Friday, 8 November 2013

After Action Report - (S)Entries - Part Three

Welcome once more,

last Sunday, 03 NOV 13 we had Joseph and Omar and were joined by Leslie who will be with us next week. Whilst the story has now diverged from that listed in the NBA Core Rules book it still contains events and characters that appear in the introductory adventure. With that in mind...

***HERE THERE BE SPOILERS***

Gostilj
Final Day
17:52 (GMT+1)
Ron pulls the Jeep over once they have reached the hilltop. The team disassemble the weapons as best as they can. The Zastava M70s are stripped down easily and concealed in the vehicle but the M76's barrel is still covered in Vladek's blood and brains. Luc scoops up mud from the drainage ditches either side of the dirt road and smears it around the bullet holes to conceal them in the evening darkness. The team switch into spare clothes and then, embarking again, the team makes the 4km drive to Srebenica.

Srebrenica
THU, 25 JUL 2013
18:25 (GMT+1)
The team call ahead to book two hotel rooms. The Jeep goes in a car park at the rear with the back end facing the wall. Luc, Angeline and Evelyn dig out the Lennart Dossier to see if they can make sense of what is going on whilst Ron tuts, shakes his head and goes out looking for some replacement transportation.

Angeline starts trying to organise the files – there are around 800 pages of reports from RSHA Amt VIIb between 1937 and 1945. A scan through the documents shows that none from the Western Front. The agents discover the name of the SS-Sturmbannfuhrer from the report dated 18 APR 44 - Maximillian Kohler.

Moving on from the Nazi documents they start searching through the CIA & SIS (MI6) LSD trials - roughly 1,200 pages. Admin reports, scientific studies, personnel reports cover Operation Moneybags and Operation Recount (the SIS's experiments with the Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment at Porton Down) as well as the CIA's project MKUltra. There are many off the record audio interviews with the CIA and SIS men involved, including the scientists involved, the soldiers and the CIA project manager. From 1953 to 1973 the intelligence agencies used the cover of using LSD as an interrogation drug to try and establish what was happening on the Eastern Front. The results came to naught with no evidence that the Russians had infiltrated ergot or LSD into the German supply lines or whether the Soviets had used it to make their soldiers immune to pain.

Next up, Angeline opens up some Russian NKVD reports. These internal records are from Commissars on the front line suggesting that the many Russian soldiers who were deserting could be being abducted by German infiltrators trying to terrorise the rest of their conscript troops. These reports seem to have gone nowhere within the NKVD and most appear to have never seen the eye of a senior officer.

There are dozens of photographs, black & white and colour, from what appears to be around the time of WWII through to recently. The older photographs show men in Western SOE and OSS agents with Eastern European partisans, SS and NKVD uniforms. Some of them are official posed records pictures, still more are men in the field. The backgrounds are varied in these. Hills, forests, snow, mountains and urban areas ravaged by war. Several pictures are of what look to be more ancient ruins.

The modern pictures are even more varied. There are pictures taken by mobile phone camera, CCTV still images, high quality B&W surveillance photos and what is likely Lennart's own Digital SLR. The pictures include ships, aircraft, docks, airports, buildings, people, and one picture that stands out of a sword laid on blue cloth in a dark wooden display case. The photo is poorly focused and appears to have been taken with a cellphone camera. Luc makes a one point spend in Weapons and identifies it as an Oakeshott Type X sword – it could possibly be anything up to 1500 years old. The handle has either been removed or has rotted with age. The background of the photo doesn't appear to imply a museum and the sword may be in the hands of a private collector.

The team check the geotagging on some of the photographs taken by Lennart shows various locations. Akrotiri (Cyprus), Baghdad (Iraq), Beirut (Lebanon), Haifa (Israel), Hamburg Port (Germany) Pernik (Bulgaria), Islamabad (Pakistan), Kabul (Afghanistan), Lagos (Nigeria), London (England), Naples (Italy), Odessa (Ukraine), Oostende (Belgium), Paris (France), Tel Aviv (Israel), Rome (Italy), Sofia (Bulgaria), Varna (Bulgaria) and Vienna (Austria).

