Delta Green - All Part of the Job


Hearken to the Wild - Session 2d

REAPER called REDLIGHT to let him know the situation. REDLIGHT confirmed that he’d seen the tourists leave on dog sleds. Agent REAPER had a new plan. REDLIGHT would come and sit with ROSE while the other two followed the dog sleds on the snow mobile.

As his cell leader was no longer the bait, RICHARD administered the morphine. Then he and REAPER headed off across the creek on the snowmobile. The trail was easy to follow as it winded northwest along a frozen creek and through a valley. The agents caught up to the Californians at a cabin by a small, frozen lake. They seemed to be taking a break to drink cheap beer. Once the break was over, the agents followed some more.

After a few miles, the dog sleds stopped on a frozen river. The girl, Lisa, had apparently lost her phone, and she wasn’t going anywhere without it. The two guys argued that their daylight wasn’t going to last long, and they needed to be back before it got too dark. Lisa wasn’t going to stand for that, and she stared down the one REAPER was sure was Craig.

Craig caved and agreed to help her look for the phone, but Antonio said he was cold. He was going to head back, and he’d see them if they ever got back to the hotel. He laughed, shouted a “giddyup”, and sped off in the wrong direction. Town was to the southeast, but Antonio went southwest. No one corrected him.

“Screw ‘em. Let’s hit up that cabin before it gets dark.”

RICHARD agreed that REAPER had a good plan, and so they headed back. REAPER was going to wait at the cabin and see if the wendigo would come to play. RICHARD was going to wait at the cabin and hope the werewolf would go away.

Agent RICHARD got the fire burning in the fireplace while REAPER trapped the outside with Claymores. They locked the door and windows, and they settled in for the rest of the dark day. They passed the time with stories. REAPER offered a story about a time he was stabbed, and RICHARD responded with one about when he sewed up a person who was stabbed. REAPER had been shot. RICHARD had pulled bullets out of countless people. REAPER had broken a few bones. RICHARD had just set a broken leg.

There was a scream outside, but it was echoing. They couldn’t be certain of where it had come from. RICHARD stood up, but REAPER shook his head.

“Nothing we can do now. We don’t even know if that was human. The wendigo can mimic voices as easily as it can change shapes.”

RICHARD sighed and sat down nodding his head. The scream came again, and this time it was closer. It sounded like Lisa, and she was begging for help. Out the window, RICHARD could see her. She was running toward the cabin. She tripped and fell face first. She got to her hands and knees, and she scrambled a bit before falling again. She got up and ran some more. As she got close to the cabin, there was a soft click and then a loud boom.

Two mines shredded whoever – or whatever – that was, and the silence that followed the echo was eerie. Agent RICHARD asked if that was a person or the werewolf, but REAPER didn’t know the answer to that. Neither of them wanted to check, but REAPER did anyway. There were chunks of bronzed flesh and strands of blond hair. If it had been a skin-walker, it should have returned to its real form.

The agent wasted no time mourning. He placed new mines to cover the spot left by the others, and then he got back inside the cabin. It was going to be a long night.

The agents sat in silence for what seemed like hours, but eventually the tension eased. They returned to sharing stories until nearly midnight. There was a heavy creaking up on the roof as if something heavy was moving around.

“I think we’re going to need a bigger cabin.”

RICHARD’s reference to the movie Jaws wasn’t too well received, but he couldn’t help it. He wasn’t about to admit that he was scared, or that he’d gotten in way over his head. Awkward jokes were about all he had left.

A gust of frigid air came pouring down the chimney putting out the fire, and blowing ice, smoke, and ash all over. Agent RICHARD covered his mouth with his sleeve, and lit a lamp. REAPER fired two shots from his pistol into the ceiling where he thought he heard footsteps.

There was a crash outside, and the ground shook as something landed. The snow and wind were picking up, and the agents couldn’t see anything. REAPER opened his window and tossed a grenade toward where he thought the thing had landed. There was an explosion, and then the only sounds outside were the wind and an echoing howl.

The agents made sure the door and windows were locked once more, and RICHARD relit the fire. He’d seen enough movies to know they weren’t going to see the sun again.

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Hearken to the Wild - Session 3a

Agent REDLIGHT made a quick stop by the hotel bar to order a Long Island Iced Tea for ROSE and a large mug of cheap whiskey for himself. It took ROSE only a few minutes to finish her drink, and afterward Agent REDLIGHT helped his cell leader upstairs and saw her safely into bed. He then went back downstairs to disarm the Claymores REAPER had hidden around the lobby.

He relocated them to positions around the outside of the hotel and then went to visit Samantha Wendell. She worked as a tour guide, and while this wasn’t the busy season, she was still happy to have the work. Mrs. Wendell invited the agent inside to warm up, and he was happy to accept.

Her house was larger than some of the others in town, and it was well furnished. Over the past year or so, REDLIGHT had become quite familiar with antique furniture, and while he couldn’t quite place hers, he was sure every piece was about a hundred years old or so. For all that, it was in very good condition.

The couches and chair in the living room had been well used, but they had also been well maintained. The table was one solid slice from a large tree which had been stained and encased in several layers of some sort of varnish. It had its scrapes and coffee rings, but like the rest of the furniture, it was in very good condition. The whole room stood in contrast with the disrepair of the hotel.

Mrs. Wendell lit a few sticks of incense and placed them around the house before joining REDLIGHT in the living room. The agent asked pointed questions disguised as polite conversation, and he was able to determine that Mrs. Wendell had moved to Coldfoot with her husband Walter just after they’d married, and that he had died nearly twenty years ago. She claimed to be no expert on ancient tribal religions, but she did seem to have a fair understanding. There were some sites she used as stops on her tours which had long ago been used for tribal rites.

REDLIGHT arranged to have a snowmobile tour of some of the ancient tribal religious sites the following day. They were going to have to get started around 10:00 AM if they were going to have enough daylight.

Thanking Mrs. Wendell, and taking his leave, Agent REDLIGHT stopped by the other bar in town to have a look. The bar was quite economical in its use of space. From the outside, it looked barely larger than most of the houses in town. On the inside, two full walls were lined with liquor bottles, mirrors, pitchers, and glasses of all types and sizes. The rest of the bar managed to fit two pool tables, five dart boards, and four tables in such a way that they could all be in use, but no one would be in another’s way.

The bar was not operating at capacity this evening. Other than a rather burly looking bartender, REDLIGHT counted seven men and one woman. The woman was just as big as any of the men, but she was a little less grizzled. Her name was Martha as REDLIGHT found out when he sidled up and bought her a drink.

Over the course of a few drinks, REDLIGHT steered the conversation toward the religion of the various Athabaskan tribes. Martha knew a little from stories her grandfather had told her. Most of it was more or less standard shamanism which didn’t interest the agent in the least, so he continued steering the conversation.

He asked about wind spirits, and Martha told him every child knew the stories of Ithaqua, the Wind-Walker. He was a giant and terrible creature who was always just out of sight in the blizzard. The cold, roaring wind was his voice. Her ancestors feared him as a real beast, but he had become little more than a story to scare children into staying close to home during the winter.

The agent pressed for more details about this spirit, and Martha was happy to tell him all she knew. Her ancestors would hold rites and leave offerings to the Wind-Walker before every winter in the hopes that the creature would be appeased, and the winter storms would pass them by.

Sometimes the thing would sweep through the valley and take away some of the women. They would never be seen again, but their children could be heard echoing through the coldest of the winter nights. They were called Wendigo. This last word, Martha whispered though she didn’t seem to have noticed that she did.

Whether it was the word, or the whisper, or both, REDLIGHT felt a chill. He thanked Martha for the story and headed back to the hotel. Morning would come soon, and it felt somehow colder now. The wind was whipping through the small town, and even REDLIGHT was chilled. The light snowfall didn’t help.

At some point during the night, ROSE answered her phone. She didn’t look at the time, but it was dark out. That only meant it wasn’t noon. The voice on the other end belonged to the coroner from Bozeman. She had finally completed the autopsy of the pilot. As she had guessed, it wasn’t the crash that killed him. It was the loss of his heart, and the near-instantaneous freezing of his flesh. The only other thing of interest was the content of the man’s stomach. It seemed his last meal had been human with potatoes and carrots.
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Hearken to the Wild - Session 3b

ROSE’s mind was still a little cloudy from alcohol, morphine, and sleep, but the chilling implications of the coroner’s words were not lost on her. She thanked the woman for her efforts, and promptly fell back to sleep.

When she woke, she vaguely remembered a visit from REDLIGHT; something about the wind and children, and a snowmobile tour? Her leg was broken in three places, and he expected her to go sightseeing? She managed to be dressed and having breakfast before REDLIGHT even woke up. When he did make it downstairs, he informed his cell leader that he would return with Mrs. Wendell and a two-seat snowmobile. They were going to check out some of the old religious sites.

It took nearly an hour to stop by Mrs. Wendell’s house, walk across the creek to the other airport, and return with a snowmobile. REDLIGHT took advantage of Mrs. Wendell’s offer to open up the Visitor’s Center for him. It was cold inside, but at least the wind stayed out.

The agent collected a map and a few travel brochures before peeking into the small room which the Visitor’s Center considered a museum. The displays had a few artifacts of the ancient tribal cultures, but the majority of the room was taken up by photographs. There was only one which drew REDLIGHT’s attention. It was of a forest clearing with four stones jutting from the earth. There was no way to tell the size, but the stones were all carved with glyphs that resembled the ones painted on the crashed airplane. The caption simply read “Stones Dedicated to the Great Wind-Walker”.

Once they were done at the Visitor’s Center, REDLIGHT and Mrs. Wendell met up with ROSE at the hotel, and the three rode off into the wilderness. They rode to the Porcupine Creek Airport for a starting point and followed the same creek which REAPER, RICHARD, and the Californians had followed the day before.

Agent REDLIGHT thought he saw someone hiding off in the trees, and so he called for Samantha to stop. When he pointed to where he thought he’d seen someone, there was nothing. REDLIGHT shrugged, and the group started up again. They made it no more than five miles when the agent saw the same figure off in the trees. Again, they stopped, and again there was nothing for REDLIGHT to point out.

The group headed out once more, and a few miles later, it was ROSE who saw the figure. It was most definitely the Dark Man, and she most definitely didn’t have the time to talk, so she ignored him. She ignored him when she saw him a few miles later as well.

After a while, Samantha stopped and pointed toward a dense grouping of trees. She indicated that the first site was that direction, and she led them slowly to it. There was a curious sight when they made it to the tree line. Just beyond the trees was a clearing of frozen grass. All around it, the snow was at least two feet deep, but in the roughly fifty-foot diameter clearing, there was definitely grass. There were also four stones carved with glyphs just like the ones in the museum photograph.

