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GM Sappy's Infiltrators - Dirty War

Game Master Sapiens

January 2, 1942. Early afternoon.
Map of Belfast


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Sovereign Court

It began with a memo from your supervisor, it continued with a rapid upgrade of your clearance, another binding drop of blood just to participate in the briefing. And now you are sitting in a small underground room nominally assigned to the Special Operations Executive. Of course, the whole building isactually property of the Capital Laundry Services, housing the Department of Occult Countermeasures, but that information is classified so deep that even the clearance levels are classified.

Five special agents from three different organization are sitting on wooden office chair, in front of two old men, as different as they may be. Laundry Detached Special Secretary James Angleton looks like an old, balding, gentlemanly British professor with parchment-like skin and vivid blue eyes, while Black Chamber Lieutenant General Harold Fredricksen is a tall, large, burly man with a body honed by a life of fighting and exercise, cropped white hair framing a tough, hardened face.
As Angleton sits with an indecipherable expression on his face, Fredricksen rises and heads to a map of the British Isles that's hanging on the wall.

"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. You have already been briefed about REVERSE CHARLEMAGNE, so we'll skip that part. And you already know that you have been selected, should you accept the assignment, for the RUTHLESS WIDOW project, a task force aimed at countering the Ahnenerbe-SS operations in the war. I understand that several of you have already been deployed for such operations, now you will act together against this common menace."

"You have a last chance to get out of it. This project will handle extremely difficult operations, most of which will likely be on enemy territory. The Nazis have thrown an incredible amount of money at their magic death squads, and their mastery of necromancy is unparalleled. But from your dossiers, I don't expect that you will."

"Remember, however, that no matter what your grudge may be against the Nazis, you will be a covert group. You will be surgical, you will be discreet and you will be efficient, especially when acting behind enemy lines. You will be alone. You won't have much in terms of support from us, except for those missions bringing you close to our forces, so you will have to go in quiet."

"Now, unless you want to get out of the project, please state your name and your decision to accept RUTHLESS WIDOW duties and responsibilities, so that Doctor Angleton may bind you to service and clear you for HIDDEN HARPIST. And may God be with you."


Beast Shifter 6 HP 55/55 (0) AC 16, T 13, FF 15, BAC 17 , Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +6
Skills:
Disguise +5, Diplomacy +6, Handle Animal +10, Intimidate +8, K (Geo) +5, K (Nature) +12, L: Laundry +10, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +6, Survival +13

Beast gets up and walks to the door.
Once there he hesitates for just a moment before turning around and resting his back on the closed door, making it clear that despite the well intentioned offer that there was, in fact, no option to get out of this one.
I know how these things work. thought Beast, You don't refuse the Laundry. Best I remove the notion from the heads of some of the younger ones completely before they decide to find out why.

Then out loud, Name, Beast. I accept responsibilities and obligations for RUTHLESS WIDOW clearance and further, for HIDDEN HARPIST.
Hump.

Its a little aggressive, so sorry, but I don't think that anyone is going to try and get out anyways :p


Changeling Occultist 4 / Gunslinger 2

Liliya, having picked a seat in the back corner, sits and contemplates the new assignment. She whispers to her rifle, seemingly having a quiet discussion with it for a few minutes before standing up to address the room.

"Liliya Vasikova and my bolshoy, Anatoly, accept this assignment, RUTHLESS WIDOW and HIDDEN HARPIST... whatever that may be."


F Ninjablade 6 [ HP: 38/38 | AC (Phy): 17 / (Bal): 18 | Fort +4 / Ref +12 / Will +6 | Init +3 / Percept +9 (Low Light, Darkvision 90) ]

Wanting to make a good impression, Mina had arrived early, sat in the front, and listened diligently. She barely acknowledged the other operatives in the room, and it isn't until Beast moves to block the door that she really turns to give any of them more than a passing glance. 'Beast, indeed' She thinks, looking at the man as he pledges loyalty, and strongly encourages the rest of them to do the same. She turns from Beast as Liliya also voices acceptance of the assignment, and studies the older girl for a moment.

Opening her mouth to agree, Mina pauses, wondering if Fredericksen was referring to her directly when he mentioned a a grudge against the nazis. There was no way he did not know her connection to them, her father's role in their military, something she hoped to keep secret from the others in the room.

Still, she knew what was at stake. If covert was what was needed, covert is what she would be. When she looks from the others in the room back to Fredericksen, her eyes are hard and certain. "Zere is ein old zaying in mein country: In time of var, zee Deffil makes more room in Hell. Vee vill make him need it." She nods. "I, Vilhelmina Vagner, accebt zis azignment vith honor."


Aedan had sat quietly ever since he'd entered the room. He rarely moved, never fidgeted, and mostly just disappeared into the background. It was a gift, he was good at it, and he liked it that way.

He watched with amusement as Beast headed towards the door. The burly agent had no intention of leaving, and Aedan knew it. He was just making his opinion known in his...'inimitable style'. He'd been like that when Aedan was a trainee, and the only 'training and evaluation mission' they'd worked together on. Irascible, and grumbly...and also a professional's professional.

Aedan smirked when Beast put his back to the door and gave his consent...same old Beast.

The young Irishman was about to respond when the two women at the table, neither of whom he knew...probably came with Fredricksen, he thought with a purely mental snort. Bleedin Yanks

Still, it wouldn't do to make a bad impression on his superiors, nor his potential fellow agents, so when when both of the ladies had had their say, he leaned forward as well, looking the General directly in the eye.

