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Monday, 15th December, 2008, 12:02 PM #371
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Chapter 28: Operation Tucker - Introduction
This scenario is a combination of “Operation Ravenheart” from Pyramid Magazine by C.A. Johnson and “Far Voices” by Rich Redman. You can read more about Delta Green at Delta Green. Please note: This story hour contains spoilers!
Our cast of characters includes:
- Game Master: Michael Tresca
- Jim “Jim-Bean” Baxter (Charismatic Hero/Telepath) played by Jeremy Ortiz
- Kurtis "Hammer" Grange (Fast Hero/Gunslinger) played by George Webster
- Sebastian “Caprice” Creed (Fast/Smart Hero/Techie) played by Bill Countiss
- Hank “Guppy” Gupta (Smart Hero/Field Scientist) played by Joseph Tresca (portfolio banking investing mortgage credit at creepyportfolio.com)
Because this scenario takes place in a toy warehouse, I tried to maximize the tension. In the original scenario, the bad guy is after a specific toy, and "by now, all the customers that wanted [the toy] have one. So the tired, frustrated, angry people have already left." Boring! I preferred instead to have the agents deal with an angry mob of soccer moms battling it out while the two opposing teams of agents try to out maneuver each other without hurting innocent civilians. As inspiration, I used the scene from A Galaxy Far, Far Away, where a seething crowd struggles to catch one Star Wars figures in a toy store.
The second half of this scenario then takes place in the CEO's mansion (and the original target of the first team). Operation Ravenheart doesn't go into much detail here other than to indicate that the house has been modified by Greys to be “a gauntlet.” Cue my opportunity to put the agents into a death trap, as the two rival teams hunt the poor CEO (who at this point must be wondering why he ever got into the toy business) in a series of shifting rooms filled with traps. That's right, this is my opportunity to use the traps from Cube Zero!
The players were a bit confused as to what was going on, so I tried to sprinkle in some clues, such as the CEO dropping his day planner. I played Willy Wonka music every time a trap was activated, which had the suitable effect of making the scenario both wacky and violent. And of course, this scenario ends with a big bang, the kind we haven't seen since poor Blade…
Incidentally, Far Voices was originally going to be the first scenario we played. As you can imagine, it would have set a very different tone for the campaign. Although I didn't originally intend it to work out this way, the scenario pretty much played out like a battle against the Joker in one of his funhouses.
Defining Moment: Caprice, battling Bill in hand-to-hand combat, drops his pants. It only makes things much, much worse.
- Operation Ravenheart: The scenario from Pyramid.
- Far Voices: The toy store scene for d20 Modern.
- Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Soundtrack Online: The soundtrack online, which is a good thing because Yahoo's crappy DRM Music Player blew up and took a lot of my burned CDs with it.
- Charlie & the Chocolate Factory: by Danny Elfman. Just the right mix of insanity and pep.
- Cube Zero: The prequel to the Cube series.
- A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Will either make you proud or sad to be a Star Wars geek.
- EN World
- has no influence
- on advertisings
- that are displayed by
- Google Adsense
Tuesday, 16th December, 2008, 11:38 AM #372
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Operation Tucker: Prologue
ST. LOUIS, MO—They all took their seats in the cramped trailer turned meeting room, Sprague's mobile base of operations. Looking briefly at each of the agents, the grim-faced Sprague reached into a drawer, pulled out a set of colored, unmarked file folders, and handed them out. "I don't need to tell you that this information doesn't leave this facility," he said matter-of-factly. "You'll check those folders at the door before you leave."He's modest, clever, and so smart,
He can barely restrain it.
With so much generosity,
There is no way to contain it...
To contain...to contain...to contain...to contain.
-Wonka's Welcome Song by Danny Elfman
The acknowledgment was universal and automatic as they opened the files and scanned the summary page. It was Warner's team. Sprague's rivalry with Warner was legendary. Unearthing dirt on the rival team would satisfy Sprague to no end, although he'd never let it show.