The team try to draw parallels between the locations. Some of them are major port facilities (Haifa, Lagos, Naples, Oostende and Varna). The Baghdad pictures are mostly of military facilities at the airport. The photos from Germany include Ramstein AFB and around the Hamburg dock. Akrotiri in Cyprus is an RAF base. Perhaps there is a NATO or military angle on these pictures. Haifa in Israel is known for it's extremely high security but also for being a well known smuggling location (to Cyprus, then to Athens, then on to the rest of world).

The dates on the images run back around three years. Lennart appears to have been either deployed in these locations or has used whatever free time he could scrounge up between deployments to find his way to them. The geotagging on some pictures taken by Lennart show him in Pernik and Starosel in Bulgaria. These pictures contain images similar to some of the older B&W photographs from WWII.

Some people (who are not identified by name in the files) appear in multiple images. Some in cribbed CCTV footage, then with a telephoto lens. It appears that either Lennart or someone he hired was stalking several of these people.

Jumping next to the manuscripts Evelyn does her best to read a few more. Her Italian allows her a halting understanding of what she is reading. The geo-tagging on these pictures shows Dubrovnik and Angeline suggests these could be held at the Sponza Palace which holds records and manuscripts going back over a thousand years.

Luc points out the numerous maps that Lennart has collated - Akrotiri, Athens, Baghdad, Beirut, Berlin, Cadiz, Dubai, Dushanbe, Haifa, Hamburg, Islamabad, Kabul, Lagos, London, Mumbai, Naples, Oostende, Paris, Tel Aviv, Rome, Sofia, Varna and Vienna. There are around fifty maps in total ranging from local tourist maps to survey maps.

The team decide to watch a video interview. The interviewee is an old German man who appears to be in his late 80s or early 90s. Lennart appears to be running the interview from behind the camera. Lennart asks the man his name and the German answers “Maximilian Kohler”. Lennart probes him about the report he filed, cross-examining him to make sure he's telling the truth. Kohler's body language and demeanour indicate that he is being honest. He doesn't add anything to the report but he does at one point reach into his pocket and shows Lennart his pocketwatch.

“Wissen Sie, auch bis zum heutigen Tag das erste, was ich tun jeden Morgen ist der Wind diese Uhr.”

He looks Lennart dead in the eye as he continues

“Wenn es hält immer ich würde lieber als mich erschießen lasse mich in ihre Hände fallen”.

A quick spin through the interviews (both audio and video) shows that they have all been conducted by Lennart. There are a number of interviews with men around Kohler's age but also several with men in current military uniforms. Luc spends one point in Military Science to identify the uniforms of the US, Canada, Norway, Denmark and Germany. Each interviewee is from the respective country's air force and more specifically their transport and logistics wings.

In one interview Lennart asks the crew chief of a C130E about the shipping logs regarding the cargo. The chief responds by telling Lennart he was told that it was cleared by his CO and that he was given strict instructions not to go poking around the cargo. The cargo flew in from Kabul, refuelling over Turkey to Hamburg where it was signed for and the chief and his loaders were told to forget it was ever on board. The chief recalls the name “Vincent” as the person who had signed his orders.

There are interviews with airmen talking about a significant number of flights out from Kabul and Baghdad and many photographs back these up. There are even a couple of interviews with crew who looked at some of the cargo - lots of weaponry being transferred; from small arms, to anti-tank and surface to air missiles. Tons of ammo, hand grenades, land mines. It would seem based on Lennart's expertise that this is what started him looking into things. The audio interviews are similar but include aircrew who are less happy about going on any official record, some may have been recorded without their knowledge.

Ron gets back to the hotel with a stolen black Range Rover. He switches the plates, happy knowing that ANPR systems are not yet standard in most backwater areas. On returning to the hotel room he sees the three parked around the laptop and looking through documents and videos. He grumbles to himself about enabling the paranoia of others.

