Scenario Author: Adam Scott Glancy and John Tynes
Scenario Publisher: Pagan Publishing, in the Delta Green rule book
Write-up Author: Allan Goodall
Run Date: June 25, 2005
Game System: Chaosium's Basic RolePlaying (BRP)
Keeper: Allan Goodall
Characters: Nicholas Connelly a.k.a. Robert Benson, codename MICHAEL (Jason Gallagher); Joshua Frost a.k.a. Morgan Lancaster, codename MORGAN (Jimmy Pope); Carson Kovac a.k.a. Maya Angelou, codename MAYA (Alana Goodall)
Spoiler Warning: This scenario is taken from the Delta Green rule 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.
It took the agents about twenty minutes to drive to Washington University, and another twenty minutes to park and find the earth science's building. Inside the building's foyer was a meeting area where students could lounge. Three FBI agents — trying to look like disinterested college students and failing miserably — checked out everyone who entered the building. The Delta Green operatives ignored the FBI men. They found a sign indicating the route to the Geology Department labs and offices, and headed in that direction. They were looking for the laboratory of chief geologist Professor Travis Archer.
On the way, MAYA and MORGAN realized that they were being followed. One of the FBI agents was tailing them while pretending to look for a professor's office. MICHAEL didn't know they were followed, so MORGAN said, "Uh, remember that great little tour we took the other week, when we were in Switzerland?"
MICHAEL looked at MORGAN, puzzled. MORGAN continued. "Remember there was you, me, that elderly couple, and that one guy who was always behind us? He was always bumping into us? Wasn't that a fun trip?"
MICHAEL figured out what MORGAN's fictional story represented. "Uh, yeah. That was a great trip, except for that issue," he replied, and then glanced back. He saw the FBI agent pretending to look for an office. MICHAEL walked back to the agent.
"Uh, excuse me sir," said MICHAEL. "Federal Bureau of Investigation". He did not pull out his badge.
"What are you talking about?" asked the faux student.
"I'm Robert Benson. I'm with Louis Gaston."
The agent smiled and shook his hand. The agent explained that he and the others were detailed by Gaston — he pronounced the name "GAS-tin" — to watch the lab and secure the evidence. Once he was convinced that MICHAEL and the others were supposed to be there, he gave a little two-fingered salute and went back to the foyer.
MICHAEL opened a door to an office area. A narrow hallway held a half dozen faculty offices. In front of them was a secretary's cubicle. A blonde woman in her early thirties dressed in jeans and a t-shirt was catching up on some filing. She was surprised to see the agents, but quickly smiled and said, "May I help you?"
"We're here to see Professor Archer," said MORGAN.
"Who should I say is here?"
"We're, uh, working with the current investigation," stammered MORGAN, "which he is working. We're with Gaston." MICHAEL flashed his badge.
The secretary picked up the phone and pressed a button. "Some FBI people are here to see you." When she received Archer's answer she hung up the phone, smiled, and directed them to his office.
Archer's office was the third door on the right down a narrow hallway that ran parallel to the main hallway. They knocked on his door. "Come," answered a man from inside. The office was dominated by a large wooden desk piled high with papers and assorted rocks. Weighty geological tomes and various sized rocks fought for space on overcrowded book cases. A narrow window illuminated the campus, below. MICHAEL pulled out his badge and said they were FBI agents. MORGAN began to introduce himself and the other investigators more formally. MICHAEL started to interrupt him by saying, "We're very busy, and..."
MAYA interrupted MICHAEL. "Let's cut to the chase." She clapped her hands for emphasis. "We need the crystal."
"Uh, uh, right. The crystal," said Archer. "Come with me."
The agents walked behind the professor as he took them out of the office area, down the main corridor, and over to a locked door. Archer unlocked the door and turned on the lights. The agents followed him into an aging geology lab. The lab could almost have been mistaken for a chemistry laboratory if it wasn't for the large bench saws, circular saws, and band saws used for cutting open the room's large rock collection. Bottles of chemicals, mostly caustic, sat in glass cases. There were several fume hoods underneath a row of cabinets. Three optical microscopes, an electron microscope, and a mass spectrometer took up the back third of the room. Every available surface, save for the student tables and one quarter of the instructor's table, was covered in rocks, minerals, and geodes. Archer walked them over to the nearest student table. On the table was the crystal.
The crystal was milky white with shiny flecks embedded in it. It was about 6 inches long and the diameter of a quarter. The top and bottom had been cut with a jeweler's tools to make it look finished. The agents went over to it and took a good look. It sat on a piece of marble. They noticed that one side was completely flat. It lay on the flat side.
Eyeing the flat side, MAYA asked the professor a series of questions about the methodologies used to investigate the crystal. She wanted to know if the cut it, how much they took, how they tested it, etc. Archer explained that most of his experiments involved shining light through the piece and measuring the light that came out the other side. He did take a very tiny sliver to look through his microscopes, but only after he okayed it with the FBI. He also subjected the sliver to acids and put it through a gas spectrometer. He made it clear that he did not make the large cut along the axis of the crystal. It arrived in his possession that way. He did confirm that it was cut using a very sharp saw, probably a circular saw with a stone cutting blade like he had in the lab. Archer described in reasonable detail all that he did in order to justify his conclusion: the crystal was nothing more than a large piece of common quartz.
"We'll need copies of your findings," said MORGAN.
Archer nodded. "Of course."
MORGAN opened his manpurse. He pulled out an evidence bag, which he handed to MAYA. He reached into the manpurse and pulled out a set of tongs. He lifted the crystal off the table while MAYA held open the evidence bag. MORGAN carefully placed the crystal in the bag. MAYA sealed the bag, and MORGAN put it in his manpurse. All the while, Archer looked on with a mixture of skepticism and worry. He, after all, had been handling the crystal with his bare hands, though only because Gaston had told him it was okay.
"If I can be of any further assistance," offered Archer, "please don't hesitate to call."
