Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

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Dauric
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Dauric » Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:09 pm UTC

Wild question: in Sufficient Unto the Day you've got three agents (ROSE, REDLIGHT and RICHARD), but it looks like you've got 4 regular players, Where you down to three players for that Opera, or was the fourth playing a non-agent character?
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:18 pm UTC

We only had three for that one. There was a little out of character tension after Music From A Darkened Room, and Agent SETH's player left. Between Sufficient Unto the Day and Hearken to the Wild, we added a new player. The only time we've had someone play a non-agent was in Contagion when my cousin was visiting. He played the doctor that was crushed and eaten by the bacteria colony in the elevator.
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:48 pm UTC

See No Evil – Session 5

Agent REDOX had been returned to the interrogation room and cuffed to the table for only a few minutes before there was a knock on the door. An officer poked his head in the room to let REDOX know his lawyer had arrived. There was no way ROMEO got a hold of Morty Silver, relayed the situation, and had a lawyer sent in a matter of two minutes, but REDOX was in no position to argue.

The door opened wider, and in walked Morty Silver himself. He was dressed in a fine, blue suit with a blue tie and silver cufflinks, and he carried an expensive-looking briefcase, but it was definitely the man from the Jewish Heritage Museum. Mr. Silver entered and took a seat across from REDOX. He placed his briefcase flat on the table between them as the officer closed the door to give them privacy.

“Morty! I’m glad to see you.”

“Yeah. I’ll bet. Why don’t you tell me in your own words what they got you for, and I’ll see what our options are.”

“They say I stole a van that I checked out of the FBI motor pool myself, and they say I drugged a federal agent, but I didn’t. I caught him sleeping on the job, and he’s trying to cover it up by throwing me under the bus.”

The EPA scientist was speaking rapidly, and Mr. Silver held up a hand to slow him down.

“You’re investigating The Review, yeah?”

“That’s right.”

“And you suspect them of occult ties?”

Agent REDOX didn’t recall ever mentioning that part, but whatever. He just went with it.

“That’s right.”

“Then you need out of here tonight if you’re going to make it to the event tomorrow.”

REDOX agreed that time was of the essence. Morty rolled the wheels of the combination locks on his briefcase and opened it. His eyes narrowed ever so slightly as he looked across the table at the agent.

“I represent a man who can make this happen for you. He has the means, but it’s up to you to provide him with the desire.”

“Sure. What’s he want?”

REDOX was far too desperate to be suspicious.

“Like you, he’s interested in the occult; books, artifacts, knowledge of all sorts. Just agree to come to me the next time you find something of that nature and want it researched. The man I represent asks only for the opportunity to examine and research such things for you.”

“Yeah. Yeah. Sure. If he gets me out of here tonight, you’ve got a deal.”

Mr. Silver smiled and produced a yellow business card from his briefcase. It had an elaborately stylized ‘S.A.’ printed in gold on the back. He placed the card face down on the table with the gold letters up and slid it across the table.

“This may seem silly to you, but I can assure you of its power. Simply pick up the card, read it, and then tear it in half. And now, I’ll bid you good night.”

REDOX just blinked at the card on the table as Mr. Silver left. S.A.? What did that mean? Were they initials? Did they stand for something important? He shrugged and picked up the card. He then frowned and let it fall back to the table.

This had to be a joke. Mr. Silver had given him a card from a Monopoly game; a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Oh, very funny, Morty. Very freakin’ funny, you bastard! Agent REDOX picked the card back up and ripped it to pieces. Almost as if on cue, there was a soft click, and his handcuffs loosened. He blinked in disbelief at his newly-freed hands as the door opened once more.

The officer poked his head in again to give REDOX his belongings and tell him to have a good night. The scientist wasted no time collecting his things and heading outside. Once on the sidewalk, he called RIVER to come get him.

On the cab ride back to the hotel, Agent RIVER grilled her cell leader about just why he was in jail, but he refused to answer. As it was already after midnight, the agents got some sleep.

The next morning, all the agents were up early. This was it. This was the big day. R-cell had a meeting over coffee to discuss how to handle the day. ROMEO suggested forcibly detaining the members of The Review for questioning under the pretense of national security, and REINHARD offered to help since he'd done about all he could tracing the money, and there was a guy at the New York IRS office who was really getting on his nerves anyway. REDOX tentatively okayed the plan on condition that the men not have their rights violated enough to blow the Opera open, and that they be allowed to attend the event.

ROMEO and REINHARD secured three separate rooms so the men could be questioned separately, and then they paid a visit to Bhrunt. Mr. Bhrunt wasn’t in the best of moods, but he agreed to answer ROMEO’s questions after he saw the Homeland Security credentials.

He told the agents he hadn’t been able to reach Colm for days, but he was sure the event would go on as planned. He didn’t know anything about any occult dealings or other nonsense, but he did have one potentially useful piece of information. Colm had mentioned a man he’d been corresponding with who supposedly had “wondrous things” to show him. Bhrunt didn’t know more than that except that he thought the man’s name was Scathis.

Watts and Hames hadn’t been able to reach Colm either, but they weren’t worried. The event would go on as planned. They were sure Colm would be there. They also knew nothing about occult dealings, and if Colm had ever mentioned someone named Scathis, they hadn’t noticed.

It was about noon by the time ROMEO and REINHARD released the three members of The Review and broke for lunch. REDOX had been laying low since the events of the previous night, but he met up with his cell for pizza. ROMEO and REINHARD relayed what little they’d learned, and REDOX called A-cell. He asked Agent ADAM if he’d ever heard of someone named Scathis, but he hadn’t. ADAM did offer to pass the inquiry along to ALPHONSE.

It took a couple hours, but ALPHONSE did email REDOX a quick reply: Scathis is likely Reynaldo Scathis, a singularly vicious Tenente Colonello (Lieutenant Colonel) in the Royal Italian Army during World War II. He was killed in action in North Africa. If encountered, treat with extreme caution. DO NOT ENGAGE unless you are absolutely certain you can take him down. Failure to kill him will almost certainly result in mass casualties.

A picture was attached to the email of Tenente Colonello Reynaldo Scathis in full military dress. The picture was dated April 3rd, 1941, but the man looked exactly like the cab driver who’d shot ROMEO outside the abandoned building. So Colm, the accountant for The Review, was in close contact with a World War II Italian officer who hadn’t aged a day in 70 years. If that didn’t scream “occult ties”, what did?

REDOX informed his cell about the identity of the mysterious cab driver and warned them to be watching for him at the event later. The plan was for everyone to show up early. REDOX and RIVER would be inside since they’d registered for the event. REINHARD would be in the Merriweather Center’s security room monitoring cameras. ROMEO would be near the front entrance watching for Colm.

After taking the afternoon to relax and prepare themselves for the event, each of the agents made their way to the Center about an hour early and got into position. The protesters were already on site and chanting. The police and a private security firm were on hand to keep the situation from boiling over. Barricades were in place to keep the protesting crowd back, and allow attendees and presenters access to the front doors.

Not long after the agents were in place, all four members of The Review arrived; Watts, Bhrunt, Hames, and even the elusive Colm. All four arrived at the same time and hurried somewhat nervously down the path toward the front doors of the convention center. Under one arm, Colm carried the same book he’d had when he fled the abandoned building. The protesters shouted and surged forward against the barricades, and soon they gave way. The crowd rushed the four men, and Colm panicked. Three shots rang out, and it was the crowd’s turn to panic.

Watts, Bhrunt, and Hames dove to the ground, the crowd ran every direction at once, and Colm darted toward the front doors of the Merriweather Center with smoking gun in hand. A large, dark-skinned security guard spoke into the microphone on his wrist before closing on the gunman. Security personnel from all corners of the building came to assist while the police tried desperately to control the panic.

From somewhere deep in the crowd, the man known as Scathis came rushing after Colm. The supposedly-long-dead Italian officer was now wearing sweatpants and an NYU hoodie, and he held his Beretta Modello 1935 handgun out as he ran. He fired a single shot at the dark-skinned security guard and caught him in the head. The guard was dead before he hit the ground at Colm’s feet.

The accountant, even more in fear for his life now, threw open the glass door and ran into the lobby. Agent REINHARD gave real-time updates to the rest of his cell, and so REDOX made his way to the lobby. Agent RIVER stayed back while she worked to picture the situation in her head.

Colm didn’t see ROMEO as he passed the agent on his way inside. On hearing the first gunshots, ROMEO had drawn his pistol and waited. Now he took his shot. Two bullets were fired at short range, and both hit … the standing corpse of an elderly woman. ROMEO and REDOX blinked in confusion and horror. Where Colm had been running through the lobby, now there was the dead body of a woman. Had Colm somehow shapeshifted? What the hell was going on? REINHARD’s voice came over their com links.

“Uhhh … I don’t know what you did, but Colm’s outside. He just stood up in the field. Looks like he switched places with a downed protester. He’s just standing there now.”

Okay. Whatever just happened couldn’t possibly have happened, could it? There was no time to think. REDOX ran for the front doors while ROMEO took up a position overlooking the front and east-side doors. RIVER exited the east-side doors to head Colm off, and REDOX was going to try to come at him from the other side.

First thing was first though. Scathis was still out there, and it looked like he wasn’t caught off guard by Colm’s teleportation. REDOX figured it was Scathis who had caused it. As the Italian officer turned to rush Colm, he was tackled by several security guards. Agent REDOX ran past the pile of bodies, and he wasn’t the least bit surprised to see Scathis stand up several yards away where another of the dead protesters had lain.

Scathis charged toward Colm, but REDOX intercepted and fired his Taser. The Italian officer dodged out of the way. He was far more nimble than a man who’d been dead for 70 years should ever be. Colm ran around the east side of the building, but seeing Agent RIVER waiting, he made a hard left through the side doors.

This was just what Agent ROMEO had been waiting for. He fired twice, and this time, the body that hit the floor was indeed that of Stephen Colm. Agent RIENHARD came out of the security room and crossed the lobby toward the dead accountant. He picked up the book just as ROMEO made it over. The agents gave each other a congratulatory nod.

Agent RIVER decided this chaos and gunfire was a bit too much, and she fled the scene. Seeing Colm’s death through the bay windows of the Merriweather Center lobby, Scathis decided to abort his plan. He ran across the yard toward the street, and REDOX gave chase. Scathis fired a single shot into the window of a passing taxi, and a moment later, a dead cab driver fell at REDOX’s feet. The bastard had teleported again.
The taxi fishtailed a bit as the necromancer gained control, and REDOX watched helplessly as the cab escaped. The EPA scientist cursed as he checked the dead cab driver for identification. He could trace the cab and put out an APB, but something told him it would come to nothing.

Agent REINHARD took the book back to the hotel, and REDOX left the scene as well. ROMEO stayed behind to coordinate with police and cover up the true nature of the events. Once back in the relative safety of the Marriott, REDOX made his final report to A-cell and booked the next flight home.

REINHARD handed the book over to ROMEO later that night, and the agents looked it over. It was in German, and neither of them could read it. The cover was a tasteful dark grey with golden details. A subtly embossed swastika was one of those details, as was the title, name of the author, and two simple lines at the sides, barely suggesting the shape of one of Albert Speer's Nürnberg banners above a “podium” of text. The title was easy enough to translate: Mein Triumph oder Drittes Buch, meaning "My Triumph or The Third Book". It was probably just more propaganda, but ROMEO wondered if just maybe it told how to do the corpse switching trick.
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:02 am UTC

Night Floors – Session 1

It had taken Agent REDOX all of about ten minutes to book his flight home, and in that time Agent ALPHONSE had replied to his emailed report. That wasn’t something the scientist had been expecting; ADAM, maybe, but ALPHONSE tended to take his time. It probably had something to do with age. Delta Green’s leader always sounded old and weary over the phone, but REDOX had never met the man. Not that he was likely to know it if he had.

The response from A-cell only briefly acknowledged receipt of the report. It seemed there was another matter that needed R-cell’s attention. The email gave a phone number and the name of Agent MARCUS of M-cell. The instruction was short: Before dismissing R-cell, meet with Agent MARCUS. He has an urgent matter which needs attention. He will give the briefing. It also advised REDOX to be prepared to welcome a new agent to his cell; one with abilities which should be particularly suited to the task at hand.

Well, damn. No rest for the cell yet. At least the area code indicated a New York City number. As it was already after midnight, Agent REDOX cancelled his flight and alerted his cell before getting some sleep.

Agent ROMEO was in the process of painstakingly photographing each page of the Italian’s book when he got the call. His response was hardly more than an assenting grunt. He had more important things to do than talk to his cell leader. A few hours later, ROMEO had a complete copy of the book in the form of digital images, and so he handed it off to REINHARD. The IRS agent took the book outside to an alley and set it on fire. He was relieved to see that it burned easily. Burning a Nazi book – the irony wasn’t lost on him.

On his way out in the morning, Agent REDOX stopped by the front desk to make sure the rooms were booked for another three days just in case. Then it was breakfast time. He hadn’t been to a Denny’s in a while, so he hailed a cab. After ordering his food, REDOX gave Agent MARCUS a call to set up a meeting for 10:00 AM, and then he relayed to information to his cell. The meeting was at the FBI office. Did that mean MARCUS was actually FBI, or was he FBI followed by a ‘wink, wink’? Not that it mattered, really. For REDOX, the bigger question was this: “If Delta Green already had a cell in New York, why the hell did his get sent in?”

Most of R-cell arrived at the FBI office on time. Agent RIVER hadn’t responded since fleeing the chaos of the previous night, but REDOX wasn’t worried. She’d turn up. Hell, maybe she was the smart one. All he really wanted to do was go to ground.

Agent MARCUS directed the agents to a secure briefing room and asked them to make themselves comfortable. MARCUS was probably in his early 30s, but his face seemed to have a sort of permanent scowl of suspicion which somehow made him seem older. His first order of business after the door was closed and the blinds were shut was to ask if the agents were followed. When they indicated they weren’t, he asked if they could account for all their waking hours. Yes. Yes, they could. Agent MARCUS accepted their answers, but he didn’t seem to believe them.

“Okay. This should be a milk run; a simple in and out. It’s going to take weeks, and if you’re lucky, it’ll be the most mind-numbingly boring job you’ve ever had.”

“And if we’re not lucky?”

Agent ROMEO likely just wanted to cover all possibilities.

“If you’re not lucky, Agent, your mind will still be numb.”

Agent ROMEO conceded that everything seemed to sound fair enough. MARCUS nodded, and then he wasted no more time.

“Abigail Laura Wright is missing. She is a successful commercial illustrator and artist, and she was last seen four days before she was reported missing by her father, Thomas Wright. Thomas Wright is a Nassau County police officer and he pulled some strings to get the NYPD more involved than is usually the case.

“Abigail has been living in Manhattan for more than seven years and has only been to the police once, to report a mugging in 2007. Besides this, she has a distinguished academic record and an impressive list of credentials and former clients. Late last year, her first show was held on Franklin Street downtown at The Mercury, a small but trendy art gallery.

“Six months later she disappeared. Her father says he tried reaching her for four days before calling a friend at the NYPD on May 13th. When the police opened her apartment, they were baffled. It was an obsessive-compulsive’s dream. Every available surface was covered in junk, glued or taped to the walls. Only the floor was clear. The carpet had been yanked up to reveal battered linoleum. Prior to this, by all accounts, Abigail had been a fastidious young woman not given to accumulating odds and ends. There were no signs of a struggle or any other sort of violence, and the neighbors could offer no useful testimony.

“On July 13th, Abigail’s credit card was used in Patience, Maryland to purchase a pack of Old Gold cigarettes, and the case was given to the New York FBI as a possible interstate kidnapping. We re-examined the tenants of the building and Abigail’s associates and friends, and soon come to the same dead end which stopped the NYPD. The employees at the gas station where Abigail’s credit card was used had no particular recollection of the transaction and did not recognize her from photographs. The signature on the receipt was her name, but not her handwriting. The gas station had no surveillance cameras.

“Among the debris found in Abigail’s apartment was a piece of paper with a Yellow Sign hastily scrawled on it in blue ballpoint pen. The occult symbol caught the attention of a Friendly here who reported it to me.

Agent REDOX had to stop MARCUS for a question.

“A Yellow Sign?”

“Yes.”

“In blue ink?”

“Yes.”

“Was the paper yellow?”

“White.”

“Then why is it called a Yellow Sign?”

“Pray you never find out, Agent REDOX. I need your cell to examine Abigail’s disappearance, with an eye towards any possible occult connections. I understand two of you have badges already. Give me a couple days, and I’ll get some for the others. Welcome to the Bureau, boys.”

The agents had a few follow up questions. They were told Ms. Wright had an apartment in the Macallistar Building which was a co-op for young artists. It was owned and operated by a non-profit called ARTLIFE. Agent MARCUS gave them a list of tenants.

There were three floors with four apartments each, and a basement consisting of storage and a boiler room. On the first floor were Thomas Manuel in 1A, Abigail Wright in 1B, and Roger Carun in 1D. Apartment 1C was vacant. Each apartment on the second floor was occupied; Louis Post in 2A, Michelle Vanfitz in 2B, Penny MacLaren in 2C, and Daniel Gray in 2D. Only one apartment on the third floor was taken. Clarice Milner lived in 3B.

When the cab dropped the agents off in front of the Macallistar Building, they looked up at it in an odd mix of confusion and wonder. The surrounding buildings were normal apartment buildings and small businesses, but the Macallistar stood out. Someone had gone to great lengths to make it look like a castle. The wall along the rooftop was done like the stereotypical castle rampart, and cheap concrete gargoyles stood watch. There was even a non-functional portcullis over the front doors.

The doors were locked, but REDOX had an idea, and it was worth a shot. There was an intercom system with twelve buttons. The scientist ran his hand down the entire intercom, hitting each button. When the door unlocked, Agent ROMEO shrugged.

“Everyone’s always expecting someone.”

The entry was lined on both sides with the tenants’ mailboxes, and then another set of doors opened to the main building. A single hallway carpeted in plush burgundy ran the length of the building, and there were two apartments on either side. At the end of the hall, a staircase led up on each side. On the south side – to their left as they entered – another staircase led down to the basement. On the north side, directly opposite the stairs to the basement, was a door claiming to lead to the janitor’s closet. ROMEO checked just to be sure. He was happy to find the door spoke the truth.

Back near the entrance, REDOX and REINHARD were trying to figure a way into Abigail Wright’s apartment. The door was locked. Agent RIVER would be the one to call if they needed a lock picked, but she still hadn’t returned any calls. ROMEO rejoined his cell outside apartment 1B and took a driver’s license from his wallet. One quick slide, and the door opened.

REDOX was the first to enter, and he shuddered as he took in the sight. Papers and objects of all kinds lined the entire apartment with the exception of the uncarpeted floor. There was no furniture, but there was a wooden chair leg stuck to the wall just below a light switch. A DVD player had been glued to the ceiling, and a cassette tape-playing Walkman had been glued to another wall.

The agents split up and wandered around the apartment in a sort of awed stupor. Agent ROMEO was the first to break the silence.