"Aedan O'Connell, reporting as ordered, sir. I consent and comply." His voice was a soft, pleasant tenor, and had the unmistakable timbre of a Son of Eire. He flicked his gaze to Angleton and spoke once more, and this time, there was much more obvious respect in his tone...not that he'd been rude to the Yank, just...neutral. "I'm pleased to be tapped for this mission, Mr Secretary. You know my history, as well as my...reasons for taking the fight to the Nazi's." His voice darkened quite a bit at the word Nazi, and his jaw clenched so hard that his teeth squeaked. After less than a second, however, he relaxed, and his face was once more neutral and pleasant, as was his voice. "Proud to serve, Sir."


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

Seated at the front with his hands folded in his lap, Tomasz watches the faces of Angleton and the American with studious interest. Not that you ever learned much from watching Angleton.

As the others swore themselves in, he took a moment to study them as well.

Finally, he nodded and turned back to the Lt. General. "And with you. I am -" he pauses, frantically pulls a handkerchief out of his pocket, and sneezes violently. "I am Tomasz Zygmunt Szymanksi; I accept the duties and responsibilities offered." He fell silent, awaiting Angleton's benediction.

Sovereign Court

With a raspy voice, Angleton speaks, the tiniest hint of a smile on his face. "Excellent. Now, please, look this way." He produces a sheet of cardboard with a geometric pattern that makes your eyes cross unpleasantly. "HIDDEN HARPIST. By virtue of the authority vested in me by His Majesty and those beyond, I have the power to bind and release. Here I bind you to service and silence, and grant you full clearance to all that is classified under these words. HIDDEN HARPIST. You know the deal, no speaking of this unless you are sure that your interlocutor is cleared as well."You feel the familiar geas tingle in your forehead as he places the cardboard back into a binder and looks at Fredricksen.

"Very well. HIDDEN HARPIST is the codename assigned to your first assignment. You will be deployed to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where we have reason to suspect that the Germans are planning something. You are not cleared for full details, but Belfast is one of the sites that could possibly host a considerable amount of Allied forces within a few weeks. You may know that the Laundry has jurisdiction over Ireland, but its neutrality in the war means that we can't run the kind of checks we are used to."

"The mission's parameters are simple. Search and Destroy. Terminate with extreme prejudice any damn Nazi you find in Belfast, and put a stop to their plans, whatever they are."

"You will be given a temporary rank equivalent to Army Captain should you need assistance from the men stationed there, but without mobilization orders, you won't get more than half a dozen soldiers to assist you. Additionally, the Royal Ulster Constabulary has been told to assist you in your investigation, it would be a good place to start."

"As always, keep casualties on our side to a minimum. Protect civilians if you are able, but remember that you are less expendable than they are-" Angleton rolls his eyes "-and remember that deliberately bringing non-cleared people into an UNDERGROUND STUDENT situation will be considered a breach of protocol, and only tolerated in life-and-death situations."

"Finally, the IRA has apparently ceased open hostilities since the start of the war, but they will surely be present in the city. O'Connell, try to use your background as an advantage. You are given carte blanche to deal with them as you see fit, but of course your actions will be evaluated at debriefing."

"Any questions?"


Beast Shifter 6 HP 55/55 (0) AC 16, T 13, FF 15, BAC 17 , Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +6
Skills:
Disguise +5, Diplomacy +6, Handle Animal +10, Intimidate +8, K (Geo) +5, K (Nature) +12, L: Laundry +10, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +6, Survival +13

So we are basically thinning the herd? Take out who we can, and if we can, take out an officer or 2?
And I do have a question. Are we to deny any affiliation with the Laundry? Obviously we wont be going around advertising our allegiance but is it mission critical that no one knows about the Laundrys meddling in the area?

The large man then turns to the rest of the group, his back still leaning against the wall. And you lot, any of you know the area? I have been there only rarely and I would have to rely on some of you for knowing the lay of the land. At the end of it, Beasts eyes are firmly on O'Connell.

Sovereign Court

Belfast is under Allied control, any Nazi you'd find would be a spy.
Fredericksen's expression is cold. "We do not know the precise amount of German agents in the city, but it won't likely be more then a cell. You will be dealing with Ahnenerbe, covert operatives, so this is counter-intelligence on friendly territory. And you are to eradicate that cell."

"As for allegiance, if you are not used to covert action, remember that our agencies are beyond top secret. Those who do not know about it MUST NOT know about it. Should someone identify themselves as UNDERGROUND STUDENT without bursting into flames, you may identify yourselves, but if you have to interact with those who aren't cleared, you'll do so as Army Captain Beast. By the way, I would advise you to use a different name."


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

Tomasz coughed and looked to Angleton. "Please, one question: is there a cleared individual in this Constabulary we should be speaking to first? Someone to... liaise? Yes, liaise with?"


Changeling Occultist 4 / Gunslinger 2

Liliya listens to the details of her mission, quietly taking in all the information. As the others ask their questions, Liliya ponders her own and turns and whispers to her rifle:
"Da, starshiy brat, my yedem v Irlandiyu. YA znayu! Eto zvuchit kak otlichnoye mesto dlya poseshcheniya, no my sobirayemsya na missiyu. Net, ya ne znayu, kak ty yeshche smozhesh' vpisat'sya. Rasslab'tes'! My razberemsya v etikh veshchakh, prezhde chem doberemsya tuda... Prodolzhayte, ya prosto zavozhu vas v odeyalo… Khorosho, ya sproshu."

translation:
"Yes, big brother, we are going to Ireland. I know! It sounds like a great place to visit, but we are going on a mission. No, I don't know how you will blend in yet. Relax! We will figure these things out before we get there... Keep this up and I’ll just wrap you up in a blanket… Fine, I'll ask."

Liliya turns her attention back to the briefers and raises her hand and waits to be called. "Sir, what would be our justification for carrying our weapons? My brother here does not necessarily blend in very well with, well, anything. Other than that, Anatoly and I look forward to taking out some Nazis.”

