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Delta Green M Cell Campaign (2003 – 2010)

Golden Years, Session 2

Previous Scenario: Golden Years, session 1

Scenario Author: Allan Goodall
Write-up Author: Allan Goodall
Run Date: November 13, 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)

There's my baby, lost that's all
Once I'm begging you save her little soul
   - David Bowie, "Golden Years"

Friday, September 3, 2004, 10:19 a.m. EDT

Coldwell-Banker Office, Tampa, Florida

With an hour to kill before they had to see Sally Klein, MORGAN thought he could best use the time buying more equipment. "I want to be supplied," he said. "We don't know what we're up against."

MAYA looked at him as a parent would look at a slow child. "A real e-state a-gent," she said in a slow, measured voice.

MORGAN would not be deterred. He wanted a digital voice-activated recorder. MICHAEL rolled his eyes in response.

"When they ask for evidence of our story," explained MORGAN, "how will you prove it?"

"Illegally taped evidence is not any more admissible than what is running through your mind," MAYA answered.

"I'll have 'you are being recorded' stitched to my arm in tiny letters," suggested MORGAN.

They agreed that they really didn't have time to pick up more equipment. Instead, they drove to the Sunset Park gated community. During the drive they discussed the layout of the community. They agreed that there was something weird about it, but if there was a pattern they had yet to deduce it.

"We need an aerial photograph!" cried an inspired MORGAN. "Let's go to city hall and..."

"...and steal a helicopter..." continued MAYA.

"Of course, because obviously a mini-sub is inappropriate!" completed MICHAEL.

Meanwhile, they had arrived at the community. They were supposed to meet the real estate agent inside Sunset Park. MAYA drove straight up to the electronic gate. She told the security guard on the other end of the intercom that she was there to meet Sally Klein. She heard typing in the background, then the guard welcomed them in. MAYA parked beside the management building.

MAYA checked her watch. They had a half an hour before their appointment. MORGAN peered at the management office. He thought the office might have a map of the community. Since Klein had yet to appear, the agents got out of the car and walked into the office in search of a map.

The door opened onto a reception area. The nearest desk was that of a woman in her early thirties. The name plate indicated that she was Amy Winthrop, an administrative assistant. Amy looked up with a smile. "May I help you?"

MICHAEL motioned to MORGAN to start the conversation. MORGAN looked back at him and shrugged while shaking his head in confusion. MICHAEL rolled his eyes again and began to step forward, then MORGAN stepped forward to talk to the woman. Both men hesitated. A frustrated MAYA blurted out, "We're here to see a man about a house!"

"Actually we're here to see a real estate agent," growled the usually composed MICHAEL.

He asked for a map of the community. Amy went away to get one, but came back empty handed. She told them that they were all out of maps. The community had gone through a recent phase of construction and they didn't have an up-to-date map with the new layout. They would be getting a new one in a week or two. MORGAN asked for a copy of the old one, but Amy said that they were all out of those, too. She apologized for not being more helpful. MAYA and MICHAEL thought she was telling the truth, but MORGAN wasn't so sure. Regardless, all three agents thanked her and left the building.

Once outside, MORGAN had another thought. He went back in and asked for floor plans for the homes in the community. That they had, in abundance. Amy cheerfully handed him a full set of promotional material, including the floor plans. MORGAN left the office and joined the other agents in MAYA's rented Grand Prix. He handed over the material. MAYA pointed out the floor plan of Vinnie's house. The title of the plan was "Azure 1". MORGAN pulled out a GPS unit from his manpurse and made sure it was functioning. They didn't have a map, but at least they wouldn't get lost. He put the unit back in the manpurse.

A few minutes later a white mini-van with a white-on-blue magnetic Coldwell-Banker sign on the side pulled up to the curb and disgorged a family of would-be home owners. The Delta Green agents got out of their car. MAYA went over to the woman driving the van and introduced herself as IRS investigator Carson Kovac. Klein shook her hand. The real estate agent said that she had some things to take care of, and that she would be out in a few minutes. The agents got back into their car. Half an hour later the family exited the building, clutching a sheaf of legal-sized papers. Behind them came Sally Klein. Once more MAYA, MICHAEL and MORGAN climbed out of the car.