Mrs. Wendell gave her usual tour guide speech about how the site was once used to leave offerings to the wind spirits while REDLIGHT took pictures of the grass and the stones. ROSE simply sat on the snowmobile wishing she had stayed at the hotel.

Agent REDLIGHT asked if they should turn back so they could get to town before dark, but Mrs. Wendell assured them they could get to the next site and back before it was dark for long. Besides, they really didn’t want to miss this next site. It was in a cave.

That was all REDLIGHT needed, and so the tour was off again. They followed a frozen river north for quite a while but just as Samantha had said, they came to a wide cave. ROSE needed help getting off the snowmobile and approaching the cave. She asked how deep the cave was, and Mrs. Wendell explained that she’d never explored the entire thing, but the religious site she was going to show them wasn’t far.

ROSE leaned on REDLIGHT’s shoulder as they entered the cave. The snow and ice extended further in than they would have expected, but Mrs. Wendell assured them it was quite normal. The wind would get very strong near the mouth of the cave. That was most likely the reason the tribes associated it with a wind spirit rather than earth.

Samantha had a lantern, and REDLIGHT had his flashlight, so the interior was pretty well lit. The path they took led to the left for several yards, but for ROSE, it might as well have been miles. It opened into a large natural chamber, and the path wound down along the cavern wall for nearly two full laps. When the agents reached the bottom, it was noticeably colder than it was at the top. They could see their breath in the beam of the flashlight.


Hearken to the Wild - Session 3c

A large portion of the cavern wall appeared to be clear blue ice rather than stone, but before the agents could look closer, a bone-chilling howl echoed all through the chamber. REDLIGHT asked Mrs. Wendell to help ROSE stand, and then he moved toward the center of the room with his rifle at the ready.

There was another howl, and a freezing wind swirled down from up above. REDLIGHT was unnerved to realize that it had begun to snow in the chamber. As ROSE leaned on her shoulder, Mrs. Wendell drew a pistol and scanned the shadows of the upper cavern.

The wind picked up to a violent pace, and the snow turned to hail. Agent REDLIGHT yelled to the others that it was time to go, and as soon as he did, the lantern went dark. The only light in the cavern was now his flashlight, and with the blizzard, visibility was very little. Then they heard Samantha’s voice.

“I’ve brought them for you, Walter. Take them, my love!”

With that, a loud snarl fell from above, and something landed very near to Agent REDLIGHT with enough force to shake the rocky ground. He swung his flashlight at eye level, and he came face to waist with something pale, naked, and green. He shined the light higher, and then he wished he hadn’t.

Walter was twelve feet tall, sickly thin with sunken eyes, sharp yellow teeth, and long claws. So that was a wendigo? RICHARD’s assessment of ‘werewolf’ was way off.

“Take this one, Walter! She’s hurt.”

Mrs. Wendell kicked ROSE’s broken leg out from under her, and the agent landed face first screaming in the snow at the bottom of the cave.

The creature stalked over to the fallen agent and shot a nasty claw toward her back, but ROSE managed to roll out of the way with a whimper. The crack of REDLIGHT’s rifle echoed through the chamber, and Walter took a shot to the back. The round left a large hole which slowly began to seal up and fade away. That drew attention back to REDLIGHT. The wind picked up even more, but the snow stopped.

The Wendigo waved a bone-thin arm in REDLIGHT’s direction sending a gust of wind which forced the agent back against the far wall and nearly took him off his feet. REDLIGHT responded by dropping the rifle and drawing his automatic pistol. He fired a burst of probably twenty or so rounds. Most of them went wide, but several hit the creature to roughly the same effect as the rifle shot.

Samantha fired a shot at REDLIGHT and caught him in the side. The agent responded by emptying the rest of his clip into the tour guide. Her bullet-riddled body collapsed at ROSE’s feet, and the wendigo immediately took a knee. It drew out her heart and ate it with a single bite, and in so doing, her body was instantly frozen. The creature bent down as if to kiss his fallen wife, but it instead took a deep breath. A sort of sparkling blue mist moved from Mrs. Wendell’s mouth to that of the monster.

ROSE tried in vain to crawl up the path. It had become icy and slick with the snow and ice. In three long steps, the wendigo stood in front of the ice wall and exhaled the mist. The agents watched as the essence of Samantha Wendell drifted deep through the ice and past something very big. It looked like the wendigo they were fighting, only this one was more than twice as big, and it was covered in white fur with antlers sticking out from its head.

Agent ROSE screamed and drew her large silver knife. She held it out as if warning the creature not to come closer, and she tried again to scoot slowly up the path. When the wendigo turned toward her, she swung with everything she had, and she caught the thing in the leg. While the bullet holes had already vanished, this gash seemed to really hurt it.

The beast roared. ROSE screamed, panicked, and cried. REDLIGHT dropped his empty pistol in favor of his Taser. He pulled the trigger, and the electrified darts dug into its flesh. As luck would have it, a creature like this can apparently still be stunned.

Not wanting to waste any time, the Agent picked up his hysterical cell leader, took the knife from her and tried unsuccessfully to move up the path. They made only a little progress before the creature started to stagger toward them. REDLIGHT set ROSE down and readied the knife. One quick swing, and it dug deep into the creature’s withered belly. The agent was at once excited to have done such damage, disheartened to see that all the other wounds had already healed, and terrified at the creature’s howl of rage.


Hearken to the Wild - Session 3d

It would be nothing to leave ROSE to the beast and make his escape, and truth be told, he’d been toying with the idea of killing her in the wilderness anyway. Why then, when he had the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone did he instead try to save her? He couldn’t say.

REDLIGHT took the still screaming ROSE by the hand and started to drag her up the slope, but a quick swipe from the pale green claw ripped his side open. The soldier fell unconscious and bleeding next to his cell leader. For her part, ROSE managed to pull herself together enough to scream for help. Time seemed to slow, and a voice came from the shadows above. It was the Dark Man.

“I have come, Gia Jones. You owe me a debt.”

“Name it! Anything! Just … help!”

“You will have your help, Gia Jones, but first pay your debt to me. Give your friend over to the wendigo.”

ROSE may have only had a second or two of conflict in her soul, but to be fair, that was a second or two longer than for anyone else she’d sacrificed in the Dark Man’s name. She reached over the unconscious REDLIGHT and took back her knife before shoving him with the foot of her good leg. She whistled to get the monster’s attention.

“Hey, you, wendigo. Take him. He’s all yours.”

The wendigo took a knee, dug a claw effortlessly into REDLIGHT’s chest, and pulled out his still-beating heart. ROSE shuddered, but she had bigger problems. She turned back to the Dark Man.

“Now, please! Help!”

The Dark Man waved a hand, and a golden glyph appeared in front of him. He instructed her to draw the glyph on her chest, and then he was gone. ROSE frowned. That wasn’t quite what she was expecting. She was still in a frozen cavern in the middle of Alaska in January with a shattered leg, a dead partner, and an un-killable, twelve-foot-tall cannibal monster.

She cursed the Dark Man under her breath as she dipped her fingers in REDLIGHT’s open ribcage. She began to draw the glyph on her chest as the creature devoured her partner’s heart, and his body froze.

The wendigo inhaled the bluish mist that was presumably all which was left of Captain Cramer Gump; aka Agent REDLIGHT. It turned to exhale the mist toward the ice tunnel, and ROSE watched as it drifted past the larger creature and into a sunlit but frozen field toward what looked to be a black tower on a cliff overlooking an ocean.

Sunlit field, tower, and ocean? She had definitely gone crazy, but the wendigo seemed distracted at the moment. That, and she was apparently floating about an inch off the ground as wind flowed beneath her. Whatever. It was time to go.

She crawled on the wind just as fast as she possibly could. She had no idea how thankful she could be to crawl out of a cave and into a frigid snowstorm. The wind carried her as far as the snowmobiles, and she managed to start one up. The roar of the engine was drowned out by a howl from the cave, and so she wasted no time. She rode that snowmobile like she drove stolen cars – fast.

She wasn’t sure she was headed toward town, but she knew she was headed away from the cave and the wendigo. That meant she was headed in the right direction. The thing’s howl echoed behind her all the way, but she never looked back.

Upon reaching town, Agent ROSE wasted no time recovering anything from her hotel room. She simply rode up next to REAPER’s truck, pulled herself inside, and did what she’d promised never to do again. She hotwired his truck and left town in a hurry.

She stopped briefly after an hour or so to destroy the bronze knife and bowl. She was done with the Dark Man.

She didn’t feel safe until she limped into the police station in Fairbanks and gave her report of the murderer on the loose in Coldfoot, how her partner had been killed in a cave, and how her other two partners were missing. The officer taking her report forwarded it to the State Troopers to handle, and then he called for an ambulance to carry ROSE to the closest hospital.

While she spent her time in yet another hospital bed, she reflected on the Opera. Sure, there were probably some wrong moves. There was a thing or two she might have done differently. It’s too bad REDLIGHT had to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her life, and she wondered if REAPER and RICHARD would ever stumble out of the wilderness to find the truck was missing. She also wondered just how she was going to spin the story for A-cell.


Hearken to the Wild - Session 4

As RICHARD warmed his hands by the fire, REAPER monitored the windows. The snow was falling sideways in big, heavy flakes as the winds and the wendigo howled. RICHARD jumped as the first chunks of hail began to hit the windows. Each agent resumed his earlier place, each guarding a window, and each eyeing the door and fireplace. All entrances were covered unless the thing decided to dig through the roof.

One muffled explosion after another indicated REAPER’s traps were being tripped. It may have been fear or paranoia, but the agents felt sure the mines were being set off in a deliberate and intelligent manner. They lost count, but if RICHARD was correct, all the mines detonated. If REAPER was right, there should still be two others.

With the last muffled explosion, an eerie silence descended on the cabin again. The only sounds were from hail stones on the windows and the creaking of the roof from the weight of the snow … or was it a skin-walker? REAPER fired two more shots into the ceiling, but the creaking continued.

RICHARD thought he saw something outside REAPER’s window, and he let out an unmanly squeak. REAPER turned to look, and as both men watched out his window, a long, thin, greenish arm crashed through RICHARD’s window.

The doctor felt a sharp pain as the claw dug into his back, and he was hauled halfway out the window and up toward the roof. Agent REAPER could see RICHARD’s legs twitch awkwardly as they dangled. He emptied the rest of his clip into the ceiling to no visible effect. The twitching of Agent RICHARD’s legs stopped suddenly as his body was instantly frozen. REAPER reloaded with a fresh clip as the giant silhouette landed in the snow with a soft crunch.

