Scenario Author: Allan Goodall
Write-up Author: Allan Goodall
Run Date: September 20, 2009
Game System: Chaosium's Basic RolePlaying (BRP)
Keeper: Allan Goodall
Characters: Nicholas Connelly, codename MICHAEL (Jason Gallagher); Carson Kovac, codename MAYA (Alana Goodall); Randall Parker, codename MURPHY (Dustin Gulledge)
Agent MICHAEL sat in his office in Washington, D.C. catching up on some reading. His cell phone rang. He didn't recognize the number. That usually meant one thing. "Hello?"
"You have been invited to a night at the opera. Please hold for Agent ADAM."
"This is Agent ADAM." The man on the end of the line didn't need to announce who he was, as MICHAEL recognized the man's familiar deep voice. "There was a theft at the National World War II museum in New Orleans. An SS officer's uniform was stolen from a display case in the middle of the night. A Cell is very much interested due to the nature of the theft."
ADAM elaborated. The uniform was stolen from the display case in clear view of a surveillance camera. The museum reported some sort of interference on the camera image, resulting in an extraneous signal. It was the only explanation the security staff had for what was on the image: the appearance of a man stepping into the room from out of thin air.
"We want M Cell to investigate."
ADAM paused. MICHAEL was beginning to wonder if the conversation was over, then ADAM cleared his throat and said, "We have a special protocol for Agent MAYA."
MICHAEL frowned. "Go on."
"When you meet MAYA, you are to prick her with a needle or a pin. She must not know you are going to do this. It must come as a surprise. When you do it, watch her reaction."
"What am I watching for?"
"A change. A physical change. Have your weapon at hand."
MICHAEL's frown deepened. "What kind of physical change are we talking about here?"
"I can't say. But you'll know it if you see it." ADAM took a breathe. "We don't believe that Agent MAYA has been compromised. This is strictly a precaution. However, the possibility does exist."
MICHAEL thought about ADAM's statement: "I can't say." Can't, or won't? Did it really matter? MICHAEL simply replied, "Understood."
"Your cover identification will be waiting for you in a locker at the New Orleans International Airport. Ask for a package for 'Mr. Green' at the Delta Airlines counter to get the key. The museum's curator is Robert Sullivan. You will meet with him, posing as Aetna insurance investigators. Along with your ID, you will receive information you will need to study in order to pass as investigators."
After finalizing details of the mission, ADAM hung up. MICHAEL called MAYA.
MAYA knew of the break in, as it was reported on local news. She didn't hear anything of a "supernatural" nature, but that wasn't surprising. She offered to house the agents in her home. MICHAEL took her up on it. He hung up.
MICHAEL called MURPHY and informed him of the mission. They coordinated flight times so that they would be at the airport at the same time. MICHAEL thought it wise that he not warn MURPHY about what he was supposed to do to MAYA, but he also didn't want MURPHY spending time alone with MAYA until after he had a chance to test her. MURPHY was flying out of Los Angeles and had the fewest options. There was a non-stop flight that got in at 4:31 p.m. MURPHY booked that flight. MICHAEL chose a flight that got in at 3:55 p.m.
MICHAEL met MURPHY in the arrivals concourse. They proceeded up to the departures level and walked up to the Delta Airlines counter. For security purposes, they asked MAYA not to meet them at the airport. MICHAEL asked for a package for "Mr. Green". The woman at the counter gave him a small padded envelope. Inside was a locker number and one of those strange orange plastic-covered keys used only in airport, bus station, and gymn change room lockers. They found the locker and opened it. Inside were three small briefcases, each with identification, business cards, and Aetna insurance literature.
They took a taxi to MAYA's house in the Garden District. MAYA's insurance money finally came in, and she had repaired the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. They rang the doorbell. A smiling MAYA answered the door.
MAYA hugged the other two agents and invited them in. MICHAEL walked into the house, a long needle hidden in his left hand. He unsnapped his holster with his right.
As soon as the door was closed and MAYA walked past MICHAEL, he stabbed her in the leg.
"Ow!" cried MAYA. "What was that for!"
MICHAEL snapped his holster. "You're good."
MAYA glowered at him, while MURPHY looked on, unsure of what happened. "You stabbed me! You tried to kill me!"
