Sunday, July 5, 2015

15,000 Miles From The Past {7}

Date: January ??, 1938
Location: Isla Incognita
Situation: Day 7 Next Destination
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Important Suggestion: Reread Chapter 6, Day 4 Ashore On The Island here:

Day 7:  von Stiehl's Journal
Aboard Gunboat Luchs: 4:35 am

"Our next destination is expected to come into view soon. Before going to the bridge I took another opportunity to study the Isla Incognita map prepared by Obergefreiter Jürgen Krüger. Using the sketch from my brief landing in 1918, he added details from our recent four days ashore. By my order, lines of latitude and longitude were not included to maintain secrecy should the map be seen by unwelcome eyes."

"Seven days ago we returned to my 1918 anchorage in Northwest Bay. A camp was established adjacent to a beach and impenetrable wooded ridge. Our primary mission was to cross the deadly River Styx as I named it and march deep inland to...."

"Empty a cave of forgotten Spanish treasure looted from South America three hundred years before."

"Though our modern weapons quickly stopped indigenous people and territorial beasts disputing our presence, we were greatly relieved to return to camp at the end of the fourth day. Our regrettable losses were few. During the next two days nothing of significance happened. We loaded our ships with the treasure and weighed anchor for our next destination...."

"A deep inlet on the north shore." 

"My nescience regarding features west of the inlet is nearly absolute. I apprehend only this singular possibility. West of the inlet there may be a temple filled with more treasure. I know this by means of an incredible coincidence."

"Last year I was in Seville on military assignment. Long ago Seville was a main port for sailings to and from Spanish New World colonies. I was the guest of Diego Francisco Robles. On one occasion we discussed my properties on the Island of Malabascar. Hoping I would be interested, he offered a curious letter dated 1672. It described remarkable adventures of a distant relative washed ashore onto a strange South Pacific tropical isle."

"The relative had been third officer aboard the treasure galleon La Trinidad bound for Seville. A gale lasting two days dismasted the ship. Though stubby jury rigged masts and spars eventually helped with steerage way, the vessel had been driven very far off course into an unknown region. One night in a sudden fog it foundered on an uncharted island's north coast. The relative was the only survivor. After incredible perils ashore including temporary imprisonment in a temple, he built an outrigger boat, set sail to the north and was two weeks at sea before being rescued by a passing Dutchman. A map in the letter showed a deep inlet on the north coast. Apparently the temple was to the westward housing some of La Trinidad's treasure. Robles asked if I knew of Isla Incognita."  

Still Aboard Luchs: 5:47 am

"One hour ago I was called to the bridge for our arrival near the inlet that would take us deep inland. There was a slight haze but it did not trouble us."

"However, it suddenly transformed into a thick fog engulfing us in minutes. I entertained a foolish notion the island wanted us to founder like La Trinidad."

"Our view ahead became greatly diminished. The captain immediately gave the order to reduce speed as a commotion occurred amidships."

"Out of the fog a sea creature of enormous proportions lifted it's long neck above the upper deck."

"One of our seamen taken unawares was shockingly thrust overboard in seconds!"

"After swallowing the man whole, it nimbly altered course, paralleled us and increased speed."

"Someone grabbed a rifle, but the toothy denizen submerged before he could aim. Isla Incognita had reduced our numbers again. The shocked crew vowed to be more vigilant."

"Fortunately the fog became evanescent. It was as if it formed and dissipated solely at the bidding of the sea monster but I kept these thoughts to myself. Soon we were able to see more of our surroundings again. A lookout then pointed to the estuary and handed his telescope to me."

"Canoes were paddling toward us. No doubt surprised as we were to see them, they reversed course and swiftly disappeared up river. Now our arrival would soon be known across the whole island. Surprise was lost. Never the less it was time to disembark our men, supplies and establish a base camp."

Ashore Again: 4:00 pm

"Our supplies were temporarily arranged in the center of the beach until the camp was established. Tentage would be set before sundown."

"First section's screen supported by a mortar and two-man machine gun crew protected us."

