Friday, 29 November 2013

After Action Report - The Zalozhniy Sanction - Part One.

Hi everyone,

this last weekend, Sunday 24 NOV 2013, we had Omar, Leslie and Joseph and were joined for the first time by Andrew. The team started the first session of the Zalozhniy Sanction. Given that this is a published adventure (with several modifications to fit into my future designs) it is of course time for me to shout...


Mon, 29 JUL 2013
The team have booked transport from Sarajevo to Sevastopol. Due to a lack of direct flights they will have to fly into Istanbul, experience a small layover and then make their way to Sevastopol International Airport, quite the name for what is a single runway affair just North of the city. The team dispose of their firearms, anything incriminating or illegal and ensure that they use alternative identification from that used when entering the country to begin the Lennart job.

Mon, 29 JUL 2013
The team arrive in Istanbul via a Kuwait Airways 777 and meet up with each other and their luggage. After verifying that they have not been tailed on their own or recent flights and grabbing some food they make their way to the flight to Sevastopol. This second leg takes around 2 and half hours on a Turkish Airlines 737.

Mon, 29 JUL 2013
After their arrival in Sevastopol, Luc calls his contact and the team splits up make their way to a charming dacha overlooking Kalamita Bay. Donald Carroll and his girlfriend Marta introduce themselves to the team over a barbecue that he prepared and they also meet another two individuals that he has roped in for the task, Zygfryd aka “Fred” and Kelila. Fred is a young Polish man dressed in a shabby-looking suit who looks way too young to be involved in anything like this (he also appears more focused on his burger than those around him) and Kelila is a Palestinian who exudes professionalism and practicality.

Gyasi identifies Carroll as an ex-serviceman (Military Science) and asks where he served. Carroll reveals he is ex-Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta but left in the mid-1980s along with several other operators after financial irregularities were discovered. He and a few other members of the SOF community had been stealing from black funds to provide for their own retirement. Since then he has made his home here in the Crimea, helping the Russians and Ukrainians get an understanding of American thought processes whilst simultaneously selling the US information on Black Sea Fleet operations. Both sides need and trust him so his past is forgiven and forgotten so long as he doesn't stray too far off the reservation. After some introductions Carroll begins to brief the team on what he needs their assistance with.

Carroll talks about how the Central Intelligence Agency has asked him to track a missing shipment of weapons bound for the Iraqi National Police and security services. This arms shipment was diverted from Baghdad International Airport and smuggled overland through the Kurdistan region to Turkey. From there they suspect it was transported to Port Izmir in Samsun and to it's eventual destination across the Black Sea to Odessa. His contact in Samsun reported a shipment that two days ago aboard a Turkish vessel named Yelkenci; a freighter registered out of Istanbul. He estimates that the 1400km journey will take a little under four days at around 8 kts (the most fuel efficient speed for the Yelkenci) and he intends for the team to catch up to the freighter, shadow it into harbour and then follow the cargo to it's final destination.

The weapons crates that went missing have RFID chips concealed within them and Carroll needs the team to verify the crates, who has received them and then find out where they are heading thereafter via the shipping manifests. Carroll warns that it is likely that the likely suspects are professional criminals; his contact in Samsun was professionally gutted after making the report. Carroll promises to help the team out once they do him this small service and offers to organise new identification and passports, RFID trackers keyed to the chips in the weapons crates and a small amount of cash. Finally he apologises for not coming along; he would go himself were he not on very poor terms with the Ukrainian intelligence agency, the SBU. He implies that he would likely end up tortured and killed if were he spotted in Odessa.

In addition to the technical and financial resources, he's also called in a marker with a Russian Admiral who owed him a favour and has managed to get hold of a Russian Black Sea Fleet boat and it's Captain as well as a few marines from the 880th Naval Infantry Battalion.