MAYA introduced the other agents to Klein. She used MICHAEL's real name and occupation, and MORGAN's cover story as an FBI investigator. MICHAEL asked Klein, first off, if she had a map of the community.

Klein smiled and said, "Sorry, they were all out."

MICHAEL said they wanted to ask her some questions about the property she went to see in Orlando. She replied that she would gladly help with their investigation. He asked if she saw anything unusual while she was there. Klein said she had not. MICHAEL asked why she was personally checking land in Orlando when her client could have used a local real estate agent. Klein said that she went out there, personally, on behalf of a special client: her father, Bert Sebring. Sebring was a developer. In fact, he was Sunset Park's developer. He is looking for land suitable for residential development, and so she had been looking at suitable properties in Tampa, Orlando, and Cocoa Beach.

MAYA mentioned the strange coincidence that Klein had sold Vinnie his house, and also happened to be in the area where they found Vinnie's corpse mere hours before he was discovered. Klein agreed that it was, indeed, strange. The agents couldn't tell if she was in any way worried troubled about this coincidence.

MICHAEL mentioned that volcanic soil had been found in Vinnie's house, and asked if the real estate agent knew where such soil could be found. She seemed genuinely surprised to hear about the soil. She thought that maybe you could buy it at a garden center.

The agents were out of questions for the moment and thanked Klein. Klein gave them her business card, which included her cell phone number. She got into her van and drove out of Sunset Park.

The agents were determined to get a map of Sunset Park. They left the community and drove to Tampa's city hall and went to the land registry office. The municipal office had survey maps for the homes in the gated community. The agents requested photocopies of these surveys, and then — in a nearby conference room they borrowed for the purpose — pieced together a detailed map. Nothing about the community's layout appeared to have any occult significance. MICHAEL copied the layout of the roads on a blank piece of paper. He looked at it carefully when he was done, but the drawing seemed to hold no occult significance, either.

While MORGAN phoned various local companies that chartered helicopters or aircraft, MICHAEL investigated Sebring's other properties. The M-cell leader obtained a list of Sebring's land holdings. Nothing struck him as out of the ordinary.

MORGAN managed to charter an aircraft for the 10 a.m. the next morning. They could have the plane for an hour; after that, the pilot was flying to Georgia to wait out the coming storm. The agents went for lunch. They ate seafood; MICHAEL's newfound dislike for the sea did not prevent him from enjoying his meal.

* * *

In walked luck and you looked in time
Never look back, walk tall, act fine
   - David Bowie, "Golden Years"

Friday, September 3, 2004, 1:47 p.m. EDT

Sunset Park, Tampa, Florida

They drove back to Sunset Park to check out its layout from the ground. When they got there, they saw flashing lights and the main gate was open. MAYA drove the rental car through the gate. An ambulance was parked in front of the management office. Four civilians and three security guards stood nearby as an obese middle-aged man on a gurney was carefully wheeled out of the management building's front door. One of the four civilian onlookers was Amy Winthrop. The others included a woman in her early to mid thirties, a woman in her early to mid forties, and a middle-aged man with greying hair. The man was talking to someone on his cell phone. The agents assumed the person on the gurney was Bert Sebring.

MICHAEL went over and talked to Amy. It turned out that the man on the gurney was not Sebring. Sebring was the gentleman with the cell phone. The person being loaded into the ambulance was Jacob Charleton, president of Sunset Management, Inc., the community's management company. He was in his office when he yelled out in pain and collapsed.

While MICHAEL talked to Amy, MORGAN realized that someone could sneak into the building while everyone was otherwise occupied. MORGAN nudged MAYA and suggested that she sneak in. MAYA nodded. She slipped around the crowd while MORGAN joined MICHAEL in distracting the onlookers.

MICHAEL walked up to Sebring, and Sebring quickly got off the phone. MICHAEL introduced himself and then asked what happened. Sebring's story matched Amy's. Sebring added that Charleton had bad indigestion but no history of heart trouble. He may have mistaken a heart attack for indigestion, until he collapsed in pain.

While they were talking, Sebring caught sight of something out the corner of his eye, just as MAYA reached the building's front steps. MORGAN noticed MAYA, so he distracted Sebring with a question. MAYA slipped inside, unseen.

The two male agents continued to question Sebring. Charleton was a college buddy of Sebring's, and a good friend. Sebring seemed genuinely worried about Charleton.