One French manuscript from the 13th century (apparently written in Villongue Abbey according to Lennart's notes) is a warning about the terrible Bulgars. It speaks of how their time has not yet passed, that they sacked Thrace once and are not afraid to do so again. Another, later document is from the Bulgarian monastery of St Ivan of Rila. This contains the same dire warnings and mentions the name Krivich (a quick google turns up the name of a tribe of Slavs).

Srebrenica
THU, 25 JUL 2013
21:37 (GMT+1)
Ron suggests that he and Luc go for a walk. They leave and take a stroll outside. Ron takes the opportunity to try and convince Luc to drop the research and steer Angeline and Evelyn away from it, concerned that it will lead them into his paranoia and fear. Luc shoots him a glance and explains how he has seen combat and is no stranger to death and this is different. The women are doing this of their own accord and he is not influencing them or encouraging them. Ron talks about making sure the job is done and that everyone can be safe and walk away without fear of reprisal. He appears concerned about Luc, thinking perhaps that he had him pegged wrong.

Srebrenica
FRI, 26 JUL 2013
08:16 (GMT+1)
The team spent the night catching up on much needed rest. They grab breakfast together and leave for Sarajevo to disassemble the surveillance left at Lennart's apartment.

On the journey Ron looks up the number of the dealer Rudek put them in touch with to arrange their gear. Ron calls the man, Stanimir Nikolic, in an effort to pass a message through to Rudek – there was a problem with the handover and they need to get back in touch with him. Nikolic says he'll pass the message on but promises nothing.

Evelyn calls Jacques Leclerc, her fence. She tells him the dropoff “didn't go well” and mentions that he will now owe her a quite considerable favour as a result. LeClerc apologises profusely and lets her know about his previous dealings with the Bosnian Pink Panther gang and this is how Rudek contacted him. Leclerc's reputation, professionalism and connections are impeccable and he has never had cause to doubt another professional's word. He tells Evelyn more about Rudek from what he has heard on the underground grapevine. That he was not a man to cross but that in all of his dealings he was entirely trustworthy.

Luc tries to reach Winants but gets no response. He leaves a message asking to speak with him urgently. Angeline runs checks on Nikolic's number. She uses her MOS in Digital Intrusion to patch into the cell network and identifies a number that Nikolic called immediately after Ron ended the call. Using some basic triangulation from the nearest two cell towers she is able to see that Rudek is still in Dubrovnik. She now has Rudek's number and will be able to track outbound calls that he makes although not in real time.

The drive from Srebrenica to Sarajevo is around three hours. It will take around two to three hours to clear out Lennart's apartment and switch cars again. From there to Dubrovik will be another three or four hours meaning that in around 12 hours the team can be back in Dubrovnik to confront Rudek.

Sarajevo
FRI, 26 JUL 2013
11:31 (GMT+1)
The team reach Sarajevo and strip the surveillance gear from the apartment without a fuss. Angeline is continuing to monitor Rudek's outbound calls. He has made a call to an unlisted number, with a Digital Intrusion check she ascertains that this number belongs to a Civil Defence Exchange, an old analogue switch that cannot be remotely hacked.

Sarajevo
FRI, 26 JUL 2013
16:05 (GMT+1)
Ron and Luc head out to stash some of the arms before the team cross the border back into Croatia. They bury the grenades and a pair of M70s as well as most of the ammo and take a GPS reading to find it at a later date. Luc field strips the M76, doing his best to avoid contaminating it. He bags it and tapes the barrel at both ends to preserve any evidence. The team cut open the roof lining and bundle the remaining M70 and the disassembled M76 to the inside of the roof tightly with clothing to prevent noise before replacing the lining. The border crossing from Sarajevo to Croatia is uneventful and there hasn't been any more evidence of activity from Rudek since the call to civil exchange. Pinging his cell phone GPS shows him to be in a reasonably priced local hotel on Ul Izmedu Polacu. Evelyn cases the hotel noting that it backs onto another building.