Sovereign Court

Angleton shoots a level look at Fredricksen as the American starts answering the questions. Those of you familiar with the Laundry recall that the DSS is notorious for his "send agents in, let them figure things out" approach, apparently not shared by the Lieutenant General.

"If you need assistance, you can contact Patrick Doyle, from the Constabulary. The other agents we had there were killed in the bombing, and I don't think it's a coincidence. Doyle is cleared UNDERGROUND STUDENT and REVERSE CHARLEMAGNE, but not RUTHLESS WIDOW and much less HIDDEN HARPIST. And it should stay this way, for reasons I can't tell you, so, to his eyes and ears, you'll be agents on an everyday assignment."

"As for weapons, your official cover story as Army Officers working for the Military Police will justify you carrying. As for your brother-" Fredricksen is seemingly unfazed at referring to a rifle as if it was a person "-as you get to Requisitions you can add a minor glamour so that he'll look like standard issue."


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

"Understood; do we depart by train, boat, or airplane?"

Sovereign Court

"Plane. You'll leave as soon as you're outfitted and be there before sundown. You can find lodging at the central barracks, unless you want to try to blend in and find an inn. Anything else?"


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

"Thank you, no. No further questions."


Changeling Occultist 4 / Gunslinger 2

Liliya smirks at the mention of the glamour for her rifle. "Ty slyshish' eto, brat?" she asked as she turned her attention to her rifle. "Poluchit' vse odety, i vy idete gde-nibud' khorosho. Kakiye? Net, eto pokhozhe na pereodevaniye. Prodolzhay, i ya zastavlyu ikh sdelat' tebya pokhozhim na odno iz etikh devchushek. Potomu chto ty vsegda zhaluyesh'sya, vot pochemu."

translation:
"You hear that, brother? Get all dressed up and you go someplace nice. What? No, it's just like wearing a disguise. Keep it up and I'll have them make you look like one of those girly guns. Because you're always complaining, that's why."

Sovereign Court

"Very well, then. Good luck."

As you pass the Requisitions Office, you are handed the standard operative kits, as well as Army officers uniforms and two civilian outfits, one suitable to a lower-class worker and a more formal one. You are also given a complete set of documents as Military Police captains, as well as all the paperwork that may justify your being in Belfast. A glamour is placed on Anatoly, making it so that anyone not cleared REVERSE CHARLEMAGNE would see him as a standard-issue Enfield.
Be sure to take any single-use item you think you may need. There will not be another chance to pick up magic items.

The flight in the cloudy British sky is uneventful except for some turbulence, and you land near the city before catching a train and finally getting to Belfast at five in the afternoon. A good part of the city is still ruined by the German bombings in the spring, but there are people on the streets, celebrating the new year despite the war, or perhaps to try and get the war out of their minds. Fiddles and flutes fill the air with jigs and reels, and there are soldiers dancing in the largest streets.

Sandbox time! I've added a map of the city and you are free to go where you want. You are at the most central Railway Station (K6), the barracks are in the New Lodge (around B7) and the Central Police Station is in Queen's Square (G10). There are docks to the north-east, including the shipyard where the Titanic was built, and out of the map, to the north, is Belfast Castle. Mostly ruined industrial zones can be found to the south.
Also, Queen Elizabeth's Bridge is not there yet (the current King is George VI), I couldn't find a map from the 40s and went with the 60s.


Going to backpost just a tad so as to get Aedan caught up to the rest.

Aedan sat forward attentively as Angleton locked the geas onto them for access to the mission compartment. The tingle was both annoying, and welcome. Annoying because it meant an external limit on his freedoms, but welcome, in that it meant another mission...and the possibility of taking out more of those damn Nazi's.

He leaned back slightly as Angleton began his briefing, then, at the mention of Belfast, sat up ramrod straight! From within tightly locked places in his mind, memories suddenly poured forth. Long, silky red hair; flashing green eyes; an impish smile that belied the love contained therein. Then anger; red hot rage as a powerful fist slammed into the redhead's face; the thudding impacts of fists on flesh as Aedan, and a man that looked like an older copy of himself traded blows; A final, powerful blow, fist encased in fiery energy...striking the wrong target; fear, pain, loss, escape!!, and then redemption. So intense was the mental struggle to restrain the moan of sheer emotional agony that threatened to burst forth, that he almost missed the rest of the briefing.

Fortunately, Aedan's subconscious was very well trained, and he absorbed the information, tucking it away to be review later. UNFortunately, he was so caught up in his own emotional storm, that he sat, almost catatonic, through the remainder of the briefing. It was only at the end, as they were being dismissed, that he snapped out of his fugue and once more became consciously aware of his surroundings.

He quickly rewound the mental tape of the briefing, tucking away the facts and trivia for later, he quickly nodded to Beast to let him know he'd heard the man's question, and would answer in a minute. As everyone else moved off he approached Angleton and the Yank General. In his normal, quiet tone, he addressed the two powerful men. "Sirs, thank you for the opportunity to be included in this mission. With my background, there is always the possibility of...complications from...going back home, as it were. But I wanted to thank you both for your faith in me. I'll handle the complications and contribute to the success of the mission." He offered both men a respectful nod, waited a few seconds for a possible response, then turned to follow his fellow agents.

Once out of the room he hustled after the rest down to requisitions. He was actually quite pleased as the grumbling quartermaster's assistant kitted them out...normally his missions were such that he was lucky to get a decent penknife, much less weapons and body armour. He was especially pleased when he pulled out a small leather pouch of irregularly shaped crystals. Without even putting his hand inside he could feel the Power pulsing within them. He'd have to familiarize himself with their properties on the planeride over.