As the agents quickly left the lab, MAYA said, "We really appreciate it, thank you very much, we'll be seeing you soon, bye, bye!"
Once they were in the car, with the crystal safely stashed in MORGAN's manpurse, the agents made plans for lunch. MORGAN was in the mood for chicken fingers. The best he'd had was in New Orleans at a chain called Raising Cane's. MAYA acknowledged that they were good chicken fingers. "I wonder if there's a Raising Cane's in St. Louis?" he asked. They were pretty sure there wasn't one.
MICHAEL was all for heading for the morgue, but the other two — particularly MAYA — were hungry. "Look," said MICHAEL to MAYA, "you're the driver. There's a McDonald's up here. Pull through!" MAYA didn't want to eat at McDonald's. After some discussion, and not a little bit of driving around, they found a place to eat. They pulled into the parking lot of the Fatted Calf. After a fine dining experience involving hamburgers, their stomaches full of undigested meat, they drove to the morgue.
The morgue was in the basement of St. Louis University Hospital. MAYA parked their FBI-issued car in a parking lot, and the agents entered the hospital. A half a dozen FBI agents were present to guard the bodies and any associated evidence. The agents took the elevator to the basement. Another six agents were in the basement. They all scrutinized the Delta Green agents as the trio walked up to the reception desk. MORGAN identified himself as "Morgan Lancaster", a doctor working for the FBI. He said that his colleagues were also bureau agents. MICHAEL and MAYA flashed their IDs. The FBI agents relaxed.
MAYA, MICHAEL and MORGAN were soon ushered into the room where the corpses from Daniels' mansion were kept. This room had been cordoned off from the rest of the morgue. The stench of death permeated the room and adjoining hallways. The head pathologist was Dr. Kimberly Morris, M.E. MORGAN introduced himself as Morgan Lancaster. Dr. Morris shook his hand.
"Have you done any work on the bodies?" asked MORGAN, as they discussed the corpses.
"I began to do some preliminary work, but then Special Agent Gaston called and told me to stop what I was doing. I didn't go any further. He told me that you would be here to observe the autopsies. Where would you like to begin."
"I would like to begin with the burn victim," replied MORGAN. With that, MICHAEL and MAYA excused themselves, and went back to the waiting room.
The burn victim was Larry Daniels. His corpse was still in the kneeling position he had assumed shortly before his death. His hands were cupped as if to hold something; that something had been the crystal. His body had been totally immolated. Daniels wasn't entirely intact. Three of his fingers had broken off during transportation. They lay on the table beside the rest of his remains. His body was a dry, human-shaped husk.
As Dr. Morris began the procedure, MORGAN's Delta Green cell phone rang. "Morgan," he answered.
It was MAYA. "Have you looked at the body of the crispy, kneeling dude yet?"
"We're in the process of examining the body right now."
"Okay. Take the crystal out and put it in his hands."
"Well, you can do it after you hang up, but... but just try," replied MAYA. "I'm just really curious. I think there's something about that crystal."
MORGAN glanced over at Dr. Morris. "Alright, I'll see if I can do it, uh... when... well, I'll see if I can get it done."
"Yeah, see if you can work it in."
Dr. Morris continued with the autopsy as MORGAN hung up the phone. It was hard to lay Daniels down due to the position of his body and the body's condition. Morris did most of her work on the corpse as it kneeled on the table. MORGAN walked around the table, inspecting the body. He noticed that Daniel's corpse had an erection. Daniels was evidently aroused at the time of his death. "He didn't see this coming," muttered MORGAN to himself.
The autopsy took a little over two hours. Daniels was almost completely dessicated. There was hardly a drop of moisture left in the body. This included the organs, the brain, and even the blood vessels. His blood was now nothing more than a reddish powder lying within fragile veins and arteries. MORGAN realized that Daniels hadn't been burned, he had been sucked dry. "It's definitely not hyperhydration," whispered MORGAN.
MORGAN poked and prodded the body himself, after Morris began cleaning up. He realized that Daniels was a little bit drier at the hands than elsewhere on the body, a conclusion that eluded Dr. Morris.
Dr. Morris went to get the next body, that of the woman who had been found hanging from the ceiling. Dr. Morris called over to MORGAN, saying that this next one completely perplexed her, as there was no outward cause of death. While Morris was gone, and before an orderly came to take Daniels away, MORGAN pulled the crystal out of his manpurse. He didn't have time to remove it from the evidence bag, so he just put the bag in Daniels' hands. Nothing happened. He heard Morris close a refrigerator door. MORGAN lifted the bag and dropped the crystal in his manpurse. MORGAN quickly dictated notes into his digital voice recorder as Morris approached with the second corpse.
MAYA and MICHAEL were still hanging around the waiting room. MICHAEL typed a report to ALPHONSE, but he didn't send it. They were in a hospital and use of cell phones, or cellular modems, was prohibited. MAYA read the pamphlet she found in Daniels' bedroom, Your Realizer and You. Daniels' crystal was known as his "realizer". The pamphlet's mumbo jumbo said he could use it to "energize" himself.
While MORGAN observed the second autopsy, the two agents discussed what they knew about the crystal. It was MICHAEL's belief that the crystal was actually part of something bigger, that something had been cut from it or it had been cut from something else. The pamphlet was published by the Enolsis Foundation headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. MICHAEL wrote up a second message to ALPHONSE, this one requesting information on the Enolsis Foundation and the "crystal realizer". After writing the e-mails, MICHAEL left the hospital with his laptop under his arm. Once outside, he fired off the e-mail using the cellular modem. He then returned to the waiting room.