Wed, 31 JUL 2013
The Russian ship is a Sonya-Class minesweeper, the Leytenant Ilyin, commanded by Captain-Lieutenant Vadim Kostya of the 11th ASW Brigade, 30th Surface Combat Division. He appears to be concealing a decade of severe alcohol habits with a cheap Old Spice knock-off and yet more alcohol. Without much more than a shrug he hands the team the keys to the ship's armoury (containing several 5.45x39mm AK-74Ms, 9x18mm Makarov PMMs and a 7.62x54Rmm SVD Dragunov) and then introduces them to the fabled Black Sea Marines. Their well-known reputation for toughness and ferocity is unfortunately undetectable on the young, ruddy faces of seven raw, conscripted recruits averaging about 19 years of age.

Making a top speed of around 15 kts the ex-minesweeper will be able to reach Odessa in under 12 hours. The team will have plenty of time to prepare the ground for their arrival in Odessa and should be able to intercept the Yelkenci about an hour or so from it's destination. Ibis has flown in to Odessa International Airport along with some support gear. Ron contacts her and arranges transport at the port so that the team will be able to track the crates once they are unloaded. Ibis rents two Volkswagen Touareg V8 TDI R-Lines using a fake ID, figuring that the combination of endurance, carrying capacity, top speed and off-road capability will give the team all the advantages they will need.

The Black Sea
Wed, 31 JUL 2013
The team intercept the Yelkenci as planned maintaining a safe distance within the shipping lane but close enough to monitor them using the “big-eye” binoculars mounted on the bow of the Lt. Ilyin. Angela uses the telescopic lens on her camera to photograph the ship (Photography) and notes that it sits low in the water, clearly heavily loaded. She counts five crew on the ship, each of whom appears to be armed. Luc sees a small boat come out from the harbour and meet up with the Turkish ship. The small vessel escorts the freighter into the harbour and they tie up at berth 22. He identifies the boat (Streetwise) as belonging to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVS), implying the criminals have their hooks into local law enforcement.

At the dock, the crew of the Yelkenci begin the long process of unloading the ship as four GAZ Sadko trucks pull up. Around ten armed men disembark from the trucks and begin assisting with the loading of the cargo into the trucks. Even with the assistance of the five Turkish sailors it looks as if it will take some time to transfer the cargo. The team takes the Lt. Ilyin's tender and make their way ashore whilst Kostya arranges a berth for the minesweeper with the port authority. The team locate and load into the Touaregs and check their gear, Angela verifying that the crates are the correct ones using the RFID detector provided by Carroll (Electronic Surveillance). Angela takes more pictures of the cargo (Photography) and identifies the cases as being those used to transport arms as well as a long silver, metallic box different from those around it. Pointing this out to the rest of the team she finds out from Gyasi that this is a USGI military coffin (Military Science)

Wed, 31 JUL 2013
Kelila takes the wheel of the lead Touareg with Angela riding shotgun with the RFID tracker as the GAZ trucks weave through traffic with reckless abandon. They head North East, parallel to the shore until they reach a red warehouse just after the corner of Prymors'ka Street and Virmens'kyi Lane. The trucks begin to unload and another twenty armed men filter out of the loading bay to assist in the transfer. Gyasi spots two more armed guards on the roof of the warehouse opposite (Notice). Case after case is being wheeled in to the warehouse and the team take the opportunity to check the lay of the land. Evelyn tells the team that beneath most of Odessa there are underground limestone catacombs at various depths. Some dug during the 18th and 19th centuries and some at the start of the Great Patriotic War in 1941 as the Germans invaded. Some are flooded, some have been rebuilt and some have collapsed completely but all told there are around two and half thousand km of tunnels beneath the surface. This could work as an alternate entrance but it is also possible that the Bratva is using them as a storage area.

Gyasi spots a militsiya Skoda Octavia parked further down the street (Urban Survival). The officers appear to be watching for inbound traffic to the street, not watching the bustling warehouse. Gyasi surmises that their job is preventing interference from nosy civilians rather than arresting organised criminals working in plain sight. Luc spies a guard wearing a short-sleeved black vest and can see from his tattoos that he's Lisky Bratva (Criminology). Fred spots two more guards at the rear of the warehouse on the loading dock (Military Science) and two more in front while the others concentrate on shifting cargo. No external CCTV is visible on the warehouse so it looks as if it should be possible to sneak in once they've taken the crates inside.

