Sunday, 15 December 2013

After Action Report - The Zalozhniy Sanction - Part Two.

Hello once more,

this last week 08 DEC 13 we had Andrew, Joseph, Leslie and Omar and we continued with The Zalozhniy Sanction. With this being a published adventure it is important to be aware that 

***HERE THERE BE SPOILERS***

Odessa Catacombs
Wed, 31 JUL 2013
22:15 (GMT+2)
Fred is behind the wheel of one of the Volkswagen Touareg R-Lines, heading to the RV point at the catacomb exit when he spots an Odessa politsiya Skoda Octavia trailing about four cars back (Sense Trouble). He performs a few chancy manoeuvres to ascertain if it's him they are after and they stay the same distance back but also don't approach to arrest him. Odessa cops are notoriously corrupt. There's no chance on Earth that they wouldn't pull him if they thought they could shake him down for a decent bribe. He updates Ibis, letting her know he's got a tail and he can't make it to the RV point with these guys tailing. Ibis opens a map and checks Fred's GPS location then starts working out a plan. Fred makes a right turn onto Velyka Arnauts'ka St., leading the cops away from the catacomb exit.

On the last underground stretch, a few hundred feet from the end of this branch of the catacombs, comms are restored. Evelyn opens the iron gate (Open Sesame) to the catacomb exit and the team set up overwatch to their rear as they await pickup. The team prepare to dump their larger weapons, keeping just their handguns - E&E through a city of hostile cops will be a lot easier if they're not trying to sneak a shotgun around.

Ibis, driving a converted black Range Rover Sport HSE, suggests a route that will give Fred opportunity to break away from his tail (Traffic Analysis), then radios the politsiya car direct, pretending to be a dispatcher, distracting them for long enough that he can get away. Ibis cuts down Bohdana Khmel'nyts'koho St. to the meeting point with the team, letting them know her licence plate number and that she can carry three or four people. Fred pulls up soon afterwards and in the dark the team begin to load up the vehicles.

Fred climbs into the passenger seat of the Touareg, allowing Kelila to take over driving duties. Gyasi dumps the body and his shotgun into the back of Fred's VM Touareg and Angela and Luc get in the back. Evelyn and Ron get into Ibis' Range Rover before Gyasi jumps in and the team sets off in a convoy. A few minutes of anti-surveillance driving and then they settle down to drive carefully and obey speed limits. Ibis directs them to the safe house on Radial'na Street in the Malinovsky district of West Odessa. The team split up, taking different routes and carrying out further anti-surveillance drills. As far as they can tell, no-one is following them.

Odessa Safe House
Thu, 01 AUG 2013
00:28 (GMT+2)
The team park the Touareg in the garage out of sight. The politsiya may have a description of this vehicle so best to keep it off the road. The Range Rover is left on the driveway. Ibis gets a collapsible wheelchair out of the car and makes her way inside and introduces herself to everyone. The team recognise the disembodied voice from their comms line earlier. Gyasi, Angela and Fred lead a quick debrief, discussing what they've seen (Shrink spends increase Stability). The team are able to relax a little for a few hours (Haven – the team are able to refresh several skills). Evelyn is collating notes on the photos and items seen in warehouse.

Ibis asks if someone can open the crate in the foyer - Luc opens the crate as directed by Ibis and finds some drones and surveillance equipment. Ibis begins setting up a few cameras on the safe house for security. Gyasi has meanwhile brought the body inside, putting it in the bath whilst keeping the shotgun close to hand. He spots the dog-tags are still on the body (Notice) and finds that the body is that of Staff Sergeant James Bannerman, a 5th SFG A-Team member. Angela is keen to check on the body and conduct some tests to see if they can identify the substance that “The Doctor” used during the reanimation process. Angela, Gyasi and Fred all gathered round body. Kelila watching door. Gyasi keeps his M-1014 ready. They are taking no chances with this...whatever-it-is.

Ibis inside notes that everyone is too distracted to ask her how she hacked their comms – this suggests that they are in a very serious situation. At Gyasi's request she begins to check for records of S Sgt Bannerman. She turns up a news report of his death indicating that he was killed in Iraq by an IED about a year ago. The bodies condition implies that it has been on ice. Gyasi tries to identify the cause of death (Forensic Pathology) and, other than injuries inflicted by team, finds a shrapnel wound to his neck was probably what killed him. At some point after this the body was clearly stolen from storage facility, before ending up with the Lisky Bratva. Kelila & Ron head out to steal a numberplate to replace the one currently on the Touareg.

Luc's phone rings and he steps out - it's Donald Carroll. He hits record on the phone to capture the message.

