The gunshots could scarcely have been surprising to the trio of erstwhile investigators, but nevertheless the resounding cracks of four distinct reports sent a shudder into each of their spines.
In a moment one of the police officers jogged from the front door. "You two" – he was pointing at Thelonius and Henri – "stay where you are!" He went directly to number 19, from which the song had been playing, and banged on the door with his fist. A final lyric flowed from the house to the outside world – I'm glad that you're sorry now . . . – and the door opened. Without wasting a second, the officer proclaimed that it was a matter of police business, and pushed his way inside.
In his moment of panic, the gunman had made the fatal mistake of firing at the officers. Though his shot had gone wild, the policemen had responded as one would expect and shot him down. It was a matter of minutes before the ambulance and two squad cars arrived, and all three, Thelonius, Cati, and Henri, were sequestered under separate streetlights. From their vantages on the curbsides, they watched groups of blue and white clad men rush into the house, and a few more minutes passed before two ambulance drivers carted Ramanuja and then another person into the ambulance. Ramanuja was clearly alive, lolling his shoulders about on the stretcher, but the other man – probably Gerloch – was likely dead now.
Shortly Delaney arrived on the scene and, after spending some time in Gerloch's home, set to personally taking statements from the dressmaker, the photographer, and the dilettante. Each one recounted a short version of the events in number 17 from his or her perspective and was summarily given a ride home. Seeing little use in interrogating a rabbit, Delaney saw fit to leave Peterchen in Henri's possession, and did not press any member of the trio too hard. Indeed, before opening his notebook to begin his official interview of Thelonius, he put his hand on the photographer's shoulder and said, "My bet's that when we do the work on that gun, we're going to find out that this is the fella who killed Margaret Whitcombe. Jones, I think that Indian monk owes the bunch of you his life."
III. 24 April, 1924
Henri awoke to the sound of the telephone ringing. Before he could muster the lucidity to fully open his eyes, his legs began the automatic process of taking him into the parlor to the phone. The world around him was still the same dim orange color as the inside of his eyelids when he pressed the receiver to his ear.
"Good morning, Mr. DuMonde. How are you feeling?" It was Delaney, and with a jolt Henri was taken back to the townhouse and to the blur of questions and police procedure that had taken place afterward. With these images in his mind, he opened his eyes fully and found that his own home looked strange to him, as though he had abandoned it long ago and was only now returning to it after an absence of years. Delaney congratulated Henri, and warned him: "No one's to say this is all wrapped up, so I don't want you types poking your noses into anymore trouble – and I already explained this to the young lady and Jones. That said," he continued, "I'm passing on a message from Mister Ramanuja. He'd like to thank you personally. Not for a few days, though – the docs're keeping him an eye on him. You might bring some flowers to him on the twenty-ninth, if you're that kind of guy. But my advice is to keep to the modest clothing business."
(For my purposes, please recount your character's statements to the police here. If you want to give the police anything, or tell them about any of your findings in particular, make it known here.
The next day is the 24th, and everybody receives a phone call from Delaney like the one above. He will be understandably very busy and unable to make time to answer queries, though he will leave his phone number with each of the characters, and a meeting could easily be set up with him for some later time.
Though the larger picture is still not entirely clear and Gerloch has been murdered, it is heartening to the investigators that they have had a hand in rescuing Ramanuja (and Peterchen, too). Sanity awards follow:
Thelonius: +4 sanity
Henri: +3 sanity
Cati: +2 sanity
Additional sanity awards will be made for both continuities shortly in the ooc blog.
This is also the end of the act. Skill awards follow:
Thelonius: +6 listen; + 5 German; +10! psychology; +3 spot hidden
Henri: +3 credit rating; +9 fast talk; +2 listen; +2 persuade; +1 sneak
Cati: +9 history; +6 listen; +8 locksmith; +6 spot hidden
I have, of course, been keeping track of your characters' skills, sanity, hit points, and everything. If you'd like to check your records against mine or just get an updated character sheet, let me know in an email.
At this point, we will have a short time skip. I had thought to conduct the whole thing as a gloss, but that seemed to me to be depriving you all of opportunities to investigate and conspire. So, during the skip, characters may contact one another, meet to discuss clues, or investigate things further through other routes. I suggest that phone contact between characters either be glossed over or composed via email, and that other actions – library research, building a rabbit hutch on one's veranda, dropping a line to an old friend in the department of Folklore at Columbia University, enrolling in a German course, or delivering a vial of ectoplasm to Spider – be initiated in your own blogs. Please feel free to ask me anything over email.
When you are ready to meet Ramanuja at St. Lawrence on the twenty-ninth, make a post to that effect in your own blog. When everyone has done so, we will pick up from there.)