Adventure Log

December 6

Obtained a copy of the missing chapters to the Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

December 5

Elder Thing Mural

December 2

Obtained the Dyer Text from Professor Meyer.

September 28

Disaster with the Dogs! The sounds from the dog pen in hold #5 rise higher and higher to a fevered pitch, punctuated by vicious barks and growls. Everyone hearing recognizes the change in the sound: the dogs are fighting. It sounds as if they are at each others' throats!

Moments later, a crewman sounds the alarm. Pulaski and Fiskarson race up the ladder from their quarters in the aft. Off duty sailors trail behind, curious to see what's going on and get more than they bargained for. When the entrance to the hold is flung open, Pulaski curses viciously and Fiskarson lets loose a small cry. The scene below is horrible.

The dog crates are attached to the bulkhead in rows, supported by steel frames. The dogs live in them, but the doors have been removed; the animals are restrained only by thick leather straps that are long enough so that the dogs can move around a bit. Some of the huskies have pulled off of their tethers. Many of them are out of their cages, snarling and barking at the tops of
their lungs, eyes wide, fangs exposed as they rage. The sound is incredible; so is the smell. Two dogs claw and tear at each other in the center of the hold; two others race frantically around and around, snapping and biting at their comrades. Others, unable to attack, snap and lunge at anything that comes near.

The dogs bear long vicious scratches along their sides. Some have huge chunks of skin and flesh hanging from their flanks; smears of blood and tufts of fur are everywhere, and the beasts are matted and dark with gore. Four of the dogs already lie dead in darkening pools on the deck, their throats ripped out. Others, still in their cages, tear at themselves convulsively. All the animals are covered with traces of crimson. The sharp tang of blood mingles with fear and musk in a thick repugnant wave.

Officer Turlow and a handful of others arrive a moment later. Turlow looks darkly into the hold. He asks what is wrong with the beasts, but no one knows. Other onlookers murmur in appalled fascination as they watch.
"Look-they've got rabies."
"It's Starkers' curse, I tell ya!"
"Shut up-look who's listening!"

"Those beasts are either diseased or they're not," Turlow says, "but they are certainly killing one another down there. The killers have got to be put down, for their own sake, and for the sake of the crew and the other dogs. Do you want to do it? Or should I?
Fiskarson searches for words. Pulaski just looks disgusted and angry. "I'll do it," Pulaski drawls. "Get me a gun. And some help cleaning up down there afterwards."

The massacre is brief and unpleasant. All the remaining dogs bark and howl as the echoes of each shot thunder in the hold. Pulaski fires six times from the top of the ladder, killing five dogs. Only once does he miss his mark; the wounded husky screams loudly before a second shot silences it.

As soon as the shooting is over, Fiskarson jumps into the hold, heedless of his own safety, to reassure the remaining animals. "Get Olaf," he shouts, but Olaf Snabjom is already there, and follows him down along with Nanook, Harmon, and MacAlister. In minutes the frantic dogs grow quieter. They are returned to their cages with little difficulty. A party of seamen, appointed by the first mate Turlow, arrive with mops and buckets as Pulaski finishes his grisly job. They are uneasy about the work, scared of the dogs and of catching some disease.

Cleaning up the pen is very unpleasant. The air is thick with the reek of fatal wounds. The bodies of the dead dogs are put onto canvas tarps and hauled up out of the hold to be thrown over the side. The smears of blood and bile are then swabbed up and rinsed away. Everyone is unhappy about touching the mess, and fearful of catching some illness. Throughout the process the surviving dogs are extremely noisy and agitated.

MacAlister examines the dogs revealing that two of the survivors (Mama-san and Picardy by name) are in great distress. Their
muscles twitch incessantly, they cannot stand, and their breath and heartbeat are incredibly rapid. Tremors come and go in waves, and the poor beasts can do little more than whine and snap impotently at anyone who comes near. He knows that these are not the symptoms of illness but of some sort of drug or poison — Strychnine. The beasts are in tremendous pain. Nothing can be done to ease their torment. It would be a mercy to kill the animals.

