We picked up our Hollow Earth Expedition campaign right where we left off: the characters had returned from Mars through the ancient Atlantean gate in Moreus Das, the City of the Dead, arriving in the underground headquarters of the Boston Project of the Office of Scientific Investigations. They came through the gate, pursued by the ancient God-King Morteus, and Veitch — their resident man with Atlantean blood — only just managed to close the portal in time. However, a strange energy surge blasted out of the gate, knocking everyone down. But they were home, and had to quickly move to protect the Martian, an elosi named “Silent Watcher” who they had brought with them, from the antsy marines guarding the place.

Quickly, they report the situation to Director (former Admiral) Byrd: the marines they had been trapped on Mars are still there and need rescuing, but the other gate opens onto a city where some ancient force is keeping people from dying, and electrical technology doesn’t work. He’s been putting together a force, commanded by Colonel Trevor Adams, for just that purpose. They even have another man that can operate the Atlantean technology, a doctor named Gould. His brother was stuck on the other side of the Hollow Earth when “the incident” happened, causing the inner world to turn inside out and emerge from the Earth. It now follows Earth in its orbit, close enough to be seen easily with the naked eye, but far enough it has not disturbed Earth’s path. While the marines are preparing their mortars, machineguns, flamethrowers, and other equipment, Byrd gives them the low-down on the situation on Earth.

Their message from Mars has set off a firestorm throughout the world. Every amateur astronomer, ham radio man, and military in the world picked up the signal, and some even identified it as American. The cat’s out of the bag and the space race is on! They have to get their men back, but after that there are a bunch of fires to put out!

With another rifle company of marines, Veitch opens the Eye of Shambala to Mars and they rush through to secure the place. The body of Morteus is gone, and the Martians that have been kept alive by whatever force ruled here are dying — some were held on the edge of expiry for centuries and simply stopped, others are still hale enough to be a problem…but not one marines with .50 calibers, flamethrowers, and mortars can’t handle. While they are securing the perimeter, Zelansky realizes the healing effect is gone…might the effect preventing electric equipment be, as well? He tries the marines’ radio, calling the Dogfish minifighters on the Martian cloudship Warm Winds, which they can see is in the sky a few miles away, tacking to the north as it abandoned the city. It works! They manage to call back the ship, and while the marines hold a perimeter, recover their men, the three Dogfish, and they are able to convince Princess Priya, who had come on the mission to “establish relations with the Earth”, as well as the pair of gorilla-like Grodh that serve Cointreau, to join them in returning to Earth.

With this successful mission to another world under their belt, the characters were given checkups and medical treatment, while their Martian friends were taken care of. The massive Earth gravity is almost too much even for the powerful Grodh! Zelansky is taken aside by Byrd: The next matter is that of the world-wide story of life on Mars, and that it might have been Americans. Other nations know the messages were US coded and have speculated about it. The president wanted to keep it quiet, but with the arrival of the Martian guests, Roosevelt has decided to meet the problem head-on (and also shine some light on American ingenuity) by giving a press briefing right here in Los Angeles on the situation. He has requested the leader of the expedition, Zelansky, be present, and they want to do a dog-and-pony show at the news conference with the aliens.

FDR and Eleanor are on a campaign tour and are making their stop in Los Angeles. Aliens! Americans on Mars! And Alf Langdon’s not really doing much in the way of campaigning! The president has his reelection in the bag, despite the issues the New Deal is having with the courts. They put the aliens up at the Biltmore, on the same floor the president has set aside for him retinue, and the party finds themselves invited to a presidential function. Following the spectacle of Zelansky’s briefing, and the introduction of Priya, Silent Watcher, and the Grodh, the characters are pulled aside by Byrd.

OSI is riding high on this one, and the president has already assured him of all the support they need. Which brings him to the next matter: there’s one unsecured portal on Earth. Shambala, in Tibet. The Russians and Germans both know about it, and somehow their old nemesis, Obersturmfuhrer Werner, has managed to escape from Chinese justice by buying the Nationalists off. The Germans are offering planes and men to train the Chinese Air Force in exchange for dropping the charges against Werner and allowing expeditions into the deep interior of the country. They will have to move fast, but this is dangerous territory  — the United States can’t just invade another sovereign country, especially an ally. They have to make certain that no one knows they are there.

He knows most of Zelansky’s party aren’t Americans, and have no real skin in the game …but are they in? The State Department already has a reward for O’Bannon — an Irish passport, and the dropping of all charges against him for his part in the Irish Civil War by both the British and Irish governments. Byrd can offer Veitch a place with Boston or Columbus Project: both are in need of a man with his talents. OSI would set him up with a lab to work on their reverse engineering of the Atlantean flying saucers, or some of the other projects with Nikola Tesla in New York. Cointreau and Pin-Li have provided invaluable service to the United States, and as a result, they’ve got that nice stipend, but he’s wrangled a work visa for them both, should they wish to return to the US to work in Hollywood. Or, they’ll be going home in style on the Pan Am  Philippine Clipper from San Fran via Hawaii and Yokohama, then a first class ticket to Shanghai. It’s an open ticket.

Erha wants to know about her father (who was captured in the last campaign by Morana, a powerful psychic or sorceress…they don’t know which); when are they going to rescue him? First, Byrd says they need to secure the gate and prevent any outside influences from engaging with Morana. The Russians and she have a rich and sordid past, and the Nazis — who knows what Hitler would do with a few more flying saucers. Their intelligence says some of their diesel-powered ones have actually flown. They need to secure the gates to Earth, find out more about Morana and her connection to Atlantis, up there on the “Second Earth”, so they can figure out how to save her father.

All of the characters decided to join up for the fight…

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