Eventually he followed the others out and onto the tarmac and their waiting plane. Once there he introduced himself to the Yanks...the Americans. They were colleagues now, and he would try to remember to be more respectful, even in his private thoughts. To bring everyone up to speed he gave them a brief background on himself.

Short Background:
He is an Irish national who left his homeland due to family problems, and moved to France with his childhood sweetheart. When his wife & unborn child were killed by Nazi spies/sympathizers, he went berserk and killed them with is nascent psionic powers, and was recruited then by the Laundry. He's been with them for about two years, and is one of their most successful new assassins. He is generally cold and standoffish, even around colleagues, though once he gets to know someone he will thaw a bit. On assignment, he tends to blend into the background, playing as a lowly janitor, bus boy, or busking musician hanging out on the corner. Right up until the moment when he gets his target alone, then he's cold, ruthless, and deadly.

Aedan wont go into more detail at this point, as the only agent he's really known long term is Beast. Beast probably knows more of the details (who Jenny was, that his family is Rovers, more details about highlight events), as he was one of Aedan's trainers, but even he doesn't know it all.

After everyone else had introduced themselves, Aedan spoke up once more. As he did, though it never got beyond his normal, quiet volume, his brogue became more pronounced. His eyes were like chips of flint as he spoke, cold brittle and hard. "My family is from the Belfast area, so I know the geography well. I went to primary and secondary school there. While I dont care to go into great detail at this time, I will say that my background is that of a Rover. My family was into small time crime, and I was, peripherally, a part of that. They kept me out of most of it due to my 'going respectable' in proper schools...wanted me to be their public face once I graduated." He paused a moment, obviously steeling himself to continue.

His voice became somewhat rougher, and his accent slipped a bit more, falling into an odd, clipped cadence. "For...various reasons, I ended up leaving, but not before I told em all to go to hell. They attacked me girl an killed her Da. Da hit me girl an I beat my Da damn near ta death. When my brother tried ta stop us, my powers kicked in an killed 'im before I could stop em. I'm only tellin ye this because it could potentially cause some blow back, an I dont want me team getting caught wi' their bloomers round their ankles." He paused, and seemed to collect himself with an effort. When he continued, his tone had returned to it's former, well educated cadence and the accent was 'University Irish' once again.

"I know how to move in underground circles, and we can use that to our advantage. It should be possible to avoid dealing with any of the Rover connected groups, but I cant guarantee that 100%. Hopefully it wont be an issue, but if we have to deal with it, we'll deal with it." As he finished his statement, his voice was as cold and harsh as a Siberian Winter, and flat as a calm sea.

After his speech, Aedan didn't say much on the remainder of the ride, at least, not anything personal. In any discussion of the mission he was fully invested and gave what information he had available, giving the others as much intelligence as he had. His information about the city was at least seven or eight years out of date, but within that parameter, it was thorough.

*****************

Once they arrived in the city proper Aedan simply stopped for a few minutes to breathe in the familiar scents of Belfast. Even with the ruin caused by the war, the sights, sounds, and smells of his home touched something deep within him. He gave himself a moment to indulge in remembrances, then put his feelings to the side and turned to his comrades. Unlike his cold, detached demeanor on the plane and train ride, the face he turned to them was that of a jovial soldier, returning to his home. He even allowed a bit more brogue to enter his tones. His eyes shone with what, to less observant people than the four who accompanied him could be mistaken for joy. They knew, however, that the glint was still that of a thorough professional and cold blooded killer of men.

Hefting his rucksack higher on his shoulder he nodded in the direction of some of the dancers. "Come, my friends. Let's join in the celebrations before we report to our masters at the barracks. One never knows what interesting tidbits one can acquire when drink and dancing and pretty girls have loosened tongues."


Beast Shifter 6 HP 55/55 (0) AC 16, T 13, FF 15, BAC 17 , Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +6
Skills:
Disguise +5, Diplomacy +6, Handle Animal +10, Intimidate +8, K (Geo) +5, K (Nature) +12, L: Laundry +10, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +6, Survival +13

Satisfied with the way the briefing had gone Beast periodically surveys the room and its inhabitants. His gaze falls on Aedan and lingers for a few moments. He remembered training the new recruit and it brought about a grim satisfaction that he had made it this far, and the fact that the recruit was about to go on a full fledged mission with the teacher was a satisfying feeling.
Wait, was he even paying attention? Is he dozing?
Beast had a strong desire to tell the "dozing student" to sharpen up, but to do so would detract from the briefing.
hrumph.

Later, beside the aircraft, and on the plane ride itself, Beast listens to the others tell about themselves and about how they could contribute in the upcoming mission. At some point Beast chips in with his own monologue.
Hmmm. Well its interesting to meet ya kids, Ive been around the Laundry a while. Some friends who have been counting better then I have tell me I'm almost at the 20 year mark. Hrumph. Well I know a thing or two about how the Laundry works if any of you have any questions. As for me, I have... "Special Training" with close combat and survival techniques. If I can get up close then I can use my, uhh, "knives" to great effect.
Oh, and I'm bullet proof!
He laughs lightly to himself at his own little joke, for that was obviously a joke...

Once off the plane and onto the ground Beast takes a quick glance around. Thinking to himself that Civilian life was not for him he instead decided to head directly to the barracks.
Alright, here's the plan. I'm going to head over to the barracks early and then im just going gambling. I wonder what I might be able to find by simply blending in with the lower solders. Later, I will meet up with you in the barracks at the designated time. Cheers.
With that, Beast signals a ground car to take him to the barracks.