MacAlister and Greene look for clues in what the dogs were fed that morning. Two hours later they call everyone together for their results. The dogs, MacAlister explains, were poisoned with strychnine. He found traces of powdered strychnine in some of the dogs' food dishes. The powder was also found in the most recently opened box of pemmican, the one that was used to feed the dogs.

Greene follows with "The amount of strychnine found on the remaining pemmican blocks in the poisoned box constitutes a lethal dose. Each of the portions I examined, if consumed, would have killed any dog - or any man - on this ship. Had this box been carried onto the ice and opened there, it is likely that several of us would have died. Only sheerest fortune has spared us today."

The contents of two other pemmican crates were examined, finding no contamination in either. He takes, he says, little comfort in that. "We have at this time no way of knowing when the poison was placed in the food, or how many other crates have been affected. It could have been done before we left New York; it may equally have been done only yesterday. Two things, however, are clear. "Firstly, the poisoning was not done during the manufacturing process. The strychnine, in powdered form, was added to the wrapped packages, not mixed into them.”

"Secondly, the presence of strychnine powder in our most important supplies means that someone, somewhere, wishes us all to die. I find I cannot ignore the fact that, if the deed was not performed in New York, then we have a would-be murderer aboard this vessel, one who could strike again at any moment."

Moore thanks Dr. Greene and MacAlister for their work. Later he asks several expedition members to talk with him privately. "I have a rather difficult task in mind for you all, if you would be so kind. I would like you to go through the holds and inspect the rest of the expedition's gear. Looking for trouble, you know. It may be that our boy had more things in mind than poison. "Mister Turlow is here to lend you assistance, get you into and out of the holds, and so forth, but it would be best if the inspections were kept quiet. Do your work, don't talk about what you find to the others, merely bring the results to Mister Starkweather, Mister Turlow, or myself. We don't, after all know who the troublemakers are, and if they are aboard I'd rather they weren't put on their guard any more than necessary. "Work in groups, and take your time – several pairs of eyes see things that one pair will not. We have ten days or so before we reach port.


September 25

The return of fair weather raises the explorers spirits, but the Gabrielle's crew does not seem to share the mood. Off-duty sailors watch the scientists with impassive faces, or huddle in comers conversing in low tones before moving elsewhere. Groups of crewmen are seen carrying covered parcels about the ship, deliberately avoiding expedition members; the ship's officers say nothing when questions are asked.

On the evening of September 24th, about an hour after sunset, the ship's engines go suddenly quiet. A moment later the ship's horn blasts three times. Scientists and explorers rush to the deck to see what is going on. The Gabrielle' s external spotlights are all trained on the ship's bow. There, brilliantly lit in the glare of the lamps, a figure appears in a swirl of water and strides toward the bridge. The man is elaborately costumed in a fanciful frogged coat and lots of ribbons and gold and silver leaf, his long green wig pulled back in an ancient-looking tarred braid. He turns to a crewman standing nearby. "Ho, Shellback! Permission to come aboard, in His Majesty's name?" and is told in response "Why, 'tis Davy Jones himself! Welcome aboard, Sir!"

Read more about The Crossing the Line Ceremony

Unfortunately King Neptune's party is a marvelous distraction and a perfect opportunity for sabotage! Someone damages the ship's refrigeration system which vents ammonia into the food storage. The damage is discovered when Coates, one of the ship's messboys, comes coughing up from the hold to raise the alarm. The throat-catching reek of ammonia is suddenly powerful all over the ship.

Dinnertime passes during the uproar. The crew, Starkweather, and several expedition members spend several hours cleaning out the reefer hold. The odor of ammonia in the room is overpowering; even with dampened cloths over their faces, volunteers have to race into the room and out again, holding their breaths and blinking through tears as they grab whatever they can and haul it to safety. Crews scrub down the walls and floor in brief shifts, to lessen the smell, but nothing can be done about the food. There is nowhere else to keep it cold. Whatever is not thrown overboard must be consumed quickly before it spoils. Of the twelve tons offood in the refrigerator, almost a fourth is tainted by ammonia. Anything that was unsealed or exposed to air must be thrown over the side. Even the several crates of chicken eggs on board are ruined-so strongly do they smell and taste of ammonia that they cannot be eaten. Most of what remains, alas, is pemmican.

