Modern/Delta Green - The Beginning of the End (COMPLETED)


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This story hour is an ongoing account of our D20 Modern conspiracy game. It follows the missions of Majestic-12 agents battling Lovecraftian horrors in a world rife with conspiracy and the occult. I also write a column about action horror gaming in general at titled The Horror! and I'm the National RPG writer for the Examiner. If you're waiting for updates and want to read more from my gaming group see the completed 3.5 D&D story write up:

UPDATE: I didn't create the below video, but the fact that we both chose the same name for our campaigns is a kind of awesome synchronicity that deserves to be recognized here:

[ame=""]YouTube- Delta Green: The Beginning of the End Teaser[/ame]​

Rules Systems
  • D20 Modern: This is our primary rules set. We’re trying to stick to just the core rulebooks for now.
  • Character Statistics: The characters' statistics in all their ugly glory.
  • [ame=]Call of Cthulhu d20[/ame]: I created a cultist advanced class, which covers most of the bad guys. All the monsters and spells have been converted to d20 Modern.
  • Delta Green: Many of the scenarios the agents encounter are Delta Green or Cthulhu Now scenarios. However, in this universe, Delta Green has merged with Majestic-12. Majestic-12 is now a lot like Delta Green, broadening its scope to include “preternatural phenomena”.
  • Alien Invasion: The structure of Majestic-12 has its roots in the organization I created for Alien Invasion. And of course, there will be aliens. I’m the author.
  • Conspiracy X: Since the agents work for a much larger organization, I use many of the “pulling strings” rules from Conspiracy X to represent what Majestic-12 can do for them.
  • Blood & Blades: The Profiler’s Guide to Slashers: We’re using these insanity rules from this book as well as some other bad guys as the mood strikes me.
  • GURPS Black Ops: This book provides much of the background for the agents’ training.
  • Dread: I use a variant of Dread with Jenga, which I like to call the Pillar of Sanity. I basically require all PCs to pull from the Pillar when sanity points are lost. This keeps sanity-tracking to a minimum, means only one investigator will go completely nuts in a scene at a time, and keeps the tension high.
  • [ame=]Jenga[/ame]: Jenga's wooden blocks hold up well, despite having fallen in a couple of full glasses on more than one occasion.
  • Blacknet: Our wiki for the agents.
  • Delta Green: Because Delta Green is THE place for conspiracy fiction.
  • Black Ops: GURPS Ops took Men in Black, gave it a dose of steroids, threw in the Colonial Marines from Aliens, and then set them loose on the worst the paranormal world has to offer.
  • Bureau 13: If occasionally this game gets a little silly (*cough* Guppy *cough), I blame Bureau 13. This took the concept of stalking supernatural entities and made it fun and funny, because...because "preternatural" can also be pretty ludicrous when you think of it. In a laugh out loud, oh my god my head is going to explode Joker kind of way.
About the Agents
  • Game Master: Michael Tresca
  • Joseph “Archive” Fontaine (Dedicated Hero) played by Joe Lalumia: A licensed private detective and master of the mystical arts, Archive wanted to be a priest once. He freelances for X-investigations, a glamorous private detective agency that specializes in the occult. When he crossed paths with the Traveler and mistakenly identified it as a body-hopping demon, Majestic-12 recruited him for some much needed mystical backup.
  • Jim “Jim-Bean” Baxter (Charismatic Hero) played by Jeremy Ortiz: A former British SAS and PISCES agent, Jim-Bean lost his partners to what can only be called "brain spiders." Although he's also psychic, Jim-Bean loathes his abilities and considers the majority of supernatural events to be bunk. He's also a wiseass.
  • Hank “Guppy” Gupta (Smart Hero) played by Joseph Tresca: An American-born Indian, Guppy was abducted by aliens once, or so he believes, on an expedition to South America. He has never recovered, losing his girlfriend and his promising degree. Majestic-12 sprung him from the Van Dyson Institute for reasons known only to them. Guppy's the first one to panic, but fancies himself a kind of McGyver.
  • Kurtis “Hammer” Grange (Fast Hero) played by George Webster: One of the agents who had a former government affiliation, Hammer was on a mission for the CIA when he encountered the "brain spiders." He lost both his partners. Hammer's the most level-headed of the group, and the only trained investigator among them.
  • Jake “Blade” Iron Shirt (Strong Hero) played by Matt Hammer: A Native American bruiser and former Ultimate Fighting Champion, Blade is the only famous agent on the team. Unfortunately, he's famous for all the wrong reasons: his romance with the woman he was assigned to protect, Christine Dee; the birth of their child, Alex; his subsequent divorce and spiral into alcoholism. Blade is desperate to get visiting rights to see his son. Stephen Alzis has an unhealthy interest in Blade's family dynamics as well.
  • Sebastian “Caprice” Creed (Fast/Smart Hero) played by Bill Countiss: An American engineer, Caprice is the closest agent who was "normal" before he joined Majestic-12. His fast thinking on his feet has proved useful on more than one occassion, especially when hunting down body-hopping aliens.
Inspiration and Ideas
  • [ame=]Fall of Cthulhu[/ame]: The league of Cthulhu super villains that “Mister Arkham” put together will make an appearance for sure.
  • [ame=]Lori Lovecraft [/ame]: That’s right, Christine Dee is based off of Lori Lovecraft. Many of her misadventures will find a place in my story hour. She’s the ex-wife of one of the agents, after all.
  • [ame=]Titus Crow[/ame]: Probably the closest parallel in fiction to heroic characters fighting the minions of Cthulhu.
  • [ame=]Cold Print[/ame]: Because I met Ramsey Campbell at World Fantasy Con and he kicks ass. His concept of horror is truly terrifying and modern in ways that traditional Lovecraft sometimes lacks.
  • [ame=]The Dresden Files[/ame]: The inspiration for Joe "Archive" Fontaine.
  • [ame=]Heroes[/ame]: Jim-Bean talks just like Takezo Kensei (and looks like him too).
  • [ame=]Office Space[/ame]: Guppy is a lot like Samir Nagheenanajar, only less angry and more terrified.
  • [ame=]24[/ame]: Curtis Manning is the inspiration for Hammer.
  • Reaper: To get Stephen Alzis down just right, think the Devil from Reaper.
Welcome to the show. Get ready for a wild ride...
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Chapter 0: Welcome to the Show - Introduction