Dubrovnik Old Town
FRI, 26 JUL 2013
21:16 (GMT+1)
Since it is difficult to identify which room he is in from outside, Evelyn uses Disguise and Filch to sneak a peek at the signing in book whilst posing as a lost tourist. All six rooms appear to be occupied. One person only turned up two days ago which is unlikely to be Rudek. Angeline calls Rudek's number from a cafe-bar across the road. Evelyn distracts the receptionist by knocking over a glass bowl of mints on the desk and Ron and Luc make their way towards the ringing phone. They head upstairs and once out of sight of the reception desk pull on latex gloves and move down the hallway silently. The phone stops ringing in room three, apparently going to voicemail. Both Luc and Ron make a Sense Trouble roll easily and detect the coppery scent of blood.

Without sharing a word they both draw suppressed pistols and stack up next to the door. Luc tests the handle - it's locked. He silently indicates to Ron and holsters his pistol, taking out his picks. Fifteen seconds later the tumblers are in place and dropping the picks into his pocket he draws his handgun and they move in to the small, darkened room. Luc moves left and Ron to the right. Luc sees a figure, motionless on it's side on the bed. It looks like it could be Rudek. Ron finishes his sweep of the room and covers the door as Luc checks the body. There is no pulse and the body is clammy to the touch, not yet cold and rigor mortis has yet to fully set in.

Luc's Forensic Pathology skill lets him estimate that Rudek has been dead for around four or five hours, just six hours after Ron called him. He has been killed with a garrotte but where this is normally used to suffocate an enemy (cutting off either the air or the blood circulation to the brain) this has been pulled so tightly that it has cut through the flesh of his neck. The wire has cut into and through the arteries of his neck and the blood has soaked through his clothes and the bedsheets. Either the killer was angry with Rudek or they are possessed of significant strength.

Luc makes a Notice check to look for clues whilst Ron checks Rudek's phone which is showing three missed calls. Ron pockets the handset to check later on and lifts the wallet from the inside pocket of the jacket hanging on the door hook. A quick sweep shows a small toilet bag and around three or four days clothing hanging in the wardrobe and in the chest of drawers.

Luc works out that Rudek appears to have been garrotted in the bed, not moved, and that the blood is smeared around the neck wound as if it has been messed around with in some way. Rudek's only other wounds are three broken fingers on his right hand (ring, middle and index). Luc slowly removes the garrotte and places it in an evidence bag after he and Ron take copious and detailed photographs of the room. They check that they have left no evidence and back out of the room, locking it as they go.

Evelyn distracts receptionist again, asking for directions in hesitant Croatian as Ron and Luc leave and the team head to the hotel they booked on the way from Sarajevo.

Ron's passes Rudek's phone to Angeline - the last call is one from the team's pay as you go burner phone, the previous two are calls from Nikolic. Other than the call to the civil defence shelter there are no other calls shown today. Angeline uses Digital Intrusion to find further information on the phone. The civil defence number called once before about three or four months ago. Various other calls have been made to other numbers but nothing that appears out of the ordinary. Luc dusts the garrotte for prints, but none are present. The team reach the hotel and later in his room Ron stares at his family photos, his paternal instincts kicking in. He doesn't want the girls to suffer the same fate as Rudek...

Dubrovnik Old Town
SAT, 27 JUL 2013
07:36 (GMT+1)
The morning papers are delivered, including the report about a shootout in Gostilj and the unnamed survivor. Ron was ready to cut his losses and get out of Dodge with Rudek's death, but with the indication that Dedopovic is probably still alive (he is not named amongst the dead) and the fact that the others won't let go of this Lennart's research material, he decides that he wants to find out more about Dedopovic. Ron asks Angeline to check the internal police report, which she does. On discovering Dedopovic is alive Ron comes to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to have a nice long, detailed and enthusiastic chat with him. Evelyn reads the report and is forced to make a Stability check after finding out the guard she hit with the grenade is dead. She passes at the cost of one point of Stability.

