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Friday, 27th February, 2009, 11:32 AM #441
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
See No Evil: Part 7b – Climax
Archive stood, Glock in one hand. There was no one else in the lobby. Just him and the German.
Good. It was time to take the gloves off.
The German loaded his pistol. And kept coming.
Archive pointed at the German’s pistol. “Throd! N'gha!” he chanted.
The pistol crumbled to dust in the German’s hands. It didn’t stop him. The German pulled out a submachinegun from his vest.
Archive pointed at the German again. “Wgah'n! 'Ai!” he chanted.
The response was instantaneous. The German immediately threw the submachinegun across the room.
The German kept coming. He pulled a knife out from his boot, his eyes filled with murderous rage. He altered his direction, finally. And he was walking straight towards Archive.
It wasn’t the knife that bothered him. It was that the hulking German was reaching into his vest with his other hand. If he had another pistol he would have drawn it.
Archive pointed at the German for a third time. He was just a few yards away. “'Bthnk! Ftaghu! Fhtagn!”
The German froze. It wouldn’t last long.
Archive caught a glimpse of what was in the German’s other hand. It was a grenade.
He screwed up his courage and closed the distance. The German had already pulled the pin on the grenade. He was holding the lever tightly, a dead man’s switch.
Archive slowly put his fist around the German’s. His flesh was unnaturally cold.
He slipped the grenade out from the German’s grip, retaining the pressure on the handle. Great, now he had a live grenade in his hand.
Archive looked around. He couldn’t throw it outside with the crowd. He couldn’t leave it inside. And he had only a few seconds before the spell wore off.
The bathroom! Archive sprinted to the men’s room.
He kicked open a stall and dropped the grenade into the toilet.
“What the hell buddy?” shouted a man in the stall next to him. He had just finished zipping up his pants and was opening the stall when Archive grabbed him by the collar.
“Out!” shouted Archive. He hurled the man ahead of him out into the lobby of the meeting center.
The bystander was thrown clear when the explosion went off, but Archive was still too close. The shock wave knocked him off his feet. He landed hard on his back.
Archive’s ears were still ringing when he caught a glimpse of the German looming over him, knife raised.
A spray of bullets tore through the German’s coat, jerking him like a marionette. He suddenly went lifeless, as if his batteries had been turned off. Then his body fell towards Archive …
And he was covered in blue powder.
Jim-Bean, dressed in his security guard uniform, twirled the two Glocks in his hands. “So that’s what it’s like to be Hammer!”
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Saturday, 28th February, 2009, 01:21 PM #442
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
See No Evil: Part 7c – Climax
Colm dragged the young woman towards the back exits.
“Put the gun down, Colm!” shouted Hammer. “We don’t have to do this!”
“You don’t understand!” Colm shouted back. “Whitcher told me everything!” He had a book in his free hand, his arm looped around the woman’s neck. “The Nazis are collaborating with the Islamists! And they can control ghosts!”
Hammer started to respond but stopped. A janitor was whistling tunelessly as he pushed a broom along. His head was down and his path was about to intersect with Colm’s.
Hammer fired his pistol.
Colm and the hostage flinched, but the janitor didn’t react. That’s when Hammer caught sight of the earbuds in his ears.
Taking careful aim, Colm fired a single shot into the janitor’s forehead. The man crumpled.
“NO!” shouted Hammer. He drew a bead, but Colm clutched the hostage closer to him.
“Don’t shoot!” she shouted desperately.
Colm took an abrupt turn into the conference hall. Conference attendees who weren’t aware of the ruckus outside saw Colm and backed away, screaming.
Colm made his way up to the stage and the microphone.
“Damn it!” swore Hammer.
“Listen to me! Everyone!” Colm clutched the girl tighter around the throat. “They’re after me! I have proof! Hasam Al-Banna of the Black Brotherhood joined the Nazis in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. He formed the school of Wahhabism! Don’t you see? Al-Hazzan is—“
There was an explosion from the front of the building.
Startled, Colm dropped his hostage and struggled to reload his pistol. Hammer took the shot.
Colm screamed, clutching his bloody hand. A second later, two hundred pounds of angry Hammer wrestled him to the ground.
