Delta Green One Shot Games (2008 – 2009)

A Night On Owlshead Mountain, Session 1

Scenario Author: Dennis Detwiller, published in Delta Green: Eyes Only
Write-up Author: Allan Goodall
Run Date: November 16, 2008 and December 6, 2008
Game System: NEMESIS (One Roll Engine)
Conversion From BRP to ORE: Allan Goodall
Keeper: Allan Goodall
Characters: Chelsea Vander, ISOO analyst, Civil Work Group I, codename RAYA (Alana Goodall); Michael Blackstone, NSA field agent, codename REECE (Jason Gallagher)

Spoiler Warning: The adventure was published in the Delta Green: Eyes Only book. If you are a Delta Green player you may wish to ask your Keeper if they intend to run any scenarios in that book before reading this write-up, as pertinent scenario information will be revealed.

Notes About the BRP to ORE Conversion: The adventure was published in the Delta Green: Eyes Only book for the Call of Cthulhu game system (also known as the Basic Roleplay system, or "BRP). The adventure was converted for use with the NEMESIS version of the One Roll Engine game system. If you would like to read the conversion notes, you can find them on the Project NEMESIS web site. The two specific articles to read are "Delta Green to NEMESIS Conversion" and "ORE-version: A Night on Owlshead Mountain (Spoilers)".

Wednesday, July 7, 1999, 10:20 EDT

ISOO Office, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

Agent RAYA's cell phone rang as she sat at her desk. RAYA was an analyst for the Information Security Oversight Office, the small government agency tasked with ensuring that other branches of the government and captains of industry comply with federal information secrecy laws. The recorded voice on the phone, said, "Hello. You are cordially invited to a night at the opera." Then the call disconnected.

RAYA found her long distance telephone card, the yellow card with red "FullCall" logo blazed across the top. The card, if used from a land line to make a long distance call, would deduct the charge — and a $1.00 connection fee — from the card's balance, which happened to still be the original $20. Also, like most such cards, it wasn't supposed to work from a cell phone. No matter. RAYA punched the card's 800 number on her phone. At the prompt, she entered the phone number she memorized when the card appeared in the mail a month earlier, followed by her PIN.

Regardless of what was advertized, the long distance company took her call, but there would be no connection charge for this call. Routing equipment in Texas transfered RAYA to a secure server in Costa Rica. Within seconds a voice answered, "Agent IRENE." RAYA introduced herself. IRENE said, "Okay, I'm going to put you on hold for a second." In moments IRENE was back. "I have Agent REECE on the line."

RAYA and REECE made up R Cell within the Delta Green conspiracy. Three months ago, an operation went sour, resulting in the death of Agent REGINALD, the cell's leader. RAYA, as ranking cell member, took over as primary cell agent. REECE had only been with Delta Green for six months. RAYA led a cell that was operating at 2/3 strength, with one relatively inexperienced agent.

Agent IRENE got right to the point: the agents were to fly to Burlington, Vermont as quickly as possible. They would be briefed by her when they arrived. They were not to travel in an official capacity. Instead, they would pay for everything with their personal funds and would be reimbursed by A Cell. IRENE would be waiting for them, holding a sign that said, "Ms. Green". Short, to the point, IRENE hung up.

RAYA made her excuses to her boss, something about a tragic death in the family. She bought a ticket online for Burlington, flying out of Baltimore-Washington International on U.S. Airways at 2:33 pm, arriving a 5:48 pm with a stop at Philadelphia. She quickly headed out of her office. She had a couple of hours to get home, pack some things, and head to Vermont. She knew REECE — a former analyst with the NSA, and now a field agent — would be doing the same thing.

Wednesday, July 7, 1999, 18:09 EDT

Burlington International Airport, Burlington, VT

RAYA and REECE were on the same plane, but chose to sit apart after acknowledging each other with a friendly smile. Once in Vermont, they left the plane together and headed for the baggage claim area. Near the baggage carousel stood a short woman, slightly overweight, with short, dark, curly hair. Her blue eyes were framed with a pair of fashionable bifocals. She wore a brown shirt, khaki pants, and hiking boots. The woman held a sign saying, "Ms. Green". RAYA and REECE approached her. RAYA asked, "IRENE?" Agent IRENE smiled and nodded. They shook hands.

IRENE had already rented a Jeep Grand Cherokee. After retrieving their bags — which included their pistols — they followed IRENE to the parking lot. Once in the car, IRENE described their mission.

Two surveyors, James Bartlett and Drew Frost, had gone missing on Owlshead Mountain. They went onto the mountain June 29 to survey a new road in preparation for work on a ski resort. When they didn't return by 5 a.m. on June 30, the authorities were called in. The search for the surveyors was recently called off, after a thorough search of the mountain and surrounding terrain failed to find them. They were presumed dead.