“What do you want to bet the Temple of Gozer is in the refrigerator?”

“What refrigerator?”

REINHARD had called from the kitchenette. No furniture in there either, unless you count the wheelchair glued sideways to the ceiling. All three agents admitted to being just a little unnerved, but it was no wonder Agent MARCUS wanted to pawn this of on R-cell. Even when RIVER and the new guy show up, it was going to take the five of them a week and a half just to catalogue each item, and that didn’t count time spent interviewing the other tenants.

“I think I got something here. It looks like the plans for the building.”

Agent REDOX was carefully peeling what looked like a map from the wall with his knife. He showed it to the others when they gathered around. It was a map of the Macallistar Building. It showed all three floors with stairs leading to the roof and the basement, but something didn’t feel right.

Each closet was marked by an ‘X’, and there were cryptic notes. One closet was labeled “Roses and butter”, while another said “Door on 7/12”, and yet another said “Man with briefcase and white shoes”. The agents decided not to bother with the one labeled “Slaughterhouse”.

In addition, the third floor map showed what appeared to be doors opening to the outside of the building, but there weren’t any balconies. One door was labeled “Mr. Castaigne”, and the other said “The Parlor”.

Agent REDOX announced that he’d be back in a little while. He was stepping out to buy a camera. He pointed to a spot on the wall near the front door and grinned as he told REINHARD and ROMEO to start there, and move clockwise cataloging each and every scrap of paper and strange item. He then left the apartment laughing quietly to himself.

About a minute later, Agent ROMEO announced that he’d be back in a little while. He was stepping out to interview the staff of The Mercury art gallery about Ms. Wright’s exhibition. He slapped REINHARD on the shoulder with a quiet laugh on his way out.

REINHARD looked nervously about the apartment in which he now found himself alone, and he sighed. Sure. Leave the accountant to catalog the crazy lady’s wallpaper. One creepy map. One yo-yo, Duncan. One take-out menu, Chinese. One set of dentures. One newspaper, Spanish-language. One shoe, Air Jordan, left.
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:36 pm UTC

Night Floors – Session 2

It wasn’t long before REDOX returned with a camera, but he didn’t stay long. He had one more thing on his list that he wanted to do. As he had done previously with the map, REDOX carefully peeled a piece of newspaper from the wall. He frowned at seeing another newspaper article beneath that, and he briefly wondered just how many layers there were. He placed the scrap of newspaper in a plastic bag and let REINHARD know he was headed to the FBI lab to run chemical analysis on the paper and adhesive.

On his way out of the building, he received a text from RIVER letting him know she was alive and still in New York. After hailing a cab, he sent her a quick response: Meet REINHARD at the Macallistar Building. Apt. 1B. He’ll catch you up.

Agent ROMEO found The Mercury art gallery with no trouble. It was a small, two-story building, but the open space inside made it feel much larger. The walls were lined with paintings, and there were aisles of temporary walls also lined with paintings. Below each painting was the artist’s name and an asking price.

While the gallery seemed to have a focus on painting and photography, there were several sculptures interspersed. There was also a corner beneath the loft level which was set up with several sets of studio headphones so that patrons could listen to the music and poetry of New York’s less-visually-oriented artists. The gallery’s stereo played a selection of music by local artists. In addition to this atmosphere, the gallery also had its own coffee shop.

ROMEO’s first impression of the place was one of hipster overload, and the gallery manager only added to the effect. He looked to be in his mid-20s with a zippered hoodie open in the front to show his Radiohead t-shirt, and ROMEO suspected the kid’s glasses were more for show than anything.

The agent introduced himself and gave the name Howard Phillips. The gallery manager shook his hand and introduced himself as well. His name was Alan Conaco. Agent ROMEO said that he was a collector, and he was in town on business. As long as he was here, he’d like to see about ‘discovering’ a new artist. He was actually pretty interested in a few of the paintings by Thomas Manuel, and he’d been told to check out someone named Abby Wright.

Mr. Conaco was happy to talk about the paintings. Manuel apparently had a preference for darker - but vivid - colors; lots of reds and blues especially. His subject matter tended to show entropy with lots of decaying plant life and collapsing buildings, but the colors and brushstrokes brought life to them.

Ms. Wright’s paintings had all sold. The gallery was expecting more from her, but she hadn’t sent any over in a couple months. Still, they were hopeful. Ms. Wright was one of Mr. Conaco’s favorite new artists, mainly because she brought in money.

Agent ROMEO asked for an introduction to Mr. Manuel, but Conaco said it was against gallery policy. There would be another large exhibit next month, and many of the artists would be in attendance. ROMEO thanked him but mentioned he was only in town on business. He then left the gallery and headed back to the Macallistar.

When Agent RIVER arrived at the Macallistar building, there was a man examining the intercom outside the front door. He pressed a button near the top, and the door unlocked a moment later. RIVER asked him to hold the door, and he did so. They both entered, and RIVER was a little surprised to see the man stop in front of Ms. Wright’s apartment.

She flashed her FBI credentials and told the man there was an active investigation, so he should move along. The man just shrugged and said that he knew all about the investigation, and he was there to help. In fact, he was looking for someone named REDOX. Agent RIVER was a little suspicious. Her cell leader hadn’t mentioned anything about help.

A few questions back and forth, and she was pretty sure she knew what was going on. The man gave his name as ROCHE, and he said he was a Postal Inspector assigned to assist Agent REDOX in his team’s investigation. Agent RIVER called REDOX, and he confirmed that A-cell was indeed sending a new agent to assist. RIVER thanked her cell leader in a tone dripping with sarcasm for letting her know ahead of time.

Agents RIVER and ROCHE entered Abby’s apartment, and RIVER introduced REINHARD to the new cell member. After the initial shock of the scene had worn off, REINHARD explained the situation to the others. They got right to work photographing and cataloging all the various items on the walls and ceiling. RIVER hadn’t been in the apartment longer than ten minutes before the hairs on the back of her neck started to tingle. She had a strong sensation of being watched.

REDOX completed his chemical analysis of the paper, and he determined it had been stuck to the wall with a strong epoxy. He called RIVER to tell her what he’d found, and also to say that he was going to stop at a building supply store for a solvent before returning. She gave the wheelchair on the ceiling a dirty look and asked him to get a stepladder while he was at it.

Just as Agent ROMEO returned and was getting acquainted with ROCHE, Agent RIVER found something odd next to a Denver-area phonebook from 1983 – okay, so she’d found two odd things, but one seemed more interesting than the other. It appeared to be a typewritten page from a poorly-written play:

SCENE: The Smoking Lounge, a larger parlor on the fourth floor. In the room are THE DOG, THOMAS and MICHELLE.

ENTER MARK ROARKE.

MARK: Abigail is gone, she moved upstairs today.

THOMAS: And?

MARK: I miss the kid.

MICHELLE: Her dad, that pig, came around. She doesn't like you Mark, no one likes you. Anyway, she ran off with that salesman, everyone knows it.

MARK: Fuck you, you cunt.

THOMAS: Come on guys... come on...

THE DOG: Arf.

Someone is heard coming up the steps, a loud racket reverberating up and down the staircase.

MARK: Who is that?

Everyone stops to listen.

MICHELLE: Who could be down there? Who is that?

MARK steps to the doorway and leans to look down the stairs.

MARK: Hello? Hello?

ENTER FBI AGENTS.


Two of the speakers had the same names as tenants of the building, and they seemed to be talking about Ms. Wright. That was a little odd. Then RIVER realized the scene was set on the fourth floor, but the Macallistar only had three floors unless you counted the basement also. That was odd, too. It must be set in a different building. Then the last line caught her attention: “ENTER FBI AGENTS.” That sent a chill down her back.

RIVER handed the page to REINHARD after carefully removing it from the wall. The other agents all agreed that it was a bit disturbing, but given all the other things they were seeing, it wasn’t exactly out of place.

They got back to work, and a little while later, REDOX arrived with the solvent and stepladder. His first order of business was to get that damned wheelchair off the ceiling, and while he did that, ROMEO told him about the page from the play. The agents decided that no one was going anywhere in the building alone. This might have seemed like an unnecessary and paranoid decision if it weren’t for the fact that this was a Delta Green op sparked by an occult picture. This was as good a time as any to break for the day, so the agents all left the building and agreed to meet back at 9:00 the next morning.

The night passed uneventfully, and R-cell returned to the Macallistar right on time to get a fresh start. No sooner had Agent RIVER entered the building than she felt watched once more. She already disliked this place, and Agent ROMEO’s half-joking suggestion that they just torch the building and catalog the ashes was sounding more desirable every hour.

By noon, the tedium of methodical cataloging was even getting to REINHARD. Day two. It was only day two, and by the looks of it, they had at least a week left. And it was so disheartening to remove the fourth or fifth layer of newspaper articles and magazine covers only to find a laminated maple leaf, and under that another newspaper article. When REDOX finally got down to plaster, the agents decided to break for a celebratory lunch.

Agent ROMEO didn’t particularly want to go back to cataloging, so he placed a call to ARTLIFE and spoke with the building manager, Cynthia Lechance. He told her he had a few artist friends who were hoping to find an inexpensive place to live in the city, and as he was in town on business, he thought he’d look around. A chance encounter had led him to her.

Ms. Lechance was happy to tell him all about the Macallistar, and how ARTLIFE managed to keep rent so affordable. ROMEO casually steered the conversation around to the tenants of the building, and the woman didn’t even seem to notice she was giving out more information than she probably should. She told him none of the tenants had paid rent in over a month, no one returned calls, and eviction notices had been sent out. She mentioned almost to herself that she’d never had to evict an entire building before. Agent ROMEO thanked her for her time and said that he’d have his friends get in touch.

When he returned to the apartment, the other agents were examining what Agent RIVER felt might be a breakthrough. She’d found a hand-written receipt on what looked like very old pre-printed receipt paper. It indicated that Abigail Laura Wright had paid $850 for July rent on apartment 0B. According to the building’s numbering scheme, she thought that had to be in the basement. She also thought that apartments like these in New York City had no business going for any less than $1,500. It didn’t matter if the company that owned it was non-profit. Agent ROMEO mentioned that either the receipt was fake, or it was from an earlier year. None of the tenants had paid rent since May.

Everyone wanted out of the apartment, and it looked like they had a couple excuses. ROMEO and REINHARD were going to see about interviewing some of the tenants, and the others were going to check the basement apartments. ROMEO knocked on the door across the hall, and a clean-shaven man in his late 20s answered. He only opened the door enough to look out, so consequently, the agents had difficulty seeing in. What they could see seemed to be a clean apartment, and there was a plastic tree in a pot next to the door. As the man didn’t speak first, ROMEO opened the conversation.

“Mr. Manuel? My name is Phillips, Howard Phillips. My partners and I are looking into the disappearance of your neighbor Abigail Wright.”

“Ah, yes. I’m not sure what to make of it. Laura’s a good kid, but she’s such a free spirit. She must have just left because New York just couldn’t hold her.”

“Excuse me. Laura?”

“That’s right. Laura’s her middle name, but that’s what I always called her.”

“Then you knew her well?”

“Oh, yeah. Well, she just lived across the hall. We talked a lot.”

Agent REINHARD asked if Manuel would mind if they came in, but Mr. Manuel said that he didn’t think that would be a good idea. The place was something of a mess. From what they could see over the man’s shoulder, the agents felt it was clean by most standards, and especially in comparison to Ms. Wright’s apartment. ROMEO asked if he knew a Mark Roarke, but the man said it didn’t ring a bell.

“Did Ms. Wright know the other tenants? Did they get along well?”

“I don’t think she ever really talked with anyone else except Penny.”

“Penny MacLaren, you mean?”

Mr. Manuel indicated that was indeed who he meant. When the agents asked for an introduction, the man was happy to take them upstairs.

The rest of R-cell headed down to the dimly lit basement. The basement had the same overhead lighting as the ground floor, but only half of the lights seemed to be on. The floorplan was the same as well, though there was no plush carpet running the length of the hall; only concrete. Room 0A appeared to be the boiler room, and while it was dark and a little damp, there didn’t seem to be anything particularly sinister about it. The door to 0B was locked, but that only delayed Agent RIVER by about ten seconds.

She easily picked the lock, and the door slowly creaked open. With no windows, the room was very dark, but fortunately the light switch was functional. Apartment 0B had the same layout as Abby’s ground floor apartment, but this one had bare walls and a bare ceiling, clean tan carpeting, and a refrigerator. The apartment was empty and showed no signs of habitation.

Agent ROCHE checked the bathroom but found nothing of interest. RIVER found a carton of milk in the refrigerator that looked like it might burst. Given how odd this case was, she almost expected to see a picture of Abigail Wright on the carton. The expiration date indicated the contents hadn’t been drinkable since May, but RIVER opened the carton anyway and nearly vomited. The smell was absolutely awful, and even ROCHE could smell it from the bathroom. She quickly closed it up and put it back.
Agent REDOX said he’d found something in the bedroom. As this was an efficiency apartment, the bedroom was really just an area toward the back of the room that was intended to hold a bed. REDOX held up a sheet of paper which had just been resting on the carpet with the print-side down. He frowned as he read, and he declared the writing to be complete garbage before handing it to the others for their opinions. It appeared to be another page of a play, and it was likely written on the same typewriter as the page pulled from Abby’s wall.

SCENE: The hallway outside the Smoking Lounge. DANIEL GRAY and THE NIGHT
MANAGER stand facing each other.

Singing rises to a crescendo, then explodes into a feverish scream.

THE NIGHT MANAGER: Penny is in fine form tonight.

DANIEL: I'm going to miss her keeping me up at night.

DANIEL laughs.

THE NIGHT MANAGER: I'm going to miss you. You were one of my favorite tenants.

DANIEL: I was a pain in the ass, man, and you never did fix that leak.

THE NIGHT MANAGER: I'll get to it tonight. There's a new tenant due soon.

DANIEL: Yeah, so I hear. Well, you take care, man, okay?

DANIEL and THE NIGHT MANAGER shake hands.

THE NIGHT MANAGER: It's been good, Daniel. Take care.

DANIEL: You too.

DANIEL starts to walk down the hall.

THE NIGHT MANAGER: Daniel, it's the other way.

DANIEL laughs.

DANIEL: Sorry, man. Must have gotten turned around!

THE NIGHT MANAGER: Understandable.

DANIEL: Guess I shouldn't have clawed my eyes out, huh?

THE NIGHT MANAGER: It's a statement. The super will set you up with a new pair, I'm sure.


ROCHE and RIVER agreed with their cell leader’s critique, and RIVER added that the poor writing didn’t keep it from being creepy as hell. The agents all agreed never to see the play if it was performed, and ROCHE muttered something under his breath about starring in it anyway.

They moved on to apartment 0C, and again RIVER’s hairpin had the door open in no time. This room was just like the last one, only flipped. The bathroom was on the right as they entered rather than the left. There was no furniture in the apartment, but there were six easels covered by sheets, and painting supplies were tossed in a corner.

The agents decided to see what was under the sheets, and so they each took two easels to examine. The two paintings Agent ROCHE found were unfinished. What had been painted already was pretty, but the colors were dark. The first was a millhouse with a waterwheel in a dark stream. There was a faint hint of red in the dark blue of the water. The building itself was very detailed for such an early stage in the painting. At first glance, it seemed like a strong and well-built structure, but closer examination revealed cracks and damage, and the building seemed almost to be falling apart.

The other painting was hardly a painting at all. It was a sketch on a canvas, and only the very first brushstrokes had been made. Upon completion, it looked like it would depict the collapsing entrance to a deep mineshaft. It also seemed that a landslide was in the process of tumbling down the side of the mountain.

The first painting Agent RIVER uncovered was a partially colored and unfinished painting of a bowl of rotting fruit, and the second painting showed a fireplace and the legs of a man in brown dress pants. The rest of the man was only an outlined drawing.

REDOX wasn’t particularly impressed with the paintings he found. The first was of a rat-like animal jumping out of a dark pool of water and catching a rather surprised-looking fish out of the air. The second painting was nearly complete, and it really only needed some detail work. It showed a top-down view of a wooden box containing several marionettes piled and tangled together.

After the paintings had been uncovered, both ROCHE and REDOX got the feeling they were being watched. It was the same feeling RIVER had been having for some time now. They all agreed it was probably time to get back up to Abby’s apartment.

Thomas Manuel knocked lightly on the door of apartment 2C, and when the young brunette answered, he introduced her as Penny MacLaren. Penny was short and a little on the heavier side, but she was very pretty. Then again, everyone tended to seem more attractive once Agent ROMEO entered the room.

Agent ROMEO introduced himself and Agent REINHARD as Howard Phillips and “my assistant”. As part of the promised introduction process, Mr. Manuel mentioned that Phillips and his assistant were investigating Laura’s disappearance. Then to the agents, he mentioned that Penny’s singing voice was of the purest gold. Upon achieving smiles and thanks all around, Thomas Manuel took his leave and went back downstairs.

After what the fire had done to ROMEO’s face, he was very fortunate that he was as personally charming as he was. Even so, it took a few moments before Ms. MacLaren allowed them inside her apartment. The living room was clean and sparsely furnished with only a mismatched loveseat and chair, a small coffee table, and a desk. There was also a television on a short bookcase. The desk held a laptop computer which displayed a rather sophisticated-looking sound recording program. Thick cables connected the laptop to a microphone on a stand and a pair of studio headphones.

Agent REINHARD asked if they were interrupting anything, and while the young lady said they weren’t, it really did seem like they were. It served ROMEO’s purpose to believe her, and so that’s just what he did. The agents led with small talk about her career and upcoming shows, and ROMEO managed to talk her into singing a song for them. He even gave her $40 as a token fee.

She sang a song from an obscure French opera, and she sang it with such passion and talent that the agents were actually brought to tears. ROMEO was so moved in fact that he elbowed REINHARD and demanded the IRS agent cough up at least a $20 of his own.

After a little more talking, it was obvious that Ms. MacLaren had no knowledge of Abigail’s whereabouts. They weren’t the closest of friends, but they were more than acquaintances. Agent ROMEO eventually steered the conversation around to the subject of an early dinner, and he was so charming that despite Penny’s protest that she never does this sort of thing, she accepted his offer. ROMEO turned to REINHARD with a subdued grin and shooed him away dismissively.

“You may be excused, Benson. I won’t be needing you any longer tonight.”

REINHARD rolled his eyes as he stood and said that he did have other work he could be doing anyway. The trio walked down the stairs together and along the plush ground floor hallway, parting ways at the door to Abigail Wright’s apartment. The rest of R-cell had already returned from the basement, and so REINHARD caught them up on what little they’d learned from Thomas Manuel and Penny MacLaren.