“Karotechia,” wailed Colm. “The Karotechia is behind it all!”
Monday, 2nd March, 2009, 12:44 AM #443
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
See No Evil: Conclusion
Hammer stepped out into the sunlight in front of the Merriweather Center, Colm’s book in his hand.
It was called The Project. The report presented a global vision of a worldwide strategy for the Black Brotherhood. Local policies were drawn up in the different regions in accordance with its guidelines. It acted as a means of defining the points of departure of that policy, then set up the components and the most important procedures linked to each point of departure. Finally it suggested several missions, all of them linking the Neo-Nazi organization Karotechia to Al-Hazzan.
Archive limped out behind him.
“So who’s behind all this stuff?”
“Nazis,” said Hammer with a sigh. “I hate Nazis.”
A confused deliveryman waved a package. “I have a delivery for Curtis Grange?”
Jim-Bean snatched the package from the worker and, after shaking it, tossed it to Hammer.
Hammer peered down at the nine inch by twelve inch manila envelope. The destination and return addresses were identical—they contained Hammer’s full legal name and residential address.
The stamps were a commemorative White House and U.S. flag stamps issued in 1992 at twenty nine cents each.
Archive peered over Hammer’s shoulder. “Who’s sending you a package from ten years ago?”
“And how would he know you would be here at this time on this date?” asked Jim-Bean.
“I don’t know,” said Hammer. “But I should.” He looked out at the sunset. “This address is in my handwriting.”
Monday, 2nd March, 2009, 11:57 AM #444
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Chapter 33: No Man’s Land - Introduction
This story hour is a combination of two scenarios: “Schrodinger’s Dilemma” by JonnyX and “No Man’s Land,” by Stan! from the Wizards of the Coast Web site. You can read more about Delta Green at Delta Green. Please note: This story hour contains spoilers!
Our cast of characters includes:
This is one of the first scenarios that actually freaked out the character as well as the player. George, who loves investigations, was intrigued by the notion that Hammer sent a package to himself from the future. As they slowly verified that it did indeed come from the future, he became steadily more and more freaked out by the implications. There are other things in the package Hammer receives that indicate he might not be a nice person. This freaked out everybody.
- Game Master: Michael Tresca
- Kurtis "Hammer" Grange (Fast Hero/Gunslinger) played by George Webster
- Jim “Jim-Bean” Baxter (Charismatic Hero) played by Jeremy Ortiz (http://www.ninjarobotstudios.com)
- Joseph “Archive” Fontaine (Dedicated Hero/Acolyte) played by Joe Lalumia
I was really impressed by the players’ deductive abilities. They collectively figured out the decoded message without much help from me.
Although Hammer was the focus of the first part of the scenario, the latter half was really Archive’s. This is the first time the living dead are used in force, and it’s up to Archive to take on Whitcher’s undead German army. Given the opportunity to use every World War II cliché imaginable, I milked this scenario for all it was worth.
Defining Moment: Jim-Bean vs. tank. Tank wins.
- Critical Locations: For D20 Modern and a lifesaver, since Delta Green rarely provides maps.
- Schrodinger's Dilemma: An entry in the Shogtun Scenario contest run on the Delta Green Mailing List, this is one of the best.
- The Earth Died Screaming: by Tom Waits
- No Man's Land: by Stan! This is an event-based scenario that requires careful set-up and a bit of handwaving (magic not only animates the dead, it makes guns and tanks work too!). Fortunately, sufficient dread was built up in the previous scenario and the agents were too frantic to question much.
Tuesday, 3rd March, 2009, 11:43 AM #445
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
No Man's Land: Prologue
NEW YORK CITY, NY—Jim Bean peered over Hammer’s shoulder. “What’s in the envelope?”And the great day of wrath has come
And here's mud in your big red eye
The poker's in the fire
And the locusts take the sky
And the earth died screaming
- The Earth Died Screaming by Tom Waits
Hammer emptied the contents on the hood of his car. There was a palm-sized scrap of pale tattooed leather, a ten dollar bill, and a folded sheet of paper.
