Scenario Author: Dennis Detwiller
Scenario Publisher: Pagan Publishing, in the book Delta Green: Countdown
Write-up Author: Allan Goodall
Run Date: January 3, 2004
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, codename MAYA (Alana Goodall)
Spoiler Warning: This scenario is taken from the second Delta Green rule book, Delta Green: Countdown. 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. The scenario was altered by Allan Goodall with the inclusion of extra NPCs and additional handouts.
Agent MORGAN and Agent MICHAEL spent the end of the year researching items found during earlier missions.
MORGAN finished translating and reading The Goddess of the Black Fan with the help of the translation program he purchased. The entire process left him feeling a little uneasy. The book contained a fair amount of information about the forces of darkness that they confronted in New York. The book also contained two magic spells. One spell was "Contact the Bloated Woman". The other spell was simply known as "Bloat". MORGAN figured that the latter was what allowed Yeung to conduct his "hyperhydration" attacks. MORGAN began studying the spell, but after 10 weeks of intense effort he was still unable to do more than drench the neighbor's cat.
MICHAEL spent the better part of two months trying to make the sonic gun work, but without any luck. The gun has a pad on the weapon's pistol grip that seems to be some sort of biometric reader so that only a particular person or specific people could operate the gun. MICHAEL tried to circumvent the pad but couldn't manage to do it. The sonic gun lay partly disassembled on MICHAEL's kitchen table.
MICHAEL checked his e-mail while at work. He received an urgent message from Agent IAN. MICHAEL had never met IAN, but knew he was the head of I Cell. The e-mail simply directed MICHAEL to call him. MICHAEL walked out of the FBI building to use his encrypted Delta Green cell phone.
IAN had something cross his desk that he and his cell were unable to handle personally due to other commitments. ALPHONSE suggested that he hand it over to MICHAEL and M Cell. A 24 year old painter, Abigail Laura Wright, was missing from her apartment. Her father tried contacting her for four days in early December but she couldn't be reached. He went over to her apartment, and what he saw caused him to call the NYPD. Stuck all over her apartment, on the walls and the ceiling, were hundreds — perhaps thousands — of items. The items were glued with a fast setting epoxy. Some of the stuff was garbage, while other stuff was fairly new. The father filed a missing persons report and the building inhabitants were all interviewed. There was no sign of foul play, and there was no sign of Abby. The trail went cold and the police put the case on the back burner. On February 4 her credit card was used to buy cigarettes in a convenience store in Patience, Maryland. The person with the card was arrested the next day when they tried to use the card to buy home electronic equipment. Maryland police interrogated him and discovered that the credit card was bought on the black market. They were still investigating the credit card angle, but the FBI were called in with the assumption that Abby was kidnapped.
"We the FBI have the case," said IAN, letting slip the suggestion that he, too, worked for the FBI. Nonplussed, IAN continued with the briefing. The items in the girl's apartment suggested a bizarre state of mind. ALPHONSE thought that there might be a link between the girl's obsessive collecting and gluing behavior and the people counting bricks and foghorns that M Cell encountered in New York the previous summer. The FBI needed the contents of the apartment cataloged, and ALPHONSE thought that M Cell would be perfect for the job. A full list of the contents would, of course, make their way into the Delta Green files.
MICHAEL asked some follow up questions. He wanted to know the "official" reason the case was handed over to him, as MICHAEL works for the intelligence directorate on anti-terrorism. "Is terrorism suspected?"
"This is the FBI," replied IAN. "It's 2004. Terrorism is always suspected."
IAN suggested to MICHAEL that he interview the neighbors himself. MICHAEL might have questions of a non-mundane nature that the police wouldn't think to ask.
MICHAEL hung up. He called MORGAN and MAYA. He described the case, briefly, and then instructed them to take the first available flight to New York the next day. MICHAEL would meet them around noon at La Guardia. When he got back to his desk, MICHAEL found the official FBI file had been forwarded to him. In it was the information from the NYPD and the Patience, Maryland police department. He read through the file. That night, when he got home, MICHAEL packed up some equipment and prepared to drive out to New York the next day.
MAYA's and MORGAN's flights arrived on time, a feat almost worthy of investigation itself. MICHAEL met them at the airport as planned and brought them up to speed on the case. They grabbed something quick to eat and drove to the Macallistar building at 121 32nd Street East in Manhattan. The Macallistar Building was a three-storey brownstone built in the 1930s with a faux castle exterior. Fake ramparts circled the windows and a false portcullis hung above the double doors. The gargoyles were cheap concrete. Locked double doors allowed access into a foyer with mailboxes on either side. On the outside, beside the doors, was an intercom system. Each apartment had its own buzzer, but there was no buzzer for the superintendent. MORGAN suggested that they just push buttons until someone let them in, but MICHAEL went with another option. He dialed 411 and asked for the phone number for the Macallisatar building. He let the service dial the number directly.