REAPER estimated the thing had to be at least twelve feet tall. It stooped to poke its gaunt, greenish head into the window. The howl of the wendigo filled the cabin with a horrible stench. Agent REAPER screamed as he fired every last shot from his fresh clip. The first two rounds hit the creature squarely in the shoulder. The rest hit Agent RICHARD’s flash-frozen body as the thing lifted him as a shield.

With every bullet, a chunk of RICHARD’s body would chip away, and then like a banana frozen in liquid nitrogen when hit with a hammer, the doctor’s corpse shattered. The wendigo leaned in through the window once more with a howl that made REAPER’s blood chill. It then leaped onto the roof, and everything went silent with the exception of the ice on the one remaining window.

REAPER huddled next to the fire as he reloaded and waited for the thing to come for him, but it never did. Throughout the remainder of the night and the next morning, the cabin was buried under snow. By the time the Delta Force Operative felt it was safe to leave, he had no choice but to dig his way out. When he could once again see the sky, it was dark; he had missed what little daylight there was to be.

No matter. He pulled his coat tightly around himself and stumbled off in the general direction of the town. The howls of the wendigo echoed in the distance as he spotted Porcupine Creek Airport, and beyond that, Samantha Wendell’s house. He was cold, wet, and exhausted by the time the hotel came into view, and that’s when he saw it … or rather, he didn’t see it.

His truck was gone. His truck was gone, and he had a damned good guess as to where it had gone to. So much for ‘I swear I’ll never steal your truck again without telling you’. He stomped through the front door of the hotel muttering about the things he would do once he got a hold of ROSE.

He was so preoccupied that he didn’t even notice that for the first time since he’d arrived, there was someone manning the front desk. The desk clerk had to call him three times to get his attention, and once he had it, he relayed his message: ‘You’re probably long gone by now, but if somehow you get this, I want you to know I’m sorry about the truck. I needed it, and you were probably dead. Won’t happen again, I swear. – ROSE’


Fuel of the Gods - Introduction

Agent REAPER - Master Sergeant Jack Jack, Delta Force Operator
Agent REDOX - Doctor Dexter Michael Pepper, EPA Environmental Scientist
Agent ROSE – Gia Jones, FinCEN Investigator, Leader of R-Cell – Computer crimes specialist (formerly Agent SAM)

Former Agents
Agent RAPSCALLION (deceased) – Tatom Merzos – U.S. Marshall’s office, Special Operations
Agent RAPUNZEL (deceased) – Yuki Anderson, FBI Forensic Pathologist
Agent RASPUTIN (retired) – Gregori Ruspokov, CDC Researcher
Agent REDLIGHT (deceased) – Captain Cramer Gump, INSCOM “Black” Ops (formerly Agent SID)
Agent RICHARD (deceased) – Major James McGinnis, AMEDD General Surgeon
Agent ROBIN (deceased) – Chika Takahashi, EPA Biologist and Environmental Scientist
Agent RUBY (retired) – Amelia Larce, DoE Nuclear Emergency Support Team
Agent SÁBADO (deceased) – Marcus Hernandez, IRS Investigator – Computer crimes specialist
Agent SERGE (missing) – Ferdinand Bazinet, Federal Research Division, French-language occult documents specialist
Agent SETH (reassigned) – Ian Trotter, INSCOM Special Agent – Army Intelligence criminal psychologist
Agent SLEEPLESS (deceased) – Reginald Longbottom, NSA Cult Infiltration Specialist

Agent REDLIGHT's new character, Agent REDOX, is an Environmental Scientist, so I decided to set aside what I had planned and work the environmental angle for this one. As it took quite a while for Agent ROSE's leg to heal, this Opera begins in late May, 2012.


Fuel of the Gods - Session 1a

R-cell may be cursed. It’s certainly seen its share of death, and Agent ROSE had led several agents in that direction herself. Despite the agent turnover, R-cell still received a steady supply of fresh recruits. Doctor Dexter Michael Pepper was the freshest of the recruits for the time being. He was an environmental scientist working for the EPA, and he had selected the name REDOX.

One of the first mnemonics Dr. Pepper had learned in his chemistry studies was ‘OIL RIG’ – Oxidation Is Loss of electrons, Reduction Is Gain of electrons. It’s only fitting then that his first Delta Green Operation was precipitated by events on an oil rig in the south Pacific.

Agent ROSE’s leg was healing very quickly, and by mid-April, she could walk on it without aid. She still had a pronounced limp for a month, but all in all, her doctor was very impressed with her recovery. By the time her Delta Green phone rang again in late May, she was back to her old self unless it was about to storm. Then her leg would start to get sore; nothing that would prevent her from having a normal life, but it certainly wasn’t comfortable. Luckily for her, it didn’t storm much around her home in New Mexico.

ROSE answered the phone hesitantly, but her voice was cheerful. The man on the other end was well-spoken and quiet. He introduced himself as ALPHONSE, and he inquired politely about her health – both physical and mental. She assured him that she was just fine, and whether he believed her or just heard what he wanted to, he accepted her word.

ALPHONSE invited her to ‘A Night at the Opera’, but before accepting, she wanted to know what was going to be asked of her. Deep down, she didn’t expect to be told before she accepted the invitation; mission security, deniability, and all that. Once she accepted on behalf of her cell, the man continued.

“Please note, ROSE, the following information is per an anonymous but credible whistleblower within FOST Petroleum. FOST has been experimenting with extremely deep undersea drilling in the south Pacific. They found a small pocket of crude oil at a far greater depth than anyone had thought possible, composed of organic material believed to be over 775 million years old. The oil was pumped to the surface and tested; it was found to be of exceptionally high quality, much more combustible than ordinary oil, and also highly efficient and long-lasting. Its nauseating odor, unusual greenish coloration, and peculiar effervescent-fumescent qualities were also noted but not explained.”

“Health records from the oil rig indicate an abnormally high incidence of illness and psychological stress on the platform where it was drilled and processed.”

“Executives at FOST had a small shipment of the oil brought to the mainland for further processing and tests. It was refined into three prototype gasolines code-named ‘orange’ (the weakest), ‘purple’ (middle), and ‘green’ (the strongest). Four-gallon samples of these three fuels were then brought to the U.S. by three specialist employees living in different climates for informal testing in the everyday use of their own cars. After the first week, all contact with these testers ceased.”

“Testers of the ‘purple’ and ‘green’ fuels have not been heard from at all. The tester of the ‘orange’ fuel left the following message for his supervisor:”

There was a click on the other end, and ROSE could hear a recorded message play after a beep.

“Hello … this is Peter … (stutters) … Peter Froson … Listen, I’m just calling to say don’t market the gas, alright? Tell them that’s … that’s my recommendation, alright? (faintly) It’s worse than we thought … (fainter still) I really wonder if you can understand what it’s like … (fainter) under the ocean … (a bit clearer) I’m always driving now … (loud and clear) So don’t sell any gas, huh? I have to get away from here … There’s something going on, and I need to go … okay? So I’m going to get away from the cars, I think … can … maybe I can … So I guess I’ll see you … Okay … I told you don’t sell it, right? Okay … okay … bye.”

There was another click on the other end, and ALPHONSE continued.

“Collect your package at the usual drop. Your instructions are to ascertain what has happened to the three missing FOST test drivers, obtain samples of all three test fuels, and subject them to full analysis. If analysis determines the fuels are safe, no further action is necessary; if not, destroy all traces. Report back to A-cell for further instructions.”

“The ‘orange’ fuel tester is Peter Froson, 36, from Katonah, New York. His wife is Peggy Froson, 30. He drives a 2006 Ford Taurus. The ‘purple’ fuel tester is William Stark, 44, from Glendale, Colorado. He is unmarried, but he is known to have brought in a friend, mechanic Brian Stewart for detailed reporting on the effects of the fuel on the engine of his custom 1975 Buick Skyhawk. ‘Green’ is being tested by Jan Bronski, 24, from Willoughby, California. She has no immediate family. Bronski drives a 1976 Chrysler station wagon. Have you got all that?”

Agent ROSE indicated that she understood, and ALPHONSE hung up. ROSE called REAPER and REDOX, and asked them to meet her at the Denny’s in Katonah, New York the next morning. REAPER told her he’d be there when he got there, but REDOX was happy to get on with his first call to action. RICHARD’s phone rang three times before ROSE remembered she no longer had to call him.

ROSE grabbed the bag she kept always packed and ready, and she headed to the ‘usual drop’, her local FedEx store where she collected the package that had been left. Inside, she found only FBI credentials for herself and her other two cell members.

The next morning, ROSE and REDOX met at the designated spot, and ROSE wasn’t particularly surprised when REAPER didn’t show. He was probably still pissy about his truck. Well, he’d better man up and get over it. She was sure he would, in time.

Agent ROSE slid a badge to REDOX and filled him in on the mission briefing. He was a little surprised to hear that crude oil had been found at such depths, and he was quite interested in checking out the gasolines.

The first course of action, according to Agent ROSE, was to pay a visit to Peggy Froson and ask about her husband. REDOX was still new to Delta Green work, and so he opted to follow her lead.


Fuel of the Gods - Session 1b

The drive was a short one, and the agents arrived at the Froson residence just before noon. The house was a small, two-story building with a one car garage and a yard bordered by a white fence. The yard was littered with children’s toys, and it was patrolled by a small, furry dog who pretended to be ferocious.

ROSE knocked on the door, and it was answered by a girl of about ten years of age. The girl canted her head with an inquisitive look, and so ROSE introduced herself as Agent ROSE from the FBI. She flashed her badge and gestured at REDOX indicating that he was her partner.

“Is your mommy home, sweety?”

The girl nodded and closed the door. A moment later, it reopened, and Peggy Froson invited them in. She was obviously very distraught, and she was hoping for news about her husband. ROSE told her that’s what they were looking into. The agents asked pretty standard questions about Mr. Froson’s work, his health, his mental state, and the state of their marriage.

Mrs. Froson told them that Peter was the perfect family man. He loved their two daughters and their son very much, and though he travelled for work – he set up computer systems for FOST – the family spent almost every minute together when he was home.

He returned home a few weeks ago, and he seemed anxious the last few days that he was home. He kept looking out at the driveway where his car was parked, would go off in his car for no reason – sometimes in the middle of the night, and talked to her more than once about moving - usually to the city. Then, one night about a week and a half ago, he left and never came back. She also mentioned that he emptied out his private bank account sometime during that night, taking about six thousand dollars with him. Their joint account was untouched.

ROSE asked if they could speak with Sally, the girl who had answered the door, and Mrs. Froson called her. Sally told the agents she was awakened by the front door slamming the night her father fled. She went to the window and saw her father get into his car and drive away. She also noticed that he approached the car strangely, walking up to it and then jerking away, then moving closer, then farther, and finally jumping in as if he were afraid of the car.