Jim-Bean opened the paper and read it. “Huh. The Earth Died Screaming by Tom Waits.”
“What?” asked Hammer.
“It’s a song. These are the lyrics. It’s on an album called Bone Machine, released in 1992.”
“Never heard of it,” said Hammer.
“You have now,” said Jim-Bean with a smirk. “It’s signed XOX, Palimpset. There’s also a bloody thumbprint on it.”
Archive held the leather up to the light. It was about four inches in diameter and roughly circular. There was a stylized star tattooed on one side in red metallic ink that glowed faintly
“That’s not all that’s weird,” said Archive. “This is an Elder Sign.”
“The what?” asked Jim-Bean.
“The Elder Sign is a powerful weapon against the servants of the Great Old Ones and the Outer Gods, and can be used to drive them off.”
Hammer was staring at the bill. “This has to be a hoax.” He held it up so Jim-Bean and Archive could view it.
The bill was slightly larger than normal. It is made of some sort of plasticy material that didn’t crease or easily tear. It was rainbow colored and had a holographic portrait of Hitler on the front. The back contained barcodes, embedded circuitry and a U.S. flag with 57 stars. Text on the bill was in both English and German. The bill was dated "Series 2034.”
Jim-Bean frowned. “I can check this easily enough. Let me have it.”
Hammer handed him the bill.
“I wouldn’t do that,” said Archive. “If this has something to do with the Karotechia then it might be magically—“
Jim-Bean held the bizarre bill with between forefingers and thumbs and concentrated.
“OW!” He shouted, clutching his temple. “Damn it!”
“What?” asked Hammer.
“I don’t know. It’s like I got punched in the face.” Jim-Bean rubbed his nose and came up with blood.
Archive snatched the bill from Jim-Bean. “It’s got wards incorporated into it.”
Jim-Bean dabbed at his nose with a tissue. “Let me try the letter.”
“Are you sure?” asked Hammer, dubious.
“Yeah,” said Jim-Bean. He took hold of the letter…
Jim-Bean frowned. “This is the real deal. You wrote it. From the future. And let’s just say you weren’t happy at the time you wrote it. But you were writing a heck of a lot more than those lyrics.”And saw Hammer, older, with grey stripes in his hair. He was fearful, frantic, almost manic. He had some sort of vial he kept dipping his pen in. Blood was dripping from his temple. At one point, Hammer wiped his brow and got blood on his thumb.
Somewhere in the distance, the faint notes of The Earth Died Screaming were audible.
He didn’t care. He kept scribbling madly. Jim-Bean couldn’t make out what was above Hammer, but he kept looking up. Was he outside? Indoors? He couldn’t tell. But whatever Hammer was afraid of was above him. Thunder boomed …
Hammer’s brow furrowed. He was liking this less and less. “If I were going to send myself a note and I was worried that it might be intercepted, I would use an old trick.” He snapped his fingers. “Lemon juice! Now we just have to heat it.”
Jim-Bean helpfully lit the lighter underneath the letter.
“Don’t burn it!” warned Hammer.
“Relax. I got the dexterity of a surgeon,” said Jim-Bean, waving the lighter back and forth under the letter.
Sure enough, a series of letters and numbers appeared, beginning with KRYPTOS.
“It’s a code,” said Hammer. “We use it in the CIA.” He tapped the code into his cistron. “If you type this code in using the Vigenere cipher and the alphabetic key PALIMPSET, with unilateral substation, repetitive key …”
It appeared on their screens:
“What the hell does that mean?” asked Jim-Bean.apocalypsebillionsdeadendofworld
“The end of the world,” said Archive flatly. “You somehow sent this backwards in time to yourself.”
“Whitcher is the same name Colm used. That must be the Karotechia sorcerer he was meeting with.”
“A very important person, apparently,” said Archive.
“What about all those numbers?” asked Jim-Bean.
“GPS.” Hammer tapped the coordinates in. “The new World War II Museum at the intersection of Independence Avenue and 6th Street in Washington D.C. And UTC is Universal Coordinated Time in UNIX epoch format.” He tapped the code in.
“What?” asked Jim-Bean.