After waiting for the trucks to be unloaded Evelyn leads Gyasi, Ron and Luc inside the warehouse (Infiltration) via the side entrance to the top floor. On making their way past the locked door the team split into two pairs, Gyasi with Ron and Evelyn with Luc. There are crates stacked high to the rafters throughout with writing in English, Cyrillic and Arabic. There is a small office on the right of the stairs and stairs leading downward to the ground floor. Evelyn heads to the office and begins searching for the shipping manifests in the mass of paperwork. Ron cracks open a crate with Cyrillic writing on it and finds Russian IRP-P food rations and thick woollen blankets. There is a manifest within the case that shows the eventual destination as Dragovir, a small village in the Carpathian mountains of Romania. In the office Evelyn turns up manifests referring to Debrecen in Hungary. Ron checks the manifests against one another any sees that they share a shipping company, Cistvaen Merchant Marine NV based in Antwerp, Belgium (Bureaucracy).

Gyasi is checking the Arabic crates and these are filled with books, folders, yellowed papers, and clay tablets, some crumbled or broken into pieces within the plastic-wrapping. Most of the documentation is in English and due to the age probably dates to around the British mandate in Iraq (History). There are handwritten margin notes that commonly feature the word 'Intrusive'. The clay tablets make mention of the city of Irem and the Rub' Al Khali or Empty Quarter. These documents and tablets were probably looted from the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad. Luc sees that the military coffin is not located anywhere upstairs (Notice).

Inside the other crates are weapons, body armour, night-vision equipment, grenades and ammunition of various makes and models. Mostly US in origin the team take the opportunity to pick a few choice pieces of equipment for themselves whilst verifying that the gear is that sought by Carroll. The manifests in these crates shows the origin as Eglin AFB with the destination being Baghdad International Airport and the Coalition Security Transition forces. As the team photographs the gear an unknown female voice comes over the team comm line telling them that two guards are approaching from the North East corner of the warehouse.

Evelyn and Luc both react with surprise. Luc grabs up a suppressed FNX-45 pistol and he and Evelyn make their way silently to the south of the warehouse, behind the crates lined up near the wall. Ron and Gyasi drop into cover, Gyasi failing to notice that Ron is in no way surprised about the unknown voice that apparently just broke their encrypted comms. The approaching guards chat in Russian, one is grumbling to the other about missing out on how “The Doctor” is going to deal with Deniz (apparently one of the Turkish sailors from the Yelkenci). The two guards share a laugh together. Gyasi, listening in to their conversation, discerns a mixture of awe and fear in the men's voices when discussing “The Doctor”.

Ibis (for it is she) warns that there are two further guards approaching the stairs from the north east corner of the warehouse. Luc and Evelyn move to deal with these two whilst Gyasi and Ron prepare to take the first two down. Gyasi presses himself against the dark crates and watches them slowly walk past him without noticing him. He aims for the guard's mastoid process, just behind the jaw with the intent of instantly KO'ing the guard (Hand to Hand) while Ron takes first guard with slightly less technique but no less aggression. Gyasi's target falls to the ground, his body stiff whilst Ron's opponent is staggered by the heavy blow.

Luc tosses a coin on top of the crates distracting the two rear guards before taking shots at both of them (Shooting). The lead guard goes down with two in the chest and one in the head but the trailing guard is only wounded. Evelyn leans around the corner of the crate and draws a bead on his head. Just before she squeezes the trigger she adjusts her point of aim and puts a round through the guards leg (Shooting), shattering his tibia and causing him to screech out in pain.

Kelila, parked outside in one of the Touaregs warns the team that they have company. Three carloads of company as it happens. Ron plants a low kick on his opponent's left ankle, shifting him off balance, followed by a heavy right elbow to the kidney. The guard is stunned. Ron finishes him off by tackling him to the ground and punching him solidly across the jaw, bouncing the back of the guard's head off the floor and putting him under (earning a Hand to Hand refresh). Gyasi is meanwhile checking for a radio or comm device on his downed opponent. Luc motions Evelyn forwards to deal with the injured guard and runs towards stairs in the knowledge that the two guards from the loading bay downstairs will have heard the scream. Evelyn hesitates for a second but runs forward and drops knees-first onto injured guard's solar plexus, taking the last of the fight out of him (Hand to Hand).