The agents thanked the girl, and then REDOX turned his attention back to the girl’s mother. He asked to see the garage, and Mrs. Froson was happy to show him. The walls were lined with tools, and a table was covered in spare computer hardware, but the center of the garage was empty. REDOX could smell something foul and acidic, and so he followed his nose to a dark corner of the garage where he found a yellow plastic gasoline can.

He opened the cap and was immediately assaulted by the smell of gasoline, but there was more to it; the overall effect was maybe fifty times worse than the worst thing he’d ever smelled, and he was an environmental scientist. He asked Mrs. Froson to open the garage door to ventilate the room, and she did so.

Returning to the can and covering his mouth and nose, REDOX looked inside. The can was empty except for a few drops of a pinkish-grey fluid and a filmy sheen. What little liquid was left seemed to fizz and reminded him of Pop Rocks. He quickly replaced the cap and asked to be allowed to take the can. Mrs. Froson was only too happy to be rid of it.

While her partner was checking the garage, ROSE asked Sally to show her Mr. Froson’s home office. She ran a quick search of the computer but found nothing out of the ordinary, and so she met REDOX back in the living room. The agents thanked the family for their time and promised to do all they could to bring Peter home.

REDOX was quite interested to get to work on the sample of the fuel code-named ‘orange’, and so they headed to the FBI lab in New York City. With a full lab at his disposal, he ran every test he could think of with intriguing and somewhat disturbing results.

He was able to determine that the gasoline did indeed burn hotter and much longer than he would have thought possible. Its spectroscopy looked like nothing he’d ever seen, reflecting an organic chemical formulation of incredible complexity involving some amazingly heavy, intricate molecules that were possibly unique to that fuel. Under the microscope, the pinkish-grey substance fizzed with bubbles that were more green than clear.

He also determined that the material had characteristics of both animal and vegetable organics, and what really shocked him, it appeared to retain some kind of inherent metabolic process even in that state. It was almost as if this fuel was some sort of living thing, though one would have to radically stretch the definition of “life”.

While REDOX was “science-ing”, as he put it, Agent ROSE made a few phone calls. First, she had an All-Points Bulletin put out for the three vehicles in their respective regions. Then she called Ms. Bronski’s supervisor in California who was less than cooperative even in the face of the threat of obstruction charges. He made it perfectly clear that if the FBI wanted a single word out of him, they were welcome to produce a warrant.

The mechanic in Colorado, Brian Stewart, didn’t answer his phone, but ROSE left a message for him to call at his earliest convenience. Okay, so the phone route wasn’t working as hoped, but REDOX had a way for ROSE to make herself useful.

She could find a pet store, and bring him two rats with cages and water bottles. He was moving on to the animal testing phase. ROSE wasn’t too happy about it, but it gave her an excuse to get out of the lab for a bit. Besides, she could look at the puppies, kittens, rabbits, ferrets, and whatever else the store had before she grabbed a couple rodents for the scientist.

An hour or so later, she returned to the FBI lab with two small rats, each in its own cage. She introduced one as Joey, and the other as Rachel.

“Yeah, yeah. Give me Joey’s water. I’m gonna feed him this stuff and see what happens.”

“That’s horrible! What about Rachel?”

“She can watch.”


Fuel of the Gods - Session 2a

There was hardly more than a trace residue of the fuel left, and REDOX mixed it with a full bottle of water for the rat named Joey. The rat inched close to the water bottle with a wiggling nose. His tongue darted out a few times pushing the stopper into the tube, and releasing a small amount of water. It didn’t take long for even such a diluted amount of the fuel to have a visible effect. Joey the rat began to twitch and then spasm with pitiful squeaks.

After a minute or so, he was still. A short while after that, Joey crawled back toward the bottle. His hind legs weren’t working too well, and he seemed alternately to lunge toward the bottle, and then away from it as if trying desperately to fight an addiction. Eventually, Joey’s desire for the water won out, and he had another drink with similar results. After this second drink, Joey’s hind legs completely failed him, but once the spasms finally eased, he dragged himself forward once more. The third taste was the last for Joey the rat. He died amidst terrible convulsions and eerie, almost hollow squeaks.

Agent REDOX nodded to himself. It was pretty much what he guessed would happen. The rat exhibited behavior similar to that of Peter Froson as described by his wife and daughter. There was no doubt this substance was bad, but REDOX wanted more. There were other tests he’d like to run, but the day was over. ROSE had already procured dinner and two hotel rooms, and she was the one with the car. The agents called it a night.

They were up early, and they headed in different directions for breakfast. REDOX was happy to check out the continental breakfast in the hotel lobby, but ROSE needed a grade of coffee far greater than anything a hotel was likely to have. She headed down the street a few blocks to a local coffee shop and ordered the strongest thing they had. Then she asked for three extra shots of espresso.

While she waited on her drink, her phone rang; good news, not-so-good news, and bad news. The good news was that Peter Froson’s car had been found in a parking garage right there in New York City. The not-so-good news was that there was still no sign of Jan Bronski or her car. And the bad news was that her APB request for William Stark’s Buick Skyhawk was apparently redundant. There was already an APB out for it in connection with two fatal hit-and-run incidents.

She gave Agent REAPER a call and told him there had been a change of plans. She and REDOX could handle ‘orange’ in New York, and ‘purple’ in Colorado had been spotted recently, so that would be there next stop. She hoped to get to it before anyone else was run down. She sent REAPER to California to establish a base of operations, canvas the area, and try to lay eyes on Jan Bronski.

Coffee in hand, she returned to the hotel to grab REDOX. If Peter Froson’s vehicle had been found, the parking garage was their next stop.

The agents had no trouble locating the car once they made it to the garage. There were no cars parked within fifty feet, and despite the open air design of the structure, they could smell the same stench from the Froson’s garage. REDOX called for a tow truck to collect the car and take it to the FBI lab. Just as he hung up, ROSE shattered the driver’s side window and unlocked the door.

REDOX began to protest, but his voice was drowned out by the car radio which had just come to life. It was static and white noise with a high-pitched whining behind it. ROSE turned the radio power off, but it was no use. The radio continued to crackle and whine. Agent REDOX lifted the hood of the car to disconnect the battery, but he was unfamiliar with the Taurus engine.

Thankfully, the tow truck arrived before the ringing in their ears became permanent. The driver was able to easily find the proper wires to pull, but still the radio whined. The agents gave up. The driver knew where to take the car. Agent REDOX closed the hood and the door, and as the agents headed back to their own vehicle, the radio went silent.

On the way back to the lab, ROSE called a local delivery service and asked them to bring her a plastic gas can, a rubber hose, and a small wet/dry vacuum. She gave her credit card information, and the items were delivered about twenty minutes after they made it back to the lab.

While REDOX syphoned what tiny bit of fuel remained in the car, ROSE decided to check with the local police. There were traffic cameras all over. Maybe one of them caught Peter Froson parking his car. If so, she may be able to see where he’d gone.

The fuel in the tank was barely enough to wet the entire bottom of the gas can, but it was plenty for REDOX. He took it inside the lab and gave Rachel the rat a wink and a thumbs up. He found a clear glass jar and poured the foul-smelling liquid inside. He then dropped Rachel in for a swim and promptly tightened the lid.

Rachel the rat’s fate was far worse than Joey’s, and she seemed to sense it. After a few spasms of agony, the little rat stopped, lifted her tiny front paws to her face, and ripped and shredded until there was nothing left. She then collapsed in the fuel and died.

Yeah … No doubt about it now. Anything that can make a rat tear its own face off has got to be bad. Tossing Rachel in the hazardous waste bin along with Joey, Agent REDOX went back out to have another look at the car.

Agent ROSE probably didn’t really need to flash her badge to get the officers on duty to cooperate, but she did anyway. They gave her access to the tapes of the parking garage and nearby streets going back about two weeks. She watched in fast forward, but it only took about ten minutes or so before she found what she was looking for.

Peter Froson parked his car in the structure and seemed to be talking to himself. He opened the door and started to get out, but then he closed it again. He placed his hands over his ears and seemed to shout. Then he opened the door and dove out, rolling on the cement. After he stood, he inched closer to the car and looked as if he was about to get back in, but he kicked the door closed instead before running off. Another camera caught him running to an apartment complex across the street.


Fuel of the Gods - Session 2b

REDOX slid under the car to have a look, and after he’d been under for a few minutes, he heard four distinct hissing sounds coming from different directions. The agent instinctively slid himself out from under the car as quickly as he could, and he watched it settle on four flat tires to a ground clearance which would surely have crushed him.

He cursed at the car and gave ROSE a call. Each agent informed the other of recent discoveries, and it was decided that the next course of action would be to search the apartment complex for the missing test driver. ROSE headed back to the lab to get REDOX, and the two agents then went in search of Peter Froson. REDOX felt this job called for a shotgun and buckshot.

The apartment complex manager was happy to answer all questions once he saw badges. ROSE asked if there had been any apartments rented in the past two weeks, and the manager said there was only one. A man by the name of Ronald Coleman had paid cash three months in advance for a small apartment. The agents checked Mr. “Coleman’s” apartment, but the doors were locked, and no one answered. They went back to the office and asked the manager to unlock the door for them which he did before leaving them to their work. He didn’t want to know what happened next.

The manager was probably right to desire ignorance in this case because what happened next consisted of Agent REDOX kicking in the recently unlocked door, spotting Peter Froson, and shoving a shotgun in his face while shouting at him to surrender.

Mr. Froson screamed and stumbled backward, nearly tripping over every piece of furniture in the room. He looked like he hadn’t bathed in weeks, and he may not have eaten or slept in that long either. REDOX placed him in handcuffs as a precaution. After what he’d seen Joey and Rachel do, he wasn’t taking chances.

ROSE noticed the man had two earplugs in each ear, and that was likely the reason he didn’t hear the knocking. She told REDOX to point the gun somewhere else and back up. Then she smiled warmly and reached slowly for the earplugs in as non-threatening a manner as she could.

Froson bit her hand, and she pulled back. That was all REDOX had been waiting for. The man was obviously not in his right mind, and he was dangerous to himself and everyone else. He hit Froson with the butt of the shotgun and began to drag the subdued man toward the door.

“Hey! What the hell is going on here?!”

There were a few spectators in the doorway, and one of them appeared to be filming with his phone. The agents showed their badges, and the camera man wasn’t impressed.

“Figures. What are your names?”

Agent ROSE gave her name as Rose; her standard response. REDOX smiled sarcastically and gave his name as Christine.

“Yeah, sure. It don’t matter, buddy. Somebody knows you, and I’m going to make sure people know how you feds treat people!”

“Oh, no you don’t. It’s a federal offense to film an FBI agent, now hand over the phone.”