“If this is true … we’ve got three hours to save the world.”
Wednesday, 4th March, 2009, 11:32 AM #446
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
No Man's Land: Part 1 – Which Whitcher?
Hammer took photos of everything and uploaded them to the Blacknet database. Caprice, back at their temporary headquarters in New York, fed them data on the drive down.
“You’re sure this isn’t a joke, right?” asked Caprice, on speakerphone over the cistron.
“It’s not a joke, Hot Pants,” said Hammer tersely, speeding through traffic. “What did you find?”
“The social security number you gave me is the most misused number of all time,” explained Caprice. “In 1938, wallet manufacturer the E. H. Ferree Company in Lockport, New York decided to promote its product by showing how a Social Security card would fit into its wallets. A sample card, used for display purposes, was inserted in each wallet. Company VP and Treasurer Douglas Patterson thought it would be a clever idea to use the actual SSN of his secretary, Mrs. Hilda Schrader Whitcher.”
“Great, Whitcher’s not even real,” said Jim-Bean in the driver’s seat.
“I wouldn’t say that,” replied Caprice. “For someone who isn’t real we’ve got quite a bit of information on him.”
“First of all, the H stands for Howard. Howard had three residential addresses in the last eight years, including a current one; two are in nearby states, one is on the other side of the country. Whitcher has a supposedly unlisted phone number for the current address.”
Jim-Bean dialed the number, then hung up. “Answering machine.”
“He went to college and high school info from institutions on the west coast; an MBA degree with minors in math and law. No criminal history and a decent credit score,” said Caprice. “Whitcher’s unmarried, an only child, with no surviving parents or grandparents. He has some unusually uneventful medical records. Whitcher filed tax returns going back to his late teens.”
“Real enough to do his taxes,” said Archive.
“I was able to pull up his driver’s license. There’s a match with his current residential address and the physical description you gave me.”
“Pull it up,” said Hammer.
The picture loaded on their cistrons. Howard Scott Whitcher had a light complexion, clean shaven, with long blond hair.
“Now we know what he looks like. Thanks Hot Pants, we’ll check in when we get there.”
“Roger that,” said Caprice. He hung up.
“What do we have on this museum?” Hammer said over his shoulder to Archive.
“The new exhibit is intended to give visitors the merest taste of what it might have been like to serve on the Western Front in World War II.” Archive read from his cistron. “The exhibit has been especially popular because it features an actual British trench, dug out of the ground and preserved for this display. The soil is the very earth on which thousands of soldiers died. It is an exhibit designed to leave even the most jaded visitor shaken and keenly aware of the fragility and sanctity of life.”
“Don’t tell me: that’s going to give our Nazi necromancer a distinct advantage.”
“Definitely. It may be why you sent this back.” Archive held up the piece of leather with the Elder Sign on it. “You don’t send an Elder Sign like this unless you’re expecting trouble with the supernatural.”
Jim-Bean plucked the leather from Archive. “Let me see …”
Jim-Bean tossed the leather back to Archive.A woman screaming. Scalpel. Gloved hands. Flesh peeling back from her back. A flash of her face, contorted in pain. She’s Asian …
“Well?” asked Archive.
“You can keep it.” Jim-Bean tossed the leather back to Archive. “And keep it far away from me.”
“We’re here,” said Hammer.
They pulled in front of the museum just in time to see Whitcher in front of the World War II Museum. Almost as if he sensed Hammer’s gaze. He turned and ran into the museum.
Thursday, 5th March, 2009, 03:15 PM #447
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
No Man's Land: Part 2 – The Exhibit
The museum was meant to be an interactive, educational presentation of conditions and equipment in the trenches of Western Europe in WWI. “No Man’s Land,” as the exhibit was called, was a modern facility. There were no stairs in the exhibit; access was provided by wheelchair-friendly ramps leading to and from the gallery. The arrangement served to accentuate the feeling of going down into the trenches.
Hammer, Jim-Bean, and Archive entered the forum. The room was dimly lit and popular music from the war era played faintly from speakers hidden in the shadows of the ceiling. Most of the available light came from the five cases that displayed items once used by soldiers stationed in the trenches. Beside the main door stood a box for donations; next to that was a door leading to the museum gift shop. At the left was a ramp leading up to the gallery.
