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Delta Green M Cell Campaign (2003 – 2010)

Water/Retention, Session 1

Scenario Author: Allan Goodall
Write-up Author: Allan Goodall
Run Date: August 23, 2003
Game System: Chaosium's Basic RolePlaying (BRP)
Keeper: Allan Goodall
Characters: Nicholas Connelly, codename MICHAEL (Jason Gallagher); Joshua Frost, codename MORGAN (Jimmy Pope); Carson Kovac (Alana Goodall)

Monday, August 18, 2003, 7:00 p.m. EDT

Undisclosed Hotel, New York, New York

IRS Investigator Carson Kovac had been investigating Francis Ng, a Vietnamese-American accused of laundering money for various organized crime groups. He lived in New Orleans, which is how Kovac became involved as Kovac operates out of the New Orleans office. After two years of investigating — six months almost exclusively — Kovac was close to making a case for the FBI. Two weeks before, Ng left the country for Hong Kong. He returned earlier today, flying into San Francisco and then to New York. Kovac met the FBI in New York and surveillance was set up on Ng's hotel room.

About 7:15 p.m. Ng made a call on his cell phone. The taping and tracing equipment in the nondescript FBI van began to track the call. The conversation began with someone asking Ng if he "got the package". Suddenly the power died in the van. When it came back on the cell phone connection was dead. Kovac had Simpson and Turner, the two FBI agents in the van, check the equipment. They found nothing wrong; the equipment and generator worked perfectly.

None of the FBI agents around the hotel saw anyone matching Ng's description leave. After 90 minutes, Kovac went back to her hotel room, ordering the FBI agents to call her if anything came up. Soon after she got to the hotel, the agents called. Ng was dead.

Kovac went to Ng's hotel room, fuming that the FBI had botched the case. The sight of the body almost sent her reeling. Ng had inflated to between four and five times his normal size. She stepped into the hall and refused to re-enter the room. The FBI contacted the CDC.

As it so happened, the call was forwarded to Delta Green agent MORGAN. MORGAN scrambled his team out of Atlanta on route to New York. When he was given the specifics of the case, he contacted DG agent MICHAEL and had him drive to New York. MORGAN received the initial crime scene photos while on a private CDC aircraft. They were disturbing. His initial thought was that the body was retaining vast amounts of water.

MORGAN took over the case when he arrived in New York a few hours later. Donning hazmat gear, he and his team sealed off the building and quarantined the 12th floor, where Ng was staying. Kovac was quarantined on the floor. The CDC team began checking out the room. Initial tests indicated that there were no biological or chemical agents present. MORGAN entered the room, alone.

He began searching the room, but found nothing, his "bunny suit" apparently making it hard for him to see anything that wasn't outright obvious. Ng's body was between the two beds in the standard hotel room. Anyone trying to get past the body would have to climb on top of it, or climb over a bed. There were two suitcases in the room. The nearest contained Ng's clothes. The farthest, on the other bed, appeared empty.. MORGAN tried to climb over the nearest bed but he fell between the two beds. Fortunately his suit maintained integrity after he hit the floor..

MORGAN searched the corpse but found nothing surprising (other than the body itself). The clumsy suit got in the way as he tried to take fluid from the corpse and ended up breaking a needle instead. Eventually he drew fluid and filled a couple of specimen jars. The fluid was clear, with the viscosity of water.

MORGAN checked the victim's cell phone. The phone log showed only three calls in the sent list and no received calls. Two calls were four days ago, one call was that night. One of the calls four days ago was an international long distance call to a California number. The other two numbers were, mysteriously, labeled as "Unknown".

About this time, MICHAEL appeared. He went up to the CDC prep area on the 11th floor and donned a hazmat suit of his own. He proceeded up to the 12th floor. Kovac saw him enter the room. She followed.

Introductions were made. While MORGAN continued to check out the body, MICHAEL — an actual FBI Special Agent — and Kovac searched the room. Kovac found a receipt in the full suitcase. The receipt, written in English, was from the Jade Auction House in Hong Kong for a single figure. The amount was 15,000 Hong Kong dollars. MICHAEL found a slip of paper, hidden in a secret pocket in the empty suitcase, written in Chinese.

In the next couple of hours preliminary tests came in. The air was "clean" (or as clean as you get in New York). The fluid in Ng's body appeared to be distilled water. MICHAEL found an empty water bottle under the corpse. According to MORGAN, the victim suffered from "Hyper-hydration", cause unknown. MICHAEL found one last thing: MORGAN's broken syringe needle.