Agent REDOX didn’t want anyone alone in the building, and he didn’t want anyone there after dark either, so he decided it was about time for everyone to finish up for the day. Work could start again early the next day.
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

User avatar
Yablo
Posts: 387
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Location: Juneau, Alaska

Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:46 pm UTC

Night Floors – Session 3

Penny MacLaren and Agent ROMEO exited the Macallistar building and crossed the street to the car ROMEO had rented to assist in his kidnapping of a member of The Review. That plan had fallen through, but it seemed the car was fated to assist in a kidnapping after all. ROMEO’s intentions weren’t completely altruistic. Sure, he wanted to get Penny out of the building for her own safety, but he wasn’t going to let her return. Again, he told her, it was for her own safety.

Penny argued that none of her fellow tenants wished her harm. If anyone had kidnapped Abby – or worse – it wasn’t anyone from the Macallistar. ROMEO dropped the subject for the time being. If he could drag out dinner, and possibly move the evening in a more romantic direction, he may not even need the tranquilizer gun. Still, better to be prepared.

He chose a classy restaurant which seemed like it might sufficiently stall the evening, and he made a point of comparing and contrasting the entirety of the wine menu. When his food arrived, he sent it back and had it remade. All the while, he talked to Penny.

After dinner, ROMEO drove all over the city, and eventually Penny asked to be taken home again. He explained that she was in danger, and he was keeping her away for her own good. She argued that whether it was for her own good or not, it still amounted to kidnapping. She was still smiling, and so it didn’t seem she felt it was as serious as she made it out to be.

All the same, ROMEO took advantage of a red light to make a move for the tranquilizer gun. As his hand moved, Penny quickly pulled back the jacket on her lap to reveal a small caliber pistol. She shook her head, still smiling.

“It’s been a fine evening, Mr. Phillips. Let’s not ruin it. Take me home now, please.”

Agent ROMEO hesitated for only a moment. He assessed the situation, and he felt he had the advantage. He drew the tranquilizer gun in a flash and fired. He hit the girl in the neck, but before she lost consciousness, she fired her own gun. The bullet hit ROMEO in the right side, below the ribs, but the armored vest under his shirt absorbed most of the impact. A nasty bruise was all he was likely to suffer.

The music was loud enough, and Ms. MacLaren’s gun was small enough that no one outside the car seemed to notice a shot had been fired. The light turned green as Penny drifted off to sleep. ROMEO called REDOX to ask about the local Green Box, and when his cell leader pressed for a reason, ROMEO told him what had happened.

“I need a quiet place to question her, preferably somewhere she can be held for her own safety.”

“Damnit, ROMEO. Kidnapping? Fine. I’ll tell you where the Green Box is, but I’m meeting you there, and I’m bringing RIVER and REINHARD.”

Agent REDOX told ROMEO where to go, and he made his calls. REINHARD said he was on his way, but RIVER’s phone seemed to be disconnected. REDOX couldn’t even leave a voicemail. There was no time to worry about that now.

The Manhattan Green Box was a large maintenance room in a deep sub-level of a parking structure. The door was heavy, and the walls were concrete at least a foot thick. A-cell had given REDOX the combination to the door, and so as soon as he arrived, the three agents carried Penny MacLaren inside and shut the door behind them. ROMEO handcuffed the sleeping woman to a pipe and blindfolded her.

Agent ROMEO went through her phone looking for contact information, and what he found gave him reason to pause: Her call log showed that she’d been in contact with every tenant of the Macallistar building at one time or another, as well as Mark Roarke and the Night Manager. All the numbers seemed normal except for Mark’s. His number was “TRafalgar-4-3314,” but that style of telephone exchange number had been discontinued over 80 years ago. Further, the various calls – both incoming and outgoing – came at all hours. It seemed Ms. MacLaren might not ever have time to sleep. As he scanned the call log, he noticed that calls to and from Mark Roarke and the Night Manager were only at night.

Then he saw it. Several times in the past week, always at night, Penny had talked to Abigail Wright, or someone using her phone. Agent ROMEO pulled the battery from the young woman’s phone before telling the others what he’d found.

REDOX called Agent ROCHE, and ROCHE said that he and RIVER had gone back to the Macallistar to look around and to interview some of the tenants. REDOX told the Postal Inspector he was in danger, and he needed to get out and to the Green Box immediately.

“Ummm … okay. I’ll be right there. Lemme just get RIVER. She went upst—“

The line went dead.

ROMEO produced a syringe and vial from his bag. He carefully administered what he called “compliance drugs” to Ms. MacLaren while Agent REDOX made only a weak, token argument. After a few minutes to let the chemicals take effect, ROMEO shook the woman awake and began asking her questions. Penny cooperated for the most part, but she didn’t act like a young woman being held captive and drugged. She was calm, slightly irritated, and more than a little sarcastic.

The agents were able to determine that Penny knew everyone in the building including the Night Manager, Henri Castaigne. She talked to Abby a lot. After all, Abby only moved up to the sixth floor.

REINHARD handed a page of the script to ROMEO and had him ask about it. ROMEO read the end of the second page where Daniel Gray had apparently clawed his eyes out, and the Night Manager said the super would probably replace them.

“Yeah. The super is usually good about things like that.”

She delivered the line as if it was a given; as if Daniel Gray had actually clawed out his own eyes, and the super, being the nice guy he was, would probably give him a new set. Nothing odd about that, right?

The agents, through ROMEO, asked more questions, and Penny answered each of them in a credible and believable manner. If her story was to be believed, Clarice Milner had a thing for removing body parts, draining blood, or just cutting a hole in someone and digging around. After she finished with her “patient”, the super would generally fix them back up later in the night; not always, but usually. Penny had never seen the super, and Clarice had never operated on her or Louis Post.

On a hunch, REINHARD had ROMEO ask if any new books had been floating around, and Penny rather enthusiastically said there had been. A couple months ago, Abigail had found an old book at a used book store. It was a play, and it had been making the rounds at the Macallistar; each tenant had read it at least once, and Louis had it the last Penny had heard. The play was a translation of an old French play called Le Roi en Jaune. The King in Yellow.

REDOX thought the name sounded familiar, but he couldn’t place it. The others felt sure they’d never heard of it. The cell leader excused himself silently to step outside and call A-cell. He was only a little surprised when his call was answered. It was Agent ALPHONSE, and he sounded tired.

ALPHONSE admitted he knew little of the Opera MARCUS had assigned, but he did know it was sparked by the discovery of an occult symbol. He suggested REDOX contact MARCUS with any questions and reports. MARCUS would keep A-cell apprised. Agent REDOX thanked ALPHONSE and said he had one quick question before he hung up.

“A play called The King in Yellow has been passed around between the tenants of the building recently. Ever heard of it?”

ALPHONSE was quiet for a long moment before giving his instruction.

“That is a very dangerous book. Retrieve it at all cost, and destroy it. Do not read it. Do not even open it. Do not so much as read the title. Understand, Agent?”

Agent REDOX acknowledged his instructions, and he indicated that his team could handle the execution. When he re-entered the Green Box, he saw ROMEO making a clumsy attempt at a sleeper hold. He waved ROMEO off and performed the maneuver himself. Once Penny was asleep again, he informed the other agents of what ALPHONSE had said.

REINHARD and ROMEO were now surer than ever that the best course of action would be to bomb the building and leave no survivors. They may have been innocent artists before, but now they were probably a cult of some sort, and their cult was centered on a book the leader of Delta Green had declared dangerous.

REDOX was against anything so flashy and high-profile for the moment, but he was willing to keep it on the back burner. For now, the mission parameters had changed. Find the play. Burn the play.
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

User avatar
Yablo
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Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:57 am UTC
Location: Juneau, Alaska

Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:34 pm UTC

Night Floors – Session 4

Agent REDOX returned to find the other two agents whispering to each other as Penny slept blindfolded, gagged, and handcuffed to the pipe; ROMEO had even stuck earplugs in her ears and set his phone to play white noise near her. REINHARD and ROMEO stopped whispering as their cell leader stepped back in.

Agent REDOX filled them in on their updated orders. He suggested someone should try calling the number for the night manager, and ROMEO nominated him.

“If you’re going to talk to him, you’ll need to be careful. He’s probably the one turning these artists into cultists. He might be able to control you through the phone.”

“You’re not serious.”

“Oh, deadly serious. He supposedly lives above the third floor, and Penny’s phone says she only talks to him at night. You read the page where the guy had clawed his eyes out, and this guy told him the super would probably give him new ones.”

“And how is it that the night manager is the leader of the cult if it’s the super with all the power.”

Here, Agent REINHARD offered the theory that the night manager might be the cult leader, while the super would then be like their deity. ROMEO agreed completely as it supported his argument. REDOX rolled his eyes and handed over his gun. Agent ROMEO then asked him to hand over his phone as well in case the night manager forced him to call A-cell or something else just as dangerous, and the cell leader did so with a sigh.

Agent ROMEO wasn’t quite satisfied, and so he asked REDOX to take a seat and allow himself to be handcuffed for the duration of the call. This was all getting to be a little ridiculous, but REDOX agreed to the demands. Once ROMEO was satisfied, he dialed the number and held the phone so that REDOX could talk.

There was no answer. The phone didn’t even ring. It was just like RIVER’s phone. Of course the call wouldn’t go through. Nothing above the third floor existed, at least not on this plane. They couldn’t contact RIVER or ROCHE. Why would they think they could contact the night manager? At least they tried. ROMEO could let REDOX loose now.

Only, ROMEO refused to remove the cuffs. It took REDOX a moment to realize what was going on. It was a mutiny! Agent REINHARD felt it necessary to point out that they weren’t on a ship, so that wasn’t strictly accurate. His helpful correction only drew a cold stare from the EPA scientist.

REDOX remained calm as he assessed the situation. He had no gun or phone, and he was handcuffed to a chair. He would eventually get free, and it would be a small matter to pin the kidnapping and/or murder of Penny MacLaren on Agent ROMEO. If ROMEO realized that, he’d never be able to let his cell leader live; not after this. Best to stay calm and let ROMEO think he’s in control.

“What’s this about? He didn’t answer, and I’m not mind-controlled. You can let me go and give me my phone and gun, so why won’t you?”

“REINHARD and I were talking while you were outside. We think you’ve been making some dangerous decisions. You wanted to give that Nazi book to someone outside of the group instead of destroying it, and now you want us to go back into that building and look for another book.”

“Under orders from A-cell. It’s a dangerous book, and it needs to be destroyed. It’s probably what’s causing all of this.”

“If A-cell is ordering it, I’m not getting in the way, but I can’t work with you anymore. Nothing personal. I just think you’re a menace.”

Using the phone he confiscated from his cell leader, ROMEO dialed A-cell, and the call was answered quickly. The man on the other end didn’t immediately identify himself, but when ROMEO told him who he was, the man gave his name as ADAM.

Agent ADAM wanted to know why ROMEO was calling and who gave him the number. Agent ROMEO informed him that he took the phone from REDOX who was currently unavailable. He explained all the reasons he felt REDOX wasn’t fit to lead, and all the while, REDOX gave him dirty looks.

ROMEO asked to be reassigned, and ADAM said the matter would be handled. ADAM instructed ROMEO to hold the phone up so REDOX could speak, but ROMEO said that wasn’t going to be possible. This prompted REINHARD to draw his gun and point it at ROMEO who calmly ended his call.

“I’m going to have to go now, ADAM. Agent REINHARD is pointing a gun at me. Don’t forget: You said you’d have this taken care of.”

He then hung up and put the phone away. Penny stirred a little in her sleep while the three agents discussed just what the hell was going on. Apparently, REINHARD had agreed that their cell leader was acting dangerously, but now he felt it was ROMEO who had taken leave of his senses.

ROMEO’s plan was to take REDOX’s phone and leave his own in exchange, leave his cell leader’s gun, and just disappear for a while until A-cell could get him a new identity and assignment. REDOX sarcastically wished him luck. With that, Agent ROMEO left the green box and drove away in the car he’d rented for the previous kidnapping.

A moment later, REINHARD’s phone rang. It was Agent ADAM. The mutiny of R-cell had become a concern for A-cell. This wasn’t how Delta Green handled a situation like this. REINHARD resisted the temptation to correct ADAM’s use of the word, and instead, he agreed.

The IRS agent asked ADAM what he should do about REDOX, and he was told that it was his call. A-cell was too busy for amateur-hour theatrics. However they wanted to handle things, the job needed to be done, and A-cell wasn’t going to hold their hands. REINHARD said he was releasing REDOX, but that they were only two agents. They needed reinforcements.

“I’ve only got one person I can send, and he’s a Friendly. It’s time to bump him to full agent. Until recently, he was a member of Secretary Clinton’s Secret Service security detail, but he’s in the process of reassignment. She didn’t like the tone in his voice when he said good morning. He should be in New York City now. I’ll email a bio and photo to REDOX. Now see that the job is done.”

After freeing REDOX, the next order of business was to figure out what to do with Penny who was still unconscious but showing signs of waking. REINHARD felt they were simply screwed. He didn’t want to kill her, but if she went free, she’d turn him over to the police.

REDOX wasn’t so sure, and he had a plan. She’d seen REINHARD’s face, and she would associate him with ROMEO, but she didn’t know his real name, and as far as she knew, ROMEO was acting alone. If they hit her with another tranquilizer to keep her out long enough to move her, REINHARD could meet up with the new agent. When Penny started to wake up, REDOX would burst in and be the heroic FBI agent coming to save her.

Agent REINHARD agreed the plan might work, and so they put it into effect. In the early-morning hours, they transported Penny to the abandoned store where only a few days earlier the accountant for a Holocaust denial group had met with a sorcerer of some sort. REDOX set to work handcuffing her to a nearby pipe while REINHARD headed back to the relative safety of the Marriot.

Agent REDOX took the earplugs out of Penny’s ears, and when she finally began to show signs of waking, he slipped quietly outside. After a ten-count, he kicked the door in and shouted some things he’d heard FBI agents on television shout in similar situations. He rushed over and took off the young woman’s blindfold and removed the gag. He held out his FBI credentials.

“Everything’s going to be okay, ma’am. I’m …”

Oh, damn. Who was he again? Norman, Nelson, Millsap? He risked a quick glance at his badge.

“… Agent Morrison of the FBI. I’m going to get you free. Are you okay?”

Penny nodded slowly and squinted as her eyes adjusted to the lighting. Agent REDOX spent a minute pretending to pick the lock on the handcuffs before using the key. He asked her some questions while he worked. Did she know who had kidnapped her? Did he have any accomplices?

She told him that it was a man who said his name was Howard Phillips. She had met him recently – she had no idea how much time had passed since she was drugged. They had gone to dinner, and he shot her with a dart gun. The next thing she knew, she was here. When she met Phillips, he was with another man he called Benson, but she didn’t know if he was in on it. As far as she knew, Phillips was working alone.

Once the cuffs were off, REDOX helped the young woman to her feet and put his jacket over her shoulders. He told her not to worry. He’d make sure she got taken into protective custody. This was apparently exactly the wrong thing to have said. She stopped short, dropped his jacket to the ground, and took a step away.

“That … That’s exactly what Mr. Phillips said. Just like that.”

Judging from her tone and the look in her eyes, REDOX was sure she was just in shock. He offered to call another FBI agent to give her a ride home, and she accepted. REDOX called Agent MARCUS and asked him to send Agent Udagawa whom he had worked with recently. Agent Udagawa took Penny back to the Macallistar building, and REDOX caught a cab back to the Marriot.

After a brief nap, REDOX looked over the file Agent ADAM had sent on the new agent. His name was Dimitri Benedict Salazar, and he was with the Secret Service. He was a decorated agent with specialized training as a driver and a sniper. A skilled driver who could handle pressure would be a real asset. He hoped the agent’s skill with a rifle would never be a factor in the outcome of an Opera, but he knew better.

REXDOX called REINHARD and Agent Salazar to set up a meeting in the hotel bar. Both remaining agents of R-cell found the new recruit acceptable if a little stiff and formal. His tendency to call them sir particularly got to REDOX, but he let it go for the time being. The agents brought Agent Salazar up to speed and welcomed him to the group. REDOX mentioned that the choosing of a codename was a sort of symbolic rite of passage, and so Salazar selected the name RON.

In the space of two weeks, R-cell’s membership had gone from one to two to four to five to three to two, and back to three. Even a fast food restaurant didn’t have that kind of turnover. Did that say anything about REDOX as a leader? He decided it didn’t.

R-cell spent a couple hours discussing possible plans of action, and the one they finally settled on was to simply interview Louis Post and examine his apartment for the play. If that failed to turn up anything, Plan B was to carry in large evidence boxes filled with propane tanks and gasoline canisters, place them in strategic places like empty apartments and janitor’s closets, set them to detonate with the press of a remote trigger, and then wait for nightfall before torching the Macallistar.

As Penny had seen his face, Agent REINHARD opted to wait in the car with a walkie-talkie while the other two agents conducted the interview. Before talking to Mr. Post, REDOX wanted to test a couple theories. He and RON went up to the third floor and looked around for doors to the outside which the map showed labelled as ‘The Parlor’ and ‘Mr. Castaigne.’ As he suspected, there were walls rather than doors.

To test the other theory, the agents took the stairs to the roof, but the door seemed to be locked. They decided to leave the roof until later, and they went to interview Mr. Post instead. Louis Post was below average height and above average weight. His hair was a messy brown mop, and the circles under his eyes implied he hadn’t slept well recently. Still, when REDOX asked to speak with him, he was happy to let the agents in. He asked only that they excuse the mess.

If it weren’t for the fact that none of the furniture was broken or overturned, the apartment might look as if a tornado had blown through. There were papers, drawings, soda cans, pizza boxes, and graphic novels all over, but no sign of an old play. Agent RON stayed silent and observant while REDOX asked about the King in Yellow. Mr. Post said he had never heard of it, and both agents felt he was telling the truth.

REDOX then asked about the door to the roof, and Mr. Post said there was a trick to opening it. He’d be glad to show them if they liked. Agent REDOX said they would, and so Louis led them up to the door. He jiggled the knob with his left hand and seemed to be aligning it, and then he smacked it sharply with his other hand. There was a soft click, and the door opened onto the roof. The agents thanked Mr. Post and stepped out onto the roof while Louis returned to his apartment.

The roof of the Macallistar was nothing special. Small gravel covered the ground, and a large air conditioning unit hummed loudly. The perimeter of the roof was lined with a low wall designed to look like a castle rampart, and a concrete gargoyle stood watch over each corner of the building.

The agents decided there was nothing more to see, and so they returned to the car and began to put Plan B into effect. It took a couple hours of work to place the fuel containers in the right places and wire them to blow, but in all that time, none of the tenants left their apartments, and so there was no one to question their activities. With the groundwork laid, REDOX and REINHARD left to find food and wait until nightfall. As this was Agent RON’s first official assignment, he wanted everything to go smoothly, so he watched the Macallistar from an alley across the street.

Once sufficient darkness had fallen, R-cell regrouped. Each agent took up a different position to watch the building, and they remained in contact with their walkie-talkies. REDOX gave the word, and RON hit the button. There was a long second of silence followed by a series of soft explosions only REINHARD was in position to hear. All three agents could see the flashes of orange in windows on all three floors, and REDOX told them to remain in position for a few minutes to make sure the job was done.