"Don't be silly." MICHAEL recounted his conversation with Agent ADAM.
"That's all he said?"
MICHAEL shrugged. "Yes."
MAYA cursed A Cell, not for the first time, for the puncture and the secrecy.
MICHAEL gave the agents their briefcases. The information they were to study wasn't too terribly onerous. It was mostly Aetna procedural information and contact information. There wasn't much difference between investigating an insurance claim and investigating a crime. They memorized most of the information by dinner time. Something struck MICHAEL while he was reading the information. Somehow Delta Green had intercepted the museum's request for an insurance adjuster. This displayed a considerable amount of sophistication, and an expansion into the civilian "space". Delta Green was showing more resourcefulness than they had in the past. What, exactly, did this mean?
MICHAEL realized that he hadn't asked for the key to the New Orleans "green box". He fired up his laptop and e-mailed A Cell through a secure server. A few minutes later, his cell phone rang. Again, it was an unknown number. This was odd, as he expected an answer via e-mail, not via telephone.
MICHAEL had never talked to Agent ALEX, the new leader of M Cell. They knew very little about him. They knew even less than they thought they did when a woman's voice said, "Agent MICHAEL? This is Agent ALEX."
"This is MICHAEL."
"We received your e-mail. I wanted to tell you personally that there is no 'green box' in New Orleans. The nearest 'green box' is in Baton Rouge."
"Okay," replied MICHAEL.
"You are not, I repeat, not, under any circumstances, to create a 'green box' in New Orleans. Is that understood?"
"Yes, that is understood."
"Thank you." Agent ALEX hung up.
MICHAEL relayed this new piece of information.
"What the hell is happening in New Orleans?" asked MAYA.
The agents left MAYA's home en route to the National World War II Museum. Although MAYA's Mini Cooper — replacing the one she lost in Katrina — was cramped, they didn't have far to travel.
"Shotgun!" called MURPHY.
"Oh, we're going to shoot someone on the way to the museum?" said MICHAEL, sarcastically.
"I didn't know someone was going to get stabbed on the way to the door," said MAYA, rubbing her leg where MICHAEL stabbed her.
They arrived at the National World War II Museum shortly after it opened at 9 a.m. This was the first time any of the agents had been in the building, and they were impressed. The entrance hall contained tanks, landing craft, and aircraft from the war. The museum was open to visitors. The agents walked up to the ticket counter. MICHAEL asked for Robert Sullivan. They showed their fake IDs. The woman at the counter picked up a phone. A moment later Marsha Watts, head of public relations, met with the agents and escorted them to Sullivan's office.
Robert Sullivan stood from his desk and shook their hands in turn. With Ms. Watts present, he told them what he knew of the break in. Sunday evening, someone entered the museum illegally. No alarms were sounded on any of the outside doors. There was no evidence of forced entry. If it wasn't for the broken display case and the missing uniform, there wouldn't have been any proof a break in had occurred.
MURPHY asked about the museum's security. Sullivan described the set up. There were motion sensors in all the exhibit halls and infrared sensors in the more sensitive areas. The doors were all wired. Every room had security cameras. It was state of the art, particularly given the number of automatic weapons in some of the exhibit halls. That, too, was a surprise for Sullivan. With all the weapons available to choose from, the thief only made off with a single uniform.
MICHAEL asked to see the security tape. Sullivan took them into the security room, which wasn't far from his office. They met the chief of security, a harried Aaron Waters. The security cameras were digital. There was no tape, the images were captured on a computer and stored on optical disks. They brought up the image from the exhibit break in.
The image showed a display case with a single uniform.. Behind it was an enclosed case with automatic weapons used by the U.S. and German armies. To the right was a wall with a back lit mural. Suddenly, a jagged oval of light appeared in the image. "This is where the interference hits," said Sullivan.
MICHAEL and MAYA looked at each other. That wasn't interference. That was an interdimensional gate.
Someone walked through the gate. He was white, in his early 30s by the look of it. His hair was closely cropped. He wore dark jeans a black, unadorned t-shirt, and black gloves. In his hands was a ball-peen hammer. He glanced around, spotted the case, trotted up to it, and then whirled the hammer against the side of the case. An alarm went off as the case's glass cracked. Two swift hits followed, the last shattering the glass. The thief used the hammer to clear some of the glass. He threw the hammer back behind him, through the gate. The thief finished off by wrapping his arms around the stand holding the uniform, lifting it out of the case, and jumping through the gate. The gate disappeared seconds later, followed by the security guards running into the room.