MICHAEL checked Ng's cell phone. He and Kovac determined that the one call that night was the call made when the FBI's van lost power. MICHAEL tried to call out but found that the phone had already been disconnected. The phone didn't indicate a cell phone company, leading MORGAN to speculate that it was a cloned telephone. Ng's room was sealed off and MORGAN conducted an autopsy with portable CDC gear. The cause of death was asphyxiation. During the autopsy, the fluid collected from the body did not overflow the available tanks. It seemed to be evaporating at an incredibly quick rate. By the time the autopsy was finished, MORGAN got a phone call from a lab. The sealed specimen jar with the first fluid sample was empty and contained no residue. It was now that MORGAN realized the body was losing its size. It was oozing water from its pores, but not enough water had soaked into the carpet to account for the water loss. The water was quickly evaporating.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003, 7:15 a.m. EDT

Undisclosed Hotel, New York, New York

MORGAN released the building from quarantine and had his people send the body down to the morgue. MORGAN, MICHAEL and Kovac went to a nearby Chinese restaurant for dim sum. While eating they had the serving woman translate the paper written in Chinese. It was a receipt from the Jade Auction House in Hong Kong. It was also for a single statue, but the amount paid was HK$1,000,000. MORGAN had been up all night, so he went to bed while the other two checked leads.

The long distance call to California was to American Airlines. Ng arrived in San Francisco on Cathay Pacific, but flew American to New York. This led MICHAEL to speculate that Ng had phoned the American Airlines ticket line from Hong Kong; the call was in the evening — Hong Kong time — on the same day as the date found on both receipts. A check of Kovac's information on Ng indicated that this cell phone was through AT&T. AT&T confirmed that the phone had been disconnected the previous day at 7:30 p.m. It had been registered to a Robert Hubert.

MORGAN was awakened six hours later with the news that another hyper-hydrated body had been found. This body was that of restaurateur Murray Swartz. Swartz left behind a daughter, an ex-wife, and a successful restaurant business. He lived in the apartment building across the street from Ng's hotel. Swartz's room number was 1235. Swartz died from hyper-hydration of the neck. Finger marks on the neck suggest he was grabbed there.

It wasn't until the agents got to the apartment building that they realized Swartz's apartment was on the same floor as Ng's, the 12th. Police tape sealed off the apartment, so they decided to do the right thing and get the superintendent to open the door for them.

While they waited for the superintendent, they talked to the doorman. He told them of a strange vehicle parked across the street from about 7 p.m. until about 7:30 p.m. every night for the last couple of weeks. The car always seemed to be in time to get that same parking space. It towed a hotdog cart. The doorman didn't catch the car's license plate but he did get the licensing number from the cart.

The superintendent let them into the apartment. They searched the apartment but found only that Swartz was a successful restaurant owner. The only link they could find was that the apartment looked directly into Ng's hotel room.

The next day the agents checked on the hotdog vendor. His name was Bill Morrison and his usual spot was in Battery Park. The agents drove there and watched him. At the time he would need to drive over to Swartz's building, Morrison started putting condiments away. He stopped, looked at his watch, and then put the condiments back out. He stayed at his spot until after 7 p.m., when pedestrian traffic began to slow down. The agents decided to check him out from a closer angle.

Kovac bought a hotdog from him. She could tell that he was a loner, brash and talkative while selling something, but then quiet and introverted. MICHAEL also bought a hotdog from him after Kovac walked away. Neither of them ate the hotdog. MORGAN came up to Morrison and bought a bottle of water, taking it away to be analyzed later. MICHAEL tried to take a picture of Morrison with his cell phone but he was noticed when the flash went off. The agents moved in to confront him.

At first Morrison was quiet. MORGAN demanded samples of everything from the cart, but Morrison balked. Kovac replied with, "Ketchup or blood, it doesn't really matter. Cough something up!" MICHAEL's badge seemed to intimidate Morrison, and so he started talking.

Morrison told them about a voice in his cart telling him to go to a blue door at 96th and East 5th streets. Once there, a voice behind the door told him to go to a building every day at 7 p.m. for two weeks and count all the bricks in the front of the building. Morrison did just that, the last day being yesterday. He couldn't explain why he did it, or what the voice sounded like, just that he felt compelled to do it, so he did it. When asked if he saw anything strange, he mentioned how he saw a tall, thin oriental male, in his early 30s, leave the building around 7:25 p.m., get into a Lexus, and drive away. Morrison could add nothing more, so the agents let him go.

They drove to 95th and East 5th. They checked the entire building and found an alley way that was most likely where Morrison found the blue door, but there was no door there, blue or otherwise.

As the agents were leaving, MORGAN's cell phone rang. It was the morgue. Another hyper-hydrated body had turned up.