ROSE wasn’t sure if that was true, but her delivery was strong and believable. The spectators turned and ran, but the camera man never did hand over the camera. The agents grumbled as REDOX dragged Froson outside. The man fought all the way to the car, but just before reaching it, he turned all his force toward the car instead of away. That, coupled with all the force REDOX had put into pulling him sent the man hurtling head first into the door of ROSE’s rental car leaving a wide dent in the car and a deep gash in the man’s head.

This certainly wasn’t how they’d imagined bringing Peter Froson home, but it worked. REDOX called for an ambulance, and in no time, they were on their way to the hospital. For once, it wasn’t an agent of R-cell in need of medical attention.

Standard procedure for the hospital was to notify local authorities and immediate family when a patient came in the way Peter Froson did. That saved ROSE from having to make a phone call at least. REDOX used the time between their arrival at the hospital and when Peggy Froson showed up to try to get Peter to talk, but it wasn’t happening. The man just stared up at the ceiling or off into space with a frightened expression on his face.

When Mrs. Froson arrived, she asked to speak with her husband in private. The agents agreed and left the room. REDOX listened at the door while ROSE went in search of dinner. The only sounds coming from the room were from Mrs. Froson. She was talking to her husband and crying at the same time. She finally left him alone and stepped back into the hall at about the same time ROSE returned with burgers and fries from a Chili’s she found a couple blocks away.

Mrs. Froson was happy to have her husband back, but his lack of meaningful response, and the fear in his eyes worried her immensely. She felt the car was the root of all her husband’s problems, so when ROSE offered to buy it and take it away, she was only too happy to make a deal. She never wanted to see it again. Mrs. Froson thanked the agents for all they did in finding her husband and returning him, and then she went back to the room to wait by his bedside.

REDOX had the car towed outside the city to the nearest vacant lot where he torched it. As the car burned, the radio came to life again, and the tuner moved frantically from one end of the dial to the other, and all the while, the high-pitched whine could be heard mingling with the crackle of the flames. With their work done, the agents returned to the hotel for some sleep. Morning would come early, and with it, they would be off to find ‘purple’ near Denver.


Fuel of the Gods - Session 3a

The agents woke early, and REDOX hit the continental breakfast. ROSE showered and then stopped by a local coffee shop for strong coffee. Just the first sip helped open her eyes a little more. She checked her email and found one from A-cell.

There was a Delta Green Friendly in the Denver area who was being inducted and given full agent status. FBI Forensic Scientist Ravinder Shankar was born in Mumbai, India. He studied archaeology at the University of Mumbai before moving to the United States. He selected the code name RAJEEV, and R-cell was instructed to meet with him upon arrival in Glendale.

There was also a brief report from Agent REAPER. He said only that he was in California, and he’d found a motel. He had not yet started his search for Jan Bronski, her station wagon, or the ‘green’ fuel.

Having done all they were asked to do in New York, Agents ROSE and REDOX took an uneventful flight to Denver, rented a car, and met up with their new member for lunch at what was little more than a taco stand with walls.

ROSE ordered the ‘Oh, Dios Mio’; billed as the largest burrito in America, and it sure lived up to its name. Some places were proud of the fact that they made ‘burritos as big as your head’, but not this place. The ‘Oh, Dios Mio’ was as big as her arm, and it took two taco stand employees to carry it out. She didn’t come close to finishing it, but she was given a carryout bag the size of the bag she’d carried on the plane.

Introductions were made, and while they ate, ROSE briefed RAJEEV on the current assignment, and what had gone down in New York. Peter Froson was found and returned (almost) safely to his family, and they had successfully dealt with the ‘orange’ fuel. The next step was to locate William Stark and the ‘purple’ fuel.

Agent RAJEEV had brought his laptop, and so he had remote access to the National Crime Information Center database. At ROSE’s request, he ran a check on Brian Stewart, the mechanic who reportedly logged detailed reports on Stark’s custom Buick Skyhawk.

Mr. Stewart was as clean as could be. The only useful information the agent could get was in the form of addresses and phone numbers. He was self-employed.

ROSE laid out the plan. She and REDOX were going to stop by the local police station for more information on the APB which had been placed on Mr. Stark’s vehicle, and RAJEEV would contact Brian Stewart for a phone interview and to set up a meeting if possible.

ROSE slid what remained of her enormous burrito into the carryout suitcase, and followed REDOX to the car. The police station wasn’t too far from the taco stand, and the desk clerk was happy to assist the FBI with their investigation. He didn’t even question their involvement despite the fact the crimes of which Mr. Stark was suspected were under local jurisdiction. An area called Green Ridge, a campground and park about two hours northwest of Glendale was the location of the last known sighting.

Agent RAJEEV called the work number for Brian Stewart; the line for his business, BS Automotive. Mr. Stewart was happy to cooperate with the FBI, but he was a little busy just at the moment. RAJEEV asked if he’d be willing to meet after he closed up for the night, and he said that would be just fine. After hanging up, he called ROSE.

“He’s working, but he can meet up with us after he closes.”

“Great. Good work, rookie. Okay, so … Green Ridge.”

“What about it?”

“Do you know it?”

“Yeah. It’s a campground by the lake. Why?”

“That’s where our guy was last spotted. I need you to check it out.”

“Uhhh … okay. That’s, like, a two hour drive though.”

“You can do it. I trust you. Tell you what: When we get to California, REAPER’s going to do all the leg work.”

It says something about our human condition that our misery and suffering become actually quite bearable when we see that at least one other person suffers more than we do. He’d never even so much as met Agent REAPER, but RAJEEV felt his protest melt away at the prospect of the other agent’s having to do the grunt work in the California heat. He set out for Green Ridge, and ROSE and REDOX went sightseeing while they waited for their meeting.

The two hour drive to the campground turned out to be every bit as uneventful as the two hours he spent scouting the area. There were plenty of campers, but there were no Buicks of any sort. It was a beautiful day for camping, but there was no time. There was work to do, and RAJEEV felt he could just make the meeting if he scrapped the search.

The meeting was set for 7:00 at a little diner in Glendale. All three agents managed to make it on time. RAJEEV had enough time to make his report on the campground before Mr. Stewart arrived. Agent ROSE made the introductions, and then they got right down to business.

Mr. Stewart confirmed that every morning for a week, he’d check every inch of the car, take down its numbers, and run all the diagnostics. He said that William Stark was possibly a little high-strung, but he was a good guy. He was a geologist for FOST, and he did a lot of travelling. It was a few weeks ago that he’d come back to town with that experimental fuel his company was testing.

It was only four gallons, but damned if that car didn’t run for a whole week on it. One morning while doing his inspection, he noted that the odometer had gained almost 2,000 miles since the previous morning. The only way that could happen was if William had averaged over 80 miles per hour for 24 hours straight. That inspection was the last time he’d seen the car, but he’d heard on the news that it was still out there.

That last inspection yielded other disturbing details. Some of the parts of the car looked like they’d melted, but if they actually had, the car couldn’t run. Other parts looked like they had grown or expanded. The man seemed genuinely amazed and intrigued by these facts.

There was also a tiny spot about the size of a dime where the gas had dripped on the cement floor. That one little spot was causing some big problems. He’d tried everything to get it up, but nothing worked all the way. Now he had to leave the garage door and all the windows open, or the smell was too strong to even stand in the room, much less work. He’d rented a jackhammer, and he was planning to cut the spot out if he couldn’t get it up some other way soon.


Fuel of the Gods - Session 3b

ROSE asked if he’d ever turned on the radio, and Mr. Stewart immediately sat up stiffly and was visibly nervous.

“Well, that’s kind of a funny question. See, this one time, William was off somewhere – the bathroom, I think. I was checkin’ the gauges, so I turned on the radio to keep me company, only I couldn’t get any stations; just this sort of high-pitched whine behind static. And … you’re gonna think I’m crazy, but I could have sworn I heard these horrible little voices. I couldn’t make out what they were saying at first, but they were repeating the same thing over and over. One thing I could make out was ‘Green Ridge’, but I never did catch the rest.”

The mechanic paused for a bit and drank down his whole glass of water before continuing.

“See, that’s when William came tearing in from the bathroom, or wherever. He had this look in his eyes, you know? It was this homicidal look. I never seen him like that, so it scared me a bit. I mean, I’m a lot bigger than he is, but one thing my dad taught me was you don’t mess with crazy. And that’s the only way I know to describe it: crazy. He said to me ‘Don’t you ever turn that radio on! You understand? Turn it on again, and I’ll kill you!’ Well, naturally I decided I’d never turn it on again. I didn’t want to hear those voices again anyway, but it’s not like I’d get another chance if I did want to. I haven’t seen him since.”

When Agent REDOX asked if there was any of the fuel left, Mr. Stewart shook his head.

“Not unless you want to dig up the floor of my shop and take that stain with you.”

The agents thanked him for his time, and REDOX said they’d be by his garage in the morning to see what they could do about removing the fuel spot. Also, they’d appreciate it if he could give them Mr. Stark’s address. The man was happy to do so, and then they all took their leave.

The next morning, REDOX and ROSE stopped by BS Automotive, and Mr. Stewart let them in. The garage door had been open all night, but the place still smelled awful. REDOX collected the tiniest sample of the fuel on a cotton swab, and he backed up with a wide grin when ROSE dragged in a jackhammer. He didn’t bother to help her, and he could only take the first ten minutes or so of watching his cell leader unskillfully trash the cement floor. He headed to the FBI lab in Denver to run some tests on the fuel residue. ROSE said she’d bring the concrete when she could.

The sample of the ‘purple’ fuel yielded similar results to those of the ‘orange’, only they were stronger, or more concentrated where possible. He placed an almost microscopic amount in a water bottle in anticipation of the inevitable rodent testing. The water in the bottle almost immediately turned a cloudy greenish-grey. Some lucky rat was going to be famous. Or rather, as the nature of Delta Green work would have it, some unlucky rat was never going to be heard from again.

An hour or so later, ROSE arrived with an oddly shaped chunk of cement which contained the fuel stain, and two rats in cages which she introduced as Chandler and Monica. ROSE dropped the cement into a tub of water, and it too took on the same cloudy quality as the water bottle. Agent REDOX attached the water bottle to Chandler’s cage and sat back to watch the results.

The poor, doomed rat’s tongue darted out and brought back a tiny drop of the tainted water. Almost instantly, it began convulsing with horrible squeaks. Its tail thrashed as it reached two shaky little paws to its chest, dug the little nails in deep, and ripped its ribcage open. Its dissolving insides oozed out in a foamy mess. Well, that was … disgusting. Time for the immersion test.