Luc, Evelyn and Angeline head to the Sponza Palace while Ron prepares to go after Dedopovic. The team arrive around nine in the morning and after five hours come to the conclusion that a) Lennart was an obsessive and b) guys who speak dead languages are useful. Luc presses the flesh and spend a Network point to add them as contacts. Ron has meanwhile headed to the local police station and asked more about the shootout (using Cover and Cop Talk) under the pretence that it's related to one of his cases. Mention of Dedopovic leads to the cops disclosing the location of the hospital he is being treated at (Ljubovija Hospital – around 20km north of Srebrenica).

Srebrenica
SAT, 27 JUL 2013
19:11 (GMT+1)
The team arrive back in Srebrenica at early evening but decide to enter the hospital at around two in the morning as it may be quieter and there will likely be fewer guards at that time. Ron decides to look out a safe house where the team can interrogate Dedopovic and some medical support to keep him alive during questioning whilst Angeline, Evelyn and Luc play dress up in the hospital.

Srebrenica
SUN, 28 JUL 2013
02:04 (GMT+1)
Evelyn uses 2 Filch points to steal a hospital ID and hospital uniforms, Luc and Evelyn go inside whilst Angeline maintains a watch outside in the car. On the 2nd floor, Evelyn sneaks a glance down the hallway off which Dedopovic is located. There are two plastic seats either side of the door. One guard is sat there holding a newspaper. Evelyn approaches slowly with a laxative-laced coffee for the guard but as she approaches she realises that the guard is failing to notice her at all - simply staring fixedly ahead. Evelyn shakes his shoulder gently and he jerks awake.

Inside the room Evelyn and the guard hear something clatter to the floor. Luc, waiting just around corner, starts moving towards the room. The sound of smashing glass comes from inside the room and the guard turns to face door, unsnapping his holster and drawing his sidearm. He motions Evelyn to stay back and shouts at her. As she starts to shoo him back with all the nurse's concern she can muster he tears into the room gun first. Evelyn goes in immediately after him. In the room, the shattered remains of two plate glass windows lay scattered about the room. Dedopovic is gone - the IV drip has been ripped out and the monitoring machines are no longer connected.

Angeline sees a figure dressed in black leap from second floor window (about 24' up) carrying a human shape. This figure lands on a dark Mercedes C200 outside, making a large dent in the roof. The figure jumps off the car and runs into the shadows by the side of the hospital. Angeline makes her Stability check, spending two points) before alerting others. She can see the guard peering out of window, reach for his radio and start talking. Evelyn dashes to the window and looks out.

Angeline thinks fast about the camera footage of Vladek and pulls out her cellphone - it's not working. She checks her watch and it has also stopped. Luc sprints down the hallway to the stairwell and towards the ground floor exit.

Evelyn does a quick scan around the hospital room. It looks as though Dedopovic was disconnected from the machines quickly and with little care, likely the noise heard when the guard was awakened from trance. From the guard waking there was maybe three to five seconds before Dedopovic was disconnected from the machines and the window shattered.

As Luc heads down stairs he hears the noise of many pairs of boots approaching, he drops into a walking pace and four armed police officers run past him, heading up towards the guard left in the room. Evelyn gets out of hospital room and starts to head down to ground floor.

Angeline moves slowly towards the car keeping a close watchful eye on the shadows. The impact damage to the car roof is significant. Her phone comes back on and a glance at her watch shows that it too is working again. She takes the opportunity to start recording the damage to the car and vicinity with her camera phone.

Luc hits the exit doors and spies Angeline by the car asking what happened? Angeline quickly explains what she saw and the two of them head round the corner of the hospital, towards the shadows, Luc moving in front of Angeline. Evelyn quickly joins them but with sirens approaching they move to the car and get out of dodge and back towards the safe house. Angeline explains again what she saw along with the device failures and Evelyn explains what she saw upstairs.

***END SPOILERS***

Thank you once more for stopping by. We'll be back next week and again, any feedback or questions are welcome. If you'd like to join in please get in touch with me via G+

Cheers,

Paul