. Я не люблю взгляды любого из этого и не думаю что господин Herry должно получить involved. Но с другой стороны, я делаю мою работу покуда он оплачивает меня так же, как он делаю…

Dancers in and Evening Fog
 

(Excerpt – “Herodotus Romulus Graeham IV; Hero, Lover, Genius, Adventurer”, by AJ Smedley)

June 10, 1923

… and the wondrously magnificently awesomely great place that is the Imperial Institute. The lugubrious old building is located in the wondrously magnificently awesomely great area of Kensington. There are gardens near by as well. The tremendous HR Graeham was by far the most illustrious member of the conference and his magnificence was in wondrous display throughout the evening. The lecture given by the famed Dr. Julius Arthur Smith was at once most awesomely great. It was apparent that Sir. Graeham’s knowledge and cleverness vastly surpassed most others in the room as he led the conversations following the Doctor’s speech… (And the food was magnificently awesomely great too!) The next morning the poor unfortunate, though wondrously magnificent Herry was ill due to the horrible, awful problems that plague his most wondrously brilliant and thoroughly great heart. His personal doctor, Dr. Henri Lapadite took exquisite care of the spectacular man while he lie in terrible anguish breakfasting on tea, crumpets, blood sausages, eggs, beans, and toast. Alas, the poor man needed to nap after his meal. It was then that his footservant, the most excellently wondrous Ivan Davchenko arrived to inform Sir Herry that his most beloved friend and magnificent acquaintance Dr. Smith had had his house burned down and had sent a note asking for Herry to visit with him with great haste. In as horrible and devastating condition as poor Herry was in, he rushed immediately to the bed of the terribly wounded Dr. Smith, actually running on foot most of the way, so worried was he for his dear friend. Alas, there was nothing that could be done for the poor man who appeared in wondrously awful condition. Yet, before he faded into lugubrious unconsciousness, Dr. Smith imparted a magnificently wondrous story of a terribly, horribly, awful evil statue that needed to be found and destroyed at risk of great peril to the entire Earth and everyone upon it. But not for the brilliant wondrousness of Lord Herry, the world would have perished many times over. So, he decided to take it upon his magnificent self to right this wrong, solve this problem, and destroy this evil thing. All this being such a strain on his heart he made sure to have a hearty lunch of shepherd’s pie, fish and chips with salt and malt vinegar, along with bread, cheese, pickles, salad and a wondrously magnificent array of fresh fruit. Then it was another nap before making arrangements to meet the Orient Express in France so the wondrously magnificently awesomely great train could take us all over the continent in search of the evil statue. Yes, it sounds like yet another amazingly wondrous adventure for Herodotus Romulus Graeham IV. Also traveling with his Lordship on this quest will be some others of various backgrounds. Though no one near as notable as Sir Herry, they do offer….

Dancers in and Evening Fog
 

To whom it may concern,

My name is Miguel Diego, I have had a truely terrible event happen that I hope your can be of service.  

My best friend and mentor killed himself a few months ago from a broken heart.  Or so I believed at the time…Guillermo Errázuriz. (c.1898-1922), was a diplomat from Chile and I was his advisor.  My dreams have always been the way of the gentleman and Guillermo was educating me on the finer points.  

Guillermo was always attentive to his duties to Chile and to me until he met Peggy Hopkins Joyce.  A harlot in my eyes and the bane to my friends life.

To get to my point Guillermo was a humble man from humble beginings, but the glamor of Hollywood and Peggy pulled him from his duties.    

At first it was a love story and their releationship blossomed like a bloom in the spring.  Together they walked amongst the finer people rubbing elbows, taking trips and meeting with former US presidents and other famous folks.  

This led to his collection of antiques and the downright errie oddities.  He began to brood as a dark cloud hung over their relationship.  

Guillermo was becoming moody and over and over he begin drifting off babbling about who knows what.  

He wasn’t able to fullfill his duties and many a day I had to step into his place as he would disappear for weeks at a time.

Weeks became months of these behaviors and I as a friend could not stand by any longer.  To no avail, he continued this and soon Peggy drew weary of his actions and left him in Paris.

To my dismay he was found dead from some sort of poison.  Many including me thought it was a broken heart that lead him to this terrible fate.  But this was not the truth.

Please bear with me here because you the reader of this letter may be of some service to me and maybe my only hope.

Six weeks ago I started having these vivid dreams of my dead friend.  It started as only one or two dreams a week and grew to nightly.  

He began haunting my waking life and soon I could not function.  In the dreams he has been trying to tell me something, but before he can speak I awake shaking and in a cold sweat.  

For the last week I have been on the verge of insanity as the dreams have become sinister and dark.  My heart grows heavy as he appears and now he is not the pillar of strength I remember but a wisp of flesh and a dim flickering light…

Last Monday I awoke to the telegram from Dr. Smith addressed to Guillermo sitting on my nightstand.  When I reached out to grab the letter a chill filled the room and I believe I felt him touch me from beyond the grave.  

I am at a loss as nobody understands or believes me and I am unsure how to rid myself of my dead friend…I have no one else to turn too.

If you think you can help me please repond.

Humbly yours,

Miguel Diego

     

Dancers in and Evening Fog
Jozua

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