Cliffhangers

Seer Stones of Salt Lake City

June 1927

Following the cast’s hardship in Arkansas the debriefing with the government officials and -scientists dragged on. Luckily the remainder was performed on board a train bound for Washington. As they stepped on to the platform in the dry heat they wondered why on earth they were in Salt Lake City. It turned out G-Man LaRoche’s final barrage of insults had been a train ticket to Washington…State, not D.C. The next train was not until the next day, so they went to look for a hotel. But both the Railway Inn and Le Grande Royal were full from visiting dentists in town for a conference. The same was true for any accommodations within a useful distance. For some reason Tex also arrived here on his way from California to…somewhere unspecific.
As it had happened before a stranger in a truck offered the cast not only a lift but this time also to stay in his house. Considering how things turned out with Ron Pantone in SanDiego some time earlier this raised eyebrows. But this was Arnold Young, a nice middle-aged Mormon (which for simplicity is used i n stead of writing ‘Church of Latter Day Saints’ every dang time!), and also a friend of Lord Winterbottom’s. His offer was accepted.
After dinner he put on his business face and admitted he had asked Winterbottom for help, who had somehow sent the cast this way. Maybe his Persuasion worked by telegraph as well? Arnold Young was the curator of the Mormom Museum, and a recent break-in had left them without Joseph Smith’s Seer Stones. Joseph Smith was the original prophet who received the word of god via an angel written on golden plates, and was granted the Seer Stones to use for translating them. What is not known to all, but most of the pious Mormons in the know, and certainly not written on the glass display case – is that these particular stones were actually not these translating stones, but rather a set of stones owned by Smith prior to his contact with the angel. Apparently he used them for treasure hunting, but there was no more detail than this. Anyway the press did not specify this fact. The odd things about the crime was that there were plenty of artifacts made from rare metals which could have been swiped, which were left alone.
Young told that the real seer stones – the ones used by Smith to translate the testament – were in the safe of Elder Grant, the Mormon’s current spiritual leader and prophet. The inner circle all decided there was no risk. But Young thought otherwise and wanted to recruit the cast to go undercover at the upcoming cotillion at Grant’s mansion to prevent any theft. For their troubles Young would make sure they return to England by first class transport.
The next day Young’s wives and other relatives took measurements in order to tailor appropriate clothing for the cast. In order to not attract suspicion the cast gad to pose as benefactors from London and as two married couples. Knowing the social skills of Khamill suffered somewhat from a cultural gap, Susan had her eye on Tex, and as Elizabeth was allowed a moment’s thought where she was apparently daydreamed Susan called dibs.
Young said some strangers had been seen at the exhibition a few days ago, and as the museum was plundered the same night, witnesses piece together that the joint had been cased. No good description go go on though.
At the museum the robbers had used a small explosive charge to blow the lock, but the door had been refitted since then. The only clue found was a single thumb print made with ink, on the side of the display case. It looked very deliberate, and as it served no purpose in signaling which case to steal seeing as there was only one such set of stones, it was dubbed a Trademark. Not a very good one though, because nobody had seen it before. However, Young remarked that ‘The Preachers’ previously encountered in New York in the case of the poisoned booze seemed somehow connected.
At the cotillion the cast started searching for possible suspects, primarily among the foreign dignitaries since Mormons were obviously above matters of crime and violence. Speaking of which, the cast smuggled pistols inside. Khamill has a shooter and a bottle of booze in his satchel, placed in the wardrobe. Elizabeth had her doctor’s bag and gun in the same place. Khamill made frequent trips there to refresh his taste buds. Sudan hid her and Tex’ two M1911s under her flowing skirts.
The Prophet’s office upstairs was spotted, where his safe was, and possible exit points cased. It seemed unlikely anyone would shimmy down from the window, as it was directly across from the outbuilding housing the toilet facilities, which meant a steady line of possible witnesses. The distraction the cast expected to come was guessed to be the fireworks display being prepared behind the house. Khamill spotted one of the foreigners also frequently visiting his satchel in the wardrobe. It turned out to contain a bottle of booze, several small bottles, and some breath mints. Khamill did nothing about this.
During the cotillion there was an expectation to participate in the dancing. While both gentlemen aced it – Tex by skill and Khamill by luck – their respective partners’ lack of classic upper-class training dragged the couples’ collective poise down. Come evening the party moved partly indoors. Susan and Tex snuck upstairs via the servants staircase to keep tabs on the office. The foreigner Khamill had seen drinking secretly (like himself) collapsed and Elizabeth plus a local doctor look him over. The doctor’s diagnosis was dehydration, Eliabeth added is was caused by intake of alcohol, but the locals dismissed this. He was taken outside for fresh air. Khamill was also outside at the wardrobe, refreshing himself, at this time.
As the fireworks started a heavy set servant in an ill fitting uniform exited the lounge leading to the office and lit a smoke. He was evidently not a local Mormon and obviously not the real owner of the suit, the idea of someone sneaking in as a servant had occurred to the cast but there were too many to bother searching. Synchronized with the fireworks two small explosions were heard. Susan eased out Tex’ gun from her petticoats, he concealed it under his jacket and sped for the office while she kept an eye on the fake servant. Elizabeth fought the current of gusts moving outside for the fireworks display, and made her way up the stairs. Khamill cleverly move to stand below the office window. The fake servant still just stood there, Elizabeth moved towards him to clobber him, while Susan was ready to draw her gun. As Tex entered the room only to see a black clad figure move from the open safe, but not before he made a black thumbprint beside the door frame.
Now things really started to happen! Just beside Khamill a truck smashed through the garden wall, but this hardly rattled him. The thief jumped out the window, with Tex in close pursuit – his gun undoubtedly dropped by now. As the truck’s side doors were not accessible Khamill clambered over the bonnet. The thief landed perfectly on the bed of the truck, ripping the canvas and disappearing from sight. Tex undershot his jump and barely had time to call ‘heads up’ to Khamill before the inevitable collision. An engine was heard revving from the back of the truck – the thief’s escape motorcycle no doubt.

