Saturday, 3 April 2010

Illegal Organisations Squad : Snakemen in Tribeca


Year 2009 : Events involve the "Illegal Organisations Squad" of the New York Police Department. A unit that formerly investigated cults and religious extremism; following 9/11 virtually all responsibility for "real" religious extremism was handed over to Homeland Security, leaving the IOS with various loons, UFO cults and the like. On a very small budget the unit is under constant threat of closure, but fortunately the nature of the work involves a fair few high profile rescues of kidnap victims from strange sects, and this is enough to stave off closure. The unit has 4 pairs of detectives, the players - Nigel and Nick play one of these pairs, Det. Vincent Massi and Det. Charlie Curran.

The investigation started on a Summer evening with the detectives in a high speed chase through Greenwich Village in pursuit of a suspect in the disappearance of women thought to have joined a cult. The suspect was a sometime "Music Producer" and was thought to pick girls up at clubs and induct them into an unknown religious cult. He saw the detectives, got into a car and fled. This is where play started.

The suspect's car ran into traffic, and he alighted and ran across an intersection into traffic. The players stopped short and one jumped out to follow. The other edged forward slowly across the traffic. Suspect was seen to run into an alleyway into the goods entrance of a shop. Curran fumbled a locksmith roll and broke a lockpick in the door. Ironically, this had the effect of sealing the door from the outside, so they went round the block to identify the front entrance....which predictably turned out to be a bookshop.

As they entered, calling police warnings, a gun was heard being loaded. Massi charged across the shop and over a counter and was confronted with the bookstore clerk holding a handgun. The clerk fired first, hitting Massi, but thanks to a Kevlar vest, minimal damage was taken. Massi fired and missed. Curran started firing through a bookcase, but this was completely ineffective. The clerk turned and ran, Massi hit him with his handgun and grappled with him. For some reason, Curran then tried to push a bookcase onto the both of them, which also failed. The clerk rolled 04 for grappling and escaped. Curran panicked and fired, hitting the clerk in the back, killing him. The dust settled and stories were invented. A search of the store revealed a basement with some occult paraphernalia and some property of the missing women. A hole in the basement wall led to the boiler room of an adjoining property where it appears the original suspect escaped. Crime Scene Unit and the Mortuary were called to clean up.

Detective work revealed the owner of the bookstore owned a van for the shop and a flat in Queens. This flat was searched, found empty, but evidence of a warehouse also in Queens where the bulk of the books were stored. This warehouse was located, and the van was spotted outside. Entering cautiously, the detectives were eventually confronted by what appeared to be human sized lizards (SAN checks abounded). One lizard used a breath weapon on the characters, resulting in a lot of damage. A vicious firefight ensued ending in the death of the lizards, which upon closer inspection a few minutes later appeared to have reverted to the original forms of the bookstore owner and Music producer. More SAN checks and a lot of excuses had to be made up before the Crime Scene Unit arrived. The warehouse also revealed a killing room containing the desiccated corpses of 11 women (including the two originals) and a curious snake-like piece of jewellery. A lot of handshakes all around from the Squad commander for clearing 11 homicides.

Curiously, the Squad commander took them aside after a few days sickleave, commenting on what they had seen. They were then bizarrely sent on detachment to assist as "consultants" in a multiple homicide case in Arizona. Even more bizarrely, the local FBI was completely ok with it. The squad commander seems to have his hand in a lot of pies.

The multiple homicide case sees the characters largely taking a spectators role as some strange events take place. It seems their boss and someone in the FBI had heard about what they had seen in Queens and wanted them there to see something going on in Arizona.

Arriving in Phoenix, the detectives found themselves in the middle of a major investigation, a quiet stretch of highway through an Indian reservation had seen a series of disappearances and abandoned vehicles – especially belonging to tourists. A local farming family had also disappeared. Following some early investigations, Massi received an envelope under the door of his motel room containing several clippings relating to murders occurring in a linear pattern originating in West Virginia, and a report of a meteor shower in Tecumseh County, WV.

During helicopter observation, Curran spotted a metallic object in the desert which turned out to be a partially excavated car. Inside was the corpse of a missing Houston police detective, Ken Braverman – wanted in Houston in connection with the disappearances of several prostitutes and the murder of his family.

Proceedings were interrupted by the report of a siege at a nearby spiritual site – a cave where three tribal elders had been taken hostage. The State Troopers’ SWAT team stormed the cave, and found only skeletonised remains of the elders. Fingerprint analysis later matched to a Emanuel Santana, an Army Special Forces deserter from the early 70s. He had been known to be living in the area as a hermit, but the tribal sheriff was unaware of his past.