"We may have a problem with an ongoing mission," Sprague stated. "A number of bodies have turned up in an Illinois suburb. There is no known link between the victims. Cause of death has been murder, but the method varied in each case. You have summaries of the police reports in your files. There are two things that really concern us here. First, there's the frequency of the attacks. Statistically, the murder rate in that area has trebled in the last month. Secondly, in each case, the attack has been quick, brutal, professional, and had a near total absence of evidence left behind. Remind you of something?"
"A clean-up," said Hammer.
"No, this isn’t a clean-up. However, in no case can Majestic-12 trace any leaks to these individuals, even in our most paranoid projections." That raised a few eyebrows in the room. The personnel at Majestic made paranoia their stock and trade. They were, like all departments of Majestic-12, obscenely good at their jobs. "Ordinarily, we'd chalk this up to a fluke, or some clever serial killer, and leave it to the authorities to handle . . ."
It was an op against Centurion Computing Systems and Walter Morrow. The same group that had used technology from a crashed UFO to code a Navi chip that was more powerful than Majestic-12's own alien-fueled systems. Despite the disaster at their corporate headquarters, Morrow survived and CCS was stronger than ever. They were planning to release a new system, the PlayPal. Early reports indicated the PlayPal's chip made the Navi look slow; only this time, it was hard-wired to NOT work fast. As if it were intentionally underperforming until called upon at a later date.
"Majestic-12 has a long-term surveillance in progress in that area. You have the mission briefing, all relevant reports, and the squad portfolios in your mission packets. Department-specific information has been provided where appropriate."
Jim-Bean scanned the names. Bill, Larry, Sarah, Morgana…he recognized Morgana. She was responsible for seducing Morrow. Larry fabricated evidence of corporate espionage and handed it off to Morgana, who planted it. The subsequent dismissal gave Sarah the opening she needed to be placed on the engineering staff. Bill was in charge of surveillance. That left the muscle, the guy who ensured nobody else but Sarah applied for the position. And that guy was Agent Tucker.
Jim-Bean's blood froze. Tucker, the man who had put two bullets in Jim-Bean’s kneecaps and left him to die. Tucker, who had served as a sacrifice to Ithaqua and was hospitalized with third degree burns over ninety-eight percent of his body. Tucker, who two weeks later was performing missions when no human being on Earth could have possibly survived the damage. Except maybe Jim-Bean.
The first murder took place two months into the mission. Since that time, a new murder occurred at a frequency of not less than one per week, with five reported in the third week. The precise whereabouts of every squad member could not be ascertained during the times of the killings.
Jim-Bean stopped reading. He knew who it was.
"Our worst-case scenario is that one of our operatives has cracked. Best case is that serial killer I mentioned earlier. I'm not going to lie to you, people. This is the most dangerous type of Pounce mission there is. You're going undercover against our own. If there is a secret here to be found, there is no one on this planet better trained to keep it and eliminate the individuals trying to ferret it out. If our worst fears are realized, your orders are to neutralize the threat without jeopardizing the existing mission or the conspiracy. You have the authority to abort that mission should you see a need, but you better have a damned good reason if you do abort. The reports were just starting to show progress. If we had to back out now, it would take months to get back into the position we're in now. Given our position in this war, it may be months we can't spare.
"Jim-Bean, you're mission leader. I want a mission synopsis on my desk in seventy-two hours. You have ninety-six hours after that to requisition your equipment. From that point on, I expect nothing other than results. Is that clear?"
"Clear," they said in unison. Then Hammer, Jim-Bean, Guppy, and Caprice filed out of the conference room.
"It's Tucker," said Jim-Bean as he hopped out of the trailer.
"How do you know?" asked Caprice.
"This another one of your hunches?" asked Hammer.
Jim-Bean shook his head. "No hunch. I just know."
Wednesday, 17th December, 2008, 11:31 AM #373
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Operation Tucker: Part 1a – The Ointment-Coated Fly
Jim-Bean placed Tucker under long-term surveillance. It didn't take long to figure out where the team was.