The display cases contained items such as shaving kits, gramophones, medals, and honorariums from various countries. A plaque below each item described what functions it served and how the museum came to own it.
As Whitcher fled up the left ramp, four soldiers entered from the gift shop on the right. People screamed. They were dead, each skeleton wearing a WWII helmet and the tattered remains of its German uniform clinging to its bones.
Jim-Bean gaped at the resurrected corpses. “What the hell?”
The front row of soldiers got to one knee while the back row took aim with their rifles.
“He must be in a rush,” said Archive. He held the leather Elder Sign over his head.
The eye at the center of the sign blinked, and the lid lifted up again a beam of flame arced forth. The four Nazi skeletons burst into blue dust.
Jim-Bean hustled people towards the exit.
“Look familiar?” asked Archive, pointing at the blue dust. “This dust is signs that the necromancy that the same necromancy is at work …”
But Hammer was already off and running into the gallery.
Friday, 6th March, 2009, 11:27 AM #448
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
No Man's Land: Part 3 – Gallery
The Gallery was devoted to showcasing the weapons used by front line troops during WWII. It was larger than the adjacent forum, and it was difficult to see from end to end because the display cases have been arranged to create the effect of a trench-like hallway. The displays featured various weapons used by front line soldiers. Scratchy recordings of speeches made by politicians of the era drifted from the speakers occasionally. Interspersed among them were clearer recordings of elderly veterans describing their experiences from the war.
One wall of the room was actually a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking a recreation of a WWII battlefield. Other museum visitors walked below, along a trench, before passing through a doorway. At the far end of the diorama was a sandbagged foxhole in which two figures in German uniforms manned a machine gun.
It took Hammer a second to realize why the other visitors hadn’t reacted the ruckus in the gift shop. It was because the sounds of realistic warfare echoed beyond the Plexiglas.
“Look Martha,” said an elderly man, pushed along by his more mobile wife. “They hired actors to man the machinegun!”
Hammer didn’t get a chance to shout a warning. He dove to the ground just as the machinegun on the far side of the diorama roared to life, raking the room with gunfire.
The remaining visitors were torn apart, ripped literally in half as the machinegun fire sliced them to ribbons.
“Jim-Bean, Archive, take care of the soldiers!” shouted Hammer, drawing his Glocks. “I’m going after Whitcher in the trench!”
The machinegun finally stopped chattering. One skeletal soldier lifted another ribbon of ammo in the dugout on the opposite side of the museum. The few people in the trenches wailed in horror, shocked by the sudden violence.
Archive held up the Elder Sign. Again the eye opened and a beam of red light sliced through the two skeletons at the machinegun, powdering them to blue dust.
Jim-Bean, seeing his chance, sprinted through the broken Plexiglas and attempted to leap over the trench …
Only to hit the trench’s edge. He scrambled for purchase, but the sides were sprayed with a sealant to prevent curious visitors from grabbing handfuls of dirt. Jim-Bean fell back into the trench with a thud.
The ground rumbled all around him. It was the mechanical sound of wheels and gears turning, of something huge and heavy turning reached Jim-Bean’s ears. Almost like …
“Tank!” shouted Archive.
Then the world exploded.
Saturday, 7th March, 2009, 01:20 PM #449
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
No Man's Land: Part 4 – Lest We Forget
The main part of the exhibit was a full-scale, original trench in a reconstructed battlefield. A ramp led down between walls of dirt, giving the impression that the visitor was descending into the ground as you walk along. The display tag at the bottom of the ramp explained that the exhibit was an actual WWII trench, carefully dug up and transported from the fields of France. Hammer understood how Whitcher had managed to create the skeletons: he had plenty of raw material.
The trench’s structure was well supported by sandbags and wooden slats, and great care had been taken to preserve and secure the sod walls with a durable coating. Stepladders were placed every dozen yards or so to allow visitors to peer over the ten-foot high dirt walls.