The flickers of orange in the windows gained intensity, but no one left the building. Windows shattered from the heat, and yet no emergency vehicles came. Cars passed by, and no one seemed to notice. In fact, REDOX decided, it was as if only the agents themselves knew the building was burning. He uttered a few choice epithets and gave the order to meet at the rendezvous point and return to the hotel. In the morning, they’d decide whether or not to come up with Plan C.

Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away in Lexington, Kentucky, Agent ROMEO returned to his third floor motel room with a bag of snacks from the convenience store down the street. His first clue that something wasn’t right was the figure lying back against the headboard of his bed. In the dark, he couldn’t see clearly, but before he flipped the light switch the figure spoke. Her voice was soft and emotionless, and it dripped with authority.

“Let’s not spoil the mood, Terrance.”

Terrance. That was his real name. Whoever this was knew him. In his line of work, that was never good. Agent ROMEO set his bag on the table and pulled the curtain aside. He didn’t see anyone, but he got the strong impression he wouldn’t get far if he ran out the front.

“Now, Terrance. You and I both know how this is going to play out. I have dinner plans, so shall we make this quick?”

“You have me at a disadvantage, ma’am.”

Agent ROMEO was stalling for time while he scanned the room for other exits. There was a window overlooking the alley behind the motel, but it was a thirty foot drop, and he’d have to cross the room. He began inching along the perimeter making sure to keep his eyes on the dark figure on the bed.

“I have everyone at a disadvantage. It’s my job.”

The woman didn’t move. She simply remained still in the cover of darkness as ROMEO moved. Half-way there. If she wanted to kill him, she could have done it by now. So what was this about? He decided his best bet was to just keep stalling until he made it to the window.

“Is this about the Nazi book? You’re a little late for that.”

“I’m not really a bookish sort of woman, but keep guessing. I’m sure you’ll get it.”

She was obviously toying with him, but her demeanor never slipped from the professional. Agent ROMEO was an interrogator with Homeland Security, and he was used to getting information out of people, but that required a position of strength. Right now, this woman was in control, and she knew it.

One slip up is all it would take, and he might be able to turn this around, but she was so cold and calculating that he felt sure she wasn’t going to slip. Best to just make a break for it. ROMEO bolted the rest of the way across the dark room and dove shoulder-first into the window.

The next few moments seemed to take forever. His eyes were closed, but he could hear. He heard the breaking of glass, and then the sounds of the city got louder. He heard the wind as he fell. He thought he heard the woman’s voice say something like “take him.”

He didn’t hear the shots, but he felt the three bullets hit his armored vest. They hurt, but they only foreshadowed the impact. A second later, Agent ROMEO heard a sickening crunch and felt his legs break. Opening his eyes, he saw a man in black tactical gear standing over him with a pistol pointed at his face. The man had a square jaw and a black, knit cap covering his hair.

A moment later, he sensed the woman from the room coming up behind him. He couldn’t see, but she knelt down and cradled his head in her arms. Her voice was still professional.

“Now, Terrance. Was this really necessary?”

Agent ROMEO coughed and fought for enough breath to speak.

“Who … who are you?”

The woman made a soft, soothing sound as she held him.

“Oh, sweetie. You can call me ANDREA.”

Then with a quick and well-practiced motion, the woman snapped ROMEO’s neck.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Sat Nov 21, 2015 1:13 am UTC

Night Floors – Session 5

The agents of R-cell met up at the designated rendezvous point a few blocks from the Macallistar building. The plan was to return to the hotel, and come back in the morning, but the whole situation had been nagging at REDOX. After talking it over for a few minutes, the agents decided to go back. It was Agent RIENHARD’s question which made the decision for them.

“We carried the gas inside in FBI evidence trunks. Did we bring those back out before lighting the place up?”

Back at the Macallistar building, the agents could still see flames clearly through all visible windows. Agent RON slipped into the alley across the street from the Macallistar and climbed to the roof of a convenience store where he set up his rifle and scope with a clear view of the face of the Macallistar building.

REDOX wondered why none of the windows had broken yet. In such an old building, they really should have by now. He and REINHARD casually walked up to the front doors of the building. Agent RON’s voice came over the walkie talkie.

“I’ve got you in my sights, sir. Blinds are drawn, but there’s movement on the third floor. Fire everywhere inside; no smoke outside.”

That was an interesting observation. If the building was on fire, the occupants should have come out the front doors, the windows, or on to the roof, but none of that had happened. And even if the windows refused to break, there should be smoke.

Agent REDOX could see through the front doors and the entry way that the entire hall was in flames. He cautiously reached his hand out to touch the door. It was cool to the touch. REINHARD suggested that there might be some sort of hallucination going on. That would explain why only the agents seemed to notice the building was burning.

REDOX ran his hand down the intercom making sure to hit each button. Someone was kind enough to buzz them in, and as they opened the door, a gust of air rushed inside, and the flames disappeared. REINHARD propped the door open with a chunk of cement which had broken free of the curb. The smells of gasoline and propane were very strong, but there was no fire, and no sign of smoke. Agent RON confirmed he no longer saw flames in the first floor hall, but they could still be seen elsewhere in the building.

On a hunch, REDOX had RON fire a shot through Abigail Wright’s window. It was covered in layers of glued paper and other objects, but light could be seen through it. Agent RON fired a single round from his rifle. While it did have a silencer on the barrel, the crack of the shot could still be heard over the sounds of the city night. The shot shattered Abby’s window, and glass and paper fell away. As REDOX had suspected, the fire disappeared, and a strong odor of gasoline and propane came blowing out.

The agents decided they’d need gas masks to enter the building. Agent RON watched the building while the other two went to get masks from the FBI equipment room. Shortly after REDOX and REINHARD had gone, there was movement in Abby Wright’s apartment. Agent RON used his rifle scope to get a closer look. A man wearing khaki pants and a plain dress shirt seemed to be setting up a microphone in the center to the apartment. A thick cable ran out the door, across the hall, and into the apartment opposite Abby’s.

RON relayed this information to his cell leader along with a description, and REINHARD confirmed it was Thomas Manuel. Why he was setting up a microphone, none of the agents knew.

Ms. Wright’s apartment was technically a federal crime scene, and while Manuel hadn’t noticed the propane tanks and gas cans yet, RON was sure he’d spot them soon. REDOX gave the order to fire, and RON shot without hesitation. One shot, and Thomas Manuel was dead. He’d never even known what hit him. Then RON fired again, taking out the microphone.

REDOX and REINHARD returned a short time later, and RON confirmed he had eyes on them. Their first action was to enter Abby’s apartment and dump Mr. Manuel’s body out the broken window into the recessed area below which held the building’s garbage cans.

Next, they followed the cable across the hall to Thomas Manuel’s apartment. It was clean and rather Spartan. Manuel was a painter, but as REINHARD pointed out, there was a distinct lack of artwork on the walls. A plastic tree stood in a corner near the door, and there was little else in the way of decoration.

The cable led to a computer with three monitors displaying the same sort of software Penny MacLaren’s computer had. One window displayed a sound file titled My_Great_Work_15.wav, and it was still recording. There looked to be some activity early on, and then a spike as if something very loud had happened, and then there was simply a flat line.

Agent REINHARD stopped the recording and scanned the contents of the hard drive. There was nothing particularly interesting aside from the folder where the recording was stored. There were 15 files all titled My_Great_Work and numbered sequentially. It appeared Thomas Manuel had made a recording each night for the past two weeks. Agent REINHARD shut down the computer and removed the hard drive. He planned to listen to the recordings later.

Before they left, Agent REINHARD checked the closet near the door. It was quite a bit darker on the inside than he expected, but before he could get his flashlight, the clanging of a large bell of the sort one might expect atop a church tower came ringing out from deep in the darkness. REINHARD slammed the closet door, and both agents made a retreat to the hallway.

The agents then went upstairs to Louis Post’s apartment. He was reportedly the last tenant to have the play, so that was a good place to start. As they reached the second floor, they spotted a very large, greyish-brown dog walking up the stairs to the third floor. The dog looked to be nearly three feet tall at the shoulders and probably outweighed both agents together. The mastiff stopped halfway up and turned to look at them with slobber dripping from its sagging features.

REDOX took a step backwards and down, but the dog simply turned away and continued up the creaking stairs. Once it was out of sight, the agents hurried to Mr. Post’s apartment and knocked on the door. When there was no answer, Agent REINHARD bypassed the old lock by sliding a credit card between the door and the frame.

The door creaked open to reveal the same disaster of an apartment they’d seen before, only this time it was bigger. There was more space between the furniture, and the apartment itself was wider than the building should have allowed. Even still, nearly every square foot was covered by pizza boxes, soda bottles, and discarded drawings. One other thing was different; there was a three-foot-high ornate mirror on the coffee table, and Mr. Post’s desk chair had been pulled up to face it. REDOX opened the blinds on the side facing the street, and Agent RON radioed to let him know he had eyes on the apartment.

While Agent REINHARD fished through the mess looking for the play, REDOX examined the mirror, and he almost immediately regretted it. He noticed that the reflection was a bit darker, like the lights were dimmed, and the closet door opened into darkness. He turned to look, and his suspicion was confirmed; the door was closed, but the reflection showed it open.

As REDOX looked back to the mirror, the reflection showed a man with a briefcase and white shoes entering the closet, but when he turned, he saw the door was still closed. He pointed this out to REINHARD, and both agents agreed the mirror should be smashed. REDOX did the honors, and REINHARD examined the closet.

The map they’d found had this closet labelled “Slaughterhouse.” He slowly turned the knob and pulled the closet door open. No sooner had he done so than the sounds of automatic gunfire could be heard, and bullets started to pepper the opposite wall. Agent REINHARD stepped out of the way, and REDOX drew his gun and began firing into the darkness. Agent RON also fired a couple shots from his rifle.

The automatic gunfire stopped abruptly, and the agents could hear a blood-curdling scream from deep in the closet. REDOX shined his flashlight inside, and while the first several feet were carpeted and lined by hanging coats, the closet eventually opened up into a much larger room. The floor was hardwood, and the ceiling was high. It looked like a ballroom.

That was enough for REDOX. He gave the evacuation order, and the agents climbed out the broken street-facing window and down to the sidewalk below. No sign of the play, but maybe they’d done some good in there anyway. There was no longer any doubt in either agent’s mind that this building and its occupants were a threat.

REDOX radioed RON, but the sniper heard only static. He radioed back, and REDOX heard only static. REDOX tried the phone, and that seemed to work just fine. He told RON to meet them at the rendezvous point, and they’d carpool to the hotel. If the tenants of the Macallistar building didn’t retaliate somehow, maybe they could go back in the morning. Once in the relative safety of the Marriott, the agents split up and headed to their respective rooms.

REINHARD had one thing to do before bed: listen to Manuel’s recordings. He plugged the hard drive into his laptop and listened from the beginning. Each recording began with an introduction by Thomas Manuel stating the name and number of the recording, and at first they seemed to be followed only by white noise, but soon there seemed to be something faint and musical in the background. Agent REINHARD listened to a few of the earlier recordings multiple times, and eventually he could hear the voices clearly.

It seemed rehearsed like dialogue from a movie or play. One voice, a young woman named Cassilda, sang a haunting song about a city named Carcosa near a lake called Hali. Some of the dialogue mentioned a masquerade ball thrown in the court of the king. The king was sometimes mentioned as wearing tattered yellow robes. One other person who seemed prominent was a visitor who was unknown to the other guests and was referred to simply as the Phantom.

Agent REINHARD listened closely to each recording several times, and at some point the dialogue began to be spoken in French. In every incarnation, Cassilda’s song chilled him, but he couldn’t keep himself from replaying it. He had the distinct feeling the song would never leave him; when a song would get stuck in his head as songs tend to do, that song would always be this one.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Sat Dec 05, 2015 1:04 am UTC

Night Floors – Session 6

After six hours of restless sleep, Agent REDOX called R-cell to group up. They met over breakfast to discuss their options going forward. The Macallistar building and its tenants seemed normal during the day and different – almost sinister – at night. They agreed daylight would be their best friend when dealing with the building. The only trouble was that daylight made it harder for their actions to go undetected.

REDOX was disappointed with the fact that the building wouldn’t burn, but REINHARD offered the suggestion that the building might be somehow more resilient at night. Maybe burning it during the day might work better. REDOX nodded and looked to Agent RON for his input. The secret service agent only offered a few words:

“You make the call, sir, and I’ll follow.”

Agent REDOX narrowed his eyes. He’d dealt with many agents who refused to listen, or who decided to take matters into their own hands; ROSE, ROCHE, REAPER, RAJEEV, RIVER … All he wanted was a cell that would follow orders, and now there was RON. His obedience to the supposed chain of command was annoying bordering on the infuriating. REDOX sighed and sipped at his coffee.

According to A-cell, the primary goal was to find the book; destruction of the building and removal of what R-cell saw as a cult were secondary objectives. The agents determined all three objectives would be easier if the tenants were evacuated from the building first. With the tenants out of the building, it could be searched without the need for the FBI act which REINHARD and REDOX agreed was getting tiring. Then the building could be torched, and assuming it burned, no bodies would be found. Finally, with the cult at an undisclosed location, they could be executed and disposed of.

The plan the agents decided on called for REDOX to rent a storage unit outside the city under an assumed name while REINHARD procured a moving truck and six large trunks. While they did that, RON would keep eyes on the building.

It was nearly 11:00 AM by the time the agents reassembled in front of the Macallistar. Agent REINHARD parked the truck right outside. As Penny MacLaren could identify him, Agent REINHARD decided he should stay in the truck.

RON and REDOX carried the trunks inside to Abby’s apartment. The first thing they noticed when they entered was that the smell of gas was still strong. The propane tanks were sealed, and the gas cans were open just as the agents had set them. The blasting caps hadn’t detonated, and the fuel had never ignited.

The next thing they noticed was that the front window which had been shot out the night before was once again in place and buried beneath layers of papers and glue. REDOX speculated that maybe the Macallistar building regenerated every morning.

RON knocked on Mr. Manuel’s door, and he was relieved when no one answered. Maybe the super hadn’t yet brought him back to life. Not that they had evidence that he could, but both agents felt there was truth to the odd pages they’d found in the building. One page had implied that the super might give Daniel Gray his eyes back.

Next on the list was the last remaining tenant on the first floor: Roger Carun. Mr. Carun was a little on the shoter side with thinning brown hair. Other than the hair, he seemed to be in his early 30s. When he opened the door to his apartment, Agent REDOX flashed his FBI credentials and introduced himself as Special Agent Morrison. He introduced RON as Special Agent Densmore. Mr. Carun invited them in.

The apartment was very clean, but the walls were covered in posters for science fiction movies. It was the bedroom of a rich, geeky teenager, or it was the home of a geeky adult science fiction writer who was doing just well enough to get by.

REDOX informed Mr. Carun that he was their main suspect in the disappearance of Abigail Wright, and that meant they were going to have to take him in. The man’s eyes widened, and he protested that he had nothing to do with the disappearance; he’d only really even spoken to Ms. Wright once when he asked her to keep her New Year’s Eve party to a dull roar.
REDOX countered that new evidence had come to light implicating the science fiction writer, but he refused to say what evidence when pressed. Mr. Carun demanded that they show him a warrant, and while the agents were pretty sure the FBI had authority to arrest or detain without a warrant, they weren’t as sure as Mr. Carun seemed to be.

RON made a motion with his hand indicating the REDOX should shoot the man with his tranquilizer gun at the first opportunity, and then he cleared his throat.

“We don’t have a warrant, but we don’t need one either. We’re sorry, Mr. Carun.”

“Not as sorry as you’re going to be when I talk to my lawyer.”

When the man turned to address RON, Agent REDOX shot him in the neck with the tranquilizer. He caught the man as he fell, and both agents placed him in a trunk. Next up, second floor; Louis Post, Michelle Vanfitz, Penny MacLaren, and Daniel Gray. REDOX only had three doses of tranquilizer left, and there was still Clarice Milner on the third floor. They decided Ms. MacLaren might be difficult given what she’d recently been through, and so they left her for last.

The encounter with Mr. Post went about the same. Post swore he had nothing to do with the disappearance, and he asked for a warrant. RON got his attention while REDOX tranquilized him, and the agents dumped him in a trunk. Neither agent seemed particularly bothered by how routine this was becoming.

There was no answer at Mr. Gray’s door, so they picked the lock and entered. The apartment was empty. The carpet showed evidence of furniture, but it had apparently been removed in the past few days. Oh well. That was one less kidnapping/murder on their conscience. It also meant they were only short one dose.

Michelle Vanfitz was a tall woman with dark hair barely long enough to be tied back the way she had it. This had the effect of tightening her already severe features into an inscrutable mask of mild surprise and disdain. REDOX flashed his FBI credentials and made the introductions. This time, he elected not to inform her that she was their main suspect. Ms. Vanfitz invited them in, and while RON looked around at the many shelves of books on feminist literature and poetry, REDOX opened the conversation with a question. He wasn’t quite prepared for her answer.

“Ms. Vanfitz, have you ever heard of a play called the King in Yellow?”

“Heard of it? Of course I’ve heard of it. Abby found a copy at the little bookstore down the street, and we’ve all read it at least once. You know, it is one of the first feminist plays! It portrays a patriarchal society shifting to a matriarchal one. It’s really remarkable.”

Just then, RON found an old, thin book tucked between Women’s Studies textbooks. He slid the book out, and examined the cover. There was an odd yellow symbol sort of like an abstract of a creature with three spiraling tentacles. Something about the symbol filled him with dread, but he opened the cover anyway. The title page confirmed his suspicions: The King in Yellow, translated from the French.

With Ms. Vanfitz’s back to him, RON held the book up for REDOX to see and made a show of concealing it beneath his jacket. He then got her attention by asking about one of the books on her shelves. As she turned, REDOX shot her in the neck like he had the others.

Once she was in a trunk of her own, the agents headed quickly up to the third floor and knocked on Clarice Milner’s door. The young woman answered, but she had little time even to smile. REDOX was in a hurry.

“Clarice Milner?”

“That’s me.”

“Good.”

He shot her in the neck with his last dose of tranquilizer, and the agents dragged her down to Abby’s apartment to dump her in a trunk.

That left only Penny MacLaren. REDOX knocked on her door. She answered the door with a blanket around her shoulders. He may have recently rescued her from her captor, but she didn’t seem happy to see him. She did invite the agents in, however.

Ms. MacLaren wasn’t in the mood for talking, and the agents were all out of tranquilizers, so RON improvised. He got her attention and then sprayed mace in her eyes. She screamed and tried to run for her door, but she was disoriented. She ended up tripping over her coffee table instead, and REDOX used the opportunity to jump on her and try his sleeper hold again.

Once she was out, the agents dumped her in the last trunk. They loaded the trunks into the moving truck, and REINHARD and REDOX drove away. RON had one last task to complete. This all started in Abigail Wright’s apartment, so it was only fitting it should end there.