This scenario uses Delta Green and Delta Green: Countdown by Pagan Publishing as sources. Please note: This story hour contains spoilers!

Our cast of characters includes:

  • Game Master: Michael Tresca
  • Joseph “Archive” Fontaine (Dedicated Hero) played by Joe Lalumia
  • Jim “Jim-Bean” Baxter (Charismatic Hero) played by Jeremy Ortiz
  • Hank “Guppy” Gupta (Smart Hero) played by Joseph Tresca
  • Kurtis “Hammer” Grange (Fast Hero) played by George Webster
  • Jake “Blade” Iron Shirt (Strong Hero) played by Matt Hammer
  • Sebastian “Caprice” Creed (Fast/Smart Hero) played by Bill Countiss
After the birth of my son, I took a three-month hiatus from role-playing. During that time, the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons was announced at Gen Con, which made me glad that we decided to go in another direction and this time play a modern conspiracy game. The game is a hybrid uniquely tailored to our tastes: we use d20 Modern rules and the campaign setting is as an unholy combination of the Black Ops GURPS supplement and the Delta Green setting.

This setting follows what seems to be the general consensus on the Internet: the cell style structure of the Delta Green conspiracy would never last in our post 9/11 age. Instead, Delta Green infiltrated Majestic-12, co-opting its resources and broadening its scope to include all “preternatural phenomena.” Enter our heroes.

What’s refreshing about these characters is that they all eminently flawed. Hank was committed to a mental institution, while Jake is divorced from his wife and estranged from his son. Kurt and Jim both lost their partners, and Joe struggles with the flashy glamour of his pimped up paranormal detective agency. I will of course exploit these flaws to their fullest. There are scenario seeds in all these backgrounds that will be much more relevant to the campaign in the future.

In addition to the background fiction, I compressed the training outlined in Black Ops into torturing the PCs with Project Outlook and a danger room style free-for-all that helped warm the players up to getting back into a d20 game after three months. I’ve got a good feeling about this story hour. I hope you’ll join us for the ride!

