The action starts with the explorer’s in the middle of the Libyan desert, just outside Fort Oublié.
Their mounts and guides have been killed, and they are under attack again by native raiders. It is a far cry from brandy and cigars in the study three weeks ago when Professor Bottoms asked them to travel and retrieve the Scroll of Anubis, which had been found after it’s recent theft from the Museum of Cairo.
Not wanting to face the approaching hordes, the party decides to run for the walls of the fort, and the chase was on! Sir Malcolm took a bad hit in the leg and Ms Ana Craev almost got caught in a sand dune, but under cover of fire from the others they managed to make it to the walls, where a rope was waiting.
Unfortunately, getting to the top, the poor reporter was attacked by a mindless mutated soldier, his skin bright red and muscular bulk bulging out of his tattered uniform. Goldie 5000 used up one of the precious units of fuel in the jump pack to reach the top and strike down the mutant, while Ana made a yellow retreat to the corner of the wall. The rest of the party hurried up, with the American, Alexander Hawke, covering the rear.
Atop they were attacked by several more mutated soldiers, and also found that several dead bodies had been propped up around the wall. Professor Brown was pretty sure that they had been affected by the same mutagen as the ones that attacked, but had not survived the transformation.
Patching themselves up best they can (a few were injured), Ana took photographs of the mutated bodies.
Exploring, the group then made their way to the stables; it was dark inside, but despite being wary of what they might find, Goldie’s curiosity got the better of her and she entered, only to find it was a group of camels — not affected by the mutagen, but it looked like they hadn’t been looked after in several days.
Moving around the stables into the next section, the group were attacked by another crazed legionnaire on a mutated horse! Ana fled, and Hawke, carrying the candle, rushed forward and drew his two kukri in dual-wielding fury. The horse and rider were taken down, with a second behind entering the fray. The horses were exceedingly tough, and by the time they were finished, the flames had spread into the straw. Hawke rummaged through the pockets of the rider as the others rushed to the well.
A valiant effort to save the building was in vain, however the team did manage to evacuate the camels and prevent the fire from spreading.
The door to the final building was locked, but Ana and Goldie showed their skills and got it open. Inside was the final crazed legionnaire, this one the captain. He took down both Sir Malcolm and Hawke, and wounded most of the others before final succumbing to the odds.
From his records the characters were able to uncover the following snippets:
Winter once commandeered an old, elaborate scroll case from Dubois when he returned from a long patrol near Egypt.
Dubois refused to divulge from whom or where the scroll was obtained, but Winter felt it was best to hold on to it.
The French couple who arrived a week ago, the Bourgeois, asked to examine the scroll upon their arrival. Winter permitted it, and was incensed when a pile of blood-red sand spilled out after Monsieur Bourgeois opened the case. Apparently, the scroll in the case had been sealed for preservation.
Captain Winter ordered Mr. Bourgeois to hand over the contents, and as he grabbed the scroll case, he was struck from behind.
When he awoke, the visitors were gone with a quarter of his charges, the scroll case, and scroll. Apparently they poisoned the well before they left, as a horrific contagion struck the men after morning meal. The sickness seemed to twist their minds.
Winter believes he might have been able to halt the epidemic, but a Bedouin raid forced him to mobilize all his remaining soldiers. There was no time to fight the infectious madness.
The party also found a broken corner of the scroll case amid a pile of dry, dusty sand (no longer red), but were unable to decipher the markings apart from confirming they looked Egyptian. Ana took more photographs of the hieroglyphics.
By morning the raiders had left, and the party were able to sneak off with the camels. Both Hawke and Sir Malcolm were badly injured, and it was touch and go on the way back to civilization, with Sir Malcolm losing his arm.
Once back at an Explorer’s Society outpost they sent the photographs off to Professor Bottoms, and put the injured into hospital. The Society has come through with some special funding to get Sir Malcolm a mechanical replacement, while Hawke eventually recovered.
Professor Bottoms has replied and confirmed the glyphs are in fact Martian, and he has a mission for you to take the artefact there when you are next available. There are also rumours of a white woman being held hostage in Kenya, and a French search party looking for a missing explorer in Morocco.
Characters got 3 Experience Points each, and Sir Malcolm and Professor Brown both get 1 Experience Point for their background write ups. Unfortunately, however, Sir Malcolm now has the quality “Mechanical arm”, and Hawke has “Weak gut”.