The St. Louis Mills Mall had over 175 brand name stores and outlets, entertainment and great dining. Sequestered in the northern center of the Mall was the PBS Kids Backyard, a confluence of kid-centric stores that was conveniently located next to the Food Court. Foremost amongst the stores at the Backyard was Wee Bee Toys.
A national toy store chain, Wee Bee Toys was a division of Centurion Computer Systems. Each location was a small warehouse full of toys, puzzles, and games. The company used a happy, child-friendly, little bee as its icon and spokesman. Customers bought toys in public spaces that were bright, well lit, and cheerful. Little did they know that several trained killers were stalking the aisles.
It was Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States and the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. The lines in the mall spiraled around the entire length of the mall and throughout the parking lot. The human crush threatened to overwhelm everything: the displays in the mall, the playground for the kids in the center of the Backyard, and certainly the food courts. They had opened early to cater to the shoppers who weren't even in the mall yet. Every store in the mall was on full alert, eagerly hiring temporary staff to handle the huge demand. It provided the perfect cover for Majestic-12, for both Sprague's and Warner's teams.
Guppy was undercover as a barista at Starbucks. When Guppy proposed that he walk the line waiting outside of Wee Bee Toys, serving coffee with his cart, the manager declared him a problem solver, adding "no wonder you people handle tech calls!" and enthusiastically endorsed the idea. Guppy kept his mouth shut. He used his cistron and a facial recognition program to snap pictures of the faces of people online, checking to see if any of them were Warner's agents.
Hammer and Jim-Bean took up a position outside of the warehouse. They couldn't go inside and risk Tucker identifying them.
As the one agent Tucker hadn’t met, Caprice had a position within Wee Bee Toys itself. Dressed as a gaming geek with a Legend of Zelda t-shirt underneath his black-and-yellow Wee Bee shirt, he stood in line with his other fellow temporary employees.
"This is show time, people," said the manager, a brusque retiree in a Wee Bee Toys yellow-and-black striped shirt. It made him look like some kind of deranged prison escapee. "The animals outside that door are going to come in here and tear this place apart. You're job is to make sure they tear it up in an orderly fashion. Some of you are baggers, some run the registers, some are warehouse runners, and some of you are going to be handing those things out." He nodded in Caprice's direction. "God help you boys, because you'll be on the front line." The manager took a deep breath and glanced over his shoulder. The customer line outside seemed to stretch to infinity. "We went over this a dozen times, but one more time won't hurt: we've already handed customers a number for the PlayPal. One number per person. They're going to wave those tags at you. Each one of these boxes has a number. In a perfect world you patiently review the number and hand the customer over a PlayPal box. But this ain't a perfect world."
Caprice looked around. Tucker would be easy to spot: he was a strapping, handsome African-American man—distinct enough that Caprice could easily identify him in a crowd. But he didn't see any of Warner's team, Tucker included.
The manager pointed at a big red electronic ticker that hung on the wall over the entrance. "The numbers appear there. Hands will go up. Your job," he pointed at Caprice's team, "is to get those boxes out. You're going stand atop the displays, with a fence around you so customers can't just grab the PlayPal boxes. Your job is to get the box to the customer. We call you folks Throwers. You're not supposed to throw it, but you're not gonna have a choice when the savages get going. So you do what you have to. Just don't let anybody get hurt. And if they do get hurt, blow your whistle," they all had whistles around their necks. "That's a call for help. You blow that whistle, I'll call mall security. Hopefully it won't be like last year." The manager shuddered. Caprice figured it must have been a bad time.
"Oh yeah, one more thing. May as well tell you this now..." The manager hitched up his belt over his considerable gut. "We told everyone that the PlayPal was being shipped in today. That's not true. It's already here. We had a problem with UPS guys stealing these things off the rack before they even arrived, so we learned our lesson."
Caprice cursed under his breath. Jim-Bean and Hammer were planning to intercept the delivery. "Guys, it's Caprice, I—"
"Hey!" shouted the manager, pointing at Caprice. "I thought I told you no phones! Take that thing off!"
Caprice frowned and yanked the earpiece out of his ear.
"All right, everybody ready?" The manager looked around. The temps were nervous. "Good. Positions!"