Watching from outside, Kelila realises something has gone wrong inside and makes her way to the loading bay. Fred remains in the second Touareg with the engine running. She spots the two guards downstairs heading towards stairs. They hold AKS74Us in low ready and are moving cautiously to the base of the staircase. Gyasi pockets a radio found on the guard and sprints quickly to the railing by the stairs. Ibis brings her quad-rotor drone up towards roof and forwards the video feed to Angela's phone to give her live video of road to south and the approaching vehicles.

Gyasi, in a moment straight out of a WWE cage match, launches himself over the railing (Athletics) and onto one of the guards, elbow dropping him from the upper level (Hand to Hand). The guard is rendered unconsciousness (and about two inches shorter) by the impact. Luc puts a single round into the eye of the last guard downstairs.

Fred counts around 16 armed men outside, moving to form a perimeter around the building. They are unaware of the shooting so far as it has been suppressed. Evelyn searches the upper floor for a way out without starting a fire-fight they can't hope to win. She hears a hum of electric rotors and notices through the skylight that a small drone is hovering just outside, it's camera sweeping the area. Realising that they are surrounded she heads downstairs and upon noticing that the coffin is not down here either, she realises that there must be access to the catacombs below (Architecture). She starts hunting for access.

Gyasi has the guard's earpiece in and is listening in to their chatter. They are there to provide additional external security for the building but once the perimeter is set up it is highly likely they will notice the missing guards inside. Evelyn finally locates the entrance to the catacombs in the north east corner of the ground floor. It is wide enough for the agents to gain access. Angela and Kelila join Ron, Gyasi, Luc and Evelyn in heading into the subterranean maze in a bid to avoid going up against the security force that just rolled up. Fred remains in the Touareg, aware that he is now the sole person outside

There are work lights strung up every few metres in the tunnel below. Evelyn takes point as they head down the tunnel (Infiltration) followed by Gyasi and Luc, then Kelila, Angela and, finally, Ron acts as Tail-end Charlie. Ibis lets the team know that the guards upstairs are still making their cordon and have not yet entered the warehouse. The tunnels are dark but sound travels well in the cold, still air and Evelyn can make out a Turkish-accented voice speaking in Russian emanating from deeper beneath the earth.

As the team advances further into the depths, they hear a second voice speaking to the first. This second voice is not quite audible and sounds like a hoarse, scratchy whisper. Evelyn sneaks closer to get a visual. Up ahead is a wooden balcony above a large open area hewn from the surrounding limestone. The voices are coming from the far end of the space. Peeking out over the balcony she sees an oblong stone plinth in the middle of the space with the coffin dead centre. The Turkish man is begging forgiveness from a tall man in a dark suit stood next to this plinth. Evelyn recognises this figure as one of the three men seen meeting Brigovich in Odessa on Ibis' video feed. The Turkish sailor (most likely Deniz) is having a spirited discussion with the man who must be the “The Doctor” the guards upstairs were talking about. Ron silently urges the team step back away from the balcony.

Other figures move about the room shifting crates and cases from one place to another. There are Lisky Bratva soldiers and a couple of the Turks from the Yelkenci. They all share an overwhelming interest in the events taking place in the centre of the room and with their attention drawn to this the rest of the team moves closer to Evelyn. Deniz is telling The Doctor that problems with the Baghdad route will resolved as soon as possible. He will sort it out personally and that it will just take some time. His voice swings emotionally from anger to resignation by way of pleading.