Ron dropped the King in Yellow in the middle of her floor and poured gasoline over it. He then dropped a match and watched until the book had turned to ash. Once he felt certain the book was gone, he fled the building and took watch from the alley across the street. This time, there were real flames and smoke. This time, windows shattered. This time, the building burned.

By the time emergency responders had put the fire out, all that remained of the Macallistar was a crumbling, three-walled stone ruin. That was good enough for him.

After dropping REDOX at the storage area and unloading the trunks, REINHARD caught a cab to the airport. He was about done with this job. He’d be happy to ride a desk and keep Delta Green informed, but he was done with field work. No more Agent REINHARD; only Michael Pollander, the Friendly.

REDOX fired three rounds from his silenced pistol into each trunk before opening them. He placed each body in turn on a table covered in thick plastic, and he calmly sawed them into easily manageable chunks. The blood drained down the plastic and into buckets. He worked all day, and as night fell, he loaded two plastic-lined trunks filled with the remains of the tenants and some iron scrap for weight, and he drove out of town until he found a reasonably secluded pier on a dark section of beach.

Two months ago, it was Agent ROSE into the Pacific. Now, he dumped the Macallistar tenants into the Atlantic. Yeah. He could handle the job of cell leader.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Wed Dec 16, 2015 8:36 pm UTC

We'll be taking a few weeks off to enjoy vacations and holidays, but the game will start up again in early- to mid-January. Now might be a good time to spam the thread with your questions and/or comments.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Echo244 » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:50 pm UTC

Yablo wrote:Two months ago, it was Agent ROSE into the Pacific. Now, he dumped the Macallistar tenants into the Atlantic. Yeah. He could handle the job of cell leader.


So, does that mean we're looking at falling sanity levels for REDOX here? Taking out all the tenants sounds like it was pretty much mandated by the comment from Ms. Vanfist ("we've all read it at least once"), and yet that level of killing and body disposal, on one's own, can't be good.

Interesting setup, too, though I'm wondering if the key factor in the outcome - attack during the daytime, take down everyone, scorched earth - meant that some of the potentially interesting bits, like who or what was the building's super, or many of the oddly labelled doors on the building's plan, went unexplored. Then again, I get the feeling that that's precisely the right path for Delta Green - get the job done, don't engage with the madness, minimise collateral damage - and on this level it looks like an excellent in-game outcome.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Thu Dec 17, 2015 8:07 pm UTC

Echo244 wrote:
Yablo wrote:Two months ago, it was Agent ROSE into the Pacific. Now, he dumped the Macallistar tenants into the Atlantic. Yeah. He could handle the job of cell leader.


So, does that mean we're looking at falling sanity levels for REDOX here? Taking out all the tenants sounds like it was pretty much mandated by the comment from Ms. Vanfist ("we've all read it at least once"), and yet that level of killing and body disposal, on one's own, can't be good.

Definitely. He took a sizable hit to his sanity when he disposed of ROSE the way he did. This time, he was getting rid of more people, but he didn't have a strong connection to them, so he took about the same size hit to his sanity for it. He knew it was coming though, both in- and out-of-character, so he sent the other agents home and took care of the last bit himself. It's not easy being a Delta Green agent, and it's even harder to shoulder the responsibility of a cell leader.

The player is the same one who player Agent REDLIGHT, and he does a good job of role playing falling sanity. They say time heals all wounds, and I'm giving the agents a few months to rest and recover after their two back-to-back Operas. That should help.

Echo244 wrote:Interesting setup, too, though I'm wondering if the key factor in the outcome - attack during the daytime, take down everyone, scorched earth - meant that some of the potentially interesting bits, like who or what was the building's super, or many of the oddly labelled doors on the building's plan, went unexplored. Then again, I get the feeling that that's precisely the right path for Delta Green - get the job done, don't engage with the madness, minimise collateral damage - and on this level it looks like an excellent in-game outcome.

You're right on both counts. There was a lot that went unexperienced, by that's okay. They may have dodged it this time, but they haven't escaped. I have plenty of evil plans.

As far as Delta Green is concerned, this was a big win. The threat was contained, and since all the tenants were being evicted for not paying rent anyway, they all have motive for the arson. As Abigail Wright's apartment was being investigated by the FBI, and much of the accelerant was stored there, the FBI will have jurisdiction. Agent MARCUS can easily direct attention away from Delta Green.

They've won for now, but I've sown the seeds of something far worse than an old French play.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Tue Jan 26, 2016 8:50 pm UTC

One player has decided to do other things which leaves us with only two players. Recruitment seems to show interest in other games, but it seems Delta Green is tougher to find replacements. I believe we'll be putting the game on the shelf for now.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Echo244 » Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:42 am UTC

Ah, shame. It's a marvellous setting, and you had an excellent system going where many little things in the course of one Opera would shoot off on tangents but then fold back in to later stories.

That said, I can understand that it can be a difficult one to find players for - it's a tough game where you can't get too attached to characters.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Dauric » Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:05 pm UTC

Agreed, definitely enjoyed reading your session write-ups.

Have you looked in to online gaming like Roll20 to run your Delta Green?
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:44 pm UTC

I've really enjoyed doing them, and I have no shortage of evil ideas. The trouble is that what gaming there is in this town is generally Pathfinder/World of Darkness. I'm actually a little surprised I found the right players to keep this game going as long as it has considering I only knew two of them going into Session 1.

Still, the players I have left enjoy the game, and if I can find at least one more player, we can continue. We could roll with the two we have, but the fewer players we have, the more likely it is we'll have to cancel on any given week, and that gets frustrating sometimes.

If I manage to find another player or two, and we can pick the game back up, I'll definitely keep the write ups coming.

I've run a Vampire: Dark Ages game over Roll20. It was a game we had about 15 years ago (before we all moved away), and we decided to pick it back up. It's amazing how much we remembered from the game even with little to no note taking. The Roll20 set up would probably work well enough for Delta Green, I suppose. The only issues I had with it were very minor technical difficulties.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Dauric » Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:03 pm UTC

Yablo wrote: The trouble is that what gaming there is in this town is generally Pathfinder/World of Darkness.


I know the feeling well. WoD has fallen out of fashion in my area*, but it's pretty much D&D 5'th or Pathfinder. It's a challenge to get either of the two groups I game with to even crack open a book that isn't one they've played for ages. I've actually had some luck introducing my gaming group to Monte Cook's Cypher and Numenera games (essentially the same ruleset, Cypher is the setting-independent version). My other group isn't so much 'wedded' to D&D/Pathfinder rules and the D&D canon as 'welded' to it.

*I think this was about the time Vampires in Pop Culture went sparkly...
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Dauric » Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:14 pm UTC

Hey Yablo,

How do you go about preparing to do a game session write-up like these? How do you collect your notes in-session, how much is literal from the session material and how much is inferred/interpreted from the session? For a game of X hours, how many hours does it take to prep and finalize a write-up? Any details/advice for someone who might want to attempt something similar?
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:49 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:Hey Yablo,

How do you go about preparing to do a game session write-up like these? How do you collect your notes in-session, how much is literal from the session material and how much is inferred/interpreted from the session? For a game of X hours, how many hours does it take to prep and finalize a write-up? Any details/advice for someone who might want to attempt something similar?

I generally try to start the write-up the day after the game while everything is still fresh in my mind (though I could do a pretty good write-up from memory of most of the game sessions even now). I don't take many notes during the game; I just make mental notes, but when I do the write-ups, my actual game prep notes help refresh my memory of certain details.

I'd say at least 95% of what comes through the narrative of my write-ups is actual in-game content. Sometimes I use things the players mention out-of-character in the write-ups in the form of character thoughts and such. Most of the time I can remember exact phrasing for character quotes, but sometimes I do have to just get the spirit of the dialogue. I will admit that on a few occasions I did willfully misinterpret a players reasoning behind his or her characters actions on the grounds that the character would have had a better understanding of the situation than the player, of maybe just that the player did something without really thinking and it needed to make some sort of sense within the context of the narrative. Still, while I may have blurred motivations a time or two, I never changed any of the actual action. The players were behind everything the characters did with very rare exceptions.

Each of our game sessions lasted between three and four hours. Depending on how my mind was functioning the next day or so, it usually took me about an hour or two without distractions to do a roughly 3,000 word write-up. From the perspective of the game master, doing these write-ups is a great tool for keeping the game and the action in perspective. It helps the memory a lot. I can still remember Agent SAM's player (later ROSE and RIVER) shivering involuntarily in the second session ever when the thing in the septic tank called up to them.

As for advice:
  • I'd say to wait a day or so before starting the write-up just to let the game events settle and coalesce in your memory.
  • Don't worry so much about being 100% faithful to the action as long as the writing evokes the spirit.
  • Have fun with it, and use it as a tool to practice your writing style.
  • Do the write-up in a Word document so you gain the benefit of spell checking and grammar checking (even if you don't think you need it).
  • About 750 to 1,000 words per game hour seems about right for my writing style; yours may be different, but when you find the right range, try to stick with it.
  • After writing up the session, leave it for a while, and then go back to read it. You may catch an error or find a better way to phrase something.
  • Try to come up with a catchy intro or conclusion if you can, but don't worry about it too much if nothing comes to you.
  • A Table of Contents like I added to my first post is a really handy thing if you expect the game to last longer than a few stories.

It's kinda funny. This is the first game write-up I've ever done, and it never occurred to me that I might eventually be in a position to give advice on it. It looks like I have a fair amount to give though, for whatever it's worth.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:31 pm UTC

Aaaaand we're back! Just a month shy of two years since the last session. The plan is to play every other Sunday since one player has an odd work schedule, and I would rather take the extra time between sessions than have a player miss half of everything. Plus, we only have two players for now. That should change once we get rolling. The important thing is to get back into the groove. I'm going to try to get write-ups posted by Monday or Tuesday following a game session.

I doubt many have this subscribed, but if so, welcome back! As always, feel free to post questions, comments, and loosely-related chatter. And definitely tell all your friends who might be interested. For those of you who gave up and deleted your subscription, I hope you'll find your way back. It won't be held against you. If you use Promo Code: TPK, you can resubscribe for free!

So, to recap: We're back, baby!
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:32 pm UTC

Interlude

After two brutal Operas in New York over the span of a week, R-Cell evidently merited some time off. During that time, R-Cell was approached by a woman claiming Delta Green clearance who knew them by their real names. She informed them that several years ago, Delta Green had regained its legitimacy within the U.S. government, and since then the Program, as she referred to it, had been working to track down members of the cells to “bring them in from the cold.” She offered official government sanction and black budget funding in exchange for official oversight and stacks of paperwork.

The offer sounded good to REDOX, but the others were unconvinced. Why now? Because R-Cell had finally been tracked down. Why hadn’t they heard about this supposed legitimization of the Delta Green conspiracy? Well, “conspiracy.” How could they be sure this wasn’t an elaborate trap set by Delta Green’s numerous enemies? She knew their names, and they were still alive. That was good enough for REDOX, or Dr. Michael Pepper, as it were. In the Program, codenames weren’t necessary.

And there it was. Codenames weren’t necessary? The things Delta Green agents had been doing for decades could be classified as domestic terrorism, albeit with an eye toward the security of the nation. Codenames were often the only real protection they had. REINHARD and RON took that opportunity to thank the woman for her time, walk away, and go as dark as they possibly could.

Dr. Pepper, on the other hand, accepted the offer. With this new, legitimate Delta Green, he’d obviously be getting a raise, an office, an invitation to the Delta Green Christmas party … No, not exactly. Well, he’d get a badge and Delta Green credentials … Again, no. Could he sew a green triangle onto his shirt? He could if he wanted to, but it wasn’t advisable. Delta Green wasn’t an agency. It was a security clearance, and it was above Top Secret. The first rule of Delta Green was still “Don’t talk about Delta Green.”

Then what, exactly, was the difference between the cell-structure conspiracy and the Program? It sounded like all he got was a lack of codename. The woman reminded him that his Delta Green ops would be officially sanctioned by the U.S. government, and he’d have the support of every agency and military branch from which Delta Green pulled its members.

So, he could call in an air strike on Peoria? No. But he could have a wiretap placed in his neighbor’s house to get proof that the jackass was pirating his Wi-Fi and using his Amazon Prime account, right? Not without a warrant. Spy satellite photography? Nope.

So, he lost his codename, and he gained government oversight and increased paperwork. There was an upside to all this, but he was missing it. The woman reminded him that he was currently classified as a domestic terrorist, but if he played ball, he could do all the things he used to for all the same reasons, and he’d be a patriot instead. Fair enough.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:33 pm UTC

Convergence – Session 1

It wasn’t until about ten months later, in May of 2013, that Dr. Pepper got his first call for a legitimate Delta Green op. The Program was assembling a task force at the FBI headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee. His supervisor had already been notified of his impending absence, so that was nice. No more burning his sick leave and pretending he was home in bed. The EPA had also already arranged his flight to Nashville and reserved a rental car. This legitimate status just might work out after all.

The drive from Nashville took about two hours, and on arrival at the FBI office, he was directed to a conference room down the hall and to the left. There were two men already in the room. The one in the black suit was standing, and he directed the doctor to close the door and take a seat.

The other man was obviously not FBI. He introduced himself as Thomas Lakefield, a park ranger for the National Park Service. After the pleasantries, the man in the suit jumped straight to the briefing. He was Special-Agent-in-Charge James Derringer, a Vietnam veteran and career lawman.

SAC Derringer tapped a few keys on the wireless keyboard, and the 55” widescreen monitor mounted to the wall flickered to life. It displayed a grainy, black-and-white picture in the center with a wide strip of black to either side. Another keystroke and the video began to play. It was security camera footage showing the counter and register of a convenience store.

A young man, probably in his late teens or early twenties, wearing a t-shirt and jeans enter the store and approach the counter. There was no audio, but it was apparent the man was agitated. He shouted some things at the clerk who merey stared at him with a blank expression. The man threw a punch at the clerk, striking him in the temple and caving in the side of his head before the follow-through tore the head clean off the shoulders. The dented skull bounced and skidded along the counter and off onto the floor. The headless body stood and trembled for a long five or six seconds as blood spurted from the neck like an erupting volcano. Eventually, it lurched forward and collapsed on the counter.

The man disappeared off-camera briefly before returning with an armful of pill bottles. He pressed some buttons on the register before getting frustrated and bringing his fist down on it a few times, smashing it and causing the cash drawer to pop open. The man grabbed a handful of cash and fled the store.

As the video ended, SAC Derringer hit another key on the keyboard to stop the playback. He turned to the two agents.

“This was four days ago at a Quik Mart in Florence, Alabama. The kid in the video is William Raymond Spivey. Billy Ray. He held up six gas stations and drug stores in the last two weeks – first in Tennessee, then Alabama, and finally in Georgia. He was stopped at a roadblock in Georgia just after his last robbery. An FBI agent and a state trooper put four bullets in him before he went down. He lived, and he is being held under sedation in an interrogation room down the hall.”

Ranger Lakefield pointed out that the sort of mauling displayed in the film would be a tough feat for a grizzly, much less a bare-handed kid. Derringer simply nodded and continued.

“That’s why you’re here, agents. Eight days ago, Billy Ray vanished from his home in Waynesboro, Tennessee. He returned six days ago, dazed and with no knowledge of what had happened in the meantime. He felt sick, and he was in a lot of pain. After his parents put him to bed, they called the local doctor to examine him. The doctor was unable to find any explanation for the boy’s pain. What’s more, Billy Ray had a hell of an appetite. He ate anything put in front of him whether it was something he liked or not, and despite the increased eating, he had no bowel movements and didn’t urinate.”

Both agents were taking notes, but they evidently found different things to be of interest.

“Four days ago, he went into some sort of a fit. His father tried to hold him down and quiet him, but Spivey punched clean through his father’s chest, killing him almost instantly. Billy Ray fled the house and ran off toward town. He robbed Murray’s Gas, taking $65 and several bottles of aspirin. He also took the cashier’s car and sped off down State Road 13.”

SAC Derringer then detailed the results of the medical examination performed on Spivey after his arrival in Knoxville. Analysis showed muscle tissue in his arms and legs had been entirely replaced with a strange tissue that mimicked human muscle tissue, but which was decidedly non-human. The boy has tremendous strength, but only his muscle tissue had been replaced; his skeletal structure remained the same. This meant that while the kid was strong enough to lift and throw a small car, his bones would still snap under stress. Further examination revealed extensive surgery evidenced by many tiny scars over his arms and legs. The incisions had been closed with the same non-human tissue as the replaced muscle tissue. The replaced tissue of his arms and legs was hairless, and he no longer had fingerprints, handprints, or footprints. His hands and feet were smooth yet possessed an increased friction.

Lakefield seemed a little bothered by this revelation – understandable since this was his first official Delta Green op – but Pepper took it all in stride. Not even a year had passed since he’d seen a Nazi necromancer shoot a cab driver and switch places with the corpse to effect a getaway. Never mind the indestructible building with the extra floors at night or the gasoline that could make a person’s truck run him over in his hotel room. Compared to what he’d seen quite recently, a quadruple amputee with replacement limbs and an addiction to painkillers was a mild episode of Dr. Phil.

Their assignment, Derringer said, was to head to Waynesboro and find out what happened to Spivey during his missing days, and to handle the situation under standard Delta Green protocol. To Derringer and Lakefield, Delta Green protocol meant elimination and cover-up of supernatural threats. To Dr. Pepper, “Delta Green protocol” probably meant scorched earth. He didn’t want to destroy an entire town, but if it came to it, he knew Lakefield wouldn’t light the fuse.

The briefing essentially over, Derringer directed them to the interrogation room where Spivey was heavily sedated and cuffed to a chair under armed guard. The agents asked the kid several questions, but his answers were slow and not always clear. They were able to learn that Billy Ray had a girlfriend named Jane Allen who lived a few miles away from his place, and he had been to see her the night he apparently disappeared. He remembered leaving the Allen farmhouse and returning home. The walk typically took an hour or so, but his parents said it took two days. In Spivey’s drugged condition, he couldn’t possibly be considered of sound mind, and yet Dr. Pepper ignored that detail when he gained Spivey’s permission to take a tissue sample. While Lakefield prepared a vehicle for the trip to Waynesboro, Pepper prepared a slide with the tissue sample for examination by the doctor Derringer said was being sent from Washington.

The two agents decided to stop in Nashville and get a hotel room. Waynesboro was a town of about 2,000 people, and there was only one small motel in the area. Until they were sure it was safe to stay in town, a two-hour commute was fine with them.

It was just about lunchtime when they arrived in the small town. The agents stopped at Murray’s Gas and grabbed sodas, chips, and fresh-made deli sandwiches before checking in with the local sheriff. Lakefield pointed out that this Murray person must either own the town or be a local legend after whom the entire town chose to name everything. Murray’s Gas was next to Murray’s Auto Body. Murray’s Diner was down the street to the north. A block or so to the west were Murray’s Chinese and Murray’s Laundry and Dry Cleaning.