They jogged off to their positions. Caprice clambered up his caged mountain of PlayPals. The fence that ringed the bottom of it wouldn’t hold off an angry customer for long.
"Everybody smile!" The manager retreated to his office, which had a glass window overlooking the floor. His voice floated over the speakers. Insanely happy music started up, cheering the wonders of Wee Bee Toys. A giant bee character started rotating at the center of the store. "And here! We! Go!"
Caprice caught a glimpse of one of the Throwers across the floor crossing himself. Then a buzzing sound signaled the opening of Wee Bee Toys as the glass doors whisked open.
Thursday, 18th December, 2008, 11:29 AM #374
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Operation Tucker: Part 1b – The Ointment-Coated Fly
Guppy's cistron flashed face after face as the facial recognition software went to work. No luck.
"Hey!" said a pudgy guy with an "I See Fragged People" t-shirt.
Guppy wheeled his cart over.
"You sell food?"
"Uh, not really, I just have lattes and…"
"Dude!" The fat guy was sweating. "I will give you FIVE BUCKS for a cookie. A bagel. Anything!"
"I'm not sure—"
"Do you know how long I've been on this line?" Guppy tried not to get too close. He could smell how long the guy had been on line. "Two days man! TWO DAYS! You gotta get me some—"
The bell rang and suddenly Guppy was forgotten. He yanked the cart backwards to avoid being crushed.
Guppy tried to get on the line but he was shoved out of the way. "Get to the back of the line!" someone shouted at him.
He settled instead for photographing customers through the glass doors. Several other people were doing the same with their camera phones, undoubtedly hoping to catch a moment of consumerism at its worst.
Inside, Caprice slung the earpiece back over his ear.
"…don't see the truck," said Hammer.
"I know, I was trying to tell you guys!" Caprice had to shout over the noise of the crowd. "There's no truck, the PlayPals are already here!"
He handed three of them off to the customers waving the first three ticket stubs. A sea of arms went up, even as the big red ticker on the wall clicked through the first ten.
An alert went off on their cistrons. Caprice couldn't look down at the cistron at his belt, busy lifting and tossing the PlayPals to the ravenous crowd.
"I've got a match!" said Guppy. "It's Tucker!"
Caprice looked around. "Where?"
"Far back, middle row."
Caprice squinted. He could make out a tall black man in a trench coat. It had to be Tucker. There was only one way to find out.
Caprice wound up and tossed a PlayPal at him.
Tucker caught it easily. The customers spun in outrage to a chorus of "Hey!" and "Wait, I have the next ticket!"
Tucker used his cistron to scan the PlayPal box, and then as an angry customer struggled frantically to get to him, handed it over.
"He's scanning the boxes," said Caprice. "He must be looking for something."
"Throw one to me!" Guppy made his way, finally, inside the Wee Bee Toys store.
"Guppy, I'm not sure that's a good idea…"
"Just do it!"
Caprice wound up and tossed a PlayPal to Guppy.
The crowd went nuts. "Is that one of his buddies?" and "He just got here!" reverberated from the crowd.
Guppy tried to scan the box but someone yanked on his arm. Before he could finish scanning it, another person tackled him, grabbing the PlayPal out of his hand. A large woman body checked the assailant out of the way and grabbed the PlayPal box. The crowd was devolving into a brawl.
"You threw that to him on purpose!" shouted someone near Caprice's feet. He didn't get a chance to see who it was, but someone yanked on his foot. He lost his footing and slid down the hill of boxes. PlayPals tumbled everywhere.
The crowd roared as a free-for-all broke out. Soccer moms shoved teenage boys. Grandmas beat on fat geeks. All over the PlayPal.
Guppy managed to crawl towards the entrance. "I…" he was panting, "…just saw Tucker. He's leaving the mall!"
"This job sucks!" shouted Caprice. "I quit!" He tore off his black-and-yellow striped shirt and threw it to the ground.