That's all for right now, later I will detail what I do there. The main idea is to go in acting like a rank and file soldier and just be a part of the crowd, eating at the mess hall, gambling with the soldiers (or playing cards if that is illegal), and generally collecting information. Ill then do a Diplomacy (gather information) roll. Also, Beast is wearing his civilian clothes.


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

Tomasz spent most of the ride reading, first briefing books on Belfast and later a heavily annotated copy of Beasts, Men, and Gods. At the mention of 'kids', he raised a single eyebrow.

"I have never been to Ireland, and know little of it's people. Perhaps that will prove to be an advantage. Regardless, I have been doing work like this for some two decades now and have picked up many interesting skills along the way."

Stepping onto the crater-pocked tarmac, Tomasz looks around with a sad little smile. "Thank you for the offer, but I'm long past the age when drinking and dancing did more than exhaust. I think I will visit this police station and requisition their records - especially those going unsolved. Shall we all meet there -" he points at a cafe accross the street "- tomorrow, at 9?" He pauses, wetting his lips. "Also, and this is simply a feeling, should any of you have the chance to inspect the castle I recommend it."


Changeling Occultist 4 / Gunslinger 2

After visiting requisitions to get a glamour cast on her rifle, and after subsequent teasing about said glamour, Liliya quietly boards the plane. She is silent for the flight, only making short whispered comments with her rifle. She remains aloof the entire flight, only responding to any questions or inquiries directed at her with simple answers.

After arriving in Belfast, she takes note of the meeting time and agrees before heading to the barracks with Beast to partake in some rapport-building activities.


F Ninjablade 6 [ HP: 38/38 | AC (Phy): 17 / (Bal): 18 | Fort +4 / Ref +12 / Will +6 | Init +3 / Percept +9 (Low Light, Darkvision 90) ]

Mina had spent the flight sharing books with Tomasz, trying to learn everything she can about Belfast in the hours before their arrival. The older man seemed sure of himself, sure of his place in the world. She wondered if they had joined for the same reason - her people had invaded his people's home. There was no delicate way to broach the subject, of course, so she simply wondered, and attempted to learn about Belfast.

Aedan Michael O'Connell wrote:
Hefting his rucksack higher on his shoulder he nodded in the direction of some of the dancers. "Come, my friends. Let's join in the celebrations before we report to our masters at the barracks. One never knows what interesting tidbits one can acquire when drink and dancing and pretty girls have loosened tongues."

Mina snorts. "Most bretty girls haffe loozed more zan tongues." Still, the prospects of going to barracks with Beast and Liliya, or to the police station with Tomasz had little appeal. Mina longed to see what the people of Belfast were actually like. Besides, it would be beneficial to make connections. "I vill ko vith you, keep you from too much trouple."

Translation:
Most pretty girls have loosed more than tongues. I will go with you, and keep you from too much trouble.

Sovereign Court

The Celebrations:
Children of a land that saw more than its fair share of war and famine, the Irish couldn't let as small a thing as a World War keep them from celebrating the New Year. It looked like every pub in the city had cracked open the barrels of beer that they had laboriously saved and rationed during the rest of the year, and there was no corner of two streets without fiddles, flutes and drums weaving folk dances, and townfolks in various states of inebriation carousing in disorderly jigs.

"She's handsome, she's pretty,
she's the belle in Belfast City,
she is courtin' one, two, three.
please won't you tell me, who is she?"

You mix with the dancers and listen to gossip mixed to folk tales for the better part of an evening, until you find yourselves sitting over empty barrels, a mug of dark, foamy beer in your hand, while an old man is speaking emphatically.

"It was the Fair Folk, I tell you! I know what I saw! Sightings all around since the bombing, birds flying against the wind, wolves parading 'round the city, and now them beasts and riders are running in the streets just as our boys are moving towards bloody London! I tell you, the faeries aren't liking the Germans more than we do and they're going with our boys, Hitler's in for a surprise when our banshees come to bite him in the backside! Oh, don't laugh at me, they helped us against the Kaiser once before!"

The Police Station:
Due to the celebrations outside, the station is mostly deserted. To arrest the drunk and disorderly during such a city-wide party would be like draining the sea with a sieve, so most of the officers are just outside trying to prevent the worst. An old war veteran with a pronounced limp by the name of Patrick Fagan greets you, checks your documents and grudgingly presents you with the paperwork for their most recent cases.

You spend a couple of hours checking for anything that may indicate supernatural activity. Other than a few robberies, some murders, including a particularly gruesome one at the Docks, there is a report that jumps to your eyes. A canned goods factory that had been struck by the bombings and become a refuge for squatters has been found to be completely abandoned, the squatters gone without taking any of their belongings. Just vanished into thin air.
Beast, I could use a proper (fake) name for you.

The Victoria Barracks:
The beautiful building has been struck hard by the Luftwaffe, but all of the area around has been repurposed to military lodging. By flashing the documents proving your rank you manage to speak to the head of the local garrison. He is a broad, bald man with an impressive set of red sideburns, and he salutes you as soon as you step into his small office. "Lieutenant Cavendish, Sir, Ma'am. How may I be of service?"


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

Tomasz returns the salute, albeit not particularly smartly. "I would like to see your records of recent investigations. Particularly violent crimes and bodies found."


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

Well, then. That is interesting. "Thank you, Mr. Fagan. Have an enjoyable new year."

Leaving the police station, Tomasz turns in the direction of the barracks and starts walking through the joyous, raucous streets. Time to drop off his gear and change before going to have a look.


F Ninjablade 6 [ HP: 38/38 | AC (Phy): 17 / (Bal): 18 | Fort +4 / Ref +12 / Will +6 | Init +3 / Percept +9 (Low Light, Darkvision 90) ]

Perform: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23

Mina remains quiet through much of the celebration, choosing to absorb what she can, but mostly feeling ashamed of her strong accent. It was one thing to be a German in America, where the war felt far away, and another one thing entirely to be one in Europe, where it felt as in one's own backyard.