* * *

MAYA moved quickly through the building. She found the door to Sebring's office, which was only steps away from the reception area. The door was locked. She quickly picked the lock. The office was what she expected for an executive of a small company. There were pictures of family on the desk, a computer that looked hardly used, and framed newspaper clippings extolling the virtues of Sunset Park. The large, expensive desk was locked. MAYA picked that lock, too, but it took a couple of minutes before she could open it. She didn't have long to search.

* * *

The other two agents continued to talk to Sebring while the ambulance drove away. One of the women made for the door of the management building. MORGAN walked up to her and began talking to her about the "weird occurrences" they found with respect to Vinnie's death. He asked her if she could shed any light on these "occurrences". This suitably distracted the woman. It also brought the attention of the other three civilians, including Sebring.

* * *

In the largest drawer of Sebring's desk, MAYA discovered a book and a small wooden box. The book was old, but not ancient. Along the spine she read, Revelations of Hali. This meant nothing to her. She put it aside and looked at the box. Inside was a deck of cards, measuring about 4 inches by 7 inches. The cards were made of stiff paper and had been lacquered several times. The back of the cards were plain, unadorned white paper that had yellowed with age. The face of the cards were hand drawn in pale pastel pigments, with the occasional highlight in gold leaf. The corners were rounded. MAYA counted 56 cards in four suits. Some had phrases in what appeared to be French, such as "Le Roi de Baton" and "Valet de Denier". Most were simply numbered from one to ten in Roman numerals.

She suspected that the cards were important, perhaps more important than the book. At any rate, they were easier to pilfer. She took them out of the box and slipped them into her purse. She put the book and the box back into the desk. She closed the desk, and proceeded to the building's front door.

* * *

As MORGAN talked about "weird occurrences", Sebring asked him pointed questions about what they found, and whether or not they had anything to do with Charleton's heart attack. MORGAN kept the details to himself, saying only that they had discovered "evidence" in Vinnie's house.

MICHAEL elaborated a little. "A suspicious substance, properties unknown, was found."

"And you think this substance has something to do with Charleton's health?" asked Sebring.

"We don't know," said MAYA, as she moved up behind Sebring. MICHAEL and MORGAN were visibly relieved that she was out of the building.

Sebring was concerned about this "substance" that the agents had found. He wanted to know if there was a danger to the residents of Sunset Park. MORGAN and MICHAEL soothed Sebring's worries. They promised to inform him the moment they discovered anything about the substance, though they were certain that it wasn't harmful. This seemed to calm him.

The agents quickly finished their questioning. MICHAEL asked Sebring, in passing, if they could have a contact number. Sebring said, "Of course", and walked back to the building for one of his business cards.

While the civilians filed back into the building, MORGAN and MICHAEL asked MAYA if she found anything. She said she had, as she stared back at the building's door with a worried look. She said that she hoped that Sebring wouldn't look for his business cards too thoroughly; she couldn't remember if she locked the door behind herself, and she certainly didn't want him to notice that something was missing.

Sebring returned with his card. He didn't appear to be concerned. He handed MICHAEL the card and told him to call him any time of the day. MICHAEL agreed and shook his hand. Sebring's cell phone rang. He waved goodbye to the agents, and walked back to the management building. As the agents walked back to their rental car, they heard Sebring say on the cell phone, "Yes, they just took him to the hospital..." before he entered the building.

They got into the car and MAYA drove out of Sunset Park. She told the agents about the book she saw, and how it was too big to sneak out. She also told them about the cards, and dug them out of her purse. She handed them over to MICHAEL.

Both he and MORGAN recognized right away that the cards were part of a Tarot deck. The deck contained nothing but the Minor Arcana cards. A Tarot deck is supposed to consist of 56 cards in four suits, just as MAYA found, but also another 22 Major Arcana cards. Those cards were apparently missing. MICHAEL and MORGAN confirmed that the writing was French.

MORGAN didn't know much about the occult, but he did know about Tarot cards. He looked at the artwork on the cards. They did not include standard Tarot symbolism. For instance, the I of Coins had the picture of a severed head sitting on a gold coin. Since the I of Coins is supposed to represent the beginning of wealth or the material world, having a decapitated head was not a good sign. He found that several of the cards were unusual and "non-standard" in this way, yet many of the cards were reasonably conventional. It was, indeed, a very strange deck of cards.