Soon after Dr. Morris made the y-incision, they discovered what killed the woman. Her body was perforated with bits of debris: glass, plastic, and ceramics. It was as though she had been hit with a shotgun filled with a wide array of small, sharp objects. The official cause of death was cardiac arrest. The debris had clogged arteries and impeded organ function. Large pieces had completely sealed several major arteries and veins. Eventually the back pressure had stopped her heart. Her death would have been excruciating. The really weird part was that there were no lacerations to the woman's skin, at least not that Morris could find. All of her wounds were internal. There was also very little bruising. The debris had made blood-tight seals around whatever tissue it had pierced. Dr. Morris estimated the woman's time of death. It correlated with the 9-1-1 call made by Daniels' servants.
MORGAN carefully watched Dr. Morris as the pathologist began to figure out the depth of the strangeness that resulted in the deaths of these people. She figured that some sort of blast had propelled the debris into the victims. She was now looking for entrance wounds in the woman's skin, without much luck. Throughout the autopsy she asked MORGAN questions. "How did this happen? What do you think happened to her?" MORGAN replied that he had seen something like this once before, but it had been a hoax. The best explanation Morris could come up with was that the heat from the blast had melted shut the entrance wounds. That didn't explain the corpse's lack of heat damage.
Morris dug into the piece of ceiling — what MORGAN dubbed the "bracelet" — in the woman's wrist. As MORGAN suspected, her hand had merged with the ceiling, as though the ceiling material had melted its way through her wrist and then fused with bone, muscle, tendon and skin.
MORGAN wanted to look at the ceiling and tissue samples more closely. There were no microscopes in the operating theater, which made sense; that level of investigation was sent to outside agencies for analysis. It was beyond the scope of the autopsy itself. MORGAN pulled Dr. Morris aside and wrote up a list of equipment he wanted in the morgue. He told her that he needed the equipment so that the evidence wouldn't be contaminated. Nothing in MORGAN's list was too hard to come by. Morris promised she would do her best to bring the equipment into the lab.
The second autopsy was done, and Dr. Morris needed a break. She went off to eat a quick dinner. She would have time to do one more autopsy that night. MORGAN requested that Neal Beagley, the pimp, be the next autopsy subject. He was curious about this one since the orderlies could not fit Beagley into a standard drawer. He was kept in a separate cooler, with a blanket over him.
MORGAN went back to the waiting room to tell the others what he discovered. "He was dehydrated," said MORGAN. "He had all the moisture sucked out of his body."
"Hyperdehydrated?" suggested MICHAEL.
The agents left the hospital and went out for dinner. "I think we should go somewhere that reminds us of this case," said MICHAEL. "Hooters!" MORGAN instead suggested that they go to the Joe's Crab Shack. MAYA, however, won out and they went for Thai food. They ate quickly, as all three agents wanted to observe the next autopsy.
When they returned, Dr. Morris had put the other bodies back in their respective refrigerator units. Dr. Morris wheeled the body out of a large walk-in refrigerator. She and MORGAN lifted the body onto the autopsy table. Dr. Morris whipped off the blanket.
Mr. Beagley was fused to a partially intact wooden chair. It looked for all the world as though he had been sitting in the chair and simply fell through. Unfortunately he hadn't been allowed to fall through all the way. The chair was now fused to him, and through him, much like the previous corpse but on a larger scale. The sight of Beagley's corpse was enough that the agents wished they hadn't had so much to eat that day.
With the third autopsy of the day completed, Dr. Morris went home to rest. She would conduct more autopsies the next day. The agents left the hospital, climbed into their car, and drove back to their hotel, the La Quinta Inn and Suites.
When they got to their rooms, MICHAEL swept them for electronic bugs. As he began checking he accidentally rapped the bug sweeper against a wall. The sweeper broke in two. The battery housing cracked and the batteries spilled out. It was broken, probably beyond repair. MICHAEL looked down at the broken bug sweeper and cursed.
MICHAEL considered his options for a moment, then asked MORGAN for his digital voice recorder. He thought he might be able to find bugs by moving the recorder around the room. With luck, errant electrical signals would be picked up by the recorder. Before MORGAN let MICHAEL have it, MORGAN downloaded his notes to his laptop just in case.
MICHAEL moved about the room he shared with MORGAN. He picked up interference near the telephone, near a lamp, and in the bathroom. He inspected those areas. Sure enough, he found a bug on the bottom of the telephone, and one in the base of the lamp. He did not take apart the electrical outlet in the bathroom because he thought the sound of him unscrewing the outlet would be too noticeable. As he walked around with the digital recorder he said, "This doesn't seem to be working," in an effort to make whoever was listening believe they weren't successful. The others watched while MICHAEL revealed the bugs.
MAYA picked up a piece of paper and wrote, Those sons of bitches!
MICHAEL took the paper and wrote, Now we do not talk about anything esoteric while in the room.
They tried to keep up a normal conversation. MORGAN pretended to type on his laptop while he watched MICHAEL. MICHAEL searched for cameras, but he didn't see any. The bugs were all he found. They weren't particularly sophisticated, either. They could have been FBI issue, or they could have been the kind of thing you'd pick up in a spy store. MICHAEL checked MAYA's room. There were a couple of bugs there, too; one on her phone, another in the light in the bathroom.
MORGAN glanced out the window, hoping to find a stereotypical unmarked van. There wasn't one. There were a handful of cars on the street visible from the room. None of them appeared occupied.
MORGAN left the room and got some ice, ostensibly for some beer he had yet to purchase. He then suggested they go out and get something to eat, and buy beer. There was a Denny's next to the La Quinta (isn't there always?), and it was open 24 hours. The agents walked over to the Denny's.
MICHAEL ordered a cup of decaffeinate coffee. MORGAN and MAYA ordered an appetizer sampler. In MORGAN's words, if you're sitting in a Denny's and not eating anything you just look suspicious.
As they ordered the sampler, MICHAEL said, "This is why when we go hiking I'm the only one who doesn't bitch."
"I remember when we were on Plum Island there was one time I was leaving you in the dust!" replied MAYA.
"Well that's all it takes to remind you of it forever," said MAYA with a smile.
