Last week ended on a major cliffhanger — Gould and Amon kidnapped by the hawkmen they’d come to ally with, Gus — trying to stop one of their warriors — was clinging onto another whose wing he had trapped in his grapple as they plunged to their almost certain deaths in the ocean below, and Los Angeles and Deutschland were fending off the squadrons of hawkmen with their .50 cals and strange “gauss guns” respectively.
We sorted the Gus situation immediately this week. He continued to grapple with the hawkman warrior, but realized too late why they were falling. With his wing freed, the hawkman was able to slow, but not arrest their fall and was knocked unconscious when they hit the water. He was, however, able to slow them enough that Gus survived, conscious. He proceeded to swim, dragging the warrior, toward the shore.
Overhead, Gould and Amon were roughly deposited in the great square in front of the hawkmen’s forum. It was obvious that the place was worse for wear since the last time they’d been here — evidence of a fight, and damage from heat rays were all over the place. Worse, the leadership had changed. Princess Aditra was now in charge after the execution of her husband, Prince Sycrat, by General Inanna’s forces. This was all their fault; their dreams of opposing Atlantis led to the destruction of the hawkmen’s power! They were immediately carted off to the underside of the Aerie, led through the massive central chamber of the floating mountain where they saw the great machine that was keeping the whole place aloft. They were then tossed into a cage and hung out under the rock with other captives, suspended above the swirling “Hole in the Ocean” that they had fallen into the last time they were here.
Hunter was dispatched with Lady Sigrun (he was hooked to her, so she did not have to try and carry him) to try and parlay for their people’s return, but he was sidetracked when he spotted Gus in the water. Sigrun made a low pass and realized he needed help — massive creatures were circling in the waters underneath him! Sigrun dropped hunter on Los Angeles‘s top, cut loose the safety guide line, and went to save Gus. She was able to hook a line on him, but the weight of Gus and the hawkman was too great for her to lift them out of the water. Instead, they were dragged along, prompting a Kronosaurus to surface and take a bite, taking the hawkman in the process. Before it could make another pass at Gus, however, it was attacked by other creatures — the mermen! (This was thanks to a judicious use of style points earlier.)
Gus was quickly rescued by the merfolk, which took him back to the grotto in the cave structure under the nearby headlands. While waiting for someone that he could speak with to come, Gus decided to search the caves and found the last 46 survivors of Sanctuary, including Erha. Her father, Zek — who they now know to be Zebulon Edward Koenig, a Terra Arcanum agent and protege of Nikola Tesla who was lost here in 1908 — was away with a band of people trying to signal the airships they’d spotted.
Temporarily stymied in their rescue attempts by Sigrun’s jetpack being low on fuel, Los Angeles made a pass by the headland, dropping Hunter and a few others in the “landing basket”, so they could try to find the Sanctuary survivors or Gus. This led to a reunion with Gus and Zek. After returning to the airship, Gus volunteered to try and get Gould and Amon back. Flying to the Aerie with Sigrun, he pulled off a spectacular success on his diplomacy test, convincing Princess Aditra to release the men, that their suffering at the hands of the Atlanteans wasn’t due to their former alliance, but because the hawks were so reticent to really throw in! With Sigrun at his side, claiming Valhalla’s friendship with the United States and the Third Reich, the hawks finally caved. They would agree to speak later, once they had “seen how they handled what was coming…”
Back with Los Angeles, the decision was made to gather living and dead specimens of plant and animal life that would aid in definitively proving the Inner World’s existence. With the support of the scientific community, Byrd expects they could launch a much larger, better equipped mission to try and make more friends, and exert some influence in the Hollow Earth. Werner, over on Deutschland, agrees to aid the effort, loaning himself and his troops to aid in capturing the dinosaurs and other creatures.
Additionally, Gus makes contact with the merfolk, only to find out that he is now the father of a “walker” — a merman with legs — with Princess Osha. Reeling from the revelation, Gus is torn at first, but quickly falls under the mermaid’s spell. He and Gould convince her father, King Triton, to send a delegation back with Los Angeles to the outside world. Sentient creatures can only strengthen their case!
For days, they trap, hunt, and cultivate, but before they can start moving their specimens to the ships a tropical storm forces the airships to decamp for safety’s sake. They are left for three days in torrential downpours and thunderstorms. When it clears, they are confronted not with the return of their airships, but the arrival of the Imperial Warship Shiva — a massive flying craft filled with light war saucers and hundreds of troops! Ordered by General Inanna to surrender, they take refuge in the caves. As Shiva lands and begins to disgorge troops, Gus gives the order to the Nazi troops to attack quick, before they can react! For the Fatherland!
A hundred SS troops charge the superior number of Atlantean troops, as heat rays and bullets are exchanged in the shadow of the mighty warship when we left off for the evening.