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07 May 2016 @ 01:53 pm
[CoC: HotOE] A Night at the Opera  
Dramatis Personae
  • Demir Sadik, Turkish Revolutionary/Field Medic
  • Gianni Abbadelli, Italian Vatican Parapsychologist
  • Luc Durand, French Professor of Linguistics
  • Rosaline St. Clair, American Antiquities Dealer
  • Valentina Durnovo, Russian Countess/Gentlewoman
You knew that I wouldn't be able to get through this game without making at least one DELTA GREEN reference!

The investigators woke up in the middle of the night after Henri sent them forth from the Dreamlands, and when they awoke, they heard a strange singing sound--the voice of the kidnapped Caterina Cavallaro, echoing around the hotel and the plaza outside. Quickly putting on their clothes, they went out into the streets (along with many others, likewise awakened by the singing) to try to pinpoint the location of the singer, but only ended up getting confused in the maze of smaller streets and alleys around the plaza. They did see one strange thing, though. A chameleon, wandering around the streets of Milan during winter. Unfortunately, when the light of Demir's flashlight fell on it, it ran into a side alleyway and the group lost sight of it, and in their search for the chameleon they lost the source of the melody. After an hour's fruitless searching, including Demir combing local bars to see if any of the people of, um, flexible moral character would have heard the voice and be able to help the investigators locate it, but in vain. Eventually, the group went to sleep, though the professor spent more time combing over the scrolls with his trusty dictionary.

In the morning, after breakfast and reading the newspaper accounts of the voices, the investigators decided to look into the murder of a unionist in a suburb of Milan. After a detour to the police station, where an English detective named Land that the group sans Durand had previously spoken to gave them directions to the place where Spinola's body had been found as well as noting that the body had the signs of advanced tuberculosis, which absolutely would have prevented factory work. On arriving they found some bloodstains still there, and with a bit of difficulty, followed them back to a warehouse on a deserted street. Gianni went to work on the lock and got it open, and looking inside, the group found a lot of dusty crates, a cleared space in the center, and what could only be described as an altar. The altar had a lot of blood on it, but there had clearly been two bodies on it...and chameleon tracks.

The group left and called the police. Land told them he would look into who owned the warehouse, and then the investigators decided to go speak to Flavio Conti, a patron of La Scala who had made a miraculous recovery from...tuberculosis. The countess presented her card and that got them in to his house, but he seemed agitated and refused to discuss the arts. He repeated demanded to know why they were there until Demir, growing impatient, accused him of foul play in the matter of his recovery. Conti sputtered a bit and then, as Demir pressed him, he drew a gun! As the countess screamed and Rosaline shouted for the police, Demir charged Conti, whose shots went wide. Demir managed to restrain the crazed man and tie him up with curtains, and while he still refused to answer question and threatened the investigators with vague pronouncements of doom, the group searched his room, finding a paper with Spinola's name on it, a diary with "contact: Faccia" and a phone number. Eventually, the authorities did arrive--one of Mussolini's blackshirts. He was unable to decide between Conti and the group's competing stories, and so summoned the police, and the group went to the station to give their statements. While there, Inspector Land revealed that Conti owned the warehouse where Spinola had almost certainly been murdered. Incriminating!

It was late afternoon when the group was released from the police station, so they ate a quick lunch and then went to La Scala to speak to the props manager. He was incredibly busy, but provided directions to Caterina's dressing room, which had a lot of flowers but no clues. They did find where the armor stand prop that they assumed contained the torso of the Simulacrum, but it was set up behind several sets of scenery and the props manager categorically refused to move anything to get it. Around that time, the bouncer showed up and told them that their promised hour was up and escorted them out.

Without much else to do, the group got dressed for the opera, took a quick detour to Faccia's house only to find that he wasn't home, and then went to the opera. As they took their seats, Demir snuck backstage and hid himself under a props table, watching for a moment when he could seize the torso. The curtain rose, the opera began, and the group watched. As the understudy came on and began singing the famous aria--without nearly as much mastery of her craft as Caterina had--the group noticed a strange sound coming from elsewhere in the audience. Looking around, they spotted a taller, older man who was singing...with Caterina's voice! Next to him was an old woman bent with age, crying softly, and two middle-aged men who were obviously his bruisers. Not wanting to start a scene, the group simply watched, and then turned their attention back to the opera.

A few scenes later, after Radamès has been chosen as the prince and is being gifted with new weapons and armor, the armor is taken off the stand and the investigators immediately recognize it--that is the torso of the Simulacrum!

The provided prop depiction.

The old man noticed as well, and the investigators could hear him urging his toughs to go after the Simulacrum. As they slipped out of the theatre, the group followed...except for Demir, who waited until the torso was taken backstage and then, in the confusion, picked up and took it upstairs, where he wrenched it off of its stand (though it was apparently not nailed, glued, or otherwise attached...how odd), grabbed some cloth from the seamstresses' room, rigged up a backpack, and escaped down the fire escape as the old man and his toughs entered the side door, convincing the bouncer that they were extras. The group was unable to stop them, but did manage to get in the side door as well and interfere with their investigation. The group questioned the old man as to what he was doing, and the sound of his voice--Caterina's voice--galvanized the old woman, and she leapt at him and began throttling him! He fell gasping as his toughs pulled her off him, and in the confusion, the group managed to both get away and speak to the old woman, who answered to the name Caterina but spoke with the raspy voice of an old man.

After returning Caterina to her apartment and convincing the maid of her identity, the group met Demir back at the hotel and thought about how to disguise the torso. Painting didn't work--the paint simply slid off the surface--but a seamstress arrived in the morning and sewed it up as a dressing dummy, accepting the professor's explanation for its strange appearance that, "She's Russian." Rosaline forged papers of provenance for the Italian customs officials, and the group boarded the train the next afternoon, somewhat surprised that no one had come after them.

When they received the paper at lunch on the Orient Express, they found out why. Arturo Faccia's body had been found on the roof of Milan's Cathedral, horrifically mutilated as though by a wild animal. The police were baffled, but the article did contain one other note that stood out to the investigators.

Faccia had recently returned from a business trip to Turkey.

Poor Caterina.  photo emot-crying.gif I'm not sure if there's a way to restore her, but at least we got her back to familiar location and got Faccia killed and Conti arrested. There might be more we could have done with the other names at the party, but we wanted to get out of town as soon as possible for obvious reasons.

One thing I noticed is that the Professor started this campaign with 83 sanity and he currently has 92 sanity, so I'm imagining that he views all of this as a relaxing vacation from writing his book on German linguistic changes during the Thirty Years' War. A lovely journey through the European countryside!

Next stop, Venice!
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Yoko Shimomura, Isao Abe, Syun Nishigaki - Guile’s Theme [CPS-2]