CLIFFHANGER!!!

Tex valiantly vaulted over the cab of the truck only to see the motorcycle escape. By now his next problem was seeing the two goons in the cab look back at him and pull out guns. He snatched up a metal pipe and went back up for the fight. There was a lot of punching and ground rolling but no shots fired. As Tex was backed up only by Elizabeth throwing marble busts of the Prophet and his favoured wives from the second floot the fight was a stand-off and eventually broken up by guests. For a people unwilling to use violence they sure had cojones to step into such a brawl. The coppers came and took all combatants away, Arnold Young made arrangements with the police to let Tex go. The big, black bearded man obviously involved in the safe job, who Elizabeth drugged, stayed behind bars with his two goons. Man was he pissed off when he woke up! He was identified as John Teach, the two goons were knoen hoodlums from West Virginia.
The thief who got away matched the description of the museum thief, identified as Lyn Hornigold. He and Teach were associated with ‘Blackbeard Society’ a criminal organization using names from well-known pirates (John Teach was in fact infamous Blackbeard’s real name) specializing in theft of objects d’art of occult connection. Hornigold’s motorcycle was found at the railway line, it was deduced he had taken the train towards Illinois.
Arnold Young told that researchers from Illinois had been asking about the golden plates – curiously enough Karthago, Illinois was where Joseph Smith died. It also seemed that these researchers were sponsored by William Law of the Preachers.
The significance of Khartago was what after Joseph Smith saw the angel, recieved the Seer Stones, and wrote the Testament he left Palmyra, New York (aka Mormon Hill) to find the Mormon’s new holy land. The Mormons founded Khartago, but following the crach of the bank and the hanging of Smith most Mormons moved on, eventually reaching Salt Lake City.
The cast boarded the next train and followed Hornigold’s tracks. At every station the attendants were asked, but Hornigold had continued towards Illinois. Arnold Young kept rhe cast updated on any new developments by telegram. On the train a Irish bootlegger caught the attention of Khamill, even though he sat in the steamer trunk.
At the end of the line in Illinois Hornigold had been picked up at the station by a large car with Italian diplomatic plates, by an envoy called Benjamin Cowdery, and gone on to Khartago.
In Khartago a local lad showed Tex and Elizabeth around, among others at both the Catholic as well as Mormon churches. Benjamin Cowdery originated from Khartago and a predessor to him had been a friend of Joseph Smith’s at the time. Cowdery’s sister Elisabeth had been Smith’s second wife. Differences between Cowdery and Smith arose when Smith wanted to take Cowdery’s other sister Nina as his third wife. Following the hanging of Smith his widows as well as Nina Cowdery took Smiht’s body to Mormon Hill for burial and never returned.
At the local tavern Tex and Elizabeth spotted Hornigold and an as yet unidentified man dining with a woman later identified as Lady Elizabeth Kilgrew – an upper class dame who was a known associate of Hornigold’s. She had been to Khartago before, stayed at the Law Ranch owned by ‘Mad Dog’ Law.
At the same time Khamill, Wilfred, and Susan were relaxing with a cold drink on the front porch, when suddenly a large truck pulled up, heavily laden with burly men carrying tools.