Relevant Media
  • Delta Green Countdown: Jim-Bean and Kurt’s background are a revision of the short story from Delta Green: Countdown. This is also the source of the Outlook Group tests.
  • Delta Green: Jake’s background draws on Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays.
  • Uttati Asfet: Sebastian’s background in the Sudan.
  • The Stars Are Right: Hank’s background draws on “Nemos Solus Sapit” and Jake’s is from “Love’s Lonely Children.”
  • Unseen Masters: Jake’s background is tied to “The Wild Hunt” and “Coming of Age.” Hank’s background is tied to “The Truth Shall Set You Free.”
  • Resection of Time: Also Hank’s background.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen: by Saliva (AKA "Welcome to the Show"). It’s also the theme song to Last Man Standing.
  • Mutants & Masterminds Beginner's Guide: The Doom Room in this supplement served as inspiration for Satan's Playroom.
  • The Rock: Drake is pretty much Sean Connery from this film, only instead of being imprisoned in Alcatraz (that's just a cover story), he's been drafted into Majestic-12.
  • Extreme Encounters: A great source for first-hand encounters of all kinds of torture. I used it as a template to describe the awful things that happen as a result of the Outlook mental endurance tests.
  • Ground Zero Radio: Ground Zero Radio and Clyde Lewis are real, but he was gracious enough to be part of the Alien Invasion supplement. Consider him a replacement for the Conspiracy X television show. For the record, I actually did have a bizarre conversation with Clyde at 12 a.m. one night, just like Sebastian does (only it wasn't about my brother, it was an interview).
  • Mad, Mad House: Palmer is referenced in a conversation with Simon Magnus; I took the inspiration for Palmer from Don the Vampire on this show.
  • X-Investigations: Yep, it's a real agency.
  • Fallen: Joe's hair-brained scheme about the body-hopping bad guy is the plot of this movie.
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Welcome to the Show: Part 1a – Kurt and Jim’s Story

Ladies and gentlemen please
Would you bring your attention to me?
For a feast for your eyes to see
An explosion of catastrophe

--Ladies and Gentlemen by Saliva​
CORNWALL, UK -- Agents Young, Grange, and Yolanda encircled Edgar Coleman, father of Lee Coleman, like crows eyeing road kill.

“Thank you for agreeing to meet with us, Mr. Coleman,” said Grange in a voice that sounded like he was gargling gravel. “I hope you can tell us something more than what you told the U.S. Marshall.”

Edgar nodded. “You’re here because of Lee.”

“We’re here to talk to you about the Army of the Third Eye.” Young flipped out a note pad.

Edgar forced a smile. “Of course you are. But I’m afraid that the government executed a search warrant. All of Lee’s belongings and correspondence with his family was seized.”

“Surely you remember something,” said Yolanda. It was difficult to resist a brunette with a husky voice like Yolanda. Grange’s means of persuasion were much more painful. But there was no need to tell that to Edgar. Yet.

The old man leered at Yolanda. He wasn’t THAT old, decided Grange. “There was a phone call. He escaped from the hospital after his self-trepanation. Most of what he said was unintelligible, and the words I could understand didn’t make any sense. My boy told me that he couldn’t come home until he had killed all the ghosts from space.”

Grange paused. “Did you tell the U.S. Marshall this?”

Edgar shook his head. “I didn’t tell the Englishman who accompanied them either, a Mr. Cotton. They won’t let me visit him, you know. They cited security precautions—said that Lee is too violent and unpredictable to have visitors or maintain normal communication.”

“Sorry to hear that,” said Yolanda. “Thank you for your time, you’ll be appropriately compensated.” After Edgar answered a few more questions and Young took down a few more notes, they left the old man’s residence.

“His story matches Chief Inspector Alva’s account,” said Young. “According to Alva, they were given a script to memorize by a man from MI-5 named Cotton. They used it in their trial testimony.”

Yolanda’s cell phone rang and she answered it. After a few nods and “uh huhs,” she slapped the phone shut. “We got a fingerprint off of the tray we smuggled out of Lee Coleman’s cell at Dartmoor Prison.”

“And?” asked Young.

“It’s not a match,” replied Yolanda with purse lips.

“So whoever is in that prison isn't Lee.” Young sighed. “We don’t have any other leads.”

“We do have one other thing we can try,” said Grange.

“What’s that?” asked Yolanda.

