Chapter Nine: Dec 6 - Dec 9 - In Flight, Part Two
After unloading enough supplies for Moore, Lexington, Meyer, Halperin, Priestly, and Miles to survive for a few days at most, the Belle took off and flew through the pass towards Lake's camp. The winds were severe but Evvy managed to keep the aeroplane flying despite the beating it had taken. Going through the pass, they could all see that the Miskatonic Mountains had been severely damaged by the quake, losing as much as 10,000 feet in height. Gone were the strangely symmetrical peaks, the cuboid formations, and the oddly regular cave mouths. It had been no surprise, following the reveleation that the mountains were artificial. The vast expanse of tunnels and underground structures had withstood millions of years of erosion, but the force unleashed by the Nameless God stirring in its prison had left the timeless mountains looking more like rotted stumps than the soaring peaks they had been only hours ago. Buernor had come to, and he said "There is no way that anyone could climb down that mess," as he pointed to the collapsed and broken slopes below. "If we do not save them, Miss Lexington and Professor Moore are doomed."

The mountains had collapsed under the onslaught of the earthquake, leaving only their shattered stumps.

The flight was quick, and before long the Belle circled Lake's camp. It was obvious the earthquake had reached here as well. Great cracks had formed in the ice, and smoke was billowing from where the Starkweather-Moore Expedition's generator shed once stood. The tents were still intact, though shrouded in snow and ice. Fearing the worst, all aboard the Northop Delta were relieved to see a figure emerge from a tent and wave to them. Coming in for a landing, Evvy misjudged the damage done to the once pristine runway and all aboard could feel the plane's other ski bend with a sharp jolt as the aeroplane skidded to an uneven stop. Samuel Winslow approached, bewildered that the membersof his own expedition were stepping out of Lexington's craft. "What happened to Miss Lexington and the Professor? What about Mister Starkweather? Where are the rest?" His questions were answered in a perfunctory manner, and he was quizzed in turn on what had transpired at the camp in their absence.

Winslow shared that the quakes had struck several hours ago, and the aftershocks had opened up fissures in the ice. The generator was damaged and caught fire, quickly spreading to a nearby tent and the overturned fuel drums. Most of their fuel and food was gone, and they only had enough for a week at best. Most of the dogs had run off, and those that remained would not be enough to see them to the coast. Sykes and the Sorensons advised against any travel, stating the region was too unstable. The remaining Fokker had tipped over into a crevasse, and was damaged beyond repair. They had lost three men - Bryce and Cartier were in the sample cave, which had collapsed, and Stoltz, the BFE radioman, had fallen in a crevasse. Doctor Professor Uhr had been badly burned, and there were other injuries as well. They had seen the Weddell fly overhead, turn towards the South Pole, and then fly on. Evvy remembered they had laid supply caches between their base and Lake's camp, and realized they only had enough fuel to reach the nearest one. If they hurried, they could catch the two Germans.

It was early yet at Lake's camp, 6 a.m. to be precise, and time had to be spent straightening the Belle's damaged ski, checking the engine, and getting what fuel they could from the D-BFEA. Tyson gave what aid he could to Uhr, who kept up a brave face despite the 2nd and 3rd-degree burns on his hands. The rest aided in clearing the cave to try and recover Bryce and Cartier's bodies, but only found the former. Myers found his notes and samples, and opted to destroy them rather than let evidence that the cave had been worked by intelligent hands reach the outside world. Stacey and Pierce Albemarle siphoned what fuel they could, and after Huston and Longfellow had filled the Belle, the group was on its way again. Colt Huston had joined them, as someone would need to fly the Weddell back to camp. One of the Germans, Benecke, decided to join them as well. Though an opportunist by Jeeves's reckoning, he would present a friendly enough face to Baumann and Rucker.

The Belle was ready to fly before long.

An hour later, they spotted the BFE's supply cache from the air. The big Boeing 247 was three miles away on rough ground, but looked intact. Opting for expediency, Evvy set down as close as she could to the tent and radio mast the two men had set up. Taking precautions, Jeeves stepped out with a rifle much to Benecke's puzzlement. "They have gone snow-crazy," he explained, "and that's why they stole the plane. We need to be cautious." Despite his misgivings, Baumann emerged from the tent with a friendly wave. Though obviously shaken, he was still sane. He explained that Halperin had gone mad, and they feared the others dead when they saw the damage that had been done to the tower. Rucker had been shot in the belly, and was in bad shape. He had contacted the Graf Zeppelin however, and expected the airship to arrive in about ten hours. As he spoke with the others, Tyson went to examine Rucker. Though the geologist was in bad shape and feverish, he would survive with proper care. But Rucker seemed determined that the truth must get out to the world, and Tyson saw that he had no choice. A syringe full of morphine later, and Rucker would be a problem no longer, though Tyson opted to keep that detail to himself.