CLIFFHANGER

But the burly men apparently had business at the building site, and this was not really anything dangerous – yet. Blackbeard aka Teach also dismounted and went inside the restaurant. He failed to recognize Susan from the cotillion, and she followed him inside to warn Tex and Elizabeth.
Across from the restaurant was the former jail later converted to a museum for the Mormon faith and Joseph Smith. It was where he was thrown after the bank crashed, and where the angry mob shot him. The musuem was currently being remodelled, and was a closed building site. Across from the jail-turned-museum lay the old bank, still in use following a rebuilding effort after it burned down. So some of old family owned vaults had not been opened since Joseph Smith’s day.
Khamill joined the builders at the back of the line as they entered the museum one by one, as the foreman consulted his clipboard and ticked them off. When he suddenly saw a huge guy, not on his list he thought he could get a strong worker he could force to take unnecessary risks and avoid paying. Great plan! Sort of…because nobody knew where Khamill was or what he did.
Wilfred crept under Blackbeard’s truck to delicately sabotage it. Unbeknowst to him he accidentally dropped his wallet, and inadverdently revealed the plot to the opposition later on. While most of the cast milled about aimlessly outside the museum Khamill has descended the tunnel dug from museum to bank and assisted in setting charges to blow the wall to the vault room.
Susan cheekily approached the foreman standing guard at the museum door and startet up a ploy pretending to be a union rep. While not entirely succesful it did throw the opposition and drew in Wilfred and Tex as well. By now the culprot’s diversion occurred: A fire at the hotel staged by Lady Kilgrew. Everyone was looking there, and not at the museum. Khamill was tasked with lighting the fuses, encouraged by the booze-running Irishman the cast met on the train who retreated quickly even before Khamill struck the match. As Khamill was moving towards the ladder back up he was momentarily distracted by the bottles of whiskey left behind.
And suddenly there was an ear shattering kaboom! Khamill was blown half to bits, deafened – and even worse: his precious liquor was destroyed! The irishman’s explosive skills left much to be desired. As Wilfred held the opposition at gunpoint Susan and Tex sped down the cellar. Khamill came along insode the bank vault and they decided to not ruin but actually finish the heist. As police sirens were approaching the cast ran along back alleys with a strongbox from inside Joseph Smith’s abandoned bank vault.
As the cast got separated Khamill and Wilfred atempted to hide on top of a flat roofed building. Soon after they were discovered by the police. As an officer climbed up Khamill held him hostage and made all sorts of demands, while Wilfred quietly surrendered. Sheriff Mad Dog Law came along and the situation became markedly worse.
In the meantime Sudan, Elizabeth, and Tex had managed to pick open the double locks on the strongbox. Inside was the Golden Book of so very high significanceto the Mormons.
As Khamill held the captured policeman with one hand, tipping im over the edge of the roof and threatening to toss him down, and a tear gas canister in the other hand the situation turns into a..

CLIFFHANGER!!!

To avoid wasting time resolving such a hopeless situation, any good Cliffhanger flick unceremoniously cuts to the Prisoner Exchange. On a flat plain outside town Mad Dog Law and his cronies walk the handcuffed Wilfred and Khamill towards Elizabeth and Tex who reluctantly hand over the Golden Book for the two. As a furtehr element of tension a mototcycle approaches trailing a huge cloud of dust as the exchange is at its most intense. Mad Dog’s cronies hanging back – a dude dressed as a priest, Blakcbeard, Hornigold, and the Irishman cluth guns to one side. At the stolen truck Olav and Susan likewise flwx their trigger fingers…
But the motorcyclist is recognized by Mad Dog as a ranch hand of his, and he is there to deliver a note. Angrily Mad Dog crumples the paper and hastily retreats after the exchange. Not knowing what the deuce else to do the cast agree to work for Mad Dog. They have to hurry to Mormon Hill in Palmyra at the east coast near the Canadian border to prevent Lady Kilgrew in arriving with the Seer Stones, at the next full moon. As it turns out she double crossed Mad Dog and nicked the stones during the exchange. The hastily discarded retrieved after Mad Dog left note said something about how “those left behind” must not get their hads on the stones, signed Benjamin Cowdery.
Not wanting to waste even a minute Wilfred dug into his pockets and chartered a private plane to fly the cast at best speed to New York. A rented car took them the rest of the way to Palmyra. As it were they were bound to have 3 days before Kilgrew could arrive, barring a similar tgravel arrangement by plane which was dismissed as impossible knowing her lack of assets.
Palmyra was a quiet catholic town with a fair bit of industry owned by Benjamin Cowdery – among other the saw mill and the cannery – who was also buying up loosely connected businesses like mechanic’s workshops and housing estates. Outside town was a small Mormon settlement – unpopular with the local townies – near the hill known as Mormon Hill.

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