"I developed a stitch in my side," explained MICHAEL. MAYA made "the world's smallest violin" motion with the thumb and index finger of her right hand. "I can not believe how immature you are being," said MICHAEL as he shook his head.
"Why not? How long have you known me now?"
"Match and game!" said MAYA, with a grin.
"How long have you two been married?" asked MORGAN.
While she and MORGAN finished the sampler, MAYA wrote a text message to ALPHONSE on her Delta Green cell phone, asking why the FBI was bugging their room. She told the others what she wrote. MICHAEL pointed out that they didn't know it was the FBI. "It could be Majestic-12, or it could be the senator's office making sure we didn't leak anything to the public."
"I think we need to mislead them about what we are doing tomorrow," suggested MAYA.
"What are we doing tomorrow?" asked MICHAEL.
MORGAN said, "I think we know how they died. I don't think we have to be there for the other autopsies."
MICHAEL remembered the picture they found in Daniels' bedroom of Daniels and the soldier. They needed to send that to A-cell to have it enhanced. He decided they would go to a FedEx Kinkos and get it scanned at high resolution. They would then e-mail the high res scan to ALPHONSE.
The agents went back to the hotel and picked up the photograph. They walked to the FBI-supplied car. MICHAEL searched it for bugs but didn't find any. They got into the car. They could see the parking lot of the hotel, which wasn't visible from their room. They didn't see any suspicious looking vehicles. None of the cars had government license plates, either. MAYA drove them toward the FedEx Kinkos. As they left the parking lot, MORGAN said, "They pissed me off! I've got a bone saw with their name on it!"
While they drove, the agents discussed what they were going to do the next day. They would check their e-mail to see if A-cell sent them information about the Enolsis Foundation. They needed to discover the identity of the woman found dead in East St. Louis. Hopefully A-cell would have a chance to analyze the picture tomorrow and get back to them about that, too. MAYA remembered the senator. They needed to question him, if he was conscious.
They arrived at the Kinkos, scanned the image, and e-mailed the picture to ALPHONSE. They headed back to the hotel. On the way, they decided that they would tell whomever was listening in on their hotel room conversations that their time tomorrow would be spent at the morgue and back at Daniels mansion.
A couple of minutes after they left the FedEx Kinkos parking lot, MORGAN noticed a car was following them. He told the others. MAYA said she saw it, too. The car was a black sedan, a Taurus or something similar. They openly talked about the car that was following them, but the car did not change its behavior. MICHAEL interpreted this to mean that their car wasn't bugged.
MAYA couldn't make out the driver. The car was too far away and it was dark. She did determine that there was only one person in the car. This was odd, as usually the government worked in groups, either with multiple cars or with at least two people in a vehicle. So far, though, she didn't notice any other cars following them. MICHAEL had the feeling that they were not being followed by a professional, though it was possible that the car following them was a decoy.
They continued to the hotel. Their tail parked on the street while MAYA parked the car in the hotel's parking lot. MAYA and MORGAN went up to the room while MICHAEL carefully watched from the hotel lobby. The car's occupant did not move.
MORGAN phoned MICHAEL when he got to their floor. There were no windows on their floor that offered a view of the car. MICHAEL asked if they could get to the roof. MORGAN said that they would try, and hung up the phone. He went back into their room and picked up MICHAEL's parabolic microphone, and a pair of binoculars. He and MAYA climbed a set of stairs to the upper floor, and then found a door to the roof. MAYA picked the lock. They climbed a set of stairs to the roof. In spite of the darkness, MORGAN was able to see that an attractive woman in her late twenties or early thirties was behind the wheel of the car. She was dressed casually in a white blouse and jeans. She was definitely alone. They couldn't pick anything up with the microphone. MORGAN phoned MICHAEL and told him what they saw.
MORGAN couldn't see the license plate, so MICHAEL slipped out of the hotel by way of the rear entrance. He managed to get a look at the rear of the car without being seen. The plate was fairly new and was easily visible due to a nearby street light. It was registered in Missouri. MICHAEL jotted down the number in his notebook and quietly sneaked back into the hotel.
The agents went back to the male agents' hotel room. MICHAEL did a search online with his laptop. The car was registered to Hertz; it was a rental.
There wasn't much left for them to do, so they decided to try to get some sleep. By this time it was fairly late and they would be up early the next day. MAYA went to her room and got ready for bed. MICHAEL and MORGAN spent a few minutes discussing the bogus itinerary they made up for the next day. Hopefully the woman would be tricked into believing they intended to spend most of the day at the morgue and at Daniels' mansion. Soon the agents were asleep.
MAYA's alarm clock went off. She dragged herself out of bed and showered. Next door, the alarm clock buzzed on the table between MORGAN and MICHAEL. MORGAN turned off the alarm and staggered into the bathroom. After his shower, he wrapped a towel around himself and walked into the bedroom. MICHAEL was still sleeping. MORGAN called MICHAEL's name. MICHAEL still lay there, asleep. MORGAN called MICHAEL's name again, but MICHAEL would not wake up.
MORGAN went over to MICHAEL and felt for a pulse. MICHAEL was still alive. His pulse was slow, as was expected from someone in a deep sleep. MORGAN went to his manpurse. He extracted a light pen. He opened MICHAEL's left eye lid and shone the light into it. MICHAEL's eye dilated, but he would not wake up. He yelled MICHAEL's name again, with no response. He pulled smelling salts from his manpurse, but even they didn't budge MICHAEL from his sleep.
The CDC investigator ran next door to MAYA's room. He banged on the door. MAYA, who was dressed but hadn't yet done her hair, opened the door. "Yes?"
"It's MICHAEL! He won't get up."
"Well, hit him again."
He told her what he did. "He still won't wake up!"
MAYA asked MORGAN where the crystal was. He said it was still in the room, with MICHAEL. They rushed back into MORGAN's room. MORGAN slipped on a robe, and then inspected MICHAEL's body. There were no injection marks, or other signs of foul play. While he looked after MICHAEL, MAYA checked the room's doors and windows. There was no sign of forced entry.