"Pushing into the interior was not in the orders of the day. I was confident our firepower ashore and in our gunboats close off shore would protect us from hostile eventualities today. Tomorrow we will enhance the perimeter with a bushy zariba"

"Everyone remembered hostilities from the march from Northwest Bay inland a few days ago. Vigilance especially after the loss of the seaman today was at a very high level of alertness."

"Everything was in order. I took a moment to relax when Leutnant Mahlern told me...."

"Your son Rudi's canoe has been sighted rounding an islet. This means our flotilla is complete with
Gunboats Luchs and Ajax plus U-100. That was the best news."

Dream Or Vision?: 11:50 pm

"It was my duty to imagine the reaction of the natives in the flotilla seen earlier today. Upon sighting us they quickly turned about racing away. They would urgently desire to report our appearance. Perhaps some had perilously encountered us a few days before. Surely few on the island did not know about us."

"The boats would stop at a customary landing and crews would disembark to...."

"Move swiftly inland. I fancied they would pass totems built to warn trespassers. Perhaps they crossed this watery land by one of the suspension bridges mentioned in the letter of Robles' relative."

"They would hurry to villages exhorting everyone to assemble and defeat the invaders. I reasoned they could not be properly organized for three or four days."

"Meanwhile, our camp was established."

"Later blazing fires were built to ward off animals and it became time to bed down for the night."

"Yet after a few hours of troubled sleep I rose and dressed. Gefreiter Dietrich told me the time was ten minutes before midnight. I ordered my guard Volke, to request that my son come to see me."

"I told Rudi my vexing dream. I hesitated to call it a vision of things to come."

"I dreamt of natives gathering in conclave. Excited orations would bring forth plans and then...."

"They would go forth across the island seeking friends and foes to defeat us."

"Warriors of the tidal marsh! Summon the Goraloks of the waterfall. Others would be told off to seek allies even among their bitter enemies. Perhaps some would be man eaters; cannibals!"

"In the dream they quickly scattered seeking reinforcements. All the while a great drum beat was heard enhancing the pace and sounding the alarm signifying a shocking danger was at hand."

"I apologize awakening you to listen to my description. It was very real. I thought you should know."

"Father, your dream is logical under the circumstances. --- Wait. Do you hear something far away?"

BOOM BOOM boom --------------- BOOM BOOM boom --------------- Repeat


1) Celebrated author Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in Memories and Adventures, p.229, "We were steaming past Ægina on a lovely day with calm water around us. The captain, a courteous Italian, had allowed us to go upon the bridge, and we - my wife and I - were looking down into the transparent depths when we both clearly saw a creature which has never, so far as I know, been described by Science. It was exactly like a young ichthyosaurus, about four feet long, with thin neck and tail, and four marked side-flippers. I was interested to notice that Admiral Anstruther in the 'Evening News' some years later described, and drew, an exactly similar creature which he had seen off the Irish coast. This old world has some surprises for us yet." 

2) The crew of Luchs did not see an ichthyosaurus. However, do you not hope with me that the plesiosaurus they did see and Doyle's ichthyosaurus may exist in the waters of Isla Incognita and elsewhere now?

3) Pulp Figures manufactures most of the natives ashore as well as the drum and drummer. Schleich produces the plesiosaurus. The suspension bridge is from Miniature Building Authority. Luchs is a gunboat crafted by Richard Houston through The Virtual Armchair General. The U-Boat is from Brigade Games. Ditto for most of the tropical Germans though some are Black Tree Design. The troubled von Stiehl is BTD's von Paulus. Native watercraft and crews are from Old Glory; Frontline Miniatures.

4) A great amount of vegetation was kindly loaned by pards Chuck L. and Todd B. Chuck made the cave from wood chips. Just wait till you see the rest of it! The singular prehistoric-looking trees are sold by Michael's craft stores in the USA.

5) German translations: Nordwest Bai: Northwest Bay. Höhle: cave. Vulkan: volcano. Lager: camp.

6) Was von Stiehl troubled by a dream or vision?

7) Retrieval of the old Spanish treasure is vital for the Weimar Republic, von Stiehl's secret benefactor and for each man in the expedition. They have superior weapons, sure. However, Isla Incognita has something unexpected waiting within its incredibly mysterious interior. Come back next time for the long and thrilling journey.

