Level 1

The Golden Mask of Tornarsuk -- Backplot
During the course of her day-to-day investigative research, Lara comes across some 'clues' referring to a small island in the Bering Sea - Melnikov Island; a faded photograph shows an Inuit whale-hunter holding what looks like an ancient Golden Mask; an old newspaper from 1945 mentions a conflict over an Alaskan gold discovery; and a secret blueprint in Russian outlines some kind of fortified military minebase. Locked into the idea of uncovering the Mask, Lara discovers that it might be the long-lost Golden Mask of Tornasuk - a 'Greater Spirit', said to bestow powers of re-animation on the mask holder.

Lara Croft is sitting in her study, alternating between lazily thumbing through her journal and typing at her PowerBook. She is attempting to review some notes she took while she was in Tibet.

She has made little progress this morning and is beginning to find it impossible to concentrate over the endless banging and buzzing of the carpenters. Lara needed some work done on the old mansion after a few thugs shot the place up. She decided to take this opportunity to make a few additions as well as the needed renovations to her home.

Lara is on her computer, searching for a particular book on Tibetan antiquities. She finally locates the reference within the holdings at Cambridge. She furrows her brow and sighs at the thought of having to arrange for an inter-library loan. Suddenly, her eyes brighten, and she snaps the PowerBook shut, scoops her journal and computer into her weathered knapsack, and scampers down the stairs.

Winston shuffles up to the foot of the stairs to see if there's something he can do for Miss Croft. Lara rushes past and announces, "Winston, I'm going to take a drive out to Cambridge. There's a book I need."

Winston asks, "I can drive you, Miss Croft. I just need to get my coat."

Lara answers, "That's quite all right, Winston. You should stay and oversee the workmen. I'll be just fine."

"Will you be taking the Norton?" Winston asks.

Lara smiles. Winston always worries when she takes the Norton out. "No, I'll take the Bentley," Lara tells him reassuringly. She had a quiet drive in mind anyway. She hops into the big silver automobile and pulls off the estate grounds.

The two hour drive across the English countryside passes quickly and soon she arrives at the University of Cambridge campus. She pulls into the parking lot near the Scroope Terrace and she walks to the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art Library.

Inside the library, she loses herself among the silence of the stacks. She locates the book she was looking for and brings it over to a carrel. She opens the musty book and begins to flip through the browning pages while jotting more notes in her journal.

A man approaches from behind Lara, stretching his neck left and right trying to get a glance of Lara's face. After a moment's indecision, he leans forward and asks softly, "Miss Croft?" Lara turns around and tries to identify the man. The gentleman offers, "You were at my lecture a year or so ago about significant findings in KGB documents that Russia recently declassified. You approached me about whether there were any documents that discussed Soviet stashing of old Russian antiquities."

Recognition washes over Lara's face, "Of course! Dr. Andrew. You're the Head of the Faculty of History here."

Dr. Christopher Andrew smiles, "Yes. Since we first met, I've heard of a few of your exploits, Miss Croft. It's quite a coincidence to find you here today. There's someone I think you should meet. I'm meeting him for tea now. You're welcome to join us."

Lara does what she does best and follows her instincts. She smiles sweetly and answers, "I'd be delighted." She quickly finishes jotting down the remaining notes, and closes the book.

Lara follows Dr. Andrew out of the library, across the campus, to the faculty club. They exchange pleasantries as they walk. Inside the dining hall, Dr. Andrew approaches a dark-haired man in his sixties. Dr. Andrew introduces the man to Lara, "This is Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin." Lara extends her hand. Mitrokhin, stands and takes it.

They all sit, and Dr. Andrew continues, "Vasili was the Chief Archivist for the FCD, which was the foreign intelligence arm of the KGB. For twelve years, Vasili smuggled his own notes out of KGB headquarters. In 1992, he stepped into a British Embassy of a newly independent Balkan republic and offered his notes to the British government. Now he is a British citizen. He and I are working on a book together. I think a few of his notes may be of interest to you."

Dr. Andrew nods to Mitrokhin, "The Melnikov file. Would you please show it to Miss Croft?" Mitrokhin takes out an old leather satchel, and sifts through it slowly. The satchel is packed full of file folders. Each contains handwritten notes and photostats. Finally he produces the folder he was in search of. His motions are quite methodical as he opens the folder with great care and produces two old pieces of paper and hands them to Lara. Lara carefully unfolds the first dark oily page, to find that it is the front page of an old newspaper. It reads:

US Daily, Volume IV, issue 13, May 24, 1945. The headlines read,
"Cold War Coming? Tension mounts over gold claims." "Alaskan Discovery Sparks International Territory Dispute by Unified Press. San Francisco, May 24 - On May 21, an American PBY Catalina spotted a Russian merchant fleet several miles off the coast of Melnikov Island. This island, located in the Bering Sea, was previously thought to be uninhabited and of no discernable strategic value. Further investigation by US military operatives revealed the possibility of hitherto unknown constructions present at that location...

