Long Hair Tony had met up with Ranger Garet on the way in, and took the group into temporary custody while he sorted out the mess in the Jade Pavilion. Fortunately, there were plenty of eyewitnesses attesting to the fact that DeCarlo shot first. A search of her room revealed more evidence that incriminated her in the murder of Klauber, including Klauber’s still living brain in a jar of some liquid. There was also a telegraph from Lost Angels with a description of the posse, and orders to take them out. And information about Harmon Kelly, Klauber’s partner, who was setting up a prototype at the Big M Ranch.
With that information in hand, Long Hair Tony dealt with DeCarlo, and left the group to their own devices. They asked for directions to the explorer society before he left, and he provided them, though he did go on to say that it had been burned down a few days earlier, and that some of the owners had holed up in a hotel while others left town.
Rutherford Ellington Dillenger was the only member of the Explorer’s society at the Sunrise House, along with half a dozen hired bodyguards. He met with the group as per Lacey’s recommendation, and was grateful for it; as he needed the help.
It seems that the local triad that ran Shan Fan was trying to intimidate the Explorer’s Society into giving up an artifact they held, an item that absolutely could not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. Rutherford wouldn’t say what it was, but the head of the society in Shan Fan, Captain Pennington Smythe, had gone out that morning to hide it, and was late in returning. Concerned that he had been captured, Rutherford asked the group to look for him. He had been heading into the hills east of the city.
Asking around and searching proved futile. Shan Fan was the second biggest city in the Maze, and the group had no real local connections. Instead, they decided to go straight to the top. After getting the skinny on how the local triad was organized, they arranged a meeting with Big Ears Tam, the head of the triad.
Tam was a smooth speaker, and intelligent man. He knew exactly where Smythe was; one of his lieutenants, Thin Noodles Ma, had kidnapped him and was the one pressuring the Explorer’s Society. Likely as part of a plot to murder Tam and take over the Triad. Tam was fine with that, surprisingly, Triad Lieutenants were supposed to plot to overthrow the boss. If they weren’t schemers, they never would have risen that high in the Triad in the first place Of course, he also had no problems in giving the posse the location of where Tam’s men were holding Smythe to keep said Lieutenant off balance.
Smythe was in a small hut in the slums of Shan Fan, guarded by a group of martial artists; who were handily dispatched by the posse. Smythe thanked the group for the timely rescue, and offered some more clarification on what he was doing. He had been trying to hide a very dangerous amulet that he and Rutherford recovered in Arabia. It could resurrect the dead, but only those with the darkest, evilest souls. He didn’t know what Thin Noodles Ma wanted with it, but it couldn’t be good. Unfortunately, they’d gotten the location out of him, when they brought in a sorcerer who pulled it out of his mind. Unlike most people in the West, he talked very candidly about the supernatural; as a man who knew full well about the darker corners of the earth.
Asking for their help to retrieve it, the party acquiesced, and they made their way into the hills. Smythe led them to the cave where he had stashed the amulet when he realized he was being followed. When they arrived, it looked like someone had opened up the entrance with dynamite. Moving inwards cautiously, they found the pulped remains of a half dozen triad enforcers, and a giant rock creature that roared its defiance!
The creature roared and charged, swinging mighty fists. The party quickly realized that the gemstone on its forehead was the key to defeating it, but not before it played the drums with McGee’s torso, and Garret managed to blast it off with a perfectly aimed shot. During the fight, a massive muscled figure, standing over ten feet tall, ran from the back of the room towards the exit, fighting through the group to try to get away. Quickly realizing that he had the amulet, the group dropped him along with the rock creature.
At the back of the cave there was a petroglyph of a lightning bolt on the cave wall, painted in luminescent paint and with a smear of dried blood on it. Black Rabbit knew that this particular symbol meant earthquake, but didn’t know anything else about this symbol or why it would be here.
Retrieving the symbol, and allowing Doc a chance to study it as per the agreement, the group made their way back to the Sunrise Hotel and reunited the two members of the Explorer’s Society. Doc couldn’t make heads or tails of the amulet, but was perturbed by how similar it was to other designs of infernal devices he’d seen in the past.
Captain Smythe congratulated the posse on their good work, and offered them invitations to the Explorer’s Society. He explained a bit of the history behind the organization, a series of secret societies dating back ages to investigate and thwart the supernatural darkness that was plaguing mankind. He also revealed that the West was having more mystical troubles than the rest of the world combined at the moment, and had been ever since the Battle of Gettysburg, though he and the rest of the Society were at a loss to explain why.
He furnished the group with membership rings, and told them that any member was honor bound to help another member. And that if there was ever a doubt, to ask what beast hung on the wall of the chapterhouse in London (a jackalope that Smythe had personally shot and killed). Only members should know the correct answer.
And with that, and a few anecdotes about his past, he welcomed them to the society, and told them they could stay at the hotel as long as they needed.