IRENE noticed the story after the wire services picked it up. She and I Cell were involved in an op three years ago on nearby Clastenbury Mountain. Because of the proximity of the two mountains, she was sent to Vermont to coordinate the investigation. R Cell was to find out if anything suspicious caused the disappearances on Owlshead Mountain. IRENE would then determine if it was the same threat as the earlier I Cell mission. A couple of "friendlies" were involved in the original op; IRENE would introduce them to R Cell.

IRENE had a room at the Best Western in Waterbury, where she would coordinate R Cell's activities and act as an information resource. The other agents could book a room, or rooms, too, of course.

Before hitting I-89 to Waterbury, the agents asked IRENE to take them to the Burlington "green box". It was located at Airport Self Storage, a non-descript outdoor storage facility near the airport. IRENE handed them the key to unit 503. RAYA unlocked the door, and REECE lifted the flexible metal door out of the way.

They found the following items in the "box":

The agents took the shotguns, the screw driver, the "Instant Breakfast", the laser pointer, the cash, and the Mentos. They locked the "green box".

Next they asked IRENE to stop at the nearest Wal-Mart. IRENE saw one on the way to Waterbury. They took the highway 2A exit in Williston, and stopped at the Wal-Mart near the interstate. The agents bought 9mm and .40 caliber ammunition, shotgun ammunition, fishing supplies, long underwear, a tent, knives, camping gear, flashlights, outdoor clothing, and other hunting and hiking gear. They also purchased fishing licenses, to form the basis of a "cover story", and four disposable cameras (the ones with the flash). Their shopping expedition completed, they got back on the interstate and headed to Waterbury, about 25 miles away.

There were no other motels in Waterbury (there were more at the ski resort town of Stowe, but the agents wanted to be closer to the mountain), so the agents booked rooms at the same Best Western. The three agents discussed their plans for the next day over dinner in a nearby fast food joint. RAYA and REECE planned to investigate the mountain at first light, with IRENE remaining back at the motel in support. The agents returned to their rooms and settled in for a night of cable TV.

Thursday, July 8, 1999, 6:21 EDT

Owlshead Mountain, near Waterbury, VT

RAYA and REECE drove to the base of Owlshead Mountain, to the location where the surveyors' truck was found. It was on an old logging road that lead up to the northwest slope of the mountain. The agents got out of IRENE's Jeep (she had the foresight to put the other agents on the rental agreement) and searched around where the truck was found. They wore hiking gear, with long khaki pants and long-sleeved shirts; the day was still pretty crisp, as the sun had been up for less than an hour.

They soon found a set of wooden stakes with red flags attached, leading up the slope. They supposed that this was where the surveyors were plotting the new road, or ski run, or whatever it was that they were surveying. The agents climbed the slopes, following the line of stakes.

After about 30 minutes of hiking, the stakes ended. RAYA and REECE inspected the area. REECE found a set of three small holes in the ground. He suspected this was from a surveying instrument. They were probably surveying for the next set of stakes. The agents continued up the slope.

The going was slow. The mountain was covered in old growth forest, thick with trees, deadfalls, and under growth. The leaf canopy dimmed the morning light. It was easy to trip and tumble.

About 20 yards further along, REECE came across a small plateau no more than about 15 yards across. Lying flat on the ground was a stone roughly four feet long and two feet wide. It was worn with age so it was hard to tell for sure, but the shape suggested that it had been deliberately cut. There were marks on the stone, but they had long since worn into obscurity. RAYA found a similar stone, but standing upright. Age had worn most of it smooth. The work of centuries of dripping water created a shallow bowl-like depression on top. It was a wonder the stone still stood upright considering the harshness of a Vermont winter and the freeze/thaw cycle. They fanned out and found other stones — a total of twelve — completing a circle. They had no clue how old they were, or who dragged the stones up the mountain.

REECE spotted something in the dirt as he shined his flashlight on it. It was a partial boot print. REECE and RAYA found other prints. They were hard to see and partially blocked by a recently fallen tree. They pointed eastward. If it hadn't been for the flashlights they might not have seen the prints at all. Even if searchers had reached this section of the mountain, it was entirely possible they missed this clue. RAYA and REECE headed in the direction the prints faced.

A few minutes into their walk, REECE heard something in the woods, a rustle of leaves and the snap of a twig. He turned. A small tree was falling towards him. REECE jumped aside as the tree crashed into the ground where he had just been standing. He jumped up and pulled out his pistol. RAYA pulled out hers. They listened. All they heard was the sound of wind in the trees and distant birds.

"That was no accident," whispered REECE.

They started on their way again. This time they looked and listened all around them. The extra caution slowed their pace.

A tree limb swung toward RAYA's face. She ducked.

REECE scanned the area around the tree. He saw a dark shape. He raised his pistol. RAYA saw followed REECE's gaze while doing the same thing. The shape moved, rushing back into the tree line.