MORGAN picked up the evidence bag with the crystal. "Here! Take this to your room!" While MAYA was gone, MORGAN slapped MICHAEL. There was no response. He threw a glass of cold water in MICHAEL's face, but there was still no response. MICHAELs' eyes fluttered as he slept. MORGAN figured he was deep in R.E.M. sleep. MICHAEL was dreaming.
MAYA returned to the room. They had to take MICHAEL to the hospital. At the very least they needed to hook him to an EEG machine. MORGAN phoned for an ambulance. He explained to the 9-1-1 operator that MICHAEL was in a comatose state, though he did have strong vital signs. The operator said that an ambulance was on its way. MORGAN hung up the phone.
They needed to take the crystal with them. MORGAN told MAYA to bring the crystal back in the room. His medical bag had a false bottom. He would hide it in that. She retrieved the crystal, and they stashed it in the bag's hidden compartment.
MAYA snapped her fingers beside MICHAEL's head. "Wake up!" There was no response. She whispered in his ear, "MORGAN just stepped on your parabolic mike! Wake up!" Nothing. "We have the minisub!" Still nothing. "Oh, shit, he might be dead! There's no response at all!"
There was a knock on the door. MAYA went to the door and peered through the peephole. On the other side of the door was a man in his late thirties, dressed in a La Quinta staff shirt. The security card around his neck listed him as a member of hotel security. This was confirmed when he called out, "Hotel security. We were informed there was a 9-1-1 call from here?"
"Yes there was," answered MAYA. "Where are the paramedics."
"They are on the way."
"Cool," she replied. "We will see them when they arrive."
"Alright. Can you open the door?" asked the security guard.
"Not until they get here," answered MAYA.
MAYA turned and walked back to MICHAEL. The door burst open with enough force to break the frame around the dead bolt, and to drive the door knob into the wall. Standing in the doorway was the security guard. Both MAYA and MORGAN pulled out their guns.
The guard's arms stretched out from his body like he was Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. His left arm just barely missed MAYA while his right arm lashed out and grabbed MORGAN's throat. The blow and the guard's grip knocked MORGAN unconscious.
MAYA fired a shot at the guard, hitting him square in the chest. The bullet passed clean through. He let go of MORGAN. Both of his arms lashed out at MAYA. She jumped out of the way, narrowly avoiding his appendages. The reality of what was happening sunk in. She dropped her gun, rolled into a ball beside the bed and started screaming, loudly.
The guard moved toward her. MAYA shrunk away, all the time screaming. He hesitated for a moment, and then walked away from her. He started searching the room, pulling drawers from the dresser, ripping through the suitcases, and yanking cushions from the room's easy chair.
After about half a minute, MAYA regained her senses and stopped screaming. The guard continued to ignore her as he tore through the contents of the room. He was looking for something. MAYA figured he was looking for the crystal. She scanned the room with fear and desperation. Lying open beside MORGAN's prone form was his manpurse. She scurried over to the manpurse.
The guard saw MAYA move. He flung his arms out at her. MAYA grabbed the manpurse and rolled away. As the arms swept past her and banged into MICHAEL's bed, they brushed against the flesh of her leg. The guard's skin had the same clammy, rubbery look and feel as the thing in the bathtub in Groversville, Tennessee.
MAYA reached into the manpurse and pulled out two flasks of acid.
The guard/thing grabbed MAYA by the throat. He didn't choke her, just held her in place as he walked toward her. She pulled the stopper from one of the flasks.
His arms contracted, growing thicker, as he approached her. When he was barely five feet away, she flung the acid at him.
The acid caught him square in the chest. He let out a high pitched scream, let go of her, and backed away, flailing at his chest. He recovered quickly and shot his arms at her again. She dodged out of the way. She pulled the stopper from the second flask and flung its contents on the guard/thing. The acid hit him in the face.
He screamed again, louder and with a higher pitch. He turned from MAYA and ran straight for the window. He threw himself at the pane. The window shattered as he fell through and plumetted out of sight.
"And stay out, you bastard!" yelled MAYA. She could hear the siren of an approaching ambulance.
MAYA went to the window and looked out. She couldn't see the guard anywhere. It was though he had literally vanished into thin air. She went over to MORGAN, but she was unable to revive him.
The elevator dinged and MAYA heard the sound of an approaching stretcher. The EMTs had arrived. They hesitated at the door for only a split second before wheeling the stretcher into the room. Following behind was a security guard. In fact, he looked exactly like the security guard that attacked them.
MAYA picked up her gun and pointed it at the security guard. She nodded to the paramedics. "You, over there!" she said, motioning to MORGAN. She stared at the guard. "You, over there!" She motioned the guard toward the bathroom.
"Put the gun down," cried the guard. "Put the gun down!"
"Ma'am, please put the gun away!" said one of the paramedics.
"You help him," said MAYA to the paramedic. "That man, or someone who looked just like him, just choked him." She gestured toward MORGAN. "He's unconscious." She nodded toward MICHAEL. "He's the original reason you were called." She glared at the first paramedic, "You look at him..." — she motioned to MICHAEL, then turned to the second paramedic — "...you look at him..." — she motioned toward MORGAN, and then she looked along the barrel of her pistol at the guard — "...and you stay the hell away!"
"Ma'am, can we see some identification?" asked the second paramedic.
"You can see some ID once you've gotten them..."
"Ah, shut up! And do what you're told before you become a casualty, too."
"Yes, ma'am!" The paramedics moved to MICHAEL and MORGAN.
"Blood, or ketchup, it's all the same to me," muttered MAYA.