Luckily, Mina had brought her own flute, and was able to avoid having to talk too much by instead opting to perform, dancing and laughing with the others when she wasn't. The old saying "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" ran through her head more than once, but each time she pushed it aside. If she was going to die, it would be on German soil, not in Ireland, so close and yet so far from her goals.

She finally sits to take a break and have a few drinks while the folktale stories begin. It's during this time that she pays close attention, curious what things the locals have heard...

Sovereign Court

GM Rolls:
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8

Mina:
Mina's performance seems to have struck several young soldiers, who ask her to dance the fiddlers spin around yet another devilish jig. Meanwhile the oldman who was speaking has vanished after drinking all of his beer in one gulp.
"Come, love" says a blondish Corporal with a thick Irish accent. "You don't want to listen to old Finn's ramblings, dance some with me, today that His Majesty allows it! Who knows, tomorrow we may all be sent to France, and you'll have nobody left to dance but old Finn himself, we can't have that, on me honour!"

Tomasz:
There are some frantic moments after you flash your documents while the office tries to find free lodging, and it's easy to spot many soldiers hurrying to their bunks at the mention of "Military Police". It's easy to assume that they're rushing hide contraband, perhaps cigarettes, perhaps that devilishly strong illegal Irish whiskey called poitín. There is one man who stares at Tomasz for slightly longer than usual, an unreadable expression on his face.
Then, a young clerk salutes. "I'll show you to your lodgings, Captain Szymanski."


Changeling Occultist 4 / Gunslinger 2

Liliya casually strolls into the office, taking in her surroundings before acknowledging the Lieutenant and returning a salute.

"Captain Vasikova," she says curtly while showing her documentation, barely any sign of a Russian accent evident in her voice. "I would like to survey the facilities my comrade's and I will be utilizing. Make sure it is up to par, if you will. Shall I wander by myself or will you assign someone to give me a guided tour?" she says, emphasis clearly on the guided tour option.

Sovereign Court

GM Rolls:
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28

Liliya:
Cavendish slightly rises an eyebrow as Liliya mentions name and rank. It's uncertain whether it's because she's a woman or she has a Russian name, but it disappears as soon as the slight charm weaved into the paper takes effect, flipping a switch into his brain and making him slightly less human. "Of course. Edwards!"
A fidgety, lanky man appears at the door, looking nervous. "Yes, Sir?"
"Get the Captains to the Lodgings Office and check what's been assigned to them, then be at their disposal until dismissed. I'll be here if you need me, Sir, Ma'am."

As Edwards shows the way, Liliya manages to notice two things. The first is Tomasz waiting at a desk in front of two clerks, the other is a soldier staring at him. He has red hair, cut short in a military haircut, and his green eyes show disgust mixed with fear.
This should be happening before Tomasz arrived, but the mission is not that time-sensitive.


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

"Thank you."

Once he's shown his bunk, he stows his less-sensitive gear and goes to find Liliya while pointedly ignoring the panicking soldiers around him. Once he does, "Something interesting has come up; would you like to come with me to see it. Or do you have more you would like to do here?"


Changeling Occultist 4 / Gunslinger 2

Liliya takes note of Tomasz standing at a desk and the the red-headed soldier staring at him, attempting to commit his appearance to memory as a precaution. She continues along with Edwards to the Lodgings Office and eventually to her bunk. She thanks Edwards for his assistance with a wink just as Tomasz arrives.

"Interesting, you say? Well then, let us go and see what you have found," she says as she adjusts her rifle to be more comfortable slung on her shoulder.


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

Gesturing for Liliya to follow, Tomasz steps out of the barracks and into the streets. "Interesting indeed, enough to wish to avoid attentive ears. A former factory turned haven for the dispossessed has been found abandoned; I'd like to take a walk past and would appreciate some company."


Changeling Occultist 4 / Gunslinger 2

"Gladly. Never really felt comfortable in a military setting. By the way, did you happen to notice that red haired soldier who was, to me at least, clearly uncomfortable with your presence? It was when you were at the desk with the clerks," she says as she follows Tomasz to their destination. After mentioning it, she looks round to see if the individual she saw earlier was following them.
Perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (20) + 12 = 32

Really? If this Perception check doesn't warrant a Nat 20 or is pointless then I'll be so disappointed...

Sovereign Court

The man is still in sight, although he's pretending not to care about the two agents. To an unsuspecting eye it would seem that he's checking the contents of a pile of crates, but you catch him glancing repeatedly at you in evident discomfort.
Liliya also notices that his knuckles are split, and his jaw is bruised.


Changeling Occultist 4 / Gunslinger 2

As Liliya notices the soldier not-so-subtly following them, she leans in closer to Tomasz with a laugh as if he had made a charming joke and places her hand oh his shoulder, attempting to act flirtatious. As she gets close, she whispers to him about what she spied, and about the fellow's split knuckles and bruised jaw.


F Ninjablade 6 [ HP: 38/38 | AC (Phy): 17 / (Bal): 18 | Fort +4 / Ref +12 / Will +6 | Init +3 / Percept +9 (Low Light, Darkvision 90) ]

Mina smiles at the Corporal, and lets him take her towards the dance floor. "You vill haffe to tell me ein schtory, instead, zen." She says with a wink. "Und berhaps schow me around? I haffen't peen to Ireland pefore."

Translation:
"You will have to tell me a story, instead, then. And perhaps show me around? I haven't been to Ireland before."