The woman on the other end of the phone answered, "Artlife, may I help you?"
MICHAEL identified himself and asked to speak to someone about the Macallistar building. After 15 minutes on hold he was put through to Cynthia Lachance. Lachance appeared to be busy, but became both concerned and helpful when told that MICHAEL's investigation was in connection with the missing woman. He said that he needed access to the building. She told him that the building was a co-op and that there was no superintendent. She would, however, run over with a key for the FBI agent.
A well dressed woman in her late 40s arrived by cab a little after 2 p.m. She opened the front door and gave MICHAEL a key to both the building and to apartment A-2, which was Abby's. She gasped when they opened the apartment door. She had talked to the police about the disappearance but had never been into the apartment itself. Even with prior knowledge, the apartment was a shocking sight. All manner of items were glued to the walls and ceiling, three, four, five deep, and more. The carpet had been pulled up, but there was no sign of it. There was no furniture, either. MICHAEL turned to Lachance and told her that he might have questions for her, some of which she may have already answered. He asked Lachance how long Abby had lived there.
"Two years." She seemed shaken by the amount of work it was going to be to put the apartment back to a condition where it could be rented out. Abby wouldn't be getting her security deposit back.
Lachance left and the agents began cataloging the room almost immediately. They spent a couple of hours searching and listing contents, splitting the apartment up into sectors. The police had taken some items, notably a radio and a portable stereo. A piece of broken plastic remained from the stereo. On the ceiling was a CD player. MORGAN pulled it down and popped out the CD. It was a Britney Spears CD, which seemed to disturb MORGAN more than reading the ancient Chinese scroll. MAYA came across a map.
The map was a hand-drawn diagram of the Macallistar building. Each apartment, the apartment doors, and each closet were marked on the map. There were additional doors in the drawing that appeared to lead nowhere. The closets were annotated: "7/12", "Butter and Roses", "Exeunt with spear". Abby's closet had the note, "Man in white sneakers with a briefcase". The investigators checked the two closets in Abby's room for writing, but there was none. They searched the kitchen. The only things left in the refrigerator were a bottle of soy sauce, a jug of milk that looked like it was about to burst at the seams, and a small plastic lime-shaped bottle of lime juice. They checked all over the walls for any kind of a reference to a "man in white sneakers" or a briefcase, but they couldn't find anything.
By this point the agents were hungry. They decided to order in some Chinese food. "Does she have a phone book?" asked MORGAN, "I'll look on the wall." They finally found a phone book and placed an order. Within half an hour they were eating. They were just finishing off their meal, around 9 p.m., when MAYA got a creepy feeling that they were being watched. They searched for hidden cameras, mirrors, even anything resembling an eye. MICHAEL looked for trap doors in the floor and ceiling. They found nothing, though MICHAEL did realize that there was a basement level below ground level. MAYA seemed quite shaken, so the other two agents suggested she find rooms for them. They escorted her to MICHAEL's car. She drove off and rented three rooms in a nearby hotel that was both fairly inexpensive and not very cockroach infested.
MAYA was gone about an hour. During that time MICHAEL read more of the police file. He was surprised to discover that Abby's bank account hadn't been accessed since September 12 and that the last check was written on November 4. When she got back, MAYA attempted to plug her laptop into the phone line to do tap into the IRS database. The phone had been disconnected. Instead, MAYA used the modem in her cell phone. The agents charted the room more thoroughly. MAYA didn't find anything untoward about Abby in the IRS files. They left for the hotel around 12:30 a.m.
The agents woke up relatively late the next morning. They went and had breakfast. MICHAEL had more questions for Lachance so he phoned her shortly after 10 a.m. He asked the woman when Abby had last paid her rent. She told him that Abby had last paid November's rent. Abby hadn't paid rent since. Neither had any of the other tenants. This shocked MICHAEL. Lachance went on to explain that Artlife, the company she ran which owned the Macallistar building, wasn't just a co-op. It was also a patron of the arts. The company was used to the occasional late rent payment, and it tended to be more lenient than the average landlord. The whole idea of Artlife was to aid the art community. Even so, after her phone calls went unanswered she had no option but to send out final notices to all the tenants. "I've never had to evict an entire building before."