"We don't know what happened to the hammer," said Waters. "We think he tossed it back to an accomplice who was hidden by the interference."
Waters added, "We're questioning the guards. We're thinking this had to be an inside job. The doors were not forced. There was no sign of entry. We suspended the guards who were on duty that night with pay, pending the investigation. We interviewed them yesterday, and we're doing it again tomorrow."
They reversed the video and played it again. This time MURPHY and MAYA noticed a car framed within the gate. It looked like some sort of jeep. It had its rear to the gate, so they could just make out the plate. "Can we get a copy of this video?" asked MURPHY. Waters burned them a disk with the video on it.
"I'd like to see the display case," said MICHAEL.
Sullivan took them to the exhibit hall. The hall included a number of uniforms, small arms, and squad support weapons. Sullivan pointed to the weapons case. "The thief had access to all these weapons. They are all functional, or functional with a little modification. He passed that up and went straight for the uniform."
They looked over the case. "We moved some of the bigger pieces of glass, as they were dangerous," explained Sullivan. "Otherwise, we left it as we found it."
According to the plaque in the case, the uniform was that of SS Obergruppenführer Odilo Globocnik, courtesy of a regimental museum in Britain. MURPHY made note of the name.
The agents searched the room, checking for marks on the ground and on the walls. They didn't see any. MICHAEL noticed something on the ground. MURPHY saw MICHAEL kneel to the ground, so he asked Sullivan and Waters to describe the glass that was shattered. With the museum officials occupied, MICHAEL scooped up some dirt he saw on the ground — at about the point where the gate opened — into a plastic ziplock bag.
The agents looked over the room, inspected the security system, and talked to employees for well over an hour. Waters asked if they wanted to talk to the guards. MICHAEL said that wasn't necessary from an insurance perspective. He said that they were confident the museum did what was necessary. They would be by the next day to pick up the appropriate forms.
The agents returned to MAYA's house to do some further investigation. They started by putting the surveillance video on MICHAEL's laptop. They stopped it at the point where the thief jumped through the gate. There, behind him, was the vehicle.
They zoomed in on the image. It became heavily pixelated. They moved back and forth from zoomed to unzoomed image. The vehicle was a grey Jeep Grand Cherokee. The plate was from Louisiana. It was an older style white plate, not the more recent coloured "pelican" plate. MAYA noticed the emblem in the centre of the plate. It was the Louisiana Purchase symbol, which was only available on license plates issued on the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase, in late 2002 and throughout 2003. They made out the last four numbers: "J-244".
MICHAEL went on Google and looked up Odilo Globocnik. Even for Nazis, this guy was evil. He was implicated in the deaths of 1.5 million Jews in several death camps in Poland. He was as corrupt as he was ruthless. The world was better off when he committed suicide in April, 1945 after being captured by British troops in Austria.
MURPHY called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms — his day job — and asked a coworker to run the partial plate. MICHAEL turned to the soil sample. It was dirt, but it was mixed with sawdust. The color was similar to that found throughout the Gulf Coast region. Nothing helpful there, but the sawdust was a definite clue.
It wasn't long before MURPHY got a call back. They had a hit on the car. There was only one vehicle matching the make, model, and partial plate number. It belonged to one Buddy Chilvers of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. MURPHY's contact read off Chilvers' rap sheet. He had been arrested a couple of times for DUI, and once for domestic violence. He seemed charming.
While MAYA and MURPHY looked up Chilvers' street address on Google's street view, MICHAEL e-mailed A Cell with an update. Waiting for him was an e-mail from A Cell. A man was killed on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. According to the news story, he somehow broke into Herring Hall without leaving any physical evidence of his break in. The dead man's name was Jacob Tierny, of Opelousas, Louisiana.
That wasn't the whole story, though. Along with the news story, ADAM added a police report from the security guard who startled the man. The trespasser was armed with a knife. The guard had no option but to shoot at the man. The trespasser came out of a short hallway that ended in a closet. After he shot the trespasser, the guard thought he heard someone yell out from the hallway. Another guard joined him, and while the shooter tried to give first aid to the trespasser, the newly arrived guard checked the hallway. There was no one there, and no way for someone to escape. It was this detail, along with the dead man being from Louisiana, that prompted A Cell to forward the information on to MICHAEL.