Friday, 19th December, 2008, 11:52 AM #375
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Operation Tucker: Part 2a – Catching the Fly
Guppy dove into the Honda Civic, the world's most anonymous vehicle, as Tucker's Mustang peeled off. Hammer sped after him.
"He's in an awful rush," said Jim-Bean from the passenger seat
"Think he spotted Caprice?" asked Guppy.
Jim-Bean shrugged. "I don't know. Tucker's pretty efficient. If he felt Caprice was a threat I think he'd be dead by now."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," said Caprice over the comm. "I just hot-wired a car. I'll catch up."
Suddenly Tucker's vehicle sped up. Hammer slammed on the gas to keep pace.
On the expressway, another Honda Civic pulled alongside their vehicle.
"Hey look," said Guppy. "Looks like this car really is common after all…"
The passenger window rolled down and a Beretta pointed in Jim-Bean's face.
"That's no ordinary car!" shouted Hammer. He slammed on the brakes.
The gunshot went wide, ricocheting off the pavement. Horns wailed behind them and tires screeched as cars and trucks crashed into each other. Ironically, none of the vehicles hit their Civic.
Hammer slapped the dashboard. "Damn! That was Warner's team. We lost him."
"Not necessarily," said Jim-Bean. He punched the keys of his cistron. "SINNER, dear? We need your help."
"You think that's actually going to work?" asked Hammer. "SINNER isn't just at our every beck and—"
"Hello Agent Jim-Bean," the red pig-tailed image of SINNER as a pre-teen girl appeared on his screen. "How can I help you?"
Jim-Bean grinned at Hammer. "We're trying to trace Agent Tucker. He's heading west on 370. Do you have any likely destinations?"
"That would be the mansion of Walter Morrow, CEO of Central Computing Systems. Downloading directions now."
Hammer threw the Civic into gear.
"We've got a new route," said Jim-Bean into his cistron. "Can you catch up?"
"I got tangled up in an accident," replied Caprice.
"Huh," said Jim-Bean. "Weird. Well, if you can find a car—"
There was shouting in the background. Caprice replied. "I just…borrowed a car. I'll be right behind you."
Saturday, 20th December, 2008, 01:23 PM #376
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Operation Tucker: Part 2b – Catching the Fly
Hammer pulled through the gates of the Morrow estate. They had been smashed open by a vehicle.
The smoking radiator of Tucker's Mustang hissed in front of the mansion's double doors, which were still open.
"He must have driven right up to the front doors,” said Hammer.
Jim-Bean and Hammer slipped through the double doors into the mansion, pistols at the ready. Guppy trailed behind them.
"Nothing here," said Guppy. "Where'd he go?"
Hammer pointed at the ground. A butler lay on the ground, jaw slack, a red bullet hole in his head. "Just follow the bodies."
The trail of servants littered several rooms. Most were caught unawares, shot from the front, although a few were face down, killed as they were fleeing. None of them were Morrow.
The trail went cold near a storage closet. Hammer leveled his pistols at the opening as Jim-Bean threw open the door.
The doors opened to reveal sliding panels with a keypad. Guppy hooked his cistron up to it and began hacking the code.
"The team was here," said Hammer.
"But Tucker got here first." Jim-Bean bent down to pick up a day planner.
"Funny," said Hammer. "This guy runs a high-tech company and he writes down his daily schedule by hand."
"Sometimes that's the only way to keep things secret," said Jim-Bean.
Hammer flipped to the current day. “Morrow was scheduled to appear at the St. Louis Mall for the PlayPal unveiling. Guess he backed out at the last minute.”
“Trust me,” said Guppy. “You don’t want to be there.” He finished tapping keys and stood up.
The panel flashed green and the doors whisked open. Simultaneously, an alarm rang out throughout the mansion. Security doors slammed shut around windows and entrances.
"Well I guess there's only way to go from here," said Jim-Bean.
They were facing an elevator. And it only went one way: down.
Monday, 22nd December, 2008, 01:05 AM #377
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Operation Tucker: Part 3a – Into the Web
The elevator opened into a twenty-foot by twenty-foot box, with doors in each wall. The room was harshly lit from within the wall itself in all directions.
