Active investigators: Lord Fyrom Squibb, Colonel Williams, Professor Scott, Ian Flannery.
The investigators hurried down to the train station. The next express train for Milan would be within the hour (successful Luck roll). They got the tickets and waited among the others, about ten or so individuals dressed for Sunday in Milan. Suddenly two policemen walked in. They looked about and then head for the ticket counter. Colonel Williams rose and walked slowly towards them holding up his traveler’s guide, playing the part. He approached them carefully and rolled for Listen_. Failed. However he picked up a couple of words. “Blaissé” Meaning “hurt” in French. The ticket operator having failed to spot Ian’s injurys hidden below thick layers of winter clothing nodded his head. No injured passengers here. The police looked around obviously contemplating asking questions to the passengers. Colonel Williams again caught the moment pointing outdoors through the entrance windows. "_Oh my, look Atatürk is out there heading for the town!" (the Turkish leader that was currently on a conference in Lausanne). We rolled for Fast Talk and again he succeeded. The two police officers went outside in a haste looking to secure any assistance if needed.
Above: Arms of the House of Sforza, notable aristocratic family in Milan during the 14th to 16th century.
The train to Milan was an express train and took about five hours. At the Italian border they were stopped by fascist black shirts checking their passports and visa. British citizens didn’t need any visa (Professor Scott, Ian and Lord Fyrom Squibb), however, the American Colonel Williams was somewhat harassed but being unable to understand any of the vocal harassment the fascists left for better prey.
Arriving in Milan the city was undergoing major overhaul. Scaffolding and construction workers all over the place, carefully monitored by armed groups of fascist black shirts. “Hermann would have come in handy here with all his pals around” muttered Colonel Williams, thinking of his German friend who was a stunt member of the German NSDAP party.
The investigators hasted to their hotel in the beautiful Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele and rightly so the opera diva Miss Cavollaro had not only booked their rooms but also made sure they had been paid for three nights until Wednesday when the Orient Express was due. The investigators asked to see Miss Cavollaro but were surprised to hear that she had not arrived yet. “Not arrived?” bursted Lord Fyrom Squibb. “How is that possible she should have been here 5-6 hours before us?”
The investigators used the hotel telephone services and talked to Miss Cavollaro’s assistant Ysabel who was currently at the diva’s residence in central Milan. She had not heard anything and was worried since this was not usual behavior. She takes her opera very serious and would not freely disappear like this.
The investigators called the orient Express and got confirmation she had indeed left the train with her entourage of five people and they had seen them walk together towards the exit where Miss Cavollaro waved her entourage off and then disappeared out the station doors.
The investigators went up to the Milan Central Station and talked to the porters. A couple of liras loosened their tongues and they found out that Miss Cavollaro had been picked up by a gentleman in a luxury sports car. An Alfa Romeo RL.
The porters could not describe that man’s features unfortuntaly. They had also seen Miss Cavollaro’s manager taking care of her luggage, and the entourage waving Miss Cavollaro off (as confirmed by the staff of the Orient Express).
Next they went to the police. Language was quite an issue here as no one of the investigators spoke Italian. Professor Scott spoke French however and in the Milan Central Police Station they luckily found a Captain from old Savoy, the French-most province of Italy (today Liguria). The police confirmed there was a missing person report filed on Miss Cavollaro, but became somewhat suspect of why the investigators were here.
A roll for Persuade (Colonel Williams used Professor Scott for translation) soften the police up and they admitted no leads as of yet. The investigators mentioned the car, a sports model, but it was built here in Milan and could be out in the streets all over Milan and Italy, or Europe, in the hundreds if not thousands. The police had no register according to model. They had according to license and registration but this data was failing the investigators.
It was dark outside and the clock approaching 9:00 pm. They head back for the hotel and rested in Ian’s room. Ian was at only 4 hit points and somewhat beat. (Since he didn’t rest he didn’t receive 1 hotpoint healing either.)
They searched the room to see if anyone had been there or planted anything. Some what paranoid after current events. In the book shelves they found a vast amount of guides to Milan’s different cultural and culinary spectacles. But only one book was kind of worn out. Thumbed all over. They investigated it and found it to contain a rather curious story. The famous opera composer Verdi believed that by singing along to an aria, you would have your utmost wish fulfilled. But it had to be inside the La Scala of course. They also noticed a picture of a dummy, a torso, that was being dressed by a very small woman, almost a midget. Professor Scott looked closer. “Could it be? It almost has to be. The size and shape would fit. It’s covered by armor but what I can see it reminds of that opaque marble same as the left arm in our possession. Gentlemen, I think we might have found another part of the Sedafkar Simulacrum, if yet not it’s picture.” Rarely had they seen Professor Scott so upbeat. “Hurry on, we must go to the La Scala at once without any further delay!”.
The investigators decided to call first and after many signals the door keeper Marco answered. He did not speak either English nor French, but after a while the Stage Manager Paolo Rischonti took over who indeed spoke French. Professor Scott put forward that they were sent by Il Duce (The Italian dictator Mussolini, currently in Lausanne) from the Lausanne conference to inspect the La Scala ahead of the grand premiere in two days. “Come over then but quickly please” replied a tired Stage Manager. Arriving at the La Scala and meeting up with both the employees, Colonel Williams was successful with a Persuade and so they gained full access to the La Scala.
They immediately asked to be taken to the costumery and after a long passage through dwindling narrow corridors and leaning steps and stairs up and down, they arrived. Three very small women, almost midgets, were frantically attending to six wooden dummies in a row. There was also a young woman there, Luisa Visconti, who thankfully enough spoke quite good English. The investigators interviewed her and were quite disappointed to see that the six wooden dummies were not quite like the one portrayed in the book found in Ian’s room. Talking to Luisa they rolled for Psychology and noticed something was amiss. She was nervous and keeping something from them. The investigators pressed her harder, all in front of the Stage Manager who started to wonder what was going on here, flanked by the door keeper.
The investigators disregarded the other staff. The three small women paused and stood silent. Luisa started to crack under pressure. She had only been employed four months with the costumery but the old ladies, the midgets, had been here for over two decades. They had told of weird sensations connected to a seventh dummy. They felt uneasy around it and for some reason clothing attached to it never had to be fitted. For the last couple of years alone more than twenty helpers and aides had left the costumery because of this weird feeling around the seventh dummy.
The investigators pushed to know where was this seventh dummy…
“We keep it further down, hidden in the dark in the lowest basement.”
To be continued…