Before REDOX could grab the rat known as Monica and toss it into the tub, ROSE had filled a syringe with the liquid and injected it directly into poor little Monica the rat. Both agents watched it surprise, disgust, and some degree of fascination as Monica’s flesh began to bubble all over. The rat tried to squeak, but it could only manage to open and close its mouth, flopping like a drowning fish. In a disgusting chain reaction, the bubbles began to burst like over-filled balloons.

REDOX had wisely moved back when the bubbling began, but ROSE had instead taken out her phone and was taking pictures. She had to duck quickly to avoid being covered with hazardous viscera. Chandler and Monica had each suffered worse fates than Joey and Rachel had in New York.

There was one last thing on the agenda before the full scale manhunt for the Buick Skyhawk. ROSE and REDOX wanted to search Mr. Stark’s house. They found it being watched by a single police car. REDOX knocked on the window, and the officer rolled it down. He showed his FBI credentials and let the officers know he and his partner were going to be searching the house.

REDOX tried the front door, but it was locked. He tried a few windows, but they were locked. Through one window, he saw ROSE looking around the living room. She had tried the back door, and it was open. She let REDOX in, and they looked around.

The garage was clean and smelled fine. There was no sign of the ‘purple’ fuel. Everything seemed normal except for one small detail: every scrap of paper in the house was covered with doodles of cars. Every page of every book, every side of every cardboard box, every square of the calendar … all cars; all cars, and maybe a few trucks. But cars everywhere. ROSE thought the man had obviously gone crazy. In fact, seeing all the cars everywhere almost made her want to scream.

This just made REDOX smile to himself and think “I like this guy.”


Fuel of the Gods - Session 4a

There didn’t appear to be much of interest other than the doodles, so Agent REDOX pocketed a notebook, and the agents left. On their way past the police cruiser, REDOX knocked on the window and showed the notebook. He let the officers know he was taking it, and they only smiled and sort of saluted with half-eaten donuts. REDOX got the impression that a mid-spring, early morning stakeout wasn’t the assignment they’d hoped to draw.

After a quick stop so ROSE could load up on caffeinated beverages, they were off on the two hour drive toward Green Ridge. The drive was uneventful, and the conversation was less than inspiring, but the agents arrived at the Green Ridge campground before lunch time. Their first pass through the campground didn’t turn up anything, but on the second pass, ROSE spotted the Buick Skyhawk parked off in the trees.

REDOX pulled the truck up as close as he dared, and ROSE got out. They could see a man sleeping in the driver’s seat, so Agent ROSE crept up to the car and noticed all the doors were locked. This was their chance to apprehend William Stark without incident. Except …

She smashed the rear passenger window and reached in to unlock the door. As if on cue, the radio sprang to life with a high-pitched whine and white noise. A low, guttural voice fought through the static to warn Mr. Stark.

“Go! Go now! Drive!”

This last word was drawn out for several seconds. William Stark woke and with a quick but mechanical motion, he started the car. Agent REDOX was slowly approaching the car with his shotgun pointed when ROSE opened the door and jumped in the back seat. The Buick kicked up a cloud of dirt, sticks, rocks, and the same foul smell from the garage of BS Automotive.

Agent REDOX cursed loudly and ran for the truck. He wasn’t sure his GMC Sierra could keep up with a custom 1975 Buick Skyhawk on super-powered, South Pacific living petrol, but he had to try. By the time he hit the State Road 66 with Shadow Mountain Lake out the passenger side, the Buick was far ahead but still in sight. REDOX pushed the truck as hard as he could, and he actually maintained his distance.

In the backseat of the car, Agent ROSE brushed the glass aside and yelled for the driver to stop. He may not have heard her over the shouting radio and whipping wind, but whatever the case, he showed no signs of cooperating.

Fine. He wanted to do this the hard way? Agent ROSE wasn’t even close to being in the mood for this. She drew her silver, rune-etched short sword and placed the blade to his throat. That got his attention.

The engine growled as it got a heavy injection of ‘purple’, and the car accelerated. With the fluid motion of a Hollywood stunt driver, Mr. Stark gently turned the wheel one direction and then spun it with all his might in the other direction. The car spun off the road and the rear, driver-side door slammed directly into a tree. Agent ROSE screamed as she felt pain shoot up through her leg and side, but she made sure she didn’t lose her grip on the sword.

Agent REDOX watched helplessly with wide eyes as the Buick slammed into the tree, but he had the presence of mind to use take the opportunity to make up some ground. The gas pedal was already to the floor, but he leaned forward a little in case that tiny change to the distribution of weight might help. By the time the car swerved back onto the road, he was only about four car lengths behind and gaining slowly.

Biting back the pain, ROSE pressed the blade to Mr. Stark’s throat once more with enough pressure to draw blood. The man must have had an amazing ability to focus because he seemed completely unfazed. ROSE ordered him to stop the car. No response. Agent REDOX nudged the car’s rear panel with the front end of the truck. No response.

Further up the road, ROSE could see what appeared to be a woman carrying a small cooler about to cross the road, and she felt the car speed up. As they got closer, Mr. Stark seemed to make tiny corrections as he aimed for the woman. It seemed the Buick was just about to commit it’s third hit-and-run, but at the very last moment, the woman dove for the shoulder of the road. The only casualty was a cooler full of Miller Lite.

Enough was enough. Agent ROSE shouted that she’d kill him, but Mr. Stark seemed not to hear. There was a soft click, and ROSE felt her waist tighten. The seatbelt seemed to have fastened itself while her attention was elsewhere. The radio shouted for him to turn right, and he did so.

Screw it. This had to end badly one way or another. She drew the blade across the driver’s throat, and blood sprayed all over the inside of the windshield. She could see only red to the front, and campsites and picnics out either side.
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Fuel of the Gods - Session 4b

Even with the driver dead, the car kept straight. Agent REDOX watched as it hurtled through the field ruining what should have been countless wonderful springtime memories. It seemed headed straight for the lake, and REDOX followed at a safe speed along the vehicle paths. He felt there wasn’t much he could do at the moment, but he wasn’t letting the car out of his sight.

Agent ROSE pressed hard on the button of the seatbelt, and though it resisted, she managed to force it to let her go. Once she was free of the seatbelt, she decided to free herself from the car as well. She opened the door and dove out coming to a painful, rolling stop in the soft grass.

REDOX pulled to a stop near her and got out just as the car hit the lake. Only the front end made it to the water though, as the tires became stuck in the saturated ground. REDOX helped his cell leader to her feet before drawing his pistol and aiming at the car’s gas tank.

He fired two rounds, and that was enough to ignite the fuel. There was a jet of pale, greenish flame as the car was engulfed, and REDOX thought he could hear a low scream that phased in and out like a radio station cutting out.

The agents got into the truck and sped away before police arrived or witnesses could identify them. REDOX was going to take ROSE to the hospital as she seemed hurt, and she was definitely not in the best place psychologically.

ROSE had a different idea, however. She sent a text to A-cell requesting the location of the nearest Green Box. Her thought was that ‘orange’ was the weaker of the fuels, and it was dangerous, ‘purple’ was the middle-strength fuel, and it was downright deadly. How much worse was ‘green’? She didn’t know how to handle the situation once they got to California, and she sure didn’t know what to expect. There just might be something in the local Green Box that could help.

It took a few minutes, but she received a reply. A-cell gave her an address and an eight-digit number. She pulled up the address on Google Maps and gave REDOX the directions. The Green Box turned out to be a lakeside cabin less than ten miles from the final act of her first Opera.

The cabin looked deserted at first, but ROSE spotted the bed of a black truck poking out just a bit from around back. The agents got out and split up. REDOX checked the front door while ROSE went around back.

The hood of the truck was still warm, and ROSE estimated that it had only been parked for fifteen minutes or so. She looked in the windows, and she saw a couple wide streaks of blood in the back seat. At least two people had arrived recently, and one of them was hurt badly. She checked the back door, but it was locked, so she snuck back around toward the front.

REDOX was about to knock when he saw movement inside. He ducked down and peeked through the window to see a man in a dark grey suit opening cabinets and pulling out their contents. He thought he’d better talk things over with ROSE, and so he headed around the cabin. Both agents met up along the side wall and related their findings.

They decided that whoever was here was up to no good, and it was possible R-cell was just in time to stop a Green Box robbery. ROSE had recently recovered from a triple fracture in her right leg, and she was currently suffering from a bruised left leg and side, so she left the door bashing to REDOX. For his part, the scientist wasn’t sure he could kick in the door to a Green Box, so he shot the lock with his pistol instead. He then holstered the pistol and armed himself with his shotgun. So what if they had alerted whoever was inside? If he was willing to double-tap a door, the burglar would be more likely to believe the agents meant business.

REDOX kicked in the recently unlocked door and held his FBI badge out in one hand while also propping up the barrel of his shotgun with it. ROSE followed suit with her badge. The man in the dark suit came around a corner with his own badge and pistol. All three people shouted at the same time.



Fuel of the Gods - Session 4c

All three stopped and blinked at each other. The man eyed the agents up and down.

“No way you’re FBI lookin’ like that. Who are you, and what are you doing here?”

“The name’s REDOX. This is ROSE.”

The man furrowed his brow as he processed the situation. REDOX proposed the idea of holstering their weapons and talking. The man agreed, and they slowly put away their guns.

“Errr … I’m Octavio. You, umm … R-cell?”

REDOX nodded.

“You from O?”

This time, it was OCTAVIO’s turn to nod.

“Yeah. Yeah, I am. What are you doing here?”

“We’re on an Op, and we’re looking for something that might help. What’s with the blood in the truck?”

Agent OCTAVIO seemed distrustful, and all he said was that O-cell just scrapped a failed Opera, and they were looking for medical supplies. REDOX mentioned the first aid kit in the truck, and asked ROSE to help him get it, but she decided she’d rather stay and talk. It was obvious to all involved that REDOX wanted to talk with ROSE away from the other agent.

REDOX frowned and headed out to the truck while ROSE continued to try pumping OCTAVIO for information. The other agent was obviously on edge and not particularly trustful of others, so the information wasn’t very forthcoming. ROSE did manage to find out that the leader of O-cell was a man named OSCAR, and it was Agent OSWALD who had been hurt. He refused to give specifics of their Opera, and ROSE did the same.

Agent REDOX returned and set the first aid kit at OCTAVIO’s feet while ROSE backed up into the kitchen to call A-cell. After several rings, she heard Agent ADAM’s voice. She asked if there were agents named OCTAVIO, OSCAR, and OSWALD in O-cell.

Agent ADAM was hesitant to answer, but he confirmed. He wanted to know why she was asking, and she mentioned the truck, the blood, and the presence of Agent OCTAVIO at the Green Box.

“O-cell has been dark for fourteen hours. They haven’t checked in. You’re sure you’ve seen them? You have eyes on them now?”