Waynesboro was a modern, small southern town, but the Wayne County Sheriff’s office was straight out of the Andy Griffith show. There were three cells with comfortable-looking furnishings and a set of iron keys hanging within reach of two of those cells. The sheriff was sitting back and reading a magazine with his feet up on his desk. They didn’t look like FBI, but Pepper and Lakefield had FBI consultants badges displayed; Lakefield’s on a lanyard around his neck, and Pepper’s in a leather wallet clipped to his belt.

The agents introduced themselves, and Sheriff Dan Oakley said he’d been expecting them. The sheriff was friendly yet businesslike, and he offered the assistance of his office if the agents needed it. He was happy to direct them toward the Spivey and Allen residences. Angel Spivey had a sister and brother-in-law in town to keep her company, and Nancy Allen could generally be found at home except for Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons when she’d be at church. Her husband, Joseph Allen was one of the town’s aldermen, and as it was the county’s tax time, he’d be spending almost every available hour at City Hall.

The agents thanked Sheriff Oakley for his time and headed to City Hall. Most of the buildings in town were relatively modern, or they had at least been modernized. City Hall stuck out as a relic of the earliest days of the county. It was a two-story wooden building, and the inside was dusty and poorly lit.

A kid of about 16 was listening to music behind the counter. When the agents entered, he removed his earbuds and asked if there was anything he could do to help. Dr. Pepper showed his FBI consultant’s badge.

“We’re with the FBI. We have a few questions for Joseph Allen.”

“Oh, yeah. Okay. If you want to give me your name, I’ll see about getting you an appointment for tomorrow.”

Tomorrow wasn’t good enough for Dr. Pepper, but the clerk insisted that since it was the county’s tax time, the mayor and aldermen were only available by appointment the following day, even for the FBI. Well, he’d just have to see about that.

“He’s upstairs?”

“Yes, sir, but the mayor and the aldermen are too busy to be disturbed. If you’ll just leave your name …”

Dr. Pepper started up the stairs with a determined stomp, but the clerk shouted after him.

“I’m supposed to call the sheriff if anyone disturbs the aldermen without an appointment.”

The doctor stopped on the third step and hung his head with a sigh. Fine. There were other Allens he could talk to. He came back down the stairs, told the clerk and Lakefield he was heading to the Allen residence to speak with Nancy and Jane and left the building.

Ranger Lakefield shrugged and set up an appointment to speak with Joseph Allen as early as possible in the morning. The clerk informed him City Hall would open at 8:00, but the mayor and the aldermen would be there much earlier. He could stop by anytime after 6:00, and Joseph Allen should be available. The ranger thanked the clerk and said he’d be back in the morning, definitely no later than 8:00. He then had the clerk direct him to the local library; he had a few ideas he wanted to check out.

The Allen residence was a two-story farmhouse about six miles down an old dirt road from the Spivey residence. Dr. Pepper knocked gently on the door, and it was only a moment before Nancy Allen answered. She was middle-aged and looked every inch the typical southern housewife. He showed his badge and introduced himself, and Mrs. Allen invited him in with a smile.
The interior was immaculately kept. The furniture was dusted and polished, the hardwood floors were swept and polished, and there wasn’t a single picture out of place or skewed. Mrs. Allen motioned toward the couch and asked if he’d like some sweet tea. The doctor gladly accepted the hospitality.

Mrs. Allen retrieved a tray with two glasses and a pitcher of sweet tea from the kitchen and set it gently on the coffee table. She poured a glass of tea for the doctor and one for herself before taking a seat in a chair across from him. Dr. Pepper mentioned he was investigating a potentially drug-related incident involving Billy Ray Spivey. Oh, Mrs. Allen assured him in the sweetest of tones that Billy Ray was a good kid. If he’d ever touched drugs or alcohol, the Allens would never have let him near their daughter. It simply would not do for the daughter of an alderman to be involved with a criminal element. Why, whatever would the other families at church say?

Yes. Of course. And speaking of Jane, was she home? Dr. Pepper had a few questions he’d like to ask her. Mrs. Allen shook her head with a smile. Jane was probably out with some friends. She’d be home eventually.

Dr. Pepper finished his sweet tea and thanked her for her time. He gave her his cell number and asked for Joseph or Jane to give him a call when they had the chance. Mrs. Allen said she’d be happy to pass along the message, and if he felt like having a proper southern meal, he and his partner were welcome to come back for dinner. The doctor thanked her and said they would be happy to accept. After all, a free, home-cooked meal sounded wonderful, and it would be the perfect opportunity to speak with both the alderman and Billy Ray’s girlfriend.

At the library, Lakefield went over past issues of the local newspaper, The Wayne County News. The most recent issues had very little actual news. They were mostly advertisements for various local businesses and crackpot UFO conspiracy stories. Lights had been reported over the hills to the northwest by many different residents. There were mutilations of cattle and other livestock. Several times over the past few months, Elvis had been seen in town. Just last week, the King of Rock and Roll had even been overheard arguing with Jim Morrison over whether Murray’s Diner or Murray’s Chinese had the best food in Waynesboro; Elvis preferred the diner.

There was no mention of how Billy Ray had disappeared for two days, how he had accidentally killed his father, or even how he’d robbed Murray’s Gas and stolen the clerk’s car. In fact, Ranger Lakefield had to go back about four months to find anything resembling real news. The local Christmas festival had gone over very well. It drew hundreds of folks from all over Wayne County, and even some from as far away as Memphis and Nashville. Before the first issue of February, The Wayne County News was a legitimate small-town paper, but somewhere around that time, it degenerated into its current format.

Lakefield made a few photocopies and asked to use one of the library’s computer terminals. He logged into Facebook and watched a couple cat videos before tracking down Jane Allen’s page. There were several Jane Allens in Tennessee, but there was only one in Waynesboro.

He poked around her page a bit, and it didn’t take long for him to become a little bothered. Her status was updated recently to “Complicated,” and Jane had only posted a few selfies at irregular intervals over the past four months. Just like the newspaper, before early February, she seemed to be a regular teenager who made regular updates to her Facebook page, “Liked” just about everything, and posted an endless stream of selfies. Then, she slowed down and eventually ended up only adding a picture or two every few days.

He checked Billy Ray’s page. Same thing. He checked their friends’ pages. For those friends in Waynesboro, it was the same; things slowed down and became subdued beginning around February. For those friends outside of Waynesboro, it was business as usual, except that about the time the Waynesboro teens stopped posting, and the newspaper began running only garbage stories, the people from out of town started asking about all the UFO and dead singer sightings. Waynesboro had become a local laughingstock in a short time.

Dr. Pepper was on his way to the Spivey residence when Lakefield sent him a text. He’d found something interesting at the library, and he wanted to get Pepper’s opinion. The doctor pulled over and responded that he was on his way. Also, the Allens had invited them to dinner tonight.

Once at the library, Dr. Pepper confirmed Lakefield’s observation. Something odd had apparently happened in the vicinity of Waynesboro this past winter. For a scientist, Pepper was very willing to accept the UFO conspiracy theory. It was all there in black and white, literally. It made sense, too, when you considered Billy Ray’s lost time. That sort of thing was commonly reported in alien abduction stories. Cattle mutilations, weird lights in the skies … He apparently considered The Wayne County News to be an unimpeachable source. Ranger Lakefield wasn’t nearly so convinced. He’d seen some strange things in his time – in fact, it had been a skin-walker that acted as a catalyst for his induction into Delta Green – but aliens? Really?

One other thing the Facebook pages showed: the local teen hangouts were Murray’s Diner and the reservoir northwest of town. Northwest of the town was where the lights had been reported. The agents decided to split up again. Dr. Pepper was going to interview Angel Spivey, Billy Ray’s mother, and Ranger Lakefield was going to check out the reservoir. They’d meet back up at the Allen residence for dinner and conversation.

Like the Allens and all the other families who lived south of town, Angel Spivey lived in a farmhouse. It was clean enough, but Nancy Allen’s housekeeping would put it to shame. Mrs. Spivey was also friendly enough, but she wasn’t quite as cheerful or accommodating as her neighbor had been – understandable, given how her family had been destroyed so recently.

She gave a story similar to Nancy’s. Billy Ray was a good kid who would never touch drugs or alcohol. He was too small and weak for most sports, but he did have a gift for music. Billy Ray and Jane had been childhood sweethearts, but it wasn’t until a couple years ago that Billy Ray had mustered the courage to ask her out. Dr. Pepper thanked her for her time, offered condolences on her loss, and promised to do everything in his power to return Billy Ray to her safely. Then, it was off down the old dusty trail toward the Allen place and what he was sure would be the best fried chicken of his life.

Ranger Lakefield looked around the reservoir and surrounding woods without much luck. It was no Olympic National Park or Mount Rainier, but the scenery would be pretty to an unspoiled eye. The pump house which supplied water to the entire area was sealed with a heavy chain and a Master Lock. He found the tracks of several types of animals in the woods; everything from foxes and rabbits to black bears and boars. That was a good sign. The animals weren’t afraid of the area. At least, they weren’t scared enough to go somewhere else in search of water.

He also found teenager tracks. Several clearings and sites around the reservoir showed signs of teen hangouts; mostly soda cans and empty chip bags. No lights in the sky though, but then, those were always reported at night. He might have to come back, but first, dinner with the Allens and Dr. Pepper.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:09 pm UTC

We picked up another player for this session. Actually, he's a returning player. He'd played Agent SETH in the beginning of the campaign. To make this work, though, we had to shift the game to Mondays. That, and given the fact the write-up is a little more than 1,000 words longer than my usual, means I'm a little late in posting. I'm also going to break the session write-up into two parts.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:11 pm UTC

Convergence – Session 2, Part 1

As he was preparing to meet Pepper at the Allen residence, Ranger Lakefield had a thought. There was animal activity at the reservoir, and it was a favorite hangout of the local teen population. While he couldn’t confirm the lights had been seen over the reservoir, all reports placed the lights in this direction. He felt a little surveillance was in order, and for an NPS Ranger, surveillance meant game cameras.

He sent Dr. Pepper a quick text before hitting the road for Nashville: Not gonna make dinner. Got a plan.

Pepper sighed. It looked like he’d be questioning the Allens on his own. Then again, there were no other cars to be seen at the Allen farmhouse. He headed up the porch stairs and knocked on the door. Maybe he should have brought something; wine, cake, a loaf of marble rye … Too late for that now. As Mrs. Allen opened the door, he could smell everything. There was fried chicken, apple pie, fresh bread, and he was pretty sure he could even smell the mashed potatoes.

Mrs. Allen took his coat and hung it by the door and asked about his partner. Pepper was sorry to say his partner had been called away at the last minute. Mrs. Allen’s story was much the same; Joseph had to work late, and Jane was out with friends. She hoped he brought his appetite because there was plenty of food for them and all those who were missing out.

Dr. Pepper was more than a little disappointed to miss an opportunity to interview Joseph and Jane, but the food was even better than he’d expected. Wanting to make the most of his time, he steered the dinner conversation as masterfully as he’d steer a riding lawnmower with a broken axle. Still, he managed to learn a few interesting items. Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and though Nancy hadn’t heard from her daughter in a few days, she wasn’t particularly worried. She wasn’t particularly worried that her husband hadn’t been home from work in a week or so. After all, it was tax time for the county. The aldermen were very busy, but soon enough, Joseph would get a break.

Mrs. Allen had seen the lights in the sky at night. The scientist, always the rational skeptic, suggested they might be aliens. She didn’t think so, however. No, they were probably helicopters. Dr. Pepper pointed out the nearest airports were Nashville and Memphis, two-hour drives in either direction. Nancy admitted she hadn’t seen helicopters during the day either, but surely helicopters were a rational explanation. To the scientist, however, this whole thing screamed “aliens.”

Also, while none of the Allen’s or Spivey’s animals had been abducted or mutilated, several of their neighbors had mentioned things. Bob Gaines a few miles down the road toward town had said there was something strange about one of his cows, but Mrs. Allen couldn’t remember just what it was. He’d mentioned it at church a few weeks ago, and so she’d only half-listened.

When they’d finished dinner, and he’d had about all the sweet tea his stomach could hold, Dr. Pepper thanked her and excused himself. Mrs. Allen put together a couple bags of leftovers for him and his partner, and he was all too glad to accept. Once in his car, he backed out of the driveway and headed down the dirt road a little bit. He turned around and parked on the shoulder within view of the Allen residence, turned the radio on and watched for anyone at all to come home.

The DJ had a good voice for radio. It wasn’t obnoxious or subdued. “All right! If you’re where I think you are, it’s probably 7:32 PM. We’ve got a request from Kelly out there in the heartland of Tennessee. Here is Avicii with Wake Me Up!”

Dr. Pepper may have just had a full meal, but the leftovers smelled great, so he decided to have a snack while he listened to the song and watched the house. The song ended, and a different DJ came on the radio. “And that was Fall Out Boy. My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark, also known as Light ‘Em Up. It’s 11:43, and you should be in bed. Of course, I’m glad you’re not. Keep that dial tuned here, ‘cause after this hard break, I’m comin’ right back with some big news. Is Jay-Z a time traveler?”

Wait, what? He looked down at the clock on the dash. It sure as hell said 11:43. It was a little darker out, too, and worst of all, the chicken was cold. Screw this town with its super-strong teenagers, and its aliens, and its Murray’s Just-About-Freakin’-Everything.

Still no cars in the driveway at the Allen place, and no lights visible in the sky to the northwest. Dr. Pepper killed the radio and drove off to check the reservoir anyway. No lights from there either. It was midnight now, and there was no way he was staying at Murray’s Shut Eye, so it was back to Nashville. Just after 2:00 AM, he crawled into bed. No sooner had he set his alarm for 9:00 than he passed out.

Unlike Pepper, Lakefield had finished his shopping with plenty of time to get some rest. He’d used his government credit card to purchase six infrared-capable game cameras and additional memory sticks. He knew his supervisor wouldn’t think twice before approving the charges, and that was if he even bothered to review the travel authorization. As long as expenditures didn’t stick out, Lakefield’s supervisor was happy to sign off. It was federal money, and under the eco-friendly Obama administration, it was a deep pool of funds for National Park Service business.

He threw his gear into the car and hit the road around 6:00. Alderman Joseph Allen should be ready for him at City Hall by the time he got there. The trip was quiet and uneventful, and when he arrived at the Waynesboro City Hall, the alderman was indeed waiting. Joseph Allen was an exhausted-looking man probably in his early 40s, and while his suit was nice at one time, it didn’t appear to have been cleaned and pressed in quite some time.

After introductions and pleasantries, Lakefield got right to business. He was investigating a possible narcotics connection to the Spivey case. Oh, the alderman assured him, Waynesboro was a small town in rural Tennessee. Teenagers might have a few beers up at the reservoir once in a while, but nothing remotely related to actual drugs.

What about the lights people have been reporting at night? Could those be drug traffickers making their drop-offs? Not likely, but if he wanted to report a crime, the sheriff would be happy to assist. Well, actually, it was the sheriff who had referred him to the alderman. In that case, no. There was nothing to worry about.

And his daughter Jane? She was Billy Ray’s girlfriend, right? But her mother hadn’t seen her in a few days. Mr. Allen yawned with a shrug. She’d turn up. She was a good kid. If there was nothing else, he really did have to get back to work. Tax time for the county, you know.

Actually, Lakefield said, if this was tax time around these parts, he might be interested in buying some land around here. It was beautiful country, after all, and the way tax season falls in Washington State, it complicates his finances. But taxes in May … that might actually be a good investment for him. The alderman agreed, but he really didn’t have time to discuss it. Fair enough. The ranger thanked him for his time and headed back out to his car. On his way out, Lakefield made a note of the fact that Joseph Allen’s car was parked under a large tree and judging by the layers of leaves, pollen, and dust, it hadn’t moved in at least a week.

He drove down to the diner and parked outside. He wasn’t hungry, but he did want to borrow their Wi-Fi. A quick look at the Waynesboro website confirmed his suspicions. Property taxes were due the first Monday of October. Sales taxes were due quarterly, so January, April, July, and October. He wasn’t seeing “middle of May” listed anywhere as a busy season. One other item of interest on the town website: The mayor was one Murray Barnes. It was the mayor’s name – his first name – on half the businesses in town. Gotta love small towns.

Right about when Lakefield was meeting with the alderman, Pepper’s phone rang. He grumbled as he pried his eyes open and tried to focus. It was just after 8:00, and he wasn’t planning to get up for another hour. He answered the phone, but he didn’t sound chipper. The person on the other end identified himself as Special Agent Curtis Atwood. SAC Derringer had attached him to the Waynesboro taskforce. He had been fully briefed on the Spivey case, and he had several gallons of Hexa … Hexafluorace … well, some clear citrus-smelling chemical solution. Evidently, it would turn some contaminant or other purple. Atwood was leaving Knoxville now and would meet Pepper and Lakefield at Waynesboro City Hall at noon. Dr. Pepper relayed the relevant information to Lakefield through text and then got dressed. If he had to be up before his alarm, maybe he could grab some breakfast first.

With his tax research done, the ranger played a hunch. If he were lucky, Jane Allen’s Facebook account and her phone would tell him where she is and where she’s been. It took only a minute, and he had it. Murray’s Shut Eye. The girl was at the motel, and she had been for a few days now. He could see the motel from the diner parking lot, so he just settled in.

Once Dr. Pepper made it to Waynesboro, he headed for the Gaines farm. He was interested in seeing just what sort of cattle mutilation was going on. It was about 10:30, but there wasn’t any activity to be seen out in the fields. Pepper was a little surprised when Mr. Gaines answered the door. He was probably in his mid-60s or so, and while he wasn’t out plowing the fields or tending to the livestock, he at least looked the part. The farmer agreed to show Dr. Pepper his cow, Clementine.

He took the scientist out into the field and over to Clementine. He squatted down and pointed to the udder. Or rather, he pointed to a smooth, gray spot where the udder should be.

“Now, you see, this right here … this ain’t right. Now, watch this here.”

The farmer reached out and lightly touched the gray spot, and it quickly expanded to take the shape of an udder. Dr. Pepper had to take a step back and cover his mouth. “This ain’t right,” had to be the understatement of the day, and it wasn’t even lunchtime.

“You wanna see what’s really strange though …”

Mr. Gaines took hold of the dangling gray bits and tugged. They shot out something that looked like milk. Pepper turned away and took slow, deep breaths as he struggled to keep his breakfast down. That wasn’t an udder. So, was that milk? If it was milk, it couldn’t possibly be safe. If it wasn’t milk, what the hell was it? The farmer agreed to let him take a bottle of the liquid, but he frowned when Dr. Pepper told him to keep Clementine away from the other cows and under no circumstances let anyone near that milk.

He was a dairy farmer. Milk was his livelihood. Since Clementine’s transformation last month, she’d begun producing more milk than ever; so much that it took every container he had to hold it all. But he never had trouble selling it at the farmer’s market every week.