Starkweather and the Captain argue about turning back.

"Mister Starkweather- we are four days out from Panama City. Australia is a good two weeks away. We cannot repair the machinery in the middle of the ocean, we do not have the materials to do so. Your supplies will spoil, sir! They will rot, and be worthless to you, before we can possibly arrive!"

Starkweather scowls blackly. "We shall not turn back, Captain!" he snaps. "We have lost too much time already!
She is several days ahead of us - we shall not lose another day! We shall buy more supplies, if need be-now press on!"

Down in the hold, where crew and volunteers can hear, the workers look at one another.
"He's crazy," says one.
"He's gone off his nut," says another.
"He's bloody starkers!"
A third laughs bitterly.


September 21-24

On September 21st the ship steams south into the Pacific Ocean. By noon there is no sign of land.

Hours after the Gabrielle pushes into the Pacific the weather begins to turn. The sea becomes rough and choppy beneath swirls of changing cloud. The wind gusts and changes quadrants uneasily every hour. It does not rain, but the threat hangs overhead, as though a storm might suddenly rise up out of nowhere. The ship plows ahead in the freshening sea at a steady eleven knots. Every few seconds the bow slams into a new wave, sending a distant thrum through the hull and tossing spray high into the air. The motion of the deck is much stronger than before, and acquires a distinct pitching motion that sends scientists with weak stomachs, like Professor Albemarle, running for the lee rail. The dogs redouble their cries; they do not like the rougher seas. Classes continue as before, but the ship's tossing takes away much of the holiday atmosphere. Anyone spending time outside is quickly soaked to the skin by warm salt spray, and lessons that were previously offered on the foredeck now move into one of the lounges. Things improve after two days of rough seas. By noon on the 24th, the gusts of wind lessen and then disappear, and the surface of the ocean smooths to a near calm.


September 12-19

It takes a week to sail from New York City to the Panama Canal. As the Gabrielle pushes southward, past Florida and into the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, the weather changes. Gone are the sudden cold squalls of the north Atlantic; now the air is heavy with moisture, warm and opressive, and the rain when it comes every couple of days is soft and clean. All in all, it is an idyllic life. The only ones who do not seem to appreciate it are the dogs. At least once an hour they moan and howl loudly. Their cries echo weirdly throughout the ship, seeming lost and very sad.

The ship rounds the eastern end of Cuba on September 15th. Thick green palm fronded jungle slides by in silence beyond the rocks, seemingly almost close enough to touch. AU. S. four-stacker destroyer salutes from a distance. Gabrielle responds with a triple blast of its steam whistle. That night, the radio announces that Lexington's Tallahassee has arrived in Panama. The news is received by Starkweather in angry silence. Gabrielle spends three more days and nights crossing the Caribbean Sea. Swirls of clouds mottle the heavens, dropping brief but frequent rain. Sunrises and sunsets are bursts and explosions of vaporous gold, and hints of lilies and distant spice hang in the air, beneath the ever-present tang of the sea. The ship arrives at Colon on the morning of September 19, 1933. See the Panama Canal map for a look at the Canal and its sights.

The whole Canal … was one long astonishment. I had not dreamed it was so beautiful. I'd expected a man-made thing … scarred and mutilated. How different it proved to be! the entire Zone is a garden that looks as if it might have been a garden always.
- R. Halliburton, New Worlds To Conquer, 1929

Through The Canal


September 11

Headed southward at last. After years of anticipation and months of preparation. The moon on the water; the breezes whispering adventure ahead; then the storm, the water boiling; and above the wind the calm sound of the ships bell striking the hour … the wind slackens again to a whisper and the barely audible chug-chug of the engines feeding man 's deep yearning for mobility, carrying us to a new place, where wealth and fame and power count for nothing…
- R. E. Byrd, Journal, October 13, 1928.