The ground around the top of the trench was bare of all grass and vegetation, but lengths of barbed wire spiraled across the field. The walls and ceiling were painted to show gray clouds overhead and forests and farmhouses in the distance. Hidden speakers played the sounds of men shouting in German, biplanes passing overhead, intermittent gunfire, and occasionally a mortar explosion.
The atmosphere in the trench was as realistic as the curators could make it, and the whole effect was more than a little bit disturbing.
Above the trench stood a tremendous metal vehicle about eight feet tall, ten feet wide, and fifteen feet long. It was covered with heavy iron plates held in place by bolts at least an inch in diameter. The display tag identified the metal behemoth as a Renault tank with a 37mm cannon. The tank rumbled forward a few feet before the turret whirred towards Jim-Bean.
Of course, thought Hammer. Of course Whitcher had animated a tank crew. He could do nothing but duck down as the tank blasted away at Jim-Bean above him.
Whitcher may have been a Nazi sorcerer but he was still human. The blast caused him to pause as well as dirt rained down all around them.
Hammer squeezed off two shots with his Glock. Whitcher ducked around a curve in the trench and chanted something Hammer couldn’t hear, his ears still ringing from the tank’s attack.
Hammer’s flesh started to feel very, very warm. It was like someone had suddenly pressed his face next to a hot flame and no matter where he turned, he couldn’t escape it.
Gritting his teeth, Hammer advanced on the chanting Whitcher.
Sunday, 8th March, 2009, 06:06 AM #450
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
No Man's Land: Part 5 – Those Who Have Fallen
Across the field from the broken window was a semicircle of sandbags from which a large machine gun barrel poked up, pointing his way. Plaques explained that the foxhole beyond contains a Maxim Machineengewehr 42 machine gun that was estimated to have killed more than four hundred soldiers.
Archive shoved one of the shelves off of him. The tank cannon had blown a hole in the trench and everything near it. Archive guessed that whatever magic the Nazi sorcerer had used to reanimate the dead had also armed the weapons.
Archive held up the Elder Sign. The two skeletons manning the machinegun powdered to dust. He turned and ran down the ramp into the trench on Hammer’s side. He had to stop the tank before it fired again.
In the trench, two dead soldiers strode forth, straight towards the spot where Jim-Bean was. Now it was just a pile of dirt.
Jim-Bean’s hand burst out of the debris. Spitting dirt, he crawled up the sloped side of the trench as the soldiers walked mechanically behind him. He was a bloody mess. The protomatter that suffused his body was working overtime to keep him alive. If he survived, Jim-Bean knew he’d be hungry enough to eat a cow later.
Limping, Jim-Bean dropped to the ground and belly crawled underneath the barbed wire. Seconds later the skeletal corpses followed suit.
Archive tore through the display cases and pulled out samples of Molotov cocktails. He fired the lock off the tank’s gas tank with his Glock even as it whirred to track Jim-Bean at the machinegun nest. He stuffed the material into the tank and anywhere else he could find an opening. After whispering an incantation, they burst into flame.
Jim-Bean attempted to grab the machinegun from its mount, but it was far too heavy. He settled for kicking the belt feeder to the machinegun until it warped.
Then he belly crawled back beneath the barbed wire as the skeletons reached the machinegun. They attempted to fire it, giving Jim-Bean enough time to crawl back into the trench. Frustrated, the skeletons followed after him.
Blisters burst out all over Hammer’s arms and face, but he kept coming. He fired his Glocks, but Whitcher held up one hand, still chanting. Bullets stopped in midair in front of Whitcher and melted to the ground.
Hammer fell to his knees. His hair burst into flames.
Above them, the tank trundled forward.
Whitcher’s chanting was suddenly chocked off. The relentless heat suffusing Hammer’s being immediately stopped. He looked up.
Jim-Bean had Whitcher in an arm lock.
Hammer didn’t hesitate. He fired a single shot through Whitcher’s head. Blood and brains spattered Jim-Bean as he let go of the corpse.
“Out of the way!” shouted Archive from behind them.
Hammer caught sight of a book open on the ground near Whitcher’s feet. He grabbed it and rolled out of the way just as the flaming tank fell into the trench, crushing Whitcher’s body.