“I think it’s time to bell the cat.”
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Welcome to the Show: Part 1b – Kurt and Jim’s Story

Agent Jim Baxter waited patiently inside a land rover outside of the Cullen residence.

“I dunno, mate,” said his companion, Agent Hugh. “This seems like a bunch o’ baby sittin’ tah me.”

“That’s exactly what it is,” said Baxter. “What of it?”

“What’s so special ‘bout this Wade Cullen, anyway?” Hugh held one earphone to his ear. “He’s a wheelchair-bound invalid. He’s not exactly going to run away.”

“It’s orders from The Gods,” smirked Baxter. That was the term they used for MI-5 men with lofty positions in British Intelligence. “And the orders are to catch whatever comes after our important friend here.”

“And just wot’s gonna come after ‘im?”

“Irish Nationalist Republic.” Baxter caught Hugh’s expression. He shrugged. “Ours is not to question why and all that.”

Hugh snorted in disgust. Before he could begin another sarcastic comment, he put up one finger to silence Baxter, even though Baxter wasn’t talking. “The mics are picking up something. They’re whispering in there.”

“People whisper sometimes, ya know.”

“I know that,” muttered Hugh. “But three good-looking Americans walk into this guy’s house? Something’s up.”

Baxter tapped the mic on his headset. “This is Agent Baxter. Rat is in trap. Repeat, rat is in trap.” He listened for a second.

Two men and a woman exited the Cullen residence.

“Well?” Hugh asked impatiently.

“HQ says follow them.”

The three people got into their car.

“Follow ‘em?” Hugh was angry enough to toss his cigarette out the window. “Are you pissing me?”

“Nope. The trap’s not finished bein' laid yet I guess.”

“Fine.” He started the car up as the other vehicle passed.

They tailed it for a while. Hugh wasn’t good at many things, but he was great at tailing. The foliage in the Cornwall countryside was so thick that it bent in an arc over the dirt roads. Far from any city, lights were few and far between. Even the sky was invisible under the heavy overgrowth.

Baxter hated Cornwall.

“They’re turning off there,” said Baxter. It was the Hunting Fox pub.

By the time they arrived, the three terrorists were already inside the pub.

“Yah, I see it, I see it.” He cut the lights and parked the car.

The Hunting Fox was the only pub for miles around, so it was crowded.

“Professionals,” said Baxter. “They know what they’re doing.”

Hugh cocked his pistol. “So we’re going in then, ya? Not waiting for backup or anything like that?”

Baxter grinned. “Hell ya we’re going in!” He gestured with his own pistol towards the front door. “You go take the front, I’ll go round back in case they try to run for it.”

“Aye.” Hugh winked at Baxter. “Watch yourself mate. These INR chaps can be slippery.” He holstered his pistol and swaggered towards the front door.

Baxter, pistol low, snuck around the side. Inside, a good time was being had by all. The place was loud enough that he doubted even gunfire would attract much attention.

As he turned the corner, Baxter caught the metallic glint of a pistol aimed at his forehead. He whirled and slapped the weapon aside.

No shot went off, which meant Baxter was facing off against someone who didn’t want to kill him. Right away, anyway.

He rolled to the ground and came up to his feet before the man could react. Baxter stretched one leg out, sweeping his opponent off his feet.

Baxter drew his SIG-Sauer P245. He pulled out his ID card from a chain around his neck. “MI-5, ya terrorist bastard…” his voice trailed off as he realized the African-American man he had kicked to the ground was pointing another pistol, a Glock, at Baxter’s stomach.

“Stand down!” shouted the man prone on the ground. He spoke with all the authority of a man standing on his own two feet. “I’m CIA!” His own ID badge was visible, hanging from around his neck just like Baxter.

Baxter squinted. “You’re pissin’ me.”

A pistol clicked at Baxter’s forehead. “He’s not kidding,” said Yolanda. “Put the weapon down. Now.”

Baxter put his gun down. Grange picked it up as he got to his feet.

There was the sound of gunfire in the pub. Hugh always was a trigger-happy bastard.

Young came puffing out. “I think we caught our…”

“Tail?” asked Yolanda.

“I was going to say cat, but yeah,” said Young.

“Where is your vehicle?”