Because of — or possibly despite — everyone's continuing nervous vigilance, no further incidents interfere with the expedition's preparations for departure. All the crew and party members all gather together on board ship for the first time on the morning of September 11th, 1933, and the Gabrielle sets sail at last, early that afternoon. The skies are covered with high thin clouds; the sea is choppy; a number of small boats tum out to watch as the ship salutes the Statue of Liberty, and continues alone south into the Atlantic.

To the members of the Starkweather-Moore Expedition, the sensation is one of strange freedom. At last the journey is under way; their troubles are behind them and adventure lies ahead. Despite the many mysteries surrounding the past few days, excitement fills the air.

Afterward 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 is crowded into the officer's mess. Champagne flows freely. Starkweather and Moore both toast the future and the expedition's good fortune, grinning ear to ear.

Moore expects everyone on the expedition to become as familiar as possible with the facts of life in the Antarctic before arrival. He has asked a number of the expedition's experts to lecture or give lessons in their areas of expertise during the voyage. Classes At Sea begin at once and continue throughout the trip.


September 9-10

Within, Manhattan's towers block off and hide away the city 's sweeping vistas and poetic allusions, and New York's grandeur dissolves into a democratic swarm. From among the crowds and smoke, even the Statue of Liberty takes on a mocking cast, as though a she had planned the contrast. Liberty stumbles before fleeting time and onrushing fate. People are starving and others on their way down to starvation. But a few percent
of the crowd have wealth enough or talent enough to force their way. For them, this is heaven, and the nightclubs, theaters, department stores, bookshops, and restaurants are an endless playground. And cheap, buddy.

Morning papers run with the headlines "Fire in Polar Ship", "Dock Blaze Kills 3" and "Antarctic Expedition Threatened". While the hands of fate have spared the Gabrielle from significant damage, some other cargo items were destroyed, notably the tents, spare airplane motors, and wooden skis for the planes.

Hendrickson is there hero of the hour after rushing into the inferno of the warehouse to save an injured stevedore. Sheffield demonstrates to Starkweather that he has the "right stuff" and "stood up when the chips were down". Starkweather's friendship manifests in many ways, ranging from the occasional good word and hearty slap on the back.

Jerry Polk, a known miscreant, was captured escaping the scene and under police interrogation admitted to setting the blaze. His story is that five days ago Polk was approached by a red-headed man called Doyle. Doyle paid him $100 when Jerry agreed to set fire to the warehouses of the SME. He was to receive an additional $200, to be picked up the following noon beneath a bridge in Central Park. Naturally the police investigate Jerry's story although no one shows up at the bridge…

Other happenings include a Meeting with Nicholas Roerich
Investigation of the Pym Manuscript with Frank Boseley
Additional information regarding the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition


September 8

Breakfasting on the morning of the 8th, Professor Moore asks at least a few of the expedition members to attend the funeral of Commander Douglas with Starkweather and himself. ("It's important for the expedition and its members to pay proper tribute to the man.")

The memorial ceremony at St. Brigit Cemetery is brief and sparsely attended. Along with Starkweather, Moore, and the others are Philip Douglas (the
Commander's brother), Gerald Brackman, two older men with the look of the sea about them, and a journalist named Gary Hawkes. Detective Hansen also attends the ceremony and asks a few questions.

Philip Douglas has no explanation for his brother's murder. The surviving younger brother is a simple man of forty-six, thin-faced and deliberate, who is genuinely sorrowed by the death.

An evening edition paper runs with the "CAPTAIN CONFESSES HORROR TALE PRIOR TO DEATH!!!" headline written by Gary Hawkes. The article quotes Philip and some other expedition members. Starkweather is furious.

By the evening of September 8th, several hours after Commander Douglas' funeral. Everything that can be done has been done. Except for a few details, the expedition is ready to sail. Professor Moore makes the announcement to the assembled expedition at dinner. "Ladies and gentlemen, we sail tomorrow with the afternoon tide. Everything is aboard but your personal things, some fuel, and a few last-minute additions to the provisions list. Thank you all for a job well done. "Everyone will move aboard ship tonight, immediately after you are done here. First Officer Turlow has your cabin assignments, so as soon as you are packed and your bags are stowed on shipboard, you are free to enjoy a last night on the town. "Again, congratulations and thanks for your hard work. We are ready to sail, despite a lot of trouble, and that is because of each of you. "Try not to stay out too late, " he smiles, "and I shall see you all aboard."