The e-mail included a picture of the deceased. He didn't look anything like the man in the museum surveillance video. His hair was darker, his nose a bit bigger. This might be a red herring and mean nothing.
MURPHY and MAYA found the road where Chilvers lived. All the homes on the road were mobile homes. If the address was right — and you couldn't always trust Google's street numbers — Chilvers lived in a double-wide trailer. The group decided to move on Chilvers' home, as Baton Rouge was only an hour away along I-10.
They rented a white Chevy Equinox as a non-descript vehicle that could hold the team more comfortably than MAYA's Mini Cooper. They drove the Equinox to Baton Rouge. It was late afternoon when they took a reconnaissance trip along the street where Chilvers lived. There was no Jeep in Chilvers' driveway. There was a beat up Ford Escort. There was also a chain staked into the ground, leading somewhere behind the trailer. The team decided to come back when it was dark.
They parked the car beside a small clump of trees several trailers up from where Chilvers lived. They slipped along the road. The trailer was dark. The Escort was the only car in the driveway. The chain still ran back behind the trailer from the stake in the front yard. They needed to see what that was about before they tried to get inside.
MAYA sneaked around the back of the trailer, while the others waited. She came back and told them that the chain ran straight back into a dog house. The implication was obvious.
MICHAEL had an idea. He slipped up to the corner of the trailer. Pulling out some twine, he quietly tied the chain to a downspout on the trailer's corner. If the dog ran around the front, the twine would hopefully stop it short before it could get to the door.
MAYA padded up to the house, followed by MURPHY. She worked on the lock. It took her fifteen tense minutes, but she finally got it open. The agents slipped inside.
They played over the home with flashlights. The double wide had a short hallway to the left leading to a bedroom. A living room was on the right, and at least one other bedroom and a kitchen were at the back of the trailer. They heard snoring coming from the first bedroom. MAYA moved to the room. A woman wearing a t-shirt and panties lay in the bed, on her side. On the floor near the bed were empty Jack Daniels bottles. The room stank of stale cigarettes. MAYA drew the door closed.
The agents quietly checked the rest of the house. The second bedroom was used as a study. It held a small book case, a couple of cabinets, a closet, and a desk with a computer.
The primary subject of the books in the book case was white supremacy. It was all pretty odious stuff about whites being the "master race". Some of them had been thumbed through more heavily than others. MICHAEL looked through the books for patterns, but couldn't see any right away. He wrote down the names some of the authors and publishers.
MAYA started up the computer, with the speakers turned off. It beeped once. Everyone held still. The snoring continued, and they let out a collective sigh.
MAYA went through the Chilvers' browser history. He didn't let the computer store the password to his e-mail, so MAYA couldn't access it. He wasn't so diligent about hiding the sites he visited, most of which were either pornographic or were neo-Nazi forums. She did find a folder on the desktop that contained something odd. There were three jpeg images that, when she brought them up, looked like abstract swirls. In fact, the images were very high resolution. It took her a moment before she figured out what they were. They were interdimensional gate designs. She slid a flash drive into the computer and copied the files onto the drive.
As MAYA popped out the flash drive, MURPHY checked out the closet. It was full of clothes. Most of them were long sleeved, and probably stored here until the winter. He moved the clothes aside. Swirls were drawn on the back of the wall. There was an interdimensional gate there, though it didn't appear to be active at the moment. MAYA took a look at the pattern. It was the same as one of the jpegs.
On the floor of the bedroom was a gun case. It was bigger than a pistol case, but smaller than a rifle case. It felt empty. MURPHY opened the case. There was an indentation for a weapon. The weapon was larger than a pistol, but smaller than a rifle. MURPHY suspected it once held a submachine gun, though for all they knew it held a paintball gun.
They didn't find anything else of interest in the bedroom. A careful, and quiet, search of the rest of the home didn't turn up anything there, either. They shut down the computer and left the house.