RAYA bolted after the shape, followed by REECE. The shape was about the size of a human. RAYA caught sight of arms and hair, but it was hard to discern details in the darkening woods. They ran for more than a minute, heading east. They were soon in the shadow of the mountain, the morning sun not having risen far enough to light the eastern slope.

RAYA wasn't catching up to the form, but neither was the form receding. They headed further to the east. Suddenly the form dropped into a hole or a gully. It simply disappeared from view. RAYA raced after it.

"RAYA! Stop!" yelled REECE. RAYA stumbled to a halt. Four steps in front of her was the magnificent view of the valley and nearby Clastenbury Mountain. She was on the edge of a precipice, a straight drop 30 or 40 feet to the rocks and trees below. Her heart raced from the exertion and the close call.

REECE joined her and the two looked down at the valley below. Nothing moved. Whatever they had been chasing was gone.

They looked for a route down the mountain that, while shorter, wouldn't result in a bone breaking crash into the rocks. They wound their way northward to a section where the slope was less steep. After 40 minutes of careful hiking, they arrived at the base of the cliff.

A large boulder lay right below where RAYA and REECE had looked down over the valley. REECE climbed onto the boulder. He found a dark splotch, followed by a thin dark trail. He guessed it was blood. There were only traces, though, caught in the nooks and crannies of the rock. The blood — if that's what it was — wasn't fresh.

The agents searched in the direction the faint blood trail. A few minutes later RAYA saw a scrap of material. It was wrapped around a bloated, blackened human leg. The leg was surrounded by the buzzing of flies and the smell of putrefaction.

REECE, the more hardened of the two agents in spite of his limited time with Delta Green, carefully investigated the body. As he got closer, he saw the body writhing; inside, the body must have been filled with maggots. The leg was exposed, but the body itself was covered up, suggesting that something had tried to bury it. Wearing rubber gloves and a large pair of tweezers, REECE found a wallet in the man's back pocket. With a minimum of disturbance, REECE managed to extract it. The driver's license suggested that the corpse was Drew Frost, one of the missing surveyors. He slipped the wallet back into the man's pocket as best as he could. There was no immediate cause of death, but REECE surmized it was from a fall. He and RAYA took pictures of the corpse.

The agents climbed off the mountain and headed into town. There, they met with Agent IRENE and reported what they discovered. The three agents decided not to contact the local police at this time, that it would just put more people into a potentially dangerous situation. Instead, they would map out, precisely, where the body was located.

REECE and RAYA returned to the mountain and found the corpse. They walked around the clearing, discussing the dead man while looking for the other surveyor. They didn't have far to look. The buzzing of insects directed them upward. Another body was hanging high in the trees.

REECE threw a rope at a branch 10 feet from the corpse. He looped the branch on the third try. He tied the rope around his waist. RAYA took the other end of the rope and, using another tree as a pulley, took up the slack. The NSA agent climbed the tree to get a better look, while RAYA pulled on the rope. REECE got close enough to the body that he could tell the cause of death: the body's head hung at an odd angle, and the body was impaled on an upward-slanting branch. If the broken neck didn't kill him, the blood loss did. The skin was bloated and discoloured. He really didn't want to check the man's pockets for identification, but REECE didn't think he'd have to. The body wore jeans, work boots, and a blue shirt. Stitched on the shirt was the logo of the MacArthur Surveying company. This was likely the remains of James Bartlett. REECE shot a couple of pictures of the dead man with one of the disposable cameras.

REECE called down to RAYA, describing the body. There was motion in the bushes behind RAYA. REECE was braced against the tree trunk and two stout branches. He grabbed for his Glock while a figure darted toward RAYA. RAYA spun around, grabbing for her own pistol.

Running toward RAYA was a naked man with leathery, dirty skin, unkempt beard and long hair. He wore sandals made from leaves. In his right hand was a hatchet.

REECE aimed his pistol as RAYA raised hers and let off a quick shot that missed the target. REECE led the target in his sights. He was no more than 10 feet from RAYA when REECE squeezed the trigger. His shot slammed into the man's skull.

The man did not fall. Instead, he veered to the right from the shot's impact, and then dashed into the woods.

REECE scrambled down the tree, with RAYA's help on the rope. They ran into the nearby bushes, guns in hand. There were drops of blood on the branches for maybe 15 yards, and then the blood stopped. There was no sign of the body. REECE knew he hit the man in the head. Maybe the shot was just a graze. Even so, it was hard to believe that a naked man could outrun the agents. After another 10 yards, they gave up. They returned to the tree with the dead man and retrieved their rope.

They discussed their options. They decided to return to IRENE. They wouldn't call the authorities, at least not yet. They first wanted to figure out what they were up against. The situation called for some research. Just who was the naked madman with the hatchet?

RAYA and REECE hiked around the slope to the spot where they discovered the survey stakes. They followed the stakes down to IRENE's truck. By this time it was almost noon. They drove back to the motel to clean up, have something to eat, and talk to IRENE.