Later that night there is Arson at the Gabrielle. Three men die and some fuel and cargo is destroyed. Lexington's Tallahassee departs early. Starkweather is furious.


September 7

In the aftermath of Douglas' murder security on ship and at the pier is improved. Security increases at the hotel and on the pier. Moore asks the members of the expedition to sign in and out at the desk whenever they leave the hotel, and two burly stevedores join the watchman at the ship. No one but cargo loaders, the crew, and the members of the expedition are allowed on board or on the pier. Dock passes are now always asked for.

Captain Owen is announced to be joining the expedition. He is an experienced captain in his mid 50's who is know to be a strict but fair captain.

MacAlister notices someone being abducted by Acacia Lexington's house. He does not interfere and returns to the hotel and relates the story. Later he and some other expedition members investigate the abandoned warehouse.


September 6

With the opening of the Empire State Building two years before, New York City and its towering lower Manhattan skyline became the emblematic capital of the world. Now, despite a deepening Great Depression and bread lines that continue to lengthen, New York's financial power and glittering night life make it the goal of the most talented and the most ambitious people in the United States. In the early morning the river fog shrouds Manhattan's towers, and the venting steam from radiator boilers drifts up like dreams along each city block. In the thousands, they are shimmering presentiments of skyscrapers yet to come, of fortunes yet to be made and of honors yet to be bestowed. Slowly the subways and elevated rail lines rumble alive. It is a new day, and the city smiles and will take a look at what you bring. But be quick about it, bub, there's a million people right behind you.

Famed Sea Captain Murdered

Detective J.J. Hansen of the NYPD, Battery Precinct, interviews various expedition members. He explains that Douglas was identified by his personal effects and the two missing fingers he had lost to frostbite. The sea captain had nearly twenty dollars on him when he was pulled from the water, so robbery was not the motive. They have only a vague description of the man seen running from the area-large framed, probably strong, in a hat and overcoat. Douglas' brother, who lives in New York, has been notified.

In the hotel room of Commander Douglas is found a Letter to Philip and some other notes

On the evening of the 6th, Kurt is has a second warning slipped under his door.


September 3-5

The Boeings arrive in New Jersey by rail. The planes are inspected, assembled, test flown, then disassembled for stowage on the Gabrielle. Nanook and the other pilots familiarize themselves with the planes and their capabilities.

Acacia Lexington announces she is heading to Antarctica on September 10th. Starkweather responds by advancing the SME schedule to leave the 9th.

News articles begin to appear discussing some of the delays and snafus surrounding the SME and the violent tendencies of the members.

In the evening of September 5th, Commander JB Douglas is murdered on the waterfront.


September 1-2

It is September, 1933. The New Deal passed during the spring, but swarms of unemployed workmen still haunt the streets. Artist and philanthropist Nicholas Roerich is to host a $100-a-plate charity dinner for drought-stricken Chinese in two weeks, while thousands starve in New York State alone. Just down 34th Street the new Empire State Building looms. A couple of months ago Primo Camera knocked out Jack Sharkey here in New York City, in six rounds to take the heavyweight title. The New York Giants lead the National League. Monopoly is a popular new parlor game. The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice is preparing its "friend of the court" brief for the upcoming trial United States v. One Book Entitled "Ulysses. " Prohibition will be repealed soon. … And tied up on the north side of Pier 74 along the Hudson River shore of New York City is the SS Gabrielle, her stern to the city, her bow to the open sea.



For the last several months, the Starkweather-Moore Expedition has been in the news. Newspapers and radios feature occasional coverage about Starkweather and his plans. Equipment and supplies have been trickling into the expedition warehouses for weeks. Now the final days are at hand. The ship is docked, the last supplies are purchased, and the various members of the party arrive singly or in groups at the expedition's ad-hoc headquarters, the Amherst Hotel. Many of the expedition members have never met each other. Some, indeed, have never even met Starkweather or Moore before their arrival in New York. Recruitment has been accomplished by telephone or by telegram.

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