Sovereign Court

GM Rolls:

Suspicion: 1d20 ⇒ 1

Mina:
Luck smiles on Mina as the young man seems to be tipsy enough not to notice her foreign accent. He's a good dancer, however,
and he leads her in a jig through the makeshift dancefloor that has been set up in Victoria Street. "Ah, I'll show you 'round all you want, love! Born and raised here in Belfast, you won't find a better guide! But you want a story? You're in luck! We invented fairytales! My nana used to tell me, when I was little, stories to scare me out of my wits, I'll tell you my favorite!"
As you take a break from the dance, he downs half a pint in a single gulp and starts narrating.

"A long time ago, up in the wild Donegal, a priest was traveling to spread the Word of God. On a dark night, as he rested at the edge of the woods, he was attacked by an enormous wolf, who viciously clawed at his face. The priest fell to the ground in agony, praying his own last rites, but his robes opened, showing the silver cross he carried to the neck. As if for a miracle, the beast recoiled in horror and ran away, howling in pain."
"The next day, at dawn, a hunter found the priest, unconscious and bloodied, but alive. He carried him to a nearby village, where he was healed and nursed back to health. Since the old parish of the village had died a long time ago, the priest decided to settle."
"Those were good years, without war and famine. The harvest was rich, the folks were happy. But soon, a terrible curse fell on it. Every month, in a night of full moon, someone went missing or died, the corpses showing horrible wounds. Some said that they had seen a man with the head of a wolf attack the hapless victims. So, the priest helped the villagers make up a plan to trap the beast."
"They lured the monster with the most beautiful girl in the village, who sang and danced in the square of the village. And when the werewolf came to attack her, he fell into a deep, spiked pit that had been dug near her. The villagers came out of hiding and pierced the beast with long spears, delighted to have ended the blight. But as blood flowed out, and the body slowly became human again, they screamed in horror and anguished, as they saw that they had killed their beloved priest."

The second half of the pint swiftly follows the first, and the Corporal wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. "At least, it used to scare me. Truth be told, today I'm more afraid of the Nazi. Oh, but let's not think of that. Today is for dancing and drinking and lovemaking!"


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

"It seems best we loose this one's attention." Straining to see over flat-caps, he leads Liliya towards the thickest crowd he can see.

Rolls:
I assume Stealth, to loose someone?
Stealth: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11

Sovereign Court

Tomasz, Liliya:

The soldier does not look interested in following you, and he's actually relieved to see you going away.

If you go to the factory right away
The whole west wall of the factory has beet torn down by the bombs, and only half of the roof is still standing. Those machines who could be used or melt down have been carried away by the army, leaving the building to look like a run-down hangar, more than a manufactory. You feel uncomfortable walking in, a sensation you recognize as the slightly sickening echo of magic.
Bedrolls, blankets and bedsheets are lying on the floor in unshapely mounds as makeshift beddings in these cold days, and there are doors and boards prepped up as tables, food and playing cards still lying on it. Looking around, you manage to find half-full alcohol bottles, worn but functional clothes, and even a small amount of money. All in all, it looks like the vagrants who were squatting here just left in a hurry.

You find fifty pennies (count as 5sp) and you can make up a Homeless Disguise with these clothes.


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

Stepping cautiously into the shade, Tomasz shivers as that familiar feeling crawls its way up his back. "Psiakrew. Something happened here; and I doubt it was pleasant. People with so little only cling tighter to what they have, they would not have left all of this here willingly."

He wrinkles his nose at the idea of using the leftover clothes, but doesn't dismiss the idea. Why magic at all, though? It is not this place; I recall no Goetic geometries in the design of Belfast, so it must be the people. But what could be done with a number of..." Slowly, his eyes go wide with panic and he turned to Liliya. "This is not good. For someone to have taken so many, so quickly would mean they are planning something large - and that they are this brazen, it will not be long until their working is complete. We should collect the others."


Changeling Occultist 4 / Gunslinger 2

Liliya looks around, an uneasy feeling washing over her. Scrounging through the littered items, she pockets the change and rifles through the clothing.
"This all seems rather odd, especially in the winter. I'm sure regretting not taking up Augury at this point..." she muses. "Shall we... borrow.. these rags for disguises? If someone is responsible for the disappearance of these people, we may be able to use them to lure out the perpetrator."


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

"We could, yes, though I doubt our ability to play as natives - our accents alone would cause trouble. Still, I lack a better idea unless we would like to go and question that red-headed man you spotted, and I assume he merely worries about whatever illegal business he runs out of the barracks." So saying, he grimaces and begins to pull on the least-stained pair of loose pants he can find.


F Ninjablade 6 [ HP: 38/38 | AC (Phy): 17 / (Bal): 18 | Fort +4 / Ref +12 / Will +6 | Init +3 / Percept +9 (Low Light, Darkvision 90) ]

Mika tries to be lighthearted, but finds the Corporal's story rather depressing. It made her think of her own father. "I guess you neffer really know zomeone." She mutters.

As they pause to drink and he mentions lovemaking, she eyes up the Corporal more seriously than she has before. "Afraid of zee nasis? I'd zink zey schould pe afraid of you... Young, handzome, und at least ein little dangerous." She smiles and cocks her head to the side. "Tell me... Vy did you enlist, Corboral?"

Translation:

"I guess you never really know someone."

"Afraid of the nazis? I think they should be afraid of you.. Young, handsome, at least a little dangerous. Tell me.. Why did you enlist, Corporal?"

Sovereign Court

Mina:
The soldier laughs heartily. "Why, because the girls love a uniform!"
"Nay, there wasn't much choice. Back home, in County Tyrone, they drafted pretty much about anyone who could shoot straight, and then again most of those who couldn't. I was tempted to run away, hide in Éire, after all the British did to my people, the killings right here in Béal Feirste, but... but I've heard stories about what the Germans did in Poland and France. And after this war, the world will never be the same again, so I'd rather fight to make it better. Just wish it won't be in vain."