Stacey explained the situation to Baumann, whose glimpse of the Nameless God had been enough to convince him that the world should never know of the horrors that lay locked in the southern ice. A plan was made to port fuel and supplies to the Weddell, though the going was slow and the wind brought with it a whiteout that did not clear for several hours. By late evening, the Graf Zeppelin had arrived, and German parachuters had landed to help secure the area. The situation was explained, and after Baumann and Rucker's body were taken back, a rescue flight would be lauched to Lake's camp. With luck, they would be in Argentina in a week's time. Relieved that their comrades would be safe, both aeroplanes were flown back to Lake's camp. Following a few hours' rest, they were once again en route in the Weddell for the City of the Elder Things.

Despite the turbulent winds (and a bout of airsickness) the aeroplane was circling the ruins after a few hours. A figure could be seen on a nearby tower, several hundred yards north of the original landing site at the plaza, waving a red flag or shirt of some kind. Setting down about 200 yards away, Evvy and Tyson remained with the aircraft while Jeeves, Stacey, Myers, and O'Neil made their way to the ruin. A figure emerged, and after a tense moment, it was revealed to be Patrick Miles. He explained that the Elder Things had returned to the city and attacked them. They had used some strange device to dissovle what was left of the Enderby with a glowing blue mist. They had shrugged off Moore's pistol, but Miles kept them at bay with his rifle. Moore had fallen down an icy slope and broken his hip - badly - and Lexington and Preistly had not yet returned. He made sure that the two on the plane would remain there before escorting the rest to their temporary redoubt inside a collapsed tower.

The city of the elder things was no more.

Moore was there on an improvised stretcher and in great pain thanks to his broken hip. Halperin remained there, still bound and glaring furiously, while Meyer sat in a corner nearby, muttering softly to himself in German. Before concrete plans were made gunshots sounded from outside and Miles, who remained by the door to the crumbled tower, entered. "They are coming back," he yelled, "and they have that strange box with them!" Moments later they could feel a vibration that reached down to their bones shake the tower, and a blue mist could be seen descending from the ceiling. "Run, in God's name run!" Miles yelled. O'Neil grabbed Meyer as Stacey and Myers hauled Moore's stretcher. Jeeves attempted to pull Halperin along, but the man began to fight like a savage beast. Believing that a clean death was preferable, he put a bullet in the madman's head and ran.

Running out of the ruined tower, up the icy ramp of rubble, and into the plaza, all could see the tower dissolve in a haze of luminous blue mist. Suddenly, there was a hail of loose stone, shards of ice, and a spray of water as the foundation of the disintegrated tower erupted upwards. Horror followed. A massive, irridescent black ooze with a multitude of eyes, chittering mouths, and lashing pseudopods rose from below - a Shoggoth! Miraculously, the only one who froze was Myers. A quick slap from Stacey shook him from his stupor. Herr Meyer screamed and tore lose of O'Neil's grip, running headlong into the ruins. Jeeves had lagged behind, and now ran for his life. The Shoggoth was not along, piping "Tekeli-li, tekeli-li" madly, as four Elder Things swooped down from the nearby rooftops.

A shoggoth emerged from the ruins, firmly under the control of the elder things. Horror came with it.

A hail of gunfire greeted them, to little effect. O'Neil ran and managed to inflict damage on two of the monstrous aliens with his shotgun, while Tyson remained by the Weddell to lay down covering fire. Stacey and Myers kept dragging Moore's stretcher as he fired off rounds from his pistol. Miles ran ahead and was snatched by one of the flying creatures, as was Meyer. It was too late to help them. Although all who had visited the Black Tower knew the fate that awaited them, it was all they could do to survive. Jeeves shot the Shoggoth with a round from his flare gun, and the monstrosity screeched in a multitude of reedy voices. It grabbed the Englishman, and began to pull him away. O'Neil blasted it with his shotgun to no effect. Tyson was pulling the survivors aboard the Weddell when he remembered something - the Dust of Suleiman! Reaching into his parka, he pulled out the three small packets of dust. Handing one to O'Neil, they launched a volley at the shambling horror. The dust dissolved the irridescent protoplasm on contact, forcing the creature to drop Jeeves and retreat howling into the ruins.

In an instant, Evvy had the Boeing 247 in the air. There was still no sign of Acacia Lexington and her cameraman, Priestly, but they had no time to wait. They circled low over the city, and by sheer dint of luck O'Neil spotted them returning to the plaza. Despite his misgivings, he alerted the others and signaled to the pair below to run ahead. Coming in for a quick landing, the duo were brought aboard, and the aeroplane took to the skies once more. They had lost two to a fate worse than death, but there was naught to be done but survive. With a mixture of regret and relief, they turned towards the pass through the ruins of the Miskatonic Mountains and flew towards Lake's camp.

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