Baxter shook his head in disbelief. “You INR boys are awfully cheeky, impersonating the Yanks. They don’t take kindly to that.”

“I don’t have time for this.” Grange walked over to the parking lot. “Throw him in the car, he’s coming with us. We need to straighten this out before we have an international incident.”

"BEFORE we have an incident?"

Grange shot Young a withering glare. He ran off to get the car.

“What are you doing?” asked Yolanda. She still had her pistol pressed against Baxter’s head.

Young pulled the car up.

“I’m going to shoot out the tires so there’s no pursuit.”

Yolanda shoved Baxter inside. “There’s got to be a dozen cars here!”

Grange popped the trunk and pulled out a sub-machinegun. “I know,” he said matter-of-factly.
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Welcome to the Show: Part 1c – Kurt and Jim’s Story

“Do you believe us now?” asked Grange.

Baxter handed the diplomatic passports and federal law enforcement identification back to Yolanda. “We were told that you were a group of Irish Nationalist Republic terrorists recruited from America.” He rolled his eyes. “Great, another Whitehall wank-fest.”

“Who cut your orders?” asked Yolanda.

“I don’t bloody know,” muttered Baxter. “Why?”

“Does the name PISCES ring a bell?” asked Grange.

“Again with the bell metaphor,” said Young over his shoulder.

Baxter blinked. “Maybe. I’m surprised you know it.”

“What about the Army of the Third Eye?"

"Third Eye?" Baxter looked out at one of the endless farms that dotted Cornwall's roads. "Nutty blokes, they go around trepanning people, something about exposing bugs in the brain to sunlight or something."

"Sounds pretty crazy," said Young with a straight face.

"If the Army is so harmless, why is PISCES targeting them?"

"Targeting them?" asked Baxter. "Whatcha mean?"

Grange turned around from the passenger's seat to face Baxter. "We believe that the members of the Army who were captured are either dead or have been moved to another facility with some anonymous mental deficient left in their place."

"And we believe that a Mr. Cotton is being controlled by one of these brain spiders," added Yolanda.

"What you trying to get at, exactly?" Baxter's tone was icy.

"What I'm trying to get at, Agent Baxter, is that your agency has been infiltrated by a foreign intelligence," said Grange.

"Are you—"

"No, we are not pissing you," said Yolanda.

"Well," said Baxter. "Seems you've got it all figured out, eh? What's next?"

"We're going back to the U. S. Embassy." Grange rummaged through the glove box. "But we might have to make a stop along the way."

"For what?"

Grange handed Baxter back his SIG Sauer. "Because two land rovers are following us."


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Welcome to the Show - Part 1d – Kurt and Jim’s Story

"Get down!" shouted Grange.

Young hit the accelerator, lurching the car towards the U.S. embassy gates as the two land rovers tried to cut them off. Machinegun fire raked the pavement behind the vehicle.

"What the hell?" shouted Baxter.

"You MI-5 boys do things differently here, huh?" asked Yolanda. She pointed her pistol out the window.

There was a loud burst and the car lurched to the side. Two of the tires had been shot out.

Blood spattered Grange as Young jerked in the seat. "Son of a bitch!" he shouted, one hand clutching his neck.

Grange, ducking down, held the wheel with one hand, pistol in the other. "Aim for the gates!'

Young leaned into the wheel, half-falling onto the gas pedal. The car shrieked sideways as they struck a car at the curb. They were twenty yards short.

A dozen men in commando gear wearing black ski masks opened fire on their car.

"I'm Security Service you wankers!" shouted Baxter. He waved his ID out the window and then screamed as a bullet pierced his hand. "What the hell is wrong with you people?"

"They're not MI-5!" shouted Grange. "Go, go!"

Agent Yolanda made a break for the gate. She screamed as gunfire cut her legs out from under her, falling just ten feet from the gate.

Yolanda threw her ID to the Marine guards at the gate. "I'm with the Department of State!" she shouted.

Grange handed Young his pistol. He was bleeding from wounds in his right arm and neck, saved only by his bulletproof vest. Young brandished a Desert Eagle in one hand and Grange's Glock in the other. "Lay down as much cover fire are you can!"

Grange half-dragged Young out the door on the passenger's side. Young blazed away with the pistols as they attempted to leave the cover of the car.