The Doctor pushes past Denis and opens the casket. Evelyn can make out uniformed dead body which Gyasi identifies as wearing Crye Multicam, popular with US Army Special Forces units and his tabs indicate a master sergeant in the 5th SFG (Military Science). Gyasi photographs the scene as best he can as “The Doctor” leans inside coffin and, taking something from his pocket, does something to the corpse. He turns sharply to Deniz and asks in his low rasping voice what he was saying again? Luc sees that the Doctor is holding a syringe. Deniz follows “The Doctor”, trying to talk to him as he walks away. On being rebuffed he reaches out to grab his shoulder to turn him round and make him listen.

One by one the team feel as if their heart skips a beat, as if the world has just stopped momentarily. They are brought back to reality as a uniformed arm bursts out of coffin and grabs Deniz by the throat; lifting and squeezing simultaneously. Luc immediately glances to his watch, Evelyn does so moments after.

Both have stopped.

Cellular phones and watch alarms reset, beeping loudly. Gyasi realises that they have just given the game away and starts ushering people back up the tunnel towards Ron who is already making fast to get the hell out of Dodge. Evelyn sees a bloodstained figure climbing out of the coffin. In less than a second, the figure appears on the balcony by the team. Evelyn, Gyasi and Luc are closest. Ron, Angela and Kelila are further back up the tunnel. Gyasi can tell just by looking that this thing is very capable (Eye Of The Tiger), well out of Luc or Evelyn's league.

Luc empties the magazine from his .45 ACP FNX-45 into the creatures chest (MOS - Shooting). Evelyn follows suit, emptying the 9x19mm Beretta M9 she grabbed earlier (Shooting). It takes every single round they can throw at it and continues to stand in front of them. Ron, disbelieving the magical woo rubbish that Luc had been spouting didn't mention any of this to Gyasi. His first experience of the supernatural is watching a creature appear within arm's reach of his face and then shrug off two dozen handgun rounds at point blank range. Not surprisingly he reacts with some shock (Stability loss). Evelyn and Luc, both having some small experience thus far adjust slightly faster though the shock of the creature's survival challenges closely held beliefs (Stability loss).

Gyasi feints a left jab to the creatures orbital socket, then throws a low sweeping kick that mid-way turns into a hard back kick with the aim of sending it back over the balcony (Hand To Hand). It stumbles back with the attack and appears to be held up by the railing around the balcony. Kelila takes the opportunity to send several two-round bursts from the .45 ACP Heckler & Koch UMP into it's chest, completing the effect (Shooting).

Ron sprints up with a pair of M67 fragmentation grenades; one in each hand. He has already pulled the pins and as he closes he lets the spoons fly off and sends them in a curving arc over the edge of the balcony (Athletics). Luc and Evelyn see the two grenades fly past them topple over the edge. The explosions, and the screams they cause echo from the walls in the close confines of the underground storage area. Luc begins to lean over the edge to check if the creature is dead but Ron yells at him to follow and he shakes his head clear and runs down the tunnel.

Ibis has gained access to a real time satellite feed from an NRO ZIRCONIC satellite overhead with Deep Ground Penetrating Radar. She sends an image through to Angela with the route out of the catacombs tagged. At this depth they still just about have signal but any deeper and they will be cut off. Angela indicates the southern tunnel being the fastest route out not involving slogging through 20 armed Russians and Evelyn motions Luc forwards and takes his AN/PVS-14D Night Vision Monocle. She drops the empty magazine from her M9, slaps in a fresh one and takes point again. Luc reloads his FNX-45 and grimly shoulders a .45 H&K UMP before following after her.

Ron picked up an M7 bandolier from one of the crates upstairs and rigs up an M1 Pull/Release firing device as a field-expedient tripwire at the entrance to the tunnel to catch any pursuers (Explosive Devices and Conceal). Evelyn leads team into south-west tunnel; Ibis saw the layout of the tunnels with the DGPR has given them turn-by-turn directions. The tunnel slopes downwards, but Ibis has assured the team that this leads to an exit. She has in the meantime updated Fred on their expected exit point so that he can make his way there and meet them with at least one vehicle.