They got to the edge of the road when MICHAEL realized they hadn't untied the dog's chain. If anyone saw the chain they'd realize someone had been there. He needed to go back and undo the twine. The other agents disagreed. They thought they should just leave. MICHAEL overrode them and sneaked back to the house.
While he made his way up to the chain, MICHAEL kicked something on the ground. He heard a growl from behind the trailer and a rattle of chain. MICHAEL slowly backed up. A large dog — a pit bull or a rottweiler — came around the corner. It saw MICHAEL and charged at him, barking. The dog flew off its legs as it got to the end of the shortened chain.
MICHAEL ran to the others as a light came on in the trailer. A woman's voice yelled out, "Who's out there! I have a gun!" The dog continued to bark.
The agents ran to the Equinox, climbed in, and drove off. They didn't think the vehicle was seen, and it was unlikely anyone could identify them. Of course, it was now obvious that someone was poking around the trailer.
They drove back to New Orleans.
Chilvers was involved in the uniform theft, but they didn't know where to find him. They seemed out of leads with Chilvers, so they focused on the e-mail from A Cell.
The dead man, Jacob Tierny, lived in Opelousas, Louisiana. They piled into the rental SUV for the two and a half hour trip.
They arrived at the home of Jacob Tierny. His mother, a morbidly obese woman with long, stringy blonde hair, answered the door. She was obviously still grieving over her son's death.
"Why was he in Houston?" she asked the agents — who were now pretending to be FBI agents — through choked-back tears. "What was he thinking?"
"When did you last see him," asked MAYA.
"A couple months ago. He got himself an apartment in Houma. He phoned a week ago." She wiped her eyes. "It's them friends of his. He ain't been the same since he started hanging around them."
The friends she spoke of were some tough customers her son had fallen in with over the last year or so. She didn't know any names, or where they lived. She did offer the agents her son's address in Houma.
Houma was southwest of New Orleans, but the trip from Opelousas along U.S. 90 took over two hours. Tierny lived on the second floor of a two story apartment complex in a bad part of town. Evidently the police hadn't arrived yet to check out his apartment. MURPHY and MICHAEL blocked the view of the door while MAYA picked the lock. The door swung open, and the agents stepped inside.
There were unwashed plates in the kitchen, and some spoiled milk in the refrigerator, but otherwise the place was fairly tidy. It was certainly a lot cleaner than Chilvers' trailer.
Tierny didn't have much in the way of furniture. Beside an old TV and an older couch, a cheap dinette set, and a sparse bedroom, the main feature of his apartment was a desk with a computer. On the desk were a couple of white supremacist screeds, and a few books on the Waffen SS. The agents flipped through the "literature", noting authors and publishers.
Tierny's computer was far less interesting than Chilvers'. They frequented some of the same Nazi forums, but that was about the extent of their connection.
They searched Tierny's closet for interdimensional gates, but didn't find any.
MICHAEL noticed some dirt at the bottom of the closet around and under a pair of hunting boots. The dirt was mixed with sawdust. This was the first piece of evidence linking the Rice University break in with the break in at the National World War II Museum.
The agents left the apartment, locking up after themselves. They got into the car and MAYA drove to a nearby gas station to fill up their vehicle.
MICHAEL went inside to talk to the station attendant. "Excuse me, do you know if there's a saw mill around here?"
"A saw mill?" replied the attendant. "Not any more."
"There was one, though?"
"Yeah, a few miles outside of town. It ain't been used for a few years."
MICHAEL got the address of the saw mill and joined the others in the Equinox.
MAYA drove the Equinox along Parish Road 33, and then turned left onto Coteau Road. The road curved to the right. Just past the curve was the dirt drive leading into the saw mill's property. The mill was in the middle of some woods. The woods themselves were not old growth, but fairly mature. An old faded sign was now partially obscured by tree limbs, and risked being swallowed alive by vines. A rust-covered gate sealed off the mill from the drive. The gate was secured with a new chain and padlock.
MAYA drove past the mill. All three agents scanned the mill property. Light from the mill seeped into the loading area, giving away the presence of three pickups and a grey Jeep. She turned the car around and drove back past again, this time at a greater speed, trying to make it look like they were lost and had just turned around. MAYA found a secluded spot to park the Equinox. They checked their pistols, filled their pockets with extra ammunition, got out of the SUV, and quietly closed the doors.