Early the next morning, an emergency report came in of an attack at a tribal police station. It had been reported that three on-duty tribal deputies had been murdered.

Curran and Massi are joined in Arizona by the newest member of IOS, Det. Daniel Pulkow. Pulkow was involved in the clean-up after the “lizardman” incident and was witness to some of the very unusual scenes found afterwards. Lt. White sends Pulkow to help out given what he saw in Queens.

There is chaos in around the Deputy station in the wake of the attack. Tribal and State police are everywhere conducting roadblocks and door-to-door enquiries as well as mobilising as many people as possible. The media are starting to arrive in force. With incredible vision, the first action of Det. Pulkow is to notice the CCTV system of a mini-market across from the station. Examination reveals footage of Santana entering and leaving the Deputy station.

Examination of the Deputy station revealed that something had been removed from the cell. As the station had no evidence locker, it was said that it was commonplace to keep evidence in the cell. Major Garrett mentioned seeing a “basketball” in the cave during the siege. They were unsure if it was part of the tribal Elder’s effects (and possibly a religious artefact) so it was given to the Deputies to guard on the reservation.

Returning to the cave, a possible, but unlikely escape route – a smoke flue at the back of the cave was identified, and it was postulated that while a man could possibly escape there, to do so carrying the basketball would be much more difficult, as such Santana had left it behind when he escaped, then returned for it.

More evidence was collected pointing to a continuous westward trail of destruction from West Virginia to Arizona. Re-interviewing Joe Rope at the Begay Ranch, and examination of the ranch found several recently-excavated graves of sheep stolen from the Begays. Apparently Victor Begay suspected rustlers and had taken to staking out the outer reaches of his ranch before he disappeared.

Hiring a vet to examine the sheep remains threw up evidence of stabbing or piercing action on the bones. Tying this into the blood-draining, created images of a huge mosquito type creature.

The detectives travelled to Phoenix to see the autopsy results on the deputies, Ken Braverman and tribal elders. The ME, Dr. Jorge Gutierrez stated evidence of piercing and stabbing motion on the bones, and total blood drain on Braverman.

Leaving Phoenix, a radioed report of a sighting of Santana heading toward the city limits. A State Trooper set up a roadblock to intercept. The large manhunt force was heading westward to catch up with him, as the detectives sped eastward toward the roadblock. En route, the saw a State Trooper vehicle pass them speeding toward Phoenix. They turned and pursued it, seeing by chance pull into a drive-thru burger restaurant. Securing the scene, several shots were fired toward them, including one rifle round hitting Massi in the back, fortunately absorbed by his vest.
Following sporadic gunfire, the state troopers surrounded the restaurant, and when Santana made a break out the rear exit, he was hit repeatedly by fire. Staggering down the drive-thru lane, he was fired on by the detectives. A glancing shot at range from Massi’s shotgun was followed by a solid hit by Pulkow. Santana went down and was declared dead.

Later in the night, having received medical treatment, the group returned to Phoenix to observe the autopsy of Santana, expecting to find evidence of several cannibalistic murders in his digestive tract. However, they were faced with a grisly scene through the Perspex observation window into the autopsy room. Dr. Gutierrez had apparently been incapacitated by the badly damaged corpse of Santana which was in the process of transferring some kind of parasite or organism into Gutierrez’s body. No cellular reception was available for calling help. Curran ran outside to call for help and get body armour. Pulkow fired into the glass, whilst Massi kicked the glazed unit through. No reaction was observed from the occupants, and the detectives started firing on the “worm”. Pulkow missed, but Massi scored a very good direct hit, cutting the organism in two. This was placed into a tub and secreted. Excuses were made, and some ideas bandied about that Santana was “not quite dead” and had attacked and killed the ME.

Massi received a phone call from someone calling herself “Ms. Green” and stated that she had passed the envelope containing the clippings. She asked to meet at the Phoenix museum of firefighting the next day. At this meeting, Ms. Green and an associate took custody of the corpse of the worm and of the basketball. Ms. Green invited the detectives to join their covert organisation, Delta Green and promised the opportunity to learn untold secrets and potential help in escaping difficult legal situations. After accepting, they were told about the “Green Boxes” and given the code to one in Greenwich Village.

Recuperating, they took the opportunity to go on some departmental training. Massi took on a course in Departmental Administration. Curran took a course in Forensic Accountancy, and Pulkow a course on basic crime scene procedure – although he apparently learned very little.

These were the first sessions of the DG Campaign, the "Snakemen in Tribeca" was custom-built, and the second part is "Puppet Shows & Shadowplays" from the Delta Green Sourcebook. IOS is peculiar to this campaign, as is the Continuous Professional Development at the end of the scenarios.

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