Dr. Pepper’s heart skipped at least one beat. He was selling that … the stuff from that … from the retractable udder? He filled every container every week and sold it all? Oh, this was not good. This was not good at all. Without even thanking the farmer, he stumbled back to his car and called Lakefield to give him the news. The ranger took it all in stride and then told the Pepper where Jane Allen was holed up. The agents decided to relax a bit while they waited for the newest member of their task force who should be arriving within the hour.
Last edited by Yablo on Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:18 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:13 pm UTC

Convergence – Session 2, Part 2

Once Special Agent Atwood pulled up at City Hall, Lakefield and Pepper met up with him and got him up to speed on everything they hadn’t yet reported to Derringer. Up to and including udders. Atwood gave them each a garden spray bottle with the citrus-smelling solution. He’d also brought six one-gallon jugs for refills. Pepper wanted to test it out, so he sprayed the handles and trunk of Joseph Allen’s car. Not much reaction, but a few flecks of purple did appear with each spray.

The car had been parked here for quite some time, so any residue had likely been weathered. Fortunately, SA Atwood had a few tricks for popping locks. It took no time at all to open the doors on Allen’s car, and the surfaces inside produced far more purple than the outside surfaces. That meant the alderman was likely contaminated. Or Jane was, and she’d been driving his car? Maybe they both were, and that was why they seemed to be avoiding each other and home. Whatever the case, they had leads, and they had a reliable method of detecting whatever was contaminating the town, but they still had no idea what the contaminant was or where it was coming from.

The agents decided on a plan of action. Atwood would check in with the high school and take a look at attendance records for Jane Allen and Billy Ray Spivey. He’d then arrange to do an after-hours locker search with the spray. Billy Ray was obviously affected, and Jane Allen probably was, too. It was as good a guess as any that other teens in town might be as well. Lakefield was going to head to the reservoir and set up his cameras, and Pepper … well, he was hungry again, so he was going to pick a booth at the diner where he could keep an eye on the motel.

Atwood found the office at the high school and flashed his badge. That got him shuffled straight into Principal White’s office. The principal seemed happy to cooperate, but he assured Atwood there was no reason to suspect any of his students of drug use or possession. All the same, Atwood said, he’d appreciate the opportunity to search. Of course, the school would cooperate in any way it could.

Principal White’s secretary brought in the attendance records for Billy Ray and Jane. They’d both been out all last week and this week so far; since Mr. Spivey’s unfortunate accident. Neither the principal nor the secretary seemed overly concerned. They were good kids, and they’d turn back up eventually.

Meanwhile, up at the reservoir, Ranger Lakefield spotted a bobcat drinking. Out came the rifle. He picked up a stone and threw it in the animal’s direction. It splashed close to the bobcat’s head, but the animal wasn’t startled. It slowly looked up and at the ranger before stretching and getting another drink.

Lakefield nodded grimly. It wasn’t the reaction he was hoping for, but it was the one he expected. He took aim and killed the bobcat with a single shot. He then headed around to examine it. A few sprays of the solution, and he nodded again. The cat turned purple, and so did the water in the reservoir. In fact, the water in the reservoir turned the brightest, deepest purple he’d ever seen.

He sent a quick text to the other two: It’s in the water. Don’t drink it.

Well, that didn’t sound good. Luckily for Pepper, he hadn’t touched the water in town. Though, he had been drinking all the sweet tea he could get, and that was probably made with local water. The dry heaves came fast and hard, and his stomach twisted. Whatever was contaminating this town – whatever the aliens were doing – was in him. Whatever Clementine’s udder was made of was in him. Whatever Billy Ray’s arms and legs were made of was in him. And yet … he still had an appetite. All he wanted was to get everything inside to be on the outside, but he could still really go for some more fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

Dr. Pepper sent a response: I’m compromised. I’m getting a room at the Shut Eye and informing Derringer.

It may have been a tad defeatist, but whatever. They were probably better off if he quarantined himself. The last thing he wanted was to accidentally punch a hole in someone’s chest.

Atwood took things much better; presumable because he’d only been in town an hour or so. Don’t drink the water. Fair enough.

Ranger Lakefield dragged the bobcat a little further from the water and set about rigging his game cameras. He arranged the six cameras so that each one had a clear view of at least one other. That way, he could record activity around the reservoir and also hedge against tampering. Once he’d finished with that, he headed back to the diner to meet up with Atwood.

Dr. Pepper walked across the street to Murray’s Shut Eye and stepped inside. It was well-maintained, as far as small-town motels go. The wallpaper was a bit dated, and the ceiling fan in the lobby was missing a blade, but it should work fine. The clerk behind the desk had fallen asleep and was snoring, so Pepper rang the bell. The clerk stood with a start and cleared his throat. A quick glance outside told the clerk it was day and another glance at a clock told him which part of the day it was.

“Good, ummm … Good afternoon, sir. How can I help you today?”

Dr. Pepper wasn’t in the mood for mundane interaction, so he slapped a couple bills on the counter and indicated that he’d like a room for the night. The clerk was happy to assist, and Pepper even had his choice of room number. Well, of the twelve rooms in the motel, Rooms 8, 11, and 12 were currently rented, but he had his choice of the others.

“Gimme Room 3.”

The clerk nodded and handed him the key to Room 3 before scooping up the cash. He was about to say something else, but Pepper just grumbled and stalked off down the hall. He opened the door, threw his briefcase at the big, flat, horizontal bit of the table, and looked around. He had a few samples he wanted to test with the spray; a bit of blood from Clementine, some of his own blood, the milk or milk-like substance from the retractable udder, and a water sample from … well, he hadn’t collected a water sample, but there was a sink in his room.

Cow’s blood: Purple. Check.

His blood: Not purple. Score one for the good guys, at least. It still didn’t make him feel any better.

Milk: Purple. On track so far.

Now for some water. Dr. Pepper heard a thump from the bathroom just as he was standing to collect a water sample. He drew his gun and approached cautiously. Thump. Thump, thump. It sounded like metal on metal, but muffled. He turned the knob to the bathroom door and gave it a gentle push to let it open slowly on its own.

Thump. There was something in the wall near the bathtub, and it sounded like it was hitting the pipe. The wall may have shaken a little, too, or it may have just been a trick of the shadows and his mind. But the thump was real. Okay, so screw that. He slowly and quietly closed the bathroom door. He set his gun on the counter by the sink and put a glove on his left hand before picking up the complementary plastic cup. With his ungloved hand, he turned the cold water knob, and the faucet sputtered a little before spitting out a few stray jets of water. Then something thick began forcing its way out. It looked like Clementine’s udder, but it had the consistency of pudding that had been left out overnight.

No way in hell was he reaching past that for his gun. As a gray mass of pudding about the size of a loaf of bread oozed out of the faucet and into the sink, Dr. Pepper stepped back. About ten feet should be enough distance. Right?

Wrong. The mass leaped … or maybe shot was a better word? He didn’t really have much time for semantics, but one way or another, the mass was in the sink one moment, and it was across the room and on his face the next. He could feel it oozing into his nostrils and trying to pry his lips and eyelids open. He did his best not to panic, but all he could think of as he fumbled blindly for his phone was something along the lines of “Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! I knew it! Aliens! Xenomorph! Facehugger! Chestburster!”

He tapped his phone screen by memory and prayed he was hitting the right spots. He heard it dial, and that was good enough. He tossed the phone on the floor and used both hands to pry the mass off his face. He pushed and pulled with everything he had, and the mass flew back toward the overflowing sink. After blowing his nose to be sure it was all out, he ran for the hall and slammed the door behind him.

Dr. Pepper had to admit that while he was still alive, that whole situation was a decisive victory for the slime. The mass was now occupying the room he’d paid for in advance, and it had possession of his briefcase, phone, gun, and spray bottle. Well played, slime. Well played.

Having heard the struggle on the other end of the phone, Lakefield and Atwood rushed across the street and into the motel. Atwood was flashing his badge, and Lakefield was casually holding his shotgun at the ready. Pepper explained what he could through panicked and gasping breaths, and Atwood ordered the clerk to evacuate the building. The clerk was hesitant and pointed out that Mayor Barnes wouldn’t be happy. Atwood was insistent and pointed out he had a badge, and his partner had a shotgun. Check and mate.

The clerk led them down the hall. Pepper said his partners should go next, and he’d take the rear. Lakefield just shook his head, but Atwood was more verbal.

“No. No, no, no. Hell, no.” And just in case there was any confusion, “No.”

Pepper sighed and followed the clerk to Room 8. Then Atwood and Lakefield brought up the rear. The clerk knocked, and when the door opened, Atwood ordered the occupants to evacuate. The three men in Room 8 gathered up their belongings, mostly cameras and cases of electronics, and they complied. A brief discussion uncovered that they were a documentary film crew from New Jersey that was in town to investigate reports of UFO activity. And no, they hadn’t been drinking the water. They were beer guys.

Room 11 had a towel shoved under the door. The clerk knocked, but there was no answer. Atwood shoved the towel out of the way with his crowbar and had the clerk unlock the door. As it swung open, it was immediately apparent someone had an aversion to light. Blankets were duct taped over the windows, the lamp was on its side with the light bulb removed, and the television had been overturned with the screen down. The light switch on the wall did nothing.

Lakefield went outside, broke the windows, and tore down the blankets with his shotgun. That shed plenty of light in the room. Atwood and Pepper entered and looked around. There was a laptop on the table and a sloshing sound in the bathroom. That was more than enough for Dr. Pepper, so he stepped back into the hall.

With one hand, Atwood took the laptop, and with the other, he pointed his gun at the bathroom door. It was directly across from another door which joined Rooms 11 and 12. He covered both doors while Lakefield moved to Room 12’s window. He broke it with his shotgun and called inside.

“Come on out, Jane. We’re with the FBI, and you’ll be safe.”

There was silence for a moment, and then the door to the room opened. The girl who stepped out into the hall looked like the girl from the selfies on Jane Allen’s Facebook page, except this girl was at least six months pregnant. She wasn’t pregnant as of a week ago according to the picture she’d posted.

Pepper didn’t care. He knew what had happened. Aliens. Aliens and face-hugging slimes. This was stage two. The next stage was chest-bursting, and that wouldn’t be pretty. He stayed out of the way while Atwood escorted the girl outside. Lakefield asked her to sit on the curb for a few minutes while his team finished up inside, and then he rejoined them.

Pepper had just reclaimed his gun, briefcase, and phone. The slime had disappeared, so he had turned off the faucet and plugged the drain. There was now just the matter of the thumping pipes and the slime in Pepper’s room, and then the sloshing in the bathroom of Room 11. Lakefield asked the clerk if there was a boiler room, and the man pointed to a door near the office.

Atwood opened the door and flipped the light switch. A set of metal stairs led down to a concrete basement with at least an inch of water standing at the bottom. The behemoth of an antique boiler in the far corner was corroded, and it was leaking water and gray slime from cracks and loose joints. All concrete and metal, so torching the room wasn’t an option. Atwood turned off the light and closed the door.

“That’s a health code violation. We’re going to have to shut this place down until it’s fixed.”

The clerk didn’t seem convinced, but he shrugged and told him they could take it up with the owner. That meant Mayor Murray Barnes.
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:46 pm UTC

Convergence – Session 3

Jane Allen was visibly nervous as she sat on the curb outside the motel. She wasn’t jumpy, but her eyes darted back and forth at any movement. When Special Agent Atwood sat next to her, she inched away. When he smiled and moved to place a reassuring hand on her shoulder, she shrunk further still. Atwood was a Behavioral Analyst, but he didn’t need to be to realize the girl had been traumatized.

Still, traumatized or not, he needed answers. They could do it the easy way or the hard way. He started with some easy questions, and she answered the best she could while keeping a little distance. About two or three weeks ago, she’d been walking home alone from Billy Ray’s house – something she’d done dozens of times – and the next thing she knew, she was in her bed about eight hours later. She was hungry all the time after that.

Only a few days later, or maybe a week, Billy Ray was on that same road when he had missing time. It was just after Billy Ray left town that she realized her belly was growing, but it wasn’t only from all the eating. Her parents would understand, but they’d never forgive her if word got out that their unmarried daughter was pregnant.

She panicked and left the house. That’s when she met Scott Adams. He was a journalist from back east somewhere, and he was in town investigating UFO activity. Mr. Adams bought her some food at Murray’s Diner, and they talked about her missing time and the accelerated growth of her belly. He convinced her aliens were involved and offered to give her a safe place to stay. There was a room next to his at Murray’s Shut Eye, and he rented it out for her. He had told the clerk it was for equipment storage.

Atwood watched her body language intently as she related her story. She was telling the truth, or at least, she believed she was, and that was good enough. He said they needed to check on the baby, so he was going to take her to a hospital for an ultrasound. She refused. He informed her he wasn’t asking and made a grab for her arm.

Jane was unusually quick for a pregnant and traumatized young woman. She leaned out of his reach, stood, and ran. Atwood sighed. The hard way, then.

Lakefield and Pepper happened to glance out the window to see Atwood run after the girl. They thanked the clerk for his time and stepped outside. Atwood should be able to handle that on his own, so they decided it was time to meet the mayor.

City Hall was just a block or so down the street. The building was quiet except for the muffled music coming from the clerk’s earbuds. When the agents entered, the kid turned off his music and removed the earbuds. Lakefield got right to the point.

“We’re here to talk to the mayor.”

“Of course, sir. Would 8:00 AM tomorrow work for you?”

“No. We need to talk to him as soon as possible.”

“Okay, well …”

The kid glanced down at a clipboard.

“I might be able to get you in tonight around … 7:00 PM?”

That wasn’t good enough for Lakefield. The ranger started up the stairs.

“Now works for me.”

When the clerk protested and said he had standing instructions to call the sheriff if anyone interrupted the mayor and aldermen, Lakefield came back to the bottom of the stairs just long enough to toss a pair of handcuffs to Pepper.

“We’re not asking, kid.”

Using Lakefield’s handcuffs and his own, Dr. Pepper confined the clerk to his desk chair and wheeled the kid into a file room. After closing and locking the door, Pepper joined Lakefield at the top of the stairs. There was a small landing, and the door was locked. Pepper knocked, but there was no answer. He identified himself and Lakefield as FBI and demanded to speak with the mayor. A moment later, a voice on the other side of the door told them to make an appointment.

While Dr. Pepper engaged the voice in a discussion of urgency and legality, Lakefield went back downstairs and found a hefty paper cutter. The mayor had still not opened the door by the time Lakefield returned, and so the ranger bashed the knob with three solid hits from the paper cutter.

The door swung slowly open to reveal almost total darkness. The only light in the room filtered in through the slats of the window shutters and only managed to illuminate thick dust in the air. Pistol in one hand, Dr. Pepper took his flashlight in the other and shined it into the room. Both he and Lakefield immediately wished he hadn’t.

Filing cabinets lined the walls, and a large table had been shoved to one side of the room. The rest of the area was taken up by an enormous gray mass similar to the smaller one that had attacked Pepper. This mass, however, was much larger, and it had four faces. The faces all shouted.

“Get out!”

That sounded good to the agents, but first, Pepper felt the need to fire his gun indiscriminately. The bullets struck the mass solidly, but the faces continued to shout. The mass began to churn and reform itself. Tentacles or pseudopods stretched out as the thing oozed forward. The door failed to latch as Lakefield closed it. The agents ran down the stairs to regroup. The thing wasn’t following, so maybe they had time.

Dr. Pepper opened the file room and released the clerk at gunpoint. As the kid fled the building, Lakefield grabbed a couple road flares from the car. This building was the oldest, driest, wooden structure in town. Two flares should do the trick. He threw one up the stairs and another into a pile of papers before the agents casually retreated.

They drove a short distance away, waited a few minutes, and then called 911 to report a fire at City Hall. There was no way emergency services would get there in time, and whatever that thing was, it would hopefully die along with the building.

On a hunch, Lakefield got on his laptop and looked into available real estate in the area. He was expecting something south of town to be available since both Jane and Billy Ray had disappeared on the same road. It took only a few minutes before he found what he was after. It wasn’t south of town, but northwest. A little west of the reservoir, a farmhouse had been seized by the county for failure to pay property taxes. That was roughly four months ago, and it fit the timeline perfectly.

He and Pepper were about to check out the farm when Atwood called. He was tailing Jane Allen. She was crossing through yards, dodging between houses, and even sometimes going through houses. She was generally heading south, but she was taking seemingly random turns. He didn’t think she knew he was following her, but he needed a ride for when he made his move. Lakefield told him they were on their way.

Atwood gave a running commentary describing her route, and Jane happened to be in a backyard when the car pulled up. Pepper got out and slid across the hood for dramatic effect. The girl screamed and ran for the back door of the house.

Atwood deftly hopped the chain-link fence and raced across the yard. He reached the girl and got his arms around her just as she started banging on the door. As the FBI man was dragging the girl back toward the car, Pepper slid back across the hood and got in. He had done a quick calculation and determined the likelihood of a random house in rural Tennessee being the residence of a gun owner was roughly 100%.

Once all three agents and the girl were in the car, Lakefield drove away. Atwood handcuffed Jane as a precaution. He felt sure she needed medical attention, and whatever was in her belly needed to be examined. He planned to take her back to Knoxville and put her in a room with Billy Ray to see what would happen. For that, he needed his car which was a few blocks away.

Atwood promised her food if she cooperated, and that seemed to calm her enough to transfer her to the backseat of his car. Knoxville was a four-hour drive, and that meant he would have to reschedule his locker search at the high school.

As the other car left town, Lakefield and Pepper drove north toward the reservoir. Dr. Pepper was still going on about aliens and how the thing at City Hall was proof. Lakefield humored and encouraged him by reminding Pepper he couldn’t entirely rule out the Bigfoot angle yet.

When they reached the reservoir, Lakefield reviewed the photographs from his game cameras. There were pictures of a couple deer, a rabbit, and a black bear, but nothing out of the ordinary. He took down one of the cameras, and they got back in the car. There was suspicious land for sale, and the agents hoped they weren’t about to buy the farm.

The land was covered in about four months of untended growth, but the farmhouse and the barn looked to be in decent repair. Lakefield mounted the game camera on a tree along the edge of the property and focused it on the barn. Once that was done, the agents proceeded cautiously toward the structure.

The large, sliding double-doors were closed, but the doors to the hayloft immediately above were open. Another door in the side of the barn and all the doors from the stalls to the corral were closed as well. Lakefield took up a position to the left of the double-doors with his shotgun ready. Dr. Pepper pushed the doors open, but they opened to reveal a wall of some sort of dark resin. The wall was solid and hard.

Lakefield began waving frantically for Pepper to close the door and retreat. Before he did so, the EPA scientist tried unsuccessfully to cut through the resin with his survival knife. The agents got back up to the car and regrouped for the second time in less than an hour.

Whatever was in that barn had sealed the main entrance and had likely done the same to the rest of the ground floor. The hayloft doors were open, so it – or they – could probably fly. Lakefield called Derringer and gave a full report. He requested a support team, but Derringer reminded him the situation needed to be resolved without alerting too many outside people if possible. Lakefield grumbled, but he knew Derringer was right. All the same, he wanted Derringer to have a cleanup crew ready in case his team disappeared. Derringer agreed. It would be a last resort, but if the agents couldn’t handle the situation, something would have to be done.

