The Ripper Conspiracy – Episode 3

1 September, 1888

Mr. Stuart was the first to rise on the morning of September 1st, 1888. He skimmed over the description of one of the most horrific murders of his time, then casually flipped to the business pages and carried on with his breakfast.

Shortly thereafter, Mr. Morris also discovered the murder and resolved to find Mr. Sinclair. He headed to the Royal Arms Hotel where he found Lord Havershire and Mr. Sinclair having tea in the lobby. Mr. Morris, ever a man of action, urged his companions to investigate, which offended Lord Havershire. Losing patience with the well-to-do playboy, Mr. Morris fell to his habit of physical intimidation by back-handing Lord Havershire across the face. Refusing to be bullied, Lord Havershire responded by smashing a teapot on Mr. Morris’ head, scalding him in the process. Sinclair intervened to put an end to the dispute. Mr. Morris was left amused at Lord Havershire’s unexpected daring, while Lord Havershire was overwhelmed by the incident and struggled to keep his teacup steady.

Shortly afterward, a young boy approached the group and informed them that Inspector Gauss had requested their presence at the scene of the murder in Whitechapel. Mr. Stuart received a similar message.

Mr. Stuart arrived in the district first, thanks to the speed of his private coach. He emerged into an area which represented the worst that the Industrial Revolution had to offer. Decrepit buildings, covered with numerous layers of black soot were bunched together haphazardly. Numerous dirty, penniless men are seen loitering around along with dozens of sickly, toothless prostitutes. Every bit of conversation that could be heard was about the murder.

After ignoring persistent propositions from a number of unfortunates, Mr. Stuart found his way to Buck’s Row where a conspicuous group of police constables was attempting to keep a mob out of a nearby alley. Having shared a coach from the hotel, Lord Havershire, Mr. Morris and Mr. Sinclair soon arrived at the scene.

Inspector Gauss led them into an alley and showed them the body of Mary-Ann Nichols, who had been discovered at 3:40 a.m. on Friday 31 August. Her throat had been severed deeply by two cuts. The lower part of the abdomen was partly ripped open by a deep, jagged wound. Several other smaller incisions were visible on her abdomen.

Inspector Gauss then asked Lord Havershire about his whereabouts on the previous evening. Lord Havershire claimed he had spent the entire night in Mr. Sinclair’s hotel room. Mr. Sinclair confirmed his claim, which provoked a doubtful look from the Inspector.

At a gesture from Gauss, a man was brought forward by a constable. When asked to repeat his knowledge of events of the previous night, he pointed at Lord Havershire and claimed he had been woken up by Havershire kicking him. He then saw Havershire take Mary-Ann Nichols into a nearby alley and have relations with her. The vagrant fell asleep before seeing what transpired next. Gauss reported that two other prostitutes had confirmed seeing Havershire heading into an alley with Nichols, before she shoo’ed them away. Gauss pointed out that unlike the sighting of the man at the Forest mansion, these witnesses recognized Havershire from the front, not the back. Lord Havershire denied any involvement and reminded Gauss of his alibi.

Havershire, Morris and Sinclair attempted to interact with locals, especially prostitutes, to search for clues. Mr. Stuart refused to interact with the downtrodden people of Whitechapel. Notably, Beth Middleton, the victim of the first murder, was discovered to be from the Whitechapel area. Moreover, no one had heard anything about either of the victims being pregnant.

Some commotion brought the group’s attention back to the scene of the murder, where they discovered that none other than the real, live Sherlock Holmes had arrived. Holmes informed Gauss that he had been asked to work the case as a consulting detective by Scotland Yard. Gauss fumed, while Stuart and Havershire celebrated.

Holmes set to work and immediately pointed out evidence suggesting that Nichols’ had probably been murdered in an area to the East of Whitechapel and had been subsequently dumped here. Moreover, the wounds to the neck and abdomen appeared to have been caused by different instruments.

Holmes, Gauss and the group then returned to the scene of the first murder. Holmes commented that the first murder appeared to have been a practice run of sorts. Evidence showed that a group of 4-5 people had been standing around for a prolonged period of time. He also noted the conspicuous absence of Christian or pagan symbols, apart from the candles essential to the ritual, perhaps pointing to an almost scientific approach.

Sinclair proceeded to speak with Mildred the housekeeper and Grant the elderly gardener. Their conflicting stories led Sinclair to callously decide that torture was in order, to get at the truth. He casually called on Mr. Morris to extract information from Grant.

Wasting no time, Mr. Morris rushed the old man, brutally seized him and threw him to the ground, severely injuring him. He then planted the man’s shears around his neck and demanded information. Unfortunately, the elderly man was unable to speak due to his severe pain. With a shrug, Morris removed the shears and returned to the mansion where he informed Mildred that Grant had had “a bit of a slip”. (I’m struggling not to laugh out loud thinking about this scene.)

Further conversation led to the group realizing that Mildred had changed her story. During your first meeting with her, she claimed to have seen a man matching Lord Havershire’s description leaving the mansion grounds the morning after the murder. This time, she claimed to have no memory of any such man nor any memory of having ever reported seeing him. Sinclair determined that her memory could have been altered through occult means.

Holmes then left with Gauss, seeking to examine the letter found in Mr. Pepperton’s hat. Lord Havershire dragged Sinclair and Morris on a gambling spree, where he displayed his impressive Whist-playing skill and managed to double the money given to him by the Order of Diogenes.

In the meantime, Stuart returned to one of his factories. After rewarding his informant, he spoke with the men responsible for creating the steam-punch machine. They confessed having been intimidated into building the machine and agreed to build a copy from memory for Mr. Stuart.

Havershire, Sinclair and Morris then went to meet two people who had been seen speaking in private with Liam Doran at a couple of occult shops.

William Cook was a suspicious old man who was finally convinced to reveal that Doran had invited him to a ritual that would take place at 3 am on Saturday 8 September 1888 in a house in Whitechapel.

Harriet Kelly was a slightly batty middle-aged woman who repeated the information about the ritual. She was also very taken with Lord Havershire, who soon took advantage of her.

The group then reunited and soon after informed Gauss and Holmes about the upcoming ritual. Resolved to prevent another murder, they had only a few precious days to prepare to interrupt the ritual and catch a killer.

Continue to The Ripper Conspiracy – Episode 4

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