The commando opened fire. Young's body spasmed as a half-dozen gunshots found their target. Grange dropped Young's body and maneuvered to the front of the car for cover.

Baxter was still there. "Back so soon?" He blind-fired several shots over the edge of the car.

"We're pinned down," snarled Grange. He quickly cocked the sub-machinegun. "We've got to get to that Embassy."

Gunfire echoed all around them. The Marine guards, spooked by the ricocheting shots so near the embassy grounds, also opened fire.

"SAS!" shouted one of the commandos. "Hold your fire!"

"Oh now they want us to hold our fire," muttered Baxter.

The Marines hesitated.

Agent Yolanda, crawling her way to the Embassy gate, suddenly jerked. She was killed instantly by a well-placed headshot.

The Marines resumed their fire.

The battle raged for what seemed like an eternity. Grange and Baxter did their best to return the SAS fire, but were pinned down as their vehicle was shot to pieces.

Suddenly a smoke grenade bounced over the agents' car.

"Go!" shouted Grange. "Go!"

Grange and Baxter half-crawled from the car to the gate as the smoke billowed around them.

"Don't let them in, you idiots!" shouted one of the commandos. "They've got a bomb!"

Three of the SAS troopers rushed the gate, triggering another brutal exchange of gunfire in the smoke cloud. They were cut down by fire from the Marines.

Grange made it to the gates despite being hit in one arm. Baxter fell to the ground as he was hit in both legs.

"Cease fire!" shouted Hugh, who had finally caught up with the SAS commandos. "Cease fire!"

The SAS CO turned and fired his pistol into Hugh's face.

"Cor!" shouted one of the other commandos. "He shot Hugh!"

The SAS commandos began firing on each other as the CO rushed the gate.

"Traitorous bastard," shouted Baxter. He took careful aim with his good arm and placed a shot right between the CO's eyes. He fell down, dead.

As the CO fell, something flew out of his head. It buzzed right toward a Marine private's face. The Marine screamed, stumbling backwards as he clutched his head.

Baxter found his footing and rose. "You all right, mate?"

The Marine straightened and turned his weapon on Baxter.

Grange slapped the rifle barrel out of the way as it went off, just missing Baxter. Baxter killed the Marine with another pistol shot.

"Thanks for coming back for me mate," said Baxter. "I think I'm deaf now in that ear, but at least you Yanks are good for something."

Grange pointed his pistol towards Baxter's head. "What the…?"

The thing that flew out of the SAS CO's head flew out of the Private's ruined face. It was about to fly into Baxter's when Grange shot it out of the air.

Grange and Baxter stared down at the three-foot long thing on the ground.

"Looks like…" began Baxter.

"A brain spider," finished Grange.

In the firefight at the embassy gate, three SAS troopers were killed, four were wounded. One Marine guard was killed and five were wounded. Agents Young and Yolanda were declared dead on arrival. In the minutes following the shootout, London Metropolitan police arrived on the scene, along with an army of journalists.

The medic on staff placed Grange and Baxter on stretchers.

Baxter was already unconscious from his wounds.

"We'll take you to London hospital…" said the medic.

"No," growled Grange. "We are to be airlifted by Marine helicopter to the base hospital at RAF/USAF Bentwaters." He flashed his badge. "That's an order. Do you understand me?"

The medic stared at him for a moment. "Yes sir."

"I also want the remains of that thing brought along. It is to be kept frozen and stored as hazardous material. Do you understand me?"

The medic hesitated.

"Do you…" Grange grabbed him by the collar. "Understand me?"

"Yes sir!" shouted the medic.

"Good," said Grange. He promptly lost consciousness after that.
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Welcome to the Show - Part 1e – Kurt and Jim’s Story

Grange struggled to open his eyes. They were crusted over. A man in a USAF uniform swam into a view.

"How long…" he swallowed. His throat felt as scratched as it sounded. "How long have I been out?"

"Over a day," said the man. "I'm Colonel Robert Coffey. Nice to meet you."

Grange looked over. Agent Baxter was on a bed on the other side of the room. It was hard to tell if he was awake.

"I've read the report about what happened at the U.S. embassy. But I'd like your version of the story."

"About the bug, you mean?"

The man's eyes betrayed no hint of emotion. "What bug, Mr. Grange?"