The paramedics looked over MICHAEL and MORGAN, and quickly determined that MORGAN was in the worse shape. They put a cervical collar around MORGAN's neck and treated his injuries. MORGAN slowly regained consciousness. "Did anyone get the license plate of that truck?" he asked while still groggy. He looked around him. Near the bathroom stood the security guard. MORGAN screamed, and started looking around for his gun.
The paramedics tried to calm him down. MAYA told them to go look at MICHAEL. The paramedics took MICHAEL's vital signs. He seemed to be healthy enough. MAYA explained what they did to try to wake him up. The EMTs were perplexed, as MICHAEL seemed fine except for the fact that he was still fast asleep.
"We have to get him to the hospital so we can do an EEG on him," explained MORGAN, as he removed the cervical collar and threw it on the bed.
MAYA pointed her gun at the guard. "Elastaboy over there..."
"Please, ma'am!" cried the guard. "Please, I..."
MAYA didn't let him finish. "Look, either you or your twin brother tried to strangle everyone in here. And then he jumped out of the damned window! See we're all in here, so how do you explain the broken window?" She suddenly had an idea. "Where's the purple stuff?" she asked MORGAN.
"It's in my bag." He turned to the guard. "Why don't you go downstairs and fill out a report, so you can get the window replaced by the insurance company."
This seemed to calm the guard long enough for MAYA to pull out a spray bottle filled with leucopararosaniline. She rushed over to the guard. He shied away from her. She sprayed him with the fluid. It hit him on the cheek. It did not change color. She scowled, then turned her back on him. She went over to the paramedics and sprayed them, too. The fluid did not turn purple. The paramedics also shied away from her.
MAYA went over to the window, where shards of glass stuck out from the frame. Squinting, she could see what looked like very small pieces of skin caught on the jagged shards. She sprayed the shards with the fluid. The fluid hit the shards, and immediately turned a very bright purple. MORGAN asked her to spray his neck. She did. There was just the faintest hint of purple.
Realizing that the guard and the paramedics were not threats, MAYA and MORGAN pulled out their fake FBI identifications. The paramedics and the guard looked at the identifications, and relaxed ever so slightly. MAYA told the guard that their attacker, who looked an awful lot like him, jumped out the window. "You need to go see if there are parts downstairs. You need to go do something secure." The guard was only too happy to leave.
The paramedics put MICHAEL on a spine board. They transferred him to the stretcher and wheeled him into the hallway. As soon as the paramedics took MICHAEL out of the room, MAYA transfered the crystal from MORGAN's medical bag to his manpurse. They then rushed along behind the paramedics.
While they loaded MICHAEL into the ambulance MAYA tried to convince the paramedics to let them ride in the ambulance. The paramedics wouldn't do it. Eventually they relented and let MORGAN ride with MICHAEL, since MORGAN was — supposedly — a doctor with the FBI agent. MAYA followed the ambulance in the FBI-issued car. The paramedics took MICHAEL to St. Louis University Hospital, the same place where the senator was being treated.
While she drove, MAYA called Gaston. He was in his car on the way to the local FBI office. She told him that they were attacked in their hotel, that their rooms were bugged, and that MICHAEL was unconscious. She told Gaston to meet them at the hospital; they had to talk! She hung up on Gaston and then phoned ALPHONSE. ALPHONSE answered the call, which was a fairly rare event in itself (they usually got his voice mail). She quickly described what happened to them, how they were attacked by someone/something composed of the strange protomatter they discovered in Groversville, and how their room was bugged, possibly by the FBI. ALPHONSE told her that he received her text message about the bugs. He was checking into it, but he didn't believe the FBI were responsible. He told her to keep him apprised of the situation.
During the ride to the hospital, MICHAEL awoke. He was still very tired; in fact, he was physically exhausted. As he awoke, he let out a howl of anguish. The EMT tried to calm him down, while MORGAN reassured him that he was safe.
MICHAEL's anguish came from the visions he experienced while asleep. He saw — he was — Larry Daniels. He knew exactly how Daniels had died. He said little to MORGAN because the EMT was present. He said he would explain later.
The ambulance arrived at the hospital, with MAYA on its tail. While MAYA parked the FBI car, the paramedics wheeled MICHAEL into emergency and started conducting tests. They hooked him up to the EEG as MORGAN looked on. A few minutes later he was joined by MAYA.
MICHAEL appeared normal. The doctors questioned the paramedics as to MICHAEL's condition when they arrived in his hotel room. They described how MICHAEL was apparently comatose, though he was breathing normally and his pupils were responsive.
While MICHAEL was undergoing tests, two local cops showed up at the hospital. They barged into the room and asked to see everyone's identification. MICHAEL showed them his official Nicholas Connelly FBI identification. "These agents are with me," he said. MORGAN flashed his fake FBI ID. MAYA did not pull out hers.
The police calmed down when they realized they were dealing with fellow cops. They asked what happened. MICHAEL started to answer when MORGAN said, "We're not at liberty to disclose details. It's a matter of national security." MICHAEL and MAYA stared at MORGAN in disbelief. For once he was brief and to the point!
Special Agent Gaston entered the room. He confirmed that the others were FBI agents working on a sensitive case. He pulled the local cops aside and talked to them in private. The Delta Green agents couldn't hear most of the conversation, but they did hear him explain that they were investigating the incident at Daniels' mansion. The EMTs were still in the room. Gaston pulled them aside, too, and said the same thing to them. This relieved most of the residual fear and resentment they had at having a gun pointed at them. After about twenty minutes, Gaston had sufficiently resolved the situation that the EMTs left, followed five minutes later by the local cops.
Gaston asked them what happened. They told him about the attack. They didn't describe the security guard in detail, though they did say that the attack involved something "very scary" that they had "dealt with once before". Gaston listened with growing concern. While he was obviously curious, he did not press them for further details. MAYA said that they had contacted their superiors and that their organization was aware of the situation.