MICHAEL asked if there were any empty apartments in the building. There were two: B-4 and C-3. B-4 belonged to writer, Darryl Brock, but he and his possessions were no longer there. She assumed that he simply left without telling her. C-3 had been vacant for several months. It had belonged to a musician who had been arrested for drug possession. He had left the apartment in terrible shape, and so Artlife had to do some renovations before they could even hope to rent it out. The holes in the drywall were filled and a couple of new coats of paint were applied.
MICHAEL asked for the names of each of the tenants and any contact numbers she might have for them. The information was as follows:
MICHAEL asked Lechance for permission to enter the apartment building and the apartments whenever he needed. She agreed and he hung up.
On the way to the apartment, MORGAN picked up drywall, fast drying epoxy similar to that used by Abby, and a lot of items of different size and weight. When he got to the apartment he began gluing things to the drywall, timing it as he went. He wanted to figure out how long it took her to glue the things all over her room. MICHAEL and MAYA left him to do that, and went up to check Brock's apartment. MAYA picked the lock with a little bit of effort. Everything but an old table and two chairs had been taken from the apartment. It looked like Mr. Brock had, indeed, moved out without informing Artlife. They checked the map. The portion of the map with Brock's closet had "Exeunt with spear" written on it. MICHAEL thought it sounded Shakespearean. "Exit, with spear".
MICHAEL phoned Little, Brown and talked to Roy Woods, Brock's editor. Woods hadn't spoken to Brock in a few months, but that wasn't surprising, as they didn't keep in constant contact. A collection of his short stories had been published back in July and it was favorably received. Royalty checks were deposited directly into Brock's bank account. Woods told MICHAEL that Brock's father had passed away a couple of years ago, but his mother was still alive. He gave MICHAEL the number for Edith Brock, who lived in Harlem. MICHAEL talked to Mrs. Brock for a while but she wasn't able to supply much information. She hadn't talked to her son in months. She didn't know he was missing. When her conversation wandered into a discussion of Medicare and her prescription drug payments, MICHAEL politely hung up.
MICHAEL and MAYA went back down to the first floor, intent on interviewing some of the tenants. They went to A-1. Thomas Manuel, a painter, answered the door. With the agents outside in the hall, he repeated most of what he had told the police previously. He hadn't seen "Laura" (Abby's middle name was Laura) since shortly after Thanksgiving. He figured she moved away, as "... a city like New York couldn't hold a free spirit like Laura".
Manuel didn't know Brock, and only remembered seeing him a couple of times. MICHAEL asked if he was scared of the apartment building, but Manuel said that was certainly not the case. Zeroing in on the back rent, MICHAEL asked if Manuel intended to leave. Manuel was emphatic that he liked where he lived. MICHAEL asked him if there was a tenant uprising. Manuel didn't know anything about an uprising. Finally MICHAEL asked Manuel point-blank about the rent. Manuel claimed that he hadn't sold any paintings recently and he didn't realize he was so far behind in his rent. MICHAEL and MAYA peered into the apartment, but didn't see anything amiss. There was no sign of any final notice letter from Artlife.
As they left, MAYA said to Manuel, "Pay your rent, now. Don't forget."
He smiled and said he wouldn't forget. At no time did they get the feeling that he was lying.
As they left Manuel's apartment, MORGAN stepped out of A-2. Along with cataloging more of the stuff, his own glue experiment suggested that it took Abby somewhere between 350 and 400 hours to glue everything in the apartment. Even at 10 hours a day, it would have taken her more than a month. He went back to cataloging while MICHAEL and MAYA went up stairs to check out apartment C-3.
MAYA picked the lock on the first try. The apartment was mostly bare. Dust on the floor suggested it hadn't been occupied in a number of months. The walls had been freshly painted. There were a couple of cans of left over paint and plaster. Against one wall was a large box, about 3 feet cubed. MICHAEL opened it up. It was full of confetti. MICHAEL rummaged around in it, but there was nothing else in the box. MAYA lifted the box. It was light and the only sound that came from it was the rustle of confetti. They left the apartment.
MORGAN came up and joined them. While cataloging the apartment, he found a piece of paper. It appeared to be a page from a play or screenplay. He only found the one page, and there were no page numbers on it. The page included or mentioned a number of characters: Abby, Michelle, Thomas, Mark Roarke, a dog, and the Night Manager. The characters talked about Abby and how she may have run off with a salesman. The page said that her father had come around, and that her father hated the Mark Roarke character. Most disturbing to MORGAN was the reference at the bottom of the page: "ENTER THE FBI AGENTS".