The second item merely confirms the first. She examines it to find that it is a partial blueprint for a Russian military base. Lara looks up, somewhat perplexed asks, "I don't understand." Then Mitrokhin produces a third piece of paper from the folder. This time it is an old black and white photograph. He hands it to Lara as well.

It is a photograph of what appears to be an Inuit man holding a large ornamental mask. Although the photograph is not color, the mask is clearly a hammered work. Lara instinctively turns the photograph over and finds a note on the back, "Melnikov Island. 1945".

Dr. Andrew finally speaks, "I thought that perhaps you might be interested in this relic. It appears that during the Russian incursion, they must have come across this mask."

Mitrokhin adds, "According to the records, a Soviet military outpost was established on Melnikov Island because a large deposit of gold was found there. Interestingly, although quite a lot of resources were spent on constructing a mine, the whole operation was suddenly abandoned for reasons that are not clear from the records I have. However, I do know that it was abandoned without any response to the incursion by the United States."

Lara gingerly hands the newspaper clipping, the blueprints and the photograph back to Mitrokhin. Mitrokhin refuses, "No. Please, you keep them. I have my notes and copies of those." Lara thanks him and carefully places the three items in her backpack.

Lara rises, "Dr. Andrew, thank you very much for your kind invitation. It's getting late, and I have quite a drive back to Surrey. I hope you will excuse me, I really should make a move." She turns to Mitrokhin, "Thank you for sharing this information with me. It's quite interesting. I will have to look into it."

Both Dr. Andrew and Mitrokhin both rise, but Dr. Andrew speaks, "Of course. It was our pleasure."

Lara turns to Mitrokhin, "It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Mitrokhin."

Mitrokhin's soft spoken voice rings with a strong Russian accent, "Likewise." Lara leaves the hall and heads for home.

Late that evening when Lara returns home, she places a phone call to a friend in the United States. A woman's voice answers. Lara asks, "Hello, Lita? This is Lara. I hope I haven't caught you at a bad time."

Lita answers, "Lara! Not at all. I'm just finishing dinner. It's so good to hear from you again. How are you?" Lara met Lita on a dig years ago, when Lita was still only a doctorate student.

Lara is delighted to hear the voice of her friend, but quickly gets down to business, "Lita, I need a quick favor. What do you know about Inuit ornamental masks? I'm hoping you have some information about one that is likely made of some kind of precious metal. The likeness is of a bald and bearded face."

Lita is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Tulane University, specializing in Native North American Cultures. Lara figures that if anyone could provide some insight on this mask, she could. Lita answers, "Hmm... Inuit ornamental masks are generally made of wood or animal pelts. Are you sure it's metal?"

"Quite," Lara confirms.

"Well, not much comes to mind. There is an Inuit legend about a spirit, Tornarsuk, that revives the dead. I've also documented a few folk stories about a Golden Mask of Tornarsuk, but those are only legends. It's all very unlikely. The Inuit people live in a harsh environment, they didn't expend their energy and resources digging for it."

Lara gets the confirmation she needed, "Lita, I'm sorry, I don't mean to be so brief with you, but I need to investigate this further. I'll get in touch with you when I know more."

Lita knows the routine and answers slyly, "Off on another adventure? Do be careful."

"Always," Lara answers, "Thanks for your time. I'll talk to you soon." They exchange good-byes and Lara hangs up the phone. Just as the receiver clicks down, Winston wanders into Lara's study carrying a tray of Earl Grey and cucumber and watercress sandwiches. Lara turns to him and says, "Winston dear, I'll need you to rearrange my upcoming travel itinerary. I'd like to take a quick trip to Dutch Harbor, Alaska before my trip to Las Vegas. Would you please make necessary arrangements?"

Winston sets down the tray on the desk, and replies, "Of course Miss Croft." He turns and begins to shuffle out of the room.

Lara adds, "Oh Winston?"

"Yes, Miss Croft?" Winston replies patiently.

"I'll probably need a charter helicopter from Dutch Harbor to a place called Melnikov Island," Lara adds.

Winston is way ahead of her, "Of course, Miss Croft." (follow plot)

  1. The following plot is not part of any full-motion video sequence or cut-scene, nor is this plot endorsed by Core Design or Eidos Interactive in any way. This is true of all plot sections found in The Golden Mask levels. There are no cut-scenes or full-motion video sequences in these levels.

  2. Please note that although Professor Christopher Andrew and Vasili Nikitich Mitrokhin are real people and a small portion of this story is based on Mr. Mitrokhin's life, the rest of this story is purely fictional and I mean no disrespect to Dr. Andrew or Mr. Mitrokhin by it.

  3. For those who are interested, Professor Christopher Andrew's fascinating book is called "The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB". If you are interested, you can order it online.

  4. The name "Inuit" specifically refers to the Native Americans that live in the Canadian Arctic. It is more likely that the native peoples that we're talking about here are Aleuts, but since Inuit is what Phil Campbell called the people we will adhere to this convention.