After about three hours, the doctors completed their initial battery of tests. There was no apparent reason for MICHAEL's comatose state, nor were there any residual side effects. The doctors questioned MORGAN, and MAYA. It was obvious something had happened to MICHAEL, but they were at a loss to find out what. They wanted to keep MICHAEL in the hospital for observation, but he was having none of it. They unhooked him from the EEG. The doctor in charge told him to come in immediately if he had dizzy spells, or if he felt nauseas, or if he felt a tingling in his extremities.
The doctors left them alone. MORGAN told MICHAEL that they needed a sample of his blood. MORGAN wanted to test it for the presence of the strange tissue. MICHAEL remembered MORGAN's proficiency with needles and refused to give a sample. Instead, he told MORGAN to give him a lancet and he would do it himself. MAYA and MORGAN looked at each other. MICHAEL had been strangely unconscious, and now he was refusing to cooperate. MAYA quickly grappled MICHAEL. While MICHAEL tried to break free of her grip, MORGAN moved up to him, grabbed his hand, and pricked it with a lancet. He smeared MICHAEL's blood on a piece of gauze while MAYA held MICHAEL in place. All the time, Gaston watched in confusion.
MORGAN sprayed the gauze with the leucopararosaniline. It did not turn purple. "He's clear."
"Cool," said MAYA, letting go of MICHAEL. "You're good."
"I'm going to put you both on report!"
"Yeah, yeah," dismissed MORGAN.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," said MAYA.
While Gaston regarded MAYA and MICHAEL, MORGAN slipped up behind the FBI man and sprayed the back of his neck with leucopararosaniline. "What the..." said Gaston, as he turned around and wiped his neck.
"You're clean," said MORGAN, putting the bottle back in his manpurse.
"Antiseptic," explained MAYA.
They left the emergency room and walked into the hospital's main lobby. As Gaston wiped off his neck, MAYA confronted him about the electronic bugs. Gaston immediately declared his innocence. "This has nothing to do with me! I didn't order anything. I don't know of anyone who ordered the bugging of your room."
The agents talked about how they changed rooms. They wondered who might have known about their room change. Gaston asked, "Has anyone been following you?"
"Yes," answered the agents, in unison.
"We spotted her last night," said MAYA.
"She was driving a rental car," continued MICHAEL.
"Could she have been following you before last night?"
"Could have been," said MAYA. "We first noticed her last night."
"We know where she rented it from," added MORGAN. "We just need to know who rented it."
Since they were at the hospital, they decided to visit the senator. The senator's room was guarded by two local police officers. The agents flashed their badges and entered the private room of Senator DiTorrio. The senator was still sedated, though he seemed to be in some discomfort. He looked exactly as he had been described, a man in his late 50s, a little jowly but otherwise fairly healthy. His left arm was in a cast. A nurse slipped past the agents. She checked the senator's vital signs.
The senator began murmuring. "My boy... my boy... No! He's mine...!" The nurse injected something into his IV drip. DiTorrio continued to rant. "Oh my God! Danine...!" He paused for a moment, as the medicines kicked in. "...safe..." He fell into a deep sleep.
MORGAN pulled out a bottle of the leucopararosaniline. He left the room to talk to the police officers. MICHAEL joined him. MICHAEL flashed his badge again. MORGAN said, "Hands, gentlemen."
The police officers looked at each other, and then stuck out their hands. MORGAN sprayed them with the leucopararosaniline. Their hands did not turn purple. MICHAEL gave each of the officers a tissue to clean off the fluid. MORGAN went back into the room. He sprayed the perplexed nurse, and then he sprayed the senator. Neither of them made the liquid turn purple.
MORGAN looked over the senator's chart. The senator had been in a great deal of pain, both physical and mental. They had kept him sedated, though he was getting progressively less and less medication as the day went on. He was stable. According to the chart, he would be coherent enough tomorrow to answer their questions. The nurse mentioned that the senator's private physician was flying in from Virginia.
The CDC doctor had an idea. He went to the nurses station and asked if they had a small, empty spray bottle. They did. He took the bottle and returned to the room. He poured some of the leucopararosaniline into the small bottle. He then went outside to the cops guarding the room. MORGAN told them that they were to spray anyone who entered the room. If the fluid turned purple, they were to contact Gaston immediately. Gaston gave them his business card. MORGAN explained that when the fluid turned purple it indicated the presence of weaponized biological contaminant. He handed the spray bottle to the older of the two cops. The cop nodded, and stared intently at the bottle.
Back inside the senator's room, MICHAEL asked Gaston to find out who rented the car that had been following them. Gaston said he'd do his best. MAYA added that they should have the car dusted for fingerprints immediately if someone turns it in.
"Did you have any luck with finding out the identity of the East St. Louis victim?" asked MICHAEL.
"Yes, we did," replied Gaston. "Her name was Rachel Marks. She was a high priced escort. She was one of Beagley's regular women."
With nothing else to add, and with the senator of no use at the present, the agents left the room. Gaston told him he'd be in touch. He got into his car, and left. The Delta Green agents walked over to their car. As they stood beside it, MICHAEL described the vision he had while he slept.
MICHAEL dreamt that he was in Daniels' body. The dream was so vivid, though, that he believed he was reliving Daniels final moments and not merely dreaming them. Beagley's call girls, and the male guests, were in the middle of an orgy when Daniels went to his bedroom, took out his crystal — his "realizer" — and brought it back to the main party room. He knelt down on the floor, naked. As he cupped the crystal and began meditating, he became aroused. One of the call girls — Jennifer, the woman MICHAEL recognized as being trapped in the "plywood hoola hoop" — crept up to Daniels, and began performing oral sex on him.
While meditating Daniels would feel slowly drained, and then receive an intense burst of energy from the "realizer". This energy would invigorate him like nothing else on Earth. So far, the process was moving along like it always did. The draining sensation sent endorphins coursing through him.