Back to the barn. They needed a way in, and Lakefield had spotted a ladder behind the farmhouse. They quietly moved the ladder to the barn and rested it against the open loft. They had a quick match of Rock-Paper-Scissors to see who would climb up. Lakefield threw Rock. Pepper threw Paper. Lakefield had a shotgun. Pepper climbed the ladder.

Once in the loft, Pepper looked around. The entire interior of the barn had been coated and reinforced with the resin. There were soft lights of various colors and frequencies coming from somewhere down below, and so he peeked over the edge. He had been preparing himself for this the entire time, and yet he was still not ready.

In one corner were various machines that looked somehow biological in origin. Two of the devices had vats of liquid, and a human body floated motionlessly in one of them. There were several flat slabs of the same resin which lined the walls and ceiling, and they appeared to be tables. All of this was secondary in Pepper’s estimation. More important, he decided, were the six child-sized, gray humanoids with long, wiry limbs, almond-shaped heads, and large, black eyes. Aliens! He was right all along.

Dr. Pepper held back a shout and crawled back out of the loft and down the ladder. He was motioning for Lakefield to retreat, and for the third time in an hour, the agents regrouped after a retreat.

“Aliens! I told you! Aliens! The thin, gray kind. There were six of them in there. And a human body in a tube.”

Lakefield had seen some strange things in his time so aliens might be a possibility. Or they might be something worse. He needed to take a look for himself, and he was taking a gas can and flares with him. The ranger slung his shotgun over his shoulder and carried the flares and jug of gasoline up the ladder into the loft.

He ventured a look over the edge of the loft just to get his aim, and he found that Pepper’s account was mostly accurate. The one difference was that the human body was not in a tube. It was on a slab now, and the little, gray things were gathered around it. That’s right … a little closer. Now, say cheese!

Lakefield lit the flare and tossed it along with the gasoline right into the center of the grouping. Almost immediately, the creatures simply stopped moving and hung motionless like powered down robots or discarded dolls. At the same time, large pieces of the resin wall began peeling themselves off with a loud buzzing. Those gray things weren’t the only creatures in the barn! And he suddenly felt himself wishing they were.

The new creatures had been camouflaged against the walls. They were large, spongy crablike things covered in fungus and resin, and there were six of them. When they moved, it was sometimes fluid and sometimes stuttered as if they were cutting in and out of three-dimensional space. They didn’t have wings that he could see, but three of them seemed to fly anyway. They landed in the loft forming a semicircle around him with the loft doors at his back. A fourth darted below the loft toward a dark corner of the barn, and the remaining two just faded from view.

Pepper saw these two fade into view on the roof of the barn. He screamed and shot at the one on his left. It was a perfect shot, center mass, only … the damned thing flickered at exactly the wrong moment, and the bullet passed clean through.

Lakefield scowled at the three arrayed against him and leveled his shotgun at the one on his left. He pulled the trigger and scored a direct hit. A spray of pellets and spongy flesh splattered against the resin wall. Score one for the good guys.

The buzzing increased in volume, and one of the things dashed toward Lakefield with a shiny, black object in its arm-like appendage. The object sliced through him and he felt himself cut in places and directions he didn’t realize he had. Everything went red and then black as he felt most of his upper body slide away from the rest of him. The buzzing faded soon after.

Dr. Pepper heard the shotgun blast at the same time the two creatures dove at him. They each had a long baton that hummed almost as loudly as the creatures buzzed. He didn’t have time to wonder what they were, however. One of the batons brushed his flesh, there was a sizzle-crackle-pop, and Pepper had disintegrated.

Three hours later, Special Agent Atwood arrived at the FBI office in Knoxville. SAC Derringer took Jane Allen into protective custody and promised to get her medical attention. When Lakefield and Pepper hadn’t reported in by the next morning, Derringer told Atwood not to wait up. The Spivey case was closed.
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

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Dauric
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Dauric » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:25 am UTC

Man, REDOX, or rather Dr. Pepper's death was practically merciful. I was sure he was in for something terribly madness induced, especially after finishing off and disposing of ROSE in Fuel of the Gods. (either that or some elder horror ripping off his head, shoving a proboscis down his neck and drinking all the fluids before chucking the empty husk in a recycle bin.)
We're in the traffic-chopper over the XKCD boards where there's been a thread-derailment. A Liquified Godwin spill has evacuated threads in a fourty-post radius of the accident, Lolcats and TVTropes have broken free of their containers. It is believed that the Point has perished.

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Yablo
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:05 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:Man, REDOX, or rather Dr. Pepper's death was practically merciful. I was sure he was in for something terribly madness induced, especially after finishing off and disposing of ROSE in Fuel of the Gods. (either that or some elder horror ripping off his head, shoving a proboscis down his neck and drinking all the fluids before chucking the empty husk in a recycle bin.)

Yeah. I had high hopes. The slime tried the whole "proboscis" angle, but he managed to slip away. The incident with the cow's udder hit the player much harder than it did the character, actually, so I was proud of that.

The players didn't mean for the final showdown at the barn to go quite how it did. They had the drop on the things, but they didn't have proper tools to bring the barn down, and they didn't feel like they had time to get the tools they needed. Gas and a flare was their best option, but they weren't expecting the camouflaged things to pop out in full-aggression mode. The fight was literally 12 seconds long (in game time). Once multi-dimensional sponge-crabs fly at you, there's no escape.

Their only chance once the fight broke out was to hurt them enough to make them retreat. Lakefield severely injured one, and Pepper's hit would have done the same to a second if it hadn't phased to another dimension at the right time. If that hit landed and they survived to do the same the next round, they'd have lived.

In some games, I'll fudge the die rolls to avoid things like this, but with Delta Green, I roll out in the open. The universe doesn't care about the characters, so I can't either. It really changes the outlook of the game, so it takes a certain kind of player. My players take every survival as a source of pride.
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

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Yablo
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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:27 am UTC

With a couple days to go before the game, I had to switch gears. One of the players was going to make it this week, but then he'll be on vacation for a month or so. Rather than have a player start an Op and miss the middle and end, I decided to try for something I hoped could be resolved in one session. Another player missed the game, though, so we weren't able to have the discussion about whether to continue with two agents for a couple sessions or just take the holidays off. I hope to have that figured out soon, but I think I'll be good either way. I know my wife wouldn't mind having me home for the holidays, so to speak.
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

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Re: Delta Green - All Part of the Job (Call of Cthulhu AP)

Postby Yablo » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:29 am UTC

Whereabouts Unknown

The summer months in Knoxville were always busy for Special Agent Atwood, but there was almost never any overtime authorized. The days of late May and early June blurred into routine, and he spent much of his free time reading. This month, the FBI profiler’s focus was social and cultural anthropology. Next month, it might be anyone’s guess.

One Monday morning in mid-June, SAC Derringer quietly invited him to a briefing room. There was a young man in a blue-and-white striped shirt and wool jacket reclining in a chair at the table. The man’s bright red hair poked out is tufts from beneath his cap, and it stood in contrast to his pale skin.

Atwood raised an eyebrow. This was a first for him. A wool jacket in June. In Tennessee. It was at least 75 degrees outside already, and the forecast was calling for mid-80s by afternoon. His psychologist’s mind began its analysis. The man couldn’t be cold, so it wasn’t for warmth or fashion. He had a handgun, but it was openly displayed, so he wasn’t afraid to show he was armed. The extra layers, Atwood decided, must reflect a need to insulate himself from his surroundings. This man was either trying to hide something, or he was very insecure. Maybe both.

Derringer made the introductions. The man was Cualin Dempsey, an Irish-born contract employee with the CIA. As of this morning, and for the purposes of this Operation, he was also an FBI consultant. Dempsey tipped his cap with a grin and sat up straight. Atwood took a seat at the table, and Derringer jumped right into the briefing.

“Migdalia Valladares is an associate professor of Mathematics at Dartmouth College in Hannover, New Hampshire. Two years ago, she assisted in decrypting an untitled 18th-century text that dealt heavily with the astrological and topological secrets of gates and other magics. According to her colleagues, she became obsessed with the document. Eventually, she took a sabbatical to further her work.

“Three weeks ago, she was reported missing by her family. The FBI office in Boston was called in to assist with the missing persons case, but nothing had been turned up until yesterday. Ms. Valladares used a credit card to pay for a pizza in the town of Westmore, Vermont. Locals in Westmore reported Valladares had come into town regularly over the past year or so, though, in recent months, her visits were becoming increasingly rare. She had taken up residence at the White Caps Campground at the southern tip of Lake Willoughby.”

SAC Derringer paused for a moment while the agents caught up with their notes. He had a tendency to roll through the facts of a case more quickly than his audience could process them, and it was a habit he’d spent a career trying to break.

“Ms. Valladares has been renting Cabin 17 at the White Caps Campground for the past fifteen months. The Program was alerted when FBI agents from the Boston office reported radio and electronic interference coupled with what they called ‘objects of an occult nature.’ They were told to stand down as specialists were being sent in. You are those specialists.

“Determine the current circumstances of Ms. Valladares and if she is a danger to the Program, the United States, or herself. She is 51 years of age, 5’8”, 140 lbs. She has brown hair and eyes and is of Hispanic descent. By all accounts, she is a quiet and bright woman who lacks any obvious vices or personal complications.”

The Irishman interrupted with a question about her personal habits. SAC Derringer wasn’t used to being stopped in the middle of a briefing, but he didn’t let it show. He replied that she was a very thorough, neat, and organized person who kept a Spartan office. Dempsey nodded and scribbled something on his steno pad. The senior agent concluded the briefing without much ceremony.

“You are booked on an 11 AM flight from Nashville to Montpelier by way of Philadelphia. A rental car will be waiting for you, and you have a room at the Capital Plaza Hotel.”

Atwood and Derringer took a little time to get to know each other on the drive to Nashville and the flight to Vermont. Atwood decided his initial determination on the Irishman was accurate. Dempsey composed no fewer than 20 crude and/or insulting limericks about Atwood, but he shared them only with his steno pad for the time being.

The agents arrived Edward F. Knapp State Airport in Montpelier a little after 3 PM, and before they could head to the White Caps Campground, Dempsey wanted to stop at a few hardware and department stores. If they weren’t on an Op, Dempsey’s purchases otherwise seem normal, but under the circumstances, the fact that they could all be used to make an explosive device was not lost on Atwood.

From Montpelier, it was an hour-and-a-half drive to the campground. Lake Willoughby in June was a beautiful sight. It was a long body of water with low mountains edging it on either side. The sun was beginning its descent, but it would be a few hours yet before sunset. The lake was dotted with kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and swimmers. Several columns of smoke from campfires and grills filled the sky.

Dempsey rented Cabin 16 and immediately went to set up a camera for surveillance on the cabin claimed by Ms. Valladares. Atwood’s badge earned him the key to Cabin 17. He asked the clerk a few questions about Ms. Valladares, and he learned she’d always paid cash on a monthly basis and generally kept to herself. That was nothing new, as far as the clerk was concerned. People came to the campground for a variety of reasons, and it was really none of his business. She was always cheerful and respectful, so there was never any problem. Her car had been gone since yesterday.

The agents regrouped to investigate Cabin 17 together. As Atwood pushed open the door, they were assaulted by a pungent odor and hot air. The cabin was a mess. The bed had been stripped, and it was covered by a large map of the region. The map was covered by a clear plastic board upon which many lines and notations had been added with marker.

Every piece of electric equipment, except the coffee maker, had been tossed in the bathtub. The table near the front window was buried beneath piles of books and papers, and moldering take-out food was stacked on the dresser. This was nothing like the description of the neat and orderly woman about whom they were told.

Dempsey was about to sweep the room for hair, blood, fingerprints … whatever he could find to show Ms. Valladares was actually the one staying in this cabin, and to determine if she had been staying here alone. Before he could find much, however, he sliced the meat of his left thumb on a steak knife which had been hiding beneath take-out containers. It stung, but it didn’t cause any lasting damage. Still, there was blood, and he was going to need a bandage. He informed Atwood and left for his cabin.

Atwood removed his jacket and tie, and he hung them from the open door. He put on a pair of latex gloves and began a thorough search of the room. Being a behavioral analyst, this wasn’t his area of expertise, but he’d seen his share of crime scenes.

It took an hour or so to sift through everything in a rushed yet systematic manner, and he managed to find several things of interest. The first thing he found was several sheets of copier paper with the text of a computer program. He wasn’t a computer guy, so he had no idea of its intended purpose.

Next, he found a staple-bound monograph titled “Wisdom of the Hyperboreans and their Magicks.” Hyperboreans … weren’t they from Conan? He shrugged and read a little further. The manuscript claimed to detail the creation of portals and gates to connect points across great distances. Okay, well that sounded a little more interesting than anthropology textbooks. It may be a bit dense, and there seemed to be a lot of math involved, but still, it was definitely of interest.

The third manuscript he found was a stack of photocopied pages from Janus Cornelius Wassermann’s “The Occult Foundations.” There were highlighted sections which discussed the theory that the fabric of reality itself was weaker in certain places. That made sense. It was like how the wall between the spirit world and ours would become thinner on ancient battlefields or in deep forests.

Under that pile of papers, he found the object he was pretty sure he was after. It wasn’t occult, per se, but he could see how the boys in Boston might have thought so. It was a clay disc about 8” in diameter with various astrological symbols etched around the perimeter and on the face. It was meticulously detailed but seemed to be otherwise mundane.

Atwood took out his phone to take pictures of the disc, but he couldn’t get the phone to cooperate. Something was interfering not only with his cell signal, but it was also interfering with the phone itself. The interference weakened the further he moved the phone from the disc, and so he determined it was the source. Clay shouldn’t do that though, right? Maybe there was something inside the disc that was jamming things. He shrugged and placed the disc in his briefcase. That seemed to help.

With the source of the electronic interference contained, Atwood turned his attention to the large map on the bed. There were points marked and lines drawn between them. There didn’t seem to be a pattern, but judging by the topography, he would guess the lines signified what Alfred Watkins called ley lines, paths of spiritual or magical energy. If that were the case, each point where lines intersected would be a strong nexus of power.

Looking at it through that lens and taking into account the manuscripts he’d found, he guessed Ms. Valladares had found a way to ride these lines from point to point like a subway train. It would also be significant, then, that there was a roughly half-mile diameter area at the center of all the lines where none of them passed. It was possible this area was a sort of magical void, but he felt it was more likely the opposite. Atwood suspected this area between the lines was more likely a concentration of energy with the perimeter acting as a sort of fence or dome to hold it all together. That had to be where she’d gone!

He set his briefcase outside and went back to take a picture of the map. He then grabbed his coat and tie, his briefcase, and the manuscripts before rushing next door to Cabin 16. As he entered, he found Dempsey putting the finishing touches on what he was sure was an improvised explosive device of some sort. He wasn’t sure why they might need that or why the kid was tinkering with it, but it was something to keep an eye on.

Atwood explained his theory to the Irishman and was more than a little surprised to hear that the kid not only agreed with him, but Dempsey also seemed to know a fair bit about ley lines and magic himself. Astrology eluded him, but magic and ley lines were the stuff of every Irish lad’s bedtime stories.

If the center of those lines was where she’d gone, that’s where they were going to look. Dempsey checked his camera one last time to be sure it was recording and had a clear view of Cabin 17 in case anyone came back. The agents then drove west down an old state road. They had a few hours of light left.

They’d only been driving a few minutes when Atwood noticed frost on the ground and the trees. It was 70 degrees at the campground, and a couple miles west the thermometer display on the dashboard was telling him it was 30 degrees and dropping. Another mile or so, and the frost was so thick it almost looked like it had snowed. Now the Irishman’s sense of fashion seemed to have been incredible foresight. Atwood turned the heater up and drove on.

Eventually, they came upon an abandoned Ford Fiesta, the same car Ms. Valladares drove. Atwood pulled the SUV off to the shoulder of the frost-covered dirt road, and the agents got out. The car was every bit as messy as Cabin 17. Fast food containers and plastic water bottles littered the backseat. The keys were still in the ignition. A trail of footprints led away from the car and into the woods.

The agents began to follow the trail. They hadn’t made it fifty yards inside the tree line when Dempsey slipped and fell nose first down an embankment. Atwood rolled his eyes and suppressed a sigh as he watched the Irishman tumble to the bottom. Dempsey laid motionless for several seconds before raising an arm and giving a thumbs-up. This was presumably to tell Atwood he was uninjured, but the profiler took it as his cue to leave the dead weight.

He continued to follow the footprints to a white clearing at least 100 yards in diameter where he found a thermos of cold coffee, a commercial star chart, and surveying equipment. There was also a circle of silvery powder in the frost which seemed to circle the entire clearing. Atwood wasn’t sure what the powder was, but it held significance for whatever ritual Ms. Valladares had performed. He took out the disc, and the glyphs were glowing faintly. He hadn’t noticed anything in the etchings that might cause that sort of reaction, so he decided it was some sort of magic. That also helped him explain the electronic interference.

The clearing was flat except for something jutting up in the very center. Atwood was just taking out his binoculars when Dempsey caught up. The agents took turns looking at the thing. It looked like a hole with a mound next to it, but they couldn’t be sure, so they followed the footprints closer. They stopped about twenty yards away when it dawned on them what they were seeing.

It wasn’t a hole and a mound. The earth and air had turned in space. It was as if a twenty-foot-diameter invisible sphere half in the ground and half out had rotated roughly 30 degrees counterclockwise and forward. The dirt revealed both inside and outside the sphere looked perfectly smooth. The footprints led directly to the edge of the area, and they continued inside the sphere, but they, too, were shifted. Atwood tossed a rock in the direction of the sphere, and as soon as it entered, it disappeared from its point in space and appeared roughly 30 degrees to the right. It was still heading toward the center of the sphere, but its trajectory had altered. Space inside the sphere was tilted.

The footprints led to the center and stopped. Okay, so … she was gone. That’s all there was to it. She wasn’t coming back. Or, as Atwood pointed out, it was probably for the best if they ensured she never came back. He planned to disrupt the circle of powder, but Dempsey knew that wouldn’t be enough; the ley lines would still converge. This area would still hold power, and someone else could do what Ms. Valladares had done. No. They had to disrupt the ley lines themselves.

The agents headed back to the abandoned car and drove it to the clearing. Dempsy couldn’t rig it to explode with what he’d brought with him, so he did the next best thing. He aimed the car at the sphere and placed a weight on the accelerator. When he put the car in gear, it drove right where he hoped it would, but the result wasn’t quite what he expected.

When the car entered the sphere, everything – car, air, dirt – the whole sphere rotated wildly like a giant hamster ball. The car was thrown straight up into the air and fell back to earth. Dirt, rocks, and snow were thrown in all directions, and the glyphs on the disc faded.

That was that. Migdalia Valladares of Hannover, New Hampshire had driven into the Vermont woods and abandoned her car in a clearing. If the boys in Boston wanted to follow her trail from there, best of luck to them.
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.


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