“That’s right; on OCTAVIO, at least. He says OSWALD was hurt, and they’re looking for medical supplies, but he won’t say more. What were they working on?”

“Not your Opera, Agent ROSE. Keep eyes on them, and try to get them to check in.”

She said that she would, and then she hung up. She told OCTAVIO she knew they hadn’t checked in with A-cell in fourteen hours, but he denied it. He said that as cell leader, OSCAR handled that bit, and he’d seen his cell leader on the phone every four hours. OSCAR had told his cell he was letting ALPHONSE know the situation.

ROSE told him his cell leader was lying to him, but he let her know that he was more willing to trust OSCAR than he was to trust her. Taking up the first aid kit, OCTAVIO opened a door and headed down the stairs. ROSE quietly opened the door and looked down in time to see a heavy, steel vault door close. So the cabin wasn’t the Green Box. The vault in the basement was. The eight-digit string ALPHONSE had given her must be the code for the number pad she saw on the wall.

She crept slowly down the stairs, and REDOX followed, covering her with his shotgun. She entered the code, and the agents could hear the hydraulics of the vault door as it opened. The inside was very dark, lit only by an electric lantern to either side of the door, and another in the far back. In fact, the only thing the agents could make out for sure was the figure of Agent OCATAVIO pointing his own shotgun at them. Agent ROSE was once again not even close to being in the mood for this.

“Really? I know the code for the door, and you’re still going to threaten us? Look, it should be obvious by now that we’re Delta freakin’ Green, okay? Put down the gun, and get OSCAR out here.”

The man seemed nervous and unsure of what to do, so he was relieved when Agent OSCAR appeared out of the shadows and told him to put away the gun. OSCAR was a little over six feet tall with an athletic build. He was sweating and seemed on edge, but he was calm enough and polite.

“You’re ROSE of R-cell, yeah? OSCAR, leader of O-cell. Thanks for the first aid kit. What can we do for you?”

“You can let us go through the Green Box. We need a few things for an Opera.”

A moan came from the darkness on the right side of the room, and OSCAR sent OCTAVIO to tend to OSWALD’s wounds. Agent OSCAR made it known that O-cell was holding the Green Box for the moment, and if they’d be so kind as get the hell away from his Opera, they could have at the Green Box in an hour. Those terms weren’t agreeable to ROSE. She proposed that O-cell shut the hell up, give a fellow Delta Green cell access to the Green Box, and just call A-cell already.

OSCAR assured her that he had been checking in with Agent ALPHONSE regularly, and that it was really none of her business. Agent ROSE had a few more colorful words for the other cell leader, and she started to push past him. OSCAR took a step back, drew a pistol, and pointed it directly at ROSE.

“No way, sister. Give us an hour, and we’ll be on hour way.”


Fuel of the Gods - Session 4d

REDOX tried to talk some sense into his cell leader, but she seemed to be near her breaking point. He told her he’d be upstairs if and when she decided to stop her tantrum. If she did something stupid, he’d gladly burn her body and accept his promotion. With that, he opened the vault door and went up to look around the ground floor.

As the door closed, ROSE heard a woman scream from the far back of the room. OSCAR looked quickly in the direction of the scream and put away his gun.

“Oh, screw it. We got you covered. Just stay near the front.”

With that, he quickly ducked into the shadows toward the woman. ROSE decided to see what was wrong with Agent OSWALD. He was tall and skinny, but he didn’t look like it in the shadows with the way he was slumped against the wall. He had dark, shoulder length hair which was matted to his sweaty face. There was a gash along his stomach at least an inch long, and his white shirt was wet with sweat and blood.

ROSE introduced herself and started to bandage him up. OSWALD was thankful for the medical attention, but he was a little delirious. ROSE used his fragile state to her advantage, and she was able to learn that O-cell had been looking into a rash of murders in Colorado. The victims were all men who were supposedly on the offending side of domestic violence, and they’d all been killed by massive doses of spider venom; some by hundreds of tiny bites, and some by injection from a syringe. The women had all been taken to a refuge.

OSCAR’s plan was to split up and go in covertly; OSWALD and OCTAVIO in one group, OSCAR and OPHELIA in the other. Some wild-eyed woman came from nowhere and stabbed him. He had no idea what happened to the other group.

So the screaming woman was probably OPHELIA. Agent ROSE made a mental note. She mentioned that A-cell hadn’t heard from them in fourteen hours, and OSWALD didn’t seem surprised. He said he’d always been pretty sure OSCAR cared more about OPHELIA than the rest of the cell, or Delta Green for that matter. He was pretty sure OSCAR messed something up badly, and he probably compromised the Operation for OPHELIA. No way he was going to tell A-cell about that.

There was another scream, and ROSE decided she was going to find out what was going on once and for all. She found Agent OSCAR kneeling over a very pale woman who was drenched in sweat. He was whispering in her ear and stroking her hair. When ROSE asked if this was OPHELIA, Agent OSCAR nodded.

The woman spoke but her voice was very weak. She said something about “silken strands”, “sacred poison”, and “bounteous limbs”.

ROSE said the woman needed to get to a hospital, and so did the agent with the stab wound, but OSCAR whirled on her. No one was going to a hospital. No one was talking to the police, and sure as hell no one was telling A-cell. OPHELIA whimpered, and OSCAR turned back to her. The woman convulsed and vomited a disgusting bile.

Again ROSE mentioned the hospital, and again OSCAR refused. When the woman’s body began to swell with the audible popping of bones and agonized screaming, ROSE stepped back. OSCAR still refused to do anything. When the woman began thrashing and clawing at the ground with enough force to break her fingers and rip off her nails, ROSE almost threw up, but still, OSCAR refused to do anything. It was as if he didn’t see what was happening, or he didn’t believe anything was wrong.

When Agent OPHELIA leapt straight up and grabbed a hold of the ceiling, craning her neck way too far backward and looking down at ROSE, the leader of R-cell was about to snap. When the woman let go and splattered with a bone shattering crunch, Agent ROSE wanted to be anywhere else at all, and she dug out her phone to call REDOX. When the spider-human hybrid crawled out of the crumpled husk of what was once Agent OPHELIA, Agent ROSE lost it. She screamed.

That scream was the first thing REDOX heard as he answered his phone. It was followed by an incoherent stream of muttering and babbling. He headed down to the vault door, but he realized he didn’t know the combination.

ROSE ran for her life toward the vault door, and she heard OSCAR’s body rip. She ducked under a low beam, and she heard OSWALD’s bones crunch. With a bruised leg, she jumped over a crate, and she heard a shotgun blast just before OCTAVIO’s last gurgling breath. She opened the vault door and scrambled past REDOX as the creature scurried after. The shadows of the vault made the thing seem even more menacing, if that were even possible.

Agent REDOX shuddered as he slammed the vault door closed and engaged the hydraulic lock. Okay. So this was one more place to cross off their list of places to visit. Whatever that thing was, it was trapped, but so were all the wonders of the Green Box.

When ROSE collected herself enough, she thought to herself that other cells were just dicks. At least they had California on the horizon.


Fuel of the Gods - Session 5a

With the episode at the Green Box literally behind them, ROSE and REDOX began the drive to Willoughby, California. Agent RAJEEV took the first flight to San Francisco in the morning and hopped on a bus to cover the last 70 or so miles. Agent REAPER had been in the only motel in town for a while now, and he was just waiting for his cell to arrive.

The agents were at various levels of restfulness when the cell met for breakfast at the only diner in town, the Blue Light Grill. ROSE hadn’t slept, but she had been drinking enough coffee to keep her eyes from closing, and she felt fine. REAPER, on the other hand had been doing little other than sleeping since he was deployed to watch this little town. The other two fell somewhere between the two extremes.

Agent REAPER’s report didn’t even last long enough for breakfast to arrive. The town was small. It had what he called a ‘creepy sort of Mayberry feel’ to it. He hadn’t seen Bronski or the station wagon, but he hadn’t put a lot of effort into the search.

ROSE wasn’t too happy, but then again she hadn’t really been counting on REAPER to do much more than barricade himself in his motel room anyway. She told REAPER to take RAJEEV, and head out to patrol the town. She and REDOX were going to check with the local police.

The sheriff’s office was only a couple blocks away, and the weather was beautiful, but REDLIGHT felt like driving anyway. The clerk at the front counter was a young kid, probably about 16, and he seemed more than a little bored with sorting papers. He had also probably never seen anyone quite as attractive as Agent ROSE up close. Whatever the case, the clerk was more than happy to set his work aside and assist her.

She only had one question to start: Had anyone seen Jan Bronski or her car? The kid indicated that there had been three sightings, maybe four. He handed over the file. ROSE took two reports, and she handed the rest of the file to REDOX.

The first report was filed by Mrs. Renee Moorehead, the town librarian. She stated that she was returning home from a late bridge night with friends. She was sitting at a red light, and when the light turned green, she failed to react immediately, being somewhat tired. Then Bronski blew through the intersection at top speed. If she hadn't been distracted when the light turned green, Mrs. Moorhead would certainly have been in the intersection at the time.

The second report was filed by a tow truck driver named Jerry Van Cleef who operates out of a garage in the hills. He was responding to a call (a car in distress on the interstate) when he happened to pass Bronski on the road without thinking twice about it. She was kneeling by the car changing a flat tire.

The third report was filed by Bernard Goldsmith who runs a small market down by the pier. He was shocked to see the missing Bronski blast by in her car, going full tilt down the main drag past the store. Being in the middle of a transaction, Goldsmith was unable to investigate right away. By the time he got outside, she was long gone. Then, a few hours later, he thought he saw her a second time walking around down by the pier toward the end of an irregular alley called Seaview Lane.

ROSE sent a text to RAJEEV asking him to interview the librarian, and then she did the same to REAPER asking him to interview the tow truck driver. She and REDOX were going to see Mr. Goldsmith.

As he expected, RAJEEV was able to find Mrs. Moorehead at the library. She had already given her statement to the sheriff, but it was a slow day at the library, and Mrs. Moorehead was in a particularly helpful mood, so she recounted the incident once more.

The story was the same as the one in the report, but there were a few details RAJEEV found interesting. First was that there was apparently only one stoplight in the whole town, and it was that one stoplight which Jan Bronski had sped through. Also, Mrs. Moorehead said that despite the darkness and the fact that she was tired, she was sure it was Bronski. The young woman often came into the library, and she would sometimes give the librarian a ride home. This was before her disappearance, naturally.

Agent REAPER didn’t like his interview assignment, so he decided to put it off for a bit. He went several miles out of town to fire his weapons instead. He’d get to the interview when he got to it. Besides, there was less chance his cell leader could steal his truck this way.