"Jesus fucking Christ - you've got to get out of Odessa. It's the Lisky Bratva! They don't mess around. Slave trading, guns, drugs, you name it. They've got the politsiya in their pocket as well as the military. Get the hell out of there. Marta and I are bugging out. We're heading to Vienna. It's safe ground. Make your way to the airport left luggage. Locker 827. We'll meet you..."

Carroll's voice is cut off by the noise of a helicopter flying very close, followed by a loud crash. Luc hears a woman scream out. There is more crashing then the sound of Marta sobbing. Metal can be heard being torn from metal, followed by a gurgling noise and a crack. Marta screams again then goes silent. A female voice in a Russian accent speaks into the cell phone.

"Мы убьем вас, если мы можем (We will kill you if we can)"

The line goes dead.

Luc heads back inside and plays the recording for the others. Angela immediately takes the phone and removes the battery. Ibis wondering what she's gotten into. She is able to identify the sound of a heavy military helicopter (passive Piloting). The only things that big and heavy locally would be Mil Mi-8 “Hip” or Mi-24 “Hind” helicopters. If they have access to that much firepower the team is likely not safe. A quick Google by Ibis indicates that the 79th Airmobile Brigade is closest to Odessa. She does some maths and works out flight time at full speed from Sevastopol to Odessa for a helicopter which gives the team a timeframe to work to.

Ibis begins packing up. Kelila checks over the VW Touareg, making sure it's ready to move. Kostya calls in to tell the team that there are three Stenka-class patrol boats in the harbour, manned by sailors and marines of the Ukrainian Sea Guard. Ibis volunteers that she has plane at airport and will be able to extract at least some of the team. The team get cracking, breaking down Ibis's drones for transport and packing away whatever else they intend to take with them. Angela pulls a blood sample from the corpse for later testing.

Odessa Safe House
Thu, 01 AUG 2013
00:45 (GMT+2)
The team decides to split up for safety. Evelyn, Fred and Ron going with Ibis on plane and Luc, Kelila, Gyasi and Angela going via land. Donald probably mentioned the locker because it contains details of safe house location in Vienna (Tradecraft) but didn't want to spell it out over open phone line. Ibis prepares a flight plan to Turin, Italy with the intention of diverting to Vienna due to unforeseen “mechanical problems”.

The other team will take the Touareg on the M-16 motorway to Transnistria region. Given it's disputed status they can shake off official pursuit and then make their way to Romania via Moldova. This will allow them to follow up the mention of Dragovir in the shipping manifests from the warehouse. They strip Bannerman's corpse and take the surveillance gear that was emplaced in the house as well as one of Ibis's quadcopter drones.

M-15 Motorway from Ukraine to Moldova
Thu, 01 AUG 2013
00:54 (GMT+2)
Meanwhile Kelila and the others head to the M-16 for the 65-mile drive to Tiraspol. Traffic is very light on the motorway at this time of night which makes it very obvious when they are being tailed by other vehicles. Kelila identifies the cars as a Toyota Highlander and a Kia Forte; relatively common vehicles in the area. They don't look like cops but they do their best to match speed and retain distance. If the helicopters are heading for them, there's a window of approximately 30 minutes before they will catch up.

Kelila decides to see how far ahead she can get. The top speed of this R-Line is supposedly around 135mph, she decides to test that theory. Tails left far behind, they just can't keep up with the Touareg's speed. As soon as sufficient lead has been created slows down and they reach the border soon after. The border looks fairly unofficial and the guards are clearly taking bribes from drivers ahead in the queue. The Touareg is not a subtle or cheap vehicle so it's luck the team have access to sufficient cash to buy their way in.

The team are shocked to learn of the terrible potato blight in the vicinity of Tiraspol and must therefore pay for their vehicle to be sprayed with chemicals (which appear to be simply water) to ensure that this is not further spread. The team decide to drop a little more money to the guards to slow down the Toyota and Kia should they decide to follow them into the capital. The plan in the meantime is food, shelter and some sleep before they can head off to Dragovir in Romania.

Odessa International Airport
Thu, 01 AUG 2013
02:05 (GMT+2)
Ibis starts the drive to Odessa International Airport with Evelyn, Fred and Ron. Within 20 minutes they are at the aircraft, an Aero Piaggio P180 Avanti II. The Range Rover is sanitised and within 30 minutes the aircraft is loaded and the preflight checks complete. Ibis gets confirmation from the ATC and the aircraft takes off and makes a slow bank to starboard towards Turin. The flight time will be around three hours so the team settle down in the back and get some rack time.

