CSI Arkham – Episode 2

We start this one with the three of us (Preston, Annabeth and Harry) standing on the bluffs above Innsmouth looking at a corpse covered eighteenth century clipper ship drifting in the bay. The local copper, Bellamy, called in Homeland Security (that’s us) from the Arkham office because this was too weird even for him.

On seeing the corpses, we pass the buck and call in the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). They duly arrive and establish a quarrantine around the bay and erect their cool inflatable biohazard tents. Bellamy’s lads form a cordon to keep the local populace away. While the CDC are exploring the ship in pale blue biohazard suits, we start looking into the few scraps of information we have.

The ship’s name, Amazon, and type match a ship well-known to the Innsmouth area that is currently wrecked off Gibraltar in the Mediterranean. Harry wakes the owner of a SCUBA diving operation on that island to check that the boat is still there.

Harry checks with the curator of the local historical museum about the ship. Apparently, it’s a ghost ship that appears every now and then (with decreasing frequency, it seems). It’s a rumour, he’s told. Nothing more. When harry protests that the ship is in the bay the curator falls back on his insistance that it’s folk lore. (Hmmm. Sounds like mental self-preservation to me

It’s about this time that the CDC come back from their explorations and samnple collecting on the Amazon and announce some findings. First, the corpses that litter the deck show signs of diseases which haven’t been seen in a hundred years – small pox, polio, etc – all the diseases which modern vaccination programs have eradicated from civilisation. Second, the blood sample from one of the corpses exhibits a pearlescent glowing. Third, one of their team is missing, presumably still on board the ship.

Annabeth, through high powered binoculars, spots the missing CDC operative pursued by the shadow the size of a bear. He collapses on the deck screaming and sobbing into his comm link. Preston joins CDC team which motors over in a zodiac dinghy to collect him. He’s immediately isolated and given a thorough physical and mental examination.

Preston is more than happy to walk away from the whole situation. There’s no glory to be had here which could either further his career or impress the college babes. He sees this as nothing but downside. Let the CDC carry the can, he argues with the others.

The CDC isn’t sitting still while all this goes on. They call in the national guard who immediately take control of the situation and send a team on board looking for the threat.

Then things go down hill. There’s shooting, screaming and a fast retreat.

The army blames the CDC for the disaster who in turn blame us. We have no one to pass the blame to so Harry, Annabeth and Preston end up leading an army team onto the ship to recover the missing men and work out what’s happening. Annabeth picks up the ship captain’s logbook and hands it to Preston for safekeeping since there’s no way he’s risking his neck by going below deck. Harry unbolts the ship’s bell and gives it to Preston, who also gets the two magical tomes Annabeth finds in the captain’s cabin.

At the same moment that Harry and Annabeth discover in the hold a coke can attached to the mechanism of a music box, the phase-shifting shadow finds them and the military guys with them. There more shooting – completely ineffective against the creature’s vast incorporeal bulk.

The creature sniffs out the books and makes a grab for them. Preston, carrying the books, is beating a retreat over the side, down the ladder into and into the dinghy. Harry and Annabeth see it’s arm pass through the wooden hull and Preston feels it grab his ankle in its be-taloned paws. Harry and Annabeth pump enough lead into it to make it think twice about what it needs to do – rescue the books or protect itself. It drops Preston in the ocean and chases Harry and Annabeth who race up the stairs onto the deck and leap over the side. For some reason, the creature cannot follow.

As the escapees from the ship are being picked up in the zodiac, the ship slowly phases out of existence leaving nothing behind but bad memories and empty ocean.

Once back on dry land, the recriminations begin. “Where’s my men?,” screams the leader of the military team. “Don’t look at us,” rejoins Preston. “The CDC called you in.” When the sargeant starts on the leader of the CDC team, Preston, Harry and Annabeth slip away to the nearest coffee shop.