The agents drove to the FedEx Kinko's store to scan the cards. Once the images were saved as JPEG files, MICHAEL burned them onto a CD. They returned to their hotel room, where MICHAEL e-mailed the pictures to Agent ALPHONSE. In the same e-mail he asked if Delta Green knew anything about a book titled Revelations of Hali.

While MICHAEL was busy on the computer, MORGAN did a Tarot reading with the cards they had available. Using a standard Great Cross layout, MORGAN turned over ten cards. The final card was the III of Cups.

"Well, we live..." said MORGAN. He looked over the rest of the cards, divining their meaning. "There will be an emotional loss." The cards held no other answers.

The agents went out for dinner. Once again, they had seafood.

When they got back to the hotel, MICHAEL found he had an e-mail from ALPHONSE. ALPHONSE had no idea what the cards signified. He suggested that M cell contact an occult expert. As for the Revelations of Hali, ALPHONSE confirmed that it was, indeed, a magical grimoire. It dealt with a place called "Hali" and a city (or was it a world?) called "Carcosa". Delta Green information on this book was sketchy at best.

The agents sat around discussing their next moves. They wondered if anyone else had gone missing in the last few months. MORGAN and MAYA checked obituaries and missing persons reports online. They didn't find anything after more than two hours of investigating.

MICHAEL went online to see what he could find out about Sunset Park and Bert Sebring. He discovered an online newspaper article about Sunset Park's creation, and the architect, Doug Elton. It was a fluff piece that described the development of Phase I in broad strokes. MICHAEL did a search on Doug Elton. Elton studied architecture at Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts. MICHAEL discovered that Jacob Charleton had also attended Miskatonic University in the late 1960s/early 1970s, though Charleton studied business. MICHAEL already knew that Charleton and Sebring were college buddies, so that meant Sebring had gone to Miskatonic. With some additional digging he discovered Sebring had studied business on a baseball scholarship.

By using a local Bell South telephone book, MORGAN and MICHAEL determined that all three men — Sebring, Charleton, and Elton — lived near each other in Sunset Park. Charleton lived at 11 Hummingbird Court, Elton lived at 17 Falcon Sequoia Drive, and Sebring's address was 4 Lark Spruce Lane. Meanwhile, MAYA checked into the backgrounds of the three men. Sebring had been married to Melissa Carter since 1986. Prior to that he was married to Anne Billings, who died in 1985. Neither Charleton nor Elton had ever married.

The agents agreed that it was best to search Charleton's residence while he was in the hospital. MICHAEL phoned the local hospitals and found that Charleton was in Brandon Regional Hospital, in the intensive care unit. MICHAEL did a reverse check on Charleton's address via www.anywho.com, and obtained the man's phone number. He called Charleton's house. No one answered. Apparently there was no one there. The agents left the hotel room and drove to Sunset Park, intent on breaking into Charleton's home.

* * *

I believe oh lord I believe all the way
   - David Bowie, "Golden Years"

Saturday, September 4, 2004, 12:33 a.m. EDT

Sunset Park, Tampa, Florida

MAYA pulled up to the front gate of Sunset Park. When the security guard began to make a comment about her reason for visiting the community, MAYA answered with, "Stiiiiillll dead!" The gate opened for them.

Charleton lived at 11 Hummingbird Court. anywho.com gave them a map showing this address. MAYA followed MICHAEL's and MORGAN's directions as they read the map. She turned left onto what should have been Hummingbird Court. Instead, they were on Spruce Court. Perplexed, they drove a bit further, hoping to find Hummingbird Court. They came to the intersection of Spruce Court and Ash Woodpecker Road, instead. MAYA drove straight through the intersection and soon came to... Ash Woodpecker Road, again!

MORGAN pulled out his GPS unit. The unit was unable to receive a signal. The agents went pale. MORGAN muttered that they must be in the "night streets"...

MAYA and MORGAN shuddered as they realized what had happened to them. Reality had warped around them, much as it had in the Macallistar Building in New York, several months ago. MICHAEL started to sweat. As the car crawled past scores of nearly identical houses, he pressed his face to the window and screamed "No!!!"

Next Session: Golden Years, session 3