31,000ft over the Slovakia/Austria Border
Thu, 01 AUG 2013
03:58 (GMT+1)
Ibis relates to Vienna air traffic control that she's having mechanical issues with her port engine and requests permission to land along with setting aside some hangar time to work on the “malfunctioning” engine. After being cleared she makes a successful landing and taxis to the private aircraft hangars. Fred sorts out a pair of hire cars and Ron unpacks the equipment they need whilst Evelyn carefully checks the locker at the airport, finding the address of a safe house in Vienna set up by Carroll. Donald has left a fully stocked go-bag in the locker as well with passports for he and Marta, some cash, medical supplies and a Glock 19 9x19mm with a single box of ammunition.

Carroll's Vienna Safehouse
Thu, 01 AUG 2013
09:15 (GMT+1)
The team settle down for a few hours rest and then it's back to work. Evelyn and Fred pick up some coffee and pastries and then everyone gets down to business bringing each other up to date. Ibis checks for surveillance on Brigovich's safe house in Odessa; she notices that the unknown duo left the house during the night but sees no evidence of activity from Danilo himself, or from Zoric. It does appear, however, that the two unknown men are likely in transit with “The Doctor”.

Ibis begins to research Dragovir and the monastery. The quantity of supplies being shipped there suggests either a lot of people are moved through the area or there are a few people staying for the long term. The monastery is high in the hills, far from the nearest centre of population. It's possible given what they now know about the Lisky Bratva that trafficked individuals are being kept there, particularly given Romanian links to Ukraine, Moldova and human trafficking. Târgu Jiu is the nearest town of any real size, the capital of Gorj county in the Carpathian mountains – the monastery goes back to the Dacian-era (15th century) but like many places of religious worship in Romania, it has been built over previously existing. Ron checks in with the team in Tiraspol that this is their next destination. The Vienna team will hang back and offer remote support.

Evelyn looks into Cistvaen Merchant Marine and finds that it is based in Antwerp but has subsidiary branches in Hamburg and various other European locations. They are primarily a shipping company but they also have access to ground networks. The company appears to be profitable and entirely legitimate business. There are a couple of instances of people being arrested while trying to smuggle themselves aboard Cistvaen transports but these are individual cases and are par for the course.

The landline in the safe house rings. Ibis connects a recording device and Ron picks up. The voice on other end is somewhat familiar. A hoarse whisper, speaking slowly and in short sentences. The voice of “The Doctor”.

"You have a choice. I can call off those who seek you. Those who will kill you. I seek something. I need half of this something from you. I will hold off the hounds of the Bratva if you get the Albedo. Seek the Albedo from Arkady Shevlenko. If you do not provide it, I will destroy you."

Ibis establishes that the call is originating outside Austria. Even with this being the case the team moves to grab gear and get out of the safe house. Before they leave, Evelyn sets up video surveillance on safe house.

As the team yet again packs up Ibis recalls that the Albedo is a term from alchemy (Occult). She briefs the team quickly before she begins looking into Shevlenko. It's hard work to find anything out about him from public sources. He's ex-KGB (what is now the SVR). A case officer responsible for recruitment and support of agents. Now nearing 80 years old, he has chosen to live out the last few years of his life in Vienna. There's a good chance that he's still being watched by the FSB or SVR so even if he is not too hard to find it will still be difficult to do so without alerting his watchers. Evelyn finds out that he was responsible for debriefing Kim Philby before he was exiled to Moscow (History).

Carroll's Vienna Safehouse
Thu, 01 AUG 2013
10:00 (GMT+1)
As they leave safe house, Evelyn checks for tails and surveillance; it's unlikely that the Lisky Bratva could get someone there fast enough but better safe than sorry. Ron knows the SIS station chief here in Vienna (Contact). Albert Carpenter is a portly, middle-aged man with the smart, clipped accent of an Oxbridge educated man. He has many years at SIS and has been stationed in Vienna since 1997. Ron contacts Albert, saying out of operational courtesy that he's running something in the area and trying to arrange a meet. He also checks to see whether there's a place for him to lie low.

Ron drops Ibis and Fred at the airport. Ibis has long list of things to do - changing the registration and ID of the plane, hacking system to obfuscate paperwork (e.g. to make it look as though they actually arrived in Turin) and change the flight manifest. Fred meanwhile keeps an eye on Ibis and looks around to see if any surveillance in general area.
Fred has connections with the GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) in the city and will see if there is any way he can find more information of Shevlenko.


Evelyn and Ron head off to their meeting with Albert.

***SPOILERS END***

Thanks for joining us again - the updated map can be found here.

Cheers,

Paul