Even for a Government office this office defined drab. The walls, the minimal furniture and the receptionist/PA could all be defined by a single word – grey. The newly arrived potential members of the Arctic expedition was on odd collection; A field biologist, a fortune hunter and an occult investigator. Each one surveyed the others wondering if it was them or the others in the wrong place.
After what felt like a long tedious wait a buzzer sounded and Miss Jones got up her her typing and open the door to the inner office; “Mr Eaton will see you now”.
Mr Eaton, or how he introduced himself Major Eaton was a rotund man. With pipe in hand he thanked everyone for coming and apologised for the wait. Getting down to business he explained the Thule Society had mounted an expedition to the North Polar; for what, he and the rest of the US Army intelligence didn’t know. The only thing he did know was that they mustn’t be get their hands on anything that could increase their power. To this end he invited the three adventurers to investigate and if necessary stop them.
Over the past few years there has been rumours the Thule Society collected objects of extraordinary, if dubious powers. The Major thought such things as highly unlikely but he wasn’t going to take the chance he was wrong. Gemma, an investigator of Occult knew such things existed and realised the significance of these items falling into the wrong hands. Fifi was more interested in the fee Uncle Sam would pay for this little adventure while William grinned at the thought of studying Polar Bears in their natural habitat. With all three in agreement Major Eaton explained the official reason for the Arctic expedition was to send a woman (or in this case two) to the North Pole. America was strictly neutral when it came to European powers and their ambitions.
As the adventurers got up from their chairs the Major gave each a card for the Army and Navy Store. Miss Jones escorted the trio out telling them to visit the Store the next morning to select their kit and keep the afternoon free. Miss Jones was already arranging the the Press interviews.
The next morning a taxi delivered the team to the Army and Navy Stores. An assistant looked uninterested in the group and frankly didn’t believe all the talk of women going to the Arctic. The production of the Major’s cards changed both his mind and his manners. The assistant lead the group down a corridor to a room reserved for special customers. The large room had clothes and kit for use from the tropics to the frozen wastes while the back wall had an impressive range of weapons. Each of the team selected their gear and was reassured that it would be delivered straight to the airbase. The only restriction was weight since the team would be flying into the Arctic.
The adventurers felt happy as they left the Stores; they had their kit and were looking forward to telling the world about going to the North Pole. This feeling stop for Gemma as she noticed a man holding but apparently not reading a newspaper not far from them. She couldn’t say why but the man seemed too interested in them and Gemma learnt not to distrust her sense of foreboding. With a taxi hailed the three got into it and headed back to their hotel for their interviews with the Press.
The uneasiness felt by Gemma was confirmed as a bullet flew into the cab hitting the driver. Looking behind them they saw the suspicious man learning out of a car, his newspaper replaced by a large pistol. Gemma tried to help the taxi driver control the car while Fifi coolly pulled out her own pistol and took aim. The shot hit the man in the shoulder causing him to drop his gun. Still in danger Fifi fired another shot, this time at one of the tyres of the pursuing car. A hit caused the car to slam into a fire hydrant allowing the taxi to escape.
Back at the hotel Miss Jones had arranged for the Press to interview the adventures in an adjacent room. Starting with the more respectable newspapers the team were interviewed. As the afternoon continued the questions focussed on more on the women and less on any scientific aims of the expedition much to William’s annoyance. This was emphasised by the poses asked by the photographers.
After the last of the Press left Miss Jones informed the group two bodies had been found in the car crash. Although the two men didn’t have any identification on them they were carrying Mauser pistols. Gemma and Fifi worried by the security implication suggested they be taken to the airbase that night. Lakehurst Naval Air Station was a welcome sight as it allowed the adventurers a good night rest.
Early next morning the team was taken to the Aurora and met her crew. Captain Bennet introduced Peter Corn (Pilot), David Doval (Navigator) and Tom Wahlstrom (Engineer). As Wahlstorm made final checks the Captain proudly explained the the Aurora was the finest Airship in the service. Unfortunately it had to be as the Thule expedition had a two week head start on them.
The flight to Spitsbergen was uneventful and gave the adventurers a chance to relax before the facing the cold wastes. William talked continuously about Polar Bears while failing to see what was so important about sending women to the North Pole. After a while everyone made an excuse to be somewhere else (not a small feat in a small cabin) to avoid continuing the conversation.
The Aurora set down in Spitsbergen and the crew busy themselves taking on the final supplies and checks. This gave time for the adventurers to visit a local supply store. The helpful store owner chatted to the two attractive women and was astounded to hear they were heading for the Pole. He thought them much more pleasant (attractive) than the German team that came through the place two weeks ago. As the store owner wished the adventurers good luck he mentioned the German commander was a man who had the bearing of one who would succeed at any cost. Von Wartenburg was not a man use to failure.