Blinking, he shakes his head and puts up a mischievous smile.
"I mean, I don't even know why I'm telling you this, I'd bet you just wanted to have a nice time. You mind we bring this somewhere a bit more private? I know a couple of quieter places..."

Liliya, Tomasz:
Right now it's around midnight. Just tell me when and where you want to go and I'll move you. Also, I'm assuming that Liliya would disguise herself as well, if not the following only applies to Tomasz.
Rummaging around, you manage to get a handful of rags that, if not exactly clean, are relatively smell-free. Soon you manage to look the part of two homeless vagrant, even bundling up Anatoly in a blanket to hide him from view.

Note to all: I've prepared several clues, as well as red herrings. And while the mission is quite urgent, you most likely have at least a few days to follow through.


Combat Engineer Alchemist 6 | HP: 45 | AC: 19P/19B (14 Tch, 15 Fl) | CMD: 18 | F: +8, R: +11, W: +6 | Init: +4 | Perc: +10 | Bombs 10/10 | Speed 30ft | Active conditions: None.

"Hm. I only just thought... we should tell the others our plans. Will you be alright here while I go leave them a message?"


F Ninjablade 6 [ HP: 38/38 | AC (Phy): 17 / (Bal): 18 | Fort +4 / Ref +12 / Will +6 | Init +3 / Percept +9 (Low Light, Darkvision 90) ]

Mina smiles sadly at the soldier. "I vould loffe to - really, put I'm afraid I haffe other matders I must atdend to. Arh! You sbeak zee truth, zee vorld vill neffer pe zee zame afder zis var. Zee Germans must pe schtobed." She shakes her head. "I am in tovn for ein few days, berhaps tomorrow ve can meet up? If you aren't too puzy zaffing Ireland, zat is."

Translations:
"I would love to - really, but I'm afraid I have other matters I must attend to. You speak the truth, the world will never be the same after this war. The Germans must be stopped."

"I am in town for a few days, perhaps tomorrow we can meet up? If you aren't too busy saving Ireland, that is."

Sovereign Court

Ok, I'll wrap up the night and set a re-recruitment thread later today. Let's see if we can kick-start this back.

Mina:
The soldier looks mildly disappointed, but smiles and winks. "Never too busy for a pretty girl. You'll find me at the Victoria Barracks, until they send us off. Ask for John O'Cavanagh."

January 2nd, 1942, 7:00 AM
As you all rendez-vous, your radios start crackling with statics, or, more properly, what sounds like statics for those who don't have Laundry conditioning. The PURPLE SUNSET wards subtly implanted in your mind activate, translating the signal to Fredericksen's gruff voice. "Central-Actual to RUTHLESS WIDOW, Central-Actual to RUTHLESS WIDOW. The agents Beast, Vasikova and O'Connell are removed from the RUTHLESS WIDOW project, effective immediately, and need to return to the Headquarters ASAP. The reason is beyond your clearance level. Szymanski, Wagner, you are to continue your mission. We will try to allocate additional resources to RUTHLESS WIDOW. Central-Actual over."
The crackling stops, waiting for your answer. Beast is the first to reach the radio. "Beast here, roger, will comply. Beast out." Aedan and Liliya soon follow.
"Good luck with your mission, folks. Hope we'll see each other back at HQ."
And with those words, they leave towards the train station you came from.

In the meanwhile, you can exchange information or brainstorm new ideas.


| HP 34/36 | F +5 R +15 W +5 | PAC 18 BAC 16 T 14 FF 14 CMD 18 (+2 grap) | Init: +6 Perception: +6

Spot

Sovereign Court

I'm swamped at school, I'm adding a minimal intro post so that you can meet and greet. All the details of the operations are in the posts above, but of course you can ask additional details in the Discussion thread.

Tomasz, Mina:
As you get back at the Victoria Barracks, the radio crackles again with Fredericksen's voice. "Good news, agents. We have managed to free and deploy four additional agents to RUTHLESS WIDOW. You'll rendez-vous at Lieutenant Cavendish's office. They have been cleared and briefed. Good luck, Fredericksen out."
At your request, Cavendish allows use of his office for your meeting, and a brief sweep reveals no bugs, either technical or magical. You can speak freely.

All the others:
Typical procedure. They threw you out of bed at 3am, packed into a military uniform and you were on a plane flying north before your brain had understood the codewords RUTHLESS WIDOW. The only courtesy they showed you was a briefing file marked HIDDEN HARPIST, just like the geas that the old British sorcerer had implanted in your brain shortly before leaving London HQ. The details of the missions were fairly straightforward, though. Find the Nazi undercover agents. Eliminate them with extreme prejudice.
From the plane you climb onto a train, then a car, until you are dropped at the main military facility of Belfast, the Victoria Barracks, and given directions to Lieutenant Cavendish's office. There you find the other components of the RUTHLESS WIDOW unit, a grizzled Polish man and a slender German girl, waiting for you. Cavendish himself has left the office for your meeting.

This is, right now, sandbox investigation, so you can RP all you want, I'll come in once you want to move somewhere. The map is in the header. Good luck!


| HP 34/36 | F +5 R +15 W +5 | PAC 18 BAC 16 T 14 FF 14 CMD 18 (+2 grap) | Init: +6 Perception: +6

A blonde, shoulder length haired man with a cream shirt and brown trousers and vest enters the office. He carries a large bag in his left hand and has a neutral expression. He looks around with a careful gaze and spots the occupants. He bows in an oriental style of greeting and respect saying, "I am Agent L of the Black Chamber and OSS." He then nods to the German girl, "Agent Mina."

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