There was no fence around the saw mill. The only real barrier was the tree line. It had rained that day and the ground was muddy, but it was still fairly firm underfoot, at least for southern Louisiana.
The agents quietly appeared at the edge of the woods near the gate. From their vantage point they could see the north side of the old saw mill and the loading area where the pickup trucks were parked. It looked like it might once have been an old barn that was converted into a saw mill as an afterthought. The building had seen better days, but there was evidence that someone had had spent some time repairing it recently. The windows on the north side were all intact, but someone had been painted over them, so they glowed faintly with the light from within.
Two men sat just inside the loading area before a small folding table. They were playing cards. The guard nearest them had an MP5 submachine gun slung on his back.
The agents shifted further down the woods. There was a small clearing at the back of the building with a portable toilet. A path was worn in the grass from the front of the mill to the toilet. They spotted a door at the rear of the mill.
MAYA gestured to the door. The others nodded. She carefully crept up to the door. She tried to peer into the window beside the door, but it was too dirty to see through. No light shone from beneath the door. She turned the door knob but it was locked. MAYA pulled out her lockpicks and worked the door. Within a minute, she had it open. She signalled the others to follow.
MURPHY jogged to the back door very quietly. MICHAEL was not so fortunate. Half way to the door he stepped on a tree limb, which simultaneously snapped with a large crack, and flipped up to smack him on the leg. MAYA slipped inside the building; MURPHY and MICHAEL followed. MAYA locked the door behind them.
The room was full of old crates, pieces of wood, and empty boxes. Over by the wall stood a bench with a couple of old paint cans on top. There was another door opposite the one they entered, with light spilling around its cracks.
The agents took cover behind boxes and crates. A few moments later someone walked up to the outside door and jiggled the door knob. They heard two people talking in low voices outside. Then it went quiet again.
MAYA carefully shifted over to the other door. She opened it slightly. MURPHY and MICHAEL joined her.
Beyond was the saw mill proper. She could see straight through to the loading dock. The two guards playing cards were gone, their game half finished. A fine layer of dust and sawdust covered the floor, the remnants of years of operations and neglect. The mill equipment had long since been removed, save for block and tackles in the ceiling and mounting points on the floor. Old discarded band saw blades and tools lay against the wall on the right, which would be the north wall. The windows had, indeed, been painted. Leaning up against the wall near the entrance was a piece of particle board. Screwed into the back of the particle board was a hinge. The hinge was mounted on the tip of an A" shaped frame assembly.
The overhead fluorescents were dark. The main room of the mill was illuminated by six banks of halogen lamps mounted on tall poles. The cords of the lamps ran out through the loading dock. In the distance they heard the thrum of a diesel generator.
There were two doors with windows on the north wall. Both doors had shutters on them. To either side of the doors were windows, which were also shuttered. The doors led to a pair of offices, one of which was currently lit up.
The light from the halogens glinted off stacks of metallic cases in the centre of the building. Each case had a handle. Four men shifted the cases from a large shipping container into discrete stacks using hand carts. A fifth man, tall and burly, with a shaved head, barked orders.
"These are going to Atlanta," he said to a shorter man with a dirty blonde mullet. The mullet-headed man put a piece of cardboard on top of a stack. The cardboard had been bent into an inverted "V". Written in marker was the word "Atlanta".
"These," continued the man with the shaved head, "are going to Houston." The Mullet put a "Houston" card on those.
"Those over there are going to Memphis. That stack is going to Dallas. What's left is going to Nawlins." The Mullet followed with a card for Dallas and Memphis. The other men were still assembling the New Orleans stack.
Out near the loading dock, MAYA spotted one of the guards returning from outside. The guard walked over to a man wearing a Budweiser baseball cap. Bud-cap man had just finished unloading a stack of metal cases, and had wandered to the door to light a cigarette. The guard whispered something to the Bud-cap man. The man nodded, walked over to the wall, and grabbed a hunting rifle that was propped against it. The two men left the loading area without alerting anyone else.
MAYA closed the door.
By the agents' estimation, there were three guys outside and five inside — the three guys shifting crates, Shaved Head, and The Mullet. They didn't see the guy from the video anywhere in the building. They didn't know if the guy in the video was Chilvers, though.
The agents checked their weapons.