Mr. Goldsmith was a short, heavy-set man with curly brown hair and dark-rimmed glasses. He seemed genuinely concerned for Ms. Bronski’s well-being. He told the agents the same thing he’d told the sheriff, only this time the part where he only thought he saw the young woman walk down Seaview Lane had become a certainty. He told them she was a very nice young woman, and she made a point of always buying her groceries from his store instead of going to a larger store in a bigger town.

ROSE asked if he knew where Ms. Bronski lived, and he indicated that he did; her house was only a few blocks away toward the hills. He was happy to give the agents her address, and he asked them to bring her back safely. He left them with one last statement.

“She looked so bad. I thought she could be sick. I didn't see her close up at all, but she looked like she hadn't slept for days. She looked like she hadn't bathed or eaten much either. In fact, I've never seen anyone looking as bad as she looked then. I've seen dead bodies that looked better than her."

Well, that was certainly ominous. The agents thanked Mr. Goldsmith, and they headed off to the address he’d given. The house was a beautiful two-story building with a gabled roof, attached garage, picket fence, and a view of both the ocean and the mountains. Even in a small town, this house had to have cost a small fortune. The sight of the house must have awakened some dormant feminine competitive instinct in ROSE because she immediately took a pretty negative view of the young woman, and the agent had a few choice names to call her as well.

The house was quite obviously being watched by a patrol car, and so REDOX let the officers know the FBI intended to search the house. The officers were happy to let them as long as it didn’t require any effort on their part.


Fuel of the Gods - Session 5b

Agent ROSE found a key to the front door hidden inside a not-very-convincing plastic rock. The inside of the house was well-furnished and immaculately kept. Agent REDOX felt Ms. Bronski was a very clean and orderly person, but ROSE decided the young woman probably had a disorder or two.

ROSE checked the woman’s computer and copied the hard drive to a spare of her own. She then looked for anything at all related to FOST Petroleum or the fuel test, but she managed only to find one file; a spreadsheet titled “Fuel Test”. The spreadsheet was empty except for a single line which said “Left to begin test, 2:35 PM." The entry was dated on a Saturday, about three weeks earlier. If Bronski came back from that test, she didn't do any more work on the report.

A search of the garage was pretty much a given, but neither agent was particularly excited to give it a shot. The other garages they’d searched recently housed some of the foulest odors they’d ever encountered, and Agent ALPHONSE’s mission briefing indicated that the ‘green’ fuel was far stronger than the other two.

REDOX waited for ROSE to finish with the computer before he opened the door leading from the house to the garage. As soon as he did so, the agents were assaulted by a palpable, acidic stench which caused their eyes to water and burn. ROSE had the presence of mind to take a deep breath beforehand, but REDOX got the smell deep in his lungs and sinus cavity. He felt almost as if his head was being dissolved from the inside out, and he reflexively turned toward ROSE before the Denver omelet he’d had for breakfast came rushing back up in a torrent of stomach acid and partially digested food. ROSE was unable to get out of the way, and she was covered from shoulders to knees.

Unwilling to exhale, and still trying not to lose her own breakfast, she simply glared at REDOX with slightly twitching eyes. She stomped off to use the shower and raid Ms. Bronski’s closet, leaving a wet, chunky trail as she went.

Agent REDOX slammed the door and took a moment to collect himself before heading out to the driveway to open the garage from the outside. The burning in his head was slowly fading, and in its wake, it left only a dull numbness and a slight tingle. Every time he blinked, he would unconsciously squeeze his eyes tightly closed like one does when the eyes are irritated by smoke.

With the garage door open, the smell was bearable. Agent REDOX took a look around, but he didn’t find any signs of the ‘green’ fuel. He did happen to notice the door to the side yard was open, and a set of sandy footprints led into the garage from there.

Something about all of this was getting to REDOX. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he was getting a little agitated. He couldn’t wait to be done with this Opera. REAPER was paranoid, lazy, and uncooperative. RAJEEV needed to get out while he still could, because he wouldn’t last two Operations. ROSE … well, he was just plain sick of her.

He closed up the garage and decided to wait for his cell leader in the car. It only took ROSE a little while to finish up with her shower and closet burglary. When the agents were together in the car, REDOX proposed finding gas masks, and ROSE agreed. Nowhere in town seemed to sell anything of the sort, so they hit the highway. The FBI office in Sacramento would almost have to have something like that.

REDOX grumbled. Nearly everything ROSE did irritated him. He felt sure she was doing it all just to test him; putting the radio on a country station and turning it up, biting her finger nails and spitting them on the floor of the truck, counting blue cars …

Agent ROSE’s phone buzzed. It was a text from REAPER: Tow truck driver says he saw Bronski. He was speeding down the highway on a job. Saw her kneeling by the car. Not changing a tire. Hose coming from gas tank like a straw. Swears the girl was drinking.

That could not possibly be good. She’d seen what REDOX had done to 2/3 of the cast of Friends. Something in her mind finally snapped, and she could feel her heart rate rising. Her breathing became fast, and she could feel sweat beading up on her forehead. It was coming. All she could do now was scream.

Agent REDOX swerved a little in surprise. He yelled right back at her to shut the hell up. She only screamed louder, and so he in turn screamed even louder. He wanted to slap her, but he was driving. That, and he knew that if he slapped her, he wouldn’t stop.

The two continued to scream as loudly as they could; ROSE because she couldn’t help it, and REDOX because ROSE couldn’t help it. He took the next exit and found a quiet and secluded place so he could yell at her some more. She wasn’t stopping, and so REDOX drew his pistol and pointed it at her.

He yelled for ROSE to get out, and she refused. He pushed the barrel of the gun right up against her nose, but she wouldn’t get out, and she wouldn’t stop screaming. Now REDOX had his turn to snap. He pulled the trigger. Twice. On the bright side, at least ROSE had stopped screaming.

REDOX shoved ROSE’s body down into the floorboard and covered her with a coat before getting back on the highway and enjoying the quiet ride to Sacramento. He stopped at the FBI headquarters for a gas mask, and then he stopped at a hardware store for garbage bags and a hacksaw. Amazingly, no one seemed to notice the covered body in the floorboard.


Fuel of the Gods - Session 5c

His next stop was Jan Bronski’s house. He backed the truck into her garage and put on the gas mask. He then dragged his cell leader’s body out of the truck and let her fall to the floor. It took hours of work, but he managed to saw her up into chunks small enough to fit in the garbage bags, and those bags, he lifted into the bed of the truck. The pool of blood would drain, right? Yeah. Yeah, it would drain. Okay. Next stop, the dump.

When he made it to the dump, he was more than a little upset that his FBI credentials weren’t enough to get him unrestricted access to the incinerator. All he wanted was to burn a few bags of garbage and an old gun, but the operator wouldn’t let him without knowing what was in the bags. Ordinance this, and statute that, and blah blah pollution … Fine. Then he had one idea left. Next stop, the beach.

He drove until he found what looked like an old, unused pier, and he was excited to find several rusty chains piled up at the end. He set about wrapping the bags with the chains and tossing them off into the water below. Finally. He exhaled deeply, and he could feel a weight being lifted from his shoulders. Then, his phone rang.

It was REAPER. Agent ROSE wasn’t answering her phone, and he thought he’d seen Bronski around an abandoned service station on the north side of town. REDOX said ROSE was in Sacramento, but he’d be right there.

Willoughby was a small town, and so REDOX met up with REAPER a few minutes later. The Delta Force Operator pointed out a corroding warehouse, two stories high and shot through with rust. Every window was broken, and there was a giant, empty parking lot out front. Next to that was a small cannery, also closed and falling apart. There was a truck yard on the other side of the street, and the remains of an old service station. It was the garage of that service station where REAPER said he thought he saw Ms. Bronski.

When REDOX asked how sure he was, REAPER shrugged and indicated it was about 50/50. He saw a woman walking along the beach, and then she was gone. REDOX grumbled, but a flip of the coin was still better odds than he’d been getting elsewhere.

The two agents snuck up to the service station and peeked in the windows. It was dark, but there didn’t seem to be movement. REAPER opened the door which swung silently open on well-oiled hinges, and the two agents entered.

They systematically cleared the garage, but instead of finding Bronski or her car, REDOX found a large metal bowl with jumper cables attached to it. REAPER pointed to a few sheets of paper poking out from behind a box, and REDOX pulled them out. There were three sheets of paper with rough sketches, and each had a number circled in the upper-right corner; one through three.

Sheet one was a narrative diagram like a comic strip. It showed a roughly human figure performing a series of gestures in front of an equally rough drawing of the sea, in response to which a thread of some black substance or coherent liquid appears out of the water and collects in a pan held by the figure at the water's edge.

The second page was a similar schematic showing a figure doing a series of gestures over a pan filled with the black substance. Two wires lead from it to a box with lightning bolts. The figure eventually drains off a clear fluid and pours it into the gas tank of a car.

The third page was much more abstract, showing an incredibly detailed, incomprehensibly complex diagram featuring a single figure in a circle in the middle - a human form with six arms (probably indicating a series of gestures). From this figure there radiates an intricate web of lines which weave about and seem to penetrate a variety of boxlike objects with small circles superimposed on them which REDOX decided were poorly drawn cars. The lines connecting the central figure with the boxes are all cut off at the same point, where the words "five miles" are scrawled.

REDOX looked around for a hammer or a wrench, and he found several, but they all seemed to be slowly melting or dissolving. He found one wrench which seemed to be in serviceable condition, and he struck the bowl until he put a hole in it. The agents then decided to leave for the time being. They wanted to find Bronski. They didn’t want her to find them. REDOX went out for dinner, and Agent REAPER went back to the motel.

Agent REAPER was relaxing in his motel room, flipping through channels on the blurry television when he thought he heard his truck start up. He drew a pistol and stood up, and he thought he could see his truck drive a short way off and turn around. He just naturally assumed it was ROSE again, and so he moved to the window to take a look. He couldn’t see anyone in the driver’s seat.

He muttered curses under his breath, and his eyes widened when he saw the truck start speeding back toward him. He pointed the gun, but it was too little too late. The truck burst through the motel’s fake brick exterior and collided with REAPER, knocking him down. He tried to roll away, but the truck had pinned his leg and it rolled back and forth grinding and liquefying the bone. He tried to pull away, but his belt had somehow become tangled on some part of the truck body. REAPER’s final thought was to take off his own head before his truck did. One bang ended it for him.

After dinner, Agent REDOX decided to head back to the motel to meet up with the rest of the cell. He was wholly unprepared for what he would find, and the police couldn’t tell him much other than that someone had driven the truck through the wall and run over the occupant several times before he took his own life.

This was getting out of control. ROSE had snapped and had to be put down, and now REAPER was dead. That left him and RAJEEV who conveniently enough couldn’t be found.

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