As the draining continued, MICHAEL became aware of Daniels' deeper thoughts. Daniels knew everyone at the party. He didn't know the full names of the women, just their first names: Jennifer, Lesley, Ashley, Danine, Steph, Courtney, and Rachel. His guests were Neal Beagley, Senator DiTorrio, Commissioner Stan Cable... and someone else. Ron Valiant.
Suddenly the realizer began draining Daniels at a faster rate. He was approaching the point where energy would shoot through him. He was also getting close to sexual release. It seemed that the two would happen simultaneously. "This is the ultimate thrill!" thought Daniels, as he anticipated the energy boost.
Every other time he meditated, the crystal would stop draining \at this point and start feeding back energy, allowing Daniels to attain an incredible state of euphoria. This time something went horribly wrong. The realizer continued to draw energy from Daniels at an ever increasing rate. Before Daniels could do so much as twitch in reaction, the crystal sucked the life out of him. Then, with a flash, it released an overwhelming burst of energy.
While the horror of what he saw and felt swept over MICHAEL, everything in his dream went hazy. After an unknown amount of time, his vision cleared. He was hurtling through space poised above a huge, ugly rust-red planet. Tuneless singing resonated through his head. The malevolent sphere appeared to be breathing... it seemed to be alive. It was getting closer... closer, but MICHAEL had no idea what it was approaching. As he began to wake from this dream he got the impression that the sphere itself was wakening.
It was at this point that MICHAEL woke in the ambulance.
It was clear to the agents that the crystal was dangerous. MORGAN suggested that they find a lead case to put it in.
First things first, though. The agents were starving. It was now about lunch time and none of them had eaten yet. They got into the car, and MAYA drove them to the Denny's next door to the La Quinta. While they waited for their food, they checked for e-mail from A-cell. There was, indeed, a response to MICHAEL's query.
A-cell analyzed the photograph. The person in the picture was wearing a Marine Corps uniform, and the name on the uniform was "Valiant". That must have been the same Ron Valiant who had been at the party, and who presumably stole the car, took it to East St. Louis, and killed Rachel Marks.
ALPHONSE did some digging, but apparently no one at the FBI knew anything about the bugs in their hotel rooms.
Also included in the e-mail was information on the Enolsis Foundation. It was headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Foundation was the creation of Herbert Price, a hack science fiction writer whose popularity as a fiction writer peaked in the early 1960s. Price wrote Inner Science, a self-help book filled with Price's philosophy of clearing the mind of materialism. This philosophy developed into a self-proclaimed religion, though others believed it was more actually a cult designed to con its followers out of their money. As a church, it was entitled to tax exempt status. As Price released more books, and the "church's" wealth increased, the IRS took an interest. After an intense investigation and 6 years of legal battles, the Enolsis Foundation lost its tax exempt status in 1972.
Price began to attack his critics while simultaneously purging the foundation of treasonous members. He filed harassing law suits against the IRS, several major newspapers, The American Journal of Psychology, and other vocal critics. His paranoia caused him to hire 24 law firms, 10 private investigation companies, and to form the Stewards, his own in-house security team. This team purged from the ranks of the foundation those members Price deemed unworthy. They intimidated and harassed people critical of the organization. They also infiltrated organizations critical of Enolsis. In one famous case a mole was found within the IRS itself.
The end came for Price in 1981, when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms caught an Enolsis member trying to buy a shipment of automatic weapons. Apparently Enolsis was preparing for the day when more "direct" measures were needed. Price escaped Tulsa just hours before a warrant for his arrest was to be served. His current whereabouts, and the whereabouts of his fortune, are unknown.
By 1984, the cult's ranks had depleted to less than 10,000 world wide. In that year, Gene Downing — head of Enolsis' European branch, and largely insulated from the scandal involving the foundation's headquarters — became head of the foundation. He was responsible for turning the foundation around. He purged the organization of the last of Price's influence. He wrote a number of books expounding a new philosophy for Enolsis. This one preached personal responsibility and the power of positive thought. If an Enolsis student won the lottery, it was because he willed it to happen. If he was struck with a disease, it was because he had subconsciously willed it. The power of the mind was paramount. Downing introduced crystals to the foundation's meditation rituals. Under Downing's leadership, the foundation's numbers swelled as new members joined and old members returned. The organization's membership now stood at 107,000 worldwide. In 1991, Downing was given the title "The Living Power" in recognition of his achievements.
As they finished reading A-cell's report on Enolsis, MICHAEL's Delta Green cell phone rang. It was Gaston. The car that followed them had been rented to a woman by the name of Hope Stuart. The ID that she gave was a fake, and the credit card she used was fake. The name on the card was hers, but the number was from a different card entirely. It scanned okay, allowing her to rent the car. The credit card number was flagged as stolen the next day, but the rental agency had not been informed of that. The woman had yet to return in the car.
MORGAN believed that the woman was the same protomatter person/thing that attacked them. He surmised that she took on the form of the guard to gain access to their rooms. She was now in hiding somewhere, and the rental car was probably sitting outside their hotel.
MAYA thought they should check to see if the car was still parked on the street. They left the restaurant and, sure enough, the rental car was still there. MORGAN wanted to go to the spy store, buy a tracking device, and plant it on the rental car. MAYA, on the other hand, believed the car had been abandoned. She wanted to dust it for finger prints. MAYA's plan won out. The agents broke into the car and dusted it for prints.
The agents found no finger prints anywhere in the car. They then sprayed it with leucopararosaniline. The fluid turned slightly purple in places, particularly on the steering wheel.
MORGAN remembered that the Mi-Go were behind the protomatter experiments in Groversville. Perhaps they were funding the Enolsis Foundation. MICHAEL agreed with MORGAN that the Mi-Go might have something to do with Enolsis. He went one step further. He believed that the Mi-Go had something to do with stopping the destruction caused by the malevolent red planet. He also believed that the agents' "activities with the crystal were going to facilitate the red planet's purpose", thus the Mi-Go sent the woman to stop them. The Mi-Go were trying to prevent them from using the crystal.