Odessa Catacombs
Wed, 31 JUL 2013
A colossal explosion, a blast of overpressure through the tunnels and more screams indicate that Ron's trap worked. The tunnel ahead is also getting narrower and less well-maintained and more worryingly, the lighting is becoming much less frequent. There is graffiti from a century and a half of history on the walls and carved into the wooden beams supporting the crumbling, time-worn limestone. The team headed south-west as they hear distant shouts and running feet, Russian voices saying "Get him out of here, he's going to die".

Ron sets up some C4 (Preparation and Explosive Devices) in a narrow section in an effort to bring the tunnel roof down to block further pursuit. Once the team is at a safe distance he squeezes the clacker and sets off the charge. The roof collapses with a massive bang, the blast wave passes through the tunnel choking the agents briefly with dust from the ruined limestone tunnel. The tunnels branch multiple time but with Angela guiding the team using Ibis' map. Evelyn is still on point, moving quickly and quietly with her pistol ready for action. Ron can hear frantic noise from behind as the Bratva soldiers try to clear the collapsed tunnels.

Further down the tunnel is flooded. This didn't show on the GPRS. It's not too deep, maybe thigh-height, but it is freezing cold and slows the team's movement. Gyasi hangs back as Ron comes by acting as rear-guard. Ron laughs morbidly at their situation “Remember Beirut?” (Shrink). Gyasi smirks back at Ron, shaking his head at the circumstances (Stability recovered). Happy that Gyasi has bucked up and shifted into autopilot, letting the warrior inside him take the wheel, Ron moves past Gyasi, sweeping the Surefire flashlight mounted on his M-1014 down a nearby side-passage.

Gyasi sees dust settling in the water in a thin film. He follows the dust back up to the ceiling and sees the creature from earlier. He shouts a warning to the others as the creature crawls along the ceiling, defying gravity and all logical sense. It is clothed in smouldering rags, clearly the result of being hit by the grenade blasts. Gyasi is stuck in place, shocked to his core at this thing which hisses at him as it's talons pull it fast along the pitted limestone ceiling. Nothing he has seen so far in all his tours has prepared him for this (more Stability loss).

Everyone spins round to see the threat. Luc is badly shaken (Stability loss). He's seen about thirty rounds hit this creature. He knows two frag grenades landed within feet of it and it is still coming. This thing isn't like Vladek, at least he had the good grace to die when shot. Evelyn steels herself, slipping the M9 into a drop-rig holster and shouldering her own M-1014 shotgun. Angela leans against the wall, reeling in feat (Stability loss).

Luc's emotions shut down completely, his fear having reached a peak. He feels the buttpad of the SMG in his shoulder, sees the weapon track in on the target in slow motion like a witness rather than an instigator. The red dot of the reflex sight centres on the creature's head, his thumb has already moved the selector switch to “LOUD” without him thinking about it and feels his finger tug the trigger back. Luc leans into the recoil and the suppressed H&K UMP chatters at the creature, a line of bullets stitching across it's face and body. Casings bounce off the walls and spill into the water around him as he puts all twenty five rounds into the creature (Shooting refresh). It falls from the ceiling into the water, the splash churning the surface of the water.

Ron is busy trying to usher people further down the tunnel or get out of water. Gyasi sees ripples under the water heading straight towards him, gaining in speed. He pulls his survival knife and makes ready to try blade where bullets and bombs have failed. It launches from the water at him, long, taloned fingers outstretched and reaching for Gyasi's throat. Moving fast than he has ever moved before Gyasi buries the survival knife in the side of the creature's skull (Weapons). Luc leaps forward at the same time (Athletics), drawing his own blade and plunging it into the neck on the other side (Weapons).

Ron and Evelyn raise their shotguns and put a round apiece into it's head. It slumps down, now only being held up by the knives penetrating it's hide. Evelyn turns to one side and is quietly sick into the water.

Angela suggests that they take the body for study. Gyasi pulls out a bodybag from his medikit. The team hears voices in Russian closing in the distance. They reload, check themselves over and make their way towards the exit indicated on Ibis' map.


The link to the Night's Black Agents map is here and has been updated with more events, pictures, people and fun stuff.