"You know what this looks like?" asked Hammer to no one in particular.
"A ship," said Guppy, his voice cracking. "An alien ship."
"We're in an alien ship?" asked Jim-Bean. "Really? Doesn't look like much."
Music started playing. It was the Wee Bee theme song and it reverberated from every corner of the room.
"What is going on?" shouted Guppy, holding his ears.
Long poles slowly stretched out of the ceiling.
"What the hell is that?" asked Jim-Bean.
Hammer shoved Guppy through a door into the next room. The room was exactly the same as the first one.
Jim-Bean ran after them, but he was a second too late. A spray of clear liquid showered the room. His clothing began to smoke. "Acid!"
The flesh on Jim-Bean's back bubbled and seethed as the acid ate through his clothing. Guppy started to tear Jim-Bean’s shirt off.
"It's all right! I'm all right!" said Jim-Bean, wincing.
"But the acid…it's all over you!"
Jim-Bean shook his head. "Just barely got me."
Guppy put one of his fingers through the hole in Jim-Bean's shirt. "That's not what it looks like to me."
Before they could argue further, the Wee Bee song started up again.
"Oh man," said Guppy. "I've got a bad feeling about this…"
Electricity crackled, causing hairs to stand on end. A series of lightning beams crisscrossed the room.
"What kind of basement is this?" shouted Jim-Bean, forced to contort into an awkward position around the beams.
Hammer craned his neck, carefully stepping underneath one beam and over another. Guppy followed suit. Jim-Bean joined them on the other side of the room after several near missteps.
The door on the other side of the identical room whisked open just as the agents entered. It was Warner's team.
"Down on the ground," shouted Larry, the leader, pistol at the ready. "Now!" Backing him up were Sarah and Morgana, their own pistols out.
"You put your weapons down!" shouted Hammer. Jim-Bean and Guppy backed him up.
"I am not going to ask you again!" shouted Larry.
"This is your last chance!" Hammer shouted back.
The Wee Bee song started up again. Larry and Hammer watched as two poles slowly extended into the center of the room…
Monday, 22nd December, 2008, 05:29 PM #378
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Operation Tucker: Part 3b – Into the Web
Caprice pulled up to the mansion in his stolen vehicle. It was locked down tight, with safety shades pulled down over every entrance.
He tried to raise the other agents but had no luck. That meant they were inside. Which could be good or bad, depending on what they found there.
Caprice made his way to the keypad at the front door. He popped the panel off and hooked his cistron to the board beneath it.
With a little time, he could hack his way into the system. While Caprice wasn't quite as good at hacking as Guppy, he was still pretty formidable with code cracking, a skill acquired from his days in aeronautics programming. Code scrolled on the cistron's screen as it clicked away at the firewall—
SPTANG! A bullet ricocheted right near Caprice's head. He ducked and rolled, hands up.
"Down on the ground! DOWN ON THE GROUND!" shouted Bill, from Warner's team. He looked like a geek who didn't know how to wield the shaking pistol in both hands.
Caprice put his hands up. "Easy, easy. Are you trying to mug me? I can give you my wallet…"
"I don't want to mug you, I want you to GET ON THE GROUND!"
"Okay, okay!" Caprice slowly got down to his knees. "Look…I don't live here, okay? I don't have any money…"
"I just said I am not trying to mug you!" Bill inched over to him and pulled out a zip tie from his belt.
"Wait, you're tying me up? What for?"
"I don't know who you are or why you're here," he glanced over at the code flickering on the security panel. "But you're no common thief, that's for sure."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Bill started to put the ties on Caprice's wrists when the security panel beeped. The code had been hacked.
It was all the distraction Caprice needed. He spun on Bill and grabbed the pistol.
For a few desperate moments they huffed in silence. Bill tried to kick Caprice off of him, but only succeeded in hooking his foot in Caprice's belt. He managed to nearly shove the other agent's pants off.
They separated, gasping for air. Caprice growled. "Fine, let's do this." He dropped his pants completely so they wouldn’t tangle up his ankles…
Bill's eyes went wide. "You will not rape me!" He squeezed off a shot.