"You know bloody well what we're talking about," croaked Baxter. "The brain flea that was hopping from body to body."

"Brain spider," said Grange.

"Whatever," said Baxter. "Can we see it?"

"That depends on the answer to your next question," said Coffey. "Your IVs have been injected with a mild sedative, so please, don't try to get up."

Grange tried to lift one hand and found he couldn't.

"I belong to an organization dedicated to dealing with these…anomalies you experienced."

"Anomalies?" asked Baxter. "There were dozens of witnesses!"

"According to the papers that was a terrorist attack by the Irish Nationalist Republic," said Coffey calmly. He fished a newspaper clipping out of the folder he was holding his hands and placed it on Baxter's chest. "You can read it when we're finished here."

"A cover up," said Grange.

"I didn't say that," replied Coffey. "If you wish to learn more, I will be happy to recruit both of you into a new organization, an organization of the highest level of secrecy. It’s a clandestine taskforce that deals with the elimination and obscuration of preternatural phenomena that pose a threat to our citizens and their country."

"And if we decline?" asked Baxter.

"Then we'll up your dosage, you will fall asleep, and in another day you will wake up with no knowledge of this event except perhaps a hazy dream of some fellow that doesn't exist."

"Why don't I believe we'd wake up?" asked Baxter.

Coffey said nothing.

"I'm in," said Grange. "Those things killed my partners."

"Mine too," said Baxter. "'sides, I don't think I want to go back home, all things being equal."

Coffey nodded. "Good choice. As soon as you recover from your wounds, you'll begin training." He started to leave and then paused at the door. "Oh, one other thing. You two are under a loose form of quarantine, because we don't know how far the alien contagion might spread. Since you were both exposed, we can't risk other agents being infected. You two are now partners for the foreseeable future."

"Bloody hell," muttered Baxter.

"Yeah, great," said Grange.

Coffey smiled. "Welcome to Majestic-12, gentlemen." Then he closed the door behind him.


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Welcome to the Show: Part 2a – Sebastian’s Story

CHICAGO, IL -- Sebastian was having dreams of a telephone ringing when he finally realized that it was actually ringing and woke up.

He shoved a tissue box out of the way to bathe in the scarlet illumination of his alarm clock. It was twelve in the morning. After fumbling with the phone for a minute he brought it to his ear and pressed the talk button. "Hello?”

"Mr. Creed?" asked a deep, pleasant baritone.


"Mr. Creed, you don't know me...”

"Do you have any idea what time it is?”

The voice hesitated. "What time is it there?”


"Oh, I'm sorry. It's only ten o'clock here in Culver City. The only reason I'm calling you at this hour is because it's about your brother.”

Sebastian sat bolt upright in his bed. "You've heard from him? He's alive?”

The voice was uninterrupted. "When was the last time you saw Michael Creed?”

Sebastian rubbed his eyes with one fist, trying to clear the sleep. "He was leaving to do humanitarian work in Darfur.”

"Is that what he told you?”

Sebastian was losing his patience. "Who the hell is this?”

"My name is Clyde Lewis. I work for Ground Zero Radio. Your brother was one of our freelancers. “

"What happened to him?”

There was a deep breath on the other line. "Your brother was on assignment for us in Sudan when he disappeared. He was investigating the supposedly cursed city of Napata. I'm concerned the city's curse...”

"What kind of curse?”

"In 1911, a Dr. Garstand from Oxford University began excavations in Karima, nearby to Napata. He lost five diggers in a sandstorm and lost six more to disease within the week. His hired labor abandoned the site and was forced to leave within thirteen days.”

"I don't see how--”

Clyde spoke more urgently. "1938: Dr. Torok from the Budapest Academy of Sciences runs into similar hardships, losing three members of his survey team the day after he reached the site.”

"Look--" began Sebastian. But Clyde wasn't finished.

"1968: Dr. Richard Kalkhe of the National Museum and two of his assistants were killed in the north of Sudan. Napata may have claimed Michael Creed for its own.”

"Do you have information as to where he was last?”

"I do.”

"Send me an email with everything you have." He gave Clyde his email address.

Clyde's voice softened. "I called you, Mr. Creed, to give you some closure. What do you plan to do?”

"I'm going to go find my brother," snarled Sebastian. Then he hung up.

Voidrunner's Codex

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