The Armitage Files

Cads, Gangsters, and Magnates
In which initial investigations are made

The team takes the first document to Dr Shear at the chemistry department. He concludes that the brownish-red stains on the document consist of three different substances: human blood, animal blood (probably rat), and a third substance that seems very similar to blood but doesn’t react to any of the tests for a specific type of blood. The thin strip of cloth pinned to the page is cotton fabric (possibly from a man’s shirt as it also contains traces of laundry starch), soaked in this third blood-like liquid. Finally he notices a thin layer of soot, ash, and pulverized concrete on the pages and in the ink.

They do some preliminary research on Austin Kittrell, which mainly consists of looking him up in the Social Register and reading the society pages of the Providence Journal.

Dr Whateley calls on family resources, specifically her brother Jerome, to try and find a way to get in touch with Oliver Gardiner or somebody at the Kingsport Yacht Club. Jerome’s former boss, now Judge Samuel Hepburn, is a member of the Yacht Club and Jerome agrees to speak with him on the pretence that Celestine is researching a book or paper on Kingsport legends.

She also starts the rather involved process of contacting her parents to see if they have any show business contacts who’ve spent time in traveling carnivals and might recognize the names of the strongmen in Document 2.

Detective Jackson goes to Boston to meet with Andy Lane and get the word on “Diamond” Walsh. Lane gets the name of Walsh’s mysterious new girlfriend, Zora Smallidge.

Meanwhile, Dr Throckmorton is dispatched to speak with Thomas Ongine of the New England League of Amateur Astronomers. He doesn’t see any reason to think that the group is anything more than a hobbyist club, but he does come away with a stack of their newsletters that he plans to go through and look for anything suspicious.

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Episode Zero
The setup

Monday, Sept. 16, 1935.

Dr. Armitage, impressed with their handling of an earlier case, asks the investigators to consult with the Inquiry on a very unusual matter.

Last Tuesday evening, Dr. Cyrus Llanfer was taking some papers out of his briefcase when he discovered a badly scorched brown envelope, with only the name “HENRY ARMITAGE” written on the outside. As he examined it, the envelope fell apart revealing a strange document which seemed to him the ravings of a madman. The next day he showed it to Armitage, who recognized the handwriting as his own but had no memory of writing it. In fact, it purported to be a message from himself in the future. He asked Llanfer not to say anything to the other Inquiry members for the time being. On Friday, Armitage discovered two sheets of paper under his desk blotter. Again, they seemed to be in his own handwriting and contained what looked like preliminary investigation notes, and again he had no memory of the document or the investigations it described.

He called the Inquiry together and they discussed the matter, eventually deciding that there are three major possibilties. First, that the documents really are messages sent back in time by Armitage after some catastrophic event that he feels he might have prevented. Second, that Armitage did write the documents and doesn’t remember it, due to madness or some malign influence. Third, that the documents are a hoax by some enemy of the Inquiry, either mundane or supernatural, with the intent of luring the group into a trap or distracting them from a real threat. (You get the feeling that different Inquiry members have different positions on the question. As you probably do yourselves.)

Armitage finds the second explanation most likely and has arranged to be observed at all times. He’s also decided that someone outside the group should independently research the various references in the documents, which is where you come in. The Inquiry members will be available to assist you if necessary, but Armitage thinks that — whatever the true provenance of these papers happens to be — the best chance of learning the truth is for the investigation to be as objective as possible.

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