8) I will be obliged if your thoughts are written below at the word Comments.


Monday, February 2, 2015

15,000 Miles From The Past {6}

Date: January ??, 1938
Location: Inland on Isla Incognita
Situation: Day 4 Ashore On The Island
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Important Suggestion: Reread Chapter 5 Day 2 Ashore On The Island here:
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Toward the end of the second day ashore, the expedition reached its destination; the volcanic cave von Stiehl explored twenty years ago. Hoping its staggering contents still remained within, a party was sent below to reconnoiter. Later, Obergefreiter Glatzeder was first to reappear saying, "We found the objects. They are uncountable." Von Stiehl then ordered as much as possible to be brought up. Later....

What is the trouble Messmer?

Herr von Stiehl! The objects, the treasure I mean, are huge. At most only one item can be carried at a time. I never imagined the possibility of pearls and jewels of such a great size. All of them are holed for the passage of rope. We are going to be rich! It reminds me of jewelry sir.

Hard to know Messmer. Carry on.

Von Recker, have Kuhlm radio the transport ship offshore. Tell the captain to row in the native bearers we brought from Malabascar. Then radio the Northwest Bay Camp to escort them here. You will take a party meeting them half way for further protection. Afterwards we'll carry as much treasure back as we can.


Major von Recker. Assemble everyone for the return to the camp at Northwest Bay. 

Alright Peter. It's time to leave this place. Let's get the men in marching order.

Herr Major. Do you think we still have the firepower to keep attackers at bay?

Ja. I do. It's the natives I worry about most - should they bolt. 

Soon everyone began assembling for the march though it took longer for the natives to organize.

Kapitan Neumann: "Dummkopf, --- YOU --- come this way! "

In no time the treasure cave and it's jungle camouflage was left behind.

An advance guard preceded....

The main body which.... 

Bypassed an ominous island totem on the ridge they ascended. The cave is off image within the jungle at the upper left.

During the march, von Recker's prediction about expedition firepower mostly came true. He could never believe nor know that mysterious island forces were doubling efforts to confound the mission.

Ulanga Ropen. (Release the Ropens.) Ulanga tapinga! (Release everything!)

Kava mui Pinga. (It is done magnificent Queen)

It started slowly with a bipedal monitor. Though shockingly fast, it was shot down.

A flock of flightless cassowaries obeyed the mui Pinga to protect their territory.

Though they got close, they too had no chance versus modern firepower.

Wild boars then stampeded into the column to be killed within an eyelash of maiming someone.

Indigenous warriors showed themselves. Yet they remembered losses from the first two days of the invasion. They retreated back into the bush to observe and wait for a later advantage.

The column became disordered.

The pace picked up.

Then another wild boar succeeded in goring two bearers before shots ended it's life.

The head of the column reached the stream. On the other side was the safety of the Main Camp.

Some took satisfaction that only a few men had been lost until....

 Men began screaming and dropping because....

Giant bats suddenly descended upon them. More fell and panic struck the column. Men raced for the river and presumed safety on the opposite bank.

On the other side survivors were put into order so as to not march shamefully into camp.

The camp and Northwest Bay in the distance relieved everyone's morale.

Safety surely. This way men!

But the mui Pinga's Ropen had another idea as it veered away from the camp. No one saw her. They were too busy hurrying into camp. At any rate, she would not hunt now. In the light of day she was too visible and vulnerable. At night however, in her nocturnal element, only a minimal bio-luminescence could give her away. Who would notice or understand dull illuminations silently flying, soaring, gliding and diving against a background of stars? Would you? --- Until terrified screams and wild shots started!


1) Previous chapters provide information about terrain and miniatures. One new item is our Ropen. She is  manufactured by Schleich, magnificently engineered and named Quetzalcoatlus.

2) This was our third game on Isla Incognita. Rules continue to be Astounding Tales by the very entertaining, brilliant and clever Howard Whitehouse. Fun, easy and adaptable. Players in this game were:

Seated left to right: Don D. and John B. Standing left to right are Chuck L. and Bill P.- me.

3) The four of us encourage you to place your remarks below at Comments. Won't you?
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