The bullet grazed Caprice's arm. "Ouch, damn it!" He rolled towards the door and snatched up his cistron. The doors were unlocked. "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Two more shots answered him.
Caprice gave up talking and ducked inside.
Tuesday, 23rd December, 2008, 08:16 AM #379
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Operation Tucker: Part 3c – Into the Web
Larry tended to Sarah and Morgana. Hammer looked after Guppy. They were all burned from the gout of flames that jetted from the cylinders.
"Ready to call a truce?" asked Hammer. "Your team's a mess."
"So is yours," said Larry.
"Not as bad as you might think," said Hammer. "We're Sprague's team."
Hammer knew better than to worry about Jim-Bean. A few seconds later, Jim-Bean's eyes flicked open, despite the fact that his face was blackened to a crisp. He wiped one hand over his features and the dead skin fell off, flaking away like so much dandruff.
"Great," said Larry. "Sprague's team huh?" He held up his cistron. Hammer held up his own cistron and the two exchanged virtual identification. They both checked out. "Why didn't you say so?"
"You didn't give us a chance. Can you tell us what the hell is going on in here?"
Larry shook his head. "Tucker's job was to intercept the modified PlayPal before it was released to the general public. At least, that's what we thought the plan was."
Jim-Bean continued to brush off burned flesh. "Don't tell me, Tucker changed plans."
Larry nodded. "Made a bee-line for Morrow's mansion. He didn't return any of our inquiries. We followed him to the mansion, saw you following him, and then became convinced that Tucker's cover was blown, which is why he was in such a rush."
"But he wasn't running, was he?" asked Jim-Bean. "He's after Morrow."
"I don't know," said Larry. Sarah and Morgana were badly burned. He had pumped them both full of painkillers, but they were going to need to be hospitalized.
Jim-Bean put one palm to the floor and focused. "I know where he is," he said.
"How?" asked Larry.
"Stay here with them," said Hammer. "We'll leave a trail behind us and try to set off as many traps as we—"
Their conversation was cut off by a scream a few rooms away.
Wednesday, 24th December, 2008, 01:10 PM #380
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Operation Tucker: Part 3d – Into the Web
The crack of a pistol echoed in the empty mansion. Bill finally had to reload.
"All right, enough!" shouted Caprice. He stood up from behind a plush red chair, still in his underwear. "This is ridiculous."
Bill fumbled loading his pistol. He obviously wasn't accustomed to combat. "You're…" he was torn between reloading and eyeballing Caprice. "Who are you?"
"I think we're on the same side," muttered Caprice. "You're with Warner's team, right?"
Bill squinted at him. "Who wants to know?"
"Look." Caprice held up his cistron. "See? Check me out, you'll see I'm legit. I'm with Sprague's team."
Bill held up his cistron. Sure enough, they both checked out. "Well, that's a relief."
"What happened here?"
Bill shrugged. "Tucker's gone nuts. Killing everybody." He looked down at one of the dead maids and blanched. "I think he's after Morrow."
"And where's Morrow?"
"We're in his mansion. But my guess is he has a panic room."
Caprice looked around. A closet door was open, and the dim glow of a screen pulsed within. "There."
They both peered into the closet. It was the front of an elevator with an access pad. Bill hooked up his cistron to the system. "Looks like some kind of giant Rubik's cube. Take a look."
He tapped a key and a floor plan of the basement appeared in glowing green lines. It was a massive structure that didn't look man-made.
"Who builds this kind of thing under their mansion?"
"Besides Batman?" asked Bill. "Crazy CEOs who are being influenced by the Greys."
"You think Greys did this?"
Bill nodded. "The PlayPal CCS is producing is too sophisticated. It's better than the stuff Majestic’s got."
"I think I can override the security protocols," said Caprice. He pressed a button on his cistron and was connected wirelessly through Bill's cistron. "It's just a matter of resetting the system."
Bill cleared his throat. "Yeah. Okay. So uhm…before you do that…"
"Maybe you should put your pants back on."